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.

There is a great deal of marketing hype about which hypervisor is better but I have spent some thinking about this and really have to wonder if the hypervisor is what we should really be focusing or concentrating on. A lot of third party vendors are starting to port their products to be able to work with both hypervisors but what about the management server itself? When third party application vendors design their applications to work with VMware or Microsoft hypervisors they have been writing plug-ins for their product to work inside the management server systems and or its client.

Systems Management Frameworks have provided an indispensable function to enterprises with large and business critical networks and data centers. However, frameworks have become a category of expensive and slow to innovate legacy software leading many enterprises to conclude that they must move beyond these products in order to properly monitor their newest environments including those that are based on virtualization and public clouds. New virtualization and cloud focused tools are providing support for these environments that is not present in legacy management frameworks. Self-learning analytics may replace the frameworks as the “manager of managers” or new frameworks may emerge out of the open source movement.

I you buy vSphere 4 (or 4.1) after June 9th, you get a free copy of SLES to run on any CPU on which you have a valid license for vSphere. This lines up SLES on vSphere alongside Windows on Hyper-v, in both cases the O/S and the hypervisor are supplied under the same license. This obviously lines up SLES on vSphere alongside Windows on Hyper-v, in both cases the O/S and the hypervisor are supplied under the same license. In the long term, Licensing SLES leaves out a tantalizing prospect that VMware can build its own semi-official version of Azure, using vSphere, SLES and Mono, without a Windows server operating system in the mix.

Virtualizing tier 1 business critical and performance critical applications will require that the virtualization team be able to provide assurances about infrastructure performance and applications performance to the applications teams and their constituents. This is a dauntingly complex requirement to meet due to the fact that meeting it requires the integration of tools that are not integrated today, and that virtualization adds risk to the equation due to the dynamic behavior of virtualized systems.

The security companies are looking into all aspects of virtual environment introspection to label, tag, or mark all objects for compliance reasons, inspect the contents of virtual machines for asset management (CMDB), and an early form of Root Kit detection.

Virtualization Security is not just about the firewall, it is about the entire ecosystem, auditing, compliance, and object management.

While doing a quick Google search to find what a Cloud is, I have found several different definitions which depend on which vendor site you pull up. One thing is for sure despite the frequent use of the term, it still means different things to different people and or companies. For my reference point I am going to use the National Institute of Standards and Technology definition referenced by Texiwill’s NIST Cloud Computing Definitions Final article.

As of Service Pack 1, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (SLES) supports KVM for SUSE guests. This post follows on from our previous post regarding the demise of Xen in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and perhaps suggests the beginning of the end for Xen-based virtualization in Linux, but the story is far from clear. A complex set of agreements with Microsoft mean that Novell is bound to preferentially support Windows guests, and it may be a while before KVM support is adequate, although Novell has a project called Alacrity to help get it there. In the meanwhile Novell may get split up into pieces by a private equity house and SLES find itself a new owner.

VMware has now announced two new advanced certifications that will be available for registration in the very near future. VMware Certified Advanced Professional 4 – Datacenter Administrator (VCAP4-DCA) and VMware Certified Advanced Professional 4 – Datacenter Design (VCAO4-DCD). Both these certification and exams are a stepping stone for the VMware Certified Design Expert on vSphere 4. These new exams are in all intensive purposes an updated version of the exams needed for the VCDX certification for ESX 3 but with the added bonus of advanced certifications during the journey to achieving the coveted VCDX certification. Let’s take a quick overview of the new certifications.

Is the CMDB Irrelevant in a Virtual and Cloud Based World?

The CMDB’s that were designed and architected for static physical systems appear to be unwieldy, too difficult to keep up to date, and not real-time enough to make the transition into the virtualized and cloud based world. Virtualized environment change too fast for existing CMDB’s to keep up, and the notion of keeping a CMDB up to date as assets are moved into and out of public clouds seems hopelessly beyond the intended original use case of a CMDB. A new category of datastore is needed that will address the needs of virtualized and cloud based environments, while incorporating performance information with configuration information.