Archive

Archive for September, 2012

What is SAHF and LAHF and why do I need it to install vSphere 5.1?

September 23rd, 2012

Happened to look over the ESXi 5.1 documentation today (yeah, yeah, normally I just install and don’t RTFM) and noticed this in the Hardware Requirements section:

  • ESXi 5.1 will install and run only on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs
  • ESXi 5.1 requires a host machine with at least two cores
  • ESXi 5.1 supports only LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions
  • ESXi 5.1 requires the NX/XD bit to be enabled for the CPU in the BIOS

Most of the requirements are fairly straightforward, the 64-bit CPU requirement has been there since vSphere 4 was introduced, but many people probably don’t know what NX/XD & LAHF/SAHF are. The NX/XD bit is a CPU feature called Never eXecute, hence the NX name. What the NX bit does is enable the ability to mark certain areas of memory as non-executable with a flag. When this happens the processor will then refuse to execute any code that resides in those areas of memory. Any attempt to execute code from a page that is marked as no execute will result in a memory access violation. This feature adds a layer of security to a computer by providing a protected area against malicious code such as viruses and buffer overflow attacks.

AMD first added the NX bit feature to their AMD64 processor line starting with the Opteron processor starting in 2003. So you may be wondering about the XD part, well that is simply Intel’s name for the same feature which they refer to as eXecute Disable. Intel introduced support for the XD bit shortly after AMD with their Pentium 4 Prescott processor in 2004. Both the NX bit and the XD bit have the exact same functionality just different names so you will often see it as referred to as NX/XD. This feature has been standard on most processors for years now so almost every server built since 2006 should have it. Support for NX/XD is typically enabled or disabled in the server BIOS and is typically found under Processor options and labeled as something like “Execute Disable Bit”, “NX Technology” or “XD Support”.

Many virtualization admins know what NX/XD is but LAHF & SAHF CPU instructions are a processor function that you have probably never heard of. LAHF stands for Load AH from Flags and SAHF stands for Store AH into Flags. LAHF & SAHF are used to load and store instructions for certain status flags. Instructions are basic commands composed of one or more symbols that that are passed to a CPU as input. These instructions related to LAHF & SAHF are used for virtualization and floating-point condition handling. You really don’t need to understand how they work as they are related to the core CPU architecture but if you want to understand them better you can read more about them here.

Support for LAHF and SAHF instructions appeared shortly after NX/XD was introduced. AMD introduced support for the instructions with their Athlon 64, Opteron and Turion 64 revision D processors in March 2005 and Intel introduced support for the instructions with the Pentium 4 G1 stepping in December 2005. So again most most servers built after 2006 should have CPUs that support LAHF/SAHF. Similar to NX/XD which can be enabled or disabled in the server BIOS, support for LAHF/SAHF is typically tied into the Virtualization Technology (VT) option in a server BIOS which is often referred to Intel VT or AMD-V which is their respective support for virtualization CPU technology. The option to enable this on a HP Proliant BIOS is shown below:

bios1

So how do you know if your server’s CPUs support NX/XD & LAHF/SAHF? As I said before if you’ve purchased a server in the last 5 or so years, it most likely will support it. If it doesn’t support it the ESXi installer will warn you when you install it as shown below:

bios31

Interesting enough though it will still let you install it despite not having the required CPU features. Prior versions of vSphere used to give you an error saying your CPU doesn’t support Long Mode and wouldn’t let you install it. If you do get the error above the first thing to check in that case is if you have those options enabled in the BIOS, if you don’t see those options in the BIOS then your CPU may not support them. You can check your specific CPU’s specifications on Intel’s or AMD’s websites. You can also check VMware’s Hardware Compatibility List but be aware that there are many processor types/server models not on the HCL that will still work despite not being on the list, they just are not officially supported.

Another way to know if your CPU’s support the required features is to use VMware’s CPU Identification Utility which is a small little ISO that you can boot your host from and it will check the CPU hardware to see if it will support vSphere. I’ve mounted it using the iLO management on server and have also mounted it to a VM’s CD-ROM and booted from it and ran it. Since the CPU hardware is not emulated it can see what type of physical CPU the host is using and what features it supports. The output of the CPU ID tool is shown below, this server fully support all the required CPU features for vSphere:

bios21

So there you have it, now you know more about NX/XD & LAHF/SAHF than you probably wanted to know but at least you have an understanding of what they are when you read about the CPU requirements in the vSphere documentation. You probably won’t find any modern servers that don’t support it but often times our data centers become server graveyards and contain a lot of older hardware that keeps getting re-used until they finally die which may not support it. So knowing what to look for when it comes to CPU features is good to know.

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags: , , , ,

VMware configuration maximums from 1.0 to 5.1

September 17th, 2012

VMware has really grown in scalability from the early days of ESX 1.0 with each new release of vSphere. I put together this table on how the configuration maximums have increased over the years so you can see just how much it scales over the years. VMware has published there Configuration Maximums documentation with each release starting with VI3 which you should be familiar with especially if you are trying to get a certification. I pieced together the earlier versions from the installation documentation for each release, there isn’t much info available on ESX 1.0 so if you know anything please fill in the blanks for me. Notice how the VM virtual disk size of 2TB has never changed, this is to due file system limitations that VMware has not yet been able to overcome. With their new Virtual Volumes architecture that limit may finally be gone. Also note on the earlier versions the documentation did not state a 2TB virtual disk limit although I’m almost positive it existed, the documentation stated “9TB per virtual disk”, not sure why though.

