From the editors Virtual Desk

Hi everyone, well it has been 4 weeks since my last newsletter and in that time so much has happened in the world of VMware. Of course for those of you that keep up with news you will know that have made a number very interesting strategic purchases over the past month. All of these purchases have been backed up by our CEO with information that shows our commitment to the cloud and virtualisation and software as a service which has always been our stated intention. This is a really exciting time for our industry.

 

For those that are interested I have been on my annual leave and during this time I travelled to South Africa, England and Scotland as well as Hong Kong before returning to my hometown of Brisbane, Australia. I mention this because during this break I chose to leave my trusty Macbook Air at home. This was a very hard decision for me personally because regardless of the fact that I was on holiday from work, I still feel strongly about keeping in contact and up to date with friends and family even on holiday. I decided to just take my iPhone 4 with me for this trip and see how I go, with a backup plan of purchasing an iPad 2 if things got rough as I had just recently sold my iPad 1. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical that I could achieve my goals of keeping in touch and still being fully functional however I am happy to report that my expectations were exceeded and I never felt the need to have a complete PC/Mac at any stage during the journey. In fact I used my iPhone to log my trip on a really great service called Track My Tour. Anyone interested is free to view the outcome of this at http://trackmytour.com/5114 and let me know what you think.

 

This week’s newsletter is a big one with a bit of a catchup from the last one so please take the time to browse through it as I am certain you will find something of interest. I have also tried to place the VMware Blogs (official) first followed by the VMware vExperts/Bloggers to make things easier to read. I have also tried to include all parts of a particular blog when there is more than one. There are also a number of new troubleshooting mind maps included in this edition for a number of areas which I think are worthwhile downloading and reviewing.

 

Well until next time I wish you all well. It is now winter in my part of the world and a bit colder but still beautiful clear and calm days after some of the chaos that we have endured over the past few months which I am really enjoying.

 

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

 

Latest News
VMware Support Insider: Important Patch Information for ESX/ESXi 3.5 hosts

This is a Critical Impact Message:

To continue patching ESX/ESXi 3.5 hosts, a critical patch needs to be applied before June 1, 2011. This patch updates the secure key.

Knowledgebase Article 1030001 Critical Impact: VMware ESX 3.5, Patch ESX350-201012410-BG: Apply this patch to continue applying patches on ESX 3.5 hosts after June 2011 has been written for users of ESX.

 

VMwareTV: Your Cloud. Accelerate IT and Business with VMware

Visit vmware.com and learn how VMware ensures security and control, preserves existing investments, and avoids vendor lock-in. VMware, the trusted virtualization leader, is uniquely positioned to enable your transition to the cloud.

 

ESXi Chronicles: Migrating to ESXi part 1 - Are you ready for ESXi?

It’s been almost a full year since we first heard about ESXi convergence, have you made the move to ESXi?  Is it still on your to-do list?  Migrating to ESXi is really pretty easy and can even be done with no VM downtime.   The basic process involves (1) migrating the VMs off the host, (2) installing ESXi and (re)configuring the host, and (3) restoring the VMs.

 

ESXi Chronicles: Migrating to ESXi part 2 – Moving VMs off the ESX Host

In my last post I mentioned the requirement to upgrade vCenter in preparation for migrating  to ESXi.  In this post I will discuss the storage considerations related to an ESXi migration.

 

Before you shutdown an ESX hosts in preparation to migrate it to ESXi you need to evacuate the VMs off the host.  The steps to do this vary depending on where the VMs are stored and what their availability requirements are.  There are three places where VMs can be stored:  (1) on the boot disk, (2) on local disks, or (3) on shared storage.  Let’s discuss the considerations for each.

 

ESXi Chronicles: Migrating to ESXi part 3 – Installing ESXi and reconfiguring the host

This is the third post in my migrating to ESXi series.  In the first post I talked about the need toupgrade vCenter and provided some tips to ensure a smooth upgrade.  In the second post I talked about the need to evacuate VMs off the ESX host and called out special consideration needed for VMs running on boot disk and other local datastores.  This time I will talk about the steps to install ESXi and reconfigure the host after the ESXi migration.

