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Tag Archives: vSphere

Run Containers on vSphere with Project Photon and Project Lightwave

When you think of VMware, virtualization clearly jumps to mind.  But if you take a step back, virtualization is really a means to an end.  IT pros don’t earn their salary because they run virtual machines -- but VMs support application services that are essential to business, ultimately contributing to the bottom line.  VMware is focused on providing the best place to run any application; from LAMP stacks to business-critical workloads to big data analytics, vSphere can handle it all.

Project Photon

Two open source projects were just announced by the Cloud-Native Apps group: Project Photon and Project Lightwave. Both of these projects will be foundational elements for running Linux containers and supporting next-generation application architectures. This marked a big milestone in the lifecycle of VMware Cloud-Native Apps, and at first glance may seem to be a lot more relevant to application developers than the traditional vSphere audience, but there really is a great tie-in to the Software-Defined Data Center.

If you’re a vSphere administrator, an important part of your role is supporting the developers that create the apps that run on your infrastructure.  There is a shift underway with developers right now – moving from a traditional waterfall model to agile, continuous integration.  For a specific example of the change in mindset from previous software development processes, check out The Twelve-Factor App to see why the container enthusiasm starts to really make sense.

Today, customers trust their Software-Designed Data Center based on VMware infrastructure for any app.  It would be a shame if a new platform for applications came along and brought back the silos of yesteryear.  This is why vSphere admins should care about next-generation applications and corresponding infrastructure.  The container runtime becomes another essential component of the infrastructure and it should be integrated for seamless operation.    With Photon, VMware is going to make it easy to run containers alongside all of the other workloads - no silos here!

Photon is going to be available in places where developers expect to find it.  For example, many developers use HashiCorp Vagrant as an easy means of pulling down standardized VM images from a central repository.  A Photon image will be available there and elsewhere, enabling the same container runtime on laptops, in the datacenter, and in public clouds.

Administrators will like the fact that Photon has a small footprint because it is not weighed down with all of the packages typically found on a Linux system, and one can draw parallels with the VMware ESXi thin hypervisor.  Less is more when it comes to infrastructure – fewer patches, less administration, and improved SLAs are among the key benefits.

The companion open source project - Lightwave - is an authorization and authentication platform with origins from the vSphere platform.  It provides multi-master replication for scalable HA and flexible topology choices to accommodate any architecture.

There is great integration between Lightwave and Photon.  In fact, Lightwave is designed to actually run directly on Photon instances – no general-purpose OS needed. Take a look at this demo video where a new Lightwave domain is created, Photon clients are joined to the domain, and ssh logins are authenticated against directory credentials, eliminating the need to manage local user accounts.

Linux containers are all the rage right now, but it’s not a zero-sum proposition.  Containers run great on vSphere and VMware is investing accordingly.  VMware SDDC administrators can be confident that their platform is, and will be, the best for any application - with the security, manageability, and governance that enterprises need.

What’s New with Virtual SAN 6.0?

Software-Defined Storage is making waves in the storage and virtual infrastructure fields. Data and infrastructure are intertwined, and when they’re both brought together, companies can cut down on expenses and increase productivity.

Rawlinson Rivera, Principal Architect, Storage and Availability, recently hosted a webinar, discussing how VMware is approaching Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and virtualization in recently announced VMware updates, including updates to VMware Virtual SAN 6.0.

Software-defined storage offers organizations the ability automate, distribute and control storage better than ever before. SDS can provision storage for applications on demand and without complex processes. It also allows for standardized hardware, reducing costs for businesses everywhere.

To bring the customers the best software-defined storage experience to realization, we had to update VMware® Virtual SAN™. And we did just that. With VMware Virtual SAN 6.0, we introduced several new features with SDS in mind:

  • Software-defined storage optimized for VMs
  • All Flash architecture
  • Broad hardware support
  • The ability to run on any standard x86 server
  • Enterprise-level scalability and performance
  • Per-VM storage policy management
  • And a deep integration with the VMware stack

There’s a lot more to unpack from the latest updates to our VMware solutions. For a more in-depth guide to what’s new and how it affects you, watch the webcast here!

