Browsing Posts published by Andrea Mauro

AtlantisComputing

Atlantis Computing has announced a new product: Atlantis ILIO for Virtual SAN, that mainly combined Atlantis ILIO with VMware Virtual SAN and VMware Horizon 6 with the declared intention to build a ultimate hyper-converged platform for VDI.

Atlantis ILIO will insert a transparent software layer between the virtual machine and the underlying storage infrastructure. The joint solution leverages pooled local solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disks (HDDs) created by VSAN with Atlantis ILIO to optimize the resultant storage pool improving storage performance and increasing the available storage capacity provided to the application.

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Veeam-Logo-2014

As written, Veeam Availability Suite v8 will be the new suite that will replaces Veeam Backup Management Suite (remaining at same price, same editions, of course with new features of v8). The launch is declared in Q3 of 2014, but there are several announces, week by week, about new features.

On the storage side, there was a announce of a new Snapshot Storage integration (for Veeam Explorer), this time with NetApp. But there is a new announce about a new storage integration: this time not at source level (or proxy level), but at target level.

EMC Data Domain Boost will be integrating with backup jobs in Veeam Availability Suite v8.

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Seems that VMware is cleaning its products portfolio. After the End of Availability of VSA, now VMware is announcing the End of Availability (EoA) of all VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat versions effective June 2, 2014. As a result, all versions of vCenter Server Heartbeat will be removed from the VMware price list on June 2, 2014. After this date, you will no longer be able to purchase these products.

All support and maintenance for the removed versions will be unaffected and will continue on per VMware Life Cycle policy through the published support period until September 19, 2018.

This will have significant impact on the design option for a High Availability vCenter configuration. As written in a previous post, there are few options to increase the availability of vCenter Server:

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E2EVC

The 2014 spring (EMEA) edition of E2EVC is now over and it’s time to archive it and take some considerations.

E2EVCE2EVC Virtualization Conference is an independent, non-commercial, virtualization community event build from experts to experts.

The 22th edition (counting also to past LAX edition) was from May 30 to June 1, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, as usually starting from Friday until mid Sunday.

This was my second time (I’ve attend also at the E2EVC XX Rome event) and I can confirm the reason to attend at this kind of event (see E2EVC 2014 Brussels: Why attend).

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Calendar

Interesting European IT events:

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ESXi - RDM disks with SAS Storage (local or shared)

The RDM disks are a feature of VMware vSphere (but was present also in Virtual Infrastructure) to make a "mapping" between a LUN (or logical disk) to a VM (is similar to a disk pass-through). This feature can be used in different cases, for example: to support disk larger than 2 TB (only in vSphere 5 with physical RDM) and to implement guest clustering with shared storage (still only with physical RDM). But there is an issue (or a feature :) ) that does not allow to add a RDM disk from the GUI for local disk, and this also with ...

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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 ecosystem is becoming multi-hypervisor

One trend in the last year(s) is that the virtualization ecosystem is growing outside the boundary where was born: historical partner vendor of VMware now are extending their solution to other hypervisors, and also also new products are designed to managed a more complex virtual environment. This was also called "Hypervisor Agnosticism" in a VKernel post. We do not talk about interoperability across different hypervisors, but simple use same tools, especially for management, monitoring and data protection, for more type of products. Does it make sense? For a single customer maybe not... have multiple environment could be an extra cost (also if ...

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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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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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Installing vCloud Director in a lab

Build a vCloud lab is interesting to increase your skill and knowledge, make some test and of course preparing for the VCAP-CIA exam. If you build on a ESXi nested environment you will not have too much problem (except with old hardware that may not support complete ESXi nesting with vSphere 5.1). With a VMware Workstation environment (of course with enough memory and resources) could be more fun and portable. But could be more difficult if you plan to use vCloud Director virtual appliance. To start your lab you need at least a vCenter Server (the virtual appliance could be fine), a ...

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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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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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VMware for SMB

In the previous post I've described the challenge in the SMB segment and some possible scenarios. And how is VMware addressing this challenge? One of the news of the last VMworld, was the attention of the SMB segment with several sessions specific for it, group discussions, business cases and so on. But it's not limited to VMworld, the attention is growing due to the challenge of fit in the the SMB requirements (that in most cases are quite similar to the enterprise requirements!) and the constrains (where usually are limited budget and limited IT stuff) and apply at this period of ...

