Here are some updates on VMware. Also sometimes called “The Cloud”, it’s the current fad in IT infrastructure.
1) Virtualisation is going to happen whether we like it or not
- This was driven initially by under-utilized servers, but ease of management and configuration has taken over as the leading reasons for virtualisation.
- Currently only 30% of organisational server infrastructure is in the virtualised environment. If an organisation doesn’t reach 80% virtualised, it doesn’t gets the efficiency benefits of virtual infrastructure, but ends up with large overheads managing both virtual infrastructure and traditional infrastructure.
- VMware hopes to push this to 50% in 2011-12
- The issues with adoption are confidence levels in application-infrastructure interoperability, and security.
- VMware has notoriously low security, and is itself a gateway to accessing the entire virtualised infrastructure. (Search Google for “vmware hack”)
- Virtualisation comes with overheads.
- If installing Vista, or Windows 7 was not enough, virtualisation can help by adding 10-20% overhead to CPU usage.
- VMs also generate alot more network traffic.
- VM configuration is going to be crucial as “the server” as it is spread over a VM, SAN storage, and network “bus”, and actual physical locations. So when we have slow VMs, it could be the result of alot of different factors now.
- A clone of VM for failover/failback scenarios can also generate alot of network traffic. So virtualisation increases network overheads.
4) The Virtual Desktop
- VMWare hopes to bring back thin-client computing with virtualised downloadable profiles from VM infrastructure.
- Personally, I think this is a shot in the dark, as the PC-era is gone, and computing is already transitioning to the fragmented plethora of thin-clients (eg mobile devices, ipads, netbooks) with profiles stored in SaaS applications.
- The benefits of centralized profiles is supposedly in data security, however, with SaaS, fragmenting application, platforms, I doubt the virtual desktop will make it to the enterprise before iDesktops.
- VMWare ESX 5 now supports upto 32 cores, and upto 1TB RAM per VM. These are called the “Big VMs” (or “Monster VMs” if you were a VMware sales person) that VMware has now released.
- This may support the more computationally intensive applications, but only if the virtual infrastructure has been upgraded.
- From an application development point-of-view, understanding the performance and capability of an application in the virtual infrastructure is less transparent as performance issues are less transparent. (eg. is a network, or disk bottleneck? or over-utilisation of the CPU?)
- Processor CPU utility within a Windows/Unix VM is not an accurate reflection of the actual processing capability available to your application.
- So VM infrastructure performance statistics needs to be actively shared (in real-time) with application teams.
- Using SPEC CPU benchmarking tools is another way to measure application-infrastructure performance.
- However let’s hope for an open environment with open information sharing.
7) Super-Computing / Grid Computing
- Although there has not been any noted implementation of supercomputing in VM infrastructure, there are no reasons why this is not possible.
- Grid Computing, and maybe some aspects of super-computing is probably possible on VM infrastructure with the appropriate HPC software in place.
8) The Carbon Footprint
- The Carbon Footprint is now the new driver for VM infrastructure.
- Running un-optimised / under-utilitzed servers kills the environment.
- If electricity prices go up by 30% in the next 2-5 years, what will organisations have to do to mitigate that?