Cloud 101: What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing. A simple term – but what, exactly, does it mean? The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) has their Definition of Cloud Computing (Special Publication 800-145) which is fairly widely accepted as a good definition. To avoid confusing the issue, I’ll use that as the foundation upon which to build my expanded definition.

As you read through the NIST definition, you’ll notice that it talks about essential characteristics, service models, and deployment models. There’s pretty much nothing about technology. That’s worth paying attention to! I’ll cover a couple of the essential characteristics here, I think a few are pretty obvious.

Cloud computing is a paradigm shift in how IT is exposed to the consumer

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Is it “number” or “amount”?

OK…this is not a technical post, it’s a word choice post.

<soapbox>
I’m going to let you all in on one of my pet peeves … it seems that too many people who write about technology don’t know the difference between the words “number” and “amount”. A couple of examples:

  • What is the amount of NICs in that server?
  • The amount of TB of storage is surprising.
  • The amount of ways the problem can be solved…
  • The number of RAMs in servers today is amazing.

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The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 8 (Final)

OK, I promised, so here we go! The other seven parts of this series have all dealt with the technical aspects of vSwitches, pNICs, Port Groups and such. This part will deal with the more mundane aspect of naming standards. While maybe not as glamorous, this is definitely one of the most important aspects of building your virtual infrastructure. Oh, by the way, the names I used in this series of article (i.e. PG_APP1, PG_VMotion, etc.) are really bad names for a production environment!

A naming standard is exactly what the title sounds like – a standard for defining the names of things. In my opinion, a naming standard should achieve a couple things:

  • Provide a simple, consistent method for assigning names to objects – there is nothing “arbitrary” about a naming standard
  • Be flexible enough to accommodate most, if not all, use cases
  • Provide an effective means for all parties involved to understand what is being described

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HyTrust Appliance: Community Edition

Today, HyTrust is releasing the Community Edition of their HyTrust Appliance. The HyTrust Appliance comes in two different formats: a physical appliance and a virtual appliance. Either gets inserted between your administrative users and your virtual infrastructure (see my earlier post for more details).

The HyTrust Appliance Community Edition is a full-featured virtual appliance that allows you to manage up to three ESX hosts. This is a great way for smaller organizations to gain the benefits of centralized authentication, consistent security configuration, and greatly enhanced auditability. It also gives organizations of all sizes the chance to “kick the tires” on the product to see if it fits their needs. All of this in a totally FREE product (well, you do have to register…).

Quoting from the Press Release:

Pricing & Availability

HyTrust Appliance, Community Edition is now available for download now as a pre-built, VMware-compatible virtual appliance to members of HyTrust Community. To join the community free of charge, go to http://www.hytrust.com/community/register. Support for Community Edition is provided by the Community via online forum participation and direct community member interaction.

This is a great opportunity – join the HyTrust Community and download the HyTrust Appliance Community Edition today. It will simplify your life, no matter how small (or large) your environment!

KLC

Ken Cline Joins VMware

Hi all,

I wanted to take a minute and let everyone know that I have accepted a position as a Senior Consultant at VMware (actually started 27 April). I am working in the Professional Services Organization (PSO) and will be focusing on customers in the Federal Civil Sector, primarily in the Washington, DC area.

I want to let you know this so that you know where I’m coming from when I write here – although please do understand that this is my PERSONAL blog and anything that shows up here is my PERSONAL opinion. I do not have the authority (nor the desire) to speak on behalf of my employer, so if I say it, it’s because it conforms to “Virtualization according to Ken” – not “Virtualization according to VMware”!

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll try to make the content here worth your time, so stop by every once in a while to see what I’ve cooked up!

KLC

The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 7

OK…if you’ve followed along this far, you’re either 1) enjoying what you’re reading, 2) a glutton for punishmnet, or 3) really, really bored. Hopefully, it’s #1 and you’re here because you’ve read the first six posts in this series and you just can’t wait for me to add #7! If you’ve not read the first six posts, I recommend that you go back and do so now. The first six posts were:

  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 1
    In this post, I discussed vSwitch functions, Port Groups, VLAN tagging/trunking, valid communications paths, and some other basic vSwitch information.
  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 2
    In Part 2, I covered the vSwitch security features (Promiscuous Mode, MAC Address Change, and Forged Transmits) as well as network traffic shaping options.
  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 3
    Here I discussed the various load balancing options that are available in a VMware vSwitch.
  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 4
    In Part 4, I covered fault detection and the Cisco Discovery Protocol.
  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 5
    In Part 5, I talked about the various networks that you have to contend with in an ESX environment as well as an approach to help in deciding which networks to combine, if you have to.
  • The Great vSwitch Debate – Part 6
    I introduced the first host configuration. In this part, I talked about my recommendations for when you have eight pNICs and offered up a couple alternatives, including one for using an iSCSI initiator from within a VM.

In this Part 7, I’m going to discuss configurations for systems with two, four, and six pNICS. The same ground rules I established in Part 6 are going to apply here – for those who are skipping ahead or who have short memories, here they are: Read More…

Updated: Reaction to: “How to Correctly Explain the Architectural Differences Between Hyper-V and ESX”

Oh, goodness! It seems that Greg Shields’ attempt at “How to Correctly Explain the Architectural Differences Between Hyper-V and ESX” isn’t all that correct. Oh, he starts out pretty well, classifying both Hyper-V and ESX as Type-1 hypervisors, which is correct. Where he goes astray is when he claims that Hyper-V utilizes “paravirtualization” and ESX relies on “hardware emulation” – wrong! Read More…