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.