Archive for September, 2008

VM Reconfiguration via the VI Toolkit for Windows

September 24, 2008

Reconfiguring VM’s via the API is something I’ve had to dabble in lately, due to some…. err.. “interesting” behaviour with deploying VM’s from templates. Such as the inability to deploy a VM from a template that has a SCSI controller but no disk – useful if using LUN based snapshots, where the .vmdk already exists and you want to move said vmdk into the same directory as the VM after it’s been created (and thus can’t use the -Diskpath option of New-VM as the path doesn’t exist yet). Or if you want to create VM’s for use with Citrix Provisioning server, which don’t require a local disk but do require a SCSI controller.

While this operation is uglier than I’d like it (most things that involve Get-View and specifications are uglier than I’d like them :-), I found this very good paper which explains the VI object model as applied to VM hardware reconfiguration _much_ better than the SDK documentation does.

Sure the examples are in Perl, but the theory is the same. Combine the document with a listing of all posts by Carter, LucD and halr9000 in the VI Toolkit for Windows community and there’s nothing you can’t do!

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Hyper-V Server – Microsoft turns platform arse-about

September 24, 2008

After a combination of holidays and letting the VMworld blog storm pass, vinternals is back!

For those who may not understand the phrase “arse-about”, it means backwards. Which is exactly what Microsoft have done with the upcoming release of Hyper-V Server. The marketing around this product seems to have been a bit lost, so let’s recap exactly what this product is (and is not)

– Hyper-V Server is NOT running Windows Server Core 2008 in the parent partition
– Hyper-V Server is aimed at small / dev environments, not enterprises
– Hyper-V Server is running little more than the Windows Server driver model and the virtualisation stack in the parent partition
– Hyper-V Server has the same underlying hypervisor and virtual bus architecture as the Hyper-V found in full-blown Windows Server 2008

So why have Microsoft got the platform ass-about (US English :-)? Because their own best practice recommends keeping the parent partition as lean as possible from an application perspective. So why the hell aren’t they keeping the parent partition as lean as possible from an OS perspective? Windows Driver model + virtualisation stack – that’s what I want in an ENTERPRISE Microsoft virtualisation platform! I don’t want to be running something in the parent partition that is subject to patches like this one! But instead Hyper-V Server is being positioned as the red haired step child of the Microsoft virtualisation offerings.

I’ll still take a look at Hyper-V Server when it comes out… there are some fundamental infrastructure design differences that may not be so obvious to those of us who have been designing VMware infrastructures for a while, that may still be applicable to Hyper-V Server… sounds like a good topic for SAAAP 🙂

Qumranet Acquisition – what does it mean for SPICE?

September 4, 2008

Sure I’m the 100th blogger to chime in on the Red Hat acquisition of Qumranet, however one thing that seems to be escaping the press is the completely proprietary nature of the SPICE protocol, which is really what made Qumranet stand out from the other KVM based solutions on the market (that and the fact that they were the sole commercial sponsor of the KVM project, the same that Parallels is the sponsor of OpenVZ).

I met Moshe Bar earlier this year, and asked him if SPICE was intrinsic to KVM, and if not why not license it to other vendors in the VDI space. His reply was that they could indeed re-engineer and license SPICE to any vendor, however doing so would pretty much kill the rest of their offering. If Red Hat open source SPICE, there could be some interesting developments in the remote display protocol / broker space indeed. I don’t know how many of you have seen SPICE running live, but it’s pretty darn impressive!