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vSphere 6.0 vExpert Blog Articles Covering What’s New, Installation, VVOLS, vMotion, VSAN, Web Client and much much more

Today we announced vSphere 6.0 and the vExpert community has some excellent insight into what this release is about. The articles below are written by VMware vExperts who are the best IT professionals in virtualization.

There are several in depth single as well as multipart articles to help understand this release. Throughout the day we will update this blog with new highlighted blog articles from additional vExperts.  Most of the articles are in English but there are several in international languages as well. Be sure to keep an eye on #VMW28days on Twitter. Be sure to also try vSphere 6 and VSAN today online over at labs online.

Here are some of the highlight topics covered in the articles:

  • What’s new in vSphere 6
  • VMware AppVolumes
  • Install Walkthrough (vSphere & vCenter)
  • Server Design & installation
  • Features & Enhancements of vSphere 6 Web Client
  • Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance
  • How to Install and Configure vSphere 6 Hypervisor
  • vSphere 6 Certificate Authority & Design Decisions
  • VVOL’s
  • What’s new in VSAN
  • vMotion Enhancements & Long Distance vMotion
  • Managing your vSphere 6 Environment

vExpert Blog Articles

Adam Eckerle – Is a TAM for VMware, vExpert, 3xVCAP holder (DCA/DCD/DTD), and passionate about Data Center virtualization technology.

  1. New Features in vSphere 6 – VMware vSphere 6 is another step forward to enabling the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). There are some very exciting new features that have just been announced so here is a (non-exhaustive) list broken down by area.

Alex Muetstege

  1. Whats’s new in vSphere 6 covering scalability, availability. vCenter Server, vMotion enhancements, Storage, vSphere 6 Pricing

Andrea Casini – I’ve been working in the IT industry for over 14 years designing, implementing and managing IT infrastructures. All the technology I’m passionate about is somehow related to VMware and the revolution they started with virtualization.

  1. vSphere 6 Certificate Lifecycle Management – Since the introduction of SSO, managing certificates have became more and more difficult and problematic. With the introduction of VMCA and VECS VMware is giving us the tools to make this process more streamlined and less cumbersome, making it easy for companies of all sizes to move away from unmanaged self-signed certificates and deploy internal or 3rd party certificates including all vSphere components in the corporate security policy.

Andrea Mauro – Works in IT since 1996 and held several technical certifications (VCP, VCAP, VCDX, MCITP, MCSA, MCSE, CCA). And he’s also a VMware vExpert (2010/2011/2012/2013/2014).

  1. VMware vCenter Server 6 design – This post describe the step by step installation procedure for VMware vSphere 6.0
  2. VMware vSphere 6 Client
  3. VMware vCenter Server 6 adds more cloud features – In this new version vCenter Server has been extended with some new interesting features (partially from vCloud Director capabilities) to make it more cloud oriented.

Andreas Lesslhumer – 16 years in IT, specializing in virtualization and server infrastructure. Virtualization Evangelist and Blogger at Running-System.com

  1. Features and Enhancements of the new vSphere 6 Web Client – Features and Enhancements of the new vSphere 6 Web Client”  waiting for the launch.
  2. vSphere 6 Fault Tolerance highlights and improvements –  vSphere 6 brings some great enhancements to Fault Tolerance. Read more in the article about topics like multi processor VM support and other improvements you can expect.

Andreas Peetz – Virtualization Engineer and Evangelist, Blogger and Tool author, Maintainer of the V-Front Online Depot for ESXi, vExpert since 2012

  1. What’s in ESXi 6.0 for free license and white box users? – Read what the new vSphere version brings for users of the free ESXi license and white box hardware, and how it behaves with community supported drivers and tools.

Ather Beg – Ather Beg is a technology blogger, vExpert and Chief Virtualogist at Virtualogists.com.

  1.  vSphere 6: Platform Services Controller (PSC): Design Decisions – This article discusses the new vSphere 6 architecture component Platform Services Controller (PSC), possible configurations, design decisions and their impact for a vSphere install or upgrade.
  2. vSphere 6: VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA): Design Decisions – This article discusses the new vSphere 6 component “VMware Certificate Authority”, deployment configurations, design decisions and their impact for a vSphere install or upgrade.
  3. vSphere 6: Upgrade Considerations – This article discusses the various vSphere 6 upgrade scenarios and paths, points to consider before embarking on an upgrade program and the design decisions involved.

