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Monthly Archives: December 2008

SRM demo video, usage tips: new from Uptime

Our new blog Uptime continues to deliver the goods. Two new posts from VMware's own Lee Dilworth cover vCenter Site Recovery Manager from the overview (if you're still trying to get a handle on what SRM does and how it replaces that paper DR plan and set of scripts you've never really fully tested) to the first FAQ and set of tips if you've been trying it out.

First, the video. You might recognize VMware Evangelist & VMworld Europe impressario Richard Garsthagen as well, fresh off his first video hit, VMware Infrastructure 3 demo.

Link: Site Recovery Manager Demonstration Video now online!

Next, Lee's FAQ & tips on SRM:

Link: VMware Site Recovery Manager – "From general release to Update1, what have we learnt and what's new?". Lee goes into a bit more detail, but here's sample question:

Q: What are the SRM failback options we see no button for failback which is
confusing us?

SRM absolutely supports failback and each
storage vendor documents the failback process for their specific replicated
storage configuration. What you have to consider is that without SRM in your
virtual environment you are back to manual and/or home grown scripts for DR you
will no longer have automated Recovery Plans, no offline DR testing
capabilities, and no DR audit trail.

New blog from VMware: Uptime

The newest blog from the VMware stables has left the starting gate. The blog, entitled Uptime, will cover business continuity, high availability, and disaster recovery. Welcome!

VMware: Uptime (VMware and Business Continuity).

We continue to see a lot of interest and questions about how to protect VMware environments as well as a lot of excitement about the new and future technologies that VMware has developed and talked about, so we wanted to create a place where we can give you some additional insight into what we’re seeing and working on here at VMware. This blog will focus on products and solutions for business continuity in virtualized environments. We’ll talk about data protection, high availability, and disaster recovery solutions that include VMware Infrastructure and products like VMware Consolidated Backup, High Availability, Site Recovery Manager.

Top 10 Predictions for 2009 from Steve Herrod | VMblog.com

VMware CTO Steve Herrod gives his thoughts on the year ahead…

VMware: Top 10 Predictions for Virtualization in 2009 : VMblog.com – Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone.

1. Virtualization of the Enterprise Desktop Breaks Out.

The “desktop dilemma” – i.e., the business choice of whether to
provide thick or thin clients for employees – will begin to be solved
in 2009. Thick clients, including fully loaded personal computers (PCs)
and laptops, provide employees with a rich set of applications in their
desktop environment, but can be a management challenge since
applications can be distributed across thousands of PCs that must be
provisioned, updated, patched and secured individually. Thin clients
are cheaper, more secure, and more cost-effective to manage, but
traditionally have not been able to deliver the richness, flexibility,
or compatibility of thick clients. Most businesses provide thin clients
only for employees, such as call center staff, who can be productive in
this more restrictive environment. New virtualization-based approaches
will solve this dilemma by combining the benefits of both approaches –
delivering rich, personalized virtual desktops to any device (whether
thick or thin), while simplifying management and securing endpoints
with virtual desktops hosted in the datacenter. Virtualization is the
essential platform for efficient, manageable desktops in an
increasingly mobile world. In addition, better remote display protocols
and use of the local machine’s compute resources will ensure an even
better user experience, and the combination of online and offline modes
will enable use when employees are traveling or when they do not have
access to a higher-speed network.

Operating System Specific Packages for VMware Tools

We are pleased to announce the General Availability of Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) for VMware Tools. Using OSPs, enterprise customers virtualizing Linux on VI will be able to install/update/manage their VMware Tools installations using the guest operating systems' native packaging format (rpm, deb etc) and update mechanisms (apt, yum, rug, etc).

More details including a list of supported ESX releases, guest operating systems, documentation and package repository are available from the OSP web page at http://www.vmware.com/download/packages.html (or just packages.vmware.com).

Operating System Specific Packages Home Page – VMware.

Welcome to the VMware Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) website

On
this site, you will be able to search, browse and download VMware Tools
software packaged in the native package format (e.g. rpm, deb etc) for
select supported Operating Systems.

