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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Virtualizing SQL Server: tomorrow on community podcast, white paper

VMware's Hemant Gaidhani recently published this white paper, Microsoft SQL Server and VMware Virtual Infrastructure, covering best practices for virtualizing your SQL Server workloads.

Hemant will be our guest on the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1, at noon PDT / 3pm EDT.  I believe Europe and the US are now back in sync with respect to summer time, but you can always check a time zone calculator.

You can dial in, join the chat, and get streaming audio here. Your homework assignment is read Hemant's paper and come with questions.

I suggested that Hemant pretend that I was interviewing him with a little Q&A to get you interested if you're not sure if you want to read the whole white paper (it's about 20 pages, and dense enough to reward re-reading, but a lot of it is bullet point tips that can be consumed in small chunks). Hemant used the occasion to start up his brand new blog. Check out the whole interview there: VMware Communities: Hemant Gaidhani's Virtualization World.

What’s the most common mistake you come across when virtualizing SQL Server?

Storage configuration is critical to any successful database
deployment, especially in virtual environments where you may
consolidate many different SQL Server VMs on a single ESX host. The
storage must be sized adequately to handle IO requirements for all the
VMs consolidated on the ESX host. Most SQL Server performance issues in
virtual environments can be traced to improper storage configuration.

It is critical that you follow best practice guidelines specific to
Microsoft SQL Server and other vendor products in your environment as
well as VMware Infrastructure best practice guidelines. In general,
best practices in physical environments also apply to deployments on
VMware Infrastructure without any changes.

Intel Xeon 5500 aka Nehalem launch

Intel and partners made a big launch noise about the new Xeon 5500 Series Processor (aka Nehalem) today, which included this online session that we've embedded below.

Anne Catambay presented from VMware's point of view, and I've excerpted a bit from a transcript of her talk here:

In the latest iteration of our product we have enhanced this capability even more and now offer Enhanced VMotion with Intel VT Flexmigration. The beauty of this combination is that you can now move these workloads between different Intel processor generations – expanding the pool of resources in your virtualized environment. If you are running older Intel processors in your datacenter and need to refresh them, you will be able to immediately migrate production application workloads to the new Intel Xeon Processor 5500 series-based servers when they are rolled into the datacenter. …

VMware software also leverages the Xeon 5500’s performance enhancing feature – hyper-threading, which is a technology that doubles the number of threads each core can execute during a single clock cycle. This increases the number of Virtual machines you can run per socket – maximizing virtual machine density, and lowering your data center power footprint even farther. Another technology we take advantage of is Intel VT-d. When VT-d is combined with VMware VMDirectPath, we increase the performance of network intense applications running inside VMware virtual machines by providing the necessary address translation and isolation/protection for the software. This allows the virtual machine to directly interact with underlying physical network device and frees up the CPU to run additional tasks. This special use case minimizes hypervisor overhead and provides access to the full bandwidth of the IO device – a particularly interesting benefit as we move towards 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Submit your paper now! VMworld call for papers now April 10

VMworld 2009 will take place August 31 – September 3 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

To attendees, the value of VMworld is unmatched: 85% of VMworld attendees say the #1 reason why they attend VMworld is for educational content. We’re looking for customer, partner and employee presentations that cover a range of topics, from VMware products, services and solutions, to broader topics such as product architecture, best practices and technology directions. All internal and external VMware subject matter experts are encouraged to submit session proposals – submit yours today or if you know a VMware expert that you recommend, recruit them to submit a proposal.

For more details on conference tracks and tips for getting your proposal accepted, please visit the VMworld 2009 Call for Papers Web site. The deadline has now been extended through April 10th.

For more information about VMworld 2009, visit www.vmworld2009.com or email us at vmworldcfp@vmware.com.

We're just starting up the VMworld 2009 Official Facebook Page. RSVP now!

Cisco, Performance, and more: Communities Roundtable Podcast #40

Join us Wednesday @ Noon PDT for the VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast #41, where our topic will be our new cost per application calculator, and the competitive landscape in general. Live streaming or dial-in information.

It was an open topic last Wednesday on the VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast #40. We talked about Cisco's announcement of their 'Unified Computing System', the significance of performance benchmarks, and more. You can listen, as always, via the widget to the right, the mp3, or iTunes.

Cisco Unified Computing System. We managed to talk about this without directly talking to anyone from Cisco, but do check out these blog posts:

Hyper-V Server R2: a few additional thoughts (Massimo Re Ferre') On what makes an "enterprise application," how the devil's in the details, and where Microsoft and VMware each create their respective value propositions.

Ken’s Virtual Reality (Ken Cline)

Virtualization Security Round Table Podcast (Edward Haletky)

Performance Benchmarks. 

