Mar 19 2015

vBlogger Spotlight: Mike Laverick

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While we wait for the Top vBlog results I thought I would shine the spotlight on several prominent bloggers in the community to give you some insight into their experiences with blogging. Today’s spotlight is on Mike Laverick, one of the OG bloggers who started his RTFM (Read The Frigging Manual) Education website way back in the early days of blogging. Mike was also one of the early book authors as a member of the Advanced Technical Design Guide rat pack that authored some of the first books on virtualization. Mike is the host of the Chinwag podcasts where he uses his laidback, informal interview style to chat with guests about virtualization. A former Certified VMware Instructor, Mike’s great passion for teaching and helping others is evidenced by his blog posts, articles, books, podcasts and his unselfish eagerness to share and give back to the community. So without further ado enjoy a Q&A session with Mike Laverick:

What year did you start your blog?

[Mike] RTFM Education started in 2003, but I flogged that to TechTarget, so I’m not sure if that really counts anymore! As for mikelaverick.com (such a pithy name dontcha think?) started in Feb, 2013…

What inspired you to start a blog?

[Mike] Back 2003 it was just an honest willingness to share what I learned, and help others. The plans for Dr Evil style world-domination came later…

Describe your early blogging experiences and how you have evolved over the years?

[Mike] I’m going to be a bit vain here. But I would like to my style has influenced others. I read other bloggers and think, “god, that’s just how I would do it”. I don’t feel ripped off, but slightly proud. I told you I was going to be vain! But I like to think my style is one that blends just right of theory with a big dollop of “getting it done”. My most popular posts have been ones that fix a commonly experience problem, that everyone runs up against in their time.

What has kept you blogging over the years and not quitting at it?

[Mike] Aside from a passion to share what I learn, I do generally love writing. I guess that comes from my liberal-arts background. You see I’m a bit of interloper who’s technical knowledge wasn’t gained through academic qualifications but via combo of experience, and training courses. One day someone is going to work out that this particular Emperor has no clothes. But to mix my metaphors I will keep on pulling the levers like the Wizard of Oz, until someone pulls back the curtain. It’s been a while since I undertook a big book project and do I kind of miss that. I tip my hat to colleagues of mine who have held down full-time jobs at VMware, and writing books. I don’t know how they find the time or motivation. As for myself I do a project that’s been cooking away since last year (or if I’m honest the year before) it looks ripe for launch. I hope to do the big reveal in the next couple of weeks.

What was your best experience or fondest memory related to blogging?

[Mike] I guess my fondest memory, is when people come up to me at VMUGs and say they laughed out loud – at something I wrote in a book or blog. Humour is rather under-rated virtue in IT, I don’t know how many of us get through the working day without being able to laugh at the end of it….

Any advice for others who are new to blogging?

[Mike] Blog about you – your experiences and what you learn. Most of start blogging as way of documenting what we learn. Its a bit odd how you end up searching your own blog for stuff you worked out 12 months ago, because your memory synapses have made room for some other data. As for ‘making a name for yourself’ – I would recommend finding a topic that is unloved, and becoming the GOTO guy/gal for that. Get a reputation for being a really nice person who helps other people. If you lucky, you’ll hit upon a technology that just explodes in popularity – and will put a rocket under your career. If it happens 99% of that will be pure luck, the other 99% will be sheer goddamn hardwork. Then, rest on your laurels and dine out on your veteran status until retirement. Well, that’s what I plan to do anyway… ;-)

Mar 18 2015

Top vBlog voting has ended

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The polls have closed after being open for just over 2 weeks and over 2,200 people have voted which is a new record high compared to the 1,400 last year. So what’s next? I have to run all the votes through my vote processing contraption to determine the results, hopefully we don’t run into any issues with hanging chads. It’s not a terribly efficient machine so this process will take about a week to complete. After that stay tuned for the live Top vBlog Results Show featuring myself, John Troyer, David Davis, Simon Seagrave and Infinio coming to a Google Hangout near you.

Mar 18 2015

vBlogger Spotlight: Scott Lowe

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While we wait for the Top vBlog results I thought I would shine the spotlight on several prominent bloggers in the community to give you some insight into their experiences with blogging. Today’s spotlight is on Scott Lowe, not to be confused with the Other Scott Lowe or the gamer Scott Lowe (lots of Scott Lowe’s in tech). The original Scott Lowe is one of the earliest bloggers to write about virtualization having started his web log in 2005 and has been consistently ranked in the top 5 in my Top vBlog polls over the years. Scott was also one of the earliest book authors to write about virtualization with the release of his Mastering vSphere 4 book in 2009 and many other books after that. So without further ado enjoy a Q&A session with Scott Lowe:

What year did you start your blog?

