The Virtualization Practice

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing focuses upon how to construct, secure, manage, monitor and use public IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS clouds. Major areas of focus include barriers to cloud adoption, progress on the part of cloud vendors in removing those barriers, where the line of responsibility is drawn between the cloud vendor and the customer for each of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS clouds, ...
as well as the management tools that are essential to deploy in the cloud, ensure security in the cloud and ensure the performance of applications running in the cloud. Covered vendors include Amazon, VMware, AFORE, CloudSidekick, CloudPhysics, ElasticBox, Hotlink, New Relic, Prelert, Puppet Labs and Virtustream.

VirtualizationBackup

While participating in the GestaltIT Virtualization Field Day #2, I was asking Symantec about Application Aware Backups. In other words, could one backup an entire application, regardless of how the application was defined. This concept goes hand in hand with Application Aware Security measures. We can always backup VMs and their data to remote locations, but can we backup or maintain the application interactions within a multi-VM Application regardless of how it is defined.

My answer to my computing needs is a very high end Windows 7 desktop, a very low end Windows 7 Netbook and an Android phone. I am and will always be a non-fan of the vertically integrated Apple model. I will probably always pay a price in terms of complexity of my computing life for this bias. But being a free market economist at heart, I like Shrek believe in the value of layers. I believe that processors, system software, device design, operating system design, applications development and content are all separate disciplines with completely separate bases of comparative advantage. I believe that attempts to integrate across these layers in a proprietary and closed way will fail. Windows computers have always outsold Mac’s for this reason. Android phones are already outselling iPhones for this reason. If Microsoft could get its act together on the phone and tablet front, it could restore the natural economic order of the marketplace to the device industry. But that is the subject of another post.

PerformanceManagement

Virtualization is such a profound change to how systems operate that it not only creates new management requirements, but it also breaks legacy management solutions. For these reasons, enterprises should look outside of traditional legacy management vendors for their virtualization performance and capacity management solutions. The focus should be on the richness of the virtualization aware functionality in the solutions, their support of multiple platforms, and how easy the solution is to try, buy and implement.

The 2/9 Virtualization Security Podcast was a discussion on when would one use a virtual firewall. This was in response to being told that there are some people that would never use a virtual firewall for anything, and that got me thinking. Outside of the politics involved with using virtual vs physical firewalls, when would you use one? What are the cut offs, and best practices around using virtual firewalls. We were joined by Rob Randell of VMware to discuss this point.

Cloudyn Addresses the Economics of Public Cloud Computing

Cloudyn has delivered a breakthrough SaaS delivered service that does for the first time what no one else has done before. The new Cloudyn service actually tells you how to change your image provisioning and your price plans at Amazon so that you can achieve the results that you want at the lowest possible cost. This is the first time that someone has addressed the economics of public cloud computing in this manner. Ultimately this will lead to dramatically higher usage of public cloud services (as their price/performance can now be managed), and will put pressure on internal IT organizations to provide the same kind of data and management options to their internal constituents.

VMTurbo has broken new ground by delivering the first application aware automated service assurance solution for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer. This is the first solution that takes advantage of the dynamic nature of these platforms and their control API’s to actually ensure something (throughput) that application owners care about. Preemptively assuring throughput (and hopefully response time in the future) may be a more effective approach than waiting for something to go wrong and then trying to pick the one root cause out of the hundreds or thousands of potential candidates.

As business critical applications move into production virtualized environments, the need arises to ensure their performance from a response time perspective. Legacy Applications Performance Management tools are in many cases not well suited to make the jump from static physical systems, to dynamic virtual and cloud based systems. For these reasons enterprises need to consider new tools from vendors that have virtualization aware and cloud aware features in their APM solutions. Vendors like AppDynamics, BlueStripe, Corellsense, ExtraHop Networks, dynatrace, New Relic, and VMware (vFabric APM) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.

I and others look at Virtualization Security constructs with an eye towards Cloud Security, but they are not necessarily the same. Granted for some clouds, virtualization security can lead to cloud security but this really depends on how the cloud’s architecture. Even so, what we know from Virtualization Security WILL apply to Cloud Security and will be the basis for best practices. But you say, my cloud does not use Virtualizaiton? Ah ha, I say, but it is still a cloud? And that implies there are similar security concerns. This was the discussion on the 1/26 Virtualization Security Podcast.