I was tinkering around with XenServer the other day. I know I can hear you saying “is that a thing?” Well, it is, but this is not what I am going to talk about today. Time for a tangent shift. I thought I would have a look for a third-party switch for XenServer, but it seems that XenServer is a third-rate citizen in this space, as there is no Cisco Nexus 1kV available for XenServer, even though Cisco previewed it at Citrix Synergy Barcelona in 2012.
Citrix has announced the availability of the “Creedence” tech preview of the next version of XenServer, building on the open-source Xen Project’s Creedence alpha.4 release. The biggest change in Creedence is the move to an all 64-bit implementation. While the Xen hypervisor has always been 64-bit and can run both 32 and 64-bit guest operating systems, the XenServer control domain, dom0, has not. Dom0 is where the management tasks run, and more importantly here, it is where the physical hardware is controlled. Moving to a fully 64-bit implementation will enable significant performance and scalability improvements as well as important changes to hardware support.
Soon the backup power will be available for our new datacenter and the redesign to make use of VMware vCloud Suite is nearing completion. Soon, our full private cloud will be ready for our existing workloads. These workloads however now run within a XenServer based public cloud. So the question is, do we stay in a poorly performing public cloud (mentioned in our Public Cloud Reality series) or move back to our own private cloud? As the Clash put it “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now.” Continue reading Public Cloud Reality: Do we Stay or Do We Go?
How good an idea is it to virtualize XenApp? Way back in 2010, when more of the poles were ice, we asked is virtualizing Citrix XenApp a waste of time and effort? There were a number of benefits identified: hardware abstraction allowing easier image management and OS upgrades; options for higher availability and faster recovery, even failover; virtualization-enabled silo consolidation; and importantly, better management of user capacity on servers.
Yet, with XenApp running on Windows 2008 R2 memory limitations are of far less issue. Introducing a hypervisor has an overhead which can impact user density and can change Microsoft server license costs per physical server. Do these considerations outweigh other benefits? Hypervisor technology and performance has moved on considerably – what is the impact of that? What other services can virtualized XenApp drive?
Windows 2012 Hyper-V is the hypervisor for the cloud. VMware’s vSphere is a dead man walking?
In parts One and Two I shared a chunk of what I learned from Aidan Finn‘s enlightening and entertaining session “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V & VSphere 5.1 – Death Match” delivered at the E2E Virtulisation Conference in Hamburg. We’ve considered pricing, scalability and performance, as well as storage then gone on to consider resource management, security and multi-tenancy and what a flexible infrastructure can give.
Some have found this a useful comparison. Others have highlighted that this isn’t a feature-by-feature comparison and that if it was, the tables would be very different: they would, they’d be longer for a start. But more importantly, would they give the high view that many are focused on? Is the goal a technical Top Trump victory, or alignment to business goals? If aligned, how aligned? A friend used to often quote the difference between cabinet making, carpentry and joinery is effort and measurement: they each had their place, the trick was knowing what level to apply.
In Part III, lets question further Aidan’s premise that Hyper-V kills vSphere. Here we’ll consider High Availability and Resiliency.
In Part I I shared a chunk of what I learned from Aidan Finn‘s enlightening and entertaining session delivered at the E2E Virtulisation Conference in Hamburg tastefully titled, “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V & VSphere 5.1 – Death Match”. In Part I we looked at pricing, scalability and performance, as well as storage in questioning how bold this statement was.
Pure license-cost wise, it more straightforward to run Microsoft Hyper-V than add another licensed hypervisor: note that Hyper-V does have a free offering (although this version doesn’t cover the virtual Windows Server instance licenses). We showed that scalability wise, Hyper-V can better common competition. Storage-wise Hyper-V, as should be expected from the newest offering, supports the newest technology: 4k sector sizes, and had the largest virtual disk support. Still, if you needed greater than 2TB of storage, you could always join multiple 2TB instances together, or bypass limits by mapping a LUN direct to the VM.
Still, besides pricing simplicity, performance improvements, and updated storage what has Microsoft done for the latest version of Hyper-V? In Part II, lets question further Aidan’s premise that Hyper-V kills vSphere.