Benjamin Troch  – is a seasoned IT veteran with 15 years+ experience providing (virtual) infrastructure consulting services for some of the largest financial institutions in the world. vExpert 2013/2014, VMware User Group (VMUG) leader for Singapore and SME on VMware technologies Benjamin holds VCAP DCD and DCA certifications alongside MCITP and Citrix CCA certs

  1. vSphere 5 is dead, long live vSphere 6 – Virtualb.eu’s overview of the new platform

Benjamin Ulsamer – Planning, designing and realising VMware & NetApp projects since 10 years as Senior Consultant, Architect, Systems Engineer and Trainer

  1. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 01a – Install vCenter 6 on Windows
  2. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 01b – Deploy the vCenter Appliance 6
  3. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 02 – Install vSphere Client 6 to connect ESXi Hosts
  4. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 03 – Install Update Manager 6
  5. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 04 – Install Update Manager Client 6
  6. The easy way to vSphere 6 – Part 05 – Update ESXi 5.x Hosts to version 6 via Update Manager 6

Bob Plankers –  IT Generalist specializing in systems management, virtualization, and cloud design & operations.

  1. 9 Things You’ll Love About vSphere 6.0 – vSphere 6.0 has major advancements in many areas, with the addition of major functionality and thousands of minor improvements. Here are 9 big & small things that vSphere users will really enjoy.

Brian Trainor – Is a consulting engineer with UNICOM Systems and has experience in data center management, infrastructure and operations management, and virtual infrastructure design.

  1. The New vSphere 6.0 Web Client – A quick overview of the new and enhanced vSphere Web Client 6.0. This might be one of the most welcome upgrades offered in vSphere 6.0 as significant improvements have been made in performance and user experience.

Chris Nickl – Chris is a Datacenter Architect/Engineer for World Wide Technology’s Professional Services.

  1. What’s cool in vSphere 6? – VMware has finally released version 6.0 of their vSphere Environment.  What are largest new features and enhancements.
  2. VVOLs What are they? – VMware has been talking about VVOLS for over two years.  What are they and how do they help us?
  3. vSphere 6 : vSphere Client is ALIVE!! – The long standing VI-Client that was rumored to be killed off, is in fact still around and works with vSphere 6.
  4. vSphere 6 now supports NFS v4.1 with Authentication – vSphere 6 finally supports NFS version 4.1 and even allows Kerberos authentication.  This will allow NFS Multi-pathing and better authentication.
  5. vSphere 6: Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance – With the announcement of vSphere 6.0, one very cool feature that is new is Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance.  You can now turn FT on for VMs with up to 4 vCPUs.
  6. Installing the new vCenter 6.0 Appliance – VMware has released the new 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA).  This will detail how to exactly install it so that you can get your environment running.

Dave Morera – Is an experienced virtualization and storage Architect, with breadth of knowledge in other areas as well.

  1. vSphere 6 Web Client: Let’s go there… – This article highlights the new features of the new vSphere 6 Web Client. The most noticeable features are highlighted based on customer feedback via social media and VMUG meetings.
  2. vSphere 6 Availability Enhancements – This article highlights the new availability enhancements provided in vSphere6. Such enhancements play an important role in maintaining HA and a DR strategy.
  3. VVols: Go for Launch – This article provides a high level view of VVols as well as its requirements. VVols allow for a better management and integration of storage and vSphere 6.

Derek Seaman – Is VMware VCDX #125, and a Senior Solutions and Performance engineer at Nutanix. He specializes in Microsoft enterprise software, and detailed how-to articles for a variety of enterprise products.

  1. vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction – Back by popular demand and following in the vSphere 5.5 footsteps, this is the first article in a long series of how-to install and upgrade to vSphere 6.0.
  2. vSphere 6.0 Install Pt 2: PSC
  3. PEX 2015: VVOL Overview
  4. What’s new in vSphere 6.0

Edward Haletky

  1. vSphere Upgrade Saga: Planning for vSphere 6.0

Emad Younis

  1. vCenter Appliance (vCSA) 6.0 – New & Improved – vSphere 5.0 introduced us to the vCenter appliance (vCSA). The vCSA continues to evolve with each release and this one is no exception.

