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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Now is the Time: Top 10 Reasons Why SMBs Can’t Afford to Sit on the Sidelines Waiting to Virtualize

By Joe Andrews, Group Manager, Product Marketing at VMware

In today’s economic environment, it’s no wonder why virtualization technology remains at the top of many IT priority project lists.  Companies that have deployed virtualization solutions have reported cost savings of more than 50% of their infrastructure costs; 60-80% utilization for their x86 servers (up from 5-15% in non-virtualized environments); 85% improvement in recovery time in unplanned downtime; the ability to provision new applications in minutes instead of days or weeks.

So why are so many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still sitting on the sidelines when it comes to virtualization? It could be a number of reasons.  Virtualization may seem primarily suited to large datacenters.  It may be perceived as too expensive or hard to manage.  Whatever the reason, SMBs may be surprised to learn about the other benefits of virtualization that may not be so well known.  Here are just a few:

1)    You get time back in your day. What if you had more time to spend on supporting the business and less time doing mundane, repetitive tasks?  Virtualization can help IT staff spend less time provisioning servers or applying patches so that more time can be spent enabling new business initiatives.

2)    You can get disaster recovery without breaking the bank.  By consolidating servers, IT staff can use the extra capacity to build a replication site without spending thousands of dollars in extra hardware. 

3)    Applications run better. The conventional x86 computing model, with applications tied to physical servers is too rigid and fragmented to efficiently support today’s complex and dynamic applications.  As a result, companies are forced to spend 70% of their IT budgets to manage existing applications and less than 30% is allocated to truly innovating for the business.  This ratio is even more stifling for SMBs that have an IT staff or 1 or 2 people.  Virtualization unlocks these applications’ ties to physical hardware to allow for improved uptime and SLAs, better flexibility and improved performance.

4)    You can get better management. Spending time managing infrastructure gets even more cumbersome as it grows in size and complexity.  Virtualization gives SMBs the ability to manage their infrastructure in a centralized way.  Why is this good?  Centralized IT management lets you view and operate your environment from a single pane of glass and automate resource intensive operations across disparate hardware, operating system and software application environments while reducing the chances of human error.

5)    You can get more out of your hardware. Everybody in the pool!  Because virtualization breaks the legacy “one application to one server” model, infrastructure resources can be pooled to get significantly higher resource utilization. SMBs get improved agility to accommodate increased business demands on IT without having to buy more hardware. SMBs can use hardware that’s been freed up through consolidation for activities that normally could not be accommodated due to lack of budget.

6)    You can get more life out of your applications. Separating the application and OS from the hardware and encapsulating into a virtual machine container enables you to run legacy applications longer on newer hardware and get extended life out of your previous IT investments. 

7)    You can secure your data better. Virtualization separates the OS and applications from the server hardware, shrinking the foot print and vulnerable attack area to lessen the threat from viruses and other security breaches. 

8)    You can get improved business continuity. Virtualization can help SMBs eliminate planned downtime and give them the ability recover quickly from unplanned outages, and have the ability to securely backup and migrate entire virtual environments with no service interruption.

9)    You can save the Earth’s energy. Virtualization means fewer servers and fewer servers mean lower power and cooling costs and space requirements.  Energy savings are estimated at $500 to $600 per server per year.

10)    And yes, you can cut costs! Of course, you can cut capital costs through server consolidation, but more importantly you can cut the operational costs that come with just maintaining your business.  Virtualization allows SMBs to get the power to energize their business while saving money—the time is now to get off the sidelines.

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Top 3 Planet V12n blog posts week 35

It's been such a strange week. On Tuesday I headed to VMware HQ, Palo Alto, to conduct multiple VCDX interviews. Actually this was the first time we had people from outside of VMware presenting and defending. Of course I can't comment on the outcome, but I must say that overall I was pleased… very pleased about the level of expertise that was shown. During the week I also met several people I wanted to for a long time, including Mr Planet V12n himself John Troyer. It was a great week and there's another great week ahead of us: VMworld. That is not what this post is about. This post is about this weeks top 5, euuuh make it 3 cause 99% of the article were news articles this week, here we go:

