Today is a very big day for Microsoft. Unfortunately, it’s not virtualisation related, but Search & Online related. The online advertising and search space is, in many ways, similar to virtualisation. It’s dominated by a very big player, Google, just like the Virtualisation space has it’s market leader, VMware, however Google, like VMware, aren’t the industry Angels they once were, and both need to continually innovate to stay ahead of the game. VMware, with their vSphere release, have clearly innovated, with some cool new features, however what do the majority of Google users still use Google for? Search, plain and simple. Google has a line up of products now, that are starting to rival Microsoft (OK, not quite), but a quick look here and you’ll see there is a page of products that the vast majority of people won’t touch, and like I said, they aren’t the industry Angel they once were – believe it or not, not everyone finds what they are looking for at the first attempt, and privacy concerns are greater now than ever.
Before someone says ‘Well Live Search is no better” – I’d tend to agree, although most of the time, for search, it suits my needs, however, with bing, it’s no longer about being a ‘Search Engine’. Now it’s time for a ‘Decision Engine’.
To quote SteveB “Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the Web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the Web. Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they’ve found to accomplish tasks and make smart decisions.”
It’s a long term effort, and Google is a formidable competitor, make no bones about it, but that level of competition generates excitement, challenge, and drives innovation, just like it does in the Virtualisation space.
I’ll be honest, I’m looking forward to using bing, just to see if it can change the way I search for, and subsequently use information. Will it be a Google beater? Who knows – with a brand as strong as Google, synonymous with Search and the Internet, it’s sure going to be hard!
Check out a great video demo of bing in action and see for yourself.
We’re pleased to announce the launch of the very first TechNet Virtual Conference taking place on 19 June 2009.
You told us that time and budget pressures make attending in person events difficult – so to help both you and the environment we decided to take the TechNet Conference virtual. Now you and your colleagues can join us to get a flavour of some key Microsoft technologies from the comfort of your own desks. The Technology sessions, selected by the readers of the UK TechNet Flash, feature key products including:
There are also session on PowerShell 2.0, Licensing in a Virtual Environment, Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack and more. You can get the agenda, speaker information, and more, over at the Virtual Conference Homepage.
We are also really pleased to announce an exclusive Keynote featuring Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Technical Fellow specialising in the Windows platform. And that’s not the only difference this year. In addition to Microsoft technology news and product overviews from the experts, the TechNet Virtual Conference will also feature a second auditorium focused on IT Management, including:
Be sure to get the most out of your day by getting involved and asking our speakers questions via live chat. But if you can’t make it on the day, all the content will be available after June 19th for you to watch on demand.
Sign up here!
As virtualisation becomes more and more popular, one of the common questions I’m being asked is around USB and getting USB devices into the virtual machines. This isn’t such a problem in the Desktop Virtualisation space – most technologies now allow for USB redirection of some sort, but in the server space, it’s still a little scarce. I blogged about USB over IP a while back, and referenced a technology provided by a company called Fabulatech.
This video, is your chance to see Fabulatech and Hyper-V R2 in action. Together.
You can view the video straight in this webpage, or head on over to the VirtualboyTV to see it in higher definition. For the best experience, you can always download it from this page too.
Feedback welcome, and stay tuned for future videos!
On to the final part of the mini-series on clustering, and we round off with the most exciting bit – seeing our creation come to life!
In this video, I perform a number of Live Migrations, for the different VM types (VHD, Pass Through Disk and CSV), including using PowerShell for the migration (Yes, I can use PowerShell, a bit!) and we wrap up with a failover of the workloads, when I cold-shutdown one of the physical servers, which just happened to have all 4 of our VMs on. Needless to say, the technology kicked in, and within a minute or so, the VMs were up and running again. The video weighs in at just over 13 minutes, but well worth sticking with it.
So, that’s it for the clustering mini-series. You can view the video straight in this webpage, or head on over to the VirtualboyTV to see it in higher definition. For the best experience, you can always download it from this page too.
Hopefully you understand how easy it can be to configure and build this type of environment, and in future videos, we’ll be looking at Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, rather than Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, but we’ll be easily able to take what we’ve learned from this series, over to the GUI-less HVS2008 R2. Sound like a plan? Watch this space!
The 3rd video in this cluster-tastic mini-series focuses on introducing a completely ‘new-for-R2’ technology called Cluster Shared Volumes. This new technology brings 2 major benefits. The first, is it allows you to drop multiple VMs per LUN, and still retain the ability to individually migrate and failover the workloads. Secondly, it provides you with I/O Redirection, which means, should you lose connection to the SAN from a node, or a network from a node, the VMs will be unaffected, as CSV will redirect the I/O via another available path. You can read all about CSV here.
