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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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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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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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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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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Manage a VSA with System Center VMM 2012

One of the new features of System Center VMM 2012 is the ability of manage a supported storage. In a previous post, I've described, for example, how manage a Dell storage. One interesting aspect that I've found in a recent event, is that also a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) could be managed in the same way. Of course it must export the required interfaces to System Center, and also be supported on Hyper-V (if it runs on this kind of hypervisor). One the first products that has introduced this functionality was StarWind (that realized basically an iSCSI software target, as introduced in ...

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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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ESXi - Use the embedded VNC Server

Some weeks ago I learn a new curios thing in a thread in the VMware Community: also the latest version of ESXi still have a VNC Server for the VM console that can be used with a common VNC connection as described in the old KB1246 (Using a VNC Client to Connect to Virtual Machines) related to the VMware GSX Server product! Note: as written in the KB VMware does not support running virtual machines with a VNC client. The right client to access the VM console is still the vSphere Client (or the Web Client), and of course, protocols implemented ...

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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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What's happen to the virtualization ecosystem?

In the last years, in the virtualization ecosystem, there where three big trends: one is the shifting from a single hypervisor to a multi-hypervisors (originally was mainly a VMware ecosystem, now is a virtualization ecosystem) the second is the reduction of the number of players, at least in some fields like backup e monitoring, due to some acquisitions (for example Quest has bought VizionCore and VKernel... Novell has bought Platespin...) the third is that the big vendors are directly involved and in competition: for example VMware is working on some solutions, like VDR for backup (although is a limited solution) or vCenter Operations ...

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Virtual CPU and Virtual Cores

In a physical environment usually the term CPU is used to refer to the physical package (or socket). The real processing unit inside this package are called cores (and not that each core can have inside more ALU and can be seen as more logical cores with hyper-threading feature). More CPU usually define a SMP system, more cores a multi-core CPU, more CPU each with more cores a complex system (usually the NUMA architecture is used in this case). In a virtual enviroment the term vCPU is used to refer to a core assigned to a VM. More vCPU define a ...

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My thoughts on VMware beta exams

The VCP5-DT beta period has already finished, so I would to update my thoughts on VMware beta exams (my first post about them was around one year ago). Beta vs. Regular exams Beta exams usually are for a small period before the run of the regular exams. Usually in the beta exams you have more time, more questions and a way to give feedback. Also the sign-up procedure could be different and is not possible to re-take a beta exam. The results of the beta exam are available not after the exam (as it is usual for most of the regular exam), but ...

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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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Building a vSphere 5 lab

For people that need to make practice for the VCAP-DCA exam (and the beta of VCAP5-DCA will start soon) a good lab environment is mandatory. But it could also be useful for other reasons, like demo environment. There are several options to build one, but most used solutions are using nested hosts on one physical system with: VMware Workstation/Fusion over a host OS: common for a notebook. ESXi 5 on a server or a whitebox: common if you plan to have a always-on or fixed solution. Actually both solution could be good, but Workstation could not scale too much, expecially if you work with ...

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Using Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 with VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere 5.x According with KB 2006859 (Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Operating System does not boot or install on ESXi or ESX) Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 VMs are fully supported for ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.1 U1, ESXi 5.0 U1 and ESXi 5.0 U2. Note: For Windows Server 2012, you must install the patch ESXi500-201209001(Patch 04) on ESXi 5.0 U1. For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.0, Patch Release ESXi500-201209001 (2032584). Also Hyper-V could be run in a VM. For more information see how to enable nested hypervisor on vSphere 5.1. With the last patches release, starting from vSphere 5.1U1 vCenter ...

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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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uncle-sam-vote

Eric Siebert (from Sphere-Land.com) has open again (see the related post of previous year), a contest for voting the ‘Top VMware & Virtualization Blogs’. This contest is becoming a recurring and estemeed in the VMware & virtualization world (see also the history of the top blog voting over the years).

Last year over 1400 people voted from 60 different countries, with over 320 blogs dedicated to VMware and Virtualization – this is definitely an impressive number which is a real indication to how passionate people feel towards the VMware range of products and virtualization in general.

This year the content is sponsored by Infinio and it’s available on this site: http://info.infinio.com/topvblog2015

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Segnalibro

With the new VMware vSphere 6.0 there are several improvement in the availability related features. Although the vSphere HA apparently has not changed so much (of course now support a bigger cluster with 64 nodes), there several aspects that have been improved or changed:

  • New MSCS capabilities
  • New vSphere VM Component Protection (VMCP)
  • Network partition manament
  • New VMware FT-SMP

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vExpert

The primary reason for becoming vExpert certainly should not be related to any possible benefits of the program. And once confirmed (for me is the sixth year in a row) you have to think more about what you can give rather to what is to be expected. But I’d be a hypocrite to deny that there are also practical advantages in being a vExpert!

