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VMware Product Comparison

Discussion in 'Virtual Computing' started by Phoenix, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Zimbo has asked the following question, and I hope to answer that below

    I'll start with the last question as its the more complex, and i'll throw in VMware Server to boot

    ESX Server with the addition of Virtual Center makes up what VMware call 'Virtual Infrastructure' this is a datacenter class product offering designed to facilitate the move to virtual environments for corporate production servers, and it does this very well, and has historically done this very well.
    A licensable feature known as vMotion enables users to migrate virtual machines in real time across servers in a cluster with no interuption to the underlying operating system environmet (they typically love to demo this with a windows media file playing just to show you how little interuption there is)

    With the release of VI3 it does this even better with the addition of two new licensable product offerings known as DRS and HA that use functionality of vMotion to dynamicaly load balance across a cluster of ESX Servers (DRS) and automatically restart servers on a failed ESX server (HA) providing increased performance and utilisation as well as better availability.

    To use most of this functionality ESX needs to be installed in a SAN environment (FC or iSCSI) but the new release facilitates installations on NFS shares as well

    As far as user experiance is concerned, ESX sits directly on top of the hardware, it is an OS not just an application, and you might want to know a bit of linux as the service console is based on redhat enterprise

    VMware Workstation and VMware Server are applications, they sit on top of a windows or linux operating system and provide similar functionality to ESX without all the fancy bells and whistles such as DRS, SAN storage and vMotion. These products are designed primarily for development environments and are far cheaper and simpler to use, with added benefits to these environments such as multiple snapshots (workstation)

    To answer the first question, I would say that Workstation/Server is probably a better fit for most people for an MCSE training environment, however when you read a job add that refereces VMWare they are more than likely talking about ESX (and the references of VMWare in job adds is up 275% since last year!) so on the same note ESX experiance is an asset to have these days, but can be far more complex to set up for a simple MCSE test lab.

    If you want any more info post a reply and ill try clear any questions up :)
     
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  2. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Thanks for that nice overview Ryan.

    We must also not forget that VMWare aren't the only Players out ther looking at Virtualization. MS have Virtual PC (equivallent to VMWare Workstation) and Virtual Server, which, as far as I'm aware is there equivallent to ESX. (Ryan please correct me if I'm wrong)

    You could also add in to the equation the Open Source Xen......
     
  3. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    That is indeed an incorrect comparison and its one that VMware often get a bit peeved about
    many people compare Virtual Server with ESX, this is infact NOT the case

    MS Virtual Server is more akin to Vmware Server, the free Application not ESX which runs directly on the hardware.
    Virtual Server is nothing really more than that, hence is very low adoption rate for production use
     
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  4. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Thanks for clearing that up! :oops:

    So, what is the difference then between VMWare Workstation and VMWare Server? :blink
     
  5. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    A few minor differences really
    VMware Server has the ability to power on machines at startup (runs as a service) whilst Workstation has numerous features to empower the development environment (more snapshots and managed snapshots, better cloning etc)

    Workstation 6.0 is going to have USB 2 support as well
    Server can also be managed with Virtual Center 1.4 where as workstation can't be centrally managed

    Heres a quick shot of the VC management interface

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. nugget
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    nugget Junior toady

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    Can you deploy VMWare Server on a normal OS or does it have to be deployed on a server OS?
     
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  7. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Thanks mate - good read! 8)
     
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  8. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    you most certainly can mate
    i run it on XP :)
     
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  9. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    It's nice to have a VM junkie around here -- I'd never played with ESX, so the fact that it's based on RHE is intrigueing. Unfortunately, I'll never touch it soon, since if it's RHE based, it's gonna be $$$$

    EDIT: just checked, I was right:rolleyes:

    As for a lab environment, I only used VMWorkstation for a bit, until VirtualPC2004 went free, and then I hopped on the VirtualPC2007 bandwagon, which I enjoy. I tried VirtualServer2005, but since all my servers are lowgrade machines, I was going to install it on my main machine.... until it prompted me that IIS needs to run. BZZZTT, no thanks, not on the daily driver!
     
