September 2010 archive

Upcoming Denver Super VMUG, mark your calendars you don’t want to miss this one

Unfortunately the official announcement from VMware will not go out until late next week so I wanted to get the word out so you can plan on attending. This will be Denver’s largest VMUG ever, unlike previous VMUG’s were we had to close registration at around 250 due to facility size limitations this one will remain open. The event will be held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden, CO at their Exhibition hall, we have all 3 rooms and it can hold almost 1,000 people. The date is Tuesday September 28th beginning at 10:00am and going to 3:30pm, doors open at 9:30am.

We will be having 8 presenters over the course of the day including Rob Randall from VMware who is one of their security gurus, well known blogger and author Scott Lowe who is a vSpecialist for EMC and Doug Hazelman from Veeam who is their Senior Director of Product Strategy. In addition we will be introducing social media into the VMUG with a presentation from Erika Napoletano, a social media specialist on how and why to use social media services like Twitter for business use. We’ll also have additional sessions from some great vendors including HyTrust, Xsigo, Compellent and Catbird. Lunch will be provided by Brothers BBQ and we will have some great door prizes to give away at the end.

So mark your calendars, you don’t want to miss this one, the official sign-up will go out next week, check back on VMware’s website then. Here’s the tentative agenda:

  • 10:00am General Session – What’s New at VMware (coffee/soft drinks will be available)
  • 10:30am General Session – Security of ESX and Virtual Systems (VMware – Rob Randall)
  • 11:15am Social Media presentation – How and Why to use social media for business (Erika Napoletano,
  • 11:30am Lunch/Networking with Vendors (Brothers BBQ)
  • 12:30pm General Session – Veeam – Doug Hazelman
  • 1:15pm General session – EMC – Scott Lowe
  • 2:00pm Main/Breakout room (HyTrust/Xsigo)
  • 2:40pm Main/Breakout room (Catbird/Compellent)
  • 3:20pm Closing & Door prize giveaways
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HP’s new itty-bitty Microserver, the little server that couldn’t

hp-microserverHP just released a new low-cost server which they have dubbed the “Microserver” due to its small size. The server doesn’t seem to belong their ML line of servers and seems to be a standalone server with a name instead of a model which is more geared towards consumers and small businesses. Here are the basic specifications of the server:

  • AMD Athlon II NEO N36L 1.3 Ghz dual-core processor
  • 1GB (1x1GB) Standard/8GB Maximum DDR3 Unbuffered ECC memory (only 2 DIMM slots)
  • Embedded AMD SATA controller with RAID 0/1, Embedded AMD eSATA controller
  • HP 160GB 3G SATA Non-Hot Plug 7,200rpm 3.5″ ETY Hard Drive (total of LFF 4 drive bays)
  • Embedded HP NC107i PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
  • HP 200w Non-Hot Plug, Non-Redundant Power Supply
  • 2 expansion slots Slot – 1 PCIe Gen 2×16, 1 PCIe Gen 2×1
  • (7) USB 2.0 ports: 4 front , 2 rear, 1 internal

The list price for this base configuration is $329 but to use this server as a vSphere host you are going to have to upgrade it. There in lies the first problem, only 2 memory slots, the server comes with only a single 1GB DIMM populating the one slot, to get to 4GB of memory you would have to remove it and 2 – 2GB DIMMs, the cost for this is $160. Having only 4GB of RAM in a virtual host is just not enough so to get the server to its maximum supported 8GB capacity you would have to add 2 – 4GB DIMMs, the cost for this is $700 due to the extremely high cost of denser RAM. Now you’re up to over $1,000 for this server as each 4GB DIMM costs more than the server itself. The next problem is the CPU, the AMD Athlon NEO 1.3 Ghz processor is pretty weak to be used for a virtualization. The AMD NEO processor family was designed for ultrathin notebooks and has a very small form factor and low power consumption. As a result while it is a dual-core CPU, 64-bit and includes the AMD-V feature which is required by vSphere the performance is just not going to be good enough for a virtual host running many VMs. There is also the question of if you could even use it with vSphere which may not include the driver for whatever storage controller is being used. HP’s website does not give the model # of it so its pretty much a mystery right now. The embedded NIC is the NC107i which is the same one used in other servers like the ML110 G6 which is supported by vSphere. One would guess they would use the same storage controller as the ML110 G6 which is the B110i which is also supported by vSphere and if thats the case you could at least install and run vSphere on it.

