Join the Conversation on Virtualization
Fri, 31 Mar 2006
The Console Blog Launches
VMware's newest blog, The Console, has arrived! It's your 'management console' that lets you monitor what's going on inside VMware and track what's happening in the virtualization industry. We'll have a rotating set of VMware executives and senior technical folks opining on a broad range of topics.
We start off with Dan Chu on virtual appliances and how they're changing the landscape of software distribution. Dan and his team are driving our efforts around virtual appliances, and the software projects and companies packaging their software in virtual appliances are already starting to see results.
If you haven't seen VMware VP Steve Herrod's article on virtual appliances, go check that out as well.
posted by jtroyer at: 17:37 | | | permanent link
Wed, 15 Mar 2006
Virtual rootkit targets OS, not virtual machines
eWeek's article VM Rootkits: The Next Big Threat? highlighted recent work from Microsoft Research and the University of Michigan on a proof-of-concept rootkit that hides itself using virtualization technology.
Guest-blogger Beng-Hong Lim from VMware R&D notes that this is not an issue with the security of virtual machines in general:
Thanks, Beng, and stop by any time.
posted by jtroyer at: 16:53 | | | permanent link
Ken Robson, performance guru
Today's Performance Guru Blog from Ken Robson has lots of virtualization goodness, even if he does misspell it virtualisation. While you're there, check out Ken's main Performance Guru site, which is quite clever:
posted by jtroyer at: 11:28 | | | permanent link
Tue, 14 Mar 2006
Application Delivery Nine Ways
Brian Madden has a great overview that discusses nine different architectures to deliver applications to end users. If you've been having trouble sorting your "application virtualization" from your "hosted virtual desktop," check this out.
In this article, I'll look at nine different application access architectures that we can use to provide Windows applications to users, and I'll evaluate the pros and cons of each.
posted by jtroyer at: 17:31 | | | permanent link
Multitasking: the Bad and the Good
Joe Brinkman uses VMware Server to multitask so he can ftp, configure a server, surf the net, and watch TV all at the same time. I'm linking to this only because Joe was kind enough to show us the quality TV he watches while multitasking.
Alex Pachikov is also multitasking, but he is creating a Terminal Server for Media PCs running Freevo or MythTV that runs inside a virtual appliance.
posted by jtroyer at: 17:01 | | | permanent link
Mon, 13 Mar 2006
Mendel Rosenblum in Computerworld: virtualization and transformations
VMware founder Mendel Rosenblum sat down and talked to Computerworld recently. It's a short interview, but three nuggets stood out to me. The first was killer apps for virtualization -- and if you think virtualization is just about OS partitioning and server consolidation, you need to keep thinking. Now that your machines are virtual, what can you now do, freed of those physical constraints?
If you view [virtualization] as taking a bunch of machines and squeezing them onto a single machine, you're not using the real power of virtualization. A large percentage of the people who use our ESX product also use our VMotion technology to move virtual machines while they're running between physical boxes. The same technology that allowed them to do server consolidation now allows them to do things like load balancing across the different hardware platforms.
And at one level, this observation about server naming is trivial, and makes me smile when I think about Archimedes and other servers in my past, but does have deeper implications as we all shift to a world full of virtualized infrastructure.
Right now, people bring up a server and give it some name so they can personalize it. That will be gone in 10 years. You'll no longer think of a server as being something other than how you think of a disk in a disk array today.
posted by jtroyer at: 13:27 | | | permanent link
Intel IDF Wrap-Up
The Intel Developer Forum conference was held last week. VMware President Diane Greene took the stage at a keynote with Pat Gelsinger of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, talking about the two companies' work together and Intel's newly announced VT-d I/O virtualization. Coverage from eWeek:
[They] also announced a tighter relationship between the two companies that includes not only consulting on technology, but also joint marketing and sales efforts. VMware products also will support VT-d in 2007, said Greene, when joining Gelsinger onstage. "Our customers ... love virtualization, and anything we do to make virtualization more enhanced makes it all the better for them," Greene said.
Also from eWeek, Virtualization Moves Beyond Servers:
"When you can treat a machine like a file, there is so much you can do with it," Greene said. ... VMotion enables users to move workloads between virtual machines without having to take down the systems. In the next upgrade later this year, VMotion will offer greater automation of this capability, Greene said. Currently there is some script work involved when moving workloads between virtual machines, she said. With the upgrade, that work will be automated. In addition, the enhanced software will offer automated failover through cluster management capabilities, she said.
Wolfgang Gruener of Tom's Hardwware sister site TG Daily has a good IDF wrap-up, discussing the performance emphasis of the conference and the spotlight on Intel's new NGMA/Core processors:
Besides the fact that Intel has renamed NGMA to "Core" - somewhat misleading as the current Core processor is not based on the Core architecture - the technology is pretty much what we expected to see: It will aim not only for performance-per-watt leadership, but also for the performance crown overall. In fact, the performance estimates of increasing performance 20% in the mobile space, 40% on the desktop and 80% on the workstation/volume server, appear to be very conservative estimates: On the one side, Intel cannot afford the embarrassment of missing those marks. On the other, the benchmarks we have seen indicate that an additional 10 percentage points of performance gain and an additional 2-5 points in power improvement for the desktop and server platform is a more realistic estimate.
Steven Shankland of news.com summarizes the virtualization-related announcements at IDF.
posted by jtroyer at: 13:10 | | | permanent link
Fri, 10 Mar 2006
Carr yanks your chain again: Servers Doomed
Nick Carr's latest provocative statement: Is the server industry doomed?. It's the standard server consolidation story, with Carr's standard message that all IT will become an outsourced utility, and those outsourced providers all running on white boxes.
