VMware partner competencies

VMware's technical certifications are almost simple and clear: actually there are four paths (Data Center Virtualization, Cloud, End User Computing, Network Virtualization) and for each four different levels (Associate, Professional, Advanced Professional or Implementation Expert, Design Expert) like in a piramid (with the first level optional, as discussed in a previous post). There is also a specific path for Cloud Application Platform (related to developer for the Spring framework), but actually could be considered as something apart and also is not included in the official VMware Certification Roadmap. On the partner side some of those individual certifications could be useful for gaining ...

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Fix vCenter Plugins list: Remove Enterprise Converter

One possible issue after a vSphere 5 upgrade using an in-place upgrade of vCenter Server could appear when you forget to remove the Converter Enterprise plugin (and/or the Guided Consolidation plugin). As you know some products has been removed from vSphere 5, and their plugins may remain in a "orphan" state. The result of this issue is that you will have a "broken" plugins list (with some plugins that are no more available) and also a wrong vCenter health status, due to some services that are no more existing: The well-documented procedure to remove old or wrong plugins is described in the KB1025360 ...

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New's in vSphere 5 - Storage API

vStorage API Introduced for the first time in vSphere the vStorage API are specific functions to permit an integration more thight with external storage functions. Note that there also other integration module that are coverd in the PSA framework. For more information see: What Is New in VMware vSphere™ 4: Storage What’s New in VMware vSphere™ 5.0 – Storage vSphere Storage API - Storage Awareness (VASA) This is a new set of APIs introduced in vSphere 5.0 that will enable VMware vCenter Server to detect the capabilities of the storage array LUNs/datastores, making it much easier to select the appropriate disk for virtual machine placement or ...

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Hyper-converged storage momentum

Hyper-converged architectures consolidate and manage computing, networking, and storage resources via software so they can run on any vendor's server hardware. Several years ago they where (apparently) strange approach to storage implementation used mainly for cheap solution (using VSA, that lacks, in much cases, of right scalability), or for special user cases like ROBO or VDI (with solution like NexentaVSA for View). But starting with Nutanix (probably the first real player in those kind of solution) the idea of simple VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) has dramatically changed by introducing a large scalability with new scale-out (or web-scale, using Nutanix terms) approach. VMware is talking about ...

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Manage a storage array with System Center VMM 2012

One of the interesting features of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 is that it can handle several other objects and not only the VM (when the name will be changed to reflect this?). Of course it can handle hosts (not only Hyper-V hosts), but also networking and storage. All those resource are in the "fabric" tab. In this case we see a storage array with its LUNs: The storage integration in System Center is really similar to several storage plugins for VMware vCenter and the VASA functionality on vSphere 5 (in fact it also require a "provider"): you can manage your ...

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Storage scale-up vs. scale-out

In an old post about storage architectures is described in a simple way some basic concepts, including the scale-in (or scale-up) vs. the scale-out approach. They are different approaches in scaling with different implications. Unfortunately there is a simple an well accepted definition on what is a scale-out storage is (or not is): some are limited in specific contests (like this one only for NAS or this SNIA tutorial still applied to a NAS storage), other are too much vendor specific. But usually a scale-out storage imply: Multi-device (or multi-array) storage systems (aggregated in a pool of resources) Possibility to scale both in capacity ...

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Virtualization is not cloud computing

In the previous posts I've described the different types of virtualization and the different types of cloud computing. Due to the fact that usually IaaS provide VMs you can think that there is a direct correlation between virtualization (in this case system virtualization) and cloud. But this correlation could exists or also not! Virtualization is stricly related to the technologies and the infrastructure aspect. Cloud more on high-level aspects, like type of services, services level, ... Cloud imply virtualization? Virtualization it's just an infrastructure layer that could be used in a cloud infrastructure, but is not strictly mandatory! Of course, for IaaS probably a virtualization ...

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VMware related acronyms

Duncan Epping has wrote (on 2010) a nice post with the meaning of several, not too obvious, VMware acronyms used sometime in some product name, but usually in the internal process or file name. In those post you can found also some interesting facts about the meaning and the origin of some names. Now I've just put a copy here and short the list alphabetically and also added some new entries: AAM Automated Availability Manager (aka VMware HA since v 4.1) ADM Application Discover Manager ALUA Asymmetric Logical Unit Access APD All Paths Down APM Application Performance Manager CBM Chargeback Manager CBRC Content Based Read Cache CF Cloud Foundry CIM Common Interface Model (standard acronym) CIQ Capacity IQ (now integrated in ...

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ESXi Performance Graphs - VM Power

There is an performance monitor at VM level that show always a null value: it's the VM Power Graph. The same monitor at host level show the power usage of the specific host. But by default, the power usage of the VMs are not calculated. To enable this experimental feature you must change an advanced parameter (Power.ChargeVMs) on each host (by default, as show in the picture, is zero... it must be changed to 1): After this operation the performance graph will start to show the value of VM power consumption (I supposed based on memory and CPU usage): How those value can ...

