I had the honor of being a VMworld 2008 judge for the best new products competition. Specifically, I was a judge of the “best new technologies” category. My fellow judge, Mike Laverick (www.rtfm-ed.co.uk) and I chose the Cisco Nexus 1000v and Vizioncore’s vOptimizer as the best new products. In this article, I will explain the process and why we decided upon these products.
What is the “Best of VMworld” competition?
The Best of VMworld is a product competition put on at VMworld each year. In this competition, IT pros serve as judges to select the best products in seven categories. This year, there were 13 judges who came from a variety of backgrounds, spread across the different categories. You can read more about the categories and results at the Best of VMworld 2008 webpage. Additionally, you can see a video of the Best of VMworld awards ceremony.
What is the New Technologies category?
I requested to be a judge for the new technologies category because I wanted to have a chance to see what new products were on the horizon. The New Technologies category is made up of products that are not currently out but are coming out in the next few months. The most challenging thing about the new technologies category was that any type of hardware or software could be entered. That meant that we were comparing network software against disk hardware, for example. Because of this and because there were over 30 products entered in the new technologies category, I found this category very challenging to judge.
How did the judging process work?
As this was my first year serving as a judge, I found the whole process very interesting. I worked with my fellow judge, Mike Laverick (www.rtfm-ed.co.uk), to evaluate the 30+ entries in the new technologies category. We had to compare so many different technologies that didn’t match up “apples to apples”. Once we got to VMworld in Las Vegas, we spent a full eight-hour day visiting the companies that had entered to learn about their products. Some companies had new hardware, new software, or updated software products. We looked for a number of things from these companies when we went to learn about their product:
- What does the new technology do?
- How do you install it?
- How do you use its main feature?
- Is the product truly new or is it just an existing product that had a virtualization twist added?
- What benefits will the new technology offer IT Pros?
- How dramatically will this new technology affect virtualization admins?
After getting the answers to these questions, we were able to narrow our list down to just a handful of new technologies. From there, we chose just two:
Why did I choose Cisco and Vizioncore as the best new technologies of VMworld 2008?
I think that, once you learn about these products, you will understand why we chose these products as the best new technologies, related to VMware. First, let me cover the Cisco Nexus 1000v. Here is what this switch does and what makes it unique:
- It is a software switch that integrates / installs with VMware ESX Server.
- It uses the new distributed virtual switch (dvswitch) feature of the next version of ESX Server
- It recognizes all physical Ethernet ports on all ESX host systems and allows you to manage them as a single switch
- It has a Cisco IOS interface, just like hardware switches do
- Now, with the Cisco virtual switch, network administrators can administer the virtual network, just as they do the physical network.
In my opinion, not only will the virtual switch provide technical benefits, it will provide more ideal delegation of network and virtual server management. In other words, with this new virtual switch, network administrators can manage the virtual network and virtual server administrators can manage the virtual servers. By doing this, many of the finger pointing issues related to virtualization can be eliminated.
The Cisco Nexus 1000v is expected to be available at the same time that the next VMware ESX Server / Virtual Infrastructure Suite is released. (Q1 2009)
Next, let’s cover the Vizioncore’s new vOptimizer Pro. Here is what vOptimizer Pro does and what makes it unique:
- It analyzes all VMware virtual disks and the operating systems inside those virtual disks, determining the amount of free space available.
- Based on settings that you configure, it can resize both the VMDK (virtual disk) and the operating system disk inside to reduce or enlarge their size.
- You can assign a dollar value to the per GB cost of your SAN disk space and, based on the amount of disk space that vOptimizer Pro is able to save you, reports will be generated showing the cost savings of using vOptimizer
- This optimization process can be scheduled to run each day, week, or month and, at that time, the virtual disks will either be increased or decreased as the amount of utilization inside the guest OS is either increased or decreased.
As most virtual disks and operating system partitions inside virtual disks are oversized when created, there is a huge potential for storage savings when the first optimization is run. In fact, what made vOptimizer such a valuable tool, and worthy of being called the “best new technology” of VMworld, was that it performed a task that was easy to understand, it could concretely tell you how much money it saved you, and that it had the potential to pay for itself after the first time it was run.
Vizioncore’s vOptimizer Pro is expected to be released during Q4 2008.
The judging of the VMworld best new technologies was exciting and educational. There are so many new products coming out related to virtualization and all the different types of virtualization continue to evolve. From this article, I hope that you understand the thorough process that we go through, as VMworld best products judges to choose only the best products for TechTarget and SearchServerVirtualization.com. Also, from this article, it should be evident why the Cisco Nexus 1000v and Vizioncore’s vOptimizer Pro were selected – because they both change the way we use virtualization and both are revolutionary, in their own way.
I want to thank my fellow judge, Mike Laverick of www.rtfm-ed.co.uk for his expertise and for working with me to judge this competition.
David Davis (CCIE #9369, VCP, CWNA, MCSE, CISSP, Linux+, CEH) has been in the IT industry for 15 years. Currently, he manages a group of systems/network administrators for a privately owned retail company and authors IT-related material in his spare time. He has written hundreds of articles, eight practice tests, and six video courses -including the Train Signal VMware ESX Video training series. His personal website is www.VMwareVideos.com