Virtualization Congress

Thinking about Cost-Per-Application and VM Density

We announced a new calculator today, one that helps you start to look at the “cost per application” view of virtualization. This particular application isn’t designed to measure total cost of ownership or total ROI, just what it costs you to spin up enough servers to consolidate all your existing applications. It’s interesting and it’s designed to be simple enough to just try, so go check it out.

What drives that calculation is VM density. And I think that’s one of the more interesting take-aways from this exercise. You can simply get more virtual machines running on the same kit with ESX than with other hypervisors. And before you start jumping to conclusions, it’s about more than “just” memory overcommit. It’s a synergistic effect of a lot of performance technologies that have been baked into our hypervisor over the past 10 years. So take a look at the blog post below to get the gist, but do make sure you read the study, The True Cost of Virtual Server Solutions from Taneja Group, which explores what went into their measurement of VM density.

VMware: VMware: Virtual Reality: Cost-Per-Application – The Right Way To Estimate The Acquisition Cost Of Virtualization.

As you might have already heard from our press release earlier today (see today’s announcement), we have announced the availability of the VMware Cost Per Application Calculator 
– an easy-to-use web tool that aims at helping companies accurately
estimate and compare the acquisition cost of virtualization.
Understanding the true acquisition cost of a virtualization solution
can be quite confusing these days, so in an effort to shed some light
on this subject and get to reliable conclusions we have built a simple
tool (the Cost Per Application Calculator) with the support of customers and industry analysts . The
Calculator compares the acquisition costs of VMware Infrastructure 3
with the one of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V plus System
Center .   

Calculating acquisition costs by only looking at
software licenses may be an easy thing to do, but it provides a
simplistic and incomplete picture of reality because:

  • It
    does not account for VM density (i.e. number of applications that can
    be run on a virtualization host) – higher VM density means less
    servers, storage, networking, guest operating system licenses, etc. 
  • It does not account for virtualization management cost (both
    software and hardware) – hypervisors are free (or almost), but
    management solutions are not. …


vExpert Briefing – March 20, 2009

(Whoa, check out this funky old template. This is a sooper sekrit page, so I guess it doesn’t matter.)

Ahem… Hi There.

For those of you that came by the briefing this morning, thanks.

For everybody, this material on our new Cost Per Application Calculator is embargoed until Monday morning, when you’ll see a press release and a new page on vmware.com. Also, please don’t pass along any of these files or links.

I hope that this material will give you enough background on what we’re doing. I know that usually anything titled “Methodology and Assumptions” is a real insomnia cure, so hope it helps you get enough sleep this weekend.

If you are a VMUG leader, I believe the competitive team was also going to give us an HTML template if you wanted to send out a note to the folks in your VMUG, but I don’t have it yet.

The powerpoint presentation from today:
Download Server Virtualization Acquisition Cost – methodology and results 19Mar2009

A recording of the 30 minute WebEx presentation is here.

A report from Forrester Research:
Download Why_Isnt_Server_Virtualization_Saving_Us_More

This is a link to the calculator. As of Friday, this is NOT the final version, and he final version will get pushed out this weekend. I’ve been told it has some bugs, although I don’t know (1) the nature of said bugs; (2) when it will be updated; or (3) how to tell if you have the new version or the old — sorry. My suggestion is to run any numbers again on Monday before you hit ‘publish’ on your blog. Luckily, one of their design goals for this calculator was that it didn’t have complicated inputs. The final version has now been published (and a typo in the URL corrected):

The methodology & assumptions pdf for the calculator
Download VMware Cost Per Application Calculator – Methodology and Assumptions

Thanks —
Any questions or feedback, feel free to email me.
Have a great weekend,

Introducing VMware vCenter Mobile Access

A guest post from Srinivas Krishnamurti, Director of Product Management and Market Development:

I’m very excited to share information about a new and exciting project that a few of our wonderful engineering folks have been working on – VMware vCenter Mobile Access.  (Thanks BenK, Cabir, Harish!) 

Did you ever get paged when you are in a meeting about some virtual machine that needed to be restarted?  Or, did you ever get an alert when you are at your kid’s soccer game or at the movies that a particular server is overloaded?  Actually, imagine any scenario where you need to actively manage your datacenter but you are nowhere close to a PC.  Wouldn’t it be nice to act on the notification from your mobile phone?  After all, we are now a generation that doesn’t leave home without a mobile phone…

Introducing VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA).  vCMA allows you to monitor and manage VMware Infrastructure from your mobile phone with an interface that is optimized for such devices. Specifically, it allows you to:

  • Search for virtual machines in your data center
  • Migrate virtual machines from one host to another using vMotion
  • Execute recovery plans using VMware Site Recovery Manager
  • Access Scheduled Tasks, Alarms and Events
  • And much more…

Instead of explaining all the capabilities, we figured it would be easier to show them in a video – you can view a demo here.

Picture 12
In order for you to access vCMA, you will need to deploy a virtual appliance; call it the vCMA server.  The vCMA server must be connected to VMware vCenter or any of the ESX servers that you want to manage.  Once the server component is set up, you can manage your datacenter from the convenience of your mobile phone.

