Attention VMware customers

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.10.2013 at 21:20

If you run Microsoft software on VMware, I care about you. Which is why I have dedicated this post for this very important public service announcement.

Issued in public interest by yours truly.


Microsoft has the “most ambitious cloud strategy”: Forbes

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.02.2013 at 21:58

I read with interest an article on Forbes.com by Louis Columbus, titled Demystifying Cloud Vendors.

Louis shares his observations from a recent Gartner webinar titled How Cloud Computing changes the Vendor Landscape by David Mitchell, VP and Gartner Fellow.

Microsoft has the most ambitious cloud strategy of the nine companies profiled, and their cloud-first design initiative shows they have faith in Azure performing in the enterprise.  Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 will first be released on Azure, then on-premise is a case in point. Microsoft is impatient  to move into a subscription model with its evolving cloud platform.

Gartner’s analysis of Microsoft’s cloud strategy is shown in the following graphic.

Microsoft-Cloud-Strategy 

Here is a summary chart showing Microsoft as having perfect balance between enabling technology and packaged cloud. Other major vendors on the list are Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, IBM, VMware, HP, and Oracle among others.

Summary-Chart

For more information on how you can benefit from our cloud solutions, reach out to me or speak to your Microsoft account manager.


June 2012 Gartner Quadrant on Server Virtualization

by Shijaz Abdulla on 27.06.2012 at 10:48

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

Microsoft is a leader, right behind VMware on the June 2012 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization released by Gartner.

But wait – in this magic quadrant, Gartner compares Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2007 with VMware vSphere 5. You can imagine what would be the outcome if they were to consider Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012!!

What is also interesting to note, is about the cautions that Gartner have mentioned about Microsoft vs. VMware:

For Microsoft, the cautions are all around sales & marketing, such as penetrating VMware installed base and facing competition. For VMware, however, the caution is about customer concerns around vendor lock-in – specifically around the lack of support for heterogeneous environments, a strength in System Center 2012 that brings flexibility to customers.

Related Post: How Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V compares against VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus


Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: 1 million IO per second!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 26.06.2012 at 15:37

clip_image001

Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager Lead at Microsoft, shared this glimpse from TechEd Europe 2012 that’s happening right now in Amsterdam. That’s Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V delivering over 1 million IOPs from a single virtual machine!

Indeed, a picture says a thousand words.


Windows Server 2012: 985,000 IOPS from a single Hyper-V VM!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 12.06.2012 at 22:17

Day one of TechEd North America saw something very spectacular.

During Satya Nadella’s keynote were a series of fascinating demos – here are a few that I especially liked that you should not miss:

985,000 IOPS from a single Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V VM

  • 4000 random IOs, Queue depth: 32, with 40 concurrent threads
  • At the same time, VMware maxes out at just 300,000 IOPs per VM, VMware needs 6 virtual machines to achieve the same feat!

Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) – File copies of 1 GigaByte per second

  • Yes, copy a 10 GB file in 10 seconds – ODX is a SAN technology that works with Windows Server 2012

Other notable demos during the keynote.

  • Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch for Hyper-V
  • Runbook Automation with Hyper-V replica using PowerShell
  • Extending an on-premise private cloud to a service provider
  • 64 virtual processors inside a single virtual machine!

Click here to watch the keynote!


How Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V compares against VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.06.2012 at 12:43

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) marks a major milestone in Microsoft’s foray into the virtualization world. While Microsoft have always been leaders in management technologies, an area where VMware was weak, Microsoft now have the hypervisor which exceeds VMware capabilities.

Facts and Figures: Hyper-V vs. vSphere 5

Thought I’d share some interesting information from the recently released Competitive Advantages document.

System Resource Windows Server 2012 RC Hyper-V VMware ESXi 5.0 VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus
Host Logical Processors

320

160

160

  Physical Memory

4 TB

32 GB

2 TB

  Virtual CPUs per host

2048

2048

2048

VM Virtual CPUs per VM

64

8

32

  Memory per VM

1 TB

32 GB

1 TB

  Active VMs per host

1024

512

512

  Guest NUMA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cluster Maximum nodes

64

N/A

32

  Maximum VMs

4000

N/A

3000

Storage Virtual Fiber Channel

Yes

Yes

Yes

  MPIO

Yes

No

Yes (VAMP)

  Native 4-KB disk support

Yes

No

No

  Maximum Virtual Disk Size

64 TB VHDX

2 TB VMDK

2 TB VMDK

  Maximum pass through disk size

Varies

64 TB

64 TB

  Offloaded Data Transfer

Yes

No

Yes (VAAI)

VDI* Hardware GPU to vGPU support

Yes

No

No

  Software GPU support

Yes

Basic

Basic

  Remote Touch Support

Yes

No

No

  User Profile & Data Mgmt

Yes

No

No

Extensible Switch/Multi-tenancy

Extensible Network Switch

Yes

No

Yes

Confirmed Partner Extenstions

4

None

2

PVLAN

Yes

No

Yes

ARP/ND Spoofing Protection

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

DHCP snooping/DHCP guard

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

Virtual Port ACLs

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

Trunk Mode to Virtual Machines

Yes

No

No

Port Monitoring

Yes

Per Port Group

Yes

Port Mirroring

Yes

Per Port Group

Yes

Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

*VDI comparisons were made taking VMware View into account.


Learn how to build and operate a Private Cloud

by Shijaz Abdulla on 28.04.2012 at 09:55

Over the past few days I have been reviewing e-learning content on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). I was amazed by the wealth of training content available on MVA for the Private Cloud.

So, what is MVA?

imageMVA is a fully cloud-based learning experience focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. MVA provides its users with a virtual university experience: the student can select a track and study the material and then do the self-assessment. Students on MVA can get access to all the information, statistics and advancements of their training career, allowing them to maintain a long-term relationship with Microsoft. Learning through MVA is free of charge, and you can study the contents at any time and at your own pace.

Configuring and Deploying Microsoft’s Private Cloud

After completing this private cloud specialization, you will have an understanding of Microsoft’s vision for cloud computing, from the business perspective to the technical level. The 8 modules are divided into four core courses covering:

1. Private Cloud: Infrastructure Management

  • Module 1: Configure and Deploy Private Cloud Infrastructure
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Private Cloud Infrastructure

2. Private Cloud: Infrastructure Components

  • Module 1: Configure and Deploy Infrastructure Components
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Infrastructure Components

3. Private Cloud: Service Delivery and Automation

  • Module 1:; Configure and Deploy Service Delivery & Automation
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Service Delivery & Automation

4. Private Cloud: Application Services Management

  • Module 1: Application Services Management, Configuration, & Deployment
  • Module 2: Application Services Management, Operation, & Management

image

During the 8 modules of this specialization, you will be introduced to all the elements of building the Microsoft private cloud. You’ll learn how to optimize and deploy the private cloud starting at the infrastructure layer. You’ll also be introduced to advanced virtualization management features and the concept and implementation of the System Center’s private cloud application service model.

After completing all of the modules you will have an understanding of:

  • How using Microsoft System Center 2012 can help you build, deploy and manage a private cloud infrastructure.
  • How System Center 2012 incorporates tools to deploy, update, and manage applications within your private cloud.
  • System Center 2012’s new abilities to deploy, update, and manage applications within your private cloud.
  • How using new components of System Center 2012, specifically the Orchestrator and Service Manager components, enable you to deploy, update, and manage service offerings within your private cloud.
  • How applications are deployed and managed in the Microsoft private cloud.
  • How to use new capabilities in System Center 2012 to deploy your applications as services.

I highly recommend this training for all IT Pros as an excellent means of updating your skills and build your readiness to face new challenges as cloud computing evolves.


IDC predicts: 2012 will be VMware’s last year as ‘King of the Hill’

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.02.2012 at 11:43

IDC has predicted that 2012 will be VMware’s last year as ‘King of the Hill’.

With Windows Server 8, Hyper-V beats VMware not only in pricing but also in features. Even if VMware brought down pricing, Hyper-V still has features that VMware doesn’t.

And do not forget that System Center (the current version as well as 2012) has more mature and complete management features than VMware ever had, and the key to meaningful virtualization or realizing a private cloud lies in robust management tools.

MVP Aidan Finn wrote on his blog with a touch of humor:

And don’t forget that System Center (current and future) smack VMware’s “management” products around like a one-legged little person in a heavyweight MMA fight.

VMware fanboys and trolls please save yourselves the trouble, comments on this blog are moderated. Smile


The Bigger Picture: Virtualization + Management

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.11.2010 at 00:52

“Virtualization without management is more dangerous than not using virtualization in the first place.”
– Tom Bittman, Gartner VP & Analyst

So you realized that you need to virtualize. The idea of being able to run multiple workloads on a smaller number of boxes sounded interesting to you. You saw how virtualization can save you many a buck in hardware maintenance, energy, cooling, rack space, and were fascinated by it.

Server consolidation – now that’s a term you liked to hear. Sounds like its going to simplify things up, doesn’t it? The idea of putting more eggs in one basket. Yes, it reduces cost, but how are you going to ensure that these baskets are strong enough to hold your eggs and that they wont break under pressure?

