Home > Blogs > VMTN Blog > Monthly Archives: May 2008

Monthly Archives: May 2008

Tell us your story – win a MacBook Air!

As you start along the road to a virtualize data center — or enter into any enterprise technology project, for that matter — you realize that all the spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations are nothing compared to hearing from somebody who has actually implemented the solution in question. It’s one reason why going to a conference like VMworld or the Virtualization Forums are so powerful.

That kind of sharing and storytelling is powerful — hearing other satisfied users talking about the benefits of VMware virtualization, the rapid return on investment, and even how they all get promotions and raises for being so smart. It also shows that customers trust VMware more than any other virtualization platform, and that they’re willing to say so.

VMware offers a virtualization solution that gives us the reliability, performance and ease of management we need. For us, the most important thing about VMware products is that they are both hardware and operating-system agnostic. VMware lets us support many operating systems on any hardware, maximizing utilization and flexibility.

Christina Schriver
Director of Advanced Engineering, USi, an AT&T Company

We have so many customers who want to spread the word that we’ve recently revamped the whole section of the website where we list our customer stories. You can slice and dice by industry, country, and what they’re using VMware products to do.

To go along with the new section, we’ve also launched a VMware "Tell Us Your Story" contest where you can tell us your story and win a MacBook Air preloaded with VMware Fusion,  the most seamless way to run Windows on your Mac.

While we have lots of stories there, from startups to the Fortune 100, we would like to hear yours, and this time we’re raising the bar. I don’t want to sell server consolidation short, because that’s where many people start, but in 2008 there is so much more you can do with virtualization. That’s why we’re giving away seven (7) shiny featherweight new MacBook Air laptops (with Fusion) to the best stories in the following categories:

  • Running Microsoft Windows on VMware
  • Running Microsoft Exchange on VMware
  • Running SAP Software on VMware
  • Enterprise Desktop Management
  • Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
  • IT Service Delivery / IT Process Automation
  • Green IT

The contest runs until June 27. See the contest page for rules and more information.

VMware podcasts: quick listens on many topics

I’ve got podcasts on the brain this week, which reminded me that VMware is producing a few nice podcast series as well. They are nicely produced and are a nice length (often 10 or 15 minutes). They don’t fall into the trap of being stiff and over-scripted, don’t have ads, and are very informative.

Here are few recent podcasts:

http://www.vmware.com/resources/podcasts/about_virtualization.html  

  • 5/5 – Introduction to Virtualization. Rob and Jaleh from our product marketing team give a gentle quick overview of this whole virtualization thing. It’s a six minute intro even your boss will get, although it’s probably not quite right for your Mom.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/podcasts/server_consolidation.html

  • 5/12 – Server Consolidation using VMware Infrastructure
  • 5/19 – Building an Adaptive Infrastructure with VMware and HP
  • 5/26 – Server Consolidation Best Practices with VMWare and HP

http://www.vmware.com/resources/podcasts/audio.html

  • VMware VDI Podcast: Desktop Virtualization in Global Enterprise
  • VMware VDI Podcast:  Customers Success
    VMware VDI Podcast: The Desktop Revolution
  • VMware VDI Podcast: Thinstall 

It’s Spring — load them up on your iPod and go for a walk today!

VMware Communities Roundtable podcast #1

For your long weekend’s listening pleasure, we’re very pleased to present the very first episode of the

VMware Communities Roundtable

Each week, we’ll bring together experts and leaders from the VMware Communities and virtualization blogs to discuss the interesting topics in virtualization. Think of this as if
it were a group meeting up at VMworld over a pint to chat about the latest news.

We record the call and make it available for your podcast listening pleasure. Listen with the player over on the right, download directly, or use the podcast feed from TalkShoe.

Our first show ranged from an open source Virtual SAN appliance, how to think about and use snapshots, Service Console security, and Hyper-V comparisons. We had a great start to this new show — thanks to everybody for calling in!

If you’re a virtualization blogger and interested in participating, drop me a line. Also let us know if you liked the show and what topics you’d like to have us cover — either comment here or over on the VMware Communities thread.

Here are some of the things we talked about:

1:28 Steve Beaver reports from the Orlando Virtualization Forums.

6:00 Alex Mittell and Tom Howarth discuss the xtravirt Virtual SAN Appliance.

15:00 Eric Siebert talks about what to do when your snapshot fills your disk and general confusion around ESX snapshots

25:00 Edward Haletky talks about security, network topology and the Service Console

39:00 Dave Mishchenko talks about apples-to-apples comparisons when looking at virtualization platforms

Have a great weekend!

Cross-platform virtualization with Transitive: VMworld.com Expert Session

Transitive VP Ian Robinson holds court for the next two weeks over at VMworld.com at the Cross-platform Virtualization in the Enterprise Expert Session. Transitive does something quite interesting — they can dynamically translate from one machine architecture to another. This can be quite complementary to VMware and our flavor of virtualization. You can, for instance, take your apps compiled for the Solaris/SPARC platform, move them to your new x86 box running ESX and Linux and go to town.