So, the video…
In this video, I not only enable CSV, but go on to quickly create a couple of HA VMs, using CSV as their backend. Sounds simple and straightforward? That’s because it is!
Feedback welcome, and stay tuned for the final part of this mini cluster-series!
Watched the first R2 clustering video yet? It’s a little bit of a pre-req for this one, but, if you haven’t seen it, you should still be able to take value from part 2 in this mini series on clustering in Hyper-V R2. In this video, we start the creation process on top of our freshly built cluster. I go on to create 2 highly available VMs, utilising the newly integrated Failover Cluster MMC Hyper-V tools, which really simplifies the whole process of deploying HA VM workloads. These 2 VMs have slightly different back-ends; the first, is a regular VHD based VM, with that VHD residing on it’s own LUN on the SAN. The 2nd VM however, utilises Pass Through Disk capabilities, so the VM in this example, is reading/writing to a raw LUN on the SAN. Easy Peasy!
The video is just over 17 minutes long.
Feedback welcome, and stay tuned for part 3 of this mini cluster-series!
OK, now the fun starts! The previous 2 ‘R2’ videos (Initial Installation & Configuration, and Dynamic Storage) gently introduced you to some of the new capabilities in Hyper-V R2, but now we’re going to step it up a notch, and start looking at the clustering and migration capabilities in R2. Before we start looking at the features around clustering, we need to build it first! Thankfully, this video walks you through that!
The video is just over 16 minutes long, but is definitely worthwhile if you want to understand the validating and building phases of cluster construction.
Feedback welcome, and stay tuned for part 2 of this mini cluster-series!
“I was happily ploughing through Planet V12n, trying to keep up with all the goings on in the virtualisation space (Drinking from the fire hose!) when I stumbled on this:
All 3 of these stories I know about, individually, but I thought it would be interesting to hear the thoughts of expert (and author!), Edward Haletky, around the new vSphere licensing, but also his thoughts specifically on Hyper-V R2. I was already a bit dubious at this stage, seeing as they quote “HA in Hyper-V R2”, as the title when this feature was actually in R1 of Hyper-V, but I thought I’d give the podcast a listen anyway.
I wish I hadn’t.
“Join site manager Hannah Drake, news director Alex Barrett and news writer Bridget Botelho in the first edition of the Hypervisor Huddle, a monthly podcast covering the virtualization space. In this month's huddle you'll also hear from SearchVMware.com contributor, virtualization expert and book author Edward Haletky.”
I didn’t realise how ironic the sub-title of this podcast was, until after I finished listening. More on this later.
Edward is a VMware guy. He doesn’t work for VMware, but has a lot of experience, like many people out there, and has a number of good things to talk about around their technologies, and on many points, I agree with him. VMware have some very mature, powerful, and feature rich technologies, and in many cases, a very loyal customer base. Edward explains the Enterprise Plus SKU, gives his justification for the licensing changes etc. All fine so far – some questionable bits, but, nothing major, apart from the fact that he says the Host Profiles relies on the Cisco vSwitch, which I didn’t think was the case, but hey ho.
Then we get onto Hyper-V R2, and the fun begins.
Bridget starts discussing the fact that Hyper-V R2 has high availability, and Live Migration built in for free, and adds that XenServer too, provides these Enterprise capabilities out of the box for free. Edward’s response was to interrupt with, and I quote “but is it free?”. After the 3rd time of “but is it free?”, he had my attention. Bridget ignores good ol’ Edward at this stage, and goes on to raise some good points, around customers that have already adopted VMware are unlikely to change to Hyper-V, as they invested heavily in VMware, and training around it, and don’t have scope to change, especially in the present climate. Linux is then brought into the mix, and yes, Hyper-V isn’t great for most flavours of Linux – XenServer and VMware are both better options there, but Novell SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are strong, supported workloads on Hyper-V.
By this time, Edward pipes up again…
“If you’re going to go with Hyper-V, Live Migration vs. VMotion – is it really free? You still have to have SCCM, and a few other things. You still have to buy 2008, you gotta buy SCCM, you gotta buy a bunch of stuff just to get it to work. So, it’s not free. None of these products are free. Somewhere along the line, someone is going to ask you to pay for something”
I nearly spilt my tea down my T-shirt at this point. Is this what Edward tells his customers??
Alex (news director) agrees with him! Can you believe it??
Edward then goes on to explain that there are 2 100% free hypervisors out there, namely KVM with Linux (blessed by Linus himself, apparently), and ESXi. Surprise Surprise!! How do you get ESXi to do the more advanced stuff like VMotion and HA? You buy vCenter! To quote Edward with his own words, “Somewhere along the line, someone is going to ask you to pay for something”.
Let’s just take a step back, and dissect what Edward is saying.
