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Posts Tagged ‘vmware

Missing the boat on virtualization management

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Therefore it is fair to conclude that to date the”big four” have completely missed the virtualization monitoring and management market. They have not only missed it, they have missed it badly. Not only have they missed it, but they have completely failed to address both the technical changes and business model changes that virtualization and cloud computing demand in the management space.

via CA Starts the Race Among the “Big Four” in Virtualization Management.

Written by John Gannon

November 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

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VMware is definitely going big, not going home – Google PaaS play

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We are committed to making Spring the best language for cloud applications, even if that cloud is not based on VMware vSphere.

via VMware: The Console: Google and VMware’s “Open PaaS” Strategy.

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Written by John Gannon

May 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Is there a business in Physical to Cloud (P2C) conversions?

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I have been thinking about if there is a place for some cloud computing vendors to come on the scene to handle what I call the ‘P2C’ conversion process-taking a physical machine and converting it to an image that can run on a cloud.  If we look at the virtualization market, clearly P2V (physical to virtual) was an enabling technology that helped people migrate existing physical hosts into virtual machines, without having to completely rebuild systems from scratch.  VMware had a product in the space (and still does) and there was also some popular products provided by 3rd parties like Platespin (who had a nice exit to Novell for ~$200MM).

Do we have the potential for the same story in the cloud?

Well, what’s the same this time around?  You have huge existing deployments of physical machines and virtual machines, some of which IT managers would like to move the cloud, just as you had IT managers who wanted to consolidate physical hosts by converting them to VMs.

But what’s different?  As I understand it, most of the cloud deployments are Linux based, and you’ve got a series of tools (Puppet, Chef, and the like) that allow administrators to very easily deploy cookie-cutter system templates very quickly.  So, the cost of migrating an existing system may be much higher than simply rebuilding through one of these systems and migrating data.

Maybe small environments are the sweet spot for a P2C product.  They are unlikely to have invested time and effort into deploying a configuration management system like Chef or Puppet, but may still want to move their physical systems into a cloud environment.   There is a consultant I know who was recently asked if he could do exactly this for a customer’s small LAMP infrastructure.  This is just one data point but I have a hard time believing there wouldn’t be other SMBs willing to pay for this kind of service.

Is there anything like this out there today?  Agree or disagree with my thesis?   Is there a business here?

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Written by John Gannon

January 13, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Good follow up article on vCenter Chargeback

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Is VMware’s new vCenter Chargeback dead on arrival? At its current list price of $750 per managed processor, it may well be. Even though some VMware users understand how Chargeback could help them better utilize resources and reduce sprawl, its price tag will make it a hard sell.

“At $750 per processor, there’s no way in heck I could get management to sign off on what’s basically improved power and cooling,” said Kent Altena, infrastructure architect at Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. (FBL) in West Des Moines, Iowa.

via Price, politics working against VMware vCenter Chargeback.

Written by John Gannon

July 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm

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A Yorkshire Man sounds off on virtualization

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The British Flag
Image by Chris Breeze via Flickr

My buddy Steve Chambers has started blogging at View Yonder.  Steve’s an awesome guy who I got to know pretty well while working with him at VMwareI think you’ll enjoy his take on virtualization, VMware, and fine beers :)  His most recent post debates the notion that VMware products are too “expensive“.

This is a refrain I heard frequently during my time at the company – it’s good to see not much has changed since I left!

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Written by John Gannon

May 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

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The Cloud is kicking Mike D’s butt, and we are all better off because of it!

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VMware Fusion
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Mike D, one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with, has been blogging about cloud computing and has a very unique perspective as one of VMware‘s cloud architects (the cloud is kicking his butt!).   I’m very happy to see he is blogging and I’m looking forward to some strong opinions and stories from the trenches.

Mike, good to ‘see’ you again!

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Written by John Gannon

April 11, 2009 at 10:13 pm

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Where are all the enterprise cloud success stories?

