Who’s Who in Virtualization Management

In The ROI for Server Virtualization with Business Critical Applications, discussed how the ROI from virtualization of business critical applications will likely not be driven by server and core consolidation, but most likely rather from the benefits of more agile and cost effective management processes enabled by virtualization.

In Virtualizing Business Critical Applications – A Reference Architecture, we identified the main categories of virtualization management solutions that should be deployed in addition to a virtualization platform like VMware vSphere, specifically Security Management, Configuration Management, Service and Capacity Management, Provisioning and Lifecycle Management, and Backup and Recovery.

This post is about the vendors that provide the solutions the fulfill the requirements articulated in the Reference Architecture post. Since this post focuses upon the management solutions required for virtualizing the servers that host these applications, the vendors involved primarily in desktop virtualization and management are not included in this comparison. Continue reading Who’s Who in Virtualization Management

Cloud Apps approved by GSA

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the United States General Services Administration has approved the acquisition of some cloud services for use by the Federal Government including many of the Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Since these services are for sale as well as freely available this sounds more like an admission that they can be used. Will other governments follow suit?  But should they be used? That is really the question.

There are two sides to any government, the classified and the unclassified. These are general terms that quantify how the government can use services. While all services require quite a bit of security, classified utilization requires even more, in many cases what most would consider to be “uber-security” requirements. The types of requirements that impact usability in some way. Can these tools provide adequate security? Continue reading Cloud Apps approved by GSA

vSphere 4.1 Improvements in Availability

With the release of vSphere 4.1 there have been some great enhancements that have been added with this release.  In one of my earlier post I took a look at the vSphere 4.1 release of ESXi.  This post I am going to take a look at vSphere 4.1 availability options and enhancements. So what has changed with this release?  A maximum of 320 virtual machines per host has been firmly set.  In vSphere 4.0 there were different VM/Host limitations for DRS as well as different rules for VMware HA. VMware has also raised the number of virtual machines that can be run in a single cluster from 1280 in 4.0 to 3000 in the vSphere 4.1 release. How do these improvements affect your upgrade planning? Continue reading vSphere 4.1 Improvements in Availability

OpenStack, an IaaS Platform from Rackspace, NASA and Citrix

Whilst I have been away on vacation, something fairly interesting has happened in the area of Open Source initiatives for Infrastructure as a Service in the form of a new initiative from NASA and Rackspace called OpenStack.  You may remember in our last post in this area, we noted that there was a proliferation of offerings in the IaaS space, and it was in the customer’s best interest for there to be effective migrateability (or even mix and match) amongst public and/or private clouds. However, the API standards to support interoperability are proving elusive.

We identified a major reason for this as being the difficulty of driving cloud standards from a software perspective. By this we mean that the main actors are the IaaS service providers rather than their software suppliers (be they commercial licensors or open source communities. Continue reading OpenStack, an IaaS Platform from Rackspace, NASA and Citrix

A Quest for Citrix’s Crown?

VMware coined the phrase VDI, but talk about how an organization has delivered desktop services from a centralized environment and its more likely that they’ve a Citrix based solution. Citrix is still perceived as the market leader of the application and workspace delivery environment.

Citrix and Microsoft offered a Rescue for VMWare. Yet, Citrix’s XenDesktop and XenApp are not integrated solutions; and if you want to maintain current releases the cost of Citrix’s Subscriptions Advantage is an additional cost per year based on a license cost that is one of the highest of all the desktop virtualization solutions.

VMware offer a Rescue from XenApp, but  VDI is just one way to manage your desktop service.  Citrix has XenDesktop to counter View, is developing XenClient to counter VMware’s ACE. Yet VMware has no Presentation Virtualization solution, no profile management, no protocol optimized for WAN, no way to provide access to physical desktops. As far as desktop delivery solutions are concerned is Citrix king?

If Citrix is King, what is the impact to you the customer? Citrix’s portfolio of solutions is extensive – but extensive is difficult to introduce change to. Can such a large organization respond to customer requests – your requests – effectively? Can it introduce change into its own products to meet demand in a timely fashion? If it is the only solution provider, how will you best be able to challenge the license cost?

Is there any company who could legitimately have a claim to challenge that dominance?

Continue reading A Quest for Citrix’s Crown?

Virtualizing Business Critical Applications – A Reference Architecture

In The ROI for Server Virtualization with Business Critical Applications, we showed an example of how the savings from server (specifically core) consolidation might not be as large when one is virtualizing business critical applications (where the physical servers were appropriately sized in the first place) is it is with tactical applications (where the one server per application resulted in massive over-provisioning). At the end of that analysis we also pointed out that the business critical case did not include the other “extra” products that would need to be a part of a business critical application virtualization project. This post proposes a reference architecture for the entire suite of solutions that will be required to virtualize business critical applications. We are going to build this example around VMware vSphere as VMware has the broadest level of third party support in terms of vendors who provide the solutions required to fulfill the requirements of the reference architecture. Continue reading Virtualizing Business Critical Applications – A Reference Architecture