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Showing posts from August, 2007

Microsoft delays Windows 2008, Virtualization late too

Well this doesn't come as a surprise, they have loads of work to do and I can imagine the developers working harder to get the bugs out of the system. We are still waiting for viridian but we will obviously not wait for our own virtualization deployments, but you knew that already.

The reason? Helene wrote that Microsoft is happy with the feedback it’s getting from the latest product builds but wants to spend more time to reach the expected “high quality bar.”

She quoted a Microsoft program manager as saying that Server 2008 is “like a brisket.” It just needs “a little more time to bake.”

Launch Event

A launch event for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 has been planned for February 27 in Los Angeles. Assuming Windows Server 2008 is not ready for release by February 27, the other products featured at the event might be delayed.


Snell was quoted by PC World as saying that the anticipated Windows Server Virtualization add-on will have its actual ship date affe…

Xen HowTo: Installing windows

Simple walkthrough for installing Windows on Xen.

This short guide describes how to install Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server on Xen. It provides an overview of the Debian Linux Etch installation, and detailed steps for installing and configuring Xen and starting the Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server
installation.

Requirements

* CPU with either Intel’s Vanderpool (IVT - Intel Virtualization Technology) or AMD’s Pacifica Technology (AMD virtualization)
* Windows iso-image

First you need to install Xen on Debian Etch:
sudo apt-get install xen-linux-system-2.6.18-4-xen-686 libc6-xen bridge-utils

Boot into the newly installed Xen enabled Linux kernel
sudo reboot

Then adjusted the network settings in /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp. Enabling the network bridge:
(network-script network-bridge)

Link.

KVM-lite Virtualization

Rusty answers:

KVM currently requires either AMD-V (SVM) or Intel's VT (VMX) extensions on the chip: these are implemented in separate modules. So it should be possible to implement a "lite" backend which uses lguest-like techniques to boot a (paravirtualized) guest.

Why? To increase the coverage and reach of KVM: many low-end machines are still shipping without sufficient hardware support. Having a single "kvm" which can run across everything (at least, for Linux) makes a great deal of sense.

Read the rest.

VirtualIron certifies LeftHand iSCSI SAN

SANs built using LeftHand’s SAN/iQ software are able to distribute and protect data across a cluster of industry-standard storage servers, LeftHand Networks said. The company’s patented architecture increases data availability, allows users to start small and grow the SAN seamlessly, and helps to simplify management. LeftHand SAN is ideal for server consolidation and virtualization projects, Microsoft Application environments, and disaster recovery solutions, the company said. The combined solution offers customers highly available and completely scalable virtualized server and storage environments that enable a number of powerful capabilities, Virtual Iron said. Virtual Iron enables the provisioning of new virtual machines to meet increasing application demands in the data center, or to create new environments for software development and testing, Virtual Iron said. SAN/iQ supports these capabilities by allowing users to clone storage volumes almost instantaneously, and with minimal …

VirtualIron CEO interviewed

Q: "How does your firm differ from the main competition? Is the main focus on price?"

A: "Price and complexity are the two most significant obstacles to future adoption of server virtualization according to Gartner and IDC. Virtual Iron is focused on minimizing both to bring all the value of virtualization to the mainstream market. We're focused on delivering a highly reliable, cost-effective and easy to deploy platform that everyone can use. Price is attractive to users (we're a fraction of the cost of VMware for comparable capabilities), but the product absolutely has to meet their needs. Price is irrelevant otherwise.

"Complexity is also a big issue for users, especially in the small/midsize enterprise market. Virtual Iron has some unique capabilities that really simplify installation and deployment and make it much easier for users to leverage server virtualization to support some of the more advanced use cases (and bigger ROI) such as business continuity…

Webcast: Cardinal Health Call Center and VMware's VDI

Roughly two years ago, Cardinal Health was looking to consolidate their call center operations to a mere two locations down from 38. Faced with the challenge of providing highly available computing environments to ensure high productivity with a minimal IT support staff, Cardinal Health investigated VMware VDI. Since implementation, Cardinal Health has been able to reap the benefits of VDI and is actively looking for new use cases to apply to this model of computing. Justin Hooper, Cardinal Health's Director, Windows Systems will describe his first hand experience with implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in their call center sites.

Gartner: VMware's Determina could improve security

CW reporting:

Gartner identified two technologies from Determina that could boost VMware's built-in security.

The first, the Determina Memory Firewall, is designed to protect an operating system and applications against unauthorised memory and program control-flow manipulation. It will protect against attacks such as heap and stack overflows, buffer overflows, and similar techniques used by hackers.

The second feature is on-the-fly patching, which is the foundation of the Determina Liveshield product.

"We believe VMware will use both capabilities of Determina," said Gartner vice-president Neil Macdonald.

"By potentially integrating Memory Firewall into VMware ESX hypervisor, the hypervisor itself can provide an additional level of protection against intrusions."

Check out CW for the rest.

Express Computers Mumbai: Virtualization is hot!

R Ravichandran, Sales Director, South Asia, Intel states, “We have written a set of specifications for the platform and given it to the likes of VMware, Microsoft and Xensource. They have all written their software so that they have APIs that support our hardware. Therefore, we still need those VMM vendors or software, the hardware support is a complimentary function.”

