Browsing Posts published by Andrea Mauro

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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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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IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

One of the several interesting topics discussed in the recent event Cloud Communities Day, held on Monday 22 in Milan and with the presence of various communities, as well as analysts and academics, was which could be the most interesting type of cloud. If we limiting to the three basic types: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a service (SaaS)... Which one could be the more interesting? As often "it depends" could be the answer, but paradoxically, many have very clear opinions about it (though it is not said that all fit together ...). In ...

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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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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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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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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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Upgrading to ESXi 5 vs. doing a Fresh Install

In a vSphere upgrade process, there are two different approach for the host upgrade: a fresh re-install or a in-line upgrade. In the VMware site there is an interesting post about this choice. The differences between an upgraded host and a freshly installed host are: Boot disk partition format:  When upgrading, the boot disk retains the older MBR (Master Boot Record) partition format where on a new install the boot disk is formatted as GPT (GUID Partition Table).  The key here being that the new GPT format enables you to use LUNs larger than 2TB and up to 64TB.  The larger LUN ...

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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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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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VMware vExpert 2015 benefits

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. But benefits also include: Award certificate and gift vExpert logo to display on website or email signature Access to ...

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Consideration about storage architectures

Storage is an important part of a virtual infrastructure, but compared with the server part (that provide computational "power") the different storage vendor's solutions are not so homogeneous and easy to compare or understand. Of course because there are different positioning but also a lot of different aspects, but in most cases, the most important aspects are also the "hidden" or the less described. What is probably clear is the difference between local storage (DAS) and shared storage (SAN or NAS, but sometimes also some kind of DAS) and why shared storage is so important: not necessary for the performance aspect, ...

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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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PCoIP vs. RDP

In a VMware View environment usually PCoIP protocol is preferred to the RDP one due to several reasons. I don't want to spend too much time about the latency, throughput, reactivity, user experience different between those two protocols... in most cases PCoIP is better compared to RDP. But PCoIP protocol has some limits that your have to consider in your design and mainly are described in the View Architecture Planning guide. Client support PCoIP only client: mobile clients, such as iPad and Android, use only the PCoIP display protocol. RDP only client: actually the Technical Preview of the Windows 8 Style Client works only ...

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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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Running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 in a VM

The new releases of Windows OS products (both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2) are actually in a RTM state for OEM and will be public available on October (probably the 17th or the 18th). Actually, in the last days, Microsoft has announced that the RTM is also available on MSDN and Technet. Or you can simple ask to download the evaluation product (but in this case it's just a beta version). If you want to run them on a VM it's really easy because it's just the same of running a Windows 8 or a Windows Server 2012 VM. And ...

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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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Segnalibro
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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.

Note that VMware has also recently released a new document: VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide.

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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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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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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As you probably now the vSphere Fault Tolerance features has been unchanged from the first version (in vSphere 4.x)… untill now.

With vSphere 6.0, recently announced, there is a new Multi-Processor FT (SMP-FT) features that replace the previous one and brings now continuous availability protection for VMs with up to 4 vCPUs!

It’s not something news in the virtual environments… several years ago Marathon announced the everRun MX, that was the first solution, but only for Citrix XenServer. Initial plans of this producs expect also a vSphere version, but the company was then acquired by Stratus Technologies and everRun MX is now a Windows oriented solution.

But let’s see the new version of VMware vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance.

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FalconStor-Logo

FalconStor is a well know company in the IT area; creators of several solutions like: FalconStor® Virtual Tape Library, MicroScan™ Replication, Disksafe™ Bootable Snapshot. But also pioneer of the data services first approach by combining virtualization, protection and migration technologies.

The company was founder on February 2000 (15 years ago) and actually they have 3,000+ active customers (included 20+ service providers to address public and private cloud) in 56 different countries.

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VMware Logo

One of the biggest new in the new VMware vSphere 6.0 suite are probably Virtual Volumes, fundamental part of the VMware’s SDS vision.

What are vSphere Virtual Volumes (or VVols)? They are an integration and management framework to convert external storage in VM-aware storage.

From my point of view is the biggest news of this release (and probably the most announced, during the previous VMworld… first tech preview was in 2012!) and can really change the storage part of a virtualized design, included how it’s design.

But, much important, could be a great opportunity also for storage vendors to bring some interesting features to their products and help them to differentiate each other by providing much native and VM centric features (to be honest, some of them already have this approach)

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With the new VMware vSphere 6.0 suite there is also a new version of VMware Virtual SAN (or VSAN) now in version 6.0 (but formally it’s a 2.0 version). Seems still a separated products, althougt my hope is that it may included in some vSphere bundle (like was with the VSA).

This new version brings a lot of new features and now it’s ready also the business critical applications (version 1.0 was more targeded for ROBO, VDI, DR, testing, … scenarios).

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VMware Logo

VMware’s vision of those last years it’s almost clear and it’s all around the three main pillars: SDDC, Hybrid Cloud and EUC.

In order to provide the Software Defined DataCenter, VMware has work a lot on the cloud related aspects, but also for the SDN and SDS technologies to enable a VM policies driven approach. VMware NSX is the clear answer on the SDN part, but what about the SDS part?

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