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Expert fields virtual trade show attendees' questions on cloud

At the Advanced Enterprise Virtualization virtual trade show, attendees had additional questions on cloud computing and OS choices for virtualization that the panel didn't have time to answer. Rick Vanover answers them in this article.

Rick Vanover
The recent Data Center Decisions Advanced Enterprise Virtualization virtual trade show was a big hit. If you didn't have the chance to attend, it's available on demand for replay.

One of the standout features of the show was an interactive Q&A. As a speaker, I had the opportunity to field questions from show attendees but, given the high attendance, we couldn't get to all the questions that were submitted. In this article, I've responded to some of those questions. In an upcoming article, we'll feature another installment of attendee questions.

What are the key questions I should ask hosting companies that offer dedicated virtual servers?

The jump to cloud computing is uncharted territory for most organizations. Here's a list of questions that organizations should ask:

  • Processor configuration. Which types of processor configurations are available for host systems? This is important information regarding leading migration technologies, and it's important to provide systems with similar processor configurations. Another question is, "Which types of sockets and cores will you be provided with?" With four- and six-core systems available, would a dual-core processor system be inadequate for your data center?
  • Storage. The storage configuration of your environment is critical to ensuring that you receive the space and performance required for your virtual workloads.
  • Backup strategy. Does the hosting agency manage your backup? For optimal performance, the hosting company should manage backup. Also take the time to study the service-level agreement (SLA) for this the hosting company's backup services.
  • VPN options. How do you obtain access to virtual servers and hosts? Can you get full connectivity for your applications, and if so, at what level of performance?
  • Customer referrals. Ask the prospective provider for customer referrals so you can interview these customers on their learning curve with the service and to learn whether they encountered major surprises along the way.
Attendee questions from the Data Center Decisions Advanced Enterprise Virtualization virtual trade show
In part two of this series, Vanover fields questions on planning for growth in newly deployed virtual environments, and Hyper-V backup tools.

Which Windows Server 2008 operating system – x32 or x64 -- is a better virtualization candidate?

This is a relevant question today. For new implementations on new hardware with current virtualization platforms, x64 is the way to go. To varying degrees, today's virtual platforms support 64-bit guest OSes. Hyper-V, for example, is a 64-bit application on a 64-bit operating system. VMware ESX 3, on the other hand, is a 32-bit OS with 64-bit guest support. ESX version 4, however, will be a 64-bit application and provide 64-bit guest support. Another factor is host hardware. Most of the current server-class hardware on the market for virtualization hosts supports 64-bit processing.

As you consider x32 versus x64, is that Windows Server 2008 R2, which is currently in public beta, is available only in a 64-bit platform. While the base release of Windows Server 2008 provides x86 support, the R2 edition will not. In essence, this is the end of the line for Windows x86 server platforms. With that in mind, it's advisable to align all your platforms with the x64 direction of the technology.

Rick Vanover, (MCITP, MCTS, MCSA) is a systems administrator for Safelite AutoGlass in Columbus, Ohio. Vanover has more than 12 years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration and system hardware.

And check out our Server Virtualization blog.

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