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.

Facebook (which had previously bought commodity servers and rented data center space) has opened up a whole new area of Open Source technology by publishing the full specification of both its new custom server and its new data center as “Open Source” at OpenCompute.org. Overall, Facebook claims that its new data centers are 38 per cent more efficient than its existing leased data centers, but the cost is about 20 per cent less. Published data (such as it exists) indicates that Facebook is at or ahead of rivals or peers such as Microsoft and Google. OpenCompute designs are released under new set of Open Source agreements. The intent seems to be to allow innovation within the published specification, but to ensure multiple providers of the technology. Facebook is clearly seeking to get multiple tier-1 third-party providers for both servers and data centers according to these designs, turning these Open Source specifications into a form of de-facto Standard, which could have broad impact by driving the marketplace away from shared storage models (such as Red Hat’s IAAS reference architecture) to local-storage-friendly IAAS architectures such as OpenStack or Eucalyptus.

Harris Trusted Cloud – Closing the Gap

On the 4/7/2011 Virtualization Security Podcast, we were joined by Wyatt Starnes of Harris Corporation. Wyatt is the Vice President of Advanced Concepts of Cyber Integrated Solutions at Harris. What this means, is that Wyatt is one of the key folks of the Harris Trusted Cloud initiative. Trust is a funny word, and we have written about that in the past. Harris’ approach is unique in that they are attempting to ensure integrity of all components of the cloud down to the code level, not just the network with their target being the hosted private cloud and NOT the secure multi-tenant public cloud.

Podio Released. Does the social work platform herald the beginning-of-the-end of desktops?

Podio offers a service that can be readily set-up, customised and deployed: with little IT knowledge – or IT service interaction. You create a workspace, you add applications to that workspace, you invite members of your team (regardless of the fact that your team may extend beyond your organisation) and you start working. if there were more Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings such as Podio available, would they negate the need for Desktop as a Service (DaaS)? Podio is likely a game changing environment for collaboration environments, but the rise of such services is likely to have a far wider impact in providing desktop services.

It has been just over two years that the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) was announced and released to the world. I wanted to give my feedback on the progress of the platform and how it is fitting into the Cloud Computing space.

When Cisco announced their Unified Computing Platform a couple of years ago, the thinking was not to just design and get into the server business, Cisco’s goal was to and become the heart of the datacenter itself. This was a big move by Cisco considering, that they had a very good working relationship and partnership with HP well, at least until the announcement that Cisco was getting into the server business.

There were two announcements over the last few days that struck me as quite important to the virtualization community. While some may question this statement, the long reaching effects of these purchases will impact virtualization and cloud computing in not so distant future. In fact, these purchases could add a whole new layer to vSphere as we know it today. Which for VMware is a good thing. They need to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the pack. The purchases I talk about are:

VMware purchasing/taking over control of EMC Mozy
RSA purchasing NetWitness

Managing licensing and utilization costs is a mess today in the physical world. Introducing elastic scaling of workloads into a hybrid private/public cloud introduces new uncertainties and new software licensing metering and compliance issues. This is particularly true in the case of enterprise applications which are licensed by the enterprise from the software vendor and then deployed on an as needed basis on Iaas or PaaS clouds.

A change to the Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) bundle is a rare event – the last time it happened was about 10 years ago; so any change to the CAL bundle has to be seen as a significant indicator of Microsoft’s core values. Or so you would think. Assuming that is right, last week’s announcement at the Microsoft Management Summit of changes to the Core and Enterprise CAL bundles need careful analysis. Changes to the CAL are a strategic driver towards new product adoption and represents a clear indication of Microsoft’s long-term goals and aspirations. With that in mind we can infer from this latest change how Microsoft views desktop virtualization.

With the diversity of cloud’s available today, data being sent from one to another could appear to be a hodge-podge of security. As one colleague put it recently when I asked what he was expecting to maintain integrity of data in motion between clouds:

“… what kind of kludge can things end up being when you have multiple connections to multiple hybrid clouds all doing different things” — Steve Beaver

So how does data transfer between the clouds? Is it a kludge? or can it be done using a uniform security policy, procedures, and protocols while maintaining Integrity and Confidentiality and auditability?

vSphere Client for the iPad

The VMware Community Roundtable, which is recorded every Wednesday, has been available for download from iTunes for the last couple of years or about as long has the podcast has been presented on TalkShoe.com. Other than the community podcast and The Virtualization Security Podcast there have not really been too many other things available on iTunes for VMware technologies or products. You could find a VCP study guide, VCP Exam Cram from Pearson Education and some other third party tools to control VMware vCenter from your iPhone and/or iPad. Within the last couple of years there have been hundreds if not thousands of iPads that have been given away at the different technology conferences and the sneak peak from VMware at these conferences, on the iPad application that they are working on, it was just a matter of time and that time has come with VMware releasing the VMware View for iPad and the VMware vSphere Client for the iPad.