Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

VMworld Europe Day 2: Keynote


Well day 2 got underway with the much anticipated keynote session from Steve Herrod who is CTO and VP of R&D or “technical stuff”.

He covered some of the previous announcements and did manage to clarify that vSphere is the implementation of VDC-OS (so it’s the new name for Virtual Infrastructure).

Steve Herrod let on that he was watching twitter during the other keynotes and adjusted his presentation accordingly 🙂


There were some examples of Oracle OLTP application scaling that have been done in vSphere;

    • <15% overhead on 8 way vCPU VM
    • 24k DB transactions/sec

Some example stats of disk I/O were shown that acheiving 250MB/sec of disk I/O took 510 disk spindles to saturate I/O… the point being that you’ll need a very large amount of hardware before you start running into disk/VM bus performance issues, and this is constantly increasing.

Virtualizing Exchange is another area where VM’ing can take advantage of multi-core processors for large enterprise apps; break into multiple virtualized mailbox servers to make best use of multi-core hardware; Exchange doesn’t really use the CPU horsepower of modern kit – it’s more about disk I/O (and as they showed this isn’t a practical blocker).

Steve ran over the components of vSphere again, adding a bit more detail – I won’t cover them again but they are

vStorage – extensible via API, storage vendors write their own thin provisioning or snapshot interfaces that hook into VMware.

vNetwork – Distributed vSwitch maintains network state in vMotion

vSphere = scale, 64TB RAM in cluster

Power thrifty (CPU power management features)

vShield zones follows vm around DRS – DMZ for groups of VMs (demos tomorrow + breakout)

vCenter HA improvements with VC heartbeat, today 60% of people running VC on physical box to isolate management tools from the execution platform, this delivers high availability for them.

vCenter Server heartbeat which provide an Active/passive cluster solution (but not using MSCS) and configuration change replication/rollback; works over WAN or LAN – IP based with floating IP address, efficient WAN transfers.

Monitors/provides HA for the following components;

  • vCenter database
  • Licencing server
  • Upgrade manager

vCenter Scalability; 50% increase in capacity with 3k vms and 300 hosts per vCenter, in addition the VI client can now aggregate up to 10 vCenter servers in a single UI, with search functionality, can report/search.

vCenter host profiles can enforce and replicate configuration changes across multiple hosts and monitor for deviations (profile compliance)– the UI looks much like update manager.

The VI client performance looks much better in the demo 🙂 let’s hope it’s like that in real-life!

Biggest and most useful announcement for me was that vCenter on Linux is now available and shipping as a bet virtual appliance – just download and go – no more dependency on a Windows host to run VC, I will definitely be trying this out and you can download it yourself here.


In terms of vCloud, the federation and long-distance vMotion sound a bit like science fiction – but there was the same opinion of vMotion when it was first announced – look at it now, VMware know how to do this stuff 🙂

Long-distance vMotion is the eventual goal but there are some challenges to overcome in engineering a reliable solution, but in the meantime SRM can deliver a similar sort of overall service, automating DR failover with array based replication and an electronic, scripted run-book.

long-distance vMotion has some other interesting usecases, enabling a follow the sun model for support and IT services – I’ve written about this previously here – this is a great goal and I would expand this suggestion to include follow the power, where you choose to move services around globally to take advantage of the most cost-efficient power, local support etc.

VMWare building an extensible and customisable portal for cloud providers based on Lab Manager which is likley to be bundled as a product.

The vCenter vCloud plug-in was demoed, this was more advanced that I had anticipated, with the target scenario being you can use one VI client to manage services across multiple clouds.

It stores auth details for each (cloud accounts) type (vCloud, drop down) works over web services API to provision/change etc

They showed how you can drag and drop a VM to and from the cloud.

this federation allows you to pick different types of cloud, for example providers that offer a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) type cloud, or one that runs entirely on “green” energy sources.

Virtual Desktop

this is another key initiative and focus of investment within VMware, building up the VDI offering(s) and providing centralised desktops as well as offline/distributed scenarios in future via the Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) – some of my more off the wall thoughts on that here

Key points;

  • Central management
  • Online/offline scenarios
  • Linked clone
  • Thick client push full VM down to machine
  • Patching is challenge – master disk + linked clones
  • Thin-app; makes patching/swapping out underlying OS easier as apps are in a “bubble”.
  • Leveraging ACE server; lock USB etc.
  • CVP – client checks back to central policy server (polling)
  • allows for self-destruct or leased virtual desktop, can’t run away with apps/data

VMware are making heavy investment in PCoIP- providing 3d graphics online offline for high-demand apps (video/graphics) Jerry Chan demoed some of the PCoIP solutions they are working to using Google Earth, whilst impressive – Brian Madden has covered these in more detail here but I did notice that Steve said vClient which is the 1st time I have heard that name.

Finally, there was some coverage of the mobile phone VM platform, which whilst I see what they are aiming for and the advantages of it to a Telco (single platform to test apps against), it’s personally of less interest to me. I do hope that VMware don’t go all Microsoft and start spreading themselves into every market just because they can need to have a presence (live search, live everything etc), rather than focusing on good, core products. Whilst they are the 1st people I’ve heard of seriously working on this I don’t know how it will pan out – but will keep an open mind, I suppose a sandboxed, secured corporate phone build with a VoIP app, some heavy crypto and a 3G connection controlled under a hypervisor could be appealing to certain types of govt. “organisations”.

All in, a very good keynote session – much better focused at the main demographic of the conference (techies, well me anyway :)) and there are some good sessions scheduled for today.

More later.

3 responses to “VMworld Europe Day 2: Keynote

  1. Pingback: VMworld 2009 Europe Linkage » Yellow Bricks

  2. Pingback: VMware Europe 2009 linkage « DeinosCloud’s Blog

  3. Pingback: Getting access to VMworld content if you couldn’t make it in person « Virtualization, Windows, Infrastructure and all that “stuff” in-between

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