"VMware is the only vendor that provides the reliability that comes from thousands of production implementations as well as the business value that comes from built in automation and availability of VMware virtual machines"

VMware has long worked in collaboration with server and operating system vendors. “Despite the entrance of server and OS vendors in the virtualization space, it is not hard to see VMware’s leadership continuing. By not being a server or OS vendor, VMware provides complete choice to our users and allows them to virtualize the infrastructure and run the IT stack that is optimal for the user, wi…

Videos: NPIV SAN integration and Microsoft Virtualization

Server virtualization solutions allow enterprises to aggregate server workloads within their physical server platform and improve agility of virtual machine migration across physical systems. Platform virtualization solutions create new economy of scale and dynamic configuration challenges for storage area network (SAN) integration.This session details key integration and management dimensions around the core Windows operating system, Virtual Server, future Windows virtualization, and Virtual Machine Manager. The ANSI T11 N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) standard extends a powerful complementary capability to associate multiple virtual N_Ports to a single hardware-based N_Port over the same FC switch connection. Through this standard the SAN-managed controls around zones and masks can be coordinated and specific SAN resources mapped to different virtual machine workloads while maintaining SAN best practices. Microsoft will discuss key platform virtualization design criteria and fundame…

UC Berkeley chooses Firewire's "Virtual Victim" approach

When UC Berkeley learned of the FireEye 4200 appliance and its virtual victim machine security approach, a solution to their wireless security concerns was in sight. The University deployed FireEye 4200’s alongside the central wireless controllers to offer accurate, agent-less network malware control protecting the internal EECS network against zero-day, targeted malware that sought to take remote control over university and student computing resources.

In particular, FireEye offered

- Targeted malware security
- A network-based security approach
- Reliable, automated quarantines
- Easy deployment, use, & management

FireEye specializes on preventing self-propagating malware from spreading throughout the internal network. The FireEye Attack Confirmation Technology (FACT) engine uses virtual victim machines to analyze real-time network traffic flows pinpointing targeted malware and remote control attacks–all without relying on signatures or IT forensic analysis. The FACT engine enables th…

Sun Eco Virtualization Kit

A virtualization solution to help you overcome power and space limitations with measurable reductions in power and cooling requirements and systems footprint, along with improvements in system utilization, compute capacity, and security.

* Consolidate using Solaris containers and virtualize hundreds of applications on a single system delivering savings in energy, space and cooling costs and a huge reduction in complexity.
* Dramatically reduce power consumption with server consolidation and virtualization of up to 42 servers into a single Sun Fire X4600 M2 server with 8 processors and 64GB of memory.¹
* Reduce storage footprint and energy cost per terabyte, dramatically improving utilization of existing libraries with Sun Virtual storage systems.


There are loads of choices and this might just be a conscientious choice to make when it comes to "Corporate Environmental Responsibility". Do please participate in my CRS/CER LinkedIn discussion., and also check Sun's offe…

SQL Farms releases new technology to assist Virtualization providers

The product is called SQL Combine 1.9.

The redistributable offerings and licenses provide virtualization vendors with a turn-key solution for remote data collection. Using this technology, virtualization vendors can write custom queries to retrieve data from SQL server instances on the customer site, and then ship the code together with SQL Farms’ redistributable components to the end user. Remote users update a single file to point to the appropriate databases and servers, and then run one line command. In addition, remote users have access to the code and queries to guarantee complete visibility and transparency. Results from all databases and servers are automatically collected, aggregated, and saved in one proprietary file that is returned to the virtualization provider. The results can be viewed, edited, or saved to databases in the virtualization vendor’s infrastructure for further debugging and processing.

“Our latest offerings provide virtualization vendors with eyes and ears at…

Quest Software hosting SQLServer Virtualization panel discussion

Our friends at Quest are holding a panel discussion on SQL Server and the role of virtualization in the enterprise. We have covered a cool Quest product in our Database series called soRAC (Spotlight On RAC), check it out.

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in server virtualization technologies. What’s fueling this interest is the fact that virtualization can dramatically lower IT costs. Virtualization provides a fresh and unique perspective of the data center. With hardware enhancements such as Intel VT or AMD-V, it is more capable than ever of handling enterprise workloads. Plus, virtualization provides more than simple consolidation; it also brings unparalleled levels of recovery, protection, and automation. Companies of all sizes are looking at ways to use this relatively new technology to cut IT costs, as well as increase server and application performance. Virtualization is sure to impact you at some point. Are you ready?Join this expert panel seminar moderated b…

Mellanox Infiniband drivers for ESX 3.5 Beta 2

Well they wer part of the development program and couldn't stop their developers (or should I say the marketing folks) from putting their drivers on the pavement!

Solution BenefitsThe software drivers are based on OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) version 1.2 enabling broad interoperability with other operating systems and the ecosystem of OEM supplied servers, switches, gateways and storage systems LAN and SAN functionality is available over unified server I/O using high bandwidth InfiniBand connectivity. This reduces cabling complexity and reduces I/O cost (50 – 60%) and power (25-30%) significantly LAN performance (from VMs) of close to 3X Gigabit Ethernet has been achievedSAN performance (from VMs) of close to 10X 2Gb/s Fibre Channel has been achieved LAN and SAN performance scales linearly across multiple VMsCompletely transparent to VMs as applications in VMs continue to work over legacy NIC and HBA interfaces that have been already qualified onAll VMware …

Nusphere and Parallels join hands

The Parallels Partner Program provides customized access, tools and resources to Technology, Services and Channel partners that enable them to drive customer acquisition and revenue. The ISV Initiative, of which NuSphere is a key member, is a component designed to allow Windows-only software vendors to quickly and easily extend their reach to the fast growing Mac and Linux markets. The Initiative offers software vendors streamlined application compatibility testing, technical support, sales support and co-marketing opportunities.Via the ISV Initiative, NuSphere will make its flagship product, PhpED, which is an award-winning PHP Integrated Development Environment (PHP IDE) favored for its power, speed, ease of use, exceptional PHP debugging capabilities, and fully configurable user interface, available to the Mac and Linux communities through use of Parallels desktop virtualization products, which include Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac and Parallels Workstation 2.2 for Windows and Linu…

iSCSI Virtualization: Ever heard of Stonefly?

StoneFly's Product Manager, Jame Ervin, has written a neat article on Intelligent IP SANs. They're cheap, they're smart and they're what a typical SMB would want!

