An Introduction to Server Virtualisation

Alan McSweeney

A loose definition

Virtualisation is a framework or methodology of dividing the resources of a computer into multiple execution environments, by applying one or more concepts or technologies such as hardware and software partitioning, time-sharing, partial or complete machine simulation, emulation, quality of service, and many others.

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Some history

− An old concept — first virtual machines created on IBM mainframes in early ’60s − Typically, IBM's virtual machines were identical "copies" of the underlying hardware. Each instance could run its own operating system. − Virtualisation formed the basis of “time sharing”

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Some virtual machines you may know…

− NT had Virtual DOS Machine (NTVDM) and Windows on Win32 (WOW) − Windows 95 used virtual machines to run older (Windows 3.x and DOS) applications

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The old model
− A server for every application − Software and hardware are tightly coupled − Underutilised resources introduce real cost into the infrastructure

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The new model
− Physical hardware is abstracted by a virtualisation layer, or

− Manage OS and application as a single unit by encapsulating them into virtual machines − Separate OS and hardware and break hardware dependancies − Optimise utilisation levels

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Increased Hardware Utilisation

Before Virtualisation

After Virtualisation

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Underutilisation of Resources

Most organisations overprovision
− Multiple processors in each server − Memory requirements overestimated

Aim to drive up CPU utilisation
Actual DSS customer data – 120 servers monitored

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Virtual Infrastructure
• • • •

Virtual infrastructure brings uniformity to the data centre Dynamically map computing resources to the business Lower IT costs through increased efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness Provision new services and change the amount of resources dedicated to a software service Treat your data centre as a single pool of processing, storage and networking power

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How is it implemented?
− Typically, in order to virtualize, you would use a layer of software that provides the illusion of a "real" machine to multiple instances of "virtual machines". This layer is traditionally called the Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) or “hypervisor”. − The hypervisor could run directly on the real hardware or it could run as an application on top of a host operating system.

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Type 1 VMM

Guest VM

Guest VM

Guest VM



IBM CP/CMS VMware ESX Windows Virtualisation (2008) Xen Virtual Iron
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Type 2 VMM

Guest VM

Guest VM

Guest VM

VMM Host OS Hardware

VMware Server

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Hybrid VMM

Host VM

Guest VM

Guest VM


Hardware MS Virtual Server MS Virtual PC

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Paravirtualization is a virtualization technique that presents a software interface to virtual machines that is similar but not identical to that of the underlying hardware. This requires operating systems to be explicitly ported to run on top of the virtual machine monitor (VMM)

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Full Virtualisation
• Provides • With

a complete simulation of the underlying hardware binary translation, rewrites some x86 instructions at run time that cannot be trapped and converts them into a series of instructions that can be trapped and virtualised of running existing legacy operating systems without modification

• Capable

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Native Virtualisation

− Leverages hardware-assisted capabilities available in the latest processors from Intel (Intel VT – “Vanderpool”) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD-V – “Pacifica”) to provide near-native performance. − Virtual Iron is one of the first companies to offer virtualization software to fully support Intel-VT and AMD-V hardware assisted virtualization.

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Native Virtualisation
− Dell
• • • • • • • Precision 380 PowerEdge 430 PowerEdge 440 PowerEdge 1435 PowerEdge 1950 PowerEdge 1955 PowerEdge 2950 ProLiant DL140 G3 ProLiant DL320 G4 ProLiant DL360 G5 ProLiant DL365 ProLiant DL380 G5 ProLiant DL385 G2 ProLiant DL580 G4 ProLiant DL585 G2 xSeries 100 System x3455 System x3550 System x3850 LS21 Intel Pentium D Intel Pentium D Intel Xeon 3xxx AMD Opteron 22x Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 5xxx AMD Opteron 22xx Intel Xeon 5xxx AMD Opteron 22xx Intel Xeon 7xxx AMD Opteron 82xx Intel Pentium-D AMD Opteron 22xx Intel Xeon 5xxx Intel Xeon 7xxx HS21 Intel Xeon 5xxx AMD Opteron 22xx

− HP
• • • • • • • •

• • • • •

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What’s in a Virtual Machine?

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What’s in a Virtual Machine - BIOS
• VM • Has

has its own BIOS

everything you would expect to see in a real BIOS options may include floppy, CD-ROM, disk drive and PXE.

• Boot

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What’s in a Virtual Machine - Networking

• •

Each VM has a virtual NIC Virtual NICs are connected to virtual switches implemented in the virtualisation layer
− VMware — vSwitches − Microsoft - .vnc-files

Virtual switches have uplink connections to physical NICs on the host

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Combining internal and external virtual switches

Virtual switch with one outbound adapter acts as a DMZ Backend applications are secured behind the firewall using internal-only switches

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What’s in a Virtual Machine - Storage

To the applications and guest operating systems inside each virtual machine, the storage subsystem is a simple virtual SCSI host bus adapter connected to one or more virtual SCSI disks Virtual disks are files kept on physical storage. − VMware — VMDK files − Microsoft — VDF files Virtual disk represents a local drive on a virtual server, such as a C or D drive in Windows Physical storage could be − Direct attached SCSI − SAN attached − iSCSI − NAS
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Licensing Considerations
• On


− Host OS? − Virtualisation technology?
• On


− Guest OS? − Guest Applications

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Support Considerations
• Two


− Is it technically possible? − Will the vendor support a virtual environment?
• The

Microsoft position

− “For Microsoft customers who do not have a Premier-level support agreement, Microsoft will require the issue to be reproduced independently from the nonMicrosoft hardware virtualization software.” − “Microsoft supports Windows Server System software running within a Microsoft Virtual Server environment subject to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy ... “

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Usage Scenarios for Virtualization


Business Continuity Management

Workload Mobility
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Development and Test

Usage Scenario
Production server consolidation
Gartner definition


Logical Physical Rational



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Usage Scenario
Production server consolidation

Consolidate workloads
− − − − Infrastructure applications Low-utilization workloads Branch office and datacenter workloads Efficient use of available hardware resources

Re-host legacy OS and applications
− NT4 guest applications on virtual platform
• Run on current hardware and current OS • No application updates required

Partition resources
− Limit CPU resource per VM

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Usage Scenario
Business continuity management

Disaster Recovery
− Maintain DR systems as virtual machines − Eliminate traditional problems associated with bare metal restores

OS and application patching
− Deploy and test patches off-production, and swap − Eliminate scheduled downtime

Isolation / sandboxing
− Isolate OS environments for untrusted applications − Prevent malicious code from affecting others

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Usage Scenario
Dynamic datacenter

• Workload


− Package up entire OS environment and move to other location − Flexible deployment of workloads

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Usage Scenario
Development and test

• Rapid

provisioning of virtual machines arbitrary test scenarios test range for niche scenarios

• Create • Wider

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Application + OS: Now A Data File
Entire server – OS, apps, data, devices, and state – is now simply a file.
• Server

provisioning is similar to copying a file migration is now similar to data migration management techniques can be used for server management
• Server cloning/copying
• • •

• Server

• Data

Versioning Server archival Remote mirroring

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The Role of Shared Storage
• Virtual

Machine files are centrally located. access. Machines can be moved for DR purposes, system repair/upgrade, etc. take advantage of advanced SAN features such as snapshots, clones and replication.

• Multiple • Virtual

• Can

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Live Migration
• Move • Zero

running virtual machines from one physical system to another with no downtime downtime maintenance resource utilisation across infrastructure

• Balance

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Hardware Infrastructure — Scale Up or Scale Out?

Scaling up means fewer, larger systems − Advantages
• Fewer ESX Server images to manage • Lower infrastructure costs (Ethernet/SAN switches)

Scaling out means more, smaller systems
− Advantages
• Lower hardware costs (servers) • Low H.A. impact in case of failure of a node • More CPUs supported "per rack“ • Headroom required for HA is less expensive • Not locked into obsolete hardware • More flexible

− Disadvantages
• Higher hardware costs (servers) • Big H.A. impact in case of failure of a node • Fewer CPUs supported "per rack“ • Headroom required for HA is expensive • Servers may go obsolete • Locked into server architecture

− Disadvantages
• Many hypervisor (ESX) images to maintain • Higher infrastructure costs (Ethernet/SAN switches)

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What should an enterprise ready virtualisation platform offer?
• • • • • • • •

Efficient server partitioning SMP support in guest VMs Scalable memory in guest VMs Fault isolation — a crash in one virtual machine should not impact other virtual machines Security isolation — a virtual machine should never access the memory or I/O operations of another virtual machine Resource isolation — runaway applications in one virtual machine should not “starve” others virtual machines. Non-disruptive addition of capacity Scalable management tools
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VMware Workstation
• Desktop • Run


multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single PC Windows, Linux, NetWare, development/test Solaris

• Supports • Software • Training

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VMware Server

• • • •

Free virtualisation platform Type 2 “hosted” VMM Runs on any standard x86 hardware Runs on a wide variety of Linux and Windows host and guest operating systems Intended as a “step up” to Type 1 hypervisor products.

