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Category Archives: ESXi

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

powercli 5.8 icon
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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Uptrend for Virtualized Oracle Deployments on VMware vSphere

In August 2014, Unisphere Research fielded a study among the members of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) to examine the current state of Oracle database sites, including the key issues, priorities and solutions being adopted by organizations. A total of 338 qualified responses were collected and analyzed. Respondents came from organizations of all sizes and across various industries. The survey was commissioned jointly by EMC2 and VMware. The sponsors of the survey were not revealed to the respondents.

Below are few of the highlights/excerpts:

  • VMware vSphere is used for virtualizing Oracle environments substantially more than all other virtualization solutions combined (57% of organizations reported using VMware vSphere, followed by Oracle VM, reported by 9% of organizations). The use of vSphere for Oracle software, while widespread, has been increasing in the last few years, with almost two-thirds of organizations reporting increases over the past year.
  • Although many respondents report that the top objection to virtualization is the potential for increased license costs, over 50% of respondents report that cost reduction is a primary benefit of their virtualization effort. A reasonable inference to this finding is that the potential increased licensing costs are more perception than reality, as suggested by reports of organizations with virtualization efforts experiencing significant aggregate cost reductions.
  • Apart from reduced costs, the most common benefits that organizations report as a result of using virtualization within their Oracle database environments are
    • Consolidation (54% of respondents)
    • Standardization of infrastructure (47%)
    • Greater agility (39%)
    • Increased automation/reduced provisioning times (26%)

Check out the results of The Empowered Database – 2014 Enterprise Platform Decisions Survey

Source: The Empowered Database – 2014 Enterprise Platform Decisions Survey

 

Announcing availability of VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Editions and VMware vSphere 5.5 Update 2

Earlier this month at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, VMware introduced the VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced Editions. Today, we are excited to announce the availability of these new vSphere editions, designed specifically for IT infrastructure located in remote, distributed sites. These new offerings will allow us to provide new and existing customers of all sizes with enhanced service level, standardization and availability capabilities for remote and branch office locations (See a short 3 minute Product Video).

  • vSphere Remote Office Branch Office offerings will be available in packs of 25 Virtual Machines priced at $3,000 for the Standard edition and $4,500 for the Advanced edition (Note: All reference pricing above is suggested MSRP for the US, in USD. Regional prices will vary)
  • These new offerings feature a per virtual machine licensing metric that offers customers the flexibility to deploy only the number of workloads required at each remote site. A customer can distribute a pack across multiple sites.
  • These new offerings are replacing existing vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus Kits for Retail and Branch Offices (ROBO). Existing customers who purchased these kits can avail of a free conversion to the new editions by raising an SR ticket through their My VMware portal. Regular Essentials/Essentials Plus Kits (i.e., non-ROBO) sold in 6-CPU packs remain unaffected.

Learn more about the Value of Virtualizing Remote Offices and Branch Offices with the IDC Analyst Connection, sponsored by VMWare.

To learn more about the new vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Editions and compare them, go to:  http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/compare.html

Announcing availability of vSphere 5.5 Update 2

vSphere 5.5 Update 2 is available. The new release offers support for new processors, guest operating systems, and 6TB hosts. Learn more at ESXi 5.5 release notes and vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 release notes and the associated vSphere Blog Post

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 Released

Today VMware released Update 2 of its vSphere management solution, vCenter Server. In this release there are updates to the supported database versions and many resolved known issues.

What’s New

  • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases:
    • Oracle 12c. Important: For pre-requisite requirements, see KB 2079443.
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • vCloud Hybrid Service: The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) introduces a new container, Hybrid Cloud Service, on the vSphere Web Client home page. The Hybrid Cloud Service container contains the vCHS installer and the new vCloud Connector installer.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The vSphere customer experience improvement program is introduced to collect configuration data for vSphere and transmit weekly to VMware for analysis in understanding the usage and improving the product. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.

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SQL Server on vSphere Workshop

by Don Sullivan, Product Line Marketing Manager, Business Critical Applications – vSphere

There has been a dramatic increase of virtualized infrastructure being used for production-level business critical applications (BCAs) including relational database management systems (RDBMS) such as Oracle and SQL Server. With the release, of vSphere 4.x in 2009, Tier 1 implementations on vSphere became a reality.

With the recent releases of vSphere 5.x and the abstract approach of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) the proposition of running BCAs and RDBMS such as SQL Server is truly compelling. The comprehensive overhead imposed by the hypervisor had dropped precipitously and vertical scalability up to 64 vCPUs and 1TB of RAM was now real.  As systems and database administrators (DBAs) examined their options for expensive hardware refreshes, they started to seriously consider virtualization as a viable alternative to rip and replace hardware upgrades.  At this point, VMware began a steadfast venture to foster awareness among its customer base towards the suitability of vSphere as the platform for all applications including database implementations. 

