Hi everyone, the year is flying by, I am already on the 5th newsletter of the year. This is a big one as it seems news and activity around VMware is really picking up now. The momentum is incredible and everywhere I look virtualization and cloud are the hot topics of the day. I don’t think that this will let up for some time due to the fact that this is still a fairly new experience for most and we are just beginning to get onto the maturity curve in terms of customer awareness and adoption. Those that are working on a fully virtualized strategy however have a significant advantage over the physical counterparts. Let’s be real for a second, no one expects large corporations, or even SMB’s for that matter to just instantly somehow shift their data, services, security etc. into the cloud. This is a process and one that starts with your own private cloud, virtualizing the data center and getting your internal IT to behave like a service provider for their customers (the rest of the business). This has great benefits for organizations and by implementing a private cloud they are well on their way to providing a full software as a service environment. Of course there is alot more to it than this but the core components have to be a fully virtualized environment.

 

A bunch of extra sections this week. Firstly last week’s KB articles are now being published. I will try and add these each week if they are available. I have also added a new section on Security which is a hot topic and one that I find extremely interesting especially in the world of virtualization.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Editor) and Paul James

Queensland TAM Team

 

 

Latest news and reviews

 

vSphere 4.1 Update 1

=== VMware ESX ===

http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_esx41_u1_rel_notes.html

 

=== VMware ESXi ===

http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_esxi41_u1_rel_notes.html

 

=== VMware vCenter ===

http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_vc41_u1_rel_notes.html

 

=== VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1 is available for download ===

http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_vsphere_4/4_0

 

VCP4 Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional (2nd Edition)

Tonight I was grateful to have received from Pearson Education the book VCP4 Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional (2nd Edition).  The book is authored by Elias Khnaser (Twitter WWW) along with Technical Editors Brian Atkinson (WWW) and my friend Gabrie van Zanten (TwitterWWW).  This 2nd edition is 340 pages in length and ships with a cardboard fact filled cram sheet in the front as well as a CD in the back which contains VCP4 practice exams and an electronic versions of the cardboard cram sheet in case your friends are jealous of your intimate VMware vSphere knowledge and decide to swipe yours.

The book (ISBN-10: 0789740567) includes 10 chapters along with an appendix.  The chapter layout is as follows:

 

Windows 7 Update Breaks VMware View Client: An Important Lesson In BYOD

Many customers I talk to are interested in supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) delivery model. A thought frequently echoed by customers is that allowing users to access their applications on their terms improves mobility and leads to greater productivity. In addition, when personal devices become little more than a tool to access IT applications centrally stored in the data center or in the cloud (e.g., SaaS), we also realize the following benefits:

 

New book about vSphere Design preorder

New book will hit the Amazon store soon.

New vSphere Design Book from some well known faces in the VMware community. The new book is a joint project of 3 persons: Forbes Guthrie, Scott Lowe, and Maish Saidel-Keesing. All those guys are also bloggers. This is a first book which is oriented VMware vSphere design. It’s a great initiative, since there is quite a few books now very high quality telling us and teaching us how to do this or how to use that feature, but to think desing before the actual implementation, there are not so many.

 

Zimbra 7.0 is out

Zimbra 7 collaborative suite togegher with Zimbra Desktop 7 (beta) was released.

Today, just now the new Zimbra Collaborative Server 7 (ZCS) was released. Not so long time ago I reported on a sneak peak at Zimbra 7.0 Beta…. The time just run too fast.. The Zimbra Desktop (in Beta for now) is and will stay Free.

The new Zimbra is available as an OVF which can be deployed in your datacenter in minutes. See my article on deploying Zimbra OVF here…

Zimbra Integrates perfectly with Microsoft Outlook on the desktop side…

 

VMware Desktop Certification announced

The times when there were only one certification from VMware are gone. Sure there were always VCDX. But now not only VCP, VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, but also VCA4-DT…..

As spotted on Eric’s blog today (as usually He got the latest informations first and for us the rest of our poor bloggers we try to limit the damages…. -:)…). VMware has announced the availability of Desktop Certification – The VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop (VCA4-DT).