I love everything else about the server, especially its micro form factor case, I’m OK with only 2 expansion slots as you could easily add 2 dual port NICs to it for a total of 5 which would be sufficient for a vSphere host. The one downside it both slots are PCIe which require only PCIe cards which are double that of PCI/PCI-X cards, a dual-port PCIe Intel NIC goes for about $130. While its a neat little server with a small form factor that would be great for home labs I just can’t see using it for virtualization running ESX or ESXi. However I can see it being used as a nice little storage server, you could fill the four drive bays with 1TB drives for less than $300 and install OpenFiler on it and have yourself a nice little storage server to use with vSphere. But to use it for a virtual host just isn’t practical or affordable, I really wish HP would make a whole line of these servers and over more options and expandability. The server does have the TPM security chip slot like other HP servers and also a special slot for a out of band management board called the Microserver Remote Access card (purchased separately) which are enterprise class features. If they would only give this server 2 more DIMM slots and provide more CPU choices this server would be perfect for a small virtualization home lab or business. This server seems geared towards running non-virtualized lightweight applications on it which doesn’t make sense when everyone is going virtual these days.

So if you’re looking for an affordable vSphere home lab or small business server I’d have to recommend you look at the ML110 G6 server instead. The list cost is not that much more, it starts at $469 and it comes with more DIMM slots (4), more PCI slots (4) and more CPU options such as the Intel Core i3-530 (dual core), Intel Xeon X3430 (quad core) and the Intel Xeon X3440 (quad core w/HT). Also be aware that the Microserver does not come with a DVD drive standard which is an additional $49 option, the ML110 G6 does include a DVD drive. The ML110 G6 is a great little server, it’s taller than the Microserver but just as quiet and has low power consumption. I have two of them at home and they are perfect for a vSphere lab, with 4 DIMM slots you can use affordable 2GB DIMMs and get a total of 8GB of memory. In addition the X3440 CPU has hyperthreading which gives you 8 cores to use with a vSphere host. The HP Microserver is a cool concept and reminds me of the Shuttle servers but the small size comes at a cost with HP’s version and it just isn’t a great candidate to use as a vSphere host.

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vChat – Episode 6 – LIVE From VMworld 2010 in San Francisco

While attending VMworld we had the opportunity to record a VMworld edition of our weekly vChat podcast in the blogger lounge using Silicon Angle’s great video recording setup. So check out Simon Seagrave, David Davis & myself recording vChat on Thursday morning in the Cube. Thanks to John Furrier for scheduling us in and helping us out with this.

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Upgrading hosts from ESX to ESXi in seven steps

The next release of vSphere won’t include VMware ESX, so you may be unsure how to upgrade your ESX hosts to ESXi hosts. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet, and as with all upgrades, you should not rush into it without being prepared. In this article, I will provide a suggested methodology.

1. Understand the differences between ESX and ESXi

First, you need a good understanding of the differences between ESX and ESXi. The two hypervisors run the same VMkernel, but managing ESXi is different from management ESX. ( VMware provides a basic ESX vs. ESXi comparison on its website and a more detailed one in the ESX vs. ESXi 4.1 KnowledgeBase article.) ESX and ESXi used to differ considerably, but vSphere 4.1 addressed most of them and the two hypervisors are now on par with each other.

Read the full article at…

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Webcast on upgrading to vSphere

I recently did a webcast for on upgrading to vSphere that covers everything you need to know when upgrading from VI3 to vSphere. Below is the abstract of it along with the links for the webcast with slides/audio and the podcast audio only.

