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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 17

Another week, another top 5. This week was the week that vSphere was officially announced. Of course all blogs reported on this, some with 1 or 2 posts and others literally flooded my RSS Reader. Although it wasn't easy I managed to create a top 5 articles of this week again. Here we go:

  • Massimo Re Ferre' – Xeon 5500 (aka Nehalem) Marks the Death of Itanium (and More)
    The last day of March 2009 Intel officially unveiled its brand new Nehalem core architecture under the Xeon 5500 product name umbrella. There is not much to say about it other than it's impressive from a performance perspective. Just to give you a sense of what we are talking about the new product – only available for 2-socket servers today and with up to 4 cores per socket – has published many benchmark numbers that are either on par or slightly better than 4-socket Intel based servers with up to as many as 24 cores.
  • Rawlinson Rivera – New Virtual Machine Data Recovery Solution
    The VMware Data Recovery is an Agent-less disk based backup and recovery solution that can perform virtual machine or file level restores of Windows or Linux guess OS’s. It performs incremental backups plus data de-duplication and compression to save disk space. Data Recovery supports any disks that are accessible by the Data Recovery appliance. The disks could be in a VMFS volume or on shared disks such as NFS, DAS, iSCSI, Fiber, SMB\CIFS Shares.
  • Chris Wolf – VMware Launches the V Series Mainframe
    VMware is taking mainframe-class availability, performance, and infrastructure management principles and bringing them to commodity hardware. vSphere 4.0’s release, in my opinion, makes it hard to argue against VMware’s intentions of a software mainframe. VMware Fault Tolerance (FT), for example, is one of the new features that provides the availability levels required by many tier 1 applications. This is especially critical for home grown tier 1 apps that do not have built-in resiliency
  • Eric Siebers – Licensing details from the vSphere launch event
    Yesterday’s much-anticipated vSphere launch was a great launch that
    went off without any technical difficulties and was exactly what VMware
    needed to do to build hype and excitement for vSphere. Many were
    disappointed to find out that vSphere is not actually being released
    yet, but it’s not that far off. It is officially GA now and will be
    available to customers sometime in the next two months. The new
    features and functionality of vSphere have been known about for quite a
    while now, so while there were no surprises there new information was
    released about editions, licensing and pricing.
  • Yellow-Bricks.com – vSphere Linkage / VMware-land.com – vSphere links
    Both Eric Siebert(VMware-land.com) and Duncan Epping(Yellow-Bricks.com , yes that's me.) created extensive link lists of the vSphere launch including links to podcasts, blog coverage and much more.

vSphere and VMware Consolidated Backup

During the VMTN Podcast a lot of people had questions about VMware Consolidated Backup for vSphere. As most of you know with vSphere comes a new version of VMware Consolidated Backup and a new product called VMware Data Recovery.

One of the questions was if VMware Data Recovery replaced VCB. As stated in the VMware Data Recovery FAQ, it will not replace VCB both products will co-exist. VMware Data Recovery is a separate product that is built on the VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection(VADP).

VADP is the next evolution of VCB. Unlike VCB, which requires customers to deploy the VCB component on a proxy, VADP will be integrated natively as a part of backup product. VADP will enable backup applications to restore across both LAN and SAN. Existing VCB partners are planning integrations using VADP.
However to ensure existing VCB customers can continue to backup VMs on vSphere on day zero we are releasing an update to VCB to also support backup of vSphere 4.0 VMs.

VADP will contain multiple enhancements compared to VCB:

Source: vStorage API product page

The vStorage APIs for Data Protection enable backup software to
protect system, application, and user data in your virtual machines in
a simple and scalable way.  These APIs enable backup software to:

  • Perform full, differential, and incremental image backup and restore of virtual machines. 
  • Perform file-level backup of virtual machines using supported Windows and Linux operating systems
  • Ensure
    data consistency by using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS)
    for virtual machines running supported Microsoft Windows operating

vSphere licensing & technology – Communities Roundtable podcast #44

This was a big week! We launched VMware vSphere, so there was little else we could discuss on this week's VMware Community Roundtable Podcast. On the first half, we covered licensing, and then on the second half we covered technology topics, with a special focus on vSphere networking. As usual, listen via the widget on the right, the mp3, or via iTunes


For next week's podcast (always Wednesday at noon PDT / 3pm EDT) we'll discuss the white paper Storage Considerations for VMware View with the author, Fred Schimscheimer.  Your homework assignment is to read the paper and come wtih questions.

