Today at VMworld 2012 inSan Francisco, VMware announced a new integrated bundle of functionality, the vCloud Suite 5.1. This new bundle represents a significant re-packaging of the VMware product line – and coupled with new pricing lays down the gauntlet for the virtualization platform industry and its supporting ecosystem.
VMworld 2012 is upon us and one of our tasks is to figure out which vendor’s booths to go see. With over 230 booths to choose from this is a daunting task. If you are interested in finding creative new solutions to your management, monitoring, deployment, security, data protection, and desktop management problems, this list will help you.
Virtualization Management Categories Defined
Here are the definitions of the eight virtualization management categories profiled below:
- Application Performance Management (APM) – APM is about the end-to-end and hop-by-hop (across application tiers) measurement of response time and the diagnostics required to pinpoint degradations in response time (or flat out failed transactions) in the applications themselves or in the supporting infrastructure. APM tools come in two varieties. Developer focused tools help developers (or DevOps teams) support custom developed applications in production by quickly identifying and diagnosing application code problems in production. Operations focused tools support every application in the environment (custom developed and purchased), and focus their diagnostics more on infrastructure issues that are impacting application performance.
- Operations Management – Operations Management is a broad category of products that are used to support the day-to-day performance, capacity and configuration management tasks that face virtualization administrators. While all of these products support vSphere, some support other hypervisors as well.
- Infrastructure Performance Management – IPM is APM for the infrastructure. It is all about the end-to-end and hop-by-hop latency of the infrastructure in support of the workloads running on the infrastructure. The thesis of this category is that in a virtual environment you cannot infer the performance of the infrastructure from resource utilization metrics, you have to measure it directly and continuously.
- Automated Server and Image Management – This category has come into its own this year. The focus is upon allowing you to automatically manage what runs on your servers (physical, virtual or cloud), update them at scale, and keep them consistent. Think of this category as BladeLogic Version 2.0.
- Cloud Management – Cloud Management is about building clouds on your vSphere infrastructure, and extending those clouds to other hypervisors, as well as to public cloud infrastructures.
- Virtualization Security – Virtualization Security is about protecting the infrastructure, the systems software, the middleware, the applications, and all data from unauthorized use or attacks.
- Virtualization Backup and Data Protection – Backup and Data Protection ensure that your data is always available for you (and no on else), irrespective of what failures or disasters have occurred in or to your IT environment.
- Desktop Virtualization – Desktop Virtualization is about using virtualization as a catalyst to combine the benefits of user flexibility and centralized management.
Your VMworld 2012 Short List
We wish you safe travels to and from VMworld 2012 and a great show. The one certainty is that the virtualization and cloud landscapes will be different after VMware and all of the vendors in the ecosystem make their announcements next week. VMware’s new Software Defined Data Center strategy is going to usher in a set of changes as profound as those precipitated by virtualization itself – and that entire journey lies in front of us.
Coming on the heels of VMware’s acquisition of Nicira, Oracle announced today that it is acquiring network virtualization vendor Xsigo Systems for an undisclosed amount. So now two shoes have dropped in the question of how networks will be designed and operated in the future (perhaps the entity in question is an octopus, and we have six shoes to go). Clearly the notion of software defined networks has legs and clearly VMware is not the only company who sees this.
The Oracle Announcement
Oracle Buys Xsigo
Extends Oracle’s Virtualization Capabilities with Leading Software-Defined Networking Technology for Cloud Environments
- Oracle today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Xsigo Systems, a leading provider of network virtualization technology.
- Xsigo’s software-defined networking technology simplifies cloud infrastructure and operations by allowing customers to dynamically and flexibly connect any server to any network and storage, resulting in increased asset utilization and application performance while reducing cost.
- The company’s products have been deployed at hundreds of enterprise customers including British Telecom, eBay, Softbank and Verizon.
- The combination of Xsigo for network virtualization and Oracle VM for server virtualization is expected to deliver a complete set of virtualization capabilities for cloud environments.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. More information on this announcement can be found at oracle.com/xsigo.
- “The proliferation of virtualized servers in the last few years has made the virtualization of the supporting network connections essential,” said John Fowler, Oracle Executive Vice President of Systems. “With Xsigo, customers can reduce the complexity and simplify management of their clouds by delivering compute, storage and network resources that can be dynamically reallocated on-demand.”
- “Customers are focused on reducing costs and improving utilization of their network,” said Lloyd Carney, Xsigo CEO. “Virtualization of these resources allows customers to scale compute and storage for their public and private clouds while matching network capacity as demand dictates.”
What Does This Mean?
The most disconcerting statement in the release is the part about the “combination of Xsigo and Oracle VM”. This means that Oracle is continuing to play its “vertically integrated solution stack” game, which is in direct contrast to the horizontally layered strategies that VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix, the CloudStack community, and the OpenStack community are all pursuing. While this might be very appealing to a customer that is 100% or nearly 100% Oracle, the notion of jamming Oracle VM down the throat of a customer in order for them to get Xsigo is just another example of the foolishness of Oracle’s closed, proprietary and arrogant approach. This could not be more at odds with VMware’s notion of the Software Defined Data Center which is completely open with respect to the hardware layers underneath it and the workloads that run on it.
Just what are storage hypervisors? There are several companies that claim to have storage hypervisors. Wikipedia states that a hypervisor is “conceptually one level higher than a supervisory program”. We also know that from our normal use of hypervisors that they manage the underlying resources that a guest uses. Do these definitions work for a storage hypervisor? Continue reading Storage Hypervisors: Worth the Hype
Storage Security is not only about Encryption, which is just one aspect of Storage Security requirements for the virtual and cloud environments. It is also about increasing defense in depth and knowledge of what is touching your storage environment. As well as providing security around those touch points and to a great extent auditing and protecting the data residing within the storage devices regardless of where the devices live: within the virtual environment or within a cloud. Traditionally we have the following storage security capabilities:
I recently had the joys of helping deal with an All Paths Down (APD) situation which presented itself when removing a LUN from all the hosts in a cluster. If you do not detach the device first, which will also initiate an unmount operation before you physically unpresent the LUN from the ESX, it causes an APD situation to happen. ADP is when ESXi server no longer has any active paths to a device. When the device is no longer present and you rescan the adapters ESXi server will still retain the information on the removed devices and hostd will continue to try to open a connection to the disk device by issuing different commands like read capacity and read requests to validate the partitions tables are set. If SCSI Sense codes are not returned from a device (you are unable to contact the storage array, or the storage array that does not return the supported “SCSI codes”), then the device is in an All-Paths-Down (APD) state, and the ESXi host continues to send I/O requests until it times out. Continue reading All Paths Down!