 

VMware Security Blog: vShield App and View Desktops: Desktop Security Zones and the Desktop DMZ

Hi...Rob Randell here again.  In an earlier posting on the partner announcements at the RSA and HIMSS Conferences, I promised that I would go into detail on how we can leverage VMware View to provide what I like to call Desktop Security Zones and the Desktop DMZ.  In this blog I am going to illustrate this in a use case on a hospital network.

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind-map for vSphere Install & Upgrade Troubleshooting

Today the Support Insider brings you another new Mind Map we expect to be popular— vSphere Install & Upgrade Troubleshooting!

These interactive Flash-embedded PDFs are clickable so that you can expand sections and drill down to the problem you may be experiencing. The map is fairly large and covers a lot of topics. If you see a topic you’d like to explore, click the ‘+’. If you see an article you’d like to view, click the link icon.

 

VMwareTV: VMware Horizon App Manager Overview

VMware Horizon App Manager Overview

Blog: bit.ly Product info: bit.ly Video description: Noah Wasmer, Director, Advanced Development, VMware discusses VMware Horizon App Manager, an open, user-centric management service for accessing cloud applications.

 

VMware End User Computing: A New View of the Horizon

Today marks a major milestone for VMware’s End-User Computing vision with the launch of VMware Horizon App Manager, a user-centric management service for accessing cloud applications.  We are excited to bring this new service to our customers.

Over the last few years, the “tectonic plates” of IT have been shifting. In increasing numbers, organizations are moving to embrace the cloud in new, unexpected ways.  As our customers push for new workforce efficacies they are adopting a new generation of applications like WebEx, salesforce.com, Google Apps, BroadVision and/or Box.net.  Organizations are seeing value and productivity gains by having applications and data available anywhere, across different devices - and the devices are changing just as fast.

 

vCenter Orchestrator Blog: Creation of User Accounts with Active Directory Plug-in for VCO

A few days ago we announced the GA of Active Directory Plug-in for VCO. Now we want to show you an example how this plugin can be used.

Suppose you are an Active Directory administrator and you have to create a lot of new accounts for a newly created department of your company with a lot of employees. If just using the UI that your Windows 2008 server has for working with AD objects, you have to do a lot of annoying and repeating steps, but you have the VCO and the AD plug-in on your side

 

VMware End User Computing: Getting to know Horizon App Manager: 3 videos

Thanks for all the congratulations and kind words around today's Horizon App Manager launch -- we're excited as well! Here are three videos that will give you an insight into the functionality, benefits, ease of use, as well as the broader implications of VMware Horizon.

 

VMware End User Computing: The New Planning Horizon

End-user computing is undergoing its biggest transition since the wave of standardization that accompanied PC market proliferation in the mid 1990s. Most workers still depend on traditional PC applications, but these can now be made available in multiple ways and the new capabilities they use are increasingly delivered from the cloud. Devices are changing too, fragmenting into a much broader range of choice that mirrors the diversity of the individuals in our workplaces. For organizations trying to equip their workers for today and the years ahead, all of this change creates a fast moving target with many new risks and opportunities. As they navigate the complex choices now facing them, IT departments often find themselves trapped between a rock and a hard place of raised expectations: the organization’s leaders want more agility and efficiency, the users just want more liberty and function – and everyone wants it now!

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind Map, Resolution Path for Lab Manager issues

Here’s our latest mind map for Lab Manager issues. As before, this PDF has a clickable Flash object embedded so that you can drill down into the various topics and articles. We list the steps to take, and link to articles (or documentation) describing the steps in detail. Each main Resolution Path article has more information than we list here however, so we recommend reading the full article if you ever encounter this issue.

Today’s Mind Map details our Resolution Paths for Lab Manager Issues: Click here to open the download page

 

Business Critical Applications: Is Java both OS and Hypervisor Independent?

For those that don’t really have time to read the entire blog, I can simply answer as, yes, to the above question.  Indeed Java is independent of the underlying hypervisor such as VMware bare metal hypervisor, and the Operating System.  But for those folks that want to delve a little more into what this means, please read on.

 

VMware Networking Blog: LBT (Load Based Teaming) explained (Part 1/3)

In this first part of how LBT works we want to first explain how the stats are derived for the pNIC attached to the vDS (or vSwitch).

The vmkernel maintains tx/rx stats for each of the pNIC's that is attached to a vDS. Stats to the vmkernel is updated as soon as the packet have been send or received by the pNIC. There is no overhead on delivering the packet to the VM during the stats update process to the vmkernel.