 

Switch from RDP to PCoIP with a nice drop in the WAN network traffic

In this video from VMware TV you’ll see a VMware client using VMware View 4.5 in a heath-care environement.

A quick video about using VMware View for Virtualizing Desktops in medial care institutions.

What took my attention was the fact that when they swapped from classic RDP sessions to PCoIP provided by VMware View Virtual desktops, they saw a big drop in a WAN traffic – about 2/3rd….. In fact with more devices used in the medial institution, there were less traffic in the network.

 

Save [VDI] Storage using VM Swap File Host Placement

When designing VDI solutions for VMware infrastructures, one of the many ways to reduce shared storage consumption is to allow the placement of VM Swap files (.vswp) on host local storage. The .vswp file is automatically created by ESX when the VM is Powered On, and automatically removed when the VM is Powered Off.

 

VDI Flash Calculator v2.0 Released

I have just uploaded a new release of the online VDI Flash Calculator.

This release include a cool new feature – the ability to offload VM Swap Files to Local Storage. Many of my solution designs utilise local storage for VM swap files in order to save shared storage. I’m uploading this new release with an article discussing the benefits and downsides of VM Swap file in Local Storage. Read at Save [VDI] Storage using VM Swap File Host Placement.

Another nice feature is the ability to add high availability to connection servers.

The VDI calculator can be found at http://myvirtualcloud.net/?page_id=1076. Alternatively, go to my blog homepage and select VDI Calculator on the top bar.

 

VDI and Microsoft Outlook, analysing the variables

VDI is a multitude of technologies that must work together in a premeditated way; and this we already know. However, couple weeks ago an interesting discussion in one of VMware’s internal forums sparkled my attention. The topic demonstrates clearly the level of attention and detail that a good VDI design should have. The central point of the question was about Microsoft Outlook configuration for VDI environments. Sounds simple, but let’s have a look.

 

VCAP-DCA Prep Video - Implement and Maintain Complex VMware HA Solutions

In this video I'll show you how to manipulate the slot size in a VMware vSphere HA cluster. You can set advanced attributes that affect the behaviour of your VMware HA The cluster.The das.slotMemInMB advanced value defines the maximum bound on the memory slot size. If this option is used, the slot size is the smaller of this value or the maximum memory reservation plus memory overhead of any powered-on virtual machine in the cluster.

 

VCAP-DCA Prep Video - Configure SNMP for ESX/ESXi

ESX/ESXi includes an SNMP agent embedded in hostd that can both send traps and receive polling requests. such as GET requests. This agent is referred to as the embedded SNMP agent. By default, the embedded SNMP agent is disabled. To enable it, you must configure it using the vSphere CLI command vicfg-snmp. In this video I'll show you how to enable the SNMP agent.

 

 

The bridge to the cloud - The vCloud Connector

VMware has announced a new free product which enables you to move and control your virtual machines and vApps in the cloud. The vCloud Connector will be available for download in Q1 2011.

 

Getting Started with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware

Alberto Farronato reports: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server For VMware Now Available To Many More VMware vSphere Customers - I am very happy to share some very exciting news for VMware vSphere customers: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware - VMware’s OEMed version of Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) - is now available for free to customers with qualifying VMware vSphere licenses regardless of when these licenses were purchased.

 

My VCAP-DCA Exam Experience

Today I took my VCAP-DCA exam over at Global Knowledge in Nieuwegein. I had to complete approximately 40 assignments ranging from easy to ones I really didn’t know or had the potential to consume a lot of time. If you encounter a question you get stuck on, just write down the number and hop over to the next assignment. I  was able to complete the assignments with one hour left, but I skipped 10 questions. In the end I managed to complete 4 of those 10 when the exam ended.  The prep material I’ve used is:

 

 

VMware – SRM advanced setting for snap prefix

penguinpunk.net 8/02/11 7:34 AM dan SRM VMware Advanced ESX ESXi mirrorview san snap srm SRM4 virtualcenter virtualisation

 

We haven’t been doing this in our production configurations, but if you want to change the behaviour of SRM with regards to the “snap-xxx” prefix on replica datastores, you need to modify an advanced setting in SRM. So, go to the vSphere client – SRM, and right-click on Site Recovery and select Advanced Settings. Under SanProvider, there’s an option called “SanProvider.fixRecoveredDatastoreNames” with a little checkbox that needs to be ticked to prevent the recovered datastores being renamed with the unsightly prefix.

