Everyday Virtualization

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VMworld First Thoughts

I'm trying to focus on the core virtualization and supporting technologies here in San Francisco. Generally speaking, Mondays and Thursdays are days where you can try to squeeze in other things. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are very content-heavy days. There were a few sessions that I took in today outside from the base set of virtualization.

One of the events I attended was about the new Nimbula Director. As it exists today, Nimbula is based on the KVM hypervisor and is a hybrid cloud solution. This is ironic, at face value, as the founders worked on the team that developed the Amazon EC2 cloud. The hypervisor base will expand, but that isn't really too important. Nimbula Director is a hybrid cloud solution that presents a management dashboard that can manage an internal cloud and public clouds such as Amazon EC2 servers running as Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). Hybrid cloud architecture is an emerging science, of sorts, but what stood out to me is Nimbula's approach to permissions and policies. Frequently, many off-the-shelf solutions have products that don't allow the security policy to supersede the permissions model. In the VMware world, there are solutions like HyTrust that can allow this to happen. Nimbula is on the right course in taking the totally fresh perspective to the permission model and infrastructure policies.

Another session I attended was on extreme scale out with the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD). The HP POD is effectively a small datacenter contained in either a 20- or 40-foot-long box. This box was initially built into industry standard shipping containers for the generation one (G1) pod, but the generation three (G3) pod is slightly modified from the traditional shipping container to allow for better airflow management, access and accommodate additional length. In this box, there can be up to 22 racks that are fully controlled, monitored and managed through HP technologies. There is a professional services component for this product, but the capacity on demand is mind-boggling. In a typical fully populated POD, there can be capacity for up to a half-million virtual machines. The underlying technologies of the POD include MDS storage, which doesn't put hard drives facing the front bus. The drives are installed along the depth dimension and are on slide-out trays to increase density. The server solution is the ProLiant SL series. Customers can get partially populated PODs or mix other vendor hardware. Overall, getting my head around extreme scale is exciting but can be tough to fit outside of the traditional datacenter.

As VMworld switches into high gear this week, be sure to follow my Tweets at @RickVanover for notes of what is going on, photos and video from my journey. If you are at the event, track me down or just start shouting "Hey Now," and say hello.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 08/31/2010 at 12:47 PM


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