Archive for the 'VMware' Category

Cloud OS: VMware vSphere 4 Launches

CLOUD OS: VSPHERE 4 LAUNCHES

This week, VMware upgraded its main product line VMware Infrastructure 3, to deliver IT infrastructure as a service internally.

SaaS, or “Software as a Service” is a term often seen in discussions of Cloud Computing, where these services are offered remotely from data centers over the Web. With vSphere, companies can now do this internally as well. VMware is calling it “the industry’s first operating system for building the internal cloud.”

vSphere was foreshadowed with the announcement of  VDC-OS (Virtual Data Center Operating System) last Summer at the Las Vegas VMworld Conference, as I wrote about here.

Virtualization is a disruptive technology of sorts, in that it breaks the “hard link” between hardware and software, or more specifically between the Operating System and hardware. A VMware virtual machine (VM) can create an OS that is essentially hardware vendor independent — as long as it runs on x86 processors — and encapsulate it to run on any number of platforms. Indeed multiple OS instantiations can run on a single physical server. The impact of this is phenomenal: it can undermine the value proposition of an “integrated” solution from some server vendors. In this way, it can reduce capital and operating expenditures, even as information explodes.

There are several capabilities of this new release that are impressive. Here are the ones that caught my eye:

Efficiency:

  • 8000 DB transactions per second per virtual machine. Can you say OLTP?
  • Over 200,000 IOPS per ESX host. Can you say Ultra Enterprise Sun IBM “Oracle”-Fire 15000 High Performance Computing? [I launched the StarFire 10000 when I was at Sun.]

Control:

  • Ability to control an entire virtual data center from a single pane of glass. VMware calls this the ability to “holistically manage” infrastructure elements.
  • Access to the Cisco Nexus 1000v “virtual switch.”

Choice:

  • Storage VMotion permits moving the VM from where it lives — on the storage — to other kinds of storage as needs require. This would allow migrating for example, from expensive Fibre Channel disk drives to less expensive SAS drives, or even changing storage protocols.
  • Fault Tolerance permits a “ghost” version of a VM to run on another physical server, in “lock step” but invisibly, such that should the original VM or server fail, the fault tolerant version will immediately become available on the second server.


Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

VMworld 2008: Day 2 Review – Virtually Anything is Possible

VMWORLD 2008: DAY 2 REVIEW – VIRTUALLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

VMworld is not just a trade show about virtualization, it uses virtual technologies and Web 2.0 technologies in a way I’ve never seen before. Here’s an example:

Blogging:

IMG_0145Not only is blogging encouraged, but it is honored. There is a special set of tables in the keynote auditorium for bloggers to set up their laptops for blogging. Or in my case, I was Twittering about the keynote with my iPhone. Indeed, during yesterday’s keynote with with VMware CEO Paul Maritz, the announcer invited attendees to use Twitter to send in their questions. The person next to me was from Denmark and didn’t understand what I was doing. He had never heard of Twitter, so I sent him to Twitter.com. By the way, my real-time “Tweets” (noun form of Twitter) on this show can be found at this link. Note, they’ll appear in reverse chronological order, most recent at the top.

Podcasting:

IMG_0153John Troyer of VMware, blogger and podcaster extraordinaire, was doing several podcasts live from the Communities Lounge at the Solutions Exchange on the show floor. John is very involved in VMware’s blogger community and end user communities. He has lots of community management experience. Here you see John interviewing user moderators from VMware’s communities. You’ll find John at the VMTN Blog and his podcasts here.

Virtual Pavilion:

MainFloorWhile this is a show about virtualization, there is also a virtual show going on at the same time. Eric Nielsen, VMware’s Director of Web Communities showed me around the virtual, online pavilion.

You can access it directly from the VMworld.com website, or from here. It is a two dimensional virtual world that an attendee can navigate through and visit various rooms.

As an attendee navigates around the Virtual Pavilion he or she can see other attendees, participate in contests and games, gain points for answering questions on multiple choice questions, etc. This virtual navigation system is a 3rd party module for Clearspace, the social networking technology that VMworld.com uses. There are even “Expert Sessions” non-synchronous “events” — talks that you need not be present to hear — where a speaker will provide audio, video, content or a whitepaper which is then attached to a forum. The expert will visit daily for the next two weeks to answer any questions.

restroomThe Virtual Pavilion also features 15 “hidden rooms” where you can find special clues, quiz answers, and secret codes for a free t-shirt at the Communities Lounge. One of these hidden rooms is the Restroom, which itself has a portal to a hidden room.

Eric manages VMworld.com year round. It is active not just during the semi-annual shows, but throughout the year. Various Partners have “booths” here. Can you find the “hidden room” in the Dell booth?

Blogs:

And as I mentioned before, the VMworld.com website features attendee blogs as well, found here.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

© Bill Petro – visit the author for more great content.

VMworld 2008: a Veritable Verdant Venture (Green)

TIGVMWORLD 2008: A VERITABLE VERDANT VENTURE

“Green, that’s what it’s all about,” Larry says as he shows me the eco bag that TIG is handing out at the VMworld 2008 show. Many of the booths say “Green IT” right on their signs. Virtualization can contribute to Energy Efficient IT in a number of ways, not the least of which is consolidation and containment of servers, thus reducing power requirements, but also the associated savings in data center cooling.

