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Monthly Archives: September 2013

vSphere Flash Read Cache – What’s New White Paper

A new vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC) white paper is now available. In this white paper, is based on one of pillars of the software-defined datacenter of VMware® – storage.

As VMware’s plans for SDDC focuses on a set of VMware initiatives around local storage, shared storage and storage/data services. In essence, we want to make vSphere a platform for storage services.

This white paper examines in detail vSphere Flash Read Cache, a solution that provides persistent Flash-based storage tier services by utilizing local Flash-based devices on vSphere hosts.

vFRC is a vSphere 5.5 feature designed to accelerate the performance of business critical applications. The paper is now available on the VMware Technical Resource Center page and it can also be downloaded directly from here.

– Enjoy

For future updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter at @PunchingClouds

VSAN and Storage Controllers

UPDATE: Now that Virtual SAN is officially released, the hardware compatibility list has been updated.  This list has changed considerably since the Beta of VSAN, and some devices are no longer supported.  For the latest and most up-to-date information, please check the VMware Compatibility Guide for Virtual SAN.

There have been numerous questions around supported storage controllers with regards to VSAN. Those of you who have been following the various posts and watching the presentations/webinars on VSAN will have seen the requirement that pass-through mode must be supported if you wish to use a RAID Controller. The purpose of this article is to delve deeper into this requirements and explain why VMware are making that recommendation for storage controllers.

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Virtual SAN Beta now available for download

The VMware Virtual SAN™ beta is available now for download. To claim your copy, visit the VMware Virtual SAN Community page. Our VMware Virtual SAN Community is for MyVMware members only — to gain access, see steps at bottom of this email.*

Webinar: How to Install, Configure and Manage VMware Virtual SAN

Save time and gain valuable insight from our Senior Technical Marketing Architect, Cormac Hogan.  Webinar date: Wednesday, 2 October at 8:30 am PST. Link to the webinar will be available on the community’s website.

Rewards for VMware Virtual SAN Community Members

We value your feedback! Take part in raffles and contests that reward engaged users in our VMware Virtual SAN Community. Enjoy giveaways such as iPads, Amazon gift cards and more. Stay tuned to the VMware Virtual SAN Community for more details.

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A list of VSAN references – from VMware bloggers

A lot of folks have been looking for VSAN reference materials now that vSphere 5.5 is available and the VSAN beta can commence in earnest. Many VMware employees, who are also bloggers, have put together quite a bit of information to get you well and truly on your way to a successful VSAN deployment. This post will pull this information into one place of reference.

First of all, to get us started, here are a few useful links on how to sign up to the VSAN beta, the link to the beta community and some demos, videos and labs:

Now let’s list some VSAN information from VMware’s own bloggers.

Of course, a quick search of the vSphere blog will also show a few VSAN or Virtual SAN posts (some by our R&D folks), and more of which will be added over the coming months.

I hope you find this single point of reference for VSAN links useful.

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

vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 Not Recognizing Nested Active Directory Groups

I was testing vSphere 5.5 upgrades in my lab and came across an interesting situation that you need to be aware of.  In a nutshell, pay attention to how your Active Directory groups are configured on your vCenter Server and avoid nesting any domain level user or group accounts inside of local groups.

Here’s the situation I ran into.  My lab was running a vanilla vCenter 5.1 install.  In vCenter I only had one permission assigned, which is for the local “Administrators” group.

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vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC) In Action

Now that vSphere 5.5 has GA, I wanted to announce the availability of a few videos that I’ve posted to the VMwareTV YouTube Channel. The videos cover a couple of the vFRC management and configuration functionalities as well as interoperability with other vSphere enterprise core features such as vMotion, HA & DRS.

vCenter Server 5.5 – Simple vs Custom Installations

With the release of vSphere 5.5 now upon us, before jumping in and performing a fresh install or an upgrade I wanted to highlight the minor changes to the vCenter Server installer, specifically when to use the simple installer and when to use the individual custom install wizards.

With the new release, when you attach your ISO image you will be presented with the updated splash screen

Simple Install

Selecting this option which is now the default will give you an installation of the core components required for vCenter server with the default settings on too a single physical or virtual server. With vSphere 5.5 we have now added the vSphere Web Client into the mix to assist with setting up vCenter Single Sign-On if necessary. Simple Install will install the following core components in the required order specified.

Using the simple install, the components will be installed to the default C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure destination folder or upgrade the existing version in the installed location. If you have distributed components with vSphere 5.1, this will install all components locally when ran, installing any components anew if not present which may affect you permission and accessibility (ie new vCenter Single SIgn-On instance)

Use case:
You will use the Simple Install option if you are installing or upgrading a single vCenter server with all of its components local to each other (VMware recommendation).

NOTE: If you are intending to install or upgrade multiple vCenter servers (ie for Linked Mode) then you can use the Simple Install for the first vCenter server to setup the vCenter Single Sign-On security domain and then use the custom installation options for the additional vCenter servers.