Filip Verloy – Is an NSX SE at VMware based in Belgium and has been blogging about virtualization and networking since 2012.

  1. The vSphere 6 blog post focusses on what’s new related to vMotion, including cross vCenter- and long distance vMotion and the new use cases it enables.

Florian Grehl – Is a Hosting Engineer working for a managed services provider in Germany.

  1. vSphere 6 vMotion Enhancements – This article introduces cross vSwitch and cross vCenter vMotion. It also analyses what’s geographically possible with the increased supported RTT of 100ms.
  2. vSphere 6 Web Client Enhancements – This article highlights the changes in the vSphere Web Client and presents a performance analysis compared to the previous version.

Greg Schulz – Five-time VMware vExpert, independent advisory consultant and author of several books, his blog is storageioblog.com and twitter @StorageIO.

  1. VMware Announces vSphere v6 Virtualization Technologies – VMware has announced version 6 (V6) of its virtualization hypervisor called vSphere aka ESXi, this post looks at the announcement and what it means for implementing a software defined data center including coverage of Virtual Volumes (vVOLs).

Iwan Rahabok – A VMware CTO Ambassador and author, started the user community in ASEAN 6+ years ago. The community Facebook group is one of the largest globally.

  1. vSphere 6 First Impressions – A tour of the changes in the UI. Web Client is now cool again!
  2. vSphere 6: Features that are now global – A great enhancements for customers with multiple vCenter Servers. And who doesn’t!
  3. The rise of SDDC Architect – A strategic take on the launch, encouraging VMware professionals to rise up and become the SDDC Architect.

Jason Conine – Virtualization Evangelist, Systems Engineer, MBA, vExpert, VCP5-DCV

  1. VMware vSphere 6.0: What’s New?

Jim Jones – Systems and network administrator working in state government. Jim has over 15 years in the IT industry.

  1. Managing your vSphere 6 Environment – vSphere 6 provides a great deal of enhancements to its manageability and scale. This article will provide the high points.

John Nicholson – (vExpert 2013-2014) is the manager of Client Services for Synchronet.  His focus is on Storage and Virtual Desktop Architecture.

  1. VMware VSAN : What’s new – This article looks at the end management updates to VSAN as well as the implications of the powerful back end updates to the file system.

Josep Ros

  1. Novedades de VMware vSphere 6.0

Kevin Kelling – Is a 4-time VMware vExpert holding an MBA as well as nearly 20 years of Information Technology experience.

  1. Top 6 Features of vSphere 6 – vSphere 6 may just be the most significant release in VMware’s history.  Let’s take a quick walk through the 6 biggest features that enable a whole new world of capabilities and opportunity.

Keith Norbie – Sr. Business Development Manager at SolidFire, and works closely with solutions architects, marketing, sales and channel teams to drive forward some of SolidFire’s most strategic technology partnerships, including VMware and Citrix Systems. Keith has a strong history of experiences working in different channel and business development roles within the enterprise IT and storage market. He is also an active VMware vExpert and member of VMware’s Partner Technical Advisory Board (PTAB).

  1. vSphere 6 Storage – The Future of Storage at Scale

Leon Scheltema – I am a IT professional for over 14 years specialising in Virtualization and Storage, last couple of years focussing on designing virtual infrastructures, Blogger

  1. VMware Reveals vSphere 6 – The article highlights the most important enhancements and new features of the latest vSphere release. In addition a high-level overview of the differences between the vCenter components in the previous version and in the latest version, and how this affects deployment of vCenter nodes.

Michael Webster – Is among a small number of VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX-066), currently the only VCDX in New Zealand, and a vExpert, with deep experience delivering project management, ITIL based VMware operational readiness and technical architecture consulting services to enterprise and service provider clients around the world.

