Well from my calculations we have now passed 100 newsletters over the past 2 or so years. I am very proud of that achievement and hope that I have at least informed you of some of the activities in the world of VMware which as you all know if something I am very passionate about.

 

This week I am removing some of the content that I have kept in for a while to streamline the newsletter back for a week or two but of course these are always archived on my blog every week around Friday’s which is 5 days after I send this newsletter to you. The blog is accessed at http://communities.vmware.com/blog/vmwaretam, not all newsletters are there but at least the last 50 or so should you need to find anything. With the older newslettters being PDF and DOC’s they are harder to search but as we have now moved to HTML this is made much easier.

 

Of course as usual I have loads of news for you this week with all of the announcements, conferences and so on going on around the world it is really a privilege to be able to bring this newsletter to you with the effort really being driven by the wonderful VMware bloggers out there. If I haven’t mentioned this enough I want to re-iterate that it is the amazing work done by these individuals that gives me a newsletter I can produce and send to you each week. I often wonder what sort of newsletter I would have without them but luckily for me the world of VMware just gets more and more interesting and there is an ever increasing number of bloggers out there ready to share their views and news with us.

 

This week I would like to draw your attention to something that seemingly went unnoticed at least for me anyway, maybe I am just too busy but just in case I thought I would share it with everyone. More info in the newsletter but VMware released a small plugin called the VMware vCloud Connector which I think will be the beginning of a big impact for all.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor), Paul James

Queensland TAM Team

 

Featured Product

VMware vCloud Request Manager

ENHANCE COMPLIANCE AND CONTROL FOR VCLOUD DIRECTOR PRIVATE CLOUDS

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 vCloud Connector

VMware vCloud Connector enables customers to use their vSphere Client as a single pane of glass view across hybrid clouds. Customers can use vCloud Connector to view, power on and off and copy VMs, vApps and templates across vSphere and vCloud Director-based private or public clouds.

 

Download: http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/vccp/ZHcqYnRkZXdiZCpldw==

 

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.

 

Latest news and reviews

 

Uptime: New Book: Professional vSphere 4: Implementation and Management

I'm always on the lookout for new technical books with a VMware focus.  It looks like Cody Bunch and Patrick Ancillotti are working on a new one called "Professional vSphere 4: Implementation and Management".  It is expected to be released later this year (May 18th acording to Amazon.com).  From the standard description:

"VMware vSphere, is VMware's first cloud operating system, able to manage large pools of virtualized computing infrastructure, including software and hardware. Building on the power of VMware? Infrastructure, VMware vSphere dramatically reduces capital and operating costs, and increases control over IT infrastructures while preserving the flexibility to choose any OS, application and hardware. This book provides vSphere administrators with essential guidance in implementing and managing VMware's vSphere product suite. This guidance has been battle tested in virtual environments big and small. It also provides actionable advice for the day to day operational maintenance and common pitfalls to avoid for first time vSphere administrators. Best of all, the book includes an introductory version of Train Signal's vSphere training DVD that provides additional hours of vSphere training."

 

VMware Support Insider: Hardware Monitoring in ESXi

Today we have a guest post from Arun Pandey, a Tech Support Engineer in Bangalore, India office. Arun explains below how hardware monitoring can be accomplished in ESXi using vCenter.

Most of us are aware by now that future major releases of VMware vSphere will only include the VMware ESXi architecture. ESX, with its console is being phased out.

In ESX classic the VMware agents (hostd, vpxa), virtual machine monitor and the various 3rd party agents run in the service console.  In ESXi, they run natively within VMkernel. This architecture does not allow for installing any arbitrary code on your ESXi system (hence improving security and stability of the product). How then, can we plug in a monitoring solution?

 

vCO Team: vCloud Connector and other delights on VMware Communities Roundtable

No worries if you missed the live broadcast. It is available below. We had a very active session for just under an hour. Hope you enjoy(ed) the show

For the vCO portion of the discussion, we had Burke Azbill and John Stanford from VMware's Cloud Services team!

VMware Communities Roundtable

Title:#130 - vCloud Connector and other delights

 

Business Critical Applications: Introducing an updated VMware Compatibility Guide!

Did you notice the new user interface for the VMware Compatibility Guide? We are happy to announce that recently, we updated our customer-facing compatibility search for all compatibility items. Included in this is a revised and improved guest operating system search. You can search as before, but in addition you can now also search by attributes including Networking, Storage, Virtual Hardware and VMware Tools for OSes supported on ESX. Other benefits include an attractive UI, a significant increase in speed, and easy navigation to OS support details.