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the SOA metamodel
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There are way too many vendors talking and not enough practitioners. That is not a good thing. If all of our education is coming from vendors we will be in a bad place. This is SOA all over again from 3-4 years ago. When I do see a practitioner, most of them have not done anything significant yet. If I have to listen to the NY Times success story one more time I will puke. I keep hearing the same case studies over and over which tells me that we are talking about the cloud a heck of a lot more than we are doing the cloud. Most of the good case studies are from startups which is an obvious sweet spot for the cloud. I haven’t heard many case studies where an established enterprise built something significant in the cloud.

via My thoughts on Cloud Computing after the Cloud Computing Expo (Mike Kavis’s blog)

Mike made a great post reviewing the cloud computing expo, and I encourage you to read it.  The post resonated with me not only because I’ve seen a similar dynamic in the past with other enterprise IT companies, and the dynamic keeps repeating itself.  Let me draw on some of my experience at VMware as an example.

I started working at VMware in 2003 when ESX Server was v1.5, and spent the better part of the first year or so jetting around the US, helping customers learn how to use what was, at the time, a very new product without wide adoption.

Besides getting a great education on bad takeout food and figuring out which hotels would give me double miles for staying with them, I also witnessed an interesting phenomenon related to how customers perceived our product.

Here are some conversations from various customer visits (with a little bit of hyperbole sprinkled in, and the names and faces changed) to give you a sense of what I’m talking about.   Although I’m exaggerating with regards to customer routers communicating w/Mars, the general flavor of the scenarios is quite real.  Here goes…

  • Customer ABC: “Hey, have you ever tried to use ESX with super-bleeding-edge-storage-array-XYZ that was released last week?
  • Me: “Nope”
  • Customer EFG: “Hey, we’re running funky Cisco VLAN configuration options #752, #781, and oh yeah, we’ve got the firewall configured to communicate with Mars on alternate Tuesdays through a virtual machine proxy server.  You have any other customers in our region who are running this configuration?”
  • Me: “Uhh…”
  • Customer 123: “John, I see you guys support our tape backup software.  We have it configured in this really specific way that cost us about $100k of consulting work from the tape backup vendor to get it to work just right.  Any chance you guys tried this configuration out in your QA labs at VMware?”
  • Me: (frantically calls product management)

I was trying (perhaps unsuccessfully) to be funny with these examples, but hopefully I’m illustrating a point…

When a startup releases a new product,  everyone in the market knows the darned thing is so new, that there is no reference architecture, there are no production customer references, and that there is probably some risk that the technology will not work as advertised or designed.  Expectations are not low, but its clear to everyone in the room (or the datacenter) that the vendor and the customer are going to need to be tied at the hip to make the implementation successful, and likely everyone is going to be learning and taking lumps along the way.

It’s a different story when a company or  a market sector has received strong coverage (and hype) from the press and has the appearance of being more established.  All of this mindshare, marketing, and PR causes customers to assume that a startup will be able to support any and all configurations and uses cases, even in newly released products.

And that’s where we are with cloud computing.   Conversations like the ones I had at VMware are the same kinds of conversations the cloud vendors are having with their customers and prospects.  Cloud computing has been receiving so much press and hype- but frankly (and to Mike’s point) not many referencable examples that show enterprise adoption.

Over time, we’ll start to see greater adoption in the enterprise, but it will take some cutting edge enterprises assuming some risk and partnering with emerging cloud computing vendors  to develop this next generation of success stories.

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Written by John Gannon

April 7, 2009 at 10:14 am

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Feld Thoughts spurring my thoughts on cloud computing

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Image by glemak via Flickr

Brad Feld made a couple of great posts over the last week talking about some of the challenges with cloud computing around the coordination of infrastructure level services in complex cloud environments.  Namely, that most cloud computing (hosting) providers have APIs for primitive functions like creating and starting/stopping instances, but lack coordination or error handling functionality at a granular (operating system) level.

These posts struck a chord with me thinking back to my days as a UNIX systems administrator working for a F100 financial services company.  We ran a three-tier architecture with a large number of web servers, application servers, and a pair of beefy database boxes at the bottom of the stack.  Whenever we needed to reset the environment, we had to go through a very specific process to get things online again.