ESXi is a type 1, non-paravirtualized hypervisor, which means that it runs on the bare-metal machine and it makes no kernel alterations to the Guest Operating System (GOS). vSphere is a platform of virtualized hardware which translated means that vSphere should be understood, managed and discussed as logical hardware.  Each virtual machine (VM) created is a separate server that is now, due to the magic of vSphere, logically disconnected from the hardware.

The value of vSphere in regards to BCAs must be deferred until the DBAs are convinced that the platform has the innate ability to run high workload applications.  To answer this question we should first separate performance into 4 separate dimensions: processing, memory, network and storage.  If the architect and administrators follow VMware best practices and properly allocate the required resources to the VM, an exercise called “Right-Sizing”, the overall performance degradation caused by the virtualization layer should be less than 10%. VMware has detailed best practice guides for the popular RDBMS such as Oracle and SQL Server as well as the popular enterprise level applications.  In addition, there are a number of recently or soon to be published books on these subjects:

The value of vSphere for BCA and respectively SQL Server comes in two separate categories, resource management capabilities and the set of features that allow the application owners and administrators to meet their Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  In addition to performance, security, and provisioning requirement, all BCA have requirements for uptime in the event of a server failure and recovery time when facing a disaster.  The broad and powerful set of features which are intrinsic capabilities of vSphere address all of those concerns.  The administrators can use vSphere HA, which can be configured in minutes for the entire ESXi cluster to circumvent significant downtime due to server failures.  Downtime for hardware maintenance should be eliminated with the use of vMotion and “Maintenance” mode.   Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) will use vMotion to automatically move VMs within the ESXi/DRS cluster to distribute load. Hot add can be used to dynamically add resources to a VM to respond to usage bursts.  Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a workflow orchestration system which facilitates the coordination of the VMs and the storage failovers when disaster strikes. Network administrators can use a virtual distributed switch (vDS) to simplify their network architectures.  And most importantly the SDDC extends the most profound notions of virtualization to the network and storage layers so that the entire stack is truly virtualized.  This means that all the applications, critical or casual, should be considered candidates for inclusion in a true SDDC.

The SQL Server database administrator should quickly understand that the capabilities of vSphere and the SDDC enhances the value of the systems that they manage and subsequently increases the value of the application running on those databases.  The SDDC therefore makes the DBA and other administrators more effective at managing their systems and more valuable to their companies.  This is the age of the vDBA where the DBA embraces the proposition of virtualized infrastructure and the modern information systems architectures of the 21st century.

This week, VMware in partnership with Pure Storage has invited world-renowned SQL Server experts, many of who are also SQL MVPs, to their respective headquarters in Palo Alto to take part in an elite SQL Server on vSphere workshop.  For three days, the 15 experts will meet with executives and participate in discussions with distinguished VMware and Pure Storage engineers. This group will also work on Hands-on-Labs that have been customized specifically for this group, which includes SQL Server on vSphere and Pure Storage exercises.  Collaborative events throughout the week will allow these experts to get to know each other as well as the VMware and Pure Storage product teams who are committed to SQL Server running on vSphere.

The experts participating in this elite workshop include:

  • Mike Corey – President Ntirety Corp and author of 18 books
  • David Klee – Founder of Heraflux
  • Kevin Kline – Director of Engineering Services SQL Sentry Corp
  • Grant Fritchey – Red Gate Software and author of three SQL Server books
  • Argenis Fernandez – Sqlblog.com
  • Thomas LaRock – President SQL Pass
  • Christopher Bell – DC chapter of PASS founder – 30+ events this year – CEO WaterOX Consulting
  • Rodney Landrum – SQL Saturdays regular and many well-known blogs
  • Kendal Van Dyke – Upsearch Principle Consultant
  • Keith Allen Kinsel – SQL Saturday Advisory Council
  • Joseph D’Antoni – Senior Architect Anexinet
  • Denny Cherry – Denny Cherry Associates and Consulting Founder
  • Andrew J. Kelly – SoildQ Corp – Weekly speaker at events worldwide
  • Allen White – Upsearch Corp – Ohio SQL User group president – writes for SQL Pass Magazine
  • Andy Galbraith – Ntirety Corp

Follow us on Twitter (@VMwarevSphere) and Facebook (VMwarevSphere) for updates on this inaugural SQL Server on vSphere workshop.

