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Author Archives: Scott Sauer

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 48

Scott Lowe – Examining VXLAN – It’s taken me far too long to write this post, that’s for sure. Since the announcement of VXLAN at VMworld earlier in the year, I’ve been searching for additional information on these questions: “What is VXLAN? How does it fit into the broader networking landscape? Why did we need a new standard?”

Cormac HoganUpgraded VMFS-5: Automatic Partition Format Change – By now, regular readers of this blog will be aware that VMFS-5 supports a single extent volume size of 64TB. In an earlier post, I mentioned that newly created VMFS-5 partitions use a GUID Partition Format, GPT. This partition format allows for the creation of large partition sizes to cater for the new single extent 64TB VMFS-5 volume.

Andre LeiboviciUse Flash Drives (SSD) for Linked Clones, not Replicas – In my previous article EMC FAST Cache effectiveness with VDI I focused on FAST Cache benefits for VDI deployments. The tests I completed also generated a huge quantity of data that is tremendously valuable for better sizing of VDI environments.

Wanda HeSQL Server Rolling Patch Upgrade using Standby VM – SQL Server patching is a common use case for high availability deployments. When people think about minimizing down time for patch upgrades, most people will think of SQL Server failover clustering or SQL Server database mirroring. Those are the two SQL Server native availability features that support rolling patch upgrade. Did you know that you could also perform rolling patch upgrades with just a standby virtual machine (VM) if you are running SQL Server on VMware?

Duncan EppingHow to create your own .vib files – Today I was asked the question on how to create a VIB file (.vib). In our documentation it is mentioned that you can create a VIB file to add firewall rules to your ESXi host. As the .vib tool is not available yet to the general public I decided to dig in to it. I want to stress that I tested this in my own lab, it is not supported at all, but might give a nice insight in how these VIB are constructed.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 46

Edwin FriesenVMware ThinApp goes CLOUD with it’s newly released version 4.7.0! – VMware ThinApp simplifies application delivery by isolating applications from the underlying operating system and plugging directly into existing virtual and physical desktop management tools and infrastructure. VMware ThinApp encapsulates applications inside a Virtual OS that transparently merges a virtual system environment with the real system environment.

William LamUnattended Deployment of vCloud Director Virtual Appliance – VMware just released vCloud Director 1.5 as a virtual appliance for the first time. This virtual appliance is not meant to be used in a production environment, but to help users easily deploy and evaluate vCloud Director. There is also an updated vCloud Director Evaluators Guide that goes along with the new vCD appliance that was released today which you should also check out.

Eric SloofUnderstanding VMware Horizon Application Manager – VMware Horizon Application Manager is a hosted service that enables organizations to centrally manage the provisioning, access and usage of cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and ThinApp-virtualized Windows applications. This solution enables IT departments to extend on-premises Active Directory identities to the public cloud, simplifying the security of application access.

Kevin KellingWhat Really Is Cloud Computing? (Triple-A Cloud) – What is cloud computing?  Ask a consumer, CIO, and salesman and you’ll likely get widely varying responses.The consumer will typically think of the cloud as a hosted service, such as Apple’s iCloud, or uploading pictures to Photobucket, and scores more of like services (just keep in mind that several such services existed before it became fashionable to slap the “cloud” label on them).

Vladan SegetThe first connection to a desktop pool – The last post of this miniseries will show you the installation of VMware View Client software on my laptop and connection to the first available desktop which we configured in the previous lessons.  I want to say once again, this series of articles is really not a complete how-to guide on VMware View. There are some design trainings from VMware Education or there are also more in-depth VMware View DVD learning course available from TrainSignal.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 44

A lot of my customers are starting to either deploy vSphere 5 and/or starting to look at upgrading or testing this new version in their labs.  Don’t forget about all of the great resources that are available to you as you begin your journey.  Undeniably, VMware has the best technology social media outlet that you can tap into.  From twitter, to blog posts, to the VMTN forums, there are many resources that you can go to for assistance.  If your new to the social media circus, have no fear!  You will find that most people are willing to help out, as it will benefit not only you, but probably someone else down the road.  When in doubt, please engage our GSS team (Global Support Services).  There is a reason your paying for maintenance right?  Happy Hunting!

On with the top 5, some really great posts this week!