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VMware Infrastructure 3
VMware ESX Server 3.0 - Type 1 VMM • VMware VirtualCenter 2.0 • 4-way vSMP / 16GB Virtual RAM support • VMware VMotion • VMware HA • VMware Distributed Resource Scheduling • VMware Consolidated Backup

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Non-disruptive capacity on demand

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Automate resource assurance for critical applications
Dynamic Balancing Continuous Optimization

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Automatic availability for all applications

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Backup anytime


Decouple backup from production VMs 20-40% better resource utilization Pre-integrated with 3rd party backup products

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Microsoft Virtualisation Products
• Virtual

PC Virtual Server 2005 R2

• Microsoft • Virtual

Machine Manager (in Beta but available for download) Virtualisation (to be released after Longhorn)

• Windows

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Virtual PC
• Suited • Not

to use in testing on a desktop environment

recommended for production servers

− Single CPU support only − No remote management possible − No SCSI support − Starts as an application not as a service
• Shares

disk format with Virtual Server

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Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1

Microsoft’s current offering for virtualisation in production environments Shares underlying technology with Microsoft Virtual PC Web based management portal Guests supported include:
− Windows (up to Vista with SP1) − Linux
Virtual Server 2005 R2: Administration Website

• • •

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Clustering in Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1
Guest to Guest
iSCSI connection

Host to Host
SAN or iSCSI connection

Cluster storage

Cluster storage

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Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1
• VM


− VM additions provide enhanced performance and additional functionality to the guest OS − Additions available for XP, Windows 2003, Vista and Linux − Windows additions provide:
• Allow for direct mode kernel execution (faster processing of some commands)

− Linux additions provide:
• Time sync • Shutdown support • SCSI disk • Does not allow for direct mode kernel execution

− Important to update for each new release to maximise performance benefits
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Windows Virtualisation
• To

be released within 180 days after the Longhorn release (no Beta available as yet) Intel VT or AMD Virtualisation hardware

• Requires • Uses

Hypervisor (a thin layer of software under the

“Host OS”)
Guest 1 (“Host OS”) Guest 2

VMM (Hypervisor) Hardware
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Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Machine Manager: Centralized management view

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Centralized Management: Reports

Full set of reports, integration with MOM database

Actions one click away in context sensitive Actions Pane

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Self Service Portal

Ability to control owned virtual machines

Thumbnails of all owned virtual machines
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Self-Service Portal

User selects from list of templates Administrator has associated with that user

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Self-Service Portal

New virtual machine ready for use, Terminal Services connection information automatically emailed to user.

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Virtual Server 2005 vs Windows Server Virtualization
Virtual Server 2005 R2
32- VMs? 32-bit VMs? 64- VMs? 64-bit VMs? MultiVMs? Multi-processor VMs? VM memory support? Hot add memory/processors? Hot add storage/networking? Can be managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager? Microsoft Cluster support? Scriptable / Extensible? VMs? Number of running VMs? User interface
Yes No No 3.6 GB per VM No No

Windows Server Virtualization
Yes Yes Yes, up to 8 processor VMs More than 32 GB per VM Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes, COM 64 Web Interface

Yes Yes Yes, WMI More than 64. As many as hardware will allow. MMC 3.0 Interface

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Open source hypervisor solution • Installs on bare-metal • Linux VMs fully supported

− Red Hat − Debian − Suse

Windows VMs require Intel VT or AMD-V processor
− Microsoft Windows Server 2000 − Microsoft Windows Server 2003 − Microsoft Windows XP SP2

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XenSource Products

User Profile Windows guest support

Enterprise IT, system integrators Windows Server 2003; Windows XP; Windows 2000 Server Red Hat EL 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.0; SUSE SLES 9.2, 9.3, 10.1; Debian Sarge Mid-2007 Mid-2007

Windows IT professionals Windows Server 2003; Windows XP; Windows 2000 Server N/A (Windows guests support only)

Developers, testers, support, IT enthusiasts Windows Server 2003; Windows XP; Windows 2000 Server Red Hat EL 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.0; SUSE SLES 9.2, 9.3, 10.1; Debian Sarge N/A N/A

Linux guest support

Live Migration Shared storage


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Virtual Iron
• An

enterprise ready native virtualisation platform

• Uses

hardware-assisted virtualisation technologies of Intel VT and AMD-V processors on an open source hypervisor derived from the Xen open source project software need be installed on physical hardware

• Based • No

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Virtual Iron Components


First software loaded when physical server boots. Manages all hardware resources Second software loaded when physical server boots. Manages virtual server creation and configuration and all I/O. Controls virtual servers through an agent in the service partition Operating systems that are fully virtualised on a physical server

Service Partition


Virtualisation Manager Guest operating systems



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Virtualization Manager

• •

Java-based application Allows for central management of virtualized servers A physical server can have many virtualized servers, which are run as unmodified guest operating systems.

