Monday
Aug112008

Xen Gets "Safe"

Still more reason to think that, through open source and community efforts, the technical and market ecosystem built around the Xen virtualization machine environment can catch up to that created by VMware for VI3. There have been a lot of OSS projects that end up with dead websites and no significant support. But, if the approach proposed by the folks at Georgia Tech has "legs", it offers an interesting, potentially low development cost approach to enter the Xen market by the list of players that have jumped on the VMsafe bandwagon.

I'd like to know if, in addition to the creation of a hypervisor "tap" that permits passive monitoring, the XenAccess approach permits multiple processes to monitor, filter and transform the bit-stream between the hypervisor and the virtual machine.

An open source project may bring VMsafe capabilities to Xen | virtualization.info

The interest raised by the upcoming security interface that VMware calls VMsafe is notable.

Besides the company’s partners that work to use the new APIs, there are other entities that try to replicate the capabilities in other hypervisors.

One of them is Bryan D. Payne, Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, that is maintaining with some fellows a very interesting project on the Google Code repository: XenAccess.

The team is developing a library to allow the analysis of multiple Xen virtual machines from a special domain (from where 3rd party security products can observe):

When running multiple domains (or virtual machines) using the Xen hypervisor, this library will allow a privileged domain to view the runtime state of another domain. This technique is known as virtual machine introspection.

The current software focuses on memory access, but also provides proof-of-concept code for disk monitoring. ...

Monday
Aug112008

Kensho - Will OVF make it to the next rung?

Grid Today's story on Kensho (Citrix' OVF tools) was a bit disappointing, if for no other reason than no one using Kensho other than Citrix would speak to its details. Replicate is pleased to have been extensively quoted, but it was clear that while we think quite highly of OVF and its potential, we don't have much insight into what Kensho brings to the party.

Citrix Says Kensho Tools Mean Hypervisor Liberation

Virtual appliances that can run in any virtual environment. It sounds almost like a campaign promise. But to realize that promise, someone has to give developers tools to build those appliances. That’s what Citrix says it will deliver in the next couple months with Project Kensho: tools that ISVs and in-house IT staff can use to create application machines that will run in any of the virtual environments, be it VMware ESX, Citrix XenServer, or Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
Update 8/11/08: Looks like the Citrix folks have thought this out and it DOES make sense as the way in which they can unify the Xen community around the OVF "standard." Pretty interesting to see how this will impact the relationship between Citrix and Microsoft.

Citrix will offer OVF tools for free and open source | virtualization.info

... Last week at the LinuxWorld conference the company CTO Simon Crosby added another key information: the core of those tools will be available free of charge as open source technology.

This implies that other Xen-based products (like the ones from Virtual Iron, Novell, Red Hat and Oracle) will be able to implement the OVF support much faster.

Crosby also said that the project Kensho will support a number of virtual disk formats including the one that Amazon is using in its Xen-based cloud computing infrastructure EC2: the AMI (Amazon Machine Image). ...

Monday
Aug042008

Does Paul Maritz have two jobs?

Coffee today with a friend, who claims that Paul Maritz continues to be President, Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division at EMC Corporation, as well as President and CEO of VMware, Inc. I can't verify this, but if it's true it puts still more weight behind the possibility that VMware is getting into the "cloud computing" business.

What would it say about EMC's view of VMware that they would consider a company with a $US 13.33B market cap as a portion of the Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division? Whoa.

Green Data Center Blog: The Virtual Data Center, VMware's next move?

... VMware is getting ready for big announcements in October, a month after Microsoft's Hyper-V launch.

You add up the management changes of Paul Maritz, 120,000 of data center space, and VMware's upcoming announcements. I am guessing VMware will announce its Virtual Data Center - cloud computing initiative.

Imagine what VMware could build using all its tools and lease out a Virtual Data Center. They could change the hosting model from the extremes of rent your own space or Amazon's Web Services. ...

Monday
Aug042008

Kensho - Will OVF make it to the next rung?

Grid Today's story on Kensho (Citrix' OVF tools) was a bit disappointing, if for no other reason than no one using Kensho other than Citrix would speak to its details. Replicate is pleased to have been extensively quoted, but it was clear that while we think quite highly of OVF and its potential, we don't have much insight into what Kensho brings to the party.

Citrix Says Kensho Tools Mean Hypervisor Liberation

Virtual appliances that can run in any virtual environment. It sounds almost like a campaign promise. But to realize that promise, someone has to give developers tools to build those appliances. That’s what Citrix says it will deliver in the next couple months with Project Kensho: tools that ISVs and in-house IT staff can use to create application machines that will run in any of the virtual environments, be it VMware ESX, Citrix XenServer, or Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.

Sunday
Jul272008

Cellular Data Services & Customizing the Infrastructure

Great post by Doc Searls, for a couple of reasons. First, the topic at hand -- the cellular telephony's data service and it's impact on the distribution and use of (relatively low-level) streaming content. Internet audio content - whether streamed or delivered as podcasts - has always held very high value for me. Since the update to iPhone 2.0 and the arrival of apps like Pandora, I find that I'm running my battery down to the "red zone" a lot more often. And it's better than "acceptable" audio quality... it's really good!

But the money quote comes in the middle of the modest post. "The internet is the ultimate software-eats-hardware story, and that applies to hardware infrastructure as well." This is so clearly the story when considering Replicate's industry -- virtualized infrastructure for the datacenter. Doesn't sound much like internet radio, now, does it?

The high concept for virtualization is about utilizing non-differentiated (or "less differentiated") hardware to flatten and commodify the hardware infrastructure, after which customization and differentiated infrastructure is established through the application of software. I know... I know. It's what we've all heard for years about the use of computing in general and the role of software. Yet, I can't help but be startled and delighted when jumps out at me again, standing in high relief.

Opening the Cellwaves | Linux Journal

The history of infrastructure is one of endlessly repurposed uses. Cow paths become dirt roads that become railroads that become bike trails. Railroads and power line easements play host to fiber optic cabling buried in the ground or draped from tower to tower in the sky. Power poles become telephone poles that also serve as cable TV poles and fiber optic Internet poles.

The Internet is the ultimate software-eats-hardware story, and that applies to hardware infrastructure as well. Hardware is still required, of course, but not for its original narrow purposes. Those purposes in many cases (including telephony, television and radio) are subsumed by the Internet and its protocols. While those protocols might not be ideal for, say, radio transmission of the customary sort, they're good enough. And in the real world good-enough wins when widespread deployment and adoption is easy.