Webcast: Upgrading to vSphere: What you need to know

Podcast: Upgrading to vSphere: What you need to know


If you have an existing VMware Infrastructure 3 environment, upgrading to vSphere — also known as ESX and ESXi 4 — will probably be on the agenda at some point if it hasn’t already. But before jumping into an upgrade of this caliber there are many considerations and requirements that you should be aware of, including hardware, software and database requirements, third-party software compatibility considerations and compatibility with other VMware products. Then, you’ll need to devise an upgrade plan for your existing environment. Upgrading to vSphere is fairly straightforward, but there are many gotchas that can make it more difficult than necessary. To avoid surprises during the upgrade you should properly prepare and know all the steps involved in your upgrade so that it is trouble-free. In this webcast we will cover considerations and steps for upgrading your existing virtual environment to vSphere.

Compatibility & requirement considerations:

* Hardware requirements
* Software & database requirements
* Third-party product compatibility
* VMware product compatibility

Planning an upgrade:

* Upgrade phases
* Upgrade methods

Performing an upgrade:

* Rolling back to a previous version
* Pre-upgrade checklist
* Upgrading vCenter Server
* Upgrading ESX and ESXi hosts
* Upgrading virtual machines

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Day 2 – Tuesday

General Session official video (
VMworld 2010 Keynote, Day 2 (Scott Lowe)
Live from VMworld 2010: Day 2 (
VMworld 2010 Opening Keynote Live Blog (Brian Madden)
VMworld 2010 – General Session – Live Blogging (It’s Just Another Layer)
VMworld – Keynote Live Blog (Blue Shift)
VMworld Keynote – Announcing VMware vCloud Director (Aaron Delp)
VMWorld – Day 2: The Best of Times and the Worst of Times (Knudt Blog)
VMworld 2010 Keynote (Jase’s Place)
Hey Security Guys, VMworld Is Hitting Your Playground (Kendrick Coleman)
VMware vCloud Director and Enterprise Cloud (Kendrick Coleman)
VMworld 2010 by the numbers (SearchServerVirtualization)
vCloud Director unveiled at VMworld 2010 (SearchServerVirtualization)
VMware acquires Integrien (SearchServerVirtualization)
VMworld 2010 First Impressions (Virtualization Practice)
VMworld Day 2 (Virtual Insanity)
I’m Not One to Drink the Kool-Aid, But… (Vinternals)
VMware’s (New) vShield: The (Almost) Bottom Line (Rational Survivability)
VMware View 4.5: Ready for the Large Enterprise (Chris Wolf)
vCloud Director Security Model (Aaron Delp)
VMware vCloud Director officially available (Rethink IT)
The Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Delivered (Rethink IT)
VMware vShield Secures IT as a Service (Rethink IT)
View 4.5 & The Journey Towards Enabling the Consumer Cloud Experience for the Enterprise (VMware View-Point blog)

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Day 1 – Monday

vFabric Wasn’t Even Mentioned (Kendrick Coleman)
VMworld – Future of Networking (Musings of Rodos)
VMworld 2010 Solutions Exchange – EMC Sneak Peek (Jase’s Place)
VMworld 2010 Lab Tour (Mister VM)
Distributed Virtual Network: The future of VMware networking (SearchServerVirtualization)
VMworld 2010 Sunday/Monday update (Virtual Insanity)
VMworld Announcements, Day 1 (Scott Lowe)
VMworld – Day -2, -1 and 0 (RTFM Education)
VMworld 2010 SF – Day 1 (
How To Wield the New vShield (Edge, App & Endpoint) (Rational Survivability)
Been Here a Week and We’re Just Getting Started… Day 1 of VMworld 2010 (Jason Nash’s blog)
VMware vCloud Director Explained (
VMware vCloud Director (vCD) (Yellow Bricks)
VMworld 2010 Day 1 (Planet VM)
VMworld First Thoughts (Everyday Virtualization)

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Day 0 – Sunday

VMworld 2010: Labs are the place to be! (Yellow Bricks)
VMworld 2010 Hands-on Labs (
Come see the vTARDIS at VMworld on Monday (
VMworld 2010 Labs Preview (VMtoday)
Live Coverage Of VMWorld 2010 WUPaaS (VM/ETC)

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