Nov 16 2016

How the Top vBlogs are performing (or how to optimize your WordPress site)

My site has recently been plagued by performance issues and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the cause as well as optimizing it so it would perform much better. It was pretty bad and pages were taking 8-12 seconds to load on average. As a former server admin my natural instinct was to immediately blame the hardware platform that my site was running on. In my case I run WordPress hosted by InMotion Hosting so I started by calling them and blaming them for my slow hosting.

They had me run some external tests and from those the underlying causes were uncovered (it wasn’t a server issue). Having eliminated the hosting platform as the cause I did a bunch of research and tried a lot of optimization plug-ins and methods in an effort to speed up the site. When I was done the combination of everything I had done had sped up the site considerably to the point that I am now happy with my overall performance.

Now that I am past that I thought I would pass on some lessons learned to help other who sites might not be optimized properly which can cause your blog visitor experience to suffer not to mention impact how google searches your site. Google has stated that PageSpeed, which is a measurement that they use when ranking search results will directly impact how your site is ranked when user search for content. They have measurements for both mobile and desktop page load times, the slower your site takes to load, the worse you end up in their rankings. So having a site that is well optimized is very beneficial to both your visitors and to your visibility on the internet.

So let’s start on how to analyze your site, I mainly used one online tool for that which is a site called GTmetrix. All you do is go to their site, put in your blog URL and they run a variety of tests on it and generate a report.that has detailed scores, benchmarks, timings and recommendations. They run your site through both Google PageSpeed testing and YSlow testing so your site is analyzed from 2 different perspectives. The results can point you in the right direction of what to fix and the recommendations they provide can tell you how to do it. When you run a report make sure you click on the Waterfall tab to see the load times for all your website elements.

My site was initially scoring as an F grade by both PageSpeed and YSlow, so I had a lot of work to do, below are the various things I did to bring that score up an A & B grade.

gtmetrix1Implement a caching plug-in

I went with W3 Total Cache which has excellent reviews, it’s fairly easy to install but there are a lot of knobs you have to turn to configure it optimally, here is a guide to get it set properly although every site may vary.

Implement CDN caching

Having a content delivery network (CDN) cache your content for you can help your site perform considerably faster as they deliver content from CDN servers across the world instead of from your site. CDN servers are typically closer geographically to visitors and can serve content more efficiently. W3 Total Cache can work together with a CDN to provide the best possible site performance. I signed up for a free CloudFlare CDN account, updated my DNS nameservers to point to the CloudFlare nameservers and then configured the CloudFlare extension inside the W3 Total Cache Plugin. All in in it wasn’t that difficult and you can read how to do it here.

Optimize your database

Your WordPress MySQL database can accumulate a lot of remnants and junk over time, so the best way to clean it up is to use a plug-in that will scan all your tables and make clean-up recommendations that you can execute. I first disabled revisions on my site as the more you edit a doc (which I do frequently on my link pages) you will create more revisions of it that fill up your database. I used the Advanced Database Cleaner plug-in which did the job nicely, be sure and backup your database first using a plug-in or through your provider.

Modify ajax heartbeats

Disabling or limiting ajax heartbeats is recommended to improve performance, here is a good article on how to do that with a plug-in. In my case the admin-ajax.php was causing a lot of delay in load times which was mostly caused by a plug-in (still trying to fix that). I identified that in the Waterfall tab in the GTMetrix report, there was a GET to admin-ajax.php that was taking 6-7 seconds to complete.

Optimize your images

I tend to use a lot of images in my content and unless you optimize them properly it can really slow your site down as non-optimized images can take much longer time to load. I initially looked at the WP Smush plug-in but ended up going with the EWWW Image Optimizer plug-in instead. It will run though all your existing images and optimize them and reduce their total size which will reduce their load time.

Force browser caching

I inserted some code into my .htaccess file to force browser caching, you can read how to do that here.

Investigate your plug-ins

Plug-ins can frequently be the cause of slow performance but unfortunately there isn’t any easy way to determine which one is at fault. There is a plug-in called P3 Performance Profiler that GoDaddy created for WordPress to analyze plug-in performance but unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in over 2 years and does not work with the latest versions of WordPress so avoid it. If you look the GTMetrix Waterfall results you might be able to identify a slow plug-in but if you suspect a plug-in is causing performance issues the easiest way to identify which one is to disable them one at a time and run a new GTMetrix scan afterwards to see if your site performance improves. Once you know which plug-in is causing it go talk to the developer or switch to a different plug-in that offers the same functionality.

How did the Top vBlogs score?

So once I had my site optimized I was curious as to how other Top vBlogs were performing so I ran the top 10 through GTMetrix and below are the results. Hats off to Chris Wahl and Scott Lowe whose sites are blazing fast, Alan Renouf’s site was generating 404 errors in the analysis so I skipped it and included Chad Sakac instead. I encourage other bloggers to test out their site as well, see how you score and let me know in the comments, also let me know what you did to improve it and hopefully what I posted here helped you out.

Site URLPageSpeed ScoreYSlow ScorePage Load TimeTotal Page SizeRequests
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/C (79%)E (51%)3.5s.97MB57
http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/B (84%)D (62%)6.5s879KB77
http://cormachogan.com/B (83%)D (61%)3.4s940KB79
http://www.frankdenneman.nl/C (75%)D (66%)4.7s1.05MB58
http://wahlnetwork.com/ A (96%)B (86%)1.7s368KB40
http://www.vladan.fr/ C (75%)E (57%)5.2s1.53MB130
http://blog.scottlowe.org/ A (96%)B (87%)0.8s190KB11
http://www.ntpro.nl/blog/F (35%)E (58%)3.6s1.28MB35
http://www.derekseaman.com/C (77%)E (54%)8.4s1.14MB124
http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/D (63%)D (67%)6.6s6.35MB70

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Nov 15 2016

Configuration Maximum changes from vSphere 6.0 to vSphere 6.5

vSphere 6.5 is now available and with every release VMware makes changes to the configuration maximums for vSphere. Since VMware never highlights what has changed between releases in their official Configuration Maximum 6.5 documentation, I thought I would compare the document with the 6.0 version and list the changes between the versions here.

