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Posts Tagged ‘windows

Unidesk Virtual Desktop VDI technology

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This is a summary of Kris Midgely’s (Founder and CTO, Unidesk) interview by Brian Madden

Unidesk is a PC Lifecycle Management company planning to provide

  • Virtual Desktop Management
  • Personalization
  • Storage reduction

with no agent on the desktop.

Supports VMware ESX today. Intends to support Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-VVMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, Citrix XenClient. and application virtualization technologies such as, VMware ThinApp, Microsoft App-V, etc.

CacheCloud

CacheCloud: is a content delivery network (think Akamai) for pushing out VDI gold images to different data centers, laptops/desktops in branch offices or machines that connect intermittently. Cloud consists of  a large number of virtual appliances, called CachePoints, running one per blade or laptop. Each CachePoint stores user personalization locally as well as replicates it out. CachePoint appliances are made of Linux, have virtualized storage that supports

  • thin provisioning
  • replication
  • versioning

Windows and app code is shared, user personalization is unique. This makes scanning for AV really fast since there is only image of code

Block-level replication of deltas, file-level replication for compositing.  Personalization data can be written from several individual CachePoints to a  NAS/SAN in the data center which enables legal discovery of changes to data, which was not possible until today.

Composite Virtualization

Composite Virtualization understands the abstract layers, Windows’, apps and user data and knows how to merge them together (composite) in real time to create a bootable C: device and provide a rich desktop experience. Virtualizes each desktop into  layers

  • exe, com objects and dlls are apps
  • Registry – configuration 
  • everything else is data 

It will support encryption in the future: Shared keys for windows and apps code, personal keys for private data

Composting engine sits on top of the device driver and form the individual layers by merging individual IO streams with the namespace knowledge it maintains.

A virtualization storage layer implemented as a NTFS file system filter driver provides a high performance block IO device that talks to the CacheCloud. It loads early in the boot cycle. Once it is loaded, it loads a vmdk disk image which contains Just Enough Windows pre-composited to provide a bootable C drive. The latter can be served from the Cache Cloud.

It Snapshots the system automatically by auto detecting application installs/uninstalls, ActiveX control downloads. An admin can get a timeline view of user-installed software to reconstruct a hosed machine easily from the CacheCloud. Lets you recover system state while retaining your data.

Availability

Currently in Beta with 22 customers spanning Financial Institutions, Higher Ed and the Government.

Distribution through a channel strategy, working with Top Channel providers for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft. Can replace WAN acceleration, Backup and DR and Persistent Personalization products.

Chrome OS, 3G Netbook, Client Hypervisor Convergence?

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Sundar Pichai’s post Introducing the Chrome OS

Chrome OS is designed for people who spend most of their time on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS.

Chrome OS has generated a lot of excitement and buzz over the past few months. The driver for introducing Chrome OS is the widespread use of the Internet and the dramatic rise in adoption of NetBooks (called ultraportables by IDC) during 2008 – 2009.

Benefits for notebook and ultramobile device users

  • Fast boot, instant web access.
  • Worldwide accessibility of personal data, i.e., documents, pictures, MP3’s, videos, etc., since they are stored in the Cloud.
  • Promise of being able to run web apps offline and sync data with the Cloud when online (with the forthcoming HTML5 support).

Benefits for all users

  • Safe browsing – users don’t have to worry about viruses, adware, malware
  • Speed – no hidden services and extensions slowing down the computer while running in the background
  • Users cannot lose data that resides in the Cloud due to a computer disaster or forgetting to back up files.
  • No/Low administration overhead – users don’t need to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about applying software updates.

Essentially, Chrome OS’s key value is to convert a Netbook (or any computer for that matter) into a fixed- function web interaction device. This is a great vision and in all likelihood will be realized in 2010 when 3G notebooks become mainstream in the US and Europe – they already are in Asia. However, let us examine where Chrome OS fits within the landscape of products from Microsoft and Apple:

OS Vendor Netbook Tablet Notebook Desktop
Microsoft Windows 7 Windows CE Windows 7, XP Windows 7, XP
Apple None iPhone OS Mac OS X Mac OS X
Google Chrome OS Android None None

 

While Chrome OS is well-positioned for the 3G notebook market niche, its safe browsing and speed are particularly important benefits for users who browse the web from their notebook and desktops also. This installed base of users are not going to be migrating away from their notebooks and desktops because of “stickiness”of the apps, e.g., Outlook mail and calendar integration, Adobe’s Creative Suite or financial apps that use Dot Net technologies on Windows, the holistic user experience on a Mac. It is difficult to change user behavior!

How can Chrome OS extend to desktops/notebooks in home and business use today?

That’s easy, through the use of virtualization. Virtualization will let users

  • Run multiple disparate OS’s on the same hardware
  • Realize the Bring Your Own Computer model for VDI and maintain separation of work-related and personal, apps and data.
  • Create a safe and secure browsing environment at home or at work on their personal computers

A client hypervisor running on a netbook, notebook or desktop can permit Chrome OS to be booted in a VM for providing a fast boot, instant web access capability while Windows is still booting up in the background.

Written by paule1s

March 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

BIOS-based Type 1 Client Hypervisors On The Horizon?

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Phoenix Technologies is offering a Linux-based virtualization platform called HyperSpace enabled by the HyperCore hypervisor embedded within the BIOS. HyperCore is most likely Xen-based and runs specialized core services side-by-side with Windows on Intel VT CPU’s.

Primary value

Its primary value proposition is that it is a fast boot environment. The concept is to boot the user into a VM running Linux and show him a Mozilla-based browser within the first 10 seconds, while Windows is booting up in parallel in another VM within the first minute or so. While the Windows boot in in progress, the user can connect (through Linux) with an available wireless network, browse the Internet, and switch between the two virtual machines using the F4 function key.

What do users think?

Here are some interesting reviews,

Some other fast boot environments are:

However, currently …

Phoenix was selling HyperSpace Dual (Linux only, no HyperCore) and Hybrid (Linux + HyperCore) in 2009 but they seem to have discontinued the Hybrid product line. Was the adoption poor due to limited hardware support? Or, shudder, was the product not fulfilling a customer need?

Perhaps we may see it once again in the near future, the HyperSpace front page hints that “HyperSpace 2.0 is coming soon”.

The technology is cool, but …

Fast boot alone is not a compelling need. There aren’t many times in life when users can’t wait an additional 30 or so seconds to have full access to Windows.

If you look at why Mac users have adopted VMware Fusion for running Windows, you’ll realize that there must be a compelling need for users to change their behavior and adopt something new and different. Users in corporate environments switched to Macs because they did not want a Common Operating Environment Windows desktop, which was locked down by IT. Using Fusion, they can continue to use Office, particularly, Outlook, and especially the Outlook calendar, to continue to meet the demands at work without missing a beat. Conversely, people who have always used Macs did not want to change their lifestyle when they joined a new company and using Fusion, they were able to assimilate into the corporate routine very quickly.

So the question at hand is, what is the compelling use case for a BIOS-based client hypervisor to gain adoption and market penetration?

What is the killer use case?

Perhaps the killer use case is the one that both HyperSpace and Splashtop are already fulfilling today for NetBooks and Nettops, using non-virtualized Linux to provide a Mozilla or Chrome browser as the primary interface for email, Facebook, Zynga, IM, browsing the Internet and using Microsoft Office compatible apps.

This begs the question, is there a compelling need for a Type 1 BIOS-based client hypervisor?

Gabe Knuth has an interesting twist to offer in his post

So what if Citrix, who’s already going to give XenClient away for free, were to partner with Phoenix and other BIOS manufacturers to find a way to include XenClient in the BIOS?

Dear Reader, What do you think?

Top 7 requirements for infrastructure cloud providers in 2010

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This is a summary of the post on the VMOps blog.

1) Inexpensive storage

The storage industry is built on the back of NAS and SAN, but for cloud providers, the overwhelming preference is for inexpensive local disk, or DAS solutions. … every cloud provider I talk with expects storage to be independent of the host physical server, redundant, and provide support for HA.

2) Open source hypervisor

Service providers know that if they plan to compete with Amazon, Rackspace and other cloud providers, on price, VMware is not a good option. Perhaps because it is being used by Amazon, Xen seems to be the most popular hypervisor for Infrastructure clouds among the service providers

3) Integration with Billing and Provisioning Apps

… most hosting companies and MSPs have billing and user management approaches that they have built-up over the years. Every one of the companies I’ve spoken with expect their cloud solution to plug into these existing systems.

4) Image-based pricing to support both Windows and Linux

Most service providers I talk to expect Linux to make up the majority of the images they run int he cloud, but they still need to make sure the cloud will support Windows, and all of the associated technology necessary to manage licenses.

5) Simplicity of administration by end0users

Plenty of end-users will leverage a Clouds API to automatically provision and manage virtual machines, but that doesn’t change the need for a simple UI. Most hosting companies have a huge number of end-users who are used to working with control panels, and an Infrastructure cloud needs to make life easy for these end-users.

6) Reliability

Over the next few years, many of the large providers of dedicated servers will be offering their customers the option to transition to virtual machines running on a computing cloud. For this to be successful, VMs need to offer better reliability than dedicated machines at a lower cost.

7) Turn-key solution

… service providers today can implement a completely integrated cloud stack on commodity hardware, and receive ongoing maintenance and upgrades over the years. Equally important, service providers can license software on a consumption basis, so upfront investment is negligible.

Incidentally, Mr. VMOps Product Manager, you may wish to provide just 3 more requirements to make this a Top 10 requirements list.

Written by paule1s

December 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Find VM’s older than N days to free up disk space

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I wrote a Python 2.6 script to find and list VM’s older than 90 days on my Windows workstation, so that I could compress them, move them to a 1TB drive attached to my machine, or to a file server, or delete them.

find_old_vms is a tool to find and list old VM’s (vmdk’s, vhd’s) on your hard drives that are older than a given number of days.

Usage: find_old_vms in_this_directory_tree older_than_days

Example: find_old_vms “c:\\” 90

Download for Windows XP, 2003, and Linux. The script uses atime (latest file access time), which is not supported on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Code:

#
# NOTE: This script uses atime - the last access time for deciding whether a VM
# ****  file is a candidate. On Windows XP, atime is updated every hour, whereas,
#          Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not provide an atime.

import os, sys, glob, time

# dtroot is the pathname for a node in a directory tree 
# age is the number of days for which a file has not been accessed
# size in bytes is the maximum size of a file
def scan(dtroot, age, size):
	""" scan <dir> scans the <dir> on host for virtual images
	"""
	filecount = 0
	wctime = time.time(); # get current time

	for root, subdirs, files in os.walk(dtroot):
		# Build a list of filenames that have a suffix vmd* or vhd*
		vfiles = glob.glob(os.path.join(root,"*.v[mh]d*"))
		for f in vfiles:
			atime = os.path.getatime(f)
			elapsed_time = (wctime - atime)/(60*60*24)
			if elapsed_time > age:
				filecount = filecount + 1
				print f, " last accessed ", int(elapsed_time), " days ago\n",


if __name__ == "__main__":

	import sys
	
	# User asked for help
	if sys.argv[1] == '?':
		print "\nfind_old_vms in_this_directory_tree older_then_days\n",
		print "Find all files with the suffix .v[mh]d* that have not been accessed since older_than_days",
		print "through a recusrive descent starting from the root in_this_directory_tree",
		sys.exit()	

	# Validate that the first argument in_this_directory_tree is a valid path
	if not os.path.exists(sys.argv[1]):
		print sys.argv[1], " is not a valid directory. Please provide another",
		sys.exit()

	# Arbitrarily limit search to 10 years
	invalid_age = 0
	if int(sys.argv[2]) < 1:
		invalid_age = 1
	elif int(sys.argv[2]) > 3650:
		invalid_age = 1

	if invalid_age == 1:
		print sys.argv[2], " is invalid. Please provide between 1 and 3650 days",
		sys.exit()

	scan(sys.argv[1], int(sys.argv[2]), 0)

If you remove the restriction of searching for vImh]d* files, it will help you find other older files as well. I will appreciate your feedback.

Written by paule1s

November 23, 2009 at 12:35 am

Vizioncore vOptimizer Pro to shrink or enlarge VM’s

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You can download vOptimizer WasteFinder – 2.2 free from Vizioncore to analyze your VMware vCenter Server / ESX hosts and report how much free disk space can be recovered from over-allocated virtual storage. It also locates all VM’s that are not properly aligned on Windows 64K partition boundaries and as a result experience decreased I/O throughput and higher latency.

In case you wish to reclaim the free disk space and align VM’s on Windows 64K partition boundaries, you will have to purchase vOptimizer Pro 2.2.248.0 (free 14 day trial).

vOptimizer Pro can not only shrink VM’s to reclaim the over-allocated virtual storage, perhaps more importantly, it can also enlarge VM’s that are running out of storage, effectively preventing painful and costly VM outages.

I just wonder, wouldn’t it be better to simply offer a 14 day free trial that lets users test drive vOptimizer that induces them to buy it?

Written by paule1s

November 17, 2009 at 11:16 pm

A year in review: What are our readers looking for?

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Our readers are primarily asking questions like:

  • How can I free up disk space, on Windows, and on ext4, ext3 on Ubuntu and Linux, within virtual disks like vmdk, vhd and vdi?
  • Where can I find the best virtual appliances/ Top 10 virtual appliances?
  • How can I convert from one virtual disk (vmdk to vhd, or vdi to vhd) to another?
  • Who are the competitors for ec2?

An analysis of the search terms shows interesting clusters:

Serial

Topic

% of queries

Search terms

1

ext4 defragmentation

23%

ext4 defrag, defrag ext4, ext4 defragment, defragment ext4

2

ubuntu ext4 defragmentation

14%

ext4 defrag ubuntu, ext4 ubuntu defrag, ubuntu ext4 defrag, ubuntu defrag ext4, defrag ext4 ubuntu, defrag ubuntu ext4

3

vmware virtual appliance

14%

vmware virtual appliance, vmware virtual appliances, top vmware appliances, top 10 vmware appliances, best vmware appliances

4

virtual appliance

5%

virtual appliance, virtual appliances, top appliances, top 10 appliances, best appliances

5

vmware firewall appliance

5%

vmware firewall appliance, vmware appliance firewall

6

ubuntu defragmentation

4%

defrag ubuntu, ubuntu defrag, defragment ubuntu, ubuntu defragment

7

ec2 competitors

4%

amazon ec2 competitors, ec2 competitors

8

windows 7 virtual appliance

4%

windows 7 virtual appliance, virtual applaince windows 7

9

ext3 defragmentation

4%

ext3 defrag, defrag ext3, ext3 defragment, defragment ext3

10

convert vdi to vhd

3%

convert vdi to vhd, vdi to vhd

If I abstract it out, our readers are primarily interested in learning how to free disk storage and where to find the best / Top 10 vmware, Xen and Windows virtual applainces.

Thank you. I appreciate your interest in this blog.