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.

I was privileged to speak at the 3rd Annual South Florida ISACA WoW! Event with Robert Stroud, Alan Shimel, and other great speakers. What I discovered from this conference is something I have feared for quite a number of years. Compliance actions are not continuous but often only enacted when the auditor shows up at the door. Secondly, very few auditors raised their hand when I asked if they are working with Virtualization or have customers that virtualize, this was quite a surprise.

Capacity Planning and Capacity Management are essential activities for any production virtualization deployment, and should be supported with appropriate tools that support the target hypervisor(s). However, the emerging need in this area is for true Infrastructure Performance Management – as these solutions give the IT Operations staff the information that they need to be able to confidently support Tier 1 applications in production – while being able to demonstrate the performance of the virtualized system to the applications owners and business constituencies.

Is Virtualization Solutions Delivery Fundamentally Changing?

It is clear that once virtualization started delivering hard dollar CAPEX and OPEX savings to IT executives that these executives wanted this trend of “more for less” to continue. Most IT organizations are far from 100% virtualized, and there are still substantial cost savings to be gained from further virtualization. However, forward thinking vendors (like Cisco, EMC, and HP) see the handwriting the wall and are taking steps now to be able to deliver solutions at reduced costs to their customers.

Virtualization Splits Up the Performance Management Business

Virtualization has been a catalyst for significant changes in the performance management business at all layers of the IT stack (from hardware to transaction). These changes have only begun. As the more and more tier 1 applications get migrated over to a virtual infrastructure, these vendors will advance their functionality, and more vendors will jump into the fray. It is also highly likely that over the next 24 months, the larger traditional vendors (HP, IBM, BMC) will get more active in this space – driven primarily by the fact that CA has now gotten active via its acquisition of NetQos.

Hyper-V: Free or Licensed the Choice is Yours

Which is better Hyper-V version deploy for production environments? For a traditional server based virtualization project, it makes financial sense to deploy Datacenter, and this is most likely the case for a hybrid deployment of Server and Desktop devices. However, for raw VDI and Open source deployments, it is obviously more fiscally prudent to utilise the free version which has been available for over a year.

VMware Buys Zimbra from Yahoo – Moves Up the Stack into Applications

If VMware buys Zimbra it will set off a a nuclear hand grenade throwing contest between Microsoft and VMware. Microsoft is trying to commoditize the layer of software where VMware makes all of its money – the hypervisor. VMware is returning the favor by using open source initiatives like SpringSource and (possibly) Zimbra to commoditize the layers where Microsoft makes all of its money – applications and applications platforms.

As of the end of last year, there are a new breed of virtualization backup tools (Veeam, vRangerPro, esXpress) now available, end-to-end backup tools (Acronis, Symantec). These tools will backup a virtual machine to tape using built in mechanisms instead of requiring scripting, or multiple backup tools. The question is: is this necessary? Should virtual machine backups be dropped to tape at all? Something to watch through out the year.

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