 

VMware Networking Blog: LBT (Load Based Teaming) explained (Part 2/3)

In the first part we looked at how we collect network stats. In this part we will be looking at when and how LBT checks for load and the process of moving the VM traffic to another pNIC.

Let's first look at the detection and frequency. The vmkernel checks every 30sec the stats from the relevant pNIC's. The calculation will use the stats for the 30sec interval and get an average over the 30sec (to normalize the average and to eliminate spikes). If the bandwidth is above 75%, it will mark the pNIC as saturated.

 

VMware Networking Blog: LBT (Load Based Teaming) explained (Part 3/3)

In this part we will look at some scenarios and what will happen when a pNIC is saturated.

Scenario 1:

ESX host with 2x 1Gb pNIC's that is attached to a vDS . pNIC0 is above 75% threshold.

LBT will calculate to evaluate which vNIC traffic can be moved off pNIC0 to pNIC1

As part of the calculation LBT will also determine that if a vNIC is moved over to pNIC1 it will not saturate pNIC1

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind-map for Converter Troubleshooting

Here’s our latest mind map for VMware Converter issues. As before, this PDF has a click-able Flash object embedded so that you can drill down into the various topics and articles. We list the steps to take, and link to articles (or documentation) describing the steps in detail. Each main Resolution Path article has more information than we list here however, so we recommend reading the full article if you ever encounter this issue.

Today’s Mind Map details our Resolution Paths for Converter Issues: Click here to open the download page

 

VMware vCloud Blog: Cloud Hosting With VMware

I often get asked what’s so great about cloud hosting with VMware when there are so many different cloud hosting platforms available. The beauty of the cloud is that I can always reply with ‘try it and see’, as it’s so easy to take a free trial on a VMware cloud hosting platform for a few days.

I guess one of the key things about vCloud Powered solutions are that they are single vendor end to end – from the portal to the back end.  Many other cloud offerings have ‘home grown’ integration into the hypervisor, which works fine, but presents ongoing compatibility challenges as the differing technologies evolve.

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind Map, Resolution Path for OS issues

Today we have yet another mind map for OS issues. Those are issues that pertain to the guest operating system you are running in your vm.

As before, this PDF has a click-able Flash object embedded so that you can drill down into the various topics and articles. We list the steps to take, and link to articles (or documentation) describing the steps in detail. Each main Resolution Path article has more information than we list here however, so we recommend reading the full article if you ever encounter this issue.

Today’s Mind Map details our Resolution Paths for OS Issues: Click here to open the download page

 

VMware Support Insider: New Mind Map, Resolution Path for VMware Site Recovery Manager Issues

One more mind map to round out the week, this one is for VMware Site Recovery Manager issues. SRM for short.

As before, this PDF has a click-able Flash object embedded so that you can drill down into the various topics and articles. We list the steps to take, and link to articles (or documentation) describing the steps in detail. Each main Resolution Path article has more information than we list here however, so we recommend reading the full article if you ever encounter this issue.

Today’s Mind Map details our Resolution Paths for VMware Site Recovery Manager Issues: Click here to open the download page

 

The Console: The New Way to Work… Part 2

In April I introduced VMware’s acquisition of SlideRocket with a blog entry entitled, “The New Way to Work – End-User Computing in the Post-PC Era”. Today I am happy to announce the next step in this journey with our acquisition of Socialcast, a powerful “Enterprise Activity Stream Engine” that unites a company’s people, information, and applications in real-time. In this blog, I discuss this social platform and how it helps evolve the way we work.

 

VMware Virtualization Management Blog: vCenter Operations Unplugged - Understanding Workload & Health

Virtualization Admins have a tough job.  Every day they face tough questions like: Is there a performance problem in my virtual infrastructure (VI)? Is it an ESX population issue? Is it a single VM gone haywire? What VMs are being affected? If you’re a VI Admin then you know what I’m talking about when I say these are the questions that start flying when you’re pulled into a large conference room during a service outage and all the finger pointing begins.