  1. VMware vSphere Release Revolution for Mobile Cloud Era –  For the first time you will be able to live migrate from private cloud to public cloud, a true hybrid cloud and software defined datacenter. Expect to improve qualify of service for all applications, scale to unprecedented levels, and support even higher levels of service. All while reducing management overheads and complexity across the entire ecosystem. This release has been baking for a while and for good reason. There is a big commitment to product qualify, which was evidenced by the first ever public beta for VMware vSphere.  This is a major release, and is well deserving of the 6.0 version number.

Mohammed Raffic – A VMware vExpert, VMware Employee and an author of the Book “VMware ESXi CookBook”. Independent author and Founder of the blog “www.VMwarearena.com” focusing on VMware Virtualization and Cloud computing. He has more than 7 years of high level knowledge in Remote infrastructure services, consulting, designing, implementing and troubleshooting VMware Virtualization technology.

  1. vSphere 6.0 – New Configuration Maximums – This article focuses about the New Configuration maximums available with vSphere 6.0. It provides the Comparison table between the configuration maximums of vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0.
  2. vSphere 6.0 vMotion Enhancements – vMotion Across vSwitches and vCenter Servers – This article focus about the vMotion enhancements available with vSphere 6.0. It provides detailed information about vMotion across vSwicthes, vMotion across vCenters and Long Distance vMotion.
  3. vSphere 6.0 – What’s New in VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) – This article focus about the VMware vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance and its new features. It also provides comparison table between vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance
  4. vSphere 6.0 New Features – Content Library – This article focus about one of the New Feature called “Content Library” available with vSphere 6.0. It also provides details about configuring content library and deploying Virtual Machines from Content Library.
  5. vSphere 6.0 – What’s New in vCenter Server 6.0 – This article focus about the new components and pre-requisites for the installation of vCenter Server 6.0. It also provides the details about 2 different components of vCenter Server along with the details about vCenter Server 6.0 deployment models.
  6. vSphere 6.0 – What’s New in vCenter Server Appliance(vCSA) 6.0 – This article focus about the new Installation type, Deployment Model, Appliance Sizing about the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0. It also provides comparison table between Windows Version of vCenter Server and vCenter Server appliance.
  7. vSphere 6.0 New Features – What is VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols)

Niels Hagoort – I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for software defined solutions. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

  1. vSphere 6: Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT)
  2. vSphere 6: mClock scheduler & reservations

Paul Braren – “TinkerTry IT @ home” Founder and IT Professional Paul Braren actually enjoys the bleeding edge of technology, residing happily at the forefront throughout his multi-decade IT career. Paul has done many years of customer trainings and virtualization implementations. He’s always been tinkering, but most recently, he’s been honing his photography, videography, and writing skills, with over 500 in-depth articles and over 300 how-to videos at TinkerTry.com.

  1. Getting my mitts on the vSphere 6 bits including ESXi and vCSA, already enhancing my home lab – It’s been a long wait for vSphere 6.0, and in the home lab, that likely means ESXi 6.0 coupled with VCSA 6.0. The question for IT Pros/home lab enthusiasts: will my efficient/affordable/unsupported equipment still work with this major new release? Wait no more, catch a good glimpse of all that vSphere 6.0 goodness coming soon to your our home lab.
  2. Sneak Preview – Build your own vSphere 6 home datacenter in about an hour – Today, the day vSphere 6 is announced, I’m already ready to show you exactly how I just re-built my home lab today, in about an hour…stick with hard-coded IPs, SSO auto-configuration in the vCSA appliance now works very nicely. The video is now available, exclusively at TinkerTry!

René Bos – Technical Consultant at Conclusion FIT, SnowVM blog

  1. The new features of vSphere 6

Robert Verdam – My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I’m also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.

  1. vSphere 6: vMotion enhancements – A brief history about vMotion and an overview of new exiting vMotion features. Shows what are use-cases and requirements for these new vMotion features.

Roger Lund – Solutions Architect at Deltaware Data Solutions; Blogger,  VMUG leader, Tech Field Day Delegate, and VMware vExpert.

  1. vCenter Server 6.0 New Features
  2. vSphere 6.0 Platform New Features
  3. vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance – New Features
  4. vSphere 6 Configuration of Fault Tolerance

Rutger Kosters – Virtualization Consultant working at YaWorks. Tech Junkie!

  1. mClock Scheduler & Reservations – A closer look at the mClock scheduler and how it is used in vSphere 6 for reservations in association with Storage IO Controls.

Sittichai Palanisong – Currently a Systems Engineer manager for VMware. Has 22 years of experiences in IT industry. Started with systems programming using C. Spent 18 years of career in the world of  UNIX and alike environments.   VCP5 and VCAP-DCD5 certified.

  1. What’s New in vSphere 6 (Thai)

Vikas Shitole

  1. vSphere 6.0 : How SIOC works with Storage IO reservation – Yet another vSphere 6.0 feature which will excite you to move your Tier-1 IO intensive apps to vSphere.

Vipin V.K. – Working for a VMware partner company, in India. vExpert 2014/15

  1. vSphere 6 enhancements – Let’s take a look – Discussing some of the new key features with the new vSphere release, vSphere 6.

Vladan Seget – IT Consultant, professional Blogger and owner of vladan.fr ESX Virtualization website.

  1. vSphere 6 Long Distance vMotion – vSphere 6 breaks the traditional boundaries which is a datacenter – Po. Long distance vMotion is a game changer in DR strategies and architecturing DR solutions.
  2. vSphere 6 Features – vCenter Server Details – Windows based vCenter or VCSA? The barrier is gone as VCSA 6 scales the same way as Windows vCenter Server 6 – up to 1000 hosts and 10k VMs including support for linked mode…

High throughput iSCSI with VMware: a multi-vendor post

Chad (of EMC) and Vaughn (of NetApp) posted today a great collaborative blog article (with others from VMware, Dell/EqualLogic and  HP/Lefthand) that has a nice backgrounder on iSCSI, talks about some design considerations, links to lots of resources, and then talks about some little-known configuration  and performance considerations. If you are not an iSCSI guru, you should read this post:

Virtual Geek: A Multivendor Post to help our mutual iSCSI customers using VMware.

Today’s post is one you don’t often find in the blogosphere, see
today’s post is a collaborative effort initiated by me, Chad Sakac
(EMC), which includes contributions from Andy Banta (VMware), Vaughn
Stewart (NetApp), Eric Schott (Dell/EqualLogic), and Adam Carter
(HP/Lefthand), David Black (EMC) and various other folks at each of the

Together, our companies make up the large majority
of the iSCSI market, all make great iSCSI targets, and we (as
individuals and companies) all want our customers to have iSCSI

I have to say, I see this one often – customer
struggling to get high throughput out of iSCSI targets on ESX.  
Sometimes they are OK with that, but often I hear this comment: "…My
internal SAS controller can drive 4-5x the throughput of an iSCSI

Can you get high throughput with iSCSI with GbE on ESX?   The answer is YES
But there are some complications, and some configuration steps that are
not immediately apparent. You need to understanding some iSCSI
fundamentals, some Link Aggregation fundamentals, and know some ESX
internals – none of which are immediately obvious…

If you’re
interested (and who wouldn’t be interested with a great topic and a
bizzaro-world “multi-vendor collaboration”… I can feel the space-time
continuum collapsing around me :-), read on…

Stephen Foskett gives us the take-home. Essential Reading for VMware ESX iSCSI Users! – Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat.

  • Ethernet link aggregation doesn’t buy you anything in iSCSI environments
  • iSCSI HBA’s don’t buy you much other than boot-from-SAN in ESX, either
  • The most common configuration (ESX software iSCSI) is limited to about 160 MB/s per iSCSI target over one-gigabit Ethernet, but that’s probably fine for most applications
  • Adding multiple iSCSI targets adds performance across the board, but configurations vary by array
  • Maximum per-target performance comes from guest-side software iSCSI, which can make use of multiple Ethernet links to push each array as fast as it can go

More like this, please.

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.

Join us Wednesday – EMC’s Chad Sakac at the VMware Communities Roundtable

Join us on the podcast. Wednesdays noon PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT. Connect info. This week with EMC’s Chad Sakac. It should be free-ranging and fun. Some possible topics:

  • What VMware, EMC and Cisco are doing together around the Next Generation Datacenter
  • What’s coming in vStorage
  • Reference Architectures for Tier 1 applications like Exchange, SQL Server, Sharepoint
  • What we’re seeing around Disaster Recovery for VMware

VMFS vs. NFS for VMware Infrastructure? | VMware Storage Blog

Good answer to a frequently asked question on the new VMware Storage Blog. Click through for a nice quick read.

Link: VMware: VMware Storage Blog: VMFS vs. NFS for VMware Infrastructure?.

The dynamic, flexible environment that we call VMware Infrastructure
requires shared, coordinated storage between ESX servers. There are two
families of storage technologies that can meet this requirement today,
SAN-based block storage (e.g. Fibrechannel or iSCSI) and NAS. VMware
supports both forms of storage access for our customers. …

So which to use? The first criteria is to continue to use the type
of storage infrastructure you are familiar with. If your organization
uses block based storage – use VMFS.  If NAS is in use, it may make
more sense to deploy VMware Infrastructure with NFS. Other aspects of
storage management, such as the basic virtualization of storage on
behalf of the VM or the internal structure of the virtual disk files
(VMDK) are handled independently of this choice.  You get the same high
level VI functionality regardless.

For new deployments, there are the traditional storage tradeoffs. …

Benefits of VMFS: new VMware Storage Blog

We welcome the newest blog on the block, the VMware Storage Blog. Scott Davis starts us off with a closer look at VMFS and its benefits.

Link: VMware: VMware Storage Blog: VMware’s "Proprietary" Clustered File System.

  1. VMware’s instant one click provisioning, including storage.
    Quick, easy provisioning of a new VM, OS and application that does not
    require physical storage LUN provisioning.
  2. Mobility/Portability. i.e Vmotion and storage Vmotion. In a virtual
    world, workloads should be abstracted from, not beholden to, physical
    storage. Just like they should be abstracted from physical servers.
  3. Encapsulation and HW Independence. VMs should be entirely
    encapsulated from the physical world. This simple, but critically
    important facet of virtualization unleashes the power of virtual
    infrastructure. For an example, look at VMware’s new Site Recovery
    Manager that enables DR solutions that no longer require identical
    hardware (and software) configurations at each site.
  4. Reduced complexity. SAN management is hard, complicated work. Why shouldn’t it be simplified?

The take-home? Eliminating the complexity of physical shared storage,
while still allowing you to access the physical disk if needed.

The new VMware Storage Blog joins the VMware Networking Blog and VI Team Blog in getting you your regular dose of VI news and helping you gain a greater understanding of virtualization.

VMware is Storage Protocol Agnostic | VI Team Blog

Link: VMware: VI Team Blog: VMware is Storage Protocol Agnostic.

Which storage protocol to choose?

The most common storage related questions we are being asked today are:

  • What is the best choice for running VI3 on shared storage?

  • Should we use Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI or NFS?

The answer to these questions will depend on a number of variables
and as such the same answer will not be the same for each environment.
VMware currently supports deployment of VI3 on all three of those
storage protocol choices, as well as on local ESX server storage, and
is focused on enabling customers to be successful at leveraging the
benefits each of those choices available for the virtualization
environment. Although differences exist in which VMware features and
functions are available on them, the current approach is to remove as
many of those differences as possible so that customers can have more
choices available to them.

Ask the Expert: Green Storage for the Enterprise Data Center

Over at VMworld.com they have just started the second "Ask the Expert" session, this time featuring Larry Aszmann, CTO of Compellent Technologies. You can view Larry’s presentation online, and then Larry has promised to stick around for a few weeks to answer your questions.

[Update: just finished watching Larry’s presentation and it’s very interesting. It’s really much more about the Green Data Center and how to reduce your spend than an advertisement for Compellent’s products. Some factoids: 80% of data center energy is wasted; data center energy consumption is going to double from 2006 to 20011. Here’s the kicker: 2/3 of data center energy is on supporting your IT devices — servers, storage, networking. Data center buildout is extremely capital intensive (and is a gift to your landlord when your lease is up). So every time you increase the energy usage of your servers & storage, your total energy spend goes up 3x as much. Thus, virtualize your servers and look at your storage. 25% of disk space is actually used — so use thin provisioning. 80% of your data is inactive and rarely accessed, so use ILM — information lifecycle management — that puts inactive data on slower, less power hungry devices. Literally cool stuff.]

Link: VMworld: Compellent Expert Session.

