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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 26

It was a good week again. Some awesome blog posts of which the following five were my favorites. It seems like it is getting harder to create a top 5 every week. I picked technical and non-technical articles this week. Enjoy,

  • Maish Saidel-Keesing – ESX 4.0 running a vSphere Lab – part 1 & 2
    I have a dedicated Blade server for this purpose, and IBM HS21 E542 CPU (Quad) with 2GB of RAM and 150GB HD. Now you might say – and rightfully so – what can you do with only 2gb of RAM?? Well nothing really – that is why I have upped the RAM on the server to 8GB so I can get some testing done.
    So since this is going to be a test bed for my full migration for the production system, I wanted to get it as close as possible to what my production system will be like.
  • Steve Chambers – Stabilizing vSphere
    Gene Kim said once that “virtualization amplifies bad practice”, and
    this has been seen commonly out there (just today I saw, on Twitter,
    that a customer changed their SRM password – no change process – and
    killed their DR environment). Virtual server sprawl, eggs in one
    basket: there are many examples why if you are bad at IT, you’re going
    to be really bad at virtualization.
  • Rodney Haywood – Attend VMworld 2009
    This morning on the VMTN podcast John Troyer stated it was time for some blogs post in the community on why go to VMworld. Hey, count me in. I do feel that I am qualified to comment here. I am a VMworld Alumni, having attended the last 3 years. For two years it was funded by my employer (thanks guys). One year, because I was in the period of transition between two employers, my wife paid, serious. Don’t forget, I live in Australia so it’ not an inexpensive exercise. I have lived through and succeeded in the task of negotiating with my wife as to why I should invest in taking an overseas trip just to attend VMworld.
  • Duncan Epping – VMFS/LUN size?
    A question that pops up on the VMTN Community once every day is what
    size VMFS datastore should I create? The answer always varies,  one
    says “500Gb” the other says “1TB”. Now the real answer should be, it
  • Scott Lowe – New User’s Guide to Configuring VMware ESX Networking via CLI
    A lot of the content on this site is oriented toward VMware ESX/ESXi
    users who have a pretty fair amount of experience. As I was working
    with some customers today, though, I realized that there really isn’t
    much content on this site for new users. That’s about to change. As the
    first in a series of posts, here’s some new user information on
    creating vSwitches and port groups in VMware ESX using the command-line
    interface (CLI).

VMware Studio 2.0 available now!

Although VMware Studio 2.0 Beta was originally scheduled to be released on Monday the VMware Studio team worked very hard and managed to release it yesterday.

We are pleased to announce that the beta version of VMware Studio 2.0 has been released and is available for download. We look forward to receiving your feedback – issues, feature requests, suggestions for improvement – through the Discussions forum in the VMware Studio 2.0 Beta Program Community.

If you already have a Store account on VMware.com, register for the beta directly.

If you do not have a Store account, please create an account AND join the beta.
The VMware Team

Besides several fixes multiple new features have been added:

  • Windows Support (32 bit and 64 bit) 2003 & 2008 Server
  • Create multi-VM vApp and multi-VM VA
  • 64 bit support for SLES 10.2, RHEL 5.2 & 5.3, CentOS 5.2 & 5.3
  • Extensible in-guest Management Framework
  • OVF 1.0 support
  • Eclipse Plugin
  • Enable ESX, ESXi, VC, Server 2.0 and Workstation as provisioning engine
  • Automatic Dependency Resolution (Static)
  • Publish OVF to VC
  • Infrastructure enhancements – GUI and Builds
  • Studio-created VM as Input

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 25

It was one of those weeks again. I had a lot to do, and there is still a lot left to do. I just finished this top 5 and the quality of the articles is again very high. Especially Chad's article, wow… Anyway, start reading and enjoy. This is my gift to all fathers out there.