 

Business Critical Applications: Using VMware HA, DRS and vMotion with Exchange 2010 DAGs

The wave of VMware customers looking to virtualize Exchange 2010 on vSphere continues to accelerate. While there have been customers who have chosen not to virtualize the DAG nodes, the reasons were not those we heard of in years past. Today it's not because of performance or high storage IO, in fact most customers believe that the majority of their applications can be virtualized, including their business critical applications. VMware customers who chose to postpone virtualization of their Exchange 2010 DAG nodes mostly did so for one reason: lack of support for vSphere advanced features from Microsoft. Those customers will be pleased to know that this is now a thing of the past.

 

Technology Short Take #12: Storage Edition

I’m so far behind in my technology reading that I have this massive list of blog posts and links that I would normally put into an issue of Technology Short Takes. However, people are already “complaining” that my Short Takes aren’t all that short. To keep from overwhelming people, I’m breaking Technology Short Take #12 into three editions: Virtualization, Storage, and Networking.

Here’s the “Storage Edition” of Technology Short Take #12!

 

Stretched Clustering Presentation

On May 5, I had the privilege of speaking in Charlotte, NC, at the Carolina VMware User’s Summit. I had been asked to deliver a presentation on the pros and cons of stretched clusters in VMware vSphere. Since I know that not everyone could make it to Charlotte, here’s a copy of the presentation I gave. It’s hosted via Sliderocket. Enjoy, and feel free to post any questions or suggestions in the comments to this post. Thanks!

 

Stretched Clusters, Distance vMotion and L2 Adjacency

Beth Pariseau recently published an article discussing the practical value of long-distance vMotion, partially in response to EMC’s announcement of VPLEX Geo at EMC World 2011. In that article, Beth quotes some text from a tweet I posted as well as some text from Chad Sakac’s recent post on VPLEX Geo. However, there are a couple inaccuracies from Beth’s article that I really feel need to be cleared up:

Long-distance vMotion and stretched clusters are not the same thing.

L2 adjacency for virtual machines is not the same as L2 adjacency for the vMotion interfaces.

 

Application Troubleshooting Tools and Tips for VMware ThinApp

Party Apps ThinApp VDI View VMware

Well over a year ago, I was introduced to a fantastic repository of VMware ThinApp tools, tips, and troubleshooting methods.  While some of the content may be dated (it was created nearly a year before I came across it), I suspect the bulk of it is still relevant to some degree today.  It comes to us from VMware’s ThinApp blog by a gentleman named Dean Flaming.

 

Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) Tag Team

For this blog post, I collaborated with Dawn Theirl (@KokopeIIi on Twitter) who is a Network Engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Dawn performs a  lot of hands-on work in her day to day role as a wired and wireless network guru.  We understand that CDP provides benefits for both the network and virtualization platform teams.  However, in larger or siloed environments, our two teams don’t necessarily know what the other is seeing in their dashboard.  Curiosity prevailed and here we are.  In this writing, Dawn and I will discuss CDP, its implementation, and what exactly is seen in each of our siloed roles using our respective management tools, as well as the benefits provided by both having and sharing this information..

 

Co-scheduling Visualized

I stumbled onto this time lapse video of 51 airplanes taking off (and others taxiing) at Boston’s Logan International Airport.  One thought immediately popped into my mind: co-scheduling, which is a function of The VMware vSphere CPU Scheduler.  The accelerated speed of the video really pronounced the importance of precision the scheduler is responsible for, which in this case is the air traffic controller (or controllers).

 

How Cloud Foundry works when a new Application is Deployed

Previously in this blog post, we covered how the client side does a vmc push to deploy an application onto the Cloud Foundry.com service.  In this post we are going to look at how things work from Cloud Foundry’s perspective.  This post is a detailed walk through of the inner workings of deploying an application on Cloud Foundry.

 

Cloud Foundry: Now Supporting Scala

Cloud Foundry, the open platform as a service, supports multiple frameworks, multiple application services and multiple clouds.

Cloud Foundry already supports multiple frameworks including Spring (Java), Grails (Groovy), Railsand Sinatra (Ruby) and Node.js with others on the way from the community. For each supported framework we provide an appropriate runtime (such as Java) and application server (such as Tomcat). Furthermore, we utilize each framework’s expected application structure to offer features such as auto-reconfiguration so you may deploy applications to CloudFoundry.com or to a local instance of Cloud Foundry with minimal changes.

 

VDR plugin do not connect to VDR appliance

When you can’t connect to the VDR appliance through the plugin present in vCenter.

I’m sure that you have already experienced this issue if you’re using VDR for smaller deployements. In fact without particular reason there is some kind of lost connectivity and you’re presented to with the connection window prompting you to connect to VDR again.

Well the solution which worked for me was that instead of putting hostname or FQDN of the vCenter server, I put the IP Address. And it did the trick….

 

VMware HA Slot sizes

HA Slot sizes – how do we get those numbers from vCenter?

Info: This is a guest post by Andy Grant. He lives and works in Canada. Andy was a real help recently when I tried to configure a Cisco switch. You can read about my switch adventures here.

This post is an extension of blog discussions around VMware vSphere HA slot sizing.  If you are not familiar with the topic, start with Duncan Epping’s article HA Deepdive and review the VMware HA Admission Control section of the vSphere Availability Guide.

What these documents and articles do not tell us is how this slot size translates to the Available Slots as show in the Advanced Runtime Info of vCenter 4.1.  A question that I encounter when people try and figure out their HA slot sizing is, “how come my HA slot size calculation does not equal what vCenter tells me?”

 

vMA + Splunk = Syslog Awesomeness

Managing syslog messages in nearly any size of environment can be daunting.  Aside from the effort configuring every client to send syslog messages to your target server, searching for relevant data can be just as challenging.  There are many articles online on how to use VMware’s vSphere Management Assistant for collecting your ESX/i host syslog messages and naturally, after reading such an article the first thing I did was to jump into my lab and setup vilogger.  But then what?  While it was nice to have all my logs in one location, I still had to manually search through the files using some conglomeration of cat, ls, less and grep.

 

3 new books anounced from VMware Press

VMware Press and Pearson IT Certification together created VMware Press.

The announce was done the 19th of May. You can read all the text of the announce here.

3 new books has been announced for Fall 2011. A bit long time ahead one say… but look, we’re already at the end of May!!!! The time just goes too fast. I think that vSphere 5 is in the starting blocks ready for unboxing…..

Anyway, this announce confirms officially the name of the next release of vSphere, it will be vSphere 5. Quite logical one say, but you never knows, the marketing strategists are very creative sometimes…

As for now,  the only informations we have are the following about the new books which will be released Fall 2011.  Here are the resume of informations from the detailed page at Pearson’s website.

There are 3 new books to be released. All of them will be a great read….

 

Socialcast – a new acquisition by VMware

VMware acquired Socialcast – Collaborative and Microblogging platform for entreprise.

The whole corporate activity stream can be managed by this platform which also ties into CRM and ERP systems. Features like social bookmarking, Outlook Integration are present.

Also SharePoint integrations, mobile (iPhone and Blackberry) and desktop (Air) apps, and analytics tools. The application has also discussion forum. It’s designed to make it easier for employees to find and share information.

As I could see on the Socialcast website, there are some free applications in the bundle, but also some premium features.

 

Between the free applications you can find for example the Outlook connector, Sharepoint Webpart or mobile accesibility. It looks like that it will complete the Zimbra collaborative suite in some way.

VMware has got a clear vision about the transformation of  the traditional PC desktop into mobile workforce with secure access to applications and data from any location and any device. All together with productivity increase and by using modern devices available on the consumer market.

 

Migrating distributed vSwitch to new vCenter

Customer called me to ask how they could easily migrate their existing vCenter to a new vCenter including all distributed vSwitches. They were moving from vCenter 4.0 to vCenter 4.1 and at the same time creating an AD intergrated vCenter and moving from physical to a virtual vCenter. The upgrade path would be a difficult road and they decided to just perform a fresh vCenter install. Since a dvSwitch is linked to vCenter and not the ESX host, you cannot move the dvSwitch to a new vCenter by connecting the ESX host to the new vCenter. We had to use a different path.

 

VDI USER EXPERIENCE and USER ACCEPTANCE

I have seen a number of failed VDI deployments. Some of them failed because of poor initial technical design or lack of information during initial assessments, while others failed because of factors related to the communication process utilized during the rollout.

Failures may be characterized by technical difficulties faced by users, such as low performance or missing applications. The users will always be comparing the new VDI environment against a baseline – and in this case the baseline is their old desktop or laptop computer.

Independent of the reason or root cause, the failed VDI deployment will either present low adoption or unhappy users. In any VDI deployment there are two key factors to be considered before the initial rollout: USER EXPERIENCE and USER ACCEPTANCE.