Configuration Maximums for VMware ESX/vSphere

VMware release:1.01.52.02.53.03.54.04.15.05.15.5
vCPUs per VM112244883264
RAM per VM2GB3.6GB3.6GB3.6GB16GB64GB255GB255GB1TB1TB
NICs per VM?4444410101010
VM Virtual Disk????2TB2TB2TB2TB2TB2TB62TB
VMFS Volume?64TB64TB64TB64TB64TB64TB64TB64TB64TB
pCPU per host?81616323264160160160320
vCPU per host?648080128128512512204820484096
RAM per host?64GB64GB64GB64GB256GB1TB1TB2TB2TB4TB
pNICs per host?161616323232323232

In addition hears a diagram from VMware that depicts the configuration maximums in a slightly different manner:

vsphere-max

VMware Configuration Maximum Published Documents:

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags: ,

vSphere 5.1 Link-O-Rama

September 10th, 2012
Comments Off

Your complete guide to all the essential vSphere 5.1 links. Bookmark this page and keep checking back as it will grow as new links are added.

What’s New Links

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 (Technical Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 - Storage (Technical Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 - Performance (Technical Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 - Platform (Technical Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 - Networking (Technical Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 - VMware vCenter Server (Technical Paper)

Documentation Links

VMware vSphere Documentation
VMware vSphere 5.1 Release Notes
Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 5.1

Download Links

Download vSphere 5.1
ESXi 5.1.0 Installable
vCenter Server 5.1.0 and modules
vSphere Data Protection 5.1.0
vSphere Replication 5.1.0
vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.0
vCenter Orchestrator Appliance 5.1.0
vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.0
vSphere Management Assistant 5.1 (vMA)
vShield Zones for vSphere 5.1
HP Custom Image for ESXi 5.1.0 GA Install CD
vSphere PowerCLI 5.1
vSphere 5.1 Virtual Disk Development Kit
vSphere CLI 5.1

AutoDeploy Links

VMware vSphere 5.1 iPXE problems with AutoDeploy (Gabe’s Virtual World)
Understanding vSphere Auto Deploy Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs (KB Article)
Auto Deploy Stateless Caching Provisioning (Punching Clouds)
vSphere 5.1 Auto Deploy Overview Videos (VMware TV Video)
vSphere 5.1 - Auto Deploy Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs (VMware vSphere Blog)

ESXi Links

ESXi 5.1 Free with no vRAM limit but physical RAM limit of 32Gb (ESX Virtualization)
Power and maintenance operations in ESXi 5.1 with esxcli (Juanma’s Blog)
Host warning for ESXi Shell and SSH appear on a ESXi 5.1 host (KB Article)
ESXi 5.1 Host Security Improvements (Punching Clouds)
VMware vSphere 5.1 Hypervisor (Free - ESXi 5.1) Limitations (TechHead)
Enabling 64-bit VMs on nested ESXi 5.1 (Virtualization Infrastructure Tips)
Having Difficulties Enabling Nested ESXi in vSphere 5.1? (Virtually Ghetto)
2gbsparse Disk Format No Longer Working On ESXi 5.1 (Virtually Ghetto)
Automating ESXi 5.1 Kickstart Tips & Tricks (Virtually Ghetto)
vSphere 5.1 - New ESXiShellInteractiveTimeOut (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSphere 5.1 - Full Admin Support for Named User Accounts (VMware vSphere Blog)
Joining vSphere Hosts to Active Directory (VMware vSphere Blog)
Identifying Non-Default Advanced & Kernel Settings Using ESXCLI 5.1 (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New In ESXCLI 5.1 (VMware vSphere Blog)

General Links

VMware vSphere: What’s New [V 5.1] (Free VMware eLearning Course)
Read the vSphere 5.1 Release Notes!! (Technodrone)
New in vSphere 5.1 support for five node failover clusters (The Lowercase W)
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V compared to VMware vSphere 5.1 (UP2V)

HA & DRS

vSphere 5.1 DRS advanced option LimitVMsPerESXHost (Frank Denneman)
Retaining resource pools when disabling VMware DRS clusters (KB Article)
Strange DRS behavior during vSphere 5.1 upgrade (Gabe’s Virtual World)
What’s new in vSphere 5.1 for High Availability (Yellow Bricks)
Limit the amount of eggs in a single basket through vSphere 5.1 DRS (Yellow Bricks)

