We may think the cloud is being hyped a bit too much, but we sure had fun watching this video from EMC.
vMAN Over At DMTF Is Immune To Kryptonite And Now Powered by OVF Version 1.0
Like superheroes with a weak spot (remember Superman and green Kryptonite), large providers of green data center technologies and virtualization software had an Achilles’ heel with their vendor lock-in, which scared away quite a few prospects. Today the major players have all agreed to drop their distinct proprietary formats and aim to adopt the Open Virtualization Format 1.0 as soon as possible (most are already compliant upon release). We first learned about OVF during our interview with Ian Pratt and the release of this open standard is a great step forward. The short lead time of ‘only’ one year proves the industry has understood that open standards are the way to go.
Above is our exclusive video interview recorded at VMworld in Las Vegas, where DMTF president Winston Bumpus revealed the release of OVF 1.0 and their larger Virtualization Management Initiative (vMAN). vMAN provides IT managers the freedom to deploy pre-installed, pre-configured solutions across heterogeneous computing networks and to manage those applications through their entire lifecycle. This Initiative delivers much-needed open industry standards to the management of virtualized environments. Ultimately, the group’s goal is to eliminate the need for IT managers to separately install, configure and manage interdependencies between virtualized operating systems and applications, by enabling automated management of the virtual machine lifecycle.
This new specification created by Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware and XenSource is about to become an industry standard and aspires to help ensure portability, integrity and automated installation/configuration of virtual machines. We did not have the time to transcribe the interview yet, but already took a few of Winston Bumpus’ quotes from the DMTF press release.
“With the increasing demand for virtualization in enterprise management, the new spec developed through this industry-wide collaboration dove-tails nicely into existing virtualization management standardization activity within the DMTF…
OVF extends the work we have underway to offer IT managers automation of critical, error-prone activities in the deployment of a virtualized infrastructure.”
By collaborating on the development of the OVF specification, the DMTF group aims to make it easier for IT organizations to pre-package and certify software packaged as virtual machine templates for deployment in their virtualized infrastructure and to facilitate the secure distribution of pre-packaged virtual appliances by ISVs and virtual appliance vendors.
Sneak Preview on VMworld 2008 and its artwork (video).
Virtualization.com made it to Sin City. As of tomorrow and after a partner day, over 14.000 fellow Virtualization geeks will start gathering in The Venetian in Las Vegas for the latest vendor news and extensive networking activities. Virtualization.com is most interested in your stories from the datacenter trenches to the desktop victories. So feel free to share those lessons learnt when you see Toon Vanagt passing by with his camera.
We look forward to the real product innovations (is Cisco going to surprise us?). Judging from the amount of PR announcements we received, you can surely bet on a Virtualization product avalanche rolling over Las Vegas next week. VMWare is expected to release/announce ESX v4.0, with plenty of exiting features (continuous availability, alarms on physical hardware faults, 64bit kernel and COS and more). Information overdose guaranteed, especially with absent competitors, trying to spoil the VMware annual party, by hijacking some of that overal media focus on Virtualization.
VMware hired the prestigious design agency Cahan & Associates and they came up with edgy creations that underline customer ‘references/quotes’ and are supposed to make us all connect at a very human level. If you are into ‘minimalist cool’ and like the artwork too, you will be happy to learn that you can order your own illustration styled photo at YouAreArt. Simply sent your picture, receive a draft after 2 weeks, give the artist feedback and get an original canvas within another 2 weeks.
For the DIY die-hards or those with graphic insight, there is good news too, as they can easily assemble their own illustration styled avatar at FaceYourManga for free.
VMworld promises to be even bigger than last time (wear comfy shoes!) and all sorts of contractors and vendors are very busy gearing up The Venetian’s many meeting rooms: setting up banners, signs, booths, networks, registration desks, 38 Wifi hotspots, labs, etc…
Try not to spend all your money on the gambling floor, as over 200 exhibitors would like you to buy some of their latest products too 🙂
Here is to a great VMworld 2008 and a lot of fun!
Video interview with George Kurian, Vice President and General Manager of the Application Delivery Business Unit at Cisco (Part 2/2)
In this second part of our interview with George Kurian, he explains about the capabilities of VFrame; being Cisco’s system’s management and provisioning that is aimed at the virtualized network and helps to put the virtual puzzle together.