Three Major Approaches to Virtualizing Operating Systems and ApplicationsA simple way to maximize system utilization and take advantage of the huge processing power of current hardware platforms is to use server virtualization. The three major approaches to virtualizing operating systems and applications include emulation, para-virtualization, and operating system virtualization. These are described in more detail below. Each type has specific benefits and drawbacks. Some approaches attract more media attention than others, but it is important during the planning phases to evaluate the approaches and choose what makes the most sense in your environment based on your priorities, whether they are performance, hardware utilization, consolidation, or application availability.Emulation virtualization platforms…

VMware: RBC start coverage with sector perform rating

RBC Capital’s Thomas Curlin today launched coverage of VMware (VMW) with a Sector Perform rating and a $75 price target. Curlin sees the company generating revenue of $1.265 billion this year and $1.65 billion in 2008; he sees non-GAAP EPS of 52 cents this year and 84 cents next year. That implies the stock is trading at about 16 times expected 2008 revenue, and 82 times earnings, while growing the top line at 30%. So you can see why he is taking a cautious stance on the stock.

I’d note, though, that his 2008 outlook is more conservative than the Street consensus at $1.89 billion and 92 cents. (For this year, the consensus is $1.28 billion and 62 cents.) stock.

Original material at Barrons.

Virtualization heats up as VMworld advances

For its part, VMware is likely to showcase servers with virtualisation embedded to boost ease of deployment and reliability.

The largest firm in the sector is expected to show off a slimmer version of its ESX hypervisor that can sit in server firmware rather than having to be installed to disk. Dell has already discussed a project for servers that ship optimised for virtualisation without referring explicitly to VMware.

By packing core virtualisation capabilities into the server rather than on disk, VMware might silence those who say its technology is difficult to install.

Also expected at VMworld is a technical preview of the next release of VMware Server, also scheduled to arrive later this year. On the VMworld web site, VMware has already said that the release will have a web-based console for remote admin, and will be manageable by the next release of VirtualCenter.

With the chiefs of Cisco, Intel and AMD making keynote speeches, optimisations in switching and processors or chipsets a…

Infinite Group expands partnership with VMware

Now that is strike one for the "Professional Partner Program"!

“IGI achieved VAC status (VMware Authorized Consultant) in May 2007 by having a team of highly trained and certified VCP’s (VMware Certified Professionals),” said Michael Mereos, IGI’s Director of Practice Development. “Now that we are a VMware Enterprise VIP Reseller, we are authorized to resell VMware's full product line, including VMware Enterprise products. Besides adding an additional revenue source, this also ensures that we can bring the full suite of VMware products and services to our customers for a complete solution. In addition, as a VIP Enterprise Reseller, we work so closely with VMware’s sales team that we are actually considered an extension of the VMware sales force,” added Mereos. IGI is also identified as a resource partner on VMware’s website (www.vmware.com).

IGI and VMware help reduce server sprawl by consolidating customer servers, reduce power and cooling costs, streamline test and deve…

Data Center Virtualization: IBM goes for cheaper iSCSI

The latest wave of data center virtualization has made the iSCSI protocol an increasingly appealing prospect for the SMB market, and naturally vendors are obliging customers with fresh gear.

IBM is jumping aboard the bandwagon today and unveiling its first entry into the iSCSI storage space since parting ways with Adaptec nine months ago. Big Blue has extended its budget DS3000 range with a device similar to the rest of the product family, but sporting iSCSI connectivity.
Click here to find out more!

According to IBM, the new DS3300 is targeted at SMB customers looking to avoid the cost of Fibre Channel gear as they move away from a DAS (direct attached storage) set-up.

Quoth Charlie Andrews, of IBM System Storage marketing: "SMBs continue to face the same issues that large enterprises are dealing with when it comes to the deluge of data — they are seeing an ever-increasing amount of feature-rich documents, limitless e-mails, audio and video files, data-intensive new applications, an…

Parallels Beta aims for tighter integration with coherence

For example, the Mac OS X Desktop, Documents, Pictures and Music folders can be used as the Desktop, My Documents, My Pictures and My Music folders in Windows. There may be some circumstances where users prefer to maintain separate sets of folders in the two operating systems, but given that Parallel's existing Coherence mode allows for Mac and Windows programs to run alongside each other (instead of restricting Windows to a single virtual screen inside one Mac window), this could be much more convenient than the traditional shared folder.

Read on...

Express Data people happy at XenSource's acquisition

"Since the announcement we have seen one additional major national partner commit to becoming XenSource certified, and have experienced an upturn in requests for information, training and products.”

Kelly said that the news for Express Data resellers is very good and the distributor now has national coverage in terms of XenSource certified partners. All these resellers have been skilled up by Express Data’s technical staff.

“We are now positioned as the only distributor with the right skills to help enable partners to take advantage of these powerful solutions,” said Kelly.

“We have already seen a very quick, exponential increase in XenSource sales in Australia and New Zealand and what is good for our resellers to know is it is business as usual - we will continue to work with XenSource and Citrix to help them make the most of the opportunities ever present in the market.”

Read on...

EMC Rainfinity Global File Virtualization Wins Award

Rainfinity virtualizes unstructured data environments and moves data according to policy, including active and open files, without disruption. These features are designed to help IT organizations optimize disk utilization, improve storage performance and system responsiveness, while lowering capital expenditures and reducing total cost of ownership of heterogeneous NAS, CAS and server environments.

“This editor’s choice award validates EMC Rainfinity’s value to IT organizations as a safe, scalable and effective solution to help manage rapidly growing file systems and we’re honored to receive this recognition from Communications Week,” said Sean Lanagan, EMC Corp. Vice President and General Manager, Rainfinity Business Unit. “Organizations are struggling to fully maximize networked storage capacity while keeping pace with massive enterprise data growth. EMC Rainfinity simplifies these challenges through tiered storage optimization and automated file management and archiving.”

