December 2008 archive

Top 10 things you must read about Processors (CPUs) and Virtualization

  1. ESX Server CPU Scheduling – A VMworld 2007 presentation (free registration required) on CPU scheduling that covers how it works, performance tips, how to use ESXTOP for analysis and using resource controls.
  2. ESX Server 2 Best Practices Using VMware Virtual SMP – A white paper from VMware that provides information on when and when not to use vSMP with virtual machines and also covers best practices for using vSMP.
  3. AMD-V Nested Paging – A white paper from AMD that discusses the existing software-based paging virtualization solutions and their associated performance overheads. It also introduces AMD-V™ Rapid Virtualization Indexing technology (nested paging) and highlights its advantages and demonstrates the performance uplift that may be seen with nested paging.
  4. Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) in Converged Application Platforms – A white paper from Intel that describes the architecture behind Intel’s VT technology and how it can benefit virtualized applications.
  5. Intel, AMD, VMware and Aircrafts – A great article from Massimo Re Ferre that covers the important things that you should now when choosing between Intel and AMD processors for your servers.
  6. ESX scheduler support for SMP VMs: co-scheduling and more – A good blog post from VMware’s VROOM performance team on using multi-processor VMs and how CPU co-scheduling works in ESX.
  7. Co-scheduling SMP VMs in VMware ESX Server – A document from VMware that explains what CPU co-scheduling is, how it works and the differences between strict and relaxed co-scheduling.
  8. VMkernel Scheduler – A document from VMware that provides details on how the VMkernel CPU scheduler works.
  9. How to be a Good Guest – A VMworld 2007 presentation (free registration required) given by AMD that covers CPU features and the challenges of using VMotion across different CPU types and how badly written software can cause problems.
  10. ESX Server 3 Ready Time Observations – A white paper from VMware that covers what ready time is, how it affects CPU scheduling, how to measure it and interpret the measurements.
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Top 10 things you should read about VMware’s VMotion technology

  1. VMware VMotion and CPU Compatibility – A white paper from VMware that explains how VMotion works, the differences between CPU types and features, what CPU masks are and how to use them and what Enhanced VMotion is.
  2. Understanding CPU Compatibility Constraints for VMotion (VMworld 2007 – free registration required) – A VMworld 2007 presentation that explains the complexities behind CPU constraints with VMotion, problematic CPU features, compatibility groups of CPUs, relaxation of restraints and hardware support for enhanced VMotion compatibility.
  3. VMotion CPU Compatibility for Intel & AMD processors and how to override CPU masks due to CPU mismatch – KB Article 1991, KB Article 1992 & KB Article 1993 –  Three VMware knowledgebase articles that cover specific CPU compatibility information for Intel and AMD processors and how to override CPU masks due to CPU mismatch within CPU brands.
  4. How to obtain, configure and use VMotion and how VMotion works – An article from Andrew Kutz that covers how to license VMotion, how to configure and use it and the technical details behind how it works.
  5. VMotion Compatibility – An article from Scott Lowe that covers CPU masks and how to understand them and set them properly to override CPU compatibility constraints.
  6. How to setup and use VMotion: A Screencast – A screencast from Andrew Kutz that shows how to setup and use VMotion. It covers how to configure it, potential gotchas and how to perform a VMotion migration.
  7. What is Enhanced VMotion Compatibility anyway? – An article from Dave Lawrence that explains the technical details about CPUID instructions and how Enhanced VMotion Compatibility helps to solve the problem of using incompatible CPUs with VMotion.
  8. Overview of VMotion migration compatibility error messages – A VMware knowledgebase article that covers the many possible error messages that may be experienced with VMotion and how to resolve them.
  9. Enhanced VMotion Compatibility (EVC) processor support – A VMware knowledgebase article that covers the Intel and AMD processors that are supported by Enhanced VMotion Compatibility.
  10. Live Migration with AMD-V Extended Migration Technology – A white paper from AMD that covers the challenges and technical details of using VMotion across incompatible CPUs and how CPUID instructions are used.
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Top 10 things you should read about Virtualization and Compliance

  1. How Server Virtualization Impacts Data Security and PCI Compliance – A great webinar that handles the topic of how server virtualization impacts PCI compliance. This is often a misunderstood area as virtualization is not specifically covered in the PCI specification.
  2. How to Achieve Security and Satisfy Compliance – A VMworld 2007 presentation (free registration required) that covers ESX security practices and recommendations. Additionally it covers compliance requirements and how to asses your compliance readiness.
  3. Achieving Compliance in a Virtualized Environment –  A white paper from VMware that discusses how to achieve compliance in a virtualized environment and how virtualization impacts compliance.
  4. Best Practices for Surviving Regulatory Compliance (VMworld 2007) – A VMworld 2007 presentation (free registration required) that covers PCI compliance and how it impacts VMware Virtual Infrastructure.
  5. Reducing the Scope of Your PCI Audit: Innovative Network Segmentation Using Host Intrusion Defense – A presentation (free registration required) from Third Brigade that covers how to segment your network to reduce the scope of your PCI audits.
  6. Staying PCI Compliant in Virtual and Physical Environments – A webcast from Tripwire that covers the challenges of virtualization for security and PCI compliance and best practices for proving control in a virtualized environment.
  7. Insights from an Auditor: Ensuring a Successful PCI Audit – A webcast from Tripwire that talks about common pitfalls of meeting PCI requirements and how to develop a strategy for assessing your payment card environment.
  8. Surviving Regulatory Compliance in the Virtual Infrastructure – A VMworld 2006 presentation on compliance rules for SOX, implications for VMware implementations and how to overcome security and audit issues.
  9. PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – The official documentation of the PCI standard. Contains the documentation of the latest PCI specification and a summary of changes between versions of the specifications.
  10. VMware Compliance Center – VMware’s compliance portal that contains links to documents that are compliance related.
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