Expert Session Overview
Cross-platform virtualization is the key to extending datacenter
virtual infrastructure beyond the confines of x86-based applications to
embrace all enterprise workloads. By deploying cross-platform
virtualization in conjunction with VMware, enterprise datacenter
managers can extend the acknowledged benefits of VMware (including
consolidation, rapid provisioning and recoverability) to legacy
applications created for non-x86 platforms. This session explains how
cross-platform virtualization works and discusses common enterprise
customer use cases.

If you haven’t dropped by an expert session before, it’s like a hosted chat spread out over two weeks. You do need to grab a (free) vmworld.com account if you haven’t already. Then go let Ian’s prerecorded presentation play out and feel free to ask questions. Ian has promised to stick around and respond to everybody. Ian was at VMware a few years back, so is very up-to-speed about how the VMware and Transitive play well together.

Microsoft’s Virtualization ROI/TCO Calculator gets a failing grade

From our Virtual Reality blog. Link: Microsoft’s Virtualization ROI/TCO Calculator: Our Take | VMware: Virtual Reality.

We Reviewed Microsoft’s ROI/TCO Model

Some of you may have seen Microsoft’s recently released
virtualization ROI/TCO calculator. Briefly, the model purports to offer
an accurate cost/benefit comparison between Microsoft’s Hyper-V
offering and a “Competitive Server Virtualization Solution” – gee I
wonder who the competitive solution is…?  Microsoft is beginning to
advertise the calculator broadly in its partner newsletter and other
email blasts – and we’ve even had customers bring it to our attention.
Mainly, the VMware customers that have alerted us to the Microsoft
ROI/TCO calculator were confused by many of the model’s assumptions and
by the generated results – they wanted our opinion. So, we took a look.

Unfortunately We Had to Give It A Failing Grade

Of course the results were all hypothetical, because Hyper-V is not
yet available, but what we found when running a realistic scenario
through the model and then from reading the report’s fine print, is
that like most Microsoft version 1.0 products, the initial release of
this calculator has numerous errors, contains critical design mistakes,
and completely misses its mark. Any results generated from this model
are so unrealistic as to be completely worthless for accurately
comparing costs and benefits of alternate virtualization solutions.
(Maybe we all need to wait for the SP1?)

In Sum:   ROI/TCO Analysis = Good Idea ; Inaccurate Model = Bad Idea

It goes into deep detail. Aside from the too-high pricing listed for VMware and comparing it to below-list pricing for MSFT, my favorite point:

The Model Incorrectly Calculates Microsoft Licensing Costs
In
the scenario we ran, Microsoft’s tool assumed 71 Windows Server
Standard Edition licenses for 414 virtual machines running on 71 hosts.
Since each Standard Edition license grants rights to run 1 VM, the
model’s results leave 343 VMs in our hypothetical datacenter running
out of compliance. Microsoft may claim that the TCO/ROI calculator is
not a licensing calculator, but how can it calculate accurate TCO
estimates using inaccurate licensing assumptions?

Site Recovery Manager: it’s going to be big

As you may have heard, VMware recently announced the availability of Site Recovery Manager, our new product for disaster recovery management and automation. Here’s a nice overview from TechTarget: VMware ships Site Recovery Manager DR software. (VMware SRM should not to be confused with Storage Resource Management.)

Here’s a nice SRM presentation that goes into more detail. [via NTPRO.NL]

The reviews coming in are great. Now you’d expect EMC VP Chuck Hollis to be a fan, both because of the EMC-VMware connection and also because EMC has products integrated with SRM. But he’s absolutely right: DR is hard and expensive, and at many places, the DR plan is worth the paper it’s written on. SRM can change that paper plan to a real-world, testable process that doesn’t break the bank. Or as he puts it here: Chuck’s Blog: VMware’s SRM Changes The Game For Remote Recovery.

Let’s face it — when you’re considering remote recovery, you’re usually signing up for an expensive proposition:

  • additional servers and storage (plus a data center to put them in!)
  • network bandwidth to replicate data from source to target as it changes
  • and a ton of continuing effort to to ensure that your environment can recover gracefully

Sure, there are other costs involved, but — just for the sake of discussion — let’s keep it to these three biggies.

Simply put, SRM is a management package for VMware that understands
what you’re trying to do with remote recovery, and leverages ESX’s
properties to do all of this far better than we could ever do in the
physical world.

And in a rare alignment of the storage planets, Mark Farley of Dell EqualLogic agrees. Link: What Chuck Hollis said, but shorter – Inside IT. Mark gives a great "reading" of Chuck’s blog and manages to stick in lots of context — don’t forget to click on all those links. Recommended. Mark also posted a nice video about scripting non-VMware tasks via SRM from Kiran Ranabhor, Technical Product Manager for DR, VMware, at a BOF during last year’s VMworld. Link: Scripting external elements with Site Recovery Manager.

How are customers looking at this? For an early glance, here’s a blog post over at VMware Communities from Jerry Wilkin. Link: The Big Plan: Business Continuity.

