From the editors Virtual Desk

I received my Cloud Foundry invite this week. I can’t tell you how excited I was and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was presenting vShield I would have spent the rest of the week on this. Luckily for me it is a long weekend and I have 5 days to play with this awesome new tech so stay tuned for next week when I give you some of my initial impressions of this technology.

 

As this is a long weekend there is less news than usual but I have still tried to give you a good view of what is going on in the industry.

 

For those of you that are interested VMware released it’s quarterly results and boy were they impressive. Of course I am biased being an employee of one of the coolest companies in the world but I am still shocked at how well w manage to perform as a company in what are still considered pretty interesting if not difficult times that we are still going through since the gfc, luckily I am not a financial analyst but just a humble techie so all I and most of my colleagues focus on is providing our customers with the best tech in the world.

 

I am leaving last week’s focus on Cloud Foundry in still as we focus on this amazing solution as it evolves.

 

Finally don’t forget to check out the ESX to ESXi section provided.

 

As most will be reading this after Easter I will still like to wish everyone a Happy Easter which is why I am sending this week’s newsletter a few days early.

 

Take care until next time

 

Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor)

Queensland TAM

 

Featured Solution

Cloud Foundry

Understanding what Cloud Foundry is all about : CHOICE

Being an Open Platform as a Service is about having the ability to make the choices that best fit you as a developer:

Choice of Developer Frameworks (The Top of the Triangle)

Today (In the initial release) Cloud Foundry Supports Spring for Java, Rails andSinatra for Ruby, and Node.js.  There is also support for Grails on Groovy and other JVM-based frameworks baked into Cloud Foundry.  It is important to realize that this is only the beginning; there will be support for other frameworks (and languages) as Cloud Foundry matures.

Choice of Application Services (The Left Side of the Triangle)

Application Services allow Developers to take advantage of data, messaging, and web services as building blocks for their applications.  Cloud Foundry currently offers support for MySQL, MongoDBand Redis with other service integrations underway. Examples of additional service integrations will include VMware’s vFabric application services.

Choice of Clouds (The Right Side of the Triangle)

Public, Private, VMware based and non-VMware based it up to the developer and organization as to where they want to run Cloud Foundry.  Cloud Foundry can be run on Public and Private clouds because it can run on top of vSphere and vCloud Infrastructure.  Cloud Foundry also runs on other platforms as RightScale demonstrated at the launch when they deployed Cloud Foundry on top of Amazon Web Services.

Choice of Usage (It’s Open Source)

Cloud Foundry’s code is open sourced at Cloud Foundry.org under the Apache 2 License making it easy for anyone to adopt and use the technology in virtually any way they want.  This is one of the best ways to avoid the risk of lock-in and foster additional innovation.

 

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

 

ESXi Chronicles: Become a true ESXi expert with the new FREE VMware eLearning course and ebook offer!

Great news for all VMware customers: the VMware Education Services team has just made available a new, FREE elearning course dedicated to ESXi , “Transition to ESXi Essentials”. The course is a self-paced three-hour online training that provides the knowledge necessary to make fundamental design decisions to successfully add VMware ESXi to a vSphere environment and to take advantage of all of the new features included in ESXi 4.1. The training is ideal for system administrators, consultants and engineers responsible for managing and supporting a vSphere environment.

But it doesn’t end here! By completing the Transition to ESXi Essentials course and the short survey that follows at the end, you will also receive a FREE ebook copy of “VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security” authored by Dave Mishchenko and edited by VMware technical experts. Dave’s book is truly a phenomenal resource for all VMware users to learn everything there is to know about ESXi. While the Transition to ESXi Essentials course will remain available for free in the VMware Education Services portal, we’ll be able to also offer Dave’s book for free only while supplies last. So, hurry up, complete the training and turn in your survey as soon as possible!

For those of you who want to get a more direct hands-on experience on ESXi, VMware Education Services continues to offer an in-depth instructor-led two day course (in this case for a fee). Here is the link to class schedule and registration.

As you all know very well by now, 4.1 is the last release for ESX. Future releases of vSphere – starting with the next one – will only be based on the ESXi hypervisor architecture. Needless to say, now is the time to ramp up your expertise about ESXi and how to take advantage of its unique capabilities. The training options discussed above are just a couple of the several resources you can leverage to learn about ESXi. Others that are strongly recommended to help you become the ultimate ESXi expert are:

ESXi 4 and ESX 4 VMTN communities

ESXi and ESX Infocenter

VMware ESXi Chronicles and VMware vSphere blogs

VMware Knowledge Base

VMwarevSphere on Twitter

VMware vSphere page on Facebook

 

Latest news and reviews

Free Download - VMware Compliance Checker for vSphere

Check the compliance of your IT infrastructure against specific standards and best practices that are applicable for the environment. The Compliance Checker is a free, downloadable, fully-functional product for checking compliance of your environment to help you ensure that it remains secure and compliant.

