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.

VMware vs. Microsoft – Management Stack Strategies

VMware has made it very clear that it views virtualization as the catalyst technology which enables driving complexity and cost out of the data center, and injecting freedom, agility, and choice into the data center. VMware has also made it clear that these benefits from virtualization will only occur if virtualization itself (the hypervisor and the low level hypervisor management tools) are complemented by a layer of management tools that allow applications that are hosted on internal and external clouds to be managing very differently than they have been in the past.

There is a great debate on which hypervisor vendor works with ISVs and which do not. You have a number of ISVs working with VMware that are just now starting to work with Hyper-V. A number of ISVs that are struggling to catch up in the virtualization space. Hypervisor Vendors that are directly competing with ISVs as well as welcoming ISVs. This story is not about any of this, but about how easy is it to launch a new product for each of the hypervisors available with or without help from the hypervisor vendor. In essence, is there enough documentation, community, and code out there to be interpreted as welcoming ISVs.

In the fog of the datacenter virtualization war, it is difficult to see clearly who will end up on top, and yet the outcome is almost certainly determined, and the victorious generals are even now moving on to fight new battles. Here at the Virtualization Practice we too would like to think we can see through the fog to work out who has won, so here are our thoughts, take account of them as you wish. They concern, primarily, the big four protagonists: Microsoft/Hyper-V, Citrix /Xen, VMware/vSphere and Red Hat/KVM.

In trying to re-use some old server hardware I re-vsisted VirtualBox/Ubuntu, a viable and completely free Open Source option for non-virtualization-enabled hardware. It is a neat solution, simple and well-supported, but the open source version of VirtualBox is nobbled to make it extremely awkward to use, in a different way to VMware’s nobbling of the non-Open Source (but also free) ESXi.

Now is the time, for Oracle/Sun to put all the features of VirtualBox into the Open Source version, and let it live on, perhaps not for use on Linux servers, but as free virtualization platform for other operating systems on Windows. If Apple ever loosens up the licencing on MacOS, it could turn 15 million PCs into Macs – overnight.

VMsafe – Vendor Implementations at VMworld

With the advent of existing VMsafe products from Altor Networks, Reflex Systems, and ones on the horizon from Trend Micro and others in the security space, all administrators should have a clear understanding of how they work under the covers. Where does VMsafe appear within the stack? Is VMsafe on the incoming physical NICs, within the vSwitch, portgroups, or before or after the vNIC? Can we expect the other aspects of VMsafe to be the same? While I was discussing VMsafe with the vendors, VMware was also going around and talking to all the VMsafe vendors for VMware TV shots.

VMware’s “No OS” Application Platform Strategy

VMware’s SpringSource acquisition will result in VMware directly implementing the SpringSource Java runtimes in a VMware Guest. VMware will also work to allow other open source application frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python and PHP to run directly in VMware Guests. VMware will provide value added API’s to these run time frameworks, that will make deploying and managing applications built to these frameworks and run on VMware easier. This will put pressure on Microsoft to allow .Net to also run in this manner – potentially setting the stage for the dis-intermediation of Windows as an applications platform.