One topic that I have not been able to blog about from VMworld was the VMware View announcements. I didn’t get a lot of detail, but the introduction during the keynotes did peak my interest quite a bit. My company is currently evaluating its options for doing virtualized desktops. We feel like there are some places where we can benefit from virtual desktops and others where maybe thin clients may be better. Our (possibly misguided) goal is to mitigate the amount of licensing fees we are paying to Microsoft. So at the same time, we are looking at Linux on the desktop as well.
First rule I learned at VMworld. It’s so easy to miss a lot of good sessions. Not all of my planned sessions were as stellar as some… Most were fantastic – and those are the one’s I’ve blogged about. Here is the list (with links to other folk’s blogs for the good notes) that I wish I’d attended…
One of the most compelling introductions I found during VMworld 2008 was the VMware AppSpeed product/plugin. AppSpeed is the market delivery of the Beehive aquisition that VMware made last year. During the Wednesday morning keynote by Dr. Stephen Herrod, CTO, all attendees were treated to a live demonstration of the AppSpeed product along with the laundry list of what it promises to be able to do.
Profile/Learn, Monitor, Mitigate
AppSpeed, in short, will passively learn your applications to map and build awareness of the dependant systems, databases (even the query level) and infrastructure services. Once it builds a profile of your application, it can then begin to monitor and watch for problems and be able to guide you directly to the root of the problem.
So, one particularly interesting session I attended was TA2275, which basically involved the speaker, a crystal ball and the future of Virtual Networking in ESX. The content was set into two parts – what we can expect in the immediate future and then some speculation about where things are probably going for the future.
One of the biggest sticking points with ESX, in my opinion, has been the VMotion compatibility and processor classes. This point has produced some rather interesting support documents both from VMware and hardware vendors. VMware has been working to alleviate this problem and demo’d the solution during VMorld again. The solution is called “Enhanced VMotion.”
The basic concept is that it takes a group of heterogenous processors, determines the lowest common denominator between the group and then sets that as the baseline for the cluster. After that point, ESX will basically mask all newer processors down to the most compatible feature set.
FT is a new feature which VMware introduced to the world during VMworld 2008. The feature is a continuous availability solution for use with some virtual machines. The following notes were compiled from session BC2621 at VMworld which introduced the forthcoming FT feature from VMware’s Application vServices. The feature should be available sometime in 2009.
FT will enable a VM to be protected with zero downtime and zero data loss due to a hardware failure. FT allows for a VM to have a secondary copy running simultaneously on a second ESX host which is executing every instruction and every input in lockstep with the primary VM. In the event of a failure, the secondary VM becomes the primary within a matter of seconds, while preserving state and without disconnecting any connections to the virtual machine. All traffic is redirected to the secondary. In addition, once the secondary assumes the role as primary, it spawns a new secondary instance on another ESX host and brings full fault tolerance back to the virtual server.
I’m back now from VMworld in Las Vegas and just wanted to let you know that the lack of posts was a reflection of the poor Internet quality in the conference location. I don’t think the Ventitian had any idea of what to expect with a geek conference. The Internet only improved on Thursday after days of lag and very slow (think dial-up) connections from the rooms and conference areas in the Sands Conference Center.
So, I’ll be working on turning my notes into posts about the different things I’ve learned during the conference and hope to have these up very soon.
Just got out of the Partner’s session for VMware’s Roadmap for 2009 – the Next Generation Datacenter. The big announcement is that VMware plans to leverage its existing technologies into a new datacenter OS – VDC-OS. The majority of this is just product re-branding and giving a name to the overall strategy they have been pursuing for several years. I’ve compiled a highlight of the session with many of the new introductions for 2009 and how they fit in the virtual datacenter.
Found out late last month that I will be attending VMworld beginning on Sept 15 in Las Vegas. This will be my first VMworld, so not sure what to expect and still trying to arrange my schedule to attend as many sessions as possible on the topics of interest for my company. Unfortunately, I was late to register due to internal paper shuffle and now the security lab that I wanted to get into is full. I’m going to try and wait list myself to see if I can attend once on site.
The overall conference agenda looks great and I’m excited to see some of the road-map announcements and what’s next with VMware. The company is undergoing a good bit a change and I’m disappointed that I won’t be hearing from former CEO and founder Dianne Green at the conference.
I’ll be posting some of the sessions that I’ll be attending and trying to get my ducks in a row. I’ll also try and post daily from the conference with announcements and detail of what I hear.
First, let me say that a wise man once told me that procrastination solves many a problem. While I don’t think it always applies, when it comes to software patches and upgrades – I tend to tread water for a while before applying anything in production.
Everyone else has chimed in with their perspective on why the Update 2 bomb bug is a big deal. I probably approach this from a slightly different angle. I’m never fond of any software company which time limits your software. I don’t really care much if its beta software or final release, but anything which bundles a mechanism to expire the software at some point in time to me is not production software. Any time this is included, you run the risk of the exact scenario that VMware setup on us. To me, there is only one thing worst – a HARDWARE based license shackle (I have one I absolutely despise in the office right now!).
I have always been a fan of VMware’s solution to licensing – because it wasn’t a date or hardware shackle solution. That’s what makes me so worried with VMware at this point. Why would a company whose central mechanism for license control add a date layer when its not necessary. If you’re VMware, do you really care that someone is running a pre-release version of your patches instead of the final revision? Why did the date of August 12 matter? If someone is crazy enough to run their production systems on pre-release patches, let them.
Those darn pirates
Yeah, yeah. I get that some people pirate software. But many of the anti-piracy measures only serve to agonize the legitimate customers of the software companies. Many years ago during my consulting years, I maintained a dental software package which relied on a parallel port hardware shackle to operate. This was the pain of all pains. There wasn’t a move the office could make without having problems. And should the one workstation with the key go down, well, the office was down.
Microsoft has been combatting piracy for years, with little success IMO. The things that they have added to their operating systems continue to do little other than annoy their legitimate customers. As an enterprise, I find it rediculous that we’d have to activate every copy of Windows we deploy. They already rape extort persuade us into “Enterprise Agreements” on the threats of audits and in the olden days, rewarded us with the ability not to have to activate each copy in the enterprise. With the advent of Windows Server 2008 and Vista on the desktop, we lose that ‘reward’ and are forced to allow this needless traffic through our firewalls and security framework to allow Microsoft to certify that we have legitmate copies of their operating system. [EA’s are for a whole ‘nother blog post]
So everyone must wonder what my solution would be? Simple actually. Disable the ability to add new data to the software – whatever the software may be – but NEVER should a software simply stop running cold because of a licensing issue – regardless of type.
Take my dental software – how should it have acted if the hardware shackle was gone? It should have allowed for normal check-in, check-out, appointment scheduling for existing patients. It should allow for day-to day operation. But, perhaps hit the pirate where it hurts – stop them from running financial reports, submitting insurance claims, etc. But don’t stop a legitimate customer with a technical problem from running their office.
It ultimately comes down to whether the software company really values the customer, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.