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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Above the fold: April 29

Recent articles of interest in the trade press. (And check out Planet V12n as well — I’m very impressed these days with the quality of blog conversation, both strategic and tactical/technical that’s going on there. Check out Scott’s take on what’s been going on: Virtualization Short Take #6)

  • Virtually Speaking: It’s Good to Be King (ServerWatch)
  • VMware’s R&D Lab: A Little Piece of Palo Alto in the Heart of Kendall Square (Xconomy)
  • Hyper-V won’t sail past VMware on price alone, users say (TechTarget)
  • VMware Claims Citrix Isn’t Telling Whole XenDesktop Story (eWeek)
  • Virtualization’s Dirty Little Secrets (InfoWorld)
  • VMware talks green after strong Q1 (Techworld)
  • Lenovo Agrees To Sell VMware In China (Information Week)
  • AMD Announces Deals With Dell, VMware (Virtualization Review)
  • The 5 quickest returns on your green investment (Computerworld)
  • Virtualization creates shift in IT job market (SearchServerVirtualization.com)
  • Virtualization has come a long way, baby (Geek.com)
  • Wanted: Virtualization Engineer, Referee Exp. Pref. (GigaOm)
  • IBM Offering Macs To Some Workers Using Windows (Information Week)
  • How to Be Green in Your Data Center: Four Suggestions (eWeek)

Thanks, Nina!

(Note to self: drop a line to Dugie now that he’s been on board for a while. I want to know what’s making him go Phwaar too!)

Recently from VMware Blogs

Here are a few posts found recently on Planet VMware — blogging here at VMware seems to be accelerating!

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 Launches: Enhanced MacBook Air, Time Machine Support. Adds Simplified Chinese Localization. from Team Fusion

The VMware Fusion team would like to announce the general availability of VMware Fusion 1.1.2, a free update for all VMware Fusion users.  You can download this newest version here.

VMware
Fusion 1.1.2 now provides better support for the MacBook Air, enables
Time Machine backup of virtual machines, adds support for Windows XP
SP3 Boot Camp partitions, and is now available in Simplified Chinese.

VMware Earnings and the Value for Partners from Mike DiPetrillo

 

Today (April 22) VMware announced 1st quarter earnings. The company
did quite well and surpassed analyst expectations. Overall the company
did $438 million in revenue for the quarter. What really gets me
excited about this is the opportunity for the 14,000 partners out there
selling VMware solutions. Every day I go to customers with partners or
go to partner sites to do training. Whenever I’m with a partner they
always want to know what’s in it for them. Why should they be selling
VMware when they’re also Citrix and Microsoft partners and both of
those companies have virtualization solutions. Here’s my take….

Using the VMware Visual Studio plugin from Workstation Zealot

 

Last year for Workstation 6.0, one of the features we added was a
plugin for Visual Studio 2005 that allows developers to debug a project
(native and managed C/C++, C#, or Visual Basic) inside of a Windows
virtual machine (specifically Windows 98, Windows 2000, and later).
All of you Windows developers know how much of a pain it is to support
multiple versions of Windows, but this tool is designed to make that
process much, much easier.  The Visual Studio Integrated Debugger (VSID
in short) plugin utilizes Visual Studio remote debugging technology to
allow you to debug a project inside of a VM as if you were debugging on
your host computer with the click of one button.

New and Updated VMware Security Advisories for ESX and VC from VMware Security Blog

 

Recently ESX and VirtualCenter (VC) patches were released which -
among others – fix several security issues. These issues are detailed
in a new advisory, VMSA-2008-0007, and in the updated advisories VMSA-2008-0002.1, 0003.1, 0004.1, 0006.1. Please take some time out of your busy schedule to review your deployments and update where appropriate.

You can manage VMware Server with PowerShell too. from VI Powershell Blog

 

Blogger John Tuffin has made an entry about his experiments managing VMware Server 2.0 Beta with PowerShell. To summarize, you can manage VMware Server with PowerShell, in much the same way you manage VMware ESX.

