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Logging USB devices plugged into ESXi


I just found an interesting question on an internal message board here in VMware. A customer was wondering if it was possible to disable USB ports at the ESXi level. They are a very security conscience organization and they want to block any opportunity for someone internally with malicious intent to plug in a USB drive. Normally, this would be done at the BIOS level of the hardware but some device manufactures don’t implement that functionality.

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VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal App Update

VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal App IconIt’s hard to believe that another VMworld season has come and gone.  I enjoyed the many conversations I had with our customers and partners in both San Francisco and Barcelona.  Your thirst for knowledge and everlasting quest to deliver high quality IT services to your business is refreshing – especially considering rapid pace of innovation in the industry combined with the ever increasing demands being placed on you!  That’s the paradox of IT today – so many cool new toys and so little time to play learn.

VMware has developed the VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal (VMKP) app to help.  There’s no shortage of information, and sorting the wheat from the chaff can be time consuming.  The VMKP provides technical, timely and accessible VMware product knowledge in a convenient mobile format.  The content is curated to ensure that you have ready access to the latest technical content relevant to your jobs in the Software-Defined Data Center.

The VMKP includes a variety of technical content, from product whitepapers and reference architectures to demo videos and Product Walkthroughs (the same Product Walkthroughs that you’ll find on http://featurewalkthrough.vmware.com).  Much of the content can be marked for offline viewing, so you have access to good technical information where ever you are (planes, trains and that dark basement office that IT always seems to get stuck with).

VMKP-screenshot-EUCWe’re constantly updating the app – some 200 new End-User Computing related assets were uploaded during VMworld 2014!  The app also just received a minor update to support iOS 8.  Grab the VMKP today from the Apple AppStore or Google Play – here are the links:

VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal on Google Play Link              VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal on App Store Link QR Code

VMware Partner University Mobile AppVMware Partners should also download the VMKP’s sister app – VMware Partner University Mobile.  The VMware Partner University Mobile (VPUM) app gives VMware Partners access to enablement training, tools and content.  With VPUM, partners can access online or offline e-Learning courses, leverage enablement tools like Partner mToolBooks, Sales Bytes and Launch Playbooks, and review VMware event presentations and vmLIVE recordings.  The icon to the right will take you to the landing page where you can find the download links.

VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing – Part III

Virtual SAN ObserverIn the previous VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing blog post we reviewed the benefits of running performance tests utilizing I/O trace files over synthetic workload tools such as IOmeter to more accurately characterize the performance of a Virtual SAN cluster. The VMware I/O Analyzer includes pre-created trace files of specific application profiles that allows you to quickly perform scale-out testing utilizing a mix of industry standard workloads But what if you want to characterize the performance of your existing vSphere virtualized environment within a new Virtual SAN configuration? This is were the use of custom I/O Trace replays can be useful. Continue reading

vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM – Part3: Associating vSphere Storage Policies

powercli 5.8 icon
In our last article we demonstrated how to use the new vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM cmdlets to create vSphere Storage Policies. In this article we will demonstrate how to quickly associate a vSphere Storage Policy with  a new or existing VM.

Example Provisioning Scenariospbm_1vmdk_vsan

To illustrate how to leverage PowerCLI to associate vSphere Storage Policies with VMs we will continue with the provisioning example from our previous article.

  • Virtual machine
  • Single virtual disk
  • Virtual SAN datastore

Follow these links for more information on creating vSphere Storage Policies for Virtual SAN:

Previously in order to create, manage, and associate vSphere Storage Policies with VMs using PowerCLI, one would need to leverage an intermediary method as well (e.g. Esxcli, RVC, REST API, etc). Often this could require the use of third party applications to bridge the gap in interfacing with the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management service. This resulted in added complexities and additional processing time for workflows that were automated with PowerCLI.

With the new PowerCLI 5.8 cmdlets for vSphere Storage Policy Based Management we are able to greatly reduce the complexity of vSphere Storage Policies with PowerCLI now by using PowerCLI exclusively. In the example below, we will demonstrate how to enhance the VM provisioning process by associating a vSphere Storage Policy with a virtual machine.

