VMware's Channels and Technology Partners

At VMworld 2008, VMware made a lot of their intent to foster the ecosystem of partners around the management of virtualized datacenter infrastructure aka Infrastructure vServices ... vNetwork, vStorage and vCompute. 

In this interview, Carl Eschenbach (EVP, WW Field Operations) emphasizes the vStorage.  Without taking the issue head-on, VMware seems to be sending a message that, under the newly arrived executive, the company will do a better job. It would appear that they are addressing the company's reputation for ill-treatment of the smaller members of this community. 

Q&A: VMware's Eschenbach Outlines Channel Opportunities In The Virtual Cloud - Storage - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness

VMware earlier this month introduced an initiative to help virtualize their server, storage, network, and application environments to take their computing to the cloud. However, questions remain about solution provider opportunities as well as whether part of the storage business will be supplanted by new cloud features. Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of worldwide field operations, recently sat down with Joseph F. Kovar, senior editor of Everything Channel, to answer these questions. ...


Network Management, VMware and Who's Coming to the Party?

In this post by David Davis, there are a number of good observations and a couple of issues worth pondering.   

First might be what it means to "manage and monitor" virtualized infrastructure.  If Packttrap or Solarwinds permits that part of the IT organization responsible for the network to manage virtual network componentry, at what point do they pull it all together into a unified view of "the network"?  How does this happen without the network guys encroaching on the territory usually reserved for the "server tribe"?

One might argue that Cisco's Nexus 1000V recreates for the network organization a distributed virtual switch that, for all intents and purposes, acts like and is acted upon in a manner with which the network guys are familiar.  The question will be whether this is ultimately a case of defining the use of new, disruptive technology (server virtualization) in terms of the old established technologies (physical switching a la IOS). (You can see one point of view here, in which Davis sets out his take on the 1000V.)

As for the challenges he lays out ... well, we think we know the answers to some of this, and intend to prove it.  Answering the question about whether to support VMware ESX only, or other platforms is an interesting commercial decision for most players and bespeaks an understanding of the customer base. (When does Hyper-V have enough of a market share to justify the attention? Do customers have a requirement to manage both ESX and Hyper-V in the SAME virtualized datacenter?)

Yeah ... by all means, stay tuned.

Does your network management utility manage VMware? - David’s Cisco Networking Blog

More and more of the typical “physical computer” management & monitoring tools are being retooled to manage the new virtual infrastructure. I have talked with both Packettrap and Solarwinds and both have rumored that they will soon offer versions of their well known network management tools that will now recognize, not only network devices and physical servers, but the virtual guest operating systems that are on those physical servers.

For example, your network management & monitoring tool could query either each individual ESX server using traditional SNMP calls or it could query the VMware Virtual Center server using VMware’s API to obtain an inventory of what virtual guest is on what physical server, performance statistics for both host and guest systems, and status of guest systems (ie: which are powered on or off).

There are a few challenges that these vendors face:

    * do you go directly to each virtual host or to a centralized management server?
    * do you support only VMware ESX Server or do you try to support other virtualization platforms such as Microsoft’s Hyper-V?
    * how do you learn about guest VMs that have been “VMotion’ed” (for lack of a better term) from one host system to another? And what about the performance statistics when the storage for a guest is “SVMotion’ed” from one datastore to another?

So, “stay tuned”, as they say, for physical tools to now recognize the virtual world. And, if your vendor isn’t already doing this or doesn’t have plans to do it, I recommend that you pressure that vendor to make their product “virutalization ready” (or else you may have to go find another vendor).


Clouds and F/OSS

Stephen O'Grady, one of the indominable Redmonk analysts, has a great response to a recent interview of Richard Stallman as reported by the Guardian

Over the past few days, the noise generated by the interview, in which Stallman refers to cloud computing as "stupidity" and "marketing hype" has been reminiscent of religious arguments or ideological debates on free market economics in the US Congress. 

