Archive for January, 2009

Xen, KVM, Hyper-V, Oh My…And vSphere…Just Does Not Have The Same Ring As…Lions, Tigers and Bears?

Virtualization Critical Comparison – Chapter 04

I have been spending a lot of time with XenServer 5, Hyper-V 2008, and of course VMware vSphere, over the last month or so. I expect I will continue to do this through March 2009. I planned to spend some serious time with KVM, but have not as yet had the time or resources to do so, yet. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have not been surprised by what I have seen and learned. My expectations have been met, things are improving in general, but maybe not as fast as I would prefer. No, don’t misunderstand me, I realize things take time. What I am saying is that I expected more from everyone, in comparison to everyone else, when new features would be added, not if. That everyone would steal more ideas from each other, and get these features started sooner than they have, in their respective platforms years ago, rather than in the coming year or so. For example, VMware now seriously is working towards imaging, or Microsoft now seriously working towards transparent migration. In both examples, VMware and Microsoft could have achieved these features years ago.

Here is my explanation of the key strategic issue per platform now, as a concept, not a specific feature comparison or analysis:

  • At least the way I see Xen, given what I have researched and experienced so far. Xen seems to be dying. RedHat does not seem to know how to spell the world Xen, interesting since after all they were significant to the development and enhancement of Xen. I not sure why this is the case, Xen is a good platform, even if it does lack the features that make it a true enterprise solution, say compared to VMware. RedHat can not control the destiny of Xen, given Citrix being in the picture, so RedHat moving to KVM seems logical. However, Citrix I fear in light of Hyper-V, can not continue with Xen either.
  • Microsoft, which should be called the Godzilla of virtualization, is just about ready to pop-up and trash everyone and everything that is not Microsoft. Of course, Hyper-V, yes, wonderful Hyper-V, well, it is a threat to everyone, but System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is a pain to install, a pain to use, and worse, it appears to me, to be very slow, slower than vCenter, which is significant. SCVMM is a pain to interpret, above all else, every single time SCVMM reports an issue it fails to explain it well, whatever the issue is. I love the…Host Needs Attention generic warning…most often this appears when an individual host needs a few hot-fixes applied, but now where in the SCVMM interface are the individual hot-fixes itemized? And of course SCVMM does not integrate into Microsoft Update, so you have no clue what the real specific hot-fixes issues are, if in fact the issue is missing hot-fixes. How many firms are going to purchase SCVMM or Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) for Hyper-V? Not many. SCVMM and/or MOM are not inexpensive.
  • KVM, as I said above, I have not spent enough time with KVM yet to have a detailed list of the good, the bad, and the ugly for KVM. However, as the late comer to this world of virtualization as we know it today, it has a very complex set of features and options that it must achieve to compete with VMware, and to some degree Hyper-V and Xen. The KVM open source heritage with support from IBM is a good thing, but can it really survive? Only time will tell.
  • VMware of course is King Kong. Mature, stable, feature set deep and wide, most of the time there is obvious intelligence behind the design. But dang it, it costs too much. Given the current economic down turn, this is more significant than ever. I have read three (3) different proposals, in the last 10 days, from different enterprise architects from various places, that want to walk away from VMware, today, just because Hyper-V exists, and the single justification is, total cost, Never mind, that Hyper-V on clustering is horrible to setup and difficult to manage. That Hyper-V has some impossible single-point-of-failure-issues. Nevermind that supporting Hyper-V will be expensive given real and instance out-of-the-box limitations. VMware is in the clouds, discussing vSphere and its wonders. But are they watching the back door? ESXi free or not, is useless to anyone that has any significant scale of virtualization to implement and support. Any serious enterprise must have vCenter at a minimum. This makes Hyper-V look easy to implement at a strategic level, because it is just part of Windows 2008. Wrong. Hyper-V is an operational nightmare at a tactical level. Worse, if a firm is not going to purchase SCVMM or MOM, they of course will not be purchasing much if anything in or from vSphere. So where does that leave VMware?

At this point, I am sure most of you, are saying…What does any of this have to do with the title of this blog entry? I will elucidate. Well, the bears are gone; the bulls own the market right now, this economic situation, is innovation-to-support-expansion (ISE) death. True, I may have misled everyone, by referencing Bears, but…Lions, Tigers, and Bulls…Has no ring to it either. As for the Lions, they are the enterprise customers; they put up a good image, talk big, but behind the scenes, are doing little or nothing, everything is status quo, which is not good for any hypervisor vendor. Lions often have multi-year, enterprise licensing, so they will just continue as they have, using the product mix already licensed to continue in a tactical mindset. Thus the ISE projects are dropping off the RADAR like bugs flying too close to a zapper! The Tigers are the interesting aspect, they are the loners, singular, mavericks that will purchase what, when, and how they want, but over all, do not represent sufficient market share or scope to support the robust and extensive virtualization vendor industry.

I expect that the virtualization technology and related companies, especially the remaining 3rd party solution providers, for the most part will go the way of the Dot-Com firms collapse about 2000, we will see flood of failures, mergers, buy outs, etc., beyond the purchases that VMware has already made the last two (2) years. My view is that this chaos will last for about 9 or so months, with the avalanche hitting about June 2009, and thus going into 2010. This means that as Hyper-V starts to major in 2011, VMware will be in difficult situation. I would not be surprised, to see the greater hypervisor oriented virtualization market consolidate as well, to just two (2) firms, VMware and Microsoft. Leaving us, with King Kong, and Godzilla? Was there not a cult classic movie by that title in the 1960s? Yes, Kingu Kongu Tai Gojira. But I was always a Wizard of Oz fan, so I am sticking with Lions, Tigers, and Bulls, cough, Bears.

