vSphere 5 – Did VMware Misjudge its Licensing Changes?

Here’s a quick challenge, name one vendor that didn’t make a change to product licensing without upsetting someone.

In the desktop virtualization world Citrix incurred the wrath of it’s XenDesktop customers when it introduced named user licensing with the introduction of Xendesktop 4 back in October 2009. Microsoft does it every time it goes near anything to do with desktop virtualization. And yesterday given all the noise in the Twitterverse you could be forgiven for thinking that with the launch of vSphere 5 it was VMware’s turn to drink for the cup of licensing ineptitude.

#VMware vSphere Simplifies IT for Small and Midsized Businesses > As simple as “You can’t afford it any more”

Well, as much fun as it is to express outrage at any vendor with the temerity to change its licensing mechanism, VMware’s new system isn’t as bad as many have made out.  Now that the true impact of changes are beginning to be understood saner heads are starting to prevail.  Continue reading vSphere 5 – Did VMware Misjudge its Licensing Changes?

Cisco, Intel, and Citrix Re-invent OpenStack Networking for the Enterprise

As of its Cactus release (April 2011), the OpenStack Open Source Cloud infrastructure project had three main subprojects: OpenStack Compute (code-named Nova) for provisioning and managing large networks of virtual machines, OpenStack Object Storage (code-named Swift) for creating redundant, scalable object storage, and OpenStack Image Service (code-named Glance) for providing discovery, registration, and delivery services for virtual disk images. Over the last few months an additional sub-project codenamed Quantum has emerged  which deals explicitly with networking and has participation from networking giants Intel and Cisco as well as from Citrix. It’s a mechanism for defining network topologies aimed at providing Layer-2 network connectivity for VM instances running in clouds based on the OpenStack cloud fabric. It is designed to be extensible to allow higher-level services (VPN, QoS, etc) to be built on top, and to cleanly handle the “edge of network” problem (i.e., the binding of the cloud into the internet). Continue reading Cisco, Intel, and Citrix Re-invent OpenStack Networking for the Enterprise

vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

VMware’s vSphere team has done it again. The most important, and best systems software company on the planet is again announcing a major upgrade to its platform that once again raises the level of its came into a different orbit than the pretenders and the contenders. Continue reading vSphere 5 – Virtualize Business Critical Applications with Confidence

News: Citrix Acquires Cloud.com

Citrix has purchased Cloud.com and this poses some interesting changes to the overall virtualization and cloud markets. One also has to wonder about the timing of the announcement to coincide with the same day as the big announcements coming out of VMware. I see this purchase as a mixed blessing to the market place, but also a renewal for Citrix. Continue reading News: Citrix Acquires Cloud.com

Countdown to Launch

Friday was the day that the last space shuttle will be launch in to space.  The shuttle Atlantis is on the launch pad and ready to go.  As I watched the clock countdown to zero, I found myself reflecting on the idea that this launch will be the very last space shuttle flight.  I grew up in Florida and have been able to walk outside and watch the shuttles, over the years, launch into space.  I have enjoyed watching the launches as well as feeling the sonic booms when the shuttle would fly overhead on the way to the runway for touchdown.  For me and many others, this launch signifies the end of an era and the start of something new. Continue reading Countdown to Launch

News: ExtraHop Releases Network Aware APM Virtual Appliance

ExtraHop is a “network aware APM” vendor that has historically focused on putting an appliance on a mirror or span port of a switch and then using deep packet inspection techniques and TCP/IP flow analysis techniques to understand the performance of applications running on the network from the perspective of the network.  Today, ExtraHop has announced the addition of a virtual appliance to its product line – allowing for the data collection appliance to be implemented entirely in software, and to us the virtual mirror port on the vSphere vSwitch to collect its data.

Adding a virtual appliance to the product line allows ExtraHop to accomplish two very important new things. The first is that conversations between VM’s on one host are now visible, and their response time can now be part of the picture of the response time of the entire application. But the second is far more important. Since ExtraHop can already measure the true performance (end-to-end response time) of every application on a physical TCP/IP network, adding the virtual appliance means that now ExtraHop can cover both the physical network (and applications that are not virtualized yet), as well as the virtual network (covering applications that are either completely or partially virtualized).

The New p2V Process

It is very clear that the difficulty of virtualizing business critical applications for many enterprises means that for business critical and performance critical applications the P2V process is either broken or completely fails to exist in a relevant manner. Measuring how much CPU and memory and application uses is a necessary but a completely insufficient step towards virtualizing a business critical application.

What is required to virtualize a business critical and performance critical application is a P2V process that is focused upon the performance of the application in the eyes of its owner and its owners. That means that performance is equal to response time, not resource utilization. This process must therefore start with building a response time and load profile of the application in its physical home, agreeing on the aspects of that profile that will be the basis of the SLA when that application gets virtualized, and then continuously updating that profile as the application gets virtualized.

Criteria for Application Performance Based P2V

With this announcement ExtraHop joins the fray for the set of solutions that are viable candidates for being the basis of an applications response time based P2V process. The criteria for selecting such a tool are:

  • Ability to measure response time for every application in the environment (or at the minimum all X86 applications that use TCP/IP).
  • Ability to automatically discover the applications in the environment and their topology
  • Ability to automatically measure response time for each application end-to-end and hop-by-hop
  • Measure response time on a continuous, real-time, and deterministic basis. This means no averages, no sampling of data, no synthetic transactions. It means seeing the response time for every transaction over the network, and being able to pass the slow ones up to the management system in real time.
  • The solution should work in the existing physical environment of the application, in the new virtual envionment of the application and any mixture of the two.
  • The diagnostics in such a solution should focus on providing pointers to where in the virtual and physical infrastructure the problem likely lies, as opposed to pointing to code issues which is what developer focused tools do.
Who to Pick From?

Other than ExtraHop there are two other solutions that are appropriate IT Operations oriented (as opposed to developer oriented) solutions. Those two solutions come from BlueStripe and AppFirst. All three of these solutions are profiled in an upcoming post about the use of these solutions in the context of the new capabilities of VMware vSphere 5.0.


ExtraHop has now made an important contribution to the question of how to measure applications performance across physical and virtual environments. Properly deployed ExtraHop can play a critical role in helping enterprises virtualize the 60% of the remaining applications that are “hard”, “performance critical”, and “business critical”. As vSphere 5.0 is right around the corner, the timing could not be better.

The full ExtraHop announcement is copied in below:

ExtraHop Creates Fastest Virtual Application Performance Management (APM) Solution with New EH1000v Appliance

ExtraHop’s New Virtual Appliance Provides Ideal APM Solution for Branch-Office Deployments and Virtual and Cloud Environments

July 10, 2011 – ExtraHop Networks, a leading provider of network-based application performance management (APM) solutions, today at Cisco Live announced its virtual appliance for APM, the EH1000v. The new appliance furthers ExtraHop’s commitment to building the fastest APM solutions available by providing real-time transaction analysis at up to 1Gbps speeds for applications running in virtual and cloud environments—more than 10 times faster than competing products. As a virtualized version of the company’s passive, network-based ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system, the EH1000v delivers a small-footprint solution for branch-office deployments and offers deep, end-to-end application visibility for virtualized environments.

The EH1000v virtual appliance lowers IT infrastructure requirements for monitoring network and application performance across geographically distributed environments. In line with Gartner’s prediction that 20 percent of companies will own no IT hardware assets by next year, the EH1000v eliminates the need to ship and install hardware for each geographic location. With more companies using virtualized systems in remote-office applications, the new virtual appliance from ExtraHop Networks will help these organizations deploy and remotely administer a powerful monitoring solution for branch-office deployments that also can monitor traffic within virtualized environments.

As they have increasingly virtualized their systems, many organizations have lost visibility into transactions passing between virtual machines on the same physical host, leading to a growing blind spot for heavily virtualized organizations. According to an InformationWeek survey, nearly 50 percent of companies using APM solutions run more than half of their applications in virtualized environments, creating a significant amount of traffic that enterprises cannot see on the network. The EH1000v can monitor traffic that passes only through virtual switches and restore deep visibility into applications running in such environments, even those with large traffic volumes among multiple virtual machines.
“While server virtualization offers many benefits such as flexibility, scalability, and lower cost, it also can limit visibility into virtualized environments,” said Jesse Rothstein, CEO and co-founder, ExtraHop Networks. “In these cases, the physical limitations of many APM solutions present obstacles to monitoring application performance. The EH1000v gives companies a small-footprint solution that helps them to get around these roadblocks and realize the benefits of virtual and cloud technologies without compromising application performance.”

About ExtraHop Networks

ExtraHop Networks is a leading provider of network-based application performance management (APM) solutions. The ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system performs the fastest and deepest analysis in the industry, achieving real-time transaction monitoring at speeds up to 10Gbps in a single appliance and application-level visibility with no agents, configuration, or overhead. The ExtraHop system quickly auto-discovers and auto-classifies applications and devices, delivering immediate value out of the box. ExtraHop Networks provides award-winning solutions to companies across a wide range of industries, including ecommerce, communications, and financial services. The privately held company was founded in 2007 by Jesse Rothstein and Raja Mukerji, engineering veterans from F5 Networks and architects of the BIG-IP v9 product.

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