Why Now is the Perfect Time to Adopt Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

IT decision makers seem to be up in arms regarding discussions on “next generation” technologies.  In the past three months it has been nearly impossible to hold a conversation where the terms cloud, OpenStack, or (Linux) containers don’t surface.  Hot topics and buzzwords aside, it has become clear (to me) that the right mix of market conditions are causing organizations to express a renewed interest in enterprise virtualization.

Many organizations are now ready to adopt the next generation of server hardware.  The popular Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge chipsets from Intel are four to five years old and those who purchased such hardware tend to refresh their equipment every four to five years.  In addition, we see Intel Haswell technology approaching its third anniversary.  Organizations that lease hardware on a three year cycle will also be looking at what the next generation of hardware has to offer.

What does a potential wave of hardware refresh have to do with a renewed interest in enterprise virtualization?  To no one’s surprise

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Conversations from the Field: Building a Bridge to the Cloud

Cloud conversations are evolving at a seemingly ever increasing pace. In my experience, nearly all “…what is the cloud?” type conversations have long since past. In fact, for some organizations, private and public clouds are now central to daily business operations. For the both the early and late majority, however, their (usually large) install base of traditional applications makes the cloud far from reality. These organizations tend to have significant investments in proprietary virtualization, management, and operations technologies, and it’s not a given that these applications are cloud ready (today). While many proprietary technology vendors offer re-packaged versions of existing products to create a thin veil of “cloudiness” – this style of cloud enablement usually comes at a heavy price

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Container Tidbits: Does The Pets vs. Cattle Analogy Still Apply?

Background

So, most of us have heard the pets vs. cattle analogy. The saying goes, that in a cloud environment, you don’t waste time fixing individual virtual machines or containers – instead – you just delete them and re-provision. But, does this apply to the entire cloud environment? The analogy is that you don’t take cattle to the vet, you just send them to slaughter. But, is this really true? Cattle are worth a lot of money. I have never really liked the pets vs. cattle analogy.  I think it lacks sensitivity and may not be appropriate when talking to a CIO.  The real problem, however, is that the analogy fails to fully relate the changes in IT that are happening.

I propose that Pets vs. cattle is not really about how or when we kill animals – instead it’s about the simplicity of consuming animals, and the complexity of maintaining the environment in which they live.

Pets

At the end of the day – in small quantities, pets are actually quite easy to take care of – when they are young, you take them to the vet for their shots. As they grow, you provide them with food, water, and a clean litter box (or take them outside once in awhile) and they are pretty much “good to go”.

Like pets, you give traditional virtual machines their “shots” when they are first created (via Puppet, Chef, Ansible, or through manual updates) and they are pretty much “good to go”.  Of course, if they get “sick”, you take virtual machines to “the vet” – you log into them, troubleshoot problems, fix problems, or run update scripts. Usually by hand, or driven by some automation, but managed individually.

The problem is, raising pets in a house doesn’t scale. I don’t want 2000 cats and dogs at my house (and, let’s be honest, neither do you).

Cattle

Raising cattle is quite different than a household pet. It’s actually quite a bit more complex. Cows, sheep, and chickens are raised on farms because it’s more efficient. Farms are set up to handle the scale. This requires large amounts of land, tractors, fences, silos for grain/feed, specialized trailers for your truck, specialized train cars, and specialized processing plants. In addition, farms have to keep shifting which fields are used for grazing so that they don’t become unusable over time.  If you really think about it – I’m only just skimming the surface. Farms are more efficient, but quite a bit more expensive than a house to run day to day.

Clouds (e.g. OpenStack, OpenShift) are more akin to farms than houses. Firing up a cloud is like setting up a farm from scratch. It requires a lot of planning and execution. After firing up your cloud, there is constant technical care and maintenance – e.g. adding/removing storage – fixing hung instances – adding/removing VLANS – fixing pods stuck in a pending state, returning highly available services (Cinder, API nodes, OSE/Kube Master, Hawkular Metrics) back to production, upgrading the cloud platform, etc. etc. There is a lot of farm work with a cloud.

Farms are quite efficient at raising thousands of animals. I do not think, however, that you just tear down an entire farm when it is no longer running in an optimal state – instead – you fix it.  Clouds are quite similar. Clouds are more work for operators, but less work for developers. Just like farms are a lot of work for farms, but much less work for shoppers at the store.  Raising large amounts of chicken is harder for farmers and easier for consumers. The farmers hide the complexity from consumers.

