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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Issue in VM migration: MAC Address may change

Recently I got a strange issue using a cold storage migration usign the Migrate function of vCenter Server. This was the scenario: a Free Hypervisor with some VMs where a full license (Essential Plus) was added and the host was also added to a vCenter Server. For compatibility matrix reason the version 4.1 was used (although the storage can work with vSphere 5.0 but officially was not supported). Also the Free Hypervisor was build with the 4.0 version and upgraded (one year ago) to the 4.1 version. This was the issue: after a cold storage migration all the VM build when the ...

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VMTN Community and Social Media

The original post is avilable on the VMTN Community blog: Guest post: VMTN Community and Social Media I would like to talk about how VMware Community compares with (and complements) other social networks and media. I'm a VMware Community Moderator, but I'm writing this post as a "normal" Community user. I do not consider myself a social media guru, but just a beginner. If you want to be precise, the title of this post is not exactly correct, because the Community is just another form of social network.  However, there are differences between the Community approach versus the other tools that have ...

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Manage a Dell Storage with vCenter Server

In the previous post, I've described how is possible integrate the Dell storage array management with the new Microsoft System Center VMM 2012. But of course it is possible to do the same (and from longer time) also using VMware. With VMware vSphere we could have two different approaches for the integration: One is simple add the storage interface (or part of it) in the tab and/or the menu of vSphere Client by using a vCenter Server plug-in. In this case the integration could be strong or weak, but usually differ from storage and storage. Also there could be some issue if ...

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How startup and shutdown a vSphere based infrastructure

As written in a previous post, starting from vSphere 5.0U1 in a HA cluster the VM Startup & Shutdown ESXi host properties is disabled. Anyway wasn't supported, because according with the vSphere Avalability Guide and also the KB 850 (Automating the process of starting and stopping virtual machines on VMware ESX): The Virtual Machine Startup and Shutdown (automatic startup) feature is disabled for all virtual machines residing on hosts that are in (or moved into) a vSphere HA cluster. Automatic startup is not supported when used with vSphere HA. So, how it's possible handle a correct poweron and shutdown sequence of your infrastructure? The ...

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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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How change the download directory in VMware Update Manager

In most cases (in small environment) a default installation of vCenter Server and its components could work. Considering that the default disk of Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 is 40 GB (at least in a VMware virtual environment) it can store all the installation without any directory changes. Except for the Upload Manager (VUM) that need a reasonable space for store the patches (usually not more than 20GB, but in some case also more, and the installer suggest at least a 120 GB disk). If you forget to change the patches directory during the installation (by default it's C: in a ...

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Convert virtual disk format - VHD to VMDK

As you probably already know a VM is incapsulated with a set of files that define VM properties and objects. Some of those files are the virtual disks files and each vendor use its own format: VMware use the VMDK and Microsoft & Citrix use the VHD format. Note that there could be more sub-types (for example for the VMDK files, but we will explain in future posts). To convert between different format you can use some kind of converter to perform a virtual to virtual (V2V) task. If you want to import some VHD files to vSphere 5, you can ...

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Not supported means that it does not work?

In previous posts related to vSphere 5 upgrade, I've talked several time about the HCL and his relevance. For a production environment, have a completed supported configuration, in each parts (hardware, software, firmware, ...) IMHO is mandatory. But "not supported" not always means "not working". There are different scenarios with an "unsupported configuration": It works fine, but with some (usually well-know) limits: for example with a SQL Express database for vCenter Server and more than 3 hosts or 50 VMs... it works but you may fill the DB and reach the 4 GB max of SQL Express. Technically it works, but there is ...

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Manage an isolated Windows Server

There could some cases where you may have some Windows (Server) completely isolated from the Internet, for example in some appliances or storage solution. One interesting aspect that learn on Windows products during a DataCore training was that in this case you can have some delay in the user interface, both on the DataCore GUI, but also on the Windows one. This is related in driver management (and in signign verification) and is well described in a FAQ on DataCore site (DataCore Server GUI takes longer than expected to open). The solution is quite simple and consist in a simple change on the ...

