Archive for the ‘ VMware ’ Category


How VMware wants to reinvent the SAN

Written by admin
March 14th, 2014

VMware is out with Virtual SAN today, which aims to virtualize the storage layer

VMware has released a virtual Storage Area Network (Virtual SAN), which the company says will usher in a new era of policy-driven and virtual machine-centric storage provisioning.

SANs are typically made of disparate storage components aggregated to create a pool that can be tapped by compute resources. Traditionally, SANs have been set up using external storage boxes which are then controlled by a switch; they’re ideal for dynamic storage needs.

VMware is taking a different approach for Virtual SAN, however. Instead of using external storage arrays that are pooled, Virtual SAN is a software-only product that runs on x86 servers that an enterprise may already have. It creates the shared storage pool out of the internal storage resources of the servers. This means Virtual SAN can be deployed as an overlay approach without the need to invest in new hardware.

Virtual SAN also takes a somewhat novel approach to provisioning the storage. Traditionally, SANs have worked by setting up Logical Unit Numbers (LUN) or other connections between the storage and the compute. Instead, Virtual SAN is integrated directly in with the kernel of VMware’s ESX hypervisor. That allows virtual machines to dictate how much storage they need and then the Virtual SAN software automatically provisions it.

Users set templates or policies related to how much storage their VMs can request, how fault tolerant the storage should be (and therefore how many copies of it there will be) and what sort of performance it requires (solid state versus hard drive). Then, when the VM is spun up, Virtual SAN automatically provisions the necessary storage within the parameters of the policies that have been established.

Simon Robinson, research vice president for storage at the 451 Research Group likes the idea. “Our research has been telling us for years that IT and storage managers are pretty tired of all the complexity involved in managing storage – managing LUNs, volumes, RAID levels, etc., and server virtualization makes it even more so,” he says. “For organizations that are well down the virtualization path, having a VM-centric way of managing their storage makes a lot of sense.”

Virtual SAN has been in development for three years and in beta for about a half year, since VMware announced it at VMWorld 2013. In that time 12,000 customers have signed up for the beta. Ryan Hoenle, director of the non-profit Doe Fund, is a VMware compute virtualization customer and has been testing Virtual SAN in its DR platform. “It’s really a no-brainer when the hypervisor you want to use also includes this virtualized storage,” he says. Virtual SAN allows the Doe Fund to have redundancy where Hoenle needs it and not pay for redundancy where he doesn’t. “We get that same sort of flexibility from a storage perspective that we gained from a compute perspective when we went to VMware.”

VMware isn’t alone in taking this policy-driven and hypervisor-integrated approach to a SAN. Robinson notes that there are a variety of startups doing this as well, but they take a slightly different approach. Companies like Nutanix and SimpliVity offer converged infrastructure systems which combine other features such as deduplication, compression and sophisticated snapshots into their platforms, for example. Some startups also enable multi-hypervisor support. But, one advantage to VMware’s Virtual SAN is that it is “baked in” with existing VMware tools. “Virtual SAN represents a major validation of this approach, and that will be good for all players,” Robinson says.

With Virtual SAN, VMware is finishing off the trifecta of its software defined data center (SDDC) strategy. The company is already clearly established in the compute virtualization market with a leading platform there. It bought Nicira and is working on its network virtualization strategy. Storage can be thought of as a last frontier for VMware to conquer, and Virtual SAN is a piece of that strategy.

VMware spokespeople say that they don’t expect Virtual SAN to replace an existing SAN or NAS (network attached storage); they see it as a complementary platform that is especially helpful for use cases such as disaster recovery, test and development, and virtual desktops. It’s generally available starting today, priced at $2,495 as stand-alone software.


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VMware cost calculator can show Microsoft is cheaper

Written by admin
November 24th, 2012

In certain configurations, Windows Server 2012 is cheaper than vSphere

Which is cheaper: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or VMware vSphere 5.1? Well, that depends on who’s doing the math.

A Microsoft general manager recently wrote a blog post pointing out that a cost calculator on VMware’s website shows that if a system is configured in a certain way then Microsoft’s Windows Server is less expensive for virtualizing workloads compared to VMware’s flagship software. “VMware (finally) admits that its costs are higher than Microsoft’s,” is the title of the post.

At least one analyst is chalking this up as Microsoft “mudslinging” aimed at VMware, but also points out that it could reflect the increasing competitiveness of the virtualization market.

The cost calculator on VMware’s website must be configured a certain way for Microsoft’s Windows Systems Server to come out cheaper than VMware. The configuration includes 100 virtual machines, an iSCSI SAN, using VMware vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus, with low electricity and real estate expenses. Microsoft says this represents a “common data center virtualization configuration.” When doing this, VMware’s vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus is 19% higher than Windows Systems Center 2012 and 12% higher than VMware’s Enterprise edition. VMware’s Enterprise Plus is priced at $257,385 compared to $217,226 for the Microsoft brand. When comparing the Windows version to the standard VMware edition, however, VMware comes out to be 7% less expensive than Microsoft.

