Monday, August 31, 2009

VMworld Day 1 Wrap-Up

Just finished my Booth Duty at our 10x10, and all I can say is, “I’m Parched”. The booth was full, and there were people waiting left and right to speak to us. Some were there to say we will never have what VMware has, others were there because they were starting to look at Hyper-V and SMSD. Others are using us, and LOVE us. It was good to hear all of it. Folks are having great success with Hyper-V and SMSD, and with R2 those successes are growing.

There was a lot of buzz around the whole exhibit hall, and it will be nice to see the keynotes tomorrow.

I was able to meet a bunch of my old friends from VMware (some with VMware still and others that have moved on). This is such a great community, and Virtualization has been able to help so many companies that it feels like a family. I love coming back to VMworld it is like a family reunion. Yeah, my circumstances have changed, but with the friends I have made, it is almost like I just saw them yesterday. When I can talk “shop” with the VMware Compete Team, and ponder about the future of Virtualization with old SE buddies, that is a great feeling.

Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll see how it pans out, but I am excited to finally hit some sessions and let you all know my thoughts on those.

First Thoughts on VMworld

Just got back to my Hotel Room after checking in at VMworld, and pretty happy so far. First of all, the bag is nice this year. The past couple of years, the bags have been real throw-aways, but this year, nice.

After registration, I met up with a former colleague on the VMware Compete Team. We walked over to Chevy’s for lunch, and just so happened a few of the other Compete folks were there as well. I was a little nervous when they cornered me in the back and started pulling out their brass knuckles, but was able to get out unscathed. To be honest, when I looked again, the brass knuckles were really a basket of chips, and they offered us to join them at their table.

Actually, it was great to see them, and we spent lunch talking about old times, and how they still use that Memory Overcommit and Cost per Application tacts, while we still focus on (I say we and still use even though I really just started) the tried and true “VMware Tax”, and “Single Pane of Glass” arguments.

Times are changing, but some things, I guess, stay the same.

Why did they remove the boxes?

Eric Gray posted a new entry on his vCritical blog that VMware is changing its logo.

Ouch! That is sad. Speaking as a former VMware Employee (having spent nearly 10 years there (as an FTE)), I really liked the boxes.

When I originally started our logo was different:

It didn’t really give you any iconic representation of Virtualization, but was pretty cool. Then we came out with the Three Boxes.

That was it.


Though this Logo has gone through some changes, it was a fantastic way to brand virtualization. It showed a lot with a simple logo.

That is sad, I really think they had something there, but, hey, if they phase that out, then they lose focus and brand awareness, that is good for everyone else.

Follow Me for a Chance to Win a Zune HD

As you know, I am going to VMworld this week, and am excited to see everyone there. I hope to reacquaint with friends, and learn.

Microsoft has posted an event site for news and information about the event. They have also posted Twitter accounts for all of the MS experts that are attending VMworld this year. If you want to know our views and thoughts on the event, follow us on Twitter.

We’ve also added an extra incentive for following…A chance to win one of the new Zune HD 32GB Video and MP Players! How can you be eligible to win you ask? Simply, start following the MS Experts at VMworld (the sooner you follow, the better as we draw each day). To be eligible you need to be:

  • A new follower, who starts following between now and 5pm (PDT) September 4th, 2009.
  • A legal resident of the 50 US states or DC.

Note that you do not need to be at VMworld to be eligible.

So, start following me (@MS_Int_Virt) and check back often to see my thoughts on VMworld.

System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD)

With VMworld coming up, I was wondering…

How do you treat your Virtual Machines? I mean, you have an OS, you have applications. For each of these guests, you have to install an OS and application, which you have to configure. Once they are up and running, you have to patch them, you have to maintain them, you have to monitor them, and back them up. Eventually, you have to retire them. Is this any different than how you manage your physical environments?

What tools do you use for this? For your Windows Operating Systems, do you use System Center Configuration Manager for the OS installation and maintenance processes, and System Center Operations Manager for the Monitoring of the Operating Systems and the Applications? Do you leverage System Center Data Protection Manager for Backups? If you are using these tools, are you leveraging the System Center Suites?