  • Mike Laspina – Automating vSphere ESX4 Host Installations
    The custom VMware kernel incorporates Linux kickstart scripting
    functionality to invoke automated installations. The script location is
    defined as part of the Syslinux functionality and is available as a
    menu at boot time. A control file located on the boot media provides
    these variable control elements. Depending on the media type Syslinux
    uses a respective cfg file to implement this function. The various
    available Syslinux boot methods that I am aware of are USB, CD, DVD,
    PXE and gPXE. In this blog I will demonstrate an ISO CDROM method to
    perform the automated boot cycle. Any of the boot methods mentioned
    will all work and have varying levels of complexity to achieve.
  • Chad Sakac – VMware I/O queues, “micro-bursting”, and multipathing
    A shallow queue somewhere in the IO path (or an overflowing port
    buffer) will cause the I/O to back off.    You need the queues to be
    deep enough to withstand the bursts – sometimes increasing the queue
    depth is important.   Now, if the problem isn’t actually the bursts,
    but the I/O service time not being sufficient for the sustained
    workload (aka you have a slow, or underconfigured array), increasing
    the queue depth will help for only a fraction of a second, after which
    the deeper queue will still fill up, and now you just have increased the latency even more.
  • Bouke Groenescheij – Queue Depth and more
    Last few weeks we have had some issues regarding our HDS USP-V. For
    some reason a SCSI lock locked the whole VMFS and all ESX servers in
    that cluster were not able to read/write to the VMFS anymore. The LUN
    was still available, however the VMFS not. So this crashed all the VMs
    in the cluster. The incident repeated itself after 6 weeks, on another
    server, other chassis, other switches and so we contacted VMware and
    HDS to help us in this situation.
  • Duncan Epping – VCDX Defense, the blog article
    The last part of the VCDX certification is the defense. In short:
    you will need to write a design, fill out the application and defend
    your design during a two to three hour session. Although I can describe it in 30 words it is not as simple as it may
    sound. First of all your design needs to meet specific requirements. I
    can’t go in to the details unfortunately but when you receive an
    invitation you will receive all the prerequisites. Like me, most of you
    done numerous designs, but keep in mind it needs to be in English and
    so will your defense need to be. This is an extra barrier for many of
    the non- native speakers; I know it was for me.
  • Rodney Haywood – VMware vShield
    You can think of vShield as providing firewalls inside your ESX hosts. Each host runs one or more vShields
    which is a VM (provided as an OVF) which acts as a bridge between the
    real network and your Virtual Machines. These numerous vShield machines
    are all managed by a central vShield Manager (also provided as an OVF, one per vCenter Server). The
    vShield creates two zones, one protected and the other unprotected. The
    traffic enters the protected zone from the unprotected zone. As it
    crosses the zones the vShield performs traffic analysis, discovery and
    stateful firewall protection.

Run It with VMware Video Contest – Submit by July 20 to win!

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, this contest is for you

  • Are you a VMware® customer or a VMware enthusiast and a firm believer in using virtualization to run business-critical applications?
  • Do you currently run business-critical applications using VMware technology for improved availability and manageability?
  • Are you considering running your business-critical applications on VMware vSphere™ for breakthrough performance and outstanding reliability?
  • Should every IT organization use VMware vSphere to deliver business-critical applications as dynamic, cost-efficient, reliable IT services on internal clouds?

Win Big! Just create a 1-3 minute video that shows why VMware provides the best platform for business-critical applications by July 20th.

  • Grand Prize: $5000 Cash
  • Four $1000 Second Prizes
  • One $1000 VMworld Favorite Prize
  • All participants will get one free limited edition Run It with VMware T-shirt!

Not a VMware customer? Not running VMware vSphere yet? Or does your organization restrict you from sharing your VMware story with the public? Not to worry!

  1. You don’t have to be a VMware customer to participate. If you love VMware technology and want to share why you think VMware vSphere is the best platform for business-critical applications, you can!
  2. You don’t have to run VMware vSphere in the datacenter to talk about it. You can base your video on what you’ve read and heard about vSphere, and why you are excited about running business-critical applications on it. 
  3. If you’re not allowed to represent your company, that’s okay! There is no requirement for you to share any information about yourself, your organization, or your experience using VMware at your organization. Just be creative in showing why VMware vSphere is the best platform for business-critical applications! 

Submit your entry by July 20th for your chance to win! Read the full guidelines here. U.S. Residents Only. See Terms and Conditions for details.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 24

It was quite a busy week again on Planet V12n. The amount of blog posts published every week over and over again is amazing. What amazes me even more is the quality of the blog posts which makes picking a top 5 harder every single week. This is what I ended up with…

