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Monthly Archives: January 2008

RTFM’s “Upgrading to ESX 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Experiences”

Mike Laverick again shares another screenshot-filled pdf guide, this time with his upgrade notes. Overall it went OK, but he had a few issues with the VC upgrade. As always, you should backup, snapshot, and try it on non-production machines first.

Link: RTFM Education » Blog Archive » Upgrading to ESX 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Experiences.

The ESX upgrade part is relatively easy – given that the upgrade process can modify your configuration (as in my SSH example) and that moving a VM off an ESX host is simple. I think I would still prefer to wipe my ESX hosts and do a clean install – adding them back into VirtualCenter. This is not without consequences. It means losing some of that precious performance data collected over a number of weeks or months.

VMware Fusion 1.1.1 Launches; Adds One Cool Feature, Addresses 15 Issues

Vmwarefusionboxshotlowres

The VMware Fusion Team is happy to announce that VMware
Fusion 1.1.1
is now available, addressing 15 issues reported by our customers.

 VMware Fusion 1.1.1, a free update for current VMware Fusion
customers and available in all the languages Fusion currently ships in, also adds a nifty new feature to transparently remap keyboard shortcuts
when going back and forth between applications in the virtual machine and the
Mac, regardless of what view the virtual machine is in.

 For example, VMware Fusion now remaps Command –X from the
keyboard to Ctrl-X in the virtual machine whether in Full Screen, Single Window
or Unity. The same remapping happens for Command-Z/-C/-V/-P/-A/-F.  Previously, VMware Fusion only did this
remapping in Unity mode.

What this means to users, is that when copying something
from the Mac side to paste into the virtual machine, and vice versa, you no
longer have to remember “Is it Ctrl-V, or Command-V to paste here? Which
machine am I interacting with?”

The
effect is a more integrated blending of the two operating systems, so your Mac
and Windows work together seamlessly, where the user only has to remember one set of keyboard shortcuts! 

Keyboard remapping can be turned on and off in the VMware
Fusion > Preferences dialog.

To download VMware Fusion 1.1.1, go to: 

http://www.vmware.com/download/fusion/ 

For a complete list of changes, go to: 

http://www.vmware.com/support/fusion/doc/releasenotes_fusion.html#new111

~The VMware Fusion Team

How the Hypervisor is Death By a Thousand Cuts to the Network IPS/NAC Appliance Vendors

Christofer Hoff talks about how NAC (Network Access Control) appliance vendors are coping in a world where all compute nodes are virtualized, all nodes are flying around with VMotion, all traffic is going through virtual switches, and you’re trying to protect access to the cloud — is that like nailing Jello to the wall?

Link: Rational Survivability: UPDATED: How the Hypervisor is Death By a Thousand Cuts to the Network IPS/NAC Appliance Vendors.

Virtualization is causing IPS and NAC appliance vendors some real pain
in the strategic planning department.  I’ve spoken to several product
managers of IPS and NAC companies that are having to make some really
tough bets regarding just what to do about the impact virtualization is
having on their business. …

It’s especially hard for vendors whose IPS/NAC software is tied to
specialty hardware, unless of course all you care about is enforcing at
the "edge" — wherever that is, and that’s the point.  The demarcation
of those security domain diameters has now shrunk.  Significantly, and
not just for servers, either.  With the resurgence of thin clients and
new VDI initiatives, where exactly is the client/server boundary? …

…and it’s going to get even more hairy as the battle for the
architecture of the DatacenterOS also rages.  The uptake of 10Gb/s
Ethernet is also contributing to the mix as we see
customers:

  • Upgrading from servers to blades
  • Moving from hosts and switches to clusters and fabrics
  • Evolving from hardware/software affinity to gird/utility computing
  • Transitioning from infrastructure to service layers in “the cloud”

He also points to Chris Silva @ Forrester with much the same concerns:

Server virtualization blurs segmentation models. … Client virtualization proliferates MAC addresses and blurs endpoints.  … Application virtualization hides setting and blurs endpoint status.

Challenges of Desktop Virtualization

From Massimo Re Ferre’:  Why Desktop Virtualization is not as easy as Server Virtualization. He brings up a number of barriers to thin client computing that have remained true over the years. I do think that this is the psychological one is the most important — ever since Apple II’s and IBM PC’s began sneaking into corporations, they’ve been my personal computer. Even if the end user experience with thin client computing is fine, it still feels like the IT department is taking power away from me, the end user. All that being said, however, everything I hear says full steam ahead for VDI deployments.

