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I just ran across kb 1026944, titled "Restoring VMware Consolidated Backup images on vSphere 4.1."  This kb article discusses that while VCB support is included in vSphere 4.1, restoring a previously backed up VCB image will require the use of vCenter Converter Standalone 4.0.1 or earlier.  This is because the VCB restore capability is no longer available in vSphere 4.1, vCenter Server 4.1, and vCenter Converter 4.1.  So if you have older VCB backups that may have to be restored into your vSphere 4.1 environments, make sure you have a copy of vCenter Converter Standalone 4.0.1 or earlier available.


Thanks for reading!


vmroyale Guru

VMworld 2010 - Day 4

Posted by vmroyale Sep 2, 2010

Today was the final day of VMworld, and it started off with a very cool general session.  Three speakers highlighted different devices for interacting in the digital realm.  One of the devices was a computer that is worn and included cameras, sensors and more that allowed the user to do things like use a wall as a workspace or copy a piechart from a piece of paper.  Another device allowed brain waves alone to perform actions on a computer screen.  These technologies were very impressive and were definitely things that made you think.


After the general session, it was off to SE8421 - "Hypervisor-Based Antivirus and Endpoint Security."  I was lucky to have already seen most of this presentation last week, thanks to the vExpert program, and the content was largely unchanged since then.  Endpoint looks promising, as it offloads antivirus scanning to a security virtual machine and away from the agents and applications currently installed in virtual machines.  For now, the guests will still require minimal agents, but the goal is to remove them eventually.  Agentless antivirus has obvious benefits, but it really makes a lot of sense in the cloud.  A host can provide antivirus services to customer VMs without any changes to the virtual machines. This is definitely first generation, and I have concerns/questions around the availability of this service with 1 security VM per host - what happens if the security VM crashes or needs a reboot for some reason?  Is maintenance mode for the ESX host going to be involved in this?  Or, how can we ensure 100% coverage?  The scans right now are also limited to file - no memory.  Again, this is a new technology and will only get better.  Very cool stuff though!


The next session I attended was TA8440 - "10Gb & FCoE Real World Design Considerations."  This looked at the differences between using multiple 1 Gb cards and fewer 10 Gb cards, including cabling/port requirements and pricing.  The amount of bandwidth that vMotion can consume was discussed, as well as multiple approaches to limit or contain this traffic in a 10GB environment.  Some best practices were mentioned here around vmxnet3, jumbo frames and virtual switches.  Test and verify was also recommended, which was refreshing to hear.  Best practices are one thing, but testing is always a great idea!


Next up was TA8133 - "Best Practices to Increase Availability and Throughput for VMware."  There were a lot of best practices, some new and some old and even some confliciting advice from other sessions.  This was a good session, and I have at least a couple of other new things to do as a result.


My final session of the day/week was TA8218 - "VMware Storage Vision."  One of the basic ideas around this session was that storage as a utility needs to happen for the cloud to work, and Amazon EC2 was given as an example.  There were also some ideas around physical storage that scales linearly and managed trivially.  VMs managed through policy with Qos and complianc reporting was also discussed.  The ideas here tied in very strongly with many of the cloud themes from the week.


And with that, VMworld 2010 is over.

vmroyale Guru

VMworld 2010 - Day 3

Posted by vmroyale Sep 1, 2010

The first session of the day was BC8274 - "VMware Fault Tolerance - Best Practices, Usage Scenarios and Performance."  The session began with the question of how many people in the audience are currently using FT and then another of how many aren't using it specifically because of the lack of SMP support.  We were then told that FT SMP support is being actively worked on and that it will be available in a future release.  This session then went on for far too long with general availability marketing and background information on FT and how it works.  I feel like a session whose title started with "Best Practices" is clearly geared towards people that are already familiar with the product.  With that being said, the technical information was good and explained well. Some interesting stats that came out of this session were that 20% of VMware customers use FT in Production, and 90% of VMware customers use HA in Production. That means there are 38,000 customers using FT in their production environments, based on the customer numbers stated yesterday in the general session.  It was also stated that databases (mostly smaller SQL Servers) are the most common workload used with FT currently.


My second session on the day was TA7121 - "Next Generation VM Storage Solutions with vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)."  This was an excellent session and it offered up a lot of information around the current state of the VAAI and two sneak peaks at future technologies.  I learned that a new VMFS driver (3.46) ships with 4.1 that contains new algorithms for hardware accelerated functions. Now I need to find out if this version of VMFS is required for the VAAI features to work - one more thing to do.  The futures section of the presentation focused on vStorage API for Thin Provisioning and vStorage API for Storage Awareness.  Both of these technologies focus on giving more responsibility to the storage arrays and taking the work away from VMware hosts and ultimately away from VMware administrators.  In the Q&A portion of this session, a question was asked about when the (2 TB - 512 bytes) limitation in VMFS was going away.  The presenter could not answer this question, but responded with, "you will be happy very soon."  This was actually one of the questions I had hoped to have answered this week, and since VMware doesn't officially talk futures this answer is close enough for me.


I spent some time after lunch walking around the Solutions Exchange, now that it isn't quite so crowded down there.  There are some really cool demos and booth candy in there. After a stop by the Social Media and Blogger Lounge, it was off to TA8065 - "Storage Best Practices, Performance Tuning and Troubleshooting."  This was another great

session that was packed and contained a lot of valuable information.  Topics covered included sizing LUNs for performance, limits on VMs per datastores, queue depths, latencies, balanced paths, partition alignment, esxtop for troubleshooting and more.  This was one of the better sessions I have attended, for pure information, and I have a few more things to do for it.


My final session of the day was supposed to be TA7743 - "ESX iSCSI News, Configuration, and Best Practices." Unfortunately, I had to miss it since the previous session ran over.  The next stop is the St. Regis Hotel for the vExpert meeting and then off to the VMworld party.


Day three is almost done! Looking forward to day four already!