The Virtualization Room

March 18, 2011  6:14 PM

Storage for virtualization: New vendors, new protocols

Alyssa Wood Alyssa Wood Profile: Alyssa Wood

Virtualization pros can make their lives easier by consolidating their storage vendors and considering Fibre Channel alternatives.

That’s according to a recent report from Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman, which indicates more customers are moving toward single-vendor solutions for virtualization storage and exploring alternative storage protocols.

Driven by consistency and simplicity, 67% of respondents said they use a single storage vendor for their virtual infrastructure. Many users fear vendor lock-in for their overall virtualization technology, but Reichman’s report says single-vendor storage can eliminate complexity.

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March 17, 2011  1:44 PM

High availability tops virtualization concerns

Alyssa Wood Alyssa Wood Profile: Alyssa Wood

Last week’s IDC Directions 2011 Boston conference was all about cloud, cloud, cloud. But if you haven’t made the move “to the cloud” yet, you’re probably chipping away at virtualization — a still-growing technology that many IT pros have concerns about.

Five years ago, people had two to four virtual machines (VMs) per physical server, but nowadays it’s more like six to eight, said Jean Bozman, an IDC research vice president. And 2011 is the first year when more VMs will be deployed than physical servers, said Michelle Bailey, also an IDC research vice president.

High availability (HA) is one of the top concerns among IDC clients because today’s admins have more VMs, and more are virtualizing mission-critical workloads, Bozman said.

With these increases, it’s no wonder people are concerned about HA. But for the best uptime, you need the best management tools, and many admins are still trying to manage VMs like they managed physical servers.

Things will really pay off for whichever vendor gets management right first, Bozman said. Many users feel even VMware hasn’t gotten virtualization management right yet.

What VMware has done is partner with other companies in an effort to improve HA services. Symantec’s ApplicationHA, for example, coordinates with VMware HA and can move individual applications to ensure their continuous uptime (whereas VMware HA moves entire VMs).

Cloud concerns
Security is another major concern for IDC survey respondents, especially when it comes to cloud computing — although, 32% of respondents in one study said cloud’s benefits outweigh its security risks.

Still, it seems not everyone is ready to fully trust the cloud. Most cloud deployments today include only non-mission critical applications, Bailey said. Bozman downplayed these trust issues.

“People talk about cloud computing as if it’s a different country, but it’s really just a continuation of everything that came before it,” she said.

Our columnist Mark Vaughn has warned against putting the cloud cart before the virtualization horse. That’s something to keep in mind as IT pros continue to work out HA, management issues and other virtualization kinks.

March 17, 2011  12:23 PM

VMware vCenter iPad client on the way

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The long-awaited VMware vCenter iPad client should soon be available in the App Store.

Macworld reports that VMware has submitted the vCenter iPad client to Apple and is just waiting for approval. The app is a stripped-down, custom-built version of vCenter that “will have features IT staff are most likely to use while on the road,” Macworld says.

VMware last talked about the vCenter iPad client at October’s VMworld Europe and said it would be out by the end of 2010, but that obviously didn’t happen. For more details on the VMware vCenter iPad client, check out this video from that conference:

The VMware vCenter iPad client will be the company’s second iPad app. Earlier this month, the company released its VMware View iPad client.

March 16, 2011  8:59 PM

EMC to sell VMware? Keep dreaming!

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

At this month’s New England VMware User Group meeting, an attendee told me about a conversation he’d had with an EMC higher-up. The topic turned to VMware, and the EMC executive said something like, “We thought it would be a good investment, but we had no idea it would turn into this!”

Back in 2003, when the acquisition happened, VMware was only four years old, and server virtualization was still a fringe technology. Just check out this CNET story on EMC’s VMware acquisition: It describes VMware as “a start-up that sells software to make servers more flexible” and doesn’t even mention the word “virtualization” until the fifth paragraph.

Now virtualization is one of the hottest IT markets, and VMware is its leader, with nearly $3 billion in annual revenue and a yearly conference that drew 14,000 people. So why would EMC want to get rid of VMware? Or why would VMware want to get rid of its core virtualization business?

That’s what two observers have suggested in recent blog posts.

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March 15, 2011  2:14 PM

Ex-VMware execs join Abiquo

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Wendy Perilli, VMware’s former director of cloud computing product marketing, has joined Abiquo.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based cloud management startup announced the hire today. Perilli joined VMware in 2006, when the company acquired Akimbi Systems, where she was also a director of product marketing. In a press release, Abiquo said Perilli had “key responsibility” for moving VMware into the cloud market and developing Project Redwood, which eventually became vCloud Director.

