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The following webcast series dives into the technology and looks at products in the market that deliver virtual solutions. Register today for up to 10 webcasts in the next 30 days. http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/windowsserver2008.aspx?tab=webcasts&id=42531 Patrick
The Forefront Security Team just launched a new blog about all things Forefront, including: Forefront Client Security, Internet Security & Acceleration Server, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Intelligent Application Gateway, and Forefront Sever Security for SharePoint. Find news about product updates, what the Forefront team is seeing in the latest security threats, and deployment tips for customers.
[re-posted due to format issues] A colleague, Dan Reger, pointed me to a new IDC white paper on Windows Server x64 adoption. The white paper is titled, “Understanding the Business Benefits Associated with x86 64-Bit Windows Server.” You can download it here. The paper explains both the value of pairing x64 editions of Windows Server with today’s widespread x64 server hardware and how Windows Server 2008 will mark the inflection point for the transition to 64-bit computing. The whitepaper includes several customer case studies and ROI analysis, illustrating that customers can recoup investment in their x64 transition within 6 months. And remember, Windows Server 2008 is scheduled to be the last 32-bit Windows server OS. Virtually all new x86 hardware servers shipping today are 64-bit capable, yet most people are currently choosing to limit those systems with 32-bit operating systems and software. As IDC says, “One of the biggest missed opportunities among today’s customer base may be the lack of use of 64-bit x86 Windows Server solutions to boost performance, scale, and utilization rates.” There are variety of benefits, and few barriers, to going 64-bit. Deployments requiring scalability – such as large scale virtualization – will benefit from x64 system’s direct access to more RAM. However, there’s no need to deploy 2 TB of RAM to benefit from x64 – the larger virtual address space relieves kernel memory pressures as well (e.g. no more 128 MB limits on paged pool and non-paged pool). Deploying a 32-bit solution on a 64-bit platform represents a lost opportunity to benefit from the scalability – and reduced costs – associated with a 64-bit solution. However, customers who need to preserve existing 32-bit applications can do so – maintaining high-performance while experiencing benefits from their x64 hardware and operating system. WOW64 provides a 32-bit environment for such applications, and x64 processors maintain high performance by allowing such applications to run without emulation. And since new servers are already 64-bit capable, there’s little or no marginal cost associated with deploying a 64-bit solution. Windows Server licenses provide the capability to run either the x86 32-bit or x64 editions – no marginal cost there, either. The paper illustrates that customers can save roughly 20% in IT infrastructure and operations costs by moving to x64. It’s true that drivers on 64-bit Windows Server systems – and applications with kernel drivers – must be 64-bit. However, after more than two years of x64 Windows Server availability, the release of x64 editions of SQL Server 2005, Office SharePoint Server 2007, BizTalk Server 2006, Commerce Server 2007, Windows CCS, plus Exchange Server 2007’s release as an x64-only solution, the 64-bit server ecosystem is ready for prime time. The paper is a good read, and makes persuasive arguments to actively plan your server environment’s transition to 64-bit. Give it a look. After all, “IDC believes that customers deploying new Windows Servers today should carefully consider the benefits and relatively nondisruptive experience that 64-bit Windows deployments can offer.” Patrick
InfoWorld's Dave Marshall blogged about a program that may be of interest to you. Here's an excerpt from Dave's post: the Infrastructure Planning and Design guides are the next version of Windows Server System Reference Architecture. The guides in this series are expected to help clarify and streamline design processes for Microsoft infrastructure technologies where each guide plans to address a unique infrastructure technology or scenario. The first two guides look at Microsoft's SoftGrid application virtualization technology and the company's hypervisor virtualization technology found in Windows Server 2008, Windows Server Virtualization (Viridian). The next guide in the series will cover Microsoft's Terminal Services technology. SoftGrid Application Virtualization Guide (37 Pages) Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization is the only virtualization solution on the market to deliver applications that are never installed, yet securely follow users anywhere, on demand. It dramatically improves IT efficiencies, enables much greater business agility, and provides a superior end-user desktop experience. The Infrastructure Planning & Design Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization guide discusses when to use standalone mode and connected mode for application distribution. It assists designers in the infrastructure planning process for SoftGrid by providing a clear and concise workflow of the decisions and tasks required for each method. This guide enables you to plan the infrastructure required for meeting your application virtualization service goals. Windows Server Virtualization Guide (50 Pages) A virtualized computing environment can improve the efficiency of your computing resources by utilizing more of your hardware resources. Windows Server virtualization enables you to create a virtualized server computing environment using a technology that is part of Windows Server 2008. The Infrastructure Planning and Design: Windows Server Virtualization guide discusses Microsoft virtualization options using Windows Server virtualization in Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1. The guide explains design considerations at critical decision points and helps plan for an optimized server virtualization infrastructure architecture to meet organizational goals for performance and consolidation. Join the beta program and download the guides at the Microsoft Connect web site. Sign in, and when prompted you'll need to enter an invitation code: IPDM-QX6H-7TTV. Patrick
