Tuesday May 26, 2009

xVM Ops Center 2.5

It's been about a month since we shipped Ops Center 2.1.  The field teams are in full swing rolling it out at new customers, but the engineering teams are all heads down working on new features for Ops Center 2.5!  It's a busy time to be sure, but I thought I'd take some time over the next few days to give you all a sneak peak of some of the new things coming in 2.5 -- which is due the second-half of this Summer.

The first one I thought I'd give you a peak at is Windows update management.  One of the key features for Ops Center has always been it's advanced support for patching Solaris and Linux systems.  However, we haven't been able to help people with Windows.  Well, in Ops Center 2.5 we're adding support for patching of Windows -- giving users a "single pane of glass" to manage Solaris, Linux and Windows patching.  Here's a screen shot just to whet your appetitie!

Keep an eye out for more previews of 2.5 features here.  More previews to come soon!

Tuesday May 19, 2009

xVM Ops Center Screencasts

Lately there have been a number of cool screencast-style videos produced about xVM Ops Center.  Here's a link to two of them that should be of interest.  First, here's a link to a great overview of the Ops Center user interface.  Click here to see the UI overview.  Next, is a new screencast that shows how to integrated Ops Center with legacy hardware utilizing the Halcyon integration featuresClick here to see the Halcyon screencast.  I really love the work Halcyon is doing.  They're providing major customer value with their integration packages for xVM Ops Center.

Sunday May 03, 2009

"Free" Hypervisor Options

Since my last post where I described that the xVM Server product is being bundled into xVM Ops Center, I got a lot of questions about whether this means there's no truly open source option for hypervisors from Sun.  Of course, first there is VirtualBox.  There have been over 10,000,000 downloads of VirtualBox and it keeps getting better and better.  However, lots of people are clearly interested in a type-1, bare-metal hypervisor that supports features like multi-CPU guests and migration.

One great option for people that want a completely open source type-1 hypervisor is the xVM hypervisor that's included in every copy of OpenSolaris.  This is the same hypervisor that's at the core of xVM Server, but it's exposed as a feature of the OS instead of as a managed appliance -- all the same base capabilities are there.  It can be a little tricky to get started with xVM hypervisor if you don't have exposure to this style of product.  However, Paul Telles recently put up a couple of blog entries that show everything you need in order to get the hypervisor installed at get your first Windows VM running inside:

Check it out!

Thursday Apr 30, 2009

What's Up with xVM?

Things have been very busy here since I last blogged frequently, so there is much to catch up on.  In conjunction with VMworld in September we announced the xVM Portfolio.  There were several products included, so it's time for an update on them all.

On the desktop side, we announed VirtualBox 2.0 last September, and since then have shipped version 2.1 and just this month released version 2.2 to rave reviews.   Also, Sun released our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software version 3.0.  3.0 is a major release and it now offers seamless integration between the VDI broker and VirtualBox, as well as Sun's new 7000 series storage appliances. See here for details.

On the server side, we released xVM Ops Center 2.0 in January this year.  Ops Center became Sun's unified systems management tool.  With version 2.0, key features include:

  • Management and monitoring of hardware and operating systems
  • Provisioning of firmware, operating systems and applications
  • World-class patch automation
  • IT compliance reporting
  • A new, super-slick graphical console
  • Scalability to handle thousands of systems

However, the question I've been asked a lot over the past few months is, "Where is xVM Server?"  In October we amped up our Early Access program with xVM Server EA2 and opened the program to hundreds of users.  We later followed up with an EA3 release and added even more users.  We got tons of feedback from users, and while there were many things they liked, there were some major themes that emerged that caused us to re-think parts of our strategy.  These included:

  • Participants requested a “hands off” installation process that could be used to deploy the hypervisor to many servers quickly.  The single-system install was "klunky" and not suited to an enterprise data-center.
  • Participants requested migration capability for guests between hypervisor instances.  Multi-host management was not an add-on option -- it was a requirement for serious use.
  • Participants requested more access to the underlying OpenSolaris instance to allow for more customization.  While people appreciated having a wrapper "appliance" around the core Solaris instance, it was a problem having a totally custom OpenSolaris distro for xVM Server.
  • Customers are now for more interested in larger “cloud” type deployments than smaller consolidation projects

As a result of these and many other observations, we concluded that a general purpose, multi-node solution is required.  Thus, we refocused our efforts around use-cases where Ops Center becomes the central way to manage the hypervisor and the underlying hardware.  In addition, we've started on a trajectory where we will converge the xVM Server and OpenSolaris lines so that exactly the same codebase is used for both. 

This week we released xVM Ops Center 2.1.  It's a substantial upgrade from the January 2.0 release.  It addressed feedback we received from the first 50 customer deployments of Ops Center 2.0 and added a few key features.  One key feature is Power Management.  With Ops Center 2.1 we now include the ability to interface with the Server's on-board Service Processor (ILOM) and create power reports such as:

  • View top 5 servers based on CPU Load and aggregate power usage in a group of servers.
  • View top 5 servers based on CPU load and aggregate power usage in a virtual resource pool.
  • View historical power usage for a server.
  • View historical aggregate power usage of a virtual resource pool.
  • View historical aggregate power usage of a group of servers.

