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.

The single most dangerous part of this new pricing (to VMware) is rooted in the following fact. What is left to virtualize is very different from what has been virtualized to date. If what VMware has done is change its licensing around to replace one metric (cores) with another (vRAM) in a manner that would have allowed it to get the same revenue from its existing customers to date, then VMware has totally missed the boat.

Licensing:  Pools and Architecture Changes?

In the past, virtualization architects and administrators were told the best way forward is to buy as much fast memory as they could afford as well as standardize on one set of boxes with as many CPUs as they dare use. With vRAM Pool licensing this type of open-ended RAM architecture will change as now I have to consider vRAM pools when I architect new cloud and virtual environments. So let’s look at this from existing virtual environments and then onto new virtual and cloud environments. How much a change will this be to how I architect things today, and how much of a change is there to my existing virtual environments? Is it a better decision to stay at vSphere 4? Or to switch hypervisors entirely?

Over the last few months an additional subproject codenamed Quantum has emerged which deals explicitly with networking and has particpation from networking giants Intel and Cisco as well as from Citrix. It’s a mechanism for defining network topologies aimed at providing Layer-2 network connectivity for VM instances running in clouds based on the OpenStack cloud fabric. It is designed to be extensible to allow higher-level services (VPN, QoS, etc) to be built on top, and to cleanly handle the “edge of network” problem (i.e. the binding of the cloud into the internet).

vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

Just in time for the adoption of vSphere 5 by enterprises seeking to virtualize business critical and performance critical applications, AppFirst, BlueStripe, and ExtraHop have pioneered a new category of APM solutions. This new category is focused upon allowing IT to take responsibility for applications response time for every application running in production. This is an essential step on the road toward virtualizing the 60% of the applications that remain on physical hardware.

Countdown to Launch

Friday was the day that the last space shuttle will be launch in to space. The shuttle Atlantis is on the launch pad and ready to go. As I watched the clock countdown to zero, I found myself reflecting on the idea that this launch will be the very last space shuttle flight. I grew up in Florida and have been able to walk outside and watch the shuttles, over the years, launch into space. I have enjoyed watching the launches as well as feeling the sonic booms when the shuttle would fly overhead on the way to the runway for touchdown. For me and many others, this launch signifies the end of an era and the start of something new.

ExtraHop has now made an important contribution to the question of how to measure applications performance across physical and virtual environments. Properly deployed ExtraHop can play a critical role in helping enterprises virtualize the 60% of the remaining applications that are “hard”, “performance critical”, and “business critical”. As vSphere 5.0 is right around the corner, the timing could not be better.

What is still missing here is any kind of an end-to-end view of infrastructure latency that is also real time, deterministic and comprehensive. The marrying of the SAN point of view with the IP network point of view is the obvious combination. The hard issue here will be the identification of the applications so that these view of infrastructure performance can be surfaced on a per application basis. In summary, we have a long way to go here, and this just might be why so many of those virtualization projects for business critical and performance critical applications are having so much trouble getting traction.