Friday, December 19, 2008

Avastu Blog is migrating to; 1st Jan 2009 live


I will send out emails personally to those who are using my link(s) on their sites.

Thanks much for your co-operation and hope you enjoy the new site and its cool new features :-)

Not like the site is unlive or something..on the contrary, its beginning to get a lot of attention already. Well most of the work is done, you don't have to worry about anything though:

What won't change

  • Links/Referrals: I will be redirecting the links (all links which you may have cross-posted) to - so you don't have to do anything in all your posts and links. Although, I would urge however that you do change the permalinks, especially on your blogs etc yourself
  • This blog is not going away anywhere but within a few months, I will consider discontinuing its usage. I won't obviously do double posting, so we'll focus on a lot on Wordpress postings from now onwards
  • I'll contact you personally as well in a combined email post explaining it all
  • The quality of frequency of my blogging: You find me on the Cloud, it just wont land here
  • Mad blogging on: Virtualization, Cloud Computing, as you've always wanted and hopefully enjoyed it.

What will change is:

  • IdeationCloud will focus on a lot of things especially on Visualization, Ideas - you know, the real stuff
  • Participatory work must happen, its not just about my ideas: I will launch a lot of tools for online analysis and eventually would want you all to get and play with it, together.
  • Visualization tools
  • Polls and Surveys
  • Independent reports
  • And lots of cool stuff

Why am I moving out of blogger?

Well it was a great place to hang around but it just didn't give me enough tools to play around with, I wasn't able to optimize it appropriately. Those are big things if you want to keep your audience, I mean , YOU!

So the ideationcloud is hosted at (mt) (MediaTemple) and we'll try to optimize it to the fullest and publish a lot of customized

Hope to see you a lot often at the new site!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cloud Security: Eliminate humans from the "Information Supply Chain on the Web"

My upcoming article, part - 3 data center predictions for 2009, has a slideshot talking about the transition from the current age to the cloud computing age to eventually the ideation age- the age where you will have clouds that will emote but they will have no internal employees.

Biggest management disasters occur because internal folks are making a mess of the playground.

Om's blog is carrying an article about Cloud security and it is rather direct but also makes a lot of sense:

I don’t believe that clouds themselves will cause the security breaches and data theft they anticipate; in many ways, clouds will result in better security. Here’s why:

  • Fewer humans – Most computer breaches are the result of human error; only 20-40 percent stem from technical malfunctions. Cloud operators that want to be profitable take humans out of the loop whenever possible.
  • Better tools – Clouds can afford high-end data protection and security monitoring tools, as well as the experts to run them. I trust Amazon’s operational skills far more than my own.
  • Enforced processes – You could probably get a co-worker to change your company’s IT infrastructure. But try doing it with a cloud provider without the proper authorization: You simply won’t be able to.
  • Not your employees — Most security breaches are committed by internal employees. Cloud operators don’t work for you. When it comes to corporate espionage, employees are a much more likely target.

So where are the risks?

and here's Guardian's post.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OS Virtualization comparison: Parallels' Virtuozzo vs the rest

Virtuozzo's main differentiators versus hypervisors center on overhead, virtualization flexibility, administration and cost. Virtuozzo requires significantly less overhead than hypervisor solutions, generally in the range of 1% to 5% compared with 7% to 25% for most hypervisors, leaving more of the system available to run user workloads. Customers can also virtualize a wider range of applications using Virtuozzo, including transactional databases, which often suffer from performance problems when used with hypervisors. On the administration side, customers need to manage, maintain and secure just a single OS instance, while the hypervisor model requires customers to manage many OS instances. Of course, the hypervisor vendors have worked hard to automate much of this process, but it still requires more effort to manage and maintain multiple operating systems than a single instance. Finally, OS virtualization with Virtuozzo has a lower list price than the leading hypervisor for commensurately sized systems.


Seanode fixes Storage dilemma for Cloud Service Providers

Boston, December 16, 2008 – Seanodes, the creator and leading developer of Shared Internal Storage solutions, today announced that cloud services provider Aenigma has developed a new multi-tiered storage infrastructure backed by Exanodes™ software to increase the reliability and performance of its High Availability Application Hosting Platform for as little as one-twentieth the cost of a similarly configured Fibre Channel SAN.

Delivering Software as a Service Aenigma provides an alternative to on-premise software deployment offering all the benefits and advantages of high availability and enterprise-grade business tools such as Microsoft Project Server, Office Sharepoint Server and Exchange Server on demand, at a competitive price. As a member of the VMware Service Provider Program Aenigma provides companies with on-demand Virtual Infrastructure, which can support any operating system, Windows or Linux and any compatible software stack they need. This “pay as you go” model reduces clients’ operational and capital expenses, improves access to the latest business applications and eliminates the security risks inherent in collaboration between third parties.

