Virtualization Basics Part 4

Server Consolidation for Industrial Automation

Anyone considering virtualizing their Industrial Automation system needs to first look at the Servers and follow a similar process that one would use for standard commercial systems.  There are some special considerations for the Industrial user however, as well as some special benefits along the way.  The following are some simple steps that are needed, and some elements of guidance for the Industrial Automation user.  Use these in conjunction with other tools and processes that are available from many sources.  One good source is searchservervirtualization.com.  Using these suggestions you should be able to make your Server Virtualization and Consolidation project flow smoothly. [...]

Virtualization Basics Part 3

Storage Challenges and Terminal Services Benefits

Many of the companies that adopt Virtualization architecture take the simple and seemingly straight forward approach that is VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.  This means that they simply create a Virtual Machine (VM) with a desktop Operating System (OS), such as Windows 7, and then present that VM to a client machine such as a thin client.  This approach often appears to be the best move when converting users of standard PC and OS over to a virtual environment.  What the user sees on the screen, and the actions they perform on the virtual machine, are nearly identical to what they have on the PC. [...]

Virtualization Basics Part 2

Beginning a Server Virtualization Project

In Part 1 of this series we discussed the four types of virtualization—application, desktop, server and storage virtualization. In this article we plan to focus specifically on server virtualization. While this article will look at virtualization in a general sense, we will link VMware’s terminology for virtual environments, since they are perhaps the most well-known of the virtualization platforms available, to some of the generic terms for those components.

Server virtualization is perhaps the best place to start when beginning a virtualization project. There are many reasons for this but one of the most important would be that it is a bit easier, and less costly than the other forms of virtualization. It is easier because IT can maintain complete control over the aspects of the changeover without disrupting end users.  Server Virtualization is less costly because you are consolidating hardware. Less hardware not only reduces physical overhead but also reduces the time that will be spent maintaining and upgrading the physical devices. It typically will mean that you simply repurpose the servers you have to handle the load or work of multiple servers. [...]

Virtualization Basics Part 1

Understanding Virtualization

We can’t assume that everyone knows and understands what virtualization is—we should perhaps assume the opposite.

Even though virtualization seems to be a ubiquitous technology, understanding what it does and how to manage it is still out of reach of many IT and Engineering managers.

Virtualization is essentially taking traditional hardware like servers and reducing the number of physical machines by converting most of them to virtual machines located within fewer of these physical devices. For example you could take 30 physical servers and reduce them to 5 physical servers that each have 6 virtual servers running inside them. [...]

ThinManager Helps You Avoid the Stuxnet Virus

There is a new villain in the computer virus world and it is from the Stuxnet family of malware.  The Stuxnet attack exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, WinCCConnect, which is an integral component of the distributed control and SCADA systems that facilitate production operations in many process-manufacturing companies. The vulnerability would allow the virus to extract process data and possibly HMI screens.

The director and chief economist of the independent watchdog The US Cyber Consequences Unit Scott Borg says “Either the attacker is planning on stealing very valuable information or they are going to use this access to the control system to do bad things.” The virus’s purpose seems to be what can only be termed as industrial espionage as attackers could steal information on how plants are run to possibly extort money or influence manufacturers by taking away the competitive edge with the information obtained. [...]