Category Archives: Virtualization

IBM teams up with Virtual Bridges and Canonical: Announces VLD

IBM, it would appear, have taken a swing at Microsoft’s huge jaw and teamed up with Virtual Bridges and Canonical to offer a Linux-based virtual desktop system. The three organisations announced the general availability (GA) of Virtual Linux Desktop (VLD) as an alternative to Microsoft’s desktop software.

The VLD runs everything from open standards-based email, office software, social networking, unified communication and any other software to any laptop, browser or mobile device from a virtual desktop login on a Linux-based server.

Jeff Smith, vice president of open source and Linux middleware for IBM spoke with online tech magazine LinuxInsider that “The solution is a virtual desktop that includes a collection of collaboration software from IBM’s Lotus organization. You get all the collaboration capability you would need for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and text; unified communications, things that allow you to connect voice, video and text oriented-collaboration; social networking things like blogs and wikis and, of course, tried and true things like e-mail, group calendaring and all that stuff.”

Smith said that the range of application available with VLD is a key element of the stack. “If you look up the cost, if it comes with all that stuff, particularly if you get it from Microsoft, all of it together represents a big cost … for the licenses for the software; the hardware required to run it, as well as the support required to maintain it,” he said

According to Smith VLD is based on Virtual Bridges technology that allows a user to take the desktop, client side portion of a software stack, substantiate it in a virtual system on a serve and then remote interface to any device that a user wants to use it.

“It’s called virtual ‘VDI’ (virtual desktop infrastructure). There’s been a lot of interest in VDI lately. It’s not a new concept from an innovation perspective, but a lot of people are realizing now that the advances in network bandwidth and server capability and virtualization allow us to do that now in ways that removed a lot of inhibitors that existed in the past,” he explained.

IBM claim that the savings for businesses using VLD as opposed to Microsoft Office could be as much as $800 per users. The company also claims that companies will save $358 on hardware because they won’t have to upgrade to support Vista of Office 2007.

IBM say that businesses will be able to boost their green credentials due to less power output. This will also save businesses around $40 to $145 per user due to power cost reductions, and a further $20 to $73 per users from reduced ir conditioning requirements.

“One of the reasons people will take a look at this is because the potential to save money is quite substantial. If you don’t have applications and data resident on the client end, and whatever client device you’re using acts like an intelligent network terminal, then the need for deskside support falls dramatically. That’s one of the most expensive things to provide in today’s world, particularly given how dispersed everyone is,” Smith said.

VLD will cost businesses $4,900 for a 1,000 user deployment according to IBM. The reason for the low cost is the Linux-based technology, Smith concluded.

HP completes Three Year cost cutting plan

HP has completed its three-year IT shake up, and has saved around $1 billion in costs, thanks to the skills of Randy Mott, Hewlett Packard’s chief information officer. Mott jumped ship from computer manufacturer Dell back in July 2005, just prior to announcing 14,500 job cuts to balance the books. In a bizarre coincidence, IBM also laid-off 14,500 staff to do exactly the same.

An ex-CIO for retail chain, Walmart, Mott certainly knew how to run the IT operations of a large business. Mott was given a $15.3 million compensation package to encourage him to join them and give their IT departments a damn good seeing too – you’ve got to spend some money to make some money, right? As the past shows us, IT vendors are generally rubbish at using IT equipment cost-effectively, as they buy for themselves to uses, it at little or no cost, that doesn’t pay the bills.

In 2005 when Mott took over as HP’s CIO, they ran 85 data centres. Since his reign began, he had consolidated these down to a “six pack” of three redundant, highly virtualised data centres. Motts aim was to cut the 25,000 servers within those 85 data centres to just 14,000 machines within the three mirrored data centres. HP has also cut back on its application portfolio, removing 6,000 of them. The company wanted to cut them down to 1,500 applications, and maybe even as low as 1,100, but didn’t quite manage it when the re-shuffle came to a close.

As part of the tightening of belts, HP have started using a SAP ERP system more, which HP chief executive officer Mark Hurd spoke about last week during the company’s report on the fourth quarter financial figures.

