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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 03

I'll keep it short this time as I seriously need to get some sleep.

  • Scott Sauer – VMware Data Recovery (vDR) Overview
    The underlying backup technology behind vDR is the new vStorage API
    (Not VCB), it takes advantage of a new feature called change block
    tracking.  After the first full backup is performed, Change block
    tracking examines the virtual disk being backed up and only backs up
    the differences from the first backup.  This means less backup traffic
    going across your network.
  • Hany Michael – Diagram: ESX Memory Management and Monitoring v1.0

    diagram madness
  • Theron Conrey – vmware view linux live cd howto
    It’s interesting to note, with some additional configurations within susesudio, some tweaking to lock down the gnome desktop, and some more polish, you could easily provide the full thin client experience, completely removing the users ability to launch any other applications, as well as the option to install this “os” locally for longer POCs.
  • Eric Siebert – The top blog full voting results
    Here’s a table with the vote totals for all the VMware/virtualization
    blogs included in the survey, there were a few others that only had 1
    or two votes that I didn’t include. Total votes includes any vote a
    blog received whether it was 1 through 10. Total points is the sum of
    each vote times it’s appropriate weight for the position (#1 vote = 10
    points, #2 vote = 9 points, all the way down to a #10 vote = 1 point).
  • Simon Seagrave – VMware P2V – Easy Method to Remove HP Agents and Utilities
    When running an HP Proliant server whether it be Windows or Linux based
    chances are that it has management agents and a handful of utilities
    relating to the HP server installed and running.  Of course this is
    fine whilst the operating system is running directly on the physical HP
    hardware but once it has been P2V’ed and abstracted from this physical
    layer the OS is running on what it thinks is generic non-HP hardware. 
    This means that there is no need for any of these drivers or utilities.
    So as to free up valuable system resource and reduce the risk of any
    issues from any of these HP utilities or agents continuing to run on
    this non-HP hardware it is best practice to remove them all.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 04

Week 4 already. Just one week before VMware Partner Exchange kicks off in Las Vegas. I'll be around, but not for PEX we're doing VCDX panels. I guess this week was all about the NetApp/Cisco/VMware announcement. And for those who missed, be sure to read this article by Vaughn as it captures the essence of the announcement. Now without further ado; here's the top 5:

  • Luc Dekens – dvSwitch scripting – Part 6 – Private VLAN
    Another post in the dvSwitch series. This time I’ll tackle the creation and use of a private VLANs (PVLAN) on a dvSwitch.
    For those that are not that familiar with PVLANs have a look at KB1010691, that article gives a good overview of the PVLAN concept. And there were several sessions during the last VMworld that talked about PVLANs. The most noteworthy being TA2525 VMware vSphere 4 Networking Deep Dive.
    In short, PVLANs allows isolation for guests on a shared IP subnet.
  • Steve Chambers – Cisco UCS: different workload, different configuration, same blade. Simple.
    With Unified Fabric you have a drastically reduced amount of physical connections: instead, you run multiple workloads over the same bit of string and separate them using network and storage virtualization. On one 10GbE pipe you can run IP, NFS, iSCSI, FC. Remember those “which protocol is best?” arguments: consign them to the bin, you can now run whatever you want over Ethernet. Just tell a Service Profile what VLAN or VSAN to present to an OS, with a click of the mouse, and you’re done. No cabling or network card work required. Different workload, different network connections, same blade. Simple.
  • Eric Siebert – Lessons learned in a power outage
    Know your ESX command line, if your vCenter Server and other
    workstations are not available you’ll need to start VM’s using the
    command line. Even if your DNS server is on a local VM you won’t be
    able to start it without the vSphere Client. Therefore you’ll have to
    log into the ESX console and manually start it, if you don’t know the
    command to do this that could be a problem. Keep a cheat sheet by your
    hosts with the basic commands that you’ll need like vmware-cmd to get
    things up and running using the console.
  • Rodney Haywood – Viewing the vCloud future
    In 2008 VMware were talking about "application workloads" and "vApps" which were essentially just containers for servers. The fear was the requirement to rewrite applications to be usable on the Cloud. I think many in the Infrastructure space (VMware's existing customer base) focused on this server focus. Yet there was the key phrase in the speech, the workloads of today and tomorrow. "How do I take my collection of infrastructure resources and increasingly see them as a single giant computer on which I can flexibly run both todays application workloads and tomorrows application loads." How could we forget Maritzs love for Ruby.
  • Nicholas Weaver – Look I'm A Tool! : vSphere Session Monitor 1.0
    I bet at this point you are thinking: “Well Nick, that is cool and dandy but I can get that info from my vSphere client! Way to reinvent the wheel…”
    Well… now for the best part. This is the real reason I wrote this little app. It all started with my senior engineer, Justin. He had a nasty habit of yelling out “What are you doing?” every time someone did something on a vCenter server. That got me thinking; “It would be cool if something popped up telling Justin someone logged in. And it would be even cooler if you didn’t have to have the vSphere Client running to do it.”

