Hi everyone, well I have a particularly long newsletter this week. Firstly I have decided to keep a few of last week’s announcement’s and information in this week’s newsletter in case anyone missed them. This includes SpringSource news, Lab Manager announcement and vSphere 4.1 update 1.

 

I would also like to turn your attention to View 4.6 which is an update for anyone running View. This is another significant step in desktop virtualisation.

 

There is also a new VMware blog which I have highlighted this week called Business Critical Applications. From next week I will begin to put further important updates from this blog in the newsletter as well.

 

A while back in the newsletter I used to feature a particular product and include summary information from our website on it. I have decided to start doing this again. Over the past 18 months there has been so many new technologies and updates that are worth mentioning that I think this is the best forum for me to do this.

 

On that note please enjoy the newsletter and I look forward to speaking to you all next week.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor), Paul James

Queensland TAM Team

 

Featured Product

VMware vCloud Request Manager

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Enhance compliance and control in VMware vCloud Director based private clouds by adding sophisticated approval workflows to provisioning requests and automatically tracking software license usage. Enforce standardized settings for better cloud governance and asset management:

Improve private cloud policy control by enforcing business policies and procedures on your private cloud infrastructure to avoid virtual sprawl

Maximize efficiency and service delivery through intelligent process automation

Simplify user experience for cloud consumers with a simple cross-browser compatible portal

Minimize deployment costs and speed with minimal configuration

 

More info: https://www.vmware.com/products/vcloud-request-manager/

 

VMware View 4.6

While View 4.6 is considered a minor update, I am actually very excited about the new capabilities we have baked in to this version of our award winning desktop virtualization solution. Among the minor bug fixes and USB updates, View 4.6 delivers enhancements to View Security Server.  VMware View 4,6 now provides support for external end-users connecting to their View desktop via PCoIP across the WAN. This new support provides for a simple, secure remote connection and authentication as users connect to their desktops outside of the firewall.

With this new native support, View Security Server provides an end-to-end PCoIP protocol session, and also removes the requirement for enterprise-class SSL VPNs (you can still use them with View and PCoIP if that’s what you have in your environment). For businesses this means reduced desktop virtualization infrastructure cost and configuration issues along with lower ongoing support costs. The result is a tightly-integrated and cost-effective desktop virtualization deployment that provides for easy authentication for those of us who work remotely. We think you will agree – it provides a vastly improved remote user experience. 

More details about what we're delivering with the PCoIP/Security Server integration can be found in this post from Mark Benson, View Architect from our CTO office.

Mark also pulled together this great video, which goes deeper into the technical specifics of the PCoIP/Security Server enhancements in View 4.6.

 

 

VMware View 4.6 PCoIP Remote Access from Mark Benson on Vimeo.

And as if Mark hasn't been busy enough, he pulled togehter this great blog post on Setting up PCoIP Remote Access with View 4.6.

You’ll also find a write up here from Scott Davis, CTO for End-User Computing.

The View 4.6 bits can be downloaded here.

 

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

 

Lab Manager - Product Announcement                            

                                                                                                                                                                Recently VMware announced important changes to the vCenter Lab Manager product, specifically around its future development and lifecycle.

 

Key Facts contained within the announcement:

-       Lab Manager will be supported until May 1, 2013, (27 months from now)

-       As part of VMware’s investment in our customers' journey to cloud computing, all LabManager customers can exchange existing licenses to vCloud Director (vCD)

-       Customers will have the option to exchange licenses anytime through the end of LabManager’s general support in May 2013

 

vCloud Director is a new software solution that provides the scalability and security necessary to deliver catalogue-based self-service provisioning across different workload types, across multiple enterprise tenants, and across both private and public deployment models

 

For those customers already using Lab Manager, this may be the ideal opportunity to:

-       Reduce Lab Manager Sprawl – consolidate multiple Lab Manager installations that havesprung up across departments into an enterprise private cloud

-       Facilitate your path to a Hybrid Cloud – obtain the option to extend workloads to externalpublic clouds using vCloud technology

-       Harden for mission criticality – leverage the scalability and security offered by the architecture of vCloud Director

 

For more details around the announcement please visit the official Product Lifecycle FAQ landing page at http://www.vmware.com/support/policies/labmanager-update.html

 

Springsource News

 

RabbitMQ 2.3.1 is Released

The RabbitMQ team is pleased to announce the release of RabbitMQ 2.3.1—perfectly timed for the start of the year of the Rabbit. This release fixes a number of bugs and introduces some enhancements, including streaming publish confirmations, new plugin mechanisms for authentication and authorization and more, which you will find in the release notes

 

Spring GemFire 1.0.0 project now available for both Java and .NET!