[Scott] My first article was published in early May of 2005. At first I ran it on an internal-only installation of WordPress, but moved it to a public hosting provider within just a couple of months.

What inspired you to start a blog?

[Scott] Like others, my blog started out as a sort of “knowledge base” for myself. I would find solutions to these problems, but 6 months later when I ran into the same problem again I couldn’t remember how I’d solved it. The blog was an attempt to help with that problem.

Describe your early blogging experiences and how you have evolved over the years?

[Scott] If you go back and look at the early blog entries, they were more like journal entries. I talked about a technical project I’d started or a fix I’d found, but the posts were really more for myself. After about six months to a year, I “found my voice” and started speaking more to an external audience (even though the blog had hardly any followers at the time, it somehow felt natural to write that way—hence “finding my voice”). From there, my writing voice has evolved as I’ve grown and changed. I would even go so far as to say that my writing voice has, in some cases, been a contributing or driving factor in how I’ve grown and changed.

What has kept you blogging over the years and not quitting at it?

[Scott] I think it’s because I’ve always enjoyed being able to help others learn and understand new things. I enjoyed working as an instructor and trainer early in my career, and I think I’ve carried a fondness for “teaching” ever since. Writing about technologies, projects, products, and trends has been like an outlet for me to share both my passion for technology as well as my passion for helping others understand technology.

What was your best experience or fondest memory related to blogging?

[Scott] That’s a tough question! There have been some good experiences as well as some not-so-good experiences. I suppose if I had to pick only one experience it would be a story I heard from a co-worker when I was working for a reseller on the US East Coast (this was before I moved to Denver). A sales person and an SE went into an account to talk about winning the opportunity to do a virtualization project for this company. The technical guys at this company talked about this article they’d read online and how they wanted to use the architecture proposed by this article for this project. When the sales rep and the SE asked about the article, the customer responded with “It was written by this guy, Scott Lowe.” The sales rep and the SE just laughed and said, “You know he works for us, right?” Needless to say, we got the opportunity to do the project (and yes, I worked on the project). I think it was a bit of an eye-opener for me personally—I knew that others knew of me, but didn’t understand the potential impact my work might have.

Any advice for others who are new to blogging?

[Scott] I’m assuming since you used the phrase “new to blogging” that we’re talking about someone who has already started blogging. In that case, I’d have to say to keep this phrase in mind: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Your articles don’t have to be perfect. Your site’s layout doesn’t have to be perfect. Certainly strive for excellence, but don’t obsess over perfection to the point you don’t actually write. In the end, it’s OK to publish an article that may not be as complete as you’d originally planned, or may not be as in-depth as you’d first envisioned (this latter point is something with which I personally wrestle from time to time). It’s likely that someone will still find value in it, and over time you’ll learn how best to structure your content and writing.

Mar 18 2015

The evolution of bloggers as seen through the vLaunchpad over the years

I recently dug into some of my website design archives and came across many version of how the vLaunchpad has grown and evolved over the last 8 years. Because is contains links to all the blogs out there this time capsule serves to illustrate how bloggers have evolved and gorwn over the years. The earliest version of the vLaunchpad had very few blogs listed as ther ejust wasn’t many people bloggin back then. Over the years that has steadily grown as the current version of the vLaunchpad has over 400 active blogs listed on it.

My very first design developed in 2007 using Dreamweaver:

vlp-old3

 A newer layout with more content dubbed the vLaunchpad 2.0 in 2008:

vlp-oldest2

Next revision, started ranking blogs, still 2008:

vlp-oldest3

A new design layout in 2009, blog rankings expanded to the top 20:

vlp-oldest4

Finally switched to WordPress in 2010 which made updating easier instead of doing everything in html, initially I showed the top 25 blogs, then the top 50 blogs and now the top 100 blogs, here’s the latest design:

vlp-newest

Mar 17 2015

VMTN wayback machine – spotlight on Jason Boche

Years and years ago on my old vmware-land.com website I had a page devoted to shining the spotlight on very active and influential members of the VMTN community so we could find out more about them. I thought I’d resurrect some of those spotlights and give you a glimpse back into the early days of the VMTN community. Today’s wayback machine spotlight is on Jason Boche:

vmtn-boche

Mar 17 2015

NFS 4.1 support in vSphere limitations and caveats

vSphere 6 finally bumped the version of NFS that was supported as a datastore from v3 to v4.1. NFS v4.1 is certainly not new having been introduced in 2010 but VMware has never seen to support v4.1 until vSphere 6. As expected NFS v4.1 brings a number of enhancements over v3 including support for multi-pathing and Kerberos authentication (AD) but there are a number of caveats and limitations with using it in vSphere 6 that you should be aware of:

  • You cannot use Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) with NFS v4.1
  • NFS 4.1 does not support hardware acceleration (VAAI) as a result you cannot create thick virtual disks on NFS v4.1 datastores (thin only) or use any of the VAAI-NAS primitives (i.e. Fast File Clone)
  • According to the vSphere 6 Storage documentation on page 151, NFS 4.1 does not support the Fault Tolerance (FT) availability feature in vSphere, however on page 153 of that same documentation (see chart below) it is listed as supported. VMware needs to clarify this contradiction in their documentation.

FT-NFS

Important!

Update from Cormac on this:

VMs on NFS v4.1 support FT, as long as it is the new FT mechanism introduced in 6.0.

VMs running on NFS v4.1 do not support the old, legacy FT mechanism.

In vSphere 6.0, the newer Fault Tolerance mechanism can accommodate symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) virtual machines with up to four vCPUs. Earlier versions of vSphere used a different technology for Fault Tolerance (now known as legacy FT), with different requirements and characteristics (including a limitation of single vCPUs for legacy FT VMs). ​

  • You cannot use v3 and v4.1 NFS versions to mount the same datastore as they do not use the same locking protocol and doing this cause data corruption
  • NFS v3 and NFS v4.1 datastores can coexist on the same host
  • Just like you can’t upgrade from VMFS3 to VMFS 5, you cannot upgrade an existing NFS v3 datastore to v4.1
  • Be aware that vSphere 6 supports both NFS v3 and v4.1 but to do this ESXi has to use different NFS clients
  • NFS v4.1 provides multipathing (pNFS) and you can use multiple IP addresses to access a single NFS volume

Below is a feature comparison chart that shows what vSphere features are not supported with NFS v4.1:

NFSv41-edit

For more information on implementing NFS v4.1 read through the vSphere 6 Storage Documentation.

Mar 16 2015

Videos to help you learn about VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) concepts and architecture

VMware has published two short videos that go over the concepts and architecture related to their new Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) storage architecture in vSphere 6. After you are done checking them out head on over to my Virtual Volumes link page for a lot more content on VVOLs.

Mar 16 2015

Bloggers get some free bling for your Top vBlog 2015 commemorative coin

Any blogger that tweets to promote this post with the hashtag #SupportvSphereland and makes the top 50 will receive a cool metal coin stand courtesy of me so they can proudly display their commemorative coin on their desk. You can use the below button to easily tweet this.

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Mar 16 2015

Check out these great companies that support vSphere-land and Top vBlog 2015

Maintaining this site and my vLaunchpad as well as executing Top vBlog each year is very time-consuming. In return I would ask that you take a moment and learn a bit about my great sponsors that support me and make this all possible. Below check the latest news and events from my sponsors and be sure and give them a follow on Twitter so you stay up to date on what they are doing.

Important!

Any blogger that tweets this post with the hashtag #SupportvSphereland and makes the top 50 will receive a cool metal coin stand courtesy of me so they can proudly display their commemorative coin on their desk. You can use the below button to easily tweet this.


In addition for anyone interesting in supporting this site I do have ad spots available.

Infinio



Official sponsor of Top vBlog 2015. Learn how ESG, an integrated IT research, analysis, and strategy firm, conducted a detailed Economic Value Validation (EVV) analysis looking at the direct and indirect costs and benefits organizations should consider when evaluating a storage performance investment. Download the white paper now.

VMTurbo



Join VMTurbo on March 17th at 1:30 PM EST for a webinar where  you’ll hear from Christopher Pritchard, Director of Information Technology, how AMGH leverages VMTurbo’s Demand-Driven Control to minimize latency, assure performance, and maximize utilization in its virtual IT backbone – including holistic control of Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), EMC VNX, and a suite of Dell compute and storage.

