You are in: Articles / Smart Setups / Virtualization
 
 
Quick-List: Articles in Virtualization

Five tips for deciding whether to virtualize a server

10 things to look for in a data center

Five cloud security trends experts see for 2011

Survey: private cloud the choice of two out of five organizations

How secure are virtualized servers?

Enterprises Ready to Turn to Cloud E-Mail

10 things you should know about successful cloud-based BPM

Cloud Computing Is More Likely for Low-Risk Systems: Report

Choosing the right cloud platform

Set Up a Virtualization Server

Cloud security: The basics

Virtualization Planning: 4 Systems Management Keys to Success

A storage virtualization primer

IDC Predicts Steady Growth in Cloud Server Market Through 2014

The Virtualization Checklist

Need for collaboration will drive apps into the cloud

10 things to consider before deploying a cloud

Security of virtualization, cloud computing divides IT and security pros

10 issues to consider during virtualization planning

Standardized virtualization environments preferred, survey says

Linux jobs outpacing Windows; virtualization is 'hot'

Server hardware cost comparison: Is virtualization cheaper?

Top server virtualization challenges: Backups and bottlenecks

Management tools for virtualized servers: A look at the options

Virtualization's next phase: DR, BC and cloud computing

Will virtualization bend or break licensing rules?

Virtualized Systems Can Be A Security Risk

Managing virtualization deployments for customers

Virtualization be damned: Power-efficient servers best bet for some

Virtualization for high-performance computing on Linux: Critiques and challenges

Using virtualization to reinvent high-performance computing on Linux

Restless data: Diffusion via virtualization

Will cloud computing change how IT works today?

Compliance 2009 trends: virtualization, unified mapping and automation

Beyond consolidation: five reasons why you should start virtualizing

Virtualization, Looking Beyond the Numbers

T Managers Fear They Aren't Prepared To Operate VM Environments

Aussies outpacing the world in virtualisation uptake

Gartner Identifies Six Best Practices to Consider Before Server Virtualization

Virtualization Software Will Help Optimize IT for Business

Virtualization Spending, Strong despite Tighter IT Budgets

Articles in Virtualization

Five tips for deciding whether to virtualize a server

(Brien Posey, TechRepublic) Not all servers are suited for virtualization. Be sure you consider these possible deal-killers before you try to virtualize a particular server.

Even though server virtualization is all the rage these days, some servers simply aren’t good candidates for virtualization. Before you virtualize a server, you need to think about several things. Here are a few tips that will help you determine whether it makes sense to virtualize a physical server:
1. Take a hardware inventory
2. Take a software inventory
3. Benchmark the system’s performance
4. Check the support policy
5. Perform a trial virtualization
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

10 things to look for in a data center

(Erik Eckel, TechRepublic) Going to the cloud might make a lot of sense for your organization — but only if you choose a secure, reliable data center that can handle your needs. Erik Eckel runs through 10 essential criteria for data center evaluation.

Everyone’s going to the cloud. The cloud’s all the rage. Almost no IT discussion is complete without mentioning “the cloud.” But when it comes down to it, the cloud is nothing more than systems hosting information in a data center somewhere “out there.”

Unfortunately, not every data center is ready for prime time. Some have sprung up as part of a cloud-based land grab. Review these 10 factors to ensure that your organization’s data center is up to the task:
1. Data capacity
2. Redundant power
3. Backup Internet
4. Automatic hardware failover
5. Access control
6. 24×7x365 support
7. Independent power
8. In-house break/fix service
9. Written SLAs
10. Financial stability
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Five cloud security trends experts see for 2011

(Bob Violino, CSO) What do CSOs and other IT security experts expect to be top-of-mind cloud security issues in 2011? Here are five things to watch for in the coming year:
1. Smart phone data slinging
2. Need for better access control and identity management
3. Ongoing compliance concerns
4. Risk of multiple cloud tenants
5. Emergence of cloud standards and certifications

Read more by following the "full article" link.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Survey: private cloud the choice of two out of five organizations

(Joe McKendrick, ZDNet) Many in the industry don’t recognize the concept of “private cloud,” saying that it fails to meet the true definition of cloud, being a collection of resources across the Web. However, it looks like many companies are forging ahead with their own implementations of cloud for the benefit of employees and business partners.

A new survey found that 29% of organizations report they already have deployed an internal cloud, with another 15% piloting, planning or considering private clouds. Even the private cloud pilots must have serious traction, as a total of 37% of respondents indicate that some piece of their organization’s workload processing or infrastructure is now available through private cloud services.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

How secure are virtualized servers?

(David Heath, ITWire) You'd think that a virtualized environment would be a safe way to encapsulate a server, but that appears to be far from the truth. Earlier this year, Gartner released its own research  into the security of virtualized environments.  The results weren't pretty.  Gartner estimated that by 2012, 60% of virtual servers will be less secure that the physical servers they replace, although this is expected to drop to 30% by the end of 2015.

The Gartner report identified six major categories of risk:
- Information security isn't initially involved in the virtualization projects
- A compromise of the virtualization layer could result in the compromise of all hosted workloads
- The lack of visibility and controls on internal virtual networks created for VM-to-VM communications blinds existing security policy enforcement mechanisms
- Workloads of different trust levels are consolidated onto a single physical server without sufficient separation
- Adequate controls on administrative access to the hypervisor/VMM layer and to administrative tools are lacking
- There is a potential loss of separation of duties for network and security controls

"Virtualization is not inherently insecure," said Neil MacDonald, vice president and Gartner fellow. "However, most virtualized workloads are being deployed insecurely. The latter is a result of the immaturity of tools and processes and the limited training of staff, resellers and consultants."  However, according to a BeyondTrust spokesman, "that hasn't stopped 90% of virtualized data centers from putting their most sensitive data on virtualized servers."
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Enterprises Ready to Turn to Cloud E-Mail

(Maxwell Cooter, CIO) The battle for email cloud is set to heat up as enterprises start to rethink their email strategies, that's according to Forrester chief analyst, Ted Schadler.