The company has not provided an answer yet n the exact amount of servers its cut back on, but claimed today that it has cut down its servers by an impressive 40 percent, while boosting its processing power by an staggering 250 percent. The company boasted that it has reduced the costs of its networking by 50 percent over the last three years, while managing to triple its bandwidth. Impressive.

With the world going a bit ga-ga over everybody’s green credentials, earth lovers will be pleased to hear that HP has reduced its power consumption by 60 percent since 2005. This is all very impressive. That a company can shed that amount of costs in just three years through part-virtualization amongst other things is a great advertisement for how other companies should be running their data centres.

HP projects $128 billion in revenue in 2009.

VMware Mobile Virtualization – Breathing new Life into Mobile Market

Virtualization pioneer, VMware is looking to break in to the mobile market, and create virtual mobile phone technology in a similar way to the company’s server virtualization technology. On Monday the company announced the arrival of VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP), which it has developed from technology it gained from Trango Virtual Processors last month.

The basic premise is to extract applications and data from a phone’s hardware, which should cut the development time required by manufacturers, as well as enabling mobile phone users to install a variety of different application over a wider range of handsets

According to the company, mobile phone manufacturers are spending a lot of time getting new phones to the marketplace because they have to code for multiple chipsets, operating systems, and device drivers across their product families.

Chris Hazelton, research director of mobile and wireless for The 451 Group said, “There’s a benefit to the manufacturer – it’s lower cost in terms of development because you can have software on a number of different devices, and it doesn’t need to be tweaked for each device, just for the virtualized environment.”

However, it seems there may be more to it that that, and the result could be f more benefit to both carriers and end users. Most mobile phone manufacturers are getting used to the idea of building mobile phones that use open operating systems. That being said, a phones core functions, ad its private data need to remain secure and in working order.

“A mobile phone has core features and responsibilities, and that’s voice — being able to work with a carrier network – and that operating system is tightly controlled by the carrier and the device vendor,” Hazelton said.

“And then you have this virtualized environment that would be open to developers or open to the user to add and install applications to customize the phone as they want – it’s this sandbox that’s very distinct and separate from the core features of the phone, and it won’t disrupt the carrier network,” he explained.

Hazelton noted that virtualization could be used to make a traditional phone work in the same way as one of the more current smartphones – without the development time involved in building one.

“It will take a couple of years before this gets some traction,” he added.

Although at this point, it’s all a bit unclear exactly what VMware will do, market research company Gartner believe it will give the mobile industry a further boost.

“Gartner sees virtualization in the mobile space as a very promising and potentially a fast emerging market,” noted Monica Basso, a research vice president for Gartner.

“We predict that by 2012, more than 50 percent of new smartphones shipped will be virtualized,” she added.

VMware have also made us think about the idea of having multiple profiles on our phones. Think of it in a social networking sense: Facebook for work colleagues, Myspace for socialising. By having virtualized phones, we could separate our work from our play profiles, keeping work files separate, and having different contact lists.

Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT said, “The arrival of the iPhone and the G1 Google phone, along with the Windows-based smartphones and BlackBerries, are getting people to think about exactly what is a smartphone?”

“In the traditional sense, a smartphone was basically a cell phone with a PDA strapped to it. BlackBerry took a step further by optimizing for e-mail and instant messaging, and I think what we’re looking at now, with the iPhone and G1 – and some devices that are on the way – are full-fledged hand-held computers,” he said.

“At a certain point, you have to say, ‘If I have a handheld computer, what is the best way to utilize the system resources?’” King noted.

“And I think that’s the question VMware is looking to address,” he added.

King also believes that by virtualizing a mobile phone, you can keep your vital files and data safe from hackers.

“What happens when hackers start targeting malicious code at the smartphone market?” King said. “The browser could be isolated from the rest of the phone, or you could isolate e-mail, to keep the greater system from being damaged,” he said.