For my employer, this is the year of disaster recovery. Almost all
of our major projects tie-in to the goal of performing a successful DR
test by the end of the year. Besides the standard IT things that have
to get done on a regular basis (asset management, corporate application
TLC, etc.), this goal is really driving the work we’re doing. …

I first saw VMware Site Recovery Manager at a VMworld 2007
presentation. If it works, it will be impressive. Automating the steps
to configure and power on VMs and a central place to store the DR “run
book” will be sweet, to say the least.

(I do want to point out that most major storage vendors — the press release mentions 3PAR, Dell, EMC, FalconStor, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, LeftHand Networks and NetApp — are working with us on SRM, so although it gives Jerry a warm fuzzy to be working with EMC, you’re likely in good hands working with your current vendors.)

And we’ll finish with a few more blog entries on SRM:

SRM makes another convert at Partner Exchange

Scott Lowe wrapping up his visit to last week’s Partner Exchange. In particular, Site Recovery Manager was a hit. I’ve heard this from a number of people as they begin to get their hands on it. Link: Partner Exchange Wrap-Up – blog.scottlowe.org – The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, storage, and servers.

First, Site Recovery Manager (SRM) looks to be a very interesting
product. I had the opportunity to participate in a hands-on lab with
SRM, as well as to participate in a business continuity/disaster
recovery (BC/DR) design workshop that incorporated SRM as well. SRM
will definitely have an impact on VI architectural designs (more on
that in a moment), so VMware architects need to be sure to consider the
possible addition of SRM at a later date when designing solutions for
customers. I’m looking forward to the final release of SRM and I hope
to have more to say about that product after its final release.

As a side note, I’m glad to see VMware using the VI client plug-in
architecture to support SRM, something I’d wish they’d do for products
like Stage Manager and Lifecycle Manager.

Announcing: VMware SAP Solutions Partner Community

Joachim Rahmfeld posts on the Virtualization for SAP Solutions blog. Link: Announcing: VMware SAP Solutions Partner Community.

We have recently been very busy with SAP activities and events,
including SAP Virtualization Week in Palo Alto, SAP Sapphire Orlando,
the completed VMware Site Recovery Manager project with SAP and NetApp
at the SAP Co-Innovation Lab, and the announcement of the SAP Enterprise Virtualization Community.
We’re not done yet: SAP Sapphire Berlin happens in less than two weeks.
All will be discussed shortly when we get a few minutes to write about
them.

But first, I want to announce the VMware SAP Solutions Partner Community.
We created this growing community of VMware consulting/SI partners
specifically to address the needs of customers who want to virtualize
their SAP environments. All partners have demonstrated their SAP and
VMware expertise, and they are well-qualified to support our customers.
We will work with them to extend best practices, develop new use cases,
and build new solutions for virtualized SAP landscapes. The partners
are also encouraged to collaborate with each other. In short, it’s an
outstanding group of diverse, qualified, and enthusiastic partners and
VMware is very excited to work with them!

VMware Communities: Developer Center Blog: Announcing client side Java APIs (experimental) and samples for VI SDK

Here’s a new post from our Developer Center Blog. Welcome, Steve, to the virtualization blogosphere! Check out the Developer Center and Developer Community if you haven’t for a while. A lot of solid resources for you. Link: VMware Communities: Developer Center Blog: Announcing client side Java APIs (experimental) and samples for VI SDK.

This is Steve from VMware CoDevelopment Engineering. I would like to
share with you the client side Java APIs and some samples I have
developed recently.

This API package:

  • Enables OO programming with a well defined managed object model
  • Reduces the need to use ManagedObjectReference
  • Hides the complexity of the PropertyCollector
  • Provides necessary utility classes to simplify VI SDK web interfaces
  • Keeps it small and simple
  • Leverages current VI SDK web services interface while keeping it intact

VMware Project Northstar (Thinstall) enters Beta 2

VMware Project Northstar (formerly Thinstall) Beta 2 release is now available. If you’re a little fuzzy on application virtualization, here is our description:

VMware application virtualization (powered by Thinstall) technology
lets you deploy applications without conflicts quicker then ever
before. Application virtualization extends the reach of desktop
virtualization from the operating system to the application layer and
simplifies the delivery of applications. See how application
virtualization is enabling organizations to ease their Vista migrations
while reducing application conflicts, deployment costs, and empowering
a mobile workforce.

Go to the Project Northstar Beta Portal for more information. New features in Beta 2 include:

Edwin Friesen over at thinstallguru.com is looking at this release. In this post Preview VMware Project NorthStar Beta 2 | Edwin Friesen – Application Delivery Blog he gives great step-by-step screen shots of the user interface.

Edwin just posted a little test drive of the new Application Link. Link: Project NorthStar Beta 2; Application Link | Edwin Friesen – Application Delivery Blog.

I did a lot of testing with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5
(before SoftGrid) and figured out that linkíng virtual applications
works very well for Microsoft Office plugins but when you want to use
it for middleware applications such as Oracle, DotNet Framework or Java
it is not so terrific. In the mean time VMware-Thinstall (Project
NorthStar) is also building a powerfull solution to create an
‘Application Link’ between two virtual applications. I did some
research and tried to package a Thinstalled application which is build
on DotNet Framework 2.0. … The result is great!!

You can download the beta today. The beta portal has a beta license key, release notes, community discussion, and more.