See the pre…

Pano Logic: Bound to sell like iPods!

"Pano is an extremely easy sell," he said. "We can go to the client and talk about significant savings and cutting IT support. These are real advantages. The primary benefits are simplification, reduction of IT costs, and easy management of all the desktops."

Software licensing does not change when implementing virtualized desktops, Chirgwin said. "If you are going to install 50 Pano devices and run 50 copies of Windows Vista, you still have to pay Microsoft for 50 copies of Vista," he said.

The best feature, Chirgwin said, is a little button on top of the Pano device that users can use to recover their systems. "Pressing it gives users a small interface pop-up," he said. "It lets them roll back to a previous point-in-time or to get a completely new desktop image if the old image is corrupted, all in less than a minute or two."

Really, this is the iPod of dekstop PC! Read further...

AberdeenGroup Research Paper: Is your Virtual Infrastructure properly secured?

AberdeenGroup research shows that 31 percent of organizations surveyed have virtualization deployed within their IT infrastructure. The same research also shows that virtualization has strong adoption rate, largely due to companies’ need to cut costs through server consolidation and resource flexibility. About fifty percent of companies surveyed either have deployed or plan to evaluate some virtualization solutions. However, it was only a matter of time before a red flag was raised about how these new logical environments are going to be secured for high availability, disaster recovery and business continuity. Bottom line, end users need to start thinking not only about using virtualization for high availability and disaster recovery but also, about how to protect their newly virtualized environments.


If you are a CIO, Infrastructure Manager, IT Manager or even a concerned CEO, I would strongly advice you to read this whitepaper.

AMD pushes Virtualization vendors to broaden migration and interoperability

To loosen the live-migration constraints, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD released a white paper disclosing details about AMD-V Extended Migration, a feature dating back to the first-generation Opteron processor that enables virtual machines to migrate between different versions of AMD processors.
The need for migration ease
"Our customers are very interested in doing live migration because of the flexibility it provides," said Margaret Lewis, director of commercial solutions at AMD. "[AMD-V Extended Migration] is where the rubber meets the road. We've made this interface on the hardware end, but it is up to software to implement it."

AMD-V Extended Migration masks the differences between CPU generations, facilitating the safe live migration of virtual machines between servers running different generations of AMD processors. This includes existing single- and dual-core processors and all future AMD processor revisions, including the upcoming Barcelona quad-core AMD Op…

AMD invests in Virtual Desktop Project Nivio

Kelly from el Reg reporting:

Chip maker AMD will pump an undisclosed stack of cash into research and development funds for virtualisation solutions provider Nivio.AMD said the investment was intended to support Nivio's vision of virtual desktop access for a worldwide audience. Nivio has been beta testing its software for the past 18 months and said it hopes the service could eventually enable users to access their personal Windows desktops from any internet connected device. Meanwhile, AMD said it has signed the deal with Nivio as part of its own drive to extend internet access to so-called emerging markets.Nivio already provides a similar service to users who have a broadband connection.No date has been officially set, but the service, which Nivio said has received positive user feedback, is expected to launch in the UK and India shortly.
Check it out.

XenSource gets website help from Resolute

The cutting-edge XenSource website reduces maintenance costs and saves time by enabling content to be updated, edited and approved quickly with centralized collaboration and workflows for its distributed teams. Running on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 platform provides the added advantage of feature-rich functionality so that blogs, wikis and other functions can be used immediately or turned on when needed. XenSource selected Resolute because of their technical depth and agility. Roger Klorese, XenSource senior director of product and solutions marketing explained, “The entire team at Resolute were responsive, flexible and delivered a world-class site quickly and on budget, and helped us to leverage our investments in Microsoft and SharePoint.” Why did they choose SharePoint, aren't there enough of those CMS solutions like Joomla etc? Just wondering... Here's the link.

Is Pano Logic the VMware killer?

This blogger from SeekingAlpha thinks so. I must admit, I was totally attracted to its idea and concept. It is indeed a generation apart from bulky, heavy, software loaded, buggy desktops. Bottom line: It is a "smart" device. Corporate needs it really bad and employees need to just work.

Remember what I said what the future of computing will be, from a corporate stand point i.e. :
Consolidation will accelerate (both on server as well as desktop market)
Jobs will require versatilists (highly skilled professionals with business acumen)Jobs will be on a steady decline (look even at the steady decline of CIO jobs on top exec level to low level jobs like sys admins, network admins, it will be more in the form of "Technology advisors" and "Infrastructure Admins")Lots of aggressive out - and in sourcingFor now, read what this blogger has to say:

Finally, the newest VMWare killer is Pano Logic. This is a small start-up that has developed a device that replaces the P…

VMware grabs NSA contract on Security

The NSA is working with VMware, which is considered the world's largest provider of virtualization technology, and General Dynamics C4 Systems to develop a workstation platform capable of handling both sensitive and unclassified material within the same PC.

VMware, General Dynamics—the parent company of General Dynamics C4 Systems and one of the country's largest government contractors—and the NSA are announcing the new agreement Aug. 28, said Aileen Black, vice president of federal sales for VMware.

This High-Assurance Platform workstation will use VMware's hypervisor technology—software that allows a single piece of hardware to be divided into several virtual machines—to create a secure PC that is certified by the NSA to handle top secret, secret, classified and unclassified data. Black said the hypervisor supports a range of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Linux, and will allow up to six virtual machines to run on a single physical workstation.

Webcast: The truth behind VoIP, Virtualization and Application Performance

While today's networks are a complex mix of business applications, voice communication, and virtualized environments, using separate tools to manage them is now a thing of the past. Join us for a free, half-day seminar where you'll discover first-hand how a unified management and troubleshooting approach to these critical business applications is achieved with a single dashboard-to-packet solution.

