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.

If there was one thing I saw and heard about at VMworld, was the number of third party collaborations that were taking place. While not explicitly stated by VMware at VMworld, the show floor had many different collaborations that were taking place. This level of collaboration shows a level of maturity within the virtualization and cloud vendor ecosystems. A maturity, that shows that the vendors understand the benefits of leveraging other companies to lower their overall costs while producing better and more attractive products. Some of the collaborations I saw where purely the resale of products, while others were integrations between products.

VMware announced a loosely coupled group of vCloud providers that will use vCloud Connector to loosely couple their clouds, so that VMs can move from vCloud to vCloud without requiring you to renegotiate pricing, capability, and functionality with multiple cloud vendors, just your local one. This announcement is intriguing in that it is a move to push the cloud into the global space, but also fraught with peril if not done correctly.

The Start of VMworld 2011

VMworld 2011 has finally arrived as the expected crowd of about 20,000 arrived in Las Vegas for the event. The temperature is a broiling 110* and sunny. Today is Monday August 29, and the official start of the conference, but the vExperts had the opportunity to attend a special briefing, before the show, that focused on VMware’s vision for the future. Following the briefing, there was a couple of options for the evening from the vDodgeball game to the warm-up party. I attended the vmunderground warm-up party as a service (WuPaaS.Next) at the Nine Fine Irishmen Pub. These guys have been throwing the pre-party for the last few VMworlds and what started as a tweet-up as turned into a major event in itself. So popular, in fact, that all the tickets were gone in seconds. Big thanks to Theron Conrey, Sean Clark, Rich Brambley and Brain Knudtson for making this happen. The turkey legs they served were fabulous.

Key VMworld 2011 Performance and Capacity Announcements

Quest (vFoglight 6.6), vKernel (vOPS 4), VMTurbo, Reflex Systems, Xangati, and Cirba (Data Center Control 7.0) have all made significant product enhancements which are being demonstrated at VMworld this week. These announcements largely reflect the increasing level of sophistication in these tools, and the emergence of Hyper-V as the hypervisor upon which cross-platform management strategies are initiated.

More and more is coming out about the attack from a MacDonald’s that left an organization crippled for a bit of time. The final tally was that the recently fired employee was able to delete 15 VMs before either being caught or he gave up. On twitter, it was commented that the administrator must not have been a powershell programmer because in the time it takes to delete 15 VMs by hand, a powershell script could have removed 100s. Or perhaps the ‘Bad Actor’ was trying to not be discovered. In either case, this has prompted discussions across the twitter-sphere, blog-sphere, and within organizations about how to secure from such attacks.

On the 7/28 Virtualization Security Podcast, we were joined by Robert Martin of Mitre to discuss Mitre’s new CWE, CWSS, and CWRAF tools to aid in software and system security evaluation. We put a decidedly cloud based discussion around these tools to determine how they would be used by those that program within a PaaS environment, make use of SaaS, or other cloud services.

vSphere 5 Licensing – The Role of Cross Platform Management Tools and the Hotlink SuperVISOR

So you are a loyal VMware customer. You have licenses for vSphere 4 and you are about 40% virtualized. Based upon the revised vRAM entitlements in the revised vSphere 5 licensing, you think you are going to be OK as you progress through the more demanding business critical purchased and custom developed applications that lie in front of you. But you would like a hedge and a simple way to manage the second hypervisor that is a part of that hedge. Help has arrived.

Over the last few months we have identified a trend towards “diversity” in the PaaS provider marketplace. Platform as a Service has become Platforms as a Service, the providers are offering multiple choices at each layer of the platform infrastructure, and seeing their role as automating the provisioning of properly-configured instances as required at each layer of the stack.

On Aug 2nd, there was another entrant to this “diverse” PaaS provider marketplace called Cumulogic, a startup with a PaaS cloud positioned alongside Red Hat OpenShift and VMware CloudFoundry that we identified earlier.