The company has chosen Exanodes to serve as an all-around solution that provides Aenigma with both shared internal storage as well as external storage through iSCSI arrays. The versatility of Exanodes allows Aenigma to provide multiple storage tiers as part of its network architecture to improve the reliability and performance of the system by separating data by its value to enable high performance computing on one level with non-persistent data stored to another.

The solution, featuring VMWare ESX Dual Quad Core Servers with more than 10 virtual machines per server and several 1 TB disks embedded in the multiple storage servers as if they were a powerful shared storage pool, has been tested against a leading FC-SAN offering with the Exanodes system showing high reliability and robust performance between a tenth and a twentieth of the price of the box. Exanodes delivers on its ability to provide cost-correct capacity expansion capabilities while eliminating the need for traditional external RAID storage and its associated costs.

“Our Application Hosting Platform is designed to bring enterprise-class business tools to companies that may not have the means to do so in-house but still need access to critical applications,” said Geoff Wiener, Managing Director of Aenigma. “By renting time on the platform to run these applications, organizations benefit from a shared pool of computing resources and software that reduces costs and complexities they might otherwise face. Likewise, Seanodes pools storage resources to provide us with a high-performance clustered storage system that is economical and easy to manage – a perfect complement to our network infrastructure.”

Because access to customer data is a critical component to Aenigma’s business model, the company is building a “dual-site” data center – duplicating the entire infrastructure – to answer customer needs. Exanodes clusters are deployed at each site to ensure the best performance, availability and integrity of Aenigma’s customer data in close proximity to the customer Virtual Machines. The data is then replicated between sites onto local Exanodes clusters for rapid recovery in the (unlikely) event of a single site failure. Maintaining multiple copies of critical customer data at each site and between sites ensures that Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives and SLAs can always be met.

“Aenigma needed a solution that enabled them to provide the utmost in data protection without incurring significant infrastructure costs that would effectively eliminate their ability to provide hosted applications at a cost-correct price,” said Frank Gana, Business Development Director at Seanodes. “What we were able to provide them with was the ability to leverage underutilized disks of ESX servers in conjunction with external iSCSI arrays built out of commoditized severs to receive a high level of reliability, efficiency and performance at a fraction of the price of FC-SAN products. By using the storage capacity of commoditized servers with cost-correct external storage, we have developed an ideal solution for Hosted Services infrastructures.”

About Seanodes

The inventors of Shared Internal Storage (SIS), Paris-headquartered Seanodes is changing network storage technology. Seanodes’ SIS platform Exanodes™ radically alters the economics and possibilities in data storage and application processing. Seanodes has earned multiple awards from industry analysts and media for its outstanding technology that virtualizes storage assets to convert unused internal disks and Direct Attached Storage (DAS) into a shared storage array. Founded in 2002, Seanodes is headed by storage industry veterans from two continents and backed by a number of private equity firms. More information can be found at or by calling 866-580-5515.

About Aenigma

Aenigma is a Hosted Services Provider based in London, UK specializing in providing High Availability Virtual infrastructures and Software as a Service enablement for mission critical applications. With a track record of successful delivery of Hosted Solutions to Defense, Investment Banking and a range of customers for Independent Software Vendors, Aenigma assimilates best of breed technologies suited specifically to this purpose and provides seamless on-demand access, anywhere. Privately funded Aenigma was founded in 2005 by experts in data centre optimization and Systems Architecture from around the world. Aenigma has become the leading Enterprise Project Management hosting company in the UK. For more information visit or call +44(0) 208 286 8928

Data Center spendings in 2009: Which storage vendor will you invest with?

Surveys will start being published on my site and I'll make more customized surveys with cool flash animations. For now, I'm content with the simpler version of LinkedIn surveys.

Click here to join

Monday, December 15, 2008

Which hypervisor, in your opinion, is more secure?

Choose wisely and let us know here

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top 5 VMware Virtual Appliances

EWeek's labs picked up some neat collection of VMware's virtual appliances. Although I don't seem to read anywhere what the criteria might have been, it is important to note that these appliances are a security/application centric collection, I haven't been visiting the marketplace for some time so do go there and check out some stuff there. They have a huge collection out there.

Here's EWeek's top 5

Consumers look at VDI but prefer to wait for Client Hypervisors

Search my older post and you'll find that I had already suggested VMware and other vendors to go for several versions of hypervisors. VMware has taken the stride towards mobile devices, which is definitely a good thing but that market is a flooded market.

Desktop PCs are in need for some rationalization. I have, some times, hard time convincing customers why they should move towards VDI- while many are lately wondering if Cloud Apps, hosted via their internal, on-premise Cloud Infrastructure or Off Premise Clouds - a typical hosted scenario. Either ways they just don't care anymore, so is the case of the Clouds. Clouds don't care either. That makes it a perfect match, especially the new beast we all want to comprehend, the beast which only the likes of Microsoft has understood rather well, the SMB market.

