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.


Quest Software has turned the acquisition integration process on its head by integrating vFoglight with the vKernel vOperations Suite. This is one more feather in the cap of the “easy to try and easy to buy” model of selling operations software into the virtualization market, and one more arrow through the heart of the legacy process of selling operations software to the enterprise systems management and network operations teams. VKernel (Quest) now has the ability to bring substantial depth and breadth of functionality to both existing and new customers. A new chapter in the operations management industry has begun.


VMware prices and licenses its products today along a set of models that are not optimized for either pure market penetration (like Microsoft) or pure extraction of the maximum cash from each customer (like Oracle). These policies will likely ensure that VMware continues to dominate the high end of the market – especially in enterprise accounts, but that VMware will leave itself open to being eaten from below by Microsoft Hyper-V (especially in Windows only SMB/SME accounts). The long term answer to how VMware positions itself with respect to price and value in the marketplace will likely come from vFabric and Cloud Foundry, as both of these products are crucial to the long term strategic position of VMware in the market – and also will rely upon aggressive third party support to succeed.


ActiveState has created a Private PaaS that supports Perl and Python as well as Java, and is based on the Open Source CloudFoundry distribution, packaged and distributed in a VM image, or installed to a wide range of IaaS platforms (public or private).

ActiveState is well known in Open Source communities as packaging/distribution vendor for dynamic languages – Perl, Python and Tcl. A sort of Red Hat for dynamic development languages. It also has a Komodo IDE for these languages, and a strong pedigree in contributing back into the Open Source projects which it packages. Stackato is also essentially a packaging of these and other Open Source technologies. It’s an interesting take on the PaaS space – PaaS becomes a packaging problem – just like the Linux Distro. For the customer, the choice of PaaS/Distro is partly about the breadth in the package and partly the mix of pricing, support and warranty offered by the PaaS/Distro.


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.


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.