From the editors Virtual Desk
Hi everyone, well this is it, the final newsletter of 2011. I have had a fantastic week in Brisbane with the third annual TAM Day in our region. This is an event that we have been doing for the past 3 years and where we invite our TAM customers to spend the day with us learning, networking and of course socialising and enjoying some food with us. This year was a great success, we had all of our TAM accounts represented and delivered deep dive technical sessions on a number of topics that our customers have been requesting. These included building a cloud with vCloud Director, securing your VMware environment, business continuity and disaster recovery and my favourite at the moment operations management for a VMware environment and beyond.
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this newsletter over the past year especially all of the awesome VMware bloggers out there without whom I would have no newsletter.
But of course it is you the reader who I must thank, for the past three years I have been doing this newsletter every week delivering around 40+ a year.
So with another year done, I would like to wish everyone a joyous festive season and I look forward to bringing you a new newsletter in 2012.
Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor and VMware TAM Blog Custodian)
Queensland Technical Account Manager
Neil Isserow - VMware TAM Queensland, Australia
As a TAM one of the most important tasks I get involved in is pro-active planning for a DR event. This is something that has become quite important in the past few years for many of my customers as they push past their physical server to virtual server numbers and start to see a tipping point where they have more VM's than physical servers. Of course VMware has an awesome solution for the VMware environment, SRM however this post is not just about SRM and I want to look a bit deeper into what DR and BC actually require from a planning perspective.
Let's take a typical event that I experienced recently. A customer of mine had a complete failure at their main data center. They, like most of my customers have a mixture of physical and virtual servers located in the data center, the majority being virtual. Their virtual servers are protected by SRM. They choose to only protect critical systems for now and not everything due to cost concerns around replication of large volumes of data, this will change when they move to SRM 5 with vSphere Replication as an alternative. This seems to be fairly typical and definitely a point to note as we move to SRM 5 and vSphere Replication increasing our customers options for DR using SRM. Taking a step further of course we need to look at the rest of the environment and how it is prepared for a DR event. Removing the networking requirements and making the assumption that this will be made available at the DR site as required we need to analyse the physical systems. What seems to be normal here in customers that are over 60% virtualised is that many of their most important workloads may still not be virtualised. These systems may include databases, directory services and other extremely important systems. What is interesting when these are analysed is that these systems often perform the task of being a dependency for a particular system that is already virtualised.
So what do we have here. Well a number of observations thus far. Firstly in a highly virtualised environment it is fairly easy to protect the virtualised part using SRM, however most often only a subset is chosen. This subset is the most critical of the virtualised systems and they often have dependencies on other systems that are still physical. These systems are where the issue comes in.
If we have a DR event it is fairly easy to fail over to the DR site with SRM (a posting for another time on how this works). The issue however is what will happen with the dependencies on the other side to physical systems and what about desktops, how are they maintained in a complete outage situation. Are all of these dependencies mapped out and available in the DR site as part of the DR plan? How do we know if they are available when they are up and successfully ready to accept communication with the virtualised environment?
This then leads to the question, is our virtualised environment more avalable than our physical environment on which it may still depend for some of it's resources, and if this is the case are we even able to fail over to the DR site or is there any value in doing this.
When an event of catastrophic proportions occurs we don't have time to mess around and fiddle with systems trying to figure out what is virtualised, what is physical and how the DR event will take place in the new DR site. What seems to happen most often is that the virtual environment is not simply failed over as it should due to all of these questions and potential issues and often all that occurs is downtime at the primary site until the event is over.
This seems like a major waste and for me having DR just to tick a box to appease the corporate auditors.
But really we need to do more.
I would love for all of my customers to virtualise 100% but this might not always be practical for a variety of technical or political reasons, so it is best to assume that there will be a proportion of the systems that are still physical. Here are some of my steps I would consider in a DR plan.
Step 1 is to have a solution in place that automatically identifies all of the systems in your organisation and their dependencies. Mapping this out and keeping this up to date automatically is key. This could also feed into your CMDB for consistency as well.
Step 2 is to identify the services that you wish to protect in the case of a DR event. Identifying services rather than individual systems will force you to focus on the components that make up the service and therefore need to be available for it to operate.
The next step is to identify exactly what systems are physical and what are virtual based on the services map and put both of these into the DR plan. The dependencies will dictate the run order and any special requirements on the DR side when an event takes place.
You also need to pay careful attention to desktops as this is the entry point to most systems, how will they access the DR site, will they have connectivity to the DR site, are they available at the DR site, are they physical endpoints with a fat client or are they thin client desktops with a centralised source for the desktops to maintain their state so that users are then able to connect and continue as before.
Finally if you are protecting an environment that is complex and does include physical and virtual systems, which I suspect most are, you need to perform regular functional testing that includes full reporting and testing at the DR site as the SRM test may not be good enough in these cases as it may only prove that your virtual environment can successfully fail over.
I would love all of my customers to simply virtualise all of their systems, that way we could have a much simpler plan but while this is not a reality at the moment for most we need to be pragmatic on how we approach a DR event, ensuring that no system that is required is left behind for any service we are protecting.
I would love to hear your comments on how this has gone for you if you have suffered such an event.
VMWARE USER GROUP (VMUG)
The VMware User Group is an independent, global, customer-led organization, which maximizes members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events.
Have You Registered for an Australian VMUG User Summit?
If not, register today and be entered to win a number of great prizes, including a complimentary VMUG Advantage subscription! We will be meeting in Brisbane on Monday, December 5, and then heading south to Melbourne on Thursday, December 8.
VMUG Advantage is a new, exclusive offering for VMUG members around the world.
Save over $1700 USD while increasing your knowledge and network. Be the first to experience this great offer.
Brisbane VMware Education Courses
Live Online Learning
VMware live online learning is the perfect solution for professionals who want to attend VMware training but would prefer not to travel. Through this delivery method, our expert instructors deliver the same high-quality courses and hands-on experiences as in our traditional classroom courses – minus the travel. Learn more.
VMware Beta Classes
Be among the first to take new courses designed and delivered by VMware Training by participating in our beta classes. They cost less, count for full credit and give you the chance to contribute to the final course content. Learn more.
VMWARE OFFICIAL BLOGS AND NEWS
VMware Blogs 22/11/11 12:30 AM
Yes, at first glance, you may be forgiven for thinking that this subject hardly warrants a blog post. But for those of you who have suffered the consequences of an All Paths Down (APD) condition, you'll know why this is so important.
Let's recap on what APD actually is.
VMware Blogs 22/11/11 6:03 AM
By: Michael Haines (Senior Cloud Security Architect)
In the first blog of this series, I introduced a "Network and Security System Administrator" at the company, “Example Systems” – a hypothetical scenario to help best describe how to use the vShield API.
VMware Blogs 23/11/11 1:01 AM
VMware introduced support for iSCSI back in the ESX 3.x days. However, ESX could only boot from an iSCSI LUN if a hardware iSCSI adapter was used. Hosts could not boot via VMware's iSCSI driver using a NIC with special iSCSI capabilities.
It quickly became clear that there was a need for booting via Software iSCSI. VMware's partners are developing blade chassis containing blade servers, storage and network interconnects in a single rack. The blades are typically disk-less, and in many cases have iSCSI storage. The requirement is to have the blade servers boot off of an iSCSI LUN using NICs with iSCSI capabilities, rather than using dedicated hardware iSCSI initiators.
VMware Blogs 23/11/11 5:05 AM
By: Michael Haines (Senior Cloud Security Architect)
Welcome to the fourth installment in my vShield blog series, featuring a hypothetical Network and Security System Administrator at the company, “Example Systems.” In the first blog in this series, I introduced the Example Systems company and described how it intended to use the vShield REST API to rapidly provision security and to turn its Tier-1 Applications into a business offering to multiple organizations. In the second and third blogs in this series, I discussed how the Network and Security System Administrator utilized the Automation tools with vShield App for scalability through the REST APIs.