In the blog post, Microsoft GM for Servers and Tools Marketing Group Amy Barzdukas says Microsoft could be even cheaper. VMware, she says is using a 2011 study which assumes that VMware ESX hypervisor can handle 20% more applications per virtual machine compared to Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization tool. Barzdukas says that’s “an assumption with little credibility or real-life customer evidence” by VMware, noting that application memory has been improved in the 2012 version of the software.

Public relations representatives that work with VMware did not respond to multiple inquiries to offer a response to Microsoft’s claims. VMware’s cost calculator Web page does note that VMware’s Enterprise edition includes more than a dozen features that Windows Systems Center 2012 does not, such as VM fault tolerance, dynamic resource scheduling and distributed networking switching, for example.

ESG analyst Mark Bowker says “this is basically just some mudslinging,” by Microsoft. Despite what can sometimes be higher priced products, Bowker says he’s hard pressed to find users who are not happy with VMware’s services. “It’s an investment in licensing, and the hardware to go with it, but people use it because of the management capabilities it gives you to run the shop more efficiently,” he says.

It’s not the first time Microsoft has taken some jabs at VMware. Earlier this year the company released a series of advertisements featuring “Tad,” a fictional salesperson for “VMlimited.” As Network World’s Jon Gold pointed out in April, it was attempt by Microsoft to paint VMware as expensive and outdated, by portraying VMware as working with only VMware’s hypervisors. VMware has changed that since then.

John Treadway, VP of Cloud Technology Partners, a consultancy, says the cost per VM price can be slightly misleading. “Enterprise buyers know that there is a difference between the list price and what the actual price turns out to be.” Plus, he says, VMware is trying to play a price game. “That’s not their value proposition,” he says. “Cheapest isn’t always necessarily the best.”

MORE MUDSLINGING: VMware and Microsoft are missing the boat on private PaaS, consultant says

Treadway says there are plenty of ways to set up a virtualized infrastructure that would be cheaper than both VMware and Microsoft. Commodity hardware could be used on top of an open source hypervisor to create a system that he guesses could be 20% cheaper than Microsoft’s price. The tradeoff is it would take more configuration and management, but it would be cheaper.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for Windows Server 2012 in the enterprise though, Bowker says. More and more, enterprises are turning into multi-hypervisor environments, with Microsoft’s Hyper-V gaining traction in adoption. “There’s a comfort factor there with Microsoft,” he says.

And overall, Bowker says that competition is a good thing to keep these vendors on their toes and ensure that customers reap the benefits of a diversified marketplace.


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VMware CEO: Cloud to end computer desktop era

Written by admin
August 30th, 2011

VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to make the move from virtualization to cloud infrastructure

VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to think beyond the desktop computer. It is a dead metaphor, he insisted, one ill-suited for today’s workforce 70-640 Training.

“PCs are not the only animal in the zoo anymore. Increasingly, users are holding other devices in their hands,” he said, speaking at the kick-off of the VMworld 2011, being held this week in Las Vegas.

 

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Within five years, less than 20 percent of computing clients will be running Microsoft Windows, he predicted. The job of providing applications and data “can no longer belong to any one device, or any one operating system. So we have to float away from that aspect of the desktop,” he said.

While VMware has made its mark by providing software for virtualizing servers, the company is rapidly building up a stack of software for organizations to use to run private and hybrid clouds, based around its vSphere software for managing virtual resources.

In his presentation before many of the conference’s 19,000 attendees, Maritz said customers should move from virtualization to a full-fledged cloud infrastructure. Fifty percent of the world’s infrastructure runs on virtualization, he noted. The cloud is the next logical step, he reasoned.

A cloud infrastructure will be necessary, he noted, to accommodate the needs of a more dynamic workforce. It will enable administrators to deliver applications and information to people, rather than devices.

Some organizations seem to be moving in this direction. Maritz said that there are now over 800,000 vSphere administrators, including 68,000 certified in handling the technology.

“I spent my whole life working on the PC,” admitted Maritz, who is 56. The metaphor of the desktop came from Xerox Parc research lab in the 1970s, which at the time, was exploring “how to automate the life of the white collar worker, circa 1975,” he said. This meant the researchers made computer based approximations of the tools of the office worker–file cabinets, typewriters, files, folder, inboxes and outboxes.

“We got a great a desktop environment,” he said Free MCTS Training and MCTS Online Training. “The problem is the people under the age of 35 don’t sit behind desks, and they don’t spend all of their time lovingly tending to documents. They will be dealing with streams of information that will be coming at them in much smaller chunks and much larger numbers. We’re moving into a new post-document era, and we will need different solutions.”

Maritz then explained how VMware’s products can provide a foundation for this new type of operation. VMware’s vFabric provides a set of tools for developers to build applications that can run natively in the cloud. CloudFoundry provides a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that customers can use to run their own applications on external hardware. VMware View VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) software allows users to access their data and applications across a wide range of clients. And the recently released VMware Horizon provides an enterprise portal for users to easily access new applications.