The Virtualization Practice

Data Center Virtualization

Data Center Virtualization covers virtualizing servers, networks, and storage delivering server consolidation, CAPEX savings, IT agility, and improved management. Major areas of focus include the tradeoffs between various virtualization platforms (VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Red Hat KVM), the evolution of hypervisors into data center management platforms, ...
VMware’s Software Defined Data Center strategy, and how the SDDC is spurring innovation in storage, networking and server hardware. Covered vendors indlude VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, CloudPhysics, Hotlink, Tintri, and VMTurbo.

Stefano Stabellini, a senior software engineer at Citrix Systems, has announced a proof of concept port of the open source Xen Hypervisor for the ARM Cortex A15 processor. The project was started in early November and has already developed to the point where it is capable of booting a Linux 3.0 based virtual machine up to a shell prompt. The Xen port has progressed so rapidly due to a decision to take advantage of the virtualization features that were introduced with the ARMv7 architecture making it small and comparatively easy to develop. However, because of this it won’t be able to run on anything older than a Cortex-A15 processor.

2011 Winners and Losers in Virtualization Management

The management ecosystem for virtualization started to transform significantly in 2011, driven by VMware’s new management strategy and management offerings. The big four are now boxed into an untenable position with expensive software that is hard to buy and hard to deploy. In 2012 there will be aggressive partnering in the ecosystem as vendors try to compete with the VMware suite by integrating with other vendors who have adjacent functionality.

The speed that technology changes are absolutely amazing in that as soon as you buy something, the next faster, bigger model comes out. I think back to around when I started my career and remember a workstation that I was using with a 200MHz processor and I was really thrilled when I got it bumped up to 64MB of ram. Now although the hardware was changing at blazing speeds you used to know you had a three to five year run with the operating system before you had to worry about upgrading and refreshing the operating systems. VMware has been changing the rules the last few years on major releases coming around every two years.

VMware has had a great 2011. Product execution was excellent on all fronts except for VMware View where there are also larger strategy issues afoot. VMware is and likely will remain next year not only the most important, but the best system software vendor on the planet. We can only look forward to continued progress with vSphere, the management offerings, and the applications platform offerings.

I cannot believe the month of December is almost upon us. Every year around this time I like to reflect upon the year and give my review and remarks. This is a special year for me because it was around this time a decade ago that I was introduced to a cool new technology called virtualization from this neat new product called VMware Workstation. It was a magical moment when I first discovered the ability to run multiple operating systems, at the same time, on a single computer. I remember this moment well because it was true love at first install. Within a year I was playing with VMware ESX Server 1.5 and was given my first virtualization proof of concept that was followed by my first production design and deployment. The rest, as they say, is history as well as an amazing ride.

Toward Converged Virtualization Management Suites

VMware has articulated and is starting to deliver on a compelling strategy of Automated Operations for its virtualization and cloud platforms. This will precipitate profound changes in the vendor ecosystem as third party vendors partner up and acquire in order to come up with the same depth of functionality that VMware is offering, but on a broader set of platforms (Quest buying VKernel is just the start of this process).

Virtualization and cloud computing have changed the requirements for management solutions in a way that no innovation in the history of our industry ever have. Previous innovations created new requirements, but did not break existing management approaches or business models. Virtualization breaks both the existing legacy approaches to managing applications and systems, and breaks how one must manage applications in this new environment. The revolution has only just started.