Archives For VMware

Today was day one at VMworld Europe, this year was my first time at VMworld so I didn’t really know what to expect.

As it was partner day today there was limited access to the show floor with the labs being open to the general public and a dedicated area for partner keynotes and sessions, as I work for a VMware partner I have access to the partner areas as well as the labs, I’m not going to blog much about the partner content but there was a big focus on the management tools as well as the usual cloud information.

Much of my time today was spent in the labs, I figured it was best to get in as many labs today before the general public arrive tomorrow. Altogether I sat four labs, the first lab for me was the EMC lab, the lab focused around their solutions in their product suite we looked the VNX vCenter plugin the Isilon product and also the Avamar backup product

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I enjoyed the content of the EMC lab I’m not had much experience with EMC products so it was useful to see what was in their product range and how to work with it.

The second lab was VMware troubleshooting lab I took the first lab of the two part series, the first part goes over the basics of troubleshooting and although there was number of elements within this lab that I was already aware of there was still some items that i was able pick up on, there was also a sneak peak of a tool in production vTop that produces the ESXTOP content in a GUI fashion, I’m hoping to do the second part of the lab tomorrow.

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My third lab was the VMware thinapp lab, although this is an area where I am quite comfortable I was aware it contained a sample of what to expect from the VMware ThinApp factory. I was very impressed! This is one of the longer labs that I have sat through so far with some 225 pages of information / instruction to read through.

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My final lab of the day was the PowerCLI session, I decided to start from the beginning which was aimed at beginners as I didn’t want to miss anything. The scenario was aimed around building a new vSphere 5 environment by copy all the settings and configuration from a vSphere 4 environment. Whilst their were some very impressive scripts in action to copy the settings and apply to the new environment the lab was written in such a way that you ran the scripts then looked at how it worked, I would have preferred to have been walked through how to create it etc. The more advanced section at the end concentrated on a number of areas, I was very interested to learn about invoking actions inside a VM with invoke-vmscript commands which I hadn’t used before.

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I was very impressed with the labs, the labs were one of the main reasons I wanted to attend VMworld and I haven’t been disappointed, there seems a good mix of content, the speed has been good and the small problems I have had with the labs have been sorted very quickly. I am going to continue to plough through the most relevant content first then will step out my comfort zone and really start digging into the vCloud Director labs.

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Most of the rest of my day involved various partner sessions, I met up with a lot of the London VMUG crew it’s been great to chat and hope for more of the same of that as the week goes on. I also finally briefly met John Troyer himself, Gabe from GabesVirtualWorld and EMC vSpecialst Bas Raaymen amongst many others.

Food and a band was put on for partners in the evening prior to the various parties going on around the city, most people have gone to the Danish VMUG party tonight sponsored by Veeam, call me old or boring but I have given it a miss to crash out to ensure I’m ready for tomorrow.

I am going to try and get in a lab at 8am prior to my 9am session, VMware View Troubleshooting. The solution exchange also opens tomorrow so I look forward to seeing what all the vendors have to offer.

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vSphere 5 Released

August 25, 2011 — Leave a comment

The long anticipated vSphere 5 has now been released and is availble to download

Screen Shot 2011 08 25 at 09 38 43

Head over too http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/5_0

For more information on vSphere 5, documentation, features and FAQ’s head over to the Info Center

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/overview.html

Also look at some of my previous blog posts on vSphere5

https://virtualisedreality.com/2011/07/13/vsphere-5/

and

https://virtualisedreality.com/2011/07/15/vsphere-5-new-vsphere-web-client/

I will also be doing a deepdive on each of the new features over the coming weeks / months

Today is a big day in the VMware community, it’s not because of a new release of vSphere or View, it’s because it’s John Troyer (aka Mr VMware Communities) birthday. John is a VMware employee and regularly when thanked for his work explains it is all part of his job, however it is the general feeling amongst the vExpert’s and VMware community that John always goes the extra mile for the community and without John being at the helm of the community it wouldn’t be what it is today.

For many their first interaction with the VMware community is the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast, where John hosts always staring with the words “Good morning, good evening, wherever you may be, across the nation across the world” taken from a late night US talk show, this was certainly one of my first interactions with the community, the VMware community is a warm and welcoming place and this is largly for John setting up the groundings and continued support and direction for the communitee.