Nick WeaverStraighten up with a new UBER tool : Presenting UBERAlign – The idea of creating this came from the lack of a decent free alignment tool out there for VMware admins. Most every other one at there was either something you had to purchase or you had to be a customer of the vender to get access to it. And even after getting access these tools were either (in my opinion) limited in what they did, how they did it, or had become obsolete in a console-less vSphere 5 architecture.

Alan RenoufvSphere Distributed Switch PowerCLI cmdlets – For a long time now when presenting at VMworld or VMUGS I have asked the question – What would you like to see from PowerCLI next ?  The standard answer I get at most of these is vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) cmdlets!  What’s new ?  VMware have now released some PowerCLI cmdlets as a fling which work with VDS and allow you to do most of the common VDS tasks in your vSphere environment

Andre Leibovici – Printing Architectures for VDI – Part 2 – Some articles get stuck and never get published. I wrote this one a while back and for different reasons the publishing was delayed. However, while reviewing some of the new features in VMware View 5.0 I noticed that the Location Based Printing feature has been extended.

Hany Michael – Double-Diagram: vCloud Director Management Pod in the Public & Private Clouds! – Those two diagrams have been sitting in my PC for ages and I thought it’s time for them to see the light. As a perfectionist by nature I think that they are probably the worst diagrams I’ve designed to date! The reason being is that I am probably missing way too many items and services. It’s a quite rich topic when it comes to the management and monitoring of the cloud (be it public or private) and to top that, VMware is coming out with something new every day that is revolutionary and game changing.

Tommy TrodenHow to setup your first Desktop Pool in VMware View 5 – From a high level, the way you deploy Virtual Desktops to end users is via “Pools”.  You create a pool of Desktops and then you “Entitle” the users to the pool and this gives them the necessary privileges to access it.  In order to grant access to a desktop you first need to have a desktop created in vCenter.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 43

For those that might have missed it, check your iPad for an update to the VMware View client.  We released an update to the iPad client that is optimized for View 5, it supports running as a background process,  and brings a new look and feel to the connection manager among other features.

Arne Fokkema – PowerCLI: Migrate templates during the Enter Maintenance Mode task – Normally when you put a host into Maintenance mode the templates will stay on the host instead of being migrate to a different host. This can be very annoying if you are performing maintenance on the vSphere host and a colleague needs to deploy a VM from the template. I am running vSphere 4.1 update 1. I don’t know if this is still the case with vSphere 5. The host in Maintenance mode will look like this.

Tommy TrogdenSetting up View 5 Connection Server for the 1st time – The next part of the Connection Broker install is to setup your vCenter and Composer credentials.    As with a lot of VMware’s new management user interfaces, everything is moving towards a Adobe Flex client to manage.  This is great because it frees you up from having to install management applications on your device.  It also makes it really handy to manage your View environment from just about any browser in any VM you happen to be in !!  VERY COOL.  Anyway, lets get back to the topic at hand. 

Chris ColottivCloud Director Clone Wars Part 2 (Deep Dive) – In part one we looked at the simple challenge of how to try and balance the I/O clone traffic on more than one host.  Although the fix is not ideal it does the job as best we can.  I decided to take a deeper look at this with a different scenario.  How does the cloning traffic flow when you are dealing with not only multiple clusters, but multiple vCenter Servers, and multiple datastores.

Eric SiebertvSphere 5’s Storage DRS and storage profile function deliver control over storage resources – The release of VMware Inc.’s vSphere 5 brings many exciting new features and enhancements to the virtualization platform, especially when it comes to storage. Two of the biggest new features in that area are Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and Profile-Driven Storage, which provide some much-needed control over storage resources.

Jase McCartyVMware View – Better service with less $upport cost$ – I speak with customers all the time on various technologies.  One such technology that I speak about is virtual desktop technologies, architecture, sizing, and so on.  I don’t know if I can say that 2011 is the “Year of VDI”, but I can say I have spoken to quite a few customers about it.  Remember that 2009, 2010, & 2011 were touted as the “Year of VDI.”

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 42

Well VMworld part 2 (aka Copenhagen) has wrapped up this week, and once again was a huge success.  The largest IT tradeshow in Europe is now at a population north or 7000 attendees and the excitement of the event continues from where it left off in Las Vegas.  I have been following all of the blogs, tweets, youtube video’s etc from afar, but I think my favorite highlight of the event (outside of technology) was the interview with the vMafia.  Classic!