 

VMware Support Insider: How to configure Port Binding in Software/Hardware iSCSI initiators

Another guest post from Venkat Krishnamurthy, today's dealing with how to configure port binding for your iSCSI initiators.

Port binding is a method of configuring multipathing with Software/Hardware iSCSI initiators.

A brief outline of the steps involved:

Create a vmkernel port for each physical NIC. If there are n physical NICs, you can create n vSwitches and define vmkernel ports to map each of those physical NICs. Else a single vSwitch can be created and each vmkernel port could be mapped to one active NIC. This step could be easily performed from the vSphere client.

 

Business Critical Applications: High Availability for Exchange 2010 without DAG

With the release of Exchange 2010 the native clustering feature (Database Availability Group) is a significant improvement over what was available with all previous versions. Be that as it may, there will still be customers that simply don't want to cluster. Typically, not clustering the application would mean no high availability. VMware changed that with the introduction of VMware HA. By simply enabling this feature (which is literally a check box) all virtual machines, regardless of operating system or application, would be provided protection from an ESX host failure. To take it a step further you could enable VM Monitoring to protect against guest OS failures by monitoring VMware Tools running within the virtual machine. Agnostic protection of the guest OS and application is great, but the question that was consistently asked by our customers was "…what if my application fails?" vSphere 4.1 helps answer that.

 

VMwareTV: VMware View PCoIP Remote Access in View 4.6

VMware View 4.6 now provides support for external end-users connecting to their View desktop via PCoIP across the WAN. VMware ThinApp 4.6.1packages applications into single executables that run completely isolated from each other and the operating system, now with improved packaging for Microsoft Office 2010.

 

VMware Support Insider: A Beginner's Guide to Memory Reclamation in ESX/ESXi

Today we have a guest post to the blog from Venkatramani Krishnamurthy, a Tech Support Engineer in our India offices. Venkat (for short) gives us an introduction to some of the different ways ESX and ESXi manipulate memory.

 

There are four different methods by which ESX reclaims virtual machine memory. They are:

Transparent Page sharing

Ballooning

Hypervisor swapping

Memory compression

 

Uptime: Fault Tolerance and Isolation Response

Most of us are familiar with how the HA Isolation Response works.  If a host in a cluster loses connectivity with all the other nodes in the cluster it is deemed as isolated.  When this happens the cluster “Isolation Response” dictates how the host will react.  
The options are: 
(1)    Leave powered on
(2)    Power off
(3)    Shut down

 

ESXi Chronicles: Ops changes part 4 - Injecting or installing drivers

Two weeks ago I was presented with a problem regarding the use of drivers that were not part of the standard ESXi ISO. I started looking into it and discovered there are two main solutions for a problem like this.

Installing drivers during the installation

Injecting drivers into the ISO

 

vCO Team: VMware KB TV - How to install and configure VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCloud Director

We are proud to announce that vCO Team members and VMware KB TV have released the "How to install and configure VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCloud Director" video. This video is published on the excellent VMware KB blog and VMware KB channel on youtube . We definitely recommend you to subscribe to these and to follow VMware KB on twitter.

 

vCO Team: VMware released the vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCloud Director

Today VMware released the most complete automation solution for vCloud Director as a free download !

This is a plug-in for vCenter Orchestrator allowing to orchestrate vCloud Director (and not the other way around, vCD 1.01 does not have the ability to start an external process).

 

Tiny Core Linux and Operational Readiness

When installing, configuring, or managing VMware virtual infrastructure, one of the steps which should be performed before releasing a host (back) to production is to perform operational readiness tests.  One test which is quite critical is that of testing virtual infrastructure networking.  After all, what good is a running VM if it has no connectivity to the rest of the network?  Each ESX or ESXi host pNIC should be individually tested for internal and upstream connectivity, VLAN tagging functionality if in use (quite often it is), in addition to proper failover and fail back, and jumbo frames at the guest level if used.

There are several types of VMs or appliances which can be used to generate basic network traffic for operational readiness testing.  One that I’ve been using recently (introduced to me by a colleague) is Tiny Core Linux.  To summarize:

 

Two books about ESX/ESXi in the entreprise

ESXi is the product to deploy, how? Those 2 books might help you with that.

