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  • Server Virtualization Advisory Board

    The Server Virtualization Advisory Board consists of systems administrators and consultants who specialize in server virtualization technology.

    These experts will help us focus our news coverage and expert tips on the topics that are most important to you, our readers. And every month, members of the Server Virtualization Advisory Board will weigh in on a hot topic in the market.

    Take a few minutes to meet the members of the Server Virtualization Advisory Board, and check out their takes on the questions below.

  • Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey

    Driven by its disaster recovery and backup benefits, server virtualization use is still growing, according to TechTarget’s Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey results.

    More than 500 IT professionals from around the world responded to the survey this year, sharing their current and future plans for server virtualization, desktop virtualization and cloud computing.

    Sixty percent of respondents said they planned to expand their server virtualization deployments in 2011, up from 59% in 2010 and 55% the year before. And a whopping 99% of current virtualization users said the number of virtual machines in their shops has increased from last year. The top use cases for server virtualization deployments in 2011 are disaster recovery (36%) and backup and data protection (27%).

    VMware has held on to its crown as the king of the server virtualization market, with 73% of respondents identifying some VMware offering as their primary platform. That’s down slightly from last year’s 76%, but second-place Microsoft has not capitalized. Just 13% of respondents named Hyper-V or Virtual Server as their primary platform, which was the same as last year.

    Interest in desktop virtualization is growing, with 36% of respondents evaluating the technology this year, an increase from 27% in 2010. Actual deployments, however, are lagging. Nineteen percent of respondents had implemented desktop virtualization in 2010 or before, and only 14% are deploying the technology this year.

    Private cloud computing is also catching on, with the planned deployment rate jumping from 14% last year to 32% this year. In addition, almost 17% of respondents have already built a private cloud.

    The following articles analyze the results of TechTarget’s Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey and take a look at their real-world ramifications.

  • Products of the Year 2011

    Server virtualization cemented its status as a mature data center technology in 2011. Adoption continued to grow, and some organizations even deployed multiple hypervisors. This proliferation has created new opportunities for vendors to expand upon the benefits and functionality of server virtualization platforms.

    As a result, the marketplace for additional tools and services is becoming crowded. The winners of SearchServerVirtualization.com’s 2011 Products of the Year awards are products that stood apart from the pack and provided exceptional benefits for IT shops of all sizes.

    The awards span five areas of virtualization technology:

    • virtualization management;
    • hardware for virtualization;
    • backup and storage;
    • virtualization security; and
    • desktop virtualization.

    Winners were selected from a pool of products that were announced and shipped after Nov. 1, 2010 and before Nov. 1, 2011. Nominations were submitted by vendors and users, then evaluated by a panel of independent judges who granted awards based on the following criteria:

    • ease of integration into existing environments;
    • functionality;
    • innovation;
    • manageability;
    • performance; and
    • value.

    Congratulations to all the winners of SearchServerVirtualization.com's 2011 Products of the Year awards.

  • VMware vs. Hyper-V licensing and pricing exposé

    Like the Red Sox vs. Yankees and Hatfields vs. McCoys, VMware vSphere vs. Microsoft Hyper-V is a natural rivalry, with both vendors manipulating their licensing and pricing to gain the upper hand and more market share.

    Despite publicly available licensing and pricing data for vSphere and Hyper-V, knowing which hypervisor is a better value for your data center is not always clear cut. List prices tell only part of the story, because both vendors negotiate price discounts with customers to edge out the competition. For those interested in switching, there are often unanticipated and underlying operational costs associated with replacing a hypervisor. And, with organization and IT departments shifting their gaze to the cloud, VMware vs. Hyper-V comparisons should now include private-cloud management, according to experts.

    Whether your IT department is exploring new hypervisor options or your CIO simply want to know if organization is getting the most bang for its buck, we’ve got you covered. The following VMware vSphere vs. Microsoft Hyper-V pricing and licensing resources will help bring these issues into focus.

  • VMworld 2012 conference coverage

    First, the walls between virtualization, storage, security and networking came down. Now, the lines between data center infrastructure management, application development and endpoint management are blurring. It's an exciting -- but also confusing -- time to be in IT.

    One of the companies at the forefront of these shifts is VMware Inc. At the VMworld 2012 conference, thousands of IT pros will gather to learn how to adapt to this new era and take advantage of the latest technologies around virtualization, cloud computing and the consumerization of IT. In addition, all eyes will be on outgoing CEO Paul Maritz and his successor, EMC's Pat Gelsinger, as attendees look for clues about VMware's future and its relationship with its parent company.

    Our on-site editors and reporters will bring you the latest VMworld 2012 coverage throughout the conference, so check back often.

