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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Guest post: How prepared am I for ESXi?

This is a guest post by Brian Atkinson.

Almost 1 year ago, when VMware vSphere 4.1 was released, VMware announced that vSphere 4.1 would be the last release to support both the ESX and ESXi hypervisor architectures. So with a year in the books and another vSphere release lurking somewhere in the future, now might be a good time to ask "How prepared am I for ESXi?" Hopefully many have already taken the opportunity to move to ESXi and are enjoying the improved security, decreased patching, increased reliability and simplified management that it offers. For those that have not, there are few things to start thinking about.

ESXi is different from the very beginning. For starters, the download size is about half of the ESX equivalent. ESXi installation is simplified to a few steps, and gone are the days of partitioning and Linux GUI installers. While this is a good thing, build guides, business continuity, DR and other documentation will need to be updated to reflect these changes.

Configuring ESXi via the vSphere client is nearly identical to configuring ESX.  Aside from a few changes in the management network interface, syslog configuration and tech support options, everything is nearly the same. This is a bonus in that for operations staff there will be minimal, if any, changes. 

After installing ESX, the next step is typically to start installing the various agents and applications.  Things like SAN agents, multipathing software, backup agents/software, hardware monitoring, UPS software, and many others can be included here. Each of these agents or applications will need to be verified for ESXi compatibility. Hopefully the manufacturers have done their work and have software ready for ESXi. As far as installing agents and applications, this process has changed as well. The vihostupdate command will be one of the new methods for managing installs. Since the processes and products are different, documentation will again need to be updated to reflect these changes.

Another difference is the DCUI, which is accessed at the console of the physical ESXi server. This menu driven interface makes setting up networking, changing the root password, etc a process that no longer requires the use of the command line.  The Local TSM (Tech Support Mode) is there, but many of the commands used in ESX have been deprecated.  One of the often used commands that has gone missing is esxtop.  Those that were used to using esxtop for performance troubleshooting will need to get comfortable with using resxtop instead. 

Any scripts that were used in ESX will need to be reviewed as well and either replaced or moved into the VMware vSphere PowerCLI, vSphere Command Line Interface (vCLI) and/or VMware vSphere Management Assistant (vMA).  Build guides and/or BC/DR documentation will need to be updated to reflect these changes.

Occasionally it is necessary to patch hosts. Those that used esxupdate to accomplish this task will find that the vihostupdate command has essentially replaced it.  Here is yet another instance where procedures and documentation will need to be updated.

Another announcement also made nearly 1 year ago was that new major or minor versions of the vSphere platform beyond vSphere 4.1 will not be supported with VCB. However, other enhancements for storage and backup providers have been added, such as the VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection.now would be a good time to see if the backup tools and strategies currently in use take advantage of these new capabilities and are going to be compatible moving forward.

What can be done now to start getting ready?

Are there any additional resources that would help?

 


Brian Atkinson blogs in the VMware Communities at: communities.vmware.com/blogs/vmroyale and you can find him on Twitter @vmroyale.

Brian is a vExpert and holds the VCP certification.  He has been contributing to VMTN forums since 2007 as vmroyale. He has served as community moderator since 2010.

Brian was a technical editor for Eli Khnaser's "Exam Cram: VCP4 VMware Certified Professional VCP-410 Exam" book.

Brian currently works as a Sr. Systems Engineer in Richmond, VA.  He enjoys cycling, motocross and music.

A week in virtualization

Big news first. A new version of the vSphere client for iPad has been released and is now available in the Apple App Store. You can find a link to the announcement, and all the details of the release if you go to facebook.com/vmwaremobile

Hyperic has now released a new plugin, which allows you to monitor the apps running in the Cloud Foundry environment. To find out more, visit blog.hyperic.com

On Facebook, the vCloud team has been busy posting cool little how-to videos showing how to secure the cloud for the enterprise, for example, and how to add more users to an account on vCloud Express. You can find it all at facebook.com/vmwarevcloud

The VMware View team has shared a video case study about using VMware View in healthcare, made together with Columbia Memorial Hospital. You will find the link on facebook.com/vmwareview

And as we’re all used to see, the upcoming weeks will continue to thrill us with awesome events in the exciting world of virtualization.

In two weeks, our CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will host a live webcast, in which they will unveil the next major step forward in Cloud infrastructure. The webinar is called “Raising the Bar, Part V” and you can find the link to it on the main VMware Community home page at communities.vmware.com

The VMware Forum is Munich on the 13th, and continues on to Minneapolis on the 21st, after which there will be a short lull until August. The web page with details is linked from vmware.com homepage – in the grey box that says “VMware Forum 2011” on the lower left.

