Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • VMware or Microsoft?–Did you know that there’s no extra charge?

    This week at VMWorld the VMware faithful are learning all about the latest news and updates from their virtualization vendor.  And hopefully at the same time Microsoft is able to reach them with some free custard and some good information to help them understand:

    So today, for the latest article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series, I thought I’d address an area that perhaps a lot of VMware customers don’t know much about.  One of the important things that we really want VMware customers to understand is that they may be paying for features or technology or high availability or virtualized storage or virtualized networking that they wouldn’t have to if they went with Microsoft’s version of the “Software Defined Data Center”.  And add to this the fact that many enterprises using VMware already also own System Center; well, that means that they already own all that they need do to everything that otherwise requires the vCloud Suite and VMware’s Enterprise Plus licensing.

    While I don’t have the time to write (and you won’t have patience to read through) an exhaustive list of examples, let me just pick a few key scenarios that you’re either already paying too much for, or perhaps haven’t purchased because you thought the capability was just too expensive.  In each example, while I won’t list any retail prices (which are always subject to change), I’ll try and point out what versions or SKUs you would have to obtain (purchase or simply download) to gain the described benefits.

    Disclaimer: VMWorld isn’t over yet, and there may be announcements around licensing changes that may make some of these points obsolete.  And for your sake, I hope so.  Smile with tongue out

    The Hypervisor: FREE

    While VMware has also has a free hypervisor, theirs is limited in what it can do.  And while this week VMware announced that more capabilities will be made available to more of the purchased vSphere levels, Microsoft will never ever have to make any such announcement.


    Because the free Hyper-V Server already does everything that Hyper-V installed under Windows Server 2012 does.  It’s full-featured.  No limits.  No compromise.  All of the scale is there, for no additional cost.  And even though higher versions of vSphere 5.5 now finally support similar scale to Hyper-V, they don’t exceed what Hyper-v already does, and does for free.


    Do you see anything on that list that VMware does bigger or better?  At the time of this writing (the day after VMWorld’s keynote), in vSphere 5.5 they did increase the LPs to 320, memory to 4TB, and vCPUs to 64, which matches Hyper-V – but not in their free version.

    Live Migration (It’s like VMotion): INCLUDED

    You don’t need to buy anything just to get ultimate live portability of virtual machines.  You can do live moves of running virtual machines (Live Migration), live moves of a machines storage (Storage Live Migration), and even a move of the running machine and its storage, all in one operation (“Shared-Nothing” Live Migration); even without the need for a cluster. 

    I know that’s not something unique to Hyper-VVMotions have been around for a while.  But unless something new is announced this week, you still have to pay something for that capability.  And, there are some capabilities which, when implemented, actually override and disallow the ability to do a vMotion.  (SR-IOV being just one example.  Check out this vSphere 5.1 document for their entire list.) 
    NOTE: I’m guessing that the story here gets better with vSphere 5.5, but I don’t know the details at the time of this writing.  Please enlighten me in the comments if there is something new here.

    With Hyper-V, we have no such limitations.

    Also with Hyper-V, you can do as many simultaneous migrations of machines and storage as your hardware will allow, with no artificially imposed limits based on network capacity.


    HIgh-Availability: INCLUDED

    Windows Server (and the free Hyper-V Server) includes the Windows Failover Clustering role, which allows you to create a big cluster of virtualization nodes.

    “How big?”

    Currently the limit is up to 64 nodes supporting up to 8,000 virtual machines.  And you don’t even need System Center to manage or maintain it.  You can even do rolling updates of the nodes of your cluster, and the VMs will live-migrate back and forth during the process.  That’s just built-in. 

    “But what about DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) and Distributed Power Management?”

    Yep.  But in Hyper-V and using System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager, we call it DO and PO – for Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization.


    Replication: INCLUDED

    Do you want to create and regularly synchronize to an offline copy of a virtual machine that you can failover to in case of an unexpected outtage or disaster?  Hyper-V provides that in the box with Hyper-V Replica.  And coming in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, you’ll have a couple of new capabilities:

    • Tertiary Replication – You can make a replica of the replica to yet another location (Great for hosting service providers who also want to make a replica of the replica they’re hosting for you.)
    • More flexible RPO (Recovery Point Objective) – Rather than just sending replica snaphots every 5 minutes, you can also choose to replicate every 15 minutes.  Or every 30 seconds.

