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Open Source VDI - Chetan Venkatesh

Updated on September 10, 2014

This man has created his OWN Desktop Virtualization Solution, using what is available within the open source community. He has been engineering this solution for over four years. And he truly loves the process of this creation. When you hear him speak you KNOW he "knows what he's doing"... There is a little room for him at the "Table" of Enterprise-virtualization, is there not? I believe the big players can make a little room for him.

But then again, maybe in a few years, they MAY have to ask permission to sit, from HIM. Once you listen to him, you realize he is one of those technical creators that we see "re-imagined" in a Hollywood Movie. Except, for This Guy, this is his daily REALITY. And he knows what he's talking about.

Venkatesh's intimate knowledge of his companies core focus (a technology that increases efficiency of Enterprise Storage Fabrics IMMENSELY...) merely opens the door to the ability to more efficiently serve-out VDI.

The tendency may be for you to interpret this as a "sales pitch", IT'S NOT.... I am merely (ultimately) turned-on at the sheer GEEKINESS, and hardcore technology at the center of all this topical VM-stuff in this article. So do not be fooled. So too, Venkatesh is ACTUALLY merely in love with his topic. Do NOT confuse the people in this world who merely "hawk their warez", vs the ones who TRULY HAVE a "product".... which is all Theirs... and make NO mistake, this is Venkatesh's baby. Just watch him speak in his video. He is for real.

He is also, a shaver of Yaks. ..."Expert"-shaver, that is.

How OFTEN do you get to witness this process of creation, while it is IN PROGRESS, from the man who is CTO, Engineer, Technician, Programmer, Installer, and Project Consultant, for Fortune-500 scale software solutions?

The LAST time we may have seen something close to this was Bill Gates. Perhaps Linus Torvalds. Maybe Larry Ellison? And even Bill Gates wasn't "The technologist". (tho he was, the 'nominal' organizational genius responsible for the "Boot-strapping" of MicroSoft)

No, folks, what Chetan has is just... well, it seems like it is just simply Good Stuff.
Have a look. You'll SEE what I mean. Because if his stuff sells? In THIS environment? It is because it HAS VALUE.

" I have been working on this for four years " - Chetan Venkatesh

Open-Source-VDI... "This is a topic that is really close to my Heart"  [Chetan Venkatesh]
Open-Source-VDI... "This is a topic that is really close to my Heart" [Chetan Venkatesh]

Here I quote Venkatesh from the 2013 briForum

"For four years now, I've been trying to do 'this'. I have been trying to build, an end-to-end, soup-to-nuts, VDI infrastructure- using just open-source tools and technologies. And I really think I am really THISSSSsssss close (* -holds two fingers up, pinching close together- *) this time-around. Because for four years I've been tracking the different projects, I've been getting all kinds of code, I've been sitting and hacking bits up... trying to put it all together and make it "Work". And my intention actually is to make something that is a little more than a "Toy". Something that ACTUALLY CAN be put to work for users. So this has been a great experiment, a great joy to learn over the last 4 years. So I've sort of condensed all that I've learned over the last 4 years into about 200 slides, and hopefully we get through them all this afternoon."

He pauses a moment, raises a hand facing the crowd and says hello to some fellow technologist that is there, then says "So without further ado... Let me launch..." And, what follows is, by his own description, deeply technical. And "hard to do".

It is also very realistic, and very "do-able". This is (applied) Computer Science and Software Engineering as it truly is, yet it IS distilled down to an understandable level that a REAL "technologist" can actually understand, and actually stand a chance to implement. So, I found the talk very enlightening and entertaining.

You know how, in the industry, you may install / implement something and it's not QUITE exactly the way the installation leads your expectations to be?

Yeah, Venkatesh is NOT building THAT KIND of software. His work ... is REAL. And I would expect all his instruction is as well. None of that frilly, "It's EASY, just point-and-click and VIOLA!"... crap.

But, if you do actually PAY ATTENTION, I suspect that what he delivers is the real deal, and actually of tremendously... IMMENSELY... High Value.

Open-Source: "SHEEPDOG" stupid name - GREAT Technology

What Venkatesh is doing, is assembling an Enterprise-Quality package of software.  WITH INSTRUCTIONS ...for us SLOWER-FOLKS
What Venkatesh is doing, is assembling an Enterprise-Quality package of software. WITH INSTRUCTIONS ...for us SLOWER-FOLKS

Many Tech-Reps in "other forums" openly admit that VDI is actually a "Train Wreck"

I have WITNESSED... individuals at MAJOR forums, representing The Largest-Names of the industry... being FORCED to call VDI implementation "FUN"
I have WITNESSED... individuals at MAJOR forums, representing The Largest-Names of the industry... being FORCED to call VDI implementation "FUN"

I have been re-focusing on Service Data Centers and VDI

As any technologist knows there is FAR too much "information" out there on the web to easily absorb all of it, or at least, the good stuff. And, most of us default to the big-name-players of the industry. Microsoft, VMware, Oracle... But as I was (once again) trying to settle down to "Study" what the mainstream was preaching, I stumbled across Venkatesh's very interesting and entertaining video from the 2013 briForum, called "Sticking it to The Man - How to Build a Complete VDI on free and Open-Source Components". So I began watching this video, and as the video progressed, I literally WOKE UP. I Literally became ENGAGED. And I am legitimately INTERESTED.