Here’s what a reset looked like:

  • Restart database servers, make sure they were working
  • Restart application servers, make sure they are talking to the database
  • Restart webservers, make sure plugins are talking to the app servers
  • Flush load balancers and firewalls

This whole process would take about 15 minutes, very manual, and thus was quite error prone.   For example, if you started the app servers before the database servers – oops, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Although that example was from a traditional hosting environment in 2000, I imagine there will be similar problems for medium/high complexity cloud hosted applications.

Vendors like VMware have tried to address this kind of issue by providing a workflow engine that can be used to automate sophisticated processes within the infrastructure, and I know RightScale has the RightScripts framework as well, but there is still a major gap.

These systems presuppose that a developer is going to know and care that there are lower level dependencies beyond the APIs with which they interact with the cloud environment.

The beauty of the cloud is that the developers shouldn’t need to know or care about which server starts before which other server, or that sshd needs to start on box A before box B can run a batch job.

But as Brad implies in his post, I think we’ve got a long way to go…

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Written by John Gannon

March 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Cisco’s bold move to own the cloud computing infrastructure

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Image representing Cisco as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Cisco is getting into the server business, says   One could argue that the writing was on the wall when Cisco announced their Nexus virtual switch platform complete with deep VMware networking integration, but now there are few doubts that Cisco has clear designs on owning a huge portion of the cloud computing market.

It is important to note that Cisco is not going to be getting into the box business (a commodity business with low gross margins).  They are going to leverage their current architecture to build blade systems.  These blades are bound to be highly configurable, customizable, and most importantly more easily managable by enterprise IT staff than existing x86-based servers.  True, the other big server vendors have blade servers, but a Cisco/VMware combo is going to best equipped to deal with the networking nuances (and headaches) that become apparent as you virtualize a datacenter into a smaller physical footprint.

Who wins?

I think the article is correct to assume that this will spur the server vendors to start playing more aggressively in the networking space.  Blade servers have already encroached on Cisco’s territory as blade enclosures have ethernet switches built in, but I’d expect to see even deeper integrations and more robust feature sets from the server guys going forward.

My guess is that the open source routing startups (like XORP and Vyatta) are well positioned to take advantage of this shift because the server vendors could work with them to build integrated server and networking platforms (at a fraction of Cisco’s price).  I’m also hoping (selfishly, as we have an investment in a datacenter switch company) that this will encourage the server vendors to look more broadly at their layer 1-7 networking strategy and how other players (besides Cisco) will fit in.

Who loses?

Cisco will certainly take a near to medium term margin hit (just as they did when they entered the carrier business).

I also think server vendors without a strong management software offering will feel some pain (Dell comes to mind) as Cisco (and HP and IBM once they respond) will be able to put together some very slick, integrated offerings that will make servers and networks much easier to manage.

What do you think?

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Written by John Gannon

January 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

2009 Predictions

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Every blogger is doing a 2009 predictions post at this time of year, so why shouldn’t I?  In fact, this is the only time I’ll be able to say my predictions for the previous year were perfect (because I was zero-for-zero), so I’m going to enjoy my unblemished record while I can…

VMware gets acquired:  Whomever owns VMW will own the 21st century datacenter.  Cisco and Microsoft have enough cash on the balance sheet to foot the bill, but will they?  A Cisco/EMC merger would be pretty interesting, too.

Someone purchases Citrix: Again, Cisco and Microsoft would be logical acquirers.  Cisco is focused on growing the application side of their business and Microsoft can always use more ammo against VMware.

Continued slow growth of cloud computing in the enterprise:  Due to concerns about security, cloud computing adoption in the enterprise will still severely lag that of the SMB/SME markets.

Social media works its way into enterprise IT:  I think there is huge value in leveraging social media to help IT professionals do their jobs better.  New entrants to the enterprise IT market that lack the baggage of legacy product lines will integrate social media into their products and use rich internet application technologies to enable that integration.

M&A frenzy begins in Q2: Right around the middle of 2009 I predict that investors and operating companies will perceive a (near) bottom in the market and will go shopping in earnest for assets and companies.

Feel free to comment on these predictions or add some of your own!

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Written by John Gannon

December 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm

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