Installing & Upgrading

Upgrade vCenter Server 5.x to vCenter Server 5.1 (Default Reasoning)
Upgrading from ESXi 5.x to ESXi 5.1 using VMware Update Manager (Default Reasoning)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 1 (SSO Service) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 2 (Create vCenter SSL Certificate) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 3 (Install SSO Service SSL Certificate) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 4 (Install Inventory Service) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 5 (Install Inventory Service SSL Certificate) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 6 (Create vCenter and VUM Databases) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 7 (Install vCenter Server) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 8 (Install Web Client) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 9 (Optional SSO Configuration) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 10 (Create VUM DSN) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 11 (Install VUM) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 12 (VUM SSL Configuration) (Derek Seaman)
VMware vCenter 5.1 Installation: Part 13 (VUM Configuration) (Derek Seaman)
ESXi Free - how to upgrade to ESXi 5.1 (ESX Virtualization)
Tips for upgrading to VMware vCenter 5.1 (Ivo Beerens)
Methods of installing ESXi 5.1 (KB Article)
Methods of upgrading to ESXi 5.1 (KB Article)
Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Overview of upgrading from vCenter Server 5.0 to vCenter Server 5.1 (KB Article)
Methods of Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 (KB Article)
Methods of installing vCenter Server 5.1 (KB Article)
Installing vCenter Server 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Upgrading vCenter Server, ESX/ESXi hosts, and vShield Edge Appliances for vCloud Director 5.1 (KB Article)
Installing ESXi 5.1 using the Interactive Installation method (KBTV Video)
Installing VMware vCenter Server 5.1 using the Simple Install method (KBTV Video)
Installing ESXi 5.x in VMware Workstation (KB Article/Video)
vSphere 5.1 Generally Available - Important Upgrade Considerations (Long White Virtual Clouds)
ESXi 5.1 Upgrade fails with the error: Cannot execute upgrade script on host (Viktorious.nl)
A Pretty Cool Method of Upgrading to ESXi 5.1 (Virtually Ghetto)
How to update your (free / whitebox) ESXi server to ESXi 5.1 (VMware Front Experience)
What is SAHF and LAHF and why do I need it to install vSphere 5.1? (vSphere-land)
Tips for a Successful vCenter 5.0 to 5.1 Upgrade (Wahl Network)

Licensing Links

VMware vCloud Suite Upgrade Notes (Clearpath’s Blog)
Behind vRAM - What’s VMware’s Deepest Fear?
(Double Cloud)
VMware turns attention to small businesses with vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus (Infoworld)
vRAM eliminated on both vSphere 5.0 and 5.1 (vCritical)
Upgrade paths from vSphere editions to VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 (KB Article)
vCloud Suite per CPU licensing versus vCD/SRM/vCOPS per VM licensing (Viktorious.nl)
Killing vRAM is a backward step (Vinf.net)
Compare vSphere 5 Editions (VMware)
vCloud Suite Licensing Guide (VMware)
vSphere 5 Licensing, Pricing and Packaging (VMware)

Networking Links

vSphere 5.1 - New Features and Enhancements in Networking (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 5.1 Networking Backup and Restore Video (ESX Virtualization)
Migrate to a new vCenter server with the vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) enabled in vSphere 5.1 (Ivobeerens.nl)
Enabling vSphere Distributed Switch health check in the vSphere Web Client (KB Article)
Understanding vSphere 5.1 network rollback and recovery (KB Article)
Enabling or disabling LACP on an Uplink Port Group using the vSphere Web Client (KB Article)
The impact of the VXLAN overlay networks on netqueue behavior (KB Article)
Exporting/importing/restoring Distributed Switch configs using vSphere Web client (KB Article)
vCloud Director 5.1 VXLAN Configuration (Punching Clouds)
ESXi 5.1 Network Health Check with Jumbo Frames (Rickard Nobel)
ESXi 5.1 Network Health Check VLANs (Rickard Nobel)
ESXi 5.1 and BPDU Guard (Rickard Nobel)
LACP and ESXi 5.1 (Rickard Nobel)
Distributed Virtual Switch 5.1 Health Check for VLAN configuration issues (Shogan.tech)
Single Root IO Virtualization (SR-IOV) Finally in vSphere 5.1 (Stretch Cloud)
DVMirror v2 aka Port Mirroring - Closing the competition with Cisco N1KV (Stretch Cloud)
vESXi with 10Gb Ethernet Using VMXNET3 - Yes You Can!! (Technodrone)
What’s New in vSphere 5.1 - Networking (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New in VMware vCloud Networking and Security 5.1 (VMware vSphere Blog)
VXLAN Performance Evaluation on VMware vSphere 5.1 (VMware Technical Paper)
VMware vSphere 5.1 - Networking Rollback and Recovery (VMware TV Video)
VMware vSphere 5.1 - Network Config Backup and Restore (VMware TV Video)
New 5.1 Distributed Switch Features Part 1 - Network Health Check (Wahl Network)
New 5.1 Distributed Switch Features Part 2 - Configuration Backups and Rollbacks (Wahl Network)
New 5.1 Distributed Switch Features Part 3 - Port Mirror and NetFlow Enhancements (Wahl Network)
New 5.1 Distributed Switch Features Part 4 - LACP, SR-IOV, Elastic Ports, and More (Wahl Network)
Using LACP with a vSphere Distributed Switch 5.1 (Wahl Network)
vSphere 5.1 networking enhancements (Yellow Bricks)

Performance

Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 5.1 (VMware Technical Paper)

Scripting Links

Update a remote server to ESXi 5.1 (LucD Notes)
Automating ESXi 5.1 Kickstart Tips & Tricks
(Virtually Ghetto)
Nested Virtualization APIs For vSphere & vCloud Director 5.1 (Virtually Ghetto)
PowerCLI 5.1 - What’s New ?
(VMware PowerCLI Blog)
What’s new in PowerCLI 5.1-Datastore Clusters (VMware PowerCLI Blog)
“vMotion without shared storage” API (VMware vSphere Blog)

