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March 16, 2007
  Some Stuff I've Come Across This Week

Here are a few things I've come across this week that was of interest:

- From, of all places, a Corvette Forum: Why VMware sucks (no, that's not my title for the article, it is the actual forum thread, which discusses issues with VMware's support and pricing)

- From CNet: Red Hat hopes to solidify lead with new Linux

- From VMblog: Brian Madden Helps Introduce VDI

- From PlateSpin named fasted growing technology company in Canada for 3rd year (Congrats to PlateSpin -- a Virtual Iron partner and the people who make it easy to upgrade from VMware to Virtual Iron.)

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/16/2007 01:20 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 15, 2007
  Virtualization Trends for 2007

Alessandro Perilli, of the always enjoyable blog, recently posted his top virtualization trends for 2007 (the article also appears on Search Server Virtualization).

Here are a couple of his predictions:

- A single eight-core host will easily accommodate 32 virtual machines on average, which is more than enough to build a complete datacenter for many SMBs. And if this is not enough Intel is already working on an 80-cores prototype, available in production within five years.

- To reduce costs and be ready to scale up, cheaper iSCSI models with modular architectures will be the preferred choice.

Read the full article here.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/15/2007 04:39 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 14, 2007
  The VMware Upgrade Program

After mentioning it in yesterday's post, requests started coming in for more information on our just-announced VMware Upgrade Program

Essentially, this upgrade program provides a low cost, easy-to-migrate solution for VMware 2.5 and VMware Server customers to move over to Virtual Iron 3.5 (comparable features to VMware, less cost, it's a win all around). I won't rehash the program details word for word here in the blog (you can see the details here) but I do want to point out that the program is limited to the first 100 people who want to take advantage of it, so if you're interested, go now!

The program was recently mentioned in Search Server Virtualization's article: VMware ESX 3.0 Upgrades Stall on License Costs, VAR Says.

The press release and a PDF on the program are also available.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/14/2007 03:31 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 13, 2007
  Comparing Virtual Iron and VMware...

This is funny. One of my colleagues here at Virtual Iron showed me some info coming from VMware that claims that VMware is less expensive that Virtual Iron. It's insulting that VMware would think customers would believe this. Let's look at this at a high level:

- Virtual Iron is $499 per socket.
- VMware is, well, pricing is somewhere in this 16 page PDF.

You must be wondering how VMware can claim to have a lower price than Virtual Iron. They claim that can produce more virtual machines per server. Which, in the right environment, may be true, however nowhere near what they claim (over double any other competitor). How many virtual machines you can have on a server depends on so many different factors - such as CPU and memory.

Virtual Iron shares CPU among all virtual servers. The overhead for virtualization is minimal....for all intents and purposes, Virtual Iron's virtualization is native. This allows us to consolidate more virtual servers per CPU than VMware. Of course, you need to look at the particular application to determine the exact ratio of virtual servers between VMware and Virtual Iron but you'll see that Virtual Iron comes out ahead in most cases.

As far as memory goes, it's true: VMware does beat out Virtual Iron by a hair. VMware creates a secondary swap file, which gives the illusion that you have more memory than you really have. That would be nice if every customer I know who uses this didn't say the performance degrades significantly. VMware also has a feature that allows you to share memory pages that are common between virtual servers. The claim is that this reduces the memory footprint up to 30%. That's a bit high. Practically, this is more like 10% -- and that's with additional performance penalties.

No matter how you run the numbers, even with VMware's additional memory features and ignoring the performance degradation, Virtual Iron is still cheaper. Whether you look at it from a per VM cost, a per socket cost, TCO, etc. - we're still cheaper. Even if you believe VMware's hype, try comparing the cost of memory to the cost of'd still be ahead with Virtual Iron and a bit of additional memory.

And -- not that we need to -- but we're going to take all doubt away for 100 customers. If you're using VMware Server and/or VMware 2.5, we are going to give you unbeatable pricing to upgrade to Virtual Iron 3.5. This upgrade includes V2V conversions, to make your upgrade as easy as possible (easier, in fact, than upgrade to the latest from VMware).

