The race for virtualization dominance between Microsoft and VMware has become more interesting with VMware's recent release of vSphere 5.1. We obtained vSphere around the same moment as the final release of Windows Server 2012, whose newly included virtual switch and enhanced Hyper-V features were designed to clobber VMware.
Much of the attention being paid to this week's Windows 8 launch focuses on the new Metro-style interface and the fact that Microsoft is extending its desktop OS to tablets and smartphones. But for enterprises, the real story is the way Microsoft has integrated Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and the Hyper-V hypervisor to create an unmatched system for running virtualized environments.
We tested the Windows Server 2012 Editions and Windows 8 Professional/Enterprise Editions on a Gigabit Ethernet switched network, principally using an HP DL580G8 with four 2.17Ghz quad-core Intel Xeon CPUs, 64GB of memory, and four high-speed local drives. We also used an NFS store for developing ISO images, then used VHD and VMDX images to build Windows 2012 and experimented with Windows 8 images. We also tested Windows Server 2012 on VMware vSphere 5.1, and Citrix XenServer 5.6, where we found no difficulties in mounting and managing Windows Server VMs. We tested features, spawned new virtual machines, configured routing and (tiny) VLANs to emulate environmental multi-tenancy successfully.
The System Center 2012 modules that we previously tested -- Orchestrator and Configuration Manager -- require forklift upgrades. But the modules we tested this time around - App Controller, Virtual Machine Manager and Data Protection Manager -- are more graceful and, in some cases, more powerful.
We initially attempted to implement System Center 2012 modularly, which is almost impossible, so we used the Unified Installer after reading the salient documents for each module, then installed each module into its own VM, combining SQL Server resources where necessary. We recommend that up to four SQL Server instances may be necessary for protecting all of the modules.
With Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as its underpinnings, Linux Mint 13 (Maya) was recently released in three versions, KDE (new), Xfce, and Gnome-Cinnamon. We tested each version separately and while we still like Mint, we're accumulating a nagging list of bugs -- some of which are the fault of Ubuntu, and some are the twists that Linux Mint takes on its own.
With the revamped System Center 2012 suite of management tools, Microsoft has launched a powerful new weapon in the battle to control the virtualized data center and the cloud, both private and public.
We initially attempted to implement System Center 2012 modularly, which is almost impossible, so we used the Unified Installer after reading the salient documents for each module, then installed each module into its own VM, combining SQLServer resources where necessary. We recommend that up to four SQL Server instances may be necessary for protecting all of the modules.
With Ubuntu 12.04, Canonical has delivered a much improved product that spans desktops, servers and the cloud in a bid to become the cross-platform mainstream product that Apple's Mac OS might have been had Apple not abandoned the server market.
We noted the customer intake procedures for each of the five DaaS vendors, focusing on what options and what type of process were used. We set a platform consisting of several Windows 7 virtual machines, as well as a Lenovo T520 running native Windows 7, another T520 running Linux Mint 2, and three MacBooks running Mac OS 5, 6, and 7 respectively, as well as an Apple iPad running iOS 5.
Desktop-as-a-Service is an interesting way for IT execs to provide cloud-based Windows desktop sessions, as well as shared resources such as storage. DaaS can help companies roll out new desktops and support Bring Your Own Device policies.
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