Officially, VMware, according with the vExpert FAQ, say that the biggest benefit of the award is the public recognition as a VMware vExpert Award winner.

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Calendar

Interesting European IT events:

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Nutanix Logo

Nutanix-NoSANNutanix is a well know hyper-converged company founded in 2009 with the vision of bringing the benefits of web-scale IT to the masses.

They have changed the rules of traditional storage (on 2009 mostly SAN based) and become the pioneer of concepts like no-SAN and no-LUNs, hyper-converged and web-scale storage.

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E2EVC

After the E2EVC 2014 Brussels and E2EVC 2014 Barcelona events, the next European E2EVC event (and the first one for 2015 year) will be in Berlin:

The next Spring E2EVC Virtualization Conference in Europe in summer 2015 will take place in Novotel Berlin Mitte Hotel, Fischerinsel 12, 10179, Berlin, Germany.

E2EVC Virtualization Conference is an independent, non-commercial, virtualization community event build from experts to experts. Started in 2003 with just 4 people and after 23 very successful events grown to awell-recognized event with over 140 attendees.

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VMware Logo

The new VMware vSphere 6.0, recently announced, increase all configuration maximums to new limits (compared to the 5.5 and previous versions).

Maybe we can say with no limit, or at least, to be serious, with really huge numbers compared to the actual needs and the existing compunting power. Those new limits are both for scalability aspect, but also to fit with possible performance requirements, considering that a bigger number of business critical applications are going in the virtual environment.

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VMware Logo

With the new VMware vSphere 6.0 there are a lot of changes, and some of them are in the new vCenter architecture both for the Windows installable version and the virtual appliance (vCSA) version. For this reason the design aspects and the deployment scenarios are changed from the previous version (see VMware vCenter 5.5 design).

Windows vCenter installation experience has been enhanced with additional capabilities including custom ports, custom paths, uninstall and error messaging improvements and vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) now has a guided installer. Furthermore, all upgrade paths from Windows vCenter 5.0 and up are now supported.

Some considerations remain still the same (like the DBMS placement, or choosing between a physical or virtual deployment, or finding a good high availability architecture), but other are different, starting from the different vCenter components that now have been simplified with a logical separation between management  and core&security roles.

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PernixData-Logo

PernixData FVP is a Flash Hypervisor software that aggregates server flash across a virtualized data center, creating a scale-out data tier for accelerating reads and writes to primary storage in a simple and powerful way. Was one of first (probably the first) to implement a fault-tolerant write back acceleration.

Stating from version 2.0 they add both memory support (instead or with flash) and NFS support (previously they where only block level).

Now the latest version of PernixData FVP software (version 2.5) will add following new features:

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VMware Logo

After the new Virtual Volumes, the most “spoilered” features of the new VMware vSphere 6.0 was probably the new vMotion that allow VMs to move across boundaries of vCenter Server, Datacenter Objects, Folder Objects and also virtual switches and geographical area.

VMware vMotion was probably the first important virtualization related features that make important VMware (and its product) but, much important, that make relevant the virtualization approach: having VM mobility means handle planned downtime and also workload balancing.

Now VMware reinvent vMotion to become more agile, more cloud oriented: breaking the boundaries and going outside the usual limit make possible have VM mobility across clouds. Note that actually it’s not (yet) possible use this feature to live move to or from a vCloud Air service… but of course this is the first step to do this in the future.

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VMware Logo

In previous versions of vSphere, the vCenter Server was not suitable to provide directly cloud based functions: vCloud Director was the way to build a Software Defined DataCenter (SDDC) at the top of vSphere and provide more functions and concepts that were not available in vCenter. But, during the VMworld 2013, VMware introduced a new product strategy and direction for vCloud Director (vCD): VMware would like to move forward with a plan to converge vCD functionality into the vSphere and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) product lines or (as another direction) in the virtualization platform (that means inside vCenter Server)

The new vCenter Server 6.0 goes in the second direction that does not exclude the first one (to be more precise, bring some functions in the lower level will help to add more at the top level with tools like vCAC).

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VMware Logo

During this years, some legacy components of the vSphere suite has been dropped, starting from removing (in vSphere 5.0) VCB, Converter Enterprise, Guided Consolidation, and the historical ESX Server. The latest removal was the TPS memory management (in vSphere 5.5 with latest patches).

In those year the old vSphere Client (the Windows client side) has been deprecated (from vSphere 5.1) and all new features and functions has been introduced only in the vSphere Web Client that is a web oriented client, multi browser and multi platform.

But for several operational tasks and for all the legacy vCenter plugin, the old vSphere Client was still necessary, and of course was necessary to manage a single ESXi host without having vCenter Server (the server part of the vSphere Web Client is a vCenter component). Also there were some limits in the Web Client.

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