VMware vSphere Resources And Webcasts Customers Should Know About!

Hi everyone,

I am one of the VMware
vSphere product marketing managers at VMware and wanted to give you a summary
of all the upcoming content related to the vSphere launch. We have developed
resources for all audiences and technical levels to help you understand what is
VMware vSphere, how does it work, and how to upgrade to it from VI3 or deploy
it for the first time. 

Here is a quick summary of
vSphere resources. More details are provided below the table.

Existing customers interested in:

Gaining an in-depth understanding of vSphere

to vSphere

New customers interested in:

a basic understanding of vSphere and its value proposition

vSphere for the first time

VMware vSphere Upgrade Center

Live Technical Webcasts

(parts 3-8)

Live Overview Webcasts

On-demand webcasts

(parts 1-2)

VMware vSphere QuickStart Series

On-demand webcasts
(mix of overview and technical

 VMware vSphere Evaluation Center
(goes live on vSphere GA date)

VMware vSphere product page (divided by company size)


Visit the VMware
vSphere web page
to learn more about the features and benefits of
VMware vSphere based on your company size.  You will find datasheets, demos, and solution
briefs on the vSphere product pages.


We have developed 3
webcast series:

We also have a series of podcasts for
those of you who would like to learn about vSphere on the go! The podcasts will
cover vSphere editions and provide technical deep dives into the new features.


We have launched VMware vSphere Upgrade
, a site that contains all the information you need to upgrade
from VI3 to vSphere 4. The site will point you to upgrade preparation
checklists, access to vSphere upgrade communities, vSphere entitlement paths
for VI customers with active subscription contracts, and details on the new and
improved licensing mechanism. We will add more resources to this page including
upgrade best practices when vSphere becomes Generally Available.  I highly recommend that you bookmark this
page if you are an existing VI customer.

[coming soon] We are
creating a vSphere Evaluation Center
packed with demos and technical documentation to provide a guided evaluation
experience for both new and existing customers. The site will go live when
vSphere becomes generally available.


Note: This resource is NOT designed for existing VI

One last resource I want
to point out to New Customers is the
VMware vSphere QuickStart
. This is a new FREE course that will be taught live over the web
in four 2-hour modules. It is designed to teach VMware vSphere and VMware ESXi
evaluators how to do a basic installation, configuration and management of either
ESXi or vSphere. The course primarily consists of live product demonstrations to
ensure new users gain practical experience that can be leveraged to do a basic
vSphere POC or small deployment. If you
are already familiar with VMware Infrastructure (VI3), you should not attend
this class unless you want an 8 hour review of what you already know.

is a short outline of the series:

Module Topic:

Module description

Scheduled delivery Date

Part 1: Install and
Configure ESXi

  • VMware vSphere deployment architecture
  • Install and configure ESXi
  • Configure network and storage
  • Create a virtual machine

Monday: 6/15/09

Part 2: VM Management
with vCenter Server

  • Install and configure VMware vCenter Server
  • User access control
  • VM management (templates, snapshots, and
    thin/thick provisioned VM disks)

Monday: 6/22/09

Part 3: Cluster Set
up, Availability, and Load Balancing

  • Cluster set up
  • Configure
    VMware VMotion, Storage VMotion, HA, and DRS

Monday: 6/29/09

Part 4: Monitoring,
Availability, Back up, and Next Steps

  • Monitoring & troubleshooting
  • Alarms and reports
  • Configure VMware Fault Tolerance & Data
  • VMware vSphere editions & bundles

Monday: 7/6/09

Registration is open today
and space is very limited. Visit the vSphere QuickStart landing
to view course details and register!

Introducing VMware vSphere 4 – The Industry’s First Cloud Operating System

VMware vSphere 4: The Industry's First Cloud Operating System.

