Archive for category Microsoft
Heterogeneous virtualization has been a hot topic among clients and last week at the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas I presented a session on the subject. During the session, I polled the audience on their heterogeneous virtualization plans. Fifty participants responded to each polling question.
The first question I asked was about the current hypervisors that were deployed (note that the values are the number of respondents and not a percentage).
As you can see, most participants used VMware vSphere as expected, and there was a good mix of Hyper-V, XenServer, and some RHEV and Oracle VM.
It’s (Read more...)
At the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas last week I asked several polling questions regarding desktop virtualization adoption plans and trends, and thought that they were worth sharing. Note that the poll was taken in my session on “Desktop Virtualization: Tales from the Trenches,” so the audience was already at least considering the technology.
The first question I asked was regarding business drivers.
As you can see above, the majority of respondents wanted to use the technology to reduce TCO, while giving users a “Follow-me desktop” was a close second. We have multiple clients that have been able (Read more...)
Remember the days of Windows NT Server? I was among the many who mocked it as a serious data center server operating system. Then came Windows 2000 Server, and perceptions began to change. With the release of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft turned the tide of server OS dominance in the data center, placing Microsoft on a path to where the majority of servers would run a Windows OS. What initially seemed like a pipe dream became reality, and I was among many who were wrong about Microsoft’s chances as a dominant server OS vendor.
That takes us to last week’s (Read more...)
In a recent Gartner field search study, two early internal IaaS cloud adopters noted that if Amazon was the benchmark by which they are measured in terms of cost, then they had to make tough decisions regarding best-of-breed vs. good enough. In particular, the two clients cited whether deploying a third party virtual switch (i.e., Cisco Nexus 1000V) was absolutely necessary, especially if the cost made the internal cloud less competitive with Amazon. These organizations weren’t doing apple-to-oranges comparisons either. They came up with a per-VM cost broken down by both infrastructure and management/operations software. The cost of operational software (Read more...)
Today EMC’s Chad Sakac blogged about a significant update to Oracle’s support policy for VMware ESX environments – Oracle no longer explicitly excludes Oracle RAC from being virtualized. It should also be noted that Oracle’s support is limited to “issues that either are known to occur on the native OS, or can be demonstrated not to be as a result of running on VMware.” In other words, if it’s not a known bug, customers may be asked to reproduce problems on the bare metal.
Like Chad, this is an issue I have blogged about repeatedly over the last couple of (Read more...)
Today the Wall Street Journal reported “VMware in Talks to Buy Novell Unit.” The rumor likely comes as no surprise to those who have followed the recent VMware/Novell OEM agreement. The agreement resulted in VMware including a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) subscription with vSphere licenses. VMware and Novell first started talking about an extended partnership in June. At the time, VMware noted that it would include SUSE Linux with its vSphere hypervisor as well as train its support organization to offer SUSE Linux support. The fact that VMware was making an investment in its support organization (Read more...)
Once upon a time an IT user named Goldie Locks tried to access her company’s applications…
I’ll spare you the rest of the analogy. Some devices are too big, others too small, and some are just right. Of course, “just right” often depends on the application being consumed. I talk a lot with clients about user-centric computing and the fact that many in today’s mobile workforce do not want to be tethered to a single physical device. “Give me my apps on my terms” may represent a Utopian user viewpoint, but it’s still one that’s a priority for many IT (Read more...)
I have three sessions at this year’s VMworld North America conference and thought I would post them here in the event you’re interested in attending one of them. Each session will run two times, and the session descriptions, times, and locations are listed below. I hope to see you at the conference. The in-depth discussions I have with fellow attendees has always been one of my favorite parts of the conference.
Server-Hosted Virtual Desktops: What the Vendors Aren’t Telling You (DV8044)
Many organizations are beginning to implement or plan server-hosted virtual desktop solutions. Vendor platform assessments in the emerging client (Read more...)
Over the past twelve months, the innovation in the client virtualization space has been pretty remarkable, and several solutions will be on display at next week’s Citrix Synergy conference. Because of the sheer volume of vendors on the show floor, I thought I’d point out vendors that may be under your radar but are worth visiting. Granted, there are literally hundreds of vendors in the space and most offer some value to your virtual infrastructure. Rather than point out the obvious ones that you’d visit anyway (e.g., Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, HP, Wyse, AppSense, Symantec, Quest Software, and RES Software), I thought I would point out some of the not-so-obvious. I know… get on with it, so here they are.
Virtual Bridges will be showing the 4.0 release of their VERDE suite. VERDE is a server-hosted virtual desktop solution that competes with products such as Citrix XenDesktop, VMware View, and Quest vWorkspace. What’s unique about VERDE is that its backend infrastructure has no Windows requirements, which has appealed to cost sensitive organizations and service providers. VERDE 4.0 has some interesting features such as CloudBranch, which allows organizations or service providers to support low bandwidth WAN connections by deploying a proxy-like caching server to a remote site. This approach allows organizations to retain centralized management while serving up virtual desktops over the remote office LAN – key to satisfying user experience requirements. I had blogged about this type of approach last year. There’s quite a bit in the core architecture, including Windows, Linux, and Mac endpoint support and even local desktop support (like VMware View offline desktops or MokaFive) that can be booted from a USB drive. For more information on VERDE, take a look at Gabe Knuth’s review on brianmadden.com.