Microsoft Hypes up Hyper-V

With Windows 7 on the horizon, Microsoft has wowed its fans, and heard some pre-release grumbles from its detractors, but they’ve not really talked about the server-side of the coin.

Microsoft big-wigs have promised that Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology will come up with the goods, after the media tore the company’s promises to pieces over the last few months.

Bill Laing is the corporate VP of Microsoft Windows server and solutions division. He said at a recent conference, the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in LA, that the planned management features would be the “competitive differentiator” in the upcoming version of Hyper-V, which is due with Windows Server 2008 R2. Laing demonstrated Hyper-V performing a live migration, playing a video while switching hypervisors.

The next version of Microsoft’s SQL Server database, Kilimanjaro, promises greater scalability and improved management in large environments that the current SQL Server 2008.

The SQL Server RDBMS engine will be changed in Kilimanjaro so that it can run up to 256 logical processors, going beyond the limit of 64, and eliminating the need to manually partition applications across nodes. This allows customers to run high scale and particularly difficult applications.

Microsoft is “lighting up” new technologies, according to Quentin Clark, general manager for the SQL Server database engine. He says this will allow, for example, Excel to work with larger data sets than currently possible. “We are aligning it with more Office experience…to complete the last mile of business intelligence,” Clark said.

Last month Microsoft announced the arrival of Madison, a server-based appliance based on Kilimanjaro with hardware partners for large scale and detailed analysis.

The company plans to reference implementations ahead of Madison and announced that it might expand into other area as there has already been interest. This could mean appliances for packaged apps, like SAP, or the much more difficult, ‘custom old transaction processing’ (COTP).

COTP could be hard to achieve because reference architectures tend to require knowledge of I/O, memory and CPU capabilities in addition to knowing the software’s own limits.

Datatrend Technologies, Inc. Announces New Virtualization Appliance Offering

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ — Datatrend Technologies, Inc. introduced a new virtualization appliance that helps clients build an affordable computing infrastructure with high levels of utilization, availability, automation and flexibility using the IBM BladeCenter server. Datatrend made the announcement yesterday during a “Road 2 Virtualization Road Show” event hosted in Minneapolis, MN.

Datatrend has designed an all-in-one solution that comes complete with the server hardware, software, consulting services and comprehensive support needed to jumpstart a server and / or client virtualization initiative. Virtualization-in-a-Box can help clients more efficiently manage and consolidate volumes of business data with the benefits of increased security, flexibility and improved disaster recovery.

Datatrend customers will receive all of the benefits associated with a VMware Virtual Infrastructure solution, plus an easy to administer, space saving server, storage and optional client desktop solution that comes complete with higher availability, lower power & cooling costs and improved security.

Designed with the highest quality, most reliable components, Virtualization-in-a-Box is built on the IBM BladeCenter, the industry leading solution for running business-critical workloads. Integrated with the BladeCenter hardware is VMware(R) VI3 plus other virtual enablement tools which provide increased server utilization, along with improved performance, increased security, and reduced cost and complexity.

This solution can scale up to 190 virtual servers (or even more clients) all in one box and comes pre-configured with 1.8 TB of virtualized storage with room to expand up to 3.6 TB. The Datatrend solution makes virtualization easy, and is pre-packaged with server consolidation & training services and three years of support and maintenance.

“Datatrend is dedicated to helping its clients improve their infrastructures through powerful virtualization technologies,” said Charlie Cox, Sr. Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Datatrend Technologies, Inc. “Today’s IT organizations face many challenges, including growing capacity while conserving or reducing operating costs and improving service availability. We wanted to provide customers with a virtual infrastructure solution that is easier to deploy and administer with a faster time to value and overall lower cost of ownership.”

The solution comes preconfigured, tested and validated making it an ideal solution for customers looking to standardize hardware platforms and simplify the roll-out process across many distributed locations. The all-in-one design is also a great fit for small-and-medium-sized businesses looking to virtualize smaller server environments or add storage capacity where space is limited.

