Whitepaper: Server consolidation with VMware ESX Server

IBM Redbooks department released a draft of a very interesting paper about VMware ESX Server, VMware VirtualCenter, VMware P2V Assistant, IBM Director, Blades and xSeries.

– Abstract
Today, IT infrastructure organizations are working hard to solve the problems created by the explosion in the scope and complexity of IT platforms adopted in the 1990’s. The migration of application architectures to thin-client multi-tier architectures, the rapid introduction of four generations and multiple editions of Windows servers and the growth of Linux have swept across IT organizations in successive waves over the last ten years. These waves caused explosive growth in server counts, network complexity and storage volumes throughout geographically distributed IT organizations. The policies and procedures adopted to gain back control of the infrastructure have often introduced their own challenges.

IT has started to regain the upper hand in the battle against costly, inflexible and disorderly infrastructure. As a first step, IT organizations have generally centralized their IT infrastructure into fewer locations for better visibility. As a second step, they are adopting a new generation of infrastructure technologies and methodologies including server consolidation.

This redpaper discusses server consolidation options and considerations using VMware ESX Server on IBM ^ BladeCenter and xSeries 445 hardware. In addition, systems management options using VMware VirtualCenter, VMotion, P2V Assistant, and IBM Director with VMM are also discussed.

– Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Server Consolidation
Chapter 2. VMware ESX Server
Chapter 3. IBM xSeries 445 with VMware ESX Server
Chapter 4. IBM BladeCenter with VMware ESX Server
Chapter 5. VMware VirtualCenter and VMotion
Chapter 6. VMware management with IBM Director and VMM
Chapter 7. VMware P2V Assistant

You can get it here.

VMware launches seminars about Business Continuity

Quoting from official announcement:

Zero-Downtime Systems: Business Continuity through Virtual Infrastructure

How to spend less, use fewer resources, and improve service levels via virtualization.

What’s your plan if your systems went down now?

Panic? Locate hard-copy of resume and begin looking for a new job
Pray? Hope that your (untested for lack of hardware) recovery system works
Press a button? Move mirrored virtual machines onto production systems without any break in service.
Whether you’re new to virtualization or a current VMware server user, if you’re a systems administrator, group leader, or department head charged with implementing critical systems for your company, you need to attend this event.

Whether you’re new to virtualization or a current VMware server user, if you’re a systems administrator, group leader, or department head charged with implementing critical systems for your company, you need to attend this event.

You can check the seminars locations here.

Whitepaper: Reduce Oracle real app clusters deployment costs and cycle times

VMware released a new paper about Oracle technologies performance tuning in ESX virtual infrastructures. Quite easy now that Oracle and VMware have a technical partnership, uh?

With the rapid success and market penetration of Oracles Real Application Clusters (RAC), it has become increasingly critical to deploy these solutions quickly, consistently, and in a uniform manner. The successful deployment of RAC solutions requires caretul intrastructure and hardware planning. At a minimum II organization must secure the hardware and technical resources necessary to deploy multiple servers, configure public and private networks, provision storage, and create the Oracle environment itself. IT organizations must also factor in the need to replicate the RAC infrastructure for development and QA environments, as well as production.

These tasks and hardware costs can be greatly minimized with the use ofVMwares product offerings. ESX Server can be used to create a virtual RAC infrastructure. ESX Server accomplishes this by transforming a physical system into a pool of logical computing resources. Each RAC nodes operating system and Oracle software are encapsulated into isolated virtual machines. These virtual machines, in turn, can reside on a single server.

In addition, VirtualCenter will be used to manage, monitor, and provision resources within the virtual RAC infrastructure. VirtualCenter can clone the virtual RAC nodes, thereby scaling the existing cluster or replicating the cluster for development or test purposes.

By using VMwares virtualization technology and the techniques described in this pape RAC deployments can be reduced to basic Database and System Administration tasks. This greatly reduces the complexity and costs associated with a traditional RAC infrastructure. Oracle administrators no longer must set up individual nodes of a cluster, but can instead clone a master to create new nodes. Moreover, the use of VMware ESX Server allows multiple virtual machines to coexist on a single piece of hardware, thus massively reducing hardware costs for deploy ment. Using the described methodology, operational Real Application Clusters can be created in the time it takes to clone nodes and edit a few files entries (approximately 30 minutes per node).

