Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VMWare Resolves Some Issues

VMWare 5.1 Resolves Some Issues

With the advent of simple and cost effective virtualization under Solaris 10, Zones, LDoms, and Virtual Box - pressure has been placed upon dominate virtualization vendors to create less expensive alternatives. VMWare, after being purchased by EMC, had decided to move in the opposite direction, making purchasing of VMWare very difficult, with odd pricing constraints in ESXi 5.0 in July 2011. The market has moved to 2012 and ESXi 5.1 has been released, fixing some of VMWare's problems.

Compatibility Issue Resolved:
If customers wanted to move an older VM to newer hardware, the VM's needed to be upgraded. In other words, there was compatibility issues which needed to be resolved. VM's created under ESX Server 3.5 and later will now run under ESXi 5.1 unchanged. This is good news for service providers.

No Longer Windows Bound:
Customers who had VMWare ESXi were required to use a lousy Microsoft Windows platform to manage the VMWare platform. When managing an ESXi server in a DMZ, this makes little sense for a service provider. This has now been resolved, with a web interface.

Memory Tax Issue Resolved:
The pricing constraints of ESXi 5.0 forced service providers to have to decide - is VMWare the correct hypervisor for the job... is Windows and/or Linux worth the aggravation of being nickel and dimed to death? When trying to determine hardware and hypervisor pricing for a new cluster where one does not know exactly how much memory will be required per instance because infrastructure is being purchased by a managed services provider before the first customer deal is sold, how does one know how much to buy?

Clearly, EMC's VMWare did not have a clue. The confusion that the pricing placed upon managed service providers negatively impacted purchasing of other EMC software products such as ITOI (aka Ionix, aka SMARTS) and RSA Archer, enVision, etc. If a managed service provider can not determine what to buy, they will not buy from that vendor. Solaris is clearly the better choice for Network Management, and other vendors are clearly the better choice for tools bound to VMWare & Windows.

The removing of the memory constraints for ESXi 5.1 was a good move, to simplify pricing. EMC Software is now in a better position to compete against other virtualized platforms.

Outstanding Core Issues:
For reasonable flexibility in the data center environment, when there is a spike in usage, there needs to be a way to easily migrate heavy usage live instances to lower utilized hypervisors. Dynamic migration with autobalancing is included with Oracle LDom's, but not quite there yet with VMWare.

When dealing with network virtualization, if one is trying to emulate a WAN environment, one could spin up dozens of zones under a Solaris 11 platform, and apply the WAN characteristics to the virtual network (latency, throughput, etc.) Technology like Solaris Crossbow is missing from VMWare.
VMWare is a great benefit to the Windows and Linux world, but constraints by the vendor made purchasing difficult and implementation less desirable. Some of the issues have been resolved, but management is not yet what it needs to be for managed service providers.

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