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Manage a Dell Storage with System Center VMM 2012

As written in a previous post, with Microsoft System Center VMM 2012 is possible manage some (supported) storage array using a SMI-S provider. In the Dell storage portfoglio, the only solution that (one month ago) had the SMS-S support was the PowerVault MD3xxx series, and althoug not mentioned by Microsoft, was possible include them in the System Center fabric (as written in specific post). With the new SP1, VMM  supports the same storage arrays that were supported in VMM 2012, plus the SMP provider. For more info: SCVMM 2012 Storage and Load Balancer Provider VMM 2012 SP1 storage providers supports : new SMP storage ...

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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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Top IT Certifications

One common question is "which certification should I get?" or "which is the best one?"... As usual it depends and is not a simple "objective" choice because it also depends on your needs and on what is required (in the IT field), that could also depends year by year. For the first question IMHO I really suggest to check your skills, think on what you would like to do and related to jobs offers. Which is the right certification could not be defined with a simple objective criteria. One criteria could simple choose a certification according on your kind of job. There ...

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Is backup to tape dead?

Several new solutions seem demonstrate that backup destination is moving from tape to disk. It isn't really a new trend of last year (for example see this paper from Lisa 2006, or Microsoft that has removed the tape support in his OS included backup solution starting from Windows Vista), but now more products are pointing to the disk solution. The Linear Tape Open (LTO) consortium (whose member include Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Quantum) has officially released specifications for the LTO Generation 5 with around 1,5 TB of native capacity and a throughput of 140MBps (uncompressed)... and is working for the future standards. ...

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Analysis of different hypervisors

I've read some posts (see in the bottom of this post for the references) and I notice how the  hypervisor comparison and choosing criteria are still a interesting trend and not only a marketing battle between different vendors (and maybe there will be more interest will be on this aspects with the release of Windows Server 8). But in several cases the comparison is limited to the hypervisor technical characteristics (and I've already written something about Hyper-V 3.0, XenServer 6.0 and RHEV 3.0) without considering (except in some cases) that the those are only one of the possible choice criteria. One interesting ...

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Veeam Backup & Replication - SAN Transport Mode

The SAN Transport Mode is a way to implement a LAN-free backup solution when the backup server is a physical machine and have a direct access to the VMFS datastores. This method was first provided by the VCB Framework and then ported to the vStorage API related to backup and data protection. In order to use this method in the proper way, some configurations and considerations are required: SAN visibility: the backup server (or the "proxy" machine in a Veeam Backup 6 environment) need to have an access to the VMFS datastores at least with a read permission. That means, for a ...

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VMware Logo

VMware is going to announce something BIG (you can guess about what) on February, 2nd 2015 during a live event. Considering that next week there will be also the VMware Partner Exchange 2015, it’s clear that new products versions will be released.

And not only one event, multiple events for the different timezone. All event registrants will automatically receive access to additional content, engagement, and activities via our online event platform, AND you can win your way to VMworld 2015.

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VMware Logo

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.

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BigSwitch-Logo

Big Switch Networks is a company in the Software Defined Network (SDN) area with a clear declared mission: to bring hyperscale networking to a broader audience, by delivering fit-for-purpose products based on hyperscale networking technologies.

They have two main products: Big Tap Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric. The first one is an entry level solution for monitoring existing networks, the second one is an advanced bare-metal SDN switching fabric intended for new data center pods such as private cloud, big data and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

First version of Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) was announced on July 2014 and the second version (2.0) on September 2014. Now they are announcing that Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 will become generally available on January, 28th 2015.

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XIO-Logo

X-IO has a long term (over two decades with different names) of expertise to deliver unmatched price/performance for enterprise applications. After extensive research and development, now they announced a major update to its storage technology.

The X-IO’s Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) G3 Storage Arrays is offered in a wide range of hard disk and flash enabled configurations, each designed to address the most challenging performance demands of today’s datacenters. The ISE deeply integrates with a wide variety of operating systems and hypervisors, making it a perfect solution for virtualization and server administrators.

