Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

News

12/1/2010
01:46 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

The Value Of Virtual Appliances

Vendors created the appliance market by delivering their software applications pre-installed on standalone servers. The goal was to simplify installation for the users and to make support easier thanks to the consistent hardware platform. The downside to appliances is that there is an added hardware cost and when performance needs to be upgraded it often requires a new appliance. These issues can be addressed by leveraging server virtualization to create virtual appliances.

Vendors created the appliance market by delivering their software applications pre-installed on standalone servers. The goal was to simplify installation for the users and to make support easier thanks to the consistent hardware platform. The downside to appliances is that there is an added hardware cost and when performance needs to be upgraded it often requires a new appliance. These issues can be addressed by leveraging server virtualization to create virtual appliances.Virtual appliances are pre-configured software applications delivered as a virtualized server image. To get it going all the virtual administrator has to do is copy the image in to place and start the virtual machine. Most of these appliances will kick off a configuration wizard that will walk you through the setup process the first time they are started. The virtual appliance concept is gaining in popularity. There are appliances across the spectrum of data center services ranging from file services, as we will discuss in our upcoming webcast "Adding Virtual NAS To Your SAN By Leveraging Cloud Storage", to WAN Acceleration to even virtual backup servers.

The value of delivering services this way is that it drives down the complexity and cost of the implementation while at the same time maintaining the hardware consistency that makes the support job easier for the vendor. In fact in some ways it even makes implementation easier since no additional space and connections need to be set up to accommodate a new physical hardware component. It also provides greater hardware flexibility, if you need more or less performance for that particular appliance then you can move the virtual machine with the hypervisor's migration capabilities to a new physical host.

The other problem that virtual appliances fix is the problem of appliance sprawl. Because the appliance concept has become so popular everything from file services to WAN optimization is available in a appliance form factor. In many data centers this has lead to racks of appliances all on their own physical hardware using very little of the resources of that hardware. This also leads to a server mix that makes data center managers cringe. If you have a contract with server vendor A, it is frustrating when the turnkey appliance is sent to using hardware from server vendor B.

Virtual appliances let you gain all the preconfigured advantages of appliances without taking up racks of data center floor space and mixing in alternate server vendors. The real advantage is the ability to easily re-deploy the virtual appliance to a faster more capable box if the need arises. Virtual appliances are a favorite in our labs, they make testing easy and then moving to production is a simple VM migration. We have gone so far as making a virtual appliance a requirement for us to test a new product.

The value of virtual appliances is unmistakeable, deciding which type of appliances are best suited for the virtual world and how those appliances will impact your virtual infrastructure will be the subject of our next entry.

Track us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/storageswiss

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-20001
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-11
In the standard library in Rust before 1.2.0, BinaryHeap is not panic-safe. The binary heap is left in an inconsistent state when the comparison of generic elements inside sift_up or sift_down_range panics. This bug leads to a drop of zeroed memory as an arbitrary type, which can result in a memory ...
CVE-2020-36317
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-11
In the standard library in Rust before 1.49.0, String::retain() function has a panic safety problem. It allows creation of a non-UTF-8 Rust string when the provided closure panics. This bug could result in a memory safety violation when other string APIs assume that UTF-8 encoding is used on the sam...
CVE-2020-36318
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-11
In the standard library in Rust before 1.49.0, VecDeque::make_contiguous has a bug that pops the same element more than once under certain condition. This bug could result in a use-after-free or double free.
CVE-2021-28875
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-11
In the standard library in Rust before 1.50.0, read_to_end() does not validate the return value from Read in an unsafe context. This bug could lead to a buffer overflow.
CVE-2021-28876
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-11
In the standard library in Rust before 1.52.0, the Zip implementation has a panic safety issue. It calls __iterator_get_unchecked() more than once for the same index when the underlying iterator panics (in certain conditions). This bug could lead to a memory safety violation due to an unmet safety r...