White boxes and home labs – Community Podcast #79

We haven't posted a post with podcast notes in quite a while, but we're still going strong. If you aren't familiar with our curious tradition, every Wednesday at noon California time a gang of motley VMware admins, gurus, newbies, troublemakers, jokers, kibitzers, and seekers of knowledge gather around a virtual campfire and record a podcast. All are welcome, and a good time is had by all. You can listen to the podcast via the widget on the right, the mp3, or via iTunes. If you ask those in the know, however, they'll tell you that showing up live is much more fun, because the chat is usually going strong before, during, and after the show. We get about 30-50 people live every week, and if you dial in (via POTS or VOIP) you can ask a question or give a comment at any time, because we try to keep everybody unmuted. It's the closest thing you'll get to a VMUG or VMworld without leaving your desk. Follow @jtroyer on Twitter to catch the topic earlier in the week.

The VMware Community Roundtable podcast is up to episode #79, and our topic this week was white boxes and home labs. I get that question a lot for people who want to prep for their VCP (and it's even come up for VCDX, but if you're thinking about getting a VCDX you'd better be able to McGyver a home VMware lab with a toaster, an IBM PC XT, and an iPod).

The topic of building a home lab is an interesting one to me right now for two reasons: first of all, you can now build a complete setup running vSphere and virtual storage appliances right on VMware Workstation. All you need is some reasonably modern hardware and you can set up ESX and VMs, turn knobs, and explore most features of vSphere, all virtually. But if you do want to be touching the hardware, you can still be buying surplus off eBay, but the latest generations of modern servers and storage are affordable, performant, quiet(er), and thrifty with power. It might be worth your while to investigate some new hardware and sell that wind turbine to somebody else.

Links we discussed, with source material compiled by our own Duncan Epping over at Yellow Bricks:

As I said in the podcast, this is a topic of high interest and the specifics matter, so if you want to post any details about your own lab or white boxes, just let me know (jtroyer@vmware.com or the comments) and I'll add the links here.

Virtualized SAP Applications: From the Datacenter to the Cloud – Jan 21 webcast

Join VMware SAP Alliance Manager Joachim Rahmfeld on this 45 minute webcast tomorrow, Jan 21, at 2pm PST. Virtualized SAP Applications: From the datacenter to the cloud. There’s a whole day of good cloud and virtualization talks over at Brighttalk tomorrow – recommended. For more information on running SAP on VMware, see the Virtualization for SAP Solutions blog and the SAP and VMware page on VMware’s site.

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 02

It was a very exciting week as I announced that I will be transitioning to a new team. Of course that wasn't the only exciting thing this week. A lot of bloggers have been waiting for Eric Siebert to reveal the new Top 25 blogs… On twitter it was noticeable that some of the bloggers started to get nervous about their position. I am honored to be in such an amazing list. Anyway enough blabbering… check out the top 5:

  • Eric Siebert – And the winners of the top VMware/virtualization blog are…
    Well I’m not saying, watch the presentation to find out, I’ll be doing
    another post later on with the full results as well as some detail on
    the process I used to sort through the votes and score them to
    determine the winners. Congratulations to all the winners, there were
    many newcomers to the top 25 blog roll. I’ll be sending you graphics
    that you can display on your website to reflect your achievements.
  • Simon Gallagher – Using the VCE/vBlock concept to aid disaster relief in situations like the Haiti Earthquake
    Whilst providing physical, medical, food and engineering relief is of
    paramount importance during a crisis, communications networks are vital
    to co-ordinate efforts between agencies, it is likely that whatever
    civil communications infrastructure, cell towers, landlines etc. are
    badly impacted by the earthquake so aid agencies rely on radio based
    systems, however as in the “business as usual” world the Internet can
    act as a well-understood common medium for exchanging digital
    information and services –
    if you can get access.
  • Chris Hoff – Cloud: Over Subscription vs. Over Capacity – Two Different Things
    This complicates things when you consider that at this point scaling
    out in CPU is easier to do than scaling out in the network.  Add
    virtualization into the mix which drives big, flat, L2 networks as a
    design architecture layered with a control plane that is now (in the
    case of Cloud) mostly software driven, provisioned, orchestrated and
    implemented, and it’s no wonder that folks like Google, Amazon and
    Facebook are desparate for hugely dense, multi-terabit, wire speed L2
    switching fabrics and could use 40 and 100Gb/s Ethernet today.
  • Scott Drummonds – Virtual Storage Design: Application Consolidation
    Fixed recommendations for consolidation ratios are cancerous.  Whether
    we are talking about vCPUs per core, virtual machines per host, or
    VMDKs per LUN, there is no single number the represents the “right”
    ratio.  Accurate guidance requires workload characterization and fine
    tuning using vSphere’s performance counters.  Today I want to highlight
    one experiment that shows application choice impacting VMDK-to-LUN
    consolidation.  The inescapable conclusion is that sequential access
    data must be separated from random access files!
  • Scott Lowe – Resetting the Root Password on VMware ESX 4.0
    Because this is a lab environment we just wanted to assign a simple password that anyone on the team could easily remember. (I’m sure the security purists out there are screaming right now.) Unfortunately, once I had the ESX host booted into single user mode, the passwd command insisted on making me use a complex password. There didn’t seem to be any simple way around the restriction.

Announcing Availability of VMware Go™ — The Quick and Easy On-Ramp to Virtualization

Today, VMware announced the
general availability of VMware Go™
a free web-based service that lets users set up a virtual machine
environment with just a few mouse clicks. We at VMware are very excited
about this release, which directly addresses the skill barrier for
starting down the virtualization path, especially for small businesses
who may have limited IT resources. VMware Go guides users through the
installation and configuration of the industry-leading hypervisor,
VMware ESXi, and then enables them to set up and manage virtual
machines running server application workloads. Since our public Beta of
VMware Go was released in Sept, 2009, we’ve had over 1,000 users
successfully set up an ESXi server and a total of 3,000+ VMs running on
those servers.

How it works —Virtualization in Three Simple Steps:

  1. Initial ESXi server setup
    • Unique web-browser interface and intuitive wizard guides and accelerates installation and setup process
    • Built in hardware compatibility check automates the process of selecting physical server environments
  2. Virtual machine creation
    • Leverage existing
      physical server configuration, install a prebuilt virtual appliance, or
      start with a new clean virtual machine.
  3. Manage ESXi servers and virtual machines

    • Centralized management interface simplifies changes to a virtual environment.
    • Monitor virtual machines for basic performance and resource utilization.
    • Scan and update virtual machines from a central console.

Useful links for more information:

Learn more about
VMware Go

Get started using
ESXi and VMware Go

For more technical information of VMware Go, see the

VMware Go FAQ

Video demo of VMware Go in action.

Posted by Joe Andrews, Group Manager, Product Marketing

Top 5 Planet V12n blog posts week 01

Another year, another week. Here we go again. Extremely busy week and announcements of companies acquiring other companies all over the place. Bloggers joining vendors or just changing jobroles. Crazy week, and same goes for the quality of the articles this week.