Free Downloadable Version of VMware Server 1.0 Training Now Available from VMware PhD

 

The downloadable version of the VMware Server 1.0 training currently
posted on the VMware eLearning YouTube and Blip.TV channels is now
available!

Official VC plugin documentation released; new SDK book on the way

VMware has released an official guide to writing VC plugins: see VMware Infrastructure (VI) SDK 2.5. Note:Support for VI Client Plug-ins is Experimental, and is subject to change in future releases.

VI Client Plug-ins

With the release of VirtualCenter 2.5, VMware offers third-party
developers and partners the ability to extend the VMware Infrastructure
Client (VI Client) with their own product-specific menu selections or
toolbar icons that provide access to external, Web-based functionality.
These extensions, or VI Client Plug-ins, comprise the
set of configuration files, URLs, icons, and Web-server-hosted
resources that work together to display extended menu items, icons, and
other user interface (UI) items in the VI Client and provide access to
the external functionality.

Stu @ vinternals likes it. Link: vinternals: First Official VI Client Plug-in Document Released – round of applause for VC architects / devs!.

Outstanding! On the coding side, it looks so straight forward that
even a hacker like me should be able to put something together fairly
easily… running off the example in the document, you could pretty
easily add a context menu item to ESX hosts that fires up the out of
band management web interface (ie the iLO page for HP kit) of that
particular host.

In related news, Schley Andrew Kutz, who managed to reverse engineer the plugin SDK before this, is writing a book for O’Reilly. He’s asking for feedback and/or code samples at VMware Communities. Link: VMware Communities: Announcing "Programming and Managing ….

This book will be the definitive guide for systems administrators
and developers eager to make use of the VI and CIM SDKs. The book shows
their use with several popular languages, including the VI Perl Toolkit
and VI Toolkit (for Windows) as well as C#, Java, and Python. Advanced
topics, such as creating client plugins and communicating with VMware
through its web service, are also covered.

This text demystifies the VI SDK, transforming the difficult task of searching the VI inventory into a simple one.

Hat tip to Pablo, Scott, David, and Eric for bringing me the news.

Planet V12n is expanding

Planet V12n, our collection of the world’s best virtualization bloggers, is expanding to include 12 new sites . Check out the list below.

We’re also planning a redesign of the blog pages here, including a better way to find VMware blogs (a blog and feed directory) and an update to the planet aggregators.

If you have any suggestions, let me know. Here a few questions that have been on my mind.

  • Is the current 300 character summary ok?
  • Do you need better filtering (keywords/tags, search, etc)?
  • Is it enough of a fire hose that we need to display just titles only like Planet Lotus?
  • Should we display fewer entries like blogs.sun.com?
  • Would you like a separate planet with just virtualization news (as opposed to blog commentary and tech talk)?

Without further ado, here are  new inhabitants of the planet. See sample posts from each at last week’s entry: Bloggers to watch out for. So to all the bloggers and potential bloggers out there: remember to blog what you know; remember to link to each other (giving credit gives good karma); and go forth and virtualize!

*Stu still has some opinions about the direction VC should go (which he should post), but he has also weighed in again: VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 Upgrade Process – Not So Sucky After All!

Register today for VMware Technology Exchange

Register Today for VMware Technology Exchange!

Register Now for VMware Technology Exchange and receive a free developer license for VMware Infrastructure and VMware Workstation products at the event.

Attend VMware Technology Exchange (May 13-14, 2008, San Jose, CA) and meet VMware engineers, product managers and business personnel—and ask questions about product roadmaps, integration points, or about jointly monetizing the virtualization opportunity.