Citrix recently made an investment in Kaviza and since that time (April) Kaviza has been getting considerably more attention. Kaviza offers a VDI-in-a-box solution that is complementary to existing desktop virtualization solutions. With Kaviza, organizations can deploy a single on-premise server to host virtual desktops at a remote site. The solution is hypervisor agnostic and currently supports VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer. The solution gives organizations or service providers a way to deliver virtual desktops to remote facilities without having to worry about WAN connectivity impacting performance. Kaviza was one of the vendors that participated in my Virtual Desktop NAS Vendor Challenge last year and you can read more about their solution in this post.
RingCube was another participant in the Virtual Desktop NAS Challenge and has gotten considerable traction over the last twelve months (you can read their guest post here). Having large enterprises such as ING Bank using RingCube’s vDesk product in production, has helped to establish RingCube’s credibility. RingCube’s client-hosted virtual desktop solution allows users to run their virtual work space on their endpoint system, leveraging the local OS resources. This means that a separate VM isn’t needed. The vDesk architecture is closer to OS virtualization in its approach. Without the added overhead to run a separate full blown VM, organizations have liked the fact that they can use existing endpoint hardware (without having to upgrade memory, for example) for the vDesk solution.
Wanova was one other participant in the VD-NAS Challenge and their guest post is available here. Wanova leverages some very intelligent streaming technology they call Distributed Desktop Virtualization. The solution centralizes desktop OS and application management and can be used to deploy user environments to physical or virtual endpoints. Wanova’s solution also allows IT to support a single base image for a desktop OS type while also supporting user-installed applications.
Unidesk is an interesting company that started making noise at last year’s VMworld North America conference. Unidesk positions itself as a complement to VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop (you can read about their architecture here), and prides itself on its layering technology. With Unidesk, IT can manage shared non-persistent golden virtual desktop images while still giving users the ability to install their own applications. User-installed apps with non-persistent images is an extremely difficult engineering challenge (both VMware and Citrix will admit this), and Unidesk claims to have the answer. Their booth is definitely worth a stop when you venture into Synergy’s expo hall.
There will be plenty of attention devoted to the bare metal client hypervisor at Synergy. While folks wait out the general availability of the Citrix XenClient and VMware Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) solutions, they have the opportunity to look at a bare metal client hypervisor shipping today – Virtual Computer’s NxTop. Many of our large enterprise clients see the client hypervisor as a 2012 initiative, but that’s not to say the technology isn’t useful as a small business or department-level solution today. Also, even if your plans for client hypervisor are further down the road, it’s always good to begin building your knowledge base of the technology and to start thinking about the governance issues (e.g., treatment of personal user VMs on the corporate LAN) they create.
Server Virtualization and Cloud
Synergy is starting to pick up steam as a server virtualization and cloud event, and I didn’t want to ignore some of the innovative vendors in that space too. Vendor booths that I’ll be stopping by include:
Plenty Else to See
Like I said previously, there are plenty of other vendors that are bringing value to the industry. For example cruising by the McAfee, RSA, and Trend Micro booths is a good idea. All three vendors are brining considerable innovation to security and compliance in virtual server and desktop infrastructures. In the storage space, I recommend visiting the booths of the three winners of the Citrix Ready StorageLink Challenge: NetApp, HP, and GreenBytes.
Between the emerging solutions, excellent presentations, and always engaging hallway discussions, Synergy is shaping up to be a great conference. I hope to see you there. If I failed to recognize a particular product you find interesting, please post it as a comment.
With the postponement of Catalyst Europe, I had the opportunity to virtually attend the Microsoft MMS conference keynotes on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. MMS has long been one of Microsoft’s best conferences, and this year didn’t disappoint. I’m not going to rehash the major announcements, but you can read the full details in the following Microsoft System Center team blog posts:
- System Center Service Manager 2010: An Integrated Platform for IT Service Management
- Configuration Manager vNext: User Centric Client Management
- Mobile Device Management with Configuration Manager vNext
- Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Beta released
- What’s coming up with the next versions of SCOM and VMM!
- User Centric, and System Center Configuration Manager vNext
- MMS 2010 Kicks Off in Las Vegas
Tuesday Keynote – Bob Muglia
- Bob opened by stating that Microsoft’s has been building dynamic IT management for the last seven years as part of their Dynamic Systems Initiative. Microsoft is essentially underlining the fact that they are not newcomers to dynamic IT and cloud and is playing on its strength in systems management.
