Virtualization Backup: Agent or Agent-less?

Many times we virtualization experts push for backups without the agents as these backups tend to be in our opinion, cleaner and faster. But what if you could get the benefits of your existing backup tools (such as Tivoli) but gain the power and advantages of using all the possibilities within the virtual environment. For VMware vSphere this is possible using the Pancetera backup tools. Continue reading Virtualization Backup: Agent or Agent-less?

Applications Performance Management on VMware vSphere

It is now very clear the VMware vSphere 4.0 and 4.1 have demonstrated the robustness and performance necessary in order for them to be trusted virtualization platforms for many business critical applications. It is also very clear that many organizations are well down the road toward putting business critical applications on vSphere. We may not yet be at the point where the most response time critical applications (like online trading) are on vSphere, but we are certainly at the point where line of business applications like SAP and enterprise resident CRM applications are being virtualized. Continue reading Applications Performance Management on VMware vSphere

Virtualizing Internet Explorer: Microsoft Takes The Ball and Goes Home

For all the benefits of improved security and reliability in Internet Explorer (IE) 8, many business still have a critical need to support IE6.  IE6 may well be over 10 years old, it may well be two versions behind the most current release; the fact remains many businesses still have critical applications that rely on IE6’s cumbersome standards implementation and more relaxed security requirements.

In a previous article, Running Internet Explorer Beyond Windows XP I suggested that Microsoft reconsider its policy on supporting IE as a virtualized application. And Microsoft did reconsider. Go me. But, rather than allow it, Microsoft have actively sought to prevent IE virtualization: stopping one application virtualization company from promoting their offer of delivering virtualised versions of IE from their website and restating their support options for virtualised IE.

What will the impact be to your business you if you need to continue to support IE6 on Windows Vista or Windows 7. Are Microsoft’s recommended solutions the only option now? Is it possible to have a seamless, simple, fast and importantly low cost solution to allow users gain the benefits of the latest IE release while maintaining access to legacy web applications?

Continue reading Virtualizing Internet Explorer: Microsoft Takes The Ball and Goes Home

Is VMware vCloud Director an effective Enterprise IT as a Service Platform?

One of the key themes of VMworld 2010 was “IT as a Service”. IT as a Service is simply the next logical step beyond virtualization. The key parts of the evolution from virtualization to IT as a Service is that IT as a Service involves a self-service aspect where business constituents can select “services” that are then automatically provisioned and delivered to them, and the notion of secure multi-tenancy within an enterprise’s data center for the purpose of separating the environments of multiple business units, departments or divisions much in the same way that a public cloud vendor must separate the environments of Coke and Pepsi. Continue reading Is VMware vCloud Director an effective Enterprise IT as a Service Platform?

Cisco Virtual Desktop Experience

Considering the success of Cisco’s virtualization friendly UCS platform it should come as no surprise to hear that Cisco is intending to extend its data center virtualization footprint to include desktop virtualization as well. However as last week’s  announcement of the Cisco Virtualization eXperience Infrastructure (VXI) shows Cisco does not expect a straight repeat of its server virtualization strategy to win the day. While Cisco’s plan to encourage mass adoption of desktop virtualization is based on the same Unified Computing System (UCS) that is behind Cisco’s current server virtualization strategy, it’s approach is distinctly different.

Instead of offering a tangible product platform like the Vblock, Cisco is basing its strategy on bringing together a combination of its own networking and compute technologies with third-party storage and desktop virtualization software then packaging the whole thing together as a reference architecture for server hosted virtual desktops. In a further deviation from its Vblock strategy, VXI is much more open in its implementation.  Cisco has chosen to partner with both Citrix and VMware to provide the software components necessary to deliver virtual desktop environments. However Cisco still prefers to partner with VMware over Citrix for the core hypervisor and virtual infrastructure management services that underpin the provision of virtual desktops. Continue reading Cisco Virtual Desktop Experience

Installing ESXi to Local Disks or to a Memory Stick

In my last post I talked about how to resolve an issue where a disgruntled employee walked out with the USB memory stick that had VMware ESXi installed on it.  In that particular case, the VMware ESXi host kept on running and I was able to get a backup and restore the current running configuration via some PowerShell magic.  All in all it was a pretty easy issue to resolve with very little down time. This got me thinking about which method would be the best option to use in the Enterprise.  Installing to local disks or installing to a USB memory stick.

Each method has its own pros and cons that should be considered when designing your deployment.  Let’s look at each method and present a few options: Continue reading Installing ESXi to Local Disks or to a Memory Stick