This product is a robust utility providing detailed compliance checks against the VMware vSphere Hardening Guidelines. Unlike other free tools in the market, Compliance Checker for vSphere is a fully functional product. For example, you can print the reports that Compliance Checker produces, and can run compliance checks across multiple ESX and ESXi servers at once.

VMware Compliance Checker for vSphere lets you:

• Check compliance for multiple VMware ESX and ESXi servers concurrently - Run compliance check on up to 5 ESX or ESXi servers at a time and produce reports.
• Supports VMware vSphere hardening guidelines - Perform checks on VMware ESX and ESXi servers to conform with the latest VMware vSphere hardening guidelines.
• Analyze compliance assessment results - After a compliance run, you can view the assessments by ESX/ESXi hosts, plus guests.
• Save and Print assessment results -  You can save and print the compliance assessment reports to your team for review and they can be saved for archival needs.

http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere-compliance-checker/

 

ESXi Chronicles: Need to install 100s of ESXi hosts?

Yes you can of course use UDA or EDA but in my environments that is not an option. I was scavenging the internet to find an article that explained how to build your own UDA/EDA appliance and found something very close to home. This article was written by Tom Arentsen who is a freelance consultant in the Benelux region. Coiincidentally I have worked with him on several projects and I knew he was one smart cookie.

Tom created a solution that uses the Microsoft Windows Deployment Service. Through a simple host list he pulls down the correct bits and pieces needed to install and configure the host. This is probably the missing link some of you were looking for. I have had this question multiple times in the past and figured I would have to document it at some point. I am glad Tom already did this as it saves me and many others a lot of work.

 

Business Critical Applications: DBA Guide to Databases on VMware

DBAs are being challenged to provide 24x7 database services to application owners with the flexibility and autonomy they expect while keeping the infrastructure as simple and economical as possible. Traditional databases running on fixed physical hardware are often over-sized, under-utilized, protected by complex, expensive clustering solutions, and require rigorous processes for version control and continued application compatibility. Meanwhile, organizations are increasingly virtualizing their enterprise applications in production and with a robust platform like VMware, mission-critical databases are no exception.

If knowledge is power, then knowing the capabilities of the underlying intelligent virtual infrastructure is certainly powerful for the DBA. Experienced Database Administrators (DBAs) recognize that virtualization unlocks capabilities that were impossible in physical environments.

Most importantly, the value of virtualization goes far beyond basic consolidation. Virtualizing database applications on vSphere can improve application Quality of Services (QoS), and accelerate application lifecycles while significantly reducing application costs. In this brand newDBA Guide to Databases on VMware, we discuss database performance on VMware, examine the general tasks for DBAs, and introduce VMware technologies and tools that assist DBAs in design, implement, test, operate, and maintain databases in a virtual environment.

The following topics are covered in detail in this guide:

DBA's roles and responsibilities

Understanding VMware performance

Design, Develop and Test databases on VMware

Migrating existing databases to VMware

Securing and running databases on VMware

Monitor and Troubleshoot database performance

Frequently asked questions from SQL and Oracle DBA's

 

VMware vCloud Blog: VMware Hosting with PHP and The vCloud API

By David Elliott, Technical Director at StratoGen

Last week I had an interesting meeting with a software development company looking to move their products to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. It’s a common scenario these days and one which lends itself very well to VMware and in particular the vCloud Director cloud hosting platform.

One of the features they loved was the vCloud API which gives them the ability to deploy pre-configured virtual machines from a ‘master template’ on the fly.

 

Free training and book on ESXi?

I just wanted to point to this article on the ESXi Chronicles blog about a free training and free book on ESXi. I actually wrote an article about the book a while back and it is most definitely worth the effort of doing the training and survey!

 

vSphere Changed Block Tracking **on Restore**

This post is going to deep-dive into vSphere’s vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) Changed Block Tracking on restore – something not yet widely used (though when you see the results, you’ll likely agree that over time, everyone is going to need to leverage it).

The context?  Today – Avamar 6.0 was released.  It’s a huge release.  HUGE.   The core value proposition is amped up – save more, backup and restore faster, flexible restore (in place, with the industries best VMware integration when it comes to backup – and still no agent or client-based cost.

 

Chad’s World–Episode 4 (UIM v2.1 and Operations Center)

Episode 4 is up!   Guest appearances, great EMC/VMware/Cisco partners – demonstration of new products, and sneak peak at products around the corner… Filled with goodness (and lots of stupid stunts) like always!

The new product is EMC Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM) Provisioning Center v2.1.  There’s a ton of new stuff, but the biggies are full Vblock family support, vCenter integration (with a single click – everything to provision a vSphere clsuter is done and you’re ready to go in vCenter).