The Spring GemFire project is designed to make it easier to build Spring-powered highly scalable applications using vFabric GemFire as a distributed data management platform.   Through Spring GemFire, Spring users should feel right at home interacting with GemFire while developers familiar with GemFire will see the benefits and flexibility of the Spring container, its powerful AOP integration, and versatile service abstractions.  Spring GemFire for both Java and .Net available for immediate download.

 

Spring Android 1.0.0.M2 Released

We are pleased to announce that the second milestone release of the Spring Android project is now available! This release supports usage of the Spring Framework in an Android environment. The 1.0.0.M2 release focuses on extending the use of RestTemplate in native Android applications. For more details on utilizing the Spring Android Rest Template and Spring Android Commons Logging libraries, take a look at Roy Clarkson’s Spring Android and Maven ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ postings.

 

Spring Mobile 1.0.0.M3 has been Released

We are pleased to announce the third milestone release of the Spring Mobile Project which provides extensions to Spring MVC aiding in the development of cross-platform mobile web applications. The 1.0.0M3 release ships a general facility for user site preference management that can be used independently or in conjunction with the mobile site switcher. See the Changelog and reference manual for all the info

 

Latest news and reviews

 

Uptime: VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4.1.1 is released!

This maintenance release of SRM was released the same day that vSphere 4.1 Update 1 was released.  We will always try to do that whenever possible.  There are a number of important fixes in it however, and as such I recommend people look at upgrading to it as quickly as their need dictates.  I should mention that the upgrade itself can only upgrade SRM 4.1 installs and NOT SRM 4.0 installs.  The release notes can be found here.  You can download the update here.

 

Uptime: Recommended Alarms for SRM Admins to watch

I have been asked before about which of the SRM alarms should users configure and watch for.  There is a lot of different alarms, and I suspect no one needs all of them, but I also suspect everyone will need a few of them.  I will help you get started with what I think are important and mostly standard alarms.  I will also give you ideas of what will trigger them if there is any doubt.

Lets dive in!

 

Uptime: VMware Data Recovery is now included in Standard

This question has been raised a few times lately, and I thought I would try to give the answer a little broader distribution.

Yes, as of vSphere 4.1 Update 1, we have included VMware Data Recovery (vDR) with the Standard product edition, which means all of the editions now include vDR.  You can see more detail here.

 

Rethink IT: New cloud readiness self-assessment tool

“Poor leadership and misalignment is a people problem and ain’t no cloud ever gonna fix that.” This heartfelt tweet came from a large enterprise engineering lead responsible for private cloud. It gets to the core of a key question: how, exactly, does an IT organization deal with people and process issues on the path transform itself to deliver IT as a service?

To help organizations determine where to start, VMware has launched a new web-based cloud readiness self-assessment tool: http://www.vmware.com/go/getcloudready

 

VMTN Blog: New Desktop certification forum created

Last week, we have launched a new forum to discuss the recently-created desktop certification: VCA-DT: VMware Certified Associate - Desktop

The VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop (VCA4-DT) is the first step  toward gaining expertise in desktop virtualization and earning the  respect and recognition that comes with being VMware Certified. The exam  is designed for  Desktop System Administrators who seek to demonstrate their ability to  manage, monitor and troubleshoot desktop  deployments and VMware View components, as well as their knowledge of  adjacent, complementary technologies to VMware  solutions.

The exam is currently in Beta. For more information or to sign up for the beta, visit the VCA-DT certification page.