ConfigurationvSphere 6.5vSphere 6.0
Virtual Machine Maximums
RAM per VM6128GB4080GB
Virtual NVMe adapters per VM4N/A
Virtual NVMe targets per virtual SCSI adapter15N/A
Virtual NVMe targets per VM60N/A
Virtual RDMA Adapters per VM1N/A
Video memory per VM2GB512MB
ESXi Host Maximums
Logical CPUs per host576480
RAM per host12TB6TB *some exceptions
LUNs per server512256
Number of total paths on a server20481024
FC LUNs per host512256
LUN ID0 to 163830 to 1023
VMFS Volumes per host512256
FT virtual machines per cluster12898
vCenter Maximums
Hosts per vCenter Server20001000
Powered-on VMs per vCenter Server2500010000
Registered VMs per vCenter Server3500015000
Number of host per datacenter2000500
Maximum mixed vSphere Client (HTML5) + vSphere Web
Client simultaneous connections per VC
60 (30 Flex, 30 maximum HTML5)N/A
Maximum supported inventory for vSphere Client
(HTML5)
10,000 VMs, 1,000 HostsN/A
Host Profile Datastores256120
Host Profile Created5001200
Host Profile Attached5001000
Platform Services Controller Maximums
Maximum PSCs per vSphere Domain108
vCenter Server Extensions Maximums
[VUM] VMware Tools upgrade per ESXi host3024
[VUM] Virtual machine hardware upgrade per host3024
[VUM] VMware Tools scan per VUM server20090
[VUM] VMware Tools upgrade per VUM server20075
[VUM] Virtual machine hardware scan per VUM server20090
[VUM] Virtual machine hardware upgrade per VUM server20075
[VUM] ESXi host scan per VUM server23275
[VUM] ESXi host patch remediation per VUM server23271
[VUM] ESXi host upgrade per VUM server23271
Virtual SAN Maximums
Virtual machines per cluster60006400
Number of iSCSI LUNs per Cluster1024N/A
Number of iSCSI Targets per Cluster128N/A
Number of iSCSI LUNs per Target256N/A
Max iSCSI LUN size62TBN/A
Number of iSCSI sessions per Node1024N/A
iSCSI IO queue depth per Node4096N/A
Number of outstanding writes per iSCSI LUN128N/A
Number of outstanding IOs per iSCSI LUN256N/A
Number of initiators who register PR key for a iSCSI LUN64N/A
Storage Policy Maximums
Maximum number of VM storage policies1024Not Published
Maximum number of VASA providers1024Not Published
Maximum number of rule sets in VM storage
policy
16N/A
Maximum capabilities in VM storage policy
rule set
64N/A
Maximum vSphere tags in virtual machine storage policy128Not Published

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Nov 15 2016

vSphere 6.5 is now available!

You can download it here.

Also check out the documentation here, the first doc that I always go to is the Configuration Maximums to see how things have grown.

And be sure to read through my Summary of What’s New in vSphere 6.5 post and What’s New in VSAN 6.5 post and also check out my huge vSphere 6.5 Link-O-Rama which is your one source for all vSphere 6.5 related links on the internet.

v65-linkorama-crop

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Nov 09 2016

Upcoming vmLIVE webinar on VVols replication

Want to learn more about the new Replication functionality for VVols in vSphere 6.5? If you are a VMware partner you can sign-up for a vmLIVE webinar next week on 11/15 at 7:00am PST. I’ll be co-presenting with Ben Meadowcroft who is the VMware product manager for VVols. We’ll be covering what’s new with VVol’s in vSphere 6.5, much of which is around replication and how HPE 3PAR StoreServ has implemented support for it. So if you are a VMware partner head on over to VMware’s Partner Central website and sign-up. If you are not a partner you won’t be able to sign-up but you can still read my overview on VVols replication and also check out my VMworld 2016 session which covers it as well.

vmlive

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Oct 28 2016

vSphere 6.5 with VVols 2.0 does not yet support in-band bind

One thing I noticed that was missing from the vSphere 6.5 release which is expected at some point is support for an in-band VVol bind process that a host must perform when a VM is powered on. The current VVol implementation is an out-of-band process which involves the VASA Provider which acts as the control path between vCenter, ESXi hosts and a storage array. In this post I’m going to go into detail about the bind process and why it would be beneficial to be an in-band process.

So first the basics, the concept of binding a VM to it’s disk files is unique to VVols. With VMFS/NFS we didn’t need this process as you have a file system in place that can handle file look-ups and locking. With VVols we don’t have a file system written to the storage array, VMs are written natively to the array as VVol objects which are essentially sub LUNS (block) or files (NFS). There still is a mini VMFS file system with VVols but it is contained within the Config VVol of a VM. So because we don’t have a file system we need a way to connect a VM to it’s VVols when it is powered on.

When a VM is powered on using VVols the bind operation is performed which connects a host to all of the VVols associated with that VM. When a VM is powered off those VVols are then unbound from the host as there is no need for them to be connected and a host can only bind to a limited number of VVols (4,096). To perform the bind though the host needs to know where the VVols of a VM reside and for that it needs to lookup the sub LUN ID’s for each VVol so they can be bound to.

Sub LUN’s are also a new concept with VVols, VMware had to request modifications to the SCSI T-10 standards to support the concept of sub LUNs. A sub LUN is basically a secondary level of LUNs, a host cannot directly see sub LUNs and they will not be visible during any SCSI scans that a host performs. To connect to a sub LUN a host must first connect to an administrative LUN which is visible to the host but it’s a special LUN with no provisioned storage and a bit set identifying it as part of a conglomerate. This administrative LUN is known as the Protocol Endpoint.

