Sometimes, You Gotta Leave an App Behind (When It Can’t Be Virtualized)

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, March 25th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Software Development, VMware

Virtualization is a standard practice for IT shops around the world. However, as more data center operators look to consolidate and migrate to new virtualized environments, some legacy applications remain stumbling blocks on the way to a 100% virtualized infrastructure.

Legacy apps are tough nuts to crack: your users are accustomed to them, so they are highly efficient in business use, but they might clash with your more modern IT tools, they might no longer supported by the vendor, or the hardware underneath might be ready to kick the bucket.

“No worries,” I hear you say. “I can just virtualize the platform.”

That might work in most cases, but there are some legacy apps that either just won’t make the leap to virtualization or are too much trouble to virtualize to make it worthwhile. Here are the most common examples run into by our techs:

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A Primer Guide to Big Data on VMware

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, March 4th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware

By now, even your non-techy mom has probably heard of Big Data, with IBM and others advertising it on TV and every other IT vendor pushing their platform. If you don't know about big data, here is it is in a nutshell: as more and more devices are connected to the internet and storage capabilities continue to advance, we’re able to collect, store, and run analytics on massive sets of information in order to discover insights and make more informed decisions.

Some industries like research, oil and gas, manufacturing, and logistics, have been doing this for years, often on dedicated hardware. The advantages of virtualization can be levied for big data use, too, even though at its core, big data is focused on distribution of jobs over a wide array of resources, while virtualization as a concept is the exact opposite.

If you’re gearing up for a big data deployment, you can use VMware tools to stack it on top of virtual machines, allowing you to add resources easily when you need to run large analytics jobs and scale back when you don’t need as much processing power or want to delete old unused datasets from storage. This elasticity helps maximize your available compute resources and can be used in a mixed-workload environment. Plus, you can manage and automate your big data VMs from the same tools as your other infrastructure.

Here is quick primer on what to keep in mind with VMware big data platforms.

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Top Features Coming in vSphere 6.0

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, February 25th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware

Early this month, VMware announced vSphere 6.0, the latest version of the most popular and powerful enterprise virtualization platform. As a longtime VMware shop with a number of VCP certified professionals, we’re excited for a number of the new features included in the latest release.

According to VMware’s CEO, vSphere 6.0 has over 650 new features. Green House Data doesn’t yet have a timeline for upgrading from 5.5 just yet (6.0 hasn’t received General Availability), but here’s what we’re most excited about.

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Tips for Virtualizing Microsoft Exchange on VMware

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, January 21st 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Microsoft, VMware

E-mail, as we noted in last week’s blog, remains critical to business functions, and Microsoft Exchange is the most widely used e-mail client in the world. Virtualizing Exchange servers on VMware can improve performance, allow you to consolidate various Exchange server roles, combine mailboxes, and increase flexibility of your Exchange infrastructure, so you can scale up or down as your e-mail loads demand.

You’ll end up with 5-10x less physical hardware and more responsive Exchange, plus you can design your environment for your current workload. No need to guess at your resource utilization 3-5 years down the road—just provision a few more VMs when the time comes.

While virtualization can increase performance (VMware claims a 16 core server with vSphere produced double the throughput as physical hardware), Exchange has its own set of requirements and demands, so take a look at these best practices before you start up the installer in your virtual environment.

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Set Up and Optimize Ubuntu and Other Linux VMware Guests

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, January 6th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, VMware

So you want to jump into virtualization and take the open source route on your guest virtual machine operating system? Several of our customers have recently spun up Ubuntu VMs on top of VMware. Here are our tips for setting up and optimizing performance in a virtualized Ubuntu environment. These tips may also apply to other Linux distributions on top of VMware hypervisors.

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The Essentials of Big Data Analytics in the Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, December 10th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware

Big data is driving new business insights and is hyped as a world-changer, as more and more devices are connected to the internet (Gartner predicts enterprise data growth of 800% between 2011 and 2015). Big data is the practice of locating patterns in enormous datasets to make better decisions. It enables intelligent decision-making across industries and applications.

Scalable cloud environments are great for big data platforms, but they come with their own set of planning and management concerns. In many big data environments, a hybrid solution may be the best fit. Let’s see what IT managers have to contend with to deliver the big data insights demanded by CIOs and CEOs.

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Hospitality Industry Provides Better Service with Cloud Hosting

Written by Kristina Sink on Tuesday, November 25th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Desktop-as-a-Service, Cloud Hosting

From small cafes to large hotel chains, cloud services can benefit the entire hospitality industry. Service industries can gain the ability to monitor, test, and implement better quality solutions that improve the guest experience, streamline operations, and provide greater data security—a vital feature for payment processing, as more leaks are reported from POS systems every week.

Both the hotel and restaurant industries handle income and expense sheets, employee records, time records, merchant invoices, receipts, and sales reports. All of this data must be stored in a highly secure and redundant location, where it will be protected from theft, loss, or damage. Any company dealing with credit card information must also be PCI-DSS compliant, a standard that many cloud providers can help you achieve.

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Avoid Noisy, Nosy Cloud Neighbors: Secure Your Data in a Multitenant Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, November 19th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Networking and Fiber, Security

Cloud computing is built on virtualization, a technology concept that allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single server. Although this means data centers can squeeze much more computing power out of each server, it also brings a set of additional security risks. Without insight into the other environments using the same server resources as your virtual machines, how can you protect your own data from malicious attacks on other tenants?

For some small businesses, the security risk associated with multitenant cloud is outweighed by the security gains of having the provider’s skilled information security specialists working on their environment, whereas they may have lacked a dedicated security staff in the past. However, other risks increase as virtual network tools and hypervisors present additional attack surfaces. 

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What are the Differences Between VMware Backup Restore Types?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, October 29th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Disaster Recovery, VMware, FAQs

Uh-oh. A virtual machine is down. Or a user accidentally deleted a project they’ve been working on for weeks. Or an application has become corrupted. Or…you get the picture. Good thing you have virtual machine images ready to go in storage (you can create backups using the VMware Consolidated Backup tools, which takes your latest snapshot as a basis for the full image backup). Now all you need to do is decide on a restoration method.

For a full VM restore, you’ll use VMware Converter, while for file-level restoration you’ll use VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), which also has the choice for centralized, per-group, and self-service restoration.

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Curious About Cloud? Our Most Common Questions

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, October 22nd 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, VMware, FAQs

Our Infrastructure Consultants are here to facilitate the perfect cloud architecture for each customer. This post rounds up some of the most frequently asked questions they get about the gBlock Cloud, from security and encryption to licensing and customer support.

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