Technology Short Take #18

Welcome to Technology Short Take #18! I hope you find something useful in this collection of networking, OS, storage, and virtualization links. Enjoy!

Networking

The number of articles in my “Networking” bucket continues to overflow; I have so many articles on so many topics (soft switching, OpenFlow, Open vSwitch, MPLS) that it’s hard to get my head wrapped around all of it. Here are a few posts that stuck out to me:

  • Ivan Pepelnjak has a very well-written post explaining the various ways that virtual networking can be decoupled from the physical network.
  • I stumbled across a trio of articles by Denton Gentry on hash tables (part 1, part 2, and part 3). This is an interesting perspective I hadn’t considered before; as we move more into software-defined networks (SDNs), why are we continuing to use the same mechanisms as before? Why not take advantage of more efficient mechanisms as part of this transition?

Servers/Operating Systems

  • Nigel Poulton and I traded a few tweets during HP Discover Vienna about SCSI Express (or SCSI over PCIe, SoP). He wrote up his thoughts about SoP and its future in the storage industry here. Further Twitter-based discussions about fabrics led him to say that HP buying Xsigo would bring the competition back against UCS. I’m not so sure I agree. Xsigo’s server fabric technology/product is interesting, but it seems to me that it’s still adding layers of abstraction that aren’t necessary. As SR-IOV, MR-IOV, and PCIe extension matures, it seems to me that Ethernet as the fabric is going to win. If that’s the case, and HP wants to bring the hurt against UCS, they’re going to have to invest in Ethernet-based fabrics.
  • Speaking of UCS, here’s a “how to” on deploying the UCS Platform Emulator on vSphere. You might also like the UCS PE configuration follow-up post.
  • Here’s what looks to be a handy Mac OS X utility to track how long until your Active Directory password expires. Sounds simple, yes, but useful.

Storage

Virtualization

  • Jason Boche, after some collaboration with Bob Plankers, wrote up a good procedure for expanding the vCloud Director Transfer Server storage space. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re going to be working with vCloud Director.
  • Microsoft has released version 3.2 of the Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V. The new release adds integrated mouse support, updated network drivers, and fixes an issue with SCVMM compatibility.
  • Julian Wood, who I had the opportunity to meet in Copenhagen at VMworld 2011, has published a four-part series on managing vSphere 5 certificates. Follow these links for the series: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.
  • Thinking of deploying Oracle on vSphere? You should probably read this three-part series from VMware’s Business Critical Applications blog: part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and part 3 is here.
  • I’m so used to dealing with VLANs in a vSphere environment, I didn’t consider the challenges that might come up when using them with VMware Workstation. Fortunately, this author did—read his post on mapping VLANs to VMnets in VMware Workstation.
  • I thought that this article on virtual disks with business critical applications would be a deep dive on which virtual disk formats (thin, lazy zeroed, eager zeroed) are best suited for various applications. While the article does discuss the different virtual disk formats, unfortunately that’s as far as it goes.
  • Fellow VMware vSphere Design co-author Forbes Guthrie highlights an important design concern with AutoDeploy: what about a virtual vCenter instance? Read his full article for the in-depth discussion.
  • This post by William Lam gives a good overview of when vSphere MoRefs change (or don’t change).
  • Here’s a good explanation why NIC teaming can’t be used with iSCSI binding.
  • Cormac Hogan also posted a nice overview of some new vmkfstools enhancements in vSphere 5.
  • Terence Luk posts a detailed procedure to help recover VMware Site Recovery Manager in the event of a failure of one of the SRM servers. Good information—thanks Terence!

And that’s it for this time around. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below—all comments are welcome! (Please provide full disclosure of vendor affiliations/employment where applicable. Thanks!)

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4 comments

  1. Cam Ford’s avatar

    Hi Scott,

    I had followed the twitter discussion between you, Nigel, and a few others on this topic and just saw your comments above…..just thought I would throw a comment or two of my own in this topic.

    Let me start by saying that it is very easy to take a position that the incumbent technology is always the winner…..but we all know that is not always the case over the long term. It is easy to say Ethernet always wins, PCIe will win, SRIOV will win, MRIOV will win……but why? Have you every gone back to ask yourself WHY those technologies will win? And did those arguments really make sense?

    Lets take Ethernet as a simple example. The general wisdom (mostly espoused by Cisco and a few minor players) is that Ethernet will always win because it has the volume, the economics, and the investment. Following this logic, then Microsoft will always win also…..but Apple now seems to be the worlds most valuable PC and OS company with many others challenging its model with SAAS offerings…..so why isnt Microsoft the big dog any more? They certainly have the market share and the investment. The answer is that they are still the big dog….in a market that no one cares about but Microsoft. Enterprise OS distribution!

    The moral is that the Markets and customers are changing. The reality is that Microsoft and Cisco are not changing the world….the world is changing them!

  2. slowe’s avatar

    Hi Cam, thanks for your message. You are correct in that disruptive technologies do come along from time to time to challenge—and sometimes upset—the incumbent. While it’s possible that Xsigo’s solution (built on RDMA over InfiniBand, if I understand correctly?) could upset the incumbent solution (Ethernet), I’m not yet convinced that it will. However, I would say that it is fair to say that Xsigo’s efforts have *changed* the market, exposing a need for solutions in this area. However, having now “woken up” the sleeping giant, I don’t know if the early mover advantage will be enough. We shall see!

  3. Terence Luk’s avatar

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for mentioning one of my posts in your blog as I’ve been a long time follower of your blog. I was wondering if you included the correct link to the post because the one you included links to:

    A recovery of a VMware SRM’s (Site Recovery Manager) 4.1 “Protected Site” or “Recovery Site” throws the error: “dr.fault.RemoteSiteNotFound”

    http://terenceluk.blogspot.com/2011/12/recovery-of-vmware-srms-site-recovery.html

    … and the link to the post:

    Recovering / reinstalling SRM (Site Recovery Manager) 4.1.1 after suffering a host failure

    … is actually this: http://terenceluk.blogspot.com/2011/10/recovering-reinstalling-srm-site.html

    Thanks for the mention.

    Terence

  4. Mark’s avatar

    Hi,

    It should be Oracle who bought Xsigo, right?
    Does UCS support MR-IOV?

    Thanks so much.
    Mark

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