The Virtualization Practice

Storage Networking

Storage Networking focuses upon virtualizing the storage and the SAN while collapsing and simplifying the management and performance of storage. This includes the role of storage virtualization in the Software Defined Data Center, and the comparison of pooled local storage options with traditional network attached storage (NAS) and fiber channel attached storage. Covered vendors include VMware, EMC, IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco, Tintri, and Nutanix.

VMware Articulates a Compelling Management Vision – Automated Service Assurance

VMware deserves an enormous amount of credit for promising to reinvent IT Operations around automation and the guaranteed performance of applications. VMware either has or is working on all of the building blocks required to execute upon this vision for the vSphere platform. The combination of innovation by VMware, and by the third party ecosystem on this front will create a new compelling benefit to virtualization, that will allow virtualization to comfortably address business critical and performance critical applications.

If there was one thing I saw and heard about at VMworld, was the number of third party collaborations that were taking place. While not explicitly stated by VMware at VMworld, the show floor had many different collaborations that were taking place. This level of collaboration shows a level of maturity within the virtualization and cloud vendor ecosystems. A maturity, that shows that the vendors understand the benefits of leveraging other companies to lower their overall costs while producing better and more attractive products. Some of the collaborations I saw where purely the resale of products, while others were integrations between products.

Key VMworld 2011 Performance and Capacity Announcements

Quest (vFoglight 6.6), vKernel (vOPS 4), VMTurbo, Reflex Systems, Xangati, and Cirba (Data Center Control 7.0) have all made significant product enhancements which are being demonstrated at VMworld this week. These announcements largely reflect the increasing level of sophistication in these tools, and the emergence of Hyper-V as the hypervisor upon which cross-platform management strategies are initiated.

Windows boot IO and storage performance impact on VDI

With Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) initiatives adoption being a popular theme associated with cloud and dynamic infrastructure environments a related discussion point is the impact on networks, servers and storage during boot or startup activity to avoid bottlenecks. VDI solution vendors include Citrix, Microsoft and VMware along with various server, storage, networking and management tools vendors.

A common storage and network related topic involving VDI are boot storms when many workstations or desktops all startup at the same time. However any discussion around VDI and its impact on networks, servers and storage should also be expanded from read centric boots to write intensive shutdown or maintenance activity as well.

vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

Just in time for the adoption of vSphere 5 by enterprises seeking to virtualize business critical and performance critical applications, AppFirst, BlueStripe, and ExtraHop have pioneered a new category of APM solutions. This new category is focused upon allowing IT to take responsibility for applications response time for every application running in production. This is an essential step on the road toward virtualizing the 60% of the applications that remain on physical hardware.

What is still missing here is any kind of an end-to-end view of infrastructure latency that is also real time, deterministic and comprehensive. The marrying of the SAN point of view with the IP network point of view is the obvious combination. The hard issue here will be the identification of the applications so that these view of infrastructure performance can be surfaced on a per application basis. In summary, we have a long way to go here, and this just might be why so many of those virtualization projects for business critical and performance critical applications are having so much trouble getting traction.

The Dell VIS stack (Advanced Infrastructure Manager, Self-Service Creator and Director) now represents the most functionally rich virtualization management offering on the market, as it is sourced from best of breed IT as a Service vendor DynamicOPS and best of breed self learning analytics vendor Netuitive. This stack backed up by Dell’s ability to sell into its customer base with whom Dell is already heavily interacting on the subject of virtualization puts Dell and it partners in a compelling position.