The Virtualization Room

June 10, 2010  5:14 PM

Best of VMworld Awards: Now accepting nominations!

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

VMworld 2010 will be here before you know it, and so will one of our biggest events of the year: the Best of VMworld Awards.

For those of you who don’t know, sponsors the Best of VMworld Awards, which recognize the many outstanding products on display at the show. This year our panel of expert judges will be giving away awards in nine categories.

Seven of this year’s Best of VMworld Awards categories will be the same as last year’s: business continuity and disaster recovery, security, management, hardware, desktop virtualization, new technology and best of show. We’ve also split the cloud computing category from last year into two categories for 2010: private cloud technologies and public/hybrid cloud technologies. (As you may have heard, there’s going to be a lot of talk about cloud at VMworld this year.)

We’re now accepting nominations for the 2010 Best of VMworld Awards. Visit our nomination form to check out the full details and to submit a product. And if you have any questions, feel free to email us at But to answer your first question, the deadline is Aug. 6!

June 10, 2010  1:15 PM

Microsoft patch prevents vSphere Client logins

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Several VMware users reported yesterday that Microsoft’s latest .NET patch was locking them out of the vSphere Client.

Users on the VMware Communities forum and other message boards said the patch prevented them from logging into the vSphere Client — both on Windows 7 and XP. (The patch addresses a vulnerability that leaves signed XML data open to tampering.)

Some users overcame this problem by uninstalling the patch (identified as KB980773, part of update KB982168), which obviously isn’t ideal. But the better solution is to install the latest version of vSphere Client 4.0 Update 1.

Did you run into this problem yesterday? Did that solution work for you? Let us know in the comments below.

June 7, 2010  1:46 PM

Top 4 virtualization security gotchas

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Not surprisingly, cloud computing was the big theme at last week’s VMware Virtualization Forum in Boston.

For the most part, VMware and the other vendors there focused on the nuts and bolts of the cloud; Bogomil Balkansky, vice president of product marketing, admitted, “We have really outdone ourselves in terms of the hype and marketing.”

(But occasionally they did revert to the kind of sales pitches and hyperbole that have led to so much cloud skepticism in the first place; Balkansky later compared cloud computing to the Industrial Revolution.)

One session I attended, in particular, offered some great real-world advice about a serious issue: security for virtual infrastructures and private clouds.

Continued »

June 4, 2010  5:31 PM

VMware: Adopt private cloud – or else!

Alex Barrett Alex Barrett Profile: Alex Barrett

I attended the VMware Virtualization Forum, a scaled-down, traveling VMworld that floored in Boston yesterday. Bogomil Balkansky, VMware vice president of product marketing, gave the keynote, and talked – surprise surprise – about the journey to cloud computing.

Now, I’ve heard many, many VMware executives talk about cloud computing, but here I was struck by Balkansky’s willingness to address the skeptics in the crowd, and paint something other than a vision of automated, scalable shared-resource compute nirvana. While maintaining VMware’s commitment to cloud computing, Balkansky made dire predictions for IT managers that choose not to adopt private clouds.

Balkansky cited a recent Gartner study that finds cloud computing has moved to the #2 position on CIOs’ list of priorities, up from #14 the year before, “which basically means it wasn’t a priority at all.”

To explain the sudden jump, Balkansky told an anecdote about a customer whom he described as “a grumpy British gentleman.”

“’I’ve spent the past twenty years building a monopoly; where no one runs something that I haven’t authorized – or I shut them down,’” Balkansky quoted the customer as saying. But internal users have started going behind the grumpy IT director’s back, spurring his interest in building an internal cloud that he can control. “’I hand out Amazon EC2 sign-up sheets and tell them ‘These are our pink slips.’”

In other words, adopting private cloud is a matter of self-preservation. Sounding much like the grumpy British IT director, “If we don’t do something about [rogue internal users adopting public cloud], this will be the reality for all of us – as vendors or as IT professionals,” Balkansky said.

Meanwhile, on the show floor, attendees I spoke to were more sanguine about private cloud. At lunch with IT directors from a university, a school district and a financial services company, conversation steered away from private cloud and settled on more pressing, desktop-oriented concerns: Windows 7 upgrades, supporting wonky client-side applications, shutting down bandwidth hogs, virtualizing voice over IP, and the like. Private cloud was the topic of the day for VMware, but not for the customers I talked to.

Perhaps the reason that the private cloud message doesn’t seem to generate much excitement among current VMware users is because they don’t fully appreciate the difference between private cloud and what they’ve already done, i.e., virtualize their infrastructure.

Balkansky attempted to describe the difference. To get from mere virtualized infrastructure to private cloud, you need to standardize your service catalog, and provide end users with a self-service portal. Future products and technologies will eventually enable you to burst from your internal private cloud to the public cloud, creating the mythical ‘hybrid cloud.’

However, those distinctions may be lost on VMware users. For them, and sometimes for VMware itself, “Private cloud basically just means that you’ve virtualized,” said Ed Haletky, analyst with The Virtualization Practice.