For Virtualized Network Installations and Consultancy, Contact us here.
Continue reading

Virtualization: A brief History

Virtualization is a process that allows one piece of hardware to run a number of operating systems all at the same time. Prior to its inception, the standard for x86 servers was to only run one application to one server. This was fine until more and more servers were needed to meet the growing demands of the IT world, as data centre managers were spending millions of dollars on wasted server space.

But now, virtualization has changed everything, for one machine can run a multitude of applications, each isolated into one virtual operating system, completely separated from the others.

As a subsidiary of EMC, VMware popped onto the technology scene in 1998, beginning as a start-up company and soaring to become one of the driving forces in virtualization in just a few short years. In 2005, virtualization technology came in to mainstream awareness faster than anyone could have ever imagined – including many IT experts. Not only did it fly right on through the developmental software stages, it fell headlong into the data centre… all within a year.

Recent times have seen the IT world look for different means of consolidating that would assist in running their systems more efficiently. Virtualization software from companies such as Platespin was just in time to initiate and capitalize on the momentum for this new technology, seeing nothing short of outstanding adoption rates and customer satisfaction. The latest estimates even show that nearly 75% of all companies with at least 500 employees are installing virtual servers, with nearly half of those who are already utilizing the technology stating that of all new servers purchased, close to half of them will be virtualized.

Other companies besides Platespin have entered the virtualization market as well. Microsoft has had quite a bit of luck creating and marketing its own virtualization software, mostly due to their large customer base. Xen is another, with its software currently breaking into the market. Of course, just like anything else, software is certain to have a kink or two as it passes from a magazine headline to the adoption process, so buyers would do well to go with a trusted name when purchasing a solution

Many of the experts claim that management of this in-demand technology is right around the corner, as current users aren’t mixing and matching technologies, but are simply utilizing them for one purpose- either networking, storage, or systems.

If your concerns are related to storage, you would work with storage virtualization. Ideally, all virtualizations of one company would be able to be pooled and be tied together or moved around as needed. As with any new technology, the question of automation has been popping up throughout the conversations of vendors and customers. Is it possible? Yes, it is. Will it happen? I predict it will…

For Virtualized Network Installations and Consultancy, Contact us here.

VirtualLogix to Support Symbian OS

VirtualLogix have announced that VirtualLogix VLX – its virtualization software product – will be the first to support Symbian OS, which is the market leading open operating system of advanced data-enabled mobile phones.

At London’s Symbian Smartphone Show today, the company will demonstrate a prototype of the Symbian OS running simultaneously with Linux on multiple mobile platforms.

This is the first product to support the Symbian OS on a virtualized mobile platform. VirtualLogix VLX allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and semiconductor vendor’s new ways to reap the benefits of virtualization in mobile phone design.

VirtualLogix is part of the Symbian Partner Network*, so is therefore committed to developing solutions based on the Symbian platform for the benefit of the mobile industry.

VirtualLogix VLX for mobile separates hardware management and application management on mobile platforms, allowing applications running on the Symbian OS to access a peripheral device managed by another operating system kernel, such as Linux. This adds extra layers of security for financial and high-risk transactions.

* “Members of the Symbian Partner Network have access to exclusive technical, marketing and business development benefits and opportunities, as well as a range of tools and resources, to develop on Symbian OS, quickly and efficiently.

“With straightforward licensing conditions and terms of use providing ownership and revenue opportunities from derivative works, the Symbian OS Development Kit includes test code, internal documentation, kernel and device driver programming interfaces and ROM building tools. Early access and frequent deliveries of the Symbian OS Development Kit enable pre-market participation in Symbian OS mobile phone development projects with rights to distribute derivative works directly to Symbian OS Customization Kit licensees.”

For Virtualized Network Installations and Consultancy, Contact us here.

IBM helps Small Business Virtualization

To cater for one of the fastest growing parts of the storage marketplace, IBM has announced that its storage virtualization software is to be packaged for SME’s (small-to-medium sized businesses).

The IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) software is designed to improve storage utilization rates, energy efficiency, admin productivity, availability, and scalability of critical applications. The software will significantly improve the flexibility and responsiveness of IT infrastructures by creating consolidated, virtual pools of information.

