Virtual Machines for Idiots by eacemass

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									Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come
James Rowe

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Contents
VIRTUALIZATION – TIME FOR GENUINE NEW THINKING GENUINE NEW THINKING SAVES MONEY, SO DOES VIRTUALIZATION PLAYERS WITH GENUINE NEW THINKING GENUINE NEW THINKING – THE CASE FOR VIRTUAL MACHINES 3 4 5 6

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Virtualization – Time for Genuine New Thinking
James Rowe (Published by Broadcast Newsroom Computing and Rowe and Company, LLC)

It’s the concept of one–to–many - one physical CPU behaving as if it were several distinct processing units or computers. There are real business benefits to an innovation whose time has come. However to tease you, I know one broadcaster who already turned to virtual machines for efficiency and cost reduction. I used virtual machines for many years and still toy with for experimentation and education. I realized early the benefits of virtualization for broadcast newsroom computing. It gave me the single bit of control I had in one of my previous jobs. I managed them to a point where they were merely a second thought so other problems burned my attention. This might seem only directed toward those fascinated with information technology. However, we strive to make the seemingly complex simple. Sun Microsystems VirtualBox defines virtualization as one computer operating system running on top of another operating system. We’ll come back to Sun and VirtualBox later. And we will explain why you want to run one operating system on another. Why do we consider virtualization genuine new thinking? Well here’s an anecdote. In that previous job I was responsible for, conservatively, 21 traveling servers spread across two continents, running three different operating systems including Linux. There were three or more different client server applications and each required some advanced networking. Sounds complex but virtualization simplified it for me. It was standard networking made user friendly and idiot proof even though the applications were complex because control of other machines and protocols were involved. I tested and deployed virtual machines to handle a Linux operating system which lived on eight Windows 2003 servers. Now instead of 21 servers and related hardware problems I had 13 physical servers and the same level of service provided by twenty-one. Let’s make it clear, I reduced my hardware responsibilities by more than a third without loss in quality of service. I would upgrade a single Linux virtual machine and then copy it to seven other servers. I reduced my workload of upgrades somewhere between 80 and 50 per cent. Honestly in the end my responsibilities were under absolute control. I had ability to respond to requests immediately and easily by copying virtual machines and images of other servers. The fear those who used the systems would cause me massive rebuilds and upgrades was tamed. My workload was reduced at least 50 per cent. I saved more than 33 per cent in hardware costs and much more in my time and sanity. Wikipedia has a complicated definition of virtualization and I cite it to explain the topic can be complex because its true potential, I believe, is yet to be realized. However its concept is simple and only requires genuine new thinking to see the math which brings the benefits noted in the above anecdote.

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Genuine New Thinking Saves Money, So Does Virtualization
Virtualization is to computer hardware what Adobe Acrobat Reader has become to documents created in any application. Everybody uses PDFs as a means of displaying what before required paper for everyone to share the experience or the same software and operating system. Now you only need Reader which is free to all. Like PDFs VMs are files and they are software and hardware agnostic. Four primary benefits to virtual machines reports techrepublic.com. 1. Virtual machines are isolated from each other and the problems with one operating system affecting the other are minimal 2. Compatibility, everyone getting along while remaining distinct is possible because all physical resources are presented as a generic set to VMs 3. Virtual machines are a compact set of files which become easily portable 4. And they are hardware independent. You can have old machines running on new hardware. Virtualization has been used for testing software configurations and for server consolidation – reducing the hardware costs; the expense of machines for so many applications and to conduct offline tests. Microsoft provides the usual list of benefits promoting only their solution and saying less about how VMs help you. VMware uses a much, much smaller club to sell their solutions. VMware was first in my recall and experience. Sun’s VirtualBox is new and open source and that means a really high learning curve. Ouch! Microsoft serves up trial software; VMware offers freeware and VirtualBox is open source so newsroom IT can play around with the one of them for no cost. Maybe even reduce some costs through testing and consolidation with freeware. Clearly, IMHO, some money can be saved with virtualization and depending on how far you take the concept a lot of money. You need to create a matrix to determine cost versus education versus free versus profit. Sometimes spending a little to make the process easy saves you more money and sometimes you have to suck it up and educate yourself for free no matter the cost in time.

