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Category Archives: ESXi

What's New in VMware vSphere 6 Performance

Not too be outdone by all the new and amazing vSphere 6 features, there are a number of scale and performance enhancements within the vSphere 6 platform that should be highlighted.
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VMworld 2015: Extreme Performance Series

Who loves virtual Performance? Who wants to learn more about it?

Everybody of course!

I'm very excited about this year's Extreme Performance Series mini-track being hosted at VMworld San Francisco and Barcelona. These sessions are created and presented by VMware's best and most distinguished performance engineers, architects and gurus. I've tried to provide my personal thoughts on each session but these few words will never do them justice. Hope too see you all there!

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Oracle on vSphere book - Tech Target Interview of Authors

Tech Target has completed and published an interview of the authors (Don Sullivan and Kannan Mani) of the Oracle on vSphere VMware press book.  The published interview is linked  below:

The official VMware press book and the definitive authority on the subject of Oracle on vSphere: http://www.amazon.com/Virtualizing-Oracle-Databases-vSphere-Technology/dp/0133570185 "Serious Databases Require Serious Virtualization"

-- Putting Oracle databases on a virtualized infrastructure - http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/feature/Putting-Oracle-databases-on-a-virtualized-infrastructure -- The perks to virtualizing Oracle on vSphere 6 - http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/feature/The-perks-to-virtualizing-Oracle-on-vSphere-6

SIOC: I/O Distribution with Reservations & Limits – Basic Concepts

The mClock scheduler was introduced with vSphere 5.5 Storage I/O Control (SIOC) and laid the foundation for new capabilities for scheduling storage resources.  vSphere 6.0 expands upon these capabilities and adds the ability to reserve IOPS, providing even more flexibility and control when delivering storage services to virtual machines.  However, this new capability introduces new questions about how resources are managed and allocated during periods of storage contention.

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Custom certificate on the outside, VMware CA (VMCA) on the inside - Replacing vCenter 6.0’s SSL Certificate

A customer recently asked me “How do I replace the “external” SSL certificate of vCenter but still use VMCA in default mode?” Ever curious, I asked “Why?”. His security team required that any “externally” facing management web pages needed to have a custom certificate that chained up to the corporate PKI. But behind that, they were totally cool with using VMCA in default mode (with the self-generated root certificate) for things like ESXi servers and solution users.

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vSphere 6 Hardening Guide GA now Available

It’s time to release the vSphere 6.0 Hardening Guide! As I mentioned back in April, there are a lot of changes that have been made. In talking with customers and auditors in detail for the past year, the conclusion was reached that the Hardening Guide was

  1. Difficult to understand
  2. Contained a mix of
    • Operational Guidance - How you use the product in your environment
    • Programmatic Guidance - What settings should be applied OR audited

Basically, it was NOT easy to implement. And if security is too difficult to implement, people will either not do it or will do it poorly.

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vSphere with Operations Management Product Walkthroughs

If you’ve ever tried to watch a product demo video, or tried to use it to show a product to someone else, often times you find yourself trying to pause the video at the exact right moment, and then having scrub backwards or forwards because you missed the timing.  At VMware we’ve created an alternative way ot showing demos, which we call Product Walkthroughs.  These are web-based demos that let you walk through a scenario screen-by-screen, at your own pace.  Each screen has annotations to explain what’s going on and markups that highlight important parts of the screen, both of which can be turned off if you want a clean view.

Although we have created Product Walkthroughs for numerous products and solutions, the ones I want to focus on are for vSphere 6 and vSphere with Operations Management.  Both of these provide a great way to learn about these products and their features at your own pace, as well as to show how something works to your colleagues (or bosses).  The one on vSphere 6 highlights the features in this major new release, with sections on:

and more.

The vSphere with Operations Management product walkthrough provides an in-depth look at all the features of its two major components, vSphere and vRealize Operations, including

So, check them out and let us know what you think!

Big Data Extensions Version 2.2 - What's New? A summary of the new features.

The new  vSphere Big Data Extensions Version 2.2 shipped on the 5th June 2015!

Here is a quick summary of the new features that appear in the 2.2 release. This is an exciting and much-awaited release. As always, refer to the technical documents and the release notes to get more detail on these subjects. 

• Support for the Latest Hadoop Distributions. BDE 2.2 supports the latest versions from the major Hadoop distribution vendors, including Bigtop 0.8, Cloudera CDH 5.4, Hortonworks HDP 2.2, MapR 4.1, and Pivotal PHD 3.0.

• Better Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) Management. We found that some users had difficulty with generating FQDNs within their network for newly cloned virtual machines. BDE can now generate and propagate meaningful host names in FQDN form for your new  virtual machines that host the Hadoop nodes. The new FQDNs will be registered to a DNS server if you are using a Dynamic DNS server.

• Shrink clusters. You can now reduce (as well as expand) the number of worker virtual machines that belong to a running Hadoop cluster in an easy way. The virtual machines targeted for shrinking will be quiesced, withdrawn from the Hadoop cluster and then deleted to release any resources that they used completely.

• Active Directory/Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (AD/LDAP) integration. You can use an AD/LDAP server to manage the accounts generated by BDE within the Hadoop nodes . You can specify the accounts to be Hadoop users accounts and/or service accounts in an AD/LDAP server.

• vSphere 6.0 Instant Clone. BDE will, at the user's request, use Instant Clone technology to spin up new Hadoop VMs. This feature reduces the time of spinning up Hadoop VMs and the runtime footprint. This is an optional way to do this. You can choose to use the older "full clone" method also if you prefer to. We recommend that you use this new type of cloning for your test and development workloads to begin with.
• Centralised logging. You can configure BDE to direct logging information to an external syslog server including LogInsight.
• Quiesce the BDE management server. You can quiesce BDE management server with a command so that you can backup BDE management server's data for your clusters safely.
• Automatic GUI installation. BDE GUI is automatically registered to the vCenter after BDE is deployed.

• Support for the Latest Partner Hadoop Management Tools. BDE 2.2 supports Cloudera Manager 5.3, and Ambari 1.7. You have more flexibility to deploy Hadoop clusters, including a compute-only cluster,a  HBase-only cluster,a  data-compute separated cluster etc. even when using a Partner Hadoop Management tool.

• Support for the Latest Isilon Version. Fully automated process to deploy and manage compute only clusters on OneFS 7.2.

• Big Data Extensions Upgrade. You can upgrade Big Data Extensions 2.1 to the current version, Big Data Extensions 2.2, and preserve all the data for the Hadoop clusters that were created using Big Data Extensions 2.1. All of your existing clusters can be managed by Big Data Extensions once the upgrade completes.

• Localization. BDE is localized to 6 languages including DE, FR, ZH_CN, ZH_TW, KO, and JA.

Big Data on vSphere : Two Customer Case Study White Papers Published

VMware-vSphere-Adobe-Deploys-HAAS-CS

Two new white papers are now available on the work done at Adobe on virtualizing Hadoop. The VMware-authored paper,  Adobe Deploys Hadoop as a Service on VMware vSphere, focuses on the business background and justifications for virtualizing the workload. It also talks about implementing Hadoop-as-a-Service by the central Technical Operations function to satisfy the needs of the business units and data analysis groups that require Hadoop as a platform. This paper also gives details about the use of the vSphere Big Data Extensions tool which was used heavily in the project, as well as the connection to vRealize Automation that forms the basis for the cloud offering at Adobe.

The second, complementary white paper, on the same architecture, Virtualizing Hadoop in Large-Scale Infrastructureswas written by the EMC consulting team that supported the project. The EMC paper, with the title "Virtualizing Hadoop in Large-Scale Infrastructures", focuses on the technical reference architecture for the Proof-of-Concept conducted in late 2014, the results of that POC, the performance tuning work and the physical topology that was deployed using Isilon storage. The two papers were written in concert by the organizations and should be read together for a full picture of the Hadoop virtualization project. This system is now live at Adobe Digital Marketing, hosted on their Virtual Private Cloud and it is being used by different groups within the big data community there. The papers together provide an outline reference architecture for use in other installations also. Watch this space, there are more technical case studies in the works.

Speaking of technical reference material for Hadoop on vSphere, here is the current list of technical papers and websites that are now available for people to learn more about this particular subject - for your reference:

Big Data/Hadoop on VMware vSphere - Reference Materials

Deployment Guides

Reference Architectures

Customer Case Studies

Performance Studies

There are some very useful best practices in the first two technical papers.

vSphere Big Data Extensions (BDE)

Other vSphere Features and Big Data

Using the ESXi 6.0 CPU Microcode Loading Feature

Using the ESXi 6.0 CPU Microcode Loading Feature

Authored By: Tim Mann

Abstract: Occasionally ESXi users want to run updated CPU microcode that isn't yet available either from their hardware platform vendor in a BIOS update or bundled into ESXi. This article explains how to do that.

Note: This procedure is not supported by VMware, and in production environments VMware recommends using only microcode obtained from your platform vendor.

This article applies beginning with ESXi 6.0. For earlier versions of ESXi, the following third-party blog post seems generally accurate, though of course not officially endorsed by VMware: FAQ: CPU microcode updates and VMware ESXi.

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