VMware Blogs 23/11/11 6:37 AM
Kyle Gleed, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, VMware
I often get asked for advice on upgrading VMware Tools and Virtual Hardware following an ESXi host upgrade. While the actual task of upgrading a VM is straight forward, the challenge comes because upgrading the tools/virtual hardware requires rebooting the VM, and with many VMs hosting production workloads there’s a lot of sensitivity around VM downtime.
VMware Blogs 23/11/11 6:39 AM
Important virtual and physical switch parameters
Before diving into the different design options around the example deployment, let’s take a look at the VDS (virtual) and physical network switch parameters that should be considered in all these design options. These are some key parameters that vSphere and network administrators have to take into account while designing VMware virtual networking. As the configuration of virtual networking goes hand in hand with physical network configuration, this section will cover both the VDS and Physical switch parameters.
The vCenter Orchestrator plug-ins are coming with a lot of build in workflows and action scripts. The first thing to do when looking for functionality is to browse the library or use the search filter to find these.
if you do not get exactly what you are looking for, there are chances that some of the existing workflows and actions will contain close enough examples. If you do not find any of these you can still use the API explorer to create your own.
VMware Blogs 24/11/11 4:15 AM
By: Michael Haines (Senior Cloud Security Architect)
In my last blog, I covered how you, as the Network and Security System Administrator at “Example Systems,” used the vShield Edge REST API.
In the final blog of this series, you will learn how to ‘Stop’ and ‘Start’ the vShield Security Services using the vShield Edge REST API.
VMware Blogs 24/11/11 10:45 PM
In this week’s tip we will walk through some of the new features in VMware Fusion 4.1
Smart Full Screen
New to VMware Fusion Fusion 4.1 is the all new Smart Full Screen.
To enable smart full screen simply click the full screen button in the Fusion menu bar.
SPRINGSOURCE AND CLOUD FOUNDRY BLOG
SpringSource Team Blog 24/11/11 1:12 PM Alan Stewart Spring
The Spring Roo team is delighted to announce the availability of 1.2.0 Release Candidate 1. The Roo 1.2.0.RC1 release follows on from M1 and includes two exciting new features: Multi-module Maven project support. This is the Roo community's most popular and most voted for feature (ROO-120). You can now create projects with a parent POM Read more...
VMWARE TV BLOG
VMware Blogs 23/11/11 8:22 AM
vmware.com -- VMware Fusion 4.1 video showing an IE 9 graphics test, now offering 60 FPS.
EXTERNAL VMWARE RELATED BLOGS (vExperts/Guest Bloggers)
Yellow Bricks 22/11/11 11:11 PM Duncan Epping Server Various 5 5.0 appliance vcenter VMware vSphere
Today on twitter there was a discussion around having an appliance for the vSphere Web Client. I didn’t get the question as there’s already a vCenter Appliance out there. Apparently not everyone realised that the Web Client is part of the vCenter Appliance. On top of that you could even split out the components and use the vCenter Appliance just for Web Client functionality. I remembered seeing an article from one of my colleagues not too long ago. I dug up the links and here they are. I included a short snippet so you know what to expect. These articles are by Michael Webster so all credits go to him:
Yellow Bricks 24/11/11 12:19 AM Duncan Epping Server Various 5 5.0 syslog vcenter VMware vSphere
Yesterday I received a nice tip from @Shaun_Gee. During the installation of the vSphere Syslog Collector you have to select the max size of the log files and when a rotation will happen. But how do you change this after the installation? The answer is straight forward, but unfortunately not well documented, thanks Shaun for sharing.
vReference 21/11/11 5:09 PM Forbes Guthrie News vReference 5 card
Here is another preview of the upcoming vSphere 5 vReference Card – the VM section. There are several areas that I’ve shaded in grey as I’ve not been able to confirm that they are still valid with vSphere 5 VMs. I’d love to hear your feedback, as I’m likely to drop anything I can’t be sure is absolutely correct or just not relevant enough anymore.