So to look up the sub LUN IDs for a VVol, a host has to ask someone for that information. The storage array knows the sub LUN IDs but a host can’t ask it directly, it must instead make the request to the VASA Provider which looks up the sub LUN information on the storage array and passes it on to the host so it can proceed with the bind. Because this process involves an intermediary and is not direct it is considered out-of-band. So essentially the host is asking for directions to get to it’s destination and once the VASA Provider provides it with an address (sub LUN ID) it can directly connect to those VVols via it’s direct in-band data path.

Now the VASA Provider component can be implemented either within a storage array or as an external component such as a VM appliance, it’s up to each vendor to choose how they want to implement it. No matter which way it is implemented the connection to the VASA Provider is via standard network protocols (TCP/IP) and not via a storage protocol (Fiber Channel/NFS/iSCSI). The connection to the VASA Provider is typically over your network via a management port on the storage array, if it’s external you have to connect to whatever VM/server is running the VASA Provider and then on to the storage array. Because the VASA Provider is connected over your standard network it is an out of band operation, to be an in-band operation a host would have to be able to perform this lookup via the data path using whatever storage protocol it is using to connect to the storage array. Below is a diagram which illustrates the components and paths that are used with VVols:

vvols-architecture

So now that you understand the difference between in-band and out-of-band binding, why does it matter which way you do it, either way you are getting the job done. Well performing the bind operation in-band has several advantages related to performance and availability compared to an out-of-band bind operation. An in-band operation will be performed quicker and more efficiently as a result of having a smaller number of network hops and by using faster in-band network connections. In addition a storage controller will typically higher processing power available to perform the operation faster. There is also no overhead imposed by the entire SOAP based VASA communication that is used when doing an out-of-bind operation.

Doing an in-band bind operation also provides overall better availability and reliability as you are not relying on a 3rd party to perform the operation which if it failed would prevent binding from occurring. This is especially true of external VASA Providers, if they crash, go down or something happens to them for whatever reason you cannot power on VMs until it is back up. In addition it also simplifies the bind process and makes it less likely that a mis-configuration could impact it.

So it sounds like in-band binding is definitely the way to go, why isn’t VVols using it yet? It appears VMware needs more time to implement this, I have seen mentions of in-band binding in both the VASA 2.0 & VASA 3.0 developer documentation. It looks like much of the framework to support in-band bind is already part of the VASA 3.0 spec so I expect to see the capability become available eventually in an upcoming release. Here’s what the developer guide says about this:

The vSphere 6.0 and 6.5 releases did not implement in-band bind. Bind is one of a few VVol management operations that are required for VM power-on. Failure to bind results in a “Data Unavailable” event that reflects poorly on storage system reliability. As a member of the T10 SCSI standard committee, VMware has been working to add in-band BIND and UNBIND commands to the SCSI standard. The intent was to define an in-band alternative to the corresponding VASA calls and enable use of the data path between host and storage array to power-on a VM when the network path between host and VASA provider is unavailable. When the T10 standard is finalized the specifications will be added to the VASA specification.

So for now we’ll just have to wait, once VMware completes what it needs to for in-band bind to be enabled in the VASA spec it will then be up on the storage vendors to make changes on their side to make the switch over to in-band bindings. Regardless of whether a bind operation is in-band or out-of-band it doesn’t impact the many benefits that VVols provides right now. The benefits of in-band binding will be under the covers and provide an extra lit bit of efficiency and reliability. So why wait, get started using VVols today and if you want to read more on VVols be sure and check out my huge VVols link collection and also read about what’s new with VVols in vSphere 6.5.

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Oct 20 2016

VVols 2.0 with array based replication support announced with vSphere 6.5

VMware recently announced vSphere 6.5 and it includes the next big version of Virtual Volumes (VVols) which is based on the updated VASA 3.0 specification. The initial release of VVols was part of vSphere 6.0 which went GA in March 2015 and was based on VASA 2.0. VVols has been out now for over 18 months and with vSphere 6.5 expect to see maturity, improvements and of course a big capability that was missing in the initial release, support for array based replication.

Before I go into what’s new with VVols 2.0, lets first re-visit what I’m currently seeing around customer adoption of VVols. I’ve spoken to dozens of customers and surveyed hundreds of people in my sessions at Discover, VMUGs and VMworld. When I ask who is using VVols today I see very few hands go up. That’s really about what I expected at this point, most companies avoid 1.0 products, the same held true with VSAN, there are additional reasons as well such as lack of replication support, not on vSphere 6.x yet and not understanding what VVols is and the benefits it brings.

I expect that to start to change though, I have also spoke to plenty of customers, some very large that are in the planning phase for migrating to VVols. The release of vSphere 6.5 should help drive adoption as VVols unofficially becomes a 2.0 product and is more complete with support for replication. As far as the understanding aspect goes I think VMware hasn’t overall done all that great a job of helping customers with that. My feeling on that is mainly based on my own observations and interactions with VMware. I do know for a fact that the VMware VVols product management team has done a good job promoting VVols but they are a relatively small part of a big company.

If you watched the VMworld EMEA keynotes were vSphere 6.5 was introduced, you didn’t here a single mention of VVols. Other features like VSAN, NSX, encryption, vRealize, cloud, VM scale, vCenter, new Web UI, etc. all were mentioned. There was a brief callout in the vSphere 6.5 press release but not many people read those. The same was true with the early access blogger briefings that VMware does so the bloggers get the early scoop so they can write about it at launch, VVols was strangely absent. With the initial release of VVols they put a lot more effort into VVols marketing and awareness but this time around it has been relatively quiet. I’d really like VMware to step it up and see people like Pat Gelsinger, Ray O’Farrell and Yanbing Li talking about VVols as well. I know I’m doing my best to evangelize VVols and educate the community and I know other partners are doing so as well but it would be good to see VMware try and do more at all levels of their organization.