John has always been the goto guy at VMware when someone was looking for that extra bit of information and will always do what he can to get it for them.

So everybody please join the vExperts in wishing John Troyer a very happy birthday and thanks for all he does, there is a twitter hashtag specially for today #vTHNX and John can be found on twitter as @JTroyer

JohnTroyer

With the announcement of vSphere 5 this week brings many new features, I attend to be picking of features one by one and looking at them with a bit more depth.

With vSphere 5 is a completely new vSphere vCenter web interface, previously the web interface was slow and extremely limited with what could be done with it, to be honest I don’t think I ever really used it apart from when I couldn’t get near a Windows PC to start the vSphere Client.

The new web client is written in Adobe Flex the same as the View and vCloud Director user interfaces, I believe in the long term this is the way we will see the full client heading. The new interface isn’t designed to fully replace the functionality of the Windows Client at the moment but has most functionality that you will use from an administration perspective.

The new web interface is installed as a separate component to the vCenter, also notice the shiny new installer!

vCenter Install

The vSphere Web Client (server) can be installed on a server with network connectivity to the vCenter, in my demo lab I have it installed on my vCenter but I haven’t found the best practise regarding this yet.

Installer

Once the web client server is installed you need to configure it to be able to see your vCenter, this is achieved by going to the URL below direct from the server where the Web Client is installed.

https://127.0.0.1:9443/admin-app

Once at the above page you need to register your vCenter with the web client server

register

details.png

 

We can now see the registered vCenter in the list

registered.png

Once you have registered the vCenter you are able to login using the web client from any machine with Adobe Flash 10.1.0 installed. The web client is accessed from the following address

https://%5Bwebclientserver%5D:9443/vsphere-client/

login.png

In the bottom left you can install the client integration plug-in, this is a Windows only plugin, this is responsible for the console view I haven’t found any other uses for it yet.  Once in you should find most day to day tasks can be completed here.

Creating a new virtual machine

newvm

Looking at performance

Editing a VM

EditVM

Resource Management

Resource Management

Conclusion

Being a Mac user an improved web client is a very welcome addition for me, after using it for a while I feel I could happily do most daily admin with it. Moving forward if the Windows client were to reach end of life I would have to see how some of the more complex elements would port over to this web client.

There are some nice features like the arrows in the top right of the windows can be used to minimise a task into the work in progress panel while you do something else

Work in Progress

I would hope to see cross platform support for the client integration plug-in in a future release as well.

vSphere 5

July 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

It happened we can finally talk about vSphere.next vSphere5!


vSphere5

Now that I have got the licensing post out the way >> https://virtualisedreality.com/2011/07/13/understanding-vsphere5-licensing/ I am going to concentrate on the technology inside vSphere5 as after all thats what being a vExpert is all about, the passion for the technology! I am going to start with a general overview of vSphere 5 and then over the next few days and months will expand on the technology. I was lucky enough to be part of the vSphere beta and this gave me a great chance to get some hands on with the new release before general availability, unfortunately as I have increasingly been doing work with View 4 I have had to have vSphere 4 installed in my home lab more than vSphere 5.

During the vSphere 4 announcement it was described as “The first cloud operating system” during the vSphere 5 announcement it was described as the first comprehensive cloud infrastructure suite. The suite is made up of vCloud Director, vShield Security, vCenter Operations, vCenter SRM and vSphere 5. For the moment I will be concentrating on the vSphere 5 release.

vSphere5Suite

Below are some of the key aspects of the new vSphere 5 release, by no means is it an extensive list and I will be adding to it over the coming days.

