OT: Thank you!

Even this year virtualization.info has been a big success thanks to you.

In my last post, Virtualization Trends in 2006, I underlined how pageviews jumped from over 200,000 in 2005 to over 1 million.
But growth of virtualization.info has not only been about visits.

The blog now publishes around 2,000 posts, carefully chosen among tents and tents of news, press releases, technical articles, tools announcements, newsgroups and forum messages, etc. appearing every day.
As already said in other occasions virtualization.info slightly changed its role during these years, stopping aggregating every single bit about virtualization (which nobody would have time to read) and starting a selection of really useful informations.

A lot of new features has been implemented too:

  • the Bookstore, which collects books released so far about virtualization and simplifies purchase through Amazon
  • the Job Board which can help worldwide companies finding their VCPs, or other virtualization professionals
  • the Industry Observer which remark notable move from consolidated and new market players
  • the Events Calendar which helps remember live webcasts and most important virtualization conferences

And, probably the best improvement so far, a much more polished web layout, without invasive advertising and with a much more useful sidebar (if you don’t see it check your browser cache, your permission to execute javascript code and your ad blocking tools).
This change in particular would never be possible without the help of virtualization.info sponsors (vizioncore, SWsoft and PlateSpin), which deserve special thanks.

I also want to thank Daniele Perilli for endless help on web designing and coding, Pialorsi Sistemi for providing the reliable hosting facility virtualization.info is using since years, and Google for continuously providing amazing tools for web authoring, sponsorships and almost everything someone could ever need.

The last one is for every single person who contributed in any way, including readers for submitting interesting articles, virtualization professionals for offering help and suggestions to improve this site and vendors for arranging great interviews, product demos and events partecipation.

Even more will come. Stay tuned and happy new year!
Alessandro Perilli

Virtualization trends in 2006

As usual the last day of the year I like to stop for a moment and think over numbers virtualization.info is able to generate.

The first, impressive, point is general growth of interest in virtualization: we passed from an already notable 200,000 pageviews per year (compared to just 5,000 in 2004) to over 1 million.

With such numbers looking at how virtualization interest is distributed around the world:

This tiny map surely confirms North America and Western Europe as most active areas, but also spreads lights on new potential markets in:

  • Asia (Australia, Japan, India, Singapore, Thailand)
  • South America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia)
  • Eastern Europe (Russia, Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey, Greece)

In highly interested areas there is a little surprise, with Switzerland entering among Top 10 countries, and Germany which surpassed Canada and Netherlands:

These results are interesting but become amazing when compared with Google Trends ones:

Asian countries and Russia among top searchers (topping US) confirms these are emerging markets.

It’s also notable from this analysis VMware, as market leader, is never among most visited news about virtualization, letting space to AMD, Microsoft and Xen.
But adding the keyword VMware completely changes perspective, confirming the company name more popular than the technology itself:

Continuing this path I cannot avoid underlining how technical terms around same topic are differently popular, which may help understanding how users perceive the technology:

This reading is further confirmed by what is being searched on virtualization.info, where basic technical tips are most requested:

  1. How to create a new virtual machine with VMware Player (and related: Guide to create .vmx files for VMware Player, How to launch ISO and use LiveCDs inside VMware Player, Create VMware VMX configuration files easily and VMX Builder for VMware Player)
  2. How to install Sun Solaris 10 inside VMware Workstation 5.5
  3. How to improve disk I/O performances with VMware Workstation
  4. Debunking Blue Pill myth
  5. Virtualization Industry Roadmap
  6. How to stress test virtual machines
  7. virtualization.info interviews Raghu Raghuram of VMware
  8. Microsoft to release Virtual Server 2005 R2 for free
  9. What is Virtualization?
  10. Guide to Apple MacOS x86 Tiger on VMware

What to expect for 2007? I expect a linear growth, in terms of interest and technology evolution, until Microsoft will release its Windows Server Virtualization (formerly codename Viridian).

At that time VMware will have to defend its leadership with an innovative ESX Server 4.0 and a much bigger effort in SMB segment, XenSource and Virtual Iron will have to gain SMBs trust justifying why Xen is better than free VMware Server and Microsoft hypervisor, Parallels will have to quickly consolidate its position on Apple market providing reliable server products, SWsoft will have to consolidate its position as well clarifying once and forever if OS partitioning really can be more performant, scalable and secure than server virtualization.

