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Vmworld: Hope Springs Eternal!

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster recently. I’ve had a slim chance of making it out to Vmworld in Las Vegas this week and I got really excited. Then … crushing blow I couldn’t go, then the sky’s parted birds chirped and a harpist showed up from out of nowhere I could go again, then disaster … alas it wasn’t meant to be this year. I won’t be able to make the trek out to the show for the product I’m sorely waiting to be released in my toaster so I can ramp up total resource usage making my breakfast (the harpist gave me a dirty look before she packed up and left)(the harpist gave me a dirty look before she packed up and left).

So instead, I decided to write “what I want from Vmworld” here.

1) Non-Windows support for the Virtual Center/Infrastructure stack

Really,  why does it HAVE to be run in Windows? MySQL and friends run on just about everything so what about the server stack is so tied to the Windows code base that couldn’t be run in some other OS or even their OWN OS ala ESX. I’ve been running into more and more folks on my client list that don’t want to manage Windows in order to manage their virtual infrastructure. I’m looking forward to them announcing an alternative to running on Windows.

2) Windows 2008 support

For the folks who are running a Windows centric shop Windows  2008 is a reality, I have a client who runs it now exclusively and if an app can’t be qualified on 2008 it can’t run in their shop, period, no exceptions. They use 2008, they love it and they aren’t looking back. Funny thing, even though 2008 has been available to the public since early this year Virtual Infrastructure stack does NOT run in 2008 without unsupported shoehorning. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE release (not announce, but release) Windows 2008 support at Vmworld, the harpist is counting on you!

3) A new license server mode/technology

I’m not sure if it has any fans, but I can tell you one of my biggest and in my opinion the most glaring issues with the entire VI (Virtual Infrastructure) stack is the licensing server technology. FlexLM can’t be clustered, it can be made HA but only with knowledge of how to make Windows 2k3 HA. Now Vmware isn’t the only one to use this technology, Citrix does as well, take a browse through Citrix support forums to see how many friends Citrix made when they started using it. Vmware had a similar number of friends, me included. The technology stinks, ditch it, please! Announce a new alternative that can be clustered and is OS agnostic, an application server based license model comes to mind like Tomcat etc.

4) Updated time keeping

The current ESX server technology is pretty good at dealing with time drift of virtual machines on the same host, but across multiple hosts there is some work to be done. Yes, one can use NTP but when things like time sensitive audit data can’t stand even a second drift NTP becomes an unworkable solution. Vmware, you listening? Help us out, let the hosts synch themselves to each other so vm’s on separate hosts have precisely the same time.

5) Physical and Virtual conversion

I’ll kinda give Vvmware a pass on this one because there are apps from companies like Platespin andVizioncore, but … physical to virtual and back again is a weak spot. If they announce better conversion tools, or hey a takeover of one of those companies I’d be a happier admin.

6) Capacity planning

There are services surrounding the Vwmare Capacity Planner that third party vendors offer similar to IBM’s CDAT study, I understand the ecosystem it feeds, but I think Vmware would be better served if the full suite of measurement tools and methodology available to the consultants conducting a capacity exercise were available to the broader public. I’d be willing to bet that the mjaority of people will still make use of experienced third parties to conduct the exercises, however those who can’t or have shops so small they are not on the radar of service providers would be able to take advantage of a great resource. It would really be nice to have the opportunity to even do ongoing internal audits using these tools and methodologies. Make me wish I could make it, and the harpists dirty look even that much more meaningful, announce opening all capacity tools up to the public.

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