Video: Interview with Matt Rechenburg, Project Manager at OpenQRM on Virtualization

This interview is part of our Virtualization Video Series, a recurring theme we want to implement on Virtualization.com featuring interviews with key players from the industry, event reports, etc. Our first interview was recorded at the Profoss 2008 event on Virtualisation and features Matt Rechenburg, Project Manager at openQRM, interviewed by Toon Vanagt about what he’s doing and how he looks at the future of virtualization.

You can find a written transcript of the interview below.

WRITTEN TRANSCRIPT

Welcome Matthias Rechenburg.
You are the Project Manager at OpenQRM. Could you tell us something more about the datacenter management platform you are building?

With OpenQRM, we are trying to give the system administrators a complete solution for managing their datacenter. What we often found out is that there are critical, loosely connected tools being used to manage modern data centers today. Some of these tools can not be missed by the sysadmins. With OpenQRM, we offer the option to integrate these utilities as an additional plug-in. We are a well-defined plug-in API. So the system admin benefits from his once loosely connected tools in a single management console. The benefit is that integrated tools cooperate with each other and OpenQRM and its deployment and provisioning framework. This way OpenQRM can handle and act on specific situations automatically. A good example is Nagios, we have an integrated monitor plug-in, which feeds errors into OpenQRM as events and OpenQRM then reacts automatically by for example restarting or redeploying a machine.

So Matt, what problem is openQRM trying to solve?

OpenQRM tries to make it very easy for its users to make their first steps into Virtualization. For example OPenQRM provides tools to migrate Physical Machines into Virtual Machines (aka P2V) from any type. With its partitioning layer it conforms Virtualization Tehcnology, so that a sys admin may decide at any time to move a Physical machine to Xen VM, or from a XEN VM to a Linux Vserver partition, and form a LinuxVserver partition to Quemo And later even back to the Physical machine if needed, without needing to change anything on the server itself or hassling with the configuration

When you look at your competition, what are the Virtualization features on your wishlist?

We are not a single virtualization technology. we are a platform which tries to conform Virtualization technology. What we learned today at this Profoss event, is that there is no single hypervisor technology which is the best or single option for a users. For each service or application, there is always a virtualization solution that fits best for that particular situation. So the user should always select the virtualization technology upon the needs of the services and applications, which they want to virtualize. With OpenQRM, we try to close the gap of the current problem of migrating from one technology to another or for the first step of moving from physical to virtual systems.

What do you think about the standardization discussions by vendors on open formats such as OVF?

What I currently understand from the virtualization vendors, is that there is great motivation and cooperation to build a standard. On the other hand they also want to keep their own customers. The option to move from one virtualization format to another, may not be beneficial for every company.

Matt, what evolution do you see in the virtualization mindset and capabilities of the datacenter engineers and decision makers you work with?

I see a strong movement to “appliance-based deployment”. This means automatic provisioning plus configuration anagement of server-images to either physical- or virtual-machines. Since there are different virtualization technologies available datacenter engineers have to manage migration from physical-to-virtual (p2v), virtual-to-physical (v2p) and also migration from one virtualization type to another depending on the application needs. The goal is it to create an vendor independent data-center management platform which supports all mainstream virtualization technologies and provides lots of automatism.

Do you think we need to educate the business user about the array of possibility virtualization could offer them?

Of course, getting detailed informations and facts from independent professionals helps decision makers to create their own, objective knowledge of how to go on with virtualization.

What about licensing issues? What did you foresee in the Open QRM platform to correlate between the software and the virtual environments they run in?

Since the licensing issues of running operation-systems in virtual machines are not yet fully solved by the operation-system vendors. Therefore openQRM for now “just” provides the technical environment for rapid, appliance-based deployment. Of course we are looking forward to implement licensing-verification add-ons as additional plugin for openQRM as soon as those issues are solved.

Everybody is still struggling in this field?

Yep, we are still waiting for a kind of standard for virtual-machine licensing.

What do you expect the commercial vendors to do?

Asap, they should come up with a transparent and fair licensing model for operation systems running in virtual-machines. This would also help companies to move on in virtualization.

What do you consider a fair model and measurement unit for the users?

Eh, Power-consumption?

You think electricity consumption could be such an underlying unit and a way to educate the users?

Yes.

Storage seems to become quite a virtualization bottleneck? What systems should users be able to support?

Yes, bringing up a new virtual machines basically just requires some space on a storage-server. To my mind we should directly interface modern storage-server solutions with a generic deployment system which is being able to manage both, physical and virtual systems.

Matt, thanks a lot for your time and all the best with OpenQRM!

About the author

I'm a Belgian based internet entrepreneur and the owner of Virtualization.com & Virtualisation.com. I failed at raising venture capital for my X86 virtualization venture in 1999 and moved on to found Casius.com, Virtualisers.be & Data.be... This is where I keep my finger on the Virtualization pulse.

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