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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Microsoft Virtual Labs

Some months ago I've write about the VMware Hands on Labs and how labs are important for testing and learning about a product (also for other vendor). Events like VMworld, Microsoft TechEd, Dell Storage Forum, HP Discover, ... are a good moment to have access at those kind of labs. But of course you can also build your own labs (as described in this post) but this require more effort. A good work-around is use on-line and on-demand lab. For VMware the on-line version is just in beta, but for Microsoft this kind of tools are a reality from several years ...

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VMware vSphere 6.0 – Upgrade or not upgrade?

The new VMware vSphere 6.0 has so much interesting new features and scalability properties that make interesting for each new environment, but also for existing customers (with an active subscription, so that you can also upgrade your 5.x license keys). But like each new version you have to make some consideration first and especially before starting the upgrade procedure, so be sure to start from the vSphere Upgrade Center, the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix, the VMware Compatibility Guide, but also read the following notes. The main consideration is that each new product (does not matter that is a major or a minor release) ...

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Why Dynamic Disks are a bad choice

Microsoft Windows Dynamic Disks (or Dynamic Volumes) are an abstraction layer (introduced in Windows 2000) over the partitions (similar to the LVM layer on Linux environment) to decoupled the volumes (with their NTFS data) from the disk partitions and have a greater flexibility, like hot-extend a volume by simple add new partitions (but also several other advantages). But in a virtual environment there are other way to handle disk flexibility, like hot-extend a virtual disk at hypervisor level (for VMware this feature was introduced in VI 3.5U2)... so there is no need to use dynamic disks at guest level. The only ...

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PCoIP vs. Blast

I've already write a post with the comparison between PCoIP and RDP (PCoIP vs. RDP) and some considerations on how use each protocol in a VMware View infrastructure. Other protocols, like HP RGS (Remote Graphics Software) has been removed (from View) years ago, and protocols from other solutions (like, for example, SPICE) are not included. But now there is also the HTML5 option (Blast protocol) included with the Horizon Suite or with the Feature Pack of Horizon View (see this post on how enable it). It's just a 1.0 version so this kind of protocol could not replace yet the PCoIP one: Blast protocol ...

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Purging old data from a vCenter Server DB

In the previous post we have talk about the VMware Horizon View Event database and how purge the old data in order to free some space. You can have similar issue also with the VMware vCenter Server database, considering that it can continuous grow due to the statistics and also due to the events/tasks. In really small system a simple solution could be re-install a fresh version of vCenter Server (maybe during an upgrade) and re-create all the configuration stored only in the vCenter Server database. But in several cases this approach is not realistic. Again there isn't a pre-build maintenance ...

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Cloud related FAQ

What is virtualization and how it's related to cloud? There are different types of virtualization levels (system, applications, networking, storage, ...). But basically it's an abstraction useful to created different contexts. Virtualization could be used as an abstraction level of a cloud computing solutions, but virtualization does not imply cloud. What is cloud (computing)? According with the NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, a cloud has those essential characteristics: On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider. Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed ...

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How to verify other IT Certifications

In the previous post I've define some ways to verify a VMware certification, to avoid frauds and wrong usage of false credential. Note that VUE give also a way to authenticate a Score Report. For other certifications there are different ways and, in some cases, could also be simplest: Microsoft: for all this kind of certification there is a specific portal (Validate MCP Transcript) where you can put the MCP ID (each certified people has a unique ID and this does not depends on the certification type) and a password (defined by the certified guy) and get the entire transcript of all Microsoft certifications. ...

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Manage a network load balancer with System Center VMM 2012

In the fabric section of System Center VMM 2012 is also possible add external hardware network load balancers and manage, in a similar way as a storage array can be added and managed. But in this case there isn't a standard interface to remote manage the devices and each vendor must make available a supported "provider" that is just the management software part for the integration with VMM. Actually the supported devices are: BIG-IP from F5 Networks, Inc. Brocade ServerIron ADX from Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. Citrix NetScaler from Citrix Systems, Inc. Note that Microsoft Network Load Balancing (NLB) is automatically included as a load ...

