Since the start of the Windows 8 Public Beta, there has been a great deal of discussions and comparisons galore. There have been points made that Microsoft Hyper-V will be good enough to draw good consideration in companies looking to the future. For me personally, feature comparison was not my first consideration. One measurement that I consider is the eco-structure of the technology or in other words, how large is the 3rd party partners and products supporting both the technologies?
When we look for patterns from the past, sometimes we can really get a good idea of what the future might entail.
If you take a look at the way VMware has rolled out licensing changes during each of the major releases you can see a pattern and get an idea of what the future may bestow on us. When Virtual Center was first released, vMotion and vSMP were licensed separately from Virtual Center as an add-on for Virtual Center.
Once VMware ESX3 was released, vMotion and vSMP pretty much became a standard feature included in ESX3. Virtual Center was still sold separately and then VMware presented three licensing models for VMware ESX3.
The 3/22 Virtualization Security Podcast brought to light the capabilities of Symantec Critical System Protection (CSP) software. This software successfully implements a manageable version of mandatory access control policies based on role-based and multi-level security functionality within the virtual environment. More specifically on those systems that are critical to the well being and health of your virtual and cloud environments such as all your management and control-plane tools (VMware vCenter, Microsoft SCVVM, XenConsole, etc.). In addition, Symantec CSP will monitor your virtualization hosts for common security issues. This in itself is great news but why are we just hearing about this now? Is this a replacement for other security tools?
One of the areas where VMware vSphere has had a large advantage over Microsoft Hyper-V has been in the architecture and capabilities of the VMware vSphere Virtual Switch. The most important of these capabilities has been the ability to designate one or more ports on the switch as promiscuous or mirror ports. These ports make a read only copy of all of the data flowing through the switch available to whatever virtual machine is sitting on that port. This is an essential capability for many security products and also performance management solutions like those from ExtraHop Networks that rely upon deep packet inspection to work.
Microsoft Windows Server 8 Beta has been open to the public and there is one feature that really caught my eye. With Windows Server 8 you can now have basic PowerShell console over HTTPS with Microsoft Windows PowerShell Web Access (PSWA). Think about the possibilities with that. You get an email that there is an issue and you could start PWSA on your phone, or other device, and resolve the problem or request.
Should software licensing be completely based off of the hardware MAC address of the NIC and or UUID of the mother board? This process worked very well before the introduction of virtualization but now that virtualization has become more prevalent in most environments. I think software venders really need to reconsider how they are going to license their software although it seems that some companies have not bought on to the idea of virtualization and would prefer to continue to support their product type to a specific hardware platform that the vender put together and shipped out. Can software venders hope to survive and remain current without embracing virtualization? I think the answer to that question is going to be no in the long run.