  • The first point that we were all aware of is that ESX is no longer a choice with vSphere 5 and ESXi is now the way forward.
  • vSphere Auto Deploy – Allows you to PXE boot your ESXi OS from the Auto Deploy Server meaning no need for boot disks, sharing a standard ESXi imageAuto Deply
  • Hardware Version 8, which now introduces 3D graphics support for WIndows Aero and USB 3.0 support
  • Support for Apple Xserve Servers running OS X Server 10.6 (Aren’t Xserver servers end of life now?)
  • New VMware HA Architecture – HA has been completely rewritten from the ground up and utilises a new agent called the fault domain manager, there is also a new concept of datastore heartbeating that allows vSphere to differentiate between a host that is isolated and a host that has failed. Gone is the concept of primary and secondary nodes with a limit on the amount of primary nodes, it now uses master and slaves and an election process.
  • vMotion enhancements with the introduction of a new “Metro vMotion” feature that now allows vMotions to work and be supported over networks with latency of unto 10ms. Previously vMotion was only supporting on links with latency less the 5ms.
  • ESXi Firewall that supports restriction of services based upon IP and subnet amongst other features
  • Larger virtual machine support with VM maximums increased to 1TB RAM and 32 vCPU’s
  • vSphere Web Client – The web client has been completely updated and is now installed as a separate component to vCenter, the new web client is built on Adobe flex the same as the View and vCloud Director clients, the functionality should meet all the requirements for day to day administration with the full fat vSphere client still being required for most configuration tasks. I personally can see this being the only client available in future version of vSphere.
  • VMware vCenter Appliance – There is now a linux based vCenter appliance available for those wishing to not have a Windows based vCenter, there are some limitations regarding the usage of the vCenter appliance and I will do a separate blog post on this

Some of the major changes and announcement are surround storage these are

  • Storage DRS offers smart virtual machine placement and load balancing, vSphere 5 introduces a new concept of datacenter clusters, within the Storage DRS configuration you are able to select the space and latency thresholds for the virtual machines. IO is analysed every 8 hours by default. This is a huge new feature and I will be doing a dedicated blog post on this feature in the future.

StorageDRS

  • Profile Driven Storage – Allows you and or the array vendor to tag the storage with a capability on each datastore, these capabilities can be added to different storage profiles, for example tier1, tier2 and tier3. When creating your virtual machines you will then be able to choose which capability your virtual machine requires, this maybe based upon RAID type, SnapShot schedules and or Replication schedules. You are then able to review compliance of your virtual machines to ensure that they are compliant on a regular basis. This is a simple but brilliant new feature, this is something I spend a lot of time talking through customers with at the moment and we normally end up using Excel to formulate the profiles.
  • VMFS5 File System is now based on GPT instead of MBR and has a maximum size of 64TB, block sizes are now all set at 1MB whilst maintaing the benefits of the previous larger block sizes, upgrading from VMFS3 to VMFS5 is a non disruptive process unlike previous VMFS upgrades.
  • vStorage API’s have been enhanced with thin provisioning reclamation of unused space, monitoring of space usage for thin provisioned volumes and hardware acceleration for NAS’s amongst over features.
  • There is now a virtual storage appliance (VSA) that is aimed at SMB users, the VSA utilises the local storage in the ESXi host and creates 1 replicated NFS datastore per host. As the datastore is replicated to another host it also other failover, management is through the vSphere client to ease administration. Again I will be doing a dedicated blog post on this

VSA

Below are links to documents that will help you get up to speed on the new release


Full lists of the resources can be found here >> http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/mid-size-and-enterprise-business/resources.html

 

VMware vSphere 5 Clustering

Bloggers, VCDX’s, VMware Gurus, Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman have just released their second book together covering Clustering in vSphere 5! Their previous book VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS was a huge success and the must have for vSphere admins and consultant over the world.

The latest book covers

HA node types
HA isolation detection and response
HA admission control
VM Monitoring
HA and DRS integration
DRS imbalance algorithm
Resource Pools
Impact of reservations and limits
CPU Resource Scheduling
Memory Scheduler
DPM
Datastore Clusters
Storage DRS algorithm
Influencing SDRS recommendations

So if you are wanting to learn more about what happens under the hood, studying for any of the key VMware exams or looking to get up to speed with the changes and new clustering features such as Storage DRS in vSphere 5 I would highly recommend getting this book.

I have just purchased my copy on the Kindle store and look forward to starting reading it on the way to the London VMUG tomorrow!