    “But Kevin, VMware includes replication in all editions of vSphere, and in 5.5 they’ve made improvements in RPO and in doing point-in-time recovery with multiple recover points saved.”

    Yep.  Just like Hyper-V has had since 2012.  They’re doing more here, definitely, which is good.  But do they support Test Failovers? Do they support automation through PowerShell without some other purchased tool like SRM?  Can they automatically re-IP a server that has failed over to a different IP subnet?  Is it easy to “failback”?  These are all things that you get for no additional cost with Hyper-V Replica.


    Network Virtualization: INCLUDED

    VMware announced NSX at the VMWorld Keynote.  This is their solution for network virtualization / Software Defined Networking.   The flexibility of defining, isolating, and applying policy to networks of machines that can be programmatically created, and giving the portability to move virtual machines around to different physical networks while the virtual networking and IP addressing of those machines never has to change – that’s all very compelling, yes?

    “Yes.  And isn’t that what you can already do with Hyper-V Network Virtualization and the Hyper-V Extensible Switch?”

    Yes.  Microsoft started enabling network virtualization in Windows Server 2012, and managed by System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.  And these capabilities are only getting better and more flexible in the R2 versions of both of those products, and supported by many hardware vendors.

    I’d actually like to learn a little more about how NSX is implemented.  Is it just a new version of their switch?  If so, Microsoft also has the benefit of a virtual switch that is Extensible, not just replaceable.  Other products such as firewalls, traffic control, packet filtering – these can easily be added to the switch; configured at a logical level and the applied uniformly to all switches participating in a logical network

    Can you use NSX and the Cisco Nexus 1000v at the same time?  No.  But with Microsoft’s extensible switch, you just add the Nexus 1000v extension, and you still have Network Virtualization. 


    Storage Virtualization: INCLUDED

    At the VMWorld keynote, VMware announced the availability of the public beta for vSAN –the VMware Virtual SAN

    This is “a new software-defined storage tier, pools compute and direct-attached storage resources and clusters server disks and flash to create resilient shared storage.”

    Have you heard of Storage Spaces?   Windows Server 2012 (and improved in R2) supports the ability to treat cheap disks as pools of storage.  Virtualized.  From the pool, you create virtual disks, which can then contain volumes.

    If that volume contains a file share, you can use SMB 3 (and even better with RDMA support) to have fast, live-data support (even virtual hard disks of running machines) on that storage.

    Single failover cluster with CSV and file shares

    Supporting that storage, you could have a cluster of file servers who actively share access to that same share, which makes the supported files and filesystem “Continuously Available”; meaning, if a file server goes down – even if it’s the one serving access to a particular file (or running VM’s hard disk or SQL Server’s database files), you’ll never lose connectivity.  (See “Scale-Out File Server for Application Data Overview” for more information.

    And I should probably remind you: This is included in Windows Server 2012.

    But it gets even better.  In Windows Server 2012 R2 we add the ability to automatically support tiered storage in storage pools.  If you have local SSDs alongside of HDDs, go ahead and put them in the same pool.  And Windows Server will automagically move the more active files to the SSDs and the less active files to the HDDs.  (Yes, you can also designate that certain files must always have faster performance and should therefore be put on the SSD tier; like your VM’s hard disks.)


    Automation: INCLUDED

    VMware agreed with Microsoft during their VMWorld keynote when they said that automation “is the control plane for the datacenter of the future”, and that what is missing (?) is a common set of management and, importantly, automation tools for working with virtualized machines and applications – even in a hybrid cloud environment.  And their solution for this is their vCloud Automation Center.

    Microsoft’s answer to this is a combination of PowerShell (which, for no additional cost, is available to fully manage all of Hyper-V, all of Windows Server, and even configure and manage Infrastructure-as-a-Service resources in Windows Azure or other hosting providers), and System Center 2012 SP1, which, through automations in Virtual Machine Manager, App Controller, and extremely rich (and cross-vendor) automations driven by Orchestrator.