On with the Top 5 of the week…

Kevin Kelling – vCenter Server Heartbeat 6.3 — Experiences and Recommendations – Is vCenter Server a mission-critical application for which you cannot afford downtime?  It depends on the environment, but for many organizations the availability of vCenter Server is becoming more and more critical.  For starters you lose a single point of management for all your ESX hosts, DRS and potentially quite a bit more.  Let’s take a look at some specific impacts of vCenter Server being unavailable.

Mike LaverickVMware Auto Deploy: ESXi installation made easy – VMware vSphere 5 includes a new feature called Auto Deploy, which automates ESXi installation and host configuration. Through PXE booting, VMware Auto Deploy delivers the entire ESXi hypervisor across the wire, meaning the host can be completely diskless.  I’ve been tinkering with VMware Auto Deploy for a new book I’m working on, and I think VMware admins will find it easier to configure than storage area network-based booting.

Cody BunchOrchestrator – Install the vCO vApp – In case you missed the announcement, the barrier to entry for vCenter Orchestrator was just lowered significantly with VMware’s release of the vCO 4.2 vApp. Here, we’ll talk about installing it.  Basically, I’m assuming that you have an edition of vSphere that is licensed for vCenter and have downloaded both the OVF and VMDK files from the VMware download page.

Julian WoodVMworld Buzz: VMware announces vCenter Operations Management Suite – VMware’s major announcement at VMworld is billed as “The Biggest VMware Management Launch Ever”. What that means is VMware has announced its new version of vCenter Operations which it is now calling vCenter Operations Management Suite and will be released later this year or early 2012. vCOPS as it’s called is the technology VMware bought from Integrien in August 2010.

Eric GrayVMware vMotion: Over 5 Times Faster Than Hyper-V Live Migration – In a new head-to-head comparison published by independent technology assessment firm Principled Technologies, VMware vSphere once again trounces challenger Hyper-V by delivering superior speed, performance, and reliability for zero-downtime virtual machine migrations. 

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 40

Mike Laverick – Failback with SRM and vSphere Replication – As you might know SRM 5.0 introduces support for “vSphere Replication” (VR) – where virtual appliances are deployed to assist in the replication of VMs from the Protected Site to the Recovery Site. What you might not know – is whilst this works perfectly for recoveries where the VM moves from one site (say SiteA: New York) to another (say SiteB: New Jersey) – there is no automated method of failback. That is to say, moving the VM back from the Recovery Site (SiteB: New Jersey) to Protected Site (SiteA: New York).

Duncan Epping – vSphere 5.0 HA and metro / stretched cluster solutions – I had a discussion via email about metro clusters and HA last week and it made me realize that HA’s new architecture (as part of vSphere 5.0) might be confusing to some. I started re-reading the article which I wrote a while back about HA and metro / stretched cluster configurations and most actually still applies.

Jason Boche – SRM 5.0 Replication Bits and Bytes – VMware has pushed out several releases and features in the past several weeks.  It can be a lot to digest, particularly if you’ve been involved in the beta programs for these new products because there were some changes made when the bits made their GA debut. One of those new products is SRM 5.0.  I’ve been working a lot with this product lately and I thought it would be helpful to share some of the information I’ve collected along the way.

Gregg Robertson – Upgrading from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5 – Yep the time has yet again come round that the bi yearly mass upgrade of all of my VMware environments needs upgrading to the latest version. Thankfully this upgrade process hasn’t been too difficult but seeing as so many people said they found my posting all about the upgrading of my environments from 4 to 4.1 helpful I thought I’d keep the idea going and do one for my upgrading to 5 and give people some hints on things that slowed me down and things to plan for before doing the upgrade

Simon Seagrave – Virtualizing Oracle – Debunking the Myths – There appears be a number of popular misconceptions around the feasibility of virtualizing Oracle.  I’ve spent the past week at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 and from talking with attendees there seems to be a resistance by some in running Oracle virtualized due to perceived performance, increased cost and support implications.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 39

Eric Sloof – Video – Metro vMotion in vSphere 5.0 – vSphere 5 introduces a new latency-aware Metro vMotion feature that not only provides better performance over long latency networks but also increases the round-trip latency limit for vMotion networks from 5 milliseconds to 10 milliseconds. Previously, vMotion was supported only on networks with round-trip latencies of up to 5 milliseconds.

