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2011

 

 

From the editors Virtual Desk

Security is something that we all care about but may take for granted when it comes to our virtual infrastructure. While our security team may have secured the physical environment and the perimeter of the network the lack of integration and visibility in the virtual environment often means that this part goes on as normal without any additional security. From a security standpoint it is generally accepted that a defence in depth methodology is usually a great way to minimize the attack surface for internal or external breaches and the virtual environment provides an excellent opportunity to embrace this and provide a much greater depth of security for your environment.

 

In keeping with our weekly trend of looking at a particular technology that can assist you with your virtual infrastructure this week our featured product is the vShield family of technologies. Rather than a replacement for your existing solutions vShield provides many additional benefits to work in conjunction with your existing security solution to make your virtual infrastructure even more secure and easy to manage that your physical infrastructure.

 

In addition to this, we are also featuring a section from this week onwards regarding standardising on ESXi and how we can assist you with this process. ESXi is the future of the VMware hypervisor and provides many benefits over the traditional ESX hypervisor including a much smaller footprint providing a code base that requires fewer patches and therefore decreases downtime and increases reliability.

 

I hope that you find all of this information useful as we try and provide as much information as possible for you each week.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor), Paul James

Queensland TAM

 

Featured Product

VMware vShield

Secure your Cloud with Virtualization-aware Security

 

Strengthen your application and data security, improve visibility and control and accelerate IT compliance efforts across the entire organization with virtualization-aware protection for virtual datacenters and cloud environments from the VMware vShield family of security solutions.

Learn more about vShield Security:

VMware vShield App: Application protection against network-based threats

VMware vShield Edge: Network security for the perimeter

VMware vShield Endpoint: Offloaded and streamlined anti-virus

VMware vShield Zones: Basic protection from network-based threats

VMware vShield Manager: Complete security management

 

Secure the Cloud with VMware vShield

Achieve Better-than-Physical Security: Adaptive security travels with virtual machines as they migrate from host to host providing secure support for virtual machines in dynamic cloud environments. Applications run efficiently while maintaining trust and network segmentation of users and sensitive data.

Improve and Simplify Security Management in a Single Framework: A single comprehensive framework secures virtual datacenters and cloud environments at all levels—host, network, application, data and endpoint, in a management framework that integrates with VMware vCenter™ Server.

Reduce Complexity and Eliminate Bottlenecks:Reduce the complexity of endpoint, application and edge network security by consolidating your security infrastructure and eliminating the “sprawl” associated with software agents, security policies, dedicated security appliances and “air gapped” solutions with VMware vShield.

Improve Visibility and Accelerate Compliance: Leverage the unique introspection capabilities of VMware vShield and the VMware vSphere platform to help identify hard-to-detect problems precisely and efficiently while controlling file integrity monitoring, rootkit protection, and data leak prevention.

Leverage Existing Security Solutions: vShield works seamlessly with existing enterprise IT security measures through REST APIs. Get customized integration of vShield capabilities into third-party security solutions, including existing antivirus and anti-malware solutions.

 

 

ESXi Convergence

It is Time to migrate from ESX to ESXi
VMware vSphere 4.1 is the last release to support both the ESX and ESXi hypervisor architectures. Future vSphere releases will only support the ESXi architecture. VMware recommends that:

  1. New deployments of vSphere 4.x are done on ESXi
  2. Existing ESX deployments of vSphere 4.x or older are migrated to the ESXi

ESXi is VMware’s next-generation bare metal hypervisor that delivers industry-leading performance and scalability while setting a new bar for reliability, security and management efficiency
Like its predecessor ESX, ESXi is a “bare-metal” hypervisor, meaning it installs directly on top of the physical server and partitions it into multiple virtual machines that can run simultaneously, sharing the physical resources of the underlying server. VMware introduced ESXi in 2007 to continue delivering the industry-leading performance and scalability of ESX while setting a new bar for reliability, security and hypervisor management efficiency. ESXi is available with any edition of VMware vSphere and supports all vSphere features and use cases. ESXi is VMware’s recommended deployment option for installations of vSphere 4.x.

VMware ESXi the thinnest, most advanced hypervisor architecture. It is the only hypervisor purpose-built for virtualization that runs independently from a general purpose operating system like Linux or Windows
With the ESXi hypervisor architecture VMware eliminated the Service Console, a management partition based on a Linux OS that is part of ESX and is used to perform local management tasks such as executing scripts or installing third party agents. This means that the ESXi architecture is reduced to just the core virtualization kernel, aka. VMkernel, making its code base extremely compact and small ESX (less than 100MB vs. ESX 2GB). The ESXi hypervisor is installed or upgraded as an image – like a BIOS or firmware – providing administrators with a thoroughly-tested bundle that can be effortlessly rolled back to a previous version if necessary. All the management functionalities that in ESX required the use of the Service Console, with ESXi can still be implemented in more efficient way through built-in services, APIs and remote management tools.

By migrating existing ESX deployments to ESXi, customers will drastically improve the reliability, security and efficiency of their virtual environments while continuing to take advantage of the full power of vSphere
Thanks to its ultra thin architecture with less than 100MB of code base disk footprint, ESXi delivers the industry-leading performance and scalability of ESX with the several additional benefits:

Improved Reliability and Security – with fewer lines of code and independence from general purpose OS, ESXi drastically reduces the risk of bugs or security vulnerabilities and makes it easier to secure your hypervisor layer

Streamlined Deployment and Configuration - ESXi has far fewer configuration items than ESX, greatly simplifying deployment and configuration and making it easier to maintain consistency.

Higher Management Efficiency - The API-based partner integration model of ESXi eliminates the need to install and manage third party management agents. You can automate routine tasks by leveraging remote command line scripting environments such as vCLI or PowerCLI.

Simplified Hypervisor Patching and Updating - Due to its smaller size and fewer components, ESXi requires far fewer patches than ESX, shortening service windows and reducing security vulnerabilities.

Complete set of management capabilities – With vSphere 4.1, VMware added significant enhancements to ESXi and the core tools used to manage it. Most notably: AD integration, support offor scripted and PXE installations, support for boot from SAN, Tech Support Mode for host troubleshooting and diagnostic and many others. These features make ESXi an even more complete, robust and powerful foundation for virtual environments and cloud computing

 

Latest news and reviews

VMware Support Insider: New Mind Map - Troubleshooting vSphere Network Issues

Today the Support Insider brings you another new Mind Map we expect  to be popular— vSphere Troubleshooting Network Issues!

These new, Flash-embedded PDFs are clickable so that you can expand sections and drill down to the problem you may be experiencing. We’re also trying to make them a little easier on the eyes.  Let us know what you think of the new look.

If you recall, a Resolution Path is a collection of KB articles sequenced in a specific order to resolve a specific issue. Since many steps are repeated for different problems, we create separate articles for those steps and reuse them as needed.

Today’s Mind Map details our Resolution Paths for vSphere Network issues.

 

Business Critical Applications: Yes, Oracle is supported on VMware

Oracle is supported on VMware– apps and databases, both single instance and RAC. And plenty of customers have been virtualizing their Oracle workloads on VMware with confidence.  In case you’ve heard confusing opinions, let’s just review some facts.

From Oracle
Oracle’s support policy toward virtualization with VMware is accessible to subscribers of MyOracleSupport - Document ID #249212.1 which you can access here if you have a login. You can also read the actual Oracle support policy reproduced in Chad’s blog. In Nov 2010, Oracle added support for RAC on VMware which demonstrates Oracle’s continued commitment to provide customers with increasing flexibility and choice.


From VMware
In the past, some customers were concerned about a couple of apparent limitations in the Oracle support policy.  Specifically,
1.    Oracle has not certified any of its products on VMware
2.    Support is provided when the problem “can be demonstrated to not be as a result of running on VMware” and the fact that Oracle reserves the right to require reproduction of the problem on physical environments.
However, Oracle does not certify down to the infrastructure level (such as your Cisco switch or your Dell blade) so if you are running a certified OS on VMware, the situation is no different than running a certified OS on a blade server.  In the physical world, if Oracle support suspects that an issue is caused by your underlying hardware then you can be requested to reproduce on another host. And that is no different from the stance on virtualization with VMware.

While most customers understand these nuances, even those who had lingering concerns have been assured with the new VMware policy for Oracle support.  With this policy, VMware is providing an absolute commitment to support customers virtualizing Oracle on VMware vSphere.  If required, VMware will take ownership of the support request and ensure rapid resolution, in collaboration with the Oracle support organization as needed. Since VMware’s customers virtualize all types of Tier1 applications, there is no question that providing a seamless support experience is an area of expertise for VMware.

 

The Console: VMware Welcomes Team Mozy

Today it is my pleasure to announce that VMware has hired the team and acquired assets behind EMC’s Mozy cloud-based data protection service.  VMware will operate the Mozy service on behalf of EMC without interruption.  However, the strategic relevance of today’s news is what this group brings to VMware.  Over the past 5 years, Mozy has built one of the best examples of a globally distributed, large-scale cloud offering. We believe that, by being directly engaged with the delivery of such a service, VMware will further ramp our own cloud-related learning and accelerate new IP, scale, and capabilities into the products that we provide to our customers and public cloud partners.

 

VMwareTV: VMware vCenter Operations -- Video Tutorial

VMware vCenter Operations -- Video Tutorial

Visit bit.ly - Kit Colbert, lead engineer on vCenter Operations, gives an in-depth overview of the vCenter Operations Standard edition.

 

VMware Security Blog: vSphere 4.1 Security Hardening Guide released

VMware would like to announce the availability of the final release of the vSphere 4.1 Security Hardening Guide.  The Introduction section describes the scope, structure, recommendation levels, and other aspects of the guide in more detail.  Please read this section first before diving into the rest of the guide, as it provides important context.

Although this version of the guide can be considered as "final" and appropriate for use in production environments, we recognize that there is always room for improvement.  We will continue to welcome comments and corrections on this guide, and we will publish updated versions of the guide from time to time as feedback is accumulated.  This feedback of course will also be incorporated into the hardening guide for future releases of vSphere.

The vSphere 4.1 Security Hardening Guide has been posted to the VMware Communities in the "Security and Compliance” area, in the Documents tab.  Please provide feedback in the Comments area.

 

ESXi Chronicles: Is your environment secure?

My friends over at the VMware Security Blog posted an article yesterday that the Security Hardening Guide for vSphere 4.1 has been released. Coiincidentally Richard Garsthagen posted an articleabout all the ESX/ESXi hosts he found directly attached to the internet, I guess you could say that that goes against every best practice out there. But that is not entirely the reason for this article. I wanted to point out an excellent script by William Lam that assesses your environment based on the recommendations made in the Security Hardening Guide and produces a nice report with a scoring card.

 

das.failuredetection time and the isolation response

I had a discussion on the VMTN forums about this last week and the question basically was, what should my das.failuredetection time be set to when the isolation response is set to “Shut down”.

Lets first explain what the das.failuredetectiontime is, I described it on our book as follows:

 

Mythbusters: ESX/ESXi caching I/O?

We had a discussion internally about ESX/ESXi caching I/Os. In particular this discussion was around caching of writes  as a customer was concerned about consistency of their data. I fully understand that they are concerned and I know in the past some vendors were doing write caching however VMware does not do this for obvious reasons. Although performance is important it is worthless when your data is corrupt / inconsistent. Of course I looked around for  data to back this claim up and bust this myth once and for all. I found a KB article that acknowledges this and have a quote from one of our VMFS engineers.

 

vSphere + VNX = Integrated. HOWTO.

The posts that are done with integrated demonstrations are quite popular – these are useful for customers, EMC partners, and EMCers themselves.

The vSpecialist and VNX teams (big shout out to vSpecialist Joel Sprouse) worked together to create a tight, 15 minute demonstration that shows the highlights of the current VMware/EMC integration capabilities in the VNX platform which are all provided at no additional cost.  It covers:

 

OpSource Cloud Experience — Introduction

OpSource Cloud is an enterprise-class Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud backed by the reliability and performance of VMware vSphere.  It’s a bulletproof environment that is suitable for virtually any workload, offering a 100% uptime SLA and guaranteed sub-millisecond network latency.  This infrastructure cloud runs on the latest release of vSphere and also offers the ability to import and export ESX virtual machines in OVF format for easy transfer of workloads from your own VMware private cloud.

 

OpSource Cloud Experience — Connecting

In the previous post, you saw an overview of the OpSource Cloud, a VMware vSphere-backed public IaaS cloud.  Today we take a look at connecting to virtual machine instances for managing and consuming services.

OpSource networking is based on Cisco switches and security; cloud users have various options for configuring access for management or public services.  When new virtual machines are instantiated, they are assigned private IP addresses and cannot be accessed from the Internet directly.  This is a good thing for security, but how does an administrator manage workloads in the cloud?

 

OpSource Cloud Experience — Networking

So far in this series on the OpSource Cloud, you’ve seen how to get started and how to manage workloads securely over the Internet.  Now let’s look at connectivity and performance between the cloud virtual machines.

Layer 2 Networking

If you are a vSphere administrator, it may come as a surprise to find out that some public clouds do not permit layer 2 connectivity between virtual machines.  Actually, you may be even more surprised to learn that it is very typical for your VMs to be instantiated on completely different subnets.  That means that all data must flow through another device on the network — an Ethernet bridge or IP router, filtering traffic — even if two virtual machines are on the same IP subnet.

 

The SRM 4.0 Book is Free

It’s the end of my financial year, and I’ve in the last couple of months started writing a new version of the SRM book. So its with great pleasure that I can now announce that the PDF version of the SRM 4.0 book will free to download from this date. You can still order a hard-copy of the book from LULU if you so wish at cost price. Of course you welcome to make your own donation to UNICEF should you wish.

I will start totting up how much money I raised in total for UNICEF, and will make a donation within the next couple of days.

 

 

Using DSquery to Find LDAP Paths – vCO

When you are configuring vCO, one of the requisite steps is to configure LDAP. While vCO has some pretty nifty search buttons, you can still get this info and more using DSquery.

Here’s a few examples:

Find a Specific Group

PS C:\> DSquery OU -name "ProVMware Users"
"OU=ProVMware Users,DC=provmware,DC=local"

 

Virtualisation 101 – VMware Update Manager (VUM)

Update Manager is VMware’s patching product, and is used for updating ESX/ESXi hosts, virtual appliances and guest machines.  It is a companion product to vCenter and installed via the vCenter Installer.  In smaller deployments VUM would be installed on the vCenter server, but in larger environments could be run as a dedicated server.

The application can run scheduled download of patches from VMware and Shavlik (for Microsoft updates) and store them in a local repository.   Patches can also be imported from ZIP files, or via an intermediary machine running Update Manager Download Service (UMDS).

 

VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical Deepdive - Available for the Kindle Now

The VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical Deepdive is available as an eBook for the Kindle now. So if you buy it once, you can read it everywhere. The price of the Kindle version is even lower (only $ 7.50) than the paperback  which was already a good bargain. In fact it's the cheapest and most cool vSphere book on the market. So hop over to Amazon.com and get your Kindle version of the VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical Deepdive written by the famous authors Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping.

 

Automatic VLAN change in VMware View

Some of my colleagues over at VMware US, Scott Jobe (Desktop Specialist) and Josh Spencer (Sr. Systems Engineer), teamed up to address the need to automatically assign VM’s to a particular VLAN in VMware View during refresh or recompose cycles.

