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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Fusion 2.0 RC1 available: embedded Windows virus scan

Have I mentioned how VMware tends to slip more features into its products during the beta cycle? It’s like Christmas every day around here. You think you’ve poked and shaken all the boxes in your parents’ closet and know what’s coming, and then the shiny new bike shows up in front of the tree. Today’s shiny bike is a free year of virus protection for your XP or Vista VMs that you can invoke from the Fusion toolbar. There are other new features in the  RC, which you can read about here: VMware: Team Fusion: VMware Fusion 2 Goes Release Candidate: Embedded Antivirus Software, Enhanced Localization, and More.

VMware Fusion 2 Release Candidate 1 is now freely available for download.

Just like VMware Fusion 2 Beta 1 and VMware Fusion 2 Beta 2, the RC is free to download.  VMware Fusion 2 will be a free, downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers, when released.

Keep those bugs away!

Building on great features like Multiple Snapshots and AutoProtect automatic,
timed snapshots that keep your Windows-on-Mac experience as safe as
possible, VMware Fusion 2 RC also includes an embedded complimentary
12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus to make sure your
Windows XP and Vista stay squeaky clean.

You
can install VirusScan Plus right from the VMware Fusion menu bar, from
the moment you create a new virtual machine, meaning you’re always
protected.

Introducing Replay Debugging: the end of the heisbenbug?

Record Replay, the technology that allows you to reproduce what’s going on in a virtual machine with machine-level instructions, has been shown off at VMworlds past, but is just now coming into its own. You could experiment with it a bit in Workstation 6.0, but it is now available in a useful way in VMware Workstation 6.5, (in beta but has a new Release Candidate). Let’s let E Lewis introduce it in his new blog. Link: Better Software Development with Replay Debugging: VMware Workstation 6.5: Reverse and Replay Debugging is Here!.

I’m
proud to announce that VMware Workstation 6.5 includes new experimental
features that provide replay debugging for C/C++ developers using
Microsoft Visual Studio. Replay debugging allows developers to debug
recordings of programs running in virtual machines, and it is valuable
for finding, diagnosing, and fixing bugs that are not easily
reproduced, a particularly challenging class of bugs. Once the
manifestation of a bug has been recorded, it can be replayed (and
debugged) over and over again, and it is guaranteed to have
instruction-by-instruction identical behavior each time. In addition,
Workstation includes a feature that simulates reverse execution of the
program, making it easier to pin point the origin of a bug.

Aside from being insanely cool and perhaps the end of the heisenbug, I think this shows how VMware’s 10 years of experience manifests itself in innovation. Virtualization is about more than server consolidation, and once you are virtualized, the really interesting things can start to happen.

Here’s E demonstrating how this works. I think the UI has changed a bit since we filmed this. We’re running Visual Studio on the host, outside the VM, and attaching to a process inside the VM and putting in triggers and whatnot in the debugger as it replays until we track down the bug we’re looking for. If we go too far, we can always hit rewind.

Oh, and there’s a Lenovo laptop to be won: VMware Record and Replay Challenge

SRM value prop & SRM failback from Chad Sakac

EMC’s Chad Sakac goes into SRM failback (essentially running SRM back from the Recovery Site to your original site), but in the midst of this talks about the value proposition of SRM when, after all, many of the required steps can just be scripted, right?

Link: Virtual Geek: A Few Technical Threads – Part 3: SRM Failback.

  1. SRM exactly automates those steps.    Automation in a DR
    situation is everything.   Buildings will be burning or sprinklers
    running, and cellphones will be ringing.  It’s not the time for complex manual operations. 
  2. Could
    it be manually scripted?   Sure.   Who will maintain that script?   
    Traditionally – DR was reserved generally for mainframes and other
    things deemed "mission critical" enough for expensive Disaster
    Recovery.   In those cases, the environments are VERY static – so the
    idea of creating a DR plan, refreshing it and testing it once a year at
    a multi-million dollar cost was reasonable.   VMware is different, and
    SRM brings DR to a whole new use case.   This same week, I talked to a
    customer who is adding 100 VMs a week on their infrastructure.   Heck,
    even if you’re doing 1 a week, will you update that script constantly? 
  3. They
    tested a single VM booting.  Yeah!   They have 400 VMs today.   First
    of all, who’s going to manually register all those VMs.   More
    importantly – what is are the DEPENDENCIES between the VMs?   There is
    a specific start sequence needed, or your entire DR plan will not work.
    I’m always interested in IT how projects needing cross-domain expertise
    are hard, because everyone trivializes everyone else’s work or
    complexity.   AD and DNS, then Exchange/SQL Server, then Sharepoint -
    and somewhere in their, your hundreds of other VMs – in a specific
    start sequence.   Who will figure out the specific start
    dependencies the first time, and how will that be maintained in this
    uber-script?   SRM help, and come to AD3500 at VMworld to find out what
    EMC is doing to make this easy.
     