 

Physically Separate Management Cluster

My recent foray into the world of vShield produced a contention recommendation from my friends at VMware. Today I want to ask you to educate me and our peers. I want to know: do you think it is a best practice that management products should be run on their own in a vSphere cluster?

The recommendation that all management products should be placed in a separate physical cluster came from friends at VMware that I greatly respect. This guidance was raised as the properworkaround to the “vShield App will kill vCenter networking” issue. With vShield only managing test and production clusters and vCenter running in a separate management cluster, the network-killing circular dependency between vShield and vCenter is avoided.

 

vCenter out of Space! – A Lesson on Shadow Copy

Ran into an issue today where my vCenter would not come back up after a reboot. Standard troubleshooting ensued… the DB is up, it is accessible, odbc is Kosher, etc. At that point, Windows helpfully popped up a message balloon: “I pity the fool who runs outta disk space!”

So I dug, and a dug… and the numbers were not adding up… the system folders, vCenter folders, etc only accounted for ~2GB of a 50GB disk. So where was it?

That’s when I found this helpful gem:

 

VMware View 4.5: Rebalance

Rebalance: A desktop rebalance operation that evenly redistributes linked-clone desktops among available datastores.

When testing this, customers can often see unexpected results. This is often due to their misconception of how this function of View works.

 

Get Rid of those ESXi Tech Support Mode Warnings

One nice enhancement in VMware ESXi 4.1 is Tech Support Mode — supported command-line access for advanced troubleshooting.  However, a big drawback of enabling this capability is the appearance of a new Configuration Issues warning in the vSphere Client:

 

SLES for VMware Entitlement Expands Broadly

Great news for long-time VMware vSphere customers:  the free SLES for VMware entitlement is now retroactive for almost all customers currently active on vSphere 4.0 U2 or later.

When initially announced last year, access to SLES and ongoing patch downloads were offered to customers that purchased vSphere after June 9, 2010.  With this recent change, VMware is extending rights to SLES for practically all customers current on SnS.

Please see the official VMware announcement for all the details.

 

VCAP-DCA Mind Map

I got an email from Chris Dadswell who has created a really cool Mind Map based on the VCAP-DCA blueprint.

I recently started using mind mapping for more things so if you are interested you can check it out athttp://www.chrisdadswell.co.uk/vmware/vmware-vcap-dca-mindmap/

 

Automated support bundles

I received an email recently from a gentleman asking if it was possible to export the support bundles for each host on a daily basis, this can be useful for not only having an archive of your system logs to help resolve problems and work out when they started but also useful for auditing purposes.

At the moment he was doing this manually every day by using the virtual infrastructure client as can be seen below – you can imagine how long this was taking !

 

The Cloud…now closer than ever!

Today VMware announced the intent to release vCloud Connector before the end of Q1 as a free download to it’s vSphere customers. So what is vCloud Connector you ask? Well, it is a huge leap forward in making the Hybrid Cloud concept a reality. vCloud Connector is a plug-in that you install into your vSphere Client, it will allow you to easily move your virtual machines from your local/trusted/secure datacenter (Private Cloud) to the dynamic/scalable/on-demand Public Cloud while never leaving the vSphere Client, in fact you can still manage those virtual machines that moved over!

 

VMware vCloud Director 1.0 Performance and Best Practices — Paper Published

Do you want to know how many VMware vCloud Director server instances are needed for your deployment? Do you know how to load balance the VC Listener across multiple vCloud Director instances? Are you curious about how OVF File Upload behaves on a WAN environment? What is the most efficient way to import LDAP users? This white paper, VMware vCloud Director 1.0 Performance and Best Practices, provides insight  to help you answer all the above questions.