When the Parent VM is configured administrators need to assign a VLAN or Port Group. This VLAN will follow the cloned (full-clones or linked-clones) virtual desktops whenever they are created, refreshed or recomposed.

Administrators are able to manually move the desktops to various VLAN’s. It is also possible to automate VLAN change through PowerShell scripting after the desktop is created. However, none of these methods allow the newly assigned VLAN to survive a refresh or recompose operation.

 

HDS and VAAI Integration

On day 1 of Hitachi Data Systems Geek Day 2.0, we met with Michael Heffernan, Global Product Manager – Virtualization.  You might know him as @virtualheff on Twitter.  I was pleased to listen to Heff as he discussed HDS integration with VMware vSphere vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI for short and most easily pronounced “vee·double-ehh·eye”).  For those who aren’t aware, VMware introduced VAAI with the GA release of vSphere 4.1 on July 13th of last year.  In short, VAAI allows the burden of certain storage related tasks to be offloaded from the ESX/ESXi hypervisor to the storage array.  Generally speaking, the advantages touted are performance improvement of intrinsic tasks and increased scalability of the storage array. HDS is one of a few storage vendors who supported VAAI integration on the July launch date and in February of this year, theyannounced VAAI support with their VSP (see also Hu Yoshida’s writing on the announcement).

 

 

VMware Knowledge Base Weekly Digest: New Articles Published for week ending 4/1/11

VMware Capacity Planner
The Capacity Planner 2.8 dashboard does not display the Logical Drive information (1036304)
VMware ESX
Changes to columns displayed in the vSphere Client do not persist after restarting the client (1030614)
Troubleshooting mode boots into the older version after upgrading and shows the error: Signature mismatch between vmkctl & VMkernel (1033276)
Virtual machine fails to power on after migrating to ESX/ESXi 3.5 (1035794)
Using the partedUtil command line utility on ESX and ESXi (1036609)
Reloading a vmx file without removing the Virtual machine from inventory (1026043)
Intel 82578DM Gigabit Ethernet device is not compatible with ESX/ESXi hosts (1035726)
VMware ESXi
Installing ESXi fails with the error: Disk error 51, AX=4280, Drive 9F (1026588)
Installing ESXi 4.1 fails with the error: Total number of sectors not a multiple of sectors per track! (1029670)
Disabling hostd and vpxa output to /var/log/messages in ESXi (1030672)
Installing or upgrading VMware Tools in ESXi 4.1 fails with the error: Call "VirtualMachine.MountToolsInstaller" for object "<vm name>" failed on vCenter Server "<vc name> (1036131)
Unable to add permissions to an Active Directory user on an ESXi 4.1 host joined to an Active Directory domain (1036554)
Identify a PCI device in ESX/ESXi 4.x and compare it with the VMware HCL list (1031534)
Reverting to a previous version of ESXi after a failed upgrade (1033604)
Refreshing port state information for a vNetwork Distributed Virtual Switch (1034326)
Increasing the width of the device field in esxtop to show the complete NAA ID (1035989)
Scanning ESX/ESXi hosts using Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker fails with the error: Connection Failed (1036848)
VMware Service Manager
Last updated date is incorrect on a CI that was updated by a Update CMDB task in a request workflow (1035946)
You are unable to make the Action Time field on a task screen as a required field (1036091)
Cannot delete reports from the recycle bin in report designer (1036461)
After upgrading to VMware Service Manager 9.x, the customized reports with Joins fail to run (1036737)
When changing language of the system through the server console, you receive the error: Error Copying Titles (1036917)
VMware vCenter Configuration Manager
Unable to discover vCenter properties from vCenter Configuration Manager running remote PowerShell command as a vCenter Configuration Manager job (1036281)
Compliance rule does not save or execute in vCenter Configuration Manager (1036283)
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
V2V conversion fails when using Paravirtual SCSI Controller (1036719)
Enabling Logging in to Helper Virtual Machine During Conversion of Powered-On Linux Sources with Converter Standalone 4.3.x (1036746)
VMware vCenter Lab Manager
Deploying a configuration in vCenter Lab Manager times out while gathering the requirements for virtual machines (1025673)
When deploying Lab Manager Live Link, you see the error: Deploy time network fenced mode selection must be on either none or on all physical networks (1030722)
Adding a physical network object in Lab Manager fails with the error: Physical network already exists (network name) Use unique name. (1032483)
Lab Manager hosts disconnect from ESX but not from vCenter Server (1035418)
VMware vCenter Operations Standard
Collecting diagnostic information for VMware vCenter Operations Standard (1036655)
VMware vCenter Server
vpxd logs are not generated in the vCenter Server logs folder (1032606)
vCenter Server reports an incorrect console memory for a host that was upgraded from ESX/ESXi 4.0 to 4.1 (1036750)
Sysprep does not starting the customization for Windows 7 or 2008 virtual machine with error: A fatal error occurred while trying to Sysprep the machine (1026639)
Setting user privileges to allow users to create virtual machines in vCenter Server 4.x (1027743)
Migration options for a virtual machine are greyed out though vMotion is licensed (1029926)
vSphere Client stops responding when trying to view custom performance charts (1030983)
vCenter Server search, plug-ins, and performance charts do not work (1031849)
Licensing vCenter Server 4.x fails with the error: Cannot complete the license assignment operation (1035951)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
Running the vCenter Site Recovery Manager dns_update script fails with the error: \VMware\VMware was unexpected at this time." (1036097)
Running the Site Recovery Manager dns_update script fails with the error: Can't spawn c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe ... Bad file descriptor (1036140)
Using Windows remote server administration tools to run dns_update from the Site Recover Manager server (1036141)
VMware vCloud Connector
Collecting diagnostic information for vCloud Connector 1.0.x (1036378)
VMware vCloud Director
When customizing using vCloud Director, the RHEL guest operating system does not honor the DHCP_HOSTNAME entry (1034933)
Accessing the vCloud Director user interface fails with the error: Cannot open connection - Too many open files (1036219)
VMware View Manager
Single Sign On does not work over PCoIP when connecting to a Vista Desktop (1019466)
Information on Disk Partition alignment on VMware View 4.5 desktops (1031462)
Overview of VMware View USB redirection (1036200)
VMware VirtualCenter
vCenter Server 4.x and VirtualCenter 2.5 show active paths in Stand By state (1032761)
VMware vShield Endpoint
Preparing ESXi Embedded host with vShield Endpoint and Trend Micro Deep Security you receive error: DVFilter: 3516: DVFilter is not enabled due to missing license (1033252)
VMware Workstation
Updated version of vmrun for VMware Workstation 6.5.x addresses security issue CVE-2011-1126 (1035509)

From the editors Virtual Desk

Ensuring that you are managing capacity and performance in your data center has increasingly become one of the major challenges for organisations. With many organisations now having a “Virtualization First” policy in place ensuring that these high levels of performance as well as capacity demand are met have become even more important. In a push to virtualise and create your own cloud within your data center that you are able to provide commoditised service levels you will need to be able to constantly maintain these service levels or else providing them will become meaningless. VMware has a number of solutions to help you with this, firstly we have Capacit IQ an extremely efficient and elegant solution to managing capacity demand for your virtual environment. In march we also released VC Operations (see featured product) which goes hand in hand with Capacity IQ by using a patented analytics engine to identify the health of your virtual and also physical environment. Take a look at these solutions which I believe will greatly enhance your capabilities of providing ITAAS.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor), Paul James

Queensland TAM

 

Featured Product

VMware vCenter TM Operations

AUTOMATED OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT FOR VIRTUAL AND CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE

Proactively ensure service levels, optimum resource usage and configuration compliance in dynamic virtual and cloud environments with VMware vCenter Operations. Through automated operations management and patented analytics, you benefit from an integrated approach to performance, capacity and configuration management. You'll gain the intelligence and visibility needed to

Get actionable intelligence to automate manual operations processes

Gain visibility across infrastructure and applications for rapid problem resolution

Proactively ensure optimal resource utilization and virtual/cloud infrastructure performance

Get 'at-a-glance' views of operational and regulatory compliance across physical and virtual infrastructure.

