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December 29, 2006
  Predictions for 2007

I was reading some predictions from IDC:

- The use of Linux paravirtualization will be mostly sizzle -- not steak. Few users are going to substitute their current kernel with a paravirtualized kernel.

- Windows Vista will not uplift the operating system or PC market spending dramatically, but there will be a meaningful shift of adoption favoring premium Windows Vista SKUs.

- Virtualization and security will become focal points for vendors, who will do more to add support for virtualization and managing virtual environments to their service management offerings.

- Software appliances will become a household word in 2007. The convergence of virtual machine technology and an initiative by tool vendors is giving birth to this new form of software packaging.

I thought it would be fun to come up with some predictions of my, here are my top ten predictions for virtualization in 2007:

10. Virtualization will be the key to harnessing the power of multicore technologies

9. Every software company will re-brand their existing product with the word "virtualization"

8. "Virtual appliance" will become a household word (at every virtualization event)

7. There will be at least five more open source hypervisors - the hypervisor will become a commodity

6. Virtualization will save Earth and end global warming

5. Virtualization will expand beyond just servers and into the desktop realm

4. Virtualization will bring portable virtual PCs to everyone - never lose your files, your applications, your OS, secure, carry with you at all times and runs on any PC

3. Paravirtualization will be hardly remembered and will produce blank stare from users.

2. Virtualization will make the OS not matter anymore - after all, the OS is no more than an API for your apps

1. Virtualization technology fully utilizing hardware-assist (i.e. native virtualization) will drive deeper into the enterprise and go mainstream

Happy New Year everybody!

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/29/2006 01:47 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 28, 2006
  Building A Virtual Datacenter with Virtual Iron

Virtual Iron's virtual infrastructure lets you quickly and easily virtualize, optimize and manage your IT resources with high-performance, open source virtualization:

Virtual Infrastructure

Our virtual infrastructure allows you to have multiple-OS guests (both Windows and Linux) with simple deployment and installation (you can have this up and running in just 15 minutes). Building a Virtual Datacenter requires computing, storage, network and virtual server resources. The graphic above and this screenshot shows how our integrated virtualization management console lets you dynamically create Virtual Datacenters out of virtual infrastructure resources:

Virtual Infrastructure Screenshot

Easy-to-use and very cost-effective, the virtual infrastructure gives you high availability for all of your applications and intelligent computing capacity allocation and management. Basically, the Virtual Iron virtual infrastructure lets you:

- Transform, manage and optimize IT systems through virtualization
- Manage physical IT resources as a shared utility
- Be "dynamic and software-based" instead of "static and hardwired"

There is more detail to the virtual infrastructure than I can get into in just one day, so next week I will do a series of entries that will go deeper into the virtual infrastructure.

Edited: 12/28/2006 at 05:43 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/28/2006 05:09 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 27, 2006
  Virtual Iron Podcast

If you haven't already seen it, Virtual Strategy Magazine has a podcast up about Virtual Iron 3.1.

My colleague Mike Grandinetti sat down with VSM to discuss our latest release and more.

Click here to listen and let me know what you think.

Edited: 12/28/2006 at 05:45 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/27/2006 03:24 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 26, 2006
  A big year for virtualization

What a year for virtualization! I was just chatting with one of our developers in the hallway (how was the long weekend? what are you doing for New Year's Eve?) when we got to talking about this past year.

It's been an immensely exciting year for Virtual Iron. We both agree that we're most proud of being the world's first virtualization software to fully support both Intel-VT and AMD-V hardware-assisted virtualization.

Other companies do bits and pieces of what we do but only Virtual Iron is running unmodified 32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems (Windows, RedHat and Suse) with near native performance. And the best part? The virtualization stack is completely open source and free.

It's been a lot of work but it's worth it. The reaction has been unbelievable. If you were one of our thousands and thousands of downloaders, thank you!

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Edited: 12/26/2006 at 02:22 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/26/2006 12:03 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 22, 2006
  Is virtualization bad for your health?

While sitting at my desk yesterday, I was creating many virtual machines to push our virtualization to its limits and realized how bad virtualization has been for my health.

There's no longer a need to get up from my desk and run to the server room (you could say "virtually" never). I just point my browser to the virtualization manager and create virtual infrastructure from the comfort of my chair with a click of a mouse. I never have to get up and go to the server room (Yupiee!).

Now, if you are like me, you desk is stocked with snacks. And when you're at your desk, it's Cheeto here and Dorito there, washed down with some soda. The more I'm at my desk, the more Cheetos I eat. Since I'm at my desk more often thanks to virtualization and walking to the server room less, that can't be good for me. My doctor will probably tell me, "you need to cut back on your virtualization."