Dean Flaming – ThinApp, the Taskbar, and Start Menu Pinning – Recently I was asked if there was a way to pin ThinApp packages to the Start Menu and Taskbar in Win 7. Well, depending upon what your desired outcome is, there are both long and short answers.  What is "Pinning"?  First off, what is "Pinning" in Win 7 (and Vista too)? Basically, "Pinning" is the ability for a Windows User to tack an application to the Start Menu or Quick Launch areas which the User wishes to have easy and quick access to.

Chris Colotti – How To: Configure vCloud Director Load Balancing – I realized yesterday in talking to a friend and colleague of mine that there is a lot of confusion about load balancing vCloud Director cells.  I had written a detailed post about considerations and many of these were also incorporated into the new vCAT 2.0.  However it seems there is still something lost in translation so I wanted to break it down to very some very simple requirements that are easy to follow.

Kendrick Coleman – VMware vSphere 5 Host NIC Network Design Layout and Configuration – As vSphere has progressed, my current 6, 10, and 12 NIC designs have slowly depreciated. In an effort to update these to VMware vSphere 5, I took the 2 most popular configurations of 6 and 10 NICs and updated the Visios to make them a bit more pretty. I also don’t know how much longer these will be necessary as the industry moves forward with 10GbE as a standard.

Alan Renouf – Automated install of vShield Services – Following on from my previous post in this series where I showed how we could deploy vShield manager into our virtual infrastructure I thought I would take it one step further and show how we can use the vShield API’s within PowerShell to make some nice PowerShell advanced functions which will install the vShield services on our hosts.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 38

Now that VMworld 2011 Las Vegas is behind us, we can now start ramping up for VMworld 2011 Copenhagen.  I know Frank Denneman is anxiously awaiting the event!  Here are the top 5 posts for the week, enjoy…


Andre Leibovici – The Right Hardware for a 10K VDI solution – I have been involved in many VDI designs over the past years, and recently I have been involved in a design and architecture for a 10,000 user VDI solution. I thought it would be interesting to share here the considerations and decisions that goes behind hardware definition for such a large project.  So, first let’s review the requirements, constraints and assumptions that must be followed during the design.

Chris Wahl – NUMA Woes – Battling High CPU %RDY on vSphere 4 – I recently starting seeing a number of alerts on one of my clusters that many VMs were getting a high %RDY for CPU. I thought this weird, as the vSphere hosts are beefy sized HP DL580 G7s loaded with 4 sockets of Intel x7542 processors and there aren’t many VMs running. Typical CPU usage was under 20% per host. How could the VMs be contending for CPU resources in this situation?

William Lam – How to Install VMware VSA in Nested ESXi 5 Host Using the GUI – We upgraded the ghettoDatacenter to vSphere 5 this weekend and one of the things I wanted to play with was the new VMware VSA (vSphere Storage Appliance). Since we only have a single host, running nested ESXi would be our only option and this would allow us to easily deploy three vESXi 5.0 hosts and vCenter to tinker with the new VMware VSA.

Duncan Epping – Multiple-NIC vMotion in vSphere 5… – How do you setup multi-NIC vMotion? I had this question 3 times in the past couple of days during workshops so I figured it was worth explaining how to do this. It is fairly straight forward to be honest and it is more or less similar to how you would setup iSCSI with multiple vmknic’s. More or less as there is one distinct difference.

Greg Mulholland – How vSphere 5 Challenges Storage Design – vSphere 5 revealed around 150 new features many of which are still to be understood. The new storage features however, got plenty of publicity. Storage DRS or SDRS, Profile Driven Storage and VASA, Datastore Clustering , VMFS5, additional VAAI capability and Storage IO Control improvements were the main ones.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 34

Well it’s upon us once again, tomorrow kicks off THE big event of the year for those that enjoy the benefits of VMware software solutions.  VMworld 2011 is on, and as always it will be the best place to be for the next 5 days.  Follow the action online via Twitter or login to VMworld.com and listen to the key notes for those of you that couldn’t make it out there in person.

Duncan Epping – Using vSphere 5 auto-deploy in your home lab – I was just playing around with auto-deploy and I figured I would quickly scribble down the steps required to configure it. The documentation is okay but it often refers me back and forth in the document which makes it difficult to read at times. Here is what I did to get it working. I was in doubt if I would add screenshots, but that would make this article fairly lengthy and I am sure that most of you wouldn’t need it any way.