We will be releasing vCMA as a technology preview in April 2009.  You will be able to download the bits (vCMA server virtual appliance) and access the discussion forums at: http://communities.vmware.com/community/beta/vcmobileaccess.  We enabled the discussion forums already so if you want to jot down your first thoughts or feature requests once you’ve seen the demo, you can get started now.

I recommend you bookmark the vCMA portal and check back in early April to download the bits.

It’s great fun to blog about projects that we are working on.  Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been knee-deep in our efforts to bring virtualization onto mobile phones and now that the project is out in the open, I can actually write about it in public forums.  I will be writing regularly on our mobile virtualization vision in the weeks and months ahead.

If you have not seen the demo of VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP), it is a must-see.  Click here to view the IT Pro Magazine’s version and here to see it as part of my boss’s (Steve Herrod) second-day keynote at VMworld Cannes 2009.  Steve’s keynote is very interesting and I highly recommend viewing the whole session but if you want just the section on mobile virtualization, it starts around 60.00 or so.

Virtual Appliance Marketplace revamps: more features, information

Picture 11
The VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace (VAM) launched in 2006 and quickly became the go-to location for finding pre-built, ready-to-run virtual appliances to run either on your Virtual Infrastructure or your desktop. Both the traffic and the number of listings grew quite quickly. Although the VMware Ready appliances are often the most featured — those are the ones you'd actually pay for and run in your production environment — to this day anyone can list a new appliance, and it's the best place to find a Linux distro or open source application and take it out either for a quick spin or a more lasting relationship.

Check out the Virtual Appliance Marketplace What's New page for more info — there are sections both for end users and for appliance creators. There are some cool new things already — like the Review section that's easier to use, and they've also changed the various appliance categories to make more sense. The juiciest new features will happen when the listing providers start to update their appliance listings, but already you can see a few appliance in their swanky new duds — see the listing for Hadoop over on the right here, where I've highlighted the new "Resources" tab, but there are more with reorganized Overview and Tech Specs tabs, as well as ones for Reviews, Support, and Download.

I was involved with launching the original version of VAM on a hacked
up version of Drupal, but I take responsibility only for the parts that
were broken or hard to use. Luckily, we had a great team designing and
building this revamped VAM 2.0.  So not only does it look great, is
easier to use,  has new features, and gives people easier access to
information, this new release also sets up the team for more coming
goodness in the months to come.

Congratulations to the whole team. The VAM is a largely unheralded resource that gets a huge amount of traffic and is useful to a lot of people, but doesn't really get talked about a lot. With this major update, I think we'll start to see more momentum from the VAM Team, and it's a site to keep your eyes on.

VMworld 2009 – call for papers and Q&A – Communities Podcast #39

Our topic last week was VMworld 2009, and specifically the VMworld 2009 Call for Papers that was recently announced, with more detail on how the process works and what kinds of proposals are most likely to be accepted. As always, listen via the widget to the right, the mp3, or on iTunes.

We also found out a few tidbits, such as

  • The open room of self-paced labs that were so popular at VMworld Europe will also be appearing at VMworld 2009 in Moscone Center.
  • For the instructor-led labs, the limit of two per person will remain. Note that these labs will be open Monday (normally Partner/Virtualization 101 day), so that might be a good time to get into your lab of choice. (If you don't get into the labs you want, I also recommend trying to get on wait lists on the last day,  Thursday, when the show has slowed a bit and people have started to leave.) The instructor-led labs have been pushed out to the Marriott across the street, which will hopefully free up a bit of room for people in the main hall.)

And we talked about some random links at the end: ESX Overclocking (note the purported release date) and Twitter Plug-in for VI Client.

We'll be back again, as we always are every week, this Wednesday (which is probably today for most of you reading this) at noon PDT / 3pm EDT / 7pm GMT. Note that the US is already on summer time, while the rest of the world has not changed yet, so don't be surprised! Come on over to VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast page on TalkShoe and click through to listen and chat. This week we have an "Open Topic" Roundtable where we talk about the virtualizaton news and blog posts that have caught our attention during the week – I have no idea what we'll talk about, so you'll just have to come on by and see what happens!

[thanks to Duncan for note taking this week.]

VMware Virtualization: The Right Investment For A Tough Economy

Economic times are tough, and IT departments are being asked to do more with less. You know that an investment in VMware Virtual Infrastructure can help — you, along with 130,000 other customers, have seen it in action. How can you talk to your boss, coworkers, and clients about virtualization in a way that makes sense for their business objectives?

This new presentation, VMware Virtualization: The Right Investment For A Tough Economy (ppt) is now available with other information resources on our Cost Savings Site — with data, succes stories, white papers, webinars, and more.

Have all the facts at your fingertips with this presentation, embedded below, or download it directly from our page of Cost Saving Resources.