Change and Magic

Virtualization isn’t the next big thing – because it was the last big thing.  Virtualization is incredibly important and has laid the foundation for both non-cloud- and cloud-based workloads – but the real challenge to data center architects and IT staff isn’t figuring out whether virtualization, clouds, data growth, and other trends are important – everyone knows that these trends are there and are accelerating.

The challenge for the next generation data center is striking a balance between automation, agility, and adaptability.  In this series we’ve examined a number of potential candidates for the “next big thing” – but the truth is that anticipating the future is rarely easy and is fraught with pitfalls.  Rigid architectural frameworks, vendor lock-in, selecting one technology and placing all of your bets on it can work in the short-term – but put you at a dramatic competitive disadvantage when change eventually comes.  And just about the only prediction which is always 100% true for the IT staff creating and operating current and next generation data centers is that change is coming – and that change will be full of surprises.

I’ve always liked the cartoon above – because it explicitly depicts what often is the implicit operating strategy of so many businesses.  It’s a simple drawing that acts as a cautionary tale – at least in IT, there’s little magic in the world – except for the magic that happens when IT leaders adopt and embrace an adaptable, agile approach to next generation (and the generation beyond that) of data center design.

This is part 15 and the conclusion of an on-going series.  Part 1: virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT); part 2: data center IP traffic growth; part 3: data center IP traffic sources; part 4: cloud workloads; part 5: large data centers and administrator to server ratios; part 6: strategy overview – adapt or be crushed; part 7: automation, agility, adaptability;  part 8, automation vs agility and adaptability; part 9: virtualizing everything; part 10: bare metal cloud; part 11: bare metal cloud performance;part 12: SSDs; part 13: unified systems; part 14: commodity hardware; part 15: software-defined everything (SDx or SDE.)


VMworld 2014, New Stuff, Pac-Man, and VMware Pong

by Mark Campbell on August 24, 2014


Hope you’ll come visit us at VMworld 2014.  The picture above  is of our booth this year.

We’re pretty excited this year about VMworld.  In addition to our Recovery-Series purpose-built backup appliances and our Unitrends Enterprise Backup purpose-built virtual backup appliance for VMware vSphere that protects VMware and 100+ versions of hypervisors, applications, operating systems, servers, and storage, we’ve added a significant number of new VMware vSphere protection products to Unitrends’ offerings this year:

  • Unitrends Cloud and DRaaS: DRaaS (and Recovery Assurance) for Unitrends enterprise-class physical/virtual backup appliances.  You can spin-up not only VMware virtual machines but VMware GOS-level physical windows systems as well.
  • Unitrends Certified Recovery Suite: A suite consisting of Unitrends Enterprise Backup, Unitrends Virtual Backup, and Reliable DR..
  • ReliableDR: Purpose-built software for certified application failover and failback orchestrated across virtualized data centers.  Of course works with VMware.
  • Unitrends Virtual Backup: Purpose-built virtual appliances for VMware vSphere, Hyper-V, and XenServer protection.

For all of those attending VMworld, come by our booth and talk to us.

For those that aren’t going – and for those of you who are there but need a little downtime – a brief game interlude.  In the spirit of the fun approach we’re taking with the Pac-Man game at our booth, here are instructions on how to get to VMware’s most famous easter egg: VMware pong (credit goes to William Lam and his post at virtuallyGhetto which has screen shots:)

  1. Mount a 0-byte floppy image located on your desktop to a virtual machine.  Note that this is not a datastore.
  2. Power on the virtual machine.
  3. You should now see a game of black-and-white “vPong” in  the VMconsole.  You use your mouse to play against the computer.
  4. If you click into the VMconsole and enter the word “pride” you can toggle a color version of “vPong” on and off.

Have fun!


Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Software-Defined Everything

August 22, 2014

In my last post we discussed the ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) direct white box hardware; in this post we’ll discuss the concept of SDx (Software-Defined Everything – also abbreviated as SDE.)  Software-defined everything is a marketing term that refers to the virtualization of all aspects of the data center.  Various software-defined technologies such as SDN […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Commodity Hardware

August 20, 2014

In my previous post, I pointed out that unified systems are an important trend to consider for next generation data centers and illustrated with the chart above showing the success of Cisco’s UCS in the server market.  However, when you look at the chart above (which was also shown in the prior post) you’ll find […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Unified Systems and Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System)

August 19, 2014

There’s a revolution going on in the server market.  No – that’s an understatement.  There are two revolutions going on in the server market.  And both dramatically impact the next generation data center.  We’ll talk about the first of these revolutions in this post – the impact that unified systems are having with respect to […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Solid State Drives

August 13, 2014

Solid state drives (SSDs) aren’t new in the data center for high performance use cases.  What is changing rapidly is cost – which is increasingly enabling IT staff to use them in a more ubiquitous fashion. The chart above, which is from SanDisk, outlines the historical and projected cost trends associated with SSDs.  It doesn’t […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Containers

August 12, 2014

Containers are being touted by many as the next big thing.  What are containers? Containers are a form of lighter weight virtualization that allows the sharing of the operating system among the host and all guest operating systems.  In short, containers run in the same operating system as the host. Google is the most famous […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Cloud and Bare Metal Cloud Workload Performance

August 11, 2014

The chart above, courtesy of Cloud Spectator, illustrates quantitatively the points made in my last post (part 10: bare metal cloud) regarding the reason that physical servers continue to be so pervasive within data centers.  As you can see from this – and as you would expect given the nature of hypervisor-based cloud servers – database […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Bare Metal Cloud and Physical Servers

August 7, 2014

One of the major problems with the mantra of “virtualize everything” is the stubborn refusal of physical servers to disappear.  This of course is a major irritant to virtualization companies; it’s easy to picture Pat Gelsinger at VMware screaming “die already!” at physical servers.  The chart above illustrates the issue.  IDC predicts that in 2016, […]

Read the full article →

Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Keep Calm and Virtualize Everything

August 6, 2014

What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?  Make me one with everything. I think of this joke every time someone tells me that they have a single answer to a complex problem.  Unfortunately, there are few such “silver bullet” answers in real life.  Virtualization, however, has been an enormous boon to many […]

Read the full article →