The architecture and design outlined in this white paper was created as a proof of concept to demonstrate the capabilities ofVMware technologies with Oracle Real Application Cluster. When implementing and planning production environments please refer to the appropriate vendor support matrix for official support statements on product integration.

You can get it here.

OpenWorld: Oracle to deliver VMware-ready software

Quoting from official announcement:

Oracle and VMware are developing an easier way to install and configure Oracle’s software, executives from the two companies said at the Oracle OpenWorld conference Thursday.

Under a partnership arrangement expected to be announced next week, Oracle plans to distribute and support versions of its software designed to run in the VMware virtual server environment. The database giant will also standardize its internal development on VMware.

“What it means for the customer is that when we release the product, we will release the standard CD version and we will release versions which are VMware-ready,” said Prem Kumar, vice president of Oracle’s server technologies division. Oracle’s database, application server, collaboration suite and management software will all be distributed in this fashion, he said.

Kumar’s 4,000 person group is now using VMware as a standard part of its software development process, which means that VMware customers will receive a better level of support from the database giant, VMware said.

Oracle supports and distributes its server software for a wide variety of systems, including those based on Intel, Sun Microsystems, and IBM processors. VMware’s virtualization software, which can mimic the role of a hardware server, will be added to this list in the first half of 2005.

“We are being treated like any other hardware platform right now,” said Diane Greene, president of VMware, which is operated as an independent subsidiary of EMC. “This is actually a profound new way to let people get their software,” she said.

Instead of running an install wizard and then configuring Oracle’s software on their computer, users who are running the VMware software will instead be able to download a VMware file that will contain both the Linux operating system, as well as a pre-configured version of Oracle’s software that will be immediately ready to run.

This product is particularly useful for developers who will be able to test and tinker with Oracle’s software in a virtual environment. Any changes they make in the virtual environment will not affect the underlying operating system.

EMC’s acquisition of VMware has proved to be a good move for the company, said EMC CEO Joe Tucci, speaking at a keynote address at the Oracle conference Thursday. VMware’s sales have been growing at over 100 percent per year, and the software company is now on track to reach sales of $250 million, Tucci said.

In addition to the added security and ease-of-use benefits that come with running software in a virtual environment, VMware’s ability to run a number of virtual server environments in tandem lets customers get more use out of their systems, Tucci said.

The average user running server software on Intel’s x86 processors uses about 15 percent of the system resources, Tucci said. “We’ve seen customer after customer installation where we can easily drive this to 60 to 80 percent and even higher.”

VMware and the Server Technologies Division of Oracle announce technology and marketing partnership

Quoting from official announcement:

VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtual infrastructure software for industry-standard systems, and the Server Technologies division of Oracle today announced a new relationship covering cooperative product development, performance engineering, and marketing.

“Our growing partnership with Oracle’s Server Technologies division mirrors customers’ increasing preference for VMware virtual infrastructure environments to address business-critical computing requirements,” said Diane Greene, president, VMware. “The extension of our relationship demonstrates our mutual commitment to deliver performance-optimized, fully supported systems consisting of industry-leading database, application server, business applications, and virtualization solutions. Moreover, VMware virtual machine containers maximize hardware utilization, facilitate provisioning and management, enable full flexibility across hardware environments, and allow servicing of systems without downtime and dynamic rightsizing across server farms through VMotion.”

“This partnership brings great value to Oracle Server Technologies product development efforts,” said Prem Kumar, vice president, Server Technologies Engineering, Oracle Corporation. “Our use of VMware as our standard virtualized development platform will simplify and accelerate our infrastructure product development efforts as well as help ensure that our Oracle 10g infrastructure software is developed, tested and optimized for execution on VMware virtual machines.”

As part of this new relationship Oracle and VMware are working towards an agreement to facilitate the following objectives:

VMware as a Standard Virtualized Development Platform for Oracle Server Technologies Products: Oracle Server Technologies development teams plan to standardize on VMware virtual infrastructure as part of the standard Linux and Windows x86 development, test and support environment for Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g, and Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g.

With more than 7,000 VMware virtual machines proposed for internal deployment, Oracle Server Technologies division plans to use VMware virtual infrastructure as a standard virtualized development platform for its database products. This use of VMware products within Oracle Server Technologies can help accelerate product delivery for Oracle customers.

Software Distribution in VMware Virtual Machines: Oracle plans to continue offering a pre-installed and fully configured evaluation version of an Oracle Database 10g environment within VMware virtual infrastructure. To date, more than 12,000 copies of Oracle Database 10g have been distributed within VMware virtual machines.

Joint Support Alignment: As part of this partnership, Oracle and VMware intend to work together to provide customers problem resolution for Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g running on VMware. Oracle plans to provide support of the Oracle Server Technologies software running in VMware virtual machines as it provides support to other supported physical hardware.

Joint Marketing and Customer Solutions: Oracle plans to market solutions including VMware virtual infrastructure for customer environments focused on hardware containment, cost savings and dynamic rightsizing provided by virtualization environments. The two companies also plan to collaborate on proven joint solutions and deployment guides for Oracle migrations, co-existence strategies, and Oracle hardware containment strategies.

For more information about the Oracle-VMware alliance, go to www.vmware.com/oracle.

VMware announces new releases of industry leading virtual infrastructure products for the enterprise

Quoting from official announcement:

VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtual infrastructure software for industry-standard systems, today announced the general availability of the latest versions of VMware ESX Server, VMware VirtualCenter and VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK. The new features of ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 extend the role of virtual infrastructure in the enterprise to integrate more fully with storage and other computing resources, as well as provide additional disaster recovery and blade server support. VirtualCenter 1.2 includes the latest release of the VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK, which provides a rich standards-based Web Services API for close integration with third-party management software.
Virtual infrastructure is the basis for flexible, scalable and low cost enterprise IT. It decouples application workloads completely from underlying physical hardware. This allows hardware-independent applications to be deployed across a pool of physical servers to improve hardware utilization and management flexibility. The key building block of virtual infrastructure is a platform that abstracts the physical resources of an industry-standard server to provide a set of virtual resources to an application. VMware ESX Server provides that virtualization platform and VMware VirtualCenter manages farms of ESX Servers. VMware VMotion permits the migration of running applications across this pool of virtual resources without service interruption.

“Virtual infrastructure innovation has moved far beyond simple server consolidation to a new level of technological sophistication. For customers, these new releases translate to streamlined, optimized enterprise IT and a powerful way to connect IT to business needs,” said Michael Mullany, vice president of marketing at VMware. “By continuing to deliver features such as SAN transparency which allows customers to adopt virtual infrastructure while leveraging existing SAN management capabilities, VMware continues to raise the bar for enterprise-class virtualization.”

Industry Leading Virtual Infrastructure Platform for the Enterprise
Adopted by thousands of IT organizations worldwide over the last three years, VMware ESX Server is the industry leading virtual infrastructure platform for the enterprise. ESX Server speeds service deployments and adds management flexibility by partitioning industry-standard servers into a pool of secure, portable and hardware-independent virtual machines. Customers using ESX Server reduce total cost of ownership by increasing server utilization and simplifying system administration. The unique bare-metal architecture of ESX Server offers market leading reliability, performance, Virtual SMP support and scalability.

New features in VMware ESX Server 2.5 include:

– Boot from SAN. ESX Server runs virtual machines on diskless servers and blades by booting the ESX Server kernel directly from a SAN.
– SAN transparency. ESX Server enables native SAN access from within virtual machines. Guest operating systems can now directly access extended SAN functionality as if they were running directly on the physical hardware. Users can run SAN backup and replication software that depends on native access inside virtual machines or offload file-level backups to SAN-based utilities.
– Automated ESX Server installation. Users can use scripts to speed deployment of multi-server installations and integrate with third-party provisioning products from Altiris, HP, IBM and LANDesk.
– Expanded ESX Server hardware support. ESX Server has been tested with and fully supports industry leading rack and blade servers from Dell, HP and IBM, using AMD and Intel processors.
– Expanded ESX Server guest operating system support. ESX Server adds full support for FreeBSD 4.9, Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 and SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9.
– Common Information Model (CIM) API and object model. The VMware CIM SDK enables monitoring of ESX Server host and virtual machine storage resources from any CIM-aware client or management tool.

