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February 27, 2007
  Virtual Iron in NY Times (and other news)

Virtual Iron was mentioned in a New York Times article this past weekend. My colleague (and Virtual Iron CEO) John Thibault was also quoted in the article:

"In the long term, VMware will also face competition from start-ups in the virtual-machine software market like Virtual Iron..."


"Microsoft sees VMware coming between them and their customers," said John Thibault, president of Virtual Iron. "So Microsoft is manipulating its license terms to see if it can freeze the market and slow down the trend."

Some other recent news:

Virtual Iron Targets Higher Education Market with Enterprise-Class Performance and Open Source

Vendors Push Virtual Security

Finally, don't forget about our upcoming webcast with PlateSpin: Best Practices for Optimizing Physical and Virtual Infrastructure -- as with all of our webcasts, this is free and space is limited, so register today.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/27/2007 11:17 AM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 26, 2007
  Virtual Appliance Webcast Recording Online!

The recording from last week's webcast panel -- An Online Interactive Panel Discussion on Virtual Appliances -- has been posted. You can find the recording in our webcast archive (registration is required). Check out the other archived webcasts while you're there.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/26/2007 06:12 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 23, 2007
  Hidden Costs?

SearchServerVirtualization's Alex Barrett wrote an article yesterday that talks about some of the hidden costs of virtualizing your datacenter with VMware - hidden costs that you will not find with Virtual Iron. You can read the full article here but the main points are:

- A cost analysis by an IT firm "calculated a savings of 15% [with VMware ESX] -- hardly a jaw-dropping figure." We recognize that everybody has different needs and encourage you to run your own cost analysis. Had Virtual Iron been used in the cost analysis - at just 1/5 the cost of VMware - the savings would be much higher.

- The same IT firm identified what they called "anti-savings" (what a great, descriptive term). That is, there are items that look like savings on the surface but other costs negate those savings. Again, with Virtual Iron, you won't have those problems. See our pledge:

- The license for ESX is identified as the biggest line item cost. I'd agree.

- John Humphreys (from IDC, who co-hosted a recent webcast with us) notes that savings vary wildly based on what people are utilizing virtualization for. Again, run your own cost analysis.

For the full article, click here. To learn more about Virtual Iron, click here.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/23/2007 09:50 AM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 22, 2007
  New Webcast with PlateSpin

It looks like our next webcast with PlateSpin has been announced:

Best Practices for Optimizing Physical and Virtual Infrastructure

This is being held on March 7 at noon (eastern time) and will run for about an hour. You can register for it at PlateSpin's website.

The description, as posted on the registration page, is:

Attend this webinar to learn how PlateSpin and Virtual Iron help organizations reduce data center costs and complexity by quickly migrating physical or virtual servers into the Virtual Iron virtual infrastructure. Discover the cost advantages of using Virtual Iron over other virtual solutions. The combination of PlateSpin and Virtual Iron enables organizations to rapidly and affordably gain the benefits of large-scale server consolidation, rapid provisioning, high availability and capacity management. That's why Virtual Iron bundles one free migration of PlateSpin PowerConvert with every Virtual Iron Enterprise Edition license.

Our last webcast with PlateSpin was great -- you can view the recording of it here if you want.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/22/2007 05:06 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 21, 2007
  Virtualization Overview
IBM has an article up on their web site -- Virtual Linux: An Overview of Virtualization Methods, Architectures, and Implementations -- that is a very detailed look at Linux virtualization

It's a good read and covers a variety of topics, such as a history of virtualization, types of virtualization and why virtualization is important. The article is nicely summarized by its author:

Virtualization is the new big thing, if "new" can include something over four decades old. It has been used historically in a number of contexts, but a primary focus now is in the virtualization of servers and operating systems. Much like Linux, virtualization provides many options for performance, portability, and flexibility. This means that you can choose the approach that works best for you and your application.

That last sentence is particularly true and I have mentioned it before: determine what your needs are and work towards that.

A part of the article focuses on types of virtualization -- one thing to note to avoid any confusion is that Virtual Iron offers native virtualization (see this blog post on paravirtualization and native virtualization for more info).

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/21/2007 03:01 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 20, 2007
  InfoWorld: "Virtualization: Linux's Killer App"

Last week, a few folks from Virtual Iron were at the InfoWorld Virtualization Executive Forum (we were a featured panelist at the Virtualization Vendor Crossfire panel).

Today, I see that Infoworld's Neil McAllister has posted some thoughts on the forum. Neil essentially (and correctly) notes that virtualization is a big deal and that the Linux market is particularly hot for virtualization (of course, I think that virtualization is also quite hot in the Windows market).

As a brief side note, there was a link to another brief InfoWorld article I hadn't seen: Bank on virtualization for bottom-line relief.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/20/2007 04:41 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 16, 2007
  Streamlining Software Deployments with Virtual Appliances

Our next webcast will be next Wednesday (Feb. 21) at 11:00am. This one is a webcast panel on virtual appliances with ourselves and experts from the Burton Group and rPath.

