May 2011 archive

2004: A VMware Odyssey

VMware products have come a long way since the mid-2000s. Back then, virtualization was more of a niche technology with a cult following.

Today server virtualization has become ubiquitous, and VMware products dominate the market. The company has capitalized on this success and now offers other data center platforms, tools and services. Currently, VMware is making a concerted push into the cloud-computing market with products and initiatives such as vCloud Director, VMforce and Cloud Foundry.

Recently VMware has enjoyed record growth, as demonstrated by its recent acquisitions and Q1 revenue. To trace the company’s success, let’s review its recent milestones, product launches and initiatives. We’ll start in 2004, with the first VMworld conference.

In the Beginning: VMworld 2004

The first VMworld had 1,400 attendees — which isn’t bad, but far less than the 17,000 attendees in 2010. Over the past seven years, VMworld attendance has increased dramatically, which reflects the growing popularity of virtualization (see Table 1).

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Oracle VM VirtualBox 4: An overview

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a hosted virtualization product along the lines of VMware Player, Workstation and Fusion and Microsoft Virtual PC. But VirtualBox has some unique features and use cases of interest to server virtualization admins.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a lightweight application that allows you to run virtual machines (VMs) on a variety of host operating systems. Following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, VirtualBox was officially renamed Oracle VM VirtualBox, and in February 2011, the company released version 4.0.4. VirtualBox is free and open source, but there’s also a free, closed source extension pack available with additional VirtualBox features.

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The importance of a vSphere health check to VARs

Your customer’s vSphere environment may seem healthy enough at first glance, but external appearances can be deceiving. Hidden problems may lurk under the cover that can eventually cause the environment to become unhealthy.

Not all problems that can occur are obvious to VARs because virtualization is much more complicated than traditional computing environments. There are many more moving parts that can lead to more complications. Seemingly trivial things such as simple configuration settings can have a ripple effect on the environment if they aren’t set correctly. Virtualization is all about sharing a limited set of resources amongst many virtual machines (VMs) and ensuring the optimum performance and availability you need to ensure the environment stays healthy.

A vSphere environment health check is one of the most valuable services that you can offer to customers because vSphere needs constant maintenance to keep it operating efficiently and problem-free. A good health check should be done on a periodic basis and is similar to a home inspection in that it documents the environment and checks the many different vSphere components to identify any existing or potential problems that can occur. Health check results can also be used to identify potential optimization and performance improvement opportunities that VARs can turn into value-adds.

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