    Oh.. and did you know that, with these same tools, you can also automate your configuration, deployment, management, monitoring, and reporting against vCenter-based virtualization resources too?  Yes, System Center 2012 SP1 can do that, even if you want to stick with vSphere, or use Hyper-V in addition to vSphere for virtualization. 


    I could go on, but I think this is a good start.

    What do you think?  Are you paying too much for capabilities that should just be “included”?  Have I opened your eyes at least a little bit to the idea that Microsoft has a full-featured, enterprise-ready solution? 
    If you haven’t lately, it’s definitely time to take another look. 

  • VMware or Microsoft? – The Complete Series

    You can run full Hyper-V for FREE.You asked for it, so here it is!  Here is the list of articles in our “VMware or Microsoft? series, as submitted by our team of IT Pro Technology Evangelists.

    UPDATE: The six weeks are over.  The series is complete.  Below is the entire list of articles!

    We hope you find these useful!




    Aug 12, 2013

    Series Introduction

    Kevin Remde@KevinRemde

    Aug 13, 2013

    What is a “Purpose-Built Hypervisor?

    Kevin Remde@KevinRemde

    Aug 14, 2013

    Simplified Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 Host Patching = Greater Security and More Uptime

    Chris Avis@ChrisAvis

    Aug 15, 2013

    Reducing VMware Storage Costs WITH Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Aug 16, 2013

    Does size really matter?

    Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_

    Aug 19, 2013

    Let’s talk certifications!

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Aug 20, 2013

    Virtual Processor Scheduling

    Tommy Patterson@Tommy_Patterson

    Aug 21, 2013

    FREE Zero Downtime Patch Management

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Aug 22, 2013

    Agentless Protection

    Chris Avis - @ChrisAvis

    Aug 23, 2013

    Site to Site Disaster Recovery with HRM

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Aug 25, 2013

    Destination: VMWorld

    Jennelle Crothers@jkc137

    Aug 26, 2013

    Get the “Scoop” on Hyper-V during VMworld

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Aug 27, 2013

    VMWorld: Key Keynote Notes

    Kevin Remde@KevinRemde

    Aug 28, 2013

    VMWorld: Did you know that there is no extra charge?

    Kevin Remde@KevinRemde

    Aug 29, 2013

    VMWorld: A Memo to IT Leadership

    Yung Chou@YungChou

    Aug 30, 2013

    Moving Live Virtual Machines, Same But Different

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Sep 2, 2013

    Not All Memory Management is Equal

    Dan Stolts@ITProGuru

    Sep 3, 2013

    Can I get an app with that?

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Sep 4, 2013

    Deploying Naked Servers

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Sep 5, 2013

    Automated Server Workload Balancing

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Sep 6, 2013

    Thoughts on VMWorld

    Jennelle Crothers@jkc137

    Sep 9, 2013

    Shopping for Private Clouds

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Sep 11, 2013

    Dynamic Storage Management in Private Clouds

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Sep 12, 2013

    Replaceable? or Extensible? What kind of virtual switch do you want?

    Chris Avis@ChrisAvis

    Sep 13, 2013

    Offloading your Storage

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Sep 16, 2013

    VDI: A Look at Supportability and More!

    Tommy Patterson@Tommy_Patterson

    Sep 17, 2013

    Agentless Backup for Virtual Environments

    Special Guest Chris Henley@ChrisJHenley

    Sep 19, 2013

    How robust is your availability?

    Kevin Remde@KevinRemde

    Sep 20, 2013

    VM Guest Operating System Support

    Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_

    Sep 23, 2013

    How to license Windows Server VMs

    Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_

    Sep 24, 2013

    Comparing vSphere 5.5 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V At-A-Glance

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Sep 25, 2013

    Evaluating Hyper-V Network Virtualization as an alternative to VMware NSX

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

    Sep 26, 2013

    Automation is the Key to Happiness

    Matt Hester@MatthewHester

    Sep 27, 2013

    Comparing Microsoft’s Public Cloud to VMware’s Public Cloud

    Blain Barton@BlainBar 

    Sep 30, 2013

    What does AVAILABILITY mean in YOUR cloud?

    Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

  • VMware or Microsoft?– What is a “Purpose-Built Hypervisor”?

    How do they REALLY compare?In the first of our articles in the “VMware or Microsoft?” series, I’m going to address some misconceptions and misinformation about what Hyper-V actually is.

    In a currently available document that VMware provides, comparing vSphere 5 to the as-of-then beta of what is now Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012, VMware makes the claim that they have a “Purpose-Built Hypervisor”, with “no reliance on a general purpose OS”, whereas Microsoft depends upon the Server OS to be there.

    [Insert annoyingly-loud buzzer sound indicating a wrong answer here]

    To address VMware's claim, let’s answer a couple of questions: What is Hyper-V?

    “It’s a virtualization hypervisor.”

    Right.  And where is it installed?

    “On Windows Server.”

    [Insert an even more annoyingly-loud buzzer sound indicating a wrong answer here]

    Wrong!  It is installed UNDER Windows Server.  (And that’s just one option.  More about that in a sec.)  When you enable the Hyper-V Role on Windows Server, it inserts the hypervisor between the hardware and the host operating system; actually changing the host operating system into just another “Partition” – the operating system running on virtualization that has highest priority and control of the hardware, and the OS you see when you look at the console.  But architecturally, it’s actually running on top of the hypervisor.  And any virtual machines you host are “child partitions”.


    (For an even more detailed description of the architecture, read this: Hyper-V Architecture)

    “But it still requires Windows Server, doesn’t it?”

    [Insert the most annoyingly-loud buzzer sound indicating an incorrect answer that you can imagine.]

    NO!  You also have the ability to install use the Hyper-V Server on bare metal, which is just the hypervisor, plus some bits to make it manageable.  And it’s free.

    “Ah, free.. so that means it’s not full-featured, right?”

    [Insert the SAD TROMBONE sound here, just to mix things up a bit.]

    Boy… you’re not very good at this.  The Hyper-V Server is the same hypervisor, with all of the same scale, performance, high-availability (Windows Failover Clustering), flexibility (supporting Live Migration and Live Storage Migration)… everything that’s in the version of Hyper-V installed under Windows Server.

    So does VMware really have a valid claim here – that Microsoft somehow has a disadvantage of depending upon a server OS?


    [Insert the sound of jubilant trumpets blowing a fanfare of victory and success]

    You got that right.


    For more information…

  • VMware or Microsoft? – The Series Introduction

    I smell blood in the water...Hello out there all of you virtualization fans!… all of you datacenter supermen and superwomen!… all of you who get excited when skillfully and elegantly applied information technology makes your work lives and the work lives of the people you support – and the businesses you provide value to - just so much better! 

    We have a new 6-week blog series for you entitled “VMware or Microsoft?”

    “Who’s ‘we’?  And what is the series about?”

    We are the 11 IT Pro Technology Evangelists serving the United States on behalf of Microsoft.  And the series is.. well… let’s call it “Shark Week” for IT Pros.

    “You mean.. like what just ended on the Discovery Channel?”

    Exactly.  Except that instead of one week, it’s six weeks long.  And instead of sharks, it’s virtualization platform and management comparisons.  But in terms of ferocity, well.. they’re exactly the same.  (Minus the sharp teeth and all of that violence, of course.)  What we want to do during these six weeks is to dispel some of the myths and misinformation that is out there.  In this series we promise to provide you with articles that are rich in technical detail, proving that Hyper-V and System Center 2012 are the best choice for virtualization and serving up applications; whether your “clouds" are local, in the public cloud, at a hosting provider, or a combination of any of those. 

    We also promise that, if we’re discussing an area where VMware simply has a better solution, or has a technology that Microsoft can’t match, we’ll acknowledge it honestly.  We know that, as Microsoft employees (and especially as a bunch of folks who hold the title of “Evangelists”), we automatically are seen as impartial.  And let’s face it: We are. (smile)  But we’re also confident enough in the products and the company that we represent to be able to just tell it like it is.  And we expect (and hope) that if you find something that should be corrected, that you’ll inform us of it in the comments on our blogs.  That’s what the comments are for, and we sincerely anticipate and appreciate all open and respectful discussion.

