James O'Neill's Blog

May 10, 2009

Thoughts on uses of YouTube … and virtualization

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows Server 2008,Windows Server 2008-R2 — jamesone111 @ 7:49 pm

I’m taking a breather from re-recording the voice track for a Video on Live Migration in Hyper-V. When it’s done it will end up on YouTube.

Now YouTube is giving me pause right now: it is certainly the easiest way to put up videos so that people can find them. I’m viewing it as an experiment because anecdotal evidence suggests that the audience I’m trying to reach (IT Professionals) don’t really think of it as a good source of content. And also because you-tube is all very well for bits of fun (like this one or these ) but if you have a serious message isn’t it a bit needy ?

Consider the case, for example, that you have had things pretty much your own way for years, but now it seems everyone who hasn’t deserted you yet is flirting with the other side, the people who pay your wages are even beginning to question the money they pay you. This may sound like Gordon Brown’s attempts to woo the public – although derided by his colleagues* at least he has some more control over YouTube than press photos – but in fact I was referring to VMware.

There’s a video on You tube which starts with a factual error about Technet and MSDN. First off, Technet and MSDN themselves didn’t fail, the failure was in the download site for Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V Server R2. Demand for these greatly outstripped predictions – there just wasn’t enough hardware capacity, as explained here. I don’t have the stats on how many of the downloads were for Hyper-V server R2 or people wanting to test Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2, we’d been averaging in excess of 100,000 downloads per month of the first release of Hyper-V. Live migration was missing from that release (the main reason that customers chose VMware) but its in R2 – even with the free Hyper-V server product (hence my video). These must be scary times at VMware…  but I digress.

Last year I ripped a hole in VMware’s dishonest pricing examples, this year one someone thought it would be a wheeze to post footage of Hyper-V blue screening on YouTube. He kept quiet about who he was, but it didn’t take long for Virtualization Review to revealthe root cause of the VMware FUD: Scott Drummonds.”  as they go on to say “his job basically is to look at the competition and spread the word about VMware superiority. Unfortunately, Drummonds doesn’t identify himself on the Hyper-V crashing video. Why not? Cynics might say because the video would have less impact if they knew it came from Microsoft’s chief virtualization competitor”.

Drummonds confesses he made the post and gives some blather about using two virtual disks (in VMware IDE performance isn’t much good, so they run the test from SCSI disks. In Hyper-V IDE performance matches SCSI yet they wanted to run the test from SCSI disks, which conveys a degree of ignorance of hyper-V and a lack of scientific method – what effect does doubling the number of disks  have on the validity of the tests ?). 

Jeff Woolsey demolishes the Video – since it showed the STOP error at the blue screen he went digging and found from our 750,000 downloads of hyper-v “we’ve had 3 reports of crashes under stress and with the same error code as seen in the video bugcheck (0x00020001). The solution in all three cases was to upgrade the server BIOS which solved the problem”. VMware have seen similar things incidentally. I love a good demolition, so Jeff’s follow-up post makes good reading; in particular he points out that to have any merit a test has to be repeatable, there’s no published methodology, no statement of what is in the VMs being tested, what the hardware was etc. Jeff points out that VMware prohibit publication of benchmarks unless they have approved the way in which they are carried out, because as they put it Benchmarking is a difficult process fraught with error and complexity at every turn. It’s important for those attempting to analyze performance of systems to understand what they’re doing to avoid drawing the wrong conclusions or allowing their readers to do so." 

As the question of disks made clear they don’t understand they are doing with hyper-v  and anyone doing a serious test for publication would put in a call to Microsoft support and get a problem like this solved. Who says “A-ha ! a problem with the competitor let’s not try to fix, just video it and put it on YouTube.” …  well Scott Drummonds, obviously. But you can decide for yourself if VMware – at least Scott – were allowing their readers to draw the wrong conclusions or deliberately leading them astray.

Oh and Scott, if you’re reading, anyone with a good knowledge of testing windows will tell you that SlMgr.vbs –rearm will stop that “You may a victim of counterfeiting” message spoiling your videos.


* I had to go to the source of Hazel Blears’ comment “You tube if you want to” because it sounded like there was something missing it’s obviously meant to echo the famous Thatcher quote “To those expecting a u-turn I say You turn if you want to … the lady’s not for turning”. The full quote is actually “I’m not against new media. YouTube if you want to. But it’s not substitute for knocking on doors”.


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Update. Fixed some typos and bad edits.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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