- End-user Experience. There is a
big difference between virtualizing a server and virtualizing a desktop
from an end-user perspective. You, as a CIO / Sys Admin, can virtualize
a server or even the whole server farm and no one at your company would
even notice it. It’s just your own decision to do that or not to. In a
desktop virtualization scenario, as soon as you start deploying the
first thin client you are opening it up to the whole company.
Immediately you have exposed your decision to dozens / hundreds /
thousands of  other individuals that, for good reasons or political
reasons, will start to challenge you. Good reasons might be technical
limitations that you have to compromise with as of today, limitations
for which a thin client can sometimes hardly cope, in terms of local
device attachment support / multimedia video performance / flexibility
/ off-line capabilities etc etc, with a standard desktop deployment. I
can assure you that no single "average end-user" would ever realize
that their mail system in the back is now running on a vm whereas
yesterday it was physical; however even the more "IT-candid end-user"
would understand that he / she is using Outlook from a "little box
where I cannot even attach my iPOD anymore" as opposed to the PC he /
she was used to! And there is when political problems start.

Managing VMware with Hyperic

Hyperic_3
The good folks from Hyperic and Mosso have put together a nice recorded presentation on managing the operations of your virtual infrastructure — keeping track of your virtual appliances as they are VMotioned around your pool, maintaining performance history across migrations, comparing guest and host metrics, things like that. Stacey Schneider shares the story on the Hyperic blog. Mosso (a hosting provider of over 35K web sites) also shares some war stories about firing up multiple copies of their web servers when one of their customers publishes his annual Macworld coverage on his blog.

One of the Mosso guys — not sure if it’s Jason or Jonathan — also repeats some outdated conventional wisdom about what kinds of workloads are appropriate to virtualize. From a hosting provider’s perspective, I can see keeping it simple, but be aware that you might be surprised at what is virtualizable these days. As always, the answer is ‘it depends’ on the characteristic of your particular workload, but many of our customers are virtualizing all workloads by default and are running their RDBMS applications happily in their virtual infrastructure.

The Virtualization Adoption Lifecycle: new blog vmMBA

From VMware’s Gerod Carfantan, a new blog vmMBA, "Exploring the Business Side of Virtualization." Here’s an excerpt from his latest article: vmMBA.com: The Virtualization Adoption Lifecycle.

Level 5 – "Business Transformation [2008]

 

This is the year of Business Transformation through virtualization. 

Some organizations got a head start on Business Transformation in 2006-2007 through the uses of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Virtual Software Lifecycle Automation (VSLA) tools like Lab Manager.
These tools allowed them to change the way development infrastructure
or desktop services were built and managed, without transforming their
production server infrastructure.  We’re seeing an increased adoption
of those solutions, but my focus here is on the transformation of the
way production servers are architected, built, managed, and
commercialized.

Another key development is the concept of
"Transient VMs".  Traditional (physical) server architecture means
static servers, built for a purpose, and those servers typically "stick
around" for a long, long time.  A server that is powered on and placed
on the network is a server that must be patched and managed.  Transient
VMs are those that are created for a purpose, but then may be archived
or destroyed as required. 

Examples may include test VMs (clones of production, perhaps), development environments in Lab Manager,
or legacy applications in VMs that can be powered off and archived for
compliance reasons.  Plus, the great thing about powered-off VMs these
days is that they can be patched with VMware Update Manager (in other
words, the best of both worlds: a patchable VM that doesn’t need to be
managed on a day-to-day basis).

A third development is the use
of advanced automation with virtualization.  VMs, because of their
portability and flexibility, are a much better object for automation
than physical machines.  This has given rise to solutions such as Dunes VS-O (now part of VMware), which automates hundreds of workflows that normally would be performed manually.

A
fourth development is the fact that organizations (both outsourcers and
internal IT shops) are offering new services that use virtualization at
their core.  These includes Disaster Recovery (using internal assets
instead of third parties), on-demand computing, or hosted virtual
desktop.  For outsourcers in particular, it means that they can get new
revenue streams, without increasing their customer’s overall IT spend
(usually, the customer gets more revenue, and the customer reduces
costs).

A combination of organizational experience, experience
in the systems integrator community, and product capability has given
us the "perfect storm" in 2008 for business transformation.

Can I have the Check, Please? | VMware: Virtual Reality

Kenon Owens over at the new VMware: Virtual Reality blog takes on check box marketing. If you call something a "resource pool" if it’s really just a bulk configuration option? Is an initial placement of a VM the same as DRS? Or for that matter, is quick migration really the same as VMotion?

Link: Can I have the Check, Please? | VMware: Virtual Reality.

So as you can see, they are trying to
marginalize our advances by saying their minimal features are
equivalent to our feature rich and fully baked products. Take a look at
the table below and see if their capabilities warrant a check.

 

Citrix XenServer

Enterprise

Microsoft

Hyper-V

VMware

Infrastructure 3

Continuous Optimization – Across Physical Host Machines

-

-

Optimized Initial Placement of Virtual Environments on Power On

Distributed Power Management

-

-

Aggregate Collections of Hardware Resources for

-

-

Create Child Pools for dynamic resource distribution

-

-

Multi-VM Resource Guarantees

-

-

Live Migration of Virtual Environments

-

To
be honest, though, check marks aren’t enough. If we were simply selling
"Speeds and Feeds" you would see that we blow the competition away, but
at VMware, we aren’t creating features, we are providing solutions. We
are helping customers  solve their real world problems that go way
beyond server consolidation.