  • Private cloud deployment made easy

    Through a private cloud deployment, an IT shop can reap the benefits of consolidated resources, increased flexibility and lower hardware costs. Not surprisingly, though, the transition from a virtual infrastructure presents a distinct set of obstacles, including performance monitoring, automation and chargeback.

    Fortunately, when deciding how best to integrate data from virtual servers and maintain tight security in a private cloud deployment, IT pros can often draw from familiar virtualization techniques. Furthermore, many of these virtualization strategies can scale to meet the demands of a dynamic private cloud.

    Whether your organization has already made the move to the cloud or is simply discussing the possibility of private cloud deployment, we've got the resources to help you securely migrate data and keep your cloud infrastructure running smoothly and efficiently.

  • Hit the books: RHEV management tutorial

    By Julia Anderson, assistant site editor

    Mastering RHEV management ensures that your virtual data center remains secure and efficient, which translates into a strong ROI.

    Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) is built upon KVM, a versatile hypervisor that's a part of the Linux kernel. This arrangement provides strong security and performance -- especially for Linux workloads. These features, coupled with a low price point, make RHEV an attractive option for data centers -- even though this open source virtualization platform still lags behind vSphere and Hyper-V in adoption rates.

    Given the changes introduced with RHEV 3.0, it can be difficult to navigate the numerous options available for building and managing a RHEV infrastructure. But the following lessons in this RHEV management tutorial, will make you a pro in no time.

  • Beyond the hype: Hyper-V 3.0 features and enhancements

    By Julia Anderson, Assistant Site Editor

    Partly in response to previous failings and user complaints, and partly to keep up with the competition, Microsoft outfitted Hyper-V 3.0 with an extensive list of new, improved and revamped features. Designed to make the lives of IT pros easier, Hyper-V 3.0 features include:

    • scalability upgrades for virtual machines (VMs), hosts and clusters;
    • redesigned live migration; and
    • support for extensible virtual switches.

    The enhancements will not necessarily fit every virtual data center, however, and many may require extra hardware or software that could put added strain on an IT budget.

    If the hypervisor is on your radar, take a closer look at its under-the-hood changes, and determine which Hyper-V 3.0 features could benefit your infrastructure.

  • What a Hyper-V 3.0 upgrade can mean for your environment

    By Julia Anderson, Assistant Site Editor

    Since its preview at last year's Build 8 conference, Hyper-V 3.0 has become one of Microsoft's most anticipated releases. Users and pundits have dissected and scrutinized the hypervisor, and some say it will be the first virtualization platform to truly challenge VMware.

    The increasing hype and constant comparison to vSphere can make it hard for IT pros to get a clear view of how the new hypervisor would change existing Hyper-V environments. Installing the hypervisor on a test server, however, gives you an accurate evaluation of its features and capabilities. You'll get a better idea which bells and whistles are worth listening to and you'll get a head start on how to manage Hyper-V 3.0 in production workloads.

    This guide gives you a closer look at the process of upgrading to Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 under the microscope

    VMware clearly still has a hold on the virtualization market, but with recent changes in Hyper-V 3.0, Microsoft is making a serious push to gain ground. It will be a while before anyone will be able to say whether the introduction of Hyper-V 3.0 was a real turning point, but you don't have to wait to see why the latest version of the hypervisor is turning heads.

    If you're considering a switch to Hyper-V 3.0, we can help lead you through the process. We’ve assembled a collection of resources that can help you learn about new features and how recent changes can affect your production environment.

  • Advanced RHEV virtualization features tutorial

    By Julia Anderson, assistant site editor

    As an open source virtualization platform, RHEV is less expensive than the likes of VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, but that doesn't make it any less of a virtualization product. In fact, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 contains updates such as a new management interface and improved storage features, which make it a more viable competitor in the hypervisor market.

    Customizing your virtualization environment by configuring advanced features often involves multiple steps that can trip up even experienced IT pros. Take the time to examine the latest updates to RHEV 3.1 advanced virtualization features to take advantage of its capabilities.

  • Demystifying heterogeneous hypervisor management

    By Julia Anderson, assistant site editor

    Once an ill-advised endeavor, heterogeneous data centers have become more common and a more widely accepted practice among IT pros. Virtualization vendors have jumped on the bandwagon as well by churning out tools designed as management aids. Do these multi-hypervisor management tools accomplish all they claim to, or are they merely money-making ploys from vendors looking to capitalize on this trend? If your organization has implemented multiple hypervisors as a way to cut costs, throwing money away on useless applications is the last thing you need to do.

    Heterogeneous environment management tools are not your only option, however. The more hypervisors you deploy, the more flexibility you have, and certain methods of architecting your infrastructure can ease monitoring and maintenance tasks. Organizing your hypervisors in tiers, for example, can simplify management and cut costs in a similar manner to storage tiering.

    You can also put existing hypervisor management skills to use in mixed environments. Knowledge of PowerShell scripting assists with everything from task automation to virtual networking regardless of platform.

    Bottom line: No silver-bullet solutions exist to manage heterogeneous hypervisor environments. Carefully weigh your options, know your infrastructure's requirements and the limitations of management tools and you'll avoid many performance pitfalls.

  • Virtual DR planning on a budget

    In an ideal world, every data center would have fully redundant systems in separate physical locations, ensuring almost complete resilience from any imaginable disaster. But the reality is that protection on this level often comes at unimaginable or, more appropriately, unjustifiable costs. The challenge for today's IT pros and decision makers is not whether to have a virtual DR plan, but how to identify appropriate recovery point objectives and how to use those to then design a cost-efficient recovery method. Virtualization gives us the tools to improve recovery times, but these tools often come with large price tags. In this guide, we explore how to approach virtual DR planning in a data center on a limited budget.

  • Standing out from the IT admin crowd

    By Julia Anderson, assistant site editor

    If VMware's slew of new virtualization certifications is any indication, the virtualization industry is highly competitive, and staying marketable as an IT administrator is increasingly demanding. But you don't even need to follow vendor trends to know keeping current with technology is paramount to job security. Many companies are still closely monitoring tight budgets; they not only want to get the most bang for their buck out of hardware and software, but from employees as well.

    Earning virtualization certifications is a popular way to keep up with technology trends, compete with peers and embellish resumes. The certificates often help IT admins stand out from the crowd of other job applicants and increase their salaries. These are not universal truths, however. IT pros do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to the value of becoming a certified administrator, and as more of your peers become certified, the playing field starts to level off once again.

    Nevertheless, these certificates still carry weight among much of the virtualization industry. What's more, they're not the only way to prove yourself as an IT admin. Gaining a broader knowledge base, which may include general IT certificates and experience with trending technologies, such as virtual network security, could be just as beneficial as becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

    Whether you're an experienced IT admin looking to further advance your career, or are just starting out in the virtualization industry, this guide will help you determine the best way to stay competitive.

  • Master class: PowerShell v3 cmdlets

    The Microsoft PowerShell updates that rolled out with Windows Server 2012 clearly indicate the vendor intends to use the scripting language as an operational framework for most of its products. With PowerShell v3 cmdlets, for example, you can install and configure Hyper-V from the command line, and eventually you'll be able to perform all Hyper-V management from the Systems Center family, which runs PowerShell under its graphical user interface.

    PowerShell is certainly not the only command-line shell on the market, but its capabilities reach beyond Hyper-V into VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer management as well. You can even apply PowerShell scripting to Exchange Server 2013 and virtual desktop infrastructure management.

    Given PowerShell's influence, and the industry trend toward more widespread use, now is the time to brush up on the latest changes, and learn how you can apply the scripts to your environment. Head back to virtualization school for lessons in advanced Microsoft PowerShell techniques.

  • Three considerations for a multi-hypervisor environment

    Server virtualization requires an organization to evaluate, select and deploy a hypervisor -- usually one of the main players in the market: VMware Inc.'s ESXi, Microsoft Corp.'s Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer. For many organizations, however, a single hypervisor simply isn't the right answer for all of their virtualization needs, and those businesses may elect to adopt a second hypervisor product as a complement to the first. As server virtualization has matured, multi-hypervisor environments have become more common. But adding a second virtualization platform to the data center requires solid justifications and carries challenges that must be considered carefully before incorporating yet another layer of complexity to the environment.

    A second hypervisor might be entirely appropriate and justifiable when an organization must address business or technical needs such as licensing, avoiding lock-in, obtaining new features and so on. But a second virtualization platform should not be adopted or deployed without careful consideration of its costs, scope of deployment and the overhead that another hypervisor (and associated management) would impose on IT staff.

    These three questions help examine some common considerations around adopting multiple hypervisors.

  • Server virtualization changes in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V

    Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V last year to a glut of fanfare -- with many saying it would be the first hypervisor to really challenge VMware's hold on the virtualization market. Since then, we've learned a lot more about new features such as shared-nothing live migration and a new virtual hard disk format that could be important for small or growing Hyper-V shops.

    It's too early to say whether Microsoft will eventually replace VMware at the top of the food chain, but it's clear that Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V is already changing the virtualization market.

    Whether you're a VMware customer contemplating a switch or a Windows Server 2008 shop getting ready for an update, this guide contains what you need to know about new features in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and how to move those new features to production.