  • Steve Kaplan – Microsoft’s attempt to commoditize virtualization
    Despite these many unique attributes, VMware's most compelling differentiator may be its astounding reliability. Unlike Hyper-V, it offers data center stability, performance and security that is independent from the bloat, reliability and patching issues of a general-purpose operating system. Even Redmond Magazine, "The Independent Voice of the Microsoft IT Community" gave its 2008 Editors Choice award for the most reliable IT technology to VMware ESX (the IBM mainframe came in #2).
  • Duncan Epping – esxtop values/thresholds!
    I am a huge fan of esxtop! I read a couple of pages of the esxtop bible every day before I go to bed. Something I however am always struggling
    with is the “thresholds” of specific metrics. I fully understand that it is not black/white, performance is the perception of a user. There must be a certain threshold however. For instance it must be safe to say that when %RDY constantly exceeds the value of 20 it is very likely that the VM responds sluggish. I want to use this article
    to “define” these thresholds, but I need your help. There are many people reading these articles, together we must know at least a dozen metrics lets collect and document them with possible causes if known.
  • Martin MacLeod – Follow the moon, data center virtualization – a short essay
    We introduced the world to server virtualization where instead of
    having a server per application, we could buy a server with a bit more
    memory, a bit more storage and have that ‘cut up’ and shared amongst
    the business units. It worked on the whole very well, but IT was still
    a bit confused and still is in many ways about how we charge for it and
    how we ‘make a profit’ for their cost center, you see we can only
    absorb so much before someone has to pay for the underlying
    infrastructure the 400TB of storage, the 32GB of RAM in each server,
    and compare that with the 1u special that might be good enough for a
    given application, keeping the per unit virtual machine cost
    competitive could be a challenge if we didn’t look at the way we billed
    for capacity, for delivering IT service.
  • Gabrie van Zanten – Putting your storage to the test – Part 2 NFS on Iomega IX4-200D
    I was surprised to see so much difference in performance, I had
    expected some difference, but no difference as big as this. Looking at
    the data of the first “Super ATTO Clone pattern” test I ran, I can see
    the biggest difference between NFS and iSCSI being the short peak in
    read speed where iSCSI remained stable after reaching its peak
    performance at 41 MB/sec. NFS peaked to 110 MB/sec testing block sizes
    from 32K to 512K and dropped in speed to 57 MB/sec on blocks of 1M and
  • Steve Chambers – Four economic variables and approaches to make your VDI solution successful
    Put yourself in the shoes of a business manager: “Why should I pay
    Internal IT $250/qtr for a hosted desktop when I can buy physical for
    less/similar, or use a cloud offering?”  The common response by
    Internal IT to this question is: “You HAVE to buy from us!” (footnote:
    even if we cost more and are worse).  That kind of mandate might seem
    smart, but it’s a key indicator that Internal IT is losing the battle
    and has lost the war.  If this is an Outsourcer saying this, then the
    writing is on the wall for them and I can 100% guarantee they are going
    to have to go through a tender at the end of their contract (expensive
    for outsourcer).

Top 5 Planet V12n bloggers 2009

This is without a doubt the most difficult top 5 ever. There were so many great article in 2009 that it is impossible to call out 5 specific articles This article will have a different approach than you are used of the top 5 series so far. I will list 5 bloggers which have contributed to the community in a unique way. Unique can be by the amount of in-depth details that each post contains but also for instance unique scripts that are published.

Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and does not reflect popularity of the blogs in anyway. Here we go:

  • Chad Sakac – There are way too many excellent articles to mention each of them specifically. Two of the top articles were co-authored, but almost every article Chad writes contains a huge amount of in-depth info. His insights on especially storage related topics are invaluable.
  • Ken Cline – Although there has not been much activity on Ken's blog lately his series on networking in a virtual environment were real eye openers for many. (Start blogging regularly Ken!) Ken started many discussions in the blogosphere/community and wrote must read articles for everyone implementing or designing virtual infrastructures. Part 7 of "The Great vSwitch Debate" contains links to number 1 – 6 so I will not link these explicitly:
  • Hany Michael – If there is anyone who managed to create unique articles then it is Hany. His diagrams are insane. The details that he puts into every single diagram are just unseen. The following were my favorite, and let's hope Hany keeps up posting these excellent diagrams:
  • Alan Renouf – The king of PowerCLI. Those are the only words I usually need to describe Alan. I don't know a single person who has created so many valuable VMware PowerCLI scripts. The crown on his work is most definitely the VESI & Powergui Powerpack. The vCheck is most likely one of the most used PowerCLI scripts written so far, which does exactly what it is named "Check" your virtual environment.
  • Eric Siebert – Eric's Launchpad on vSphere-land.com is the homepage for many. But that's not the only reason why Eric made this list. His link lists and the articles Eric publishes on TechTarget are always top of the bill. Besides blogging, linking and tweeting he also manages to write books. Eric must have days of 28hrs.

I could go on for ever I guess but that would make it a top 1000. Some of the usual suspects are missing like Scott Lowe, Jason Boche, Gabe, Steve Kaplan, Mike Laverick, Steve Chambers, Eric Sloof, Vaughn Stewart and again I can go on forever but I won't. This is it, I needed to pick five people and these are my personal top 5 for 2009.

I want to thank every blogger out there for making 2009 amazing. The amount of info, tips, tricks, scripts, knowledge and expertise shared is something you don't often see in other communities. I love the VMware Community, I really do. Thanks,