8 comments January 28th, 2009

ToutVirtual Announces VirtualIQ Pro 3

Single, platform-agnostic console provides integrated policy engine for all virtualization platforms
Carlsbad, California – January 13, 2009 – ToutVirtual, an emerging leader in virtualization intelligence, optimization and performance-management software for virtual computing infrastructures, today announced the availability of VirtualIQ Pro 3 (VirtualIQ Pro). VirtualIQ Pro is a management and automation program designed to support customers in every stage of virtualization deployment. The wide range of features helps users from the planning phase to established virtual server rooms running hundreds of virtual machines (VMs). VirtualIQ Pro is available as a software solution, and as a quick-start for new users, ToutVirtual is offering a fully featured, free version of VirtualIQ Pro which supports up to 5 CPU sockets or 25 virtual machines. To download a free copy of ToutVirtual’s VirtualIQ Pro, please visit http://www.toutvirtual.com/downloads/downloads.php

VirtualIQ Pro, with a new user interface, offers the tools to manage the unique challenges that IT faces at each stage. The integrated functionality of VirtualIQ Pro provides server virtualization assessment, asset management, performance management, capacity management, and reporting in one product that is simple to install, deploy and use. VirtualIQ Pro offers a unique value proposition since the same console is capable of supporting Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, and open-source Xen virtualization platforms.

“ToutVirtual’s VirtualIQ Pro console addresses a very important need in the support of heterogeneous virtualization environments,” says Andi Mann, research director at Enterprise Management Associates. “In an easy-to-use, functional and affordable interface, VirtualIQ Pro helps users get greater value from virtualization deployments by integrating, in a single console, several core disciplines like capacity planning, load balancing and automated VM management.”

“ToutVirtual’s products have helped us manage our physical and virtual IT infrastructure,” says Rakesh Shah, vice president of IT operations for eGain, Inc., the leading provider of multi-channel customer service and knowledge management software. “We have a heterogeneous IT environment with different virtual platforms and various stages of virtualization. ToutVirtual’s VirtualIQ Pro has provided us with a unified console to control server capacity, manage incidents, create and execute policies and ultimately optimize our virtualization environment.”
 
Users face different challenges in each phase of their virtualization deployments – design, deploy, and deliver. For instance, in the design stage, the issues are physical-to-virtual (P-V) migration, calculating ROI, platform selection, how to decide which applications get consolidated on which hosts, resource optimization, and so forth. In the deploy stage, the challenges are managing available server capacity, controlling virtual server sprawl, performance optimization, and resource dependency just to name a few. In the deliver stage, the hurdles are managing heterogeneous virtual environments, service-delivery optimization, policy-based actions like spinning a new virtual machine, and more. VirtualIQ Pro provides a single, integrated console to optimize each of these scenarios.

“The proliferation of virtualization platforms and the ever growing number of virtual applications creates a strong demand for a single, platform- and hypervisor-agnostic management and automation console that can address all the customer’s needs – whether the customer is in the planning stage or already in the deployment stage,” says Vipul Pabari, chief technology officer of ToutVirtual. “With VirtualIQ Pro we are responding to this demand with an affordable, flexible, complete and easy-to-use management and automation tool.”

VirtualIQ Pro 3 comes with the following new features:

  • Physical and virtual asset and inventory discovery – provides audit trail of additions, moves and removal of assets. Supports both non-virtualized and virtualized physical server assets, virtual machine assets, and resource pools.
  • Single, integrated console – simplifies IT operations to manage physical servers and virtual machines. Supports multiple management functions such as performance management, capacity planning, capacity maximization, capacity forecasting, and visibility reports.
  • Physical to virtual migration (P-to-V) analyzer – allows IT to discover virtualization server candidates, perform multiple “what-if” workload placement analysis for virtual machine (VM) density planning. Optional green IT analysis and forecasting for virtualization return-on-investment (ROI) analysis available.
  • Virtualization analytics – provides IT quick incident management to identify where resource contention or bottlenecks are within the dynamic virtual infrastructure. Supports Host-Host, Host-VM, Host-HostGroup, Inter-VM and Intra-VM resource dependency analysis.
  • Hypervisor-agnostic policy engine for virtualization automation – allows IT to simplify and lower the total cost of ownership of their virtual infrastructure. Supports “crawl-walk-run” automation modes, event-triggered automation, and time-triggered (scheduled) automation. New virtualization actions include (cold migration), move VM and live VM migration.
  • Multiple hypervisor (Type-I and Type-II) support for heterogeneous support of the market’s top virtualization platforms.
  • Secure virtualization with role-based access – allows IT departments to define different user roles within the web portal and to customize rights. Supports multiple roles, multiple authentication models: stand-alone, Active Directory and OpenLDAP.

Pricing, Availability and Platforms Supported

VirtualIQ Pro 3 is available now. VirtualIQ Pro software supports unlimited number of CPU sockets and unlimited virtual machines. Several pricing levels for VirtualIQ Pro are available based on CPU socket and VM support. As a quick-start or test drive, VirtualIQ Pro for up to 5 CPU sockets or 25 virtual machines is available for free download. Pricing starts at $199 per CPU socket per year. Additional volume pricing is available by contacting ToutVirtual directly. To download a free copy of ToutVirtual’s VirtualIQ Pro, please visit http://www.toutvirtual.com/downloads/downloads.php

VirtualIQ Pro is hypervisor agnostic and can be installed on either Windows or Linux OS and supports the following virtual platforms:

  • VMware ESX, VMware ESXi, VMware Server on Windows, VMware Server on Linux, VMware GSX Server on Windows, VMware GSX Server on Linux
  • Citrix XenServer
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2
  • Xen on Novell SUSE Enterprise 10
  • Oracle Oracle VM

Add comment January 16th, 2009




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