November 2011 archive

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye … to Eric Siebert

It’s always difficult to say goodbye, especially when you’ve been doing something you enjoy for many years.

I started writing for more than three years ago, in March 2008. Up to that point I had no writing experience, and I had never really thought of myself as a writer. On a whim, I responded to a post on TechTarget’s website about writing opportunities. They gave me a shot, and I found that I was pretty good at it, and since then I’ve written more than 100 articles on and more than 100 posts for the Virtualization Pro blog. My writing at TechTarget got me a lot of exposure and opportunities over the years, and it really helped my career develop and blossom.

Looking back at my writing over the years, I thought I would highlight some of the articles that I enjoyed doing the most and am most proud of. I tend to write pretty detailed and lengthy articles, because I like to give complete coverage to a product or feature, and as a result many of my articles were turned into series. My very first assignment was to write about VMware Converter, which ended up being a three-part series. I was a little green starting out, but one of the nice things about having editors is that they take your work and make it look even better.

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VSphere 5 features for VARs: VCenter server appliance, auto deploy (Part 2)

While part one of this vSphere 5 upgrade series dealt with the challenges that solution providers may need to deal with during a migration, but there are also benefits. Because of their simplistic nature and improved capabilities, the vSphere 5 features listed below can be assets during a customer upgrade:

vCenter Server appliance
VSphere 5 supports running vCenter Server as a pre-built Linux virtual appliance. This makes deploying and maintaining vCenter Server much easier and also means it’s no longer required to run it on a server running a Windows operating system (OS). The virtual appliance comes packaged with IBM’s DB2 Express and also supports only Oracle or DB2 for external databases. This will appeal to customers that mainly use Linux because vCenter Server doesn’t require the use of Microsoft products.

Solution providers can use a Web user interface (UI) for configuration, and it’s compatible with the new Flex based Web UI that is part of vSphere 5. Flex is a framework for web development from Adobe that enables rich functionality for Web browsers. This allows for better Web administration UI’s to be created so VMware can mimic the Windows based vSphere Client’s functionality through a Web browser. The previous web UI in vSphere 4 just used basic HTML and was not as feature-heavy as the new Flex based Web UI in vSphere 5.

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VSphere 5 upgrade challenges: Licensing and ESXi (Part 1)

Because of its new features and enhancements, many of your customers are likely anxious to start planning their vSphere 5 upgrade, and it’s important to know new caveats and issues before you let your customers dive right into it.

Solution providers can ensure a smooth transition to vSphere 5 by taking note of these important modifications and understanding what they mean to individual customer environments:

New licensing
Perhaps the biggest vSphere 5 deviation from previous versions is that your customers will need to deal with the new licensing model.

VSphere 4 licensing was fairly straightforward: as licenses were bought per CPU socket and you could run unlimited virtual machines (VMs) on the host. That model is no more with vSphere 5, and while licenses are still sold per CPU socket, each license comes with a fixed amount of virtual RAM (vRAM) that can be assigned to VMs. Depending on the environment, this could cause a customer to spend thousands of dollars in additional licenses to be compliant with new vSphere 5 licensing. The new model favors scale-out architectures that hold a greater amount of hosts that have smaller resource amounts. This means less VMs running on each host, which results in less vRAM usage per host. When you try and scale up with hosts that have large amounts of RAM, the additional license costs to match the amount of that RAM in a host can get very costly.

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