VMware Unveils the Industry’s First Operating System for Building the Internal Cloud—VMware vSphere™ 4.

PALO ALTO, CA, April 21, 2009 — VMware, Inc. (NYSE:
VMW), the global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to
the datacenter, today announced VMware vSphere™ 4, the industry’s first
operating system for building the internal cloud, enabling the delivery
of efficient, flexible and reliable IT as a service. With a wide range
of groundbreaking new capabilities, VMware vSphere 4 brings cloud
computing to enterprises in an evolutionary, non-disruptive way –
delivering uncompromising control with greater efficiency while
preserving customer choice. 

As the complexity of IT environments has continued to increase over
time, customers’ share of IT budgets are increasingly spent on simply
trying to “keep the lights on.” With the promise of cloud computing,
customers are eager to achieve the benefits, but struggle to see the
path to getting there.  Leveraging VMware vSphere 4, customers can take
pragmatic steps to achieve cloud computing within their own IT
environments.  With these “internal” clouds, IT departments can
dramatically simplify how computing is delivered in order to help
decrease its cost and increase its flexibility, enabling IT to respond
more rapidly to changing business requirements.

VMware vSphere 4 will aggregate and holistically manage large pools
of infrastructure – processors, storage and networking – as a seamless,
flexible and dynamic operating environment.  Any application – an
existing enterprise application or a next-generation application – runs
more efficiently and with guaranteed service levels on VMware vSphere
4.  For enterprises, VMware vSphere 4 will bring the power of cloud
computing to the datacenter, slashing IT costs while dramatically
increasing IT responsiveness.  For hosting service providers, VMware
vSphere 4 will enable a more economic and efficient path to delivering
cloud services that are compatible with customers’ internal cloud
infrastructures.  Over time, VMware will support dynamic federation
between internal and external clouds, enabling “private” cloud
environments that span multiple datacenters and/or cloud providers. …

VMware vSphere 4 delivers significant performance and scalability
improvements over the previous generation VMware Infrastructure 3 to
enable even the most resource intensive applications, such as large
databases and Microsoft Exchange, to be deployed on internal clouds.
With these performance and scalability improvements, VMware vSphere 4
will enable the 100 percent virtualized internal cloud.

  • VMware vSphere 4 delivers more powerful virtual machines with up to:  
    • 2x the number of virtual processors per virtual machine (from 4 to 8)
    • 2.5x more virtual NICs per virtual machine (from 4 to 10)
    • 4x more memory per virtual machine (from 64 GB to 255GB)
    • 3x increase in network throughput (from 9 Gb/s to 30Gb/s)
    • 3x increase in the maximum recorded I/O operations per second (to over 300,000)
    • New maximum recorded number of transactions per second -  8,900 which is 5x the total payment traffic of the VISA network worldwide4
  • Targeted performance improvements for specific applications:
    • Estimated 50 percent improved performance for application development workloads
    • Estimated 30 percent improved performance for Citrix XenApp

vSphere™ 4 Provides ‘Always On IT’ for SMB and Branch Office IT
Environments With Low Cost, High Availability Solutions

will introduce three new VMware vSphere 4 product editions for SMBs
that deliver cost-effective server consolidation, high availability and
data protection to enable Always On IT. Small businesses can deploy a
server consolidation and management solution for only $166 per
processor with VMware vSphere 4 Essentials and get higher application
uptime with VMware vSphere 4 Essentials Plus (only $499 per
processor)—these are features that are otherwise out of reach for most
small companies. VMware vSphere 4 Essentials Plus is the only
virtualization solution that provides high availability and data
protection at this price point.

VMware vSphere™ 4 Sets New Records in Virtualization Performance.

