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Monthly Archives: January 2012

vCD Support for vCenter Foundation

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by Tom Stephens, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware

I recently saw a question asking if vCloud Director was supported with vCenter Foundation.  This version is intended for use in small environments, and is limited to being able to manage three vSphere hosts.

It’s a good question, as I’m sure there’s a group of people out there who would like to take advantage of building a self-provisioning cloud environment with a small number of hosts.  Additionally, finding the right information can be challenging at times, especially if you’re new to using vCloud Director.

First, let’s talk about how one can go about finding the answer themselves.  Every product at VMware has a web page dedicated to it.   This should be the first place you go to if your looking for the requirements of any VMware product.  On this page, about half way down, you’ll see a series of tabs.  Depending on the product, you may see a different series of tabs.  What your looking for is one called ‘How to Buy’.

  Screen shot 2012-01-31 at 3.41.50 PM

Under here, you’ll see there are links to the technical requirements.  

In some cases, this might not show you all the requirement information you need.  Additionally, depending on the product your looking for, you might not have the ‘How to Buy’ tab.  In these cases, the second place you should look is in the Installation and Configuration guide.

With vCloud Director, this is pretty easy to find, as there is a ‘Documentation and Training’ tab right next to the ‘How to Buy’ tab that provides you with links to all the product documentation.  For other products, you may not have this tab.  Instead, you might see a tab entitled ‘Resources’. 

Now that you know where to go, let’s talk about the answer to the question.  If you went to the product page, you will see the following statement:

“VMware vCloud Director requires VMware vSphere Enterprise licenses and at least one instance of vCenter Server Standard. However, we strongly recommend VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus for advanced networking functionality through the vNetwork Distributed Switch. Learn more about VMware vCenter Server Standard licensing and VMware vSphere licensing.”

Now if you went to the Installation and Configuration Guide for vCloud Director 1.5, you would have seen the following blurb on page 10 under the heading vSphere Licensing Requirements:

“vCloud Director requires the following vSphere licenses:

-   VMware DRS, licensed by vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

-   VMware Distributed Switch and dvFilter, licensed by vSphere Enterprise Plus. This license enables creation and use of vCloud Director isolated networks.”

With this, we now have the answer to the original question as well as an explanation of why. 

vCloud Director is not supported with vCenter Foundation.  You’ll need at least vCenter Server Standard.  Additionally, you will need to get at least Enterprise to enable DRS, which is a requirement of vCloud Director.  To get the full functionality though, you’ll need to get Enterprise Plus.  This gives you all the benefits of Enterprise (re: DRS), plus the ability to use a vDS and dvFilter so that you can configure VCNI networks. 

All this might seem easy after you’ve been working with vCloud Director for a while.  For those who haven’t, hopefully this shows you how to go about finding the information you need.

vCloud Director Certification

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by Tom Stephens, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware

Recently, the question came up if VMware was planning to develop a certification around vCloud Director.

Yes, we are indeed!

As there is still a fair amount of work being done on this front, it would be a bit pre-mature to go into details now.  For those of you who are attending VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2012 on February 13th -16th in Las Vegas, you will be among the first to get more details on this exciting development. 

If you want to start studying now, I’d suggest you brush up on the vCloud Director product documentation.  Don’t forget to include looking over the VCAT as well!  You might also want to give a read to some of the blogs out there that have a lot of good information on vCloud Director.  There are tons of blogs out there with good information, but to mention just a few:

Chris Colotti’s Blog – Lots of great information here, with a heavy emphasis on vCloud Director related topics.

Duncan Epping’s Blog – Covers a wide range of topics related to VMware.

William Lam’s Blog – Focusing mostly on scripting with VMware, William includes a lot of example of how to manage a vCD environment. 

Alan Renouf’s Blog – If you need to know how to do something with PowerCLI, Alan is the person to see.

Now if you are lucky enough to be able to attend PEX 2012, don’t forget to show up early to check out the pre-conference boot camps February 11th -13th.  These are always a great way to brush up on your skills.

See you there!

Having a performance problem hard to resolve? – Have you checked your host BIOS lately…

By Leah Schoeb, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, VMware

Power Saving turned on in the server BIOS has been the cause of many performance issues reported in vSphere 4.1. In fact it has been the #1 resolution to performance problems reported in the past few months.  It has masked itself as performance issues with CPU, memory, network, and even storage.  Certain applications are also very sensitive to processing speed latencies may show less than expected performance when processor power management features are enabled.  Before spending many hours trying to identify performance issues check to make sure that power saving is turned off in the server BIOS and then check to see if the problem still persists.  If the problem still exists then you it would be worth it to troubleshoot the problem. 

Recent KB article – “Disabling power management usually results in more power being consumed by the system, especially when it is lightly loaded. The majority of applications benefit from the power savings offered by power management, with little or no performance impact. Therefore, if disabling power management does not realize any increased performance, it is recommended that power management be re-enabled to reduce power consumption.” (Reference below)

Disabling Hardware Power Management

Disabling processor power management in the server hardware is vendor specific. Here is an example of the HP ProLiant:

HP Power Regulator

Processor power and performance state registers exposed by processor vendors let you use HP Power Regulator to control processor power usage and performance. Power Regulator directly adjusts the frequency and core voltage of ProLiant server processors.

Using Power Regulator, you can configure a server to maximize performance, maximize power savings, or match processor power consumption dynamically as system load changes. This lets you maintain an optimal balance of performance and power utilization under all operating conditions.

  • HP ProLiant servers with the HP Power Profile option (ProLiant G6 or greater)

    Review both the HP Power Profile and HP Power Regulator Mode in the BIOS settings.  For HP Power Profile, you see these options:

    • Balanced Power and Performance (default)
    • Minimum Power Usage
    • Maximum Performance
    • Custom

Choose Maximum Performance to disable power management. If Custom is already selected, refer to the Power Regulator Mode options below.  If you choose Custom, set the HP Power Regulator Mode to OS Control Mode.

  • HP ProLiant servers without the HP Power Profile option

    Review the Power Regulator Modes in the BIOS settings. You see these options: 

    • HP Static High Performance mode
    • HP Static Low Power mode
    • HP Dynamic Power Savings mode (Default)
    • OS Control mode

Choose HP Static High Performance mode to disable power management. If OS Control mode is selected, refer above for disabling power management within the OS.

More about the HP regulator you can go to:  http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c00300430/c00300430.pdf

Additional information, like disabling ESXi power management was recently posted in a kb article at:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1018206

 

Troubleshooting Auto Deploy Rules

by Kyle Gleed, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, VMware

A common problem I come across when helping customers implement Auto Deploy is they PXE boot their hosts and instead of seeing the Auto Deploy server install ESXi  they get an error complaining that the server was unable to find a valid image profile:

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However, despite this error a quick check of the rules, using the PowerCLI “Get-DeployRule” cmdlet, shows that all the required  rules have been created? 

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From experience I find that there are typically two reasons customers run into this error: (1) either the rules have not been added to the active rule set, or (2) the rules were changed and Auto Deploy server’s cache has become stale and needs to be updated.

1.  The rules have not been added to the active rule set

You create Auto Deploy rules using the “New-DeployRule” cmdlet.  However, just because a  rule has been created doesn’t mean it will be used.  Rules are not used until you “activate” them by adding them to the active rule set using the “Add-DeployRule” cmdlet.  So remember adding rules is a 2 step procedure:  step 1 is to create a new rule and step 2 is to activate the rule by adding it to the active rule set.

In the screen shot below we can see from the “Get-DeployRule” cmdlet that three rules have been added:  AssignImage, AssignHostProfile, and AssignCluster.    However, the “Get-DeployRuleSet” cmdlet shows that none of these rules have been added to the active rule set.  (Notice that the first cmdlet looks at all the rules on the host while the second cmdlet only looks at the rules in the active rule set).

image

To activate these rules we simply need to “add” them to the active rule set, use the “Add-DeployRule” cmdlet as shown below.

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2.  The rules have been modified but the cached entries on the Auto Deploy server have not been updated to reflect the changes.

The second issue that you may run across is that you’ve updated your rules, but you haven’t updated the Auto Deploy cache.  The first time a host boots the Auto Deploy server saves the information it used to deploy the host in it’s local cache.  This information includes the name of the  Image Profile, Host Profile and the vCenter folder/cluster.  The information is cached so that during subsequent reboots the Auto Deploy server doesn’t have to keep consulting the rules engine.  However, what this means is if you ever make a change to the active rule set , to use a different image profile, host profile, or file/cluster for example, you will need also to update the cached information on the Auto Deploy server.  Like adding rules, updating the Auto Deploy cache is a two step operation: 

Step 1, check if the host is compliant with the active rule set using the “Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet. 

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In the example above I first ran the “Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet to see if the host was compliant with the active rule set.  The ItemList column showed the host was non-compliant, but the output was truncated, so I ran the command a second time selecting just the ItemList column to see the full output.  We see from my example that the Image Profile being used to deploy the host does not match Image profile specified by the “UpdatedEsxImageProfile” rule in the active rule set.

Step 2, to remedy the non-compliance issue I use the “Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet.

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The example above shows how I was able to correct the cached entry for the host by simply re-runing the “Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet and piping the output  directly into the “Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance”.  After repairing the host I again ran the “Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet to verify the host is now compliant (an empty ItemList reflects a host that is compliant with the active RuleSet).

Summary

When working with Auto Deploy remember that rules must first be created using the “New-DeployRule” cmdlet and then activated using the “Add-DeployRule” cmdlet.  If you find that you have created rules, but the Auto Deploy server doesn’t seem to be using them, verify they are properly listed in the active rule set by using the “Get-DeployRuleSet” cmdlet.

Also, remember the Auto Deploy server saves the information used to deploy the hosts.  This includes the name of the  Image Profile, Host Profile and vCenter cluster.  If you ever change your rules be sure to test each host against the modified active rule set by using the “Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet.  If you discover that your hosts have become non-compliant, use the “Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance” cmdlet to update the information saved on Auto Deploy server.

Do you use the vSphere Hypervisor (no cost ESXi)? We want to hear from you!

VMware is collecting feedback this week on the topic of the vSphere Hypervisor (no cost ESXi that you download at VMware.com). If you use or have evaluated the product please take our short survey located here. Our survey will close this Friday (2/3).

If you have already participated, thank you for your feedback.

-Mike

Technical Marketing Update 2012 – Week 04

By Duncan Epping, Principal Architect, VMware.

Currently multiple white papers are going through formatting / editing and these will be published in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully I can provide an update on that soon. For now, check out these blog posts. Also don't forget to vote for your favorite blogs while you still can, many of the authors below are part of the list and would appreciate your support!

Blog posts:

 

Are you a vSphere PowerCLI fan? Check out our 5.0.1 release

If so, life just got better for you. Make sure to take a look a thte new 5.0.1 PowerCLI release we announced today.

PowerCLI as you know has been one of the popular utilities to automate vSphere deployments by administrators. This version of PowerCLI extends that capability to automate VMware Cloud Solutions.

Key Highlights:
—————

1) New snapin called VMware.VimAutomation.Cloud introducing Cmdlets to configure Cloud entities specifically targeting Provider administrators.
2) Sets the foundation for future PowerCLI versions for VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite.

Helpful Links

-5.0.1 blog post (PowerCLI specific blog)

-Download

Attending VMware Partner Exchange 2012? Some vCenter Server related sessions worth checking out

This years Partner Exchange is nearly upon us and browsing the content catalogue I have listed a selection of vCenter Server related session that I would highly recommend attending.

(1426) Making vCenter Server Highly Available
Speakers: Jeff Hunter
02/14/2012 12:15 PM -2:15 PM

(1371) Welcome to the Family: Leverage the new vSphere Web Client to Deliver Your New Plug-In
Speakers: Ameet Jani
02/14/2012 2:45 PM -3:45 PM

(1328) Upgrading to vSphere 5.0
Speakers: Kyle Gleed
02/15/2012 3:00 PM -4:00 PM

(1200) Extending vCenter to create custom Events, Tasks and Alarms.
Speakers: BALAJI PARIMI
02/15/2012 4:15 PM -5:15 PM

(1375) Unleash the power of the new vSphere Web Client SDK
Speakers: Laurent Delamare
02/16/2012 10:15 AM -11:15 AM

(1388) Up and Running with vSphere vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)
Speakers: Justin King
02/16/2012 11:30 AM -12:30 PM

(1545) vSphere Single Sign-On – Technical Preview
Speakers: Alvin Wen
02/16/2012 11:30 AM -12:30 PM

Pex-logo

VMware Partner Exchange is dedicated to educating and enabling you to sell and deploy VMware products and solutions successfully.

  • - Gain insights to identify customer needs effectively
  • - Explore best practices to acquire new customers
  • - Find out how to expand business by cross-selling VMware solutions and services
  • - Network with other partners, VMware experts and executives
  • - Walk away with go-to-market selling strategies that enable you to accelerate your business

You'll learn of VMware's plans for the coming year, learn about new partner programs, explore best practices and understand the training roadmap. Register today

New vCLI Video from VMware Tech Pubs

Kyle Gleed, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager

VMware Tech Pubs just released another great video, this one provides an overview of the vCLI in vSphere 5.0:

You can use the vCLI command set to manage ESXi hosts remotely. This video gives an overview of available authentication methods including session files, Active Directory, and configuration files. It also explains how to run commands against vCenterServer systems to target ESXi hosts in lockdown mode.

Be sure to check out the other great videos on the VMware Tech Pubs Channel as well.

RAID10 requirement for vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) relaxed!

For those of you considering the vSphere Storage Appliance as a shared storage solution, I bring you a piece of very good news. The RAID10 configuration requirement on the hosts has now been relaxed. As of today, VMware will now support RAID5 & RAID6 configurations alongside the original RAID10 configuration. This will mean that even more local storage can now be utilized as shared storage (NFS datastores). This is a common feature  request that we heard from a lot of potential VSA customers, so I'm glad we've been able to pull this into VSA 1.0.

The VSA documentation already reflects this change in support.

vSphere Storage Appliance Planning Checklist

The VSA cluster requires RAID volumes created from the physical disks. VMware recommends that you use RAID5, RAID6, or RAID10. The vSphere Storage Appliance uses RAID1 to maintain the VSA datastores’ replicas. The capacity of the VSA datastores depends on the number of physical hard disks and the RAID configuration that you use. The actual realized capacities are calculated separately for RAID5, RAID6 and RAID10.

We will be making an official announcement regarding the additional RAID configuration support on the VSA website (http://www.vmware.com/go/vsa) very soon. I'd urge you to check out this website for regular announcements around the VSA.

Get notification of these blogs postings and more VMware Storage information by following me on Twitter: Twitter @VMwareStorage