Friday, March 7, 2008

The Xen of Server 2008

Server 2008 with Hyper-V... Hmm.. A hypervisor.. but it looks like Windows.

Actually, it is a totally different way to look at and think about what we already know of Windows Server and what a hypervisor is.

Until now a hypervisor was a Linux experience with a management console that brings it into the Windows realm. Ironically enough most administrators of virtual environments have turned out to be server administrators that have grown up in the Windows world.

After the Hyper-V role is added to Server 2008 the traditional way of thinking about a Windows server changes, as does what it is and how it behaves.

It is really easy to look at a server with Hyper-V and forget that it is now a hypervisor. That it has a job of running virtual machines. And for those of us that have been using VMware, that this is a totally different animal - not because it is Windows but because it is not VMware.

I am going to be expanding on these ideas as Hyper-V matures and we continue to explore it.

I have been spending a great deal of time exploring snapshots and plan on looking into backup and disaster issues.

Oh, and many have lamented that Hyper-V uses a Xen 'like' engine (this has been mentioned all over the place). The hard core open source community seems to be worried about what is happening to Xen since the Microsoft design inclusion and the acquisition of XenSource by Citrix. That discussion is strictly speculative and not one I intend on getting involved in.

What Hyper-V means to IT is that there is a new platform, one that seems strangely familiar, yet isn't. But that is well worth touching, kicking, trying, and exploring.

Is it foolproof? No, just like the other virtualization engines.

Does it require thought and planning? Yes, just like the other virtualization engines.

We can't be too comfortable with it just because it feels like Windows - "feels like" is the thing to remember.

If you think about it - the Microsoft developers have achieved something rather amazing. Marrying Windows and what we all know of as a Linux concept and presenting a truly Windows like management experience (with some unique behavior).

But, all administrators have to remember that it isn't just a Windows server anymore. It is more complex than that. And for those virtualization veterans from the VMware world and Virtual Server world..some of the things you know and have relied on - don't apply here.

That is the stuff I plan on exploring.

For now, ponder the future of a datacenter with virtualization Parents / Hosts and their Children / Guests much as a pool of resources - and we no longer care of the back-end engine - we care about the management interface, experience, and controls.

No comments: