OpenStack on Hyper-V – Microsoft does Public Cloud Interoperability

On October 22nd, Microsoft announced that it has partnered with to provide integration and support of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to the OpenStack project. The announcement caused a great deal of interest here at the Virtualization Practice, as it signals an unexpected willingness on Microsoft’s part to pursue interoperability at the IaaS layer, allowing users to break out of the Hyper-v stack, whilst still retaining Hyper-v at the bottom. The fact this announcement came from Microsoft (not, Rackspace or OpenStack) seems to signal the seriousness of the intent.

In practical terms this means that puts a Hypervisor Abstraction Layer into the bottom of the OpenStack compute platform (Nova), and binds Hyper-V into that, to allow images to be deployed to and controlled on Hyper-V from OpenStack, using tooling that speaks one or other of the two OpenStack APIs (Native or Amazon EC2). Technically it is not a major step because although the initial version of Nova targeted libvirt and thereby Xen, KVM and Qemu, Citrix had already succceeded in providing a hypervisor abstraction layer in OpenStack for XenServer. Continue reading OpenStack on Hyper-V – Microsoft does Public Cloud Interoperability

Wyse explores the boundaries of cloud computing with new Cloud PCs

Wyse Technology has announced a new computing platform designed to capitalize on the growing market for cloud hosted virtual desktop environments that has the potential to un-jam one of the most emotive roadblocks towards the widespread adoption of desktop virtualization. Announced at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conference in Berlin, the Wyse Cloud PC presents an intriguing twist in the junction between desktop virtualization and thin client technologies that gets right to the heart of many IT professionals opposition to desktop virtualization.

There are few real differences between the new Cloud PC models and Wyse’s current range of thin and zero clients devices. It takes some close inspection of the hardware specification for each model to be able to identify a Wyse Cloud PC from a more conventional Wyse thin client.  However there is one very significant difference; each Cloud PC ships with a Windows 7 license.  The inclusion of a full Windows 7 license gives customers the option to take out a Software Assurance agreement for their Cloud PCs; this grants the customer the right to access a server hosted virtual desktop without the need to purchase additional Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licenses. Continue reading Wyse explores the boundaries of cloud computing with new Cloud PCs

rPath Addresses Automated Applications Deployment Across Physical, Virtual and Cloud Envionments

rPath has announced that they have added automated model based deployment for Windows applications to their existing capabilities for Linux based applications. Before we go into rPath and this announcement in some more detail, let’s look at the environments that rPath is addressing and now they are changing:

Virtualising Citrix XenApp is a Waste of Time and Effort

What is the point in virtualizing your Citrix XenApp Server? Consider that the goal of server virtualization is two fold – to make best use of idle computing resource;  and to provide standardization and automation so to reduce the time to build and deliver new servers, or recover and restore broken ones. Is that a desirable and achievable goal for a Presentation Virtualization (PV) server such as Citrix XenApp? Of course: but its likely done already. Why add another expensive layer of software?

PV’s benefit is its capacity for high user density, and ease of management. With a PV server,  users share the operating system environment, but each have their own independent session. A PV server could support 50%-100% more sessions that a hosted desktop solution, can that be improved an underlying virtualization layer?

PV servers, such as Citrix XenApp, are often cited as being ‘unvirtualizable’. They typically run with high utilization (sometimes too high) of CPU and memory resources, possibly even disk. As PV farms often need to support a high number of users, core server builds tend to be standardized, and application deployment to those servers automated. If you’ve already a standardized and automated environment, if you’ve already high hardware utilization – why go to the bother and cost of adding in a service that essentially does the same thing?

What could virtualization of your Citrix XenApp environment possibly do for you?
Continue reading Virtualising Citrix XenApp is a Waste of Time and Effort

Low Hanging Fruit of Virtualization Security

I was invited to CSI 2010 this year to speak on the Low Hanging Fruit of Virtualizaiton Security. This presentation brought to light some simple to implement features that would give you the most security for what I consider very little cost or effort. These 7 items if implemented will improve the overall security of  your virtual environment.

7. Do not use Paravirtualized drivers within DMZ based VMs, or any that hold sensitive data unless there is an absolute performance requirement to do so, and then only use the specific driver instead of installing them all. Continue reading Low Hanging Fruit of Virtualization Security

Anybody Seen My Memory Stick?

I got a call from a client today that is running a VMware ESXi server as a proof of concept in their SMB environment. The admin that setup the VMware ESXi Server configured the ESXi server to boot and run ESXi from a USB memory stick.  Things have been running fine but the company and the administrator that setup the server had a falling out, so to speak, and the administrator left the company and took the USB memory stick with him.  The server continues to run fine as ESXi basically runs from memory but, rebooting this host is now not an option since there are no files available for the host to boot from.  So what is the best way to recover and get things back to normal?  I did a little research and the information that I have found will work will both ESXi 3.x as well as vSphere ESXi. Continue reading Anybody Seen My Memory Stick?

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