Thinking about virtualizing desktops? So are a lot of other folks, but doing so is fraught with tough decisions.
“A lot of customers are looking at virtual desktops, but they’re finding it’s not a scalable solution,” said Pete Rawlinson, vice president of marketing at AppSense, a longtime player in the Citrix Presentation Server market. On the one hand, “you reduce the price of the endpoint device,” he said. On the other, “you increase your storage and management costs.”
At VMworld, AppSense will release AppSense Environment Manager 8.0, which hopes to bridge that gap. The idea is to reduce the number and size of virtual desktops by decoupling an end user’s personalizations and storing them in a data base, then applying the personalizations at runtime to a standard virtual desktop template. That way, Rawlinson said, IT can minimize the amount of storage required by a virtual desktop while still giving end users the personalization they want.
Rawlinson noted that there are other ways to achieve this, notably login scripts and profiles, but each have their drawbacks. Login scripts can swell the time it takes to load an environment and are laborious to maintain; profiles too are subject to bloat. Environment Manager 8.0, he maintains, is the best of all words. “With us, a user’s personality is quicker to load, and you don’t have to maintain a login script.”
This post was written by Keith Kessinger, Editorial Assistant
Virtual Computer has announced its new PC virtualization platform, NxTop, geared for mobile workforces.
Essentially, NxTop will enable IT administrators to create a master image of a company’s OS and applications and distribute them to all NxTop-enabled PCs without a persistent Internet connection. Through the use of a Web console, IT administrators can install additional applications, patch various components and update specific policies without disrupting end users’ settings.
For more information on Virtual Computer and the new NxTop platform, check out the company’s website at www.virtualcomputer.com.
This post was written by SearchEnterpriseLinux.com assistant editor Caroline Hunter.
Splunk offers system monitoring products to help IT administrators keep tabs on their system data. At VMworld 2008, the company will add Splunk for VMware Management, a tool that monitors data produced by virtual machines, to its monitoring product offerings.
The product will provide relief for administrators who are eager to take advantage of the cost and space savings provided by virtual machines but are unsure whether they can collect and make use of the highly transient data created by those VMs. Splunk for VMware Management provides automated management of this data for improved debugging and troubleshooting and heightened availability.
Splunk provides a four-hour Web-based training session for administrators implementing the product. The company also offers on-site help in configuring the software according to each company’s needs.
But the company designs its products to make for “as little friction as possible,” said Splunk VP of Marketing Steve Sommer. “We don’t do a lot of hand-holding.”
Splunk’s customers typically adopt one of Splunk’s monitoring products for a particular purpose and then let Splunk know when they would like to deploy others as the company needs change.
Splunk has doubled its revenue in the past 10 months and recently hired Godfrey Sullivan as its CEO. With Sullivan’s help, Splunk hopes to mature into a major competitor in the monitoring software market.
At VMworld, Minneapolis, Minn.-based NetEx announced the release of its new Virtual HyperIP for VMware offering. The product is a software-based data transport optimizer and operates on VMware’s ESX Server and enhances the performance of storage replication applications from vendors such as Symantec, IBM and EMC.
Virtual HyperIP works to solve many common performance issues — such as bandwidth restrictions, network errors and packet loss — that arise when transferring data over wide-area network (WAN) connections. Much like its application-based predecessor HyperIP, Virtual HyperIP strives to eliminate these issues with a software-based design that accelerates traffic over IP-based networks.
For more information on NetEx’s Virtual HyperIP, you can check the NetEx website.
VAlign Software has announced its new VAlign for VMware product at VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas. Tools in VAlign for VMware enable companies that use VMware Infrastructure to more efficiently manage the financial implications of a virtualized infrastructure.
According to VAlign, the new offering constructs a comprehensive virtualization strategy based on core processes that will give a detailed layout of the virtual infrastructure, measure the usage of certain resources and align those resources based on the financial needs of a business.
For more information on VAlign for VMware, you can visit the company’s website, VAlignsoftware.com.
I/O virtualization provider 3Leaf Systems made two announcements on the first day of VMworld.
Rather than stick administrators with yet another console, I/O virtualization provider 3Leaf Systems has created a plug-in for VMware VirtualCenter, from which admins can manage their V-8000 Virtual I/O Server, including the creation of virtual network interface cards and host bus adapters. Senior Director of Marketing Rob Reiner says that more than 80% of 3Leaf’s customers have VMware VirtualCenter in place.
3Leaf has also certified the use of its software on the industry-standard Hewlett-Packard ProLiant DL380 G5 server, marking the beginning of its evolution from a vendor of hardware appliances to software.
But IT managers who had hoped 3Leaf would announce 10 gigabit Ethernet support will have to wait; for now the V-1000 remains an all-InfiniBand box.
Today, Framingham, Mass.-based GlassHouse Technologies, an IT infrastructure consulting and services firm, launched Managed Services for Virtual Environments offerings. The new services are delivered through a management interface that uses virtualization management software from Dallas-based Tek-Tools‘ Profiler for VMware. This interface gives users visibility, monitoring and reporting capabilities for virtualized IT environments.
GlassHouse developed Managed Services for Virtual Environments based on the company’s experience in planning, designing and deploying effective virtualization strategies. GlassHouse noticed the need for more in-depth instruction for customers on how to maintain visibility, measure results and manage data center environments.
The complete Managed Services for Virtual Environments offering will be available later this year.
GlassHouse will showcase the capabilities of the new services at Booth 440 at VMWorld 2008 in Las Vegas Sept. 15-18.
Long before virtualization was used to run applications in production, it was used for test and development, quality assurance, training and the like. You could say that those were the applications on which early x86 virtualization platforms cut their teeth.