So let’s now cover what’s new in VVols 2.0 and really the focus here is all on Replication as there is not much else new. Under the covers I expect there are a lot of improvements but VASA is really a development specification or an enabler for storage vendors to develop their own implementations of array based capabilities to integrate with Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). As a result every vendor implementation of VVols will be slightly different as it’s up to each vendor to dictate how they can scale, how they implement the VASA provider, what capabilities they will present to SPBM, etc.

With vSphere 6.5 storage array vendors can now implement replication of VVol-based VM’s through the creation of Replication Components and attaching them to vSphere Storage Policies. Previously, a storage policy was a single set of rules built from the list of capabilities offered by the array. With vSphere 6.5 those rules have been broken up into different capability types, known as Components that allows you to define a capability once and re-use it in multiple storage policies. There are different Component class types which include Replication, Performance and  Encryption. The below figure show how the Component section in the VM Storage Policy management interface in the vSphere client.

spbm-rep1Once you create a Component, you tie it to a vCenter Server, name it and then select the Provider type, in the below figure you can see the multiple types of Providers available in vSphere 6.5 including Replication.

spbm-rep2Next you define the properties for the Replication Component, this can include the target Storage Container and disk groups, how frequent replication will occur and desired RPO levels as shown below.

spbm-rep3Once you have your component defined you can add it to a VM Storage Policy as shown below, note a Storage Policy can have multiple Components added to it.

spbm-rep4Now that your Components are created and assigned to Storage Policies when you go to create a VM on VVol storage when you get to the Storage selection screen and choose an existing Storage Policy to assign to that VM you will also see the option to select a Replication Group for that VM based on what is defined in the policy. as shown below. You can choose from an existing Replication Group or a new one will be automatically created for you. Only existing groups that match the replication constraints defined in the policy will be displayed. A replication group is the minimum level of failover and will contain one or more VVol objects (multiple VMs). Any Replication Group that is automatically created will also be automatically removed once their are no more VMs assigned to it.

spbm-rep5Some other things to note about replication, all of a VM’s VVol objects will be replicated to the target to ensure VM integrity, this includes and snapshots attached to the VM. Replication may be array based but it is solely designed to be implemented and managed by vSphere via SPBM and other vSphere interfaces. You must configure Storage Containers on both the source and target arrays before creating replication profiles. While it is possible to replicate only certain disks of a VM to a target site, a VM must have all of it’s VVols that it is replicating in teh same Replication Group.

So while it is great that we now have array based replication with VVols, how do you actually make use of it in a real world DR scenario? In this release there is no automation component like SRM to orchestrate replication, failover, testing, failback, etc. Eventually vRealize Orchestrator will be able to do much of this but for now all operations must be scripted using the VVol APIs that exist. There are 3 main operations that you can do in this release, a test failover, an actual failover (planned or unplanned) and a reverse failover (recovery). All of these operations are strictly performed within the vSphere environment, your storage admin is not involved in any of this.

Under normal operations VVols at the secondary site are hidden from vSphere and can not be bound to. When you perform a test failover it is not a true failover operation, just a simulated one. What happens is the VVols at both the primary and secondary sites remain in their current state and copies of each replica VVol are made at the secondary site so they may be presented to the vSphere environment and are now capable of being bound to at the secondary site for testing. These copies are in a consistent state and vSphere will automatically fix-up the copies so they can be utilized for testing purposes. Once testing is complete all of the VVols at the secondary site will cleaned up and removed.

If you perform an actual failover it is initiated from the secondary site, a final sync operation is performed (planned failover) and replication is halted between the sites. If the failover is forced or unplanned the secondary site is not allowed to contact the primary site. After the failover call is made to the VASA Provider at the secondary site, the VVols at that site become visible and are able to be bound to hosts. After a failover, the only operation allowed is is to recover the group (failback). As the primary site can no longer be the replication source, vSphere will issue a reverse operation. A reverse operation essentially just sets up replication back to the primary site where you can failback at some point when needed. As part of a planned failover you initiate both the failover and reverse replication at the same time.

As far as the orchestration of all this I’m still trying to come up to speed on that so as I learn more I’ll provide more detail on that. For a planned failover you will have to manually script (i.e. PowerCLI) out the workflows as you don’t have a tool like SRM to build them for you. At some point vRealize Orchestrator and Automation will be capable of doing all this but until then you will have to build this on your own. I suspect VMware will have all the tools, docs, sample scripts, etc to help you with this. I’m actually just kicking off a tech paper that will cover how to do this for 3PAR, however most of the workflows/scripts should be generic as they are calling the standard tasks outlined in the VASA 3.0 specification.

You can also read more about the capabilities in VVols 2.0 on the VMware Virtual Blocks blog.

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Oct 19 2016

Automatic space reclamation (UNMAP) is back in vSphere 6.5

cdd5e4858eac95d440512d9ea2f747a2A long time ago in a vSphere version far, far away VMware introduced support for automatic space reclamation which allowed vSphere to send UNMAP commands to a storage array so space from deleted or moved VMs could be un-allocated (reclaimed) on the storage array. This was a welcome feature as block storage arrays have no visibility inside a VMFS volume so when any data is deleted by vSphere the array is unaware of it and it remains allocated on the array. UNMAP was supposed to fix that so when data was deleted vSphere would send a string of UNMAP commands to the array telling it exactly which disk blocks it could have back. Doing this allowed thin provisioned storage arrays to maintain a much smaller capacity footprint.