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VMware vCenter 5.5 design

The design of the VMware vCenter Server and related services has several decision that you have to take, and of course some of them will change with the version number of this products (for example SSO design are different from 5.1 and 5.5). During the last Nordic VMUG User Conference I've taken a session about some the design aspects and I want to comment some of the aspects. There are also other references that you can use, like a post of Max Mortillaro (vCenter Server Design Considerations) that can add more information or other point of view. Basically the main design decisions ...

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Running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 in a VM

The new releases of Windows OS products (both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2) are actually in a RTM state for OEM and will be public available on October (probably the 17th or the 18th). Actually, in the last days, Microsoft has announced that the RTM is also available on MSDN and Technet. Or you can simple ask to download the evaluation product (but in this case it's just a beta version). If you want to run them on a VM it's really easy because it's just the same of running a Windows 8 or a Windows Server 2012 VM. And ...

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Storage for VDI: local or shared?

In my interview with Sakthi Chandra (NexentaVSA for View Director), during the last Open Storage Summit EMEA, we have talk about the Nexenta approach of the storage for a VDI environment. Their product has been developed from a collaboration with VMware and some aspects sound familiar: for example the overview of the VSA deployment and design seems similar to the VMware VSA, except the scalability limit (that is limited to max 3 host for the VMware solution). But I don't want talk about the product, yet (I prefer dedicate it a post, when I will be able to make some ...

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Storage Best Practices: Vendor vs. VMware

A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a "best" practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered. But, as well described by Frank Denneman in his post, best practices are never absolute, they depends on your specific case. One good example is in the storage part of a virtualization solution: VMware guides (but also other virtualization vendor) define some good practices, but storage vendors may define other more specific. In this case, usually, you must follow the practices ...

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Supported means that works well?

In the previous post I've consider the cases and scenarios of a "non supported" configurations. But what's happen with "supported" configurations? Are they always working and always in the best way? A supported configuration means that it can work well, but in specific situations, cases, scenarios. Usually a good rule could be make a good analysis and a good virtual design before choose the single pieces. A supported configuration does not mean that also meets requirements like availability, scalability and performance. For example there are a lot of entry storage that are VMware certified, but they does not meet any of ...

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Veeam Endpoint Backup with Veeam repository

As you probably know, some days ago Veeam has released the RC version of their free tool Veeam Endpoint Backup (announced for the first time on Oct 2014). Veeam Endpoint Backup is a free data protection and disaster recovery solution for physical machines, both client or server, but actually limited to "recent" version of Windows (mainly from NT 6.1 release). Comparered to the beta version, this new version add a lot of new features, including: Backup directly into Veeam backup repositories Full support for Bitlocker drive encryption on backup and restore Ability to control power state of the computer after daily backup "When backup target is ...

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Purging old data from a View Event DB

In an installation of VMware Horizon View one requirement is the VMware Composer database to keep track of the various pools with linked clones. But this is the only mandatory DB (if you have linked clones), because for the various View Connection Servers there isn't any strictly database strictly requirement, since they exchange and share data via a specific data structure based on Active Directory Lightweight Mode (actually an LDAP tree replicated between each replication server). But in real scenario, it becomes useful, from the management point of view, set up a shared database for the View Events. There are a ...

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VMware Logo

After an upgrade to VMware vSphere 5.5 on a Dell PowerEdge R710, I’ve got strange occasion issues, where the hosts got completly disconnected from vCenter (with the ESXi/ESX host’s status as Not Responding or Disconnected in vCenter Server) and there was no way to reconnect, also after restarting the management services.

Locking in the ESXi console those kind of errors where notable: Bootbank cannot be found at path ‘/bootbank’.

The only temporally solution was power-off the VMs and restart the host. But the issue can randomly came back.

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VMware Logo

In previous posts (see ESXi – Partitions layout of system disk and ESXi – More on partitions) I’ve described how are handles the partitions table on the destination installation media of ESXi 5.x (both in the case of a hard disk or a SD/USB disk).

With the new ESXi 6.0 the partition tables is similar in the case of a 1 or 2 GB destination device (like a previous SD media), but has some changes in the case of larger devices.

Core partitions remain the same with standard size: continue reading…

TFD-Logo

Some days ago I was invited to as a delegate at the first edition of Data Field Day (#DFD1) event, scheduled in May 13–15, 2015 in California (Silicon Valley and San Francisco).

Data Field Day event purpose was to cover different topics from others Technical Field Day events: from big data to analytics to hyperscale architecture and cloud security, and all waves of innovations that are transforming the IT. A new format for some growing trends, including micro-services, mobile and the Internet-connected world.

But if you have seens some of the presentation video you may have some doubts if it was more a data (at high level) related event or a storage event (for some aspects it was also a Storage Field Day extra #SFDx).

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VMware-EVO-RAIL

VMware EVO:RAIL represent the first Hyper-Converged Infrastructure offerings from VMware, announced in VMworld 2014 and available from the second half of 2014, and based (on the software part) on vSphere 5.5 and VSAN 1.0.

Now there is a new software release of VMware EVO:RAIL which includes also support for the VMware EVO:RAIL vSphere Loyalty Program.