SRM 5.1/vSphere Replication

VMware SRM 5.1 and vSphere Replication - New release - 64bit process, Application Quiescence (ESX Virtualization)
SRM 5.1 and vSphere Replication as a Standalone Feature
(VMware vSphere Blog)
Introduction to VMware vSphere Replication (VMware Technical Paper)
VMware vSphere 5.1 - Replication Recovery (VMware TV Video)
VMware vSphere 5.1 - Replication Protection (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Storage Replication - Part 1 (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Storage Replication - Part 2 (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Concepts/Architecture (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Installation (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Site Pairing (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Inventory Mapping (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Protection Groups (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Creating a Recovery Plan (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Testing a Recovery Plan (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Failover (VMware TV Video)
VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Failback (VMware TV Video)
Back to Basics: Install, configure and use vSphere Replication (Yellow Bricks)
Can I protect my vCenter Server with vSphere Replication? (Yellow Bricks)

Storage Links

vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 1: VMFS-5 (Cormac Hogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 2: SE Sparse Disks (Cormac Hogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 3: vCloud Director (Cormac Hogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 4: All Paths Down (APD) (Cormac Hogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 5: Storage Protocols (Cormac Hogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 6: IODM & SSD Monitoring (CormacHogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 7: Storage vMotion (CormacHogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 8: Storage I/O Control (CormacHogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 9: Storage DRS (CormacHogan.com)
vSphere 5.1 Storage Enhancements - Part 10: 5 Node MSCS Support (CormacHogan.com)
Monitoring Storage I/O Control activity with new vSphere 5.1 counters (CormacHogan.com)
Storage DRS datastore correlation detector (Frank Denneman)
vSphere 5.1 storage vMotion parallel disk migrations (Frank Denneman)
Storage DRS datastore cluster default affinity rule (Frank Denneman)
VM Storage Profiles and Storage DRS - Part 1 (Frank Denneman)
VM Storage Profiles and Storage DRS - Part 2 - Distributed VMs (Frank Denneman)
vSphere 5.1 Storage DRS load balancing and SIOC threshold enhancements (Frank Denneman)
vSphere 5.1 Storage DRS Multi-VM provisioning improvement (Frank Denneman)
Booting ESXi with Software FCoE (KB Article)
iSCSI and Jumbo Frames configuration on ESX/ESXi (KB Article)
vSphere 5.1 vCenter Virtual Appliance and vSphere Web Client Video Tutorial Series (Kendrick Coleman)
Space-Efficient Sparse Virtual Disks and VMware View (MyVirtualCloud.net)
vSphere 5.1 storage enhancements and future vision (Ray On Storage)
Storage Changes in VMware vSphere 5.1 (Stephen Foskett)
VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast #203 - What’s New in vSphere 5.1 Storage (VMTN - MP3 Recording)
vSphere 5.1 New Storage Features (VMware vSphere Blog)
Storage I/O Performance on VMware vSphere 5.1 over 16 Gigabit Fibre Channel (VMware Technical Paper)
vSphere 5.1 All Paths Down (APD) enhancements (Yellow Bricks)

vCenter Server Links

Tweaking Java.exe memory usage on vCenter Server 5.1 (Default Reasoning)
vSphere 5.1 and New VMware Enhanced vMotion
(ESX Virtualization)
vSphere 5.1 vMotion deepdive (Frank Denneman)
Where is my new vMotion functionality? (Frank Denneman)
What about the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) version 5.1? (Ivobeerens.nl)
VCSA 5.1- Deployment and upgrade (Juanma’s Blog)
vCenter Server 5.1 start up may take longer than previous versions (KB Article)
vCenter Server Services hang on startup after upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 (KB Article)
Using the new Tag features of vSphere 5.1 (mwpreston.net)
Enhanced vMotion / X-vMotion / shared nothing vMotion live demo [video] (Shogan.tech)
VMware Converter 5 not compatible with vSphere 5.1? (Viktorious.nl)
Implementing CA signed SSL certificates with vSphere 5.1 (VMware Support Insider)
VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Database Performance Improvements and Best Practices for Large-Scale Environments (VMware Technical Paper)
VMware vSphere 5.1 vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices (VMware Technical Paper)
Command-Line Installation and Upgrade of VMware vCenter Server 5.1 (VMware Technical Paper)
vMotion without shared storage requirement, does it have a name? (VMware vSphere Blog)
vMotion enhancement in vSphere 5.1 (Yellow Bricks)

vCenter Server Single Sign-On

Conceptual Deep Dive in VMware vCenter Single Sign On (DoubleCloud)
Adding AD authentication to VMware SSO 5.1
(Gabe’s Virtual World)
vSphere 5.1 Gotcha with Single Sign On (SSO) (Long White Virtual Clouds)
Comparing behaviour of vCenter Single Sign On with earlier versions of vCenter Server (KB Article)
vCenter Single Sign On FAQ (KB Article)
Installing vCenter Single Sign On in a multisite deployment (KB Article)
Setting up Apache load balancing software with vCenter Single Sign On (KB Article)
Configuring vCenter Single Sign On for high availability (KB Article)
Troubleshooting Single Sign On (SSO) issues in vCenter Server 5.1 (KB Article)
Troubleshooting Single Sign On on a Windows Installation (KB Article)
Understanding and troubleshooting vCenter Single Sign-On users, groups, and login qualifications (KB Article)
Backup and restore the vCenter Single Sign On (SSO) configuration (KB Article)
VMware vCenter 5.1 SSO Installation Error 29133: Administrator login Error (Valco Labs)
VMware vSphere 5.1 new vCenter architecture & Single Sign on (Virtualization Team)
vCenter SSO 5.1 Install Issues (VMwise)
vCenter SSO Config + Multiple Domains (VMwise)
vCenter SSO + Active Directory (VMwise)
How vCenter Single Sign On Affects vCenter Server Installation and Upgrades (vSphere 5.1 Docs)
How vCenter Single Sign On Deployment Scenarios Affect Log In Behavior (vSphere 5.1 Docs)
vSphere Inventory Searching and Tagging (VMware vSphere Blog)
vCenter Single Sign-On Part 1: what is vCenter Single Sign-On? (VMware vSphere Blog)
vCenter Single Sign On: Understanding the Administrators role (VMwareTechPubs Video)
vCenter Single Sign On: Managing Users (VMwareTechPubs Video)
vCenter Single Sign On in the vSphere Web Client (VMwareTechPubs Video)