    “Do you have a list of topics created?”

    Yes, we do have a list.  But it’s definitely subject to change.  It’s no secret, and certainly no accident, that this series will be happening over the week when VMware will be holding their VMWorld conference.  So we know that our list might change drastically during that week as a result of the announcements and improvements that VMware will most certainly make.  They might even catch up to or surpass Microsoft in some areas where we currently hold the advantage.  In that light, we also reserve the right to discuss some improvements and new technologies soon to come in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.  (<— HINT: Click those links to download the previews of each of these.)

    So.. watch our blogs, watch the series landing page, and get ready to be on the very edge of your swively office chair as you witness the carnage competition about to unfold…

  • TechNet Radio: (Part 2) What’s New in 2012 R2 – Transforming the Datacenter

    Microsoft Corporate VP Brad Anderson and I are back for part 2 of our "What's New in 2012 R2" series.  We discuss the new and exciting "cloud OS vision" in the next wave of Microsoft's Server and System Center products. Tune in as we take a deep dive into how your business can transform its datacenter by harnessing the power of a hybrid cloud IT environment.

    If you're interested in learning more about the products or solutions discussed in this episode, click on any of the below links for free, in-depth information:

    Websites & Blogs:


    clip_image001Follow @technetradio
    clip_image001Follow @KevinRemde
    clip_image002Become a Fan @
    clip_image002Become a Fan @
    clip_image004Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS


  • VMware or Microsoft?–Are you experienced?

    Well?  Are you?

    We start this new week of articles in our series, “VMware or Microsoft?” with a nod to the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s album and song, “Are you experienced”. 


    Because whenever I hear the question, “are you certified?”, I think of professional certifications.  And when I think of professional certifications, I think of the experience that one must have (in most cases) in order to pass a certification test.  And when I think of the word “experience”, I think of this Hendrix album.

    But step back a couple of thoughts in that crazy train that is my train of thought for a second…

    “Ozzy Osbourne!”

    Um.. huh?  Okay.  Anyway… I mentioned the topic of certifications.  And that’s exactly what Matt Hester is talking about in today’s series article.  Like me, he is also VCP 5 certified by VMware.  So he's decided to walk you through a comparison of VMware’s and Microsoft’s approach to IT professional certifications.  (HINT: There is no clear winner here.  And I think that’s a good thing.)


    Crazy Train 

  • VMware or Microsoft?–How much downtime is too much?

    Zero downtime.  Zero cost.  PRICELESS.“Any downtime is too much.  I want none.  ZERO downtime.”

    Of course you do.  We all do.  But that sometimes comes at a cost.  And by cost, I mean actual money.  Dollars and cents.  Do-rey-mi.  $$$

    But Microsoft gives you the ability to patch your virtualization foundation for FREE.  (That’s another big zero, folks.)  So, even in a Windows Failover cluster of 64 virtualization host-nodes running up to 8000 virtual machines, you easily launch a Cluster-Aware Update.

    “Wow.. And am I right in assuming that this update will automatically move VMs around so that there is no downtime?”

    Right you are.

    “And how does that work?”

    Well, in today’s article in our “VMware or Microsoft?" series, my friend Keith Mayer discusses that very thing.  So I strongly suggest that you READ HIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE HERE.


    So to summarize; using Hyper-V for virtualization results in this:

    Zero downtime + Zero additional Cost = PRICELESS

  • VMware or Microsoft?–Agents or no Agents?

    AgentOne of the things VMware like to claim as a benefit to their protection of virtualization resources and application data is that they don’t require agents to be installed, where supposedly Microsoft requires agents everywhere. 

    But, is that entirely true?  And even if the approaches are a little different, who really has the advantage? 

    To get the answers, you’ll want to read friend Chris Avis’s article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series.  He dispels some myths around this very topic. 


  • VMware or Microsoft?–Destination: VMWorld!

