Category: Data Center Virtualization

IBM Releases a New Mainframe

In this day and age of cloud computing, this article’s headline may come as a bit of a shock to many of you. Yes, the mainframe is still a thing. And IBM’s newest is a beast of a machine, capable of over 2.5 billion transactions a day, with real-time encryption built in.

Also likely to surprise to a lot of cloudy people are the number of common, day-to-day activities that depend on the elderly gentleman of the computing world. Operating in the background, mainframes are critical to activities including banking, online and in-store shopping, purchasing car insurance, booking travel, registering for university classes, registering a motor vehicle, obtaining a driving license, filing taxes (whether with the IRS in the US,  HMRC in the UK, or Bundeszentralamt für Steuern in Germany), and yes, even talking on the phone, whether mobile or fixed.

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SLEDs, Blades, or Racks? We Are Not Talking about Snow-sport Equipment

The data center is changing, and once again the question of hardware format comes to mind. It is an open secret that I am not a fan of the blade format. Yes, it has flexibility, but that comes at a cost: namely, the loss of density brought by the blade format. 

True, the blade format has been manna from heaven for virtualization. The hardware standardization that the format has instigated has allowed a massive move forward in computing. But isn’t it now time to revisit the paradigm? “Why?” you may ask, thinking “hardware is not important; this is the age of the software-defined data center.” Let’s leave that statement pinned on the wall until later.

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DAS Is Dead; Long Live DAS!

In a play on the old saying “the king is dead; long live the king!” this post will opine about the current resurgence of locally attached storage in the data center.

Before the emergence of virtualization, as some of you might remember, came the physical server. Yes, folks, we really did have a single machine running a single OS, and we really did have that machine running multiple applications or services. AD with DNS? DHCP and WINS? Not a problem. Also, while you are at it, put certificate management and dogfood on there too. Yep, why not?

Once virtualization started to spread though the computer room—yes it was a computer room—and processor capabilities caught up with the technology, our choke point moved to disk. DAS-based disk just did not allow the sexy stuff like vMotion. Also, the possibility of losing all our machines upon the failure of a single host was, quite rightly, a step too far. Anybody remember the “eggs in one basket” arguments? So, we started the massive move to SAN/NAS-based storage, which has arguably made many a company rich. In fact, this move made EMC buy VMware outright.

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Cisco ACI: Is It Wham! or Sam Cooke?

An odd little title, I think you will agree, but consider this: Wham! had a hit with “Freedom” and Sam Cooke sang “Chain Gang,” and I think you can now see my thought process. This post is going to investigate not the technical capabilities of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), but rather what its market placement will mean to the software-defined networking (SDN) industry.

Firstly, Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the brains behind its SDN product ACI, can only run on CISCO equipment. More importantly, APIC can only run on Nexus 9000 series switches. These are:

  • Not cheap
  • Only for the biggest environments.

So, what about those who have invested in Nexus 7000s and below? Well, up until the Cisco Live US conference, you were effectively legacy. However, Cisco recently stated that the APIC will now be able to overlay application workloads to older (read Nexus-only) switches. The first switch that will be able to have these policies is the Nexus 1K; the only issue is that a Nexus 9K series switch is still needed. Not looking so inviting now, is it? What is important here is that it is an overlay.

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News: Oracle v. Google — Why Is This Important?

On the 9th of May, 2014, something happened in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that could have massive ramifications for our fledgling cloud orchestration industry. Circuit judges with no knowledge about the software industry and how that industry works made a judgement that could pull the rug out from under the whole integration and orchestration industry. “What!” you say?

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News: VSAN and vSphere 5.5 Update 1 are available, finally pricing is released!

Today marks the release of vSphere 5.5 Update 1, you can find the release notes here and the links to the download are found here.  Why is this such a milestone? Well it also finally marks the release of VMware’s long awaited entry into the world of Software defined storage the VSAN, but before we move onto that what else is contained in Update 1? Continue reading “News: VSAN and vSphere 5.5 Update 1 are available, finally pricing is released!”