You will also be able to use your Operating System's native update
mechanisms to automatically download, install and manage VMware Tools
for these supported Operating Systems. …

See also Matthijs Haverink. How did Matthijs get the news? He, like 176 other clued-in individuals, is following jtroyer on Twitter. I announced this and the searchable HCL there first. Please feel free to c'mon by and join us on the back porch of the Internet.

Searchable, database-driven hardware compability guide

We're pleased to announce the availability of a new database-driven system for our compatibility guides. From the page: "This online Hardware Compatibility Guide replaces the former Hardware
Compatibility Guides for systems, I/O devices, and SAN arrays for ESX
3.0 and greater versions, as well as VMware View Client. For
compatibility guides of other VMware products or earlier ESX releases
and VMware View Client, please use the Other Documents tab."

Try out the system for yourself at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/  There are also HCL RSS feeds available at http://vmware.simplefeed.net/subscription

Rodos has a nice walkthrough with this modified screenshot. Musings of Rodos: VMware release searchable HCL system. Note you can click on the entries to get a more detailed popup screen.

HCL

See also Jason Boche who would still like the pdfs (but you can export these searches as pdf), Dave Lawrence, and Sven Huisman, who would like a combined guide — we still provide a separate Guest Operating System Installation Guide

EnableResignature and/or DisallowSnapshotLUN | Yellow Bricks

Our VMware blogs are turning out to be a great resource to dig into topics that, while they might be covered in the docs or white papers, are helped by pulling them out and viewing them in tighter focus — and letting them be indexed by Google. Some examples include

And now VMware's own Duncan Epping has a nice and thorough look at two storage parameters you should know about: EnableResignature and DisallowSnapshotLUN. From looking at the comments on Duncan's post, I'd say you don't want to have to figure out these specialized options on the fly when something goes wrong.

EnableResignature and/or DisallowSnapshotLUN » Yellow Bricks.

I’ve spend a lot of time in the past trying to understand the settings
for EnableResignature and DisallowSnapshotLUN. It had me confused and
dazzled a couple of times. Every now and then I still seem to have
trouble to actually understand these settings, after a quick scan
through the VCDX Enterprise Study Guide
by Peter I decided to write this post and I took the time to get to the
bottom of it. I needed this settled once and for all, especially now I
start to focus more on BC/DR. … I do want to stress that setting the options should always be used
temporarily considering the impact these changes can have! When you set
any of both options reset them to the default.

Two top 10 lists for you*: PowerShell scripts, Security resources

Picture 4

Top 10 lists are win-win. They're often easier to write than, say, a big essay or technical investigation. And they're easy to consume, because most of us don't have the time to read, say, a big essay or technical investigation.

Now both Eric Siebert and Edward Haletky are by no means slackers, but in between working on their new books, they've both produced a new top ten list for you.

Top 10 PowerShell scripts that VMware administrators should use  by Eric Siebert at Virtual Strategy. (Eric's home for all his lists is VMware-land.) Note that some of these scripts came from the PowerShell scripting contest and can be found at the http://communities.vmware.com/community/developer/utilitiesVMware Developer Community Sample Code repository.

Top VMware security links by Edward Haletky at Virtualization Pro. (Edward's home for all his good stuff, including the Virtualization Bookshelf, is the AstroArch Wiki.) Edward also recommends the Top 100 Virtualization Security Questions from VI:OPS.

*And a bonus resource. Since we're here and talking about reference material, Rod Haywood has also updated his very handy huge list of all VMware technical paper abstracts. Go check out his whole blog if you haven't yet — a lot of very smart and deep, yet very practical, thinking about VDI and Cloud topics.

Beaconing Demystified: Using Beaconing to Detect Link Failures

VMware: VMware Networking Blog: Beaconing Demystified: Using Beaconing to Detect Link Failures.

Beaconing is one of those features that often confuses even the most experienced networking admin.