In no particular order, I’ll start with the first one. Dave Mishchenko the author of this book.

VMware ESXi is the easiest way to get started with virtualization — and it’s free. It allows administrators to consolidate their applications onto fewer servers and start saving money through reduced hardware, power, cooling, and administration costs. VMware ESXi has been optimized and tested to run even their most resource-intensive applications and databases with minimal performance overhead. “VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security” covers the key features critical to successfully planning for and implementing VMware’s ESXi.

The book is perfect for current VMware VI3 and vSphere administrators who may be planning their migration to vSphere ESXi. These users may have some experience with ESXi but not yet have it deployed within their production environment. This book provides the guidance to implement ESXi in their environment, ensuring a smooth transition from their current deployment of ESX.

 

Floating Pools are the way to go….

I mostly see the use of Persistent Pools at organisations I visit here in Asia Pacific region. Perhaps this is different for other regions of the planet (I doubt!), but I can tell you what I see here.

When I ask administrators for the reason why persistent pools have been adopted as the default solution for their virtual desktop infrastructure I repeatedly get the same responses:

Our users need to connect to the same environment 
- Our users need to be able to retain the look and feel 
- Our users must maintain their data every time they connect to the virtual machines 
- We need the Persistent Disk (old User Data Disk) 
- Not sure…

 

FlexPod for VMware Deployment Model CVD Now Available

Customers are moving away from silos of information and moving toward shared infrastructures to virtualized environments and eventually to the cloud to increase agility and reduce costs. As a means to accelerate customers move toward a shard cloud platform Cisco, NetApp, and VMware released FlexPod™; a preconfigured and validated cloud architecture built on the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), Cisco Nexus® data center switches, NetApp® FAS storage components, and a range of software partners.

Today Cisco & NetApp published our latest Cisco Validated Design (CVD) titled the FlexPod for VMware Deployment Model. This document describes the basic architecture of FlexPod for VMware as well as the general procedures for deploying a base FlexPod for VMware configuration. This document is intended for engineers who want to deploy a FlexPod for VMware architecture.

 

Yeah - The VMware FastTrack training courses are back

VMware vSphere: Automation FastTrack

This fast-paced, extended-hour training course includes the content of the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage and VMware vSphere: Automation with vSphere PowerCLI courses. This hands-on course explores installation, configuration, and management of VMware vSphere™ using the VMware vSphere Client and VMware vSphere PowerCLI. vSphere PowerCLI automation can reduce your IT costs while improving efficiency, availability, flexibility, and manageability. The course is based on VMware ESX™/ESXi 4.1 and VMware vCenter™ Server 4.1 and includes a prepaid voucher for the VMware Certified Professional 4 examination.

VMware vSphere: Advanced FastTrack

This fast-paced, extended-hour, lab-intensive course includes the content of the VMware vSphere: Manage for Performance and VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting courses. This course provides the knowledge and skills necessary to make fundamental design decisions that enhance performance and meet performance goals in a deployed VMware vSphere™ installation. This course also provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities to achieve competence in troubleshooting the vSphere virtual infrastructure. This course includes a prepaid voucher for the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 4 – Datacenter Administrator examination.

 

VMware View: Desktop FastTrack

This fast-paced, extended-hour training course includes the content of the following courses: VMware View: Install, Configure, Manage Application Virtualization with VMware ThinApp VMware View: Design Best Practices This hands-on training course builds your skills in the VMware View™ suite of products: VMware View Manager, VMware View Composer, and VMware® ThinApp™. It will provide applicationsoriented administrators with the knowledge and skills to virtualize Windows applications with ThinApp and to choose the best deployment and updating processes for their environment. The course will also present a methodology for analyzing and designing a View solution for the VMware vSphere™ infrastructure. The course is based on View 4.5 and ThinApp 4.5 and 4.6. It includes a prepaid voucher for the VMware Certified Associate 4 Desktop examination.

http://www.vmware.com/education

 

Video – Deploying the vCloud Connector

In this video I’ll show how to deploy the vCloud Connector virtual appliance and connect it to a vCenter server instance.  vCloud Connector (vCC) allows the vSphere Administrators to use their familiar vSphere Client as a single pane-of-glass view across hybrid clouds. It’s also a great tool when you have to transfer virtual machines between multiple vCenter servers.

