VirtualizationAdmin.com Monthly Article Update

VirtualizationAdmin.com Monthly Newsletter of March 2011 Sponsored by: Veeam Software

Welcome to the VirtualizationAdmin.com newsletter by Scott Lowe. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Virtualization. We want to know what *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to slowe@virtualizationadmin.com.

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1. Virtualization and Industry News Roundup

Hello, readers of the VirtualizationAdmin.com newsletter!  I'd like to start out by thanking David Davis for his help and support as I've moved into the role of lead author for virtualizationadmin.com.  David is certainly an incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful virtualization expert and I am honored to succeed him in this space.

My background is a bit different from David's. Although I do a whole lot of writing about virtualization in all its forms, my day job is being the Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.  So, in addition to doing my own lab testing and experimenting, I also use these tools in the real world every day and have to ensure that the environment meets both the technical and business needs of the College.  My goal is to bring to you the intersection of these goals to help you understand the business reasons for some of our decisions.

Although I've been writing for virtualizationadmin.com since May of 2010, this newsletter is my first and I hope that you provide me with feedback and constructive criticism so that I can make certain that I always target the needs of my readers.  Whether you have a topic suggestion, a content concern or simply an idea or question, please feel free to email me at slowe@virtualizationadmin.com.

VMware Makes Move Beyond Virtualization

VMware.  When you say the word, it evokes images of efficient, virtualized workloads running on a fraction of the hardware that those same workloads used to consume.  However, with the launch of VMware vCenter Operations, the company is looking at virtualization as simply one part of its portfolio and is looking more and more at general data center operations that encompass both the virtual and physical environments.  VMware vCenter Operations is being positioned to address a number of operational challenges.  From VMware's vCenter Operations product page:

"Through automated operations management and patented analytics, you benefit from an integrated approach to performance, capacity and configuration management. You'll gain the intelligence and visibility needed to:

  • Get actionable intelligence to automate manual operations processes
  • Gain visibility across infrastructure and applications for rapid problem resolution
  • Proactively ensure optimal resource utilization and virtual/cloud infrastructure performance
  • Get 'at-a-glance' views of operational and regulatory compliance across physical and virtual infrastructure."

VMware knows that a diverse product portfolio is critical to the company's long-term success, so this scope expansion is of no surprise at all.  VMware expect to release VMware vCenter Operations late in the first quarter of 2011.

RemoteFX, Hyper-V, density and cost

Now that Microsoft has released Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with the much-discussed RemoteFX, it's time to start talking about what the real-world impact will be for the new features in the service pack.  Released on March 3, 2011, Microsoft has released a document entitled Microsoft RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Capacity Planning Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 that discusses, among other things, how RemoteFX impacts planning and scalability in Hyper-V-based VDI deployments.  If you're using Hyper-V or are interested in it, this 15 page document is a good read.

Windows Thin PC: Repurpose Resources and Reduce your VDI costs

Regardless of which hypervisor you choose for your virtual desktop implementation, cost is certainly a key component of the equation.  In order to keep costs low, some organizations will choose to reuse existing older PCs and repurpose them as terminals.  Obviously, this is not a one-to-one tradeoff as you do lose some of the key benefits of terminal use, such as lower power consumption and a longer usable life.  However, in the interest of getting a VDI initiative off the ground, which often requires absorbing other costs, such as the hypervisor, storage and servers, organizations can choose to reuse old PCs rather than buying new terminals.  There can be some upside, too; for example, many PCs have better graphics processing capabilities than their terminal-based counterparts, so there is certainly advantage there.

In order to make this a bit easier for organizations, Microsoft has updated their Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs product with a Windows 7 core and renamed it Windows Thin PC (WinTPC).  Customers that take advantage of Software Assurance have access to WinTCP, which also negates the need for a VDA license, although this negation is of questionable benefit since it, too, is an SA benefit.

Learn more about WinTCP from this article on the Windows Team Blog.

I welcome your comments! Feel free to email or send your comments to slowe@virtualizationadmin.com.

Thank you,
Scott Lowe

Note to my readers: Besides reading our newsletter, I encourage you to stay up to date on the latest in Virtualization news by subscribing to the VirtualizationAdmin.com RSS Feed so make sure you have the VirtualizationAdmin.com RSS feeds configured in your RSS reader. 

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Free Webinar: 5 Ways to put vPower to Work for You

Join Doug Hazelman, Veeam's Senior Director of Product Strategy, as he discusses the value and benefits of vPower™ in Veeam Backup & Replication™ v5, including using Instant VM Recovery to keep your job when a critical VM goes down, using the Virtual Lab to make backups work for you, and U-AIR™ - a new paradigm in object-level recovery.

Register now and receive the FREE webinar kit, which includes the webinar replay and the presentation slides after the webinar.

3. VirtualizationAdmin.com Articles of Interest

4. KB Articles of the Month

VMware

Microsoft

Free Webinar: 5 Ways to put vPower to Work for You

Join Doug Hazelman, Veeam'sSenior Director of Product Strategy, as he discusses the value and benefits of vPower™ in Veeam Backup & Replication™ v5, including using Instant VM Recovery to keep your job when a critical VM goes down, using the Virtual Lab to make backups work for you, and U-AIR™ - a new paradigm in object-level recovery.

Register now and receive the FREE webinar kit, which includes the webinar replay and the presentation slides after the webinar.

5. Helpful Links

6. Ask DaScott D. Lowe

Question

Does loud noise really affect storage performance?

Answer

Maintaining a well-running storage environment is absolutely critical in any significantly virtualized environment.  Without good foundational storage, the virtual environment will not be reliable, users will be affected and the organization will not reap all of the potential benefits of the environment.

Believe it or not, loud noise can have an adverse impact on even the best-tuned storage out there.  Why?  Vibration.  Hard drives are finicky little devices.  Remember, those storage platters inside each hard drive spin at a rate of anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 times per minute, so they're really flying around.  Read and write heads have to be precisely positioned over the right areas of the disks in order to operate.  Throw in a little vibration and you?ll start to see a degradation of storage performance as it takes longer for the storage to reorient itself after the sound waves diminish.  If you keep bombarding storage with loud noise, you'll pay the price in performance.

Want to see it in action for yourself?  This YouTube video is a really cool demonstration of what happens when you scream at your storage.  Now, I doubt that many people walk into their data centers and scream at storage, but the demonstration clearly shows that vibration can have a massive impact on storage.

The takeaway: Don't shout in the data center!

Got a question for Scott Lowe? Send it to slowe@virtualizationadmin.com.

Free Webinar: 5 Ways to put vPower to Work for You

Join Doug Hazelman, Veeam's Senior Director of Product Strategy, as he discusses the value and benefits of vPower™ in Veeam Backup & Replication™ v5, including using Instant VM Recovery to keep  your job when a critical VM goes down, using the Virtual Lab to make backups work for you, and U-AIR™ - a new paradigm in object-level recovery.

Register now and receive the FREE webinar kit, which includes the webinar replay and the presentation slides after the webinar.