vCloud Director 5.1

The requested operation will exceed the VDC’s storage quota (Cormac Hogan)
vCloud Director 5.1 & Storage Profiles (Cormac Hogan)
vCloud Director 5.1 & Storage DRS (Cormac Hogan)
vCloud Director 5.1 released - what’s new (ESX Virtualization)
vCloud Connector 5.1 - What’s new? (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vCloud 5.1 Networking for dummies (Gabe’s Virtual World)
VMware vCloud 5.1 Networking for dummies part 2 (Gabe’s Virtual World)
VMware vCloud 5.1 Networking for dummies part 3 (Gabe’s Virtual World)
Making a vCloud multi VM vApp template (Gabe’s Virtual World)
Design Considerations for vShield Edge Gateway HA feature in vCloud 5.1 (Punching Clouds)
Network port requirements for vCloud Director 5.1 (KB Article)
Installing vCloud Director 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Upgrading to vCloud Director 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Installing and configuring a vCloud Director 5.1 database (KB Article)
Supported web browsers in vCloud Director 5.1 (KB Article)
Supported guest operating systems in vCloud Director 5.1 (KB Article)
Upgrading From vCloud Director 1.5 to 5.1 (Shiplett.org)
vCloud Director 5.1 Introduces “Open in vSphere Web Client” & Task Correlation (Virtually Ghetto)
vCloud Suite 5.1 Solution Upgrade Guide (VMware CoE Blog)x
vCloud Director 5.1 Virtual Appliance Passwords (VMware vSphere Blog)
Announcing VMware vCloud Director 5.1! (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New In vCloud 5.1 API (VMware vSphere Blog)
vCloud Director SAML/SSO FAIL OMG (vSential)
Database clustering support for vCloud Director added in version 5.1! (Yellow Bricks)

Virtual Machine

VMware vSphere 5.1 - Virtual Hardware Version 9 (ESX Virtualization)

vShield

Installing vShield 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Upgrading to vShield 5.1 best practices (KB Article)
Accessing and using the vShield 5.1 REST API (KB Article)
Hardening vShield 5.1 virtual appliances (KB Article)
VXLAN support in vShield Manager (KB Article)
After upgrading to vSphere 5.1 vShield Endpoint stops functioning (KB Article)
Kernel Panic in vShield Manager after Upgrade to 5.1 (Long White Clouds)
ALERT: Full disk on vShield Edge 5.1.x fails with error: VIX_E_DISK_FULL ERROR (VMware Support Insider)

vSphere 5.1 Evaluation Videos

Auto Deploy Stateless Caching
Auto Deploy Stateful Install
Auto Deploy Stateless Mode
Enhanced vMotion
Replication - Protection
Replication - Recovery
Replication - Network Health Check
Network Rollback and Recovery
Network Config Backup and Restore
vSphere Data Protection - Install and Configure
vSphere Data Protection - File Level Restore
vSphere Data Protection - Create and Edit Backup jobs
VSA 5.1 - Installation
VSA 5.1 - ROBO environments
VSA 5.1 - Resilience
VSA 5.1 - Growing Storage

vSphere Data Protection

vSphere Data Protection - a new backup product included with vSphere 5.1 (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 5.1 Video - VDP, VR - look and feel (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere Data Protection (VDP) - install, configure, manage (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere Data Protection (VDP) - backup and master (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere Data Protection (VDP) - restore operations (ESX Virtualization)
Implementing vSphere Data Protection (VDP) tips (Ivobeerens.nl)
VMware Data Protection (VDP) FAQ (KB Article)
Required ports for vSphere Data Protection 5.1 (KB Article)
Setting the record straight on VMware vSphere Data Protection (VMware vSphere Blog)
Introduction to VMware vSphere Data Protection (VMware Technical Paper)
VMware vSphere Data Protection - Install and Configure (VMware TV Video)
VMware vSphere Data Protection - Create and Edit Backup jobs (VMware TV Video)
VMware vSphere Data Protection - File Level Restore (VMware TV Video)
VMware’s new vSphere Data Protection backup application (vSphere-land.com)
My vCenter Server 5.1 appliance crashed and I was using VDP… now what? (Yellow Bricks)
Back to Basics: Install, configure and use vSphere Data Protection (Yellow Bricks)

vSphere Storage Appliance

VSA Cluster Service Considerations (Cormac Hogan)
Heads Up! VSA 5.1 Upgrade Issues (Cormac Hogan)
Heads Up! If running VSA 5.1, you do not need VSA 5.1.1 (Cormac Hogan)
Heads Up! VSA Manager 5.1.x - Install Error 2896: Executing action failed (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 new features and enhancements (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.1 - what’s new (ESX Virtualization)
VMware VSA 5.1 - Entry level Virtual Storage Appliance (vInfrastructure Blog)
VMware Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 - Installation (VMware TV Video)
VMware Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 - Growing Storage (VMware TV Video)
VMware Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 - Resilience (VMware TV Video)
VMware Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 - ROBO Environments (VMware TV Video)
New Features of the vSphere Storage Appliance version 5.1 (VMware vSphere Blog)
vCloud Suite - VSA 5.1 Cluster Service Considerations & Successful Deployments Series - Part 1 (VMware vSphere Blog)

