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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 30

Someone asked me this week how I picked the top 5 blog posts. Did I have some sort of rating formula to decide which blog post should be on the list. The answer is short: No I don't. I just pick the five post of which I think they were most useful and/or enjoyable. This can be a deep technical post, but also a post about a newly released tool like the one from Richard below. There's no science behind this, based on feeling and it's personal. Hope this answers your question. Anyway, it's week 30 already, enjoy:

  • Mike Laverick – Download the complete Vi3 Book for free
    You can now download the Vi3book that I wrote with Ron Oglesby and Scott Herold for free.
    You might like to supplement these free chapters with the free guides which I released with Vi3.5…
  • Richard Garsthagen – New Beta Release – vAudit
    Well after a few hours of programming, I am happy to make my latest utility available. The program is called vAudit and it allows you to audit your VMware View environments. vAudit will show you when your users are working with their desktops in an easy timeline.
  • Mike Laverick | Duncan Epping – What I learned today (HA Split brain) RTFM and Yellow-Bricks
    Anyway, the time for detecting split brain used to be 15 seconds, for
    some reason this has changed to 12 seconds. I’m not 100% why, or if in
    fact the underlying value has changed – or that VMware has merely
    corrected its own documentation. You see its possible to get split
    brain in Vi3.5 happening if the network goes down for more than 12
    seconds, but comes back up on the 13th, 14th or 15th second. I guess I
    will have to do some research on this one. Of course, the duration can
    be changed – and split brain is trivial matter if you take the
    neccessary network redundency steps…
  • Joep Piscaer – How to configure VMware vCenter Orchestrator
    While I was delivering a training course about vSphere last week, I decided to throw in some Orchestrator goodness, and configured it with the students. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to actually using Orchestrator, so for now, I’ve limited this blog post to merely configuring it. I’m planning to dive deeper into it some time soon. Below is the complete configuration guide for VMware vCenter Orchestrator, including database and attaching it to LDAP. I’ve included some screenshots as well.
  • Hany Michael – vSphere in a box Part 3: Lab Manager 4.0 Automation
    I discovered another great use case while I was working on the Lab Manager, which is training the SysAdmins in my current corp on the new vSphere platform. We are also growing rapidly with our virtual environment (soon to be: private cloud) and we’ll definitely need more SysAdmins on board. That being said, I now have an instrumental tool for provisioning independent labs for the SysAdmins to login and have their own hands-on experience with the new platform.

VMware vSphere starts the journey to Common Criteria certification

A question I get from customers on a regular base is if vSphere 4.0 has already achieved Common Criteria certification. Unfortunately I could never give an answer to their question but this has changed as of yesterday. Although we have not achieved it yet, we are working towards it…

Source: VMware vSphere starts the journey to Common Criteria certification
Many people have been interested in knowing when vSphere 4 will achieve Common Criteria certification, as was the case for ESX 3.0 and vCenter 2.0 and as will be the case for ESX/ESXi 3.5 and vCenter 2.5. Common Criteria is important for government and defense customers, since it is often a requirement for many of their IT environments, but it is also valuable for other customers, since it represents an objective measure of a software product’s security. Having Common Criteria certification, especially at the higher levels, is often used by security professionals and auditors as a way to gauge whether or not a product should be considered for use in security-sensitive environments, such as credit-card transaction systems.

I am happy to report that VMware vSphere 4 has begun the Common Criteria certification process for vSphere 4.0 at EAL4+. This specifically includes: ESX 4.0, ESXi 4.0, and vCenter 4.0. We have received the letter of intent from the security consulting firm hired by VMware for the evaluation; unfortunately, we cannot post it here, but interested customers should contact their sales representatives directly if they want to see a copy of it.

