Looking to the Cloud in 2013

Every year as the calendar comes to an end, a new year invariably elicits statements, declarations, and discussions about what kind of year it will be.  People proudly proclaim that this is they year they will lose that last ten pounds that has been hanging around, pundits make bold proclamations about the future of the political landscape, and industry professionals predict what the next wave will be to revolutionize their specific area of expertise.

For those of us who develop software, it has become clear that the prediction we need to be aware of is that 2013 will be the “boom or bust” year for all things cloud.  Then again, that was also the same prediction we heard heading into 2012.  And yet here we are again standing on the precipice of change.  No one can deny that the last year saw great advances in the world of cloud computing, specifically the proliferation of the public cloud by companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.  Previously, cloud computing had been the province of smaller niche software companies and data storage centers.  But as that business model showed gains in both popularity of adoption and profitability, the larger companies have finally committed their resources to capitalize on what has become a proven business model. [...]

Virtualization in an Industrial Environment (Part 1)

This is the first in a three part article focusing on the entire process of Virtualizing in an industrial environment.  While there is a lot of talk about Virtualizing and VDI, we wanted to focus on the viability and deployment of Virtualization in an industrial and manufacturing environment which would speak to the concerns and difficulties specific to this industry.

Part 1: Centralization Before Virtualization


It is everywhere and there is no escaping it.  It is written about, discussed, recommended, and deployed in offices and facilities around the world every day.  It is the iPhone of IT…you might not know why you are buying it, you just know that everyone else is using it so it must be the next great thing.  But as implementation of virtualized environments continues to become the norm rather than the exception, industry publications are reporting that up to 40% of Virtualization deployments are never completed and eventually scrapped. [...]

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. [...]