 

Using the vSphere Plan & Design Kit

As part of my role I very often review design documents that other consultants/architect have written, and not only those of VMware employees but also from external people. On top of that of course I also see a lot of VCDX application packages pass by. Something struck me the other day when I was doing the 3rd review in just a couple of hours and I started thinking about the designs I had reviewed so far and noticed there was a common theme.

 

Storage Performance

This is just a post to make it easier finding these excellent articles/threads on VMTN about measuring storage performance:

Scott Drummonds – Storage System Performance Analysis with Iometer

VMTN Unofficial Storage Perf Thread I – http://communities.vmware.com/thread/73745

VMTN Unofficial Storage Perf Thread II – http://communities.vmware.com/thread/19784

All these have one “requirement”  and that is that Iometer is used.

 

VMware vCloud Blog: When Your Data Center Has Packed Its Bags

I recently grabbed lunch with a friend of mine whose company had just moved their data center several states away.

Physical Data Center Migrations such as these are truly epic quests: one hopes that servers come off the trunk in roughly the same shape they possessed when they were placed on the truck. Once the gear is brought into the new data center you try to re-assemble all the building blocks in the same manner as the original datacenter.

Carefully and in the proper order, one powers on servers one-by-one hoping that disks haven't been jostled and all networks were reconstructed correctly. Of course the data center reconstruction didn't go entirely to plan and the poor guy spent most of his holiday trying to get his services to start up once again. Physical servers and networks can be very delicate items that require a good deal of precision to move, no matter if it is three yards or three states.

Virtual Datacenter Migrations

 

VMware ThinApp Blog: Launching a ThinApp Packaged App in Windows Compatibility Mode

Recently we were asked again about being able to launch a ThinApp packaged application in Windows Compatibility Mode. While VMware Community Member EuwRhU posted a script on how to do this here (Thanks EuwRhU!), I wanted to capture this knowledge in one location here on the ThinApp Blogs as we've been asked a number of times since EuwRhU's posting on how to do this.

 

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Security Advisories:

 

VMSA-2011-0002 Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM updates address denial of service in VMware ESX/ESXi

Released to customers on 2/8, this announcement to customers provides notice of the need to update their Cisco Nexus 1000v implementations. A link to the details is available at http://goo.gl/bpD6O. Customer's not running the Nexus do not need to do anything for this issue.

 

The release of vSphere 4.1 Update 1 contains relevant fixes and announcements for these issues:

VMSA-2011-0003 Third party component updates for VMware vCenter Server, vCenter Update Manager, ESXi and ESX

http://goo.gl/Y1B24

UPDATED VMSA-2011-0001.1 VMware ESX third party updates for Service Console packages glibc, sudo, and openldap

http://goo.gl/xHluw

UPDATED VMSA-2010-0020.1 VMware ESXi 4.1 Update Installer SFCB Authentication Flaw

http://goo.gl/7keaV

UPDATED VMSA-2010-0012.1 VMware vCenter Update Manager fix for Jetty Web server addresses important security vulnerabilities

http://goo.gl/AL8tm

 

 

Recent News & Blog postings:

Trend Micro releases Tolly Group study showing up to 11x better efficiency in AV scanning than McAfee and Symantec: http://goo.gl/xvWxD

 

vSphere 4.1 Hardening Guide Draft: http://goo.gl/2dPfT

 

View Security Server Hardening Guide Draft - http://goo.gl/rksth

 

NIST released their guidance on How-To secure virtual machines: http://goo.gl/ROyks

 

NIST Guide to Security for Full Virtualization Technologies: http://goo.gl/q4Iz4

 

NIST Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing: http://goo.gl/lDxbs

 

Federal Smart Card Program Deadline: http://goo.gl/Fy3pq

 

The White House is considering relaxing cloud security guidelines: http://goo.gl/VB1aL

 

vShield: http://goo.gl/teULz

 

VMware acquires NeoAccel: http://goo.gl/O6RuQ

 