Cisco recognizes the data center as a heterogeneous multivendor environment and plans to supports 3rd party technologies in the future. Cisco sees the notion of what a computer is today, getting truly blended closely with the network as interconnect speeds go up dramatically over the next two to three years.
Despite a fast moving environment Virtualization also offers IT professionals a significant career opportunity.
What is most important in the virtualization world is to not to think about your data center as traditional silos of storage, server, network, firewall, application…we need to bring virtualization into the network…we talked about both the Catalyst switches as well as the Nexus family and recently, our entire application delivery portfolio; application switching LAN acceleration techniques have got virtualization technology integrated into them. The second is …to bring networking intelligence into the virtual machine environment itself. So the ability to provide failover, traffic management, switching securities, and load balancing, those technologies that historically sat at the physical interface between the server and the network. The port now moved into the virtual machine and that’s really the technology roadmap for the next twelve months…
At Virtualization.com we are curious, if Cisco is going to make related products announcements at VMworld 2008.
Read the full transcript below or return to the first part.
0:05 Cisco has also announced VFrame? What type of capabilities does that offer?
George Kurian: VFrame which a system’s management and provisioning tool which we announced at Cisco Live a year ago, really helps to put together the virtualized network that compliments the virtual server environment. As we talked about to make virtualization real and operationally efficient, you need to have a virtualized network to compliment the virtual server and one of the things that our data center customers were telling us about is: ‘what’s most important in the virtualization world is to not to think about your data center as traditional silos of storage, server, network, firewall, application’. What they really are looking for is the service, which is putting all these virtual elements together. Now, VFrame especially with the VFrame 1.2 release, which we announced at Cisco Live this week, really completes putting together the virtual network environment. It’s got support for virtual LANs as well as virtual firewalls and recently, virtual load balancers as well as virtual storage. That really gives you a complete networking environment and then…
1:21 And also how to manage that?
1:23 Is that policy-based management?
Kurian: Policy-based provisioning tools and template-based provisioning models and what’s also interesting in the VFrame 1.2 release is we married that capability also now with the virtual server environment where VFrame 1.2 has tight integration with the VMware control center that allows you now to use the same policy-based provisioning model for VMware ESX servers.
1:49 Right. Are you trying to support other hypervisor, Xen, Hyper-V?
Kurian: Yeah. We absolutely recognized that the data center is a heterogenous multivendor environment. So, we’ll support other technologies in the future.
2:02 You just talked about the classic silos that are breaking up and do you see that the network manager and operator need broader skills to match all those new fields ? It is no longer just about the server and the firewalls and securities, storage. It’s all merging into the network.
Kurian: Absolutely. We see that virtualization offers all IT professionals a significant career opportunity to advance their own careers, and for the networking professionals themselves, we see that virtualization if you take advantage of the trend allows you to advance your career.
2:45 Do you have a role there? Could you help them or are you planning to…?
Kurian: Absolutely. Yes. At Ciscowe recognized to make virtualization work and be successful, our networking professionals need a much deeper understanding of the server storage and even application environments so that they can break through these silos. One of the things that we announced at Cisco Live this week was an augmentation to both our CCIE certification for our networking professionals that allows them to take advantage of new training and tools and get themselves data center CCIE certified. So in essence, they move from being a device and element management professional to actually a data center architect. The second was a series of programs for our channel partners so that they can also take advantage of these opportunities to be able to position themselves from being networking solution providers to really data center architects and solution providers. So, it’s called the data center network infrastructure program that we’ve made available now to our channel partners.
4:00 What about security evolutions, because today many organizations use VLANs to manage LAN security between the virtual machines, how do you see this evolve?
Kurian: There’re two aspects of what we see. I think the first is, as we talked about it, we need to bring into the switches and routers and security devices, the ingredients of virtualization. So, we need to bring virtualization into the network that phase is well underway. As we talked about both the Catalyst switches as well as the Nexus family and recently, our entire application delivery portfolio; application switching LAN, acceleration techniques have got virtualization technology integrated into them. The second is the phase that we are embarking upon and where we make very significant announcements over the next twelve months is to bring now networking intelligence into the virtual machine environment itself. So the ability to provide failover, traffic management, switching securities, and load balancing, those technologies that historically sat at the physical interface between the server and the network. The port now moved into the virtual machine and that’s really the technology roadmap for the next twelve months. So, stay posted for a lot of exciting announcements.
5:25 I think anything that will help the people in managing infrastructure is going to be curious from which management software is really going to be able to control all of these new features.
Kurian: Yeah. I think what we see, architecturally is a unified policy management model where you can implement policy for your physical servers and also extend that into the virtual domain and then from the product construct, you really see software extensions to our switching platforms.
5:59 How do you see the future of virtualization evolve? Where would you think is ahead of them in this field?
Kurian: I’d only think what we see are a couple of important things. I think the first is if you think about networking speeds and latency getting faster and faster and lower and lower respectively, you can, in essence, really extend virtualization to all aspects of IT systems. So, we do see down the road the opportunity to drive things like processor virtualization, memory virtualization, as interconnect speeds and latencies go up dramatically over the next two to three years. So, really the notion of what the computer gets truly blended closely with the network. In addition, I think when we see virtualization, we also see it extended into the application domain because today what we see is the IT infrastructures virtualize but on top of that, you’re having relatively monolithic and static applications, but what we see down the road there is that you can literally have any application be delivered to any device across any network.
7:15 George, thanks a lot for your insights and all the things you’ve told us about virtualization here at Cisco and we look forward to all those product announcements over the next few months.
Kurian: Keep posted. It’s an exciting time.
Video interview with George Kurian, Vice President and General Manager of the Application Delivery Business Unit at Cisco (Part 1/2)
In this first part of our interview with George Kurian at Cisco’s headquarters we get to know how Cisco looks at Virtualization in the datacenter from three different sets of product capabilities: pervasive networking platforms, services and VFrame (provisioning and orchestration tools).
From his position as the vice president and general manager of the Application Delivery Business Unit at Cisco, he sees the need for server virtualization to be complemented with virtualization capabilities in the network and explains how his teams are engineering the network to be a facilitator for all the virtues Virtualization brings. The goal for George’s data center technology group is to make the network aware of the new atomic unit in the data center: the Virtual Machine and no longer the physical server or port. He goes on pointing to the Nexus series and new introductions for the Catalyst series with capabilities to support some of these (r)evolutionary trends in the data center. In essence Cisco is reducing the number of connections that the server has to have from roughly eight today to only two, thus simplifying power, cooling, cabling, the whole series of transformations in the data center and then from an operational standpoint, providing a single network that you need to manage.
Read the full transcript below or go to the second part.
0:04 George, welcome to Virtualization.com. Could you tell a little bit more about yourself and what you’re doing here at Cisco?
George Kurian: Hi Toon. I’m George Kurian and I’m the vice president and general manager of the Application Delivery Business Unit. We’re part of the engineering organization at Cisco and within Cisco’s engineering team, we are part of the data center technology group, the group that builds all our switching and so services platforms for the data center.
0:30 Okay and how does Cisco think about the data center and virtualization in particular?
Kurian: First of all, in terms of the data center itself, we looked at the data center from the lines of three different sets of capabilities, product capabilities. The first are pervasive networking interconnect platforms such as our Catalyst 6500 platforms that provide LAN to server connections. Platforms such as our MDS platforms which are for storage interconnects, InfiniBand which provide inter process or cluster communication interconnects, and in addition that recently introduced, the Nexus 5000 family, that provides access interconnects for servers to the network. So in essence of range of interconnect platforms, layered on top of that are services such as security services, load balancing application delivery services, WAN acceleration services that drives the performance of applications from the data center to the remote branches, and then putting all of that together is a layer of provisioning and orchestration tools that we call VFrame. So networking platforms, services and provisioning tools.
1:52 Okay. Let’s start off on how one can capture all the benefits like one of the major benefits of virtual machines that you can relocate, just put a lot of strain on the network? How did you deal with that?
Kurian: In essence, we believe, Toon, that virtualization of the server environment needs to be complimented with virtualization capabilities in the network. Because to be able to get the benefits of efficiency plus flexibility in that server virtualization tries to create, you need to have the network be a facilitator of all of that. So, specifically, some of the benefits that virtual machine motion has as well as different fail over scenarios that customers are used to around the physical machine environment bringing that to the virtual machine environment needs the network to be virtual machine aware so that you can have what we call transparent virtualization, and so a lot of work we’re doing in the data center technology group is to make the network aware now of the new atomic unit in the data center which is no longer the physical server and what we forever call the port but really now the virtual machine itself.