In a new Forrester report, Four Giants Compete For Your Cloud Email Business, Schadler explains how the advent of cloud services is going to shake up enterprises' spending on email.

Email is going to the first large-scale cloud application wrote Schadler. "The reasons are simple: Email in the cloud is cheaper; it will evolve faster; and it is a commodity application that an email provider can run." Not only that, it's a great test bed to master the issues of cloud computing providers. And we're not talking about being a little cheaper either. Cloud-based email is going to be a lot cheaper "unless you're a 50,000-person company with a highly centralised email platform or you run hardware and software until it's old and crusty and a decade behind the times." Schadler wrote.

But when it comes to deciding which company is going to dominate the market, the issue is not so clear cut. With four major companies offering similarly priced services, the differentiators are going to be the level of integration that they offer.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

10 things you should know about successful cloud-based BPM

(Vinaykumar Mummigatti, TechRepublic) Business process management offers many enticing benefits, including impressive ROI. The problem is, it often fails. See how BPM in a cloud environment can help you overcome barriers to a successful implementation.

Despite BPM’s long history and well-documented benefits, about half of all BPM initiatives fail, according to findings from leading analysts. But BPM in the cloud can overcome a number of the typical challenges of BPM, thanks to:
1. Minimal technology constraints
2. Time to market
3. Collaboration across and within enterprises
4. Enterprise rollout
5. Centralized control and governance

Read more by following the "full article" link.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Cloud Computing Is More Likely for Low-Risk Systems: Report

(Don E. Sears, eWeek) Three out of five companies are adopting cloud computing technologies, including private clouds and lower-risk technologies, says a new report.

The main areas of adoption are in lower-risk technology categories. Low-risk services being considered by nearly half of respondents included hosted e-mail, messaging applications, desktop and server virtualization, and storage services. Larger, more complex and already heavily invested applications like ERP systems were only being considered by 10% of companies.

Security and other risk factors are still of the utmost importance to the enterprise, with 79% stating that cloud security is inadequate or unclear. 49% are concerned with integration to legacy systems, and another 49% are concerned about losing company data. Half of respondents worry about noncompliance with regulations, and disaster recovery and business continuity issues.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Choosing the right cloud platform

(Phil Wainewright, ZDNet) The emergence of a number of self-proclaimed ‘open’ cloud platforms presents any would-be cloud adopter with a confusing plethora of choice. Taking the bigger picture into account, who are the winners likely to be?

For cloud adopters all these offerings, in their various ways, hold out the promise of pursuing a hybrid strategy. They’re attractive because they provide the option of putting some assets in the cloud while keeping others on trusted terra firma — or at the very least, a user can reserve the option of pulling their IT back off the provider’s cloud if they ever need to, avoiding lock-in to a single provider.

There are a number of reasons why you want to adopt a cloud platform that, at the same time as having all that cloud goodness, allows you to move your applications somewhere else should you wish to:
- That all-important comfort feeling
- Architectural portability
- Operational portability
- Service level flexibility
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Set Up a Virtualization Server

(Paul Venezia, ITWorld) If there's one technology that can greatly improve computing environments of any size, it's virtualization. Virtualizing even a small infrastructure can ease administration and reduce costs.

The reasons to virtualize even a small infrastructure come down to ease of administration and cost reductions. Cost reductions come from cutting down the number of physical servers, thus reducing the power and cooling requirements, but they also come in the form of greatly reduced expansion. Rather than having to purchase new hardware to support a new business application, all you need to do is add a new virtual server. If your business has only a single server, virtualization isn't likely to buy you much, but if you have more than two servers or if you plan on expanding anytime soon, virtualization can likely make a difference.

Read more by following the "full article" link.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Cloud security: The basics

(Mary Brandel, NetworkWorld) Cloud computing is one of the most-discussed topics among IT professionals today. And not too long into any conversation about the most highly touted cloud models - software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS) - the talk often turns to cloud security.

According to Milind Govekar, an analyst at Gartner, cloud has rocketed up the list from number 16 to number two in Gartner's annual CIO survey of key technology investments. "Like with anything new, the primary concern is security," he says. In fact, the vast majority of clients who inquire about cloud, he says, would rather create a virtualized data center on their own premises - what some call a private cloud - because they're uncomfortable with the security issues raised by cloud computing and the industry's ability to address them.

"We are in the early stages of a fascinating journey into a new computing model that, for all its purported advantages, from a security and risk point of view, is a difficult thing to deal with," agrees Jay Heiser, an analyst at Gartner.[...] For this reason securing cloud computing environments will be a major focus of vendor efforts over the next year, says Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research. In the short term, he sees users having to do a lot of the legwork, but over time, "cloud providers themselves will see the opportunity to differentiate themselves by integrating security," he says.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization Planning: 4 Systems Management Keys to Success

(Glenn O'Donnell and Rachel Dines, CIO) As virtualization management tools proliferate, consider carefully how these tools fit into your IT processes and management portfolio. Keep your eye on these key system management capabilties, says Forrester Research.

The explosive growth of today's virtualization management market is good news for organizations looking to manage and optimize their virtual environments. Like every technology that has come before it, the route to success with virtualization lies in solid, standardized processes and management software to automate and govern the execution of these processes.