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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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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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VMFS5 - Upgrading vs. Fresh Install

With a vSphere 5 upgrade there is an important vDesign decision: if you already have some VMFS3 datastores could be better upgrade them to the new version of build new datastores directly with VMFS5? The upgrade procedure is quite fast and friendly and could be applied to a live datastore, so seems that there isn't a big different between an upgrade or a clean format. But usually the recommendation is to re-format each LUN to VMFS-5 rather than upgrade it. This will fix a number of issues, including: Mismatched block size: VMFS-5 introduces the 1 MB unified block size. We would be ...

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VM replication in VMware SRM 5.0

One of the interesting feature of VMware SRM 5.0.x is the vSphere Replication (VR) technology that is a VM a replication engine (part of SRM 5.0 and that also requires ESXi 5.0 and later) to implement protecting and replicating virtual machines between sites without the need of storage array–based replication (that usually it's costly and too much vendor dependent). It use different elements: VRA (vSphere Replication agent): included in ESXi starting from v5.0 VRMS (vSphere Replication Management Server): one virtual appliance (VA) for each site to handle the communication VRS (vSphere Replication Server): one virtual appliance (VA) on the DR side that is just ...

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The “IT divide” problem

This was a guest post on vDestination. Usually (especially in Country like mine) we common talk about the Digital divide that bring not equity, or at least not same opportunity, between different group. But this is mainly focused on the connectivity aspects and how accessing to broadband networks could be different and limited for somebody. But this it’s only one aspect and there are also others that must be considered! The first one that I want to describe it’s the Country divide, mainly related and intended to the geographic position. Partially it could also be related to the previous Digital divide (because broadband ...

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Installing Dell OMSA 7 on ESXi 5.5

Some years ago, I've write some posts on how install Dell OpenManage on VMware ESXi. The OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) is a Dell tool really useful for a central management or to be integrated in other Dell's management tools. There are different options, but basically the most used ways are: Use the Dell ESXi custom image that already include also a version of OMSA (not necessary the latest) Use the command line Use VMware Update Manager The last option is my preferred option because is really faster and simplest. Also if there is an update version (actually OMSA 7.3) the procedure is exactly the same described ...

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ESXi - How does the dual bank work?

As written in the previous posts, in the ESXi installation there are two copy of the system image located in two different partitions (see Partitions layout of system disk and More on partitions posts). The actual system image is located on the first 250 MB partition, formatted with plain old FAT16 filesystem, but using a special pseudo-filesystem on it (see VisorFS: A Special-purpose File System for Efficient Handling of System Images). The image itself, s.v00, is a 124 MB compressed file, which is decompressed on boot and contains the hypervisor operating system. Note that the compressed image is larger in 5.0 ...

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VMware vCenter Standalone Converter platforms support goes almost with the vSphere version, so if you need to support vSphere 6.0, you will need the Converter 6.0 version.

But for the supported guest OSes it could become more complicated, because new version add new OSes, but also remove the old OSes (no more supported by the vendor).

So, if you need to converter an old OS you probably need an old version of the vCenter Standalone Converter (note that the 3.0.3 is not so easy to be downloaded from the VMware site). Also because your vSphere platform may be not supported you have to save the conversion in an intermediate Workstation/Fusion/Player file format and then re-import again with a more recent version of Converter (or manually register the VM file, if you have choose a right format for the vmdk).

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VMUG

As you know the VMUG membership is completly free as also all the benefits, including the online resources, local meeting and UserConf events (some events may have a fee depending by the local VMUG, but almost are for free).

But, if you want (and it’s not mandatory for VMUG membership), you can have more benefit by subscribing to the VMUG Advantage, that is an interesting way to stay on top of your technical skills with discounts on training, certifications, attendance at VMworld and on product licenses.

