Join us for a chat on Dell Virtual Integrated System (VIS) and Virtualization.

Click here to join the conversation and chat with experts on Dell Virtual Integrated System (VIS) and Virtualization Tuesday Dec. 20, 2011.

Chat Transcript

Dell-KongY Hello Everyone!
Dell-KongY Today's chat will cover Dell Virtual Integrated System (vis) - specifically Advanced Infrastructure Manager (aim) and vstart
Dell-KongY our featured speakers are Aaron Prince, Dell Aim Technical Marketing and Mahesh Natarajan, Dell Aim Sr Product Manager
Dell-KongY Aaron - can you give us a brief intro into what Dell Aim is?
Dell-Aaron Sure thing
Dell-KongY Hi Lani :) Please use Action -> Recent room history to catch up on the conversation
Dell-Aaron Aim is a software solution, that is focused at providing workload mobility and recovery management into your environment
Dell-Aaron It is a multi vendor, multi hypervisor solution
Dell-Aaron It helps you break the tie between the workload, and the server (and supporting infrastructure) that supports the workload
Dell-Aaron By workload mobility, we mean that in the span of a reboot, I can move a workload between vendors of physical servers, between physical and virtual, or between vendors of virtual machines
Dell-Aaron to let you run the workload where it makes business sense now, and recover automatically from hardware failures by retargeting the workload to other infrastructure
Dell-KongY Dell Aim on Dell Techcenter -
Dell-KongY Hi rick and Mn - please click Action -> Recent room history to catch up on the conversation.
Dell-KongY Folks- Mn is Mahesh Natarajan, one of our featured Smes
Daniel_Bowers Can V2v mobility can be cross-hypervisor?
MN Yes .. the V2v mobility is across hypervisors.. Aim currently supports Vmware and Hyper-v
Dell-Aaron It can be between single hosts of Esx, it could be between clusters of Esx, or between Esx and Hyper-v as you asked
Dell-KongY Dell Aim and vstart are Products of the Year finalists for 2011 -
Daniel_Bowers So, for Esx -> Hyper-v (as an example). How does it work? Is the Vm image converted?
Dell-Aaron We do migration between types of servers (including Esx-> Hyper-v) without image conversion
Dell-Aaron this way we are able to retarget in the span of a reboot, with no requirement of a conversion every time an image moves
Dell-Aaron We use the standard, Os supported image formats, which all vendors of physical or virtual machines support
Dell-Aaron like Ntfs or Ext3
jfranconi how in terms of hardware support between Amd/intel platforms?
jfranconi about*
Dell-Aaron The images have no problem moving between Amd or Intel platforms
jfranconi awesome
Dell-Aaron Aim helps you move toward a single, consolidated pool of resources, so you don't have to worry about all of the complexity in your environment
Daniel_Bowers I don't understand "without image conversation". Maybe a newbie question: If I've got some running Vm on an Esx host, and it's stored as a .vmdk, how does Aim get that info "out"?
Dell-KongY that's the beauty of Aim - it's platform agnostic and works with whatever the customer already has in their datacenter
Dell-Aaron We avoid this issue by avoiding proprietary containers (like Vmdk in this instance). By storing the data in the standard format, it works with multiple vendors
Dell-Aaron If you have a desire to use Vmdk for a particular workload, we work great with that as well, but obviously that would limit that particular workload to Vmware
Daniel_Bowers @aaron Ok, thanks. I guess it doesn't matter what format...but...what format? :)
Dell-Aaron We actually don't put a "container" around the data, we keep the data in its native format (like Ntfs or ext3)
Dell-Aaron That data is then migrated to network storage, which gives Aim the ability to retarget these workloads in the span of a reboot
wonder_nerd I guess that begs the question (at least in my mind) whats the storage look like? Equallogic isn't native network storage... so???
Daniel_Bowers So the "image" is (effectively) a real boot partition on a Lun, or something like that?
MN One of the primary requirements for Aim's workload mobility is to boot from a central storage
Dell-KongY Aaron - it's great that you mention data migration to centralized, network storage b/c Dell Aim has a free utility to facilitate migration of boot images from servers to central storage - Dell Server Migration Utility (smu)
Dell-Aaron @daniel yes, you are doing a boot partition on your Lun or volume
Daniel_Bowers @kong Got that Smu demo video you sent out today sitting in an open window, ready to watch :)
Daniel_Bowers @aaron Thanks.
Dell-Aaron @wonder_nerd This can be used with any iscsi or Fc storage
Dell-Aaron we are basically managing the storage connectivity to the servers in the environment, to control what data they are exposed to
wonder_nerd ahhh
Dell-KongY Dell Server Migration Utility (smu)
Daniel_Bowers how about P2v or V2p. What if the image doesn't have the right drivers on it to handle some specific physical server destination?
Dell-Aaron And on top of that, we also manage network connectivity, so that the network identity of a workload follows it form server to server
Dell-Aaron @daniel for the V side of things, our Smu utility injects and configures the drivers you need for the Esx or Hyper-v Vms
Dell-Aaron Smu is Server Migration Utility, Kong posted a link to it a few lines ago
Dell-KongY Welcome janejam! Please click Action -> Recent room history to catch up on the conversation.
Dell-Aaron on the P side of things, most device drivers for our servers are already natively in Windows and Linux
janejam hi ther how r u
Dell-Aaron but if there is a need for a new or specific driver, then that would need to be installed or injected into your golden image, or whatever method you use for image prep
Dell-Aaron Hello janejam
janejam need a bit of help
janejam got inspiron mini 910 asking for Hdd Password
Daniel_Bowers I use Crowbar for deployment of course :)
