Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

Virtualization Short Take #12

Here’s Virtualization Short Take #12, a collection of links I’ve gathered over the last week or so and my thoughts on them. Enjoy!

  • For those that missed it in the Release Notes, VMware added support for Storage VMotion and 10Gb Ethernet with iSCSI SANs, as outlined in this VI Team blog entry. I went back and reviewed the Release Notes and didn’t see this listed anywhere, so this is news to me. Of course, I already knew that Storage VMotion worked just fine with iSCSI, but this added formal support for iSCSI.

  • Virtualfuture.info published some good recommendations for running Citrix in a VI3 environment. If you run Citrix Presentation Server…er, XenApp…in a VI3 environment, these tuning tips may prove quite handy.

  • VMware’s Virtual Reality blog posted an entry on some of the architectural advantages of VMware Infrastructure in comparison to the two leading competitors, Xen (any Xen-based solution) and Hyper-V. Many of the things listed as advantages by VMware are severe points of contention with the other vendors, such as the direct vs. indirect I/O model. Ultimately, time will tell which model was the best; I honestly don’t know enough about the deep dark internals to really state which is better. One thing I am glad to see pointed out is the true comparison of hypervisor sizes; Microsoft can say all they want that Hyper-V is only 600K in size and therefore is the “thinnest” hypervisor, but the truth of the matter is that Hyper-V can’t run without Windows Server 2008 in the parent partition. As a result, it doesn’t really matter how “thin” Hyper-V is, does it?

  • Via Mike Laverick, I learned that Microsoft may have brought up the whole 64-bit hypervisor vs. 32-bit hypervisor argument yet again. Mike used a snippet from this Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog entry; in reading it myself, I don’t get quite the same 64-bit vs. 32-bit that Mike picked up. That’s good, because I didn’t want to have to go there again. Personally, the tone I picked up from the whole article was one of educating people far too accustomed to Virtual Server/VirtualPC and trying to educate them on how Hyper-V is different.

  • Virtualization analyst Chris Wolf recently posted an entry in which he questioned if Apple would capitalize on the opportunity that virtualization is creating. It’s an interesting scenario, one that is similar to a scenario that I discussed a couple of years ago in a piece titled “Application Agnosticism.” In that article, I suggested that seamless host-guest interactions with virtualization software (now implemented by VMware as Unity and by Parallels as Coherence) would usher in a new wave of computing. I suggested that Mac OS X was ahead of the curve because of its ability to run native OS X applications, UNIX applications, X11 applications, Windows applications via WINE (or the commercial variant CrossOver Office), and applications from any other operating system via virtualization. Sounds like I may have been a bit ahead of my time!

  • Chad continues discussing VMware HA with another post on some additional configuration options for HA. Also check out the comments with links to even more information on HA’s advanced configuration options.

  • This VMware KB article has some good information on getting LUN identification information. The breakdown of the command-line output from esxcfg-mpath is particularly helpful (and for that reason I’ve added it to my del.icio.us bookmarks).

  • Rich of VM /ETC shares with us a “Doh!” moment he had when he saw this simple method for identifying VMs with snapshots. Sometimes it’s the simplest solutions that evade us the longest. Here’s what I want to know: Aaron, what exactly does “/HEADDESK” mean, anyway?

  • This article at SearchNetworking.com brings to light some of the challenges networking professionals face with server virtualization. I do agree with one point made in the article regarding the mapping of applications—what the end users really care about—to the networking infrastructure. VMware’s support for CDP in recent versions of VMware Infrastructure is a step in the right direction, but there is still more work to do for sure. I’m not so sure about the rest of the points in the article, but I may be an exception to the norm; I was a CCNA for a while (on track for CCNP) and have done my fair share of Cisco configurations, so I’m no stranger to the networking world. The use of VLANs to ease configuration in a server virtualization environment seems just second nature to me. Also, I did note that the author indicated that “server administrators sometimes inappropriately configure the switches to create a loop” (referring to vSwitches in ESX). How exactly does that happen? I’ve never seen a way to link two vSwitches together without using a VM.

As always, readers’ thoughts are welcome in the comments!

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