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

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

vTARDIS wins Best of Show at VMworld Europe 2010


Wow, what can I say, my vTARDIS project has won 2 awards at VMworld Europe 2010 in the following user categories;

There is some good coverage of the VMworld event on the the site here


I’d like to thank <#insert <paltro/gwenneth.h>.. 🙂

But seriously I appreciate this recognition for the vTARDIS project which has burnt many of my brain-cells and personal-time over the last 12-months, as well as airport-stress as I had to convince the TSA that I wasn’t some 24-inspired nut-job shipping a suitcase-nuke round the US with me for BriForum, the Charlotte(US) VMUG and various London, UK VMUGs.

Here is a picture of it in it’s off-the-shelf Marks & Spencer shipping container (a.k.a suitcase) note:

image image

Note cool “my datacenter is bigger than yours” sticker courtesy of Solarwinds

Trying to understand what vTARDIS is is hard for many people, and it’s even harder to explain sometimes, but the concept is basically trying to build a complex, enterprise type vSphere implementation on as little hardware as possible for testing/training, but hopefully the following diagram (and the original post) explain it better at a technical level


That-said,  I particularly like how TechTarget (who sponsor the awards) phrase it..

"This is the kind of bonkers-crazy stuff that has made the virtualisation community the bedrock of innovation. The only limitation is people’s imagination, and Gallagher’s vTARDIS demonstrates imagination in spades."

Winner: vTARDIS (Transportable Awfully Revolutionary Data Centre of Invisible Servers)
IT project owner: Simon Gallagher
Vendors and technology used: VMware Inc. vSphere 4.0 and 4.1
Vyatta Core
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
Hewlett-Packard Co. ML115 G5
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) quad-core processors
IT project: Gallagher’s lab features low storage latency and solid performance. Gallagher’s configuration also pushes beyond the "official" use of VMware technology by using solid-state drives to reduce disk I/O and "nested VMware ESX" instances, which give the appearance of owning many ESX hosts when the entire infrastructure actually sits on one physical box. His configuration runs eight virtual ESX hosts and nearly 60 virtual machines on just the one physical server, rather than multiple PCs and storage appliances.
What the judges said: "No other entry showed the same degree of doing a lot with so little."

I hope it stands as an example of how flexible VMware technology is and what  you can do with a bit of imagination and some good, hard-graft.

But things don’t stand still in the IT world, and nor do they in my mad-scientist home-lab, look out soon for posts on further developments which are running now;

vTARDIS v2 : 20 node PXE booting, DHCP configured ESXi cluster with powershell provisioning script on a single physical 500GBP server. :  3 x 20 node ESXi cluster, DPM enabled, VMware vCloud Director, Chargeback, EMC Celerra VSA, on 3 x physical 300GBP hosts plus iomega IX4-200, 2-node Management cluster pod.

Whilst in the last couple of weeks I started working directly for VMware in the cloud practice, my vTARDIS project was started about a year ago and was demonstrated at many VMUGs and events (including VMworld SF 2010) in that time.

All of the equipment, power, space, brainpower and cooling for this project have been paid for entirely out of my own pocket/cranium, I do not receive any kind of sponsorship for this work from my current or previous employers, and it has been completed on my own (personal) time, so to invoke the Paltro convention I’d definitely like to thank my family for their tolerance and patience whilst I have gnashed my teeth at powershell and danced way beyond edges of supportability, and in many cases physics!

Stay tuned, so much more arcane geekery to come…!

12 responses to “vTARDIS wins Best of Show at VMworld Europe 2010

  1. Guy Chapman October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Mate, you deserve it. It’s not only the maddest and baddest, it’s also incredibly tidy.

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  3. Luke Verona October 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Simon, well deserved!
    Looking forward to seeing the next incarnation.

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  6. Doug Wooten October 21, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Nice one Simon. Now where is your assistant?

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