As businesses begin to evaluate tools to help manage their virtual environment, Forrester recommends focusing on four key system management capabilities:
  1. Improve configuration management
  2. Maximize capacity planning and VM placement
  3. Performance Monitoring
  4. Real-time automation
Virtualization is the most potent technology catalyst toward cloud computing, so it is therefore the first step in the journey to industrialize IT. If you want to be in the driver's seat for the future of IT, plan a journey to industrialize your operation and begin that journey by getting your virtual server infrastructure under control.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

A storage virtualization primer

(Scott Lowe, TechRepublic) Storage is perhaps the least optimized component of the virtualized organization, but all of that can change with storage virtualization. Although the concept of storage virtualization can be difficult to grasp, the benefits are clear.

These days, it’s very likely that you’re doing something with virtualization. The most common virtualization use case is what is commonly known as server virtualization. In a server virtualization project, IT administrators take steps to separate the running workloads from physical hardware in an effort to make better use of overall IT resources and provide an organization with additional infrastructure resiliency.

There are, however, others forms of virtualization that can have major benefits to an organization. One such type of virtualization is known as storage virtualization and, like its server-based cousin, aims to provide IT administrators with even more infrastructure flexibility and resiliency.[...]
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

IDC Predicts Steady Growth in Cloud Server Market Through 2014

(Chris Preimesberger, eWeek) Based on IDC's first cloud computing survey focused exclusively on servers, the research company predicts that server revenue in the private cloud category will grow from $7.3 billion in 2009 to $11.8 billion in 2014, or about 62%.

IT researcher IDC reported May 10 that the combination of an aging server installed base, IT managers' increasing need to rein in virtual machines, and a general upturn in the buying environment is boosting sales of commodity-type servers used in public and private cloud-computing systems.

Based on its first cloud computing survey focused exclusively on servers, IDC predicted that server revenue in the public cloud category will grow from $582 million in 2009 to $718 million in 2014. Server revenue for the much larger private cloud market will grow from $7.3 billion to $11.8 billion [about 62 %] in the same time period, IDC said.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

The Virtualization Checklist

(Susan J. Aluise, Washington Technology) Virtualization could be the least sexy, most essential component of cloud computing – and that means whether it’s a top-down, government-wide initiative or a grass-roots, bottom-up project in a small office of a federal agency, it is going to happen.

In consultation with industry analysts, here’s FCW’s checklist on how to do it right:
  1. Take Stock Of What You’ve Already Got
  2. Clean House
  3. Add Virtualization To The Mix
  4. Not All IT Needs Are Created Equal
  5. Look At Bringing Legacy Systems Into The Future
  6. Manage Expectations
  7. Listen Closely To Business/Project Leaders
  8. Focus on Processes
  9. Seek Out Standards And Best Practices
  10. Check Out Private Sector Ideas
  11. Don’t Get Lost In Translation
  12. Get The Right Manager For The Virtual Job
  13. Train As You Fight
To learn more, please click on the "full article" link, or attend this free, live webinar on virtual messaging.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Need for collaboration will drive apps into the cloud

(Stuart Corner, ITWire) The need to integrate mainstream enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM with unified communications services and make them accessible from any device, anywhere will drive all these applications into the cloud over the next few years.

Verizon Business' UC practice manager, Ben Green, says that the 'unified communications as a service' (UCaaS) platform of the future will provide a full suite of communications services, such as hosted IP telephony, voicemail, email, instant messaging and presence, but more importantly will interface readily to other applications such as ERP and CRM, virtualised and running in the cloud.

He sees this integration as "the next revolution" in unified communications services but predicts that is will likely be around 2015 before the first large scale adoptions take place.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

10 things to consider before deploying a cloud

(Jack Wallen, TechRepublic) If you’re planning to set up a cloud, be forewarned: The process could turn out to be time consuming, complicated, and expensive. Jack Wallen shares his cloud deployment experiences.

Are you thinking about setting up a cloud for deployment in your business or enterprise? Have you planned it out yet? If so, how far have you gotten with it? If you haven’t begun the setup process, check out this list of things to consider before you start deploying that cloud. It might confirm your belief that you’re on the right track — but it could persuade you otherwise.
  1. Time is always an issue
  2. Hardware needs are huge
  3. The process is difficult
  4. Network speed can be a pain
  5. Cost is a deal breaker
  6. Image(s) is(are) everything
  7. Reliability will bring you down
  8. Security is not on duty
  9. It’s not environmentally sound
  10. Platform agnosticism is not a religion
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Security of virtualization, cloud computing divides IT and security pros


(Ellen Messmer, Network World) Is moving to virtualization  and cloud computing making network security easier or harder? When some 2,100 top IT and security managers in 27 countries were asked, the response revealed a profound lack of consensus, showing how divided attitudes are within the enterprise.

The "2010 State of Enterprise Security Survey - Global Data" report shows that about one-third believe virtualization and cloud computing make security "harder," while one-third said it was "more or less the same," and the remainder said it was "easier." [...]

The survey showed that the median annual budget for enterprise security in 2010 is $600,000, an 11% increase over 2009, with yet another 11% increase anticipated in 2011.[...]In fact, 40% of the respondents indicated their organizations were currently using applications in the cloud in some way -- yet 40% said it would be more difficult to prevent or react to data loss under their firm's cloud-computing strategy.[...]
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

10 issues to consider during virtualization planning

(Brien Posey, TechRepublic) Server virtualization is becoming increasingly popular, and it seems that everyone is in a mad dash to virtualize their datacenter.  While there’s no disputing the benefits of server virtualization, there are some questions you should address before you begin to virtualize your servers.