All other ISVs in this industry will have to figure out how to survive in a market where Microsoft decided to enter seriously and to offer a big part of tools for free.

Tech: Configure SAN manual multipathing in VMware ESX Server 3

Vincent Vlieghe published a brief but useful help for configuring manual multipathing to preferred storage in VMware ESX Server 3:

ESX does not support dynamic multipathing. Therefore, manual multipathing must be configured on each ESX host. This is necessary, because if all datastores use the same path, I/O contention can appear…

Read the whole article at source.

Tech: Programming VMware Infrastructure 3 with .NET C#

SeachServerVirtualization published a nice 3-parts article describing how to make the most of VMware Infrastructure 3 SDK with Microsoft .NET C# programming language:

The preferred mechanism for programmatically interacting with VI3 is the SDK, not the commands available in the ESX COS (such as the suite of commands prefixed with “esxcfg” found in /usr/sbin). The SDK is very powerful, and its power can be harnessed with another equally powerful tool, .NET.

In this article, I will discuss the two of the SDK’s concepts that one must understand to write even the most basic code, and I will attempt to relate new concepts to familiar ones in order to make them easier to understand. The first section will discuss the SDK’s two object types, managed objects and data objects. The second section will cover the VI3 hierarchy and structure.

at the next article in the series I will talk about what version of .NET to use, how to generate client-side code and demonstrate a simple, real-world program written in C# that interacts with the VI3 SDK…

Read the first part of this series at source.

Tool: VDF+ 2.0

Massimiliano Daneri just updated one of its famous tools for VMware ESX Server.

VDF+ is a Perl script enhancing standard VMware console command vdf, able to show mounted VMFS-formatted devices.
This new 2.0 version introduces support for ESX Server 3.x.

Download it here.

Tool: Manage Large Networks (MLN)

Kyrre Begnum and John Sechrest developed a new tool for automating creation and configuration of large virtual datacenters based on Xen and/or User-Mode Linux (UML):

MLN (Manage Large Networks) is a perl program that can be used to create a complete network of Xen or User-Mode-Linux systems from a short configuration file.

The goal is to ease the configuration and management of virtual networks. Xen and User-Mode Linux are widely used as tools for testing, learning and virtual hosting. MLN builds and configures filesystem templates based on its descriptive and easy programming language and stores them in an organized manner. It also generates start and stop scripts for each virtual host, enabling you to manage a running virtual network by stopping individual virtual machines within a network and starting them again. MLN makes it possible to have serveral separate networks, projects, at once and even connect them together to create larger networks.

Most notable features of this project are:

  • Building virtual networks written in the mln language
  • Upgrading a running virtual network by taking down only the machines that need to be rebuilt
  • Downloading filesystem templates from our repository
  • Starting and stopping virtual networks (both hosts and switches)
  • Removing virtual networks
  • Setting up a bridge device on your host so that the virtual machines become a part of your LAN
  • Build process can be done as non-root

SysAdminMag.com published a long how-to about MLN, written by its creators. It’s worth to read it.

Download it here.

MLN could be a precious help for hosting providers. I wonder how easy could be supporting OpenVZ and VMware Server.

Tool: VMware Server Management Pack for Microsoft Operation Manager 2005

Pete Zerger released a great add-on for Microsoft system administrators using MOM 2005: a free Management Pack for free VMware Server 1.0.1.

This first release is already populated with 140 events rules (divided in categories for guests, hardware, resources, etc.) and sporting some notable features like monitoring of service state.

Download the Management Pack at source.

Tech: How to run Sun Solaris 10 in Parallels Desktop

Although Parallels supports Solaris 10 in its virtual machines there are some minor issues with 1280×800 resolution of Macbooks.

Jean-Christophe Martin published a workaround for Parallels Desktop build 3036 which partially solves problems:

Create a new VM with the Solaris 10 type, but, before to finish, un-select the option to start the Solaris installation and edit the VM configuration to add a custom screen resolution of 1280×800.
Start the VM to launch the install.
Log in an create a /etc/X11/xorg.conf with something like the one attached here (xorg.conf). Basically you need to add the Modeline lines (generated with /usr/X11/bin/gtf) and put 1280×800 in the appropriate Display subsections.

Check the original post for updates and comments.

BTW: Glenn Brunette, Distinguished Engineer and Director, Global Sales and Service Security Office at Sun, took a nice screenshot of Solaris 10 with Trusted Extension (11/06) running on Parallels Desktop.