Kindle Version – http://www.amazon.co.uk/vSphere-Clustering-Technical-Deepdive-ebook/dp/B005C1SARM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1310583878&sr=1-3

 

 

Anyone that knows me or has worked with me will know I like to stay at the technology end of the business and will happily leave the others to worry about the licensing and cost. With VMware’s latest release they are making this somewhat more difficult for me as we are now licensed on not only physical CPU’s but also allocated memory. I thought I would put together a blog post to explain the new licensing model in some detail and what this will mean generally for the customers I work with.

Please note a good place to start when trying to understand the new licensing models yourself is the VMware vSphere 5.0 Licensing, Pricing and Packaging white paper

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf

vSphere 4 Licensing

Currently in vSphere 4 we have 6 different levels of licensing, these are as follows

vSphere4 Essentials LicensingvSphere 4 Licensing

What this has meant in recent years is that the amount of RAM allocated to ESX(i) hosts has been increasing alongside consolidation ratios without the customer needing to purchase any additional licenses from VMware, so increasingly with the higher core counts available today we have seen in some cases that actual amount of physical hosts going down along with the amount of VMware licensing required to run the same amount of virtual machines. For this reason it was to be expected that VMware would be making some form of change to the licensing model.

vSphere 5 Licensing

So moving on to yesterdays announcements and the change in licensing for vSphere 5, VMware are moving to a model where you are no longer restricted to the amount of cores each version supports but to a model where it is still licensed on a per physical CPU basis, but are also licensed on the amount of allocated vRAM across your pooled resource.

vSphere5 Essentials Licensing

vSphere5 LicensingThe first part to note is that the Advanced licensing is now end of life and actually managed to out live Enterprise that was supposed to be retiring, anyone with an existing advanced license with support and subscriptions will be upgraded to Enterprise. An important part to understand for the new licensing model is the amount of vRAM allocated is calculated across the pooled resource, this means over your vCenter and more importantly can also mean vCenter’s linked with Linked Mode. This means you are only having to license what is actually being allocated in total to your virtual machines and not what amount of memory the physical host contain and equally and more importantly if you have a DR environment that is largely sat there dormant the vRAM entitlement that you get with these can actually be used by the hosts in your production clusters.

Scenarios

Let’s look into a few scenarios and see how this end’s up working based on some end users.

Essentials Plus

We will start with Essential Plus as my guess this will be the most popular of the essentials bundles.

With your average two way ESXi Host (HP DL360 / 380, Dell R610 / 710 etc)

With this licensing level and the 3 host maximum you would be entitled to 144GB (24GB x 6) of allocated RAM for all our virtual machines in your clusters. In a N+1 configuration and taking a maximum figure of 4GB’s allocated for each of your virtual machines this would allow you to run 36 servers in this configuration, in a real life scenario this would probably be more between 36 and 72 right sized VM’s.

From a point of view of all of my customers with Essentials Plus I don’t think any of them have an environment today that would not fit within this new licensing model.

Enterprise

The majority of my customer in the next tier of licensing generally have Advanced or Enterprise licensing so I will concentrate on looking at the Enterprise licensing next. Again I will concentrate on your average two way ESXi Host (HP DL360 / 380, Dell R610 / 710 etc)

With this licensing level and a cluster of 7 hosts you would be entitled as standard to 448GB (32GB x 14) of allocated RAM. In a N+1 configuration and taking a maximum figure of 4GB’s allocated for each of your virtual machines this would allow you to run 112 servers in this configuration, but again in a real life scenario this is more likely to be somewhere between, 112 and 224 right sized VM’s.

For the majority of my customer in this space this would also more than meet their existing requirements, the few customers that I do have that this doesn’t potentially meet their requirements for also have another aspect to look into. These larger customers tend to have a DR environment that is largely (Not completely) sat dormant and connected to the production vCenter using linked mode. This means that potentially they have another 7 hosts licensed and sat in a DR datacenter not generally being pushed during the working day. For these calculations I will assume that 1/2 of the physically available resource is allocated to test and dev outside of a DR event. So based on that these customers have available to them a further 224GB of vRAM that will be in the pool available for the production servers to utilise. I now believe that all of my customers requirements are met with standard allocations of vRAM.