February 11-22, 2008

Larry Aszmann, CTO of Compellent Technologies
Lawrence E. Aszmann has served as CTO and Secretary since co-founding
Compellent in March 2002. From July 1995 to August 2001, Mr. Aszmann
served as CTO of Xiotech, which Mr. Aszmann co-founded in July 1995.

Expert Session Overview
Compellent Storage Center is one of the most powerful and easy-to-use
SAN in the marketplace. Compellent offers technology independence that
allows enterprise customers to mix and match iSCSI and Fibre Channel
connectivity and manage multiple tiers of Fibre Channel and SATA disk
technologies from one pool of virtual storage. The powerful GUI manages
native thin provisioning, hardware snapshot, snapshot replication and
automated tiered storage all from a web browser with no server-side
code or agents.

Scalable Storage Performance with VMware ESX Server 3.5 – VMware VROOM!

Link: Scalable Storage Performance with VMware ESX Server 3.5 – VMware VROOM!.

It is clear from Figure 1 that except for sequential read there is no drop in aggregate throughput as we scale the number of hosts. The reason sequential read drops is that the sequential streams coming in from different ESX Server hosts are no longer sequential when intermixed at the storage array, and thus become random. Writes generally do better than reads because they are absorbed by the write cache and flushed to disks in the background.

New SAN cookbook hits shelves to good reviews

Alessandro Perilli of virtualization.info called it "remarkable" and said "It’s a worthwhile reading before your first project, the VCP certification exam, and even non-virtualized implementations." Vincent Vlieghe of Virtrix called it "a fine read." Joseph Foran of the new Server Virtualization Blog says "Overall, the paper gets 8 pokers." Magnus of the VMTN Forums says "It looks really good."

What are all these people raving about? It’s the new 219 page cookbook from VMware,  SAN System Design and Deployment Guide. It describes Storage Area Network (SAN) options supported with VMware Infrastructure 3 and
also describes benefits, implications, and disadvantages of various
design choices.

Now Joseph does point out one reason why we published this guide:

Most of the reason that VMware published this document can be summed up by this quote from page 130:

“Many of the support requests that VMware receives
concern performance optimization for specific applications. VMware has
found that a majority of the performance problems are self-inflicted,
with problems caused by misconfiguration or less-than-optimal
configuration settings for the particular mix of virtual machines, post
processors, and applications deployed in the environment.”

I have to admit, that had me laughing. It was the whole “blame the
user” mentality that I found funny – I’m glad VMware put the paper out
there, but really, they had to expect that the 80/20 rule of
troubleshooting would apply to them too – 80% of all problems are human
error. The guide does a good job of helping avoid those pitfalls, and
goes into detail on setting up your SAN to perform well.

Joseph seems to be laughing with us, not at us, but I do want to clarify this is not ‘blame the user." Blaming the user would be telling them to go take a long walk off a short pier to the nearest bookstore and get educated on SANs before touching VMware Infrastructure. Blaming the user would be just finger pointing at their hardware or storage vendor when they call support telling us their virtual infrastructure is slow. This is helping the user.

VMware Infrastructure is a powerful tool and a new architecture for the data center. It’s like any power tool — you can cut down a lot of trees with a chain saw, but you can also slice off your own limbs. Many companies are buying their first shared storage when they go virtual, and others have to rethink how that shared storage is used. That’s why we work with a channel of resellers and consultants to help you succeed. That’s why a VCP exam requires a hands-on class, to make sure we don’t have "paper VCPs" running around. That’s why we offer education and professional services. I was reading our business continuity jumpstart curriculum the other day, and it touches on every single layer of your data center — it’s practically a survey course on the entirety of modern IT. That’s why 9 times out of 10 on the VMTN Forums when somebody’s infrastructure isn’t performing correctly, the expert troubleshooters who hang out there help the poster find out it’s the application or the OS that is misconfigured, not the virtual machine. (The tenth time it’s a workload that should never have been virtualized.)

We want you to succeed and get big raises, all while VMotioning your virtual machines around the data center while you’re eating your lunch at your desk, not at midnight when your spouse is wondering when you’ll be home. And to do that, your SAN needs to be set up correctly, so go read up on it