The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Management

Virtualization Management covers all aspects of managing a modern virtual or software defined data center. This includes managing across virtualization platforms and clouds, monitoring the performance and availability of the virtualization platforms (hypervisors) and the clouds, monitoring the capacity of the virtualization platforms and clouds, ...
monitoring the performance of the applications running on these platforms and clouds, automatically provisioning these environments, securing these environments, and ensuring that the data in these environments is always protected and available.

Mainstream virtual desktop solutions have focused their efforts on providing the best platform for hosting virtual desktop environments. Hypervisors, image management, and connection brokers are the top feature sets that companies have looked at during their comparisons. Moving up the stack, these vendors are now focusing on user personalization management, but do not have what is considered to be a full desktop management solution. So are our end-to-end virtual desktop solutions really complete?

The acquisition of Akorri by NetApp demonstrates the importance of Infrastructure Performance Management solutions as virtualization progresses into the realm of business critical applications, and as public clouds hope to do the same. However rather than signaling a “game over” this acquisition really raises both the visibility and the importance of both the problems that Akorri solved, and the true end-to-end problems that remain.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

IT as a Service Reference Architecture

Implementing IT as a Service requires a virtualization platform, and virtualization aware configuration and change management, secure multi-tenancy, provisioning and lifecycle management, orchestration and automation, and service catalog. These capabilities are available from VMware, DynamicOps, Embotics, Eucaplyptus, ManageIQ, newScale, Quest, rPath and Reflex Systems.

Since its inception, virtualization has changed the information technology landscape in many ways. With all the good virtualization brings to the table, in some ways, virtualization has made things to easy. One example is the ease and speed that we are able to deploy new servers has virtual machines. No longer are we waiting on physical hardware to arrive for a new deployment. We can “clone” are golden image in a matter of minutes and be on our way.

I had a fun day resolving a licensing issue for a client. This one was a little different than I had seen in the past. The cluster is question is an eight node cluster running ESX 3.5. The error message that I received when trying to perform a vMotion was “Unable to migrate from HostA to HostB: Virtual machine has 2 virtual CPUs, but the host only supports 1. The number of virtual CPU’s may be limited by the guest OS selected for the virtual machine or by the licensing for the host.”

Is VMware vCloud Director an effective Enterprise IT as a Service Platform?

vCloud Director is a good start at an IT as a Service platform for enterprises looking for a VMware specific solution that does not integrate with existing physical or non-VMware provisioning mechanisms. Enterprises looking for IT as a Service solutions that span multiple virtualization platforms and that span provisioning across virtual and physical resources should look at alternatives from Platform Computing DynamicOps, newScale, Embotics, Euclyptus, ManageIQ and rPath as these vendors all offer heterogeneous enterprise class IT as a Service platforms.

In my last post I talked about how to resolve an issue where a disgruntled employee walked out with the USB memory stick that had VMware ESXi installed on it. In that particular case, the VMware ESXi host kept on running and I was able to get a backup and restore the current running configuration via some PowerShell Magic. All in all it was a pretty easy issue to resolve with very little down time. This got me thinking about which method would be the best option to use in the Enterprise. Installing to local disks or installing to a USB memory stick.

rPath has delivered automation for a crucial process, the management of software deployment across these new dynamic and scaled out environments that no one else has addressed, and that addresses a critical source of friction and errors for enterprises seeking to benefit from the agility inherent in the new ways of building and operating applications systems.

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