Hey, what do you say we throw some actual content up here and see what happens…
The excellent virtualization blog RTFM Education has a post today talking about VMware ESXi. Specifically that as time continues, fewer and fewer features work with it.
The case in point started with the remote command line interface being changed to “read only”, which doesn’t make it much of an interface at all.
After that failed to correct itself, a 3rd party backup solution called Veeam was just asked to remove backup support for ESXi.
This is a disturbing trend, and as someone on the brink of making a decision, this weighs heavily. Citrix’s Xenserver supports live motion (live transferring of a running virtual machine from one Xenserver to another without shutting it down) for free. What does VMware offer at this point except a future of heavy skepticism? Not much that I see.
Day one of playing with bare metal hypervisors, and I’m already having a blast.
I decided to try ESXi first, since it was the closest relative to what I’m running right now.
Straight out of the box, I run into my first error. I’m installing on a Dell Poweredge 1950 server. The CD boots into an interesting initialization sequence. The screen turns a featureless black, and there are no details as to what is going on behind the scenes. The only indication that the machine isn’t frozen is a slowly incrementing progress bar at the bottom. After around 20 minutes (I’m guessing the time it takes to read and decompress an entire installation CD into memory), the screen changes to a menu asking me to hit R if I want to repair, or Enter if I want to install. I want to install, so I hit Enter. Nothing happens, so I hit enter again. And again. And again. It takes a few more times before I realize that the “numlock” light is off. Curious, I hit numlock and it doesn’t respond.
I unplug and replug the keyboard in. Nothing. Move it to the front port. Nothing. I reboot and come back to my desk to research. Apparently, I’m not alone. Those accounts are from 2008. I downloaded this CD an hour ago, and it’s 3.5 U4 (the most current 3.5x release). It is supposed to have support on the PE1950, but if the keyboard doesn’t even work, I have my doubts.
Lots of people have suggested using a PS2 keyboard as the accepted workaround, but in a similar tone to most of my problem/solution options, this server has no PS2 ports.
I’m downloading ESX v4 now. I’ll update with how it goes, no doubt.
If you’re not using virtualization yet, you probably have no idea where to even start looking. You hear about platforms, you’re inundated by ads and news coverage and it’s everywhere, even though it’s ephemeral. No one seems to be answering basic questions, everyone assumes that you’ve got a virtualization infrastructure or you’re getting one, and they’re all saying theirs is the best.
So what do you do?
Andrew Clifford has been working hard to educate people on virtualization. Near the end of April, he produced a Virtualization Primer (part 1) to help give people a handle on the subject. He followed that up a week later with Part 2. Yesterday he put together a list of the most frequently seen virtualization platforms.
These posts serve as an excellent introduction to virtualization. You don’t have to be a large enterprise entity to take advantage of it, and plenty of free solutions are available for everyone, regardless of platform.
If you’re curious about what else you virtualization can help with, Philip Sellers wrote a guest blog entry awhile back about how virtualization helped him patch software, and there have been a couple other posts which mentioned it, too.
If you’ve got a take on virtualization, or a question, post it below and I (or more likely some other reader) can probably help you out.