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  10. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Ok a few things
    ESX is not BASED on RHEL, the Service Console for managing it is, this is a common mistake

    VMware Workstation = not free, £99 quid or £199 i think
    VMware Server = Free (Can be installed on Desktop OS no IIS required)
    VMware ESX = Expensive for production use, VMTN subscription (like action pack) comes with it for $299

    Hope that clarifies a bit :)
     
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  11. Casablanca

    Casablanca Nibble Poster

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    Great Stuff Thanks a lot Phoenix :thumbleft
     
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  12. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Ryan,

    Great thread and blog, mate. 8)

    Si
     
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  13. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Thanks Ryan, had to read it a couple of times but it has helped to clear my confusion :biggrin
     
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  14. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Hey im happy to go into more detail and/or simplify it lads if you need more info
    vmware is a big product these days and its getting bigger (what else do you think drives sales of quad core servers?) let me know what you need and ill try clear it all up :)
     
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  15. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Perhaps just a basic example of *why* and to who you would recommend implementing an ESX virtual solution, pros and cons, TCO etc. Who is doing this? - how successful or otherwise the existing systems
    you have seen are? Is this technology really going to replace conventional separate hardware?

    Not so much the technical aspects but more of a Phoenix type overview as to why it's such a hot topic.
     
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  16. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Well i think the key point to get across is one of your last questions, Is this technology really going to replace conventional hardare? the answer is yes, it already has!
    Virtualisation is the single KEY driver pushing server sales these days, as mentioned before, very few people are buying quad socket, quad core boxes with 64gb of ram to run windows on, it's just not done

    The pros are obvious, lower DC footprint, lower power/cooling requirements (a MAJOR thing these days in London especially), simpler DR/BC capabilities better utilisation of storage, better utilisation of processors. In general the solution makes more use of what you have invested in and gives you better bang for buck

    Cons are obviously more eggs in the basket (HA and DRS somewhat alleviate this which is why VI3 has been such a big deal in the DC) and performance is workload dependant, however a properly sized solution avoids this problem to a good extent

    the TCO story is an interesting one, especially when you take a few considerations into account such as the way Windows and VMware are licensed these days
    a per processor copy of Datacenter edition retails for $1000 less than a per server copy of enterprise edition, but it allows you unlimited virtual instances, its also licensed per socket
    so lets say we buy 2 ESX 2-cpu licenses (circa 10k i imagine) and 4 Datacenter licenses (about the same as 3 Enterprise licenses) place that on a Quad Core quad socket box and we can likely run 30 vms (workload dependant) on that box, if they all use Enterprise edition that a packet worth of savings on licensing alone!
    That coupled with the fact were using a 4u server not an entire rack to run all that we lower the environmentals considerably.

    Now consider all those servers are flat vmdk files on your san that can be mirrored at the SAN level to your DR, theres no faffing with file level backups, your moving the entire server in one go across DCs, and when you integrate that with VMware consolidated backup your doing that in an application consistent state (no exchange corruptions etc) this really simplifies DR deployments to no end.

    Whos doing this? a great many people, ranging from your ma and pa operation to the likes of Shell
    In what sort of way? Well that also varies greatly
    With 2.5 the main driver was definatly DR for the most part, due to its limited HA features for that eggs in a basket scenario, with 3.0 I'm seeing more people start to consolidate entire DCs (it did happen before) also a common strategy for branch offices is having storage consolidated and servers dumped on remotly manageable vm platforms, meaning server failure can be withstood for a few days while replacements are sorted as all vms run on the second machine, storage is mirrored back via IP to provide offsice backup capabilities.
    Lets not forget the simplified deployment scenarios, what used to take 3 weeks in server provisioning time can now take (and theres a happy chap at a certain UK telco who likes to show this off) as little as 7 minutes!

    Test and dev environments are another big area, i just set up 8 DL380s with 32GB of memory each for the development arm of a large gaming company, this is soley for the use of there in house development teams giving them easier access and easily deployable dev environments on the fly via custom web interfaces.

    The fact is a virtual environment is more economic from numerous directions to maintain, and thats why its one of the key trends we're seeing and its set to grow exponentially over the next few years

    Hope that helped a little
    And i haven't even touched on VDI (if any of you remember that video SGUK linked to from NEC, thats based on VMwares VDI offering)
     
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  17. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Thanks Ryan, that post was awesome and the info invaluable.
     
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