“Our VMware virtual infrastructure deployment has been a real success,” said Doug Baer, systems engineer at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. “We already have most of our corporate intranet, messaging and management servers running in ESX Server virtual machines and we look forward to using the new features in ESX Server 2.5. The beta versions of ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 have performed exceptionally. The new scripted installs are a piece of cake and we’ll be using them to streamline deployment of new ESX Server hosts. We’re already planning to make use of the SAN transparency in ESX Server 2.5 to facilitate migration of SAN-attached hosts from physical to virtual hardware. The ability to present a raw SAN device to a virtual machine will prove invaluable in this effort.”

Virtual Infrastructure Management Software for the Responsive Enterprise
VMware VirtualCenter is virtual infrastructure management software that provides a central and secure point of control for virtual computing resources. VirtualCenter creates a more responsive data center, enabling faster reconfiguration and reallocation of applications and services. VirtualCenter allows for instant provisioning of servers and decreases user-downtime while optimizing the data center.

VirtualCenter is a powerful way to connect IT to business needs. With VirtualCenter, IT infrastructure becomes more flexible, efficient and responsive. VirtualCenter uniquely leverages virtual computing, storage and networking to improve data center management and reduce cost. With VMotion, virtual machines can be migrated while running for dynamic load balancing and zero-downtime maintenance.

New features in VMware VirtualCenter 1.2 and VMware Virtual Infrastructure SDK 1.2 include:

– Support for ESX Server 2.5. Users can manage the latest VMware ESX Server release.
– Support for ESX Server SAN transparency. VirtualCenter and the Virtual Infrastructure SDK offer full management of virtual machines using SAN transparency and simplify the management of clustered virtual machines.
– Exportable performance and host summary data. Users can export virtual machine performance statistics in HTML and Excel formats for offline analysis and reporting.
– Enhanced VMware GSX Server support. Users can migrate and clone virtual machines between ESX Server and GSX Server hosts and use the Virtual Infrastructure SDK to automate management of GSX Server hosts.

“Virtual infrastructure has become one of the hottest IT topics around and our experiences with the technology have been very positive,” said Matthew Legg, ITDS technical consultant at UK-based Norwich Union. “It’s good to see VMware continuing to innovate to include features that customers are demanding for improved flexibility and data center management.”

Pricing and Availability
VMware ESX Server 2.5 and VMware VirtualCenter 1.2 are available today. Pricing for ESX Server starts at $3,750 for a 2 CPU machine; pricing for VirtualCenter starts at $5,000. ESX Server and VirtualCenter are available from Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, NEC and the VMware VIP network. VMware Sales can be reached at [email protected] and 1-877-4VMWARE. For customers who have purchased earlier versions of ESX Server and VirtualCenter and have current support and subscription contracts, ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2 are provided as free updates.

Release: VMware Common Information Model SDK 1.0 released!

VMware launched out a new, parallel SDK with different scope from Virtual Infrastructure SDK. Here what it’s about:

The goal of the VMware CIM SDK is to provide independent software vendors (ISVs) and the enterprise storage management industry a CIM-compliant object model for virtual machines and their related storage devices. The SDK also includes a Pegasus CIMOM installed with VMware ESX Server, as well as sample client code, to allow ISVs to explore virtual machine resources and to incorporate them into their management applications. VMware, Inc. considers the first version of the CIM SDK to be experimental. The interface may change in future releases to align it more closely with evolving standards.

With the VMware CIM SDK, independent software vendors can:

– Explore the virtual machines on the ESX Server machine and view their storage resources using any CIM client.
– Examine virtual machine storage allocation to determine if availability and utilization policies are being satisfied.
– Examine the physical storage allocated to a virtual machine.
– Verify the operational status of virtual machine storage, including all storage devices and paths involved in supplying storage to virtual machines.

Available for download at VMware download page.