(Perilli left VMware in December 2009 — eight months before the company released vCloud Director. She was most recently senior vice president of corporate marketing for OpTier.)

Abiquo, which pulled in a new round of venture capital money late last year, also announced the hiring of Azmir Mohamed, a senior director of product management at VMware, who oversaw VMware Server and VMware Data Recovery.

March 10, 2011  8:31 PM

VMware’s iPad app: A lesson in contradiction?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

News of the VMware View iPad client was all the rage yesterday. The constant discussion got so bad at one point that I had to close my Twitter client and take a breather (but not before I posted a link to my own blog post on the product, of course).

Anyway, as things died down, I got to thinking: Isn’t VMware sort of contradicting itself by releasing this app? Since Paul Maritz became VMware CEO in 2008, one of his big talking points has been that the traditional operating system is on its way out. (And by “traditional operating system,” We defINitely DO knoW what he meanS.) But the whole point of the View iPad client is so users can access their corporate desktops — most of which run said traditional operating system — in new ways and in more places. Why is VMware saying Windows is dying on one hand, then helping to keep it alive on the other?

Because deep down, Maritz and his colleagues know the traditional operating system isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, cloud computing is going to make some pretty big changes to the data center, and end users are coming up with new, mobile ways to get their work done. But even in private clouds, VMs will be running Windows workloads. And even with the BYOPC model, users will be accessing Windows desktops.

March 9, 2011  2:21 PM

VMware View iPad client screenshots

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The VMware View Client for iPad hit Apple’s App Store today.

The VMware View iPad client lets users access their virtual desktops on their tablets using PC-over-IP on either WiFi or 3G networks. It also has support for external keyboards and monitors, leading VMware to exclaim, “If you wanted to, you could realistically go iPad full time!” (Unless you’re on a plane, or, for AT&T users, in any major city. In fact, there are several cases where virtual desktops on mobile devices aren’t always practical.)

Here are some screenshots that show what the VMware View iPad client can do. (If you’re an Android user like me, a View client is in the works, but you’ll have to wait until later this year.)

The log-on screen is where you set up your remote connection:

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March 4, 2011  7:33 PM

VMware goes back to basics at New England VMUG

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

VMware’s approach to management is still a problem for users.

Several attendees at yesterday’s New England VMware User Group meeting in Newport, R.I. said the company has too many management products that cost too much money, and they can’t afford to buy them all. That may change with the upcoming release of vCenter Operations, which will consolidate several monitoring and management tools into one suite.

But even then, users are worried about a tiered pricing and feature structure that could make it cost-prohibitive for them to take advantage of vCenter Operations’ advanced capabilities.

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March 1, 2011  3:06 PM

Is it worth virtualizing unified communications servers?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

There are few technical barriers standing the way of virtualizing unified communications environments, but there also doesn’t seem to be much market interest in doing so at the moment.

Users today acknowledge that most communications servers, among the last bastions of virtualization-resistant applications, will probably work with virtualization. In fact, those who run aggressively “virtualization first” shops have also found that communications application vendors are amenable to virtualization, provided the user can demonstrate the app running virtualized in a environment.

According to Chris Rima, supervisor of infrastructure systems for a utility in the Southwest, that’s how his shop virtualized all but two of 14 servers associated with Avaya Inc.’s Contact Center Management Server (CCMS) and Witness Workforce Optimization apps run on VMware, saving the company close to $100,000.

The two servers not being virtualized are doing real-time call recording; Rima said his organization still might have pushed for virtualizing those servers as well, but the project schedule wouldn’t allow it. “We have no data showing that virtualization wouldn’t have worked on the speech servers,” he said.

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February 25, 2011  5:59 PM

VMware changes its Hyper-V tune

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

We learned yesterday that VMware will offer Hyper-V management with a new experimental vCenter plug-in, XVP Manager.

This release contradicts everything VMware has said about multi-hypervisor infrastructures. Case in point: CEO Paul Maritz’s comments in this VMworld 2009 recap by Eric Siebert:

Someone asked if vCenter Server would support other hypervisors like Microsoft is doing with Systems Center supporting ESX. Maritz’s answer was no; VMware is committed to focusing on only its own product because this is what VMware’s customers want.

In light of yesterday’s news, that last sentence is especially important. With XVP Manager, is VMware recognizing that its own product isn’t necessarily what customers always want?

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