One of the most notable improvements is that the scale of the hyper-converged infrastructure appliances are now doubled: from beyond the initial four appliances in a cluster and 16 nodes overall to eight appliances in a cluster and 32 nodes overall. Appliances running the updated EVO:RAIL software will now support approximately 800 general purpose virtual machines or 2,000 virtual desktop virtual machines per cluster.

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VMware Logo

Due to the changes in the new vCenter Server 6.0 architecture, the SSO has now been incorporated in the new VMware Platform Services Controller “role”.

But the concepts of a global SSO accounts still exist and remain important to manage the infrastructure (and more important during installation and upgrade). If you forget the SSO admin password you can have some trouble. I’ve already wrote on how reset the VMware SSO password in the vSphere 5.1 and 5.5 versions and the procedure remain almost the same also in the 6.0 version.

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VMware Logo

In previous post we have already see how add custom drivers to an ESXi installation ISO and how use ImageBuilder to make custom ESXi ISO, but in other cases you may need to define some custom settings during the installation or add custom vib files.

Booting from CD is not the only way, but custom ISO could be used also for boot from USB or for boot from virtual devices (like the iDRAC or ILOE).

In case you need to build custom ISO with custom option this post could help you: How to Create Bootable ESXi 5 ISO & Specifying Kernel Boot Options. If you need to build an ISO with custom driver the fastest (but unsupported) way remain ESXi-Customizer. The supported way is ImageBuilder.

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Maxta Logo

Maxta, a storage company that provide hyper-converged solutions, announced MxInsight and MxCloudConnect, confirming a recent trend both in the analytics applied to the storage and also in the cloud based management solutions available as SaaS.

Other vendors (not only in the storage area, see for example Meraki in the network area with a real unique management solution) are moving in one or both of this directions. Of course those aspects are not related to the core technology (for Maxta the hyper-converged storage), but on the services that you can have in order to simplify the IT management.

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Backup

Compatibility remain one of major reason for wait before a major upgrade, but now several backup products are compatible with vSphere 6.0 (see Backup products and vSphere 6.0 compatibility – Updated). Same for several other 3rd part software.

But in the backup space there are still some issues that may limiting the choice of running (yet) vSphere 6.0 in production environments. As written in VMware vSphere 6.0 – Upgrade or not upgrade post one was related in CBT in ESXi 6.0 that can impact your environment also if your backup program will already support vSphere 6.0: for more information see KB 2114076 (Backing up a virtual machine with Change Block Tracking (CBT) enabled fails after upgrading to or installing VMware ESXi 6.0).

I said was because this morning I’ve read in the last Veeam Community Forums Digest that this issue has been fixed.

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VCP-DCV

As written in a previous post (VMware certification roadmap v6) there are already several v6 exams (and the VCP level is almost completed, although still with some beta exams for the DCV path). VCP level has also changed (Are you ready for new VMware’s certifications?) with a “foundations exam” common for all paths and then specific VCP exams.

The VCP6-DCV has different upgrade paths, but if you are already a VCP-DCV (not expired) the simple way is just took the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Delta Beta Exam. Those beta exams (for the first time as public beta) run from 13 April 2015 and the period is much longer compared to previous beta… It’s not clear until when, but seems (according to the date that you can schedule on VUE site) that may be closed before the end of May 2015.

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TFD-Logo

As written in a previous post, the first edition of Data Field Day (#DFD1) event, scheduled in May 13–15, 2015 in California (Silicon Valley and San Francisco).

Data Field Day event will cover different topics compared to others Technical Field Day events: from big data to analytics to hyperscale architecture and cloud security, and all waves of innovations that are transforming the IT. A new format for some growing trends, including micro-services, mobile and the Internet-connected world.

An there will be an event inside the event: on Wednesday, May 13th, there will be an Ignite event with industry participants and expert delegates from Tech Field day for an evening of food, drinks, and engaging conversation about All Things Data! continue reading…

Nutanix Logo

If you know Nutanix, you probably know also the Nutanix Next Community that is the forum and information sharing area for Nutanix customers and partners. But there is also another stuff community related…

The Nutanix CE (Community Edition) is a lighter-weight, free version of the Nutanix Operating System (NOS), which powers the Nutanix Virtual Platform. The Community Edition of NOS is designed for people interested in test driving its main features on their own hardware and infrastructure, but also learn more on Nutanix.

Community Edition allows you to install single-node, three-node, and four-node clusters! Depending on your available hardware, Nutanix recommends a three-node cluster to exercise the features of Community Edition most effectively.

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BigSwitch-Logo

I’ve already talk about Big Switch in some previous posts (see Big Switch Networks has a big announce), now there are other news both in the Big Cloud Fabric (with new version 2.6) and Big Tap Monitoring Fabric (with the new versione 4.5).

The Big Tap product does not need too much explanation: it’s a 1G/10G/40G network visibility fabric that leverages high-performance bare metal Ethernet switches or Dell Open Networking switches to provide pervasive and scalable monitoring of an organization’s network traffic. The new version will add some new features and will support new switches (like the Dell S4048-ON). If you need deep network monitoring and visibility this could be an interesting solution.

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