  • Eric Gray – The VMware ESXi 4 64MB Hypervisor Challenge
    In a previous article, I answered the question: If VMware ESXi 4 is so small, why is it so big? It’s quite clear now that the disk footprint of VMware ESXi 4 is less than 60MB. But to really drive the point home, I wanted to demonstrate that VMware ESXi 4 could boot and run from a tiny 64MB flash device, so I asked Olivier Cremel, the inventor of ESXi, if that was feasible. He said it was — and gave me advice on how to set it up. This article shows you how.
  • Scott Lowe – Thinking Out Loud: HP Flex-10 Design Considerations
    The number of uplinks doesn’t matter anymore, because bandwidth is
    controlled in the Flex-10 configuration. You want 1.5Gbps for VMotion?
    Fine, no problem. You want 500Mbps for the Service Console? Fine, no
    problem. You want 8Gbps for IP-based storage traffic? Fine, no problem.
    As long as it all adds up to 10Gbps, architects can subdivide the
    bandwidth however they desire. So the number of uplinks, from a
    bandwidth perspective, is no longer applicable.
  • Chad Sakac – Important note for all EMC CLARiiON Customers using iSCSI and vSphere
    You can ABSOLUTELY drive simultaneous interfaces against a single
    target when using NMP Round Robin or PowerPath/VE and an EMC CLARiiON
    and the vSphere 4 software initiator.  BUT there is one CLARiiON issue
    (this is really a bug, IMHO – and one that we’re fixing, so the the
    below is a workaround – but a workaround that you could leave for as
    long as you want – there’s not really a general downside).

Healthcare IT sessions at VMworld

Healthcare industry participants: see the list below of all the healthcare-related sessions at VMworld. It’s a big conference with a plethora of rich technical content – and some of these sessions are not as easy to find as they should be. Search on the following titles or session ID numbers on the VMworld Schedule Builder for more information and to add these sessions to your schedule.

Tuesday
10:00 a.m.: DV2672 Cerner Millennium deployed in a VMware View environment
10:00 a.m. TA2646 Creative Solutions: How Florida Hospital virtualized AIX and Mastered SAN Replication for DR
6:00 p.m.: EA1820 Virtualizing Critical Healthcare Applications

Wednesday
10:00 a.m. DV1667 Norton Healthcare Desktop
11:30 a.m. DV1788 The 4 C's of Desktop Virtualization for Healthcare: Costs, Clients, Continuity, and Compliance
3:00 p.m. VM5420 Using Lab Manager in a Regulated Healthcare Environment

Thursday
9:30 a.m.VM2648 Managing Compliance in Virtual Environments
11:30 a.m. DV2782 Application and Desktop Virtualization
1:30 p.m. EA3940 Cerner Millennium Scalability when deployed on VMware vSphere and Intel Nehalem

To keep up with VMware-related news for healthcare IT, follow VMwareHIT on Twitter, hosted by Frank Nydam and other members of the VMware healthcare team.

Here’s to a productive, fun VMworld conference for all –
VMware's Healthcare Team

21K new customers in 6 months, 350K downloads in 13 weeks

The VMworld buzz starts in earnest. Today we announced that – no surprise to anyone that has been paying attention – vSphere is a hit. 21,000 new customers chose VMware in the first half of this year, and vSphere 4 has been downloaded 350,000 times since it was launched 13 weeks ago. We also ran a poll on our website, and 75% of the folks who responded said they'd be upgrading over the next 6 months. (That's not a scientific survey, but it's in general agreement with Eric Siebert's vSphere-Land poll, where 67% of the respondents said they'd be upgrading their production environments to vSphere within 6 months.)

I think our press releases are actually really well-written — they usually have quite useful information in them and a minimum "global, leading, market-leading" marketing speak. For this release, I particularly like the customer quotes, including the virtualization blogosphere's own Lone Sysadmin, Bob Plankers. (Bob will be at VMworld this year and a judge in the SearchServerVirtualization's Best of VMworld 2009 award. If you run into him, say hi and tell him you read his press release quote.)

“As a result of upgrading to VMware vSphere 4, the museum has saved
$200,000 AUD on hardware procurement costs since migrating from VMware
Infrastructure 3. We’ve also reduced our power requirements by 33
percent and have achieved a server consolidation ratio of 12:1,” said
Dan Collins, manager of information technology at Powerhouse Museum.
“VMware vSphere 4 has also dramatically improved our infrastructure
responsiveness and flexibility, and most importantly enhanced our
recoverability of systems and information.”…

“After seeing the benefits of virtualizing our infrastructure
applications, we wanted to move our SQL database into the virtualized
environment,” said Roy K. Turner, server systems engineer, Frederick
Memorial Hospital.  “The improved performance and enhanced reliability
in VMware vSphere 4 have been invaluable in exceeding our SLAs and
preventing revenue loss from our mission-critical applications.  VMware
Fault Tolerance further improves uptime for our most critical
applications by providing zero-downtime recovery from hardware
failures, while VMware Data Recovery helps us easily back up and
protect our critical data.”