As you might be aware, the journey towards final certification can be a long one, due to the extensive documentation requirements and rigorous tests that the products must undergo. We’ll provide updates at major milestones of the certification process, but the expectation is that final certification will be achieved in the 2nd half of 2010.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 29

It seems to be the summer holiday season cause the amount of blog posts decreased over the last week or so. Now don't get me wrong, the quality of the posts did not change. Especially the first two by Alan and Bouke, although I'm not talking about the quality of the info but about the quality of the tools they wrote, are amazing. Enjoy,

  • Bouke Groenescheij – CPUBusier
    Remember the good 'old CPUBusy script used during the VMware Install
    & Configure training? Well I wanted to have something which allows
    you to control the load. So I created this little piece of software
    called CPUBusier.
  • Alan Renouf – PowerCLI Daily Report
    I have been using this script for the past month and it has
    highlighted a number of issues which would have been harder to find
    without it.Daily Report does what it says on the tin, it runs as a scheduled task before you get into the office to present you with key information about your infrastructure in a nice easily readable format.This script picks on the key areas of the virtual infrastructure and
    reports it all in one place so all you do in the morning is check your
    email.
  • Alan Murphy – Choosing between Azure and VMM Private Clouds
    I do like the idea of them embracing private clouds with VMM, a logical
    step when competing against VMware and vCloud, but then I pause. Will
    Azure ever compete against vCloud? vCloud is designed to allow
    enterprise customers to build a services-based application bundle
    in-house (ie running in a private cloud) and then push that entire
    application service bundle up to a service provider also running VMware
    and supporting vCloud (ie the public cloud). Build at home, push to the
    cloud. Makes sense. When people think private cloud, they think vCloud.
  • Hany Michael – VMware vCenter AppSpeed 1.0 first look!
    The AppSpeed is not meant to replace any of your existing monitoring
    tools that you are happy with. It’s another great visibility tool for
    doing that, not to mention the SLA part and the integration with the
    vCloud technologies. I just wanted to tell you that you still need this
    even if you are a VMware expert who knows how to use the traditional
    tools for performance analysis.
  • Greg Lato – VMware Network Port List
    One of the recurring requests I hear from my clients is for a list or
    diagram showing the network ports that are used by the various VMware
    products and components.  Thanks to some of my VMware Professional
    Service Colleagues for creating and allowing me to share with you the VMware Network Port List.  I’ll keep this under the VMW Launchpad section of the blog and try to update it as time permits.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 28

Quite a busy week again for most of us. Yesterday vCenter 2.5 Update 5 was released and Jason Boche reported that the first vSphere updates have also been released. (Although not officially confirmed / published on the VMware website!) I will not keep you guys for long because you probably need to start patching. While you are waiting for Update Manager to complete enjoy these articles. Leave your thoughts/comments here or at any of the following articles to keep the conversation going!

