Home > Blogs > VMware vSphere Blog > Category Archives: vCenter Server

Category Archives: vCenter Server

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.

Continue reading

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.

Let Us Wow You with vSphere 6

Not yet on vSphere 6?  Join us for a webcast to learn why you should be.  Starting June 2nd, 2015 and recurring every other Tuesday at 9AM, join the vSphere product experts to learn what’s new and exciting about vSphere 6!  A different topic will be covered each session and time will be allocated at the end of each webcast for Q&A.

Please always check the latest schedule each week as topics may change and sessions may be added or removed.

Continue reading

Configure Auto Deploy Rules - PowerCLI

In the previous post Configure DHCP and TFTP for Auto Deploy, we discussed how to setup your DHCP and TFTP servers to allow your ESX hosts to PXE boot. However, once an ESX host boots, it will need directions to know what to boot. This is where Auto Deploy Rules come in. Continue reading

vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide

VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability GuidevCenter Server has become a mission critical part of most virtual infrastructures. It can be a single point of failure if it is not designed for availability. vCenter Server 6 has many changes relating to vCenter Server and its components and careful consideration has to be made in the design of its architecture.

There are multiple solutions for high availability. Many of these options can be combined to provide different levels of availability. vSphere HA, FT, vCenter Watchdog services and in guest clustering solutions can be combined depending on customer requirements for availability.

The Platform Services Controller (PSC) serves many VMware solutions in addition to vCenter Server such as VROPS, View, etc. The PSC deployment modes have to be carefully evaluated based on unique customer requirements and architected appropriately as well.

The VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide is a great resource for architecting a HA solution for vCenter Server.  I hope you find it useful!

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

Configure DHCP and TFTP for Auto Deploy

In the previous post, we covered Enabling Auto Deploy on vCenter Server Appliance 6.

There are several more steps that need to be taken to get Auto Deploy configured correctly.

In this post we discuss the next step in our journey to running Auto Deploy in your environment, which is Continue reading

Confessions of an Energy Consciousness Mind

I have a confession. 

My data center kit has been using too much energy.

Having kit available at my disposable is great, but I have been wasting this resource when it's not required by my workloads. And if there's one thing I try to be conscious of, it's energy consumption. Just ask my kids who I chase from room to room turning off lights, screens, and the lot when they aren't using them.

But why not in the data center? Did you know that hosts typically use 60%+ of their peak power when idle?

Until recently, I had overlooked configuring my kit to use the vSphere Distributed Power Management ("DPM") feature to manage power consumption and save energy.

With the release of vSphere 6.0 it's a good time to review and take deeper look into the capabilities and benefits of this feature.

What is VMware vSphere Distributed Power Management?

VMware vSphere Distributed Power Management is a feature included with vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus editions that dynamically optimizes cluster power consumption based on workload demands. When host CPU and memory resources are lightly used, DPM recommends the evacuation of workloads and powers-off of ESXi hosts. When CPU or memory resource utilization increases for workloads or additional host resources are required, DPM powers on a required set of hosts back online to meet the demand of HA or other workload-specific contraints by executing vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler ("DRS") in a "what-if" mode. DRS will ensure host power recommendations are consistent with the cluster constraints and resources being managed by the cluster.

Beneath the covers there are key challenges that DPM addresses to enable effective power-savings capabilities:

  • Accurately Assessing Workload Resource Demand
  • Avoiding Frequent Power-on/Power-off of Host and Excessive vMotion Operations
  • Rapid Response to Workload Demand and Performance Requirements
  • Appropriate Host Selection for Power-on/Power-Off within Tolerable Host Utilization Ratios
  • Intelligent Redistribution of Workloads After Host Power-on/Power-Off

Once DPM determines the number of hosts needed to satisfy all workloads and relevant constraints, and DRS has distributed virtual machines across hosts to maintain resource allocation constraints and objectives, each powered-on host is free to handle its power management

Hosts Entering and Exiting Standby

When a host is powered-off by DPM, they are marked in vCenter Server in "standby" mode indicating that they are powered-off but available to be powered-on when required. The host icon is updated with a crescent moon overlay symbolizing a "sleeping" state for the host.

DPM can awaken hosts from the standby mode using one of three power management options:

  1. Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI)
  2. Hewlett Packard Integrated Lights-Out (iLO), or
  3. Wake-On-LAN (WOL).

Each protocol requires its own hardware support and configuration. If a host does not support any of these protocols it cannot be put into standby by DPM. If a host supports multiple protocols, they are used in the following order: IPMI, iLO, WOL. This article is focused on the use of the first two.

Continue reading

Enable Auto Deploy on vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6

Many customers are now converting over to use the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 since vSphere 6 has reached feature parity with the Windows vCenter Server.

For those of you who are new to using the appliance, I figured I would walk you through setting up the Auto Deploy portion of the server. Continue reading