"With VMware, we've found that we can roll out new services much
faster, as well as increase the reliability of existing services, while
cutting the costs of doing both,” said Bob Plankers, technical
architect, University of Wisconsin – Madison. “With VMware vSphere 4,
our infrastructure management becomes much simpler through the use of
new VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch and Host Profiles. VMware
vSphere 4 also increased the amount of I/O, memory, and CPU available,
meaning we can virtualize nearly every workload we have."

You can see from the quotes we've come a long way from server consolidation – for VMware customers, it's about increasing your business agility. Or to dip into the language of the release: vSphere "offers unmatched cost savings; delivers the efficiency and performance required to run business critical applications; provides uncompromised control over application service levels, and preserves customer choice  of hardware, OS, application architecture and on-premise vs. off-premise application hosting." That's some marketing speak I can believe in.

More VMworld news to come!
John Troyer

vCalendar

VMworld is traditionally the time of year where most VI Admins load up on new virtualization books. With vSphere being released months ago this years VMworld shop will probably be filled with new books. Jason Boche is one of the guys who normally goes home packed with new reading material. This year is different. Instead of taking piles of books home with him he will be bringing something. Not a book though but a calender; a vCalender to be more precise. Jason compiled a calendar with tips, best practices, configuration maximums and even historical events. It's a unique item which will be limited available at VMworld so be sure to get one before they run out of them. Of course they will be available after VMworld via the Printed Owl as mentioned below.

Source article: vCalendar Launch

Welcome! vCalendar is little something I have been working on in my
spare time during the spring and summer months of 2009.  I’ve had “Far
Side” and “Dilbert” Page-A-Day calendars on my desktop at work for the
past 15 years and towards the end of 2008 I thought a virtualization
calendar would be nice to have, however, I could find none in
existence. So I decided to make my own – and make it available to the
virtualization community. vCalendar is a collection of VMware
virtualization facts, tips, best practices, configuration maximums, and
historical events delivered to your desktop daily. vCalendar was
authored by virtualization virtuoso and Senior Systems Engineer Jason
Boche.

  1. vCalendar is available for purchase online at The Printed Owl.
    Select your starting month and year – vCalendars are custom printed to
    your specification and shipped to your doorstep. Sorry, international
    shipping is not yet available but I’m working on options.
  2. vCalendar has already arrived in San Francisco and will be available in limited quantities at the VMworld 2009 store.
  3. A special limited edition vCalendar will be available from the Veeam booth at VMworld 2009.

Blogging at VMworld – sign up here

Picture 2 This post is for you are going to VMworld and you're a blogger (or even if you don't think of yourself as a "blogger", but have some sort of website that you'll be updating). Whether you're just taking notes of the breakout sessions for yourself, documenting your trip with snapshots, sharing some choice bon mots on Facebook or Twitter, or revealing your grand unified thesis of the future of virtualization — I want to help you do your thing.

Add your name to the list here: http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10597

[I was going to make everybody sign up on a wiki document, but there's a bug with editing vmworld.com documents, so we'll try plan B. If we haven't spoken, just drop me a line at jtroyer@vmware.com. If we have, I know you're coming already.]

By listing your blog, you're alerting me (and the VMworld staff) where you'll be blogging, so we'll make sure we don't miss you. Highlights of interesting and useful blog posts will show up on vmworld.com and this blog. (I can't reproduce your photos on the VMTN Blog without your permission unless you tag them with a Creative Commons license or shoot me an email (jtroyer@vmware.com) telling me I can.) You can (and should) also link/embed videos at the VMworld Video Spot and photos at the VMworld Photo Wall for others to enjoy.

I'll do another post on Twitter tomorrow, but if you're wondering, the hashtag for the conference will be #vmworld, so set up your Twitter search on whatever gadget or laptop you'll be carrying.

At the conference, feel free to drop by the Communities Lounge, meet the community team, including yours truly, and sit for a while. We will have a table with power and Internet connectivity for your on-site blogging needs. I'll also be conducting interviews with various people — customers, partners, VMware employees in the Podcasting Booth. I'd love to have you come in the booth and tell me how VMworld is going for you, and what you're getting out of the conference. If your blogging takes a journalistic bent, there should be plenty of interesting people hanging out in the lounge to interview for your blog as well.

If you are interested in liveblogging the General Sessions (aka Keynotes), we will also have tables with power and Internet – and usually with a great view of the stage. We do have limited seating for these (30 seats), so if you haven't liveblogged before, let me know (jtroyer@vmware.com), so I can judge availability.