  • Christoph Dommermuth – Reset, Refresh, Recompose, Rebalance?
    Today I’ve found an question in the VMware Enterprise Desktop online
    community forums where a member asked if someone could explain the
    difference between the terms Reset, Refresh, Recompose and Rebalance in
    context of VMware View. Some of you are familiar with that but I think
    it’s worth to explain.
  • Daniel Eason – Optimal VM Placement
    Storage
    virtualisation and natural decouplement within ESX architecture means
    that you can design and build a Virtual Machine that can have a Virtual
    disk drive such as the main OS or partition for flat file copies hosted
    on lower end SATA Storage or Networked storage, you can then run on the
    same VM other disks that require higher IO Log and DB disk volumes on
    more capable Fibre Channel or EFD media. This technical capability all
    ensures that you can achieve and obtain the dedicated IOP's needed for
    running the virtualised workload and more importantly allows
    organisations to reduce cost by not using higher end storage for lower
    end storage demands.
  • Jason Boche – vSphere Virtual Machine Performance Counters Integration into Perfmon
    Observing some of the counter names, it’s interesting to see that
    VMware has given us direct insight into the hypervisor resource
    configuration settings via Performance Monitor from inside the guest
    VM. While this may be useful for VI Administrators who manage both the
    VI as well as the guest operating systems, it may be disservice to VI
    Administrators in environments where guest OS administration is
    delegated to another support group. The reason why I say this is that
    some of these new counters disclose an “over commit” or “thin
    provisioning” of virtual hardware resources which I’d rather not reveal
    to other supports groups.
  • Duncan Epping – Max amount of VMs per VMFS volume
    So in other words, the max amount of virtual machines per volume multiplied by the average size of a virtual machine plus 20% for snaps and .vswp rounded up. (As pointed out in the comments if you have VMs with high amounts of memory you will need to adjust the % accordingly.) This should be your default VMFS size. Now a question that was asked in one of the comments, which I already expected, was “how do I determine what the maximum amount of VMs per volume is?”. There’s an excellent white paper on this topic.
  • Hany Michael – vSphere in a Box: A “Virtual Private Cloud” Blueprint (Part 1 & Part 2)
    I need to build a complete private cloud! I need to have everything starting from ESX clusters to dvSwitches, Cisco NX1Vs, virtual appliances, VMsafe based solutions, and last but not least, a working SRM installation between two virtual DCs. I need to have the complete feel of this so-called “private cloud” before I even start an actual PoC, which will be way complicated & a bit challenging in the physical world. I need to go to the management with diagrams and videos and tell them why we need to be 100% virtualized, and why we should start planning for that. Show them where we are headed, and how our IT environment and datacenters will look like one year from now.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 27

I wish VMware used WordPress or any other back-end for this blog. Typepad has the nasty habit of publishing when saving instead of saving it as draft. That's why this article was released with only three instead of five articles this week. Of course that was a slip up on my behalf and here's the full list, enjoy:

  • Steve Kaplan – Is VMware More Like Novell or Oracle?
    While perhaps taking some liberties with terminology, VMware’s declaration of vSphere as a cloud operating system does emphasize the importance of virtualization in enabling a shared resource-on-demand cloud model. As a data center approaches 100% virtualization, embracing cloud computing becomes easier. VMware’s vSphere delivers not only the performance required for 100% virtualization, but also the crucial storage, network, security and management components. Data center virtualization has an exceptional and easily measurable ROI.
  • Massimo Re Ferre' – Disaster Recovery inside-out for Dummies (with LSI)
    In this article, I'd like to document a setup I have been working on
    for a few days at the LSI office in Milano (great guys and free
    beverage there! Thanks!). LSI is the
    company from which IBM OEMs the DS3000, DS4000 and DS5000 lines of
    storage servers. Since I am trying to get a little bit more into the
    storage and network subsystems I wanted to spend a few days playing
    with those kits. I have concentrated on today's hot topic of Disaster
    Recovery and particularly the integration of LSI RVM (Remote Volume
    Mirroring) into the VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager). I have to admit
    that I am not a storage guru, nor I have looked too much into SRM, so
    most of the stuff you will find here might be pretty basic. 
  • Justin Emmerson – Using HP RGS with VMware View 3.1
    So be aware that VMware does not support running RGS Senders in Virtual Machines. That said, HP does support it, and the plan was prior to View 3.1’s launch to have this fully supported by both parties. From what I heard, issues at the last minute caused them to push this off. As a result, if you try to create a pool using VirtualCenter VMs (i.e. an Individual Desktop with VirtualCenter VM selected, any kind of Automated Desktop Pool, or a Manual Desktop Pool with VirtualCenter VM selected) RGS does not show as an available default protocol.
  • Daniel Eason – The Virtual Glue
    Ultimately large amounts of responsibility needs to be taken onboard by Internal Virtualisation teams to promote the art of the possible with VA's and to educate on what benefits they provide as apposed to current methodologies. Development tools such as the latest release in VMware Studio can also enable internal teams to build wrapped custom builds for internal applications and take away the large amount of work of deploying components in the VM. The barrier of adoption here is that there is limited amount of mileage in promoting VA's and custom packages unless business application teams and other parties involved in a typical deployment are able to share pre deployment options on there side of the story for the relevant application stack.
  • Eric Sloof – VMware Data Recovery and the hidden un-removable snapshots
    The tricky part of the problem is that the snapshots are not visible
    through the vSphere Client, nor are they listed in apps like 'RVTools'
    that use the VMware CLI to gather data. They could potentially be
    listed in the new datastore views but I didn’t think to look there
    before I resolved it in my environment. I ran across them by logging
    into the service console and running the following command to list all
    the delta files on the datastores attached to the server.