VMware Feature Walkthrough: Step-by-Step VMware How-to’s

If you are like me, VMworld 2014 in San Francisco left my brain on overload. With so many new product and services announcements, plus breakout sessions filled with technical information and demos in the expo floor booths, it’s hard not to feel like you are drinking from the proverbial fire hose.  Throw in a party or three, plus the pile of work waiting when you get home and all that great info you gathered starts to turn up with some CRC errors in your memory.
VMware Feature Walkthrough Home

Fortunately, VMware has a tool that you can use to refresh your memory on the VMware solutions and services that you explored at VMworld.  The VMware Feature Walkthrough site (http://featurewalkthrough.vmware.com) provides technical overviews and step-by-step guidance for installing, configuring and managing our solutions.  Each walkthrough includes screen shots with relevant steps highlighted and text explaining the process.

VMware vSOM Walkthrough

The Feature Walkthrough site is a great for stepping through a self-paced demo of a particular VMware product or feature.  We’ve made the site mobile friendly, so go ahead and open it on your tablet and take it into the data center to guide your proof-of-concept install of the products you saw or heard about during VMworld, or to simply refresh your memory on just where exactly that checkbox to enable a product feature is.  Use it to show your boss that cool feature you saw at VMworld, or to familiarize yourself with the basics of a product before you jump into a live Hands-on Lab environment.

We’re always adding new walkthroughs; the vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) series of Walkthroughs was recently refreshed, and NSX and Virtual SAN walkthroughs are now available. If there are any particular products or features that you want to see added to the site, feel free to drop me a note at featurewalkthrough@vmware.com or leave a comment below!

Introducing VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Editions

At VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, we introduced VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced editions. These exciting offerings will allow us to provide new and existing customers of all sizes with enhanced service level, standardization and availability capabilities for remote and branch office locations.

Customers can expect vSphere Remote Office Branch Office to deliver:

  • Faster provisioning of servers through virtualization
  • Enforcement of configuration standards
  • High availability of IT infrastructure at remote sites via vSphere’s business continuity features such as vMotion, Storage vMotion, Replication and Data Protection

These new offerings feature a per virtual machine licensing metric that offers customers the flexibility to deploy only the number of workloads required at each remote site. vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced is expected to be available in Q3 2014. They will be available in packs of 25 virtual machines priced at $3,000 for the Standard edition and $4,500 for the Advanced edition. These packs can be distributed across multiple remote sites.  These new offerings will replace existing vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus Kits for Retail and Branch Offices.

Note that the regular non-Retail/Branch Office Essentials and Essentials Plus Kits (that come in 6 CPU packs with 1 vCenter Server Essentials) will continue to be available.

For more info, go to:  http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/compare.html

If you’re at VMworld this week, you can learn more about using vSphere in Remote Office and Branch Office environments in the following session:

INF1212 – “Best Practices in Virtualizing Remote Offices and Branch Offices with VMware”

  • Tuesday, Aug 26, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT
  • Wednesday, Aug 27, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM PT

Coming soon: vSphere 5.5 Update 2

We’re also announcing vSphere 5.5 Update 2. The new release offers support for new chipsets, guest operating systems, business critical application and 6TB hosts. It is expected to be available in Q3 2014.

Get details on the pending release at the following session:

INF1502 – “What’s New in vSphere?”

  • Wednesday, Aug 27, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM PT
  • Thursday, Aug 28, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM PT

vSphere Beta Program Continues

On June 30, we opened up the vSphere Beta Program for everyone to enroll and to help us define the direction of world’s most robust virtualization platform. Over the last couple of months, beta participants have offered up heaps of feedback on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance in the private beta community. Additionally, they have had the chance to learn more about vSphere through weekly webcasts and interaction with our product teams.

We’re committed to make the next release the strongest possible with your help. The beta program remains open, and we’re still seeking participants. It’s not too late to download, install, and evaluate the vSphere beta software in your environment today.

Join the vSphere Beta Program today at: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere-beta

There will be a technical previews pod in the VMware booth (1229) showcasing some of the features in this vSphere Beta.  Please stop on by to learn more.

SDDC Reference Architecture

I’m pleased to announce the first in a series of reference architectures is now available.

This reference architecture showcases the integrations between VMware vCloud® Suite Enterprise, VMware NSX for vSphere®, and VMware vCenter Log Insight to create an on-demand infrastructure with a secure networking environment. It is based on real-world scenarios, user workloads, and infrastructure system configurations. It uses industry-standard servers, IP-based storage, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking to support a scalable and redundant architecture based on vCloud Suite Enterprise version 5.5.

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