SMB's are typically the "I don't care, you fix it and fix it now" kind of folks. Taming that market segment is a real pain. They are sometimes hard to understand, they almost always want it immediately fixed and have more demands than your enterprise customers. Also, not to forget, they invest carefully and want value for every penny that is invested.

So a real tough nut to crack, when you have an Amazon like Cloud, that lets these customers do it all "self and auto", then you can really free yourself from all those enervating contacts and let them buy capacity and space themselves. Just like those airports, buy your own ticket, print it yourself, go whenever you like, check in and all we want to do is make sure that you are frisked before you embark that plane.

Similar kind of "checkpointing", will not only accelerate the pace of the commoditization in these contractionary times, but alos ensure that the "do-it-yourself-dude!" model will also save you all the trouble of understanding them. No point!

While this article goes talking about what VDI is not good at, I think it is more important to organize your "Consumer Space" with all versions: VDI, Thin Clients, Web Apps, Clustered Apps etc. That helps the "Clouds Don't Care" model.

An excerpt:

Cheaper alternatives to desktop virtualization

For independent consultant Anil Desai, VDI presents a dilemma. It promises to address security problems such as lost laptops and give IT better control over remote workforces. But he doesn't see virtual desktop technology as the best way to solve these and other business problems.

He said there are more cost-effective ways to reduce security risks and gain control over user devices with existing technologies. There is the ability in Windows to restrict access to the USB drive or to improve manageability with remote management tools that lets IT cut physical visits to desktops and use the Remote Desktop Protocol, just as VDI uses.

Another example is the alternative of Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services for resource, hardware and management consolidation versus using VDI. Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 lets IT run a single application in a virtual environment, in turn centralizing application management, he said.

Then there's the overall cost for a virtual desktop infrastructure versus buying desktops. "When you see how much infrastructure, power and server resources go into a VDI solution versus getting desktops that have come down so much in price, I just don't see the justification for that kind of investment," Desai said.

Desai said he is backing the concept of a client hypervisor and is waiting to see what the big three -- VMware, Microsoft and Citrix -- will do in this area. "It can reduce potential application conflicts and speed up deployments on many operating system platforms," he said.

Clouds don't care, they really shouldn't. It ain't worth the trouble!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Understanding VMware Infrastructure Client Connectivity

Ed has some good tips. Last time I spoke to Ed, I got to understand that he's on to a lot more things such as writing a book and some toolkit. Mike Hoesing has beaten him to it there since his book on Virtualization Security is already up there on Amazon. I am looking forward to Ed's book as well though.

Anyways, like I said, last when I spoke to Ed was about pushing the virtualization security initiative here in the EMEA. I have spoken to several little and bigger players, including our own large team ("our" as in my employer) of some 500+ security experts,who are doing lots RA's for firms across the globe.

Anyways here's Haletky's article:

The roles and permissions within the VI Client do not necessarily map to users and groups within the service console or management appliance. Roles and permissions are quite a bit different actually and do not always map one to one.

When you directly connect the VI Client to a VMware ESX or VMware ESXi host you will use a local username and password to log in. But after that, all actions depend on your roles and permissions within the VI Client. The VI Client does not run any command as the user to which you logged in. Instead it runs those commands you are entitled to run as the root user. Since the root user is also the super user, it can run any command available to the system. This translation happens automatically as the vmware-hostd daemon runs as the root user.

The same happens when you log in using the VI Client to VMware vCenter Server. VMware vCenter Server uses the vpxuser to contact the vmware-hostd daemon which in turn runs all the necessary commands as the root user.

For a direct connection, a user must exist on the VMware ESX or VMware ESXi host, but for an indirect connection, no user must exist on the hosts. This implies that when you use vCenter there is no real need to manage multiple user account systems. Unfortunately, in reality you often have to have users on your VMware ESX and VMware ESXi hosts to perform support actions.


DynamicOps Adds Desktop Automation, Multi-Vendor Capabilities

New features of VRM include:
  • Extensions that support key virtual desktop components included in Citrix XenDesktop™ and VMware’s virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • Microsoft’s Hyper-V support.
  • The VRM Infrastructure Organizer, for fast, efficient mapping of an organization’s virtual assets into its existing shared infrastructure.
VRM automates the management of virtual servers and desktops, from the time they’re created until they’re decommissioned. Innovations such as VRM’s desktop extensions help IT organizations deliver high value and competitive advantages to their customers.
"Desktop virtualization is taking off, and large scale deployments see high rates of change. These deployments need management tools to be efficient and economical," said Rachel Chalmers, research director, infrastructure, the 451 Group. "DynamicOps' VRM can let desktop groups choose best-of-breed point products while retaining overall control of their environment."
VRM desktop extensions support Citrix XenServer™ and key components in Citrix XenDesktop, including Citrix Provisioning Server™, and Desktop Delivery Controller. In addition to its current support for VMware’s ESX server and Virtual Center, early in 2009 DynamicOps will release additional extensions for VMware’s just-announced VMware View 3 virtual desktop stack.


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