With all the interest in Eco/Green computing we expect a lot of buzz around this.  However, the most interesting item is the release of a set of comprehensive x64 hypervisor management functions.  Ops Center can now:

  • Provision the xVM Server hypervisor onto bare metal servers.  It can do these completely "hands off" and it can do this for multiple servers simultaneously. It does all required network setup and plumbing as well (a major hurdle for our EA customers)
  • Creation of VM guests and provisioning of images to those guests (either via ISO install or network install)
  • Guest snapshotting and backup
  • VMDK file format support and import of VMware Virtual Appliances
  • NFS and CIFS network storage support for guest and ISO images
  • Live migration of guests from one host to another
  • Virtual Pool constructs for policy automation across hypervisor hosts based on load, as well as automatic failure recovery

Ops Center 2.1 includes a bundled xVM Server beta that is available to all Ops Center customers, and we will be running a formal beta program with key, interested customers to ensure this works reliably and at scale for real enterprise deployments.  If you are of of the existing hundreds of xVM Ops Center 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 or Sun Connection customer then you're eligible to upgrade to Ops Center 2.1 (which includes the xVM Server beta) for free.  Please contact your usual sales/support channels for details.  If you're interested to evaluating Ops Center for your datacenter then you can request that here.

I'd like to thank the hundreds of people who participated in the xVM Server EA program.  Your feedback has been been critical to us in ensuring we are building the product that customers need.  In the coming weeks I'll be posting a great deal more information here on what customers are doing with Ops Center and xVM Server, so stay tuned.

Thursday Oct 02, 2008

The xVM Roadshow

We had so much fun at the xVM launch and at VMworld that we're taking it on the road.  We're hitting several cities in the next several weeks to meet with customers and get people more in-depth information on the full xVM portfolio.  Look below for a list of cities and dates.  Then click on the register link for detailed timing and location.  I'll be at the Santa Clara meeting next week, so come out and say hi!

Wednesday, October 8

Santa Clara, CA


Thursday, October 9

Sacramento, CA


Wednesday, October 15

Phoenix, AZ


Thursday, October 16

Broomfield, CO


Tuesday, October 28

San Diego, CA


Wednesday, October 29

Irvine, CA


Thursday, October 30

El Segundo, CA


Wednesday, December 10

Dallas, TX


Thursday, December 11

Austin, TX


Friday Sep 19, 2008

VMworld Wrap Up

We finished up VMworld yesterday.  It exceeded my expectations in every way.  The conference was well executed, and the party was even really fun (these kinds of things are often lame!).  Of course, the important part was that xVM made a big splash.  We had a steady mob of people coming through the booth the whole week to see what was going on.  People couldn't believe Sun was showing off all this powerful software (Hypervisors, Management Tools and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure!).  We're going to have a lot of follow up to do after the show.

We had two sessions at the show as well.  Our VDI session by Chris Kawalek was packed (so packed in fact that I didn't get any video).  There were 400+ people at that session and people kept coming to the booth afterwards referencing it!  I did however get some good video from our panel session on the xVM portfolio.  Below are some short bits from Achim, Bob and Mike discussing various pieces of the technology.

Thank to all the great Sun folks who came out to the show and worked at the booth.  It was a huge effort, but it was a great way for us to complete our launch week for the new products and to let people know more about our existing ones.

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

VMworld Day 0

The VMworld conference opened last night with the show floor pavilion (aka the Solutions Exchange -- terrible name!) opening at 5:30 at running until 7:30.  This was our first chance to show the public xVM Server and Ops Center 2 live and in person.  We were also showing off the newly released xVM VirtualBox 2.0, as well as VDI and SunRay.  It was a ton of fun and the reaction from people attending the show was really cool.

I think people weren't surprised to see Sun at the show (Dell, IBM and HP were there), but I think people were shocked that there was almost no hardware in the booth (we did have one table set up to show Sun's newest servers).  This is a Software event for Sun, and I think we surprised a lot of people with the breadth of what we had to offer in the virtualization space.  Here's a quick picture from last night showing Scott Lehman (our OpenxVM community manager) signing up people for our open source community.  The interest and traffic at the booth was inspiring with people lined up 10 or 20 deep the whole time to see what we were up to. 

Stop on by today if you can.  Booth 1108!

Friday Sep 12, 2008

Lab on a Laptop

The last demo we showed at the xVM launch was a demo of xVM VirtualBox 2.0.  Markus, who assembled the demo, put together a really nice blog entry on how it all works.  Check it out!  You can watch me giving the demo in the movie player below.

Join the xVM Team at VMWorld

We're plowing full steam ahead on last minute prep for VMworld which starts next week.  At the show we'll be demo'ing xVM Server and xVM Ops Center 2.0 for the first time.  Also, we'll have really exciting demonstrations of our VDI solution and you can meet the rock stars behind xVM VirtualBox.  We're at booth 1108.  Also, we have two technical sessions at the conference. 

Session: The Sun xVM Portfolio
Track: Planning and Operations in the Datacenter
Time/Place: Thursday, Septenber 18th @ 9am in Titan Room #2305
Presenters: Achim Hasenmueller, Bob Gianni, Mike Wookey, Vijay Sarathy

Session: Providing a High Quality VDI Desktop Experience Over The Network
Track: Virtualizing the Desktop
Time/Place: Wednesday, September 17th @ 10AM in Marcello Room #4502
Presenter: Chris Kawalek

Please join us for either or both of these.  Hope to see you there!

And, just for fun, here's a new video that gives you a great overview of the whole xVM Porfolio.

Thursday Sep 11, 2008

Please Welcome Ben Kirk to the Blogosphere

Ben Kirk is one of the super stars on the xVM team.  I hear from the team that set up the demonstrations for our launch yesterday that Ben played a big role in making sure everything went so smoothly.  Well, I just noticed that Ben just started a blog.  Here's a quick entry from Ben's new blog on getting ready for VMWorld next week.  Pretty screen shots. :-)

Thanks for all the good work Ben!


Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.


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