Customer Conclussions

Time will tell as I start discussing the new licensing model with my customers if these calculations actually do make sense for them and I imagine a few may still end up having to increase their licensing from Enterprise to Enterprise + to get the further vRAM allowance or purchasing additional Enterprise licenses to allow them to allocate vRAM,

Points to remember to doing the math

* vRAM does not equal pRAM (physical RAM)

* Consider your DR environments licensing in your pooled resource

* This is probably the right time to ensure that your VM’s are right sized (Does that VM really need 4, 8, 16,24 or more GB of RAM!?)

* This is a good time to review chargeback and ensure the people requesting more RAM in their server understand the cost.

Conclusion

That is my considered thoughts on the new form of licensing, it is never going to be popular VMware restricting the licensing in anyway but I think we can all see why it had to be done, I am sure there are going to be many more Enterprise customers effected with their larger environments but from a quick look at the SMB / SME space things don’t look too bad from here. I would be pleased to hear your comments and will update the post with any new findings etc.

Updates

Something that has been bought to my attention is what happens when you need to do a DR test, will this mean you go over your licensed limit. I will see if I can get some clarification on this from someone at VMware.

To confirm the limits are soft limits, so theoretically you could still complete your DR failover test I need to confirm with VMware if this is acceptable in terms of the license agreement though.

 

 

 

 

VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CEO Steve Herrod are hosting an event next week to unveil the next major step forward in cloud infrastructure. The event will be live online and you can register here

VMware Event

Not only will you get to find our about this latest announcement but you can also get a chance to win a free ticket to VMworld US or Europe, for more information check out this blog post here

VMwareEvent2

We have just finished recording, editing and uploading the second HandsonVirtualization.com podcast with special guest Doug Hazelman of Veeam. Expect more of the usual virtualisation news and discussion, the latest from Dell Storage and Doug Hazelman from Veeam joined us to discuss the recent announcement regarding Hyper-V support in Veeam,

If you are an iTunes user the podcast can be downloaded from here >> http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hands-on-virtualization-podcast/id431718920

If you aren’t an iTunes user you can download it from our Feedburner page here >> http://feeds.feedburner.com/handsonvirtualization

A big thanks to Anton Le Char who has given us the first review on iTunes! It’s really good to get feedback and I would love to hear more about what people think and what they would like to hear about in future episodes. Also if you would like to be our special guest please ping me us on Twitter @VirtualisedReal or @S1xth or alternatively email me at barry(at) virtualisedreality(dot)com

Itunesreview

Show Notes

Jonathan catch up

Dell Storage Forum 2011 in Orlando 1 week away
Dell Storage Forum 2011 – My Session – Virtualisation Case Study

Barry catch up

London VMUG (Cloud Day)
VMware HIT Kit ME

News

Topics of Discussion

1. Reminder of the Dell Storage Forum 2011
2. VMware purchase of Shavlik, SlideRocket, Mozy
3. Veeam announcement of HyperV support (What we would like to see in Veeam 6)
4. VMware Patch releases (May)
5. EQL Mem 1.0.1
6. EQL Firmware 5.0.5 release
7. VMware Horizon App Manager release
8. EMC World Iomega PX6-300D SSD – 100VMs Boot

Special Guest

Doug Hazelman – Veeam

 

 

I have previously reported about the Iomega NAS’s for lab and small business use the existing IX2, 4 and 12’s have been fantastic NAS’s used in many home lab’s and small businesses for virtualisation and backup. Announced at EMC world (EMC own Iomega), Iomega are bringing out two new models the PX4 and the PX6, with 2 GB of memory and dual 1.8GHz Atom processors, the NAS’s for the first time will be able to be purchased in a populated and an unpopulated fashion to allow you to add your own disks. What is really impressive about these units is they also support SSD’s. Demonstrated by Chad Sakac at EMC world was one PX6 fully populated with SSD’s being used to host 100 VDI desktops, not only was it able to cope with the desktops running but more impressively was all 100 desktops were simultaneously booted.

 

These NAS’s are starting to hit retailers now with the unpopulated units reported to be made available in around a months time, I will see what price these hit retailers at but i’m thinking the next update to my home lab is going to be a PX4