And I'm not announcing it here, because a few details remain to be worked out, but there's a very good chance we'll have a little bloggng contest this year, with prizes for the best posts and multimedia, so watch this space.

Above all, whether you're a blgoger or not, have fun, meet as many of your peers at the conference as you can, ask lots of questions, don't be shy around VMware engineers (that's why they are there), don't drink so much you can't make the General Sessions, and we'll see you in San Francisco next week!

–John

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 34

This was an exciting week again. Especially because "Run the Golden Gate Bridge 2009" is definitely happening during VMworld. Already over 135 people signed up, and all of that because a couple of guys on twitter wanted to go for a run during VMworld. Of course that wasn't the only exciting thing that happen, there were some exciting articles again which I have selected for you guys. Enjoy:

  • Cody Bunch – VMDirectPath? Paravirtual SCSI? – vSphere VM Options and You!
    When would you use it? Well, I’m glad you asked. Remember that database
    that you were not virtualizing, because of it’s high IO requirement?
    That graphics rendering app for marketing that let the magic blue smoke
    out of your last SAN array? These are good candidates for PVSCSI.
  • Alan Renouf – PowerCLI: Daily Report V2
    Firstly I would like to thank everyone who took the time to comment on my previous Daily Report script, I really appreciate the feedback and have never had so many comments !
    Now onto V2…
    This one will take a while longer to run than the last script but as its a scheduled task we are not really worried about that, we are hardly going to sit there and watch it running !
  • Scott Drummonds – Four Things You Should Know About ESX 4's Scheduler
    I spent a great deal of time answering customers' questions about the scheduler. Never have so many questions been asked about such an abstruse component for which so little user influence is possible. But CPU scheduling is central to system performance, so VMware strives to provide as much information on the subject as possible. In this blog entry, I want to point out a few nuggets of information on the CPU scheduler. These four bullets answer 95% of the questions I get asked.
  • Mike Laverick – Attack of the Clones: NetApp Rapid Clone Video
    Some thoughts on the RCU from making the video (it took a couple of time get video working right, due to user errors such as not having the right key for Windows XP!). Firstly, I can spot to very small tweaks that could made with the RCU. It doesn’t allow me to control where the VMs are created from a folder or resource pool perspective. All the new virtual desktops are created in the same folder as the source template – and there’s no ability to place the rapid cloned VMs into a resource pool – and this can lead to big long flat list of VMs – which ain’t pretty. Especially, in a VDI environment where there could be hundreds of virtual desktops. You might think this is a minor issue, after all you can drag & drop the VMs after the cloning process to the right VM folder/resource pool. Erm, well not quite. During the deploy process you can ask the RCU to register the new virtual desktops with VMware View/XenDesktop brokers. I dunno about XenDesktop but currently View is very happy about you moving vCenter objects around.
  • Eric Horschman – Our position on hypervisor footprints, patching, vulnerabilities and whatever else Microsoft wants to throw into a blog post
    The truth is, vulnerabilities and exploits will never completely go away for any enterprise software, but ESX has been remarkably resistant to such issues. If it happens again, we'll find the problem and fix it quickly, as we did for CVE-2009-1244. I'll also point out that a guest breakout is a much more serious issue when it drops you into a familiar general-purpose management OS like the Windows Server 2008 parent OS used by Hyper-V than it is with a design like ESXi where an escape grants access to just a thin, hardened hypervisor like our vmkernel. A hypervisor that relies on an OS like Win2008 with a history of regular and recurring remote vulnerabilities will always make an easier target for attackers and should not inspire false confidence.

VMworld Run the Golden Gate Bridge 2009

We opened up registrations for the VMworld Run The Golden Gate Bridge 2009 event two days ago and already 135 runners have signed up! This is an amazing result for an initiative that started out with a couple of tweets between several well known VMware Community members. However I personally think we should be able to hit at least 200. So everyone who hasn't signed up yet, do so now as the registration closes this Sunday!

Here are the details:

Date

Monday, August 31, 2009 @ 6:30 PM local time

Address

Golden Gate Bridge (Shuttles will be provided from Moscone Center to the bridge and back)

Fees

$ 10,- (includes Nike dri-fit/cotton shirt)

Registration Closing Date

Sunday, August 23, 2009 @ 11:59 PM

Brief Description

Come join us for the first VMworld Fun Run. This event is only open to registered attendees of VMworld 2009 conference, sponsoring companies, partner companies and others associated with VMworld 2009. Event badges will be required to participate.

Course

The course will take the runner over the Golden Gate Bridge and back. We are planning on a 5K course and a 10K course. The exact distance(s) may change due to logistics.