If you are using some of these tools for your Virtual Machines, you can get the most for your System Center Dollar, by using the Server Management Suite Datacenter bundle (SMSD). This bundle combines System Center Operations Manager, System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Data Protection Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager into one easy to acquire and license bundle. You license SMSD for the physical machine, and with the Datacenter bundle (SMSD), you get to run these products on all of the Operating System Environments on that box. Just like Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, you license the physical box and get unlimited Virtual Machines, you get the same for the management tools. We have an SMSE if you are running solely 4 Virtual Machines (just like Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise).

This is a tremendous value, and it can really save money on your Virtual Machine management because you only need to buy one thing and you get all of the management benefits for your Virtualized Environment that work for the entire stack, and all of your environment ie: the physical systems, the virtual systems, the underlying OS, the Virtualization Layer, as well as the Applications running inside of the Virtual Machines.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Which would you get?

I have an option of getting the Lenovo W500 with 8GB RAM, or the Lenovo X301 with 4GB RAM, or the Lenovo x200 Tablet with 4GB RAM

ThinkPad W500 15.4 UXGA (1920x1200), GMA 4500MHD/ATI FireGL V5700,C2D P9600,8GB PC3-8500 DDR3, WWAN Rdy, 160GB, Camera, DVDRW, Intel 5300AGN, BT, FPR, iAMT, 9c batt, MS Image, Display Port, No HDD return, asset tag, 3yr on site. BitLockerRdy, 6.2lbs


"ThinkPad X200 Tablet 12.1"" OEM Model, Pen TOUCH, Not Capacitive Touch (1280x800),C2D LV SL9400, 4GB DDR3,160GB, 5300AGN, BT,Camera, Ultrabase w/DVDRW, 9c batt, WWAN Rdy,MS Image,Asset Tag, 3yr no rtrn HDD,3yr onsite, 4.10lbs"


ThinkPad X301 13.3" WXGA+ LED (1440x900), GMA 4500MHD, C2D SU9400 ULV, 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3, WWAN Rdy, 128GB SSD, Camera, DVDRW, Intel 5300AGN, BT, FPR, 6c batt, Vista Custom Image, Display Port asset tag, No HDD return, 3yr on site, BitLocker Rdy, 3.35 lbs

Do I go for the Heavy Laptop with 8GB RAM, or a light one with 4GB RAM, or a Tablet with 4GB RAM?

I guess the W500 is best if I want to run Hyper-V (and a VM), but the tablet seems cool.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I was testing FT from VMware today, and it worked nicely. After I fixed my network adapter and used the VMXNET2 instead of VMXNET3 adapter to work with FT. I was able to failover a VM from one system to another.

That worked well and the VM never went down (in fact I was RDS’d into the VM and pinging out to different machines, and I never lost connection or anything). To instigate the failure, I simply powered off my Dell 2900 by pressing the power button.

Problem was, when I rebooted that machine, it wouldn’t boot. I got some weird panic that made no sense. It seemed like the HDD was corrupt or something, which is understandable since I pulled the power away from the machine. I had to reinstall the OS. I am not complaining, as my Domain Controller stayed up during the “failure”, but I had to reinstall ESX to get my systems back up.

So, how does VMware ESX Server handle the power being pulled from a machine where they are FT’ing a VM? After reinstalling, and just trying a shutdown –r now or shutdown –h now those allowed me to reboot the machine and showed off FT, so I will do that instead of pulling the power cord for now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

VMM 2008 R2 Announcement

UPDATE: Just got a Tweet from @VMMDocsVirtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Library is now live:

Today, we released the 180-day eval of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 RTM from here. See the System Center Blog for information on GA availability.

With System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, we have added a lot of new features from managing the capabilities of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V like Live Migration and Cluster Shared Volumes, as well as introducing new features like Quick Storage Migration and Maintenance Mode.

One new feature that we have added in VMM 2008 R2 after the RC is:

Support for VMware vSphere 4

What this means is that VMM will be able to manage VMware vSphere 4 environments to the same extent that they currently manage VMware Infrastructure 3 systems. We haven’t added new support (like IDE HDD, etc), but whatever you could do to a VI3 environment, it is now to supported as well with a VMware vSphere 4 environment.

Last Monday, 08/16/2009, I was a guest on the Frugal Tech Show. We talked about System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. Jeff Woolsey had done one earlier on Hyper-V talking about the new features of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Private Cloud – Is it REAL?

When you hear Private Cloud, what comes to mind? What does it mean to you?

Is it a “Utility” of internally hosted resources that you can dynamically assign that the services your business units require?

I was asked by someone on the Cloud team here at Microsoft:

I want to know if customers are thinking of it as a solution and if so, how? I’d also like to know if Private Cloud even resonates with them, or is it just lost in all of the cloud hype.

Warren Whitlock has put up a nice blog post defining the cloud with a good video post that simplifies the explanation. But, it talks all-about off-premise. What about on-premise?

Doesn’t implementing Virtualization via Server Virtualization and Application Virtualization internally put a company on the path to a Private Cloud? What is needed for customers’ to gain the dynamic fluidity of the cloud? Does Live Migration integrated with the PRO Tips of VMM put us close? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So, What’s Missing?

Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is RTM, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 will be RTM shortly. They integrate with the other System Center Tools (OM, CM, DPM) which gives an IT Organization a complete management suite for their Physical Systems, Virtual Environments, and Applications. Hyper-V and VMM have increased their capabilities tremendously with the addition of Live Migration, Cluster Shared Volumes, Quick Storage Migration, and others. They achieve Dynamic Mobility of Virtual Machines through PRO Tips.

What I want to know is What’s Missing? Microsoft now provides a stable, well performing, and dynamic platform for running your Virtual Machines - Hyper-V, with a great management tool for managing your Virtual Workloads – SMSD (Server Management Suite Datacenter). What more do you need to realize the benefits of Virtualization in your Datacenter?

What more is “Got to Have”, and not “Nice to Have”? I think we are close if not there, what do you think?

Comments are Open, please reply (but keep it respectful). I will not moderate the comments, I want to hear it all, BUT please keep it clean.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heading to VMworld

So, at the end of August, I will be making the annual pilgrimage to VMworld. This will be my seventh VMworld, I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend ALL VMworlds (including Europe (though not the Technology Exchanges before VMworld Europe)), and am really looking forward to attending this year’s.

This being my first VMworld where I am not a VMware Employee, it will be interesting to look at it from an outsider’s eyes. I have really enjoyed the previous iterations as they have been industry events, but being a VMware Employee, everything revolved around our platform. Now, it will be different.

This year, I will be attending the sessions, and while attending, I will be blogging and twittering about what I see/hear, giving my opinions and Point of View. Here is my schedule, below. Take a look, and if you have any questions on what I am attending (if you can’t attend and you want me to try to find the answer for you), let me know and I will do my best. Also, I am excited about going to a few of these, and discussing how VMware’s Solutions compare with ours here at Microsoft.

Starting it off with Tier 1 App support, that is a topic NEAR and DEAR to my heart. I wholeheartedly believe that you can virtualize Tier 1 apps and have GREAT success. What are your thoughts on that?

DRS is a great solution for handling the dynamic changes in workloads. VMM 2008 R2 with Hyper-V has PRO Tips and Management Packs that, coupled with Live Migration, do something similar. I would like to see how they compare. In fact that is definitely a topic for a different post (Post-VMworld).

The Head to Head to Head comparison session will be interesting, I wonder which version of Hyper-V and VMM they are comparing against. I expect to tweet a lot during that one.

Please comment and let me know your thoughts, and what sessions you are looking forward to.



10:00 AM-11:00 AM


Virtualizing Tier 1 Applications: The Value of the vSphere Internal Cloud as a Better Platform for Apps

11:30 AM-12:30 PM


Overview of VMware vSphere

1:30 PM-2:30 PM


Top 10 Performance Features of VMware vSphere 4

3:00 PM-4:00 PM


Safe At Any Speed with VMware DRS & DPM

4:00 PM-5:00 PM


Cisco and VMware: Delivering Innovation for Virtualization

5:30 PM-7:00 PM


A Comprehensive Look at the Security and Compliance of vSphere 4


9:30 AM-11:00 AM


Virtualizing Exchange 2007 on vSphere 4 – Technical Considerations and Customer Success Story

11:30 AM-1:00 PM


vSphere – Evangelizing the Value Proposition

1:00 PM-2:00 PM
(Waiting List)


Security and the Cloud

2:00 PM-3:30 PM


Head-To-Head Comparison: VMware vSphere and ESX vs. Hyper-V and XenServer

4:30 PM-5:30 PM


Long Distance VMotion


9:30 AM-11:30 AM


VMware vCenter Chargeback

11:30 AM-12:30 PM


Virtual Network Performance

1:00 PM-2:00 PM
(Waiting List)


Tech Preview: VMware vCenter ConfigControl

2:30 PM-3:30 PM


Beyond Infrastructure as a Service: Developer and Runtime Services with VMware and our Partners

4:00 PM-5:30 PM


VMware vSphere 4 Networking Deep Dive

Moving to a new Position

A few months ago, I left VMware to pursue a Technical Marketing position at Microsoft. It was a difficult decision, but living up here in the Northwest, it was best for myself and my family. At Microsoft, I am a Technical Product Manager working on the Integrated Virtualization Team. What does that mean?

Within Microsoft we have a breadth of products that can help a customer solve the problems they are facing, whether it be Application Compatibility Issues, Server Sprawl, Call Center Management, High Datacenter Energy Costs, Small Office Server Management, etc. We also have relationships, and support, from many of our Partners in the Storage, Networking, ISV, Management, Development, and other spaces. My job is to help customers figure out how it all fits together, and what Microsoft and its partners can provide to help solve these problems.

What this means is that I will be doing my best to provide customers with the answers they need to their Virtualization questions. I was not brought on to focus on any other particular Virtualization Vendor, but simply to help with our Integrated Virtualization messaging.

Comparing Hypervisors

Last year I posted a blog entry comparing VMware ESX Server and Microsoft Hyper-V. Since not many companies had been able to perform a head to head comparison and gone through (or attempted to go through) the process to do it, I had gathered some performance data from a few different tests that were run on similar hardware and was able to draw some comparisons between the two Hypervisors.

Looking back, I feel that I need to update this blog, but instead of updating the original blog, I am posting this new entry.

Since this blog post, there have been a few comparisons that have been posted that do have head to head comparisons with VMware ESX Server and Hyper-V. Project VRC (Virtual Reality Check) has made some comparisons based on Desktop Workloads, and Virtualization Review posted an article comparing the different Hypervisors as well. Now some of these are contentious, and the benchmarking guidance that VMware gives is important as seen by their response, but the fact of the matter remains, they Hypervisors performed comparably.

I was looking at my previous blog, and reading the comments, and I think this blog should be updated. Some people, in the comments, are saying I am comparing Apples with Oranges in this post as there were a LOT of variables that were different between the two runs. The main differences (as noted at the end of the blog, and in the papers) were that the computers were very similar (same processor and same amount of RAM), but different (different numbers of DIMMs, and possibly different bus speeds), AND that the versions of vConsolidate were different. With the aforementioned, and the release of vSphere 4 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, the comparison below is probably not correct today. If you compared the versions mentioned in the post, you would probably see similar results, but BOTH companies have made major improvements in their Virtualization Technology, so take this blog for what it was (a sampling at the time), and hopefully, we will see some performance data comparing Microsoft and VMware in an independent Head to Head comparison. When we do, what we will probably see is that both products will beat the other in some capabilities, and lose to the other in others.

What really matters is that ANY company can benefit from virtualization NO MATTER WHICH vendor they choose, and if you aren't virtualizing START.