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Players with Genuine New Thinking
Three big players in the virtualization market in my opinion. However, competition grows fast. The earliest document date a recent search, of the topic, found was more than three years old, ancient in the information age. However I’ve experimented with virtualization for years longer. The concept has maturity. I believe economic forecasts are reasons to consider virtual machines in broadcast news operations. There are free resources from manufacturers I’ve listed as the big three. Microsoft’s server version is a trial offering. VMware – out there from the beginning - free servers and players VirtualBox – Sun Microsystems’ open source offering – knowledge required Microsoft – enterprise trial and free Virtual PC Each has a version of machine or server virtualization IT staff can begin test right away. A good site to collect information and make comparisons of virtualization services, both desktop and server, is techtarget.com. There are numerous pages on virtualization. Dell and HP enter the game with virtualization advice. The crowd is really clouding knowledge with buzz words. These guys sell hardware and both have real stakes in what virtualization means in the marketplace. The scrolling open plug-in on Dell’s virtualization page encourages readers to “lighten up” and asks “when was the last time” someone asked you to buy less of their products. They, however, redirect the reader to open source and other kinds of virtual machines qualified to run on their hardware. HP is old fashioned. The giant creates lots of clutter about their servers on their virtualization page. There appears to be a partnership with VMware subtly spread across the page. VMware, I would consider a leader. VMware makes really good products and is growing more. I predict competition in virtualization will only heat up. Hardware manufacturers obviously understand purchasing habits. You probably buy a lot of low-end machines to run high-end applications. Virtual machines efficiently use hardware. You do need powerful servers or computers to run multiple virtual machines well, especially in mission critical environments. Hardware manufacturers get that too. The boxes must be better or the best to handle the increased workload. Kind of takes a pinch out of expected savings, huh? It requires genuine new thinking to calculate dollars found. I was very long ago convinced of money and time savings benefits in virtualization. I always wanted someone to ask for a quantification of dollars kept. A good project manager will give you the best and most honest answer to what virtualization saves. Open source and free are good for testing and learning. When revenue is involved, I have found it is always best to purchase. You must in business ensure you’re getting the best you can possibly expect. You also really want support when things go wrong. After all, the learning curve with free and open source has hidden costs too that many times turn into nightmares.

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Genuine New Thinking – The Case for Virtual Machines
On one job we used to say “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it.” On another there was a saying “good enough is good enough.” I always disassociated those words from myself. Seek the best and make it better fits more with what we’re presenting here. We’re about concepts to make work in the newsroom easier and less expensive. Virtualization, the use of virtual machines, is mature enough for consideration in broadcast news operations and genuine new thinking. Visit the VMware web site and sign up for webinars to learn just how far you can go with virtualization. Microsoft has education too. MS even has a showdown with VMware in one video. I know you will pay more attention to virtualization as a business solution. Information technology aficionados cite a mere four reasons virtual machines fit in today’s enterprises. They like the ability to separate operating systems and minimize interference. They believe mixing and matching machines with little problem, being able to move them around as files, and independence from hardware quirks are all good reasons to use virtual machines. I wholeheartedly agree. I used VMware created virtual machines for sales presentations, training, server consolidation, to manage disparate databases and machine recovery. I configured a number of small computer networks, using multiple operating systems on notebook computers each running a distinct network. I eliminated a router and two computers and monitors from each system. Over the years I moved from three road cases to a single notebook and LCD projector. It was a peaceful arrangement. There were power savings, reduced shipping costs, elimination of road cases and constant repairs. You have to look beyond the obvious to realize the benefits of virtual machines. Sure there is a learning curve but here are resources to take you to web sites to get you started. VirtualBox has a chart on what you might need to experiment. Look around web sites on virtualization and get an idea of the level you want to utilize. There’s so much information you may become overwhelmed. The world of technology is really evolving. There is more candidness in the new game than is often witnessed. Virtualization needs everyone to play together nicely, with legacy, current, and different applications all on the same machine or host playing field if you will, to bring openness realized in few circumstances. When we do we save and grow.

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Virtualization – Genuine New Thinking
The Time Has Come James Rowe

Genuine New Thinking Virtual Machines

Rowe and Company, LLC
275 Grove Street Suite 2-400 Newton, MA 02466 617.663.5747 Telephone 617.663.4801 Fax www.roweandcompany.biz

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