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Top 10 Posts for Q1 2009

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Here are the Top 10 posts for Q1 2009, the numbers of views are in parentheses.

  1. Defragment Ubuntu, Fedora, ext3, ext4 (2247)
  2. Most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances for IT Administrators (2186)
  3. VirtualBox – setup, share, shrink, convert (842)
  4. How to convert a VMWare VMDK to a Microsoft, Xen VHD? (810)
  5. How does shrink with vmware disk manager work? (614)
  6. Most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances for Security (607)
  7. Pre-configured VHD (Virtual Appliance) available from Microsoft (593)
  8. Most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances for Web Apps (558)
  9. Virtual Machine Disk Image Compression (320)
  10. rsync vm, vhd for backup, disaster recovery, ec2 (317)

Defragmentation of virtual disk files remains the dominant theme. There is an equal amount of interest in virtual appliances, particularly those for system administrators.

Search terms:

  • ext4 defrag ubuntu
  • ext4 defrag
  • convert vdi to vhd
  • e4defrag ubuntu
  • virtualbox shrink
  • rsync vmdk
  • wubi
  • defrag ubuntu
  • defrag ext3
  • windows 7 virtual appliance
  • defragment ext3
  • vmware appliances
  • defrag ext4
  • xen vhd
  • ubuntu ext4 defrag
  • defrag ext4 ubuntu
  • vmware firewall appliance
  • vmware appliance
  • “vdi to vhd”
  • convert vhd to xen
  • ext3 defrag
  • windows 7 beta vmware virtual appliances
  • defrag fedora
  • ext3 defragmentation
  • virtual appliance windows 7
  • ubuntu defrag
  • hercules load balancer virtual appliance
  • fedora defrag
  • convert vmdk to xen
  • shrink vmware disk

How To Build Virtual Appliances

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 Ubuntu JeOS

VMWare Studio

Parallels

rPath rBuilder

Rightscale

RightImages provide ready-to-go base operating systems with core cloud software.

ServerTemplates also allow you to designate any number of scripts that you want to run at boot time, upon demand, or when an event is triggered.

RightScripts allow you to specify packages that you want to install before a script is executed and even allow you to upload and attach files directly to scripts.

Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

Written by paule1s

February 16, 2009 at 8:46 am

Database Virtualization

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I was intrigued by an article on database virtualization that caught my eye early this morning and I wanted to find out what is it all about?

The business driver for database virtualization is the globalized economy where business transaction happen 24 x7 x 365 and business critical data must be available within the network boundary of a corporation, or through the Internet, spanning application downtime and IT maintenance windows.

Data virtualization is defined here as

to view data from disparate sources without knowing or caring where the data actually resides.

Data virtualization obviously leads to database virtualization, which is defined here as

the use of multiple instances of a DBMS, or different DBMS platforms, simultaneously and in a transparent fashion regardless of their physical location

James Kobielus, a Senior Abalyst with Forrester Research is predicting that real time information needs will drive database virtualization

the database as we know it is disappearing into a virtualization fabric of its own. In this emerging paradigm, data will not physically reside anywhere in particular. Instead, it will be transparently persisted, in a growing range of physical and logical formats, to an abstract, seamless grid of interconnected memory and disk resources; and delivered with subsecond delay to consuming applications.

He is making an interesting case that

Real-time is the most exciting new frontier in business intelligence, and virtualization will facilitate low-latency analytics more powerfully than traditional approaches. Database virtualization will enable real-time business intelligence through a policy-driven, latency-agile, distributed-caching memory grid that permeates an infrastructure at all levels.

As this new approach takes hold, it will provide a convergence architecture for diverse approaches to real-time business intelligence, such as trickle-feed extract transform load (ETL), changed-data capture (CDC), event-stream processing and data federation. Traditionally deployed as stovepipe infrastructures, these approaches will become alternative integration patterns in a virtualized information fabric for real-time business intelligence.

The convergence of real-time business-intelligence approaches onto a unified, in-memory, distributed-caching infrastructure may take more than a decade to come to fruition because of the immaturity of the technology; lack of multivendor standards; and spotty, fragmented implementation of its enabling technologies among today’s business-intelligence and data-warehouse vendors. However, all signs point to its inevitability.

Proof Points

Oracle acquired Tangosol in May 2007 and possesses a well-developed in-memory, distributed-caching technology called Coherence

Microsoft annonuced Project Velocity a year later in June 2008:

a distributed cache that allows any type of data (CLR object, XML document, or binary data) to be cached. “Velocity” fuses large numbers of cache nodes in a cluster into a single unified cache and provides transparent access to cache items from any client connected to the cluster.

xkoto was selling GRIDSCALE as a database load balancer in 2006. However, it is very smartly capitalizing on virtualization being a hot segment and has repositioned GRIDSCALE as a database virtualization product. This is a vaiid repositioning not only in the context of the definitions cited above but more importantly due to its validation by noted industry analysts:

Gigaspaces XAP can be used for implementing a distributed cache (in-memory data grid)

GemStone Systems offers the GemFire Enterprise as a data fabric (distributed cache)

Scaleout Software also has a distributed cache offering

Written by paule1s

February 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Top 12 referrers over the past 3 months

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Most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances for Security

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Updated on September 25, 2009: Please review the updated list of virtual appliances.

You may also be interested in reviewing virtual appliances for IT Administrators.

The original post has been retained as a historical reference. The download links for most of the appliances in the following table no longer work since VMware has revamped the Appliance Marketplace.

Thanks

********** ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS **********

I have ranked the virtual appliances for IT Administrators available at the VMWare Virtual Appliance Marketplace (VVAM) as described below. Apart from the serial number in the first column and the computed Rank in the last column, all other data is from the VVAM; the titles are self-explanatory.

Methodology

  • I accessed the listings for Security, sorted them by Rating and cut and pasted the first 100 listing into an Excel spreadsheet.
  • The Star rating that is visible on the web page shows up as a decimal fraction in Excel, this is what you see in the Customer Rating column below.
  • I computed a Rank for each listing by multiplying the Customer Rating x 100 x the number of ratings for that appliance.
  • Finally I sorted the result by the rank to prepare the table that appears below. I have selected the top 20 of 174 appliances.
  • The virtual appliances are ordered by their rank from the highest to the lowest
  • I found it interesting that several appliances that rated a 5 had either one or no user each and the bulk of the ratings are for appliances having 4 and 3 stars.

No.

IT Administration Virtual Appliance

What is it used for?

Customer Rating (R)

# Ratings (N)

Rank (R*100*N)

1

JanusVM

Internet Privacy Appliance. Encrypts your Internet traffic, hides your IP address, and is easy to setup.

4.7009

448

210,600

2

X-M0n0wall v1.235

*Most popular Firewall appliance* All-in-one firewall package upgraded with VMXnet, heartbeat and MUI-control.

4.5283

159

72,000

3

SpamTitan

SpamTitan allows you create a Email Security Appliance for your Gateway

4.3478

23

10,000

4

Mitea MailDefender

Antispam / Antivirus Gateway and Email Archive Server

4.1739

23

9,600

5

Network Security Toolkit (NST) Virtual Machine

Best-of-breed open source network security applications with supporting scripts and a web-based front-end management interface.

4.0000

18

7,200

6

Untangle 5.0

Open Source Security Gateway & Firewall that blocks Spam, Spyware, Myspace & more

4.0667

15

6,100

7

Email Security Virtual Appliance – (ESVA) 1.7

Email anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-phishing appliance

4.2143

14

5,900

8

Astaro Security Gateway

Astaro Security Gateway is the world’s most popular Unified Threat Management software appliance.

3.9333

15

5,900

9

Accellion Secure File Transfer – Virtual Appliance

Secure File Transfer Virtual Appliance – secure, economical and easy to use secure file transfer for today’s global enterprises

4.1429

14

5,800

10

Fedora Core 5 with a Nessus Port Scanner software

This setup will set on any network and scan either a network or a single server

3.8000

15

5,700

11

IPCop 1.4.11

IPCop 1.4.11 (cvs) firewall, selected add-ons and full VMware Tools integration

3.2941

17

5,600

12

Sepono

Complete VPN enabled (Cisco 3000 series, OpenVPN) remote desktop client (RDP, XDMCP, VNC) software stack.

3.0588

17

5,200

13

Vyatta Community 2.2 (VC2.2)

Linux-based firewall, VPN, and advanced router

4.0909

11

4,500

14

BackTrack

Network Security Exploit Suite

4.6667

9

4,200

15

FalconStor CDP Virtual Appliance

Continuous availability and complete protection of physical and virtual machines

3.3333

12

4,000

16

Penguin Sleuth Kit Virtual Computer Forensics and Security Platform

Get started Managing Your IP Space Address today! Freeware!

3.5455

11

3,900

17

Altor Networks – Virtual Network Security Analyzer

It analyzes network traffic using netflow data and reports on bandwidth usage by top applications, conversations and hosts.

4.375

8

3,500

18

Enterprise Encryption Server (EES)

MediaWiki plus the LAMP stack in a turn-key VMware form-factor

3.5000

10

3,500

19

VPN-1 VE (Virtual Edition)

Proven Security for Virtual Environments

4.000

8

3,200

20

Check Point Connectra NGX R66 Virtual Appliance

Connectra secure remote access gateway unifies best of breed SSL VPN, IPSec VPN and intrusion prevention

3.875

8

3,100

Be sure to lookup the other articles on the most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances on this blog.

Written by paule1s

January 30, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Pre-configured VHD (Virtual Appliance) available from Microsoft

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The Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is the common virtualization file format for

  • Virtual PC (host: Windows XP or 2000, guest: multiple PC-based operating systems)
  • Virtual Server (host: Windows 2003, Small Business Server or XP, guest: Windows 2003, XP, 2000 and NT4 SP6a)
  • Windows Server 2008 with built-in hypervisor Hyper-V (host: Windows 2008 64-bit, 64-bit and 32-bit guests: Windows 2008, 2003, SuSe Enterprise Server 10, WIndows Vista, Windows XP)

Microsoft’s has introduced the Run IT on a Virtual Hard Disk program so that customers can try Microsoft’s and its partner’s products downloaded as a pre-configured virtual hard disk, i.e., virtual appliance, for free in their own environment , for 30, 60 or 90 days, without the need for dedicated servers or complex installations.

Windows Server 2008 VHD’s:

Pre-requisites: Microsoft Server 2008 Hyper-V must be installed on a physical machine. A 64-bit system with hardware-assisted virtualization enabled and data execution prevention (DEP) is required. You should have a clean install of x64 edition of Windows Server 2008 to be able to use the Hyper-V technology. Detailed pre-requisites are availabe here.

Full Install:

 
Core Install:

Application VHD’s:

Pre-requisites:: Microsoft Virtual PC or Virtual Server

No.

Pre-configured VHD

What is it used for?

1

Exchange Server 2007 SP1 VHD

Evaluate the new capabilities of Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

2

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 VHD

System Center provides you a solution for operating system deployment, patch management, software distribution, virtual application streaming and more (product homepage and Configuration Manager Techcenter)

3

Windows 2003 R2

Windows Server 2003 R2 simplifies branch server management, improves identity and access management, reduces storage management costs, provides a rich Web platform.

4

Office SharePoint Server 2007

Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a collaboration and content management server that supports all intranet, extranet, and Web applications across an enterprise within one integrated platform.

5

Forefront codename “Stirling”

An integrated security system that delivers comprehensive, coordinated protection across endpoints, messaging and collaboration servers, and the network edge. It simplifies management and provides critical visibility into threats, vulnerabilities, and configuration risks

6

System Center Essentials 2007 SP1

System Center Essentials 2007 SP1 is a new management solution specifically designed for IT professionals working in midsize businesses troubleshooting user problems, automating management tasks, managing multiple systems, and diagnosing and resolving IT problems

7

Windows Vista

Dekstop OS

None of Microsoft’s partners are offering pre-configured VHD’s on Microsoft’s site at the time of writing. I am wondering why this is so?

Written by paule1s

January 21, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances for Web Apps

with one comment

I have ranked the virtual appliances for App/Web Servers available at the VMWare Virtual Appliance Marketplace (VVAM) as described below. I am going through this exercise to gain an understanding of what types of appliances are popular, who is providing them and what they are composed of. Apart from the serial number in the first column and the computed Rank in the last column, all other data is from the VVAM; the titles are self-explanatory.

Methodology

  • I accessed the listings for App/Web Server, sorted them by Rating and cut and pasted the first 100 listing into an Excel spreadsheet.
  • The Star rating that is visible on the web page shows up as a decimal fraction in Excel, this is what you see in the Customer Rating column below.
  • I computed a Rank for each listing by multiplying the Customer Rating x 100 x the number of ratings for that appliance.
  • Finally I sorted the result by the rank to prepare the table that appears below. I have selected the top 25 of 269 appliances
  • The virtual appliances are ordered by their rank from the highest to the lowest
  • I found it interesting that several appliances that rated a 5 had either one or no user each and the bulk of the ratings are for appliances having 4 and 3 stars.

No.

Web/App Server Virtual Appliance

What is it used for?

Customer Rating (R)

# Ratings (N)

Rank (R*100*N)

1

JanusVM

Internet Privacy Appliance. Encrypts your Internet traffic, hides your IP address, and is easy to setup.

4.7009

448

210,600

2

Hercules Load Balancer Virtual Appliance

A tiny but mighty tcp load balancer

4.1333

132

57,200

3

Pyle Python Learning Environment Virtual Appliance

Pyle provides you with the python programming language learning environment

3.9545

66

26100

4

Complete JBoss/Eclipse Integrated Development Environment

This setup helps make sure that critical machines is as little downtime as possible

4.0870

46

18,800

5

Fedora Directory Server 1.02 LDAP Appliance

A virtual machine appliance featuring Fedora (LDAP) Directory Server 1.02 on Fedora Core 5

4.0556

36

14,600

6

Fedora Core 5 with a Htdig search engine website

VM with Fedora Core 5, Apache, and Htdig

4.2083

24

10,100

7

rPath Single Node Solaris 9 X86 Cluster

A platform facilitate the deployment of cluster-aware solaris applications, an ideal test bed for a developer.

4.0000

25

10,000

8

MyWebSFTP v1.0

A simple, feature full, SSL secured, and easy to use FTP server and web interface written in PHP backended by MySQL and ProFTPD.

3.8750

24

9,300

9

NoWeb

A comprehensive and easy to use web content filtering system

3.2593

27

8,800

10

Fedora Core 5 with a Squirrelmail webmail frontend

Best-of-breed open source network security applications with supporting scripts and a web-based front-end management interface.

4.0952

21

8,600

11

Spam Vigilante – Mail Filter Virtual Appliance

A mail proxy based on FreeBSD with spam (SpamAssassin) and virus (ClamAV) scanning. Can be used with any existing mail system.

3.6522

23

8,400

12

Collaboration2

Collaboration Server

4.1500

20

8,300

13

Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 8.2

J2EE 1.4 platform app. server,focused mainly on developer productivity; Ideal for Web Services/SOA and Web 2.0-based apps.

4.1000

20

8,200

14

OBS Virtual Application Server

OBS Webfire, Open Office, Firefox, Apache, Jboss(EJB 3), Eclipse, VNC, MySQL, Games on SuSE 10

4.2632

19

8,100

15

The Web Developer Appliance

A virtual machine designed for testing and fine tuning your web-based applications in a safe environment

4.0500

20

8,100

16

J2easy

JBoss appliance, based on FC5 with http installation and managment tools

4.1579

19

7,900

17

Personal Backup Appliance

Use this VM to Backup, Restore, or Clone the Hard Disk Drive of any Computer or VM over the Network!

4.1111

18

7,400

18

OpenEMR 2.8.1 Appliance

Open Source Medical Practice Management Software Appliance

4.1765

17

7,100

19

Network PDF Server Appliance

A PDF Server providing network shared printers for creating PDF documents

3.5000

20

7,000

20

Windows 7 Ultimate Beta Virtual Appliance

Windows 7 is the next release of Microsoft Windows, an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers.

4.2500

16

6,800

21

UbuntuFax

Ubuntu based HylaFax Server that allows you to use WinModems for faxing

4.0265

16

6,500

22

Zeus Extensible Traffic Manager (Load Balancer)

Application Delivery Controller

4.0000

16

6,400

23

Fedora Core 5 with a Media Wiki web interface

Have your very own wiki website everywhere you go

3.8125

16

6,100

24

rPath Port 25 Mail Server Appliance

rPath Port 25 Mail Server Appliance

3.9333

15

5,900

25

DAD/miniDAD

LDAP-controlled CentOS server with embedded preconfigured Ubuntu miniDAD clients that “know” how to contact DAD

4.0000

14

5,600

Be sure to lookup the other articles on the most popular VMWare Virtual Appliances on this blog.