Here at Southworks we deployed many times from scratch a fully virtualized infrastructure and we have many lessons learnt so far. Since 2006, the industry is betting hard to workloads virtualization as it will address the increasing complexity IT environments are facing improving agility on the datacenter. In this post I will share a snapshot of what happened last month on the Virtualization Industry. Later (next post) I will discuss common drawbacks when moving to a virtualized infrastructure.
Virtualization Short Take
VMWare 2.0 (free server from VMWare) has reached the RC1 stage (http://www.vmware.com/beta/server/), nowadays SW-IT has every workload in production virtualized over VMWare 1.0.6 and has proved stability but we suffered in terms of management. VMWare 2.0 RC1 top features are Volume Shadow Copy, SCSI pass-though disk, USB 2.0 devices, Web access management interface and more OS support (including Win2k8 x64).
VMWare ESX 3i is free as I mentioned on my previous post, this had an impact on the SMB market so if you want to drill-down: http://blogs.southworks.net/aortega/2008/07/30/vmware-esx-3i-for-free/
VMWare has joined last week The Linux Foundation as announced here: http://linux-foundation.org/weblogs/press/2008/08/06/vmware-joins-the-linux-foundation/, this is an strong bet from VMWare to empower the use of their virtualization platform on Linux systems.
Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6.2 was released. VirtualBox is an absolutely free virtualization product for x86 and x64 platform (x64 support included in this 1.6.2 release) and can be used for server and desktop virtualization, a highlight of this virtualization platform is that it is compatible with VMWare VMs, however it will not load MS VHDs files as VMWare is supposed to do. I say “is supposed to do” as we failed many times in SW-IT when trying to boot a VHD disk over VMWare Player.
Hyper-V went to RTM! And is now available through Windows Update so all your Windows 2008 running Hyper-V will have the update available for install. Although Microsoft says the VMs are compatible from RC1 to RTM be careful as we experienced performance issues related with the Integration Tools (a.k.a VM Additions) when migrating. Together with this RTM a Powershell Management Toolkit (PSHyperV) was released by James O´Neill to automate Hyper-V many management tasks check it out at http://www.codeplex.com/PSHyperv
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 Beta has now support for managing Hyper-V hosts (get it from http://connect.microsoft.com), moreover, SW-EE (Engineering Excellence Team) deployed this Beta version and successfully managed 8 Win2k8 hosts, so we will closely look how this solution evolves as we are early adopters.
Novell upgrades PlateSpin PowerConvert to v 7.0, PowerConvert is an enterprise-ready Virtualization Management solution that optimizes the data center by streaming server workloads over the network between physical servers, PlateSpin was acquired by Novell on March 2008 and will be a key components of Novell visions to the dynamic datacenter.
Finally the Xen Summit at Boston took place this June and many posts appeared in http://blog.xen.org regarding the tracks, Yoshi Tamura from the NTT Cyber Space Laboratories in Japan gave a very interesting presentation on Kemari. Kemari is a new approach to cluster systems that synchronize VMs for fault tolerance without modifying neither hardware nor applications, Kemari proposes a sync approach instead of a shared storage approach like VMWare’s VMotion or Hyper-V Live Migration.
References: How to be on top of Virtualization news?
If I had to choose only three vendor agnostic virtualization posts I recommend:
1. http://virtualization.com/: is a great aggregator of industry news with short posts straight to the point.
2. http://blog.scottlowe.org/: Scott Lowe has a breath view of the virtualization and storage market and frequently posts on his “Virtualization Short Take” a snapshot of the virtualization industry.
3. http://www.virtualization.info/roadmap/: Virtualization Industry Roadmap logs every product release in a time-line style for the vendors that the Virtualization Congress has in its radar
o Novell upgrades PlateSpin PowerConvert to v7.0
o Desktop Virtualization Portal
o Xen Summit Highlights