VMware has demonstrated new record performance results and new performance maximums with VMware vSphere 4 including:

  • Record number of transactions per second.
    New performance throughput record of 8,900 database transactions per
    second, as demonstrated on Oracle database with an OLTP workload
    modeled after TPC-C*.
  • Record low overhead compared to native.
    New performance efficiencies with resource-intensive SQL Server
    databases utilizing 8 CPUs per VM and running at 90 percent of native
    or better as tested by an OLTP workload modeled after TPC-E*.
  • Record I/O throughput. 3x increase in the maximum recorded I/O operations per second.
    VMware vSphere 4 triples the maximum recorded I/O operations per second
    to more than 300,000. For comparison purposes, according to data from
    VMware Capacity Planner, most demanding databases that are on Intel
    architecture servers usually require a few tens of thousands of I/O
    operations per second. VMware vSphere 4 also includes a newly rewritten
    storage stack that demonstrates full wire speed on 10 Gbps iSCSI
  • Record network throughput. Improved
    virtual machine networking and support for NetQueue that shows up to
    100 percent improvement in network throughput and fully saturating
    hardware bus limits of 30 Gpbs. Estimated 30 percent improved performance for Citrix XenApp

VMware vSphereTM 4 Launch Supported by Broad Virtualization Ecosystem.

VMware vSphere 4 provides ecosystem partners with numerous
integration and co-development programs such as VMware ReadyTM, VMware
VMsafeTM and VMware Community Source that enable them to use VMware
APIs and interfaces to build advanced technology integrations that
deliver value-added solutions. These integrations will plug seamlessly
into VMware vSphere 4, which provides simplified integration
capabilities, backward compatibility with previous versions of VMware
software, and new interfaces that support industry-leading management

VMware partners of all sizes across the application, channel, cloud,
desktop, management, network, security, server and storage segments are
offering to support VMware vSphere 4 today or plan to support the
product by the end of 2009:

Enables Users to Easily Test-Drive Cloud Computing through the VMware
Virtual Appliance Marketplace (VAM) and VMware vCloud™ Service Provider
Free Trials

VMware VAM is the premier location for finding ISV and
developer-generated virtual appliances with more than 1,000 virtual
appliances available. The VMware VAM includes new features for ISVs and
developers to manage and track information and customer leads about
their appliances, community resources such as reviews, whitepapers, and
blog postings, and listings for VMware vCloud service providers for
running virtual appliances. …

VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace App on Demand Beta:  Making It Easy to Try Applications in the Cloud
vendors and developers use the VMware VAM as a cloud-based service to
publish their software. The newest functionality of the VMware VAM is
App on Demand, which enables users to run a trial version of an
application in the cloud with just a simple login. …

VMware vCloud Partner Free Trials:  Making It Easy to Try Services in the Cloud
vCloud partners, including Hosting.com, iTricity, Tata Communications
and Terremark are offering free trials for end customers to experience
the simplicity and power of running applications on VMware
Infrastructure 3 and VMware vSphere™ 4.

[I think that the first press release up the is one of those press releases that's worth reading all the way through. But check them all out, and then please join us later today for the live simulcast with VMware President & CEO Paul Maritz or go directly to learn more about VMware vSphere 4. Bloggers and beta testers, please feel free to share with us your vSphere experiences so far. I'll see everybody at the event. -jtroyer]

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 16

Planet V12n is one of my favorite RSS feeds, but like most content aggregation feeds it is flooded. For those who do not have the time to keep up with Planet V12n I decided to do a weekly top 5 blog articles post. Of course Planet V12n contains more than 5 good articles each week but I would like people to take the time to read the articles. Here is this weeks list. I have added a short outtake below each link just to give you an idea what the article is about and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