You'll be interested to register to receive the Microsoft virtualization newsletter, which features blogs and articles by Microsoft virtualization experts, customer success stories, news and links to key resources. Patrick
I admit being a bit lazy with short-hand. But I can only spell out virtualization so many times before I get tired of two-finger keystroking all those letters. It has more to do with a poorly-attended typing class during the summer between junior and senior year of high school than my interest in the subject. But I'm not the first to use V12n. I'm in Vegas (baby) this week to attend Citrix iForum. Citrix is using its conference this year to re-energize its channel around its broadening virtualization portfolio. Alessandro covered it here. They're bringing Xensource into the fold, to include re-branding products with the Xen brand. I'd expected to see flaming comments about this proprietary/open source branding mixture from the open source community, but nary a word. Give it time. I'll be strolling the show floor today, maybe I'll hear some angst then. On a related note, there's some interesting posts around V12n killing the modern-day OS. Dan Kusnetsky says it's one of the top 10 V12n myths. Here's an excerpt from myth #1: Some of the statements made at VMware’s VMworld event convinced some people that operating systems are becoming an endangered species and that shortly they'll be replaced by virtual machine software. This is a very unlikely scenario and let me address the reasons why this is so: Hypervisors are small operating systems or components of general purpose operating systems, such as Windows, Unix or Linux. Replacing one with another doesn't mean that operating systems have gone away only that functions have been “re-hosted” to run on the hypervisor directly. Most applications have been written to use the facilities of an operating system and related system software. Until hypervisors offer all of those features, applications would have to be rewritten to internalize those functions. Who's going to save money doing that? Hardware suppliers offer support based upon a well-tested list of hardware and software options. It is not at all clear that these suppliers would support an application stack running directly on a hypervisor. This is something the organization would have to discover on a case-by-case basis. Whereas Scott Lowe chews on the topic a bit longer to conclude: See, Microsoft has to make the claim that ESX Server is an operating system, so that it can level the playing field—at least with regards to perception—between VMware’s virtualization solution and Microsoft’s own virtualization solution. After all, if you’re VMware and you’re saying that your solution runs “on the bare metal, beneath the OS,” then this sounds somehow better than Microsoft’s hypervisor, which is “bundled with the OS.” See the difference? If Microsoft allows the perception that ESX Server is not an OS to grow, then it undermines their solution. Likewise, VMware has to distinguish their solution from the “traditional OS” because if they don’t, then they begin to lose the perception advantage against other virtualization solutions such as Xen or Windows Server Virtualization. You can see this trend even now on the VMware web site, where you’ll find statements like this about ESX Server 3i: ESX Server 3i is the only hypervisor that does not incorporate or rely on a general-purpose operating system (OS), eliminating many common reliability issues and security vulnerabilities. Is ESX Server an “operating system”? What about ESX Server 3i? As with so many other things in life, I guess that truly depends upon your perspective. I'll throw another thought out. Machine virtualization is today's version of the TCP/IP stack of the late 1980s. Remember when vendors sold TCP/IP? Today most commercial OSes include and install the stack by default. Today, machine virtualization is offered in all sorts of open source and commercial OSes ... and soon Windows Server. Patrick
