The full day of training, held on Tuesday the 19th, was Virtualization Management Day and covered a broad range of topics beginning with motivations to virtualize servers, storage, and network; strategy; and operations/management. VMware, which is the most widely deployed, was discussed the most, but other virtualization platforms received some discussion as well.
[Penn State's Telecommunications and Networking Services (TNS)] may be ahead of the pack in terms of server virtualization: we have about 75% of our servers virtualized, whereas the average for most shops is less than 30% virtualized at this point. We also have virtualized many of our mission-critical applications, including DHCP services, [our trouble-ticket system] and the network management system. Many other shops have only virtualized their simple applications so far.
Through our training, we see new opportunities to save money and infrastructure resources through advanced concepts of network and storage virtualization. In TNS we have built a solid foundation with our VMware clusters and can continue to build on it.
Conference sessions were varied but focused on the major topics of virtualization, cloud computing (including private clouds--virtual resource environments internal to an organization--and public clouds--resources provided by third parties via the internet), and next-generation networking, including wireless.
As environments become more and more virtualized, networking changes, including security (firewalls) and layer 2. We learned about some new tech that will help us to reduce our network infrastructure and move more of the network functions into the virtual space.
Cloud computing is emerging as a way to efficiently distribute computing resources where needed, easily. TNS's virtual server environment is a strong start in this direction.
A session on backup, disaster recovery, and availability confirmed that we have made a good start on these in the virtual environment and gave some tips on how to use virtual machine image backups for a more robust disaster recovery scheme.
One of the keynote presentations and a conference session discussed the push for all-wireless out to the edge. At this point, the contention is that speeds and security models are adequate to use wireless at the edge, instead of wiring the offices. It's an interesting concept and is gaining momentum. It will be interesting to watch as this movement progresses further.
The vendor exhibition gave us a few opportunities to talk with network monitoring system vendors, which we had hoped to do to consider some alternatives to [our current NMS]. We also had the chance to see the current datacenter tech landscape by reviewing the various products being shown at the expo.