Browsing Posts published by Andrea Mauro

VMware Logo

VMware vCloud Air is the public cloud offer from VMware (formally known as vCloud Hybrid Service) built on the foundation of vSphere and compatible with your on-premises VMware’s based data center. Actually it included several different services: infrastructure, disaster recovery, and various applications as service.

Usually it has a dedicated web portal for manage all the related resources. But you can manage VMware vCloud Air with other tools, including VMware Workstation 11 (in this case with several limitations). Or vCenter Server.

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VMware Logo

VMware Workstation has an interesting feature to manage vSphere infrastructure (and also stand-alone ESXi hosts) that is really powerful and useful, for example to avoid to install the vSphere client (or the integration plugin) just to open one VM console or to change the power status for some VM.

It does not replace the vSphere Client (or the vSphere Web Client) but it’s really useful if you don’t have it (or if the version is wrong) or the vCenter Server it’s down (so that the vSphere Web Client is not available).

Starting from Workstation 11 it’s now possible also connect to a VMware vCloud Air and “manage” vCloud Air On Deman or vCloud Air Subscription, and (like for the remote server) have more than one connection.

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Microsoft Logo

As you probably know, Windows Server 2003 has (finally) reach its end-of-life. For the Windows 2003 Server family the critical dates were the following:

  • 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 (and of course the R2 version) operating system family, after 12 years!

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VMware Logo

VMware vRealize Operations Manager is the rebranded name of vCenter Operations Manager (derived from a 2011’s company acquisition) and will be part of the new vRealize suite. But will be not only a barely renaming of an existing product, instead it will be a completely new version with lot of important improvements.

Finally with the 6.0 (now at the 6.0.2) version lot of limitations and minor issues of the previous product has been solved and, although is still not a general purpose tool that can be used on all cases, it’s becoming really interesting and rich and also more easiest.

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VMworld-Logo

Like in the past VMworld 2014, the location of VMworld 2015 will be in the same place: again at San Francisco (for the US edition) and Barcelona (for the EU edition).

  • US edition: will be in San Francisco during August 30 – September (with a partner day on August 30)
  • EU edition: will be in Barcelona during October 13 – 15 (with a partner day on 12)

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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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StarWind-Logo

StarWind Software is a US privately held company (headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts, USA) which began in Feb 2009 as a spin-off from Rocket Division Software (founded in 2003), with its StarWind iSCSI Target solution as main product. After that, the company has grown and also the products have evolveld following the market trends and customer needs.

Now their most interesting product is StarWind Virtual SAN: a scale-out and “shared-nothing” storage solution that works also with 2 nodes, configuration that can be really important for remote office and branch office (ROBO) or SMB cases.

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VMware Logo

VMware Virtual Volumes (or VVols) are a new important features of vSphere 6.0 that could be really important for storage vendors, because they permit to convert external storage in VM-aware storage.

It could be really useful for block based storage, but also for NFS storage it can be used to provide a complete per-VM granularity, policy based management and integration with specific storage services:

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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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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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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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VMware Tools 5.1 upgrade may restart your Windows VM

One of the new features of vSphere 5.1 was upgrade procedure of the VMware Tools on Windows VMs: when you upgrade them the first time to version 5.1 (the right version number it's 9.x), other upgrade will not require any reboot of your Windows system. For Linux VMs there is no need to reboot the system (but I suggest in order to be sure that the kernel modules are loaded proprerly), and now also Windows VMs could have a zero downtime upgrade. But it's really true? Honestly I found that on some VMs the automatic upgrade procedure of VMware Tools will also ...

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ESXi - Partitions layout of system disk

In ESXi the partitions schema is automatically defined by the installation process and there is no way to modify it (you can only choose where install the hypervisor). There is a great post from Rickard Nobel (ESXi 5 partitions) that explain the structure of the partitions, their size and their purpose. But it does not explain how to get this information. To see the partition layout in ESXi 5, the fdisk command will not work on new GTP disk (this type is used for all new disks and for disks that are extended to more that 2 GB, as written in ...

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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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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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VMUG Advantage EVALExperience

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 ...

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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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VMUG Advantage 2015 benefits

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. It's an exclusive yearly subscription program offering a lot of advantages: VMUG Advantage EVALExperience, probably the most ...

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Create a custom ESXi installation ISO

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 ...

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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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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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EqualLogic Replica aborted because the group was too busy processing a max-keep value change

Recently I've got a strange issue with an Dell EqualLogic environment and I've not found any useful info about the related error message: Subsystem: MgmtExec Event ID: 8.3.48 Schedule Replica oraria aborted because the group was too busy processing a max-keep value change to create the operation scheduled for time ... The detail does not help and also the EqualLogic reference guide does not report this error message. This issue happen after a member (to be honest was a group) upgrade and probably the replication sets was damaged during this event. The resolution is really simple (it does not fix itself, also after some days): delete ...

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VMware ESXi 6.0 partitions

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: /bootbank -> 250 MB /altbootbank -> 250 MB /store -> 286 MB /scratch -> 4 GB Of course ...

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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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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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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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