The new SVC Entry Edition helps SME’s to manage growth and improve the return on their storage investments while also helping o simplify operations. SVC Entry Edition delivers the same capabilities as the standard SVC edition, but is built on more affordable hardware. What this means is that any IBM business partners that are familiar with SVC will be able to support clients using the Entry Edition. SVC Entry Edition is licensed by the number of disk drives virtualized as opposed to per terabyte – making it more accessible and affordable.

Since its introduction in 2003, over 14,000 SVC engines running more than 4,600 SVC systems have been shipped by IBM.

IBM also announced that it has made a new world record SPC disk-based benchmark that demonstrates the scalability of SVC. The new benchmark doesn’t just beat the previous SVC measurement but does so with IBM’s new Space-Efficient Virtual Disk thin provisioning technology enabled. The new SPC-1 benchmark of SVC running with IBM DS4700 disk supports 274,997.58 SPC-1 IOPS(TM) per second.

SVC Entry Edition is released on November 21.

For Virtualized Network Installations and Consultancy, Contact us here.

Red Hat and Scalent Systems Combine

A partnership between Red Hat and Scalent Systems – a provider of real-time Management and Automation software for large data centres – was announced today. The combined solution extends virtualization and data centre automation beyond hypervisors, to bare metal servers, network and storage connectivity.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 provides IT managers with greater flexibility, via a comprehensive suite of open source server applications and virtualization capabilities. Scalent V/OE enables IT managers to rapidly provision entire virtual or bare metal servers and associated storage and network topologies, yielding higher asset utilization and lowering costs dramatically.

The software from Scalent provides real-time data centre management, automation, and virtualization across physical and virtual servers, networks, and storage.

The V/OE software enables data centres to react in real-time to changing business needs by shifting workloads and connectivity. This means that data centres can change between different configurations without physical intervention.

Scalents software works with Enterprise Linux 5 and Linux Automation capabilities by delivering fully transparent management and automation of software workloads and connectivity across bare metal and virtual environments, including:

“Simple, transparent deployment, automation, and management of both virtual and physical servers, network connectivity and storage access

“Cost-effective high availability and server failover solutions, through Scalent’s N+1 technology leveraging existing IT assets

“Fully-automated disaster recovery across data centres, through Scalent’s disaster recovery technology

“Creation of server pools that enable server rightsizing and scalability through dynamic repurposing

“Effective chargeback capabilities, logical, secure partitioning, and named pools of resources for rapid change of operational lab or production environments.”

Virtualization: “Green Computing”

“Go Green”. We hear it time and time again. It’s everywhere from the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive, to the hairsprays people use, but the term “Green Computing” is a relatively new one. But what exactly is green computing?

A quick look around the internet throws up many definitions of the term. Most of them focus on a set of processes and approaches designed to make datacentre’s more efficient, by way of reducing the power and cooling required. According to statistics, the daily power consumption of a typical datacentre is the equivalent to the monthly power consumption of a couple of thousand homes.

Exactly how many homes is dependant in the size of the datacentre and the number of systems in the centre. This has become a major issue, and the Environmental Protection Agency has even begun a study on datacentre power consumption.

Green Computing has become the next big thing for suppliers offering virtualization services. One of the primary goals of virtualization is making the most efficient use of available system resources.

For example, many suppliers of management software for virtualizes environments have the ability to transfer workloads to a smaller number of servers when workload and service level agreements allow it. The unused servers can then be turned off.

Companies like DataSynapse, Novell, Scalent and Cassatt all mention this when discussing their products, with Novell showing their green-side for well over a decade now.

You need to ask yourself: What is your business doing to make its operations more efficient? Would your organisation deploy tools such as Novell’s Orchestrator, Cassatt’s Collage or DataSynapse’s MatrixServer to reduce power consumption and heat production while still being able to meet established service level agreements?

You shoul really have a look at this .pdf from VMware explaining how you can cut your costs by going green.

For Virtualized Network Installations and Consultancy, Contact us here.