    Destination: VMWorld!The third week in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series is dedicated to VMworld; VMware’s big annual conference happening this week.  Like most of you, we anticipate that VMware will make some big announcements and new version or features known during the week, so it’s a great opportunity to see how they’ll attempt to keep pace with the capabilities (and momentum) that Hyper-V is currently enjoying.  During this week we’ll be bringing you some “Did you know…” facts that:

    1. VMware users probably don’t know, and
    2. VMware doesn’t want you to know and won’t tell you at VMworld

    Jennelle Crothers is the newest member of our team of 11 IT Pro Technology Evangelists in the USA.  She’s also the one who lives closest to where VMWorld is being held, so, naturally it makes sense that she attend.  (Lucky!)

    Yesterday she contributed her first article to our series: “Destination: VMWorld”  In it she outlines the track areas that she’s most interested in seeing.  And she also confesses to being a spy.  (No.. not really.)


  • VMware or Microsoft?–Get the “Scoop” On Hyper-V at VMWorld

    Get the scoop on Hyper-V at VMworld

    Today in our series “VMware or Microsoft?”, we leverage an awesome opportunity to promote our products and give away some good stuff during the VMworld Conference.  Check out Matt Hester’s blog post today for more details.

  • VMware or Microsoft?–VMWorld Key Keynote Notes

    VMWorldWelcome to another of our series of “VMware or Microsoft?” articles.  Yesterday I watched general session keynote coming out of VMworld, and thought I’d jot down and share some notes about what was announced, and perhaps how what was announced compares to products or capabilities in Microsoft’s similar solutions (Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012.)

    “Are you attending VMworld, Kevin?”

    I wish.  But no.  I just decided to set aside some time to watch the live feed.  In my notes I try to follow the outline of the presentation, but this article might read more like someone who was taking notes during a lecture.  Which is essentially what it is.  And then after the event is over I’ll add “My Microsoft Comment” portions to point you to how Microsoft addresses any of the key technology or functionality areas discussed. (NOTE: You can watch the recording of the general session here.)

    So… Here we go!


    Opening Video – Evolution towards simplicity – the “software defined datacenter”.  “Expand virtualization to the entire datacenter”

    On stage: Robin Matlock – Chief Marketing Officer

    Good plug for VMUGVMware User Group, and celebrating the “VMWorld Alumni Elite” – the folks who have attended all 10 US VMWorld conferences.  (Big deal… I haven’t missed a TechEd in North America since 1997.) 
    Some of the alums share their favorite VMWorld memories.  Nice.

    “Customer Virtualization Journey” research – the path from IT Production to IT-as-a-Service (and ultimate productivity)  You’re all making progress.  Congratulations.

    VMotion – “you all just take it for granted today”.  (No, Robin.. people won’t take it for granted if they have to pay more for it.  Include it in the free hypervisor if you want to impress me or anyone using Hyper-V.)

    Defying Convention - “ESX was a highly disruptive innovation.” (True)  “..and all this goodness is just about ‘compute’”.  But “the Software Defined Datacenter is extending it ‘beyond compute’”. 

    On stage: VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

    Pace of innovation has picked up.  “Build the architecture of tomorrow, while reducing the costs of what you have today.”  IT is too slow, and infrastructure is too fragile.  More of IT needs to be an asset, and Apps should be self-service.  It’s all about applications; enable applications for business. 

    How do you see yourself as an IT Pro?  A God?  A Ninja?  A Martyr?  … what about “Champion”?  You are “Champions of the mobile cloud era”. 

    Four pillars (the outline of the rest of the session):

    1. The Software-Defined Data Center
    2. Virtualize the Network
    3. Management to give way to automation
    4. Easy migration of machines and entire applications to public cloud. 


    1. The Software-Defined Data Center

    Compute – expand virtual compute to all applications. 

    Announcing: vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Suite 5.5.  (Not v6?  Hmm)

    What’s new: “5.5 is 2x”.  2 times the number of cores, vCPUs, and now up to 64TB disks (really 16x – up from 4TB disks). 

    My Microsoft Comment: They are just matching what Hyper-V and the .VHDX file format do already, and for no additional cost.

    Storage: “storage is complex”.  Many solutions, and “one size does not fit all”.  So we now move to “software defined storage”.