Dell-Aaron What you get by having this workload mobility, is some very powerful capabilities
Dell-KongY janejam - this is a tech chat focused on Dell Vis Aim
janejam Might Do That Driving Me Mad
Dell-Aaron Things like Business continuity, where we can recover from a server failure, or even up to a disaster recovery failover scenario
Dell-Aaron in a vendor agnostic way, you get the same capabilities on physical or virtual
Dell-Aaron Or the ability to easily scale up and down your capacity in an environment, and not have resources statically assigned "just in case"
Dell-KongY @janejam - you should post to the Dell Desktop forum at
janejam Thank You Guys
Dell-KongY or if you are on Twitter, please reach out to @dellcares
Daniel_Bowers Can i use Aim for a x2c (to-public Cloud)?
MN Currently Aim is focused on in-premise datacenters only . There is no public cloud angle to it .. yet
janejam Thanx
janejam Bk Soon
Dell-Aaron yes, Aim is a tool that helps you build a private cloud in your environment, with best of breed components
Dell-Aaron not by ripping and replacing your exisitng infrastructure
Dell-Aaron Another piece of Vis, Creator, is a self service portal and provisioning tool that can definitely help you with provisioning to public clouds
Dell-KongY one of the reasons Aim is a finalist for product of the year :)
Daniel_Bowers Ok, one more Aim question...
Dell-KongY Daniel - please do ask more Aim questions :)
Dell-KongY we have "the" Dell Aim Smes today ;)
Daniel_Bowers Can I set up Aim policies (if that's the right terminology) to account for Os or hypervisor licenses? e.g. some image shouldn't be deployed on a physical 4-socket server, b/c the image has a Db whose licenses doesn't cover that?
wonder_nerd With the self service portal. does it have a costing piece so you can cost a Vm and assign it to the appropriate group?
Dell-Aaron Daniel, in the policies we have the ability to have explicit assignment rules, that we call "server pools". Server pools enable you to point images at a logical grouping of servers that you can define in any way that you wish
Dell-Aaron In your case, I could assign an image to only run on 4 socket servers, if thats a requirement
Dell-Aaron but I could also have a list of priority, to first run on 4socket 8GB Ram servers, the 4 socket, 16GB Ram servers, etc
Dell-Aaron or whatever meets my needs
Dell-Aaron and these policies will automatically take action any time an image needs to be repurposed, to make it automatically come up on the most appropriate available server
Dell-Aaron @wonder_nerd Creator gives you the ability to associate costs with Vms, storage, memory, etc.
wonder_nerd wonderful!
Dell-Aaron It can be used to "show back" costs to your organization
Dell-Aaron which you can choose to act upon with charging, or just use to to characterize usage by group
Dell-Aaron also leases for Vms, and requirements around approvals, its a very powerful tool to help with controlling your environment
Dell-KongY Dell Vis Creator link:   
Daniel_Bowers Hadn't heard the term "show back" before. Is that the same as charge back, except they don't pay the bill? :)
Dell-Aaron exactly :)
Dell-Aaron We leave the collections agency up to you!
Daniel_Bowers Ok, Kong mentioned Vis Creator, must be time to move on :) The self-service portal & catalog sound identical to aspects of Hp's Matrix. Can you differentiate them?
Dell-KongY @daniel - our Dell Vis Creator Sme is actually out of office for this chat
Dell-KongY the Dell Smes that I have on today are strictly Aim focused
Daniel_Bowers Oops, sorry...i'll leave that for another time.
Daniel_Bowers So can I keep going with the Aim questions? :)
Dell-Aaron by all means!
Dell-KongY apologies about that... I will have Kailas, our Dell Vis Creator Sme, address your question at a Creator specific chat :)
Daniel_Bowers Vis could fit into a lot of use cases, for sure. Have there been any scenarios where Aim has seen particularly strong adoption, e.g. in iscsi envionrments, or in the banking sector, in Asia, stuff like that?
MN @Dan - rightly said- many use cases of Aim- The main ones have been server failover, Dr and the need to dynamically dial up/down capacity
MN escpecially in service provider envrionments
MN Consolidation of Dev/test/qa is also a very common use case
Daniel_Bowers @MN Re: Server failover / Dr...are folks using Aim to automatically handle Dr situations, or is it as a tool to be used "manually" to move things around during a crisis?
MN What Aim is focused on is to help customers achieve their Rto (recovery Time Objectives) in a Dr scenario. Some external entity has to trigger Aim to carry out the failover tasks
Daniel_Bowers @MN btw, your answers seem a little, well...bolder than Aaron's.
MN :)
Daniel_Bowers @MN Ah ok, the comment about trigger helps paint the picture..
Dell-KongY Mahesh is a very energetic and emphatic speaker :)
Dell-KongY Time flies when you are having fun :)
Daniel_Bowers So, typical enviornments where Aim has gone so far: Has it been mostly physical + Vmware envionrments, or have there been a lot of multi-hypervisor users so far?
Dell-KongY I want to thank our two featured guests - Aaron and Mahesh :)
Dell-KongY And I want to thank you for joining us today
Dell-Aaron The real beauty of what Aim can do in a Dr scenario, is your two sites don't need to be identical, or even similar.
Dell-KongY Great questions and answers covering Dell Aim.
rafael_knuth Thank you all!
Dell-Aaron Thanks
Daniel_Bowers Thanks @aaron @MN @kong !
MN Mainly with Physcial servers and Vmware. We are slowly seeing soem adoption with Hyper-v envrionments as well.
MN I cant recall a single envrionment with multiple hypervisors other than our Qa labs
Dell_Lani Thanks everyone!
Dell-KongY And remember that there is no chat the next two weeks because of the Holiday season :)
Dell-KongY Thank you Daniel for the great questions :)
Dell-Aaron Happy Holidays to everyone
Dell-KongY Happy Holidays to everyone!
Dell-KongY Thank you everyone :)