Tag Archive: vSphere 5

Jan 07 2012

What happened to vShield in vSphere 5?

I was updating my VMware build/release tables a few weeks ago and noticed that I could not find a version 5.0 of vShield Zones which is included with the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus editions of VMware. When you go to the download links for vSphere 5 under the Enterprise Plus category it says VMware vShield Zones for vSphere 5 – 1.0 Update 1.

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So I thought that can’t be right in vSphere 4.1 the version of vShield that was included was vShield Zones 4.1, how can it be version 1.0 now. In vSphere 4.1 there was the Zones version and the App version of vShield, you could upgrade from Zones to App by buying the licences for it and once you applied them Zones became App which provided more features that were not part of Zones.

So I was having lunch with Rob Randall, VMware’s security guru last week and asked him about it. Turns out they are no longer providing the updated vShield Zones as part of the bundle with Enterprise/Plus licenses. They did a switch-a-roo and are now providing the old version 1.0 Update 1 instead. I’m guessing they thought they were giving too much away for free with the updated vShield Zones which was not all the much different from vShield App and as a result people were not upgrading to App. This is disappointing as there is a huge difference between the 4.1 version of vShield and the  1.0 version. The biggest difference is version 1.0 does not use the VMsafe APIs and only worked inline between vSwitches in bridged mode. So if you are upgrading from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5 and you are using vShield Zones be aware that you are going to lose it after you upgrade. Your only options are to switch to version 1.0 (not very appealing) or cough up the dough to buy vShield App licenses. This VMware KB article breaks the bad news to you.

If you want to read more about vShield and the differences between the 1.0 and 4.1 versions as well as the differences between Zones & App I did a detailed multi-part series on each that you can read.

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Nov 19 2011

New ESXi 5.0 build to fix Software iSCSI Initiator issue

VMware has recently released a new build of ESXi to fix a bug that causes ESXi to hang for a long period of time while it tries to connect to all iSCSI targets. I’ve personally seen this happen in my lab and it can take quite a long time for ESXi to boot as it will try 9 times to connect to each iSCSI target. VMware sees this as a serious enough issue that not only have they released a patch to fix the problem but they’ve also released a special patch express release of ESXi. So when you go to download ESXi 5.0 now you will see two options for the ESXi ISO: one for systems without software iSCSI configured and one for systems with software iSCSI configured. If you are already using software iSCSI or plan on it at some point  you should choose the ISO image for systems with software iSCSI. You can read more about this issue in this VMware KB article. Here is the details on the two ESXi builds:

  • Original release: Version 5.0.0 – Release Date 8/24/11 – Build 469512
  • iSCSI patch release: Version 5.0.0 – Release Date 11/10/11 – Build 504890

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Nov 02 2011

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at searchsystemschannel.com…

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Oct 28 2011

Setting up VMware Auto Deploy for customers (Part 2)

You learned about VMware Auto Deploy’s benefits in part one of our two-part series, but it’s also important to know the vSphere 5 feature’s nuts and bolts and how to set it up for customers.

Auto Deploy takes advantage of the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) boot feature that is present in many physical network interface cards (NICs). This allows a server to boot from a remote image file using only a physical NIC and without local storage.

A server booting with PXE first obtains an IP address using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and then loads a boot image from a Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server. Auto Deploy uses PXE booting to download an ESXi image file to a host and its components work to define which image a host should use, customizations and host-specific configuration information.

Auto Deploy relies on software depots that are used to store collections of vSphere Installation Bundles (VIB) and image files that are accessed remotely via HTTP to deploy or update hosts. VIB files are used to deploy the ESXi software and any hardware vendor customizations. The Auto Deploy Server uses the software depot to pull VIBs and image profiles when booting an ESXi host.

Read the full article at searchsystemschannel.com…

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Oct 28 2011

How VMware Auto Deploy can ease VAR workloads (Part 1)

Although creating new hosts is a common server virtualization task, it is also a tedious process. Solution providers can use VMware Auto Deploy for vSphere 5 to do it much more efficiently.

Installing single hosts isn’t hard for solution providers but configuring multiple hosts can be time consuming. A VAR that has to create a new vSphere host without VMware Auto Deploy typically has to do the following:

1. Locate the installation media for ESX or ESXi and boot the server from it.

2. Follow the setup prompt to set configuration information.

3. Complete the installation and then reboot the server.

4. Verify that management console networking works properly.

5. Add the host to vCenter Server.

6. Configure networking, storage, security and other settings.

In doing all this, you risk making mistakes during the build process and could configure hosts inconsistently. Consistency is very important in a virtual environment both from a security and operational perspective. Once you’ve built and configured a host, another challenge is to back up host configuration data so if a problem occurs and you need to rebuild the host, you don’t have to restart from scratch.

Read the full article at searchsystemschannel.com…

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Oct 28 2011

vSphere 5’s Storage DRS and storage profile function deliver control over storage resources

The release of VMware Inc.’s vSphere 5 brings many exciting new features and enhancements to the virtualization platform, especially when it comes to storage. Two of the biggest new features in that area are Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and Profile-Driven Storage, which provide some much-needed control over storage resources.

In previous versions of vSphere, Distributed Resource Scheduler balanced VM workloads based on CPU and memory resource utilization. Storage DRS extends this capability to storage, enabling intelligent VM initial placement and load balancing based on storage I/O and capacity conditions within a cluster. Profile-Driven Storage, for its part, ensures that VMs are placed on storage tiers based on service-level agreements (SLAs), availability, performance and capabilities of the underlying storage platform. In this tip, we’ll examine both Storage DRS and the storage profile functionality in detail.

Storage DRS

Similar to the traditional DRS feature, Storage DRS uses a new type of cluster called a data store cluster, which is a collection of data stores that are aggregated into a single unit of consumption. By controlling all of the storage resources, Storage DRS allows intelligent placement of VMs that are powered on, as well as the shifting of workloads from one storage resource to another when needed to ensure optimum performance and avoid I/O bottlenecks. What this means in simpler terms is that, similar to vMotion’s movement of VMs from host to host, VMs can now be moved from data store to data store as well; the decision to move a VM from one data store to another is made by Storage DRS, which tells Storage vMotion to make the move.

Read the full article at searchvirtualstorage.com…

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Aug 10 2011

vSphere Licensing Advisor tool now available

VMware has released the Licensing Advisor tool that I talked about in this post for you to download and run in your environment to see how it complies with the new licensing model in vSphere 5. The download link and FAQ for the tool are available on VMware’s website.

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Jul 14 2011

Biggest collection of vSphere 5 links on the planet!

As usual I’m putting together my mega-list of every link I can find related to vSphere 5. So head on over to my vSphere 5 link page and check it out. This list is continually growing so be sure and bookmark it and keep checking back.

vsphere5

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