Shortly after this feature was introduced in vSphere 5.0 which was released back in 2012 problems started surfacing. As the UNMAP operation was real-time (synchronous) vSphere would have to wait back for a response from the array that the operation was complete. In many scenario’s this wasn’t a problem, but some arrays apparently had problems completing the operation in a timely manner which would cause timeouts and disk errors in vSphere. As a result VMware quickly issued a KB article recommending to disable UNMAP support and in vSphere 5.0 Update 1 they completely disabled it.

What VMware did next was introduce a manual reclamation method by modifying the vmkfstools CLI command and adding a parameter to it that allowed UNMAP to run on an array as a manual operation. While this worked it took quite a while to execute and was very resource intensive on the array. The reason for that is all the manual operation was doing was creating a balloon file using un-used space on a VMFS volume and then sending UNMAP commands to the array to reclaim it all. The end result was that instead of reclaiming just the blocks from deleted VMs it tried to reclaim all the remaining free space on the VMFS volume which was terribly inefficient. You can read all about how this all worked in this post I did back then.

So since that time VMware has never figured out a way to make it work again until now. In vSphere 6.5 they have again made in an automatic operation but not in the same way as before. What they did was kind of a compromise, instead of trying to do it all as a synchronous operation they are now scheduling it and sending UNMAP commands in bursts to the storage array in an asynchronous manner. So it is truly an automatic process now but it operates in the background and how fast it works is based on priority levels that can be set on individual VMFS datastores.

Now this only works in vSphere 6.5 and only on VMFS6 datastores, VMFS5 datastores must still use the manual method using the esxcli command to reclaim space with the balloon file method. When you create a VMFS6 datastore the default priority will be set to Low which sends UNMAP commands at a less frequent rate to the storage array. In the vSphere Web Client you will only see the option to change this to either None or Low with None disabling UNMAP completely. However using the esxcli command (esxcli storage vmfs reclaim config) you can also change this setting to Medium or High which increases the frequency in which UNMAP commands are sent by 2x (Medium) and 3x (High) over the Low setting.

Now why did VMware not allow you to choose Medium or High from the Web Client? There is a good reason for that, they hid those options for your own good. UNMAP is still a resource intensive operation, when you do an UNMAP operation you are literally telling the array to un-allocate millions or billions of disk blocks. When you get more aggressive with UNMAP commands it will start putting a heavier load on the storage array which can seriously impact your VM workloads as the array tries to handle everything at once. Having this set to Low is a good compromise as you get your disk space back automatically but with minimal impact to your VM workloads. If you do happen to set it to Medium or High via esxcli it will still show those settings in the Web Client, you just can’t select them there.

So welcome back UNMAP, we missed you and are glad to have you back. Of course if you are using VVols you don’t have to worry about UNMAP at all as the array has VM-level visibility and knows when VMs are deleted and can reclaim space on it’s own without vSphere telling it to.

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Oct 18 2016

vSphere 6.5 Link-O-Rama

v65-linkorama-cropYour complete guide to all the essential vSphere 6.5 links from all over the VMware universe. Bookmark this page and keep checking back as it will continue to grow as new links are added everyday. Also be sure and check out the Planet vSphere-land feed for all the latest blog posts from the Top 100 vBloggers.

Introducing vSphere 6.5 (VMware vSphere Blog)
VMware Announces General Availability of vSphere 6.5 (VMware vSphere Blog)
VMware Advances Cross-Cloud Architecture with New Releases of vSphere, Virtual SAN and vRealize Solutions to Drive IT and Developer Productivity (VMware News Release)
VMware vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management (VMware Datasheet)

VMware What’s New Links

What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Core Storage (VMware Storage Hub)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter Server (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Security (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Host & Resource Management and Operations (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New with VMware Virtual SAN 6.5 (VMware Virtual Blocks)
Whats New in Virtual Volumes 2.0 (VMware Virtual Blocks)
What’s New in SRM 6.5 (VMware Virtual Blocks)

Video Links

VMworld 2016 Barcelona vSphere 6.5 chat (Top IT Videos)
VMware’s Yanbing Li on Virtual SAN 6.5 (VMware)
Predictive DRS Walk Through (VMware)
vSphere 6.5 Technical Overview Q4 2016 (VMware Partner TV)
vSphere 6.5 Sales Overview Q4 2016 (VMware Partner TV)
Virtual SAN 6.5 Technical Overview Q4 2016 (VMware Partner TV)
Virtual SAN 6.5 Sales Overview Q4 2016 (VMware Partner TV)

Availability (HA/DRS/FT) Links

vSphere 6.5 – What’s new with vSphere 6.5 DRS (Enterprise Daddy)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – HA and DRS Improvements (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 6.5 Fault Tolerance (FT) Improvements (ESX Virtualization)
High Availability and Redundancy Features in vSphere 6.5 (Server Central)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – HA and DRS Improvements (Victor Virtualization)
vSpeaking Podcast Episode 30: vSphere 6.5 HA and DRS (VMware Virtually Speaking Podcast)
DRS got even smarter with Predictive DRS (VMguru)
Testing vSphere 6.5 DRS – CPU Over Commitment Ratio (vMusketeers)
vSphere 6.5 -What’s New with vSphere 6.5 HA & DRS (VMware Arena)
vSphere 6.5 – What’s is in VMware vSphere 6.5 Fault Tolerance? (VMware Arena)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Host & Resource Management and Operations (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSphere 6.5: vSphere HA What’s New – Part 1 – UI (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: vSphere HA What’s New – Part 2 – Admission Control (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: vSphere HA What’s New – Part 3 – Orchestrated Restart (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: vSphere HA What’s New – Part 4 – VM Restart Priorities (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: DRS what’s new – Part 1 (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: DRS what’s new – Part 2 – Predictive DRS (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: DRS what’s new – Part 3 – Proactive HA (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 Encrypted vMotions are Here (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5: Faster Maintenance Mode and Evacuation Updates (vTagion)
Big Improvements to vSphere HA and DRS in 6.5 Release (Wahl Network)
vSphere 6.5 what’s new – DRS (Yellow Bricks)
vSphere 6.5 what’s new – HA (Yellow Bricks)