  • VMware roadmaps, products and technology directions
  • Integrating with VMware products (APIs and toolkits)
  • Best practices for developing and running applications in a virtual environment
  • Partner benefits, programs and joint marketing opportunities

If you are a developer, product manager, product planner, architect, alliance manager or marketing manager, VMware Technology Exchange is a must-attend event. Tailored to our partners’ unique needs, we are pleased to offer nearly 50 cutting-edge sessions spanning over five tracks. For further information, please visit our website at www.vmwaretechnologyexchange.com.

Don’t miss the Networking Reception on Tuesday evening. This casual event will provide an exclusive opportunity to meet and network with VMware engineers, product managers, alliances managers, and other partners.

The special discount rate for staying at the Marriott expires on April 22nd, so be sure to make your reservations before it’s too late. Register today!

Use registration code: VMsj08

Announcing the VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit (VDDK) | Developer Center Blog

Link: VMware Communities: Developer Center Blog: Announcing the latest VMware SDK: The VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit (VDDK).

Pablo: You must be excited about releasing the VMware Virtual
Disk Development Kit, can you tell us why our developers should be
interested in it?
Hari: Yes. With VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit we are
enabling a new eco-system of partners to develop solutions that
integrate with VMware virtual disk. The VDDK is an open SDK that
developers can use to build cutting edge applications for creating and
accessing VMware virtual disk storage.

Pablo: What are some of the use cases for using the VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit?
Hari:  Virtual Disk Development Kit provides easy access to VMware virtual disk storage.

This enables a wide range of use-cases for application vendors including:

  • Creation of virtual machine disk files to store backup of physical images
  • Read access to virtual disk to enable off-line centralized scanning of virtual machines for anti-virus
  • Write access to virtual disk to enable off-line centralized patching of virtual machines Read access to virtual disk to enable off-line software package analysis of virtual machines

Four key takeaways from VMworld Europe: OEMs, Security, Automation, Virtual Desktops – The Console

Link: Four key takeaways from VMworld Europe: OEMs, Security, Automation, Virtual Desktops – The Console.

Reza Posted by Réza Malekzadeh
Sr. Director, Product Marketing & Alliances

It is now just over a month since the very first VMworld Europe and
now that the dust has settled it’s a good time for us to share some of
our thoughts on the show. There were a few key announcements at the
event around new technologies we’ve been working on, all of which
demonstrate just how far virtualization has come in terms of being
accepted as a mainstream approach to computing.

VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1 and VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 | VI Team Blog

From our recently-launched VI Team Blog. Link: VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1 and VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 | VI Team Blog.

Last week, VMware released an update to its VMware Infrastructure suite of products and there a few changes worth noting:

- Enhanced hardware monitoring for VMware ESXi

- Support for VMware High Availability (HA) for VMware ESXi

- Support
for Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS) for both VMware ESX and VMware
ESXi, including support for Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) with
Exchange 2007

 

The
enhanced monitoring and alerting for VMware ESXi includes new Common
Information Model (CIM) providers for CPU, system memory, fan, power
supply, and other sensors. This hardware health information can be consumed by VMware VirtualCenter and by third-party management products.

 

This further addresses a common question about VMware ESXi: “How can I manage ESXi without a Service Console?” The answer: standards-based protocols and open interfaces. Migrating
to these remote management tools enables us to completely free the
hypervisor from the operating system, leaving behind a small, 32 MB
kernel. This eliminates common security
vulnerabilities found in general purpose operating systems while making
the hypervisor extremely easy to deploy.

Read on for the details.

Bloggers to watch out for

Virtualization bloggers to watch out for.

vmwarevideos from David Davis. Sample post: VMware’s Official Free E-Learning Video sites (yes, that’s a scoop):

VMware has a couple of free video training
sites that have been brought to my attention and I want to share both
of them with all the VMwareVideos.com readers.

These videos have some good tips in them. There are about 13 videos
at the YouTube site and at least that many over on Blip.tv. … I applaud
VMware for posting these free videos and I hope to see more!

Virtual Enthusiasm by Clint Eschberger. Sample post: Can Virtualization Help My Small Business?

