Which virtualization approach is better for grid computing?

Tim Freeman, Software Developer and Research Assistant at Globus Toolkit, wonders which approach is better for grid computing: server virtualization or OS partitioning?

…production grids are just warming up to the idea of one virtualization platform (Xen), not five at once 馃檪

In the long run, an important factor is the onus placed on the remote user when preparing its environment for deployment across a grid. With VMs or any kind of “contained” guest, you’ve always got to lock in your “capsule” to a certain environment in order for the container to accept it…

For grid applications, it is yet to be seen how important locking in to instruction sets is, but Xen is still a great option (acceptable performance, very portable and very isolated). The choice can affect a lot of things: ease of maintenance, security policies, resource availability, performance, etc…

Read the whole article at source. Highly recommended.

Podcast: Brian Madden interviews Citrix on Project Trinity

Brian Madden published a very interesting 38-minutes podcast where he interviews Brian Nason, Product Line Executive ofr Emerging Products, and Sumit Dhawan, Director of Product Management for Presentation Server, of Citrix about upcoming company approach to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Project Trinity.

Among questions addressed during the interview:

  • What is trinity specifically?
  • How does Citrix’s DDI (dynamic desktop initiative) differ from the more standard term VDI?
  • What are the VDI/DDI benefits and how does Trinity deliver these?
  • What technologies make trinity happen?
  • How will trinity fit it to other solutions from other vendors?
  • What is Citrix’s overall application strategy, and how does trinity fit in?
  • How Citrix will handle standard problems like printing, monitoring, management, etc.
  • What is the trinity architecture? How does it tie in the other backend Citrix architectures?
  • How will Citrix connect to an XP Workstation via ICA?

Listen the whole interview at source.

VMware VDI vs Citrix DDI

On the official Citrix architects blog an interesting article has been published trying to explain differences between original VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) approach to virtualization and recently announced Citrix Dynamic Desktop Initiative (DDI):

The major difference between DDI and VDI should be clear from the choice of terms and acronyms: while 鈥渧irtualization鈥 clearly plays a big role in VDI, the more generic term 鈥渄ynamic鈥 is used for DDI. This highlights that we envisage Trinity to be a generic desktop brokering solution that is not intimately tied to a particular virtualization solution with desktops executing as virtual machines.
More specifically, VDI is of course VMware’s term, hence in a strict sense a VDI solution would require desktops to execute on top of VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure. However, it is straightforward to generalise the concept for other virtualization vendors such as Microsoft or XenSource…

Read the whole article at source.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure overview

Patrick Rouse wrote a good article describing elements of the emerging use of virtualization called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), originally launched by VMware:

VDI is VMware鈥檚 designation for the hosting and virtualization of a individual Client OS like Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista or Linux on VMware ESX. The intent is to be able to deploy, secure and manage enterprise desktops in the data center.

For those used to managing server based computing environments, consisting of Windows Terminal Servers and Citrix, managing VDI is definitely similar task. The difference is that instead of managing numerous centralized, multi-user server operating systems, one would be managing potentially hundreds, or thousands of centralized, virtualized single user operating systems.

VDI is not one product, but rather a technology consisting of five separate components:..

Read the whole article at source.

Security: VMware ESX Server “Expect” Header Handling Cross Site Scripting Vulnerability

Because of a vulnerability in Apache web server, VMware ESX Server (from 2.0.2 to 3.0.1 version) is prone to a cross-site scripting attack:

A bug was found in Apache where an invalid Expect header sent to the server was returned to the user in an unescaped error message. This could allow an attacker to perform a cross-site scripting attack if a victim was tricked into connecting to a site and sending a carefully crafted Expect header.

While a web browser cannot be forced to send an arbitrary Expect header by a third-party attacker, it was recently discovered that certain versions of the Flash plugin can manipulate request headers. If users running such versions can be persuaded to load a web page with a malicious Flash applet, a cross-site scripting attack against the server may be possible.

Read the whole security advisor at source.

At the moment of writing there is no patch available from VMware to address this vulnerability.

Scalent joins HP BladeSystem Solution Builder Program

Quoting from the Scalent official announcement:

Scalent Systems, the leading provider of server infrastructure repurposing software for large enterprise data centers, today announced that it has joined the HP BladeSystem Solution Builder Program. Through its membership, Scalent can more tightly integrate its Virtual Operating Environment (V/OE鈩) software product with the HP BladeSystem c-Class architecture, extending Scalent’s management of the HP platform to increased out-of-the-box functionality.

The Scalent solution encompasses support for Linux, Solaris and Windows, and hypervisors like VMware and Xen, as well as supporting and extending the capabilities of the HP BladeSystem “best-run” solutions…