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Disaster Recovery for Virtualized Business Critical Applications (Part 3 of 3)

Planned Migration:

One of the relatively newer use cases for SRM is planned migration. With this use case, customers can migrate their business critical workloads to the recovery or cloud provider sites in a planned manner. This could be in planning for an upcoming threat such as a hurricane or other disaster or an actual datacenter migration to a different location or cloud provider. Continue reading

Disaster Recovery for Virtualized Business Critical Applications (Part 2 of 3)

Protection Groups:

A protection group is a group of virtual machines that fail over together to the recovery site. Protection groups contain virtual machines whose data has been replicated by array-based replication or by VR. Typically contains virtual machines that are related in some way such as:

  • A three-tier application (application server, database server, Web server)
  • Virtual machines whose virtual machine disk files are part of the same datastore group.

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Disaster Recovery for Virtualized Business Critical Applications (Part 1 of 3)

The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate use cases for disaster recovery of  real business critical applications (BCA) leveraging VMware solutions such as VMWare Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Techniques to protect  against disaster for common business critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, SAP and Oracle Databases are discussed.

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vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM Walkthrough (Part 2): Creating vSphere Storage Policies

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Greetings and welcome to our next article in the PowerCLI 5.8 series for the new vSphere Policy Based Management cmdlets. In today’s article we are going to dive right in and start building our own vSphere storage policies leveraging the new SPBM cmdlets within PowerCLI.

Before we begin though, if you have not yet had an opportunity to familiarize yourself with vSphere Storage Policy Based Management, here are a few key blog articles that can help you build a good foundation.

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What’s New in vSphere Big Data Extensions version 2.1

Big Data Extensions enables the deployment of Hadoop and HBase clusters in virtual machines on the VMware vSphere platform. This article gives you a brief introduction to the new features in BDE version 2.1. BDE ships as a virtual appliance (an OVA file) and it is a free download for users of vSphere Enterprise or Enterprise Plus.

BDE users are interested in using their favorite management tools from their Hadoop distro vendors, along with BDE and vCenter, to manage their newly created virtualized Hadoop clusters. The 2.1 release of BDE implements this feature in an elegant way!

Now you can use BDE and Cloudera Manager or Ambari together to install and manage your Hadoop clusters without leaving your Web Client BDE seat. You can also use the earlier styles of provisioning a Hadoop cluster as shown under the “BDE Only” and “BDE 2.0″ headings below.  The first method on the left allows BDE to use a repository to install the Hadoop vendor’s software on to the virtual machines. BDE does the whole job of provisioning everything in this case – hence referred to as “BDE Only”.

Using BDE 2.0 (shown in the center column) you can create a basic cluster, i.e. one with no Hadoop software in it. Then you can use the Hadoop vendors’ installation and configuration tool to install the Hadoop software on those virtual machines. With BDE 2.1 you don’t have to go between the different tools; the full Hadoop installation can be done inside BDE’s user interface, but using the vendor’s APIs under the covers to do that. The difference between the BDE 2.0 and 2.1 methods is that in 2.1 the management tool from the Hadoop vendor is called by BDE directly.

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VMware Virtual SAN Operations: Disk Group Management

VSAN-Ops-LogoThis new blog series will focus on Virtual SAN day-to-day operations related tasks and their recommended operating procedures. I will start the series by covering one of the key and most important aspects of Virtual SAN, which is the management of disk groups.

Managing Disk Groups

Disk groups are logical management constructs designed to aggregate and manage locally attached flash devices and magnetic disks on ESXi hosts. When disk groups are created the flash devices are utilized to create a performance (caching) layer, while magnetic disks are utilized to create the persistent storage layer and provide storage capacity.

Creating Disk Groups

Disk groups are individually created on every host that is a member of a Virtual SAN enabled cluster. Creating a disk group requires the existence of a single flash device and a single magnetic disk at the very least. A disk group supports a maximum of one flash device, and up to seven magnetic disks.

Disk groups can be created through the vSphere Web Client as well as the command line interface utilities such as esxcli after the Virtual SAN feature has been enabled in a cluster. The vSphere Web Client presents the simplest method for small environments, while command line utilities such as esxcli can provide automation capabilities for large environments.

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