However, I'd really have to recommend O'Grady's thoughtful treatment of the issue, and his (deservedly respectful) response to David Berlind about Free Software / Open Source Software.  O'Grady correctly (IMHO) establishes the notion that F/OSS has a huge impact on SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS offerings.  In part, it's because the vendors of proprietary softare, platforms and infrastructure have been happily minting money based on a classic computing and product economy (vs. a service economy).  In part, it's because the F/OSS arguments really DO hold for technologies in which there exist reasonably well defined reference implementations ... operating systems, web servers, application platforms, data base management systems ... that lend themselves to standardized interfaces or by virtue of market dominance (like MSFT's Exchange) have become a de facto standard. 

I'd recommend watching the likely exchange between (and around) O'Grady and Berlind.   It's likely to be well worth the attention.

tecosystems » Is the Cloud Stupid?

All of which begs the question of whether or not cloud computing is a clear and present danger to either or both of the free software or open source movements. From his comments, it seems reasonable to deduce that Stallman does so regard it. As does one of the smarter journalists you’ll meet: one David Berlind.

Personally, I disagree. To quote Austin Milbarge, for once I am in complete agreement with my partner: far from marginalizing F/OSS, the cloud may well prove to be its most significant benefactor.

Consider, for a moment, that the F/OSS’s impact on the PC has been, desktop marketshare-wise, neglible. And that while successful in the server market, it is hardly dominant. Yet in the cloud, F/OSS is at present the rule, rather than the exception.

Amazon? Built on Xen, hosting only (to date) open source operating systems (Linux and, in alpha, OpenSolaris). Google App Engine? Only the folks in Moutain View what, precisely, it’s composed of, but there’s little question that the foundation is open source. The language (Python) and the primary framework (Django), meanwhile, are as well. And so on. Some of the success of F/OSS within the cloud is doubtless attributable to the specific players. By Ray Ozzie’s own admission, Amazon - a shop with deep experience in open source technologies - simply took the cloud market far more seriously than did Microsoft. If the roles were to be reversed, the makeup of the cloud might look radically different.

But the foundational role that F/OSS plays within the cloud ecosystem cannot be entirely attributed to the players. Licensing - or the lack thereof - played its part, as did the technology itself. For many would-be cloud providers, F/OSS is simply the best tool for the job.


Next Generation Infrastructure ... and its Management

Greg Ness is extending and enlarging his theme regarding the demands that next generation datacenters and cloud computing make on infrastructure... and particularly network infrastructure.  Notwithstanding the fact that he's now employed by a vendor of appliances and technologies that offers network services (like DNS, DHCP, IPAM, RADIUS, ...), the theme has merit -- it's not just a salespitch, folks.   So, while I might argue with his analysis of VMware's fortunes, the basic message ... new approaches to infrastructure for next generation IT ... is dead on, and with it the requisite new approaches to infrastructure management.

The Cloud will need Infrastructure 2.0 « ARCHIMEDIUS

... While many pundits have their heads in the clouds proclaiming the next big thing, there are a few issues that need to be resolved first. And those issues promise to fuel new demand for new types of networking solutions.

These new demands of scale and complexity and availability were beyond the wildest dreams of the creators of the core network services that support today’s increasingly strained network infrastructure. Many of these services, like DNS and DHCP are decades old. They were created in simpler days, usually in silos and with no concept of a need for interoperability between the protocols. Those days are now gone. DHCP servers, for example, now do dynamic DNS updates.


Amrit Williams on V12N in the Post-VMworld Era

Very enjoyable, and very good, post from Amrit Williams on virtualization.  He speaks to a number of popular notions (aka myths aka canards):
- Virtualization reduces complexity.
- Virtualization increases security.
- Virtualization will not require specialization.
- Virtualization will save you money today.

Now he does start to frost me a bit when he asks the musical question:

Want to guess how many start-ups will be knocking on your door to solve one or more of the above management issues?

Hey!!  We're one of those start-ups!! Whatcha got against start-ups?!? 

Myths, Misconceptions, Half-Truths and Lies about Virtualization « Amrit Williams Blog

Thanks to VMware you can barely turn around today without someone using the V-word and with every aspect of the English language, and some from ancient Sumeria, now beginning with V it will only get worse.