  • Kevin Lawton – R&D: Accelerating VMs live migration by 4-10x and beyond
    The first is that memory which is recognized to exist on both source
    and destination of a migration, does not need to be transferred. It is
    simply copied from the existing memory contents on the destination (or
    referred to by a pointer). This eliminates both the networking transfer
    time associated with duplicate state, and the bandwidth it would have
  • Mike D. – The five defining characteristics of cloud computing
    Cloud is still changing. I think the industry is quickly converging on a good definition for what it is and what the required pieces are. It’s good to see another company out there with someone smart steering the ship that “gets” cloud. This will help out the industry as a whole a lot…
  • Greg A. Lato – vCenter Server as a Tier 1 App
    fill this gap and provide the monitoring and fail over needs of running
    vCenter Server as a teir 1 application, VMware recently released
    vCenter Server Heartbeat, which provides monitoring and automated fail
    over of both the vCenter Server and (optionally) the vCenter database…
  • Rich Brambley – Use RDMs for Practical Reasons and Not Performance Reasons
    There are definite pros and cons for using both VMFS and RDMs. This post suggests the 3 most common practical reasons (in my opinion) to use RDMs. That is, reasons that benefit VI administrators, leverage a VM’s native operating system, or take advantage of technologies and process designed for physical environments…
  • Chad Sakac – EMC’s VMware Storage Strategy – The 3rd Shoe Drops
    “Every App that can be a VM should be a VM should be (and will be!) a VM – we’re hammering this (because it’s true, and when understood it’s a key to datacenter transformation) – you can literally virtualize almost every x86 workload. Are there exceptions? Sure – but they aren’t worth arguing over…”

Join us next Tuesday as virtualization takes another leap with VMware

Picture 2

You’re coming, right? They tell me that we’ve sent out over 2 million emails, so if you haven’t heard about our big event this Tuesday, April 21, either you’ve been at the beach, our invitation got stuck in your spam filter, or you’re not at inbox zero and just haven’t gotten around to opening it yet.

But it’s not too late. Just head on over to what we like to call the “event anticipation” page and sign up for the simulcast that you can enjoy from the comfort of your Internet connection. It’ll be live April 21 at 9am PDT (that’s California time: UTC-7 at the moment). Join VMware CEO Paul Maritz and some special guests for this special event.  From the event description:

Join us for an exclusive peek at how VMware is bringing cloud computing to businesses of all sizes.

VMware is once again leading the virtualization industry by bringing cloud computing to the datacenter. Transform your IT infrastructure into a private cloud—a collection of internal clouds federated on-demand to external clouds—delivering IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service.

On April 21, 2009, we'll be unveiling how VMware is taking IT to new heights of efficiency, choice and control through service-level automation—dramatically reducing capital and operating costs and maximizing IT efficiency—with the freedom to choose any application, OS, or hardware.

I’ll be there bright and early wearing my special shirt along with the rest of the VMwarians. Rick from VMwareTips.com will also be covering the show, along with a lot of technology journalists. They tell me it will be a good time.

See you on Tuesday!

ps if you haven’t figured out what we’re announcing, I really can’t help you at this point.

Load Balancing Visibility with vSphere and Alarms

As you probably all know by now, virtualization is about to take another giant leap. With the upcoming announcements more and more details of vSphere are starting to pop up in the blogosphere. There are two items, which deserve some more attention in my opinion because they are minor details but will make our lives a lot easier.

One of the problems we probably all faced at one point in time with the current version of ESX is that it is almost impossible to figure out which VM is running on which NIC when using "virtual port id" load balancing.

It does not happen often that you will need to know which VM is running on which vmnic, but when you do need to know it is often in times of trouble. With vSphere this "problem" will be solved as can be read in the following article by Guy Brunsdon.

Source article: Which NIC is my VM using? Load Balancing Visibility with vSphere

With vSphere, we’ve enhanced esxtop to show which vmnic is used by which VM, (or vmkernel and service console). A screen capture is shown below. I used explicit failover
order for the service console (vswif0) and vmkernel ports (iSCSI, FT, VMotion) to ensure deterministic use of vmnic0 and vmnic2. The Port Groups supporting the VMs were configured using “Originating Virtual Port ID” load balancing over vmnic1 and vmnic3. As you can see, in my example, XP_VM1 and XP_VM3 hashed to vmnic1 and the others to vmnic3.


Another vSphere feature that has been extensively covered on various blogs is Alarms. vSphere contains several new alarm definitions and actions. One of the biggest improvement in my opinion is the action "enter maintenance mode". This action applies to all host objects, and would enable you to enter maintenance mode when the status of your hardware is degraded. Besides all these new actions, vSphere also enables you to acknowledge an alarm as Eric Sloof described in one of his articles below and is shown in the screenshot below.

