Before 2007, VMworld’s booth held simple one-note products, but this year products has orchestral reach, says virtualization expert Scott Lowe.
Steve Norall and Alex Barrett talk about backup and storage trends they spotted at VMworld today. Both covered the show today for SearchServerVirtualization.com.
Tom Dugan explains why this VMworld is rich in automation tools for managing virtual environments.
There’s more to virtualization than server consolidation, says consultant Bernard Golden after a day canvassing products at VMworld.
They may compete for customers, but virtualization rock stars Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware and XenSource have settled their differences long enough to submit a draft proposing an industry standard format for portable virtual machines to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).
The DMTF announced its acceptance of the draft yesterday.
“This is a great effort by these companies to bring forward a draft specification to deploy different kinds of virtual machines and virtual appliances in a secure way,” said Winston Bumpus, DMTF president.
“Right now you can download virtual appliances from lots of places, but some are hypervisor specific, some have hardware requirements. There are all kinds of dependencies. This scenario allows you to download and try an application without doing all of the configuration steps,” Bumpus said.
The proposed format, called the Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF), would package all virtual machines (VMs) with an XML wrapper that would allow all virtualization platforms to safely and efficiently run the VM.
The OVF would also incorporate a security check to ensure that the VM had not been tampered with from the time the image was created to the time of download, and a license check.
“We really envision ISVs being able to encapsulate their products in virtual machines. I’ve been comparing it to an MP3 file — it’s more than just music, there’s metadata in a standardized format. It’s really going to change how software is deployed and distributed,” Bumpus said.
According to Bumpus, the OVF should roll out in the next 6-9 months.
For more information on DMTF and what they do, see SearchDataCenter.com’s article, DMTF tries to SMASH system management costs.
Thin client computing, known as the ability to use use a thin client device to run the RDP or ICA protocols in order to connect to a remote computer, is forging its way back into the enterprise.
A key advancement in the thin client technology is the new ability for the thin client device to process multimedia content locally on the thin client device, said Ken Hertzler, Director of NEC Corp.’s Virtual PC Center. “With the multimedia support, more general purpose PC users can now use a virtual PC with almost the same function and speed as a traditional PC.”
The thin client also offers a ‘green’ solution — “nearly 60% less energy than traditional PCs” and “better enterprise PC data protection,” Hertzler said.
NEC yesterday announced the release of NEC US110 at VMworld 2007. The US110, a Windows CE thin client solution slated to ship in Q4 of 2007, builds on NEC’s Virtual PC Center solution and supports new multimedia formats such as Microsoft WMV/WMA and Adobe Flash, as well as RSA SecureID VPN connections.
“We have co-developed with Server Engines, the new NetClient processor for thin client devices. This device is capable of processing multimedia at the thin client device,” Hertzler said.
NEC uses the thin client to take advantage of virtualization with its Sigma System Center (SSC) management software. SSC makes virtualizing PC sessions, installing updates and performing backups easier, according to Hertzler.
The US110 is available for $449, but the price drops to $349 when purchased with NEC Virtual PC Servers. Virtual PC Server Plus, another newly released product that offers more memory per user, retails for $22,900.
At a press event on Monday, Sept. 10, Microsoft Corp. told reporters that Citrix has agreed to use its Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format as the basis of its virtualization products, including its desktop server and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) connection broker.
That should come as no surprise, since Microsoft and Cisco Systems Inc. are so close and since XenSource Inc., which Citrix recently acquired, already uses VHD as well. But in a later conversation with David Greschler, a Microsoft’s director of virtualization strategy, it became clear that the use of VHD will extend far beyond its desktop server.
You see, Microsoft today ships four broad kinds of virtualization, the company maintains: server virtualization in the form of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, to be followed by Windows Server Virtualization (a technology preview of which will be available by the end of the month); desktop virtualization with Virtual PC; application virtualization with SoftGrid; and last but not least, presentation virtualization in Terminal Services. With XenSource and Ardence application streaming, Citrix too offers four types of virtualization.
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, released last week, will be the glue that ties these disparate virtualization products together, and as Greschler explained it to me, the common use of VHD enables that.
Greschler also spoke about Microsoft’s internal work to bring virtualization to the forefront of technologists’ consciousness. “When I would say, ‘Virtualization is as big as the Internet,’ people would roll their eyes,” he said. “Educating 70,000 [employees] worldwide is a hard thing to do,” he said, but added that the message has started to sink in. “These days there’s a lot of awareness at Microsoft about the importance of virtualization.”
And the game is far from over, they say, citing some highly dubious IDC numbers on virtualization penetration (less than 5% of servers worldwide are virtualized). The fun, in fact, is just beginning.
At VMworld today, attendees said that VMware needs to lower prices now to defend its position as virtualization market leader. Jan Stafford of SearchServerVirtualization.com reports.
It’s not the VMware ESX cost that’s holding back virtualization, it’s the high cost of networked SAN storage.
VMware’s embedded ESX Server 3i marks a change for virtualization, but how it will impact users is an open question.