During this seminar, you will learn how to:
Proactively monitor VoIP performance for optimal user availability Use historical performance reporting and analysis to accurately plan virtualized environments Instantly find problematic applications and/or bandwidth inefficiencies Go back-in-time to pinpoint application performance issuesCheck it out.

KACE delivers appliance to manage virtual infrastructure

Here's their press release:

The KBOX Systems Management and Systems Deployment Appliances include multiple features that provide performance management capabilities in both virtual and physical environments, including:remote VM deployment via K-imaging, scripted installation and pre- and post-installation tasksagent-less deployment of physical and virtual machines from a centralized deployment librarycomprehensive VM management support including software distribution, patching, configuration management, license compliance and vulnerability scanningsingle, integrated agent supports both physical and virtual environments.KACE’s KBOX family of appliances saves its customers both time and money. Systems managers from large and medium enterprises are often forced to wear many hats throughout the day to work on a myriad of IT functions. KACE helps consolidate these functions providing a single box for all of their projects while delivering easy-to-use, compr…

VMware a godsend for Catholic Charities

Would this fit in with the CSR? It sure does make make a lot of difference.

Catholic Charities' outmoded, hand-me-down tower and rack servers were difficult to manage, had almost no power redundancy and were totally power inefficient, said Eric Johnson, Catholic Charities IT project manager.Never mind the cooling, because there was none. Unless you count opening windows and using oscillating floor fans on the high setting to circulate the air. With network servers at only the largest sites but also with employees scattered at the organization's 40 locations, employees didn't have access to files stored at the Hub site. There was an urgent need to centralize IT operations and provide consistent access on a highly available system. The IT staff had no experience with a storage area network (SAN), so all data was previously stored separately on individual servers, only complicating disaster recovery measures. With the addition of a SAN, new blade servers and a uniform infrastr…

Exchange 2007 Testbed with VMware Server

This is an interesting multi-part series of setting up exchange on VMware.

If you have read my previous article [here] about some of the initial thoughts that I have had about the migration, you will have seen that I plan to use a method called “Bunny Hopping” – essentially as I have financial constraints on this migration (e.g I have to use my existing hardware) I have purchased a server which I intend to add into my Exchange organization and then move the mailboxes from one cluster onto it – then re blow the old clusters with Windows 2003 x64 and Exchange 2007 then move the mailboxes back – then repeat the process for the other clusters (long winded I know but the Organisation is not prepared to replace what was £70,000 of new hardware 24 months ago and I can kind of see the reasoning).

Excellent multi-part series! Why I like it?
Its detailedIt has tips and advicesIt has print screens here and thereStrongly advised to check this out. Part 1 and Part2.

Parallels disagrees with the benchmark

CNET recently did a performance comparison between Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. Surprisingly enough, their benchmark also suffered from unrealistic scenarios and vendor bias.

Pretty much everything about this test is upside down:

* It does not make sense to use an exclusive monster 8-core desktop for benchmarking Windows on Mac. Most people use laptops with 2 CPU cores and 2GB of RAM at most.
* Since Mac OS is the primary OS, it does not make sense to give both cores to a Windows VM that runs Word, Excel and Outlook. Office applications don't benefit from multiple CPUs. Perhaps that's why default configuration of Fusion is a single-CPU VM. Come on – most of the VMmark (server benchmark) workloads run in a single-core VM. Yet, desktop benchmark is run with dual cores – does not make much sense to me.
* It does not make sense to use Vista inside a VM. Most people run XP because Vista license only allows the most expensive Vista SKUs to run inside VM, not to menti…

InovaWave a possible acquisition target?

Well Eweek thinks so. This little firm, where our friend David Marshall works (as a Director Marketing), has a lot more to offer in terms of Virtualization I/O problems. And surely that will be the core issue and obviously security will too make a very strong case.

VMware took Determina, maybe Microsoft might want to take a look at its latest interop partner and tester BlueLane? Also note that we are still talking about VMware and Microsoft but there is Citrix+XenSource, while some may disagree with me, I still think IBM will desperately want to join in this game and go for Citrix. Look at the possibilities:
It'll have the fame: Look at all the attention the firms are getting even if they just say the word "virtualization"It'' have the Name: It will suddenly be the firm that deals with x86 virtualization, we all know that IBM is the mother of virtualization
In Da Game: It'll suddenly be in the game.If I were someone close to the CEO, I'd really tell him all …

Running Oracle with Xen

This Oracle blogger found time to experiment with Xen.

What I’d like to do is split each machine into 2 virtual machine “containers” that I can run a variety of images / configurations in. I played around with using VMWare ESX Server, but balked a bit at the price of the management server. After that I started to look into the Xen software. Basically it started to come down to whether or not I wanted to boot into a thin hypervisor, or run a straight O/S “underneath” the hypervisor.

I decided to run Linux underneath any hypervisor — so at that point it came down to which Linux to run. I see a lot of raves for Ubuntu and CentOS on the blogs, but in the end I decided to give Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux a whirl. I downloaded the 5 ISO’s, “remembered” how to burn ISOs to CDs and then booted the Dell’s using the CDs — worked like a champ.

And, lo and behold, Xen was included in the distro — no need to install it.

So began my fun with Xen.

Check out his progress here and here.

Virtualization: Security's wake up call

Greg Ness's post:

In the physical data center (the old world) installing a new server or moving it around is a physical exercise often involving permissions, communication and/or cooperation between teams so that the network and security practices can be properly adjusted. From a security standpoint, many types of network security appliances and monitoring tools need to know what they’re protecting and where it is to be effective. Some systems even require ongoing manual tuning to adjust for change for proper functionality.



While these processes are critical, they do restrict an organization’s responsiveness when it comes to information technology. The ability to adapt to change, therefore, is often impeded by policies and procedures meant to ensure order and security. Inflexibility makes enterprises less nimble, more wasteful and most importantly, slower to react to changing markets, operating environments or seizing strategic opportunities.