The first question is easy, yes! You can quickly add some features
to a small business that has only been available to enterprises before.
Depending on the needs you can really gain some benefits and savings
from virtualizing a small group of servers.

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
    – You quickly gain the ability to have full backups and disaster
    recovery for your server. Since the servers are essentially files, they
    are more portable and easier to build a process for DR around.
  • Gain Resources
    – This sounds funny since you are essentially consolidating multiple
    physical servers into a few physical servers running a virtualization
    technology on it. However small businesses generally do not have as
    large of a budget for buying a lot of physical servers to handle new
    tasks. This leads to consolidating many apps on each server and causing
    potential problems or not getting the needed application. Now adding an
    additional server is much cheaper.

VMware World by Jack. Sample post: Legacy of Teaching.

(Hey, folks, be careful about using VMware in your name. Someone could be confused that you are a VMware employee or otherwise speaking for us. I don’t even speak for VMware. We’d prefer you pick some other V-word when starting your new blog.)  

If you pass on your knowledge of VMware to those you work with, they in
turn will be better able to support the environment and assist those
who may need help. Also, they can begin to serve as “ambassadors” of
VMware to management and non-management which can come in very useful
when you are attempting to prove the concept of a new VMware
implementation. We all know some companies are resistant to changes.
Therefore, anything you can do to increase understanding of a new
system will benefit you. By taking the time to teach those around you
about the VMware you widen the knowledge and acceptability of the
platform.

One of the biggest challenges I faced starting out at
the organization I am with now was gaining the trust in VMware from
upper management. …

vmhero by Ryan. Sample post: The Time is Now

For decades, we have launched new ventures and moved forward with a
malignant carelessness for the sustainability of it all.  I believe
that one of the biggest challanges ahead of us is to keep the momentum
of this innovation going while simultaneously fueling a revitalization
of the environment and creating sustainable practices in IT.

With Virtualization maturing and penetrating data centers worldwide,
the time is now!  I urge you to consider the “Green” aspects of your
virtualization initiatives and make it part of your plan.

virtualization stuff by Mark Mac Auley. Sample post: Actual ROI of Virtualization

The cost savings moved the discussions along from ‘What is this
virtualization thing everyone is talking about’ to ‘How do we build a
plan to virtualize parts of our infrastructure?’. I will say that in my
personal experience, the impacts were pretty dramatic in a data center
move I was a part of. Here are the numbers:

Overall Consolidation ratio: 20:1

1,000 Wintel boxes into 50 Sun Blades running VMWare
8,000 square feet to ~200 Square feet
Cooling is 1/10 of what it was
Power is 1/10 of what it was

Virtualization Pro by a team of bloggers brought together by SearchVMware.com. Sample post: Use the VMware Converter bootable CD for the difficult conversions

Depending on the scope of your virtual environment, it is likely
that physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions have taken place. The P2V
process truly enables VMware administrators to put physical systems
into virtual environments. However, you may have come across a system
that for some reason will not go through the normal conversion. In such
cases the VMware Converter
bootable CD may be an option. It provides a zero-transaction state that
may be a favorable environment to perform P2V conversions.

Good candidates for using the VMware Converter bootable CD include:

  • Systems that run a database engine,
  • have real-time systems that may not convert correctly,
  • or systems where the VMware Converter agent otherwise fails.

x86 virtualization is no newcomer. Sample post: New Job Title: Virtual Network Administrator

Potential future job posting:

Virtual Network Administrator

Responsibilities: A virtual network administrator
oversees virtual computer networks to ensure that they function
smoothly. A virtual network consists of a grouping of virtual machines
that communicate with each other on a physical computer known as a
virtual machine host server, on which computer files, programs, and
other information are stored. A network may be as small as two or three
virtual machines or as large as hundreds when paravirtualization is
used.

InformationWeek’s Virtualization Blog by Joe Hernick. Sample post: VM Sprawl?

