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.
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.
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?
Speculation that VMware will support Hyper-V has become reality.
A so-called “fling” that lets vCenter manage Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines (VMs) is now available for download on the VMware Labs website.
The tool, dubbed XVP Manager, installs as a vCenter management plugin, according to demo videos on the VMware website. The IP addresses and authentication of Hyper-V hosts can be directly input into the vCenter/XVP system using the Add Host wizard within vCenter.
Virtualization skills are in high demand, and their value is only going to increase.
Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Hot Lists Forecast report indicates that only 29 out of 225 certified skills will increase in value over the next six months — but four of the top 11 are virtualization certifications.
The VMware Certified Professional certification holds the top spot, followed by the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (virtualization version) at No. 3. The VMware Certified Design Expert and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (which includes a virtualization specialization) also made the top 11.
Even though server virtualization continues to evolve, it seems like antivirus software for virtual infrastructures is stuck in the past.
Traditionally, to protect against malware and viruses, antivirus agents must be placed in each virtual machine (VM). It’s no secret that this model is plagued with problems. Antivirus scans are resource-intensive, and they can cripple host performance if multiple VMs perform scans at the same time. But don’t blame antivirus vendors for this archaic protection method.
“It’s primarily the fault of VMware,” said Eric Siebert, senior systems administrator for Boston Market and regular TechTarget contributor. “It took awhile for VMware to develop a framework that looks inside the VM.”
VMware is making the switch from a virtualization company to a cloud company, and they want customers to come along for the ride. New products and services are finally making that a possibility.
For most organizations, unfortunately, building a private cloud is easier said than done. For several years, VMware pushed its “move to the cloud” message, but with many changing details (remember the Virtual Data Center Operating System?) and no actual products, users were often confused.
Over the past few months, however, VMware’s messaging to its virtualization faithful has become more concrete. The release of vCloud Director at VMworld 2010 got people talking, because it was an actual product that they could buy and use. Last week VMware released vCloud Connector, a free vCenter plug-in aimed directly at server virtualization admins. And just this week the company said it will replace one of its virtualization products, Lab Manager, with vCloud Director.
Now that these vCloud products are available, everyone can start building a private cloud, right? Not so fast.
Organizations are virtualizing more mission-critical applications and using more tools to manage their infrastructures.
That’s according to the results of Gabriel Consulting Group (GCG)’s 2010 x86 Server Vendor Preference survey, which came out this week. In the past, many administrators have been wary of virtualizing mission-critical applications, but that’s changing. In the survey, more than 60% of enterprise customers said more than half of their x86 workloads are mission-critical. That means people are starting to trust their mission-critical workloads on virtual servers, said Dan Olds, principal analyst at GCG.
“It ups the ante,” he said.
Congratulations to Dave Claussen, winner of our Valentine’s Day virtualization poetry contest. Here’s his winning entry:
Roses are red
I like iced tea
How long before
They virtualize me?
We also received this submission from Microsoft’s David Greschler:
Ode to Virtualization
Software is drawing up a
Declaration of Independence.
It has had enough of living in the dark,
sealed inside a glass CD
No longer fooled by its regal setting, the plastic jewel box.
It is tired of watching the stylish music bits and flashy video bytes
streaming by like bar-hoppers, in and out of desktops and servers
while it sits, bound by installation to the hard drive
thinking, “I’m no different than you,
I’m made up of 0s and 1s too.”
Virtualized, free at last, it begins to swim up and down the networks
like a fish or shark or whale
swirling inside the LANs
jumping across the WANs
and exploring the deep oceans of the Internet
To be anywhere it needs to be
with a clean shaven smile
and the tip of a hat
Software, sir, at your Service!
As many users have predicted, VMware is indeed phasing out its Lab Manager product.
VMware has not officially announced Lab Manager’s end of life, but sources within the company said this week that it is in the works. In the meantime, VMware’s official line is, “We are encouraging people to move to vCloud Director,” the sources said.
With the vCloud Director release at VMworld 2010, users started asking questions about the future of Lab Manager. Lab Manager and vCloud Director have similar features, and VMware hasn’t issued a major Lab Manager update since July 2009.
The transition from Lab Manager to vCloud Director could be a tricky one for users. For example, vCloud Director requires an Oracle database on the back end, and it involves a lot of moving parts. (One VMware partner told me at Partner Exchange this week, “It took a while for even our smartest guys to get their heads around it.”)
For the time being, vCloud Director also lacks some of Lab Manager’s features, such as Record/Replay capability and support for linked clones.
UPDATE (Feb. 14, 9:42 a.m.): VMware officially announced today that it is discontinuing Lab Manager. The company will continue to support the product through May 1, 2013.