 

Integrate Performance, Capacity and Configuration Management

 

 

 

Performance, capacity and configuration management are becoming inseparable due to the dynamic nature of converged infrastructure. Traditional tools and processes designed for siloed, static physical infrastructures don’t provide the automation and control you need to effectively manage highly virtualized and private cloud environments. VMware vCenter Operations is tightly integrated with VMware vSphere and designed for dynamic environments to dramatically simplify and automate Operations Management. Our integrated approach uses patented analytics to provide the intelligence and visibility needed to proactively ensure service levels in virtual and cloud environments.

Eliminate Manual Effort for Automated Operations Management

Gain maximum efficiency and agility with analytics and a policy-based approach to automate performance, capacity and configuration management. Eliminate the finger pointing. Reduce manual problem solving efforts by as much as 40% with automated root cause analysis.

Proactively Manage Virtual Infrastructure Performance

Get proactive warning of performance issues before problems affect end users. Real-time performance dashboards let you meet SLAs by pinpointing building performance issues before end users notice.

Ensure Operational and Regulatory Compliance

Manage compliance automatically with a policy-based approach and out-of-the-box configuration templates. Ensure compliance with policy control across both virtual and physical aspects of your datacenter infrastructure.

Optimal Resource Utilization

Ensure right-sized virtual/cloud infrastructure through comprehensive capacity management. Users typically achieve 15% to 80% utilization improvements and run 3-5 times more VMs on the same hardware by reclaiming over-provisioned capacity.

 

Latest news and reviews

VMware Support Insider: When the Knowledge Base is not enough: Desktop edition

It might sound strange coming from the VMware Knowledge Management Team, but the VMware Knowledge Base should not be your only stop for self-help. In fact, as a veteran Support Insider, I’d like to tell you about a few other places you should be checking in your quest for information. (In keeping with the Support Insider theme, this is actually adapted from an email I sent to the rest of my support team a few weeks ago!)

Check the Help menu!

Your first stop, when you have a question about the product or how it works, should be the product’s own Help menu.

Yes, I know that’s hard to believe – I can’t believe I’m saying it! I’ve struggled with plenty of products’ help systems that just have next to nothing in them. Luckily, VMware help is usually better than that. I’ll give some specific examples:

 

RabbitMQ Blog: Very fast and scalable topic routing - part 2

In our previous blog post we talked about a few approaches to topic routing optimization and described the two more important of these in brief. In this post, we will talk about a few things we tried when implementing the DFA, as well as some performance benchmarking we have done on the trie and the DFA.

Implementing the DFA

In order to be able to build the DFA, we first need to build the NFA from the patterns. The main difference between the DFA and the NFA is that, in the DFA, at any point, you don’t have to choose (backtrack); you only get one precise route that you follow down the graph. For example, here is how we would turn patterns “a.b” and “*.b” into a DFA:

 

vCenter Orchestrator Blog: Welcome to the vCenter Orchestrator Blog!

VMware vCenter Orchestrator is a powerful orchestration engine packaged with VMware vCenter Server to enable automation of routine administrative tasks using workflows. This blog will provide you insights into vCenter Orchestrator, including product information, news, related product announcements, cool customer stories, technical tips and tricks and best practices.

vCenter Orchestrator is becoming increasingly important to accelerate and dramatically reduce the cost of delivering IT services as customers seek to achieve the agility and economics of cloud computing. The good thing is that every vSphere customer already has vCenter Orchestrator and there is no additional purchase to use it.  It already has several out-of-the-box workflows that can help you automate existing manual tasks, without any need for complex scripting. Through an open and flexible plug-in architecture, vCenter Orchestrator also enables integration with both VMware and third-party applications, such as service desks, change management and asset management systems.

 

VMware Support Insider: Using The PCoIP Secure Gateway to extend PCoIP Connections

by Hasan Mahmood

In VMware View 4.5 and earlier, PCoIP connections were restricted to internal connections or connections through VPN as a direct connection was required between the Client and the View Desktops. Starting with VMware View 4.6 we have the ability to use PCoIP connections from outside the firewall. This version allows us to connect to the View Desktops on the 4172 port through the server that is running the PCoIP Secure Gateway. Who says we don’t listen to our customers!

 

ESXi Chronicles: The missing link for scripted installs, adding your ESXi host to vCenter

It was bound to happen at some point and this morning William Lam published a script which enables you to add a host to your vCenter server during the scripted install. Now I have seen many cool scripts from William passing by over the last year or two but I feel that although this was probably not the most difficult one to write is is a brilliant piece of work. I tried this myself 18 months ago during a project and got stuck and decided the time needed did not weigh up against the costs associated. Thanks William for getting the job done.

Here's an exerpt from William's post, head over to his blog for the script!

 

VMware vCloud Blog: Automation in vCloud Datacenter: Rabid, Rapid Provisioning

By John Ellis, Chief vCloud Architect at BlueLock

I must admit, I'm one of those guys who can't stop checking the shipping status of my online orders. When order five hundred pounds of rare earth magnets from my favorite online retailer I want them delivered to my front door in record time.

That same impatience is what has driven my reliance on cloud computing. When I want a server I don't want to wait for a pallet to hit the loading dock. I want a server racked and ready to go now. If I need
twenty servers because Oprah is going to demo my site tomorrow I simply can't wait for something to be assembled, tested, shipped and mounted.

 

vCenter Orchestrator Blog: vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In for Cisco UCS Manager is GA

We are extremely pleased to announce the General Availability of the VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Cisco UCS Manager.

The UCS Manager Plug-In plays an important role in enabling organizations to automate and simplify the management of their cloud infrastructure by extending vCO's reach to the UCS platform.  What's more, it's also a significant step in proving that vCO enables orchestration of the broader VMware cloud ecosystem, and not simply VMware applications.

 

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind Map - Troubleshooting vSphere Management Issues

Here is a brand new document guaranteed to be popular—Our Mind Map for vSphere Management issues!

We have featured Mind Maps before in this blog and gotten fabulous feedback on them, so we are continuing to develop these using the latest interactive PDF document technology. These new, Flash-embedded PDFs are clickable so that you can expand sections and drill down to the problem you may be experiencing. We’re also trying to make them a little easier on the eyes.  Let us know what you think of the new look.

Today’s Mind Map details out Resolution Paths for vSphere Management issues. If you recall, a Resolution Path is a collection of KB articles sequenced in a specific order to resolve a specific issue. Since many steps are repeated for different problems, we create separate articles for those steps and reuse them as needed.

 

The Console: vCenter Operations

At VMware we understand it’s not enough just to build a dynamic, virtualized infrastructure – you also need to manage it. So we’ve been hard at work simplifying and transforming infrastructure management by building functionality such as dynamic workload balancing and high availability into the VMware vSphere platform. On March 8th, we took another big step on our journey to be the leading provider of infrastructure and management solutions for dynamic virtualized and cloud environments. We announced a new management product and strategy to help customers on the journey to the hybrid cloud – VMware vCenter Operations.

This launch is proof that VMware is delivering on its commitment to being the leader in the virtualization and cloud management space. And, as they say, the proof is in the pudding -- I’m happy to report that the response from the press and industry analysts has been overwhelmingly positive. According to IDC, vCenter Operations addresses “… a critical set of functionality that is required for effective operation of highly virtualized datacenter environments.” SiliconAngle wrote that it “…proactively ensures service levels in dynamic cloud environments, getting to the root cause of performance problems faster, optimizes deployments in ‘real-time’ to enable self-service provisioning, and maintains compliance in the face of constant change.”

So what was the thinking behind the vCenter Ops launch?