  • Chad Sakac / Vaugn Stewart – A “Multivendor Post” to help our mutual NFS customers using VMware (1 , 2)
    The first core difference is that block (iSCSI/FC/FCoE) use an
    initiator-to-target multipathing model based on MPIO.   The domain of
    the path choice is from the initiator to the target.   For NAS – the
    domain of link selection is from one Ethernet MAC to another Ethernet
    MAC – or one link hop.  this is configured from the host-to-switch,
    switch-to-host, and NFS server-to-switch and switch to NFS server, and
    the comparison is shown below (note that I called it “link
    aggregation”, but more accurately this is either static NIC teaming, or
    dynamic LACP)
  • Rodney Haywood – Nehalem Memory with Catalina
    In order to increase the number of memory sockets without sacrificing
    memory bus clock speed, the ASIC adds a small amount of latency to the
    first word of data fetched. Subsequent data words arrive at the full
    memory bus speed with no additional delay. The first word delay is in
    the order of 10% but I have heard from some spies that testing shows
    this is looking like a non-issue. Its especially a non-issue compared
    to the constant 10% latency hit and 28% drop in bandwidth you would get
    if you populated the channels in the normal Nehalem way.
  • Brian Noris – Securing ESX Service Console
    Ive been doing a fair bit of virtualization security lately and I
    thought id share a few tid bits on what Ive done and why. If y0u find
    this useful then check back every couple of days as ill be adding
    additional steps and verifying if these apply to VI3, Vsphere or both. Most of you who are familiar with ESX will know  the default “Out Of
    The Box” behaviour restricts the user root from logging in directly via
    SSH which generally means either root user must authenticate as a
    standard user and then SU to root or log in directly from the console.
  • Eric Sloof – Diskless Boot of ESX4 and ESX4i with PXE and iSCSI
    Since EDA and UDA are still in their beta phase and there aren’t much
    alternatives available for installing a VMware ESX4 or ESX4i server
    unattended, I thought “let’s build one myself”. I’m not a Linux guy so
    I had to create a Windows distribution server. In my search I’ve
    discovered a great little piece of software called CCBoot. This windows
    application enables a diskless boot of an ESX4i with iSCSI. Diskless
    boot makes it possible for ESX server to be operated without a local
    disk. The 'diskless' server is connected to a VMDK file over a network
    and boots up the hypervisor from the remotely located VMDK file. CCBoot
    is the convergence of the rapidly emerging iSCSI protocol with gPXE
    diskless boot technology. Remote boot over iSCSI, or CCBoot, pushes the
    iSCSI technology even further, opening the door to the exciting
    possibility of the diskless computer.
  • Dominic Rivera – DRS and anti affinity rules
    An anti-affinity DRS rule is used when you want to keep 2 virtual
    machines on seperate hosts, usually because they provide a redundant
    service and locating them on the same host would eliminate that
    redundancy. Unfortunately an anti-affinity DRS rule can only be created
    for exactly 2 VMs. As you can see from the table below, once you get to
    creating anti-affinity rules for sets of VMs larger than 4, the
    creation of the rules becomes daunting.

A “Multivendor Post” to help our mutual NFS customers using VMware

One of the most talked about blog topics ever on iSCSI or even storage in general most definitely is the “Multivendor iSCSI” post by Vaugn Stewart, Chad Sakac and others. Although some of the information in the Multivendor iSCSI post also applies to NFS there was still a lot unaddressed. This is one of the reasons why Vaughn and Chad decided to collaborate again, and I am glad they did. The follow up post is of an extremely high quality again and is a must read for everyone who has NFS based storage or is interested in virtual environments and storage in general.

I did not quote the full article because I think you should all head over to either Chad's or Vaughn's blog and read the article there. Don't forget to leave a comment or drop a question!

Source: Virtual Geek (Chad Sakac) | Virtual Storage Guy (Vaughn Stewart)

We were quite a bit surprised to see how popular our “Multivendor iSCSI” post
was. The feedback was overwhelming and very supportive of industry
leaders partnering to ensure customer’s success with VMware. While
writing that post, we (Vaughn Stewart from NetApp and Chad Sakac from
EMC) discussed following up the iSCSI post with one focused on
deploying VMware over NFS. The most difficult part around creating this
post is that we couldn’t do it with our iSCSI-focused colleagues.

the original post, we’ve been busy assisting our customers and
partners. We apologize for the delay, so without further ado we present
to you the followup: a “Multivendor NFS” post for our joint customers.
One of the goals of this post is to dispel the FUD customers often hear
around NFS. Heck, if EMC and NetApp can agree – then you KNOW this post
is FUD-Free!

We would like to thank Stu Baker and Satyam Vaghani from VMware,
along with numerous folks at EMC and NetApp for their input on this

While any NFSv3 server will work with VMware, and there
are many NFS servers on the ESX HCL, there is a significant difference
between what one can do with an enterprise class NFS storage array from
EMC or NetApp. The reality is only NetApp and EMC are supporting NFS
deployments with VMware in significant volume.