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VMware Knowledge Base Weekly Digest: New articles published for week ending 2/5/2011


VMware Alive Enterprise
Validating the database connection for VMware Alive Enterprise (1033929)
Date Published: 2/3/2011

VMware Data Recovery
Deleting reports from the VMware Data Recovery appliance (1032640)
Date Published: 2/3/2011

VMware ESX
Contacting the VMware Education department (1033583)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
When a LUN has multiple access/failover paths, performing a manual failover from one path to another fails with the error: SysinfoException (1032057)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
Unable to add SAS disk arrays as RDM disks using the VMware Infrastructure client (1033688)
Date Published: 2/2/2011
Network connection fails after rebooting RHEL6 (1033654)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
Disabling the VAAI functionality in ESX/ESXi 4.1 (1033665)
Date Published: 2/3/2011

VMware ESXi
VMware Tools operations are disabled on RHEL 6.0 guest operating system when you enable SELinux policy (1033693)
Date Published: 2/1/2011
Reducing the amount of memory the VMkernel keeps free on ESXi 4.1 systems with at least 64GB of memory (changing minFreePct) (1033687)
Date Published: 2/3/2011

VMware Service Manager
Unable to add the Additional Info field onto the KCS screen in VMware Service Manager 9.x (1033806)
Date Published: 2/2/2011
Calls created via incoming emails in VMware Service Manager are logged under incorrect customer (1029904)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
Are emails resent from a task that is reopened via rejection path on a workflow in VMware Service Manager 9.x? (1033805)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware vCenter CapacityIQ
Selecting a subset of the vCenter Server inventory for CapacityIQ analysis (1034035)
Date Published: 2/5/2011

VMware vCenter Chargeback
Unable to connect VMware vCenter Chargeback to the vCenter Server database (1019244)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware vCenter Lab Manager
The Windows 7 Device Manager reports the network adapter as an Unknown Device (1033879)
Date Published: 2/4/2011

VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager
Selecting a virtual machine from the Lifecycle Manager catalog fails with the error: An exception has occurred (1011837)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware vCenter Server
Verifying vCenter Server 4.0 jobs and stored procedures (1033587)
Date Published: 2/3/2011
The Host IPMI System Event Log Status alarm is triggered repeatedly (1033725)
Date Published: 2/2/2011
Determining where growth is occurring in the vCenter Server database (1028356)
Date Published: 2/3/2011
After replacing the vCenter Server certificate, reconnecting ESXi hosts fails with the error: you do not hold privilege system > view on folder (1033572)
Date Published: 1/31/2011

VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat
VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat console reports the warning: Could not retrieve counters for category <counter_name> while trying to update counter value (1030625)
Date Published: 2/4/2011

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager LUN discovery, TestFailover, and Failover operations fail with file write errors (1033871)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware vCenter Update Manager
When using the vCenter Update Manager 4.1 on the cluster level you receive the error: Failed to retrieve data (1027929)
Date Published: 1/31/2011

VMware vCloud Director
Starting a vApp fails with the error: com.vmware.vcloud.api.presentation.service.InternalServerErrorException (1033809)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware vFabric Hyperic HQ Agent
SpringSource and Gemstone support infrastructure changes (1032060)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware View Manager
The View Composer server is unable to connect to vCenter Server (1026652)
Date Published: 2/2/2011
Connecting to the VMware View portal fails with the error: tunnel initiation failed (1032661)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
Setting up location-based printing on a Zero Client (1033109)
Date Published: 2/1/2011
Moving a persistent data disk to another View desktop (1033286)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
VMware Academic Program (1033638)
Date Published: 1/31/2011
Creating a desktop pool fails with the error: A Duplicate name exists on the network (1021655)
Date Published: 2/2/2011
Enabling audio for the Mac VMware View Client (1033863)
Date Published: 2/2/2011

VMware Virtual Desktop Manager
Unable to log in to the View desktop when the Log on to property is specified for the user account (1027481)
Date Published: 2/1/2011