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.
I got a call from a client today that is running a VMware ESXi server as a proof of concept in their SMB environment. The admin that setup the VMware ESXi Server configured the ESXi server to boot and run ESXi from a USB memory stick. Things have been running fine but the company and the administrator that setup the server had a falling out, so to speak, and the administrator left the company and took the USB memory stick with him. The server continues to run fine as ESXi basically runs from memory but, rebooting this host is now not an option since there are no files available for the host to boot from. So what is the best way to recover and get things back to normal? I did a little research and the information that I have found will work will both ESXi 3.x as well as vSphere ESXi.
The Freemium sales model is a business model innovation best suited to inexpensive products that are very easily understood (and therefore not very new or very different) and that solve an obvious problem in a manner that is more convenient for the customer to acquire and implement. There are not many new virtualization and cloud technology companies who set out to produce undifferentiated products which suggests that a general application of the Freemium model to startups in our ecosystem is ill advised. Enterprise customers should pay great attention to products that are being marketing in this manner to ensure that they do not end up growing the use of something that was purchased in a tactical manner into a strategic use case.
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If we are going to start over, why not really start over and reinvent the entire infrastructure and management software industries in the process. That way we end up with an infrastructure that was actually designed for the dynamic, agile, and scalable use cases that we are trying to address with a green field approach, and an appropriate set of management tools as well. Is this going to happen? You can bet that there are already VC funded startups in stealth mode working on it.
One thing I noticed while attending this year’s VMworld in San Francisco was how many people attending the event had iPads. Actually, it was the hottest item being given away by almost all the vendors in attendance at the show. I was lucky enough to get one of the iPads that EMC was giving away. I recently heard that the iPad is the hottest selling tech item in history so far. During VMworld I got a chance to see the VMware iPad application to control your virtual environment and was really impressed. I really think the iPad might have a chance to become the tool of choice for the IT admins to monitor and administrate their environment. I am hoping that by VMworld 2011 we will be seeing a lot more client applications written and ported to the iPad and/or other mobile devices.
I saw a question get posted on twitter that kind of intrigues me a little. The question was pretty straight forward. “How many virtual machines should I be able to run on a host?” That is really a fair question in itself but what I find intriguing is that this is the first question he asks. Is this really the first thing administrators think to ask when designing their environment? After all there is no set formula on how many virtual machines you can run on a host. You can be a little more exact when working with VDI because for the most part all the virtual machines would be set up pretty much the same way and the numbers can be a little more predictable. That would not be the case when working with server virtualization. You are going to have servers all with different configurations and amount of resources provisioned to the virtual machines. This variation is what will change your slot count and the amount of virtual machines you can run on the host.
VMware dominates the enterprise virtualization platform business with vSphere, and is poised to create a vSphere compatible public cloud ecosystem around vCloud. Layering Management software on top of these platforms is a logical progression up the value stack, as is layering an applications platform (vFabric) on top of vSphere and vCloud. VMware’s end user computing strategy seems to be too tied to VDI to be able to break out of the fundamental limitations associated with this approach, and will likely leave the larger question of how to manage the next generation desktop to the previously mentioned startups and perhaps Symantec.
Self-learning performance management solutions like Integrien and Netuitive are going to be absolutely an essential part of the migration to dynamic data centers and IT as a Service. Once these dynamic data centers scale out to the thousands of applications in a typical enterprise, and scale up to address the most performance critical applications, the rate of change in the environment will be too high for legacy tools and manual administration to be able to keep. up. These automated self-learning approaches will be the only way in which IT Operations will be able to stay on top of these new environments while staying within staffing and budget constraints.
While VMware has articulated the need for a management strategy and has provided some building blocks for its management stack, there are currently and will be for the near term future significant gaps in the VMware management offerings even when the domain of the problem is constrained to the management of the VMware platform. Once the domain is expanded to include the physical infrastructure which underlies the virtualization platform, and once it is again expanded to include multiple virtualization platforms the use case is outside of what VMware intends to provide. For these reasons, third party solutions should be considered for each component of the diagram above when evaluating solutions from VMware.