The Virtualization Room

January 6, 2010  4:35 PM

Oracle-Citrix acquisition hits the rumor mill

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Oracle is finalizing its deal for Sun Microsystems and already bought Virtual Iron. But an even bigger virtualization acquisition — Oracle-Citrix Systems — may be on the horizon.

Oracle is sizing up Citrix for a possible acquisition, according to (via The Register). The move would give Oracle its biggest stake yet in the virtualization market — not only in server virtualization, where Oracle VM hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, but in desktop virtualization, where Citrix is the leader.

Continued »

December 22, 2009  8:46 PM

All I want for Christmas is … a clustered file system?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Having a hard time finding a holiday gift for that special admin in your life (or yourself)? We’ve asked two of our virtualization experts what was on their letters to Santa Claus; maybe their wish lists will inspire you. Remember, there are still two shopping days left!

Rob McShinsky, senior systems engineer at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, would love to find the Sanbolic Melio FS under his IT department’s tree. The hospital is virtualized on a combination of Hyper-V and Hyper-V R2, and the Melio FS file system will provide improved, VMware-like disk management for the original Hyper-V platform, he said.

“It will allow us to get rid of the disk bloat that Hyper-V R1 had,” he added.

McShinsky also ho-ho-hopes for BL460c G6 blade servers from Hewlett-Packard with Intel Nehalem processors. Dartmouth Hitchock runs G5 blades now, but the G6 blades offer “lots more power in a small package for virtualization,” he said.

The final item on McShinsky’s wish list is a backup and deduplication solution from Data Domain. The hospital has 17 TB of data backed up in its virtual environment alone.

“We’re thinking we can boil that down to a third of that,” McShinsky said.

Storage is also a hot technology for Rick Vanover, IT infrastructure manager at Alliance Data. He bought himself an early present for his personal test lab: a DroboPro iSCSI device from Data Robotics.

“I’m really excited about that,” Vanover said. “It’s iSCSI, it’s expandable storage, and it has a pretty slick RAID algorithm.”

The device will also be compatible with VMware vSphere 4 in the future, which fits with Vanover’s upgrade plans.

“That’s a great resource so that I don’t have to rebuild stuff so frequently,” he said. “I could buy a new server, but this is half the price of a new server.”

And in the office, a great present would be vSphere training for the full IT staff, Vanover said. Although vSphere upgrades are relatively painless, the platform itself has some significant differences from its predecessor.

“It’s the new computer, and we need to make sure we’re doing it right,” Vanover said.

November 4, 2009  4:33 PM

Red Hat virtualization: No Windows Server 2008, RHEL management

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The new Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers platform made its debut yesterday, with Red Hat touting it as a “standalone, lightweight, high-performance hypervisor” that “provides a solid virtualization foundation for cloud deployments” and comes with software “for configuring, provisioning, managing and organizing virtualized Linux and Microsoft Windows servers.”

Sounds good so far, right? Well, there are a few things Red Hat neglected to mention in that press release. First, there’s this sentence buried in the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization data sheet, about the system requirements for management servers:

“Windows Server 2008 not supported.”

Isn’t that kinda like coming out with a hot new car and saying, “unleaded gasoline not supported”?

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November 2, 2009  2:29 PM

VMware: Hyper-V turns Windows into DOS

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The trash talk in the Microsoft vs. VMware feud once reached Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee heights. The two companies rarely passed up the opportunity to disparage, make fun of or even spread lies about each other.

But things had quieted down lately, and a lot of the more recent trash talk just rehashed old criticisms and insults. That is, until VMware issued its “Competitive News Flash” about Hyper-V R2, which compares “Microsoft myths” to “VMware realities.” (Hmm, where have we heard that before?)

The four-page document, marked “confidential,” is to help VMware resellers “understand VMware’s positioning in regards to Microsoft’s virtualization offerings and to respond to customer questions about Hyper-V R2.”

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October 15, 2009  2:12 PM

Blades vs. rack servers: A different perspective

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Our recent blades vs. rack servers face-off between Chris House and Rick Vanover has spurred some hot debate. Virtualization blogger Aaron Delp, a senior engineer at ePlus Technology, submitted this response on the topic of blades vs. rack servers:

Here is how I see the rack vs. blades debate: No solution is right all the time! There are situations in which racks are better, and there are situations where blades are better.

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October 12, 2009  8:05 PM opens POY call for entries

Lauren Horwitz Lauren Horwitz Profile: Lauren Horwitz

This year, is once again running its annual Products of the Year awards. Nominate your favorite product or your company’s product in one of the following categories:

  • Virtualization platforms
  • Virtualization management
  • Virtualization security
  • Hardware for virtualization
  • Backup and storage for virtualization
  • Desktop virtualization

The call for entries is open now through Nov. 13, 2009. Products qualify if they were released between Nov. 1, 2008, and Nov. 1, 2009 (including beta). Click here for deadlines, details and criteria on Products of the Year. And click here for the direct link to our form.