 

PCoIP Recommended Practices for Networking Devices

Display protocols for VDI are still very much a subject to be discussed, and in most environments tuned. The out-of-the-box setting from ANY of vendor will work for many situations; however every environment presents different challenges, making optimization a must.

I previous articles I have covered PCoIP optimization from a display protocol standpoint. My articleOptimising PCoIP Display & Imaging cover the basics about how to optimize settings such as display frame rate and image quality. My article PCoIP: Unleash the Throughput demonstrate how to manage PCoIP protocol in environments with high percentage of packet loss and tail drops. Yet, I published a quick guide about How to troubleshoot PCoIP performance.

 

Performance Study - VMware vSphere 4.1 Networking

While I enjoyed a holiday and was drinking my piña colada cocktail at a sunny beach in the south of France, my virtualization friend Duncan Epping over at Yellow-Bricks.com has snagged away a real cool scoop regarding the release of a new technical paper about VMware vSphere 4.1 Network performance ;-) As Duncan points out is his article it’s real interesting to know that a single virtual machine actually can saturate the bandwidth of a 10Gbps physical network card.

 

vCloud Reference Architecture Kit – Public and Private vCloud Implementation Examples

VMware has released the vCloud Reference Architecture Kit which can help you with creating Public and Private vCloud implementations.
The Service Definition for Private Cloud describes the creation of a fully virtualized, pooled compute platform for use as an Enterprise Private Cloud, or business-internal organizational cloud computing service, commonly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). VMware technologies including vSphere, vShield Manager, vCenter Chargeback, and vCloud Director will be used to establish this service.

 

Available for Download – Damn Small Linux on vCloud OVF

I’ve created an OVF and OVA version of the highly popular Damn Small Linux distribution. Normally you run this OS which is only 50MBs in disk size from an ISO or pen drive but I’ve seen more and more people experimenting with the vCloud Director and really need some small test VMs. Damn Small Linux is ideal for this purpose although it’s very small, it contains some great tools like a browser and shell access.

 

VMware Horizon App Manager - Retaining Control and Visibility and Ensuring Compliance

Enabling a new way to work in the cloud, VMware announced on May 17, 2011, VMware Horizon App Manager -- establishing an open, user-centric management service for accessing cloud applications and services from any device, where and when a user needs it.

 

VMware Labs present its latest fling - InventorySnapshot

VMware Labs present its latest fling InventorySnapshot. InventorySnapshot is a useful tool that allows user to "snapshot" a given vCenter inventory configuration and then reproduce it. Inventory includes datacenter folders, datacenters, clusters, resource pools, vApps, hierarchy, roles and permissions, configuration settings, and custom fields. If you have an inventory with a given set of hosts and VMs organized into a group of clusters, InventorySnapshot will reproduce the complete environment, including cluster settings and any custom roles you may have defined.

Be one of the first one to try, rate and comment - http://labs.vmware.com/flings/inventorysnapshot

 

Register for the VCP4-DT exam before September 1, 2011 and take advantage of the $50 discount

VMware Certified Professional 4 – Desktop (VCP4-DT) is directed toward Virtualization Systems Engineers who seek to demonstrate their ability to install and configure the VMware View environment and enable View Client users. Candidates must also be able to configure the vSphere environment, possess a deep understanding of VMware core components and their relation to storage and networking and be proficient in datacenter design methodologies.

 

New Website Launched! - vBeers where vGeeks Come to Meet

Simon Long and Simon Seagrave have launched a new website today. The website is calledvBeers and was created to provide an opportunity for virtualization enthusiasts and professionals to meet and enjoy discussing all things virtualization and anything else in the world of tech.

 

VMware has released the vCloud Architecture Toolkit

VMware has successfully implemented dozens of cloud infrastructures. To help pass along the experience they have accumulated through these deployments, they have assembled a set of documents you may use to better understand both the principles upon which VMware’s cloud strategy is executed, and the actual mechanics of implementing your own cloud infrastructure. Review and use these assets in your own exploration of cloud technologies, and compare them with any real-world advice you may receive from other sources. VMware is confident that the more you know about our architecture and its advantages, the more likely you will be to adopt and leverage that architecture.

 

EMC – Unisphere Host Agent installation

It’s obviously been quite a while since I’ve used Windows as a platform for block connectivity, as I was unaware of the changes to the installation routine. However, for those of you who don’t cope well with change, you can still edit agent.config manually with the IP addresses of the SPs you want to talk to.

 

EMC – FAST and FAST Cache on the CX4-960

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few months – I have been nuts deep in work and holidays. I’m working on some literature around Storage Pools and FAST in general, but in the meantime I thought I’d share this nugget with you. We finally got approval to install the FAST and FAST Cache enablers on our production CX4-960s a few nights ago. We couldn’t install them on one of the arrays because we had a dead disk that prevented the NDU from going ahead. Fair enough. Two awesome things happened when we installed it on the other array. Both of which could have been avoided if I’d had my shit together. Firstly, when I got into the office the next morning at 8 am, we noticed that the Read Cache on the array was disabled. For those of you playing at home, we had the cache on the 960 set at 1000MB read and 9760MB for write. I think I read this in a whitepaper some where. But after FAST went on, we still had 9760MB allocated to Write, and 0MB available for Read. Awesome not so much. Seems that we lost 1000MB, presumably because we added another layered application. Funnily enough we didn’t observe this behaviour on our lab CX4-120s, although you could argue that they really have sweet FA of cache in the first place. So now we have 8760MB for Write, and 1000MB for Read. And I’m about to configure a few hundred GB of FAST Cache on the EFDs in any case. We’ll see how that goes.

 

Virtualisation 101 – VMotion

VMotion is arguably VMware’s “killer app” – the feature that gave VMware’s hypervisor product a USP edge over its competition.    It enables an ESX host to transfer a running virtual machine over to a different ESX host without incurring downtime.

When a VMware administrator initiates a VMotion migration the memory state of the chosen virtual machine is copied via a dedicated network link from the source host to target host;  when completed the target host registers the guest machine, attaches the virtual NICs to its own vSwitch(es) and takes control of the guest.

 

Better DSL support in Groovy-Eclipse

The Groovy language is an excellent platform for creating domain specific languages (DSLs). A good DSL can make programs more concise and expressive as well as make programmers more productive. However, until now these DSLs were not directly supported by the Groovy editor. When DSLs are used heavily, standard IDE features like content assist, search, hovers, and navigation lose their value. For a while now, it has been possible to write an Eclipse plugin to extend Groovy-Eclipse, but this is a heavy-weight approach that requires specific knowledge of the Eclipse APIs. This is no longer necessary. Groovy-Eclipse now supports DSL descriptor (DSLD) files that makes your DSL fully understood by Groovy-Eclipse.

 

A Simple Groovy DSL for building RabbitMQ AMQP Applications

Asynchronous applications can sometimes be a challenge while you're developing them since you usually need two separate components to see the full message publication and consumption lifecycle. It often happens that you write a consumer that can dump messages to System.out or your log file, just so you can make sure your publisher is doing [...]

 

Storage vMotion - A Deep-Dive

Of all the features available with vSphere - one of the greatest features I like is Storage vMotion, which is described by VMware as follows:

 

NetApp Virtual Storage Console 2.1 released

NetApp has quietly released an updated version of their Virtual Storage Console Software (you will need a NetApp Now account to access).

Here is the announcement:

The Virtual Storage Console software is a single vCenter Server plug-in that provides end-to-end virtual machine lifecycle management for VMware environments running NetApp storage. The plug-in provides the following capabilities:

 

Understanding VMware vSphere, ESXi, and Release Cycles

Last week during a customer presentation that I delivered, one of the attendees asked a surprising question:

What’s the difference between ESXi and vSphere?

While that’s an easy one for most VCritical readers to answer, there are newcomers that may benefit from a simple overview.  If you’re here seeking vSphere understanding, welcome!

VMware vSphere Demystified

 

The Secret of Ephemeral Port Groups

VMware vSphere networking is available in two variations — Standard vSwitch and Distributed Switch (vDS) — that accommodate a wide range of requirements for any environment.  Standard switches are simple to set up and understand, but the effort to manage them scales along with the number of ESXi hosts managed.  While that management can certainly be automated, e.g., through PowerCLI, there are advantages to the centrally-configured Distributed Switch.

 

vCenter Database Creation Script

It has been a while and while I plan on returning in full force soon with VCAP-DCD study notes, I thought I’d break the ice with some draft posts I created and never fully developed or released. I’ve been in the process of moving while balancing trying to complete multiple other certifications so the blog entries have been lacking as of late.