We have two webinars coming up soon, a technical webcast on industry-specific cloud building today, and a networking webinar tomorrow. Go have a look at webcasts.vmware.com

Also, tomorrow at 2:30 Edward Haletky has his Virtualization and Cloud Security podcast scheduled. It should later be linked from the Podcasts VMTN group communities.vmware.com/groups/podcasts, but you can also google it.

The following VMUGs are meeting over the next seven days: Memphis and Galicia. New England VMUG Summer Slammer is also coming up on the 21st. You can find more details and registration links for all the VMUG meetings at myvmug.org by clicking on “Events.”

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 25

You guys are making it difficult for me again, this week there were a lot of great posts from the community and it was hard to pick just 5 posts.

Andy Grant – Some Answers About Queues: LUN and HBA Queue Depth on ESX(i) Hosts – his article is in response to the post More Questions About Queues: LUN and HBA Queue Depth on ESX(i) Hosts. I previously posed a few questions about the behavior of vSphere’s SIOC and (LUN) Adaptive Queue Depth algorithm and have a few observations to report.

Eric Sloof – New Technical Papers – vShield Edge Design Guide and vShield App Design Guide – VMware vShield is a suite of security virtual appliances built for VMware vSphere 4.1. It is a critical security component for protecting virtualized datacenters from attacks and misuse. vShield App and vShield Edge are the two products in the suite that address network security.

Luc Dekens – Datastore usage statistics – An interesting question came up in the PowerCLI Community. Can one extract the datastore statistics, that are used for the space utilization graphs in the vSphere Client, with PowerCLI ? The graph in question, which you find in the Datastores Inventory view under the Performance tab, looks something like this.

Christian Mohn – 7 Expert Tips for Managing Your Remote vSphere Infrastructure – Now there is a catchy title if I ever saw one. Only “problem” is that it’s a whitepaper that I have written for Veeam. In reality this is the first published article I have ever written, that I didn’t publish on my own. I’m excited about it, yet strangely nervous about how it will be received by the people who download it. If you happen to do so, make sure to let me know how you found it, all comments and criticism will be most appreciated.

Armin van Lieshout – Managing VMware DRS rules using PowerCLI – One of the core features of VMware vSphere is the Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). VMware DRS is vSphere’s workload load balancer and relies on VMware vMotion technology to live-migrate workloads from one ESX host to another.You can constrain the VMware DRS decisions by defining DRS Rules. As of vSphere 4.1 there are 2 type of DRS rules.

And a bonus #6: Duncan Epping - Disk.SchedNumReqOutstanding the story - There has been a lot of discussion in the past around Disk.SchedNumReqOutstanding and what the value should be and how it relates to the Queue Depth. Jason Boche wrote a whole article about when Disk.SchedNumReqOutstanding (DSNRO) is used and when not and I guess I would explain it as follows …

A week in virtualization

Yesterday, the VMware Service Manager 9 has released. This solution enables IT organizations to deliver service excellence in this dynamic new environment with predictive problem resolution, real-time collaborative Knowledge Management, easy-to-use workflows, seamless integration with existing infrastructure and a powerful federated CMDB.
To learn more and to download, visit vmware.com/go/download_sm

On Facebook, the vCloud team posted a link to the newest VMware Labs Fling called the Cloud Cleaner. They also are promoting a webinar with our CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod in which they will unveil the next major step forward in Cloud infrastructure. You can find it all at facebook.com/vmwarevcloud

The VMware View team has shared a new blog post from the End User Computing blog by our Chief Market Technologist Brian Gammage, called “Right-sizing your approach to desktop virtualization.” You will find the link on facebook.com/vmwareview

And I know I said this last week, but this time, it’s for real. This is your final final reminder: Early bird pricing for VMworld registration is ending on Friday the 24th of June, so the time is really running out if you want to save some cash for yourself or for your company.

And as we’re all used to see, the upcoming weeks will be exciting in the thrilling world of virtualization.

The VMware Forum is making a stop in Toronto today, and continues to Munich, after which there will be a short lull until August. The web page with details is linked from vmware.com homepage – in the grey box that says “VMware Forum 2011” on the lower left.

We have a number of webinars coming up soon, a technical webcast on healthcare solutions tomorrow, followed by collaboration and email with Zimbra in small and midsize businesses next week. Then there’s the industry-specific cloud building webinar next Wednesday, and a networking one on Thursday. Go have a look at webcasts.vmware.com

The following VMUGs are meeting over the next seven days: Melbourne, Charleston, Kansas City, Denver, Cleveland, Southwest Indiana, and Manitoba. You can find more details and registration links for all the VMUG meetings at myvmug.org by clicking on “Events.”

