Monday, 18 August 2008

My Virtual Environment

I frequently demonstrate product functionality to Clients using a remote virtualised environment.  'Remote' is the key word here meaning it's hosted.  Gone are the days for me of attempting to boot VM's on my laptop, no way! 

Delivering product demonstrations is something I do fairly frequently these days, whether it's high availability scenarios in Exchange 2007 or Office Communications Server 2007 & Unified Messaging integration the resource requirements are high.  Back in the VMWare GSX and Windows NT days a decent spec'd desktop would have sufficed.  Demonstrating today's enterprise-aimed software is, I find, a whole different story.

So why am I blogging about this? 

Probably the most common query I got after doing a demo is 'What/where/how is the solution you use to demo?'  Well I have a data-centre hosted solution in the UK comprising of 3 x Sun SunFire X4200 servers, each loaded with 4 x AMD Opteron cores, 16GB RAM, multiple NIC's for segregated network access etc and a terabyte of direct attached storage attached to each machine


So why do I pay for a hosted solution?  I'll give you many reasons . . .

  1. I'm a Consultant.  A demo has to look for professional.  I need enterprise class hardware to demo.
  2. Home routers just don't cut a solution when you need a DMZ with multiple hosts or you have multiple networks
  3. I don't have to worry about power, cooling, space, racks and anything else associated with running your own hardware.
  4. I can reach the solution from any device with an Internet connection
  5. I want my laptop's space for data, not VM disks!
  6. It's fantastic for training myself and others. . . I can stay ahead of the game
  7. I can emulate configurations for testing.
  8. I can baseline my environment using snapshots and easily go back after changes.

So how is all this horsepower configured?  I'll blog about it in my next post but until then, here's a hint . . .     ;-)


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