    3 elements of SDS –

    1. Policy driven control plane
    2. Virtualization of the data plane
    3. Virtualization of app-centric data services.

    Announcing: general public beta of vSAN – Pool compute and storage using local storage and flash as a converged data later and tier. 

    Resilient, high performing, take advantage of caching.  Great for scenarios like VDI.

    1. vSAN is now in general public beta.  GA will happen in the first half of 2014
    2. vVols – virtual volumes for external storage
    3. Flash Read Cache – read-caching of the IO datastream,  “vMotion-consistent storage caching”
    4. Virsto – the storage hypervisor.

    My Microsoft Comment: It sounds like they're addressing some of the storage technology and storage management that Microsoft is doing in Windows Server 2012 with Storage Spaces, System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager storage management and automation, and improvements such as automatic tiered storage support and caching coming in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.  And perhaps it’s also related to using Windows Server as highly available storage cluster nodes for a Continuously Available File Server cluster (Scale-Out File Server Cluster).


    2. Virtualize the Network

    VMs are traditionally bound to a network.  Network virtualization is about about portability.  Now the network is just like the compute.  We can spin up networks as easily as VMs.

    Announcing: VMware NSX – “What ESX was for virtual compute, NSX is to network virtualization” 

    Martin Casado – The guy who originally created SDN (and openflow).  Goal: Make networks cloud-ready.

    Animation – the vSwitch logically contains a “network hypervisor”.  It supports virtual networks that look like physical networks, but are created and run as virtual entities.  (He refers to them as virtual machines.)

    Customer example on stage: eBay, Citi, and GE – all discuss the importance of SDN and the flexibility it provides. 

    My Microsoft Comment: This sounds interesting.  I’m curious to see how it’s implemented.  But I bet most VMware users don’t know that you can easily create (or automate) and manage network virtualization for Hyper-V hosts and networks using System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager


    3. Management to give way to automation

    “The control plane for the datacenter of the future”  We need to simplify cloud management. 

    Where does VMware fit in relation to OpenStack?  vCloud Automation Center will manage vCloud Hybrid Service as well as OpenStack clouds.  VMware is aggressively supporting OpenStack, and providing “the best of breed components”

    The Hybrid Cloud: it’s the extension of on-premises to off-premises.  “Any app.  Any place.  No compromise”  Same management tools.  Same networking.  Common support mechanisms.  Seamless extension. 

    Announcing: GA of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service  - “the first and only true hybrid cloud service”. (hmm)

    My Microsoft Comment: Gee. .sounds like System Center and how it works with Windows Azure.  Smile


    4. Easy migration of machines and entire applications to public cloud. 


    1. Disaster Recovery as a Service.
    2. Cloud Foundary – extending to vCloud Hybrid Service.
    3. Desktop-as-a-Service – making desktop services (like VMware View) available and extended into the vCHS.

    My Microsoft Comment: It makes sense that they’re leveraging the cloud for disaster recovery automation and to support desktops in the cloud.  Microsoft is doing that with Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager (Preview) and the recent addition of licensing to support Remote Desktops running on Windows Azure-base Servers.

    Announcing: two new US datacenters in December, and another next year.  Also more partner datacenters.

    My Microsoft Comment: They are extending their own cloud footprint, but they have a long way to go to catch up with Windows Azure’s global reach and scale.  (


    Closing: Summary of the 3 imperatives:

    1. Virtualization extends to all of IT
    2. IT management gives way to automation
    3. Compatible hybrid cloud is ubiquitous

    You are the “Champions of the Mobile Cloud Era”.  You are poised to “rewire IT” again.

    My Microsoft Comment: We agree. 

  • VMware or Microsoft? - A Memo to IT Leadership

    Yung's memo to IT and business leadersSometimes we get lost in the details.  I confess that am guilty of this myself sometimes.  We who are the technical folks tend to focus on the features and implementation because we think we already understand the bigger picture.  But sometimes it’s good to take a step back and remind ourselves what it’s all about.  And if I’m a business or IT leader, it’s really the bigger picture that matters to me and the business that I am responsible for.

    In today’s article in the “VMware or Microsoft?” series, my friend Yung Chou does a great job of outlining what it all means, reminds us of the basic building blocks, and reminds us of the answers to the following questions:

    • Is it just Virtualization, or a “Fabric”?
    • Are these templates, or an application architecture?
    • Are we responsible for servers, or services?
    • Are we all in-house, in-the-cloud, or some hybrid combination?


  • VMware or Microsoft?–Moving Live Virtual Machines. Same, but different.

    Get Windows Server 2012Uptime is king.  Virtual machines in business represent some workload, whether in whole or as part of an application or service.  And we don’t ever want it to go down.  Technologies such as VMotion and Live Migration included in vSphere and Hyper-V are our best friends when it comes to being able to flexibly move machines and their storage from place to place while keeping that moving machine up and running throughout. 

    So, what’s the real difference between how VMware does it and how Microsoft does it?

    That’s the topic of today’s article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series.  My buddy Matt Hester gives you all the interesting details.


  • VMware or Microsoft?–Who schedules your vCPUs more efficiently?

    In today’s article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series, my friend Tommy Patterson addresses this very topic in great detail, comparing the limitations in VMware’s “Gang Scheduling” approach to Microsoft Hyper-V’s.


    Coordinating processing power

  • Who are we? I’m glad you asked…


    Hi. I’m Kevin.

    “Hi Kevin!’

    …and I’m an IT Professional Technology Evangelist with Microsoft.  I’m one of nine who represent Microsoft in these 48 contiguous United States.

    (Maybe someone gets to go to Hawaii and Alaska now and then, but they’re not sayin’.)

    Anyway, I thought I would take a moment to provide you with a list of our names and our various links, so that you can easily find, follow, stalk, and otherwise harass us (in a good way) for IT Pro information from Microsoft.

    Name Blog Twitter Handle
    Blain Barton Blain Barton’s Blog @BlainBar 
    Brian Lewis My Thoughts on IT @BrianLewis_
    Dan Stolts IT Pro Guru @ITProGuru 
    Jennelle Crothers TechBunny @JKC137
    Jessica DeVita UberGeekGirl @UberGeekGirl
    Keith Mayer IT Pros ROCK! @KeithMayer 
    Kevin Remde Full of I.T. @KevinRemde 
    Matt Hester Matthew Hester’s Weblog @MatthewHester 
    Tommy Patterson Virtually Cloud 9 @Tommy_Patterson 
    Yung Chou Yung Chou on Hybrid Cloud @YungChou
  • VMware or Microsoft?–Who’s patching what?

    Get the preview of Hyper-V Server 2012 R2Did you know that our free hypervisor, Hyper-V Server 2012, has very little reason to ever require a patch?

    “I didn’t know that.”

    You are not alone.  Not enough IT Pros know that, especially when VMware and their fans continue to claim that “Hyper-V requires Windows” or “it’s a monolithic operating system".  Those claims may have been true in some distant past, but no longer.

    Check out Chris Avis’s most excellent article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series.


    Chris Avis is a ROCK STAR 

  • VMware or Microsoft?–Reduce VMware Storage Costs WITH Windows Server 2012

    “Wait a second, Kevin… you say ‘with’ Windows Server 2012, I can reduce my virtualization storage costs?”

    Keith's articleThat’s what I said.  In today’s edition of our blog series, “VMware or Microsoft?”, my friend Keith Mayer describes how you can use Windows Server 2012 as your storage servers for clustered NFS storage.  
    And with that solution, you’ll:

    1. Get nearly the same performance as a high-end SAN,
    2. Save significant amounts of money ($$$), and
    3. Have a flexible storage platform that can make a transition to Hyper-V even easier.**



    ** Yeah, I’m not saying you have to move to Hyper-V.  But just in case.  Smile

  • VMware or Microsoft?–How big is your footprint?

    Series landing pageVMware is making claims that they are more secure.  They base those claims on a “smaller footprint” and therefore smaller attack surface for the sake of security.  (But they’re not really comparing apples to apples.)

    And is size really what matters?  I don’t think so.  And neither does Brian Lewis, who writes about it in todays article in our “VMware or Microsoft?” series.