September 3, 2009  6:14 PM

Data Center and Virtualization group hosts VMworld 2009 party

Jbeltran Jeannette Beltran Profile: Jbeltran

Following Tuesday’s VMworld 2009 keynotes and sessions at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, TechTarget’s Data Center and Virtualization Media Group hosted an after-party where attendees had a chance to wind down before another full day. If you missed this year’s VMworld action (or if you just want to re-live the memory), check out our staff photos from the event.

RingCube Technologies was out in full force.
RingCube Technologies was out in full force at TechTarget’s VMworld 2009 event (pictured here with TechTarget editor Jo Maitland).

Brian Madden and others at TechTarget’s VMworld 2009 show.
Brian Madden and others at TechTarget’s VMworld 2009 party.

Jo Maitland and fellow TechTarget editors Lauren Horwitz and Colin Steele wind down on Tuesday night.

Sean Brooks and Peter Larkin of Data Center and Virtualization at the VMworld party.
Sean Matthews and Peter Larkin of the Data Center and Virtualization group at the TechTarget VMworld party.

TechTarget editors Jo Maitland, Jan Stafford and Dan Mondello relax after Tuesday's sessions.
TechTarget editors Jo Maitland, Jan Stafford and Dan Mondello relax after Tuesday’s sessions.

September 3, 2009  4:41 PM

A brush with fame during VMworld 2009

Jbeltran Jeannette Beltran Profile: Jbeltran

Inside the Moscone Center it was all business at VMworld 2009, but outside, on Second Street, Angus Young was rocking it out with (see below).
Inside the Moscone Center it was all business at VMworld 2009, but outside, Angus Young was rocking it out with (see below).

Editor Jo Maitland happened upon Angus Young of AC/DC on Second Street. He was signing autographs!
Editor Jo Maitland happened upon Angus Young of AC/DC on Second Street. He was signing autographs!

September 2, 2009  4:29 PM

Citrix takes to taxis at VMworld 2009

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

SAN FRANCISCO — Much has been made about VMware’s crackdown on competitors at VMworld 2009. Its goal is to keep the focus on VMware and its loyal partners, but really all it does is force the competition to get more creative.

Case in point: Citrix, which has taken its message to the streets. Literally. On taxi cabs.

Citrix taxi

As you can see, Citrix has taken out taxi-top advertisements here in San Francisco. This one says, “Virtualization: It’s a free world now,” and I saw another this morning that said, “Virtualization: It’s an open world now.”

Sure, ads on cabs aren’t as beneficial as showing off XenServer 5.5 on the VMworld floor would have been. But for Citrix, they’re better than nothing.

September 2, 2009  2:56 AM

VMware View demo bombs on poor bandwidth

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

SAN FRANCISCO — I attended a session at VMworld 2009 today demonstrating VMware View and its cost saving value to the enterprise, but the only thing it really proved was how important proper bandwidth is for desktop virtualization.

The session, called “VMware View – Evangelizing the Value Proposition,” was a hands-on workshop using 46 Wyse thin client desktops running VMware View. The point of the session was to let attendees run the Web-based VMware TCO/ROI Calculator using VMware View, so we could see how much money desktop virtualization can save while experiencing VMware View at the same time.

Unfortunately, the bandwidth in that room was less than adequate, and thus, so was the performance. For instance, the TCO/ROI calculator prompts for your company name, type, location, etc. After entering the data, the system took a minute or more to process it, and moving from one page to the next was agonizingly slow. Not good.

As we all sat waiting for our systems to process simple requests, the poor session host, VMware’s Director of Enterprise Marketing, Bob Stephens, had to present on the benefits of desktop virtualization, such as reduced administration costs, better security, easier management and higher availability than traditional PCs. Stephens reiterated that the bandwidth in the room was “horrible” and said the performance was not indicative of what VMware View is actually like.

Later on I chatted with David Bieneman, the CEO and Founder of Liquidware Labs, which offers desktop virtualization diagnostic tools. I told him about the snafu during that session, and he said a safe bet for bandwidth is 200 kbits per user and under 200 milliseconds of latency. The sad performance could also have been due to a bandwidth connection issue to or from VMware’s ROI/CTO Calculator Tool server, he said.

Unfortunately, the session was full of potential customers who now have a bad taste in their mouth about desktop virtualization. By a show of hands, all the attendees in the room said they use VMware, but only one or two use desktop virtualization already. The IT administrator from a University sitting beside me wasn’t using desktop virtualization, and was less than impressed with what he saw. From what I could tell, other attendees felt the same way.

The takeaway here is that if you don’t have the right networking infrastructure for virtualized desktops, your end users will notice a difference, and they will complain. What’s worse, the time they spend waiting for their systems to respond translates into lower productivity, and it takes away from the savings you could gain in other areas.

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