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Category Archives: vSphere

Virtual SAN Troubleshooting: Automating Multicast Configuration

powercli 5.8 iconWelcome to another episode of our Virtual SAN Troubleshooting series. In our last article we detailed guidelines and troubleshooting steps around the Virtual SAN networking requirement for layer 2 multicast. In today’s article we will show you how to quickly automate the modification of the Virtual SAN multicast group address in the event the need arises.

Requirements

  • PowerCLI 5.8 release 1
    - (Note: It is likely to work with PowerCLI version 5.5 or above however I just happened to have version 5.8 on my test system).
  • Microsoft .Net 2.0 or higher Continue reading

Virtual SAN Troubleshooting: Multicast

Hello and welcome to the Virtual SAN Troubleshooting blog series. This series of articles is dedicated to and driven by requests from you our readers. Today we will be focusing upon one of our most requested troubleshooting topics, Layer 2 Multicast functionality from the Virtual SAN Networking requirements.

You are probably familiar with the Virtual SAN networking requirement of Layer 2 Multicast but today we would like to discuss why Virtual SAN leverages multicast forwarding for a portion of its network traffic as well as provide troubleshooting steps when it seems as though multicast traffic is not being received by the Virtual SAN VMkernels. The goal of this article is to educate the networking novice as well as provide clarification for the networking experts so we will be taking a thorough, ground up approach for our discussion.

Click the link if you need to jump directly to the testing examples Testing Multicast functionality. You will also want to make sure that you are following the guidelines below.

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vSphere Storage Policy Based Management Overview (part 1)

Welcome to the VMware vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) two-part blog series where we will be exploring SPBM features, components, and the major role it plays in automating storage management operations in the Software Defined Data Center.

Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) is the foundation of the SDS Control Plane and enables vSphere administrators to over come upfront storage provisioning challenges, such as capacity planning, differentiated service levels and managing capacity headroom. Through defining standard storage Profiles, SPBM optimizes the virtual machine provisioning process by provisioning datastores at scale and eliminating the need to provision virtual machines on a case-by-case basis. PowerCLI, VMware vCloud Automation Center, vSphere API, Open Stack and other applications can leverage the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management API to automate storage management operations for the Software-Defined Storage infrastructure.

For more information on the Software-Defined Data Center and its related components, please visit the VMware SDDC Product pages.

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Journey to the SDDC – vCenter Operations Management Suite

The vCenter Operations Management Suite can pack a lot of different features from different areas, and bring them all together through the same interface. What this does is gives more and more meaningful data points and relative views into this data. Instead of touching on all the marketing material for this suite, we’ll discuss what that actually means for a real-life environment.

Breaking away from the vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) entry (http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2014/07/journey-sddc-vsphere-operations-management.html#more-13313), the suite allows much more customization, even more in-depth troubleshooting, and allows for the addition of 3rd party plugins to consolidate the environment’s relevant information.  Continue reading

Using vSphere 5.5U2 Client to edit the settings of virtual machines of version 10 or higher

With vSphere 5.5 Update 2, you have the ability to edit a Virtual Hardware 10 VM using the vSphere Client (a.k.a C# or thick client). You are able to edit hardware version 9 and 10 VMs, but only on the feature level of hardware version 8.

Now, the KB is updated with this information. Check out KB 2061336 

Here are the list of properties that are editable

      • Increase RAM
    • Decrease RAM
    • Change network port group
    • Remove devices
    • Increase vCPU
    • Decrease vCPU
    • Mount ISO
    • Increase disk space
    • Set a limit
    • Remove a limit
    • Set a reservation
    • Remove a reservation
    • Edit advanced settings

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Editing of virtual machine 10 features from vSphere Client viz AHCI for SATA support(Advanced Host Controller Interface) or SATA as controller supported on CD-rom or Virtual disk are not supported. Such change to devices will have to be done through vSphere Web Client only.

Get vCenter 5.5 Update 2 at download page

 

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

vSphere 5.5 Update 2 is GA, available for download

What’s new in this release?

  • Support for hosts with 6TB of RAM – vSphere 5.5 Update 2 starts to support hosts with 6TB of RAM.
  • VMware vShield Endpoint Thin Agent as VMware Tools Guest Introspection plugin – The vShield Endpoint driver bundled with VMware Tools is now called Guest Introspection.
  • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases: Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1and 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.
  • Resolved Issues – This release delivers a number of bug fixes that have been documented in the Release Notes

Product Support Notices

  • vSphere Web Client: Starting with vSphere 5.5 Update 2, Windows XP and Windows Vista are not supported as vSphere Client Operating System. You can find the complete list of operating system supported by vSphere Web Client in the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • vSphere Web Client: Because Linux platforms are no longer supported by Adobe Flash, vSphere Web Client is not supported on the Linux OS. Third party browsers that add support for Adobe Flash on the Linux desktop OS might continue to function.
  • VMware vCenter Server Appliance: In vSphere 5.5, the VMware vCenter Server Appliance meets high-governance compliance standards through the enforcement of the DISA Security Technical Information Guidelines (STIG). Before you deploy VMware vCenter Server Appliance, see the VMware Hardened Virtual Appliance Operations Guide for information about the new security deployment standards and to ensure successful operations.
  • vCenter Server database: vSphere 5.5 removes support for IBM DB2 as the vCenter Server database.
  • VMware Tools: Beginning with vSphere 5.5, all information about how to install and configure VMware Tools in vSphere is merged with the other vSphere documentation. For information about using VMware Tools in vSphere, see the vSphere documentation. Installing and Configuring VMware Tools is not relevant to vSphere 5.5 and later.
  • vSphere Data Protection: vSphere Data Protection 5.1 is not compatible with vSphere 5.5 because of a change in the way vSphere Web Client operates. vSphere Data Protection 5.1 users who upgrade to vSphere 5.5 must also update vSphere Data Protection to continue using vSphere Data Protection.
  • Interoperability Matrix: Check out supported databases, host OS, upgrade paths in the matrix

Get vCenter 5.5 Update 2 at download page

 

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.

Continue reading

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!