Custom Installation

The custom install provides the individual installer for each vCenter component which allows for additional options during install or upgrade. Each installer must be ran in the correct order (shown above) and allows for the following use cases

  1. Distribute components across multiple servers
    (although supported, customers have shared that this does add complexity with management and availability options of vCenter server)
  2. Install into a specific destination folder
    (eg D:\VMware)
  3. Install more than one vCenter server(s) in too the same vCenter Single Sign-On security domain
    (ie for Linked Mode as multiple vCenter Single Sign-On security domains (eg: vsphere.local) is not recommended)

As always please reference the VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center for up to date documentation as well as the VMware Compatibility Guide and VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes prior to commencing any install or upgrade procedure.

vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager 5.5

Presuming you’ve upgraded your vCenter Server to 5.5 (ahem) you can now go ahead and upgrade vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager as well.  Some very nice new features as listed earlier such as better performance, storage vMotion support for arrays and VR, and multiple point in time retention if using vSphere Replication.

As always the release notes are the right place to start for really useful information.  For example, with VR you’ll see a few download options and the release notes outline what to use and when.  Likewise for SRM make sure you look at the comments regarding DB2 support and vSphere Flash Read Cache.

Again in the next few weeks I’ll be blogging some deeper information about all the new features, including a few comparisons of old vs. new functionality.

vSphere Replication 5.5 can be downloaded from any of the vSphere, vCloud Suite, or vSphere with Operations Management download locations.

Site Recovery Manager 5.5 can be downloaded from the Site Recovery Manager download page.

Updated: What you need to know before upgrading to vSphere Replication 5.5

Original title: Do *NOT* Install vSphere Replication 5.5 onto your 5.1 environment yet!

*** Sep 23 2013 update:

This problem is now not as critical since vCenter 5.5 has been released.  Please do ensure that your vCenter Server is upgraded first before upgrading vSphere Replication though!  The supported upgrade path for VR is to download the ISO from the website and upgrade via mounted ISO in the virtual appliance management interface.

Moreover, please ensure the auto-update feature is turned off in the VAMI of the vSphere Replication appliances and that you are not auto-updating vSphere Appliances in VUM.

There is a further knowledge base article dealing with the upgrade and how to resolve an issue if your VMware Update Manager instance is trying to download the 5.5 appliance and has hung.  Please see KB Article 2060339

This article is no longer valid, but the concept still remains the same and the post will remain, slightly edited for clarity.  *Always* ensure that your vCenter Server is upgraded before anything else.  GSS now has a fix for anyone who may have been impacted, and vCenter Server 5.5 is now available as well, so the correct procedure is the same as it always has been – Upgrade VC, then VR (and possibly SRM if you’re using it), and then your hosts.

End of Edit ***

Original text (slightly amended):

Due to a mistake involving automated systems, vSphere Replication 5.5 has been published in VUM catalogs and the VAMI upgrade within the VR appliances.

This is an error, and a very critical one, so please do not upgrade your VR appliances to 5.5 at this time until vCenter Server has been upgraded to 5.5.
VR 5.5 requires vCenter 5.5 which is not yet available, and this will actually break your replication and the upgrade is irreversible. It will require you to re-install VR 5.1 and redo your replications from scratch.  Please note this will not stop the replications that are already configured but will keep you from managing the existing, or configuring new replication.

Please do not install VR 5.5 yet!  Please see KB Article 2060190 for details.

If you have automatic updates put in place, and your VR appliances have already updated, please contact support for assistance.

To avoid this issue, please ensure the auto-update feature is turned off in the VAMI of the vSphere Replication appliances and that you are not auto-updating vSphere Appliances in VUM.

Again, turn off auto-update in the VAMI and VUM to avoid this problem, but if your VR infrastructure has already been updated before vCenter Server, please get in touch with our Global Support Services right away.

Virtual SAN (VSAN) Beta Community Now Live

We are pleased to announce the availability of the VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) Beta community website.  The website will be used for ongoing discussion and feedback, and we’ll have our product experts answering your questions.  You’ll also find How-To Videos, Interactive Demos, Product documentation, and FAQs.  Finally, the VSAN team will host many prize contests, and raffles for our engaged users. We will giveaway iPads, Amazon gift cards, and more. So, stay tuned!

How to access the VSAN Beta community website?

  1. Register for a My VMware account here (If you already have one skip to the next step)
  2. Sign the terms of use here (one time only)
  3. Access the VMware Virtual-SAN Beta community website. Please bookmark this link to return to the communities’ website in the future.

How to Download VSAN Beta?

We will make the download available in the coming weeks on the community website. Keep track of the site’s announcements.

Upcoming Events

9/23 8:30 a.m. PST – Introduction to Virtual SAN Beta Webinar.  Presented by VSAN Product Manager, Kiran Madnani.

The VSAN Team