Archive for November, 2008

Live migration between CPU vendors demonstrated by AMD and Red Hat

November 11th, 2008

Live migration (VMotion in VMware speak) across AMD and Intel processors is a feature we don’t have today and a technology that many would describe as nearly impossible.

The capability could be in your datacenter sooner than you think. Last Thursday, the Inquirer published an article along with a video where Red Hat and AMD demonstrate the process (of course using streaming video and sound to drive home the point of no interruption) proving that it is possible and the technology to do so may not be so far off. The article goes on to explain that not only can live migration occur between CPU vendors, the same or similar technology can be used to live migrate between CPU architectures from the same vendor (ie. AMD Barcelona Opteron <–> AMD Shanghai Opteron).

Take a look at the video:

Rob Bergin leaves VKernel

November 10th, 2008

Rob Bergin, who maintained the titles of Director of Systems Engineering, Director of Product Marketing, and Systems Engineer, has parted ways with the New Hampshire startup company VKernel. During Rob’s nine month tenure at VKernel, his responsibilities included development of the product roadmap strategy, documentation and creation of new features, and management of timely product release cycles.

VKernel provides 3rd party management applications for VMware Virtual Infrastructure. Their product lineup includes:

  • Capacity Analyzer
  • Chargeback
  • Modeler (announced 9/9/08)
  • and the recently announced SearchMyVM product which, strangely, is difficult to find any information for on VKernel’s website – a SearchMyVM press release links to their Modeler product

I wish Rob the best of luck in his new role of Director of Enterprise Infrastructure at CrunchTime! Information Systems.

Rob, if you get that lab hardware website up and running, let me know.

VMware employee confirms DPM support in next release

November 10th, 2008

There’s been some recent excitement circulating the internet around a VMware Virtual Infrastructure feature called Distributed Power Management (DPM).  An impactful video demonstration of DPM was put together by VMware engineers two months ago and released on YouTube.  I’m sure you’ve seen it already by now on the other blogs but I’ve provided a copy below in case you have not seen it.

DPM is currently in experimental status, however, Richard Garsthagen, a Senior Evangelist for VMware in EMEA (and a great conversationalist if you ever get the chance to have dinner with him), tells us in his blog that DPM “will be fully supported with the next release.”  What exactly does next release mean?  That’s a good question but we can safely assume one of two things:  Update 4, or the next generation of Virtual Infrastructure which many, including myself, are unoffically calling VI4.

This is great news because DPM support is finally going to unlock additional potential for savings in the datacenter:

  • Kilowatt consumption for powering the VI goes down
  • Kilowatt consumption for cooling the VI goes down
  • Consolidation of VMs offers increased opportunity for VMware Content Based Page Sharing resulting in more effective use of physical RAM and increased consolidation ratios
  • Saving more of the environment means Green rating goes up (take a look at this great green calculator)

In the midst of all this excitement, we must not lose sight of the fact that a properly architected cluster should support a minimum of N+1 capacity.  The goal should not be to simply shut down as many hosts as possible in the name of efficiency and saving the environment.  This mindset will compromise uptime of VMs in the event of a host failure.  Leave enough room in the cluster for HA to perform its responsibiity of powering on VMs on another available host.

Virtual Iron

November 9th, 2008

I got back from a run tonight and had to quickly get ready to go out with the family to celebrate my mother’s engagement at a nice sit down dinner in St. Paul.  In my rush I noticed the pants and shirt I was planning to wear were wrinkled. 

I still needed a shower and recalled an old bachelor trick I used to use when there was no time for ironing:  Take a shower with the clothes hanging in the bathroom where the shower is running.  The steam generated by the hot shower takes the wrinkles out of the clothes pretty well.  For maximum effectiveness, don’t open the window in the bathroom or run the fan as you might usually do.  Also close the bathroom door.  This traps the steam in the bathroom so it has no place to go.

What if you don’t have to take a shower and don’t want to waste water?  There’s a second trick that works equally as well or better.  Throw the clothes in the dryer along with a damp wash cloth and run the dryer on high heat for five minutes.

We had a great dinner and I wish my mother and her fiance much happiness together.