The “sneak peek” is of something we’ll be doing very soon – which is UIM Operations Center. It’s a cool, cool idea.  (and if you look back at VMworld 2009 at this link, you can see it’s something we’ve been working on for a while).

 

Spring Data Graph 1.0 with Neo4j support released today

This announcement post is a guest contribution by the developers of the Neo4j team that worked closely with SpringSource's Spring Data team to provide the Spring Data Graph integration library. For a friendly introduction to Spring Data Graph we’re hosting a free webinar with VMware presented by Neo Technology’s CEO Emil Eifrem on April 20 [...]

 

Deeper into Grails & Cloud Foundry

In my previous post, I showed you how easy it is to deploy a Grails application to Cloud Foundry using the corresponding plugin. Hopefully that whetted your appetite and you are ready to look at a more complex Grails application that demonstrates the power of the GORM plugins and stretches the Cloud Foundry services. If [...]

 

vSphere Automation 101 – Mass Migrations (Orchestrator)

This one isn’t so much a long winded explanation post as the last one. Rather this one highlights the usefulness of vCenter Orchestrator and it’s built in workflows for facilitating the mass migration of virtual resources.

The Scenario

This guy comes in… and if you’ve seen the movie, you’re hearing it in his voice too:

“Ummm, we’re going to need you to come in on Saturday. We’ve recently had to let go of some folks so we’re all putting in some extra effort to get migrated into our new vSphere cluster and awesome array from $vendor… mmm kay?”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to work on that whole work/life balance thing, and well, this is not going to fly. Not at all.

Note:

With all due respect to the PowerCLI folks, I know it can be done there and is highlighted as one of the many, many wonderful things you can put together using the “VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference”. In fact, it may be the subject of a future post. vCO however makes this point and click simple… as you’ll see.

vCenter Orchestrator to the Rescue

 

Virtual Storage Integrator Short Videos

I have taken a long hiatus from blogging of late and am jumping back into the fold with a simple but important addition to the blogosphere. A few weeks ago Chad Sakac announced a new videoshowing the awesome vCenter plugin, the Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI). In this case the VSI was being used to demonstrate the capabilities of EMC’s new VNX array.

 

An introduction to Arista’s vEOS

Last Friday I attended a seminar hosted by Arista Networks and XTG in Gouda where Frederik Vos delivered a real cool demo of the vEOS virtual appliance which is available for free at Artista’s website.
http://www.aristanetworks.com/en/products/eos/veos
vEOS is a Virtual Appliance that provides an industry-standard CLI based management interface of a VMware vNetwork distributed switch (vDS). To a network administrator, vEOS provides the management interface just like a physical switch – SSH/telnet access, industry standard CLI, and integration with SNMP management tools like HP Openview for auto-discovery of VMs. Furthermore, vEOS simplifies network administration tasks such a

 

Video - Latest fling from VMware Labs - Ruby vSphere Console

VMware Labs present its latest fling, the Ruby vSphere Console - RVC is an open source project. Ruby vSphere Console (RVC) is a console UI for vSphere, built on the RbVmomi bindings to the vSphere API. RVC is a console UI for VMware ESX and vCenter. The vSphere object graph is presented as a virtual filesystem, allowing you to navigate and run commands against managed entities using familiar shell syntax.
Features:

 

VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop Exam Registration Now Open

VMware Certified Associate 4, Desktop Exam LIVE. No pre-reqs, but skills required. Get certified! VMware offers world-class Desktop certifications designed to validate and recognize individuals with the technical capabilities and real-world experience needed to increase efficiency, reliability, and availability when delivering desktops from the datacenter as a managed service.

VMware Education recommends the listed courses in preparation for the VCA4-DT exam but there are no course requirements in order to take the exam.

 

VDI Base Image: The Missing Step

How far can you go when creating the perfect base image for your VDI deployment? I haven’t stopped searching for the Holy Grail, however I have recently figured out that a very critical step in the base image creation was missing, forgotten or had not been discussed yet or enough.

However, before I give you the cooking recipe let’s dig into the semantics of the problem.

During tests with the Linked Cloning technology on VMware View 4.6 (although the example below applies to any version) I noticed that the Replica disks and Linked Clones were using more storage space than they should, or had been provisioned with.

 

What happens when you vmc push an application to Cloud Foundry

This post covers the Cloud Foundry vmc CLI interface and how it interacts with Cloud Foundry.  There will be another post covering what Cloud Foundry does on the back-end when clients (such as vmc or STS) connect to it coming soon.

 

Targeting Cloud Foundry

Step 1 : vmc target api.cloudfoundry.com

When you first install vmc and are ready to start controlling Cloud Foundry, you will need to first select it as a target.  Why do you need to select api.cloudfoundry.com ?  Because vmc is capable of connecting to any Cloud Foundry instance whether it be at cloudfoundry.com or elsewhere.  Selecting a target also allows you to use the same CLI to interface with multiple Cloud Foundry Clouds in the same way.