Documentation Links

vSphere 6.5 Documentation Page (VMware)
vSphere 6.5 Release Notes (VMware)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5 (VMware)
Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 6.5 (VMware)

Download Links

Download vSphere 6.5 Page (VMware)

ESXi Links

VMware ESXi 6.5 runs well on Xeon D Supermicro ServerServers, here’s what you need to know (TinkerTry)
Homelab – Will ESXi 6.5 run on Intel NUC? (Virten.net)
VMware vSphere 6.5 introduces Broadwell EVC Mode (Virten.net)
Nested ESXi Enhancements in vSphere 6.5 (Virtually Ghetto)
Virtual NVMe and Nested ESXi 6.5? (Virtually Ghetto)
Getting Started with the New Image Builder GUI in vSphere 6.5 (VMware vSphere blog)

General Links

Quick Summary of What’s New in vSphere 6.5 (vSphere-land)
Configuration Maximum changes from vSphere 6.0 to vSphere 6.5 (vSphere-land)

What’s New in vSphere 6.5 (Ather Beg’s Useful Thoughts)
VMworld EMEA Announcements : vSphere 6.5 (CloudFix)
What’s new in vSphere 6.5 (Come Le Feci)
VMware vSphere 6.5 breaks your SQL Server vNUMA settings (David Klee)
vSphere 6.5 Configuration Maximums – Compare to Earlier Versions- Part 1 (Davoud Teimouri)
vSphere 6.5 Configuration Maximums – Compare to Earlier Versions- Part 2 (Davoud Teimouri)
What’s new in vSphere 6.5? (Enterprise Daddy)
VMware vSphere 6.5 Announced !! (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 6.5 Released – Start Your Download Engines (ESX Virtualization)
What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5 (GeekFluent)
vSphere 6.5 announced so what is coming?  (iGICS)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5 (Ivobeerens)
What’s New with VMware vSphere 6.5? (Koenig Solutions)
vSphere 6.5 is finally GA (Mind The Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 6.5 announced (NoLabNoParty)
VMware vSphere 6.5 announced today, here’s how to download it fast, once it becomes available in Q4 2016 (TinkerTry)
What is new in VMware vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5 (UP2V)
General Availability of vSphere 6.5 including Predictive DRS (UP2V)
Introducing VMWare vSphere 6.5 (vCloud Tech Blog)
Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 vs. VMware vSphere 6.5 (vInfrastructure Blog)
My top 5 features of VMware vSphere 6.5 (Virtual Thoughts)
VMware vSphere 6.5 new features (Virtualization HowTo)
vSphere 6.5 – Whats in it for Service Providers Part 1 (Virtualization Is Life)
#VMworld Europe 2016: New Products and Product updates (including vSphere 6.5 / vSAN 6.5) (vLenzker)
VMworld 2016 – What’s New in vSphere 6.5 (VMguru)
VMware unveil vSphere 6.5 to kick off VMworld 2016 (vMustard)
What’s New with VMware vSphere 6.5? (VMware Arena)
What’s New in Version 6.5? (VMware Guruz)
vSphere 6.5 an Introduction (VMware Velocity)
Looking Back at VMworld 2016 Europe! (VMware Virtual Blocks blog)
vSphere 6.5 – Everything You Need To Know (vTagion)
What’s New: vSphere 6.5 (vWannabe)

Installing & Upgrading Links

How to upgrade ESXi 6.0 to ESXi 6.5 using Offline Bundle (Enterprise Daddy)
Upgrade ESXi 6.0 to ESXi 6.5 using VMware Update Manager (Enterprise Daddy)
How to upgrade ESXi 6.0 to ESXi 6.5 via Offline Bundle (ESX Virtualization)
How to Upgrade ESXi 6.0 to 6.5 via CLI [On Line] (ESX Virtualization)
How to Install VCSA 6.5 in VMware Workstation [LAB] (ESX Virtualization)
How to create a USB media with ESXi 6.5 Installation (ESX Virtualization)
How to deploy VMware VCSA 6.5 (VMware vCenter Server Appliance) (ESX Virtualization)
Installing VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (Mike Tabor)
Install VMware ESXi 6.5 on Intel NUC (Part 1/2) (T.B.D.)
Install VMware ESXi 6.5 on Intel NUC (Part 2/2) (T.B.D.)
HOWTO: Deploy a vSphere 6.5 External Platform Services Controller (VCSA) (TheCloudxpert)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 – Install and Configure (The Virtualist)
How to easily update your VMware Hypervisor to ESXi 6.5 (TinkerTry)
How to easily update your VMware vCenter Server Appliance to VCSA 6.5 (coming soon) (TinkerTry)
VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.5 Appliance Installation & Configuration (VCDX56)
Learning vSphere 6.5-Part-1-Installing and Configuring Esxi (Virtual Reality)
Learning vSphere 6.5-Part-2-VCSA Overview (Virtual Reality)
Learning vSphere 6.5-Part-3-vCenter Server and PSC Deployment Types (Virtual Reality)
Learning vSphere 6.5-Part-4-System Requirements for Installing vCenter Server (Virtual Reality)
Learning vSphere 6.5-Part-5-Installing vCenter Server on Windows (Virtual Reality)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5: Installation & Configuration (VirtualAspirations)
vSphere 6.5: Installing vCenter Appliance 6.5 (virtuallyPeculiar)
vSphere 6.5: Installing vCenter Server Appliance Via Command Line (virtuallyPeculiar)
vSphere 6.5 Component Behavior Changes that Affect Upgrade (VMware)

