I've been doing a lot of work on virtualisation this last few weeks, focussing specifically on VM Ware as a platform, and I like it!
I've been running an ESXi host at home for quite a while now and found it terribly useful for quickly setting up test environments for whatever I happened to be working on at the time, such as Alfresco, IP PBX etc. However, I've been looking into larger scale deployments recently for some specific projects I've been working on, awfully hush hush, and the more reading and studying I'm doing, the more I reckon this could be a major way to save money and consolidate infrastructure, even for small enterprises.
While "Cloud" buzzwords have been flying around like a swarm of angry mozzies for a long time, and the meaning seems to be getting less clear rather than more clear, VM Ware seems to be a great basis for building a Private Cloud Infrastructure which is more flexible than that provided by Amazon EC2 and similar vendors. While the offerings from these may be flexible to a point, and great for development, where always on, resource specific servers are required, it is hard to beat being able to allocate exactly as much or as little in the way of RAM, CPU cycles and storage to each individual VM.
I've been designing several virtual infrastructure setups recently and I have to say that without the flexibility provided by VM Ware on even a small number of physical hosts, my job would be much harder, taking into account HA and backup scenarios and the systems required for these.
All this looking at Virtual Business Infrastructure has meant I've had to immerse myself into a new world of Storage Servers, SAN, NAS and NFS. Very interesting indeed, and I'll go into this in more detail in part 2.