Help improve VMware online experience

Do you find yourself saying, “This could have been better!” when using VMware.com?  If so here’s your chance to help make our web site better!

VMware is currently redesigning various areas of the online self-management tools, including downloading binaries, managing licenses, getting support, and managing users/permission in your organization.  The team would love for you to be a critical part of this evolution of VMware.

If you’re interested in helping us improve this experience, please sign up to participate in one of our virtual 1-on-1 feedback sessions by emailing us at VOC@vmware.com.  We're taking the first 15 volunteers to reply.

By the way, selected participants will receive an incentive for for helping us with our development.

We're looking to conduct these sessions between 6/28/11 – 7/11/11.

We would love to hear from you!


Posted on behalf of VMware Web Portal Redesign Team 

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 24

 

Mike DiPetrillo – How to Import Existing VMs into vCloud Director – Recently I was asked by a customer how they could import VMs from an existing vSphere environment into a vCloud Director environment. This particular customer is aiming to pull VMs from an existing managed hosting business so they’ll use the third of three options that I’ve described below.For pulling VMs into vCD you basically have 3 options.

Dave Hill – HowTo: Configure PXE Manager for Stateless ESXi deployments – This is the second of two part articles on Max Daneri’s PXE Manager. The first article can be found by clicking here. In this article I will explain how to configure PXE Manager to boot stateless ESXi hosts. This is a very simple process, but saves lots of time and effort when deploying hosts that have no local storage.

Eric Sloof – Ericom AccessNow for VMware View is now Generally Available – Ericom has released their Ericom AccessNow for VMware View version 1.0 of this first-of-a-kind product. Ericom’s pure HTML5 Access to View Virtual Desktops – from any HTML5-compatible web browser including from Chromebooks. Enable users to quickly and easily connect to VMware View desktops directly from within any HTML5-compatible web browser, without requiring Flash, Java or any other software to be installed on the client.

Rick Vanover – Top 5 Tips for Migrating to ESXi – If the message was not clear enough, it is time to move away from the full install of ESX (aka ESX classic). VMware’s ESXi hypervisor — also called the vSphere Hypervisor — is here to stay. The vSphere 4.1 release was officially the last major release that will include both hypervisors.

Andre Leibovici – VDI Flash Calculator v2.3 Released + Manual – I have just uploaded a new release of the online VDI Flash Calculator.  This new release offers support to two key features in VMware View that had not before been covered by the calculator. The first is the support for 1-to-Many relationship between Parent VM and Desktop Pools. Now it is possible to define how many desktop pools will use the same Parent VM. Previous versions of the calculator automatically assumed a relationship one-to-one.

Did you deploy vSphere on a boat? with a goat? in the rain? on a train?

Greenegg

We are looking for real life examples of how customers use VMware technology to create products or services for the everyday person. Example: An electricity plant that uses vSphere to manage and maintain the city's power supply, local state government servers that power and manage city traffic lights using vSphere, or a casino that keeps slot machines always on and available with high availability.

Similarly, if you other interesting or unique stories, like how virtualization has helped your business during natural disasters, please submit those ideas to jcu@vmware.com and include details about the customer, the scenario, and any other relevant information.

We are looking to share these stories with the rest of the world, but will not disclose anything publicly until we have received permission from you and your company. Keep in mind, these are not formal case studies; but rather, informal stories about how our customers use VMware technology today.

The person with the best submission will win a $100 Amazon gift card and have a chance to be featured at VMworld! Feel free to submit as many examples as you would like – Good luck!

-Jessica Cu

A week in virtualization

Last week, we have announced VMware vFabric 5 cloud application platform, which includes, among other things, SQLFire and elastic memory for Java. You can find out all about it at vmware.com/go/vfabric

On Facebook, the vCloud team was busy sharing stuff on Facebook: a video demo of NetApp deploying datacenters in minutes using vCloud was posted yesterday, and another video demo of how to create custom templates by Virtacore was posted today. vCloud folks also posted a number of interesting links, and you can find it all at facebook.com/vmwarevcloud

The VMware View team was also active on Facebook. Yesterday, they shared a new video called “VMware End User Computing: Right-sizing your approach to desktop virtualization.” You will find the link on facebook.com/vmwareview

A whole bunch of vCenter Orchestrator plugins are being released today, and you can find out all about them at vmware.com/go/vcenter

This is your final reminder: Early bird pricing for VMworld registration is ending on the 24th of June, so the time is running out if you want to save some cash: for yourself or for your company.