Check it out.

Microsoft and XenSource: Citrix is the catalytical sheen

XenSource, based on the open-source Xen software, bridges a gap between Microsoft and open-source software on virtualized servers. They're working together to be sure that Xen works well with Windows, yet Microsoft doesn't actually touch the open-source software, avoiding any cloudy licensing issues. That benefit would be lost if Microsoft buys Citrix.

Microsoft is also putting virtualization features similar to Xen's into its own products. Customers will then have a choice to use either Windows or Xen, since they're compatible.

Won't that snuff XenSource? Artale said no, because it will add features and stay ahead of Microsoft's offering. With an open-source development process and a smaller product, "we can release the product somewhat faster," he said. The trick is to work closely with Microsoft and provide extra value to its platform, he said.

Artale, 42, said it feels like the early days of Windows NT that precipitated a wave of startups and new ent…

Wyse joins hands with VMware to enhance VDI

As a key first phase of the collaboration, Wyse has joined the VMware Community Source program and plans to integrate its Wyse infrastructure deployment and management solutions with the VMware virtual infrastructure, across its thin-client platform portfolio: Windows XPe, Windows CE, Wyse Thin OS and Linux.

“We are very excited about working with VMware to deliver the combined benefits of virtualization and thin computing to our enterprise customers,” said Ali Fenn, Vice President Business Development & Alliances at Wyse Technology. “Both companies are committed to providing an end-to-end solution that makes for seamless adoption of this exciting new technology. A virtualized environment is the perfect complement for our thin clients, allowing customers to easily deploy integrated, end-to-end solutions.”

“Over the years many of VMware’s customers have extended their VMware virtual infrastructure, originally deployed for server consolidation, to also consolidate full end-user des…

Virtualization market reinvigorates

It indeed has come of age and like I have said, it is just the beginning!

It was only nine years ago that Diane Greene and her husband helped found VMware, a startup with the idea of taking the concept of hardware virtualization that was commonplace in high-end servers and mainframes and bringing it to the rapidly expanding x86 marketplace.

Fast-forward to 2007, and VMware is the leader in one of the fastest-growing segments of the technology industry, with rivals large and small looking to knock off the king. Recently, the Palo Alto, Calif., company was in the middle of a wild week that saw the virtualization space rapidly reshape itself.

On Aug. 14, VMware, owned by storage giant EMC since 2004, launched its much-anticipated IPO (initial public offering) and saw shares on the first day almost double in price, with officials hoping to raise more than $900 million in capital.

A day later, Citrix Systems announced plans to buy open-source virtualization vendor XenSource for $500 million, a…

Does Citrix have any chance to take on VMware?

"NO!", says this analyst.

To put it bluntly, Kumar does not that Citrix is going to reach its goals. “Citrx’s acquisition of XenSource is an exploration of how a successful software company has underestimated the difficulties of entering a tangential market,” he writes. “Half a billion dollars is just the beginning of the investment Citrix will need to pull off its vision of a working system software ’stack.’ Ironically, the ’stack’ is meaningless to customers. VMware’s success has nothing to do with a stack, but instead on the opposite concept - widespread partnering.”

Kumar notes that Citrix has forecast that the XenSource business can grow to $50 million a year in revenue next year from $5 million this year; he thinks that “it should feel happy if it achieves $15 million.” He says that for Citrx, “future success depends heavily on Citrix’s ability to maintain an R&D budget to keep pace with VMware and Microsoft - and that does not seem to be in its current plans.”

Mmmm..…

Marathon Technologies partner with DSS to deliver automated availability

The agreement comes at time when many DSS customers have expressed interest in implementing a high availability solution to protect their data networks and applications. The alliance will enable DSS customers, primarily in the entertainment, public utilities, retail, banking and healthcare industries, protect their critical applications through any faults, failures and disasters.

“We continue to strive to partner with industry leading providers that understand our customers’ requirements, challenges and technology goals,” said Mike Duhaime, Director of Storage Sales at DSS. “Integrating everRun into our proven line of IT solutions enables us to implement and support the most appropriate level of high availability for our customers’ critical environments. We look forward to offering Marathon’s solutions to our growing customer base.”

Marathon’s everRun line of fault tolerant-class availability products protects Microsoft Windows applications from leading sources of downtime while elimina…

Singapore Hardwarezone: Virtualization trip with VMware Fusion!

Virtualization on the Mac platform has a rather lengthy history, starting with the original Virtual PC from Connectix, which emulates an x86 PC on the Power PC platform used by Apple then. With Apple's switch to Intel-based Macs, it has only gotten easier for virtualization, since the new Intel processors have virtualization support in hardware that should improve the performance of the virtualized operating system. Meanwhile, Virtual PC has gone purely Windows only, with its present owner, Microsoft choosing not to have a port of the software for the Mac, citing as a reason that Mac users have no lack of options when it comes to running other operating systems.

This is actually quite a valid claim as not only does Apple provide a solution themselves with the currently downloadable beta version of Boot Camp (slated to be in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 aka Leopard), which requires a separate partition for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista on an Intel Mac, there is also …

Rediff India: How to slash your IT energy costs!

But visible or not, the ecological and economic costs of those servers are massive. A report released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that U.S. data centers (collections of computers used to power businesses' and government agencies' IT infrastructures and Web sites) consumed around 61 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006 at a cost of about $4.5 billion.

That's about 1.5 per cent of total US electricity consumption, more than the electricity used by American televisions, or equivalent to the output of about 15 typical power plants.

Woaah..thats some consumption! And how about the desktops? All those folks who leave thir desktop running all day and night!

For every server that's virtualized, a company saves around $560 a year, according to VMware, the fast-growing technology company that pioneered the process. Three California power companies are also offering cash rebates for every server its customers remove through virtualization.