Conclusion

I propose that it’s not really about pets vs. cattle, but really about houses vs. farms. It’s far easier to buy chicken breast at the store than it is to raise hundreds of chickens in your backyard. I propose this as an improved analogy. Farms require quite a bit of work, are sophisticated and more expensive than a house, but quite efficient at supporting a lot more animals. At scale, I would take a farm any day over raising thousands of animals at my house. The same is true with a cloud environment. At scale, a cloud wins every time.

On a side note, people often conflate the notion of scale up and scale out with pets vs. cattle. In my mind, bigger and smaller bulls (scale up/down) or a greater number of smaller bulls (scale out) is arbitrary and a constant challenge in terms of both pets and cattle….

Finally, for those that still don’t like pets vs. cattle or houses vs. farms – let’s try a beer analogy. Bottles vs. home brew – while it’s easy to drop by the store and buy a bottle of beer… it’s way more fun to brew it. Let’s brew some beer together, leave a comment below!

Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Azure? .NET as an RPM and Container from Red Hat? Sweet!

Six years ago, we worked closely with Microsoft to deliver on a significant and widespread customer request: the ability for our respective operating systems to function as guests on each other’s hypervisor. This was then codified by the certification of Hyper-V as a supported hypervisor for use with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the certification of Red Hat products as supported hypervisors for use with Windows which both companies have maintained for the past six years.

More than half a decade later, customers are now asking Red Hat and Microsoft to have Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a supported guest in the Azure Cloud. We both heard you! Thanks to a deep commitment by both companies, this day has arrived and, together, we are responding to another important customer ask with full support.

As the game show host says, “But wait! there’s more!” In March 2014, we announced that we were bringing Microsoft .NET capabilities to OpenShift Origin. We now expect that Microsoft .NET capabilities will grow past OpenShift Origin to include

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RSA Security Conference 2015 in Review: Three Observations

As many specialists in the security world know – the RSA Security Conference is one of the biggest security conferences in North America. This year it was once again held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. Every year the conference gets bigger and bigger, bringing in more and more people and companies from all over the world.

If you attended – you may have noticed that Red Hat had a booth this year. Located in the corner of the main expo floor (not far from some of the “big guys” like: IBM, Microsoft, EMC, CA Technologies, and Oracle) we were in a great location – receiving no shortage of traffic.  In fact, despite staffing the booth with six Red Hatters we didn’t have any “down time” –  everyone seemed to be interested in what Red Hat has to offer in security.

Over the course of the conference I made a few interesting observations…

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Virtual Machines or Containers? Maybe Both?

Over the last 18 months, especially since the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, “containers” have emerged as a hot topic. With the more recent introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, an operating system optimized for running the next generation of applications with Linux containers, one might wonder… what about virtualization? In that the benefits of containerization seem to overlap those of traditional virtualization, how do organizations know when to pick one approach over the other?

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Shaping the Performance of a Linux Distro: Inside Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Backstory

Red Hat’s Performance Engineering team is responsible for the performance of many of Red Hat’s products.  We cover existing products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenStack Platform, OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, as well as newer products like Ceph and CloudForms.

Although these days we contribute extensively to Red Hat’s cloud offerings, Red Hat Enterprise Linux remains a core responsibility as the building block for our ecosystem of customers and partners, plus much of Red Hat’s growing product portfolio.

Prior to beginning efforts on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 in earnest

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Regarding the Importance of Quality, Trust, and Certifications

Last Thursday’s post directed you to the Red Hat Blog where we underscored why the operating system remains vitally important.  In this related companion piece we’re reminded why quality, a chain of trust, and certifications are integral to enterprise-grade products.  In fact, building upon Red Hat Enterprise Linux helps to ensure that your IT infrastructure (everything from software-defined storage to application containerization to OpenStack solutions) benefits from the same trusted technology pool and serves as an optimized stack.  Click here to learn more.

Red Hat Summit 2014: Interview with Tim Burke (VP of Infrastructure Engineering)

Earlier this morning, Richard Morrell (@EMEACloudGuy) posted his interview with Tim Burke, VP of Infrastructure Engineering, from Red Hat Summit 2014.  Listen here as Tim describes the evolution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and how infrastructure continues to evolve to meet the needs of developers, new innovations like OpenStack and OpenShift, and even new requirements from segments like telecommunications and financial services.

Richard’s podcasts are also available via iTunes, podfeed.net, and Stitcher.

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