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Category Archives: tools

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…

How to manage your Community email notifications

If you are a registered VMTN user, you will have noticed a change in the email notifications you receive since the upgrade to the new platform. They look a little different, and there are new notifications.

For example, there's the "Updates" email that looks somewhat like this:

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 3.06.46 PM
 
This email notification contains a summary of updates that could be of interest to you, such as how many replies and views your content has received.

There is also a section listing updates made by the people you are following on VMTN.

You decide how often or if at all you would like to receive this message, as well as any other email notification sent by our community mailer.

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 3.07.50 PM
At the bottom of the update email, you will find a link to your email preferences page. You will need to log in with your usual community credentials to get there.

This is what my email preferences page looks like:

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 3.08.45 PM
As you see, I have chosen to auto-subscribe to some of my content, such as documents and discussions, and not others, such as blog posts and bookmarks.

At the very bottom, I have selected the frequency of my community Updates. I like to receive mine twice a week. But you can also opt for daily or weekly delivery, or cancel that email altogether by selecting "never."

Tool: Statelesx | virtualization.info

Stu Radnidge and Shyam Madhavan over at vinternals.com have put together an interesting tool, now at v1.1. Link: Tool: Statelesx | virtualization.info.

This tool allows the VMware administrators to define a configuration
file on a web interface (including details about the virtual
networking, the DRS, the HA, etc.) and associate it to a certain ESX by
the host name. ..

The whole thing, working with VMware
Infrastructure 3.5 only, cuts away the need to configure a new ESX on
deployment and backup its configuration over time. But most of all it
avoids inconsistencies across the virtual infrastructure:

 

 

Introducing VAssert

VAssert is a new API, debuting in Workstation 6.5, that uses the Record and Replay functionality that we’ve been talking about for some time now. As you can tell by its name, VAssert is a relative of your standing programming ASSERT debugging tool, but by delaying assert-checking until later when the exact machine instructions are replayed, it can be very fast. That’s some virtualization Deep Magic.

VMware engineers Weiming Zeng and Min Xu give us this guest post on demonstrating VAssert within Apache, and include the Apache patches they used so you can give this a try at home.

A Virtual Buffer-overflow Checker for Apache

by Weiming Zeng & Min Xu

1 Overview

The Record and Replay feature in workstation 6.5 introduces a new guest programming API – VAssert (Virtual Assertions). It is intended that software developers can use it to move expensive program error checking, such as buffer-overflow, to the deterministic replay phase. But does VAssert live up to its promise? As an experiment, we applied VAssert to Apache httpd and wrote a simple buffer-overflow checker by modifying the memory manager in Apache Portable Runtime (APR). Comparing with the same buffer-overflow checker implemented using traditional assertions, the virtual assertions incur 78.77% less runtime overhead.

2 The idea

Our idea to detect buffer-overflow is simple. When allocating memory, append a byte of magic number (the guard) to the end of the memory block; during execution, we frequently check whether the guard is changed. If so, a buffer-overflow is detected.

Image001

One of the benefits of this detector is that it is simple to implement. There is no need to intercept all (or most) memory accesses, as other detectors require. But this detector can cause a huge program slowdown if the guard bytes are checked frequently. The slowdown might alter a program’s behavior so that bugs disappear when the detector is activated. With a “virtual” detector, however, the slowdown happens mostly during replay time. Since the replay is deterministic, the detector can find bugs without altering a program’s behavior.

Continue reading

Microsoft’s Virtualization ROI/TCO Calculator gets a failing grade

From our Virtual Reality blog. Link: Microsoft’s Virtualization ROI/TCO Calculator: Our Take | VMware: Virtual Reality.

We Reviewed Microsoft’s ROI/TCO Model

Some of you may have seen Microsoft’s recently released
virtualization ROI/TCO calculator. Briefly, the model purports to offer
an accurate cost/benefit comparison between Microsoft’s Hyper-V
offering and a “Competitive Server Virtualization Solution” – gee I
wonder who the competitive solution is…?  Microsoft is beginning to
advertise the calculator broadly in its partner newsletter and other
email blasts – and we’ve even had customers bring it to our attention.
Mainly, the VMware customers that have alerted us to the Microsoft
ROI/TCO calculator were confused by many of the model’s assumptions and
by the generated results – they wanted our opinion. So, we took a look.

Unfortunately We Had to Give It A Failing Grade

Of course the results were all hypothetical, because Hyper-V is not
yet available, but what we found when running a realistic scenario
through the model and then from reading the report’s fine print, is
that like most Microsoft version 1.0 products, the initial release of
this calculator has numerous errors, contains critical design mistakes,
and completely misses its mark. Any results generated from this model
are so unrealistic as to be completely worthless for accurately
comparing costs and benefits of alternate virtualization solutions.
(Maybe we all need to wait for the SP1?)

In Sum:   ROI/TCO Analysis = Good Idea ; Inaccurate Model = Bad Idea

It goes into deep detail. Aside from the too-high pricing listed for VMware and comparing it to below-list pricing for MSFT, my favorite point:

The Model Incorrectly Calculates Microsoft Licensing Costs
In
the scenario we ran, Microsoft’s tool assumed 71 Windows Server
Standard Edition licenses for 414 virtual machines running on 71 hosts.
Since each Standard Edition license grants rights to run 1 VM, the
model’s results leave 343 VMs in our hypothetical datacenter running
out of compliance. Microsoft may claim that the TCO/ROI calculator is
not a licensing calculator, but how can it calculate accurate TCO
estimates using inaccurate licensing assumptions?

PowerShell toolkit anticipation builds

Well, once Carter spilled the beans, everybody is now waiting with bated breath for VMware to release the beta of our new curiously-named VI Toolkit (for Windows). The toolkit is powered by Windows PowerShell, a shell/scripting technology that Microsoft appears to have gotten very right indeed. The VI SDK, while extremely powerful, is not for the faint of heart. This toolkit takes that power and wraps it up in a very simple syntax which creates a compelling tool for VI admins.

I’m a Perl guy from way back, and I have to say seeing PowerShell
scripts, er, cmdlets do all sorts of tricks with my VMs without breaking a sweat
makes me grin like a maniac. This is going to be a real boon to VI
admins.

Here’s an example from the VMworld hands-on lab manual Automating VMware with PowerShell Lab Manual. How can you not like this? You don’t even need a manual to understand what it does.


get-vm | get-snapshot | where { `
  $_.Created -lt (get-date).addmonths(-1) `
}

Here’s a round-up of the blog reactions so far.

Dave Marshall played with it at VMworld. Link: VMware administrators find value
in Microsoft PowerShell

I in fact also attended the lab during the show
and found it quite interesting and compelling. For me, this was the
first time I had actually used the PowerShell cmdlets to operate and
manage a VMware environment. I spoke with VMware’s Product Manager of
API & SDK, Carter Shanklin at length. Like the people being exposed
to PowerShell for the first time, Shanklin seemed very energetic about
the possibilities that this scripting feature brings to VMware
environments.

Eric Sloof has been working with the toolkit for a while and posting his progress. Link: VMware PowerShell – NTPRO.NL. Here are some of his posts:

Hal is looking for good nuts to crack with our new nutcracker. Link: Call for Script Ideas: VMware PowerShell Toolkit.

Calling all ESX admins!  I am looking for novel ideas for scripts to
write for the upcoming VMware Toolkit for Windows PowerShell.  Yes–I am
offering to do the writing.  I am doing research for a project (details
of which to be announced in the coming weeks), and I could use some
really great ideas of missing functionality or fixes to problems you
have seen while working with VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.  Pointers
to something cool you have seen done with the VMware Perl Toolkit are
good too.  It’ll be amusing to see how much simpler those will be in PowerShell.  :D

Hal and Andrew Kutz are also having a great discussion about relative complexity and our Perl vs PowerShell toolkits here: TechProsaic
– VMware Perl Toolkit versus PowerShell VI Toolkit
. I don’t think either one really is saying my scripting language is better than yours, but more that the VMware team has done a great job of providing the right level of interface for what admins need to do. Jeffrey Snover actually puts it best on the Windows PowerShell team blog. Link: Windows PowerShell : The Semantic Gap.

Someone could read this blog and walk away thinking, "PowerShell is
great and Perl is crap" – you’d be both right and wrong.  PowerShell is
great but Perl is not crap.  (Hats off to superstar Larry Wall
and Perl, very few people and technologies that have had the level of
(positive :-) ) impact these 2 have had on the industry.  The world is
a better place because that guy was born!)   The difference between the
2 examples is the semantic gap.  The PowerShell example has a very small gap between what you think and what you type. The Perl example has a very large gap.

At
the end of the day, the semantic gap is "owned" by the people that
provide the instrumentation.   VMWare could have just as easily
provided a PowerShell Script that took just as many lines as the Perl
example or they could have provide a Perl library or script which
provides the semantics of the Get-VM cmdlet.

The good folks at SAPIEN Technologies have a new VI Toolkit (for Windows) book coming out. Link: Coming Soon: Managing VMWare with Windows PowerShell

We’ve a new book in the works: Managing VMWare with Windows PowerShell: TFM. Read about it at http://www.sapienpress.com/vmware.asp,
where you can also read about the author and (once we have them
available) download preview chapters. We’ll be looking for community
reviewers before long, so if you’re an ESX Server user, stay tuned to
this blog for your chance to participate and earn some cash!

Dave Stein wins the award for the best title so far: Oh No They Didn’t!  VMware Getting all Uppity with Mac Daddy PowerShell

I have no doubt you or your RSS reader should stay glued to the VI PowerShell and Developer Center blogs — the VI Toolkit (for Windows) beta is coming your way soon.

SVMotion GUI and VC plug-in from VMware Community

Dave Marshall at the InfoWorld Virtualization Report sums up the last two weeks’ advances in the state of the art of Storage VMotion:

Link: VMware Community Spices Up VMware Storage VMotion

One of the things I like about being in the IT industry is the sense
of community. And as both VMware and virtualization in general continue
to expand in popularity, the virtualization community continues to grow
around it. Case in point, VMware offered a new feature with its VI 3.5
product, Storage VMotion,
and members of the community have already started helping others
through the creation of additional 3rd-party utilities that help expand
the ease of use of this VMware feature.

VMware describes Storage VMotion as a state-of-the-art solution that
enables users to perform live migration of virtual machine disk files
across heterogeneous storage arrays with complete transaction integrity
and no interruption in service for critical applications.

This feature does for virtual machines and storage what VMware
VMotion did for virtual machines and compute capacity. However, members
of the community may not have been overly excited about the way it was
implemented.

To try and answer that calling, there have already been two
virtualization community members that have taken matters into their own
hands.

He has some screen shots of Alexander Giswinkler’s Windows-based GUI and Andrew Kutz’s VC plug-in. As Andrew says at his site Lostcreations. As he says there, this is "the FIRST released, third-party plugin in fact" for VC 2.5. In the thread on the community he  says he’s working on an explanation of how he reverse-engineered the APIs and protocols:

it is the result of a two-week dive into the inner-workings of the VI client
libraries with popular reflection tools (reverse-engineering). l o s t c r e a t
i o n s is working on a white paper that describes how to build VI plugins.

These tools aren’t supported by VMware, so use at your own risk, but kudos to both Alexander and Andrew.

 

VMjuggler – pong for your virtualization demos

Contrary to what some virtualization vendors have said, zero-downtime migration is a business-critical feature that can completely change your IT processes and enable completely new capabilities — look at DRS and the new Distributed Power Management.

VMware’s VMotion is also rock solid. Richard Garsthagen recently released a little demo app called VMJuggler that demonstrates this nicely for folks that haven’t seen it in action. Richard wrote it for Barcelona TechEd, where he wanted to "show the Microsoft minded crowd that running Microsoft Windows
applications in (VMware) virtual machines works fast, stable and
manageable." Link: VMjuggler: 5 Days of TechED, 10.000 vMotions later….

For the show I created a Windows 2003 64 bit virtual machine and
installed Microsoft SQL 2005 in it. This virtual machine was placed
together with some 100 other virtual machines on our 6 server ESX
environment. I then hit the SQL server with DBhammer to simulate on
average 150 sql clients accessing the database, doing around 1.200
queries a second.

We wanted to show the audience that a
Server like this, can be moved around physical boxes (using VMotion),
without any downtime of the SQL server, so I wrote a small application
called the VMjuggler. This application would initiate a live migration
of my Virtual SQL server every 10 seconds to another physical server.
The VMotion process itself took around 10 seconds, then waited 10
seconds to be moved again. After the 5 days the SQL virtual machine
hopped server more then 10.000 times, with out issues what so ever…

Richard has said he will give a small prize to the first person who wastes enough time generates a million VMotions with VMjuggler. But I actually thought Richard’s comment toward the end was the most interesting.  VMotion has been out since 2003 and old news to anyone already using VMware, but with a virtual machine ping-ponging away in the background at a conference, you quickly get over the ‘gee whiz’ aspect of the technology — yes, it’s cool and it’s real — and can now get to the real question — how is this going to benefit me? Or as Richard says:

Running this demo really allowed us to explain to our visitors that
VMware is more then just a hypervisor company, actually most of the
software we develop is about solving ordinary IT problems like data
protection, resource management, availability, security, provisioning,
etc, we just like to use the virtualized architecture to create these
solutions.

vm4all.com: The VMware Tools Repository

Great new site from Eric Sloof (soon to be appearing on the right-hand blogroll as soon as I get a moment), vm4all.com. The tagline is "The VMware Tools Repository," and it lists both freeware and commercial utilities you can use with VMware Infrastructure. It has an RSS feed so you can keep up with changes and additions. There are 38 entries so far, with the latest being freeware from Massimiliano Daneri:

  • vdf+ (perl script based on our vdf utility to show mounted VMFS devices)
  • vmSSHjwc (free Java SSH terminal integrated into VI web access)
  • VMCL (free high availability software)
  • VMBK (free hot backup script)
  • VMTSPatchManager (free ESX Server patch manager)

Right now, it looks to be focused on the VMware Infrastructure side — is there a similar tools library for Workstation, Player, Server, and Fusion?

See also: virtualization.info Release search, VMTN User Solutions Forum, and Eric Siebert’s VMware-land.