Q

Which new server virtualization technology are you most thankful for?

As server virtualization technology matures, new features open up different possibilities. Our experts explain what new features they’re thankful for.

Sever virtualization technology is more powerful and sophisticated than ever. In 2011, VMware and Citrix Systems

released new hypervisors with a slew of changes. Not to be outdone, Red Hat and Microsoft are also on the cusp of launching revamped server virtualization platforms.

It’s definitely an exciting time to be a virtualization administrator – especially if your organization is in the market for a new hypervisor. The latest server virtualization technology allows IT departments to virtualize more resource-intensive applications, provision virtual hosts more quickly and fail over entire data centers in ways that weren’t possible before.

With that in mind, we asked our Server Virtualization Advisory Board the following question: Which new server virtualization technology are you most thankful for?

Shannon Snowden, New Age Technologies
I am very happy to see the new disaster recovery capabilities from VMware and third-party vendors, such as Zerto -- most notably, site-to-site data replication at the hypervisor level. Until recently, a disaster-recovery deployment depended upon array-based replication, which requires significant capital expenditures in storage.

Not having expensive storage at both the primary and recovery sites introduces significant flexibility. You just need a hypervisor host at each site. There aren’t any shared-storage requirements, and it can even work with local storage. Additionally, these products have an integrated run book and custom configuration utilities that ease failover and failback.

Ultimately, these features allow small and medium-sized businesses to realistically afford virtualization disaster recovery.

Rob McShinsky, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
I am thankful for a Hyper-V 3.0 feature, but it’s not the flashier, increased number of virtual CPUs, the mammoth amounts of virtual machine (VM) memory, the concurrent Live Migration capabilities, or even the new VM replication feature.

Building on last year, I am thankful for the updated snapshot feature. The ability to roll back to a previous point in time after a botched application upgrade has always been a welcomed feature. But it came with a caveat: After you deleted a snapshot, you needed to shut down the VM to merge the AVHD file changes into the parent Virtual Hard Disk.

This requirement caused unwanted downtime for the application. Hyper-V 3.0 snapshots still provide the same valuable rollback method as before. But now the merging process happens live, without the necessary downtime. Thus, it eases the direct administrator interaction during application upgrades.

Dave Sobel, Evolve Technologies
New versions of hypervisors are like holiday presents: They give you new, shiny options to play with.

Microsoft is adding new features, including the ability to perform multiple live migrations over a LAN cable (or Wi-Fi, even!) without shared-storage. Hyper-V 3.0 will also feature Live Storage Migration, which is an upgraded version of Quick Storage Migration.

This flexibility is the perfect present under the tree, giving administrators everything they need to keep their systems running uninterrupted.

This was first published in November 2011

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