You were at that wall. You needed a boost.
Your business partners needed faster turn around, your budget dollars
got crunched. Everyone else was doing it. Maybe you just though it
would be cool.

You virtualized your first production server.

And it was good. It was great. You repurposed some VMware licenses
from your test lab, grabbed some under-utilized hardware and went to
town. Print servers? Check. Ten to one consolidation. Secondary domain
controllers? Why not put one on the print host? Great. Marketing
database running at single-digit CPU loads? Why not guest that on the
new eight-way box in the lab; Marketing will never know…

vinf.net by Simon Gallagher. Sample post: How to Convert Virtual Center from Evaluation to Licensed Version

I can’t believe I missed this, on a couple of platforms I’ve built
I’ve had to start with an eval licence and then move to a proper
licence but could never find how to change virtual center from eval to
licenced mode.

ESX itself was fine you can do that via the VC GUI (below)

image

But despite a lot of googling I could never find out how to set
Virtual Centre itself to use a licence server – so I ended up
reinstalling/repairing and then selecting the option to use a licence
server, my bad – it’s actually in the VI client GUI d’oh as Homer would
say!

vinternals by Stuart Radnidge is ripping us a new one lately. Sample post: VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 – Upgrade Process Still Sucks!

For anyone running VC 2.5 already, it’s not worth upgrading IMHO. The
release notes really don’t provide any compelling reason to upgrade
you’re running a lot of ESXi and want non-experimental HA (which
suggests that the HA code has been moved into the VC agent). For anyone
doing fresh installs or upgrading from 2.0.x it would be worth going
straight to Update 1 though.

Desktop Virtualization from an unnamed blogger who is welcome to contact me. Sample post: New features in VMware Server 2.0 beta 2

- VMware Infrastructure Web Access has gone through truly amazing transformation – it’s very responsive and much more intuitive – I really like it

- Independent console – I’ve been longing for this
functionality since the very beginning. It only makes sense that you
can detach your console window from the rest of your browsing
environment. Now, that’s a remote console as it should be, definitely!

VM-Aware by Paul Shannon. Sample post: MCS StorageView

Alongside a few other cool tools MightyCare Solutions have released StorageView.

This handy little app will give you visibility of your Virtual Machines’ disk status in a very friendly GUI.

Read all about it here and download it here.

It’s like a VCR for your VM: Execution Record / Replay in Workstation

Dear Workstation Team,

Please don’t tease us. Where is the VAssert video demo so we can Digg it?

Sincerely,
All the software developers in the world

Link: Enhanced Execution Record / Replay in Workstation 6.5 | Workstation Zealot.

So, what’s so cool about that? Well, one advantage of
execution record / replay is its interactivity. For instance, let’s say that
you decided while replaying a session that you would have liked to do something
different then what was done at record time. Maybe you want to alter some of
your actions half-way thorough the recording, or change the settings of some
software running on the VM. Well, you can “take the VM live” as we call it –
essentially, stop replaying and start interacting “live” with it from exactly
the point of your choice. I guess one could think of the recorded session as
prolonged super-snapshot of the VM over a long period of time, which allows you
access and modification of said VM at any point during this time. 

And if that’s not exciting enough for you, let me give you
another example of this feature’s power. As everyone who writes code knows, code
tends to have bugs. And some bugs, like cockroaches, tend to be worse then
others. Anyone who has ever had to deal with a deadlock, a race condition, or
any timing-related issue for that matter knows just how annoying and difficult these
problems can be. You are sitting there all pumped up and ready to fix the
problem, but Murphy’s Law guarantees that it just refuses to even happen for
you in the first place – despite anything your try. But sure enough, the second
someone else uses your application – or, better yet, you try to demo it – there
it is. Sigh. And you are just left wishing you could somehow magically capture
the bug as it happens, to be able to investigate it later… But wait, VMware has
just right kind of magic! Record the execution of your VM, catch the issue in
action once, and then have eternal access to it with the virtual debugger.