VMware continues to lead

The virtualization landscape is evolving. Nowadays two-thirds of x86 server workloads are virtualized, the market is mature and competitive and enterprises are evaluating the cost-benefits of switching technologies more than ever.

For years and years VMware has been the clear market leader but Microsoft and Citrix have been trying to close the gap. Besides those three virtual giants, RedHat, Oracle and Parallels have been trying to get a piece of the pie.

Last week Gartner published their annual Magic Quadrant for x86 Server virtualization. Let’s see how the virtualization landscape has changed in the last year.

magic quadrant 2013When we compare this magic quadrant with the one from 2012, we see that Oracle, Parallels and RedHat maintain the niche players. Personally I’ve never come across any Oracle, Parallels or RedHat virtual environments and I’ve seen my share of companies, from smaller SMB to large enterprises.

When we look at the big three, Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, we see that Citrix dropped out of the magic upper-right quadrant. Why?


How to license Windows 8 in a VMware Horizon View deployment

MicrosoftAgreementsWaterfallIt is a common misunderstanding that, if you buy software licenses you can do anything with it. You will not become the owner of it, you only get the use right of the software under STRICT CONDITIONS. What you may or may not do with Microsoft software is recorded to the smallest details by Microsoft in several documents, like the End User License Agreement (e.g. Enterprise Agreement), Product Lists and Product Use Rights.

Only a few people read all those documents, but in general nobody reads them all. They just buy the licenses and think are correct or are offered by their IT supplier. Always check with a license expert that what you want to achieve complies with what is possible with the licenses you want to acquire. This prevents disappointment and high costs later on.

I wrote a post on licensing Windows 7 in a VMware Horizon View environment and most things mentioned in that post are still valid also for Windows 8. Below I will zoom into changes or summarize important facts for a complete understanding.


Hyper-V? Not in my datacenter… (continued)

Simon Cowel NOIn 2008 I wrote an article named “Hyper-V, not in my datacenter!” which was based on Hyper-V version 1. In 2009 I wrote an article named “Hyper-V, the laughter continues” and “ESX vs Hyper-V mythbusting myth” which was based on Hyper-V version 2.

Microsoft promised/warned us that with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V version 3 this would all be history. But as Sander wrote in a more recent article named “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: overpromising and underdelivering” this turned out to be a marketing statement based on a premature product with no suitable management tools.

But now with the release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, Hyper -V version 3 should be the VMware vSphere-killer (according to MS).

Too bad, the sequel continues! Yesterday Edwin pointed me to a great article by Justin Paul, a fellow blogger, vExpert, VCP and EMC specialist, in which he describes his recent struggles with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
True, in the last four point Justin refers to some information which is a bit outdated, but he has a valid point stating “Then explain why it happened to a 2012 hyperV cluster if it is fixed ?” when people in the comment section claim that Microsoft solved this in the new version of Hyper-V. Apparently they weren’t fixed.

When I read Justin’s comments on the CSV issues and the hassle to setup a Hyper-V environment, I stand by my earlier position, this is not a product which I trust to base my enterprise IT infrastructure on. So still, “Hyper-V? Not in my datacenter…”.

Check out Justin’s article on “Justin’s IT Blog”.

PCoIP Support for Microsoft RDS


This week Teradici, creator of the PCoIP protocol, released a technology preview of their new product named Teradici Arch. Teradici Arch is asoftware-based solution that enables the use of the PCoIP protocol for Microsoft  RDS as an alternative to Microsoft RDP.

This should provide better user experience and access to the entire PCoIP ecosystem, PCoIP thin clients, APEX accelerator cards, etc.

Teradici has been forced to delay the release of Arch due to a scalability issue but a new tech preview will still allow enterprises to familiarize themselves with the product. The final product release is expected in Q3 2013.

This solution should be an ideal solution for enterprises with mixed environment of VMware View VDI and Microsoft RDS. I wonder how many of these mixed environments exist. The only mixed PCoIP/RDP environments I have seen in my work are View environments where both protocols are used to connect to the same View desktops to use MMR instead of PCoIP acceleration.

The PCoIP protocol is now available for use with terminal services for more performance over any network type and access to the PCoIP ecosystem of products including low maintenance, ultra-secure zero clients. Teradici Arch enables customers to:


Enterprise Hypervisor feature comparison (RHEV added)

Back by popular demand, the Enterprise Hypervisor feature comparison.

After the release of our latest comparison I’ve received a lot of requests to include RedHat’s RHEV to the comparison. Although I’ve never encountered it in enterprise environments, I decided to add it as a service to our readers.

I based the RedHat features on their 3.1 version which is in beta right now. This is because I’ve limited knowledge of the product and I received an updated comparison from one of our readers based on this version.

I hope you find the new Enterprise Hypervisor comparison useful and feel free to contact us when you have feedback for us to improve the list.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: overpromising and underdelivering

A few weeks ago Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 and with it also Hyper-V 3. Hyper-V logoThe newest release of Hyper-V has some great improvements and new features which will in some cases definitely challenge VMware. To make use of these features and to manage your entire environment you need a management tool, just like VMware vSphere uses vCenter Server.

However at the time of writing, Hyper-V has no management tooling available. Normally System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (which is part of the System Center 2012 suite) would be used to manage the Hyper-V infrastructure. But the current version of System Center can’t handle Windows Server 2012, meaning no management for Hyper-V 3 servers either. The support for Windows Server 2012 is coming with the release of SP1 for System Center 2012 which will probably be released somewhere at the end of Q4 2012 or Q1 2013.

“It’s like selling a car without a steering wheel, dangerous and unsuitable for every day use.”


NEW Enterprise Hypervisor comparison

Two weeks ago VMware released the new version of their vSphere hypervisor, so it’s time to update our Enterprise Hypervisor comparison. It very impressive to see how quick VMware has reacted to the Hyper-V 3 announcements and has taken most of the wind out of the Microsoft sails.

I hope you find the new Enterprise Hypervisor comparison useful and feel free to contact us when you have feedback for us to improve the list.
The information on Microsoft Server 2012 Hyper-V features is very inconsistent, many different values out there.

In this version I added 10 new criteria. Many of these criteria should, in my opinion, be available in hypervisors suitable for enterprise environments.

You can find the new and improved Enterprise Hypervisor comparison here.

Last update: August 27th, 2013

VMGuru.nl at Microsoft’s Techdays 2012

Last weekend I received an invitation to attend the Microsoft Techdays 2012 in The Hague (Netherlands).

Because I’d like to keep a broad view and I want to be able to evaluate and judge techniques based on a complete solution, I changed my calender and accepted the invitation.

Unfortunately I missed the keynote session because traffic was a nightmare that morning.

Configuring & deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012
The first session I attended was “Configuring & deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012″. Looking at the demo, System Center Virtual Machine Manager is very much like vCenter Server 5 but with a touch of vCloud Director in it. This requires administrators to use a different, cloud based mindset. Based on my experience with vCloud Director and the fact that cloud based solutions elevate the complexity level, I think this may be an obstacle. Also, because a private cloud is nothing more or less than a private datacenter setup, I don’t prefer a cloud based approach here. On the other hand, this approach eliminates the need for a different method for private or public cloud solutions.

The item I really like is the application template functionality. With this you can create a template for a SQL, Sharepoint or Exchange server, which further reduces service implementation time and quality. This is really an area where Microsoft benefits from being the application owner/developer.


Hyper-V removed from OpenStack

The new version of OpenStack, which will be released in Q2 of 2012, does not support Microsoft Hyper-V anymore. The developers have had enough with the buggy code.

One of the developers of OpenStack has written a patch with which the Hyper-V code and support will be removed from the cloud platform. The patch has already been approved and constitutes a part ofthe next version of OpenStack, codename Essex, which is expected to be released in Q2.

At the end of 2010 Microsoft announced that they would deliver code which would enable the use of Hyper-V in a cloud solution based on the open-source cloud platform, OpenStack. Microsoft never finished and maintained this, causing the code to be full of errors. After people in the OpenStack-forum suggested to remove the Hyper-V code, Microsoft quickly released a statement saying “Microsoft is committed to working with the community to resolve the current issues with Hyper-V and OpenStack“. However, the OpenStack developers decided not to wait until Microsoft finally fixed their code and decided to remove Hyper-V support with the new release.

OpenStack, Founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. The project aims to deliver solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich. The technology consists of a series of interrelated projects delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution.

Updated Enterprise hypervisor comparison

During the last few years we published several Enterprise Hypervisor comparisons and we got very positive comments and feedback on it. With the release of vSphere 5, XenServer 6 and a service pack for Hyper-V it was time for an update.

It very interesting to see how some of the products have improved over the years and how the three major manufacturers look at each other and copy features. But you can’t trust all manufacturers by just a simple green checkbox. Some claimed features need third party add-ons, aren’t suitable for production workloads or are only supported on a limited set of operating systems. You have to investigate further and I hope I’ve done most of that work for you with this new enterprise hypervisor comparison.


Review: Exchange Server 2010 training by TrainSignal

Trainsignal Exchange 2010 training kitSome time ago.. actually, a long time ago, we here at VMGuru.nl received a sample of a training DVD from TrainSignal. I promised to write a review on it, but I honestly didn’t come around to it due to all sorts of personal stuff. But the DVD box made it safely through the move from one house to the next. So, today I sat down and opened the DVD box.

So, first of all, it’s definitely a proper training. This isn’t your average ‘we demo, you watch’ kind of training. It’s aimed to let you pass the Exchange 2010 exam, but it does more. This 3 DVD box set covers all topics you  need to understand to successfully implement Exchange 2010 into an organization in 40 lessons. It does not only show you how and where to configure things, but most importantly, it tries to show you why. This is the first time I’ve encountered such an approach in a self-paced training package. It really is pretty extensive.


Looking forward into 2011 and beyond..

We here at VMGuru.nl hope you all had a proper start of 2011. We sure did!