Ah, well. Maybe it's a good thing. I pass the kitchen on my way to the server room and there are always snacks there (especially at this time of year), which I now avoid. I'm going to assume it all balances out.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/22/2006 11:31 AM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 21, 2006
  Virtualization Improves Security

It's been widely discussed how server virtualization can help cut costs, improve performance, etc. Less discussed are the security benefits that virtualization offers, such as a cost effective way to implement disaster recovery (see this page) or business continuity (this page).

Virtualization, of course, also allows you to install applications in a clean, stable environment (this feature is also used extensively in development and testing of software). Installing a new version of an application on a virtual server can save you some headaches down the line and allow you to discover potential security risks before implementing in a live environment.

Another great security feature is the ability to "replace" a server quickly. Simply create a template for your virtual server (everything installed and ready to go). If, for example, a server catches a virus, you can easily delete the infected virtual server and clone your template to recover quickly.

Edited: 12/21/2006 at 09:18 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/21/2006 07:35 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 20, 2006
  Did you see this week's InformationWeek?

Virtual Iron and one of our customers, The Charlotte Observer, is profiled in the cover story of the current issue of InformationWeek. The story, How Virtualization is Revolutionizing Business Data Centers, illustrates the need to reduce strain on data centers through virtualization.

InformationWeek begins the article by describing how The Charlotte Observer is using Virtual Iron to cut power and cooling costs in half and will be shrinking the size of their data center by more than half.

Click here to read the full article. Virtual Iron is profiled along with the article here.

As you can imagine, we're very excited to have this coverage. It's not often an emerging business like us is featured in such a prominent publication. And this is just the start.

Edited: 12/20/2006 at 10:52 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/20/2006 01:56 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 19, 2006
  Hardware partitioning vs. software partitioning. Why choose?

When evaluating partitioning options, most companies tend to choose either hardware or software partitioning (software partitioning = server virtualization). At Virtual Iron, we think you should have the option of both hardware and software partitioning in one fairly inexpensive system. Of course, hardware with "sort-of" software partitioning has been an expensive undertaking for most companies. Not anymore.

Earlier this month, we announced Virtual Iron 3.1 - at a fraction of the cost (1/5 to be more precise, that engineer in me always comes out) of VMware with comparable features. Just this morning, we announced a partnership with Fabric7, who designs and builds really cool enterprise-class servers with hardware partitioning. Our combined offering optimizes both your physical and virtual infrastructure, reducing your data center costs and complexity. Now, you can have both enterprise-class hardware and enterprise-class virtualization at a fraction of what you would expect to pay.

For more information, check out our press release.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/19/2006 02:01 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 18, 2006
  Converting VMware Virtual Appliances for Use with Virtual Iron

Did you know that you can easily convert your VMware virtual hard disk images (VMDK files) into Microsoft's VMD format? Using the VMDSK to VHD Converter, I was able to do this in just 4 steps!

Once you download the converter (they do ask you to register), all you have to do is open the vmdk2vhd.exe files and:

  1. Select your source VMware virtual hard disk image (a VMDK file).
  2. Choose a location to save the converted VHD file to.
  3. Click 'convert' and let the converter run.
  4. Import the VHD file into Virtual Iron. You're done!

Here is a screen shot of the converter (steps 1 to 3 above):

VMDK to VHD Converter

And a screenshot of Virtual Iron Virtualization Manager where you import the VHD file (step 4):

Virtual Iron Virtualization Manager

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/18/2006 03:29 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 15, 2006
  Native Virtualization Article in Network World

Back in October, Virtual Iron's own Chris Barclay wrote an article for Network World: New Approach to Virtualizing x86s.

This article discusses native virtualization in detail and how this new hardware-assisted capability is now available in the latest processors from both Intel and AMD.

Click here for the full article and be sure to check out this graphic that shows how native virtualization works, also presented here:

How Native Virtualization Works

Edited: 12/15/2006 at 04:17 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/15/2006 04:15 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 14, 2006
  First VMware ignores you, then VMware laughs at you, then VMware fights you, then you win

One of our customers forwarded me a FUD e-mail that VMware has been sending to their customers comparing Virtual Iron 3.1 with VMware. This e-mail came to my attention right after our new version 3.1 announcement. It is a fascinating piece of e-mail.

I am not going to bother you with the entire e-mail. It is full of errors and obvious rush job. However, I will share some of the most egregious parts.

VMware: "Virtual Iron only runs on the latest servers equipped with virtualization hardware assist features. That requirement forces users to invest in the newest, most expensive servers, even for test and development pilot deployments."

Virtual Iron: We are fully utilizing the latest advances made by the chip vendors (Moore's Law marches on). Hardware enhancements to Intel® and AMD® processors improve software-based virtualization solutions. These chips go into servers from Dell, HP and IBM. I have no idea where VMware got the idea that these are the "most expensive servers" -- I just checked prices at and, for the price of just VMware's ESX Server ($5750 per box), you can buy two Dell servers with VT and Virtual Iron 3.1 Enterprise Edition virtualization software and still have money left over to go to In-n-Out Burger.

VMware: "Virtual Iron supports only a small set of guest operating systems - RHEL 4 Update 2 (32 or 64-bit), SLES 9 Service Pack 3 (32 or 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) and Windows XP (32-bit). In contrast, VMware Infrastructure supports over 60 different versions of Windows, Linux and NetWare operating systems."

Virtual Iron: That's true and, thankfully, you are probably using one that we support. With emerging businesses, the 90/10 rule rules - we focus on the servers used by the majority. This means that we don't have to burden our cost structure with an obscure OS.

VMware: "Virtual Iron is missing a distributed clustered file system like VMware's VMFS. This puts every virtual machine at risk of disk corruption when placed in shared storage."

Virtual Iron: Due to our system architecture, we do not need a clustered file system to perform migration of virtual machines. When we were designing the LiveMigration feature into our product, we looked at putting a clustered file system to support shared storage (a prerequisite for migrate). We know a thing or two about clustering. Some of our technical folks invented the early clustering systems. During development, we checked out VMware's VMFS and come to conclusion that a clustered file system is the last thing we want. Why? It burdens you, the user, with heavy-duty maintenance and administration. So, instead, we built a clever mechanism that takes away that burden. With Virtual Iron, LiveMigration works on a regular file systems - without the need for clustering and without causing corruptions!

Of course, I could go on and on about the virtues of our product. I'm very proud of it. I could also go on and on about the errors and mistakes in the VMware e-mail. I won't. You can compare us to Vmware for yourself. Our Single Server Edition is absolutely free, so you have nothing to lose.

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/14/2006 02:54 PM     Alex's Blog     Comments (0)  

December 13, 2006
  Making Sense of Virtualization

Virtual Iron's CTO, Alex Vasilevsky, wrote Making Sense of Virtualization for Enterprise Open Source Magazine.

This article is a fantastic read for anybody interested in virtualization technologies. Here is a short excerpt:

"Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their enterprise data centers as they become highly complex, expensive to build out, and difficult to reconfigure as needs change. In an effort to address these challenges, many IT professionals are turning to virtualization technologies.

"Virtualization addresses a number of these issues and offers a variety of benefits including hardware utilization, operational efficiency, and data center agility. However, many customers and their technology partners are becoming increasingly frustrated with the proprietary and expensive nature of the available virtualization software solutions. Luckily, a new wave of virtualization-related technologies is emerging to address these challenges and improve the economics of virtualization."

Click here to read the full article at Enterprise Open Source Magazine.

Edited: 12/15/2006 at 09:19 AM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/13/2006 02:32 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 12, 2006
  Virtual Iron on 3 Worlds

Network World, Computerworld and InfoWorld, that is.

These three publications, as well as CIO and others, all featured yesterday's Virtual Iron 3.1 release. See what they had to say:

Network World: "Virtual Iron bolsters server virtualization package, Company claims 20% cost advantage over VMware"

Computerworld: "VMware for the common man: Virtual Iron offers enterprise-class virtualization suite for less"

InfoWorld: Exclusive: Virtual enlightenment through Xen, Virtual Iron taps promising open source virtualization standard"

CIO: "Virtual Iron, XenSource Challenge VMware Lead"

Visit our In the News page for more...

Edited: 12/12/2006 at 03:19 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/12/2006 03:16 PM     Virtualization     Comments (0)  

December 11, 2006
  Virtual Iron 3.1 Released: Windows Support, Free Version, More

We announced today that Virtual Iron 3.1 has been released. Among all of the excitement that surrounds any product release, there are three items that are particularly exciting:

- Virtual Iron 3.1 provides full support for Windows XP and 2003. We're not just Linux anymore.

- Virtual Iron 3.1 Enterprise Edition is just $499 per socket -- that's less than 20% of the cost of VMware. Virtualization software that costs less than a server? That's the way it should be!

- Two free versions of Virtual Iron 3.1 are available to make it as easy as possible for you to evaluate and compare to VMware. Click here to learn more about these free versions.

We're extremely proud of this release and hope that you'll take the time to try Virtual Iron 3.1.

Edited: 12/11/2006 at 05:13 PM by EvanK

    Posted By: Alex V @ 12/11/2006 05:11 PM     Alex's Blog     Comments (0)  

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