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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!

VMware Virtual SAN Network Design Guide

VSAN Network GraphicVirtual SAN is a scale-out hypervisor-converged software-defined storage solution that can scale up to 32 nodes in a cluster. The network serves as the backbone of a Virtual SAN cluster by providing the interconnects between nodes via an Ethernet network topology.

There are many design options when creating a vSphere network design that includes VMware Virtual SAN. Proper network design is critical to ensure the performance and availability of  both your Virtual SAN cluster, and other vSphere services and workloads utilizing the network. A holistic approach that considers all the network services within your vSphere cluster should be taken when planning networking for Virtual SAN. The VMware Virtual SAN Network Design Guide reviews design options, best practices, and configuration details, including but not limited to the following -

  • vSphere Teaming Considerations – IP Hash vs other vSphere teaming algorithms
  • Physical Topology Considerations – Impact of Spine/Leaf vs Access/Aggregation/Core topology in large scale Virtual SAN clusters
  • Virtual SAN Network Design for High Availability – Design considerations to achieve a highly available Virtual SAN network
  • Load Balancing Considerations – How to achieve aggregated bandwidth via multiple physical uplinks for Virtual SAN traffic in combination with other traffic types
  • Virtual SAN with other Traffic Types – Detailed architectural examples and test results of using Network IO Control with Virtual SAN and other traffic types

For an in-depth detailed review of Virtual SAN Network Design considerations and recommended practices, download the VMware Virtual SAN Network Design Guide today!

VMware Hands-on Labs VMworld 2014 US online

VMware Hands-on Labs at VMworld 2014 US marked a number of firsts:

  • Over 10,000 labs were taken
  • Over 100,000 VMs were used for labs during the week
  • VSAN and EVO:RACK were used to host a portion of the infrastructure
  • vCloud Air and Horizon 6 were in the top 5 labs

I am pleased to announce that we have begun to make available the VMware Hands-on Labs that debuted at VMworld 2014 in the US.  Feel free to take these labs now:

HOL-SDC-1406 vCloud Suite 101

HOL-SDC-1406 - vCloud Suite 101 Thumbnail  This introductory lab demonstrates the first steps in the journey to a Software Defined Enterprise by implementing all components of vCloud Suite Standard. http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/lab/1465

HOL-SDC-1410 – Virtualization 101

HOL-SDC-1410 - Virtualization 101 Thumbnail  This introductory lab demonstrates the core features and functions of vSphere and vCenter. This is an excellent place to begin your experience with VMware vSphere. http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/lab/1449

HOL-MBL-1451 – Horizon 6 with View from A to Z

HOL-MBL-1451 - Horizon 6 with View from A to Z Thumbnail  Complete a guided tour of Horizon View features, learn how to Optimize Horizon View for your environment and learn steps to Troubleshoot a View environment and avoid common issues.  http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/lab/1453

Over the next few weeks we will be releasing all of the labs from VMworld 2014 US.   The next labs to be released this week cover BC/DR, data center consolidation, on-demand provisioning, network micro-segmentation, security and optimization. And then next week look for more networking and storage labs including NSX, VSAN and VVOL.  Our VMware partner solution labs will be released in two weeks.

Be sure to join us in Barcelona, Spain for VMworld 2014 Europe and VMware Hands-on Labs where you can meet with the product experts responsible for the labs and participate in Expert-led Workshops for a guided experience through your lab.

http://www.vmworld.com/community/conference/europe

Virtual SAN 5.5 Validation Guide

Enabling Virtual SAN, if the environment is configured and ready, is an easy click of the mouse. If the environment is not ready however, the task of troubleshooting a new product, can easily become quite daunting. As we track the issues that have arisen during Virtual SAN deployments, we see that the majority of issues are common from deployment to deployment. The great news here is that these common issues can readily be identified and resolved. The real challenge is getting the information and guidance out into the hands of those who need it, before they actually have need of it.

It is for this purpose I introduce you to, the Virtual SAN 5.5 Validation Guide. This guide began as an internal collection of the most common Virtual SAN deployment troubleshooting scenarios. After receiving a number of requests from our customers, we have decided to publish this guide publicly as well.

The Virtual SAN 5.5 Validation Guide is a collection of common gotchas and recommended practices in spreadsheet form for easy reference and checkoff during the deployment process. There are two sections to this guide, the first section contains validation steps for common issues that can occur during the install process. The second section contains validation steps potentially required during post-install activities. Where possible, it contains both manual steps (vCenter Web Client actions) and CLI steps (RVC, ESXCLI, PowerCLI). These CLI steps can readily be translated into script form for easy automation.

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VMware Virtual SAN: Performance with Microsoft SQL Server

VSAN-DBAs we continue to showcase the value and capabilities of Virtual SAN, I believe it is crucial to provide access to the information VMware’s performance engineering team has gathered around business critical applications and their respective performance benchmarks.

This new white paper focuses on Microsoft SQL Server workload performance on VMware Virtual SAN. The study was performed with the used of the DVD Store benchmark application utilizing Virtual SAN as the storage solution. The tests performed show that VMware vSphere 5.5 with Virtual SAN is an effective storage platform for transactional database workloads like Microsoft SQL Server.

- Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols), and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

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.

Virtualized Exchange 2013 IO performance validation with All Flash Arrays

Microsoft Exchange is a very common critical application managed by enterprises.  Exchange 2013 has brought forth many changes to the performance and IO profile of its infrastructure.

Exchange Server 2013 is an even greater candidate for virtualization than its predecessors. Architectural changes and improvements to the core of Exchange Server, along with advancements in server hardware, make vSphere the default choice for Exchange 2013.

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What’s New with vSphere Data Protection 5.8 and vSphere Replication 5.8

Along with all of the announcements at VMworld 2014, I am happy to report on the latest versions of vSphere Data Protection (VDP) and vSphere Replication. As most of you may already know, there are two editions of VDP: VDP, which is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions, and VDP Advanced, which is purchased separately. vSphere Replication is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. This article highlights the most prominent new features and updates in VDP Advanced and vSphere Replication.

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Learn How to Get Integrated Storage Policy-Based Management with vCloud Automation Center 6 This Thursday

Software Defined Storage is a key pillar of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). It ensures agility, responsiveness and efficiency to enterprise storage while maintaining data integrity and redundancy. It is a critical part of any Software Defined Data Center. That’s why we’re improving it.

Join Chen Wei, Solution Engineer and Strategic Solutions Development at VMware, and Rawlinson Rivera, Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware, in the VMworld session MGT1923, as they describe how you can integrate the vSphere Storage Policy-based Management framework into the vCloud Automation Center service catalog. With this advancement, end users can take advantage of on demand storage capabilities for software defined storage technologies like Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes, Core Storage and future storage solutions.

Chen and Rawlinson will be discussing how to get Storage Policy-Based Management to work within vCloud Automation Center on Thursday, August 28, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. at Moscone West, Room 3014.

For more session details, click here. This is a session you won’t want to miss out on!

VMware Unveils New Disaster Recovery and Backup Product Releases; Virtual SAN and Virtual Volumes Featured at VMworld 2014

By Alberto Farronato, director of product marketing, Storage and Availability, VMware

VMworld 2014 will deliver plenty of news, customer testimonials, panels, sessions, demos and more on VMware’s software-defined storage and business continuity products and initiatives. Following are a few show highlights.

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