New Article – Configuring Storage Pools on a CLARiiON

penguinpunk.net 3/03/11 8:27 AM dan CLARiiON EMC Storage Unisphere cx4 emc flare howto san storage pools unisphere

 

I’ve added another 16 page pdf that states the obvious, in a visual way, about how to configure storage pools on the CLARiiON. Check out my other articles while you’re here.

 

Virtual Network Best Practices Aggregation

This week a colleague of mine asked me to help out with a customer’s network design in his VMware environment.  I have long possessed the kind of socratic wisdom that allows me to recognize my ignorance.  And I have either the confidence of the foolishness to boldly announce here that I am a networking ignoramus.  But the journey to enlightenment starts with one step.

 

Virtualisation 102 – SRM

This article builds on the previous 101 overview of VMware’s Site Recovery Manager and covers the deployment process at a high level.  For detailed instructions on how to roll out SRM please refer to the documentation linked to in the previous article.

Preparation Phase

DR projects are notorious for soaking up engineer resource, requiring multiple tests and lots of beard-stroking to achieve a workable solution, so it’s vital to have a business sponsor to drive the project to completion.  Any half-hearted attempt at building a DR platform will fail.

 

 

VMware vSphere: Manage for Performance Course Experience

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the VMware vSphere: Manage For Performance course. I did the lab related to this course at VMworld Europe last year and in my now increasing preparations for the VCAP-DCA exam I knew I needed to strengthen my troubleshooting skills and more importantly fine tuning my ESXTOP/RESXTOP skills. Quite a few people commented that they really liked my VMware vSphere: Manage and Design for Security Course Experience posting so I thought i would try do the same for this one for anyone interested or thinking about booking the course.

 

More on Oracle and VMware–including other must-see resources.

The blog post on EMC’s own journey on virtualizing Oracle (we saved $5M vs. our old configuration, and got 20x more performance) has gotten a lot of feedback (thank you all!)

There was one piece of feedback I wanted to call out in particular before we get to more resources.   Phil Jaenke does a spirited defense of RISC-based approaches to Oracle here.   His main point (IMO) is that people with aging RISC/large-endian systems should consider refreshing those rather than the alternative I presented (replatforming to x86 and virtualizing).

There will be a time to do a point by point discussion with Phil on the topic.   His main point was around Oracle licensing.   He noted that our low CPU utilization number means that we could have saved more by either having less UCS hosts and/or VMs, or by keeping it on RISC and using RISC-based virtualization/partitioning approaches.

But, while we will do the point-by-point (Phil – shall we do it at VMworld?), I actually AGREE with Phil more than you would think.

As I noted in the article (these are points that Phil points out also):

 

EMC Webcasts in March

EMC Webcasts are in full effect! Over 20,000 viewers have registered for these webcasts, why haven’t you!? Every Thursday we cover the hottest topics hitting the virtualization scene, and this month isn’t going to be any different!

We have five hot topics for you this month, everything from Virtualizing Oracle to Delivering IT as a Service! And for a special treat we have Chad’s Choice at the end of the month where VMware Technology Alliance Vice President, Chad Sakac, delivers the hottest topics flowing around the virtualization ecosphere…this is one webcast you do not want to miss!

Want to hear them all? Register for the entire series and never miss an episode!

Converting Open Virtualization Format (OVF) -Virtual Machines to VMware Fusion

Yellow Bricks 26/02/11 11:59 PM repping Desktop Various fusion ovf tips

I needed to run an appliance inside VMware Fusion on my Mac, the appliance was in OVF format. VMware Fusion currently does not support this format and requires you to convert the image with a tool called ovftool which can be downloaded at the following location: http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere/automationtools/ovf

Conversion is as simple as:

./ovftool "source.ovf" "target"

 

PowerCLI reference book

I blogged about this almost two months ago and just on Luc’s blog that the release date has been set and the cover art was released. I wanted to remind all of you the book that is one of a kind, VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference: Automating vSphere.

Release date: 28th of March
Authors: Luc Dekens, Alan Renouf, Glen Sizemore, Arnim van Lieshout, Jonathan Medd
ISB: 0470890797

 

Managing availability through vCenter Alarms

Last week a customer asked me a question about how to respond to for instance a partial failure in their SAN environment. A while back I had a similar question from one of my other customers so I more or less knew where to look, and I actually already blogged about this over a year ago when I was showing some of the new vSphere features. Although this is fairly obvious I hardly ever see people using this and hence the reason I wanted to document one of the obvious things that you can implement…. Alarms