 

VMwareTV: Cloud City and VMware

Cloud City and VMware

To see Steve Herrod interview other tech giants check out - vmware.com VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced a new partnership with Cloud City to help deploy a robust set of on-demand, IT services for its citizens. Cloud City has long been a visionary in the use of virtualization and is now extending that advantage to fully realize the benefits of cloud computing, "We are thrilled to be Cloud City's partner in meeting the changing needs of their citizens. The Cloud City public wants secure and consistent access to a variety of services. Furthermore, they want to access these services from a variety of devices. We are proud to help make this vision a reality.", said Dr. Steve Herrod, CTO and Senior Vice President of R&D, VMware.

 

VMware vCloud Blog: Middle Management in the Cloud

A cloud based infrastructure can save an organization a great deal of time and effort in building servers and provisioning new resources. While this can be fantastic for the build-out phase of a project, how can a virtual datacenter make maintenance easier? We may perform deployments a couple times a year, but deployments and configuration tweaks may occur much more often.

We have seen how vCloud API can expose more of our data center infrastructure, not only by interacting with the vCloud API directly but with third-party application frameworks as well. This same exposure can help us manage running vApps and keep them up-to-date.

 

Uptime: Addressing Server Based Licensing with DRS VM-Host Affinity Rules

It is frustrating to have your virtualization goals hampered by restrictive licensing policies based on the old physical server paradigm.   Back in the day when a cluster was a pair of identical servers dedicated to hosting a single application a server based license model made sense.  However, when I move these apps into VMs running in a consolidated architecture on large HA/DRS clusters, having to pay to license each physical server not only makes things prohibitively expensive it just doesn’t make sense.

 

ALUA and the useANO setting

Disclaimer: Now, lets make this very clear. Don’t touch “useANO” unless you are specifically instructed to do so, this article is just for educational purposes.

I had some issues in my lab with an ALUA array. (If you have no clue what ALUA is, read this post.) As you hopefully know with an ALUA array you typically have 4 paths. Two of these paths are marked within vCenter as “Active (I/O)” and the remaining two are marked as “Active”. The command-line interface describes this slightly better in my opinion as it says “Active” and “Active unoptimized”. So lets assume for you a second you would use Round Robin, vSphere is smart enough to only use the paths marked in vCenter as “Active (I/O)”.

 

VMware Tools ISO for Linux Guests

The RPM version of the VMware tools installer for Linux guests seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. In addition, the tools ISO for Linux has been provided as it’s own download, that is hidden away on the ESX or ESXi download pages, rather than the “Tools and Drivers” page.

 

VMware Security Advisory:- VMSA-2011-0006

Only one advisory today and this relates to the hosted platform and even more rare it is Linux only, So you enterprise and Windows boys can rest easy for once.

Synopsis:

VMware vmrun utility local privilege escalation

Issue date:

11-03-29

Updated on:

2011-03-29 (initial release of advisory)

CVE numbers:

CVE-2011-1126

 

VMware Security Advisory:- VMSA-2011-0006.1

Now this is interesting they only released this yesterday and it has been updated already.  nice of VMware to use Security advisories as product releases.  Updated because of the release of VIX 1.10.3

Synopsis:

VMware vmrun utility local privilege escalation

Issue date:

2011-03-29

Updated on:

2011-03-30

CVE numbers:

CVE-2011-1126

 

Debunking the myth of Using Private VLANs to prevent VLAN exhaustion

Using Private VLANs doesn’t consolidate the number of VLANs used or does it? If you want to add security between virtual machines on the same subnet without exhausting VLAN number space, VMware advises to use Private VLANs. Private VLANs are an excellent way to provide layer 2 network isolation between servers in the same subnet. In this video you will learn that using Community Private VLANS doesn’t consolidate the number of VLANs used. On the other hand, when using Isolated Private VLANs you won’t exhaust the number of available VLAN IDs.

 

Moving an existing cluser in vSphere using PowerCLI

In this demo from Train Signal's VMware vSphere PowerCLI course, Hal Rottenberg shows how to use PowerCLI to get a VM host that is in maintenance mode and move it to an existing cluster. He'll then go into detail about cluster settings and how to make changes to them using PowerCLI. You can use these and other High Availability tasks in your own environment to minimize downtime in case of a host or virtual machine outage.

 

Ericom HTML5 Client for VMware View

Instant access to VMware View virtual desktops possible from any web browser supporting HTML5 - no software installation required on the end-user device. HTML5 technology enables development of rich, highly interactive browser-based applications. Ericom has developed a fully functional, high-performance HTML5 client that enables seamless access to VMware View virtual desktops. Running wholly within the browser, the client runs on devices with an HTML5 compatible browser and requires no additional software installation on the end-user device.

 

VMware View Security Hardening and Anti-Virus Practices White Papers

VMware has recently released two new updated white papers for it’s VMware View VDI platform.

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. (Wikipedia)

VMware View Security Hardening Practices Draft (version 3)

 

Printing Architectures for VDI

Printing discussions have been a constant during my customer engagements, and generally speaking I noticed that there are misconceptions about printing capabilities delivered with VMware View, ThinPrint and Active Directory Group Policies. In addition to that, there are always those questions from the field about how printing should be handled in a VDI environment. What to do with print queues? Should print drivers be deployed to virtual desktops?

I am writing a small series of printing articles, just like I did some time ago with storage, where I will discuss the architectures available, deployment, troubleshooting, printing over WAN etc. This is the part one.

 

Mware Go Pro new version supports patching of 3rd party applications

There was an update toVMware Go Pro and introduction 2 new Features.

Few weeks ago there was an update to the VMware Online Tool called VMware Go™. VMware Go™ is a free service which helps you to create your hypervisors while being OnLine and then create and manage your VMs. In fact, as you can read in the press release on VMware vSphere blog, 3 main features were introduced in the Pro (paid) version of VMware Go™:

 

VMware Workstation 7.1.4 released

New Update of VMware Workstation has been released – it’s the version 7.1.4 and it adds W7 SP1 and Ubuntu 10.10 support.

The new VMware Workstation 7.1.4 is available.  This is a maintenance release only that fix known issues.

The new features and fixes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VMware Knowledge Base Weekly Digest: New Articles Published for week ending 3/26/11

