The Virtualization Room

November 30, 2010  1:50 PM

And our new advisory board member is…

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

We had a lot of interest in the opening on our Server Virtualization Advisory Board. Virtualization experts from all over the world — five countries and three continents, in fact — applied to become the new member.

I’m happy to introduce our selection, Maish Saidel-Keesing. Many of you know him as a moderator on the VMware Communities site or through his popular blog, Technodrone, which was ranked No. 32 on Eric Siebert’s latest poll of the best VMware blogs. You may also follow him on Twitter, @maishsk.

Maish is an infrastructure administrator and virtualization architect for NDS Group in Jerusalem, Israel, and he’s spent 12 years working in IT, with a focus on virtualization for the past five years. He’ll bring an international perspective to the Server Virtualization Advisory Board and fit right in with the other expert users and consultants. Welcome, Maish!

November 24, 2010  2:24 PM

Data security worries rise as virtualization spreads

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Yesterday I caught a brief but an interesting exchange between two of the people I follow on Twitter. “All my storage conversations used to push to virtualization. Now all my virt / cloud conversations push to backup or security,” said Ed Saipetch, a senior vSpecialist at EMC Corp. Greg Knieriemen, a vice president at VAR Chi Corporation, retweeted this with the comment, “Agree.”

I can also agree. My own conversations since I started covering virtualization have followed a similar path, away from the hypervisor and back toward concerns about the underlying infrastructure. As Saipetch notes, this is particularly true when it comes to data security (as well as virtual backup, which is mostly a separate discussion).  

Continued »

November 23, 2010  8:05 PM

PaaS vs. IaaS: What’s Microsoft’s private cloud vision?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

It’s hard to avoid the obvious cliche on this one: Microsoft’s private cloud messaging is getting very cloudy.

Back in July, at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, all the talk was about Windows Azure and the company’s Platform as a Service-based approach to private cloud computing. Steve Ballmer talked about the “dramatic” difference between cloud computing and virtualization, and VP Robert Wahbe said Infrastructure as a Service was “just a feature” of a private cloud.

Those comments showed a major difference between Microsoft’s cloud strategy and VMware’s virtualization-centric, IaaS approach. And Microsoft was delivering a clear, consistent message.

That all changed last week, when we got some news about System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012.

Continued »

November 22, 2010  3:26 PM

Novell acquired, but not by VMware

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Despite a report by the Wall Street Journal September 15 that VMware was in talks to acquire at least a piece of Novell, the majority of the company will be acquired for $2.2 billion by Attachmate, primarily known for its mainframe connectivity and terminal emulation software. Another portion of Novell’s IP, some 882 patents, will be sold off for $450 million to a consortium led by Microsoft.

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November 17, 2010  5:53 PM

Want to be on our advisory board?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

With this week’s news that expert contributor Rick Vanover is joining Veeam Software — congrats, Rick! — we have an opening on our Server Virtualization Advisory Board.

The users and consultants on our advisory board are our go-to experts who help us stay on top of the latest news and trends in the server virtualization market. Their primary responsibility is to answer the question of the month, where they weigh in on hot topics in the industry (or answer seasonal questions, like in this month’s Thanksgiving-themed article). Often, they’re also the first people we call when we need perspective on a breaking news story, a podcast guest, or a technology sanity-check.

If you’re interested, email me a short bio and why you think you’d be a good fit for the board. Please send all responses by Monday.

November 9, 2010  8:26 PM

The preconfigured stack craze – if IT vendors build it, will users come?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

While vendors and vendor coalitions are putting together preconfigured bundles of storage, networking, virtualization and applications, industry analysts say interest among IT pros in turnkey stacks seems high. But actual sales figures for such products are difficult to pin down, and anecdotal opinions vary widely about their actual popularity.

For example, yesterday, the coalition between VMware, Cisco and EMC (VCE) launched new Vblocks targeting VDI and SAP deployments, but VCE’s senior vice president of solutions Todd Pavone declined to comment on how many customers Vblocks have garnered since they officially began shipping last November.

Continued »

November 8, 2010  5:32 PM

Why we’re still resisting virtual backup best practices

Alyssa Wood Alyssa Wood Profile: Alyssa Wood

Many enterprises are putting on the brakes when it comes to VM backup and recovery. A recent report says enterprises aren’t confident about the ability to back up and recover VMs — leading many to avoid virtualizing their entire infrastructure.

Backup vendor Veeam surveyed 500 organizations with more than 1,000 employees about their virtualization and data protection practices. Here are a few stats from Veeam’s “VMware Data Protection Report 2010” that reveal the problems with backup and recovery in many enterprises:

  • 44% of IT directors say they are avoiding virtualizing mission-critical workloads due to concerns about backup and recovery.
  • Only 2% of all server and VM backups are tested for recoverability each year.
  • 25% of full-server recoveries are being performed to recover a single file or application item.

Of course, it’s in Veeam’s business interests to publicize the challenges of backup and recovery — and its solutions — and that’s what these survey results are doing. But backup is a recurring problem for enterprises, and it’s keeping them from successfully recovering VMs.

Continued »

October 28, 2010  3:49 PM

PCI DSS 2.0 standard released, but detailed virtualization guidance still unavailable

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

This morning the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, which creates standards with which anyone handling credit card data must comply, released the second version of its Data Security Standard (PCI DSS 2.0).

One of the most important aspects of this new standard for virtualization pros is how specifically the PCI DSS requirements will address server virtualization. Previous versions of the standard have specified that payment card information must be kept separate from general corporate data–but what exactly does “separate” mean?

Continued »

October 28, 2010  2:27 PM

More on the challenges of physical and virtual backups

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Today’s feature by our Server Virtualization Advisory Board focuses on the backup management challenges in mixed physical-and-virtual infrastructures.

Board member Jack Kaiser let his colleague Randy Weis, a senior solutions architect at GreenPages Technology Solutions, submit a response, and it was so in-depth that we decided to post it as a separate blog entry instead:

How challenging is it to manage physical and virtual backups together?

Physical and virtual server backup strategies can be very challenging, depending on the organization’s size and IT resources.

IT staffers at large companies are very experienced in running and configuring complex backup products that have deep application and OS integration. Small companies have tended to rely on simpler solutions such as Symantec Backup Exec, which still have good Windows application integration and are able to back up to tape. When virtualization began to pick up, physical server data-protection strategies changed emphasis from tape to disk, and from agent-based to snapshot-based.

Continued »

October 27, 2010  4:52 PM

Microsoft not the Apple of virtualization’s eye

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

It’s not a good morning for Microsoft.

Execs are waking up to reports of the company’s demise from two major business publications: CNNMoney, which says Microsoft’s consumer brand is “dying,” and Reuters, whose headline is “Sleepy in Seattle.” (Personally, I would have gone with “Redmond? More like Dead-mond!”)

The reports focus on Microsoft’s lack of innovation — or failure to capitalize on its innovation — when it comes to consumer products such as smartphones, portable music players and tablets. Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad are all pop culture icons with devout customers. When was the last time you saw people line up days in advance to buy a Windows Phone 7, or a Zune, or whatever the heck Microsoft calls its tablet?

“Is this Microsoft’s Waterloo?” CNNMoney’s David Goldman asks. “Will it become the next IBM — crucially important to businesses but an afterthought for consumers?”

That’s a good question, but not an entirely accurate one, at least when it comes to virtualization. In this enterprise market, Microsoft has many of the same challenges it faces against Apple in the consumer market.

Continued »

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