We announced today that the hypercall API, which hypervisor and OS vendors will use to build on top/integrate with Viridian, will be licensed via the Open Specification Promise (OSP). You'll recall that the Microsoft's VHD image format is available via OSP. This license will be available at the time of Viridian RTM. And today we published updated - but still draft - hypercall API specifications for customers/partners to start developing. And as I told eWeek, the WMI interface to Viridian will be available to partners as well, and that interface is based on a standards spec under development in the DMTF. Other than the folks over at Brian Madden, not too many people blogging from Citrix iForum. That ashame because there's alot of good content on app delivery and Citrix's plans to virtualize desktops (i.e., VDI) and datacenters (i.e., Xen). I'll post some photos from this morning's keynote later today. But it was the first time I've seen Peter Levine (former CEO of XenSource, now GM of Citrix's virtualization group) speak. His big message was "10 minutes to Xen" and showed a couple slick demos of XenMotion and XenCenter. He also referenced the hypercall API news that Mike Neil announced on stage just prior to Peter speaking. As for the booth, traffic was decent yesterday (photo below). We're demoing Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop, Windows Server 2008 terminal services (aka, presentation virtualization), SoftGrid, SCVMM and Viridian. The top questions were: Do I still need Citrix if I deploy TS in Windows Server 2008? Answer: depends on your situation, but yes for many scenarios. If you use Citrix today, you'll likely keep doing so. What's the difference between MS SoftGrid and client-side Citrix Presentation Server? Answer: lots of similarities in that they both offer application virtualization and streaming. SoftGrid is fully integrated into System Center (management tools), uses group policy/AD to provision apps to the user, and supports disconnected/mobile users. In the end, you'll want to kick the tires of both. Note that SoftGrid is available via MS desktop optimization pack (MDOP) for Software Assurance. What's the status of work with XenSource on Viridian? Answer: The interop work is progressing well, as is similar work with Novell. I'd imagine seeing fruits of these labors at upcoming release milestones. FYI - this question is in reference to our July 2006 announcement.
I thought that I'd follow-up my post the other day - questions about when to use Terminal Services vs. Citrix -- by pointing out ERICOM Guy post titled, "are Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services Good Enough for me?" Here's an excerpt: Windows Server 2008 may be good enough for you if: Your needs are simple, e.g. you do not need central management of the Terminal Servers You plan to upgrade all your clients to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). No, Windows CE 6.0 won't do. And a colleague saw my post and asked me to add a few additional points: customers with significant deployments of Terminal Services will, just as today, require other technologies on top of Windows Server 2008 to meet their needs - solutions such as those from Citrix customers—and partners that remotely manage SMB environments-- can choose Citrix Access Essentials as a value-add to Terminal Services based on their needs. CAE features like enhanced application compatibility is just one example of value-add that CAE provides on-top of Terminal Services our TS RemoteApp feature we distribute the application connection information using MSI files. This gives customers the flexibility to choose how they distribute connection information. Citrix Application Publishing, on the other hand, provides a single integrated solution for getting the application icons to the user desktops, as the number of applications increases this sort of functionality can be extremely valuable. For deployment answers and tips, be sure to visit the TS team blog. Nothing remarkable per say from the Day 2 keynote. Our own Mike Neil got some stage time to talk about areas Microsoft is investing in virtualization; nothing new if you read his February post. He touched on areas of continued and expanded partnership with Citrix ... especially since the XenSource acquisition. The four areas highlighted were: presentation virtualization (security, stability, extensibility), application virtualization (management technologies, app publishing), server virtualization (hypervisor interop, manageability), and interop (image format standards, industry standards). Here's a shot of Mike on stage. As I already noted, Peter Levine's demos were great. Most impressive was the live migration demo using media server. The "Top Gun" video during the demo didn't blink when the workload was migrated from one host to another. On the note, I learned that Xen doesn't have a high availability/clustering offering until next year. For more on the Day 2 keynote, see Tim's post at Brian Madden. Finally I'll close by pointing out the eWeek article titled, "Linux losing market Share to Windows Server." Here's an excerpt: Linux growth in the U.S. x86 server market has, over the past six quarters, started to falter and reverse its positive course relative to Windows Server and the market as a whole. The annual rate at which Linux is growing in the x86 server space has fallen from around 53 percent in 2003, when Windows Server growth was in the mid-20 percent range, to a negative 4 percent growth in calendar year 2006, IDC Quarterly Server Tracker figures show. Over the same time period, Windows has continued to report positive annual growth, outpacing the total growth rate in the x86 market by more than 4 percent in 2006, indicating that Linux has actually lost market share to Windows Server over this time. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the migrations from Unix to Linux have slowed down markedly. "I spend a lot of time talking with both Linux and Windows customers and partners, and the feedback that I hear is that, in volume, Linux is primarily deployed in two workloads—high-performance computing and as Web servers," Hilf told eWEEK. It's interesting to consider how broader deployment of server and application virtualization may impact these numbers studied by IDC. It has the potential for lots of OS instances per box instead of the traditional 1:1 ratio. Patrick