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Server Virtualization Nested and Tiered Hypervisors

Tiered hypervisors can be as simple as using different technologies

A few years ago I did a piece (click here) about the then emerging trend of tiered hypervisors, particular using different products or technologies in the same environment.

Tiered hypervisors can be as simple as using different technologies such as VMware vSphere/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM or Xen in your environment on different physical machines (PMs) for various business and application purposes. This is similar to having different types or tiers of technology including servers, storage, networks or data protection to meet various needs.

Tiered snow tools
Tiered snow management tools and technologies

Another aspect is nesting hypervisors on top of each other for testing, development and other purposes.

nested hypervisor

I use nested VMware ESXi for testing various configurations as well as verifying new software when needed, or creating a larger virtual environment for functionality simulations. If you are new to nesting which is running a hypervisor on top of another hypervisor such as ESXi on ESXi or Hyper-V on ESXi here are a couple of links to get you up to speed. One is a VMware knowledge base piece, two are from William Lam (@lamw) Virtual Ghetto (getting started here and VSAN here) and the other is from Duncan Epping @DuncanYB Yellow Bricks sites.

FedTech

Recently I did a piece over at FedTech titled 3 Tips for Maximizing Tiered Hypervisors that looks at using multiple virtualization tools for different applications and how they can give a number of benefits.

Here is an excerpt:

Tiered hypervisors can be run in different configurations. For example, an agency can run multiple server hyper­visors on the same physical blade or server or on separate servers. Having different tiers or types of hypervisors for server and desktop virtualization is similar to using multiple kinds of servers or storage hardware to meet different needs. Lower-cost hypervisors may have lacked some functionality in the past, but developers often add powerful new capabilities, making them an excellent option.

IT administrators who are considering the use of tiered or multiple hypervisors should know the answers to these questions:

  • How will the different hypervisors be managed?
  • Will the environment need new management tools for backup, monitoring, configuration, provisioning or other routine functions?
  • Do existing tools offer support for different hypervisors?
  • Will the hypervisors have dedicated PMs or be nested?
  • How will IT migrate virtual machines and their guests between different hypervisors? For example if using VMware and Hyper-V, will you use VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager or something similar?

So how about it, how are you using and managing tiered hypervisors?

Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers
Gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.