VMware ESX
High Availability fails to configure with error: HA agent on xxxxxx in cluster xxxxx in xxxxxxx has an error: error while running health check script (1021173)
How to set up sudo with active directory accounts (1027766)
When using NetXen 1G NX3031 or multiple 10G NX2031 devices, ESX hosts fail to boot with the error: Out of interrupt vectors error during bootup (1033299)
After upgrading to ESX/ESXi 4.1, the default pathing policy for LUNs that are used with MSCS is set to Round Robin (1033678)
Hot adding a network adapter to a virtual machine fails with the error: Communication with the virtual machine may have been interrupted (1035232)
Synchronizing ESX/ESXi time with a Microsoft Domain Controller (1035833)
Cannot mount an USB or a disk device media to the ESX/ESXi host (1036340)
Using Antivirus and Malware Detection software in VMware ESX/ESXi (1036544)
The VMware Tools version to install when building a virtual appliance for OVF deployment (1022056)
Upgrading from ESX 3.5 to ESX 4.0/4.1 using VMware Update Manager fails with the error: cannot upgrade GRUB configurations (1031204)
VMware ESXi
vCenter Server 4.1 Agent Pre-upgrade Check fails on ESXi 3.5 hosts with the error: Insufficient Available Memory (1029433)
After upgrading to ESXi 4.1, syslog continuously reports the error: Authentication exit /lib/libsfcBasicAuthentication.so not found (1030818)
Changing a LUN to use a different Path Selection Policy (PSP) (1036189)
VMware Player
Cannot use USB device in a virtual machine on a RHEL 4 x64 host (1036506)
VMware Service Manager
Federated CMDB is not using the audit trail functionality (1036037)
VMware vCenter Chargeback
Troubleshooting vCenter Server connectivity issues in vCenter Chargeback (1030758)
VMware vCenter Operations Standard
Expanding the data disk of the vCenter Operations Standard virtual appliance (1035655)
VMware vCenter Server
Accessing Performance and Hardware Status tabs in vCenter Server fails with the HTTP Status 500 error (1029647)
After upgrading from vCenter Server 4.0 to 4.1, deploying a template with guest customization fails (1036224)
Performance Charts in the VI Client fail to load fully (1036409)
Installing vCenter Server 4.1 fails with the error: Please make sure SQL Server Agent service is running on the database server (1036518)
Analyzing physical machines using VMware Guided Consolidation fails with the error: Bad credentials or insufficient privileges (1031721)
Configuring Windows Server 2008 to allow a smaller range of ports for Linked Mode communications (1036180)
Backing up the vCenter Server 4.x bundle using the Data Migration tool fails with the error: Object reference not set to an instance of an object (1036228)
VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat
Implementing vCenter Server Heartbeat on a single subnet using dual NICs (1036355)
Additional vCenter Server Heartbeat configurations for protecting a local NetApp Virtual Storage Console (1036507)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
Configuring array managers in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager fails with the error: mismatched tag (1035765)
VMware vCenter Update Manager
Update Manager fails to scan or remediate the ESX host with the error: VMware Update Manager had a failure (1020407)
VMware View Manager
Configuring PCoIP Secure Gateway in VMware View 4.6 (1036208)
Unable to connect to the PCoIP Secure Gateway when using Microsoft NLB Clustering (1036376)
Smart card authentication works with RDP but not with PCoIP (1036512)
VMware vShield Manager
I cannot log in to the vShield Manager web user interface by using default credentials after initial import from OVF (1032712)
VMware Workstation
Activating VMware Workstation fails with the error: Invalid serial number (1036178)
After installing Windows 7 SP1, VMware Workstation reports the error: Not enough physical memory is available to power this virtual machine (1036185)

From the editors Virtual Desk

Hi everyone, another fantastic week of news. I have spent most of the week using the new vSphere client on my iPad. It is really awesome but now that the iPad 2 is out I am anticipating even more when I receive mine, which I hope will be soon. The updates in performance will make using this as well as the View Client for iPad even better. I hope to be able to bring you results of my use on the iPad 2 soon.

 

The newsletter is shaping up to be quite popular as well, as many of you know this newsletter is sent to you my valued TAM customers first however around 4 days later the newsletter is also put onto my blog and announced via twitter. With all of this activity it does seem that a large number of people are now getting to read this on a weekly basis which I am very proud of. Of course we are now in our third year of the newsletter and as I have mentioned before I hope to bring you continued newsletter goodness for as long as I can.

 

This week’s focus is on VMware vCenter Application Discovery Manager. This is a must have technology for anyone’s data center and I urge you to take a look at this and contact your local VMware team to give you a demonstration of it’s capabilities.

 

If you are in the Brisbane area this week then feel free to register for our Lunch and Learn session on vCM which we will be holding this week for our local customers.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor), Paul James

Queensland TAM

 

Featured Product

VMware vCenter Configuration Manager

POLICY-DRIVEN CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT AND COMPLIANCE CONTROL

Are you PCI compliant?

 

  • Automate configuration management across virtual and physical servers, workstations, and desktops with VMware vCenter Configuration Manager. Increase efficiency by eliminating manual, error-prone and time-consuming work.
  • Avoid configuration drift by automatically detecting and comparing changes to policies
  • Maintain continuous compliance with out-of-the box templates and toolkits
  • Automate server and software provisioning in the datacenter

 

VMware vCenter Configuration Manager's policy-driven automation detects deep system changes and identifies whether that change is within policy - an expected and acceptable behavior based on industry, regulatory, or your own self-defined best practices - or whether that change has created a compliance violation or security vulnerability.

Gain Configuration Insight and Agility While Avoiding Configuration Drift

VMware vCenter Configuration Manager automates critical IT configuration management and compliance processes. By harnessing the power of automation to collect thousands of asset, security and configuration settings from each vSphere, ESX, Windows, UNIX, and Linux server and workstation, and then storing that data in a centralized repository, you have the solution you need to evolve traditional configuration processes into a powerful, business-aligned system delivering unified configuration insight.

Maintain Continuous Compliance with
Out-of-the-Box Templates

IT organizations are facing pressure to meet ever-increasing standards related to governance, risk and compliance—whether those standards come from an industry group, government regulators, a governance board, a set of best practices or even your own organization's policies. VMware vCenter Configuration Manager assures the integrity of your virtualized datacenter and lowers IT audit costs by providing automated compliance assessments against VMware and Microsoft security best practice guides, industry best practices, as well as your own policies.

Configuration Manager includes built-in, out-of-the-box compliance templates and toolkits, which contain policy-driven rules, reports and dashboards that ensure security, regulatory and operational compliance. When a violation is detected, Configuration Manager lets you fix the problem with one simple mouse click - right from the automatically identified violation. And that fix can be applied to just one system, a group of systems or even all systems managed.

Automate Software and Server Provisioning

vCenter Configuration Manager allows you to perform physical and virtual system provisioning via a centralized mechanism. You can deploy vSphere to 'bare metal' and then load operating systems into VM containers or to ‘bare metal’ systems. Configuration Manager also automates software provisioning and ties that into the compliance enforcement process.

With Configuration Manager, you can easily create software packages, push packages to systems and guests, automatically find missing software (e.g., anti-virus), and remediate to install required software to non-compliant systems. Packages support commercial and custom software that can then be published to Configuration Manager's distributed software repository and used across the enterprise by Dev, Test, Production, and various geographically dispersed organizations.

 

Latest news and reviews

 

VMware vSphere Blog: vSphere – Now There’s an App for That!

Today VMware launched a new vSphere Client for the Apple iPad.  Its available now for download at the Apple App Store. We’re excited about expanding vSphere management to the iPad, enabling users to view key performance metrics and perform essential tasks in a simplified interface on the go.  No more running to the nearest laptop, firing it up, logging into VPN, drilling down into the vSphere Client every time you need to check on your virtual machines.  Just launch the iPad app wherever you have connectivity and a few taps of the finger later, you’re done!

With our initial release of the vSphere Client for iPad, you can:

 

VMware Support Insider: Update Manager Mind Map

Today we have Bryan Hornstein introducing the new Mind Map for Update Manager.

VMware Update Manager is a fantastic product. It allows you to manage and patch your ESX/ESXi hosts efficiently and automatically, in a quick amount of time. Instead of messing with clunky command-line interface commands, everything is in an easy to understand GUI. Tasks that would normally take hours to do can now be done within a matter of minutes. With a simple point and click Update Manager can do several tasks at once, freeing us System Administrators to do other things that our companies need us for.

 

ESXi Chronicles: Ops changes part 7 - Upgrading Firmware

Upgrading firmware on any platform has always been a cumbersome task. When we asked a select group of customers what they expected to be most difficult when migrating to ESXi some answered Hardware Firmware Upgrades. The main reason for this was the fact that agents (some unsupported) were installed in the Service Console and they were used to upgrade the firmware. With ESXi that approach will no longer work due to the absence of a Service Console. Firmware however will still need to upgraded periodically.

 

VMTN Blog: New community launched: VMware vSphere Client for iPad

VMware vSphere is the industry's most complete and robust virtualization platform, offering the highest levels of availability and responsiveness.  The VMware vSphere Client for iPad is a companion interface to the traditional vSphere client, optimized for viewing and managing your vSphere environment on the go.  With this client you can monitor the performance of vSphere hosts and virtual machines.  Virtual machines can be started, stopped and suspended.  vSphere hosts can be rebooted or put into maintenance mode.

 

Uptime: Need your help ... What would you like to see ...

We are currently just starting our work on the marketing 'collateral' we need for our upcoming releases.  The products I work with include VMware Data Recovery (vDR) and Site Recovery Manager (SRM).  So that means I need to produce a technical What's new deck for our partners and internal technical sales people for each of those two products.  That is pretty easy.  Where it gets interesting, is I also need to do an evaluators guide for each of them.  An evaluators guide is suppose to be a simple and easy introduction to the key features of the product it is about.

 

VMware View: Technology Making a Difference – Children’s Hospital Central California

By Tisa Murdock, Product Line Manager, VMware View – Healthcare

Nestled in the lush San Joaquin Valley of California, Children’s Hospital  Central California rises like a mirage from 50 acres of green meadow.  It almost looks like a children’s castle with brightly colored buildings, statues of giraffes and cute animal shaped topiaries. I recently visited the hospital to interview the CIO and the Network Engineering team for a video in support of our VMware View Client for iPad announcement last week.

 

Uptime: Technology and Company behavior during a crisis - a great example!

This blog you are reading now is generally supposed to direct you to other VMware marketing materials.  As you can tell by what I do in this blog I provide answers to questions that customers ask me.  Sometimes I share things I think you should know about our products.  And today, there is something really different.

I have experience in difficult times and places and as such a blog that I read yesterday really resonated with me.  When I help customers with protecting their business assets and technology with VMware's products, I try to remind them that people are their strength and that needs to be part of their plans.  The article below talks about how important technology was for communication, and how well a company responded for its employees.  Both are good lessons and I think also interesting reading.

Check out this blog for the story - a very nice story in a hard time -http://kevinrose.com/blogg/2011/3/14/apples-role-in-japan-during-the-tohoku-earthquake.html .

 

VMware ThinApp Blog: Invalid MSI and Why

Some people have mentioned getting an "Invalid MSI" error when attempting to incorporate ThinApp package MSIs into their View environment via the View Management Console. As there are a various causes to the generation of this error, I wanted to go over some of the more common reasons why this is seen and how to resolve each of these.

 

VMware ISV Blog: Business Intelligence for Your Cloud

As cloud computing hits the initial incline of the maturity curve you begin to see a coupling of capabilities from a variety of disciplines, which may have previously been considered to be strange bedfellows. There are many examples of this such as security's impact on power usage efficiencies through the enabling of multi-tenancy. The one I want to focus on in this blog posting is that of business intelligence for your cloud operations. At the surface this sounds benign enough as we are often asked to produce business intelligence reports for measuring things that matter to our respective organization but this blog posting is looking further into the future. In many ways the future is available now and as such, should be factored into what is a relatively green field in the scope of IT operations. That green field is the journey from virtualization to cloud computing. Understanding the term ‘green field’ is bold in any context but with the direction to virtualize in general you generate some separation of concerns, lift and shift is a term I’ve often heard to describe this type of situation. In that respect it is an opportunity to rethink how your approach to something as complex as cloud computing might evolve over time and how to align management practices over this new paradigm to exercise proper controls.

 

VMware Virtualization Management Blog: vCenter Operations - Part 2

In the previous post, I provided a general context behind vCenter Operations and the rationale for integrated performance, capacity and configuration management. In this blog post, I will highlight a few  vCenter Operations capabilities, specifically for vSphere administrators, that makes it so unique.

vCenter Operations eliminates the need to have a short list of vSphere metrics to monitor (all those “top 20” metrics lists etc.). It tracks all the important metrics and aggregates them into simple, easy-to-understand scores.

 

RabbitMQ Blog: Sender-selected distribution

RabbitMQ 2.4.0 introduces an extension that allows publishers to specify multiple routing keys, specified in the CC or BCC message headers. The BCC header is removed from the message prior to delivery.

Direct and topic exchanges are the only standard exchange types that make use of routing keys, therefore the routing logic of this feature only works with these exchange types.

Why would I want this?

  1. Custom routing logic

 

Uptime: Under the Covers with Storage vMotion

I recently posted on how vMotion works (http://blogs.vmware.com/uptime/2011/02/vmotion-whats-going-on-under-the-covers.html) and figured it would be good to follow-up with a similar blog covering Storage vMotion (svMotion).

 

Many people think svMotion is new, but the ability to migrate a running VMs disk files to a new datastore (DS) was first introduced in VI 3.0 as an upgrade tool to help with VMFS upgrades.  In VI 3.5 it was officially given the name Storage vMotion, but only had CLI support. GUI support was finally added in 4.0 and with 4.1 there were several performance improvements.

 

Virtualization for SAP Solutions: Virtualizing the SAPGUI with Thinapp is now supported

With VMware ThinApp, applications are packaged into single executables that run completely isolated

from each other and the operating system for conflict-free execution on end-point devices.

Application packages can be deployed to different Windows platforms, eliminating costly

recoding and regression testing so you can easily migrate existing applications to Windows 7.

http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/overview.html

 

vCO Team: Tutorial: Create your own vCloud Director vApp hot clone in less than one hour

This article is the first tutorial covering a practical use of the recently released VMware vCloud Director plug-in. It is meant to be educational rather than exhaustive.

A while ago I wanted to make a copy of a running vCloud director vApp. When you use the vCloud Director user interface as an Organization Administrator you have the following options:

 

Using the EMC Cmdlets with PowerCLI

As you know from my previous post "EMC PowerShell Cmdlets - Where to start" I have started looking at the EMC PowerShell cmdlets, one thing I was keen to use them for was to find information on my VMware Datastores.

This information is already available if you have the EMC VSI Plugin installed as GUI based information but I wanted to be able to script against this info, pull various bits of information that I needed and output it into a Spread sheet.

 

Enable / Disable VAAI with PowerCLI

If you don't know what “vStorage APIs for Array Intergration” (VAAI ) is already then I suggest you look it up or at least talk to your storage vendor or VMware about VAAI as this is a great feature added by VMware in vSphere 4.1.

This basically offloads some of the features back to your storage array enabling your vSphere hosts to have more resources and time put aside for what there primary purpose in life is…. “Hosting VMs” and lets face it, the storage array is going to know how to do storage type functions more efficiently than the hosts.  I would suggest reading this post from “Virtual Geek” to get a better understanding of these 3 features which are part of VAAI.

 

vSphere Automation 101 – Use vCenter Orchestrator

Why? Because I said so. Perhaps that is a bit too direct. However, if you are like me, you often find yourself with more to do than time to do it in. Or, like my other side, you’re professionally lazy. If you’re the latter, don’t worry, I wont tell anyone. If you are either, vCO can help. Help save time, both in automating some of your more common tasks as well as cut down troubleshooting time due to errors.

What I’ve gathered here, are a collection of links & resources for vCO:

 

TIL – VMware Driver Floppy Images Already Included

Perhaps it’s just been a while since I’ve needed said floppy image, but I recall a time when you had to search the VMware KB to get the XP LSI driver. Well, today while changing some of my lab VMs over to PVSCSI, I found that the needed floppy images are in “/vmimages/floppies/” (at least on my ESXi 4.1 test system).

 

Some PowerCLI 101 – Connecting to Multiple vCenters

A few things brought this post together. First is that Glen Sizemore of Get-Admin and I have co-submitted a “vSphere Automation 101 – PowerCLI” session to the VMworld 2011 CFP. We thought it’d be an excellent idea to share some of that content before hand.

The second, and just as important, is that I’m Lazy so in the same line as my other “Professionally Lazy” post, here is another 101 style post for PowerCLI. Basically I dislike typing out the names of every vCenter each time I need to connect to more than one. PowerCLI is flexible enough to allow you to connect to more than one at a time, so why not take advantage. As with everything in IT, there are multiple ways to eat the cat… or skin him or whatever:

 

Xangati's New Release - V(D)I Dashboard

The cornerstone of the Xangati VDI Dashboard is its performance health engine that analyzes the health of VDI in an unprecedented four microseconds. Relying on Xangati’s memory-driven architecture, the performance health of the VDI is being continuously monitored across a broad spectrum of performance metrics to the unrivaled scale of 250,000 objects (which can include desktops and clients). In contrast, other performance management architectures are database-driven and unable to keep apace of dynamic interactions to scale that are fundamental to VDI.