 

Business Critical Applications: Troubleshooting Performance Related Problems in vSphere 4.1 Environments

The hugely popular Performance Troubleshooting for VMware vSphere 4 guide is now updated for vSphere 4.1 . This document provides step-by-step approaches for troubleshooting most common performance problems in vSphere-based virtual environments. The steps discussed in the document use performance data and charts readily available in the vSphere Client and esxtop to aid the troubleshooting flows. Each performance troubleshooting flow has two parts:

 

Virtual Reality: Hypervisor Memory Management Done Right

Sophisticated and effective memory management has always been a key strength of the ESX (and now, ESXi) hypervisor that powers VMware vSphere.  Back in 2001, when ESX first came out, 2GB was a lot of RAM in an x86 server, so it was essential for a hypervisor to economize on memory to deliver the server consolidation benefits customers were so eager to realize.  Back then, the big attraction of server virtualization was running several lightweight utility and test/dev servers in VMs on a single host and memory was usually the resource that limited consolidation ratios.  Today, x86 machines are pushing 1TB of RAM, but because our customers have now virtualized their most memory-hungry production database, messaging and application servers, memory resources are just as critical as ever.

 

Business Critical Applications: Welcome to the new VMware Business Critical Applications blog!

Hello and welcome to the new VMware Business Critical Applications blog, a source for information, insight, and updates to help you virtualize your business critical applications on the VMware platform.

The blog will cover the following applications/functional areas and we will continue to add more over time:

Microsoft Applications

Exchange

SQL Server

SharePoint

SAP

Oracle

Java Applications

 

ESXi Chronicles: Ops changes part 3 - Local disk vs USB vs BFS

When I was planning this series of articles one of the things that was on the top of my list was to "compare" the type of install destinations that could be used as I guess the variety of options is the strength of ESXi. The reason, as hopefully all of you know by now, that ESXi can be installed on a large range of different devices is the size of the system image.The system image is not only tiny, but ESXi is loaded into memory and will only write its configuration roughly once every 10 minutes when it is booted.

 

Uptime: vMotion - what's going on under the covers?

It’s funny how you can go months without any questions about a feature and then all the sudden you get a flurry of questions.  Such is the case with vMotion.  Over the past few weeks I’ve had several folks ask me about vMotion.  These haven’t been the typical “how do I configure vMotion” questions, but rather “what’s going on under the covers” type questions.  In response to one such question Gabriel Tarasuk-Levin from the VMware engineering team gave an excellent overview on how vMotion works and I thought it would be good to share.

New vSphere 4.1 Performance Guide

vSphere 4.1 Performance Troubleshooting Guide has been released.

It’s a community document (PDF) which is available from this link.

“It’s a guided approach to lead the reader through the observable manifestations of complex hardware/software interactions in order to identify specific performance problems. For each problem covered, it includes a discussion of the possible root-causes and solutions. Topics covered include performance problems arising from issues in the CPU, memory, storage, and network subsystems, as well as in the VM and ESX host configuration.  Guidance is given on relevant performance metrics to observe using the vSphere Client and esxtop in order to isolate specific performance issues.

 

Configure iSCSI port binding in VMware vSphere 4.1 video

In this video, VMware engineer will show you the configuration of iSCSI port bindings.

Nice video find on the VMware KBTV which I’d like to share here. It’s the process of activating an iSCSI initiator (via GUI) and binding the vmk nics (via CLI ..) .

You’ll see the configuration steps, but also the testing with ESXTOP command line. Also he will do a check to make sure that the configuration is correct by creating a disk file on a datastore. While doing this, he unplugs one cable to simulate a failure. As you’ll see there will be 100% packet drop, and the failover to vmnic2 will happens. The creation of the VMDK file will continue and the traffic will flow through the vmnic2 only.

 

Official VCAP-DCA simulation demo online

Watch a Official VCAP-DCA demo at VMware Website.

I was not aware of that, but while I was reading return of experience from David Davis and his VCAP-DCA exam, I noticed that he pointed in one of his links to this official VMware Online demo. David is an author of many successful VMware vSphere trainings, but his latest training is oriented to prepare you for the VCAP-DCA exam. I already wrote an article about the new vSphere troubleshooting training and you can watch 2 videos for free – when the course went out I’m preparing to pass this exam as well and I’m using those training courses myself to learn.