vSphere Web Client

VMware vSphere Web Client Video Support Series (VMware)
Which vSphere client should I use and when? (VMware vSphere Blog)
Discovering vSphere web client 5.1 (Cloud Buddy)
Install or upgrade the vSphere Web Client (Default Reasoning)
vSphere Web Client - New in VMware vSphere 5.1 (ESX Virtualization)
New vSphere Web Client Search Capabilities (ESX Virtualization)
How-to increase the default timeout value of vSphere Web Client (ESX Virtualization)
How to create a datastore cluster using the new web client (Frank Denneman)
How to attach VM storage profiles to a virtual machine using the web client (Frank Denneman)
How to create VM to Host affinity rules using the webclient (Frank Denneman)
vSphere 5.1 vCenter Virtual Appliance and vSphere Web Client Video Tutorial Series (Kendrick Coleman)
Hide those ‘Getting Started’ tabs in the #vSphere 5.1 Web Client (mwpreston.net)
Introduction to the new search functionality in the vSphere Web Client (mwpreston.net)
vSphere Web Client vs. vSphere Client - Sessions (Technodrone)
The new vSphere 5.1 Web Client - A walkthrough (part 1) (Viktorious.nl)
Configuring Additional Windows vSphere Web Client 5.1 Servers (Virtually Ghetto)
Installing the vSphere 5.1 Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Creating a Datacenter and adding an ESXi host using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Creating a resource pool in the vSphere Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Creating a vSphere DRS and HA Cluster using the vSphere Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Managing Licenses on ESXi hosts in vSphere Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Registering a vCenter Server 5.0 system with the vSphere 5.1 Web Client (VMware KB Video)
Retaining resource pools when disabling VMware DRS Clusters (VMware KB Video)
Using the vSphere Web Client or PowerCLI to identify impacted VMs after a host failure (VMware KB Video)
VMware vSphere Web Client - Part 1 (VMware TV Video)
VMware vSphere Web Client - Part 2 (VMware TV Video)
Back to Basics: Using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to create a Cluster object (Yellow Bricks)
Back to Basics: Using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to create a Datacenter object (Yellow Bricks)
Back to Basics: Using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to add an NFS share (Yellow Bricks)
Back to Basics: Using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to configure iSCSI (Yellow Bricks)
Back to Basics: Using the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to configure a vSwitch (Yellow Bricks)

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags:

VMware’s new vSphere Data Protection backup application

September 4th, 2012
Comments Off

With the vSphere 5.1 release VMware is replacing their current vSphere Data Recovery (vDR) product with a new product called vSphere Data Protection (vDP). vDR was first introduced in vSphere 4 as a simple image-level backup application for virtual machines, unlike other products that VMware acquired vDR was developed in-house. It was a no-frills backup application designed to meet the backup needs of smaller vSphere environments. VMware bundled it for free in most editions of vSphere so customers could chose to use it as a way to backup VMs directly from the virtualization layer instead of using traditional OS backup agents. VMware probably felt the need to be able to provide some level of backup support in their core product offering to make it complete. Their strategy is 3 levels of protection in vSphere:

  • High Availability (HA) to provide host level failure protection
  • SRM to provide site level failure protection
  • vDR/vDP to provide VM level protection

vDR was OK, it had limited scalability and very few advanced features that you typically find in more robust backup applications. It also seemed like there was very little product development done to vDR after it’s initial release to make it better. Despite being bundled with vSphere I suspect very few people used it as their primary backup system due to it’s limitations.

So in vSphere 5.1 VMware chose to scrap vDR and replace it with vDP which is based on EMC’s Avamar backup product. I suspect this was done because they did not want to waste development effort on vDR when they already had a backup application in-house that they could leverage. So they took the Avamar backup engine, put a new user interface on it to integrate it with the vSphere web client and re-branded it as vDP. Despite being based on Avamar which is a enterprise backup application, it’s been scaled down to be mostly suitable for smaller vSphere environments. It does retain some of the core Avamar features though like it’s advanced data deduplication capabilities. So vDP is a pretty nice upgrade from vDR, and like vDR it will be bundled for free in certain vSphere editions, however there is no upgrade path from vDP to the full Avamar product.

