Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2013

Today we are at Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in London Victoria for ‘Best of MMS’ – a regular fixture in The Full Circle calendar for a rapid-fire immersion in the latest Microsoft System Center technologies.  It’s also a great opportunity to catch-up with key System Center partners, the leader in this space being our good friends at Inframon.

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‘Best of MMS’ is a one-day synopsis of the week long main event held in Las Vegas in April – see www.2013mms.com/ for the official MSFT site inc. videos, keynotes, etc…

This year’s event is just 1-day at 1-venue (last year was 3), however last year was product launch cycle with the 2012 wave whereas this year is mid-release improvements.

Continue reading “Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2013”

Hyper-V P2V using Disk2vhd

The ability to convert existing Physical hosts to Virtual machines is often the biggest return on investment benefit to justify the case for virtualisation.  Taking a legacy platform often on older, unsupported hardware and software, and converting it to a virtual machine running with many other machines, but on new, high capacity hardware taking up less space and power is a key driver for virtualisation.

Older systems consuming a relatively high amount of energy and space for what is now very low processing power, can be converted to VM’s hosted on much more powerful hardware for a similar footprint but with much increased agility through the well understood benefits of virtualisation.

A recent project The Full Circle (www.thefullcircle.com) undertook as part of our private cloud practise, was to rationalise several older HP ProLiant DL360 servers (one had a BIOS dated 08/03/2001 – over 10 years old!) each taking 1U of rack space, some with dual power supplies, dual network adaptors, mirrored disks, etc. all generating high heat output (which in turn has high cooling costs).

Online Windows server capture using Sysinternals Disk2vhd utility

If you haven’t got Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Manager suite and you don’t want to spend many hours backing up the source server, creating a blank VM, installing a base O/S and then hoping a restore will work without hours of troubleshooting disparate hardware issues… really?!?!  there is a handy alternative from those clever folks at Sysinternals – disk2vhd.

From Sysinternals “Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion.”

 

Overall P2V process as easy as 1,2,3…

Of course it’s not as easy as 1,2,3… this process may take from only a couple of hours to a couple of days per server but its a straightforward process with no fundamental ‘gotchas’ – although in-between application licensing, network infrastructure issues, and later VM contention (disable those traditional backup agents!) – this part may prove to be the simplest part of the process, which is:

  1. Capture of source physical host/server
    1. Audit hardware and software build
      (recommend paid tools such as Belarc, but also include built-in such as systeminfo – knowing the local machine Administrator account rather than a domain account could be useful although not mandatory although you do need an admin account)
    2. Full Backup! (whilst no changes planned to source machine a backup maybe useful later)
    3. Clean-up the source machine (old profiles, programs, recovery points, temp files (could use CCleaner or just cleanmgr.exe), and always defrag! – great tip from Khwajakhurram in the comments))
    4. Disk conversion from physical source to Virtual Hard Disk file target (VHD)
  2. Build of Virtual Machine / VM hardware to be a near-as match to the source hardware in terms of major physical resources such as CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network
    1. Attach the created VHD file, note this will be one Disk that may contain multiple partitions (recommend capturing individual volumes to separate VHDs)
  3. Clean-up of new virtual machine hardware and system software
    1. Install the Hyper-V Integration Services (may have pre-reqs..) and restart
    2. remove superfluous hardware devices, drivers, and system software (may require several restarts)
    3. Setup networking (you will have lost the physical adapters)
    4. May wish to change storage properties e.g. converting from a Basic to Dynamic Disk in order to Shrink a volume, etc…
    5. Check the event logs for any errors to determine if serious or can be ignored
    6. Test, test, test!
    7. Activate Windows (the ‘hardware’ will have changed significantly)
Steps in more detail..
Running disk2vhd

You don’t even need to permanently install the tool on the source machine, simply browse to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415 and click ‘Run Disk2vhd

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choose your source drives, enter a suitable target destination with sufficient space and click create – this may take some time (as in several hours depending on size, speed, network, etc.)

Setting up the captured hard disk

The disk captured by disk2vhd will be a single hard disk image of the selected partitions/volumes, this may be fine if they combine less than 127GB as the first Hyper-V bootable disk has to be attached to the IDE controller (with a disk limit of 127GB)

However, for production use we recommend splitting your disks in the virtual world as you would in the physical – capture each volume to a separate VHD e.g. HOSTNAME-diskN-c_system.vhd, HOSTNAME-diskN-d_data.vhd, etc.