Why? Because I do not want the "typical" or "accepted" State-of-the Art, solution. I AM in fact looking for THE cutting edge solution. We all say this type of stuff, nominally, we include it on our resume's and we even (often) think we believe it. Meanwhile we all truthfully, just feel like another corporate zombie preaching whatever line it is that is accepted.

It is not often you come across some legitimate (new) material, with it's foundation deeply rooted in reality and in an actually functional technology. All you have to do is listen to Venkatesh for a few minutes and you know this man is speaking truth. Hard-won truth. Truth from the "trenches" a salesman might say.

Venkatesh is ACTUALLY DOING IT, for THOUSANDS of Nodes! AT the Enterprise Level! HE IS... by himself.

Yes, I am a bit awestruck. And I DO "accept him" as "The Leader of the Revolution this afternoon"... he is very very believable.

NO, I am no salesman. In fact in my own history I am NOTORIOUS for being unable to B.S. well enough to sell much of anything. ... Unless, I truly believe in it. So this is NOT "sales". This is me getting excited for something that departs from -the "norm" we've known all along-. Microsoft, Oracle, VMware. HOLY CRAP. This guy with the sweat of his own brow is actually getting in the ring... with The King. And even if he does not take the belt...

The point is, this is a contender. And it is no joke. Anybody who works in technology and has the slightest twinge of a geek-dweeb-bone, or some type of desire to be the holder of arcane and rarefied knowledge on his I.T. crew, would love to claim the esoteric understandings that this man can. As follows...

"VDI? Open Source? SURE!!!!! I've done that, I can implement that boss. What? you'd like me to fly to our one-hundred-and-twenty-Node, China-branch and set it up? Yup, sure I've simulated it in the Lab, yeah, I do that all the time... Not a problem. I am Good to Go... "

Yeah. I want THAT phone call. I do.
... "point-man" on a Project. "The Go To Guy". Me...

Well, it's nice to dream- ... meanwhile it's THIS GUY... (Venkatesh) who is the ACTUAL "consultant" you will end up calling to implement this on an Enterprise. Why? Because it's HIS baby. According to this video from the 2013 briFarb, he says "I have been working on this for 4 years, and I am 'THISSSsssssss' close - so I am condensing together all I have learned..." And he shares it with us, OPENLY.

Or, Open-Sourcely... ?

Open Source VDI - and it's corollary - YAK SHAVING (Tips)

You see, even according to Venkatesh, "This is NOT Easy". And what he means is this.

He HAS been pursuing this topic. For YEARS. The Virtualized Desktop. In general, in business today, VDI is like some sort of a holy grail, where enterprises want to save money, and absolutely minimize the cost of their data structures, increase control and security AND Save Money. If they could they'd have the process PRINT money for them. But isn't that the point? The I.T. infrastructure is supposed to make the company money, not merely suck it up to disappear. There is that ugly phrase: "Return On Investment / ROI".

Well, that is where their "core" product comes in. Atlantis Computing's USX.-

Some Families of software I've used happily since 2011

I've created clusters with VMware (who hasn't) I've also virtualized ACTUAL physical servers I've made with VMware.  It's good stuff... but...
I've created clusters with VMware (who hasn't) I've also virtualized ACTUAL physical servers I've made with VMware. It's good stuff... but...

You see, in order to be "profitable" today, you must be... well... EFFICIENT. And that actually calls for "Truth In Assessment" of any situation, and the execution of any plan.

For I.T. to be profitable, ... I.T. must always seek to increase efficiencies. And usually, the way things go, is... you simply THROW "resources" at any problem until it is resolved. Then, once a "resolution" is created, it is observed and analyzed for ways to improve efficiency.

That is the way it goes for any process, protocol or product. So too, with I.T. hardware. The "bread and butter" of Venkatesh's company (Atlantis) is their product USX. This product, according to Venkatesh, puts a storage fabric "INTO OVERDRIVE".

To sum it up in oversimplified fashion... there are MANY inefficiencies built INTO a classic storage situation. His companies core technology, increases overall efficiency PHENOMENALLY.... and also, that "core product"?

