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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Network architecture and capacity planning for server virtualization

George Lawton

Server virtualization not only challenges network managers with consolidation and latency considerations, it also places a heavier burden on the network infrastructure going into each physical server. When a company reduces the number of physical servers, the number of people served by each server can increase proportionately. Network managers need to look at implementing high availability and data replication software to minimize the impact a server problem could have on the network.

"The network manager is going to have to talk to folks and work with other IT silos such as the applications team and the server team to figure out the network process, especially for virtualization," said Stephen Elliot, enterprise systems management analyst with IDC. "It is a matter of being flexible and adapting for change that is coming down the pike."

There are certain tactical issues that have to be worked through. First and foremost, you must determine what is a switch and what is a server in a virtualized environment. Virtualization blurs the line between the two, since both end up running on the same physical box. "One has to consider," Elliot said, "how network and data center transformation is putting more pressure on network executives to think through the right network architecture for virtualizing applications and managing traffic and bandwidth."

More on server virtualization and the network
Server virtualization and the network: Site consolidation's impact on latency

Server virtualization creates a network configuration burden

Author Greg Shields discusses
Virtualization selection and the enterprise network

"There are big questions around traffic management and handling policy," he said. "When we are talking about a virtualized application, many of the concerns we had during client/server don't disappear. Particularly on the networking front, these require further development, particularly in the realms of network address translation and how traffic moves through virtual switches."

One strategy is to implement a shared pool of servers for the virtual infrastructure, which allows a virtual server to migrate to any physical server in the pool. Another, significantly more complicated, strategy is to set up geographically dispersed disaster-recovery sites to which to migrate the virtual machines (VMs) in the case of a major disaster. In this case, the company would need some mechanism for moving the virtual images to the second site and mechanisms for routing the traffic to the new location.

VMware has developed a technology it calls VMotion for moving virtual machines between physical boxes, and other major VM players have developed similar technologies. Unfortunately, these solutions tend to be optimized only for LANs. In order to stretch this capability across a wider area, network managers would have to implement a VLAN across a wide area.

Just because the servers appear to have enough CPU horsepower and networking bandwidth to handle the new applications themselves does not necessarily mean they have enough capacity to handle the virtual switches, firewalls and intrusion detection systems that will run on the same hardware.

For example, Chris McDaniel, who is now Virtualization Solutions Architect at Nimsoft, helped consolidate 200 sparsely loaded Intel servers down to four very large ones when he was an IT manager at The Gap. Although the original servers theoretically had enough capacity to handle the working load of the applications, they still ran into significant problems.

"When you virtualize the physical switch, it adds a lot of processing overhead to the VM host," McDaniel noted. "The physical server is a finite resource with only so much RAM or CPU capability."

McDaniel recommends a maximum of no more than eight to 12 VMs per physical host. When multiple VMs are trying to write to the storage system simultaneously, it can create unacceptable delays.

The astute networking professional also needs to weigh conflicting messages from VM vendors (which encourage IT departments to virtualize everything) and physical switch and router hardware vendors (which err on the side of caution -- and increased hardware sales). "You will find conflicting messages from switch and router vendors versus virtualization vendors," said Simon Crosby, CTO of thin client vendor Citrix. "As we go down this path, there are winners and losers. The reason VMs have not landed is that the dominant equipment vendors' future gets curbed in this new environment. This will impact not just the number of servers, but the number of NICs and switches installed."

Separating networking functions

In order to maintain high levels of service within a virtualized environment, network professionals need to think about how to physically separate the different networking functionalities associated with each physical server. You have to divide the administration, storage, VMotion and production networks with multiple NIC cards and switching networks in order to maintain high levels of service across each one.

"If you have the system administrator accessing the host and you are backing up the VMs, you don't want that to interfere with fast access to data stores on the production network," McDaniel said.

The best strategy, he said, is to deploy a team of two 1 Gbps Ethernet cards for each function, plus an additional card to enable redundancy when one of these fails. Without this kind of redundancy, backups or big data writes can slow down performance in other areas of the network, which can affect the performance of VM applications or generate networking error messages.