 

ThinApp 4.6.1 released

Thinapp 4.6.1 is a maintenance release.

A new version of ThinApp has been released. This maintenance release covers more than 160 fixes. Some of those fixes are for example for Google Chrome running on x64 bit platforms, WordPerfect, Ad-Aware2008, vSphere 3.5U5 on XP, Victor Player, Firefox + Foxit Reader 4.2, Office communicator, HP Peregrine, SAGE, iTunes 9.2.1, and Equation editor for Microsoft Office Excel 2007….

Some of the other improvements are for Microsoft Office 2010, Internet Explorer 6,7,8, new options for the package.ini file, and support for SxS COM (SxS – Side-by-Side – It’s Microsoft’s technology  with Windows XP which allows applications to create COM objects without installation or registration in the registry.

 

How to pin a VM to single host and still be able to enter maintenance mode

Today a customer asked me about a specific issue he has in his vSphere environment. They are running a VM that monitors network traffic and they want to make sure the VM is running on esx-1 unless...

 

VCAP4-DCA… run…run…run

Late last week I received the good news from the VMware Certification Team that I passed my VCAP4-DCA exam. It has taken almost 3 weeks to receive the results.

A number of bloggers have provided feedback on their exam experience and how difficult it is. I personally didn’t find it extremely difficult, however in my opinion there is a post from David Davis that synthesizes exactly what I experienced when taking the exam.

Read his post at http://www.trainsignaltraining.com/vcap-dca-exam

 

VMware View 4.6 PCoIP Software Gateway (PSG)

VMware View 4.6 has been just released and as everyone expected this release introduces support for external secure remote access with PCoIP, without requirement for a SSL VPN. This feature is also known as View Secure Gateway Server. VMware’s Mark Benson, in his blog article, does a very good job explaining why tunnelling PCoIP traffic through the Security Server using SLL was never a viable solution because VMware didn’t want to interfere with the advanced performance characteristics of the protocol.

 

New Book - VMware vSphere For Dummies

VMware vSphere For Dummies is a plain-English guide to the market-leading virtualization and cloud computing technology. With virtualization, a single server can host dozens or hundreds of virtual machines running a variety of operating systems, and even hook them together in a virtual network or cloud infrastructure. This practical guide shows you how to create a virtual system using the VMware VSphere environment.  You'll find all the information you need to understand, design, and deploy one—without getting overwhelmed with technical detail. And once you’re up and running, this book is the perfect reference for maintenance and troubleshooting issues. 

 

VCAP4-DCD Exam Simulation

VMware has released the VCAP4-DCD exam simulation. The VMware Certified Advanced Professional Datacenter Design Exam contains tree types of items. Multiple choice, drag and drop and design items created using a tool that allows diagramming vSphere Designs. The purpose of this simulations is to give future candidates the opportunity to work with the tool that’s also used in the real Datacenter Design exam.

 

VMware Labs V2

VMware is happy to announce an updated version of VMware Labs. As you know VMware has launched flings a few months back and their goal has been to make VMware Labs a home for collaboration by sharing information and ideas. As part of this they have now expanded their offerings to include:

• Flings: You can now view those cool flings sorted by Top Rated and Most Commented plus addition of latest fling - XVP Manager and Converter
• Publications: Listing of academic and technical papers authored by VMware engineers.
• Academic: Find details on our collaborative work with academic institutues or review the request for proposals for research projects.
• Conference: Want to meet a VMware engineer? Find a listing of conferences sponsored by VMware where engineers are usually giving a talk or presenting a paper.

 

New Book - VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference: Automating vSphere Administration

VMware vSphere PowerCLI is a must-have tool for any administrator managing VMware vSphere in a Windows environment. Having to repeat vSphere administrative tasks can be time consuming and error-prone, but PowerCLI—created specifically for Windows environments—allows VMware administrators to automate tasks. Written to the latest PowerCLI, this handy guide shows you step by step how to use the PowerCLI cmdlets for daily administration procedures and frequently performed tasks for VMware vSphere 4.1. The reference is organized by vSphere tasks, providing a practical approach to accessing the information you need while you are on the job. Supported by real world examples and no-nonsense instruction, coverage includes installation, configuration, and management of a vSphere environment, management of the virtual machine life-cycle, security, and monitoring and reporting.