  4. The tested booting the VM on an isolated vswitch.   The IP addressing scheme at the remote site was totally different.   What will update all the IPs?   Update DNS?   Do any hosts hardcode IPs rather than use DNS names… anywhere?   
  5. The
    test (including the one they did) is a useless test unless it is an
    END-TO-END test.   Otherwise, you have told your management that you
    are ready, and the unthinkable happens and you have failed them, you’ve
    failed your business, and you’ve failed yourself.  In other words, a successful "pseudo test" which leads to "we have it figured out" unless you REALLY test – GUARANTEES FAILURE.

Where to find akutz VC plug-ins

I got asked this today, because this post is now out of date and the location of Andrew Kutz’s VC plug-ins have moved from his original site lostcreations. I’m throwing this up here so Google can lead others to the right place. Specfically, he’s got the Console, Invoke, and SVMotion plug-ins up there. His guide to his back-door plug-in methodology (which remember is unsupported and is being superceded by official mechanisms) is on his publications page.

Link: Can’t find my VMware utilities? « akutz’s blog.

You can access all of my VMware utilities at http://code.google.com/p/akutz/.
There have been several requests for these utilities, and I simply do
not have the time right now to create binaries for all of them. I am
also waiting to see what will happen at VMworld and how it affects the
plug-in architecture. Once that is more definitively known then I will
resume my work on plug-ins.

Once again, more blogs to read on Planet V12n

The virtualization world keeps growing, and in an attempt to keep up with our little corner of it, we’ve added some great new blogs to Planet V12n.

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update, so I had to hunt through my inbox and bookmarks to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anybody, and I’m sure I have. If you’ve contacted VMware or me about being included here and you still aren’t, drop me a line (jtroyer@ …). Here are some ground rules, though:

  • I’m looking for material that is "bloglike" — either commentary/opinion or technical content. I haven’t included great news/feature sites like virtualization.com and Virtual Strategy Magazine, but I’ll be pulling the existing news feeds out into a separate section soon and these kinds of sites can all go there. In the meantime check out Eric Siebert’s Top 10 news and information websites that VMware administrators must visit.

  • You should be creating original content, not just excerpting other blog articles, press releases, or kb articles. (And in no case should you be reprinting entire pieces of content if you don’t have permission. Read about Fair Use if you’re not familiar with the concept.)

  • You should update regularly and have a track record of consistent activity on your blog. Wait a month or two to see if job duties or kids or simply inclination interferes with you keeping your blog going.
  • Official corporate blogs are OK, but the blog should be of general interest and not just devoted to your commercial activities. Two new corporate blogs I’ve added are from partners Tripwire and Dell, but if you take a look you’ll see that they talking about more than just their products.

  • The content should be primarily about virtualization. It can absolutely mention non-VMware virtualization, but VMware should be in there somewhere because that’s what our readers are interested in. If you talk about general technical topics or non-technical topics, please create a feed that contains only your virtualization or VMware category. I’m actually very interested in your fishing trip or even your tips on setting up a firewall, but the amount of content is overwhelming as it is, so we have to stay focused. If a little non-virtualization stuff creeps in, well, no worries. We are talking about blogs, after all.

  • Linking to you and aggregating your content implies no endorsement of you or your company by VMware, and only the editorial judgment of one human who is trying to create an interesting resource for virtualization practitioners. I reserve the right to remove you at any time for any reason, and I promise I will remove you promptly if you ask.

And I’d like to give a special shout-out to our friends in Redmond for the brand spankin’ new VirtualizationFeed.com, which aggregates virtualization feeds (obviously with a little more emphasis on the Hyper-V side of the scale). Aside from having a nicer URL than we do, this is also a place to view what’s going on over at Twitter. And Patrick linked to us, which was nice. I’m going to have to step up my game here now that there’s competition in town!