Knowledgebase Articles Links

Update sequence for vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products (2147289)
Supported and deprecated topologies for VMware vSphere 6.5 (2147672)
Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.5 (2147548)
Upgrading to vCenter Server 6.5 Best Practices (2147686)
Estimating the time for migration of vCenter Server 5.5 or 6.0 to vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (2147711)
ESXi 6.5 I/O driver information: certified 5.5 and 6.0 I/O drivers are compatible with vSphere 6.5 (2147697)
Enabling and Disabling Native Drivers in ESXi 6.5 (2147565)
Configuring Platform Service Controller HA in vSphere 6.5 (2147018)
Configuring Windows PSC for High Availability in vSphere 6.5 (2147527)
Configuring PSC Appliance for High Availability in vSphere 6.5 (2147384)
Configuring certificates for PSC for High Availability in vSphere 6.5 (2147627)
How to manually add a second NIC to the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 for VCHA (2147155)
Supported vCenter Server High Availability Options (1024051)
vCenter Single Sign-On and Platform Services Controller High Availability Compatibility Matrix (2112736)
Stopping / Starting / Restarting Services in vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (2147152)

Licensing Links

vSphere 6.5 – New License Import from My VMware (David Stamen)
Can you upgrade to vSphere 6.5 when using a vSphere Enterprise license? (Viktorious.nl)
VMware vSAN 6.5 Licensing Guide (VMware white paper)

Networking Links

 

News/Analyst Links

VMware VSAN 6.5 supports containers and physical servers via iSCSI (Computer Weekly)
VMware Upgrades vSphere, VSAN To Prep For Improved Multi-cloud Operations (CRN)
VMware Ushers in Large Number of Product Updates (eWeek)
VMware embraces containers with latest vSphere, Virtual SAN updates (Network World)
VMware Announces VSAN 6.5 & Other Solutions (Storage Review)
What’s new in VMware vSphere 6.5 and vCenter 6.5 (Tech Informant)
VMware hyper-convergence takes small steps with VSAN 6.5 (Tech Target)
Array-based replication highlights VVOLs 2.0 release (Tech Target)
VMware aims to deliver quality and value in vSphere 6.5 (Tech Target)
VMware vSphere 6.5 puts emphasis on security, applications (Tech Target)
VMware makes welcome changes in vSphere 6.5 (Tech Target)
VMware Expands ‘Cross-Cloud’ Hybrid Strategy With vSphere 6.5 Update (Tech Week Europe)
VMware waves white flag: vSphere, vRealize, VSAN dock with Docker (The Register)
vSphere 6.5 goes GA, gains surprise powers to predict the future (The Register)
VMware vSphere 6.5: What You Need to Know (Tom’s IT Pro)
vSphere 6.5 First Look (Virtualization Review)
VMware Virtual SAN 6.5 Quick Look (Virtualization Review)
VMware Announces New Releases of vSphere, Virtual SAN and vRealize Solutions (VMblog)

Performance Links

DRS Performance VMware vSphere 6.5 (VMware Tech Paper)
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance VMware vSphere 6.5 (VMware Tech Paper)
VMware vSphere Update Manager Performance and Best Practices VMware vSphere 6.5 (VMware Tech Paper)

Scripting/CLI/API Links

New PowerCLI cmdlets to support VVol replication in vSphere 6.5 (vSphere-land)
New vSphere 6.5 REST API and API Explorer (Cloud Maniac)
New ESXCLI Commands in vSphere 6.5 (Virten.net)
ESXi 6.5 – ESXCLI Command Mindmap (Virten.net)
Automating the build of your vSphere 6.5 home lab (Virtu-Al)
Super easy way of getting ESXi installation date in vSphere 6.5 (Virtually Ghetto)
Configure new automatic Space Reclamation (VMFS UNMAP) using vSphere 6.5 APIs (Virtually Ghetto)
New vSphere 6.5 APIs worth checking out (Virtually Ghetto)
Automating the installation of VUM Update Manager Download Service (UMDS) for Linux in vSphere 6.5 (Virtually Ghetto)
VCSA 6.5 CLI Installer now supports new ovftool argument pass-through feature (Virtually Ghetto)
What to Expect in PowerCLI 6.5? (VMware PowerCLI blog)
New Release: vSphere Command-Line Interface 6.5 (VMware vSphere blog)
Restarting vCenter Services in vSphere 6.5 (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 PowerCLI Module for Encrypted vMotion Management (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 – Automate VCSA Backup (vTagion)

Security Links

How will VM Encryption in vSphere 6.5 impact performance? (vSphere-land)
vSphere 6.5 – Secure VMs using vSphere 6.5 Security Features (Enterprise Daddy)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – VM Encryption Details (ESX Virtualization)
How to backup / restore encrypted VMs in vSphere 6.5 (Notes From MWhite)
VMware vSphere 6.5 Configure Encrypted VMs (Virtualization How To)
Quick Tip: Virtual Disk Encryption in vSphere 6.5 (Virtualization Review)
vSphere 6.5 – How VM’s are Secured using vSphere 6.5 Security Features? (VMware Arena)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Security (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSpeaking Podcast Episode 29: vSphere 6.5 Security (VMware Virtually Speaking Podcast)
VMworld 2016 USA INF8856 vSphere Encryption Deep Dive Technology Preview (VMworld TV)
VMworld 2016 USA INF8850 vSphere Platform Security (VMworld TV)
The difference between VM Encryption in vSphere 6.5 and vSAN encryption (Yellow Bricks)

Storage Links

Automatic space reclamation (UNMAP) is back in vSphere 6.5 (vSphere-land)
A comparison of VMFS5 & VMFS6 in vSphere 6.5  (vSphere-land)

HPE 3PAR StoreServ Is Ready: VMware Announces vSphere 6.5 (Around the Storage Block)
What’s new in ESXi 6.5 Storage Part I: UNMAP (Cody Hosterman)
What’s New In ESXi 6.5 Storage Part II: Resignaturing (Cody Hosterman)
What’s new in ESXi 6.5 Storage Part III: Thin hot extend (Cody Hosterman)
What’s new in ESXi 6.5 Storage Part IV: In-Guest UNMAP CBT Support (Cody Hosterman)
What’s new in vSphere 6.5 Core Storage (Cormac Hogan)
Determining if an array supports automated unmap in vSphere 6.5 (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6.5 – UNMAP on VMAX (Drew Tonneson)
vSphere 6.5 – Automatic Space Reclamation (VMFS UNMAP) in VMFS 6 (Enterprise Daddy)
vSphere 6.5 – What’s new with Storage I/O Control (SIOC) (Enterprise Daddy)
VMware vSphere 6.5 Storage – VMFS 6 with automatic UNMAP to reclaim dead blocks (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere 6.5 UNMAP Improvements With DellEMC XtremIO (Itzikr’s Blog)
vSphere 6.5 – Storage IO Control (OpVizor)
USB Devices as VMFS Datastore in vSphere ESXi 6.5 (Virten.net)
Quick Look – vSphere 6.5 Storage Space Reclamation (Virtualization Is Life)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: Core Storage (VMware Storage Hub)
vSphere 6.5: The NFS edition (Why Is the Internet Broken?)
vSphere 6.5 what’s new – VMFS 6 / Core Storage (Yellow Bricks)
vSphere 6.5 what’s new – Storage IO Control (Yellow Bricks)

vCenter Server Links

vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 What’s New Rundown (Emad Younis)
Deploy VCSA 6.5 on Workstation (Enterprise Daddy)
vSphere 6.5 – What all Management Interfaces do I have? (Enterprise Daddy)
vSphere 6.5 – vCenter High Availability (VCHA) Overview (Enterprise Daddy)
vSphere 6.5 – vCenter High Availability (VCHA) Deployment (Enterprise Daddy)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – VUM, AutoDeploy and Host Profiles (ESX Virtualization)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – Native vCenter High Availability (VCSA 6.5 only) (ESX Virtualization)
VMware VCSA 6.5 Backup and Restore How-To (ESX Virtualization)
vCenter 6.5: Dude, where’re my services? (Have You Tried Reinstalling?)
vSphere 6.5 VCSA and Clients Announcements (The Saffa Geek)
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.1.1 works with ESXi 6.5, virtualizing Windows PCs & VMs for free (TinkerTry)
VMware vCenter 6.5 – Improvements (Victor Virtualization)
How VCSA rise the level of vCenter (vInfrastructure blog)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (vCSA) Enhancements (Virten.net)
vSphere 6.5 – External PSC Upgrade Issue (VirtualVCP)
How to run a Docker Container on the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5? (Virtually Ghetto)
How to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 running on VMware Fusion & Workstation? (Virtually Ghetto)
Updates to VMDK partitions & disk resizing in VCSA 6.5 (Virtually Ghetto)
Will I get Photon OS when I upgrade my VCSA 5.5/6.0 to VCSA 6.5? (Virtually Ghetto)
VCSA alarm for VCDB space utilization in vSphere 6.5 (Virtually Ghetto)
vSphere 6.5: What is vCenter High Availability (virtuallyPeculiar)
vCenter 6.5: #SRM, #vSphere Replication, #NSX problems after SSL change (LS_Update_certs.py) (vLenzker)
It’s Here! vSphere Update Manager on the vCenter Server Appliance (vMiss)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter Server (VMware vSphere Blog)
VCSA – The default choice. Always (vNinja)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) Now Running on PhotonOS (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 – Deploy VCSA  (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 – VCSA Backup (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 – Restore VCSA from Backup (vTagion)
vSphere 6.5 – VCSA Appliance Monitoring and Management (vTagion)
A Look at VMware’s vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 Release (Wahl Network)

Virtual Volumes (VVols) Links

VVols 2.0 with array based replication support announced with vSphere 6.5 (vSphere-land)
vSphere 6.5 with VVols 2.0 does not yet support in-band bind (vSphere-land)
Which storage vendors support VVols 2.0 in vSphere 6.5? (vSphere-land)
vSphere Virtual Volumes Technical Overview (VMware Storage Hub)
Whats New in Virtual Volumes 2.0 (VMware Virtual Blocks)
3 Key Reasons Customers Move to Virtual Volumes (VMware Virtual Blocks)
vSphere 6.5 what’s new – VVols (Yellow Bricks)

vRealize OPs (vROPs) Links

vSphere 6.5 Operations Management Announcements (The Saffa Geek)

VSAN Links

What’s New with VSAN 6.5 (vSphere-land)
VMworld EMEA Announcements : VSAN 6.5 (CloudFix)
What’s new in Virtual SAN 6.5 (Cormac Hogan)
VMware VSAN 6.5 – What’s New? (ESX Virtualization)
What’s new in VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.5 (I Wish I could be a VM)
What’s new in VSA 6.5 (vInfrastructure blog)
vSAN 6.5: A Real-World Review (Virtualization Review)
vSAN 2 Node with Direct Connect (VMware Virtual Blocks)
What’s New with VMware Virtual SAN 6.5 (VMware Virtual Blocks)
What is new for Virtual SAN 6.5? (Yellow Bricks)

vSphere Web Client Links

vSphere C# Client officially gone in vSphere 6.5 but what are the HTML5 client limitations (vSphere-land)
VMware vSphere 6.5 – HTML5 Web Client and More (ESX Virtualization)
In VMware vSphere 6.5, missing functions in speedy HTML5 Web UI leaves us saddled with vSphere Web Client (Flash), C# Client still connects to hosts, but not to vSphere (TinkerTry)
VMware vSphere 6.5 management UI (vInfrastructure blog)
What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter management clients (VMware vSphere blog)
vSphere 6.5: Client Integration Plug-in (CIP) Deprecated! (vTagion)

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