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Approaching the SMB segment

Approaching the SMB segment

The challenge! SMB segment could be a (big) challenge due to the following reasons: Requirements: in most cases are the same of the enterprise segment. For example the required availability and SLA are really close and may imply similar solutions to achieve it. Constraints: are really different and in most cases very strictly. For example budget, but also the IT staff and skills. Evolution: and SMB may have big trend in evolution (or involution). Note that also in SMB, disaster recovery, business continuity, availability and security aspects have still to be considered. This kind of market remain still interesting, considering the number of the companies and ...

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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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ESXi - More on partitions

In a previous post I've described the partitions used by a ESXi installation (see ESXi – Partitions layout of system disk). Partitions are formatted with a FAT16 filesystem, but the ESXi files are stored into the banks partitions with a specific system that consist in some compressed archives containing the required files or more archives (as also described in the yesterday's post about the reset of the root password). More details on the filesystem used is on the first number of the VMware Technical Journal, in the paper: VisorFS: A Special-purpose File System for Efficient Handling of System Images. But for a ...

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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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OVF deployment and configuration

Some of the interesting aspects of the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) are the simplicity in the distribution, the power in the portability, the platform independence (although is not completely platform agnostic) and the ability to add additional metadata used for the configuration or simple to give more information about the OVF package. It's also an open standard, proposed and submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) in September 2007 by VMware, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft and XenSource. About the portability there are two different formats: OVF: a multi-file distribution OVA: a single file (usually compressed) distribution But more interesting is how is possible configure ...

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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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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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E2EVC

After the E2EVC XX Rome event, the next European one will be in Brussels:

Next event will take place in Brussels, Belgium May 30 – June 1, 2014 in Hotel Novotel Brussels Centre Tour Noire

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 20 successful events grown to awell-recognized event with over 120 attendees. Those conferences has taken place in cities such as Munich, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris, Nice, Lisbon, Hamburg, Vienna and Rome.

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VMware vSphere Storage Appliance was a software-based shared storage solution that enables high availability and automation in vSphere without shared storage hardware (for more information see this post). VMware has announced the End of Availability of all vSphere Storage Appliance versions, effective April 1, 2014. After this date you will no longer be able to purchase this product.

All support and maintenance for vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 will be unaffected and will continue to follow the Enterprise Infrastructure Support Policy. The End of General Support life date for customers with vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 remains September 19, 2018.

According to the related FAQ, there isn’t a direct replacement for vSphere Storage Appliance, customers who meet the hardware requirements can choose to upgrade to VMware Virtual VSAN. A vSphere Storage Appliance to Virtual SAN upgrade SKU will be available.

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VMware Virtual SAN (or sometimes called also VSAN) is a powerful solution to implement an hyperconverged storage solution available, as a separated product, for vSphere 5.5 U1 environments.

Actually, although it is a 1.0 version, is almost promising, but some UI pieces is (in my opinion) still missing: the vSphere Web Client is the management tool, but the VSAN dashboard is really limited an several other information (most could be obtained from the performance monitor) could be added to provide, for example detailed usage information.

To be honest there is an experimental feature called VSAN Observer that could give you most of those data in a dashboard oriented way. I suppose also that there could be a future version of VMware vCenter Operations Manager with detailed VSAN information.

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Using Linux as a guest OS in a VMware vSphere environment it’s, of course, well supported and more distributions are officially supported in vSphere 5 making more easy deploy Linux VM or Linux based virtual appliances.

For the remote management a good option it’s usually use the SSH protocol, for the initial installation (or other special cases) you will need to use vSphere Console.

Using the client from a Linux box could be difficult but with the new vSphere Web Client not so much, for more information see the KB 1006095 (Availability of vSphere Client for Linux systems) or see also Access VM Consoles From Linux.

Then there are a couple of notes if you need a GUI or a text console.

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Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is the management tool for virtual environment based on Microsoft Hyper-V (but note that it can also manage XenServer and vSphere infrastructures). It provide also management functionality for other “fabric” components (like storage or network).

It’s not mandatory (compared to VMware vCenter that is needed to implement most of the cluster features, you can manage an Hyper-V environment with the Windows MMC snap-in or via PowerShell), but could be useful to manage the entire infrastructure from a single pane. And also it provide some new features, like library management (in order to use template), P2V and V2V functionalities, cloud (IaaS) abstraction, self-provisioning, …

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VMware vCenter Standalone Converter is usually updated with new version of vSphere, although it is no more included with the vSphere suite itself (the Enterprise edition of Converter was dropped with vSphere 5.0).

But there are a few issues that you can have with VMware Converter and vSphere 5.x that you have to know and take care.

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