Eric Gray – VMware vSphere 5 outperforms Hyper-V by nearly 20% – Independent technology assessment firm, Principled Technologies, recently conducted a comprehensive performance comparison between VMware vSphere 5 and Hyper-V R2 SP1.  In a head-to-head competition, VMware ESXi once again smoked the Windows-based hypervisor in three amazing ways…

Chris Colotti – Create vApp Storage Tiers in vCloud Director – Well, by now there is many of us that have installed and played with vCloud Director and realized it is pretty cool, well at least I think so.  We have also seen it has some of its challenges, as we would with any new product.  I did want to take a moment, and try to give some ideas, NOT gospel design mind you, on how to possibly get creative with vCloud Director in order to create storage tiers for a specific vApp.

Michael White – Bulk IP Customization in SRM 5 – In SRM 5 we have a new interface to managing the IP information of protected virtual machines.  It makes it easy to change or update IP information for a virtual machine.  You can see what the SRM UI looks like here.  See below for what the new UI for editing IP addresses in SRM 5 looks like.

Kendrick Coleman – 10 Tips for Attending VMworld – The twitterstream is buzzing, press releases are being announced, and everyone is preparing their livers for the awesomeness that is going to be next week. Last year’s VMworld was my first and it is going to be hard to top, but I’m determined to make it better than ever. I wanted to throw some quick tips for those venturing out to Vegas next week. I learned most of these the hard way because it was my first major conference, but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 33

VMworld 2011 is only a week away, so get ready for the best vendor IT tradeshow in the industry!  If you think VMware has made all our announcements with our cloud infrastructure launch (vSphere 5, vCD, vShield…) think again!  I can’t disclose any information, but just make sure you make it to the key notes for some very exciting announcements and ground breaking technologies from our executive management team.

On with the top 5!

Andre Leibovici – The biggest Linked Clone “IO” Split Study – Part 2/2 – In the first part of this article I discussed how Linked Clone tiering architecture works and how the IO is distributed across different storage tiers. For each tier and disk type I analyzed the IO impact during the creation of a Replica disk, and the customization and boot processes; including persistent disk and user profile behavior.  This study is aiming to find out how much of the IO pattern change overtime as virtual desktops gets utilized and Linked Clone disks grow in size.

Eric Sloof – Video – How to setup a vSphere 5 Port Mirror – Port mirroring is the capability on a network switch to send a copy of network packets seen on a switch port to a network monitoring device connected to another switch port. Port mirroring is also referred to as Switch Port Analyzer (SPAN) on Cisco switches. In VMware vSphere 5.0, a Distributed Switch provides a similar port mirroring capability to that available on a physical network switch. After a port mirror session is configured with a destination—a virtual machine, a vmknic or an uplink port—the Distributed Switch copies packets to the destination.

Duncan Epping – Swap to host cache aka swap to SSD? – I’ve seen multiple people mentioning this feature and saw William posting a hack on how to fool vSphere (feature is part of vSphere 5 to be clear) into thinking it has access to SSD disks while this might not be the case. One thing I noticed is that there seems to be a misunderstanding of what this swap to host cache actually is / does and that is probably due to the fact that some tend to call it swap to SSD. Yes it is true, ultimately your VM would be swapping to SSD but it is not just a swap file on SSD or better said it is NOT a regular virtual machine swap file on SSD.

Vladan Seget – The Official vSphere Licensing Advisor Tool is out – At first, when the new licensing of vSphere 5 has been announced, there was Alan Renouf’s PowerCLI script available about checking on about the vRAM compliance. It’s because the Official vSphere Licensing Advisor Tool was still under development. It was an independent company which was contracted by VMware for the development of the tool and which did not make it for the deadline.

Ivo Beerens – Upgrading to VMware ESXi 5 – It is not supported to directly upgrade ESX(i) 3.x to ESXi 5. You must first upgrade ESX(i) 3 to ESX(i) 4 before upgrading to ESXi 5. Another option is to do an fresh installation.  When upgrading to vSphere ESXi 5 there are a couple of things to think about before starting.  It is now possible to upgrade VMware ESX 4.x and ESXi 4.x to VMware ESXi 5. Prior ESXi 5 the upgrade from ESX to ESXi was not supported (fresh installation needed).