Start shopping early for VMworld

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VMworld 2008 is weeks away. There will be plenty of themed merchandise available on site, have no doubt. If you can’t wait until then (or if you’d like to be fashionable while walking the halls of the Venetian), check out VMdigest’s shop on cafepress for your virtualization-themed t-shirts. "Virtual Goddess", "Mainframe: virtual since 1967", and "Physical Sucks" are some of the slogans on display. Shown here: "Saving the planet, one VM at a time".

Remember, the VMware Store is still available and also has shirts and the like from last year’s VMworld, which I still think are the best conference shirts I’ve seen. (Haven’t seen this year’s yet.)

This one‘s not bad either.

Whatever you’re wearing, stop by the Communities Lounge at VMworld. I hear there are ways to earn a t-shirt there as well, and I suspect if this year is anything like last year, you might want to leave a bit of extra room in your suitcase.

Thinapp for VI admins – Communities Roundtable #15 podcast

Today on the Roundtable, our guest was Travis Sales to talk about VMware Thinapp. The Roundtable crew are all experienced VI admins (and user moderators on the VMware Communities), so they know their way around ESX and VC, but nobody on the call today had used Thinapp. So this was a good opportunity to cut through straight to the technology ask Travis how we should be approaching application virtualization.

As always, listen by clicking on the right or by downloading the (compressed & normalized & ID3) mp3. (1:03).

  • Most interesting factoid: Thinstall got their start putting games into a ‘virtual bubble’ to prevent piracy.
  • Most unsurprising answer: Best practices for deploying Thinapp-packaged applications? It depends.
  • Site I didn’t know existed: Thindownload

Other links you can use:

Next week, we are having our first ever call-in "Ask the Experts" show. You can join us live on the call, on the chat, or send in your question via email or private message in the Communities. More info in a bit, but mark off on your calendar next Wednesday, September 3, at a new time: Noon Pacific/ 3pm Eastern  / 8pm British.  We also plan to do at least one live show at VMworld.

VCP certification proves highly valuable — Server Virtualization Blog

Joe Foran notes that indeed.com, the job req search engine/database, is reporting a big spike in salaries for jobs that mention needing a VCP. Statistical outlier, real trend, or temporary blip? We work hard to make the VCP more than just a paper cert. 

Link: VCP certification proves highly valuable — Server Virtualization Blog.

The VCP (VMware Certified Professional) certification I have blogged about twice before has gone through the roof. I have never seen a jump like this in all my years in IT. See for yourself.

VMware ESX and Enhanced VMotion Compatibility | Novosco

VI 3.5 Update 2 brought a new feature to the table — Enhanced VMotion. I’m still trying to track down some video of the demo we were doing at last week’s IDF, but James Montgomery at Novosco gives a good explanation and some context for why you want to pay attention to this. [via DABCC.com]

Link: VMware ESX and Enhanced VMotion Compatibility | Novosco – Ireland’s virtualisation expert.

The classic VMotion problem of recent times is the customer who buys
tin from a vendor, only to find out that the processor number e.g. 53xx
and 54xx, is actually quite significant. The principle difference which
will prevent VMotion is the addition of SSE4.1 to the 54xx range of
Intel processors (if you previously only had 53xx Intel processors). …

New CPUs are coming out with a facility to ‘turn off’ (mask)
features that would make them VMotion incompatible with other hosts
running older (compatible) CPUs.

For Intel this is called Flex Migration. It is clear that for
processors that are in different families but support Flex Migration
will negotiate the common feature set amongst the CPUs.

Tool: Statelesx | virtualization.info

Stu Radnidge and Shyam Madhavan over at vinternals.com have put together an interesting tool, now at v1.1. Link: Tool: Statelesx | virtualization.info.

This tool allows the VMware administrators to define a configuration
file on a web interface (including details about the virtual
networking, the DRS, the HA, etc.) and associate it to a certain ESX by
the host name. ..

The whole thing, working with VMware
Infrastructure 3.5 only, cuts away the need to configure a new ESX on
deployment and backup its configuration over time. But most of all it
avoids inconsistencies across the virtual infrastructure: