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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 8

Big announcements over the past 24 hours, VMware View 4.6 is released along with VMware Thinapp 4.6.1.  Congrats to both teams for all the hard work that went into getting these major updates out the door to our customers.  The long awaited PCoIP security server is now available for View, and we now get much more support for Microsoft Office 2010 with Thinapp 4.6.1.

Here are the top picks for week 8, happy surfing.

Eric Horschman – Hypervisor Memory Management Done Right – Sophisticated and effective memory management has always been a key strength of the ESX (and now, ESXi) hypervisor that powers VMware vSphere.  Back in 2001, when ESX first came out, 2GB was a lot of RAM in an x86 server, so it was essential for a hypervisor to economize on memory to deliver the server consolidation benefits customers were so eager to realize.  Back then, the big attraction of server virtualization was running several lightweight utility and test/dev servers in VMs on a single host and memory was usually the resource that limited consolidation ratios.  Today, x86 machines are pushing 1TB of RAM, but because our customers have now virtualized their most memory-hungry production database, messaging and application servers, memory resources are just as critical as ever.

Gabe van Zanten – To USB or not to USB, how do you boot your ESXi host? -  On Sunday evening there was a good discussion on twitter about booting ESXi from USB stick or not. A number of arguments pro and con were made and like many discussions there is no real right or wrong. I decided to write this post to give my arguments on booting ESXi from USB stick.  I’m very much in favor of booting ESXi hosts from USB stick. The USB stick is a very cheap medium and its power consumption is next to nothing. Compared to having an internal hard disk the costs are much lower. Since ESXi only needs the USB stick while booting it would be a waste of money and power to have a hard disk running in these hosts instead of an USB stick. Since ESXi only needs about 2GB, which is a fraction of the size of the smallest hard disk you can buy today, you would be wasting a lot of disk space when running from hard disk. So in hardware cost and power consumption, USB sticks are much cheaper than a hard disk.

Alan Renouf – Backing up the ESXi System Image – ESXi is based on a system image, VMware used to call this a firmware but some people found this misleading, most people still refer to it as firmware but in this post I will refer to it as a system image.  The system image is a unified image which is the same whether booting from USB, Hard Disk, PXE or any other media. The logic in the first boot will provide auto configuration based on the kind of installation you have.  One thing to remember about ESXi is that it is memory based, so once booted the system image is entirely loaded into memory, ESXi doesn’t care if the original media disappears after boot, there is no reliance on the boot device for running after booting.

Scott Drummonds – Turning Your Virtualization Project Around – Recently an former VMware colleague of mine sent me an email. His new employer’s IT department encountered a variety of problems with the virtualized deployment of their custom application. Now they are reluctant to put business-critical applications on vSphere. The tide of virtualization is crushing them from all sides so they know that they need to figure out what has gone wrong and produce a functional virtual environment. But where to start? And how can they mitigate risk and avoid any more failures?  At my friend’s request I spent some time thinking about this. I sent him a long response and thought I would share it with you.

Andre Leibovici – VMware View 4.6 PCoIP Software Gateway (PSG) – VMware View 4.6 has been just released and as everyone expected this release introduces support for external secure remote access with PCoIP, without requirement for a SSL VPN. This feature is also known as View Secure Gateway Server. VMware’s Mark Benson, in his blog article, does a very good job explaining why tunnelling PCoIP traffic through the Security Server using SLL was never a viable solution because VMware didn’t want to interfere with the advanced performance characteristics of the protocol.

Discussions at RSA Conference 2011

Allwyn Sequeira, VP of R&D at VMware, talked with the following executives on the show floor at RSA Conference 2011.

Art Coviello, Executive Chairman of RSA Security

Alan Kessler, VP of Security at HP &
Richard McAniff, President & CDO of VMware

Tom Heiser, President of RSA Security

Brian Fitzgerald, VP of Marketing at RSA Security

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 7

Happy Friday everyone, this week we have some great posts that cover the gamut.  Here are the top 5 picks for this week, enjoy the weekend!

Chad Sakac – Updated 2011 vSphere ESXi 4.1 (and future) Homebrew/Whitebox parts list. – So, as I’ve said before, when things get political, and get all messy – I like going into the lab and spending a solid day just playing with tech.   It’s how I get back into a zen state.   That home lab powers a ton of VMs, and let’s me play, learn and stay fresh – not just on EMC stuff (using Virtual Appliances) and VMware itself, but a lot of folks across the industry.   The home lab has 5 “mainstream” ESX hosts – and some other loosey-goosey ones I use for various purposes.

Kendrick Coleman – Standing Up The Cisco Nexus 1000v In Less Than 10 Minutes – A few weeks ago at geek week, I was assigned the task of getting the Cisco Nexus 1000v distributed virtual switch set up. I probably spent a good 4 hours on my first cluster because I had no clue what was going on and I ended up losing my management network and spent lots of time restoring my network to the original vSwitch. I followed TrainSignal’s 1000v Installation training in Pro Series Vol. 1 but the Nexus 10000v setup has changed a bit since then.

Richard Garsthagen – Security designed for virtualization… it really works!! – Since the release of vSphere 4.1 a new API for security is available called EPSEC (End Point Security). Together with the already existing VMSafe API security vendors can make security products designed for virtualized worlds.  You might ask, why do security products need a special virtualization approach? Well of course you do not have to, but certain things will not perform so well.

Duncan Epping – Blocksize impact? – I was answering a couple of questions on the VMTN forum and stumbled on the impact of using similar blocksizes for all VMFS volume which I never realized. Someone did a zero out on their VM to reclaim some wasted diskspace by doing a Storage vMotion to a different datastore. (Something that I have described in the past here, and also with relationship to VCB here.) However to the surprise of this customer the zeroed out space was not reclaimed even though he did a storage vmotion to a thin disk.

Michael White – Recommended Alarms for SRM Admins to watch – I have been asked before about which of the SRM alarms should users configure and watch for.  There is a lot of different alarms, and I suspect no one needs all of them, but I also suspect everyone will need a few of them.  I will help you get started with what I think are important and mostly standard alarms.  I will also give you ideas of what will trigger them if there is any doubt.

New Desktop certification forum created

Last week, we have launched a new forum to discuss the recently-created desktop certification: VCA-DT: VMware Certified Associate – Desktop

The VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop (VCA4-DT) is the first step  toward gaining expertise in desktop virtualization and earning the  respect and recognition that comes with being VMware Certified. The exam  is designed for  Desktop System Administrators who seek to demonstrate their ability to  manage, monitor and troubleshoot desktop  deployments and VMware View components, as well as their knowledge of  adjacent, complementary technologies to VMware  solutions.

The exam is currently in Beta. For more information or to sign up for the beta, visit the VCA-DT certification page.


Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 6

Lot’s of great posts this week, with PEX going on in Orlando, announcements about VCloud connector, Zimbra 7, SUSE Enterprise support opening up, it was difficult to pick only 5.

Jason Nash – Enabling Jumbo Frames on the Cisco Nexus 1000v – This isn’t a complicated topic, but it’s something I’ve been asked a few times and thought it would be worthy of a quick post to help others out there Googling for an answer.  I won’t get in to the pros and cons of jumbo frames in a vSphere environment as others already have here.  This is merely to show you how to enable large MTUs on the 1000v, that can sometimes do things different than other Cisco switches.

Vladan Seget – Zimbra 7.0 is out – VMware Zimbra 7 features new data sharing capabilities, expanded calendaring and search functionality, and upgraded management features for both IT and end-users. With this update, Zimbra is further optimized for both the casual and power-user, establishing a platform for a next-generation workspace within the VMware End-User Computing vision.

Massimo Re Ferre – My Cloud Consumer Experience – Episode 4: Managing Workloads with vCloud Connector – I am very excited about this episode. Today we are announcing a new technology called VMware vCloud Connector and this is going to be the core of this episode. But before you read on I urge you to read this other post of mine that went live together with this and that explains, in more details, what we are trying to do with vCloud Connector and the strategy behind it. This post you are reading is going to be more “show and tell” (that’s the idea about these series of episodes). If you want the proper context regarding what vCloud Connector really is then I strongly recommend that you read the blog post I linked above.

Barry Coombs – Learning Powershell – When installing and managing virtual infrastructures there are lots of repetitive tasks, when repetitive tasks are involved there is always the chance for mistakes. Mid last year I was working on sets of standards for installing and managing virtual infrastructures and it seemed the obvious progression to be able to automate some of these processes. This allowed me to help set standards and use time in a more intelligent manner.

John Liang – VMware vCloud Director 1.0 Performance and Best Practices — Paper Published – Do you want to know how many VMware vCloud Director server instances are needed for your deployment? Do you know how to load balance the VC Listener across multiple vCloud Director instances? Are you curious about how OVF File Upload behaves on a WAN environment? What is the most efficient way to import LDAP users? This white paper, VMware vCloud Director 1.0 Performance and Best Practices, provides insight  to help you answer all the above questions.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 5

This week was the annual World Wide Kickoff for the VMware sales force out in Las Vegas.  It was great to see a lot of VMware co-workers ranging from TAM’s, SE’s and Account managers.  We reviewed last years results (killed it) and planned for an outstanding 2011.  Next week is Partner Exchange in Orlando, FL and I am sure many of you will be traveling to that event!  Here are the top 5 posts for the week.

Andrea Leibovici – VDI Display Protocol Calculator v1.0 – I have just made available the first release of my VDI Display Protocol Calculator. This calculator complement the online VDI Calculator. The original VDI Calculator  that is a great tool in helping architects and administrators to size deployments.The main idea behind this new calculator is to quickly provide a ballpark figure of network bandwidth required to support a VDI deployment or roll-out. The calculator will point you to the most appropriate display protocol to be used and will also provide network bandwidth figures.

Kevin Kelling – PowerGUI, vEcoshell (VESI), PowerCLI and ESXi -  PowerGUI is a free tool from Quest Software that does what it’s name suggests — it provides a GUI interface to Microsoft’s PowerShell automation framework/scripting interface.  It’s a visual shell of sorts for Powershell.  You can create a combination of queries and actions and then either run them from the GUI, or switch over to the “script” tab and see your actions in Powershell script format.  This is great for people like me who know just enough about scripting to be dangerous — you can construct your query/task in the GUI and then modify the details in the exposed script.

Ricky El Qasem – vDisk Informer is here! – Ok in an effort to enhance 2 of my existing apps I created something new and born from the ashes is a new app called vDisk Informer. vDisk Informer demonstrates which virtual disks have potentially wasted space on them and which virtual disks are misaligned causing a performance impact. See how it…

Jakob Fabritius Norregaard – Capacity Planner 2.8.0 released – A new version of VMware Capacity Planner v2.8.0 build 46460 has been released (only available to partners). The most notable new features are support for desktop assessments and that multiple assessments can be grouped under one company. The collector interface is more or less unchanged.

Duncan Epping – Scripted install with ESXi – I received a couple of questions around doing a scripted install with ESXi and decided to write up a script and show you the steps required. Doing a scripted install with ESXi though is fairly simple….