McDaniel recommends teaming multiple 1 Gbps cards -- rather than using larger capacity 10 Gbps cards -- in order to provide higher reliability in the event of a NIC or switch failure. A physical or software problem with a larger single card can have a more severe impact on the network than a problem with one of many networking cards. In the event of a failure of one of these paths, applications like Nimsoft NimBUS management software provide a way of finding the available switch and routing traffic appropriately.

George Lawton

About the author:
George Lawton is a freelance writer, based in San Francisco, who has written more than 2,000 stories for, IEEE Computer, and Wired (among others) over the last 17 years. Before that, he helped build Biosphere II, worked on a cattle ranch in Australia, and helped sail a Chinese junk to Antarctica. You can read more about him at his website,

Peluang Usaha Toko Online

Kursus-kursus pemasaran internet bermunculan. Belum lagi liputan media massa terhadap pelaku bisnis berbasis online. Majalah Pengusaha, Majalah DUIT, Majalah Bisnis Kita, Tabloid Kontan, Koran Malang Post, dll

Peluang usaha Toko Online adalah salah satu peluang usaha yang bisa Anda coba. Toko online yang saya maksud alah website yang digunakan oleh pelaku bisnis untuk memasarkan produknya. Produk bisa berupa barang atau jasa. Tapi, di tulisan ini saya ingin lebih fokus pada produk barang.

Bagaimana agar sukses di usaha toko online ?

Berapa banyak toko online di Indonesia yang pernah Anda lihat ? Berapa diantara mereka yang sukses ? Tidak semua sukses bukan ?

Kunci Sukses Membangun Toko Online

1. Membangun Tim
Ingin seberapa besarkah toko online Anda, bangunlah tim yang sesuai. Jika bermodal kuat, rekrutlah orang-orang yang berkompeten. Jika sudah beristri, Anda bisa menjadikan istri sebagai tim Anda. Orang-orang dekat Anda (saudara) juga bisa menjadi tim Anda. Memberikan pekerjaan kepada orang dekat bisa menjadi kekuatan spiritual yang membuat Anda sukses. Jika tidak memungkinkan membangun tim, mulailah seorang diri. Anda bisa merangkak dari bawah hingga Anda mampu dan siap merekrut tim yang tangguh. Tanpa tim, usaha kita tidak akan berkembang dan bertahan lama.

2. Membuat Website yang Menjual
Website adalah pilar utama promosi Toko Online. Anda harus punya website sendiri. Bukan web gratisan. Sebaiknya berakhiran .com atau .net, karena ini yang sudah populer di masyarakat. Toh, biaya tahunan domain hosting mulai Rp 200.000,-

Website Anda harus bisa ‘menjual’. Artinya website Anda tersebut harus bisa mewakili Anda untuk menjadi sales yang memikat bagi pembeli. Website Anda harus bisa meyakinkan pengunjung bahwa Anda layak diajak bertransaksi. Cantumkan alamat jelas dan no telp yang mudah dihubungi. Cantumkan foto-foto produk dan foto-foto lain yang membuat pengunjung semakin percaya dengan Anda

Website Anda harus terindek di search engine, dan mudah ditemukan untuk keyword yang berhubungan dengan produk Anda. Gunakan script toko online yang search engine friendly.Tidak semua script toko online ramah dengan search engine. Karena itu, saya lebih suka menggunakan blog untuk jualan online daripada script yang tidak ramah dengan mesin pencari. Dan saya rasa blog cocok bagi pemula. Apalagi untuk produk-produk yang harganya mahal dan tidak bisa order online secara langsung. Bisa juga blog menjadi web pendukung bagi toko online Anda

3. Promosi Tepat
Siapa calon konsumen Anda ? Dimanakah Anda akan menemukan mereka ? Cara cepat dan tepat menemukan konsumen adalah dari search engine (google, yahoo, dll). Disinilah pentingnya SEO (search engine optimization)

Promosi yang lain adalah di iklan baris, iklan di web yang banyak pengunjungnya, PPC ataupun komunitas online. Tentu saja harus kembali lagi “Siapa Calon Konsumen Anda”

4. Pelayanan
Lakukan pelayanan yang baik. Kecepatan pelayanan salah satu kunci utama. Bermitralah dengan jasa pengiriman barang terpercaya. Garansi produk juga penting. Jika usaha Anda bertambah besar, bentuklah tim yang tangguh.