Paranormal activity afoot on the interweb

November 8th, 2008

Unless AWStats is lying to me, ghosts of operating systems past have been invading the basement where I host this blog, as recent as the past few days.  Take a look at some of the operating systems still crawling around the internet these days.  Good Lord.  Geek Squad, if you’re done fooling around in court with Mark Russinovich and Microsoft, you still have a few upgrades left to perform for your lagging consumers:


Let’s look at a some:

  • Windows XP – Well this is still a fairly current enough OS considering the Vista fiasco, and, that’s how I roll.
  • Windows CE – That’s pretty cool.  Trio?  Chip PC thin client?
  • Windows Server 2003 – I’m flattered my site is informative enough to be browsed on a server somewhere.  I could be a jerk and get some poorly written java applets served up but I gotta surf my own site too so I’ll keep it clean.
  • Windows 2000 – Your support ends soon my friend.  Hopefully you’re on Service Pack 4 at least.
  • Windows NT – A solid OS, but we’re starting to get a tad brave.
  • Windows Me – I didn’t know anyone was still running on this garbage two weeks after it was released.  What did you do to receive this punishment?
  • Windows 98 – Another pretty solid OS that I spent at least a few years on, but it’s time to upgrade.  Go to Best Buy and visit the Geek Squad.
  • Windows 95 – A major breakthrough in Windows technology and generally a fun time, but I wouldn’t want to repeat the experience.
  • Windows 3.xx – Seriously… you are my hero!  But why?  Using Trumpet Winsock?  Contact me with a digital photo of your Windows 3.xx setup and I’ve got P4 desktop hardware in my basement that has your name on it.  Offer valid while supplies last. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. No software pre-installed. Your routable internet IP address must be supplied to prove you are the Windows 3.xx hits in my web logs.
  • ?Unknown? – I find it interesting that unknown operating systems handily beat out all versions of Linux combined.  It looks like Linux isn’t actually ready to take over the Windows desktop – again.

That’s it for now.  I’d better get rolling here.  Looking out the window I see Linux users with torches and pitchforks coming up my street.  I must get back to my 24 hour BCP exercise.  Problems need troubleshooting.  Heckfire, let’s categorize this as Virtualization.  I mentioned the lab.  Hopefully the readers will get a chuckle out of it.  Maybe someone will win the P4 desktop.

VMware earns multiple Redmond Triple Crown awards

November 8th, 2008

The November 2008 issue of Redmond magzine, the independent voice for the Microsoft IT community and formerly known as Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, is bubbling over with VMWare virtualization news this month.  They have announced the 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards Triple Crown achievers.  The prestigious Triple Crown award is described by Redmond as follows:

“To recognize the dynasties in our annual Readers’ Choice competition, Redmond is introducing the “Triple Crown,” a new award for products that have won (at least) three Readers’ Choice honors in a row.”

VMware GSX Server (retired but replaced by the free VMware Server) won the Triple Crown in the “Best Virtual Server Product” category as well as taking “ISV Winner” honors.  Redmond goes on to explain GSX easily won over Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 which was the only other product in the category.  No surprises there.  Like today’s comparison of VMware ESX and ESXi to Microsoft Hyper-V, GSX Server was years ahead of Microsoft in terms of development.

VMware Workstation dominated the more competitive “Best Virtual PC Product” field (5 products) and, like VMware GSX Server, was also named “ISV Winner”.  Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows, a technology Microsoft bought its way into by purchasing from Connectix in February 2003 along with Virtual Server, was honorably mentioned as a runner up.  Microsoft came to the realization that the product they had been developing was not capable and started over from scratch.  VMware’s latest Workstation 6.5 offering is sure to continue embarrassing the competition with features like Unity and enhanced record and reply technology.

Read more about Redmond’s virtualization category and other categories here.

The same issue also contains three other VMware related articles:

  1. Maritz:  VMware’s Answer to Microsoft?”  An interview with VMware CEO Paul Maritz whom they labeled “The Microsoft Menace” on the issue’s cover.
  2. VMware Wants It All” Editor In Chief Doug Barney talks about VMware’s future technology announcements and contemplates how they will fit together and will they work?
  3. Cisco and VMware Collaborate on Next-Gen Data Center” The companies’ new products could change the virtualization game.

VMware adds additional thin client support for VDM 2.1

November 6th, 2008

Effective 11/6/08, VMware has added support for four addtional thin client devices for VMware Desktop Manager version 2.1

  • IGEL Compact 3210
  • Premium 5310
  • Smart 2110
  • Winestra 4210

I thought it would also be worthy to mention that the thin client devices being given away for free by Chip PC at VMworld 2008, the Chip PC Xtreme PC NG 6600, are also supported by VDM 2.1.  I received a unit and I am currently evaluating its capabilities as I have time.  Hopefully one day it will make a good blog post.

Source:  Thin Client Compatibility Guide For VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM)