Skip to main content

Virtualisation in the server space

Recently I've had the chance to view VMWare ( and HP's ( entries in the virtualisation market - through VMWare's ESXi server and HP's Blade servers and SAN systems. Prior to this presentation I'd only looked into virtualisation a little bit, concerns for server redundancy and the like preventing me from spending a lot of time looking into it, and also, the size and scope of the organisation I work for is insufficient for such things - or so I had thought.

I have about 10 servers under my direct control and of these, 6 could be virtualised. Thinking about it going forward, in 3 to 5 years when these servers are due for replacement, buying 2 servers and a small SAN will cost less than the 6 new servers and provide the same services. At the end of the day, I think that's what it is all about - same services (or better), with uptime being up in the 5 nines range and cost-effective hardware/software. I've been a fan of VMWare's virtualisation stuff for several years, solely through the VMWare desktop range. Running multiple operating systems and applications on a single development machine was lots of fun. Back in the day (5 odd years ago) RAM was pricey and so was disk space so the VM's were pretty little.

Now you can run whole server instances in a file and then slip that file between servers depending on load requirements and whatever other fancy things you want to do - such as bringing one physical server down for updates and maintaining all your VM's on another server. Absolutely amazing stuff - especially when you combine it with blade technology and have dozens of servers sharing one big SAN all in the same rackspace. Truly incredible. Pretty complicated too I think as well, remembering where everything is going.

The new Blade servers from HP look very impressive too - they've done a lot of work on cooling and on cabling and everything is redundant with backup from at least one module exactly the same. Of course, when I saw those big fancy Blade servers I thought to myself - why virtualise? You could have a netboot install of a server ready to rock at a moment's notice and be back up and running in a very short time, especially if you combine the server with Microsoft's ASR technology and tape backup. There is so much chance for overkill it's every enterprise geek's wet dream. There were quite a few geeks at the presentation that looked like they were in their happy place that's for sure.

The most important thing I took away from it all was that virtualisation in the server space has come a long way since I last looked into it and the offerings from both VMWare and HP are quite spectacular. Given my quite low funds though - I'm now looking into Linux's XEN virtualisation. If you're more interested in this (any virtualisation for that matter) there is a lot of stuff on the interwebs. Mind you don't clog up your tubes! :-)


Popular posts from this blog

Windows 10 Enterprise Eval - gotchas

After an annoying turn of events where my Windows 10 Enterprise USB drive failed, attempts to install Win10 onto a computer failed miserably. I turned to the net and managed to get my hands on Microsoft's Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation. I have an enterprise key so I thought - cool! Here's the opportunity to get it going and to then upgrade the license later. Full install, patched etc and all is swell. Except when I try to upgrade. I straight up tried changing the licence key only to get a variety of errors, most of which are pertaining to the activation system being unavailable. The I try this: but it doesn't work either. Next I'll try this: h ttp:// And if all else fails, in goes the bootable USB I've now created. If only I'd had this in the first instance I would not be writing t

Fixing a black screen after doing a Kali Linux update

Kali Linux is a rolling Linux distribution designed for security and penetration work. You can find details on it here: . We run this excellent product for a range of different security work and it's been great. I built the image in VMplayer, then shared it to the team and we've all been at it since. A recent update broke it though - black screen, no network and completely unresponsive. There are lots of posts about similar things - mostly to do with graphics adaptors, however, we found that executing the following at a root prompt fixed it. But how to get to the root prompt from a blank screen? Linux has a number of terminals available to the user - most of us use the graphical one to do our day to day, but you can access a command line prompt without much trouble. Simply hold CTRL-ALT and then F2 or F3 down at the same time and it drops you to a command line login. BOOM. Time to fix it up. For me, and for the other fellas in the team, all it too was to

Plone - the open source Content Management System - a review

One of my clients, a non-profit, has a lot of files on it's clients. They need a way to digitally store these files, securely and with availability for certain people. They also need these files to expire and be deleted after a given length of time - usually about 7 years. These were the parameters I was given to search for a Document Management System (DMS) or more commonly a Content Management System (CMS). There are quite a lot of them, but most are designed for front facing information delivery - that is, to write something, put it up for review, have it reviewed and then published. We do not want this data published ever - and some CMS's make that a bit tricky to manage. So at the end of the day, I looked into several CMS systems that looked like they could be useful. The first one to be reviewed was OpenKM ( ). It looked OK, was open source which is preferable and seemed to have solid security and publishing options. Backing up the database and upgradin