From the initial registration for the conference, there has been an emphasis on Green. During the registration process, there is a discussion of transportation options to Las Vegas and their carbon footprint implications.

Upon arrival, the notebook that attendees received comes with a pen made from recycled cardboard and a wooden clip.

Timbuk2BagIn the VMware Store on premise, there is a Timpuk2 messenger bag for sale. It’s a special limited edition of 75, made from the recycled banners from last year’s VMworld 2007 in San Francisco, available in blue, black, orange and green. The beanies are made from recycled cotton, and the polo shirts from recycled polyester. No new polyesters need give their life to make a new polo shirt.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

© Bill Petro – visit the author for more great content.

VMworld 2008: Day 1 Keynote

Paul MaritzVMWORLD 2008: DAY 1 KEYNOTE

Following yesterday’s opening event, both the Technology Exchange and Partner Day, the conference started in earnest today with a keynote by Paul Maritz, VMware President and CEO.

Paul is quite an articulate speaker, sounding both like a savvy businessman and an erudite professor. For many, his accent is difficult to place, is it Australian, South African? Turns out he was born in Zimbabwe, next door to South Africa, but he went to school in Cape Town, South Africa. Someone remarked that he pronounces some words like Sean Connery. Paul did work at University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Sean Connery grew up in nearby Edinburgh, Scotland.

Back to the keynote, Paul amplified many of the concepts introduced and announced yesterday, specifically by drawing on the past to explain where VMware is going in the future. I found the history a good review of many of the events I’d witnessed in my own long career with computing, and a fascinating basis for describing where he sees the company going, as well as a foundation for the many announcements this week. How did he do this?

Two Models

He went back to the ’60s and ’70s (mainframes) and outlined the contrast between the Centralized vs. De-centralized models of computing. While he did not say so, the industry has swung between them several times over the last 30 years. He pointed out that we initially saw mainframes in the early days, and the proliferation of PCs in the ’80s. The early ’90s saw the rise of x86 Servers as well as the rise of the Client/Server model.

A Third Alternative

He quipped that it’s ironic that he is now profiting from his previous sins in promoting the Client/Server model, which got us into a world of hurt so that we now seek another path, the best of both the Centralized and the De-centralized models. The advent of the Web in the mid-’90s offered the promise of this. He paid tribute to the founders of VMware, who started the company ten years ago back in 1998.

VMware’s Initial Offerings

He described VMware’s early efforts with both VMware Workstation (on the client, or De-centralized side in 1999) as well as the early VMware Server (GSX, on the Centralized side in 2000.) He pointed out that many other companies are currently virtualizing on the Centralized (server) side, but reminded us that VMware has done both sides, but raised the bar in 2004 with the introduction of VMware Infrastructure, a higher level of abstraction than either Server or Client side virtualization.

Paul pointed out that the “Best of Both” on the Web is now more promising with a variety of new (Web 2.0) technologies like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML), Ruby on Rails, and Python. 2007 saw the launch of VMware’s Fusion, virtualization of Windows on the Macintosh and the popularity of Cloud computing.

It’s The Platform

At this point, I reflected that during my career I’d seen software engineers write to whatever the leading “platform” was at the time. In the ’80s it was Unix, and particularly SunOS (Solaris). The virtuous cycle had the platform supporting applications that led to more volume… which made the platform more viable. With the rise in popularity of Windows, it became the platform of choice. In the mid-’90s it was Java, with the promise of “Write Once, Run Anywhere” across a variety of devices. But last year, it became clear to me, especially following VMworld 2007 in San Francisco, that VMware was becoming the “platform”. Both the Press and the Analysts “got it,” and Wall Street saw a huge jump in VMware’s stock price following the ESXi announcement and others.

The New Platform

VDC-OS So, what’s the new “platform”? Paul explained the Virtual Datacenter OS, or VDC-OS. It is a way to support a variety of current popular “platforms” line .Net, Windows, Linux, Java, Software As A Service… with Application vServices that provide Availability, Security, and Scalability. This rests upon Infrastructure vServices called vCompute, vStorage, and vNetwork… as well as Cloud vServices. These in turn live on either the On-premise cloud, or an Off-premise Cloud (for additional resources.) Meanwhile, all of this can be managed by vCenter (the rebranded Virtual Center management framework) which handles both Application Management at the top end and Infrastructure Management at the backend.

To this end, many announcements fit into this new, higher level of abstraction. Once again, VMware raises the bar.

Thanks for coming along,

BillPetro.com

© Bill Petro – visit the author for more great content.

VMworld in Vegas

VMworldVMWORLD IN VEGAS

This year’s VMworld, at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas September 15-18 looks to be the place where all things virtual will occur. Last year’s event in San Francisco attracted 10,000 attendees, this year’s conference in Las Vegas expects 14,000. The VMworld.com website is using Jive Software’s Clearspace social networking platform — enabling attendees to participate in discussion threads, send and receive private messages, create their schedule online, and even blog from it.

I’ll be blogging from this website daily, as well as Twittering more frequently from the conference about what’s hot from the keynotes and sessions.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

© Bill Petro – visit the author for more great content.