There are of course a bunch of cool events coming up, as usual, in the exciting world of virtualization.

The VMware Forum is making a stop in Chicago and London today, and continues to Minneapolis, Toronto, and Prague. The web page with details is linked from vmware.com homepage – in the grey box that says “VMware Forum 2011” on the lower left.

We have a ton of webinars coming up soon, on topics ranging from Real-Time awareness and risk assessment, over cloud adoption by federal agencies, to desktop virtualization in hospitals. There are more webinars listed there than I have time to mention here, so go have a look at webcasts.vmware.com

A full-day regional VMUG conference is coming up in Vancouver on the 21st of June. A regional conference is more than your usual VMUG meeting. It’s a full-day conference, with an agenda including interesting speakers. The Vancouver conference will feature John Troyer’s talk, so there’s your additional motivation to put this on your calendar.

Additionally, the following VMUGs are meeting over the next seven days: Romania, Calgary, Columbia, Scotland, Western Michigan, Indianapolis, Nashville, Central Ohio, Poland, South Florida, Northern Indiana, Seattle, Halifax, Jacksonville, and the fabulous Las Vegas. You can find more details and registration links for all the VMUG meetings at myvmug.org by clicking on “Events.”

Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. EDT, the Virtualization Security Podcast by our VMTN community member Edward Haletky will focus on PaaS.

 

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 23

It’s a busy time for me being the end of the quarter, and we have tons of events going on in my patch right now.  Last week I presented at the Cincinnati and Louisville Knowledge Series events on VMware View.  Next week we have vCenter Operations Manager events scheduled in Cincinnati and Louisville.  Attendance was great at both events, and there were some great questions from the people at both locations.  Cincinnati hosted a Healthcare breakout session after the KS event, and we had lots of great interactive conversations around VMware in the healthcare segment.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend, here are the top 5 posts for this week!

Luc Dekens – dvSwitch scripting – Part 9 – Traffic Shaping – Another interesting feature of a dvSwitch is the ability to use bidirectional traffic shaping. Besides the outbound traffic shaping that is available on regular virtual switches, with the dvSwitches we can also have inbound traffic shaping. The traffic shaping is defined with the three known, classical values: average bandwidth, peak and burst size.

Andre Leibovici – VDI and Storage De-Duplication: Good or Bad marriage? – In my opinion if you are doing VDI with Persistent Desktops using Full Clones you are rowing against the current.  I have previously stated that Floating Pools and Linked Clones (or similar technology) is the way I believe every VDI deployment should be done (either using VMware View, XenDesktop or any other broker).

Alan Renouf – Failover of persistent desktops using SRM and View 4.6 – With View 4.6 becoming largely adopted by many businesses recently I came across an interesting use case for VMware Site Recover Manager (SRM) and View 4.6, specifically the View 4.6 PowerCLI cmdlets.  Imagine this scenario (and this is just one example of why you would do this)….

Hugo Phan – VMware Tools RPM Installation with PXEBOOT and Kickstart – This article explains how to use the Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) to install VMware Tools during the PXEBOOT and Kickstart of a Linux guest OS running on vSphere 4.1 and above.  As of vSphere 4.1, the VMware Tools RPMs are no longer available on the CD image linux.iso. To install you must use the tar.gz package and install it manually.

Vladan Seget – VMware vSphere Converter Standalone 5 goes public beta – A public beta of VMware Converter Standalone 5 is available for download.  One of the features which is interesting is the optimization of disk alignement of systems. I think that it’s quite evident that the full product will support vSphere 5. One can clearly see it in the release notes.  The product supports more OS and some other new functionalities are present as well:

New community for vFabric SQLFire

This week, we have launched a new community for VMware vFabric SQLFire on VMTN.

vFabric SQLFire is a memory-oriented, shared-nothing distributed data management system designed for applications that demand high speed, scalability and availability.

SQLFire offers some of the best features usually only seen in NoSQL databases, such as horizontal scalability, shared-nothing persistence and built in fault tolerance, but does it all while providing a real SQL interface. If you're having trouble scaling your database or worried about high availability, SQLFire is a great alternative.

You can talk to SQLFire using JDBC from Java applications or from .NET using an ADO.NET driver so you can use existing code and talk to SQLFire in a language you already know.

You can dowlnoad the SQLFire Beta in the new community, use the discussions forum to ask a question, and check out the documents for more features lists, benchmarks, and more useful information.