Click here to be a part of this program.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/13/2007 02:02 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 12, 2007
  How to Convert VMware Virtual Aplpiances for Use with Virtual Iron

We've been asked a few times (including in the forums) how to import VMware virtual machines to Virtual Iron. The question comes up more and more as people look for a cost-effective virtualization solution that has all the features they want.

To answer the question: yes, there is a way to do this and it's very easy. I blogged on this back in December: Converting VMware Virtual Appliances for Use with Virtual Iron.

It's easy and free!

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/12/2007 04:41 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 9, 2007
  Read up on Virtual Iron 3.5

The press has extensively covered our 3.5 release. Here's a sampling of articles and blog posts that are out there. And if you haven't tried 3.5 yet, click here to download it for free.

Wall Street Journal: 'Virtualization' is Pumping Up Servers reports on Virtual Iron 3.5 release

SearchServerVirtualization: Virtual Iron supports iSCSI with virtualization suite

VMblog on the release of 3.5

Byte and Switch: Virtual Iron Dangles iSCSI Savings

Two from Network World: PGA Tour article and Virtual Iron Streamlines Deployment with iSCSI Support

That's just a sampling of the good press we've received on this release -- a release which, as I mentioned before, we are quite proud of.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/09/2007 03:32 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 8, 2007
  How to Import Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 Machines Into Virtual Iron

Computron, our Dutch Channel One Partner, has provided a free solution for importing Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 machines into Virtual Iron. In order to do this, you need a working Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 (which is a free download) and your Virtual Iron installation properly configured.

To import, follow these steps:

1. If you are using SCSI in MS Virtual Server, shutdown the virtual machine otherwise go to step 4

2. Edit the configuration, Attach the VHD(s) to IDE (primary channel(x) e.g.)

3. Start the virtual machine

4. From the Device Manager, open up the "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" section. (On a typical system there will be three entries under this - the controller itself, and then the primary/secondary IDE channels.)

5. Double-click on the entry for the controller, and change the driver to the generic default Microsoft "Standard Dual-Channel PCI IDE Controller". (Double click on the IDE controller icon in the Device Manager. Click on the "Driver" tab. Click on "Update Driver". Click next. Click "display list of the known drivers for this device so that I choose a specific driver" button. Click next). This avoids the INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE BSOD

6. Do not restart yet

7. Uninstall the virtual machine additions (add/remove programs)

8. Shutdown the virtual machine

9. Create the virtual machine in Virtual Iron with the same hardware options as in MS Virtual Server.

10. Import the VHD(s) into Virtual Iron, start the virtual machine, the machine will be SLOW, it can take several minutes to boot the virtual machine the first time**

11. Initial driver install will start, reboot after the installation finishes.

12. After the reboot, install the Virtual Iron tools, this will update your drivers, this will restore performance, it might be necessary to reboot your virtual machine several times.

13. Have fun!

** If you use dynamically expanding virtual hard disks in Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 they will be converted to fixed disks in Virtual Iron. Run the diskfiller program inside the virtual machine to expand the VHD(s) to the desired size before importing them in Virtual Iron.

Discuss this solution in our forums.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/08/2007 04:24 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 7, 2007
  iSCSI Support in Virtual Iron 3.5

With the release of Virtual Iron 3.5 earlier this week, we are now support iSCSI storage.

A lot of customers have been asking for iSCSI which has quickly become very popular (and becoming more popular every day, it seems).

The following iSCSI storate solution are supported:
- DataCore SANmelody
- Dell AX150i
- Network Appliance

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/07/2007 02:24 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

March 6, 2007
  Full Wall Street Journal Article on Virtualization
If you haven't seen it yet, here is the full virtualization article from today's Wall Street Journal. It's a good read.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/06/2007 04:23 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

  Wall Street Journal talks Virtualization and Virtual Iron

Today's Wall Street Journal has a great article on virtualization (right there on page B4). The article, also available online, discusses virtualization in general, how people are using it, some of the benefits of virtualization technology and a bit about how virtualization is affecting server sales (or not, depending on your perspective).

Click here to read the full article (registration is required but they do provide an excerpt).

    Posted By: Alex V @ 03/06/2007 09:01 AM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

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