Virtual desktop blog: VECD licensing brief

A clarification about VECD licensing from Warren Ponder at the Virtual Desktop Blog. Warren is referring to Rich Brambley’s posting over at VM /ETC about The hidden cost of VDI – VECD. Note that in all of yesterday’s sound-and-fury from Microsoft, they did reduce the VECD license cost from $78 to $23 dollars.

Link: VMware Communities: Virtual Desktop Blog: VMware VDI – Understanding VECD Licensing.

The initial white paper released explaining VECD created more
confusion than clarity. I know I read it many times and each time, I
came away with a new interpretation. Fortunately I have some close
contacts at Microsoft I was able to sync up with, back in September, at
VMworld. VECD was top of the list to get clarified. Who better to hear
it from the horses mouth. At VMworld Microsoft was handing out a
recently completed license brief that had yet to be published on the
Microsoft web site.

This license brief as well as my conversation with the owner at
Microsoft, went a long way in clarify things for me. Unfortunately, I
failed to share it had posted when it did. I recommend, Anyone
interested in better understanding VECD should read this license brief.
It covers VECD for SA and VECD. The document is titled Licensing Vista
for Use with Virtual Machine Technologies and can be found on the Volume Licensing Briefs site.

Four reasons to switch to Fusion: new blog Virtual Reality

VMware: Virtual Reality is a new group blog from VMware that covers virtualization technology and the virtualization landscape. Its motto: "Setting the Record Straight One Post at a Time." Mike DiPetrillo checks in after a hectic day at Macworld and gives us four reasons to switch over to VMware Fusion. (I was there and can vouch for the hectic crowded VMware Fusion booth! -jmt)

Link: The Chaos (aka Macworld) Begins | VMware: Virtual Reality.

Today was my first day in the VMware booth at MacWorld 2008. Man was it crowded! What a show so far with Jobs announcing 4 great new technologies
(my Apple TV thanks you). What really peaked my interest was all of the
people coming by and asking what made VMware Fusion so much better than
Parallels for Mac. Ed Baig
from USA Today even got me on film talking about this very subject. So
here’s my personal (non corporate marketing) rundown on why I think
we’re better than Parallels. For what it’s worth I used Parallels for a
long time since VMware didn’t have anything on the Mac. I loaded up
Fusion since I work for VMware and decided to give it a try. The points
below are what got me to switch. Yeah, I know, you say I would have
switched anyways since I work for the company. Not true. I’m a
technologist and use what works better. Anyhow, here’s the list. For what it’s worth I used Parallels for a long time since VMware didn’t have anything on the Mac. I loaded up Fusion since I work for VMware and decided to give it a try. The points below are what got me to switch. Yeah, I know, you say I would have switched anyways since I work for the company. Not true. I’m a technologist and use what works better. Anyhow, here’s the list.

VMware and Thinstall: virtualized apps on your virtualized desktop

Today we’re pleased to announce the acquisition of Thinstall and its agentless application virtualization technology. Here is VMware’s Warren Ponder on the significance on his Virtual Desktop Blog:

Where VMware VDI enables organizations to break the bind between the
Desktop OS and physical desktops systems. Thinstall allows
organizations to break the bind of the Desktop OS and the Applications.
Combined organizations will be able to start delivering dynamic desktop
environments and better manage desktop computing across the enterprise.
With the ThinStall VOS – Virtual Operating System, organizations can
easily package and deploy the most complex applicaitons without
worrying about application conflicts or costly and challenging
application sequencing operations.

For a deep dive, there is an hour-long video, podcasts, white papers, and some downloadable trials on the VMware site: VMware to Acquire Thinstall.

Brian Madden, noted desktop computing expert, calls it "a brilliant move": VMware buys Thinstall! What does it mean?

The key differentiator between Thinstall and the other products is that
Thinstall is "agentless." It doesn’t require any software agent to be
pre-installed on a workstation before Thinstall-packaged applications
can run.  …

The most obvious place for Thinstall in VMware’s solution stack is
for use with their Windows XP and Windows Vista desktop delivery
products, including their VDI solutions for server-based computing scenarios and VMware ACE
for local computing scenarios. Thinstall is great here because the more
apps you package with Thinstall, the less you have to build into your
base Windows disk image that your desktop users will use.

Last September I wrote an article about the importance of a "stateless" desktop disk
(which is important regardless of whether your users are running the
desktop locally or remotely). Owning an application virtualization
capability allows VMware to offer a more complete desktop delivery
solution. …

The bottom line is that it’s no secret I think this is a brilliant move
on VMware’s part. (In fact I wrote "they might as well buy someone like
ThinStall" in an article last October about whether VMware should focus more on applications.) What a great day in our industry!

Alessandro Perilli at virtualization.info: VMware Acquires Thinstall

Given the strong focus of Thinstall on Microsoft platforms, the
acquisition seems to validate an important point, often emerging in
surveys: large majority of virtual machines contain Windows guest OSes.

At the same time this acquition validates once and forever the fact
that application virtualization is considered one the next mainstream
technology for most major players …