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Category Archives: ESXi

VMware Simplifies its Lineup of Core Virtualization Offerings

By Michael Adams, director of vSphere product marketing, VMware

VMware today made changes to simplify its lineup of core VMware vSphere and VMware vSphere with Operations Management offerings. VMware is reducing the number of offerings ranging from VMware vSphere Standard to VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus from six SKUs down to three SKUs.

The new lineup will consist of VMware vSphere Standard, VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus. Effective June 30, 2016, VMware vSphere Enterprise, VMware vSphere with Operations Management Standard and VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise will reach End of Availability.

Additionally, all VMware vCenter Server Standard customers (existing and new) will now receive vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server. The new offering will provide 25 Operating System Instances (OSIs) of vRealize Log Insight limited to monitoring logs from VMware vCenter Server, VMware vSphere and VMware vRealize Log Insight content packs.

Pricing Updates

Beyond the product lineup and packaging updates, VMware is making two pricing changes. VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus is now $4,395 per CPU. VMware vCenter Server Standard is now $5,995 per instance.

Alignment of Products with Customer Use Cases

VMware updated its virtualization product lineup to align it with the most common customer use cases:

  • VMware vSphere Standard enables server consolidation and business continuity
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus delivers resource management, enhanced application performance and availability
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus optimizes the data center via intelligent operations, consistent management, and automation and predicative analytics.

VMware is committed to delivering greater value to its customer through the introduction of new capabilities in its solutions. New product releases introduced today such as VMware vSphere with Operations Management and vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server will help customers get more out of their investments in VMware software.

For additional details on today’s pricing and packaging updates, please view this video

Hardening Guide Risk Profiles Explained

A customer asked me recently “Why were the Risk Profile definitions pulled out of the vSphere 6 Hardening Guide?”

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VMware vSphere Beta – Indicate your interest!

We are excited to announce the upcoming VMware vSphere Beta Program. This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform.

Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages.

This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

Some of the many reasons to participate in this vSphere Beta Program include:

  • Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products
  • Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers
  • Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance
  • Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
  • Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings

We welcome you to indicate your interest today at: VMware vSphere Beta Interest Capture

Making Security Easier – An ESXi Fling for US Federal Customers

Running systems in the US Federal Government presents its own unique challenges. From specific system login requirements (CAC/PIV smart cards) to specific regulations like DISA STIG’s, managing systems in this environment comes with a healthy dose of security. Today we’re taking a small step towards making that easier with the introduction of a VMware Fling for ESXi targeting the DISA STIG standards.

DISA STIG

Many of the requirements of a STIG come from years of operational experience with other operating systems. Even though ESXi isn’t Linux, there are some common tools that have specific settings requirements that need to be met by the STIG. This VIB simplifies this process and does it in a more secure manner.

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Technical Paper: Installing VMware ESXi 6 Using PXE

It’s 2016, are you still installing VMware ESXi by mounting ISO images in a browser-based console? That’s probably fine for one-off efforts, and it sure beats making a trip to the datacenter with physical CDs, but network deployments are the way of the future.

If you have not yet made the move to PXE deployments, then a new guide from VMware may be the catalyst needed to get your environment moving towards greater operational maturity:

maturity-sequence-diagram

Today, there are a number of large-scale VMware deployments leveraging Auto Deploy to centrally install, patch, and upgrade ESXi hosts that do not utilize local disks. For environments not quite ready to dive into this world of highly automated, stateless deployments, then network installs via PXE – either interactive or scripted – are a good starting point.   Getting familiar with the required infrastructure, such as DHCP, TFTP, and properly configured DNS today can pave the way for future automation with Auto Deploy technology.

This new technical paper from VMware is a very thorough guide on PXE installation of ESXi 6, including differences between the two major hardware architectures: legacy BIOS and UEFI. Also note that UEFI even supports IPv6 – if you’re into that kind of thing. In addition to that, advice is offered on how to control, on a per-host basis, which configuration files are booted, which can enable a gradual transition.  Details, such as the following boot sequence diagram, contribute to a better understanding in the event troubleshooting is needed.

esxi6_pxe_sequence

So take a look and consider how your environment may benefit by reducing manual tasks required for ESXi host deployment. Speaking of reducing manual tasks – this small script that can automatically prepare the contents of an ISO image for PXE use may also be of interest.

DRS Keeps Admins Happy

DRS is not just about keeping VMs happy.  DRS has many other operational benefits that keep your admins happy too. Let’s dive into the top ways that DRS makes the day in the life so much better for the vSphere admin.

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VMware NSX: Virtual Network Architecture for SAP HANA and Mission Critical Deployments

SAP HANA Network Design Considerations

In keeping with the theme of moving the Software-Defined Data Center from concept to reality, I discussed in my previous blogs why VMware vSphere is the perfect platform to deploy cutting edged technologies like SAP HANA. This is because vSphere enables our customers to agilely react to rapidly changing hardware/software requirements by recasting memory, CPU, IO, or network resources where needed in your landscape through software in a centrally managed manner.  I also discussed how VMware Virtual Volumes can be leverage to simplify SAP’s multi-temperature data management strategy; where data is classified by the frequency of access as either hot, warm, or cold depending on data usage. This is an example of the essence of Software-Defined Storage.

Mission Critical Architectures: Completing The Picture with VMware NSX

In this blog I want to discuss how VMware NSX can be leveraged in your SAP HANA Landscapes.  Figure 1.  is an excerpt from the SAP HANA Network Requirements Guide, which kind of goes to the heart of why networks should be virtualized. Now the components of an SAP HANA system communicate via different network channels. Rightfully so, SAP recommended to have a well-defined network topology to control and limit access into only the required access channels in order to apply the appropriate security measures as necessary.

Figure 1. SAP HANA Network Zones

spec

In the Client Zone access is granted to different clients, such as the SQL clients on SAP application servers. In addition there are also browser applications using HTTP/S to access the SAP HANA server, as well as other data sources (such as BI) which need a network communication channel to the SAP HANA database

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SSLv3 Protocol Disabled by Default in vSphere 5.5 Update 3b

Background

Why has the SSLv3 protocol been disabled by default in vSphere 5.5 Update 3b?

Across the industry, enterprise software products and solutions are dropping use of and support for the SSLv3 protocol. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) officially deprecated the SSLv3 protocol in RFC 7568 due to its obsolescence and inherent unfixability. Instead, IETF recommends the latest version of TLS.

VMware is therefore dropping support for SSLv3 on both the server side and the client side in vSphere. The release of vSphere 5.5 Update 3b from VMware disables SSLv3 by default to meet current standards and compliance.

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What’s New in vSphere Big Data Extensions Version 2.3?

Big Data Extensions enables the rapid deployment of Hadoop clusters on a VMware vSphere virtual platform. This new BDE 2.3 release provides the following new features and enhancements.

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Eight Myths about Virtualizing Hadoop Dispelled

This article takes eight common misperceptions about virtualizing Hadoop and explains why they are errors in people’s understanding. The short explanations given should serve to clear up the understanding about these important topics.

Myth #1: Virtualization may add significant performance overhead to a Hadoop cluster.

This is a common question from users who are in the early stages of considering virtualizing their Hadoop clusters. Engineers at VMware (and some of its customers) have done several iterations over multiple years of performance testing of Hadoop on vSphere with various hardware configurations. These tests have consistently shown that virtualized Hadoop performance is comparable to, and in some cases better than that of a native equivalent.

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