Shudong Zhou, one of our senior engineers, recently posted
an entry on the internal blog explaining how it works and how you might use it.
He gave me permission to cut and paste his entry. Here it is …

Beaconing is a
software solution for detecting link failures downstream from the physical
switch.ESX provides a simple and elegant teaming solution. All uplinks
connected to a vswitch are assumed to connect to the same physical network
(same broadcast domain) so they are all equivalent. Users can configure a list
of active and standby uplinks for traffic to go out of the ESX host. If a link
fails, the adapter driver detects it and marks the uplink as failed and stops
using this uplink. Existing traffic will fail over to a standby uplink or
redistributed to the remaining team members.


Application Virtualisation – Part 1 | PlanetVM

Tom Howarth has a new blog, PlanetVM, but you may be familiar with Tom if you've been involved with either VMware Communities or the Citrix/SBC worlds for a while. Today on the Roundtable podcast (notes to come), in between expressing some strong opinions on VMware View, he mentioned the ridiculously large VDI deployment he's working on. (What's larger than ridiculous?) All this is a roundabout way of signaling you to pay attention to what Tom has to say, even if he can't spell virtualisation.

Tom's started a series of posts on application virtualization, such as VMware ThinApp, which we've recently updated to ThinApp 4.0.1.  The good folks at virtualfuture.info have a nice application virtualization comparison chart. (Matthijs & Sven, where's that update?)

Here's part one of Tom's series. Application Virtualisation – Part 1 | PlanetVM.

What is Application Virtualisation?

The idea behind application virtualisation is relatively simple in
that an application runs on your desktop without ever having installed
it. However, unlike using Terminal
Services, the virtualised application executes locally, using local
resources (e.g., processor, memory, disk, and network card). In other
words, the application runs, saves data, prints, and acts as if it’s
installed locally even though it is not. On top of this, you can run
multiple versions of the same application on your desktop without
conflict, and run conflicting applications like different versions of
Access or Outlook with out conflict—again, with all the applications
executing locally – and not as “screen scrapes” from a remote Terminal
Server.

The basic concepts of application virtualisation are that the
application executes on the local machine using its resources, but is
not allowed to modify anything. Instead, it runs in a small virtual
environment that contains the registry entries, files, COM objects, and
other components that it needs to execute. This virtual environment
acts as a layer between the application and the OS. The virtual layer
is very “light” (generally only a couple megabytes of memory) and loads
just prior to the application loading.

VMworld Europe 2009 Call for Participation

The VMworld Europe 2009 Call for Participation is now open — you can now submit proposals to present at Cannes. Be sure to read the Call for Participation Instructions. The deadline is January 16, but the instructions say you'll have a better chance if you submit early. From the instructions:

VMworld will be held on February 24, 25 and 26 2009 in Cannes, France and we expect around 5000 attendees interested in the virtualization industry. VMware together with 100+ technology partners and virtualization vendors will be showing their solutions across the solution exchange exhibit hall, break out sessions and hands-on labs.

About the Attendees
Based on previous events, we expect 50% of the attendees to have a technical background and the other 50% to be focused on business management. 65% of the attendees are working for companies that use virtualization in their own organization, 35% consult/support/sell virtualization solutions. The attendees will be from a geographically diverse group of countries, with the majority coming from Europe. The largest represented countries/regions will be UK (20%), Scandinavia (16%), the Benelux (16%) and Germany (11%). The event official language will be English and we expect all content to be presented in English.

About the Sessions
We will have around 150 unique sessions; this will include sessions from VMware employees, customers, sponsors, virtualization vendors and industry specialists. The Sessions will fall into 6 different Tracks:

Virtual Data Center Operating System Focus on topics about running virtualization in the Datacenter
Desktop Virtualization Focus on topics about Desktop Virtualization and Mobile
Virtualization
Technology and Architecture Focus on a single or just a few (technical) components, not an overall solution.
Application Workload and Performance Focus on running business applications in the real world in virtualized environments and sessions about performance.
Technology Partners This track will include all the Sponsor Sessions and can include commercial information about their solutions.
Hands-on Labs Sessions where attendees can get hands-on experience by doing exercises on different technical topics.