1. You still have to have SCCM and a few other things…
What?? SCCM is System Center Configuration Manager. For deployment and patching (at a high level). Do you mean SCVMM, Virtual Machine Manager (clue in title there)? I’ll let you off the misuse of the acronym (even though you used it twice), but do you need SCVMM to provide Live Migration or High Availability for Hyper-V R2? No. What are the ‘other things’ you mention? The answer, as readers of this blog (and this post specifically) know, is all you need from Microsoft, to perform Live Migration and have High Availability, is Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 (100% free, by the way) and a Client OS machine (Windows 7 Client), or Server 2008 R2 GUI box. What would this cost me on the ESXi side (one of the other 100% free hypervisors)? We’ll, I’d need vCenter, plus HA, plus VMotion. This isn’t free unfortunately.
2. You still have to buy 2008, you gotta buy SCCM, you gotta buy a bunch of stuff just to get it to work…
You gotta buy 2008 – no, don’t need to buy that actually. As I said before, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 doesn’t require Windows Server 2008 R2. You will however, regardless of hypervisor, still require Windows Guest OS’s (If you’re running Windows of course!). If that’s the case, then yes, you’d need to buy 2008 / R2 guest OS licenses, but this is no different on VMware.
You gotta buy SCCM – afraid not Edward.
You gotta buy a bunch of stuff just to get it to work – there’s that generalisation again! What is this magic ‘stuff’ / ‘other things’ you talk about? I’ll give you the facts – see response #1!
3. So, it’s not free. None of these products are free. Somewhere along the line, someone is going to ask you to pay for something…
This applies as much to Hyper-V, as ESXi, as XenServer. Microsoft, VMware and Citrix, as examples, are corporate organisations, and are driven by revenue and profits, but at the same time, are aiming to enable IT to prosper through innovative and exciting technologies. ESXi is free. Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is free. XenServer is free. Can I manage them, however simplistically, for free? No. I can’t manage them from thin air, I need to install the free VI Client, XenCenter, or Hyper-V tools on a client OS, somewhere. That will, at some stage, in most cases (although I appreciate VI Client run’s on Open Source Linux) have cost money. Admittedly, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 requires Windows 7 to manage it (or WS2008 R2) as a minimum, but a number of organisations are looking at this as the next logical step after XP, and let’s face it – to buy a Windows 7 laptop when they release, you’d be looking at £300ish, and bearing in mind that this unlocks Live Migration and HA for your Hyper-V Server 2008 boxes, I’d say the cost is more than justified.
So, back to “An Audiocast for IT Pros in the Know” – Ironic isn’t it. I’ll let you make your minds up about it! Problem for Microsoft is, people would listen to this, from an ‘expert, and author’ and believe it, and Hyper-V would never cross their mind again, which is a shame, because when people see, and understand the full picture, and can compare solutions on a level playing field, it’s clear to see that Hyper-V R2 is an incredibly strong proposition, which in many cases, is a great fit for their organisation. Admittedly not in all situations, but you’d be surprised how many.
Rant over :-) Hear it for yourself, here.
SQL Server, both 2005, and 2008, have both been supported in virtual environments, Microsoft or otherwise, for some time now. This means that, providing you followed the specific guidelines for SQL and virtualisation, you could happily virtualise SQL, as a standalone instance, on a virtual platform. This was acceptable for a number of smaller organisations - the fact that you could virtualise a SQL instance, and make it highly available on a virtualisation host cluster, gave them a greater level of resiliency than they had before! Win Win!
However, what about slightly larger, or more complex SQL deployments? In the physical world, no problems, clustering at the SQL level is supported – happy days. What about in virtual machines? Can I cluster SQL 2005, or 2008 at the Guest OS level, i.e. from a Windows VM, to a Windows VM, running on a virtual platform? Well, up until a few days back, you could do it, but you wouldn’t be supported. I’m now happy to say, you are supported when clustering SQL at the Guest OS level.
You can grab all the info you need, over at this SQL KB Article.
The second in the R2 video wave, focuses on a new capability in R2, namely, Dynamic Storage. This is a capability which allows an administrator to add or remove a virtual hard disk (VHD) or pass through disk, to a running virtual machine, without incurring any downtime for that virtual machine. This is particularly useful, when, for example, you want to backup a virtualised SBS 2008 Server, using the in-guest SBS backup tool as the disk you add to the VM, can in fact be a raw, pass-through USB disk, attached to the host box. The video is just under 7 minutes long, so should be a nice bite size chunk of info to take on board!
You can view the video within the webpage here, or head on over to VirtualboyTV to see it in higher definition. For the best experience, you can always download it from this page.
Feedback welcome! Stay tuned for more videos soon!