Veeam



Learn how Veeam Availability Suite v8 bridges the availability gap by providing Availability for the Modern Data Center™, which delivers RPOs and RTOs (RTPO™) of < 15 minutes for ALL applications and data. Also checkout NEW Veeam® Endpoint Backup™ FREE which provides a simple and free solution for backing up Windows-based desktops and laptops.

SolarWinds



Join Kong Yang and I on March 19th from 2PM-3PM CT for a webinar to help you understand what hyper-convergence is all about as it relates to virtualization and look at the factors that have resulted in us getting there and discuss the impact it has on how we implement, manage, and monitor our virtual infrastructures. Also check out this new white paper on hyper-convergence and the impact this latest virtualization trend has on the management of a virtual infrastructure.

Unitrends



What do Docker, Taylor Swift, and Protection have in common? Attend this webinar to understand why interest in Docker has exploded and what Unitrends will offer to offer unique and state-of-the-art unified protection for Docker just as we offer for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. One lucky attendee will win a ticket to DockerCon ($899 Value!!). Also checkout another webinar to learn about number of free tools that Unitrends offers ranging from free backup of VMware vSphere (even for the free/unlicensed ESXi version) and Microsoft Hyper-V to business continuity and disaster recovery planning services.

Bitdefender



Check out the Business Insights blog that focuses on Virtualization and Cloud Security with authors such as Dave Shackleford who recently did a post entitled An Overview of Virtualization Security Guidance: Part I and also check out Part II. Bitdefender also did a joint solution brief with VMware entitled: Solution Brief: “Virtualization-centric Security for VMware Environments“. And finally another good white paper they published is entitled: “Evolve or Die: Security Adaptation in a Virtual World“.

Tintri



Read Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays report to understand the storage challenges ahead of you and find out why Tintri has been positioned as a Visionary in the space. Also sign-up for an upcoming webinar on March 31st at 9:00PDT entitled “Architecting for Successful VDI Design” where William Allred, Associate Director at the Sam M. Walton College of Business will share his experience with the expected (and unexpected) challenges of a VDI deployment. Also Patrick Carmichael, Sr. Systems Engineer at Tintri will share the most common VDI pitfalls and specific ideas for how they can be avoided.

Nutanix



Nutanix Welcomes You to the Inaugural .NEXT Conference, the only conference dedicated to the latest in enterprise datacenter technologies and architectures on June 8-10, 2015 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Register today! Be sure and checkout the Nutanix NEXT worldwide online community to facilitate a peer-to-peer exchange of ideas, best practices, and information about Nutanix and web-scale technologies, and the rapidly changing landscape of datacenter IT. Register for free to join the global conversation! Also don’t miss an episode of the Nutanix Next Community Podcast.

VCDX133



Be sure and check out all the great information on Rene Van Den Bedem’s (aka VCDX133) blog and give him a follow on Twitter.

Mar 15 2015

Last chance to vote for the Top vBlogs – voting closes on 3/16

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Voting closes tomorrow (Monday) at the end of the day, over 2,000 people have voted so far from all across the world. Don’t miss your chance to vote and determine who the top vBloggers are.

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Mar 14 2015

vSphere release cycle bounces back to the old VI3 days

Back in 2013 I did a post comparing number of days between major vSphere releases that highlighted VMware’s fast pace of delivering new vSphere versions. That fast pace has now slowed down considerably with vSphere 6.0 as VMware wasn’t able to keep up with the zippy one year cycle they had fallen into. Now with the release of vSphere 6.0 we’re back to around the same numbers of days that it was at years ago with VI3. One of the reasons for the delay was most likely due to the engineering of the new Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) storage architecture which took considerable time and effort to complete. Whether that will continue or not as yet to be seen, the next release of vSphere may not be as big as this one was. VMware now has many of their new architectural changes in place so they may speed up again based on the development efforts required for the next vSphere release.