Virtualizing your servers offers significant advantages, but effective planning is crucial to your success. Make sure you have satisfactory answers to these key questions before you get underway:
  1. Does the virtualization plan include a single point of failure?
  2. Are all the applications supported in a virtual environment?
  3. Are there any servers that are not good virtualization candidates?
  4. How will domain controller placement work?
  5. What is the most suitable virtualization platform?
  6. What is the contingency plan if a host server dies?
  7. How many guest machines can each host accommodate?
  8. What software licenses will be required?
  9. How will the old server hardware be used?
  10. What is the plan for existing server clusters?
For more details follow the "full article" link.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Standardized virtualization environments preferred, survey says

(Bill Claybrook, TechTarget) Let's explore the pros and cons of running multiple vendors' platforms in your virtualization environment and review the virtual appliance and cloud computing markets.

Virtualization environments: To mix or not to mix?
If you have some combination of Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Solaris and Oracle in your data center and you follow our virtualization selection recommendations, your environment will support multiple virtualization software platforms. Each platform has its own set of virtualization management tools, which creates licensing and maintenance complexity.

The survey results indicate that 55.8% of respondents want to standardize on a single x86-based hypervisor if possible. This data aligns closely with the results of a winter 2009 study by The Info Pro, in which 54% of respondents said they do not want to use multiple x86 virtualization approaches. But 54% of respondents said they would use multiple approaches to get the required performance and support.

Realistically, you need at least two or three for high-performance production applications and timely support for guest operating systems when issues arise.

But if you want to standardize on one virtualization platform, VMware stands out as the only solution that is suitable, according to The Info Pro study. IT managers believe in VMware because it dominates the virtualization platform market.

Market-by-market breakdown
There are multiple virtualization software markets: server virtualization, cloud computing, virtual appliances and so on. Microsoft and VMware have the markets for server virtualization and internal cloud computing, but where are the markets for Citrix Systems, Oracle, Red Hat and other open source virtualization software vendors for public clouds and virtual appliances? To decide which virtualization platform vendors to go with in a specific market, you should focus on the size of their installed bases.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Linux jobs outpacing Windows; virtualization is 'hot'

(Pam Derringer, News Contributor, TechTarget) Windows job-seekers may have 30% more available openings today in the U.S. than their Linux counterparts. On the flipside, however, the number of Linux listings nationwide is growing while demand for Windows staffers is dropping.

According to the latest figures from IT job site Dice.com, Windows had the most OS job listings on October 1 with 8,865 postings, but the tally was 8% less than the 9,643 Windows opportunities that had been advertised at the start of the year.

Linux ranked third (behind Unix) with 6,168 postings in October. But in contrast to Windows, Linux postings grew by 6% during the year, increasing from 5,839 jobs listed on January 5.

Specific listings for Red Hat Inc., meanwhile, increased nearly 4% from last January, but postings for Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise skills dropped 14% during the same period.

Demand for Windows and Linux platforms, however, was down significantly from a year ago on the cusp of the recession: Windows dropped 43% from last October's total of 15,566 and Linux declined 35% from 9,451 a year ago. Red Hat and SUSE also declined sharply from the previous October, Red Hat by 34% and SUSE by 57%.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Server hardware cost comparison: Is virtualization cheaper?

(Logan G. Harbaugh, TechTarget) It seems to be assumed that running eight OSes on a single large server with a virtualization suite is cheaper than running eight separate physical servers. Leaving aside for the moment the cost of virtualization software, training admins to use the software and so forth, let's look specifically at the cost of the hardware.

Eight 1U dual-core servers with 4 GB RAM, one or two built-in Ethernet ports and 70 to 150 GB of hard disk space can be found quite inexpensively these days, with even more savings if you don't insist on a first-tier server manufacturer. On the other hand, a 16-core server with 32 GB of RAM, several four-port Ethernet cards and a terabyte or two of disk space can cost considerably more than eight dual-core servers. A quick check of a major brand site produced numbers of $1,339 each for the small servers, or $10,172 total, versus $45,196 for a single big server. If the servers are running mission-critical apps and you want failover capacity, you'll need two big servers for $90,392, rather than nine small ones for $11,511.

If you do need failover, you'll need premium virtualization software in addition to the failover software, which is a considerable expense. With hardware and software factored in, eight virtual servers could be $30,000 to $50,000 more expensive. On the other side of the balance sheet, a virtualized infrastructure can be more flexible and easier to administer, since all eight virtual servers, backups, and failover can be managed from a single console.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Top server virtualization challenges: Backups and bottlenecks

(Todd R. Weiss, SearchServerVirtualization.com) Despite the many benefits of server virtualization, the technology still poses challenges for corporate data centers. TechTarget's recent "Virtualization Decisions 2009 Purchasing Intentions Survey" asked users to identify their server virtualization challenges, and the list was substantial. Backing up virtual machine data and managing storage are two of the biggest challenges for both VMware and Microsoft shops, according to the results.

VMware server virtualization challenges

Out of 386 VMware users who responded to the question, 36% said I/O bottlenecks are a challenge, 30% named backing up virtual machine (VM) data and 28% listed storage management. Christian J. Metz, the director of IT at the Orange County United Way in Irvine, Calif., which uses VMware widely in its data center, said data backup and server availability monitoring are his biggest server virtualization challenges. "VMware has a virtualization backup console, but it's a costly add-on - one that his nonprofit can't afford," he said. "The backup console also requires a plug-in tool at an additional cost. The functionality that should really be there isn't really there: the ability to back up an entire server," he added.

To work around the problem without buying expensive add-ons, the United Way's IT team had to write custom scripts to perform its system backups. "When it comes server availability monitoring and metrics, the issue is that VMware doesn't include a built-in real-time monitoring tool," Metz said. "The built-in tool gives only point-in-time data on performance, and third-party tools that would provide greater insight are too expensive for his group to purchase," he said. His team has done some workarounds to improve monitoring, but the process still falls short.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Management tools for virtualized servers: A look at the options

(Christina Torode, Senior News Writer, TechTarget) IT directors may seek that single pane of glass for managing an IT environment, but for now, at least, that seems as unattainable as ever given the added need to manage virtualized servers. A lack of virtualization management tools with visibility into storage resources, for example, is keeping midsized firms running an assortment of management applications, although the major systems management vendors are starting to integrate their products with virtualization management tools.