 

VCP-DT Prep Video – Installing the VMware View Composer

While I was prepping for my upcoming VCP-DT (beta) exam, I couldn’t resist recording a new video and here it is. The VMware View Composer, a key component of VMware vSphere 4.6, is tightly integrated with VMware View Manager to provide advanced image management and storage optimization. VMware View Composer reduces storage requirements for virtual desktop machines by up to 90 percent and enables organizations to more effectively manage their desktop images.

 

Impact of changing configured memory of the Data Recovery appliance

I was asked why Data Recovery was only running one single job at a time instead of multiple concurrent. After some investigations I found out that the administrator changed the configured memory for the appliance to 8Gb where 2Gb is the default.

 

Enable verbose logging for Data Recovery

I was troubleshooting VMware Data Recovery today and found an interesting article in the VMware KB for enabling verbose logging for Data Recovery through the GUI instead of by modifying thedatarecovery.ini:

To view Verbose Data Recovery logs:

 

Using the vMA to rescan my HBA’s

Customer requested output for all HBA controllers of the ESXi hosts. Because ESXi is used we decided to do generate this output through the vMA appliance.

Here is how we did this:

 

Changing the PSP from Fixed to RR

Today I was fooling around with my new Lab environment when I noticed my Path Selection Policy (PSP) was set to fixed while the array (Clariion CX4-120) most definitely supports Round Robin (RR). I wrote about it in the past(1, 2) but as with vSphere 4.1 the commands slightly changed I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write it down again:

 

ESXi Management Network Resiliency

When we wrote the HA/DRS book both Frank and I were still very much in an “ESX Classic” mindset. Over the last weeks I had questions around resilient network configurations for ESXi. I referred people back to the book but the comments that I got were that the examples were very much ESX Classic instead of ESXi. Now in my opinion the configuration looks very much the same except that “Service Console” will need to be replace with “Management Network” but I figured I might as well just document my preference for a resilient ESXi Management Network as I needed to do it anyway as part of an update of the book to a future version of vSphere.

 

VAAI sweetness

Nothing deep technical this time, I just want to make clear how cool VAAI is! Last week I noticed on twitter that some people reported some nice figures around VAAI. I asked them if they were willing to run some tests and compare VAAI vs NON-VAAI runs. And these were some of the responses I received, I cut them down to the core of the message and I leave it up to you to visit these articles and read them. Thanks for helping me proof this point guys!

 

Tintri – virtual machine aware storage

This week I had a call with a new and exciting company called Tintri. Tintri has been flying under the radar for the last couple of years and has worked really hard to develop a new product. Tintri was founded by some of the smartest kids on the block one of which is their current CEO and former EVP of Engineering at VMware Dr. Kieran Harty. But not only former VMware employees, no we are talking about former Datadomain, NetApp and SUN employees. Although it is a rough time for a storage start-up they are jumping in the deep. Although one might wonder how deep it actually is as these are well experienced people and they know how deep they can go and what the weak and strong points are in virtualized environments when it comes to storage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VMware Knowledge Base Weekly Digest: New Articles Published for week ending 3/19/11

VMware Alive Enterprise
Validating SCOM Adapter login credentials in VMware Alive Enterprise (1035801)
VMware ESX
Enabling serial-line logging for ESX and ESXi 4.1 (1030667)
Host fails to recognize ESX installation (1034729)
X11 settings incorrect after installing VMware Tools (1035790)
Netware virtual machines report high CPU usage after upgrading to 4.1 (1036162)
Cannot connect to ESX/ESXi host or add it to vCenter (1030895)
Enabling serial-line logging for ESX and ESXi 3.x (1033868)
How to enable the clustering features for an existing thick virtual disk without losing the data (1035823)
vMotion fails during validation stage of migration - Compatibility Check Failure (1035834)
Enabling vMotion and Fault tolerance logging (1036145)
Cannot put the ESX host into maintenance mode (1036167)
VMware ESXi
vMotion fails at 10% with the error: Migration failed while copying data.back (1030845)
Unable to view the complete GID in esxtop if it has more than 7 characters (1031145)
Enabling serial-line logging for ESX and ESXi 4.0 (1033880)
Provider Order information in Windows guests is missing after upgrading VMware Tools from ESX 3.x to 4.x (1035429)
Adding a virtual machine to a DVPortGroup in the vSphere Client fails with the error: No free port is available in DVportgroup PortGroupName (1035819)
vMotion fails after validation stage of migration completed successfully (1036083)
VMware Fusion
Internal SD card reader is not detected by Fusion (1035825)
Partner Support - Submitting a Support Request (1035867)
VMware Service Manager
When trying to perform a Find operation on a website that has been opened in the wrapper you see the error: access violation at address 77164f27 in module 'oleaut32.dll' (1035893)
In the windows application event viewer, you see the error: Index and length must refer to a location within the string (1036040)
When logging a request in the customer portal that is pre-assigned to a workflow group, the "Forward To" field is still available (1035830)
Unable to remove an officer from the Call forum through the Call Search or Calls Outstanding screens (1036015)
You cannot add custom extension fields from custom screen sets in the Task Search screen (1036027)
VMware vCenter CapacityIQ
Upgrading VMware vCenter CapacityIQ from 1.0.x to 1.5.x (1034080)
CapacityIQ cannot upload the .pak file during upgrade process (1034269)
VMware vCenter Chargeback
The VMware vCenter Chargeback plugin fails to load with the error: An error has occurred. Please contact your system admin (1034925)
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
VMware Converter fails at 1% on Windows Server 2003 with the error code 2147754774 (1035241)
When installing vCenter Converter Standalone you receive the error: Error 1500. Another installation is in progress.. (1029761)
VMware vCenter Lab Manager
Logging in to Lab Manager after enabling debug mode fails with the error: an item with the same Key has already been added (1032536)
Error when upgrading from Lab Manager 4.0 to Lab Manager 4.x (1033275)
Deploying or undeploying a virtual machine fails in a fenced and partially deployed configuration (1035448)
Unable to upgrade Lab Manager from 3.x to Lab Manager 4.x (1033249)
Lab Manager reports 64-bit host as 32-bit host (1023157)
Upgrading to Lab Manager 4.0.2 fails .NET 2.0SP1 pre-check even though the requirement is met (1031409)
VMware vCenter Operations Standard
Licensing vCenter Operations 1.x (1036209)
VMware vCenter Orchestrator
Workarounds for vCenter Orchestrator Address Apache Struts Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (1034175)
VMware vCenter Server
After restarting the vCenter Server, Stored Procedures stop responding in the database causing unexpected results (1030898)
vCenter Server 4.1 Search, Storage views, Hardware Status fail after custom SSL certificates are installed (1035559)
Performance Chart fails after changing the default port on the SQL Server (1035561)
Dropping unwanted or unused dbo.VCI Update Manager schemas and tables from the VCenter Database (1033240)

VMware vCloud Connector
Reclaim storage space after a failed copy to vCloud Director (1036132)
VMware vCloud Director
vCloud Director 1.0 support for vCenter Server 4.1 Update 1 (1036109)
VMware View Manager
Appointment times in Lotus Notes running on the View Desktop show a different time when connected through View Client (1035783)
VMware Tools script does not recognize the version of the kernel headers in Ubuntu guests (1035767)
VMware vShield Edge
Installing VMware vShield components times out (1033307)
VMware vShield Zones
Installing vShield Zones fails with error: Previous installation of host service encountered error (1035397)
Uninstalling vShield Zones (1035797)

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