3:12 That’s also a big change if you look at like the Catalyst series as well as the jack-of-all trades where you would just plug in a firewall, routing device or whatever; whereas now, we’re moving to a whole new situation because some people call it the flat layered two-domain mess that is being created by virtual machines and hypervisors. How do you cope with that?
Kurian: The Nexus series of products as well as the Catalyst have important new introductions of capabilities to support some of the evolutionary trends that you see in a data center, right? The first one, which is still the most used by customers, is what we call server consolidation and standardization. This is the movement from a variety of distributed computing environments to a few standardized X86 environments in the data center. What consolidation especially with the movement of multiprocessor CPUs does is it drives a much higher density and bandwidth per slot. So the Catalyst as well as the Nexus 7000 series for example are much more dense platforms. In addition, what we see is the movement from more client to server-oriented applications to some of the more server-to-server communication paradigms introduced by Web 2.0 and other types of new applications. It drives a lot of what we call cross-sectional bandwidth and so there are new innovations both by the Nexus 5000 and 7000 series that take advantage of those new types of platforms.
Now, one of the new trends that we are seeing as part of what we announced, which we call the unified fabric, is the consolidation of a variety of currently heterogenous networking environments in the data center into a single unified networking fabric. The most important of the networking environments in the data center classically the LAN, which is an Ethernet environment, and then storage, which has historically been a Fiber Channel environment. What we announced in the end of January is what we call the unified fabric and what the unified fabric essentially does is bring some of the best elements of Ethernet simplicity, scalability, and cost efficiency together with the needs of fiber channel, for example, lossless transport, lower latency, and so on. And so we see that really transforming the next generation data center. In essence, reducing the number of connections that the server has to have from roughly eight today to two simplifying power, cooling, cabling, the whole series of transformations in the data center and then from an operational standpoint, providing a single network that you need to manage.
6:12 Okay. Are you working on standardization, an industry standards, to do this?
Kurian: Yes. We’re working with a combination of an industry partner ecosystem with players like the Intel and IBM and others as well as the ITF and some standardization bodies…We try to standardize some of these key technologies such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet.
6:36 What of type of bandwidth do you see within the Fiber Channels over Ethernet? We’re at 10 gigabyte today.
6:41 How would that evolve? What timing do you think we’ll be able to do this?
Kurian: There’s certainly a movement in the Fiber Channel work to bring out 8 Gigabyte Fiber Channel on the Ethernet side. The two next levels of performance are 40 Gb and 100 Gb Ethernets. There’s a standard work in both of those performance levels that are in process.
7:08 Okay. When we talked about the virtualization capabilities that you want to build into the network, could you maybe tell a little bit about the differences there between the Nexus architecture and the Catalyst architecture?
Kurian: In essence, the benefits of Nexus and the Catalyst are roughly similar when you consider the interactions between the server and the network, right? I think what the Nexus certainly does is take density and per slot performance to a whole new level as well as what we see in the Nexus is the increased intelligence on the port basis because what we see in the Nexus world where we really have built that to be the platform of the next ten to fifteen years of data center. The physical NIC on server has now a lot more traffic behind and a lot more application environments hosted behind it so we brought a lot more per-port intelligence for example into the Nexus. We will see that intelligence also coming into upcoming versions of the Catalyst as well but that’s one of the hallmarks that we bring.
8:15 Today, that it really one of the bottlenecks in virtualization, all the I/O virtualization, going on?
Kurian: That’s right. In essence, you want to have quality of service now at the NIC itself right, because you’ve got this disparate application environment sitting behind that single physical interface.
Video interview with Nick Van Der Zweep, Virtualization Director at HP (Part 4/4)
In this fourth and final part of our interview with Nick Van Der Zweep we got some numbers that Virtualization at HP has grown over 80% last year and the claim that HP is
‘growing with VMware faster than VMware is growing in any industry’.
Also because HP has about half of the Blade market and Nick adds that:
‘the connect rate of virtualization to Blade Servers is much heavier than just Standalone Rack Servers. Blades are just an absolute natural fit for virtualization’.