There is more to come over the next couple of weeks… stay tuned!

Instant knowledge, free of charge

Chad Sakac(EMC), aka Virtual Geek, published some excellent articles over the last couple of weeks. Chad's articles have a common theme, storage + VMware. Don't think it's a marketing blog for EMC, there is in-depth information to be found in most articles. Especially the VMFS, MRU and "busy array port" articles below demonstrate Chad's expertise. Besides tips / tricks and instant knowledge Chad also provided us with a brand new version of the EMC Celerra Virtual Storage Appliance. Want to test VMware Site Recovery Manager or need a SAN emulator for demo purposes? Download the VSA, and do not forget to read the extensive how-to and of course all of the articles below.

Why Choose VMware and Microsoft’s Supposed Mythbusting

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I guess Newton's law also applies on marketing. Microsoft recently published a video that supposedly debunks several so-called myths on Hyper-V. It did not take the blogging/twitter community long to respond and debunk Microsoft's statements.

Why Choose VMware and Microsoft’s Supposed Mythbusting

VMware started the Why Choose VMware portion of our website in 2nd
half 2008 as more and more vendors were coming on the scene, all
claiming to offer products that do what VMware’s solutions do. We felt
it was necessary to tell our story, and to back up our claims with
complete, academic evaluations of competing products. As such, The Why
Choose VMware site shares six key reasons why we see VMware as offering
a better solution compared to what others market. There’s quite a lot
of content there, but we tried to keep it as factually oriented as
possible. For instance, the product comparison tables are
lab-validated, based on our technical evaluations and comparisons of
the products; they are not derived from just a cursory glance at vendor
marketing literature.

Then this past week, we started getting inquiries about a Microsoft video that purports to bust the top ten “myths” on Why Choose VMware. Others in the blogosphere have already responded.

Ideally, we wouldn’t have to pay much attention to this Microsoft
video, but because we stand behind what we post on Why Choose VMware,
we felt it was important for our customers and other companies looking
to deploy VMware to hear directly from us. Again, we don’t claim to be
perfect and cannot say that we’ll never have any errors on the site,
but we will attempt to base everything we claim on a technical
evaluation of a currently available product. Microsoft’s answers to
what it sees as “myths” don’t really even address factual errors – it’s
just more marketing rhetoric. Feel free to take a look at the video for
yourself (click on the screen shot) and form your own opinion. Then
below, we’ll provide our response to each so-called “myth.”


When reviewing Microsoft’s video, please also make sure to also check
out the user comments – they are pretty informative in regards to the
‘value’ the video provided to customers (and Microsoft partners).

Read the full article for VMware's response.

If you have some spare time on your hands after reading the Virtual Reality article and enjoy a good laughter head over to Vinternals. Stuart Radnidge provides you with the insights of where Microsoft obviously has a lot of catching up to do. The source of his article is a Microsoft Technet Article which describes the best practices and standards Microsoft's IT department has developed.

Microsoft Myths and Realities…

In this paper, published January 2009, we get the cold hard facts on
Hyper-V as deployed by none other than Microsoft IT themselves.
Internally. Y’know, that whole dogfood thing. And the results are
absolutely astounding. Now before going further, I need to re-iterate
this is an actual Microsoft published case. It is not an April Fools
joke, they are not having a lend of us. It is stone cold truth from
Microsoft’s own IT department. If you were going to listen to anybody
talk about the reality of Hyper-V, it’s these guys. And again, this is
not a joke. This is real. Here are a few juicy excerpts (bold bits
added by me for emphasis):

As Microsoft IT developed standards for which physical machines to virtualize, it identified many lab and development servers with very low utilization
and availability requirements. Because of the lower expectations,
Microsoft IT now is deploying the lab and development virtual servers
with four processor sockets, 16 to 24 processor cores, and up to 64 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM). These servers can host a large number of virtual machines, averaging 10.4 virtual machines per host machine.

A 16 core box, with somewhere north of 32GB RAM, could only take
10.4 “development servers with very low utilization”. Well if
that’s what they’re doing for low utilisation boxes, I wonder how they
fare for production machines.