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VMware Logo

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone provides an easy-to-use solution to automate the process of creating VMware virtual machines from physical machines (running Windows and Linux), other virtual machine formats, and third-party image formats. Through an intuitive wizard-driven interface and a centralized management console, Converter Standalone can quickly and reliably convert multiple local and remote physical machines without any disruptions or downtime.

It was (and still it is) one of the most used tools to perform Physical to Virtual (P2V) activities.

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Microsoft Logo

According to Microsoft, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award is given to “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others”.

The awarded are people who “actively share their … technical expertise with the different technology communities related directly or indirectly to Microsoft”. An MVP is awarded for contributions over the previous year.

Is more than an award (or accreditation) instead of certification and is quite similar (in the concept) like other “community” award, like the VMware vExpert.

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Calendar

Interesting European IT events:

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Nutanix Logo

Historically, Nutanix was built around iSCSI but then they have add the ability to run NFS as well as other front-end IP based protocols. Starting from version 2.5, NFS/NDFS has become the preferred protocol for the Nutanix cluster.

Although the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS) is stretched across all nodes and build on the pool of each local storage resource, all I/O for a VM is served by the local CVM. The storage can be presented via iSCSI, NFS or SMB3 (introduced in NOS 3.5) to the hypervisor from the CVM (not only the local, but also from all CVMs).

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Nutanix Logo

One of the big announces at the .NEXT Conference, was the introduction of erasure coding across nodes (in RAIN configuration) in Nutanix Operating System (NOS) version 4.1.3 (actually it’s a tech preview).

Nutanix Erasure Coding–X (EC-X) is a proprietary, native, patent pending, implementation of Erasure Coding. With EC-X, Nutanix customers are able to increase their usable storage capacity by up to 70%.

As written in a previous post, Erasure Coding (EC) is a way to implement data proctection in storage systems instead of using RAID techniques.

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DataCenter

When you talk about data protection against hardware failure in storage system, probably RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is the first technology that you think.

RAID could be hardware or software based, and in the second case it can be implemented (with functions similar to RAID, but not necessary the same) also at the filesystem level (think about ZFS, for example).

But with the new hard disk drive (HDD) capacities edging upwards (6TB HDDs are now available) the traditional RAID is becoming increasingly problematic both for the rebuild time and the bottleneck related to each single disk.

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Parallels-Logo

Parallels is a well know company in the virtualization ecosystem and has some interesting solutions: Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac (to run Windows and other OSes on your Mac), Parallels Access (a simple remote access to your Windows or Mac computer from anywhere), Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM (able to extend your existing SCCM infrastructure to discover, enroll, and manage Mac computers the same way you do PCs, all through a single pane of glass), all 2X Software solutions and products (Parallels has acquired this company on Feb 2015) and Odin (formally the cloud service called Parallels Service Provider Business).

If you have a Mac, probably it’s a vendor that you have to consider for their solutions and products.

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VMware Press

Orchestration in VMware environments is something still not so well explored and explained.

Historically there was only vCenter Orchestrator from one side (if you are looking something at high level) and scripting from the other (if you know PowerShell or other scripting languages). Now for the first part there is vRealize Automation, but still the Orchestrator part could be necessary (for example to use vRealize Automation with VMware NSX).

The book “VMware vRealize Orchestrator Cookbook” has the ambition purpose to explain how to master the configuration, programming, and interaction of plugins with Orchestrator to efficiently automate your VMware infrastructure.

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VMware Press

VMware vCenter Server is a critical component in a vSphere environment, because is needed to provide some cluster functionality. A good design and deployment (that are different from version 5.x and 6.0) are important to avoid possible issues. And, of couse, a good availability of this kind of service.

Troubleshoot this component is not always simple and there are a lot of VMware KB articles, but not a good single resource from where start in this kind of tasks.

The purpose of this book is really clear from the title itself (vCenter troubleshooting) and the authors are valuable guys from the IT world with great skill (including a VCDX).

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