MMS Day 1 Keynote: Bob Kelly, Microsoft corporate vice president, April 28, 2009, 8:30 am PT
There is updated desktop virtualization content at www.microsoft.com/vdi There are a couple of whitepapers and guides to help understand the various approaches and components of a virtualized desktop.
Over the last few months VDI is an area I have been spending a lot of time in, particularly around the joint Microsoft and Citrix VDI solutions.
One of the more interesting aspects of VDI is determining the right mix of technologies to utilize. For large organizations it’s rarely the case that virtualizing all desktops makes sense. At the same time, providing a full PC to all users also doesn’t make much sense if users don’t need it.
The right answer is to find the optimized mix that makes sense for a given organization. Getting there involves understanding your users, your users requirements, the TCO of the various options, etc. With the ability to virtualize the OS, applications, and presentation, the most cost effective solution can be provided to each user group (ex. task workers get a TS/Citrix session and power users get a full PC with apps coming from APP-V, etc)
Over the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more content on this approach as I am in the middle of documenting both the approach and technical guidance for proofs of concept as part of work I am doing for an MCS solution offering.
Two new books on Hyper-V have been released or coming soon. These are written by some of the most active members of the virtualization team and extended community inside Microsoft. Some of the authors I know personally and some I know by reputation from the hundreds of questions they answer every month on our internal distribution lists and public forums so these should be great resources. I was a reviewer for a couple of chapters in the Hyper-V Resource Kit so I can’t wait to see the final product.
The first book is available now (my copy arrives today, I’ll post a review once I’ve finished it). Robert posted a status on the Hyper-V Resource Kit which is complete and should be available in the next 60 days.
Hyper-V is one of the top virtualization products, and this practical guide focuses on the essentials of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. Written by the Microsoft team behind the Hyper-V product, this book shows you how to perform key virtualization scenarios, such as server consolidation, software test and development, and a dynamic data center and demonstrates how Hyper-V can be used to reduce cost and eliminate the complexity of a server infrastructure by consolidating workloads to a small number of machines. In addition, the material addresses using DPM, and SCOM with VMM in order to maintain and manage Hyper-V environments.
Get the definitive reference for managing and supporting Hyper-V (virtualization) in Windows Server 2008—with insights from the Microsoft experts who know the technology best. This official Microsoft RESOURCE KIT provides in-depth technical guidance and best practices on how to deploy, install, configure, administer, and support Hyper-V, along with drilldown into advanced configuration options; development and testing tools; migration, management, and scripting tools; security features; Linux support; disaster recovery; and how to extend and customize the technology. You also get a CD packed with sample scripts, technical white papers; videos from the authors; and a fully searchable eBook version of the entire guide.
IEEE Spectrum has an interesting article online about mega-datacenters and whether a million server datacenter is possible in the near future. It describes the efforts of the major players in this space. They describe some of the attributes of Microsoft’s Quincy and Chicago datacenters as well as several others.
Last year I had the opportunity to tour one of Microsoft’s smaller datacenters (“only” 45,000 servers) with a couple of our customers. The scale of the facilities and supporting infrastructure are pretty amazing. The things that impressed me most was the attention to detail and discipline required to operate such a facility. In walking through for a couple hours I didn’t see a single wire out of place, everything was pristine. The datacenter manager hosting the tour made a point that really struck me about the discipline required. He said that even the smallest non-compliance with facility rules and standards (i.e.. tools left behind, improper cabling, etc) resulted in disciplinary action. He said that when operating such a large and complex facility that attention to detail is critical else things can quickly start to spin out of control. Another interesting point was that only a small double digit number of people are required to staff the facility in total across three shifts.
The IEEE article talks primarily about the current Microsoft datacenters. For some insights on where we are going in the future, the following articles and video may be of interest.
Our Vision for Generation 4 Modular Data Centers - One way of Getting it just right
Microsoft's Generation 4 Data Center Vision - the Architects' Perspective
Designing Generation 4.0 Data Centers: The Engineers’ Approach to Solving Business Challenges
Glenn O'Donnell over at Forrester had a great post titled “Is a CMDB even possible?” that I just came across. As you may know, CMDB stands for Configuration Management Database and is typically defined as a single repository holding all configuration items (systems, applications, etc) and their relationships. The idea of a CMDB has been a core tenet ITIL for a long time. Late last year I invested a substantial amount of time over a couple months pursuing (and achieving) the ITIL Service Manager certification (ITIL v2). In earning that credential and interacting with a lot of other ITIL trained people over the years at various customers, the CMDB concept seams to be the one concept that resonates the most with people. I think this is because it is really the only area in ITIL v2 that has a bit of a technical nature to it whereas the primary focus is process. Since a lot of folks that participate in ITIL training are IT folks, I think they tent to naturally gravitate toward the technical.
In any event, while I haven’t had time to dig into ITIL v3 in any detail yet, one of the big changes is that it moves away from evangelizing a single, monolithic CMDB and toward a Configuration Management System (CMS) that may be made up of several different management systems. Glenn’s article goes into the reasoning for this and he has some thoughts on where this might be going in terms of federating different management systems.
The rush toward the holy grail of a single CMDB consumes a lot of people and resources when the newly “indoctrinated” come back from ITIL training. I think that outcome was the biggest flaw in the definition and delivery of ITIL v2 and I’m glad it has been changed in V3 to a much more feasible approach.
In terms of the Microsoft stack, obviously System Center is where these concepts are and will be instantiated. System Center Service Manager will be bringing a lot of capability in this space. This week at MMS there are at least 9 sessions on Service Manager.