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.

We recently received a presentation on a combined solution from Eucalyptus and Terracotta. Initially we were suspicious because they clearly share an investor – Benchmark Capital. Was this a PowerPoint integration dreamt up by two Venture Capitalists over a power breakfast? However, the combined solution was presented by some very plausible techies with a real-live demo and does look as though it starts to provide a generally-useful abstraction over which to deploy scalable applications (specifically Java stacks), and it too works with commodity hardware. It’s not as slick as the 3Tera solution, more of a command-line approach, but it potentially has the edge in scalability.

Cloud Applications Performance Management gets Serious

I had the opportunity to present on Applications Performance Management for Cloud Hosted Applications at the Cloud Connect Conference in Santa Clara CA on March 15, 2010. It was an eventful presentation as I was part of panel assembled by Hon Won (former founder of NetIQ and now EVP of Business Development at Coradiant). The panels included users of business critical applications in the cloud, cloud vendors, and vendors of performance management applications for cloud hosted applications.

The Cisco-VMware-NetApp (CVN) was discussed on the Virtualization Security Podcast as it pertains to Secure Multi-Tenancy (SMT). This is a major concern that was also discussed at RSA Conference 2010 within the Cloud Security Alliance Summit. The question still remains how to achieve this goal however. CVN is a very good start, but as we discussed on the podcast is missing some key elements.

The acquisition of 3Tera by Computer Associates signals an intent to move beyond traditional Systems Management, into something that may almost be viewed as Operating System: a layer of software called AppLogic that sits above the virtualization stack, and provides a consolidated abstraction against which composite applications may be built within the Cloud. Essentially the AppLogic layer deals with the nuts and bolts of configuring and connecting virtual machines, all you do is choose from a menu of virtual appliances you want, and use a visual interface to show how the appliances interconnect at a software level.

Virtualization Aware APM Advances

We categorize the vendors that do performance and availability monitoring for virtualization and cloud computing into four categories: Resource and Availability Monitoring – This is primarily about taking data from the hypervisor vendor (most often the VMware vCenter API data), storing it, trending it, reporting on it, analyzing it, and alerting on it. Infrastructure Performance…

Rethinking vNetwork Security

Brad Hedlund of Cisco asked the question, should the physical network security policy be different than the virtual network security policy? The answer is obviously no, but why are they treated separately? I and other have pushed the concept that to gain performance, redundancy, and security that you should use multiple network links to your virtualization host to separate traffic. However, does this really give you security?

Those of you who attended VMworld this year will remember the stack of servers and storage on display happily serving VM’s to the vistors, exhibitors and Staff at the conference, well one of the key components of that stack was provided by Xsigo. Their product the I/O Director offers signficant savings in large environments by effectively virtualising the I/O stack. I am not going to go into the ins and outs of I/O virtualization in this article. Well it now appears that they are expanding their partnerships.

There are two key features missing from Virtualization and Cloud Computing. Those are auditing and forensics. The A6 project aims to fix this problem for auditing, but there is only some research into forensics. The issue is about discovering who did what when, where, how, and hopefully why. Auditing plays into this for Compliancy but also for forensics. Forensics has two major components in its arsenal: Audit Trails, and Disk Images.