I was able to attend a session at VMworld that covered vDP and here’s some additional things that I learned about it:

  • vDP can only be managed with the new web interface, you cannot use the vSphere client to manage it
  • Like vDR, vDP is deployed as a virtual appliance
  • The vDP virtual appliance can be deployed in 3 sizes, .5 TB, 1TB or 2TB, this is the size of the virtual disk attached to the vDP appliance which serves as the target for the backup repository
  • Uses the Changed Block Tracking (CBT) feature for both backups and restores
  • Has the ability to restore VMs to different clusters and datastores
  • Supports file level recovery by mounting the backup image and browsing the file system
  • Has very basic reporting capabilities
  • Uses a variable length segment size for deduplication
  • Has a periodic maintenance window for garbage collection
  • vDP can be upgraded to newer releases by attaching the new ISO file to the vDP VM which will automatically sense it and upgrade itself
  • Only supports backing up to 100 VMs per vDP virtual appliance
  • Only supports up to 10 vDP appliances per vCenter Server instance
  • Supports up to 2TB of de-duped storage per vDP appliance
  • Deduplication is agentless and done on the vDP appliance (target)
  • Only 8 VMs can be backed up simultaneously
  • Backing up the vDP appliance is NOT supported, so you cannot do long term retention to tape, this limits the amount of backups that you can retain
  • Deduplication is limited to inside each vDP appliance, you cannot de-dupe across multiple vDP appliances
  • Restore rehearsals are available to manually test VM restorability
  • Supports SCSI hot-add feature as the preferred backup method
  • vDP does not use private APIs and leverages the same vStorage APIs (VADP) as other 3rd party backup apps
  • vDP does not support or integrate with VMware View or vCloud Director
  • vDP will work with vSphere ESX/ESXi 4.x and 5.x, it does require vCenter Server 5.1 though
  • vDP cannot be used without vCenter Server, in Linked Mode the vDP appliance will only work with the vCenter Server that it is associated with
  • Deduplication cannot be disabled and is not compatible with 3rd party deduplication storage
  • vDP can back up both powered on and powered off VMs

For more information on vDP you can visit VMware’s website, it should be available as part of vSphere 5.1 that is being released on 9/11

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags: ,

VMworld 2012 wrap-up report

September 3rd, 2012
Comments Off

Well another VMworld under the belt, for me it’s #5, I’ve been going every year since 2009 and it never gets old. VMware has record attendance every year except for 2009 with this year topping out around 21,000 attendees. I wonder where and when that number will finally peak, with Hyper-V gaining popularity I imagine it will only be a year or two away. Here’s the attendance numbers throughout the years:

  • 2004 VMworld conference held in San Diego, CA (1,400 attendees)
  • 2005 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (3,500 attendees)
  • 2006 VMworld conference held in Los Angeles, CA (6,700 attendees)
  • 2007 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (10,800 attendees)
  • 2008 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (14,000 attendees)
  • 2009 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (12,500 attendees)
  • 2010 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (17,000 attendees)
  • 2011 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (19,000 attendees)
  • 2012 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (21,000 attendees)

vmworld

Here’s a summary of what I saw and heard this year:

  • vSphere 5.1 is announced and on display at the show, this is just an incremental update but it still has some cool enhancements. It will be available on September 11th.
  • Lots of cool new VDI stuff coming soon, VMware’s embedded phone hypervisor (MVP) dream appears to be dead to be replaced by apps and VDI on smartphones. Horizion Mobile was shown off but it seems like it is perpetually on the horizon.
  • vRAM licensing is dead, enough said, bad idea to begin with that came back to bite VMware in the butt. You won’t find a news release from VMware on it and it was only briefly mentioned in the keynote but go read the updated licensing white paper.
  • New cloud suites announced, VMware doesn’t want you to buy just vSphere & vCenter Server anymore so they are packaging the companion products into cloud suites. If you’re a Enterprise Plus customer with current SnS you get a free upgrade to the vCloud Standard suite that gets you vCloud Director and some vShield components.
  • The future of storage in vSphere was shown off again with the new Virtual Volume (vVols) along with Virtual SAN (vSAN) and Virtual Flash (vFlash). vVols represents a lot of development work and is a big change to the vSphere storage architecture. We’ll have to wait and see if VMware is able to pull this one off. You’re not going to find out a lot of information on this stuff, VMware showed it as a tech preview at VMworld but you’re probably not going to see or hear about it again until it’s released.
  • Bring Your Own Desktop ( BYOD) for VDI is out and replaced with Spend Your Own Money (SYOM), I like it.
  • VMware’s whole model for the future is the Software Defined Data Center where the entire physical data center becomes virtual. This includes traditional physical components such as storage and networking. You still need physical components but VMware wants to dumb down the hardware and place the intelligence and manageability inside the virtual layer. Since VMware is a software company that makes no money on hardware that makes sense, I can see the advantages from an integration and manageability standpoint but they are putting a lot of overhead on the hypervisor but doing it. One of the advantages of features like VAAI is being able to offload specific operations to the physical hardware which can do it more efficiently and now they want to bring it back into the hypervisor.
  • VMware’s Next Generation Client, a fancy name for the flex based web client is finally ready for prime time. VMware has been trying to develop it for quite some time now so it could replace all the functionality that the C++ based vSphere Client provides.  Just like ESXi finally replaced ESX, the NGC is ready for use and VMware expects everyone to start using it, you can bet that this is probably the last major release of vSphere that includes the vSphere Client. The NGC has one big advantage that replaced a common gripe, you can use it on any operating system, not just Windows like the vSphere Client was limited to. You don’t really have to use it in this release although there are a few things that require it like vDP but you should get familiar with it now so you are ahead of the curve. You can read more about it in this white paper.
  • VMware took the wraps off their new integrated backup product that replaces vSphere Data Recovery (vDR) that was introduced in vSphere 4.0 as a simple, integrated backup product for smaller customers. vSphere Data Protection (vDP) is the new product and it’s really just Avamar with a new name and coat of paint. Unlike many of their other products that VMware acquired, vDR they developed in-house. VMware probably felt that rather than try and dump all that development effort into a product that many customers don’t even use was a waste. However they felt that they needed to check the box for built-in backup capabilities in vSphere so they took EMC’s Avamar and used it’s engine, put a new wrapper on it, changed the name and replace vDR with it. Now this move may be more convenient for VMware but it’s sure to piss off their partners that compete in that space like Veeam and Symantec. Having a enterprise-class backup product built-in to vSphere could potentially take business away from their partners. vDP has limits though and doesn’t scale well but it’s still a much better product than vDR, especially with it’s built-in de-dupe. As expected it caused a big uproar on the internet, I felt VMware should have been very low-key about it and not even mention the name Avamar to be sensitive to their partners but they chose to keep calling out Avamar at VMworld. EMC was beating their chests to show how proud they were that Avamar was embedded into vSphere. In fact they chose that as their 4-minute demo during the keynote as if to thumb their noses at the competition and rub salt in the wound. I attended a session on vDP so stay tuned for more on it. Before you choose to use it though I strongly encourage you to check out Veeam Backup & Replication instead, you won’t be disappointed.
  • I received an invite to VMware’s exclusive Office of the CTO reception. This is the 3rd year for it at VMworld, it evolved from a gathering that was exclusively for vExperts into a more general gathering with vExperts making up a large portion of the attendees. There were some big names and big talent at the event, many of the product management, lead engineers and top brass were in attendance. Pat Gelsinger was there hanging out and talking to everyone, I was able to meet him and shake his hand. All in all a great event and a great opportunity to meet those people in a casual setting.
  • Having judged the Best of VMworld the previous 3 years I was curious to see who the winners were this year. I was surprised to see many companies that I’ve never heard of win this year, especially in Management and Security. With Hardware for Virtualization all the winners were small storage players, just goes to show that storage for virtualization is hot. You can read about all the winners at Tech Target’s website.
  • I happened to be sitting next to Mike Laverick in the Hang Space when he whipped out his iPhone and dragged me into a mini-wag, you can view it here.
  • Jon Bon Jovi played at the official VMworld party, I was very excited to see him being a Bon Jovi fan but was very disappointed afterwards. Maybe only a quarter of his songs were actual Bon Jovi songs, the rest were all cover songs from other bands. Sounds like he didn’t get to keep much in his divorce from Bon Jovi.