"The Googles …

Green Grid space heating up!

Yup, everyone who has an angle, has got to wake up. Its about time!

Of course, anyone interested in virtualization has by this point read countless commentaries and articles on these two developments, so I’ll keep my two cents brief and just reiterate how telling they are in terms of virtualization breaking into the mainstream. People love to do surveys and speculate on whether companies are adopting virtualization solutions – even for just straight-up server consolidation – but the bottom line is that there’s a reason VMware chose now for its IPO, and there’s a reason Citrix spent half a billion dollars on XenSource. As for the Oracle news, it represented my first opportunity to speak with former Tangosol CEO, now Oracle vice president of development, Cameron Purdy, and I was happy to hear that the transition went smoothly. In fact, Purdy said, the whole Tangosol team came along to Oracle, which should mean we can expect to see at least the same level of innovation, professionalism, e…

Pano Logic: Another way to virtualize your desktops!

Ashlee covering the story:

"The network is the bus now," Pano Logic CEO Nick Gault told us, in a meeting at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park. "You can't tell if you're connected over PCI to something a few inches away or over the network to something miles away."Any software is a drag at this point. It's a management drag and a security drag."Gault sounds like he's channeling mid-90s versions of Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy at the height of their thin client lust. In all fairness, though, Gault's enthusiasm for this PC-replacement technology is shared across the industry, despite the historic failings of thin client technology. The likes of Wyse, Citrix, ClearCube, IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, and Teradici all claim that bandwidth improvements, the painful prospect of Vista upgrades and the costs and security headaches associated with managing desktops mean that thin clients and blade PCs make sense all over again.Companies have…

Fastscale releases Virtual Manager for VMware!

With the demands of deploying both physical and virtual servers, administration is more complex than ever. FastScale Virtual Manager™ was designed precisely to eliminate this problem. The combination of Virtual Manager and FastScale Composer™ Suite delivers a complete, dynamic and highly adaptive solution for managing large-scale server software infrastructure — both virtual and physical.

Virtual Manager supports the full line of VMware infrastructure products including VMware ESX Server, VMware Server and VMware Workstation and is the only product available that enables IT organizations to automatically build and streamline server software environments on-demand in seconds — without manual effort of any kind. Server software environments are 99% smaller than traditional golden images and can be provisioned to virtual or physical machines on-the-fly to optimize the infrastructure for application performance and load balancing requirements. Virtual Manager delivers complete automation f…

Virtualization: Management tool vendors wake up as well

Forget about making any cool interfaces for VMware's own product line. They are hiring developers like mad, and these folks will build their own UIs.

Silo-centric tools

Silo-centric application-performance management tools are available from BMC, CA and Compuware. Such tools focus on availability and capacity, and tend to be traditional server-management tools that have been enhanced to manage virtualized assets. For example, BMC's Performance Manager for Virtual Servers provides real-time monitoring for virtualized environments, and generates events when critical availability and performance thresholds are exceeded.

After discovering all virtual machines, the tool maps them to their physical hosts, BMC's Fomin says. "You can see that this virtual machine is associated with that host, and you can see that it's part of this resource pool. You can look at a resource-pool or cluster point of view, and from each layer you can see what's happening from a capacity poin…

Virtual Machines vs bigger SMP boxes

Nicely written article by Shah.

With servers doing fewer things and servers getting more powerful, the market for virtualization was created. We want to keep the compartmentalization of the application but gain the benefit of running multiple applications on a single CPU. As a result, the non-SMP to SMP ratio is likely to remain high and possibly get higher.

So amongst the SMP crowd, is there opportunity to eat into that market? Possibly... There are two approaches to further removing the need of large SMP systems: (1) SOA-ification of applications, and (2) Creating virtual SMP clusters with commodity x86 hardware.

Let's start with item 2 first. Historically, creating virtual SMP machines has been a tough sell. The technology has been around since the early 80s in the form of MOSIX. Efforts around distributed shared memory in the early 90s furthered the process. Unfortunately, these efforts largely stayed with the academics. That is until Qlusters came around in the early 2000s. Part…

Virtuaization with QEMU

A nice walk through with some print screens.

Why should you virtualize at all? There are several good reasons for that, I’ll list a few here:My wife and me do web design. No, not for a living, just for fun. And tho we nowadays keep most of our stuff in out-of-the-box blog systems like Wordpress, we still like to tweak around with our themes and templates and all that stuff, and of course we have to test them with different browsers from time to time. So this time, I wanted to see our stuff with Internet Explorer on Windows again, and compare the views to those of Iceweasel, Epiphany, or Konqueror.All of our computers here run Debian these days, and that means: Debian ’stable’, also known as ‘Etch’. But hey, just like my close-to-perfect Honda motorbike, a perfect, well-functioning Linux distribution like Etch gets boring after a while, and I’m the guy who writes ‘thedebianuser.org’, so I want to keep track of newer versions of Debian like ‘testing’ (at the time of this writing also kno…

Storage vendors want to cash in with IPOs

Storage vendors are hoping to cash in on the recent public outing made by VMWare on the stock market.
Earlier this month the virtualisation giant, owned by EMC, went for an initial public offering (IPO). On the first day of trading it gave the firm a market cap of about $19bn (£9.6bn).Utility storage vendor 3Par has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed IPO. The vendor, which recently united with Network Appliance to challenge EMC, is looking to raise about $100m. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined.
Read at VNUnet.

IT security pressures increase with virtualization

Chad Lorenc, information security officer at a financial services company that he asked not be named, said that IT security and compliance projects are far more complex undertakings on virtual machines than on servers that run a single operating system and application.

“It is a very complex issue. I’m not sure you are going to find a single solution” for addressing security concerns in a virtual environment, Lorenc said.

“There is no silver bullet,” he added. “You have to tackle [security] from a people, process and technology standpoint.” Read the rest at CW.