USX and Venkateshes intimate knowledge of the underlying technology paves the way for Venkatesh's ability to successfully implement VDI now. In other words, VDI is merely an extension of an already established technology-solution.

This just keeps getting BETTER and BETTER...

Chetan Venkatesh is the CTO and founder of a company called Atlantis Computing, espousing the virtues of Open Source software in the Enterprise. Or, in Life in general. Atlantis is recognized, Awarded and Paid, by World Class Enterprises across this Globe for the premier software solution which has as it's focus, unleashing the True Potential of your Enterprise Storage Systems. He is spearheading a: "New Order of Storage Freedom".

Venkatesh will tell you, that if you have an Enterprise with an entirely classic and "standard" SAN, NAS, JBOD infrastructure: "You already have all the storage you need for the Next Five Years." And his focus and specialty? Has been efficiency and speed. This is EXACTLY what the entire VDI landscape is crying for.

The work Venkatesh has done is Award-Winning

I realize there MUST be more people behind the scenes here, I use the name Venkatesh as representational.  The clock is ticking THINGS are happening today and tomorrow and I want this basic article written .... NOW
I realize there MUST be more people behind the scenes here, I use the name Venkatesh as representational. The clock is ticking THINGS are happening today and tomorrow and I want this basic article written .... NOW

KVM and Sheepdog - two open source solutions he uses...

unlike "other" companies he will admit: "it's NOT easy"

(thus far) every implementation has been (and IS... of course) very custom
(thus far) every implementation has been (and IS... of course) very custom


I paraphrase Venkatesh in saying...

As he described his recent 4-year-focus, what he admitted to the audience was THIS...

" I did NOT really know computer science until I tried to make this work."


He admitted that he "FINALLY" has begun to exercise those "muscles" that we tend to assume that all 'computer guys" have. Being intimately involved with the bits, bytes, networks/subnets, non-maskable-interrupts, and mind-numbing lines of (undocumented) code that you MUST recompile .... To Merely Get Things To Work.

Creating an Open-Source VDI solution certifies you...

Venkatesh FINALLY considers himself a "Computer Scientist".

After all this struggle.

After all his: discovery / recoding/recompiling/reconfiguring and / rebuilding...

I guess that leaves most of us as "Technologists" (at best). I personally have No Problem with that labeling. Hell, I'm HAPPY if you would consider me as a bit MORE "evolved" than a typical tool-wielding shelf-browed-knuckle-dragging Simiian... who happens to keyboard like-the-wind.

Venkatesh, on the other hand is the kind of guy who... if some data line is not QUITE operating correctly. He crawls INSIDE that pipe, and either will re-negotiate his data-acknowledgements, re-synchronize his asynchronous-gobbledegook, and if a recompile doesn't work I reckon he then may resort to some tool, like a screwdriver, and threaten a motherboard to behave-or-be-replaced... But any way you look at it...

He appears to be a true creative talent in the technical realms of today's viable Enterprise achievements.

So... what KIND of hero does YOUR KID look up to? I personally really really like IronMan, but... Venkatesh is pretty darn close.

As of today Sept 9th ... there will be some free webinars

if you are more interested in Open Source Solutions as they pertain to realistic application in today's Enterprise, you MAY want to join into some FREE activities hosted by Atlantis... I registered...

"Don't WAIT.... before you know it, the technology of tomorrow will be SO YESTERDAY..."
Me? I'm going over "here" to join the geeks. See ya later...


Here are the educational events listed:

1) September 10, 2014 (Online) Atlantis USX2.0 Overview

2) September 11, 2014 (Online) Atlantis USX2.0 Webinar and Technical Demo

3) September 18, 2014 (Online) Partner Webinar: Atlantis USX2.0

DAMN THE YAKS!!! Full-Speed-Ahead!

WHY does he keep mentioning Yaks?
WHY does he keep mentioning Yaks?

UPDATE: Today 9/10/2014 Webinar- a follow-up Article?

Yes! joining "others" of the Revolution- Viva La Revolucion! LoL

I will definitely be investigating what Venkatesh does, now... As you can tell from his talk during the VDI briForum (above), He essentially is GIVING AWAY his knowledge. He is willing to share his findings. He also has NO DOUBT, that (eventually) his "findings" will be turned into a "Enterprise Solution", that will (most likely) be resold and redistributed as it's own package. Or, perhaps, if he is entirely GNU-Open-Source-Like, he may simply offer to BUNDLE IT with all the major Linux Distributions. I've only begun to Learn what Venkatesh is doing. But I will definitely be patronizing his technical pages, and will seek the man out- and follow his suggestions.

It will be interesting to see what they "Have" in their Webinars. I will be ready to take notes, and perhaps report back with what I find. If I am really REALLY lucky? I will obtain some specialized and proprietary information, hints, or "Gifts". See you all around the Web.



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