ESX/ESXi versionRelease DateDays from prior release
2.511/29/2004-
3.06/15/2006563
3.512/10/2007543
4.05/21/2009528
4.17/13/2010418
5.08/24/2011407
5.19/10/2012383
5.59/22/2013377
6.03/12/2015536

vsphere-days

 

Mar 14 2015

Only 4 vendors support VVOLs on Day 1 of vSphere 6 GA

VMware has added a new category to their Hardware Compatibility Guide specifically to show vendor support for Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) called vSphere APIs for Virtual Volumes (VVols). On Day 1 of the vSphere 6 launch just 4 partners showed up as supporting VVOLs on their storage arrays, those partners & supported models are shown below:

VVOL-HCL

Below is a detailed listing if you click on one:

VVOLs-HCL2

A summary of the the full list of what storage array models are currently supported by those partners is shown in the below table:

PartnerModelsArray TypeFW/OS Ver.Features
HP3PAR StoreServ 7000 & 10000 StorageFiber Channel3.2.1
IBMXIVFiber Channel11.5.1Multi-VC,VPHA (active-passive)
NEC iStorage M110, M310, M510, M710Fiber Channel & iSCSI010A
SANBlaze TechnologyVirtuaLUNFiber Channel & iSCSI7.3Multi-VC,VPHA (active-active)

I few things to note about the above:

  • Of the 3 original VVOLs design partners (HP-Fiber Channel, Dell-iSCSI, NetApp-NFS) only HP delivered day 1 support for VVOLs. This doesn’t mean the other arrays don’t support VVOLs yet, their array firmware may very well support it but they haven’t completed the certification process yet. Expect to see more show up as vendors complete their certification process.
  • The Features field in the VVOLs listing is a bit mis-leading as it doesn’t indicate which storage array features each vendors supports with VVOLs such as snapshots, QoS, thin provisioning, etc. No vendor specific features are part of the certification process, the tests may use specific features but it doesn’t know what those features are. Instead this column lists features related to the implementation such as if multiple vCenter Servers (Multi-VC) are supported with the VASA Provider and if the VASA Provider has High Availability (VPHA) features built-in. Note vendors can choose to implement their VASA Provider embedded within the array or externally as a VM or physical server. Of the ones listed I know that 3PAR implements their VASA Provider in the array and IBM’s is external as part of their Storage Integration Server.
  • Certification is protocol specific, right now all 4 vendors support Fiber Channel and only NEC & SANBlaze supports iSCSI. Expect to see NetApp show up as supporting NFS and Dell EqualLogic as supporting iSCSI.
  • In the listing their is Profile section which lists Virtual Metro Storage Cluster, all arrays listed say No for this as vMSC is currently not supported with VVOLs.
  • The VASA provider version is based on VMware’s current VASA Provider specification. Version 2.0 was the new VASA Provider spec in vSphere 6 that was specifically developed to support VVOLs replacing the version 1.0 in vSphere 5.x. I’d have to check the latest specification document but I’m assuming 2.1 was an incremental upgrade to this. I have no idea why SANBlaze lists their as 7.3.

UPDATE:

On the VASA Provider version I checked with our engineering team and that is the version specific to each vendors VASA Provider. So this is not related to VMware’s  VASA 2.0 specification and is really up to the vendor on how they want to version their specific VASA provider.

Mar 12 2015

Maximum Virtual CPU support cut in half in vSphere 6.0

I was reviewing the Configuration Maximums document for vSphere 6.0 which was released today and comparing it to vSphere 5.5 to see what has changed and noticed that the maximum Virtual CPU support (vCPU) was reduced by half from 4,096 in vSphere 5.5 to 2,048 in vSphere 6.0. Not sure if this is a typo or if this is actually the case, it seems odd though as the support for the number of physical CPUs in a host has increased from 320 in vSphere 5.5 to 480 in vSphere 6.0. Also note the number of VM’s per host has doubled from 512 in vSphere 5.5 to 1,024 in vSphere 6.0 so the reduction in the max vCPUs seems strange.

vSphere 5.5 Configuration Maximums:

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vSphere 6.0 Configuration Maximums:

config-max-60-arrow

UPDATE: VMware must of read my post and fixed their error in the vSphere 6.0 documentation, the supported vCPUs in vSphere 6.0 remains the same as vSphere 5.5 at 4,096.

Mar 12 2015

vSphere 6.0 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 6.0 post and check out my huge vSphere 6.0 Link-O-Rama.

v6-LinkORama-crop.png

 

Mar 10 2015

New white paper and webinar on management of hyper-converged environments

I recently wrote a white paper for SolarWinds on the impact of management in hyper-converged environments and will also be presenting a webinar along with fellow vExpert Kong Yang from SolarWinds on that topic next week. If you’re interested give it a read and I look forward to seeing you next week.

Webinar:

Hyper-convergence: Is it the be-all end-all?

hyper-web

White paper:

The Hyper-convergence Effect: Do Virtualization Management Requirements Change?

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