Well that’s it, I probably forgot a few things which I may add to this post later. All in all a good show and can’t wait for next year. Also wanted to call out the good folks over at SolarWinds who sponsored me for this event, be sure and check out their great VMware management solutions.

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags:

VMworld Coverage - Day 2 - VDI, talent show and more beta products

September 1st, 2012
Comments Off

Little late posting this but better late then never. Day 2 at VMworld and the keynote was mostly dominated by VMware’s End User Computing (VDI) initiatives. They showed off some pretty slick stuff including a seamless real-time upgrade of a user desktop from Windows XP to Windows 7 as well as some great mobility options for users, but and this is a BIG but, it’s still all in development and you won’t see it for quite a while. VMware has been known to demo VDI stuff at VMworld and then it kind of disappears for a while and you don’t hear much about it (i.e Octopus). I do realize the whole VDI side is like a big puzzle with many pieces and VMware has a lot of work ahead of them to get them so they fit just right. Hopefully we finally see the fruits of their labor on the VDI side soon.

Remember years ago when VMware wanted to virtualize smart phones with their ambitious Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP). The concept was you run a hypervisor like ESXi on your phone and then be able to have multiple persona’s, VMs essentially, on it to be able to completely separate one phone environment from one another (personal vs. work). I always questioned that, not that the technology wasn’t there to do it, but the phone carriers and manufacturers would never go for it. There was no way in hell that VMware would ever be able to convince Apple, one of the big players to ever do that. Since that announcement we’ve never heard much about MVP at all, well judging from VMworld this year MVP is officially dead and VMware has made an end run to approach the concept through apps and thin clients instead.

Since VMware can’t control the hardware or OS on the phone they decided to move up to the application layer and attack it there. VMware demonstrated at VMworld how they would do this with Apple iOS with Horizon Mobile which leverages the ability to deploy apps outside the Apple iTunes store and store them inside secure folders. Sounds great but when will this be available? Who knows, VMware claims a beta will be coming by the end of  the year but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it. They do need to conquer the mobile phone market somehow so they cover that endpoint for VDI but they have a big challenge ahead of them to successfully do that across all the platforms. VMware isn’t really in a position to dictate the future of mobile phone computing as much as they would like to, mobile computing is nothing at all like server or desktop virtualization, all they can hope to do is try and position themselves as best as they can to integrate with it. VMware also made fun of the new Windows mobile phone but they better take them seriously as they are going to rapidly gain market share. You can read a good write-up on VMware’s mobile efforts over at Ars Technica who is declaring it vaporware.

Also in the keynote VMware tried something new this year by letting their biggest partners, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP & NetApp all do 4 minute live demos on stage. I’ll summarize this with I hope VMware doesn’t do this again next year. While it’s good to showcase partner technology and integration, the live talent show theme didn’t play well, Cisco’s attempt at a music video wasn’t well received at all. They also had live voting via a web-based polling app so every could vote for their favorite with the winner getting a donation to the charity of their choice. Unfortunately the polling website couldn’t handle the load from voting and many attendees couldn’t even vote.

Finally just wanted to mention the good folks over at SolarWinds who sponsored me for this event, be sure and check out their great VMware management solutions.

Author: esiebert7625 Categories: News Tags: