VM Junkie

June 29, 2010

HP Client Virtualization Reference Architectures

Filed under: bladesystem, hp, vdi, view, vmware — Justin Emerson @ 2:36 pm

One of the great things that came out of HP Tech Forum last week was the official announcement of HP’s various reference designs around their VDI solutions. The hub at HP’s website is here, as of right now only the VMware View architecture PDF is up but the XenDesktop ones are coming (one for XenServer, the other for Hyper-V). Some aspects of this reference design were announced all the way back at VMworld 2009 and are only now coming to fruition. This is mostly because of this bad boy:

HP P4800 BladeSystem SAN

These are the building blocks of the HP P4800 Blade-based SAN solution. HP took their SAN/IQ software and loaded it directly on blade servers, which then attach to external SAS-attached storage to create a 10GBit iSCSI SAN inside the blade chassis. No 10GBit core or switches required! The P4800 is designed specifically for VDI solutions and currently is only available for that kind of solution (although there’s nothing stopping you from using it as a general purpose iSCSI SAN, it’s not recommended because the I/O patterns for VDI and normal server workloads are very different).

This is HP’s flagship VDI design. Going forward there will be more reference designs for smaller deployments, going all the way down to Micro-Branch type deployments with just two servers and no dedicated shared storage but still full redundancy. All are based on the P4000 SAN.

So I’m not trying to make this an advertisement here (although I do think it’s really cool), the reason I’m linking to this is that HP has done a ton of validation and testing around the solution and have provided some great numbers around storage requirements per user for VDI environments. They’ve broken down users into Task, Productivity, and Knowledge workers. According to their numbers, on average these will take 6, 9, and 22 IOPS respectively to support. This can be very demanding on your SAN, and the #1 hardware design related problem users run into is sizing their VDI environments based on capacity and not on performance. These sizing guidelines should help anyone looking to architect a good VDI solution.

June 18, 2010

The latest jerk move by Oracle

Filed under: hp — Justin Emerson @ 9:15 am

I don’t really have a very high opinion of Oracle as a company. Their products can be quite good, and have a great following, but as a company they are very unfriendly to their customer base. You can go back and look at their spats with EMC and VMware, or their ridiculous licensing terms for any virtual environment other than OVM. But their latest acquisition of Sun has certainly been an eye opener to how they treat their customers:

  • You can no longer download drivers for their Sun servers unless you have a valid support contract (!!)
  • Oracle has ended a lot of programs Sun used to run in the education space that kept them in the game. I know plenty of EDU customers who are now looking at other options because Oracle has just priced themselves out.

The latest chapter, outlined on The Register today, is that Oracle has terminated the agreement with HP to support Solaris x86 on HP ProLiant servers. This is a big deal for customers who are looking to migrate off of Sun hardware, or who are already using HP hardware to run Solaris. And that’s exactly why Oracle terminated the agreement – it was driving people away from SunFire servers and to the competition who made a better product. The linked article mentions that Dell still has an agreement in place, but I think the writing’s on the wall for the OEM agreements with Dell and IBM, as well.

Bottom line: If you’re a Solaris customer and you want to have a future where you’re not forced into buying Oracle servers, storage, OS, and application stack just to be supported, maybe it’s time to start looking at Linux alternatives.

June 7, 2010

Yay: I’m a vExpert! Shame: I haven’t updated in too long

Filed under: Uncategorized — Justin Emerson @ 11:56 am

So it was with quite a lot of surprise that I opened my email this weekend and saw that I have been awarded the title of vExpert for 2010. I find it almost ridiculous that I’m up there with the other folks that have this award. I won’t bother naming them because invariably I will leave someone out who deserves this award much more than I.

The award I guess is kind of a wake up call – as you can see my last update here was some time ago. I could give excuses about work schedule or vacations or whatever but really the onus is on my and hopefully in the coming months I will show that I was worthy of this honor. Thanks again for all of you who read and comment.

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