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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Virtualizing SQL Server – Communities Roundtable podcast #42

Last week our topic on the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast was SQL Server and best practices for running it on your virtual infrastructure. This was a good one. Our guest was Hemant Gaidhani, author of this recent white paper on Microsoft SQL Server and VMware Virtual Infrastructure. At the risk of oversimplifying, Hemant's messages were; follow
Microsoft's best practice guidelines for SQL Server and you probably
won't ever run into issues. If you do, take a look at your storage
design. As always, listen via the widget on the right, the mp3, or via iTunes.

Our next podcast topic is All Things Mobile, including vCenter Mobile Access and the VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform. Our guest is Srinivas Krishnamurti. Join us this Wednesday, April 8, at noon PDT / 3pm EDT / 7pm GMT. Podcast information.

Links discussed on this podcast:

The great vSwitch debate

Blogging seems to be a trend in our virtualization community. It is becoming really hard to keep up with the flow of incoming information and that is when people start filtering. I try to keep as up to date as humanly possible on what
is happening in the world of virtualization bloggers, but I must admit I also filter. One of the blogs
that I have not filtered out is Ken's Virtual Reality, which is maintained by Ken Cline.
Those of you who are active on the VMTN Community forums will recognize
this name as Ken is a VMTN moderator and a heavy contributor for years. To quote Mike Laverick "Ken Cline is the grand-master-flash-melly-mel of VMware and was already
an experienced VMware person before I even opened an account on the
VMware Forums."

Ken
recently started a blog and has been primarily focused on virtual
networking so far. Traditionally virtual switches and port groups have
always been a hot item on the VMTN Community forums. The first topic Ken
addressed is Service Console redundancy. The article contains the four most used scenarios. Each scenario contains an extensive explanation, diagram and
scorecard. I concur with Ken's conclusion, keep it simple.

I’ve
noticed something about engineers. They’re never happy with the way
something is configured out of the box – there’s always a better way!
Well, I have a different philosophy: “If you don’t have a very good
reason to change a default value, don’t change it!”

The
discussions on this article led Ken to a new series of posts on
vSwitches, The Great vSwitch Debate. This series is constructed of
three parts which address every single aspect of vSwitches including a
basic explanation, VLANs, security and load balancing. One might say that these topics have been adressed by many bloggers already but Ken takes it to the next level. For instance Part 3 deep-dives in to the actual algorithms being used for load balancing and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

These articles are by no means
a beginners guide to virtual networking, but there is something to be
learned for each level of expertise. This is why these articles will
be in my personal top 10 virtualization blog articles for 2009.

EMC Strategic Forum overview

We've been very busy here at VMware lately and missed out on a couple of outstanding blog articles. We will make it up to you by catching up this week. The first post, or actually I should say series of posts, that I wanted to point out to you is the "EMC Strategic Forum 2009" series by EMC's Chuck Hollis.

Chuck's coverage gives insight in the strategy of VMware and EMC, which of course revolves heavily around Cloud Computing. Do not expect technical details, we are talking strategic level here. As Mike D. pointed out in one of his latest writings there are only a few in this world that really get what Cloud Computing is about. This may be a rather bold statement I do however, agree
that the concept is still not (fully) understood by the majority of people, many of
which have a different view on what cloud computing is about even
within cloud providers or vendors.

This series of posts gives a clear overview of EMC's and VMware's strategy for the next couple of years. Further, it will also help with better understanding the concept of cloud computing, cloud as an architecture and as a service. The slides provided in these posts contain a clear overview and portrait the new stackable service level driven architecture we are heading towards.

“Hooked” on Virtualization

Today's guest post is from AMD's Margaret Lewis as part of AMD's Virtualization Ecosystem Month.

First of all, I want to thank VMware for the opportunity to post a second guest blog here following Virtualization Ecosystem Month (VEM).  At AMD, we believe working closely with our technology partners to develop innovative technology that meets the needs of our customers is a critical part of our job. While we’re happy to provide the underlying processor technology to help make virtualization run more efficiently, we understand that it’s our valued industry partners that put this technology into the hands (and servers) of businesses everywhere. In fact, VMware was one of the 10 software companies who supported the AMD Opteron™ processor launch in April 2003 and they’ve been giving businesses a reason to believe virtualization is here to stay ever since.

But, when it really boils down to it, why should customers care about the specific virtualization technology AMD and VMware bring together? Plain and simple: it’s all about the “hooks.” AMD has spent a lot of time working with virtualization software partners like VMware to define and implement the hardware technology needed to enable reduced complexity and overhead associated with virtualization. A good example of this is Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI), a feature of AMD Virtualization (AMD-V™) technology that was introduced in 2007 with the 65nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor (previously code-named “Barcelona”). Like some of our other virtualization partners, VMware supports RVI and in fact is delivering impressive virtualization performance to customers across a variety of workloads. 

So how does RVI actually work and what kind of gains can you expect to see? Well, in essence, RVI includes hardware support for a second or nested level of address translation.  This helps virtual machines (VMs) to more directly manage memory.  It also dramatically helps to improve performance across applications, because when there is less overhead, there can be more capacity for the CPU to focus on the application itself.As it relates to performance, VMware research shows that the current VMware VMM leverages RVI especially well.  In some configurations, the resulting performance gains were up to 42% for MMU-intensive benchmarks, and up to nearly 500% for MMU-intensive microbenchmarks, compared to binary translation (BT). 

The specific on-chip features of AMD Opteron processors go beyond RVI, however, particularly by taking advantage of VMware’s Enhanced VMotion Capability (EVC). By leveraging AMD’s stable platform approach, VMotion can support AMD Opteron processor-based servers from Rev E (single core) forward including 2-, 4-, and 8- socket servers. With this capability, users can migrate their workloads across virtual servers, regardless of the generation of their AMD processor. Quite simply, as data centers grow, purchasing decisions are not always standardized. EVC can have a major impact on the manageability and reliability of a virtual environment, particularly as it relates to load balancing and disaster recovery.

In my opinion, as virtualization continues to evolve, companies will continue to look to the hardware to help the virtualization software run more efficiently. Working closely with our virtualization partners at VMware, I am excited about the collaborative approach we’ve taken to drive innovation on both the hardware and software level to ensure we’re delivering really great technology to our joint customers.

Margaret Lewis (@margaretjlewis) is a Product Marketing Director at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.