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

Storage Blog Recap: Top Blogs From February

VMware-Blog-Banner

The third week of every month, we compile a list of the top vSphere Storage posts from the previous month for you to enjoy.

Here are the top storage posts from February:

VMware Virtual SAN 6.0

Rawlinson Rivera announced, and explained the inner workings of, VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 — VMware’s latest software-defined storage product. Virtual SAN 6.0 introduces support for an all-flash architecture and hybrid architectures, among many other innovations. This is a blog post you shouldn’t miss.

vSphere Virtual Volumes

We released vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) alongside the announcement of vSphere 6.0. In this post, Rawlinson Rivera explains how VVOLs can drive more efficient operational model for external storage.

vSphere APIs for IO filtering

Ken Werneburg takes the time to detail how vSphere APIs for IO filtering (VAIO) can enable partners to filter their technologies into the IO stream of a VM before data is committed to a disk.

VMware Virtual SAN: All-Flash Configuration

Rawlinson Rivera walks us through how admins can configure Virtual SAN 6.0 for an all-flash architecture.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

Storage Blog Recap: Top Blogs from January

The third week of every month, we will be compiling a list of the top vSphere Storage posts from the previous month for you to digest.

Here are the top storage blogs from January:

VMware Virtual SAN: File Services with NexentaConnect

Rawlinson Rivera discusses NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN, a software-defined storage solution designed specifically to deliver file service on top of Virtual SAN.

SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering and the VMware Software Defined Data Center

The latest release of SAP HANA has brought the concepts of multiple-temperature data and lifecycle management to a new level. Bob Goldsand talks more about this, as well as native use cases and dynamic tiering with VMware HA and workload management.

Storage and Availability at Partner Exchange 2015

VMware Partner Exchange just wrapped up in San Francisco, California. In this post, Ken Werneburg talks about some key storage and availability sessions that were offered during the conference.

Discover Software-Defined Storage and VMware Virtual SAN at PEX 2015!

The Virtual SAN team highlights some of the can’t-miss sessions that were available to attendees of VMware Partner Exchange 2015.

Performance Unplugged: Demanding Applications

Mark Achtemichuk introduces a new series called “Performance Unplugged”, which showcases a number of talented performance gurus and also covers commonly asked questions and topics.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

vSphere 6 Web Client

With the recent announcement of VMware vSphere 6, I can finally start talking about the improvements we've made for vSphere 6 Web Client.  Over 100 enhancements, with some user actions performing 5x faster.  There are excel sheets and graphs full of performance data, but the best way to see the difference is to experience it yourself.  If you've been wary of using vSphere Web Client in the past, you should give it another shot with vSphere 6.

In my time here I've heard of many tips on using Web Client that I didn't learn during training or while using it directly.  I thought it would be helpful to put all of these learnings in one place.  I’m sure many of you reading this know about some of these tips, but hopefully there are some new ones in there that are helpful to you as well.  This is a living document, so if there are tips and tricks not on the list, please share with the rest of us by adding it to the list.  I should stress that this is not an official VMware document:

https://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=VSphere_Web_Client/UI_Tips

Short url: http://tiny.cc/webclientwiki

 

There are also many enhancements in the vSphere 6 Web Client, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Controlling "All Users' Tasks" for performance

We know that the All Users' Tasks view of Recent Tasks is an important feature, but  it also turns out to be an incredibly "heavy" feature, which can quickly spiral out of control and impact vCenter Server performance.  The focus of this version of vSphere Web Client was improving performance and giving you more control on customizing your experience.  In order to achieve both of these goals, we had to make it a bit harder to get to All Users' Tasks.  This will help ensure that your systems will run smoother out of the box, with the option to enable the feature if you need it.  We are also actively working on a better solution for this feature, but couldn't get it in time for this release.

You'll see some instructions when you first select All Users' Tasks, and more detailed steps are in the Release Notes, but I included them here for reference.  Once you've enabled this feature, it becomes the default view:

A) Click More Tasks in the Recent Tasks panel to view all users' tasks.

OR

B) Edit the webclient.properties file and change the "show.allusers.tasks" setting. For large vSphere environments, changing the "show.allusers.tasks" setting can potentially impact performance.

1. Locate the webclient.properties file

For the vCenter Server Appliance, the file is located in the /etc/vmware/vsphere-client/webclient.properties directory.

For vCenter Server on Windows, the file is located in the C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\cfg\vsphere-client\webclient.properties directory.

2. Edit the file using a text editor and change show.allusers.tasks=false to show.allusers.tasks=true.

3. That's it!  No restart of anything should be required.  Go to vSphere Web Client, select "All Users' Tasks" and it should work.

  • Many performance enhancements

Performance was the primary goal of this release of vSphere Web Client.  Efforts were made to improve the performance of every portion of the interface, and you should see these improvements when you start using vSphere 6.  Here are some of the major areas we worked on: Login and Home page, Summary pages, Networking pages, Related Objects lists, General Navigation, Performance Charts, Action Menus (right click), and reducing unnecessary data retrieval, which also serves to lighten load on vCenter Server.

The net result is that the vSphere 6 Web Client is an entirely new experience and easier to use than previous versions of vSphere Web Client.

  • Tasks where they belong

This was shown at VMworld, but is worth another mention: The tasks pane is now back at the bottom, giving you room to see the information you need.

Tasks at bottom

This comes along with the ability to move and resize panes (we call this Dockable UI), allowing you to customize it to your liking, such as below where Alarms and Work in Progress have been moved to provide a larger workspace.

Dockable UI

  • Reorganized Action menus (right click)

Action menus have been reorganized and flattened so that your actions are easier to find, and placed more familiarly.  It should be much easier to pick up as you transition from the old desktop client to vSphere Web Client.

Action Menus

  • Home menu navigation

The new and improved home button now shows a navigation menu which allows you to jump from wherever you are to one of the common views.  You can now get back to any of the major inventory trees from anywhere in one click!

Homeburger

I hope this overview encourages you to upgrade your existing vCenter Servers to vSphere 6 so that you can experience these improvements (and more!) that we've made.

vSphere 6 - Clarifying the misinformation

With the Announcement of vSphere 6 this week there is a lot of information being published by various sources. Some of that information is based on old beta builds and is much different than what we'll see in the final product. In this post I aim to correct some of the information based on the beta builds that's floating around out there.

First off there's confusion on the maximum number of virtual machines per cluster vSphere 6 supports. This is in part my fault, when we wrote the What's New in vSphere 6 white paper the number was 6000. Additional scale testing has been done and that number is now 8000. The what's new paper will be updated soon to reflect this.

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New Release: vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d

Today VMware released an update to its vCenter Server management solution.

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442329
vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d Installation Package | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442328
vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 Update 2d | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442330

Please make sure to review the release notes and download from vmware.com

While this is a minor release it does resolve many issues previously experienced as summarized here:

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Reference Architecture for building a VMware Software–Defined Datacenter

The latest in our series of reference architectures is now available. This is an update to the previous version which brings in additional products and covers the vCloud Suite 5.8 release.

This reference architecture describes an implementation of a software-defined data center (SDDC) using VMware vCloud® Suite Enterprise 5.8, VMware NSX™ for vSphere® 6.1, VMware IT Business Management Suite™ Standard Edition 1.1, and VMware vCenter™ Log Insight™ 2.0 to create an SDDC. This SDDC implementation is based on real-world scenarios, user workloads, and infrastructure system configurations. The configuration uses industry-standard servers, IP-based storage, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking to support a scalable and redundant architecture.

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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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Register now for Webinar to learn about Pivotal CF, based on Cloud Foundry and powered by VMware vSphere and vCloud Air

Learn about how customers are rapidly adopting Pivotal CF on VMware, the enterprise Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables customers to experience turnkey PaaS capabilities on familiar vSphere and now vCloud Air environments.

Register now for the upcoming webinar: Supercharge your Application Delivery.

Jointly hosted by VMware and Pivotal, the speakers are:

  • Jay Marshall, who is a Principal Cloud Development Strategist at VMware, who has spent almost 20 years working in enterprise application development and specializes in next generation application architecture on VMware's vCloud Air cloud platform.
  • Rosie Pongracz, who leads Pivotal CF and PaaS Product Marketing at Pivotal, with over 20 years of experience bringing enterprise technology to market.