back to article Management vs. the virtual server

Virtualization is certainly creating a lot of buzz in the industry, but despite the technology's hefty promises of cost cutting and consolidation, the vast majority of businesses are still running on physical hardware. Headshot of Tony Iams Tony Iams, senior analyst of enterprise IT research firm Ideas International has been …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solaris Zones!

    "How virtualization is actually implemented is generally split between x86 and UNIX servers." Reading this, you could almost think the author doesn't know the difference between a hardware platform and an operating system, no less thought about UNIX on x86. Which is especially funny, because one of the most interesting server virtualization technologies to come along of late is Solaris Zones.

    My group put a fair bit of energy into evaluating paths to virtualization. VMware was out of our price range, and Xen we found to have a great core (the Xen kernel) but lacking in management tools. The story goes on, but we eventually settled on Solaris Zones, which entailed migrating our infrastructure piece-by-piece from Red Hat to Solaris.

    If that sounds like a nightmare to you, consider this: The fact that Solaris is extremely robust well-documented, and behaves the way the docs say it does, has meant that migrating our Ruby-on-Rails apps, our MySQL databases, our NFS NAS servers, etc., has actually been a breeze from the get-go. This compared to the hair-raising weeks spent trying to make Xen's mess of Python scripts workable just so we should stick with Red Hat. On top of that, we get all the Solaris goodies like ZFS and DTrace, and even Linux virtualization for the apps that we might not feel like porting.

    My point is, Solaris Zones is a burgeoning virtualization technology that should not be overlooked.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh...

    "From a manageability standpoint, going virtual is not all that different than physical, but the burden can actually become worse."

    Rubbish. Obviously stated by someone who's never actually done anything like this for any length of time. Part of the attraction of &virt. is that the manageability of large amounts of virtual servers is vastly easier than that of large amounts of physical servers (for a given value of large - depends on the situation). Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. There are lots of presentations around the net from people who have done this - anyone who doesn't believe it should go look them up and then talk to the people who have actually done this.

  3. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Promises, promises, promises.....

    ...... are only as valuable as the paper they are written upon and with the value of the dollar halved against the pound in recent years [remember the spectre of the 1$=£1 business killing fields], all the bright SPARCs are heading Eastwards.

    "Some are doing the the research, but nobody was willing to give out metrics just yet."

    What do you expect whenever a Viable Virtualisation Methodology renders ITs MidasTouch.

    And re Solaris Zones, I couldn't agree more and it is refreshing to read that Degrees of Virtualisation are realised even at this early dDevelopment stage......for obviously some are into Zones of Endeavour which, if they were more widely known, would Create a Problem for the Parasitic, Free Loader Status Quo.

    Hence the Consideration affording them the Opportunity to Fund the Fix, albeit supplied by Third Party Proxy, a Necessity caused by their own Impotence and Inability to Please Changed Conditions for Service/Servers.

  4. Matt

    In my experience.......

    I have seen that development starts to push for hundreds of virtual servers for various reasons.

    In the end I found that virtualisation didn't give any advantage over a physical layout where we managed multiple applications by dynamically restricting the resources available to the app.

    In then end virtualisation seems to be just another fad for the majority of sites I work at, but quite useful for one or two.

  5. Euan Ramsay

    Promises?

    The clue meter is reading zero...maybe the manfrommars has been sucking the rarified atmosphere too long?

  6. Marc McAllister

    Right time, right place..

    "In the end I found that virtualisation didn't give any advantage over a physical layout where we managed multiple applications by dynamically restricting the resources available to the app.

    In then end virtualisation seems to be just another fad for the majority of sites I work at, but quite useful for one or two."

    Matt, I can see what you are saying but take our dev environment for example. For one particular project we need at least six servers just for dev and our server room is full to bursting - the air-con and power supply wouldn't handle that many new boxes. All six servers are now VM'ed and housed on an ESX box, with room to add plenty more and the cooling/power requirements are a fraction of what the physical boxes would have taken.

    For "the right time, the right place" it can be a god send (also for ease of backing up) but it does seem that companies are just thinking "right, let's stick ALL those old NT servers onto one box".. it isn't a quick fix. I think people will get wise to it eventually and use it for the correct purpose.

  7. alex dekker

    re: Promises, promises, promises.....

    I see quite a few postings by amanfromMars here on el Reg, and I'm not decided if he is a bot, or an illiterate troll.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    amanfromMars

    Alex dekker, you are correct.

    This account posts blocks of text that seem to relate to previous posts but don't contain and information. Bot indeed. Or a crazy bored fool.

    El Reg, might want to block the account.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manageability

    "From a manageability standpoint, going virtual is not all that different than physical..." Have you not thought about the difference between hundreds of dying power supplies and expensive switch ports, and tens? "...but the burden can actually become worse." Have you not heard, through the grapevine perhaps, that you can patch a machine full of Solaris Zones at once?

    Ed: Where art thou?

  10. Matthew Glubb

    Testing

    In all of the articles I have read in recent time on virtualisation, I don't recall any that present the benefits of virtualisation in a test environment. So far, its the only thing that I have used virtualisation for. Xen, in conjunction with LVM and a few simple shell scripts allows me to very rapidly set up, boot, configure and check out source for a virtual test machine. tearDown is even easier ;)

    I can't be the only one, can I?

  11. James

    Zones v. KVM

    Solaris Zones users, what were your issues with using KVM, compiled into the Linux kernel since 2.6.something? I ask because we're using KVM just fine, although that drop of drool you may have seen indicates a strong desire to convince the wallet-holders to move over to Solaris.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Zones v. KVM

    We were able to convince our wallet-holders to let us switch to Solaris in part by virtue of its management tools and documentation. Compare KVM's wiki and utilities with the Solaris Zones tools and how they're documented. Using well-made well-documented tools has reduced our tinkering time dramatically, and more than compensates for the time we spend on Solaris migration. For us, this has shown to be true not just for virtualization, but across the board on the systems engineering and administration level, compared to Linux.

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