VMinstall.com: Your place to post your VMware Admin and Engineer Resume

What do they do?

VMinstall.com is a new state-of-the-art Drupal powered website that is focused on VMware Virtual Infrastructure support. Our blogs and forums are dedicated to helping organizations and technicians with tips about installing and troubleshooting Virtual Center, ESX Server, VMotion, clustering, DRS, iSCSI, storage, cloning, sercurity, best practices, step-by-step checklists, project management, etc.We are open to new ideals for our VMinstall.com website and include a forum for VM install gigs, jobs and projects from across the county. VMinstall.com is also be a place where our members can post their resumes and contact information so organizations and businesses searching for skilled help can quickly find you to help out with their VM install projects.VMinstall.com knows VMware the leader of virtualization and with such a great oppurtinity, we hope to emerge as a leader for VM support and services. We invite our guests to create an account on VMinstall.com a…

Yet another White Paper on Virtualization

This time its the Kunetzky group:

Virtualization can present the image that solutions never slow down or fail by
deploying redundant systems. It can optimize the use of systems moment by
moment throughout the day. Costs of hardware and software can be
reduced in a virtual environment without letting staff-related costs go through
the roof. Organizations can put many independent applications on a single
system to make full use of the processing power of today’s systems as they
track Moore’s Law. They could also use virtualization technology to spread
work over many systems to achieve levels of scalability or performance that
was simply unheard of just a few years ago.Ok I missed some cool graphics; some real tips etc but I guess upcoming papers might get a bit beefier. Check it out anyways.

User Profile Management in VDI deployment

There are millions of ways to management and contain the user profiles, here's one:

Even so, we’ve found that profiles are still accumulating across machines, and occupying more space on the hosted desktops than we’d really prefer. So we had to come up with a way to get rid of these leftover profile remnants. That’s where Delprof.exe came in.Great utility, yes, but almost useless in the logout script because it won’t delete the current user’s profile (as it’s still loaded at that point). We needed a different way of handling it, so I came up with this little batch file-wannabe that is scheduled to run from the VirtualCenter server on a nightly basis:dsquery computer “ou=Hosted Desktops,dc=example,dc=com” \
-o rdn > vdi-list.txt
sed -f stripquotes.sed vdi-list.txt > vdi-list2.txt
for /f “tokens=1” %1 in (vdi-list2.txt) do \
delprof.exe /q /i /c:\\%1 /d:1 Read the rest.

Green IT Infrastructure: The trend in catching on in the developing countries!

In a couple of days I will be traveling to Africa, again! If you could follow my trip last year on RealTravel, then this time you're in for a real treat again!

I will be doing the following:
Virtualization Training Workshop: Here I'll train the staff, that I hired for the international project, in Virtualization . This will be a ILT+ CBT combo class. I liked the idea when I attended an advanced ADS designing class last year, it was "self paced learning" . Obviously I will customize this training so as to put the candidates to proper test so that they can get into the workshop mode and bake (and break and then replay) a lot of virtual appliances.
Green Virtual Infrastructure Evangelizing : I will be presenting a "green template" and may also be interviewed by the press there, I will discuss issues about green and environment friendly data centers. I will be traveling across the country to do that.Anyways a lot of things will be posted when I'm there, but f…

Intel: Hardening security with vPro virtualization

After months of hyping, Intel is rolling out an update to its vPro technology featuring improved hardware-based security and manageability tools for its chips.

The latest rev of vPro will see the introduction of Intel's hardware-based Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), which the company says will defend PCs against attacks aimed at stealing sensitive information. Using virtualization, TXT can isolate an application within the hardware particulars and a memory partition, which will stop all other hardware or software from accessing the application. TXT also allows new software to be booted into a trusted state. When the application is removed, it purges all the application's data and information from the system.

Austin, El Reg compadre reporting.

Security: VMware Workstation 6 vulnerability

vulnerable software: VMware Workstation 6.0 for Windows, possible some other VMware products as well
type of vulnerability: DoS, potential privilege escalation

I found a vulnerability in VMware Workstation 6.0 which allows an unprivileged user in the host OS to crash the system and potentially run arbitrary code with kernel privileges.

The issue is in the vmstor-60 driver, which is supposed to mount VMware images within the host OS. When sending the IOCTL code FsSetVoleInformation with subcode FsSetFileInformation with a large buffer and underreporting its size to at max 1024 bytes, it will underrun and potentially execute arbitrary code.

Security focus

Northcliffe tests VMware's VI3 before the Exchange's rollout

Bola Rotibi, principal analyst at Ovum, said that virtualisation was the next logical step in testing, as the technology becomes more viable. "It makes more sense economically to use virtualisation. Virtualising the test environment allows users to run what-if scenarios much more cost-effectively," she said.

Kieran Head, project manager at Northcliffe Media, said the scale model running in VMware allowed the IT team to run a proof of concept project to test how to conduct a roll-out.

And the roll-out is in the conventional infrastructure, I presume?

See the link here.

South Africa's Pheonix Software to distribute Parallels

With Parallels software's server product coming up, they look to explore the developing countries for a hefty share of SMB market.

Phoenix Software, one of the foremost software republishers, and Parallels, leading provider of innovative desktop and server virtualisation software for the Windows, Macintosh, and Linux communities, have finalised an agreement whereby Phoenix Software will serve as the exclusive distributor of Parallels Desktop for Mac, Parallels' market leading solution that enables users to run Windows, Linux, or any other x86 operating systems at the same time as Mac OS X.

Through the development of ground-breaking virtualisation solutions for both servers and workstations, Parallels is helping to alleviate the cost and headache associated with a traditional IT infrastructure.

Virtual IT infrastructures help corporates lower operating costs, improve user productivity, and maximise hardware value by reducing the total number of machines needed to complete critical…