SkyTap, a virtual lab management software provider has taken things one step further and has told customers to run their labs not just in virtual machines, but in virtual machines (VMs) running in the cloud.
“Highly dynamic environments where you need to quickly build up and tear down environments are a good fit for the cloud,” said Steve Brodie, SkyTap chief product and marketing officer. The availability of on-demand, shared resources brings speed, while multi-tenancy makes a cloud-based virtual lab more cost-effective than hosting virtual lab management software in-house, he said.
For example, SkyTap says its customers can get to a cloud-based virtual lab for as little as $500 a month. Surgient, the granddaddy of virtual lab management software, prices its traditional hosted and in-house virtual lab management software starting at $25,000.
Brodie attributes this discrepancy to the fact that Surgient uses a traditional managed hosting model, in which it dedicates physical resources for its individual customers. Setting up new lab management resources is thus expensive, to say nothing of being time-consuming.
Cost aside, SkyTap is announcing a couple of other new features to help grease the wheels of its cloud offering. For one, customers can now run their virtual lab VMs on their VPNs, giving the VMs in their virtual lab access to in-house resources. SkyTap calls this “hybrid cloud computing,” and its appeal is simple: “Customers don’t want to have [their virtual lab] in house, but they want to feel like it’s in-house,” Brodie said.
Second, SkyTap has given developers access to a REST-based Web services application programming interface to give developers programmatic control of a virtual SkyTap lab. This way, a SkyTap virtual lab can be integrated into a customer’s development environment or learning management system, for example.
On another note, SkyTap confirmed that it will participate in a VMware announcement at VMworld next week. Brodie would not specify what VMware would announce, and certainly not why, but for months now, VMware has been beating the cloud drum.
If you are thinking about Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization but aren’t sure how it will fare against VMware in your data center, a new tool from Toronto, Ontario-based CiRBA Inc. might help.
This week, CiRBA announced the availability of packaged analysis templates that compare Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V versus VMware-based virtualization.
Using CiRBA’s analysis, data centers can examine the suitability of each hypervisor for a given environment, see consolidation ratios, long-term management considerations and financial returns from each platform.
CiRBA’s analysis templates for Hyper-V and VMware-based virtualization are driven by specialized Rulesets for each platform in combination with utilization analysis.
The new comparative analysis templates for Hyper-V and VMware essentially provide a vendor-agnostic analysis, data, and organization-specific business and technical constraints to determine the best option for any given environment. Examples of comparison points between the two competitor products include:
*Per-guest resource limits: Hyper-V and VMware offer different per-guest maximum resource configurations, meaning the number of virtual CPUs, memory and network interfaces supported, which could impact compatibility.
*Memory over commit: Hyper-V and VMware differ in their ability to share memory between VMs, making efficiency gains through “over-commitment.” This differentiating factor can impact consolidation ratios and infrastructure design.
*Workload mobility: The two technologies differ in their support for the live migration of workloads between physical servers. Hyper-V doesn’t offer live migration yet, VMware does (VMotion).
CiRBA customers can access these new analysis features through CiRBA Central, a central repository of analysis rules that allows organizations to stay up to date on the latest best practices in data center optimization. CiRBA Powered Partners will also have access to these rules in order to help guide their clients through the selection of optimal technology for their environment.
For more information on CiRBA’s comparative analysis for Hyper-V versus VMware, contact the company.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware Inc. expects a record 14,000 attendees at VMworld 2008, the company’s fifth annual virtualization conference being held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas starting Sept. 15. Last year’s VMworld conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco housed some 10,000 attendees.
Could it be that the buzz surrounding VMware is so magnificent this year that 30% more people will take flight to Vegas just to learn about virtualization technology? Or is the lure of Las Vegas partially to blame for the increased enthusiasm? Hmmm…
This year’s VMworld conference features 300 breakout sessions in seven tracks: Automating the Virtual Data Center; Building Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery; Exploring Technology and Architecture; Planning and Operations in the Data Center; Running Enterprise Applications in Virtual Machines; Virtualization 101; and Virtualizing the Desktop.
There will also be 13 instructor-led and five self-paced labs with around 8,000 lab seats. More than 200 sponsors and exhibitors have supported the conference, including Platinum Sponsors Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, NetApp and Symantec, all of whom will deliver keynotes.
The keynote I’m most interested in hearing will be from VMware’s new president and CEO, Paul Maritz, who replaced company co-founder and president Diane Greene this summer.
According to a VMware press release, “Maritz will look back at virtualization history and ahead to the industry trends that are influencing VMware’s future and its solutions. Looking ahead, Maritz sees a future of virtualization expanding from the data center to the desktop and beyond to the cloud.”
He will deliver his keynote on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, at 8 a.m. PT, which will also be available via webcast . You can read about his keynote from SearchServerVirtualization.com reporters on our VMworld 2008 coverage page.
I hope Maritz will be willing to field questions after his formal keynote, because with Microsoft Hyper-V nipping at VMware’s heels, he really needs to foster confidence in his leadership and vision for the company.
Also keynoting is VMware CTO Dr. Stephen Herrod, on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at 8 a.m. PT, also available via webcast.
This year’s theme is “Virtually anything is possible,” and there will be more than 100 customer stories offering insight into how VMware and virtualization have affected data centers. Featured VMware customers include AT&T, Burt’s Bees, Chevron, eBay, First American, Nationwide, Qualcomm, Siemens AG, United Bancorp and Whirlpool.
Also, like last year, SearchServerVirtualization.com will announce the Best of VMworld awards for the latest and greatest technologies.