- Bob highlighted the need for standard service models, and I agree. I started discussing this topic with vendors in 2008 and blogged about standard models in the security context early last year. I recently discussed this issue in my posts on metadata standards and the infrastructure authority. Still, vendors need to move beyond talk about standards for service delivery, metadata, and application interfaces, and deliver them. Mobility to and among cloud infrastructure-as-a-service providers requires these standard models. It’s time for vendors to show their hands, even if they’re holding proprietary service delivery models, metadata sets, and interfaces today. There are far too many competing interests to expect vendors to agree on an industry standard any time soon. Still, progress is being made on the standards front. SNIA’s Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), the DMTF’s Open Cloud Standards Incubator, and the Cloud Security Alliance’s work on standard cloud security models are three good examples.
- It would be nice if Microsoft would offer a complete set of documentation on how to stage their on-stage demos. The orchestration practices that were demonstrated are of high value and Microsoft should share the configuration information with their clients.
- Microsoft’s demos were Microsoft-centric, as expected. I would like to see Microsoft demonstrate integration with third party management products, which would strengthen their position on interoperability. Most Gartner clients are not homogenous Microsoft shops; demonstrating orchestration capabilities across multi-vendor management stacks would speak to the needs of the typical enterprise organization. If Microsoft doesn’t want to do this at a conference, then why not offer this information online?
- I thought Microsoft made a great move in acquiring Opalis, and liked seeing the Opalis integration and System Center Service Manager 2010 shown on-stage.
- Microsoft demonstrated long distance VM live migration, and in the process Muglia took a swipe at VMware, noting that moving VMs to new sites requires deep integration and validation across all management services. In the demo, Microsoft was able to show processes such as validating that a recent backup was completed before allowing the inter-site live migration to continue. While the demo was impressive, I would have been even more impressed if Microsoft validated the recent backup by integrating with a third party tool such as NetBackup.
- Microsoft is talking cloud using the terms “shared cloud” and “dedicated cloud.” There are so many disparate terms out there for cloud that pretty soon Rosetta Stone will release a CD on speaking cloud. The Gartner/Burton teams have been working closely on defining a core set of cloud terminology, and its important for vendors in the space to adopt common definitions.
- Edwin Yuen demonstrated System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) vNext, which will include drag-and-drop capabilities for deploying multi-tier applications. The demo was powerful, but my existing concerns about SCVMM were unanswered. Today the product is not extensible, and it does not support the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) industry standard; I’m hoping those two features make it in to SCVMM vNext.
- Microsoft’s demo of cloud service management looked solid from the administrator’s point of view, but nothing was shown from the consumer’s point of view. IT service delivery requires the presentation of services to consumers using intuitive interfaces that the customer understands. Microsoft has yet to show a consumer-centric view of how consumers will interact with Microsoft cloud service management.
Wednesday Keynote – Brad Anderson
- Brad opened by talking about how the Windows 7 release was the most significant event in the desktop space in a very long time. I would counter that equally significant was Microsoft’s announcement to end-of-life (EOL) Windows XP in April 2014. The XP EOL announcement put IT organizations “on the clock” to replace their existing client endpoint OS, and in many cases re-architect all major aspects of user experience and application delivery.
- There was a good discussion about power management, but one interesting area of research that was not mentioned was Microsoft’s work on in-guest VM power management. Take a look at Joulemeter for more information.
- I liked hearing Brad talk about the future desktop representing a convergence of services. This is a concept I recently discussed in the post “The Next Gen Desktop’s Cloudy Future.”
- I saw a bit of irony seeing Microsoft discuss Hyper-V R2 SP1’s dynamic memory feature on stage. A year ago Microsoft was solidly against VMware’s memory overcommit feature, which allows VMs to share a physical pool of memory on a server. Jeff Woolsey did a nice job describing Hyper-V’s dynamic memory capabilities in the following posts:
- Microsoft demonstrated the RemoteFX technology that was acquired from Calista. It will be interesting to see how quickly Microsoft’s IHV partners offer a shipping solution. Several have stated their intent to support the technology.
- Microsoft demonstrated their new Windows InTune product – a cloud service for managing PCs. While I like where Microsoft is taking PC management, I’m still disappointed that they have yet to address desktop OS licensing for cloud-based desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) deployments. Device-based desktop OS licensing is incompatible with the on-demand and device-agnostic nature of cloud service delivery, and Microsoft needs to address this issue sooner rather than later.
- I was disappointed by the System Center Service Manager demonstration on compliance validation. The demo included no mention of virtualization or virtual infrastructure, which is the default x86 application platform of many of our clients. If the product is not providing controls and validation capabilities for multi-tenant VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer environments, then it is not ready for prime time.
Overall I was very impressed with the conference keynotes. System Center Service Manager and Microsoft’s increasing integration of the Opalis software are two areas to watch. Muglia’s talk about standard service delivery models also leads me to believe that Microsoft is poised to aggressively go after the cloud provider space. The release of Microsoft’s Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit and growing number of partners in Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Center Alliance (DDA) is proof of that. What did you think of MMS 2010? I’d love to hear your thoughts.