Click here to register or to learn more.

I'm very excited to listen in on this webcast as the format is a bit different from the standard. I hope that you're able to attend.

If you've heard about virtual appliances and want to learn a bit more about them, you can visit our Virtual Appliance Exchange, which includes a getting started article.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/16/2007 02:23 PM     Virtualization     Comments (2)  

February 15, 2007
  Performance Statistics in Virtual Iron

The Virtual Iron Virtualization Manager gives you easy access to performance statistics on virtual servers and nodes:

Virtualization Manager Statistics

You can choose to display a variety of statistics at the same time. The screenshot above shows virtual server and node performance. Both of these are rolled up into the resources and activities section. I could have just as easily chosen to show different statistics simply by checking what I want to show up.

The Virtualization Manager collects and displays statistics information for four different areas:

- Resource Center Statistics
- Virtual Data Center Statistics
- Node Statistics
- Virtual Server Statistics

For each area, you can choose the type of information that is displayed. For example, you can choose to show the most recent errors or active policies.

I find that referring to the performance statistics is the easiest way to see a summary of my virtual datacenter.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/15/2007 02:04 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 13, 2007
  Rapid Fire Q&A from the Virtual Iron and DataCore Webcast

Our recent webcast with DataCore -- The Power of Enterprise Virtualization -- generated a lot of user questions:

Do you have a virtual desktop product?
You can create virtual desktops easily by creating a reference image, cloning it, and accessing it through thin clients or Windows RDP.

Are you going to provide a working definition of a "socket?"
A socket is a hardware unit that contains one or more CPU cores. For example, a 2 socket dual core contains 4 CPUs.

Is there any framework for mounting local drives, such as CD-ROM and floppy or ISO images, to those virtual machines?
Yes, you can mount local drives, CD-ROM and ISO to virtual servers.

With the iSCSI based solution in Virtual Iron, do you need three networks? (i.e. one for management, one for public, and one for ISCSI?)
We recommend iSCSI be run on a dedicated network for performance.

Do you support Vista inside the virtual machines?
We do not yet support Vista, but support is forthcoming.

Can you buy the products from partners?
Virtual Iron and DataCore are available through partners. Please check our websites for a list of partners.

For HA environments, I'm surprised you have to take the server down to add disks. This is not any different from the conventional downtime when adding physical disks. Is this issue been addressed by DataCore?
You don't necessarily have to reboot to add disks. Frankly, I didn't prep my lab correctly - in an HA environment, if you want to add more disks to the application server, you can just use thin provisioning.

Is it possible to provision disks to hosts without DataCore?
Virtual Iron supports local disks and raw SAN volumes. DataCore provides SAN volumes with low cost industry standard hardware.

Does Virtual Iron support multiple snapshots per VM?
Virtual Iron does not currently support virtual server snapshots -- this is on our roadmap. DataCore can snapshot the volume that your data, including virtual disks, are stored, providing similar functionality.

In the demo, we saw Supermicro M/B, but the compatible server list did not include anyone from Supermicro. How we could know whether the board work with Virtual Iron or not?
We do not officially support SuperMicro yet, but we will be adding them to our HCL.

What about 64 bit support?
Virtual Iron supports 64-bit operating systems.

If you haven't seen the webcast yet, you can view the recording of it right here.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/13/2007 02:12 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 12, 2007
  Virtual Iron and DataCore Webcast Recording

For those who couldn't attend our recent webcast with DataCore, the recorded version has just been posted. You can access it here.

From my earlier entry on this webcast: "This webcast will show you how to really get the most out of your IT budget for both server and disk virtualization. Virtual Iron and DataCore will go over how our joint solution really lets you create a very flexible infrastructure for less than you'd think."

For more on Virtual Iron's partnership with DataCore,click here.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/12/2007 07:38 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 9, 2007
  Virtualization Clinic: Using RAW Disk Partitions

Over in the Virtual Iron forums, gaspode asks how to add raw disk partitions to virtual machines.

Always quick to respond, Chris Barclay explains that "to use raw storage, you need a fibre channel HBA on our HCL (a broad range of Qlogic and Emulex adapters). Zone a LUN to the HBA in the virtualized node, and it will appear as a storage option when you configure your virtual server. If you go to the section [in Virtual Iron 3.1's documentation] on setting up and configuring virtual servers, it is explained in further detail & with pictures."

The forum thread goes on to discuss our DataCore partnership, which allows you to create SAN volumes from local storage.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/09/2007 01:23 PM     Virtualization     Comments (3)  

February 8, 2007
  Using Virtual Iron?

If you're using Virtual Iron, you might find these two pages on our web site helpful:

The Support Overview contains product docs, solutions, resources and more.

Our Resource Center has case studies, videos, white papers, etc.

Even if you're not currently using the software, these pages are a good resource for learning more about Virtual Iron 3.1.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/08/2007 03:55 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 7, 2007
  PG&E Announces Energy Efficieny Coalition

VMblog and Computerworld have brought to my attention the news that PG&E has announced "a nationwide coalition of utilities to discuss and coordinate energy efficiency programs for the high tech sector, focusing on data centers."

Also from PG&E's press release (emphasis mine):

Data centers can use up to one hundred times the energy per square foot of typical office space, so the energy efficiency opportunities are significant. "A customer choosing from our menu of programs, which include cooling system improvements, high-efficiency power conditioning equipment retrofits, airflow management tune-ups, virtualization, and replacement of computing and data storage equipment with the latest technologies can generally drive a third to as much as half of the energy use out of their operations," according to Bramfitt.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/07/2007 04:33 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

  Virtual Iron and DataCore Webcast Tomorrow

If you haven't signed up for tomorrow's webcast, you can do so right here.

This webcast will show you how to really get the most out of your IT budget for both server and disk virtualization. Virtual Iron and DataCore will go over how our joint solution really lets you create a very flexible infrastructure for less than you'd think.

For a description of this webcast and to sign-up (it's free), click here.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/07/2007 04:22 PM     Virtualization     Comments (2)  

February 6, 2007
  Optimizing Your Virtual Servers with LiveCapacity

Our LiveMigration lets you move a virtual server with no downtime and it can move the virtual server automatically.

LiveMigration is also the basis for some other features in Virtual Iron, such as LiveCapacity - which automatically moves running virtual servers to a new physical server in a virtual datacenter if any of these servers exceed a set CPU threshold for a fixed period of time.

This optimizes your virtual server utilization across a shared pool of resources. LiveCapacity continuously samples performance data from every server and every virtual server.

The movement of virtual servers is all policy-driven...when a threshold is reached, LiveMigrate is used to relocate running operating systems and applications from one physical server another without any downtime.

Virtual Iron's Virtualization Manager allows you to set a specific LiveCapacity threshold for each virtual data center and to choose a set of nodes that participate in a given policy.

This screenshot shows Virtual Iron's LiveCapacity Threshold Configuration.

LiveCapacity Screenshot

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/06/2007 05:09 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 5, 2007
  Odds and Ends

I've been catching up on some reading and thought I'd share some items of interest:

- CIO has an article on the virtualization "price wars". I'm not sure there's a price war going on, but virtualization is being offered at a great price.

- has posted a new virtualization industry roadmap.

- You've probably heard that the Vista Home license doesn't allow for virtualization. It's been well-covered (here is Computerworld's article on the topic).

- VMware is nine. Happy birthday, guys. David Marshall posted this over at InfoWorld.

Finally, thanks to everybody who mentioned our webcast with DataCore. It should be fun!

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/05/2007 05:02 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 2, 2007
  More Rapid Fire Q&A

I got a great response from my rapid fire Q&A post earlier this week, so I thought I would do another round today.

These come from the recent webcast we did with IDC.

Does Virtual Iron provide NFS support from the managed server? Can the virtual server be residing on an NFS mount?
Virtual servers can mount NFS volumes or boot from NFS in the same way as physical servers. Virtual Iron supports booting from NFS.

Can you have the virtualization hypervisor on local disk or only boot-on-SAN?
Virtual Iron currently supports booting the virtualization services from CDROM or PXE boot from the network directly from the management server. You do not need to install Virtualization Services.

Is there a consolidated backup functionality?
There are a number of ways to achieve backup outside of the virtual server. Please see our blog entry on this.

Can you mix Linux and Windows VM's on the same physical server?

64 bit support? Vista Support? Windows Server 2007 support?
We support 32 bit Windows XP and 2003 and 64 bit RHEL 4 and SLES 9. We will announce support for other operating systems over the coming quarters.

Criteria based workload migration support?
The LiveCapacity policy monitors resource utilization and when utilization exceeds a set amount, uses LiveMigration to load balance the data center.

Integration into existing systems management infrastructures, ie. IBM Director, HP Insight, Microsoft MOM?
We are evaluating the market demand for external management infrastructure.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/02/2007 04:50 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

February 1, 2007
  Virtual Iron and IDC Webcast video

I just noticed that a recorded video of the webcast we had with IDC last week is now available as a video for your viewing convenience. John Humphreys, IDC's virtualization expert, co-hosted with our own Mike Grandinetti. Click here or on the screenshot to watch it:

Virtual Iron and IDC Virtualization Webinar

Here is the description of the event:

Server virtualization has quickly become a key area of investment for IT organizations worldwide. Its well-documented benefits involve minimal risk and provide a rapid payback. The clear return on investment combined with a broadening set of virtualization use cases has created the potential for mainstream customer adoption. This webcast will look at some of the emerging solutions that are fundamentally changing the economics of virtualization - facilitating dramatic gains in price performance and enabling the benefits of virtualization for a whole new set of users and business applications.

The webcast runs for about an hour. Well worth the time if you're at all interested in virtualization.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 02/01/2007 03:02 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

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