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)