Ultimately, we may come to find that the branded server was simply a transitional technology, a stop-gap machine required as the network, or utility, model of computing matured. I recently spoke to the chief executive of a big utility hosting company who expressed amazement that its largest server supplier seemed to be "in denial" about the profound shifts under way in business computing. Maybe it is denial. Or maybe it's just fear.
Several people followed up, including SAP's Charles Zedlewski and Sun's John Clingan. If I'm not summarizing too severely, their basic response was that lower costs traditionally have driven higher use and created larger markets.
Nick responds in his second entry by asserting that utility computing will win out.
I think he underestimates the economies of scale that the utility model, as it matures, will be able to deliver - not only in hardware costs, but in labor costs, electricity costs, real estate costs, and software costs - as well as its power to free up capital and management time for more strategic purposes.
I don't claim to have any magic insight over the 5 or 10 year horizon. But what I'm seeing anecdotally today is:
Dan Ciruli of Digipede adds a good personal observation about utility consolidation:
And one last point to show that, while electricity is not computes, even the electricity analogy doesn't spell doom for the server companies. There was tremendous consolidation in the electric power industry when the idea of a "power plant" came about. But did that kill the industry that manufactures generators? No--there are still companies making billions of dollars manufacturing power generation equipment (I used to work for one of them). There is still tons of research going into ways to make power better.
posted by jtroyer at: 19:20 | | | permanent link
Thu, 09 Mar 2006
The Virtual Doctor is In
Ron K. Jeffries at Cloudy Thinking points us to an article at LinuxMedNews about using VMware Player with open source applications to run a doctor's office. He started out with the virtual machine on a Windows XP laptop, but has since moved it to a server running Ubuntu Linux.
We use a virtual machine played with the free vmware player. It is a complete linux system set up by Rod Roark with OpenEMR, Freeb, and SQL-Ledger. The vm is run under Windows XP on a Toshiba laptop with a P4 1.8ghz and 1GB of RAM. In the morning, I load the vm and the other computers in the office, on the network, can log in by clicking on the desktop link to OpenEMR. At the end of the day, I back up the vm to a DVD. Sometimes I take the laptop home to work and sometimes not. My staff has taken to it with no complaints. ... I am now working on customizing OpenEMR a little to work better for us. To keep things simple, I make a copy of the vm to experiment with so I don't mess up our real data or system. This is definitely the way things will be done in the future. I highly recommend that physicians who want to save themselves a lot of headaches with EMR and practice management software should look into it.
posted by jtroyer at: 19:51 | | | permanent link
How the New Microsoft Licensing Affects VMware Environments
Licensing for virtual systems still requires a Talmudic attention to detail.
One such detailed look from Steve Kaplan examines October's virtualization licensing white paper from Microsoft and gives his take on various scenarios for Microsoft licensing in VMware environments, both for applications and operating systems. Here's one of his conclusions:
This licensing benefit is particularly important for users of expensive Microsoft licenses such as SQL Server or BizTalk Server. You can run, for example, an instance of Microsoft SQL Server on a multiprocessor machine, but only have to pay for one license as long as it's set up as a single CPU Virtual Machine. Since ESX Server is so efficient at delivering virtual processor and memory resources to SQL Server, many organizations will require fewer virtual CPUs than they would have physical. This becomes even more pronounced in a dual core server environment. A company that was paying $35,000 to run SQL Server Enterprise Edition on a physical 2-CPU server may now well get by with only paying $17,500 to run a one-CPU instance on a two or four CPU dual core ESX Server and still receive similar or even improved performance.
David Berlind also did a great job detailing the various Vista bundled virtualization scenarios with Microsoft details frugal licensing policy for Virtual PC on Vista. (Where by "frugal," he means, "Yes, you need to buy another copy of Windows.")
See also virtualization.info on What you need to know about Microsoft's virtualization licensing plans (Feb 4, 2006) and Microsoft adapts Windows Server System licensing to virtualization scenarios (Oct 10, 2005).
posted by jtroyer at: 18:34 | | | permanent link
Fri, 03 Mar 2006
VMware at USENIX
Two of VMware's Consulting Architects will be presenting two tutorials at the USENIX '06 conference in Boston, MA. These will cover a deep dive on both ESX Server with additional material on Security, Performance Tuning and Disaster Recovery with Virtual Infrastructure, as well as a tutorial on Server Consolidation. For details please see the USENIX '06 web site which has more information. Links are included below:
If you're out in Boston, you should also keep your eyes open for VMware's Cambridge Technical Seminar Series. The next seminar is scheduled for June.
posted by jtroyer at: 15:59 | | | permanent link
Software distribution via virtual appliance
If you've been paying attention, we've starting using the new term "virtual appliance," most notably in our Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge. We'll have more to say about the art and science of virtual appliances soon, but in the meantime I'm tracking how folks out there in the blogosphere are "getting it."
Abe Fettig certainly gets it, although he accuses us of viral marketing to him. (Guilty as charged, but certainly not pre-planned.) He says "The VMware image is the new appliance":
Shahid Shah says that Software vendors should start providing virtual machine images to help demo their wares:
Techhawking, although he's casting it in an us vs them framework, is really just tired of the uninstallable tools:
Update: one more from A.P. Lawrence: "Are these guys out for blood, or what?":
posted by jtroyer at: 15:56 | | | permanent link
That VMware Server eye-opening exerience
Jason Powell is trying out VMware Server for the first time ... and he seems to like it. (What I find interesting is not only the WOW factor from first-time users like Jason but also the glee from long-time users when they start talking about ESX Server and vMotion.)
posted by jtroyer at: 15:42 | | | permanent link