And still with the standard (for X-IO) 5-year warranty.

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TFD-Logo

TFD-LogoTech(nical) Field Day are well know events, organized by Stephen Foskett and his team, with the purpose of bring together innovative IT product vendors and independent thought leaders to share information and opinions in a presentation and discussion format.

There are different Tech Field Day events by topic (Storage, Virtualization, Networking, Wireless and, this year, also one on Data), but also some special events live from other IT events: Tech Field Day Extra and Tech Field Day Live. And although not a Tech Field Day event, the same staff has occasionally organized a live Symposium event to showcase a particular area of enterprise IT technology. continue reading…

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Veeam-Logo-2014

Veaam Endpoint Backup is a free data protection and disaster recovery solution for physical machines. Veeam has announced this product on Oct 2014 and presented in several events, included the Tech Field Day Extra at Barcelona, and actually it’s available in a public beta (with almost all functionalities).

It can work with Veeam Backup and Replication, but it’s not mandatory for the overall architecture. The interface it’s similar (also the version is starting, is some betas, from 8.x, alligned with actually version of the major product) and there is some kind of integration. And although Veeam Backup and Replication can already handle backup of physical servers (only at file level), this solution extend the backup to all the client (but, if you need, also for servers).

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Microsoft Logo

On Wednesday, January 21st there will be an event on Microsoft’s Redmond campus talk about the next chapter of Windows 10 (actually available in Technical Preview).

You’ll hear directly from senior leaders from the Operating Systems Group including Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore and Phil Spencer who will talk about the Windows 10 consumer experience – continuing the story we began in September. You’ll also hear from Microsoft0s CEO Satya Nadella as well.

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Platform9-Logo

I’ve wrote about Platform9 several months ago, when they announce their product for making private cloud easy using a public cloud enterprise service based on OpenStack. They were very active in those months and part of several industry level events, included latest IT Press Tour and Virtualization Field Day.

After six month beta where the service was tested by enterprises and service providers across diverse industries and geographies with 1000s of virtual machine deployments everyday, they now announced the general availability of Platform9 Managed OpenStack, the SaaS solution that transforms an organization’s existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud within minutes.

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VMUG

Be a VMUG member bring several advantages and it’s for free. But there is also the optional VMUG Advantage that, with a small fee, is the best way to stay on top of your technical skills with discounts on training, certifications, attendance at VMworld and on product licenses.

Now there is a new reason to subscribe the VMUG Advantage and it’s call VMUG Advantage EVALExperience: it gives you exclusive access to nine VMware applications to test for 365 days. EVALExperience provides all of the tools you need to stay in the game and take your career to the next level, all in one place!

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Virtualization Certifications

During IT events like VMware PEX, VMworld, VeeamOn, TechEd, … usually is possible collect some useful posters about specific technologies. Some of them are really valuable and printed on good paper and can become an office must (and another good reason to attend at those events).

But most of them are available also for download, so if you miss one of those events or you need an additional copy you can simple download the poster that you need. Of course, in this case, the printed version could not be so useful (unless you have a plotter or a big printer), but the electronic version remain still valuable.
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Microsoft Logo

Most IT administrators should be aware that in the next six months Windows Server 2003 will reach its end-of-life. For the Windows 2003 Server family you should know the following dates:

  • On July 13, 2010 Mainstream Support for Windows Server 2003 family ended.
  • On July 14, 2015 Extended Support for Windows Server 2003 family will end.

So one year after the Microsoft Windows XP (and Office 2003) retirement, now it’s the turn of the Windows Server 2003 operating system family.

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Scality-Logo

During the last IT Press Tour (the 14th), in the Silicon Valley (December 1-5, 2014) we met several companies in different categories (Cloud, Storage and Big Data).

The last company that we met during the fourth day was Scality, that produces a storage software product called the RING for large scale data storage.

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