 

Turning Your Virtualization Project Around

Recently an former VMware colleague of mine sent me an email. His new employer’s IT department encountered a variety of problems with the virtualized deployment of their custom application. Now they are reluctant to put business-critical applications on vSphere. The tide of virtualization is crushing them from all sides so they know that they need to figure out what has gone wrong and produce a functional virtual environment. But where to start? And how can they mitigate risk and avoid any more failures?

At my friend’s request I spent some time thinking about this. I sent him a long response and thought I would share it with you.

 

Virtualisation 101 – SRM

This is the first in a short series of high level articles intended to explain how some of VMware’s products and features work, to help anyone that needs to get up to speed quickly on a particular topic.

What Is It?

Site Recovery Manager is a VMware product that enables protection of a virtual infrastructure at a site level.  Once configured, SRM can orchestrate the recovery of a failure of the primary site, bringing virtual servers online quickly, and in a predetermined order, at the recovery site.

What Do I Need to Deploy It?

 

Reference – VMFS3 Block Sizes & Limits

Just putting this here for my own reference (as I often find Google indexes my site better than the VMware KB).

Speaking of KB. Here is the relevant VMware KB.

VMFS3 Block Size choices & Volume limits:

Block Size     Largest virtual disk on VMFS-3

1MB          256GB

2MB          512GB

4MB          1TB

8MB          2TB

 

My View 4.5 Guide is now FREE to download

Well, I think the blogpost title kind of says it all. As of today my View 4.5 Guide is now completely free to download.

Why I have a decided to this. Well, for a couple of reasons.

  1. View 4.6 was released today – introducing new functionality. In particular the Security Server is now compatible with PCoIP. It’s always been my policy that as new version comes out. I either write an update – or I make the previous edition free – this was the case with the SRM 1.0 and 4.0 books. If you want to learn about 4.6 new functionality watch this video below its great!

 

Cold Starting a Datacenter

How would you prepare for a complete datacenter power outage?

I had the opportunity to consider this recently — last weekend, some of the VMware labs needed to be shut down completely for widespread power maintenance.  It was a minor inconvenience, but fortunately these occasions are few and far between.  At least I fared better than Scott Lowe who recently powered off all of his gear for nothing.  Ouch!

In this particular lab the primary hardware is a couple dozen HP servers and two CLARiiON storage arrays.  Naturally, all of the supporting infrastructure is virtualized, so I looked at this as an opportunity to see how I could best manage such an event.  Oh, by the way, this lab is two states away, so everything is done remotely.

 

Backing up the ESXi System Image

ESXi is based on a system image, VMware used to call this a firmware but some people found this misleading, most people still refer to it as firmware but in this post I will refer to it as a system image.

The system image is a unified image which is the same whether booting from USB, Hard Disk, PXE or any other media. The logic in the first boot will provide auto configuration based on the kind of installation you have.

 

Why Virtualize Oracle? How about saving $5M and 20x faster perf?

While there are MANY enterprise customers who are virtualizing mission critical apps, some who are virtualizing clients in all shapes and forms, some who have functioning internal self-service ITaaS portals, and some who are leveraging external public cloud models – for the most part, we’re still in relatively early days.

 

Installing drivers during a scripted install of ESXi

As you hopefully have read I have been busy over the last weeks with a new project. This project is all about enabling migrations to ESXi. I wrote two articles for the ESXi Chronicles blog of which the first article describes the scripted install procedure and the seconds gives some additional advanced examples of what is possible in these scripts. Based on that article I started receiving some questions from the field and last week I had a conference call with a customer who had issues “injecting” a driver into ESXi during the install. Normally installing a driver is done by using a simple “esxupdate” command and a reboot, but in this case however the situation was slightly different and let me explain the problem first.