5. Mental Wirausahawan Sukses
Usaha toko online adalah sama dengan usaha lainnya. Miliki mental wirausahaan yang sukses, antara lain :

* Pantang menyerah. Di bisnis apapun, kendala pasti ada.
* Sabar. Produk Anda mungkin laku di hari pertama, mungkin juga di tahun pertama
* Berani menghadapi resiko. Resiko pasti ada. Tinggal bagaimana kita menghadapinya
* Selalu mencari peluang. Boleh jadi bisnis pertama Anda gagal. Tapi itu bukan akhir segalanya, kan ? Peluang usaha toko online masih banyak. Silahkan cari peluang yang sesuai dengan Anda

6. Belajar Seperlunya.
Peran seperti apa yang Anda inginkan di toko online Anda ? Itulah yang harus Anda pelajari. Anda tidak harus mempelajari semuanya.

Misalnya, Anda ingin memasarkan produk. Yang perlu Anda pelajari internet marketing dan dasar-dasar membuat web/blog (tidak harus ahli html). Bidang-bidang lain, bisa Anda serahkan ke tim Anda (produksi barang,pengiriman,promosi offline, dll)

7. Berbuat Baik dan Beramal
Perbuatan baik dan infaq-shodaqoh-zakat berbanding lurus dengan profit usaha Anda. Hal ini telah ditegaskan di Kitab Suci. Uang yang kita ‘keluarkan’ akan dibalas puluhan, bahkan ratusan kali lipat. Bisa hari itu juga, tahun depan atau minimal di akhirat. Saya sendiri sudah membuktikan hal ini. Dan ini berlaku untuk semua bisnis.
Nah… Itulah tips dari saya. Ini berdasarkan pengalaman pribadi lho.

Lalu, sebenarnya berapa sih potensi penghasilan peluang usaha toko online ini ? Wah, kalau yang ini tergantung produk, penjualan dan bagaimana Anda mengembangkan bisnis tersebut. Bagi Anda yang sudah berbisnis online, pasti sudah bisa memperkirakan. Bagi Anda yang belum bisnis online, percaya saja bahwa potensinya di luar perkiraan Anda saat ini (…ehm?)

Vista's big problem: 92 percent of developers ignoring it

Posted by Matt Asay

And to think Microsoft used to be popular with the developer crowd...

Not anymore. A recent report from Evans Data shows fewer than one in 10 software developers writing applications for Windows Vista this year. Eight percent. This is perhaps made even worse by the corresponding data that shows 49 percent of developers writing applications for Windows XP.

Such appreciation for history is not likely to warm the cockles of Microsoft's heart, especially when Linux is getting lots of love from developers (13 percent writing apps for it this year and 15.5 percent in 2009). The Mac? I don't have any equivalent data via Evans Data. But the Mac OS has rocketed by 380 percent as a targeted development platform, Evans Data told Computerworld.

The numbers don't get much better for Vista in 2009: 24 percent (compared with 29 percent for XP). That's a big step up from 8 percent, but is it a sign of momentum to come or just a temporary stopgap while developers wait until Windows 7?

Nor has Microsoft made it easy to develop Vista applications, according to an article in

Unfortunately, that improved security posture makes it more difficult for developers to write applications for Vista (read: no more kernel-level access and UAC to worry about), and it also causes compatibility problems with older applications. Ironically, the wave of attacks targeting operating system vulnerabilities has largely passed, and today hackers have moved on to target applications. At the same time, Microsoft has provided iterative improvements in Windows XP security, bolstering its status as "good enough" and further eating into Vista's pie.

Indeed. Microsoft doesn't need to handicap itself on the desktop given its difficulties competing everywhere else. With Linux and the Mac taking ever-increasing shares of the developer pie, Microsoft would do well to shore up developer support for Windows.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, that probably means re-investing in XP and forgetting its "New Coke" moment with Vista.