But what will 2011 bring us? Some curtains have been lifted a little. We know we can expect a brand new version of vSphere in 2011. But what features will vSphere 5 have. Personally I hope we will finally see a vSphere Client for Linux/OSX with this version.

We will certainly see Citrix and Microsoft push the boundaries more and more in the desktop virtualization area. But do you think we will finally see the major shift to 64 bit in this field too? It has been predicted for years and years (some folks even mention 128 bit systems in the near future).


Windows 7 unable to connect to View Connection Server

After installing the patches described in Microsoft Knowledge Base articles 2482017 or 2467023 Windows 7 clients are unable to connect from the View Client to the View Connection Server.

According to a VMware Knowledge Base article there is a conflict with two security bulletins issued for Windows 7, causing disruptions for VMware’s View Client and creating connection failures for users attempting to access the View Client Server.


Comparing RemoteFX to RDP, ICA/HDX, EOP and PCoIP

One of my coworkers pointed me to a video from this years Tech-Ed Europe about VDI protocols. Bernhard Tritsch did an interesting comparison between the different remote protocols used in today’s VDI solutions. In a 60 minute session Bernhard explains the differences between location (host vs client), type (hardware vs software) rendering and compression types (lossless vs lossy).

Although the results aren’t that good for PCoIP (software version) it still is a very interesting video.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Database mirroring as alternative to clustering and FT

There are a lot of products and product features available for creating a (more or less) high available environment. If you look at Microsoft SQL Server you have the option to create a Microsoft Cluster, you can use Marathon everRun,  VMware Fault Tolerance if you have a 1 vCPU SQL server, etc.

When I was researching the possibility to create a redundant Microsoft SQL Server environment without the use of shared storage I noticed that a lot of the options needed shared storage: clustering, FT, etc. Some products, like everRun, can be used without shared storage, but are very costly.

An alternative to the options above is Database Mirroring (DBM), which is a part of Microsoft SQL Server. Database Mirroring (DBM) is in essence the possibility to replicate/mirror all database content to a second database server. With DBM you can achieve high availability for your databases without the hassle of Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) and without the need for shared storage.


New Enterprise Hypervisor comparison


Last year we published an Enterprise Hypervisor comparison and we got very positive comments and feedback on it.

During the last few weeks I received many update requests so I decided to update the old hypervisor comparison but this time I changed the setup a bit.


  • No beta or pre-release versions are used. In the last document we also compared Hyper-V R2 beta which wasn’t officially released.
    This time all software is available and no features are subject to change due to beta-test, etc.;
  • The versions used are the platinum/ultimate/fully-featured versions of the hypervisors. Product features can be limited by lower license versions;
  • No free versions have been used in this comparison.


A ‘real life’ View, XenDesktop, Microsoft VDI comparison

After attending the dutch Citrix Partner Exchange 2010 I realized that there is a lot of FUD out there:

  • in the Citrix community with regards to VMware View and PCoIP;
  • with me personally with regards to XenDesktop (no F, but a lot of UD)

This is also what we saw when Alex shared his experience with Citrix XenDesktop, which was not so positive, and we got a lot of comments comparing XenDesktop to VMware View.

But the Citrix Partner Exchange got me interested in XenDesktop and XenClient and I decided to do a little research. Then I came across Brian Maddens site to find that he had just finished his ‘Geek week VDI‘ in which he did a ‘real life’ lab-test with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft VDI. They tested all three vendor in their lab environment but added a WAN ‘simulator’ to create real life and worst case scenarios by introducing packet loss and latency.

And honestly I was surprised by some of their their conclusions. Not because I have no faith in Brian Madden but because I know Brian Madden to be a real Citrix enthusiast and a PCoIP critic. At the end he was very honest by admitting that Citrix XenDesktop looks like a mash-up of a bunch of different things, he was surprised by the simple, straightforward installation and configuration of VMware View and the good performance of PC-o-IP.

So bottom line?

  • VMware View shines because of simplicity and has good user experience even with PC-o-IP over a WAN connection.
  • XenDesktop is, at the moment, certainly the more mature and complete product but it’s complexity is a drawback.
  • And Microsoft ‘in box’ VDI? Well as expected, it’s complex, not enterprise ready and it’s no match for Citrix or VMware.

So as always, there is no clear winner, it all depends on the customer’s wishes.

Special thanks to Brian Madden and his team for creating this great VDI test!

I won’t summarize the total VDI test, you can read it yourself here but I will quote some of the conclusions which I found to be very interesting.


Please tell me: ‘What is MED-V?’

This week I got the question if I could draw up a short lists of pro’s and cons for MED-V. Since I’m doing virtualization in the widest possible way, this fits well in my job description.

But heck, what a question! Before I could even try to  answer the question I really had to dive into the Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization solution (hence MED-V) which is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). Sure, I already seen some comments on the internet about MED-V and I already was somewhat biased. Still I tried to make it an objective report.

Let’s start with what it is not in my opinion. Although it enables management of virtualized desktops it is not a full blown desktop virtualization solution like XenDesktop and VMware View.