Data in the Cloud: Does Information want to be Free?

CloudComputingAt a dinner party recently, I was asked “does information want to be free?” This question is based on information that exists within the cloud today or tomorrow: Data in the Cloud. It is an interesting question with a fairly ready answer. Information is Power, it is people not information that controls information. Granted we have a massive abundance of information within the cloud today, is it trying to be free, or are people trying to make it free to everyone? In addition, is all this information even true or accurate? Continue reading Data in the Cloud: Does Information want to be Free?

Windows 2012 Hyper-V – The Hypervisor for your Cloud? Part I

Windows 2012 Hyper-V is the hypervisor for the cloud, and VMware’s vSphere is a dead man walking. So declared Aidan Finn at a recent virtualization conference in Hamburg during an enlightening entertaining session which he tastefully entitled, “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V & VSphere 5.1 – Death Match”.

A bold statement? Hyper-V has often been cited as a “nearly ran”; good enough for the SMB space and smaller Private Clouds, but lacking the muscle for a cloud-focused enterprise. Nice for a visit, wouldn’t want to live there.

A biased statement? Aidan Finn is highly regarded Hyper-v Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and regularly writes on his website about changes and features of the product. In Predicatably Irrational, Dan Ariely dedicates a chapter to the possibility of a fan’s judgement being clouded. And yet, the list of features now available in Windows Hyper-V is compelling. Indeed, back in March we discussed if Microsoft would drive a wedge between VMware and EMC with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V.

In terms of embedded services and experience, VMware’s vSphere has a significant place in many organisations’ data centres. Licensing alone is unlikely to change hearts and minds to convert, but what about features?

Can Microsoft claim that Hyper-V is the hypervisor for the cloud? What new features are available in the 2012 release, and how does it now compare to vSphere 5.1. More importantly, will  these changes drive wider adoption?

In this first installment, we take a look at pricing, scalability, and performance, as well as storage.

Continue reading Windows 2012 Hyper-V – The Hypervisor for your Cloud? Part I

Moving to the Cloud!

DataCenterVirtualizationMoving to the cloud! Let me be a little more precise and say moving to the public cloud. This concept has really been embraced and thrives in the consumer market, but will this concept really take off in the corporate world, and really, should it? One of the main concepts of virtualization, in the beginning, was the ability to consolidate physical systems into a virtual environment to shrink the overall footprint, as well as to be able to take advantage of and use all available compute resources in a physical server, and to have centralized control of the computer, storage, and networking resources. Continue reading Moving to the Cloud!

A Management Pack Strategy for VMware vCenter Operations?

VirtualizationManagementIconIncluded in the management announcements made at VMworld Barcelona was the announcement of the EMC Storage Analytics Suite, which was covered in “VMware and Quest Join the Infrastructure Performance Management Party“. The product is interesting, but could this be the start of a management pack strategy for VMware vCenter Operations? Continue reading A Management Pack Strategy for VMware vCenter Operations?

Data Protection for Free: What are the Limits

VirtualizationBackupIt is possible to get data protection for your virtual and cloud environments for free today, but there are are often limits. Trialware as it is called provides just enough of a taste for the data protection tool to convince you to buy the versions with more capabilities. However, for the SMB, the free versions may be good enough. The concept of ‘good enough’ is one that travels through the virtualization and cloud environment architectures with respect to security, data protection, and hypervisor feature sets as often as higher licensing levels are mentioned, why, because cost matters. But from a data protection perspective what do you get for free? Here is a short comparison of the free products and features. Continue reading Data Protection for Free: What are the Limits

Project Avalon: Will Citrix Put VMware Horizon to the Sword?

Project Avalon was announced by Citrix back in May. Project AvalonAvalon is to deliver Windows apps and desktops as a true cloud service. Since then, there has been speculation on what that actually entails. “Cloud” or “Cloud Service” can have many different connotations; indeed, for many the very term “cloud” fills their ears with a high-pitched nee and causes a yearn to live in an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

Running small-scale, departmental-level deployments of desktop virtualization is relatively straightforward. Scale past thousands to several thousands of desktops and applications, and the process of management and delivery gets much harder. More importantly, data centre technology has changed. How do you scale an environment while segregating the roles of a virtual desktop administrator from those of the storage, networking, or virtual infrastructure teams? How can the data centre infrastructure team provide the right service to the desktop team, and vice versa, so that they can optimize delivery of virtual desktops?

Citrix has FlexCast, the concept that IT should be able to deliver a variety of types of virtual instances, with each tailored to meet performance, security, and flexibility requirements. But while FlexCast gives choices for users, the simplicity of the user interface belies the rapid duck-paddling of disparate, separately developed and maintained products that organisations have to maintain at the back-end, many of which creak at the mere thought of a little bit of scaled peril.

To avoid smelling of elderberries, Citrix needs to make the administration and deployment of their Windows application and desktop delivery more straightforward and relevant to current delivery methods. Easier large/massive deployments are necessary in order to maintain large enterprise account revenue and to entice service providers to build solutions on Citrix software. Project Avalon is intended to allow organisations to effectively centralize IT to provide cost savings through scale and administration and maintain security, while enabling decentralized IT resources to utilize those central services to give users and customers a productive experience.

At the same time, the VMware Horizon Suite is intended to provide the end user with a single place to get access to their applications, data, and desktops and to give IT a single management console to manage entitlements, policies, and security.

At Synergy 2012 in Barcelona, components of Project Avalon were revealed. Project Excalibur will focus on creating an integrated FlexCast platform, and Project Merlin will deliver self-service provision, management, and service orchestration.

What will these components provide, and where will it lead customers? Will embarking on a quest to get to Avalon lead to the promised grail or just to some watery tart?

Continue reading Project Avalon: Will Citrix Put VMware Horizon to the Sword?