Ed Bugnion on Server Virtualization

Peter Christy placed a terse post on his blog about Cisco and their Nexus 1000V.  I loved the Ed Bugnion reference.

Peter Christy

Cisco announced some of the anticipated fruits of their partnership with VMware and their acquisition of Nuova (remember that Nuova's CTO Ed Bugnion was a VMware founder). As Ed says so well, server virtualization didn't break the applications but it certainly broke the infrastructure.


Michael Morris on Cisco's Nexus 1000V

Michael Morris has a very succinct and informative post on Cisco's Nexus 1000V.  The overview puts into perspective VN-link and includes a short interview with Doug Gourlay who mentions a few additional technology initiatives and goodies that weren't mentioned during the VMworld 2008 presentation.

Cisco's First Software Switch - the Nexus 1000V | Community

Conforming to the axiom that it's easier to join 'em than fight 'em, Cisco launched its first software based network switch this week - the Nexus 1000V - as an integrated component of VMware's ESX platform.


Oracle does AWS - who knew?

This came as quite a surprise.  Jeff Barr has written a short take on the announcement.  But, what's as interesting as the fact that Oracle supports the use of their product on AWS is the larger issue of a big software company establishing a (potentially) workable licensing approach.  Take heed.

Amazon Web Services Blog: Oracle Enters the AWS Cloud

We've been working with Oracle to bring a number of their products into the cloud. The first fruits of this work are now ready: cloud-compatible licensing, EC2 AMIs preloaded with a variety of Oracle products, support programs, backup to the cloud, and a cloud management portal.

As more and more enterprises take a look at the Amazon Web Services, they invariably ask about packaged software, particularly databases. With this announcement, AWS users now gain access to a commercial-grade, brand-name database, along with the necessary tools and middleware needed to build and host heavy duty enterprise applications in the Amazon cloud.

So, what's available?

Oracle_openworld The Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and Oracle Enterprise Manager can now be licensed to run in the cloud on Amazon EC2. Customers can even use their existing software licenses with no additional license fees. Read more about cloud licensing here.

I should say a few words about licensing here because this question comes up all the time. The variability and flexibility of cloud-based licensing has perplexed users and vendors for some time now. Now that a large software vendor has made a clear statement of direction here, we should see more and more cloud-compatible licenses before too long.


Bittman (Gartner) on VDC Infrastructure Management

Tom Bittman of Gartner has recently started blogging on cloud computing and virtualization. In a post made after the opening gun at VMworld 2008, he comments on two strategic shifts evident in the VMware story: infrastructure management (which he characterizes as throwing down the gauntlet with IBM, HP and MSFT) and cloud computing.

What interested me in the post are some of the presuppositions and his conclusions:
(a) it's inevitable that the datacenter becomes a virtualized
(b) in becoming virtualized, the virtual machine environment (in this case VDC OS) becomes the natural locus of end-to-end datacenter infrastructure management
(c) by adding service governance to the mix, one has a management system that competes directly with adaptive, utility computing management strategies promoted by IBM, HP and Microsoft

While this analysis of VMware's strategy makes sense on its face, it also seems to couch the competition in terms of failed or stalled initiatives at (some of) the competitors.  Bittman alludes to this in his commentary.  For some reason, when thinking about datacenter operation, administration and management, I would have been more likely to set the competition as being between VMware (and its hoped-for coterie of infrastructure management partners) and the Big 4 (and Little 4) systems management providers. 

The point worth noting: we need a more thorough discussion and definition of datacenter service governance (to use Gartner's terminology).  This becomes critical, for example, when considering the discussion of VMware and virtsec and even more so when reading Hoff's consideration of network issues in the virtualized datacenter.  Then, we'll be able to have a better conversation about how systems management in the datacenter actually comes to pass, and how VMware will compete with the Bigs.

VMware Strategy Reaches for the Clouds

VMware includes in their concept what Gartner calls a service governor, which adds policy-based management on top of a meta OS. Combined, these two create what Gartner calls a real-time infrastructure. The service governor is the real challenge for VMware, which is one reason they haven’t called it out.

What is interesting is that VMware is finally describing a larger strategy that is completely competitive with IBM (remember the On Demand Operating Environment?), HP (Adaptive Infrastructure) and Microsoft (Dynamic IT). The strategy is credible, but there are many, many gaps that need to be filled. In particular, while VMware is strong in virtualization, they are very weak in service management. Regardless, it will be difficult for IBM and HP to miss the competitive threat (which, of course, they should have seen starting in 2001). This is the only natural evolution for VMware, but the road is littered with challenges.


And, meanwhile, in Gotham City ...

Network World reports on a presentation at InterOp in New York by Joshua Corman, principal security analyst for IBM/ISS.  The major message seems to be that virtualization requires significantly greater attention to management discipline and the enforcement of policies.  Without this attention, virtualization in the datacenter represents a serious security risk.

In defining Replicate's products, this very issue ... the sociology and organizational impact of multiple management domains ... has played a big part in our thinking, as has the means by which to reduce the complexity inherent in managing the virtualized datacenter.  Corman's characterization of the tribal nature of the datacenter organizations is spot on, as is his assessment of the problems that result from it.

People a big security threat to virtualization, Interop speaker says - Network World

Just as teams of server, network, security and application specialists typically oversee the deployment of traditional physical server farms, the same group should plan virtual rollouts, Corman said. But often, the security team is left out and server administrators may inherit the responsibility without the proper expertise. “Before there was a healthy balance of skill sets distributed well [among a variety of administrators],” he said.

This lack of balance generates unproductive finger pointing when things go awry and in some cases creates grabs for power as IT staff recognizes a shift in how work is being distributed. In either case, security can suffer, Corman said.