Last year we ran a little series called Ask the Experts where you all wrote in your virtualization related questions and we got them answered by experts at Intel, VMWare as well as our own head of IT/Datacenter - Johan de Gelas.

Given the growing importance of IT/Datacenter technology we wanted to run another round, this time handled exclusively by Johan. The topics are a little broader this time. If you have any virtualization or cloud computing related questions that you'd like to see Johan answer directly just leave them in a comment here. We'll be picking a couple and will answer them next week in a follow up post.

So have at it! Make the questions good - Johan is always up for a challenge :)

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  • m.amitava - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    I work in India for a San Jose based Software Company
    (one Steve Jobs doesn't like too much). Recently we have had a virtual lab service introduced which enables us to deploy virtual machines and carry out short term development and testing. Now I have a two pronged question

    1) Will there be a day when all(or most ) of the development/testing work across platforms will be migrated to the cloud? Will it be secure enough and do you think the results will be consistent when compared to using actual physical PC's with a single OS?

    2) What is the future of Mac OS X VM support? Our company at this point doesn't offer macs for the virtual lab
  • L. - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    1) Yes and you don't really mind about the consistency between physical and virtual as long as you run full virtual (that may include end-user equipment, yes). Server-side can and should* be virtualized anyway so in this sense, you must see that it is much easier to replicate a production environment with virtualization, and therefore have the testing for cheaper and better (you can have a perfect 1:1 copy, which is impossible - read too expensive - in physical environments).
    "Secure enough" ? If it's secure enough for production, it oughta be secure enough for dev. If your question is about test environments impacting production environments, you just need to make sure they run on separate pools / different hosts, including all the network / storage. (As in, if your test environment uses your production network and SAN, you may impact performance in production).

    2) Google it, took me 2 minutes to have the answer.
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  • Guspaz - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    There is already limited support for Mac OS X as a guest VM... but only OS X Server, and only on an OS X host (that's a licensing requirement, not a technical requirement). It's technically possible to run any version of OS X on any host (such as OS X on Windows) using "OSx86" modifications, but that's a EULA violation.

    As far as I know, the only virtualization solution that offers official support to do this is Parallels. Virtualbox also has experimental support for doing it.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    I think we need to change the title:

    "Ask the Experts, with answers by our expert readers!" :-)
  • Virtuwiz - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    Why can't you have a "showdown" between VMware and Microsofts HyperV tecnology.

    MS have a compelling story and a great pricepoint but the marketshare and market history for VMware makes makes this a hard decision to make.

    With all the reviews at ananadtech i think that i possibly could be the real first documentet and public Clash of the titans.
  • duploxxx - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    There are lots of aspects that you need to look at before you can state one has a more compelling offer then another. You can look technology wise, future wise, mngmnt wise, price wise, performance wise. Sure I think Anandtech could make a very compelling compare, but that will be one very high time consuming review that can only be brought into several pieces. Just out of experience.

    Second to that there are always pro and contra for one and another. For example from a pricepoint it might look more interesting but you just compare it from a license perspective, but for example how many real life VM you can actually run on a physical box between vendors? You might be surprised .....
  • bmullan - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    Let's not limit ourselves to just vmware or hyperV.

    KVM is great technology and being built into the linux kernel takes advantage of developments from the linux community. kernel shared memory (KSM) is just one of many examples.

    Many large company's are using kvm including IBM, Red Hat, Dell, HP, Intel. It is just one of several choices available.. but its free and open source code available.

    My opinion is that KVM may become the leader in virtualization technology simply because of cost. Compare VMware licensing costs $$$$ to $0 for KVM ? That makes a huge difference in a large datacenter where someone is implementing their own private cloud but even more expensive for a large Cloud Service Provider with thousands of servers.

    Let's also not forget that AWS is built on XEN.

    As the acknowledged leader in Cloud that says a lot for XEN in itself.
  • sor - Friday, March 18, 2011 - link

    What's with people calling it "kernel shared memory" lately? I thought it was "kernel samepage merging".

    I use KVM at work specifically because we can run paravirtualized and I don't have to worry about recompiling modules/installing software (vmware) or running special kernel builds (Xen) whenever we upgrade. We can use the same kernel we do on our hardware and everywhere else. Also, performance was all around better compared to ESX4.1
  • Calabros - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    a simple one: an Atom based server can be good as a VPN server?
    we need to reduce the cost of Breaking Great Firewalls here

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