Virtu-Al 25/11/11 8:54 PM Alan PowerShell vCloud Director VMware
Its no secret that VMware are working on vCloud Director (vCD) cmdlets, they recently surveyed the PowerShell and VMware community to make sure they had all the information needed to make this as much of a success as the vSphere PowerCLI cmdlets.
But did you know you can already use PowerShell with vCD ? It should be no surprise to anyone who uses PowerShell to know that PowerShell does a great job with XML manipulation and API calls.
vFrank 23/11/11 6:08 PM FrankBrix Uncategorized
I have been contacted several times in the last couple of week about the removal of LUNS from an ESX host. In every case the Storage Admin had masked the LUN away from the ESX hosts on the storage array. This is NOT the way to do it. It will result in a APD (all paths down) to the LUN. A side effect will be that hostd will be affected and start disconnecting in vCenter.
Technodrone 24/11/11 5:20 PM Maish Administration VMware Management PowerCLI vSphere
I was doing some installations yesterday – and I wanted to add a second NIC to a vSwitch on a set of newly installed servers. Of course there were 10 of them, and I did not want to do this manually.
Easiest way to do it (besides installing them with a script correctly in the first place) was with PowerCLI.
From the Set-VirtualSwitch help:
Pivot Point 22/11/11 3:41 PM drummonds Uncategorized ssd storage
In my three part series on flash I interchangeably used the terms “flash” and “SSD”. In a recent article on this subject, Steven Foskett on IBM’s Storage Communitysuccessfully convinced me that I should stop using these terms interchangeably. He then suggested that flash would persevere while SSD would not. I disagree.
VMware® ThinApp™ is an agentless application virtualization solution that decouples applications from their underlying operating systems to eliminate application conflict and streamline application delivery and management. ThinApp simplifies application virtualization and enables IT administrators to quickly deploy, efficiently manage, and upgrade applications without risk. With ThinApp, an entire Windows application and its settings can be packaged into a single executable and deployed to many different Windows operating systems without imposing additional cost and complexity to the server or client. Application virtualization with ThinApp eliminates conflicts at the application and operating system level and minimizes costly recoding and regression testing to speed application migration to Windows 7.
vSphere supports several command‐line interfaces for managing your virtual infrastructure including the vSphere Command‐Line Interface (vCLI), a set of ESXi Shell commands, and PowerCLI. You can choose the CLI set best suited for your needs, and write scripts to automate your CLI tasks.
myvirtualcloud.net 21/11/11 10:01 AM Andre Leibovici news podcast vdi virtualization VDI
BrownBags are a series of online webinars held using GotoMeeting and covering various VMware & VMware Certification topics. These BrownBags are held live at various dates and times around the globe and each covers a different bit of VMware related specialization.
blog.scottlowe.org 26/11/11 8:01 AM slowe Virtualization Microsoft Networking VMware vSphere Windows
A colleague on the EMC vSpecialist team (many of you probably know Chris Horn) sent me this information on an issue he’d encountered. Chris wanted me to share the information here in the event that it would help others avoid the time he’s spent troubleshooting this issue.
VMWARE KB ARTICLES
VMware Blogs 22/11/11 11:37 PM
Apache HTTP Server
Shavlik NetChk Protect
SpringSource Tool Suite
Virtual Disk Development Kit
VMware Capacity Planner
VMware Service Manager
VMware vCenter Configuration Manager
VMware vCenter Orchestrator
VMware vCenter Server
VMware vCenter Update Manager
VMware vCloud Connector
VMware vCloud Director
VMware vFabric RabbitMQ
VMware View Manager
VMware vSphere Storage Appliance