 

Cloud Foundry Open PaaS Deep Dive

You are probably wondering about how Cloud Foundry actually works, hopefully these details will clear things up for you about how Cloud Foundry the OSS project works, why it works, and how you can use it.


Cloud Foundry is on github here: https://github.com/cloudfoundry/vcap. The VCAP repo is the meaty part or what we call the “kernel” of Cloud Foundry as it is the distributed system that contains all the functionality of the PaaS.. We have released a VCAP setup script that will help you get an Ubuntu 10.04 system running a instance of Cloud Foundry including all the components of VCAP as well as a few services (mysql, redis, mongodb) up and running so you can play along at home.

 

VMware Knowledge Base Weekly Digest: New Articles Published for week ending 4/16/11

VMware Data Recovery
Considerations while using CIFS Share as dedupe stores in VMware Data Recovery (1036622)
Restarting the datarecovery service on a VMware Data Recovery appliance (1036768)
Troubleshooting CIFS Shares issues for VMware Data Recovery (1037855)
Troubleshooting VMDK and RDM dedupe datastore issues in VMware Data Recovery (1037920)
Troubleshooting VMware Data Recovery connectivity (1037995)
Troubleshooting VMware Data Recovery snapshot and VSS errors (1037997)
VMware ESX
Powering off a virtual machine fails with the error: Performing disk cleanup, cannot power off (1037391)
Inflating a virtual disk fails with the error: The disk is not thin-provisioned (1037619)
During backup, snapshot creation fails if Windows 2008 has more than 30 virtual disks (1037754)
How to install VMware Tools on a Windows Server 2008 Core virtual machine (1032639)
Emplacement des fichiers journaux de l'ESX (1037341)
Troubleshooting a failed vSphere/Virtual Infrastructure Client installation (1037551)
Minimum system requirements for installing the vSphere/Virtual Infrastructure Client (1037552)
Controlling the size and number of vmkernel logs in ESX hosts (1037645)
Cloning a virtual machine in ESX 4.x fails with the error: Invalid configuration for device (1022106)
Adding the ESX host to vCenter Server inventory fails and hostd reports the backtrace: Exception: Assert Failed: : "adapterServer != __null" (1022153)
VMware ESXi
Remote query of NTP service on ESX/ESXi 4.0 (1036357)
Checking your firmware and BIOS levels to ensure compatibility with ESX/ESXi (1037257)
Microsoft Clustering on VMware vSphere: Guidelines for Supported Configurations (1037959)
VMware Service Manager
Unable to create a SQL statement with HAVING clause in the VMware Service Manager Reporting wizard (1037539)
When exporting a Service Manager report to Microsoft Excel, date fields in the spreadsheet do not have the Date data type (1037540)
Cannot sort on a Count(*) field in the Reporting Wizard of VMware Service Manager. (1037811)
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
P2V conversion using VMware Converter fails with the error: Unable to find the system volume, reconfiguration is not possible (1037507)
VMware vCenter Operations Enterprise
Licensing VMware vCenter Operations Enterprise 1.0 (1034340)
Changing debug logging settings in VMware vCenter Operations Enterprise 1.0 (1034978)
Access requirements for the Oracle Enterprise Management Adapter in vCenter Operations Enterprise 1.0 (1037254)
VMware vCenter Server
Performance charts show no data and vpxd log contains SQL execution failed messages (1032908)
VMware VirtualCenter Server Service fails with the error: Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint 'PK_VPX_ALARM_REFRESH'. (1036902)
A thin provisioned virtual machine copied using vCloud Connector 1.0.x with vCenter Server 4.0 becomes thick provisioned (1037711)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
Unable to establish reciprocity between the primary and secondary site in vCenter Site Recover Manager (1037679)
VMware vCenter Update Manager
The Edit Baseline option in vCenter Update Manager is greyed out (1030988)
Minimum system requirements for installing vCenter Update Manager (1037494)
VMware View Manager
Error messages from deletion scripts are not recorded in View Connection Server logs (1036748)
View Connection Server instances should be patched with the Microsoft security update for MS10-068 (1036755)
The VMware View 4.5 Admin Web interface shows duplicate entries for vCenter Server in the system health dashboard (1037506)
Provisioning linked clones when using the French version of Windows 2008 64bit fails with the error: Selected parent VM is not accessible (1037379)
Clients time out if the PCoIP Secure Gateway is enabled but has not been installed (1037116)
View Agent fails to start after upgrading to View Agent 4.6 (1038014)
VMware Workstation
Bridging to cellular/mobile broadband (EV-DO) cards fail (1037332)