With iVirtualization (not aimed at Apple), HP is adding backward compatible ‘integrated virtualization’ to its Proliant Server range. Another unique feature to the HP iVirtualization is the virtual console which can handle several environments (e.g. VMware, Citrix.) each with their multiple virtual machines. The standard I/O integrated lights out remote console management will automatically connects into the overall console or down right into each of the different VMs within the machine.
Read the full transcript below or return to the previous part
0:11 Could you give us some number on how important virtualization is to HP?
Nick Van Der Zweep: To our business, it’s absolutely critically important and we’re seeing the numbers rolling in from a connect rate perspective.. A few numbers that I know of: integrity systems with the software per virtualization on our Integrity servers grew at about 120% in the last year so that’s a pretty strong growth. VMware numbers I think are public as to how VMware has grown somewhere in the eighty to some percent range which is very good. Our VMware connect rates on our X86 servers have grown beyond that. So we’re growing with VMware faster than VMware is growing in any industry.
Other areas that might be of interest in virtualization space are Blades. The connect rate of virtualization to Blades is much, much heavier than just Standalone Rack Servers. Blades are just an absolute natural fit for virtualization. It was something that we focused on when we designed our C class Blades systems and we’re doing well in the industry because we focused so much on enabling virtualization with that platform. Close to 50% market share in the industry which is outstanding to say the least and then part of what we put in there was HP Virtual Connect in order to make this really work well together, and that was the main product of year for us by a couple of different institutions. It’s really facilitating growth within HP with our management software, Blades, infrastructure virtualization and we’re taking more and more steps with our inside software management and VSC products as well.
2:03 Are we going to see a white ProLiant server soon, because HP launched iVirtualization and I think Apple will be curious to know what that would exactly look like?
Van Der Zweep: Well, actually, we will custom-paint any our infrastructure to match the decor that you want to put it into. So we can comply with whatever color codes that you want to have within your data center.
2:27 I think Steve Jobs is going to be very jealous of that. We can order pink Proliants now ?
Van Der Zweep: Right. If you want it, we can make it. iVirtualization definitely is a key point to us and that goes back to your partnership with VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft. Right out of the box, we get a ProLiant server and instead of saying boot from disc or boot from the network, its boot up the hypervisor, built right into this.
2:55 You’re actually shipping in with an extra flash card where these are precharged?
Van Der Zweep: Exactly and the interesting thing is even before we announced the integrated iVirtualization, we had that ability to add those flash cards. We have the USB capability built into our previous models, so we can upgrade existing models to an integrated virtualization as well. So, what’s inside exactly is that it’s got a USB key with the either ESXI software or for instance Citrix server or that type of software in virtualization.
3:29 From a logistical point of view that sounds like quite a challenge, because you’re shipping from factory… how do you keep close to the release cycles of the hypervisors to make sure you got the latest available version along with the hardware and ship this to the customers?
Van Der Zweep: Yeah because there’re flash drives, we can upgrade them and flash them back into the field as well as if they need upgrades. I think the more important thing is we’re not just putting a flash drive and some VMware, Citrix or such software within the machine, we add value around that as well. So, for instance, we introduced iVirtualization with a virtual console so that when you’re running, for instance, a Citrix environment and you set up multiple virtual machines, our standard I/O integrated lights out remote console management automatically connects into the overall console or down right into each of the different VMs within the machine and that’s again unique in the industry. We’re working so closely with our partners and adding value on top of it instead of just putting a CD in a box.
4:34 What about the virtualization services HP is offering because this technology is so disruptive that many departments seek help to get there?
Van Der Zweep: Yeah. The services that we offer range in spectrum, everything from macro view of data center consolidation and data center transformation services to architect, the physical data centers to look at how to consolidate, how to go from eighty data centers to six similar to some of the initiatives we’ve had even at HP, how to deal with the technology. If you did not touch virtualization technology before, we can train you to be able to implement that, to do capacity planning kinds of initiatives, support you after the facts. So, we’ve got a full range of services that can help you from design all the way through the execution.
5:28 Okay. Nick Van Der Zweep, thanks a lot for the time that you’ve give us and I hope to see you soon.
Van Der Zweep: You’re quite welcome.