No wonder no one wanted to talk about private cloud at lunch.

May 20, 2010  4:00 PM

So, VMware, is Google a real cloud now?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

That old saying sure doesn’t apply to the cloud computing market.

Just last summer, VMware came out and said Google wasn’t a real cloud company. Now, Google and VMware are joining forces.

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May 14, 2010  5:28 PM

VMworld is turning into a cloud conference

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Public voting on the VMworld 2010 call for papers is now open, and the ballot gives us our first look at what the conference’s focus will be. Surprise, surprise, it’s cloud computing.

At this week’s EMC World, the annual conference from VMware’s parent company, the theme was “Journey to the Private Cloud.” It looks like VMworld 2010 will be even more focused on the cloud. Of the eight session tracks that the show will offer, four will be about cloud computing: hybrid and public cloud, private cloud management, private cloud business continuity and private cloud security. (By contrast, only two tracks even have the word “virtualization” in their titles: desktop virtualization and virtualization 101.)

Clearly, VMworld 2010 will mark the show’s transformation from a virtualization conference to a cloud conference.

Continued »

May 12, 2010  9:14 PM

Diane Greene’s VMware was ‘anti-EMC,’ exec says

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

BOSTON — EMC and VMware’s close relationship was on full display here at EMC World 2010 this week, as evidenced by the many announcements about VMware storage integration and other virtualization strategies.

Even though EMC has owned VMware since 2003, the two companies haven’t always been so buddy-buddy. Yesterday, an EMC executive said what many have suspected for a while: that EMC and VMware get along so well now because VMware co-founder Diane Greene isn’t in the picture anymore.

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May 11, 2010  2:49 PM

EMC, VMware tighten storage integration

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

BOSTON — Yesterday at EMC World, the focus was on virtualization and private cloud. Today the spotlight is shining on EMC’s bread and butter, storage, but there’s still some virtualization news to report.

EMC made two announcements about improving storage integration with VMware. First, you can now manage its CLARiiON and Celerra storage lines through vCenter. Using vCenter plugins, you can provision block and NAS storage on the same console you use to manage your virtual infrastructure. These plugins have been available for other EMC storage lines, but this is the first time CLARiiON and Celerra are getting in on the fun.

CLARiiON and Celerra now also support VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration, or VAAI. As EMC’s Rich Napolitano explained at a press conference this morning, there are some functions that your storage system can handle more efficiently than your virtual servers and their hosts can. VAAI moves these tasks from the host to the storage system to perform those functions faster — and free up resources for your virtual servers.

These two new features will be available for current CLARiiON CX4 and Celerra NS products in the third quarter, EMC says.

May 10, 2010  4:57 PM

Joe Tucci’s EMC World Q&A highlights

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

BOSTON — EMC CEO Joe Tucci took 45 minutes after his keynote this morning to answer the media’s questions here at EMC World 2010. Here’s what he had to say on a variety of topics:

  • EMC’s acquisition strategy: He’s always been a bigger fan of acquiring many small companies, as opposed to making lots of blockbuster deals — although he wouldn’t rule those out completely. “I always leave the door open,” he said. “… But my absolute preference is the string-of-pearls approach.”
  • VMware’s acquisitions of Zimbra and SpringSource: “VMware, even with their latest acquisitions, is still an infrastructure (company). … Our primary focus is to stay down there, but I think infrastructure is going to get redefined and get broader.”
  • The role of the traditional operating system: “One of the major tasks of a traditional operating system is to manage device drivers. When you put in virtualization, that takes over that task from the operating system. … OSes over time will get thinned out.”
  • x86 systems: “If you look at the performance that x86 is giving you, it’s pretty phenomenal. … We’re going to go into an all-x86 world.”
  • EMC’s partnerships with Cisco, VMware and other vendors: “If you look at the building blocks needed (for a private cloud), you cannot get them all from EMC.” The Virtual Computing Environment coalition with Cisco and VMware offers integrated products, and Tucci thinks a lot of customers will take advantage of that, but he added, “I don’t ever want to force a customer to have to buy that.”
  • His message to channel partners: “You are incredibly important to us, and I want to be incredibly important to you.”

April 30, 2010  5:46 PM

Xen vs. KVM: The battle lines are drawn

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

In case you missed it, News Director Alex Barrett has a very interesting story up on our sister site It’s about the Linux community and what she calls its “mass exodus” from Xen to KVM virtualization.

The Xen vs. KVM debate is not new, but it has definitely been picking up steam as of late. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 has given Xen the “let’s just be friends” speech and moved in with KVM. Several major hosting providers are switching their platforms from Xen to KVM. And many Linux diehards say Xen is a huge pain to manage.

The battle lines are drawn, and the fate of the open source virtualization market hangs in the balance. (How’s that for overdramatic? I think I’ve been watching too many “Lost” commercials.)

Continued »

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