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Virtual Manager Policy-based Automation
LiveMigration — moves a running virtual server from one physical server without pausing or impacting running applications • LiveCapacity — monitors virtual server CPU utilisation or other application needs to determine when a workload needs additional capacity. When a user-defined threshold is met, the virtual server is LiveMigrated to a physical server that has the necessary resources • LiveRecovery — monitors the status of physical resources and moves virtual servers to maintain uptime in the event of a hardware failure • LiveMaintenance — moves virtual servers to alternative locations without downtime when a physical server is taken offline for maintenance

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Virtual Iron Architecture

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Supported Configurations

Feature Operating systems

Support 32 and 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 32 and 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 32-bit Windows XP 32-bit Windows 2003 Intel Xeon with Intel VT AMD Opteron with AMD-V 100s per virtual data centre Up to 8 Up to 96GB Up to 5 Up to 5 Up to 16

Processors Virtualised Nodes Processors per virtual Server RAM per Physical Server Virtual servers per physical server CPU Virtual NIC adapters per virtual server Virtual disks per virtual server

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− Operating System—Level Virtualisation − Creates multiple, isolated virtual environments (VEs) − Whereas VMs attempt to virtualize "a complete set of hardware," VEs represent a "lighter" abstraction, virtualizing instead "an operating system instance"

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Parallels Workstation
• • •

Test/Development solution aimed at desktop market Uses hypervisor technology Wide guest OS support
− Entire Windows family - 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP and 2003 − Linux distributions Red Hat, SuSE, Mandriva, Debian and Fedora Core − FreeBSD − “Legacy” operating systems e.g. OS/2, eComStation and MSDOS.
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HP Virtual Server Environment
• Implemented

on HP Integrity and HP 9000 systems

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Physical to Virtual (P2V)
• P2V • Can

is the term used to describe the process of converting physical servers into virtual machines be performed while server is live operating systems require cold migration

• Some

• Process:

− Analyse source − Create a target VM − Transfer data from physical source to virtual target − Transform VM

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VMware Converter
Replaces P2V Assistant • Wizard based conversion process • Can convert physical machines, virtual machines or third party system images (e.g. Symantec Ghost, Backup Exec LiveState Recovery) • Source physical machines:

− − − − −

64-bit Windows XP/2003 WinNT SP4+ Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows 2003

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Platespin PowerConvert

“Anywhere to anywhere” conversion
− Peer-to-Peer
• • • • Physical to Virtual (P2V) Virtual to Virtual (V2V) Virtual to Physical (V2P) Physical to Physical (P2P)

− Image Capture
• Physical to Image (P2I) • Virtual to Image (V2I)

− Image Deployment
• Image to Virtual (I2V) • Image to Physical (I2P)

− Disaster Recovery
• Physical to Virtual (P2V) • Virtual to Virtual (V2V) •

Windows and Linux sources can be converted
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Platespin PowerConvert

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Portlock Storage Manager
• Third-party • Can

NetWare data management product be used for P2V conversions of NetWare servers some manual reconfiguration of VM

• Requires

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Capacity Planning
• Important • Aims:

first step in any server consolidation project

− Understand server performance and utilization rates of a group of servers − Identifying servers that are good candidates to be migrated into virtual machines − Size virtual environment accurately
• Statistics • What-if

are gathered and processed

scenarios can be run to examine different possible approaches

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VMware Capacity Planner

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Platespin PowerRecon
• • •

Onsite data collection and analysis Scenario modelling (what-if) Agentless operation


Workload Data Collection



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Some additional products…

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VMware Lab Manager

Create centralised pools of VMs, storage and network components • Rapid setup and tear down of test/dev environments • Maintain library of customer and production system environments

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VMware ACE

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VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

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Dunes VS-0

Dunes VS-O

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Virtual Machine Backup and Replication

− esxRanger Professional • LAN/WAN backups • Backup active servers • Database of backup activity − esxReplicator • Replicate changes to remote location — “chunked” by time or data change volumes • Effective business continuity

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Virtual Machine Backup and Replication
• esXpress

− Virtual Backup Appliance runs backup jobs within a VM − Offloads CPU and memory utilisation from VMware ESX console
• Virtual

Solution Box

− Also implemented as a virtual machine appliance

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A Windows based esxtop and more…

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Assists customers upgrading from VMware ESX 2.X to VMware ESX 3.0 Uses data manipulation strategies that can copy virtual disks much faster than allowed by the VMware console Enables failback contingency

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Best Practice Recommendations
• • • • •

Explore your options. Evaluate your applications for potential consolidation. Understand the differences between various virtualization solutions. Look closely at the licensing and support policies of your software vendors. Start small.

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Best Practice Recommendations
• • • • •

Manage expectations. Beware of “virtual sprawl.” Consider blades as a complementary consolidation strategy. Integrate server consolidation with a broader consolidation strategy. Develop a framework for continuous consolidation.

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More Information
Alan McSweeney

November 26, 2009