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Upgrading to ESXi 4.1?

What’s New in VMware vSphere 4.1 for Small and Midsize Businesses

I just watched this video from VMWare regarding virtualization, VMotion, and what’s important for small/medium businesses (SMB). There were a couple of interesting questions that were asked in the web conference:

For us small people will you ever change the cost structure for VCenter? (ie Two license options; 6 proc <Foundation> or Unlimited). For a small company we have 4 two proc servers and cannot justify they cost for an unlimited VCenter for adding just one more server.

Agreed: the vCenter license cost seems to be out of line with the rest of the licensing especially for smaller implementations.
We’re investigating this – appreciate the feedback.

Is it necessary to have a SAN to take advantage of all the features of vSphere?
It’s necessary to have shared storage – this could be NAS, SAN, etc.

Is this a trial version that has a trial period, such that it’s better to go to essentials plus kit?
No this is not a trial version. This a free version of vSphere with perpetual license. vSphere Hypervisor cannot be centrally managed from vCenter. Only locally via vSphere Client.

For storage vmotion, is it possible to vmotion a vm across data centers in 4.1?
It is possible, but it is not very easy. You need the right storage architecture.

One thing that I’m finding consistent as time passes and as users become more familiar with VMWare: they are asking more targeted questions regarding their storage infrastructure.  By reading these questions, I am assuming that administrators are demanding more and expecting to pay a lot less for their storage as well.  Just wait…  Something’s around the corner when it comes to addressing storage requirements and I don’t think it’s going to be an expensive piece of hardware.

Desktop Virtualization

I had a phone call with a friend of mine at another cooperative regarding virtual desktops.  He read a magazine article about the drug that some are now using to deploy their desktops. He asked if I had experienced the hallucinogenic and euphoric effects that he read it would provide.  I told him I wasn’t interested in it – at all.  When he bluntly asked me “why not?”, I felt an obligation to answer him:

Desktop virtualization makes no sense to deploy in my environment.  In the case of server virtualization, several computers in the data center were using more hardware than their applications demanded.  CPU utilization was low, processor core time was limited to the number of threads an application is programmed to use, there was duplication of duplication, and the user experience requirement was practically non-existent. Virtualization makes perfect sense to me in a server environment.
Looking at user desktops, I see virtualization as a solution in need of a problem in my cooperative. Actually, I see it as more of a bane than a cure.  Why, I can purchase a dual-core 2.8GHz processor desktop with 2GB of RAM, dual-headed video, sound, and a Windows OS pre-installed for the same amount of money as a dumb terminal device.  The dumb terminal’s capabilities are far less than what I get for the desktop.  The flexibility of the desktop meets and exceeds the requirement for just about any user and for the same price; I don’t feel like I’m painting myself in a corner like I would with a terminal.  With that desktop PC, I have processing power that is designed to meet the dynamic needs of each user which are very different than the relative fixed demands and requirements of a server.  Also, just because virtualization works well in the datacenter does not mean it will work equally well on the desktop.  These are very different worlds.

Given the decision to buy a house or rent an efficiency apartment, I found that the house might cost just as much as the apartment.  I later found that the purchased house will absolutely cost less than the apartment – both short and long term.  Given these facts, what choice in housing do you think I should make?

There’s no amount of rationalizing that one can apply to make an apartment sound appealing to me given these facts.  Granted, one does not have to maintain an apartment as much as a house just like desktop virtualization vs a desktop PC – but at what cost to the users and the business?  In the end, you’re paying a lot more for a lot less. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I’m not saying that it isn’t a solution for some.  I can just about guarantee you that it’s not a solution for me – yet…

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