This month (October 2011) there are a slew of conferences on virtualization and cloud technologies being held in Europe. The question becomes which to attend! If you are in the United States, this could be expensive considering the current Euro to Dollar exchange rate but if you are already in Europe one of these events is well worth attending, each has there own take and focus. But after the success of VMworld US, is there anything more to announce?
There are few people who get to be classified as true innovators – among them Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers. Steve Jobs has earned his place with these great agents of change. From the initial release of the Apple II, Jobs’ vision has changed the way we look at and interact with all of our technology.
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Since the introduction of virtualization there has been sheer joy and excitement when having to work with application owners on the amount of resources they will need and not what they really think they want. I have seen all kinds of minimum, maximum, and special recommendation for all kinds of application over the years. In most cases, applications have evolved to be able to thrive in a virtual environment without too many limitations. Now it seems we have to verify which VMware features are fully supported with certain virtualized application also.
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One of the cool things about attending VMworld every year is seeing what is new on the horizon and this year, ironically, there is something called Project Horizon and the first milestone of that project called VMware Horizon Application Manager. Horizon is a hosted service that will centrally manage the provisioning, access and usage of software-as-a-server (SaaS) applications while at the same time applying the companies standardized security and access controls. This will give the end users of the application the ability to use the applications via VMware ThinApp or View products to stream the application across multiple devices all with a single login. The end users will also have self-service access to a corporate store for their SaaS and Web-based applications. Managing these applications will be completely user based with no need to worry about the underlying device the software or application is running on.
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In what is sure to be seen as a carefully timed spoiler, Citrix today released XenDesktop 5.5, XenApp 6.5, and XenClient 2 along with new versions of the Citrix Receiver client less than a week before VMworld opens its doors in Las Vegas.
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As a delegate for Tech Field Day 6 in Boston, I was introduced to VMware’s Mobile Virtual Platform (MVP) which allows you to have a single hardened VM running within, currently, very few Android-based devices as such requires a version of Android from VMware for the virtual machine aspect of MVP. The first version of MVP has several interesting security features as well s security issues as you move forward. Given the current spat of Android based malware, it is important to consider the security features of any new product whether it is a version 1.0 or not. Even with these issues, MVP has some very interesting uses outside the realm of a mobile phone platform. I can see this being used on tablets as a way to get a corporate VM.
Citrix’s annual Synergy conference held this week in San Francisco was kicked off with CEO Mark Templeton painting his view of the future, and the building and leveraging of cloud services. With the emergence and evolution of cloud services, Templeton believes that the industry has moved out of the PC (personal computing) era into a PC-3 era, incorporating personal, private, and public cloud services.
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When VMware first announced that it was going to license Teradici’s PCoIP protocol for inclusion in View 4.0, its most visible shortcoming was that VMware did not plan to update the View Security Server at the same time. Setting aside any debate as to the performance characteristics of PCoIP on the WAN, the lack of support for the View Security Server was a significant obstacle to widespread adoption of View in enterprise environments. So the inclusion of direct support for PCoIP tunneling through the View 4.6 Security Server comes as a most welcome update. Also included with View 4.6 are new USB enhancements, as well as support for Windows 7 SP1.
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The right approach to monitoring a virtual or cloud based environment is to start with a clean sheet of paper, determine your requirements, and assemble a horizontally layered solution out of best of class vendor solutions that address each layer. Vendors should be evaluated on their mastery of one or more layers, their ability to keep up with the change in that layer, and their ability to integrate with adjacent layers.