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Category Archives: vSphere

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

DRS Keeps VMs Happy

Since the introduction of Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) almost 10 years ago, it has become the most trusted way to ensure virtual machines are running at their peak performance. Over 80% of customers that have introduced DRS use it in fully automated mode, which allows for automatic placement and rebalance operations that simplifies capacity planning and administrative overhead.

There seems to be quite a bit of inaccurate information floating around recently about vSphere DRS. The most common thing I hear is that “DRS is focused on balancing hosts in the cluster, and is not focused on workload performance.”  Actually, nothing could be further from the truth, and hopefully this will help explain how DRS is working to keep your VMs performing optimally.

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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!

High performance lab and Infrastructure for Elite Database Workshop - SQL Server Event #2

The VMware BCA team successfully conducted the second batch for SQL Server MVPs April 21st-23rd. The attendee list includes.   Steve Jones, Tim Ford, Arnie Rowland, Wendy Pastrick, Eddie Wurech, Robert Davis, Sean McCown, Allan Hirt, Geoff Hiten,  Randy Knight, Chris Shaw, Jason Strate, Brandon Leach, Shawn Meyers, Melissa Connors. Alumni guests include David Klee, Mike Corey and Denny Cherry.

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vSphere 6 Security Update

Recently I was asked by the vBrownbag community to present on vSphere 6 security. vBrownbag is a community-lead podcast series that features online webinars covering various Virtualization and VMware Certification topics, all led by members of the community. It’s an outstanding resource if you are looking to achieve certification or are just in the mood to learn. Read on to see how this webinar went and view for yourself.

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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

Elite Database Workshop Program - SQL Server Event #2

The 3rd VMware Elite Database Workshop is set to start at 7AM on Tuesday April 21.  The program is an invitation only event for the some of the world's top SQL Server experts in which VMware selects groups of database specialists within various disciplines to include Oracle and SQL Server and soon to include Big Data and other data focused areas.   The experience consists of Executive Welcomes from both VMware and the storage partner in delivering a particular event.  In this case the partner is Tintri who is providing an 880 high end flash array for the customized labs which will challenge both the creativity and technical expertise of the workshop attendees.  The bulk of the three days will be filled with presentations and open discussion with VMware engineers and product specialists. Well known industry luminaries such as Richard McDougal and Jeff Buell will join the rich lineup over these three days.  The attendee list includes.   Steve Jones, Tim Ford, Arnie Rowland, Wendy Pastrick, Eddie Wurech, Robert Davis, Sean McCown, Allan Hirt, Geoff Hiten,  Randy Knight, Chris Shaw, Jason Strate, Brandon Leach, Shawn Meyers, Melissa Connors. Alumni guests include David Klee, Mike Corey and Denny Cherry.

 

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.

vSphere Hardening Guide 6.0 Public Beta 1 available

I’m happy to announce that the vSphere 6 Hardening Guide Public Beta 1 is now available.

The guide is being provided as Excel spreadsheet. I’m also making a PDF doc available for easier viewing. In addition,  I've also included an Excel spreadsheet of the guidelines that have moved out of the guide and into documentation. THIS IS INCOMPLETE. We are still working on some of that content. (that's why this is a beta!)

Please read the blog on the changes that have happened to the guide. LOTS of changes and the blog will explain.

vSphere 6.0 Hardening Guide – Overview of coming changes | VMware vSphere Blog - VMware Blogs

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Virtual Volumes and the SDDC

I saw a question the other day that asked “Can someone explain what the big deal is about Virtual Volumes?”   A fair question.

The shortest, easiest answer is that VVols offer per-VM management of storage that helps deliver a software defined datacenter.

That, however, is a pretty big statement that requires some unpacking.  Rawlinson has done a great job of showcasing Virtual Volumes already, and has talked about how it simplifies storage management, puts the VMs in charge of their own storage, and gives us more fine-grained control over VM storage.  I myself will also dive into some detail on the technical capabilities in the future, but first let's take a broader look at why this really is an important shift in the way we do VM storage.

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