VMware Studio 2 Beta & vApps – Community Roundtable podcast #54

The beta release of VMware Studio 2.0 and using it to create vApps was the topic of this week’s podcast. Studio 1.0 came out last year; this beta moves the bar significantly. We also got into why you as a VMware admin should care about vApps – without being too hyperbolic I think it’s going to be the organizing paradigm that will change how we think of applications — from a VM level to something much higher-level and more manageable. Going back to Studio, here’s the high-level description:

VMware Studio 2.0 helps configure, build, deploy, customize and
maintain vApps and virtual appliances. These solution stacks can be
deployed on VMware vSphere 4.0 or in the cloud and can be managed from
the VMware Studio web console or from VMware vCenter Server. In this
webinar, software vendors, application developers and IT administrators
will get an overview of vApps and virtual appliances followed by what’s
new in Studio 2.0. We will walk you through the entire build process by
starting with an application created in Eclipse (via the Eclipse
plug-in in Studio) and demonstrating how it can be packaged as either a
vApp or virtual appliance in OVF format. The process will also reveal
various automated tools available, for creating a clean out-of-box
experience, such as specifying exact OS requirements, building an
update repository, adding custom management services and adding
existing VM builds as input.

As always, listen in via the widget to the right, the mp3, or via iTunes.

More links:

Non-Studio topics we discussed:

A few of the podcast attendees have already weighed in with their reactions – mostly about the significance of using vApps in the enterprise. I wasn’t kidding when I used the word ‘paradigm’ above.

Stu from vinternals.com, who is known to tell it like it is, liked it, he really liked it.

Rich Brambley:  VMware Studio 2.0 and OVF Exports: Blurred Products or Outside The Box Thinking? | VM /ETC.

I’ll
outline potential Studio / OVF usage that may be “outside of the box”
from the VMware software’s intended purpose. Or is it? You tell me.

vCenter / Deploy from template

The ability to export any VM as an OVF from the VI Client by itself,
let alone VMware Studio, opens the door for template deployment in
environments without vCenter. Build a VM to desired corporate standards
and then export a copy of it to a shared network drive where it can be
used as a master image for future deployments on any virtual platform
that supports OVF.

With VMware Studio build a multiple VM apllication as a vApp.
Configure the web server and the database for example, and before
adding any data export the combination as an OVF. Deploy the vApp OVF
as a master template as needed.

Sure, vCenter offers so much more automation for this process, but
what about for deployment between ESX hosts that are not managed by the
same vCenter or don’t share the same storage? …

Daniel Eason: Virtually Insane?: The Virtual Glue.

By deploying turnkey Virtual Appliances with for example a new SAP ERP
Landscape on 10-20 Machines in a period of say 2-3 days rather than 2-3
Machines in 10-20 days clearly shows that current long deployment
processes are redced and less people need to be involved on a
deployment when using Virtual Appliances alongside side orchestration
and groupings such as vApp. The problem however with this is you get
people protective on roles and the oldage turf war developing so it is
not something that can be just implemented straight away. …

vApps functionality
in vSphere enables organisations to reduce even more manual and people
process. It enables you to compile the complete application stack and
configure all associated components by one single master definition.
Tie this in with some VMware orchestration capability where you could
say deploy via API the Database components as part of the VM build and
provision the relevant Networking components and it is clear the
potential is going to be huge.

For the Canadians hiding among us, happy belated Canada Day. For the USians, happy Fourth. For the rest of the world, keep on working and we’ll see you next week.