Many midmarket companies use multiple tools to manage storage, desktops, servers, networks, databases and security in the physical realm, never mind adding a virtual environment to the mix. Different silos within IT are also accustomed to a given management tool for a Unix, Microsoft or Linux environment, for example.

Moreover, communication among tools that manage physical devices and virtual machines, as well as the resources needed to run the VMs, is often lacking. With storage, for example, IT departments are trying to tie the management tool that comes with a storage area network to the tools that manage a virtual machine to figure out how to manage the storage requirements of a given VM.

"[VMware's] vCenter has a view into the storage and even into the networking, but you still need to use storage management tools to create that storage to present it to a virtual environment," said Mark Bowker, an analyst at The Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass. "You can't just un-box a storage management system, turn on the virtualization software and see the storage systems."
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization's next phase: DR, BC and cloud computing

(Niel Nickolaisen, Contributor, TechTarget) Many midmarket CIOs now use virtualization for mission-critical servers. We are also using it to improve availability of critical services. Some are using it to redefine disaster recovery and business continuity. And as we get comfortable with a more virtual environment, some of us are starting to think about cloud computing.

Here are the details:
Mission-critical virtualization. In February, most midmarket CIOs had been reluctant to virtualize our mission-critical servers. Oh, there were a few of the bold and the brave who had virtualized their production database and Exchange servers, but most of us had not yet taken the plunge. Well, six months later, many of us have now taken that plunge. I spoke with one CIO who has now virtualized almost his entire server farm. This includes multiple Exchange servers (supporting thousand of email accounts), his Oracle database servers and his Citrix servers.

Virtualization for availability and DR/BC. Now that we are virtualizing our mission-critical, the-business-is-at-risk-if-they-fail systems, we are using virtualization features to improve the availability of our most critical services. About 25% of the CIOs I queried reported that they were using virtualization (both server and storage) to redefine how they handle disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC).
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Will virtualization bend or break licensing rules?

(Stewart Buchanan, ZDNet) Virtualization can produce some nasty surprises in licensing costs, so it repays to study the small print. Whatever people may imagine, the fact is that application virtualization can create higher than expected licensing costs. It is important that customers understand that some software vendors earn more by not changing their licenses to accommodate new uses of virtualization, and that licensing in this area is a matter for negotiation.

As customers look for greater flexibility in the way they deliver applications to employees and external partners, some cost increases seem inevitable. However, these costs could be extreme for customers who do not understand the implications of licensing.

So, before investing, user organizations need to calculate the impact of virtualization on the life cycle total cost of ownership of all existing software. It may be unrealistic to expect all new and more flexible ways of using software to cost less.

Organizations should also check vendor licensing rules and get independent advice. It is worth having licensing examples in writing with illustrations and including them in your contract. Where vendor rules continue to be inflexible, IT managers can look at external service offerings that include software costs.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualized Systems Can Be A Security Risk

(Rick Whiting, ChannelWeb) With companies looking for ways to cut their IT infrastructure costs, there's no hotter technology right now than virtualization. But those cost savings could carry a big price in compromised security if IT managers aren't careful.

That was the message from Gartner Fellow Neil MacDonald in his "Securing Virtualization, Virtualizing Security" presentation last week at Everything Channel's Midsize Enterprise Summit in Miami. MacDonald's argument is that most virtual machines being deployed by IT departments today aren't as secure as physical systems, not because virtualization is inherently less secure, but because most virtualization technology isn't being deployed in a secure way.

Many suppliers of virtualization and security technology aren't stepping up to the plate and providing the same kinds of protection they provide for physical systems.[..] IT managers should be sure to apply to virtualized systems the same vulnerability assessment/patch management processes they use for physical systems.

Another problem is that virtual systems have internal virtual networks and sometimes communicate between themselves - even when they shouldn't - and IT managers may not be aware of it. And when tools for securing and managing virtual systems are available, they are so different from tools for managing physical systems that the odds of system misconfiguration increase.

Security and management policies for virtual systems must be dynamic and not tied to physical assets, the host operating system should be kept "thin and hardened" and a general-purpose operating system shouldn't be used as the foundation for virtualization software. Businesses should take some of the savings they generate through virtualization and invest it in their security efforts.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Managing virtualization deployments for customers


(Heather Clancy, TechTarget) Now that virtualization deployments are creeping out of test beds and extending more deeply into corporate data centers, a serious challenge has risen: How can organizations manage these increasingly complex environments?

In February, market researcher IDC reported that 56% of companies with complex virtualization implementations believe that close management of this technology will be critical for reaching their business goals. Approximately 80% of IDC's survey respondents managing more than 50 virtual machines (VMs) said they apply, or plan to apply, Information Technology Infrastructure Library management practices. Another 70% use, or plan to use, software management tools, and the same percentage is looking toward automation as a critical component.

IDC survey of 100 North American IT decision makers responsible for their companies' virtualization environments.

The data it brought in accompanies a flurry of activity including the emergence of virtualization infrastructure management software and services that help businesses make the most out of virtualized servers.

"In some organizations, if it's not well thought-out, virtualizing your environment could cause more problems than it solves," said Chris Akerberg, president of Vizioncore Inc., a software developer in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Although it began life as a consulting company, Vizioncore is building a VAR channel and staking a claim in the industry. It has signed distribution deals with both Ingram Micro and Tech Data in recent months.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization be damned: Power-efficient servers best bet for some

(Bridget Botelho, News Writer) While many IT pros use virtualization to avert server sprawl and keep power costs low, others lack the resources to or resist going virtual because of performance overhead, however low it may be.

One such company is London-based Last.fm Ltd., a large and fast-growing social networking and free music-sharing website. The company uses open source OpenVZ virtualization in its testing and development environment but has said no way to production-level virtualization.

"Virtualization helps from a manageability perspective, but we've been running diskless servers for years that boot off a central image, which makes it easier to manage groups of machines doing the same task without virtualization," said Richard Jones, CTO and co-founder of Last.fm. [Plus], "virtualization wasn't as accessible or efficient when we started doing this."
Instead, the company Net-boots; its Web server, load balancer and Hadoop boxes. "That means we have over 200 machines all booting off a pair of machines hosting three custom Linux distro [distribution] images," Jones said. "Doesn't get much easier than that."

If it ain't broke, don't fix it
In addition to being satisfied with current operations, the performance latency of virtualization - however low - is intolerable; many of Last.fm's applications are CPU-heavy and Jones doesn't want to introduce any performance overhead. The performance overhead with virtualization is low, though. When using hardware with virtualization-assist technology, such as AMD's Opteron with Rapid Virtualization Indexing, performance overhead is often less than 5%, according to a VMware engineer.

Given that this percentage comes from a virtualization vendor, it may be a little rosier than reality. "But even if it is a 90% performance comparison, all the benefits of virtualization make it worthwhile," said Andi Mann, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). "Things like DR [disaster recovery] capabilities, higher server utilization, workload migration capabilities, increased flexibility and agility and being able to reuse physical resources."

Which is why most of the IT pros with whom Mann speaks use virtualization at some level, and more people have moved virtualization into production now that performance is getting stronger - but not everyone is sold on it.

According to Forrester Research, 54% of enterprises and 53% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have implemented x86 server virtualization or will do so within the next 12 months; and while that is a lot, it still leaves 46% of enterprises and 47% of SMBs that haven't virtualized.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization for high-performance computing on Linux: Critiques and challenges

(Bill Weinberg, EntrepriseLinux) Why don't we see more pervasive use of virtualization in HPC? Well, you may have heard this: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. In some cases, virtualization technology may not (yet) meet legacy HPC requirements; in others, HPC systems providers and deployers are not comfortable departing from familiar (and expensive) technology acquisition paths and roadmaps. [...]

Virtualization overhead and increased latency
HPC architects have focused the greater part of their efforts on optimizing hardware to achieve maximum computing throughput. Investments included heavy parallelization of processing units and use of hierarchical memory design with high-speed interconnects to ensure maximum utilization of those CPUs. As such, defenders of traditional HPC attack virtualization for inserting a layer of abstraction between software loads and carefully tuned hardware. Virtualization, they claim, not only induces execution latency within and among parallel processors, and the delays can be highly variable or "jittery."

Advocates of modern virtualization technology respond that virtualization not only avoids many of these dreaded latency issues, it can actually enhance HPC performance. For example, virtualization facilitate use of specialized OSes, optimized for classes of HPC applications (e.g., Red Hat CHAOS or legacy mainframe OSes), A hypervisor can guarantee resource allocations to a VM with an HPC guest, dedicating a partition of physical memory or a percentage of CPU cycles, or guaranteeing a maximum latency to time-sensitive code (e.g., interrupt processing). Nodes of a virtual cluster can run concurrently, on multiple actual real nodes or using different processor cores of one or several physical nodes. Gang scheduling can allow a cluster-based HPC application, while running, to communicate between nodes in real time, as it would without virtualization on legacy HPC hardware.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Using virtualization to reinvent high-performance computing on Linux

(Bill Weinberg, EntrepriseLinux) Virtualization has been the hot technology and certainly the killer app-enabler of the last several years, building on readily-available open source technology (e.g., Linux and Xen) with adoption marching in step with commercialization of commodity server and blade server hardware. Virtualization technologies for servers, desktops, embedded and mobile devices have, for the most part moved from exotic to mainstream. The broad range of use cases, includes hardware consolidation, legacy migration, trusted computing and highly-available systems.

An area that has yet to embrace virtualization is high-performance computing (HPC). Today's plummeting hardware costs bring "supercomputer" capabilities into SMB server-rooms and onto the engineering desktop. But HPC systems deployers remain leery of hypervisor technology. HPC systems and HPC-capable commodity hardware today account for nearly a fifth of the $55 billion worldwide server market (IDC), but represent only a blip in the growing virtualization software market.[...]

Parallel computing and clustering platforms
Legacy HPC systems boasted arrays of proprietary parallel vector processors that hosted specialized operating systems or versions of UNIX customized for HPC compute loads. Today, parallel computing systems and the processors that power them are increasingly based on "off the shelf" server-class microprocessors, such as IBM's Power Systems, AMD's Opteron or Intel's Xeon, and run stock or customized version of open source Linux.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Restless data: Diffusion via virtualization

(Tom Olzak, IT Security) Before virtualization, keeping track of servers popping up in the data center was pretty easy.  There was significant effort to bring up the hardware, and everyone followed the traditional change management process–which included a security review.  This approach helped keep sensitive data within the limits of reasonable and appropriate security–due in large part to the work involved in creating additional data environments.  But with virtualization, data begins to get restless.  And this restlessness causes information to move beyond the confines of solid security controls.

I’m not opposed to virtualization.  I think it is a great addition to the IT toolkit, a way to quickly react to business need while improving business continuity capabilities.  However, we have to adapt our controls and processes to accommodate both the new functionality as well as the temptations of this new technology, including what I call “diffusion via virtualization.” [...]