Both of us
personally are big supporters of NFS for VMware – but if you look at
our post histories – we’re both also rational and try our best (we’re
human, so sometimes we fail) to be balanced and neutral). We try to be good pragmatic voices, so our goal here is pragmatism and facts to help our mutual customers.

For more – go to either one of the source articles…

Virtualization Online Forum June 9 & 10

VMware :: Forum 2009 :: Online Forum.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn about vSphere™ 4—The Next Generation of VMware's market leading virtualization products!

see how companies within different industries like the Public Sector,
Education, Healthcare and Technology are simplifying IT and increasing
flexibility while cutting IT costs by 50%.

View Agenda

the Online Virtualization Forum on June 9th and 10th,
8:00am–1:00pm PDT. Don't miss this opportunity to:

  • Network with VMware product experts, customers, partners and other IT Professionals.
  • Attend 30-minute presentations and get the latest info on VMware solutions, products and industry trends.
  • Access real-time information from industry leaders without the hassle or expense of travel.
  • Create a multi-media resource kit, including white papers, videos and podcasts.

June 9th & 10th, 2009
8:00am – 1:00pm PDT

Register Now

p.s. If you were following jtroyer or vmware on Twitter, you'd already know about this and other other cool stuff.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 23

Another week another top 5… No long introduction this time, cause I need to get going and do some "real" work. Enjoy:

  • Scott Lowe – vSphere Virtual Machine Upgrade Process
    VMware vSphere introduces a new hardware version (version 7), and
    vSphere also introduces a new paravirtualized network driver (VMXNET3)
    as well as a new paravirtualized SCSI driver (PVSCSI). To take
    advantage of these new drivers as well as other new features, you’ll
    need to upgrade your virtual machines. This process I describe below
    works really well.
  • Duncan Epping – That's why I love blogging
    As a consultant I get a lot of question on vmfs locking and I assumed,
    with the current understanding I had, that a larger blocksize would be
    beneficial in terms of performance. I’m no scientist or developer and I
    rely on the information I find on the internet, manuals, course
    material and the occasional internal mailinglists… In this case this
    information wasn’t correct, or better said not updated yet to the
    changes that vSphere introduced. Luckily for me, and you guys, one of
    my colleagues jumped in to give us some good insights…
  • Steve Kaplan – Don’t Believe Any Numbers You Don’t Make up Yourself
    McDonald's founder Ray Kroc liked to claim, "We take the hamburger more
    seriously than anyone else". VMware could say the same thing about
    virtualization. Every page of its Web site educates viewers on
    different aspects of virtualization, but the term is not even mentioned
    on Microsoft's home page. Navigating to Microsoft's virtualization
    section reveals the biggest emphasis to be on price comparisons between
    Microsoft and VMware. Videos, white papers, blogs, case studies, analyst quotes and even Microsoft's ROI calculator tool underline the cost competition with VMware
  • Christoph Dommermuth – How to use Novell with VMware View
    Since VMware View does only support Microsoft Active Directory Service
    as directory service, Novell eDirectory users need another way to get
    their environment working with the VMware virtual desktop
    infrastructure. First of all you will definitely need an Active
    Directory to integrate the View Manager with so that the users can
    logon and get authenticated. To get the users from the eDirectory in
    sync with the Active Directory you should use the standard Novell
  • Eric Siebert – Select VMworld sessions released for general public
    About 2 months ago, John Troyer asked me for recommendations for 10 or so of some of the VMworld 2008 & VMworld Europe 2009 sessions to be released for free to non-attendees. It was hard picking just 10 and I ended up with about 30 of the ones I thought people would enjoy the most. Well it took a while but they just announced that they are now available for free and it’s almost the exact session list that I picked out back then. So head on over to the VMworld website and check them out, there is some great content there. You do need to have a  VMworld account to view these sessions, if you don’t already have one you can get one by registering for free.

vSphere Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

All over the world people are upgrading to VMware vSphere. The
upgrade procedure of the hypervisor and the management layer is
straight forward. If you want to take full advantage however of all the new
features and performance improvements your virtual machines will also
need to be upgraded. Scott Lowe wrote an excellent article on this
topic and I wanted to bring this post to your attention as it's an
important part of the upgrade path in my opinion. Please visit the
source article for feedback or comments.

