Friday, 12 August 2011

XenServer Linked-In Group

There is now a LinkedIn group for those end users running or evaluating Citrix XenServer in the City Of London.

XenServer & The City, London LinkedIn Group

It's a great resource, you might want to give it a look.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hyper-Dense Virtualization

Hyper-dense virtualization
Whether building a Cloud, running a web farm, hosting 100's of sequel databases or serving up 1000's of virtual desktops; hyper-dense virtualization enables you to run more of everything more VMs, more connections, more clients.

What do we mean by Hyper-dense?  VM ratios of 5:1 even 8:1 are common; our experience is that a ratio of 10:1 is fairly easily achievable on well setup of the shelf commodity hardware. At VMC our objective is to start at what is considered by many as very dense 20:1 with 50:1 or even 100:1 being considered normal and our objectives being to go far beyond that.  Without compromising performance, we believe it is not a case that you can have performance or density, we believe that it is perfectly possible to have both.

VMs per server 09.png

This chart from IDCs 2009 report on virtualization trends showed the split that their researchers had uncovered amongst 400 US enterprises using virtualization technologies.


Achieving Hyper-density
We achieve these extreme densities by employing a number of tactics:

1.   Focusing on the physical specification of our systems; designing them without compromise and in such a way as to remove contention between components ensuring that the optimum mixture of real CPU cores, RAM and Network IO is in place to deliver maximum firepower where and when it's needed.  We design up to a specification - not down to a price point

2.   VMC systems are delivered as turnkey Appliances; with the hypervisor preloaded and tuned to the platform, we have spent several man years learning how to get the most out of configuring and tuning the various hardware, firmware and software components so our customers don't have to.

3.   We provide software an orchestration layer; Virtual Estate Manager watches over the physical and virtual performance of the appliances, manages logs, issues reports & alerts, identifies resource bottle-necks and offers guidance on allocation of resources to ensure you get the most out the systems; whilst ensuring that you maintain healthy safety margins on all resources.

Supported Hypervisors
We currently support latest versions of VMware ESX/ESXi and Citrix Xenserver 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

More than just Cloud Music Services threatened by Kazaa founders patent ruling

Cast your minds back a few years along with Niklas Zennstrom (of Skype fame) an Australian businessman Kevin Bermeister was one of the key players at the Kazaa; the early days peer-to-peer site.  Bermeister and Kazaa finally fell foul of the Australian Federal courts in 2006.

Quote: In the 'Kazaa' case (Universal Music vs Kazaa Networks), the Federal Court found that Bermeister and five others associated with the companies Sharman Networks and Altnet had "knowingly allowed Kazaa users to illegally swap copyrighted songs."

Well here is a turn-up for the books. The Music worlds Nemesis has been granted three new US patents which his company plans to use to demand license fees from hosted music download service providers such as Apple and Google.  Oh the irony; the same music industry that is relying on sales through only line stores is now at the mercy of the guys they tried to have stuck in the State Pen'

But more seriously the rulings could effect the wider delivery of content delivery industry as CDNs work by storing content all over the world, and as a user requests content, working out the copy that can be delivered most efficiently. De-duplication of content helps make the process more efficient – e.g., by making sure that each node in a CDN only holds only a single copy of any particular file; while access control touches on the subscriber interaction.  All of which can be considered by legal minded folks to be covered by the patents.  

Also, I wonder how this will work within organisations and vendors who will want to use distributed data techniques in Cloud type environments which share similar characteristics.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

VMC Benchmark Update 6 months on

Well, it's been 6 months since we reached the top of the leader-board at Geekbench and we're stil there. Check out the comparative performance data for yourself.

Benchmark results

Some recently published the results from Geekbench give comparative performance and ratings of VMC Server Virtualization Appliances’ vs the main stream.

Most of the ‘Hot-systems” tested on Geekbench are Intel Xeon based so in example 2 we also included an AMD vs AMD to give some idea of how much more punch our systems deliver due to the HPC approach we take to system design, component selection and tuning.

1) TOP Of the Charts VMC vs IBM & Oracle/Sun

2) VMC 1200Series IR system using 2 AMD Opteron 6176 2.3Ghz processors winning against DELL PowerEdge R815 using 4 AMD Opteron 6174 2.2Ghz Processors

So it’s not just an Opteron vs Xeon thing though in our experience Opterons perform better in virtualization that the current Xeon range

3) VMC 1200 Series 2CPU system delivering nearly 80% of the performance of a 4 CPU HP DL580 G7.

The HP server appearing on the Geekbench results is (according to HP figures) idle at 541 watts, and at 100% utilisation at 975 watts, assuming the CPU/RAM configuration that was tested, and that it had the same 4 port NIC that the VMCo had.

The VMCo system tested (the one scoring 80% of the HP score) was idle at 119 watts and at 100% at 307 watts.

The VMCo system that beat the HP (the 2nd link in this document) is 185 watts idle, 409 watts at 100% load.

So in this particular test, we are slightly faster than the HP box at less than half the power consumption while under heavy load.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Where does all that Datacenter power go?

I like simple charts so here is a great one showing where the money goes in powering the average data-center.

This is the picture on P&C costs in the datacenter comes from a Cisco white-paper available here.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Introducing Hyper-dense virtualization

Hyper-dense virtualization is about running even more workloads on even fewer machines, slashing the cost of datacentre power & cooling even further saving on software licensing, support contracts and physical infrastructure.

Whether building a Cloud, running a web farm, hosting 100's of sql-databases or serving up 1000's of virtual desktops; hyper-dense virtualization enables you to run more of everything more VMs, more connections, more clients.

The latest range of Hyper-Dense virtualization appliances from VMC deliver a tight, highly tuned integration of the worlds fastest commercially available server appliance and a choice of enterprise class hypervisors from VMware and Citrix.

At VMC we bring the disciplines of high-performance computing to the world of datacentre virtualization; enabling you to realize the full potential of Hyper-dense virtualization right out-of-the-box.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Going Hyperdense - VMCs Latest Virtualization Appliances

Here is some information on the new VA1200Series and VA2400 Series virtualization appliances from the Virtual Machine Company

The first of the new 2400Series started shipping this March. The 1200 Series in January.

Both are based on the latest 12 Core AMD Opteron CPUs and designed to deliver market beating performance 'and' hyper-density.

A VMC virtualization appliance is a high-performance x86-64 based server especially configured and tuned for virtualization; with your choice of hypervisor pre-installed configured and running our Virtual Estate Manager performance management software. Virtual Estate Manager is a small VM that provides both physical and virtual environment monitoring, alerting and reporting software which can help you gain the maximum advantage from virtualization.

Per unit VMC are appliances are keenly priced to compete with commodity server manufacturers, but much cheaper to run, and due to our Hyper-dense technology fewer units are required overall. The savings will of course depend on size of the estate, VM density and electricity tariff.

Price paid includes: Virtualization Appliance Hardware, Virtual Estate Manager Software, In-Cloud Monitoring and reporting service and 12 months next business day onsite hardware support, but excludes the cost of the Hypervisor license as this varies based on individual client requirements.

Model & description: 2400 Series
VA2400 2U, 4CPU, 48 Cores, 128Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
VA2450 2U, 4CPU, 48 Cores, 256Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
VA2500 2U, 4CPU, 48 Cores, 512Gb
DDR3 1333Mhz RAM

Model & description: 1200 Series
VA1200 1U, 2CPU, 24Cores, 64Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
VA1220 1U, 2CPU, 24Cores, 96Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
VA1250 1U, 2CPU, 24Cores, 128Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
VA1280 1U, 2CPU, 24Cores, 192Gb DDR3 1333Mhz RAM

As well as 12 months NBD support we also include 12 months complimentary subscription to the 'In-Cloud'; our virtual server babysitting service which provides 24 x 7 monitoring, reporting and alerting. Additional support options are available inc 4 hour same day, 24/7 and one, three or five year support periods.

The pricing is keenly set against vanilla hardware from the the commodity manufacturers; which belies the fact that the turn-key Appliance approach delivers ready-to-rack systems that are tuned to spec'. They are considerably faster, have better VM performance, offer greater VM density, require as little as half power & cooling - and come with some really great management software.

We also offer the IR (Infinitely Radical) upgrade which moves performance up another notch proving that you can have seriously hot performance and extreme VM density.

Some recently published the results from Geekbench give comparative performance and ratings against the main competition.

You can also find spec sheets and product info here.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Geekbench: VMC virtualisation hardware tops benchmark

The results are in from the independent performance testing of our new hardware appliance platform.

Like the song says 'It's not what you do it's the way that you do it. Our HPC approach to virtualisation really delivers on the promise of the MultiCore x86-64 vision.

So to the results:
The VMC 1200 series - 2P 24 Core system comfortably faces down the latest 4P 48Core DELL R815. In the real world that saves you a VMware license

The 4P 48Core VMC 2400 series slips past a 'quant-built' 8P 128Core custom rig to take top slot, leaving the 8P 64Core IBM System x3850 X5 trailing in 3rd; and that would save you 2 VMware licenses.

But seriously, it's not simply license savings when you move to very dense virtualisation solutions like ours. You save on everything; rack-space, power, cooling, software licenses, networking infrastructure and storage solutions.

Checkout the VMC VA1200 Series specifications.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Wikileaks: Avoiding the problem in the first place

As young Mr Assange makes a return trip to court this week, one of our partner companies issues some guidelines on improving your cyber-security.

(1) Recognise Where You Are Vulnerable
(2) Know If You Are A Target
(3) Diligence And Statutory Obligations (Compliance)
(4) Segment Your Data
(5) The Human Element, A Matter Of Staff Maturity And Common Sense
(6) Handling A Leak

Check it out here

As an ex-security guy myself I've found that most day to day security breaches are people based; systems left open, people sharing a user account, shared passwords and most often a text file full of passwords on the computer itself.

Here is what past master Kevin Metnick has to say about social engineering your way into someones data-store.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Cloud Computing Explained

This little video seems quite simple, but has some powerful reminders:

1. Make sure your provider has the same level of security that you would have on site
2. Ensure you understand the service level agreements and what happens if they are not met
3. Be clear as to what services 'must be available' for your users - and make sure they agree to...
4. What happens if you cannot access the Internet? or if the Cloud Provider goes bust!
Also, don't forget the data remains your responsibility where ever it's held so make sure your Cloud provider so check all stored data is encrypted, and do make sure you know where in the world that data is being processed or stored - data protection legislation still applies to your data in the Cloud.