OT: Thank you!

A last post for this 2005. A post to say thank you all!

virtualization.info thanks all vendors who officially or unofficially fed news, provided software, hardware and books for lab testing and reviews, helped correcting posts and invited to public and private events.
Among them I’d like to mention IBM, Leostream, Microsoft, Parallels, PlateSpin, Rob Bastiaansen, SWsoft, VMware, XenSource.

virtualization.info thanks all blog news contributors who announced or secretely passed informations during the whole year.
Among them I’d like to mention Mark Williamson, Peter Erleshofer, Raffaele Valensise, Steven Bink, and others I cannot mention (they know who they are).

virtualization.info thanks all blog technical contributors who provided web designing, blogging platform, hosting and so on.
Among them I’d like to mention Daniele Perilli, Google, Pialorsi Sistemi.

virtualization.info thanks all other virtualization bloggers who spread virtualization news and linked back this blog.
The whole list of them is on the left sidebar on all blog pages.

But most of all virtualization.info thanks all you enthusiastic readers who demonstrated interest in this blog and virtualization technologies since 2003.
The huge growing rate we saw this year is made by you.

Happy New Year!
Alessandro Perilli

Virtualization growing trends

It’s the end of the year and a bottom line is due: virtualization is spreading at huge rate.

I like to think virtualization.info is a sort of “virtualization meter” since someone interested in this technology will probably arrive here sooner or later.

If this is true virtualization.info statistics can help me explaining what I mean with “huge rate”.
This blog is online since just a couple of years and it uses not too flexible statistical engine (even if StatCounter worked great since ever and it’s free) so I cannot go that further with analysis.

This first graph shows how people interest grew more and more in the last months:

This second graph shows the impressive escalation in visits from 2004 to 2005 looking for various topics:

Gartner on December 2003 said: 2004 is the year of virtualization.
I feel they missed the forecast by 3 years: the virtualization mass-spreading will start on 2007.
So be sure to use your whole 2006 to stay ready.

Internet News interviews XenSource CTO

Internet News interviewed Simony Crosby, CTO, XenSource for this end year:

IN: What about the inclusion of Xen in the Linux kernel? Is that something that is very important and when would you expect that to occur?

SB: It’s very important and we are working very hard with Red Hat and the OSDL on making that happen. There is a sequence of things that has to happen to make that work. We had to get Xen 3.0 done, which is the case now with APIs that we stick to it that are backwards compatible going forwards. Those patches then need to be upstreamed to kernel.org, and we have weekly calls with the key upstreaming folks. Everybody is really committed to it because everybody wants a common Xen platform.

Read the whole interview at source.

VMware ESX Server Management Interface unspecified vulnerability

Quoting from Secunia:

A vulnerability has been reported in VMware ESX Server, which has an unknown impact.

The vulnerability is caused due to an unspecified error in the VMware Management Interface. This can be exploited for code execution in the web browser.

The vulnerability has been reported in version 2.0.1, 2.1.2, and 2.5.2.

VMware already released patches for all these versions. I published the one for ESX Server 2.5.2 here.
Patch your version as soon as possible even if the vulnerability is actually considered less critical.

Release: VMware ESX Server 2.5.2 Upgrade Patch 2 released!

A new patch just went out from VMware for its mainstream product.

New and updated feature are:

  • This patch enables support for OEM versions of the IBM xSeries 260, 366, and 460 servers. Please note that this enabling of support does not guarantee server certification.
  • Previous versions allowed downgrading the ESX Server installation back to builds or patches prior to the currently installed version. This version of the installer prevents downgrading, which is the more correct behavior.
  • During patch installation, the patch installer did not check to see if the patch was already installed before proceeding with installation. This version of the patch installer will not apply this patch if it detects that it is already installed.
  • Previously, changes to persistent bindings settings (settings which allow you to assign a specific target SCSI ID to a Fibre Channel device) were reset to default values after rebooting the ESX Server system. These bindings are now permanent, and survive reboots, in this patch release. After installing Upgrade Patch 2, you will need to update persistent bindings manually whenever you add a new target to the Fibre Channel SAN.
    See knowledge base article 1894 for more information.
  • Security fix. Corrects a potential vulnerability in the VMware Management Interface which could allow remote code execution in the Web browser.
    See knowledge base article 2001.

Donwload it here.

IBM SoulPads brings your PC everywhere with virtualization

On early December I suggested the idea of moving my everyday workstation on a virtual machine.
Even before, on September, I talked about an eventual upcoming portable environment based on the new U3 USB technology and virtualization.

I still believe this could be our future sometimes soon, but IBM Research seems to believe so even stronger.

On summer 2004 the IBM Research department produced an interesting project called SoulPads.
A SoulPad is a 2.0 USB portable device carrying a complete software stack with an autoconfiguration host OS (like modern Linux LiveCDs), a virtualization software and your everyday workstation in a virtual machine.

When you put your SoulPad in a new computer it starts the autoconfigurating host OS, runs the virtualization software and powers on your VM.
When you try to remove the SoulPad the VM is suspended and becomes ready to be resumed on any other machine you’ll move.

The great paper won the Best Paper Award at MobiSys 2005 and you should read it.
Also take a look at the IBM SoulPad video demo: low res and high res.

VMware ESX Server performance comparison on AMD and Intel servers

Tom’s Hardware just published a wonderful 19-pages analysis on how a VMware ESX Server 2.5.2 performs on four servers from HP, Dell and Tyan, with AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon CPUs:

Our primary goals in this article are to shed some light on the performance differences between the current AMD and Intel platforms in a heavily multithreaded server environment, and to see how well the platforms scale. Since the systems we used were on loan from a local dealer we had limited time for testing, and could not test every type of applications. One application we did look at is ESX Server; this is an important topic these days, as VMware’s operating system can bring any server to its knees if you run many logical servers on it as virtual machines.

Read the whole must-read article at source.

Expect another Virtual Server from Microsoft before Windows Hypervisor

Bink.nu just published a tentative roadmap of what Microsoft is going to release in 2006.

Among all products a new Virtual Server major release appears: Virtual Server vNext 2006.

I already reported the information without mentioning this name on my September post:
Microsoft virtualization roadmap disclosed details

Microsoft reported this new version could bring in VMs hot backup based on Volume Shadow Service (VSS) support.
It’s also possible it will include better virtual video driver to fully support the upcoming Vista new GUI: Aero.
Instead it’s unsure if the new version will bring 64bit guest OSes or not.
No further news are available.

Note that Steven Bink reports Windows Hypervisor is scheduled 90 days after codename Longhorn Server release.