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Here’s a grab of a SCSI based system which had 2x73GB SCSI disks as a single RAID disk

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P2V for Windows Server 2003 onto Hyper-V

Windows Server 2003 machines require Service Pack 2 to be installed before the Hyper-V Integration Services can be installed – get ready to install using the keyboard as until the IS bits are installed you have no mouse!

Removing superfluous hardware devices, drivers, and system software

You need to get familiar with removing hidden devices and how to show non-present devices by following the Microsoft KB ‘Device Manager does not display devices that are not connected to the Windows XP-based computer’ basically:

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

start devmgmt.msc

And then show hidden devices, to allow removal of the no longer supported devices, below shows the main areas to cover from a HP ProLiant server to VM:

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I’m fairly confident to remove ALL hidden/greyed-out devices, especially if its a device that has been replaced by another ‘active’ / non-hidden instance of the same name e.g.

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Note – this is a tedious process working through all greyed-out devices – suggest using the keyboard to save time (cursor to device, delete, enter, use of home & end keys, then repeat – many times! 😉

If you delete something in error don’t worry – you can always re-scan for hardware changes or restart the machine – you’ll be doing a few restarts during the process anyway…

Some things should be removed that are not hidden

Some devices won’t be hidden, but if you know your hardware and device drivers fairly well you should be able to spot the obvious candidates for removal, e.g. the Compaq Smart Array Controller drivers used for managing the hardware disk array.. cpqarry2 is definitely one to go..

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but most will (be hidden), including related components…

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(I think the Pentium III chip can go in this case! Winking smile)

Note – some of these may prompt for a restart, I normally bank several restarts together, but some system software to be removed may require a restart to uninstall cleanly..

System software uninstallation and many restarts

Most server systems may also have significant software components to uninstall, in this case several HP components that talk to proprietary HP systems management components that will no longer be present in the virtualised machine.

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HP Network Teaming Utility – where is that software?

The HP Network Teaming Utility – easily spotted on most HP Windows server systems by the image  logo in the system-tray, however the software is not that easily found as doesn’t appear in Add/Remove Programs nor is removed from Device Manager.

Open network connections (ncpa.cpl) and select the ‘HP Network Configuration Utility’ then select Uninstall – you should be prompted to uninstall per:

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You’ll be prompted for a restart, and by now the system probably deserves one!

 

Recreate your Network connections

Its time to dig out that systeminfo report, as that’s going to have a concise listing of the source server’s network settings in terms of IP addresses, etc. – if you’re converting from large-frame/iSCSI with VLANs etc. then that scenario is slightly beyond the scope of this post – sorry, but some things have to be billable!

Errors on start-up?

You are bound to get some start-up errors at the end of the process, although hopefully these should be insignificant such as a w32tm service unable to update from NTP or a domain controller due to network changes (e.g. still testing on a private network).  You may also have dependency components that still require removal such as a System Management Controller via the Service Control Manager (typical event id 7000 stuff).

Fire up the Event Viewer (eventvwr) regardless and have a trawl through the event logs, even if you didn’t get a error starting service alert on start-up you may find issues that require further investigation – effort here will be worthwhile for a stable and error free machine.

At the end of the process…

When you’re finished, sit back crack open a can (if you won’t get caught with food and drink in the data center) and have a think what nice new tin you’ll replace all those gaps in the rack with… mine would be Stella… Winking smile  Better still, for you, the company and the planet, return a few racks to the data center manager / co-lo provider, and ask for a bonus from all the carbon you’ve saved Smile

 

Added a week later..

It doesn’t always work…

..and does have limitations e.g.

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The disk is too large for a dynamic VHD…

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Microsoft Techdays: Virtualization Summit – From the Desktop to the Datacenter

Full agenda below, but key points for me:

VDI & App-V – still virtualise your apps when using VDI to leverage further coat savings & ROI

Win2008 R2 SP1 – Hyper-V gets ‘Dynamic Memory’ not same as memory over-commit but shares a pool of real server memory across VDI VM’s
‘Remote-FX’ – graphics rich across TS/RDP/VDI using server graphics capabilities – putting high-end GPU’s in the server!

‘Private Cloud’ & ‘Partner Cloud’ – enabling cloud based computing without the budget of Azure or Amazon Web Services!

Using optimised desktop for on-demand application provisioning & apparent coexistance of non-compatible apps

One image per major hardware type – more emphasis on process for application delivery & customisation/personalisation of the desktop.

Deploying Personal Virtual Desktops by using Remote Desktop Services Web Access step-by-step guide

VDI using Dynamic (“Non-Persistent”) Virtual Desktops
– master VDI image then pesonalisation & customisation streamed to image delta – discarded at logoff, roaming profile intact

Pooled VDI experience vs. RDS architecture (Shared Session Virtualisation)

giving a video interview with Stuart Leddy for TechNet Flash 🙂

Having an insightful chat with David Overton (SBS Guy) around the prospective launch date of SBS2008 R2.. we think that the announcement won’t be until WPC in July, and then tabled for release in the last calendar quarter of 2010 and very likley post Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1… hmmm!

Formal / published event information below..

Event Overview
Looking at virtualization but unsure about your options? Thinking about Windows 7 migration? Interested in VDI and server virtualization? Want to save on costs but wondering about ROI? Have more questions than answers on the topic?

This 1-day event will provide you with an understanding of the key products & technologies enabling seamless physical and virtual management, interoperable tools, and cost-savings & value. Microsoft Virtualization provides a completely virtualised infrastructure for your organisation, from the datacenter to desktop to the cloud. Please mark your calendar for Microsoft Virtualization Summit on Monday 12 April 2010 in London. Join us and interact live with Microsoft, key partnerships and early adopter customers in this informative event near you.

For all the latest agenda and speaker information, please visit our UK Techdays website: www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays

Virtualization Summit –
From the Desktop to the Datacentre

Vue Cinema Shepherds Bush, Screen 9.

Looking at virtualization but unsure about your options? Thinking about Windows 7 migration? Interested in VDI and server virtualization? Want to save on costs but wondering about ROI? Have more questions than answers on the topic? This 1-day event will provide you with an understanding of the key products & technologies enabling seamless physical and virtual management, interoperable tools, and cost-savings & value. Microsoft Virtualization provides a completely virtualized infrastructure for your organisation, from the datacenter to desktop to the cloud. Please mark your calendar for Microsoft Virtualization Summit on Monday 12 April 2010 in London. Join us and interact live with Microsoft, key partnerships and early adopter customers in this informative event near you.
8.30am – 9.30am Registration
9.30am – 10.30am Virtualization 360 to End-To-End Virtualization
Dai Vu, Director, Microsoft Corp

Organisations today face many challenges and have certain priorities they must address. With Microsoft Virtualization they can address these challenges and concerns with the essential capabilities Microsoft delivers through the products they already own. When you couple Microsoft Virtualization solutions with integrated management to bring it all together you now have the visibility into your environment, while increasing your capability to respond to the ever changing business requirements. Also, learn how Microsoft Desktop Virtualization can help organisations with their access, data security, and compliance concerns while also providing anywhere access for their users. Learn how Microsoft Virtualization solutions in the datacenter help IT save money, increase availability and improve agility through the dynamic platform and management capabilities we provide to our customers. This allows IT to be more service-centric in how they provide to their customers. This vision of Virtualization will show that Microsoft today has the capabilities you need today with a path to the future.
10.30am – 11.30pm Next Generation Optimised Desktop
Keith Baker, Datacenter Technology Specialist

Many organisations are using Windows 7 migration as an opportunity to change how they provision and manage their desktops. The Windows Optimised Desktop is a vision for how organizations can bring down the costs of client computing while maximising flexibility, security, and manageability. Learn about the next generation of the Windows Optimised Desktop, which includes new technologies in Windows 7, Desktop Virtualization, Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) and System Center.
11.30pm – 12.00pm Break
12.00pm – 1.00pm Implementing a Comprehensive VDI Solution
Matt McSpirit, Partner Technology Advisor – Virtualisation & Management

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is one of the hottest topics in IT today and is an important cornerstone of the Microsoft’s Optimised Desktop strategy. Desktop Virtualization offers new and powerful opportunities for IT to deliver and manage corporate desktops and to respond to various user needs in a flexible way. For organisations to realise the full benefits of VDI, they need to ensure they choose a solution that addresses the key issues they face today. This session helps outlines the Microsoft VDI offering and benefits of an integrated and comprehensive approach toward desktop flexibility and manageability.
1.00pm – 2.00pm Extended Break – Time to grab a bite nearby
2.00pm – 3.00pm Physical to Virtual Management with System Center
Julius Davies & Clive Watson, Datacenter Technology Specialists

Virtualization has transformed how IT can deliver the applications and services to their customers in a very dynamic climate. But not all applications and machines are great candidates for virtualization, and it will take some time for IT to move all of the applications that can be converted to virtual machines. This session will discuss how an IT organisation can leverage System Center, a comprehensive set of integrated management tools, allowing you to keep complexity to a minimum and streamline operations. A common management environment reduces training, ensures uniform policy application and simplifies maintenance by leveraging your existing software, personnel, and most importantly, your existing IT management process.
3.00pm – 3.30pm Break
3.30pm – 4.30pm Deploying Business Critical Workloads and Applications
Dai Vu, Director Microsoft Corp

This session will cover how Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V provides an optimal platform for running your business critical workloads like Exchange, SQL and SharePoint as well as other various applications and workloads, including best practices, key concepts and other considerations.
4.30pm – 5.30pm Building a Foundation for Your Private Cloud
Sohbat Ali, Solution Architect

Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Microsoft System Center family of products are enabling customers to build the foundation for a private cloud infrastructure by using the Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center (availability scheduled in the first half of 2010). This free, partner-extensible toolkit will provide you architectural roadmap, deployment guidance, best practices, and familiar tools to create agile, virtualized IT infrastructures. This session will provide more information on the toolkit components, and how you can improve your datacenter efficiency by lowering the overall costs of on-boarding, deployment, and management.

The Full Circle secures Ascom Network Testing for Windows Server 2008 R2 Early Adopter Program

The Full Circle (www.thefullcircle.com) has been working with Microsoft Virtualisation technologies since before they were Microsoft Virtualisation technologies… (think back to Virtual PC from Connectix ;-)).

More recently and formally, we have been working with Microsoft Hyper-V since the v1 Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) in spring 2008.  We attended various RDP Bootcamp training and used pre-release/beta versions of Hyper-V extensively to accelerate testing and migration for our Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customer, Newman Martin and Buchan – read more at http://reubenjcook.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/windows-essential-business-server-2008-launch/

For Hyper-V v2 we are a UK Early Adopter Program (EAP) partner for Windows Server 2008 R2, with a focus on virtualisation, specifically Hyper-V with failover clustering.  We’ve been working with various builds and flavours of Hyper-V v2 including the command line only and free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, and also the full GUI versions available in the full Windows Server 2008 R2 product.

For an EAP, or TAP for that matter, you need a customer who’s willing to participate in deploying and testing early release software (Beta’s and Release Candidate builds) in a production environment, and then talk about it through press releases, case studies, etc. also known in Microsoft speak as ‘customer evidence’.
The benefits are many!  Microsoft gets real world deployments of their new product ahead of general release which helps with convincing the wider market that the technology is dependable and fit to deploy.  The customer gets to the latest technology for their business ahead of their competition, and often assistance/support such as sponsored consulting, licenses, etc.  The partner (us) gets supported training, technical assistance, and exposure to new products ahead of our competition, plus, of course, exposure in the market through PR & various co-marketing activities.

Our EAP customer deployment was with Ascom Network Testing (formerly Argogroup – www.argogroup.com).  Ascom Network Testing is part of the Mobile Test Solutions business of the Swiss company Ascom (www.ascom.com), and is a global provider of mobile test & measurement solutions for some of the worlds largest mobile network operators (the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile, Orange, etc.). 
Specifically Ascom wanted to update and improve the backend server components of a product called Monitor Master.  Monitor Master is an end-to-end solution for measuring ‘User Experience’ and collates and presents measurement data from mobile services probes out in the field.  Monitor Master is a Business Intelligence (BI) platform with a data warehouse back-end running on Microsoft SQL Server.

The project was given the title ‘EPIC’ due to the scale of the larger deployments which can be several hundreds of Gigabytes of data.  The primary goals were to accelerate the quality and consistency of customer deployments of the Monitor Master server components.  This was achieved by defining and testing new reference architectures including O/S setup, database configuration, hardware platform architecture, and operational procedures to manage the environment.

Clearly Virtualisation can help accelerate almost any platform development project and due to the timings of the project, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V v2 was an obvious choice.  Soon into the project we came to realise that due to the performance and other benefits of Hyper-V v2 it could actually form part of the solution, not just a tool to help develop it! 🙂

Our old mate, business associate & mentor (for all things PR & communications), John Dean (COO of www.showmethegolf.tv) helped us put together a short release that announced this exciting project, it went out to coincide with the global Windows Server 2008 R2 & Windows 7 launch events and is available online via PRWEB (http://uk.prweb.com/releases/2009/10/prweb3039184.htm), but also below for your enjoyment!:

PRESS RELEASE

The Full Circle Secures Client for Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP

Ascom Network Testing Enrolled as Early Adopter for Hyper-V Virtualisation

London, 15 October 2009 – The Full Circle, the Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in virtualisation and infrastructure deployments, announced today that it had secured Ascom Network Testing’s participation in the Windows Server 2008 R2 UK Early Adopter Program (EAP).

Ascom Network Testing is a global mobile data software systems provider. They offer test and measurement solutions to many of the world’s largest mobile network operators, including Verizon, Orange, and T-Mobile.

The EAP enables selected partners to take part in co-funded consulting engagements to drive product deployments prior to full launch. This gives partners and customers strategic advantage while enabling Microsoft to develop public references for their marketing efforts.

Reuben Cook, Founder, The Full Circle – “We are delighted that Ascom Network Testing will be part of the Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP. We are confident it will offer tremendous value as it will enable them to reap the benefits that the new technologies can deliver to the business well in advance of their competitors.  Windows Server 2008 R2 is planned for release October 22nd”

Kit Smithers, Chief Technical Officer, Ascom Network Testing Ltd – ”We immediately recognised the benefits of participating in the program. We have a particularly strong interest in the benefits of virtualisation and consolidation, and look forward to enjoying the performance and flexibility benefits that it will give us.”

Mike Peers, Channel Development Manager, Virtualisation, Microsoft – “The Full Circle have been an active partner on our Windows Server 2008 R2 Early Adoption Programme.  The programme is designed to help partners gain early experience deploying Hyper-V, whilst also benefitting customers in the early adoption of the technology.”

Cook concluded: “At first we saw Hyper-V as a component that could accelerate Ascom’s internal solution development process.  But it has quickly become apparent that Hyper-V could in itself become part of their client solution offering, due to the power, performance and stability it offers.  It has been a great success.”

Ends:  340 Words

VMware Virtualisation Seminar – 12th November, Global Knowledge, London

Wednesday 12th November, 2008

As founder and CTO of a London based IT consultancy ‘Full Circle Technology Limited (aka The Full Circle – www.thefullcircle.com) I often attend various trade shows and events, however these are often complimentary or supportive of our position as a Microsoft Gold partner.

Virtualisation has always been hot on our agenda, indeed it is in the business plan from when we launched our consulting business in 2003.  It has continued to be a growth technology we have implemented for several clients over the years using Microsoft Virtual Server, and more recently Hyper-V (www.microsoft.com/uk/hyper-v).

I’ve also been an early user of PC based virtualisation since 2001/2, where as CTO of a technology services company I’d insisted that our support & engineering team use virtual machines (VMware workstation at the time) for testing in relation to support & development (the main reason being to minimise the impact of breaking their production machines by ‘playing’ with flakey software! ;-))

Anyway, today I went along with a keen new associate of ours, Will Darbey, to an excellent seminar event hosted by a leading UK training organisation, Global Knowledge (www.globalknowledge.co.uk).
The seminar was exclusively about a technology that could be viewed as just ever so slightly competative to Microsoft in the virtualisation space… VMware (www.vmware.com).

It must be said, that if in the market for VMware training and certfication, then Global Knowledge is well worth a serious look in… (http://www.globalknowledge.co.uk/courses__certifications/vmware_training.aspx).

A most excellent use for the corner of the BSG building (City Road, London)

The agenda for the day was split into two halfs:

AM Session: Business Briefing-Aimed at people who are considering virtualisation for their business and the benefits it can bring to an organisation.

  • 10:00 – 11:30 Management Briefing
    Introduction to VMware
  • Virtualisation the Datacentre Initiative
  • VMware Infrastructure
  • Virtualisation Benefits
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Green IT
  • Government Legislation
  • Virtual Desktop
  • VMware lower total cost of ownership
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Q & A
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

PM Session: Technical Briefing –The session is for technical people responsible for evaluating VMware ESX Server and VirtualCenter; including IT managers, system architects, and system administrators.

  • 14:00 – 15:30 Technical Briefing:
  • Reliable Foundation
  • The Hypervisor
  • Architecture
  • The Management
  • Create, Convert, Deploy, Patch, Protect, Deliver
  • Guided Consolidation, Upgrade Manager, SRM Shared Services
  • Resource allocation
  • Live Migration
  • High Availability
  • Resource distribution, Power management Integration
  • Hardware and Guest OS support
  • Conversion and Capacity Planning
  • 15:30 – 16:00 Q & A

Speakers:

  • David Day –David comes from a 10 year Cisco and Microsoft background, and currently manages the technical delivery program for VMware Authorised Training Centres. Originally from South Africa, David is now based in the UK, and has been with VMware for four years.
  • John Churchhouse –John leads the VMware Strategic Partners team which covers all OEM and System Integrator/System Outsourcer relationships in the UK and Ireland.  Prior to VMware, John worked for Sun Microsystems where he managed the System Integrator partner sales team.

As usual I made a few scribbles from the day…

“Virtualization will be the highest-impact trend changing infrastructure and operations through 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. Virtualization will transform how IT is managed, what is bought, how it is deployed, how companies plan and how they are charged. As a result, virtualization is creating a new wave of competition among infrastructure vendors that will result in considerable market disruption and consolidation over the next few years.”
– Gartner

 

The day was split into two parts, the morning session with John Churchhouse on the business angle, and the afternoon a technical deep dive and demonstration with David Day.

Morning session: John Churchhouse, Manager Strategic Partners, VMware

VMware by the numbers..

Founded 1998

2007 rev. $1.33B projected $1.8-1.9B

6100 employees (almost doubled since Jan, current hiring freeze)..

50% year on year growth for last 8 years, limited

120,000 customers, 87% deployed in production, 43% standardising on VMware Infrastructure (i.e. VMotion, HA, Backup, etc.)

 

3rd software company to maintain 50% revenue growth after reaching $1B (other two being Microsoft & Oracle)

 

reasons/uses for virtualisation (with VMware of course! ;-)) 

 

Server Consolidation & Containment – eliminate server sprawl by deploying systems into virtual machines…

Infrastructure Provisioning – reduce time to provision new infrastructure to minutes with sophisticated automation capabilities and standardised machine templates.

Business Continuity – reduce cost and complexity of BC by encapsulating entire systems into files that can be replicated and restored to any server

Test and Development– rapid provision and re-provision of test & dev environments; store libraries or pre-configured test machines

Enterprise Desktop / Virtual Desktop Infrastructure– secure unmanaged PCs. Alternatively, provide standardised enterprise desktop environments hosted on secure, reliable, centrally managed servers.

Legacy Application re-hosting – migrate legacy O/S & apps to virtual machines running on faster and newer hardware for better/improved reliability.

 

TCO on server consolidation typically 6 months… ?!? www.vmware.com/go/calculator

 

Greenness– Qualcomm – reduced 900+ servers, 11.2 tonnes of CO2 per server saved!

 

ESXi / VMware Virtualisation Layer – 32MB, free download – smaller, tighter, less to go wrong!

Can be specified and shipped pre-installed with servers from HP & Dell..

 

Trigger points for VDI… hmmm I missed that one…

 

2008: the year of automation!

Automation = Business Agility

Automate IT processes (Lifecycle management from machine birth through death/retirement)

Create resource pools

Capacity on-demand

 

Disaster Recovery

DR in the virtual world is orders of magnitude simpler in the virtual world.. e.g. hardware and firmware levels can be different across DR sites as the virtual layer is consistent

Turn manual recovery run books into automated

 

Test & Development

Developer productivity – >75% reduction in server to staff ratio, 10x reduction in system config time, 20% acceleration in system development lifecycle time

 

A UK ‘small’ business example..

BT consolidated 1503 servers, est 375 racks of x86 ay 5 sites replaced with 30 at 3 sites

4509 network ports down to 168!
 

Afternoon session: David Day, Technical Services Director, VMware
David’s session was a fast paced, technical deep dive into various aspects of VMware virtualisation, including some complimentary technologies.  He also ran through some demonstrations including an unplanned, unrehearsed demo (always a brave thing to do) – everything worked like a dream! (its good stuff this VMware ;-).

I’d love to give more detail other than David clearly knows his stuff and then some!, however and unfortuantely I was against the clock getting our EBS 2008 PR submitted – had to be out of the door for a 16:00 release… see http://reubenjcook.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/windows-essential-business-server-2008-launch/

Will & I did, however, have a chance to look somewhat confused with VMware… (before the event of course!! ;-)).

 vmware-will  vmware-reub2

 

 

Green IT Expo – London 5th November

Wednesday 5th November, 2008

As founder and CTO of a small IT consultancy & Microsoft Gold partner ‘Full Circle Technology Limited – www.thefullcircle.com – I often attend trade shows and events.  On Wednesday I went along to the Green IT Expo (www.greenitexpo.co.uk) at the Barbican Center in London, and made a few scribbles from the day…

“Gartner predicts that Green IT will be the No.1 Strategic Technology for 2008, accelerating and expanding the focus that came to the forefront in 2007.”
Source – Gartner Inc

I had some very interesting conversations with various vendors and attendees on various things Green IT related, and some not so… I also attended some very interesting seminars, these stood out for me:
 
Virtualisation as an IT Optimiser

Hosted by Tikiri Wanduragala, Modular Systems Senior Consultant, IBM

Today’s enterprises are confronted by a rapidly growing stream of disruptive forces, e.g. globalisation, mobile devices, new collaboration models, energy management and emerging economies. At the same time, information technology is rapidly expanding to make many new applications economically viable. However, the cost of managing IT has doubled since 2000, putting the datacentre at risk. As corporations intensify their focus on delivering innovation and globally integrating their business design, pressure to improve datacentre efficiency and agility will continue to grow.

Virtualisation, the de-coupling of resources from the physical environment, offers a solution through greatly improved resource management and will render non-virtualised IT obsolete over the next 3-5 years. Successful organisations will make virtualisation an essential part of their data centre optimisation plans. IBM will outline four specific actions you can take now to help improve efficiency and agility through virtualisation.

x86 systems are the driver, simply because of the numbers involved.

25 new x86 servers coming on-line every minute and they are switched on 24×7!

A play station has 8 cores, more powerful than most x86 servers!
Why? Because we all demand faster, quicker, shorter…

Centralised computing is back in as opposed to the 80’s-90’s distributed dream

Server consolidation is just the start, the desktop will happen, further centralisation.

If you virtualize you have to do the lot! I/O and storage, otherwise you loose the resilience benefits

Start thinking about servers or desktops as a file then the architecture changes accordingly

Virtualization 1.0
test & dev
slower than the real thing

Virtualization 2.0
business continuity – HA / DR
performance improvements – load balancing, resource streamlining, etc

Virtualization will drive architectural advancement – servers no longer being 10% utilised, but 80%+ utilised, however…

Your eggs will be in one basket, so it had better be a good basket!

Think Different! 😉

Virtualization enables consolidation, the more you consolidate the better the returns!

Management needs to be strong – people, process and technology

High Availability is critical!

Virtualization introduces standardization and therefore allows repeatable, scriptable systems management, deployment, etc.

However, if you do it badly it is a rope to hang yourself, and it will be a much swifter end!

Akin to moving from a relationship to a marraige!

 

Why Green IT & Virtualisation Should be Top of the Financial Director’s Agenda
Hosted by Adam Ryan, Strategic Services Director, Ben Stollard, Director of Consultancy Practise, VirtualizeIT

GreenIT and Virtualisation have become the latest IT buzzwords and every product or service is clamouring to establish its green credentials, VirtualizeIT will cut through the hyperbole to illustrate that the green revolution utilising Virtualisation is actually saving organisations hundreds of thousands of pounds whilst also enabling greater corporate environmental responsibility.

VMware’s EMEA consultancy partner of the year 2008

Cost benefits of server virtualization

Finance sector led the way

Ave IT spend 2.3% of turnover unlikely to change (costs per user relatively unchanged) – Gartner

VDI objection – reduction in local processing power is least popular…

Perception of utlisation is much higher than the reality!

No other company asset would be tolerated that is only used 3% of the time!

Industry ave for server utilisation is less than 9%

AIB had 450+ servers and haven’t bought a new server in 18months, now 43 servers but could be halfed although now fully FT DR capability with c.20 servers split across 2 DC’s

49 x DL380 c. 465w to 6 x IBM virtualized env. Saving £39K PA

The change has to be seamless – changing the engines of an airliner in flight analogy

Use your D/R estate also for test & dev to ensure utilisation numbers

Making a compelling investment case

Consultancy costs to virtualized…
S/W isn’t the main cost!

MS reckon on 10m virtual servers in the market within 18 months

Desktop revenue is falling! The move back to centralised computing is underway

VDI provides great opportunity for security enhancements

Difficult to justify on a basic utility an hardware cost is difficult, the management costs is where it’s at.

Although economies of scale factors – larger the estate, greater the returns

Why virtualise when a server costs less than a desktop… (bar ‘green IT’ of course!)

 

As part of our business – an IT consulting firm called “The Full Circle” www.thefullcirle.com – and as a Microsoft Gold Partner that likes to ahead of the game by being an early adopter, we are always playing with new software and that means building and rebuilding boxes.  Clearly virtualisation can make huge savings, especially in time but not always is virtualisation suitable (such as testing the latest 64-bit drivers and support packs).

However recently I came across an HP Proliant ML110 G5 server (dual core Xeon 2.33GHz, 1GB RAM expandable to 8GB, 250GB SATA, Gigabit Ethernet) for only £220 + VAT which is about £100 cheaper than HP’s value DX2300 desktop range and better spec’d (well bar the 8MB Matrox GPU! ;-).

I sent a mail to my colleages titled “An HP server for less than a desktop?  Virtualise when you can have a physical?”

 

Bonkers!

 

HP ProLiant ML110 G5 Xeon 3065 2.33/1333 Dual-Core, 1x1GB, Non Hot Plug SATA

250 GB, DVD±RW (+R double layer), Gigabit Ethernet – £220 inc VAT

 

I’m in the process of building a new ML110 G5 with Windows 2008 Server Enterprise Core (x64) which is now RTM with a view to this being a Hyper-V platform for a number of other guest VM’s including my main desktop which may or may not prove a little optimistic re: things like driver support, etc. we will see…

 

Note – you need to enable the CPU VM support before installing, it is disabled by default.

 

will aim to get a physical Vista platform built to test suitability for normal desktop use and may even try restoring an existing XP image just for the hell of it but won’t be spending too much time troubleshooting if it doesn’t play nicely for obvious reasons.

  

In the meantime some interesting & essential reading below if you are thinking of Windows Server 2008 virtualisation…

 

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/default.aspx

 

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/virtualization-consolidation.aspx

 

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-install.aspx

 

I’d say the RC1 ref’s re: Hyper-V support are now out of date as I’ve successfully installed it on the RTM platform I built this morning, although already running into issues with ‘core’ that may have me reinstalling with a nice GUI such as:

 

Enabling Hyper-V in a Server Core deployment

The following steps will replace steps 4-7 above for a Server Core installation.

1.Type “Start /w ocsetup Microsoft-Hyper-V” to enable Hyper-V role.

2.     Restart when prompted.
Note: To Manage Hyper-V, you can remotely connect to the server from an existing Hyper-V Manager MMC on a different system.

 

I think without training (I’ve re-included the recent WS2008 links) it may be too much to learn/dig around with not enough time (other priorities!) trying to pursue the core build, I can feel a shutdown /c “rebuild with GUI” /f /r coming on… 😉

 

 

 …since writing that mail in mid-February I’ve been on the UK Hyper-V RDP training with Microsoft and have learnt lots about server-core and just how difficult it currently is to remote manage… will be posting some findings and tips n tricks soon… (althojgh next job building a T61p laptop to be a Hyper-V host for some Centro / Essential Business Server work we are doing… 🙂