One thing I encountered a few months ago was needing to recreate the vCenter database. I felt stupid, but never realized or thought that the script to create the database must be somewhere in the media. For SQL, the script is located in the vCenter Server installation package under /vpx/dbschema/DB_and_schema_creation_scripts_MSSQL.txt file.

 

HA and DRS Audit

Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman are two of the biggest rockstars in the VMware Community, recently they wrote a fantastic book on HA and DRS, this can be downloaded for a fantastic pricefrom here, if you dont have it then you are not a VMware admin !

But wouldn't it be great if we could have our own little Duncan or Frank to carry around in our pocket and check our clusters out for HA and DRS issues and best practices – Well now you can – no I haven't created bobble headed characters, instead I have created…..

The HA and DRS Audit Script

 

VPLEX Geo = Awesomesauce.

So – VPLEX Geo is now GA.   For the first time, it’s possible to have active-active geographically dispersed storage models across Async distances (~50ms).   It’s going to take some time for this to “sink in”.

The VPLEX Geo announcement is an the GA (and literally available now) of VPLEX GeoSynchronicity 5.0 (the software) and new VPLEX hardware (bigger, faster, stronger).

So – what does this mean in a nutshell?

 

vShield App and View Desktops: Desktop Security Zones and the Desktop DMZ

Hi...Rob Randell here again.  In an earlier posting on the partner announcements at the RSA and HIMSS Conferences, I promised that I would go into detail on how we can leverage VMware View to provide what I like to call Desktop Security Zones and the Desktop DMZ.  In this blog I am going to illustrate this in a use case on a hospital network.

 

InventorySnapshot – Automatic PowerCLI code

At VMware, our engineers work on lots of pet projects in their spare time, and are always looking to get feedback on their projects, recently we started a new area of the VMware Labs site to allow them to share these with you.  We call these flings !

Why flings?

A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one. Likewise, the tools that are offered in the flings area are intended to be played with and explored. None of them are guaranteed to become part of any future product offering and there is no support for them. They are, however, totally free for you to download and play around with them!

 

Good read: VMware vSphere 4.1 Networking Performance

I just noticed that a new whitepaper was released and as the scoopmeister Eric Sloof hasn’t blogged about it yet I figured, he’s probably sleeping, I would blog about it. I just read the paper and it is a very good read and interesting to know that a single VM can actually saturate the bandwidth of a 10Gbps NIC. Also note the VM to Native comparisons!

 

New Book: Cloud Computing with VMware vCloud Director

This is one of those days that you realize how quickly things can change… 3.5 years ago I worked for a small consultancy company in the south of the Netherlands. Today I work for the number 1 virtualization/cloud company in the world, VMware, and just published my 4th book with a 5th coming later this year. What a ride, what a change, a lot of work and yes it was more than worth it.

 

Exchange and VMware HA…

I guess many people have been waiting on official statements around this. Although this was posted a couple of days ago I wanted to make sure everyone has seen it as it could be crucial for your Design / Environment.

Source
As of today, the following support scenarios are being updated, for Exchange 2010 SP1, and later:

 

New Whitepaper: VMware ESXi 4.1 Operations Guide

As part of my new role within VMware Technical Marketing I am responsible for creating collateral. Most of you have seen the series of articles about the operational differences between ESX and ESXi. After finalizing the series I transformed them into a whitepaper. I guess one thing that stood out for me while going through that process is that writing a whitepaper is substantially different than writing a blog article and even a book. I am not sure how to explain it, but a whitepaper feels less personal and more official and requires a different writing style. On top of that there are of course multiple reviews, style edits and much more. But anyway, that is not the point of this article… I just wanted to let you know that it is out there, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

VMware ESXi Operations Guide

 

VMware documentation in epub / mobi format?

I just noticed that the Horizon documentation is offered in epub and mobi format. I have been told that this is the first of many more docs to be released in this more universal format. I am happy that VMware decided to adopt this format. It does lead to another question though. I am part of tech marketing and we produce a lot of collateral. Some documents are fairly lengthy and I always have the feeling that many people won’t read docs which are more than 50 pages. Is this any different with epub/mobi? Would you say that these formats enhance readability? If not, what would be a good way of offering documents of between 50 – 150 pages?