Virtual Machine Migration Best Practices

Lately, there has been in increase in IT organizations migrating their traditional virtualization workloads to open-source platforms such as Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) . Although there are many reasons for migrating (e.g. cost, features), one key advantage stands out for the open source alternatives. Organizations are now seeing the viability of building on the same platform to integrate open source cloud solutions with traditional applications. No single platform is optimized for each workload type or tier. Not only do organizations get to take advantage of the fast innovation of open source, but they also realize significant cost savings.

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Steps to Optimize Network Quality of Service in Your Data Center

Virtualization technologies have evolved such that support for multiple networks on a single host is a must-have feature. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization allows administrators to configure multiple NICs using bonding for several networks to allow high throughput or high availability. In this configuration, different networks can be used for connecting virtual machines (using layer 2 Linux bridges) or for other uses such as host storage access (iSCSI, NFS), migration, display (SPICE, VNC), or for virtual machine management.  While it is possible to consolidate all of these networks into a single network, separating them into multiple networks enables simplified management, improved security, and an easier way to track errors and/or downtime.

The aforementioned configuration works great but leaves us with a network bottleneck at the host level. All networks compete on the same queue in the NIC / in a bonded configuration and Linux will only enforce a trivial quality of service queuing algorithm, namely: pfifo_fast, which queues side by side, where packets can be enqueued based on their Type of Service bits or assigned priority. One can easily imagine a case where a single network is hogging the outgoing link (e.g. during a migration storm where many virtual machines are being migrated out from the host simultaneously or when there is an attacker VM). The consequences of such cases can include things like lost connectivity to the management engine or lost storage for the host.

A simple solution is to configure

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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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Top 5 Skills Virtualization Admins Must Have to Stay Relevant in 2016

In the past few years, virtualization admins have been hailed as heroes for enabling their organizations to significantly slash costs while improving service levels to the lines of business. Since the IT industry is constantly evolving, how can virtualization admins position themselves for success and avoid being rubber ducks in 2016? Below, we will look at 5 skills that should be in your toolkit in order to remain relevant in your organization.

1. Develop a deep understanding of how DevOps fits into your organization

According to Gartner, “By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 percent of Global 2000 organizations.” Like many people, you might be asking yourself – what exactly does DevOps mean? DevOps is

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Virtual Machines: Access to Random Numbers Made Easy

Having access to quality random numbers is essential for correct and secure operation of operating systems. Operating systems need random numbers from an entropy pool for a variety of tasks, like creating secure SSH or GPG/PGP keypairs, generating random PIDs for processes, generating TCP sequence numbers, and generating UUIDs.

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 we introduced the virtio RNG (Random Number Generator) device that provides KVM virtual machines access to entropy from the host machine.  Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization starting version 3.5 also has exposed this feature.  We have since made improvements to Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests to make the feature easier and more straightforward to use.

A Brief Introduction to virtio and Paravirtualized Devices

virtio is the paravirtualized transport framework for KVM virtual machines. Using the virtio framework, new devices can be

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Beyond the World Records

In a recent post, we reviewed the 10 world record results set by Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family.  Besides showcasing the extreme capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, these performance achievements tell another compelling story – Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become an exceedingly popular choice when it comes to tough workloads.

For example, consider the share of Red Hat Enterprise Linux versus other operating systems used to produce these records. Out of 20 world record benchmark results (22 total submissions, 3 results were tied) posted by eight different OEM partners at the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family announcement, Red Hat Enterprise Linux was used in 12. Seventy-five percent of the hardware vendors taking part in this process chose to publish their world record benchmarks on the new family of processors using Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The chart below shows the significance of this adoption.

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Is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta “The 7th Guest”?

Someone out there “gets” the title, right?  No, I’m not suggesting that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta is an interactive puzzle adventure game. The relationship, I suppose, is in fact based on a much looser association: this is our seventh major release and this post (as opposed to my first) is dedicated to Red Hat Enterprise Linux running as a guest on third party hypervisors.

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KVM Virtualization: Refining the Virtual World with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta

Ever since Red Hat Enterprise Linux added KVM Virtualization as a kernel-based hypervisor to run virtual machines (way back in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4), the operating system took on a dual personality.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux became both a Virtualization host for high density virtual data centers / cloud service platforms, and a guest operating system running on third party hypervisors such as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. As the topic is sufficiently broad, I plan to split my discussion of virtualization into two posts.

Today’s post will discuss Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta as a hypervisor using KVM Virtualization technology and it will highlight a few key enhancements that make Red Hat Enterprise Linux the operating system of choice for modern hybrid data centers. While the features that I will review are inherently those that I find to be the most exciting (note: I’m hoping you will find them to be exciting and useful as well), a complete list is available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta release notes.

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