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.

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

It Is Time To Expand The Virtual Playing Field

CloudComputingIt is time to expand the virtual playing field. Since the release of both Hyper-V 2012 and vSphere 5.1, there have been an abundant amount of posts comparing the two hypervisors in a head to head fashion.  All the different charts, graphs, and tables point to the fact that when comparing maximum values head to head. This has been the way the two different hypervisors have been compared against each other all along and Microsoft and VMware have gotten to the point where things are pretty much even across the board. It was just a matter of time until we got to this point where Hyper-V catches up with vSphere and now that we have, I believe we need to change the scope of the comparisons beyond the maximum values.  After all, how many people actually get anywhere close to those maximums deployed in your production environments?  “Just because you can do something, does not mean you should.” Continue reading It Is Time To Expand The Virtual Playing Field

Information Superhighway

CloudComputingI can remember back in the day when we connected to the Internet via a modem and were charged by the minute while accessing the Information Superhighway.  Now, the Internet and really, the network it runs on, has pretty much become invisible to the naked eye. Just as we expect the lights to turn on when we flick a switch, we also pretty much expect the Internet to always be on and available without thinking twice about it. Internet service providers have gone from wanting Wi-Fi only in your house to working on providing connectivity to the entire city, giving the metro user Internet access from inside and outside of your home or office. Continue reading Information Superhighway

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