News from VMWorld 2008: Datacenter OS, Fault Tolerance, VMSafe, vSwitches

VMworld 2008VMware announced that they now view their product, VMWare’s VI3, as the Virtual Datacenter OS and are building to provide services to the entire datacenter for automation, security, and dependability.  By creating a system that virtualizes the computing power, storage, and memory required for applications, they are positioning themselves as a full service provider for applications in the datacenter.  This concept will be more fully developed in the upcoming release of VI4… sometime in 2009.

Fault Tolerance is a new feature being built into the new VI4, allowing for mirrored VMs, one in production and the other on standby, that ships transactions from the hypervisor from one to the other.  In event of a failure on the primary VM, the backup will automatically take over with NO DOWNTIME…  Yes, that is correct.  By shipping hypervisor calls, the backup is perfectly in sync with the last transaction and therefore a perfect replica for the production environment.

VMSafe is a new API being built into VMware’s VI3 allowing for third party security partners to monitor the hypervisor transactions.  Simply put, you can run a virtual appliance to handle firewall, antivirus, and IDS on each host and be able to monitor the activities for all guests, thereby eliminating the need to run those processes within each VM.  Saves on overhead and licensing from a client perspective while maintaining secure computing within your guest servers.

vSwitches are a new concept being introduced at VMWare.  By creating a virtual switching environment that can be spanned over servers in a cluster, it eliminates the need to configure virtual networking for each host in the infrastructure.  This not only eliminates management overhead and potential configuration mistakes, but also allows for easier replication between hosts, central management, and the ability to monitor VMs on a cluster basis as opposed as a host basis.

Those are a few of the new announcements and concepts being discussed a VMWorld.  Please feel free to add your own insights to these solutions or others being discussed.

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New England VMware Users Group Poker Party a Grand Success!

2008 NE-VMUG Annual Poker PartyThe inaugural NE-VMUG (New England VMware Users Group) Poker Party was a resounding success at VMWorld 2008 Las Vegas.  There were over 45 attendees that participated in the Texas Hold’em tournament, with Chuck Allen from Green Pages the eventual winner of the $500 prize.  All the attendees had a great time.

Thanks to Chris Harney, the chapter president, for getting things going. A huge thanks to his wife Dawn, who actually did all of the work organizing the party and making sure that it ran smoothly. They opted for a party table linen completely atmosphere, made the event look spotless and elegant.

VMware User Groups (VMUG)

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Changes in store for VMware?

VMworldOnly a week before the opening of VMWorld 2008, and there has been another shake-up at the top of VMware.

According to virtualization.info, Mendel Rosenblum, VMware’s co-founder and chief scientist has resigned.This comes only a month after his wife Diane Green, former CIO and co-founder was removed from the Board of Directors in July.  Additionally, we saw that Richard Sarwal, the Executive VP for R&D left to head back to Oracle.

With this announcement coming so close to the opening of the conference, it will be interesting to see what sort of spin will be put on these departures.  Do I think that VMware is headed for trouble?  Absolutely not.  VMware has a very strong product, and is an innovative leader in the field of virtualization.  However, those of us who have dealt with them over the years have noticed that they have some growing pains, especially relating to corporate organization.  I think that changes at the top may mean that we see the emergence of a leaner, more efficient organization.  With Hyper-V now on the market and charging hard, it may be the best time to get into fighting shape.

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What do Mosaic Sales Engineers do?

What do we do?At Mosaic we do anything we can to help the sales organization & our customer base. On any given day this can include designing a solution, helping with solutions assurance, presenting at an event, running a demo, providing implementation services, supporting existing installs, or one of a million other things; and that’s the way we like it! No two days are ever the same and if they were we’d get bored and find something else to do.

The Mosaic SEs are the people that are ultimately responsible for assisting our customers with matching their business requirements to appropriate solutions to their problems. As a VAR we have dozens of vendors that want to work with us and it’s our job to help weed out the technology that can help our customers from the stuff that’s just taking up time & resources. You can be assured that by the time we’re talking with you about a technology, we’ve already qualified the solution, tested it in our labs, agreed that there are a set of business problems that the technology can solve, developed relationships with the vendor SEs and done lots of other behind the scenes work to make sure we’re providing a solid solution. It’s not your typical – see the product, sell the product approach of many vendors.

And after we’ve put together a solution and you’ve decided to move forward with us, we’ll be there to assist with your implementation in whichever way you choose. We’ll come in for a day and do a jumpstart, assist with project management during complex projects or do a soup-to-nuts installation & migration; again all based on your requirements.

What’s our biggest challenge? Keeping up with EVERYTHING that’s happening in the IT world. That’s why we limit our focus to Virtualization & Storage. Trying to stay up to speed on everything happening in Security, Networking, Collaboration, etc is impossible so we focus on what we know and do best and we rely on our strong partnerships for the other pieces.

The best part of our job is helping our customers and a big piece of this is not re-inventing the wheel. As you all know, a lot of times we’ll tell you about Customer A who was implementing a particular solution to solve a business problem that they may be similar to yours. One of our major goals for this blog is to spread those messages further so you’ll be reading about a LOT of different customer situations and how they went about solving their problems. Hopefully you’ll find this helpful and please let us know what we’re doing well and what you’d like to see different!

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Introduction to Tessera

Welcome to Tessera. I am sure that some of you are wondering what the heck is a tessera? Why did we choose that name for a blog? Tessera are small pieces of glass or ceramic tiles used to make a mosaic sculpture. Peter and I are both employed by Mosaic Technology, hence the reference to “mosaics”. As Storage Engineers, we hope to use this blog and the contents to engage in candid discussions surrounding the technologies we employ in our daily activities. With some hope, this will grow to include technical Q&A, tips and tricks, as well as a few philosophical debates.

Please be aware that although you need to register to post here, we will NOT be using any information for business purposes. We adhere to strict confidentiality rules and want this to be an open exchange of information. Our hope is that this forum will produce small bits of discussion and knowledge that will grow to a greater understanding of the technology used in today’s datacenters in the same way that small bits of tessera come together to create a piece of art that can be admired by all.

Thank you, and Let the discussion begin…

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Tim Antonowicz
Tim Antonowicz
Senior Sales Engineer

Tim has over 15 years of experience in Enterprise storage and backup, Virtualization, Disaster Recovery, Messaging, and cross-platform integration.

Tim is nationally recognized in the fields of Virtualization, Disaster Recovery, and Security, frequently speaking at national conferences such as VMWorld, HP Technology Forum, EduCause, Gartner MES and FinSEC.

He is also a charter member of VMWare's SMB Customer Advisory Panel and sits on the New England VMWare User Group's Steering Committee.

Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and holds various industry certifications including the VMware Certified Professional, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and has been a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer since 1998.

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