Diffusion is not inherently “bad”
Creating subsets of information for reporting purposes is a good idea.  It allows business users to create their own reports, looking at data from multiple perspectives, without having to call the IS department every five minutes.  This is a good thing.  So creating “pockets of data” is not inherently evil or bad.  It does, however, come with a list of challenges, including:

   1. If the implementation teams don’t see security as protection of data rather than access to systems, they won’t typically worry about standing up a new database server with all or a subset of the contents of a production database without a security assessment or audit review.
   2. As data proliferates, diffuses throughout the data center, it begins to fall below the “radar” of security assessments, vulnerability scans, and compliance audits.  This set of conditions can create pockets of sensitive information which are much easier to attack than the original hardened production systems.
   3. Principles of least privilege and need to know are sacrificed as new database servers are, after all, read only.  What’s the harm…?

The first step in dealing with uncontrolled diffusion is a conversation with the implementation teams.  If they don’t understand that data protection is the central theme of information security, maybe the message was not clearly communicated.

Once they understand it’s about the data, not the systems, a review of existing processes and policies is in order.  The review process must involve collaboration by all technical teams and a clear, common understanding of steps to ensure data is protected, no matter where it might end up.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Will cloud computing change how IT works today?

(Steven Warren, TechRepublic) Unless you’ve been sleeping this past year, you’ve heard about cloud computing. It seems as if many companies are looking at this heavily for the future.[...]The economy today is not in the best shape it has ever been, and companies want to spend less and less money on IT servers and infrastructure. With this in mind, companies are looking to outsource IT and take advantage of the SAAS model to handle any third-party applications that require constant babysitting and upgrades.

So the bean counters do the math and want to outsource the infrastructure to outside companies dedicated to handling the IT backbone. They don’t want to deal with the cooling power costs and the upgrading and maintaining the infrastructure. They want to outsource all of that and just own the data and simply plug it in to an existing cloud infrastructure like we plug a light into a socket. And when we are done, we can either turn off the light or, better yet, pull the plug and find a better socket or vendor. So basically, we can move to any vendor who handles the infrastructure, but we always own the most vital part: the data.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Compliance 2009 trends: virtualization, unified mapping and automation

(Todd Erickson, News and Features Writer) During 2007 and 2008, Congress and state legislatures were busy passing, refining and enacting hundreds of laws that require new IT strategies for storing, protecting and accessing organization and customer data. As compliance and e-discovery practitioners gather at LegalTech New York 2009 this week, one question IT administrators are asking is: "What will happen this year?". With new technologies, a new presidential administration and the global financial crisis, which IT strategies and products will emerge in 2009?

Dorian Cougias, founder and CEO at Oakland, Calif.-based Network Frontiers LLC and the primary architect of the Unified Compliance Framework (UCF), says this will be the year auditors get serious about enforcing those legal requirements. "People right now are just getting a handle on what the rules say", notes Cougias. "We have enough rules. Let's link the 'thou shalt' in the rules to something that can be configured to ensure that the 'thou shalt' is followed."

According to technology and government policy experts, dealing with virtualization and streamlining configuration management will be hot compliance topics in 2009. Examiners will require IT shops that have moved to virtualized environments to prove that those virtual systems are as safe and secure as their physical counterparts. And auditors will begin to require documentation and proof that the regulatory guidelines enacted in the past two years are being followed - making streamlined configuration management essential, especially in a down economy.

Virtualization's role in compliance
Virtualization is changing the way a lot of things are handled in IT and storage networks, including maintaining regulatory compliance goals. Configuring, maintaining and proving that virtual systems are just as secure as physical systems will become a big issue for companies seeking virtualization's cost and resource savings.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Beyond consolidation: five reasons why you should start virtualizing

(Bob Violino, Accelerate) Virtualization isn’t just for large enterprises. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are finding that virtualizing servers can be a viable IT strategy. And although server consolidation is the primary reason many organizations are initially attracted to virtualization technology, it’s hardly the only driver.

Why else does it make sense for SMBs to virtualize? Here are five reasons from the experts—your IT peers and industry analysts.

1. Effective disaster recovery. Virtualization enables companies to create contingencies in the event of system failures.
“The number 1 reason for virtualization—besides consolidation—is disaster recovery,” says Gary Chen, senior analyst, enterprise research, at the Yankee Group. “Most SMBs don’t have disaster recovery capabilities, or even if they do have some sort of disaster recovery, it’s not that good.” Virtualization, by giving companies greater flexibility for running applications and storing data, provides options in the event of a systems outage. “It really gives SMBs a good shot at enterprise-class disaster recovery,” Chen says. “Recovery times for servers are less than an hour, and it’s pretty affordable.”

2. Optimized server utilization. Virtualization enables organizations to get more-efficient use out of server hardware.
“You can dynamically allocate memory and CPUs  to servers as needed,” says Brad Manning, CIO at Quaker Chemical Corp. in Conshohocken, Pa. “Development and test servers are great examples. They often sit idle, in which case their resources can be allocated to production virtuals and then have short bursts of activity intermittently when they need resources. This means more bang for your buck in your data center spending and better performance for your business applications.”
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization, Looking Beyond the Numbers

(ServerWatch) Whether you credit the bad economy or accelerated maturity, virtualization appears to have arrived. So says IDC.

The research firm released a report late last week, tracking virtualization use. Usage was picked over deployments chiefly because nearly all x86 servers are now shipping virtualization-enabled — even more so now that Hyper-V is gold — and mainframes and RISC servers have historically shipped that way, internetnews reported.

IDC also issued the caveat that the methodology is still evolving, as it had only just begun measuring virtualization's presence.

