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!


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