Transportation

Shuttle bus transportation will depart from Moscone Center (VMworld HQ) and drop you off near the run launch pad. The buses will also return you to Moscone when you have finished. Bus schedules will be sent to you next week.

Beneficiary

All proceeds and sponsorship donations will be donated to Save The Bay. Save the Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay. (www.savesfbay.org)

Additional Information

Special thanks to the event sponsors: – list is coming

Be a part of this great initiative… REGISTER NOW!

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 33

What a week… For me personally of course the announcement of our upcoming book "vSphere Quickstart guide" was a highlight. But that wasn't the only thing that happened this week, VMware acquiring Springsource was probably one of the most discussed topics and of course I added one of the best articles on this acquisition to the top 5. Have fun!

  • Steve Kaplan – VMware's got plenty of mojo
    Although Kennedy contends that VMware lacks "real innovation", vSphere incorporates remarkable advances in compute, storage, network, security and management. But vSphere is much more than the sum of its 150+ new features – it fulfills the performance, reliability, management and security requirements to establish virtualization as the standard and the foundation of a 100% virtualized data center.
  • Jason Boche -
    vSphere 4 Reference Card now available
    Forbes Guthrie has done it again! His wildly successful VI3 reference card is now available in vSphere format. Head over to his site, vReference, and download your copy today. Be sure to thank him for his hard work! I for one appreciate all that he does. Thanks Forbes and I look forward to meeting you in a few weeks.
  • Bouke Groeneschij – Getting vmware-hostd memory usage
    Now we want to be in control and determine ourselves to restart the
    hostd process, but we do not run it against all server blindly. We
    needed a list first which tell us what servers are running high with
    hostd memory usage. Since vmware-hostd is a service console process,
    powershell wasn't really an option. So I used plink and dos batch
    scripting instead, giving me a perfect .csv list with the current
    memory usage on each server.
  • Chris Wolf- SpringSource: VMware’s well-timed Acquisition
    I see the move as astute because SpringSource gives VMware the right platform at the right time. Chris Haddad – with our Application and Platform Strategies Service – detailed how a combined VMware and SpringSource platform will impact application development. Virtualization (i.e., server, client, application, storage, I/O, and network) and cloud are fundamentally changing the way that both server and desktop applications are delivered. Last year I wrote about how this transformational period creates opportunity for Microsoft’s competitors such as Apple. Cloud-based application delivery (both internal and external) is equally disruptive to traditional server application delivery models. What this means is that the time to redefine application delivery and to unseat the incumbents is right now.
  • Duncan Epping – HA and Slot sizes
    Of course we need to know what the slot size for memory and CPU is first. Then we divide the total available CPU resources of a host by the CPU slot size and the total available Memory Resources of a host by the memory slot size. This leaves us with a slot size for both memory and CPU. The most restrictive number is the amount of slots for this host. If you have 25 CPU slots but only 5 memory slots the amount of available slots for this host will be 5.

What you should know about Site Recovery Manager

Yesterday two really valuable articles were released. Both articles relate to Site Recovery Manager(SRM) which happens to be one of my focus areas.

The first article is an official VMware Whitepaper "VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Performance and Best Practices". This white-paper describes how to optimize your SRM environment to decrease your RTO. In the end that is what SRM is all about, decreasing your downtime if and when disaster strikes. I will quote one recommendation just to give you an idea of that this white-paper is all about. I highly recommend reading the full document for all the details.

If VMware DRS is not enabled on a cluster, then it is a good practice to manually distribute placeholder virtual machines evenly across hosts. This will help in distributing the load across hosts when recovered virtual machines are powered on and will in turn improve performance and recovery time. To do this, drag and drop the placeholder virtual machines across desired hosts.

Coincidentally at the same day I published a SRM FAQ. This FAQ was part of a reference guide written by VMware's BCDR Specialist System Engineer Michael White. Michael was so kind to share it with me and the rest of the world via Yellow-Bricks.com. This FAQ will be updated on a regular base and if you have any questions or comments don't hesitate to leave a comment on my blog.

While we are on the subject of SRM I would like to draw your attention to these excellent VMworld sessions you should definitely attend if BC-DR is one of your focus areas:

  • BC2260
    Automated Disaster Recovery for Branch Offices using SRM and vSphere 4
  • BC3301
    DR Architecture Design Workshop with SRM
  • BC3421
    SRM Architecture & Features: The Road Ahead
  • DV2181
    Leveraging SRM with VMware View – Lessons Learned
  • SPL16
    VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Basic Install & Config