This is not surprising given that although the majority of enterprises have some level of virtualization going on, it would be misleading to assume that enterprise-wide they are in any stage beyond infancy. Yes, a good many of these are beyond the walls of test and dev, however, in the grand scheme of things, only a minute percentage have been virtualized.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

T Managers Fear They Aren't Prepared To Operate VM Environments

Virtualization may be taking IT organizations by storm, but it's by no means a perfect storm, according to a new survey of IT managers, many of whom say they aren't prepared to operate environments that include both physical and virtual elements.

Conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), which polled 150 business professionals, the survey found that just 24% of the respondents felt "very confident" their existing management tools are sufficient for their current IT service levels. The confidence factor percentage doubled, however, when IT managers used specialized management tools for VMware environments.

That still leaves the majority of IT managers still seeking ways to boost their confidence and expertise in virtualization.[...] Some 48% of survey respondents said their chief challenge in Tier 1 production environments is to isolate problems of root cause within server virtualized environments. In addition, the survey took note of IT managers' desire to map virtual machines to physical infrastructures like servers and applications, storage management, virtual security, and application performance monitoring.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Aussies outpacing the world in virtualisation uptake

Twice as many Australian businesses are using virtualisation than the rest of the world, according to analysts. Between 8 and 9 percent of medium to enterprise businesses are virtualizing their x86 servers, Gartner says, while global uptake remains at about 4 to 5 percent.

Analysts admit the numbers are surprising given Gartner forecasts that US businesses will spend $US942.2 billion on IT, almost 20 times more than the $US47.8 billion which will be spent by Australian organisations.

Gartner's servers and storage vice president Phil Sargeant said the figures, derived from research into organisational IT maturity, show Australians are spearheading virtualisation uptake.

"The deployment of virtualisation is greater in Australia than anywhere else in the world [and] these figures have been backed up by VMware and the like," Sargeant said, adding the results were based in part on a mix of consumer and vendor feedback.

"Uptake of virtualisation has been growing steadily for the past few years, and has accelerated during the last 12 months."

The IT maturity survey, produced early this year, canvassed issues including the perception of IT by the business and the use of emerging technology.

|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Gartner Identifies Six Best Practices to Consider Before Server Virtualization

Virtualization will be the most-important trend for servers through 2012, but there are six basic best practices enterprises should consider before they virtualize their servers, according to Gartner:

1. Start Small, Think Big

Although OEMs and consultants will recommend large-scale server virtualizations, Gartner advises that from a cost, management and cultural point of view, starting small is the right way to go. There are two very different phases to server virtualization deployments. The first phase focuses on server consolidation, cost savings and increased hardware use. The second phase is more strategically important, more complex to implement and provides far more value for the customer. In this phase, the focus shifts to delivering new services or improving the quality and speed of service.

2. Require a Rapid ROI
Because the market (and therefore pricing) is evolving rapidly, organizations need to build a business case with a rapid return on investment. Gartner recommends that a business case for server virtualization should show a full return on investment within six months or less. Generally, companies deploying 50 virtual machines or more in a year will be able to make a good business case.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization Software Will Help Optimize IT for Business

Using virtualisation software will not just save money and space, but also help optimise IT for business needs.

CIOs who have converted to virtualization are keen to praise its cost benefits and preach the green benefits of its power savings, but for many the major benefits are yet to be realized. The virtualization process provides massive opportunity to align IT with the business, and CIOs who are ahead of the virtualization curve are taking that opportunity.

Most CIOs who have gone down the virtualization route are still in the process of virtualizing their server farm. The early adopters are going beyond that, using the virtualized structure to be more responsive to the business. They are also the first who are considering how to manage being victims of their own success and how to continue to be responsive to the opportunities offered by virtualization.

Once servers are virtualized, IT staff can provision servers in minutes, test new systems while the servers are online, and install security patches without downtime. Chris Tunnecliffe, group infrastructure architect at global reinsurance firm Aspen, describes the day-to-day benefits he has seen after virtualizing servers. "The service improvements are vast. We don't have to constantly speak to the business about downtime. We are a true 24/7 business."
|
|
Rating: 12345
 

Virtualization Spending, Strong despite Tighter IT Budgets

Despite a decline in spending on business software given a waning U.S. economy, an April 2008 survey of IT organizations shows that virtualization software spending has increased.

The survey of about 2,000 respondents by Rockville, Md.-based ChangeWave Research found that overall software spending is on the decline, with only 12% of respondents saying that they will invest in software over the next 90 days, and one in four saying they will spend less. But at the same time, virtualization investments are on the rise, increasing 12 percentage points from 58% in January to 70% today, the survey showed.

VMware Inc.'s April 2008 earnings report is evidence of this; revenues for the first quarter were $438 million, an increase of 69% compared with the first quarter of 2007.

Check out the full article to find out who continues to dominate the industry and why virtualization spending remains strong.
|
|
Rating: 12345
 
Close send to email window
 



Verification code

Already a member?
Blacklist monitoring alerts
sign up Signup for our real-time monitoring service and receive email notifications each time one of your IPs gets blacklisted.
Free Signup
Mail Server Operating System Poll
.01

What OS do you use for your email server?
Linux
Windows
Other
disabled next
.02

How many mailboxes do you currently manage?
1-50
51-300
300+
previous next
.03

Would you like to comment upon the choosing of this particular OS?

previous
 
DNS Tools
Get IP status, owner and location, obtain its corresponding hostname or check specific ports.
Ping Statistics
Reverse DNS Lookup
Whois Info (IP owner)
GeoIP Information
Check Port
Open Relay Test
Test if your mail server is an open relay for spammers.
Blacklist Checker
Check if your IP is listed in DNS based email blacklists (DNSBL)