Scott Lowe – vSphere Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

Upgrading a VMware Infrastructure 3.x
environment to VMware vSphere 4 involves more than just upgrading
vCenter Server and upgrading your ESX/ESXi hosts (as if that wasn’t
enough). You should also plan on upgrading your virtual machines.
VMware vSphere introduces a new hardware version (version 7), and
vSphere also introduces a new paravirtualized network driver (VMXNET3)
as well as a new paravirtualized SCSI driver (PVSCSI). To take
advantage of these new drivers as well as other new features, you’ll
need to upgrade your virtual machines. This process I describe below
works really well.
I’d like to thank Erik Bussink, whose posts on Twitter got me started down this path.
Please note that this process will require some downtime. I
personally tested this process with both Windows Server 2003 R2 as well
as Windows Server 2008; it worked flawlessly with both versions of
Windows. (I’ll post a separate article on doing something similar with
other operating systems, if it’s even possible.)

  1. Record the current IP configuration of the guest operating system. You’ll end up needing to recreate it.
  2. Upgrade VMware Tools in the guest operating system. You can do this
    by right-clicking on the virtual machine and selecting Guest >
    Install/Upgrade VMware Tools. When prompted, choose to perform an
    automatic tools upgrade. When the VMware Tools upgrade is complete, the
    virtual machine will reboot.
  3. After the guest operating system reboots and is back up again,
    shutdown the guest operating system. You can do this by right-clicking
    on the virtual machine and selecting Power > Shutdown Guest.
  4. Upgrade the virtual machine hardware by right-clicking the virtual machine and selecting Upgrade Virtual Hardware.
  5. In the virtual machine properties, add a new network adapter of the
    type VMXNET3 and attach it to the same port group/dvPort group as the
    first network adapter.
  6. Remove the first/original network adapter.
  7. Add a new virtual hard disk to the virtual machine. Be sure to attach it to SCSI node 1:x; this will add a second SCSI adapter to the virtual machine. The size of the virtual hard disk is irrelevant.
  8. Change the type of the newly-added second SCSI adapter to VMware Paravirtual.
  9. Click OK to commit the changes you’ve made to the virtual machine.
  10. Power on the virtual machine. When the guest operating system is
    fully booted, log in and recreate the network configuration you
    recorded for the guest back in step 1. Windows may report an error that
    the network configuration is already used by a different adapter, but
    proceed anyway. Once you’ve finished, shut down the guest operating
    system again.
  11. Edit the virtual machine to remove the second hard disk you just added.
  12. While still in the virtual machine properties, change the type of the original SCSI controller to VMware Paravirtual (NOTE: See update below.)
  13. Power on the virtual machine. When the guest operating system is fully booted up, log in.
  14. Create a new system environment variable named DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES and set the value to 1.
  15. Launch Device Manager and from the View menu select Show Hidden Devices.
  16. Remove the drivers for the old network adapter and old SCSI adapter. Close Device Manager and you’re done!

If you perform these steps on a template, then you can be assured
that all future virtual machines cloned from this template also have
the latest paravirtualized drivers installed for maximum performance.
UPDATE: Per this VMware KB article,
VMware doesn’t support using the PVSCSI adapter for boot devices. That
is not to say that it doesn’t work (it does work), but that it is not supported. Thanks to Eddy for pointing that out in the comments!

AMD launches six-core ‘Istanbul’ Opteron

AMD Pushes Six-core Chips as Upgrade to Shanghai – PC World.

Micro Devices on Monday announced six-core Opteron chips, which make
them the fastest server chips the company has released to date.

Until now, AMD offered only quad-core server processors, with the
fastest being Opteron chips code-named Shanghai. The six-core chips,
code-named Istanbul, will offer 30 percent faster performance while
drawing the same amount of power as Shanghai chips, said Brent Kerby,
product marketing manager for AMD’s server workstation group. …

Dell benchmarked the six-core chip and said it provides better
application performance — up to 61 percent in some cases — compared
to quad-core Shanghai chips. “Customers can get improved performance in
I/O intensive applications like databases and technical computing
without taking up more floor space or power consumption,” said Sally
Stevens, vice president of platform marketing at Dell.

If you want to dig a little deeper into features, like HT Assist, check out articles from The RegisterAnandTech, and The Tech Report. The nice thing from a buyer’s perspective, aside from being a great platform for high-end workloads, is that it’s a drop-in replacement for the previous Shanghai parts — same footprint and socket interface — so that VMware has already qualified it and OEMs should be experiencing a quick path to certifying their new server models with vSphere.

And, of course, using VMware Enhanced VMotion Compatibility, you can migrate your virtual machines from older AMD boxes to your new servers seamlessly. [via VMblog.com]