So you let the ‘Hypervisor wars’ begin – Hyper-V, VMware, you decided and chose your weapon. “What next?” you say. Well, the battle has not yet begun. Today, the hypervisor is more like a commodity, whatever you choose, it will let you virtualize – the art and science of creating a thin layer that abstracts operating system environments from the underlying hardware.

Some hypervisors provide more features than the others. The choice is simple. What matters to you is (1) which of these hypervisor features do you really need for your business, and (2) is the feature that you get worth the cost and complexity that particular hypervisor brings with it?

I am of the view that any technology you implement should contribute to the business of your organization. If it does not support the business, then that technology is useless to your organization. If you, for example, chose VMware to virtualize your (otherwise primarily Microsoft) datacenter just because it offers ‘memory overcommit’, a feature which you will probably never use in the first place, (because is not recommended for production), then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You could go online and spend hours scouring pages and pages of information comparing hypervisors from Microsoft and VMware, but what you’re looking at is basically a piece of code between 1.7 and 3.6 GB in size.

So what does really matter?

What really matters is Management. The ability to manage and monitor every service you offer in your datacenter, end-to-end, physical or virtual. What your users see is not the hypervisor, it is way beyond that – the users see the service that you’re offering. And a robust management tool helps you ensure that services you offer are healthy so that you meet your SLA.

Imagine being able to have to look at one single monitoring dashboard that will proactively alert you of problems on hardware, operating system environments, virtualization layers, apps running on physical servers, and apps running on virtual servers. Imagine being able to look at one interface to discover that your hardware is overheating, or your server power supply is not redundant, and then look at the same interface to discover there is a shortage of disk space on your physical host server or if an application service is stopped. Imagine looking at the very same interface to know that the outbound mail queue on your Exchange Server machine that you virtualized on Hyper-V (or VMware) is building up faster than it should, or discovering that a service on one of your Linux servers virtualized on Hyper-V is failing.

That, my friends, is what I call robust end-to-end management. Microsoft System Center provides you just that. Don’t virtualize without it.

Let’s take one step forward. Let’s say you’re a local bank and you have virtualized your web servers on Hyper-V. You’ve deployed System Center components for managing your gear. Let’s say that you get most hits on your website during the day. During your “peak” operating hours you need 3 machines in a load balancing configuration to handle the load. During “off peak” hours you barely have any traffic, so all you need is one server. In the absence of virtualization or management, you would still leave 3 physical machines running 24/7 to handle the load.

But when you have virtualization with System Center, things are different. System Center Operations Manager is monitoring your servers (physical and virtual) 24/7. You can configure System Center to raise an alert when the number of transactions on your application running on IIS on the first server exceeds a threshold ‘x’, and trigger an event that results in automatically starting the 2nd virtualized web server, and the third, and so on as the number of transactions increase. Similarly, when the number of transactions drop, the additional servers can be powered off automatically, freeing up processor, memory and other resources on the host machine, which can potentially be used by other services that require additional servers to be powered up during ‘off peak’ hours. Hence, you are able to run more servers than the capacity of your Hyper-V host machine by dynamically provisioning and de-provisioning servers and efficiently utilizing your resources. Because your management tool can now see inside your virtual machines. What this means, basically, is that you get ‘more bang for the buck’.

And this is what I’d call a ‘Dynamic Datacenter’. And that’s where we’re taking you with System Center and virtualization. We’re not arguing over who’s got the smallest hypervisor; we’re giving you the much bigger picture and what really matters to you and your datacenter at large.

VMware’s vCenter, on the other hand, does not see “inside” the guest. It cannot monitor the number of connections/sec on your web service, or the length of your Exchange mail queue or the number of transactions on your database. It just sees your VM from a hypervisor perspective and does not know how the application on that VM is performing (or even if it is running). And that’s not sufficient from a service level perspective.

Even if you run VMware, System Center can still work together with it and manage your VMware environment – but of course this is an integration with vCenter. You still have an island of a management tool that you’re joining together with System Center. When it’s an all-Microsoft platform, you definitely have the Microsoft advantage. Everything’s integrated by default and everything works.

Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to this blog for more to come.


Microsoft Exchange receives “strong positive” rating in Gartner MarketScope

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.09.2010 at 20:22

Matt Cain, vice president and lead e-mail analyst at Gartner, recently published the Gartner MarketScope for E-mail Systems, 2010 (Matt Cain, Gartner Research, Aug. 12, 2010), which evaluated the major e-mail vendors. Microsoft received a “strong positive” rating, and has purchased the reprint rights. To read the report, please click here: Gartner MarketScope for E-mail Systems, 2010.

The MarketScope included vendors such as Google, IBM, MiraPoint, Novell, Open X-change, VMware/Zimbra and Xandros/Scalix. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft is the only vendor that received a “strong positive” rating.


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