All posts by Steve Beaver

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

Where Does Virtualization Stop and the Cloud Start?

CloudComputingWhere does virtualization stop and the cloud start? I was reading a post that one of our analysts, Edward Haletky, posted and the very first sentence caught my eye and really got me thinking.

“I was going to write about how building a cloud is similar to moving, but the more I think about it, the more I think people are confusing an automated virtual environment with a cloud: IT as a Service is not just about cloud. Having automation does not imply your virtual environment is a cloud or visa versa.” Continue reading Where Does Virtualization Stop and the Cloud Start?

Does Your Hardware Keep Up With Technology?

DataCenterVirtualizationDoes your hardware keep up with technology? Technology advancements have been and are moving at an incredible pace with new and exciting features getting added with each new release or update of a product.  Unfortunately, technology can outpace are physical hardware which can leave us in a true troubleshooting nightmare.  There is one specific example that I have seen a few times and is worth sharing.    Continue reading Does Your Hardware Keep Up With Technology?

Are Things Becoming too Automated?

DataCenterVirtualizationAre things becoming too automated? That is a question I cannot believe I am asking. I have spent most of my virtual career creating automated processes from my virtual environments. I spent a great deal of time creating a “toolbox” of scripts to perform almost all of the tasks that I found myself needing to do in an automated fashion. A lot of my peers and I were all creating automated build and automated configuration of our environments from the very beginning and now are seeing a great deal of the automation that we created in one way or another being added to the product suite. Is that a bad thing? No, on the contrary, this shows the active deployment of the technology and gives us insight to the direction the technology may follow. Continue reading Are Things Becoming too Automated?

Cross-Platform Cloud Management Features

DataCenterVirtualizationHotlink and their Cross-Platform Cloud Management technology have been in the news recently with the announcement of the latest release and the release of the free version of their flagship product, Hotlink SuperVISOR for VMware vCenter. This technology extends the VMware vCenter management capabilities to Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (KVM). Bernd Harzog did a great post covering this latest release so no need to repeat things, but I would like to share my thoughts on how this type of technology has the potential to fundamentally change the direction of virtualization and/or cloud computing.

One of the secret ingredients in Hotlink’s technology is the Transformation Engine, which basically decouples VMware vCenter from the vSphere hypervisor so that multiple different hypervisors can be controlled via VMware vCenter Server. The Transformation Engine is what I would call the integration engine, in that it performs the translation between technologies. I wonder if during the Hotlink development, the ability to decouple and manage all the different hypervisors was the project plan all along, or was it an added bonus discovered during development of the Transformation Engine?

Additional feature or added bonus, call it what you want, but I think this is going to open some doors in cross platform features. Hotlink is just the first of what may be many different cross-platform strategies. In the way that Hotlink has made VMware vCenter Server the centralized management point, I think there will be other companies that will present similar technology; having Microsoft’s System Center as the management point would be just one example.

Now here is where it can get really good. Once the cross-platform management concept really takes off, when we really have a choice of which technology we want to use as the central management point, we could really get to a point where certain features could be cherry picked and used with all systems. What I mean is hopefully there will be the ability to take advantage of specific features that are available for a specific technology. One example with the Hotlink technology is taking advantage of VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and expanding the use of the technology to a Microsoft Hyper-V Cluster. An additional bonus features would be the ability to take advantage of VMware’s vCenter Operations.

Would it be too much to think that in the future we might be able to take advantage of different features from the different platforms to pick which features we could use and apply to the infrastructure as a whole? Why not?  The integration engine is the key to keep everything talking to each other.

By design or by accident, cross-platform cloud management has opened a door to a possibility that I don’t think VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, or any other hypervisor vender would have thought might happen. Will this “feature” continue to grow and expand or will functionality be diminished or removed? Time will tell and we will just have to see for ourselves.

Cloud Products and Services

CloudComputingCloud products and services are only in their infancy, but new and exciting technology is being released at an incredible rate. One example of something new is Kim Dotcom’s newly launched Mega cloud storage service with its free 50GB of storage. What really got my attention with this announcement was that the data would be stored encrypted; it is nice to see security being built into the offering from the beginning. There are a few bugs that are being reported, but hopefully it is the start of the push to secure the cloud.

With all the application and services that are available, does the average small business need the expense of physical infrastructure within their organization?  I just had a meeting with a client, and we talked about consolidating their physical infrastructure as much as possible and then migrating what was left to the cloud. During our conversation, we broke down the different applications that were needed to run the business, to look at these applications separately. Continue reading Cloud Products and Services

Virtual Future in our Virtual Designs

DataCenterVirtualizationIs it time to plan for the virtual future in our virtual designs? Happy New Year and welcome to 2013!!  What a year 2012 turned out to be for virtualization and cloud computing in general. Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat, and VMware have all made quite a few enhancements to the hypervisor, and we have finally reached a point where we really have some good competition between hypervisors. Also, the competition boundaries are being expanded to include much more than just the hypervisor itself as we start to focus on the ecosystem as a whole. Toward the end of 2012 the industry had really begun presenting multi-hypervisor management capabilities and solutions. I see this area as something to really watch in 2013, and I propose this question. Continue reading Virtual Future in our Virtual Designs

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