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Officially the VMworld US 2012 starts today (but yesterday there was already the opening of the Hands-on labs and the Welcome Reception event). To follow the event on Twitter just use the hashtag #VMworld.

It’s curios that on the same same is also scheduled a live event (important announcements on August 27) about VMware’s cloud strategy and solutions. It’s not clear yet if will be the same opening keynote, but sounds quite obvious that VMworld and this event will probably be officially launch the new Cloud Suite.

So stay tuned on both sides!

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I’m boarding in my flight to San Francisco to the VMworld US 2012. This will be my first VMworld US (actually I’ve only attended to the VMworld EU edition and to one PEX) and I’m really curious and exited!

I’ve already written about my expetaction and I hope that will be a great and intensive week.

See also my previous post:

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Could seems strange, but VMware has announce the new release of Workstation 9 and Fusion 5 some days before VMworld US. Probably to keep the focus of the announces on the Enterprise and Cloud platform.

For Workstation, of course this release will support Windows 8 (seems also in the Windows 8 style interface). But more interesting seems:

  • OpenGL support in Linux
  • Restricted Virtual Machines
  • A new web interface to share VMs
  • Hyper-V (although is not supported)

See also:

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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 the “target” of the VR agent

The deployment of all those VA could be simple handled from the SRM plugin.

How VR determines what is different and what needs to be replicated

There are two forms of synchronization that VR will use to keep systems synchronized:

  • “Full synch”: that happens usually just on the first pass when the VM is configured for VR, but can also happen occasionally during other situations such as when recovering from a crash.
    When VR is first configured for a virtual machine you can choose a primary disk file or set of disk files and a remote target location to hold the replica. This can be an empty folder, or it can be a copy of the VMDK that has the same UUID as the primary protected system.The first thing VR will do when synchronizing is read the entire disk of both the protected and recovery site and generate a checksum for each block.
    Then it compares the checksum mapping between the two disk files and thereby creates an initial block bundle that needs to be replicated on the first pass to bring the block checksums into alignment. This happens on port 31031.
  • “Lightweight delta”: the ongoing replication is by use of an agent and vSCSI filter that reside within the kernel of an ESXi 5.0 host that tracks the I/O and keeps a bitmap in memory of changed blocks and backs this with a “persistent state file” (.psf) in the home directory of the VM. The psf file contains only pointers to the changed blocks. When it is time to replicate the changes to the remote site, as dictated by the RPO set for the vmdk, a bundle is created with the blocks that are changed and this is sent to the remote site for committing to disk. This replication happens on port 44046.

For more information see also:

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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 ESXi was on version 4.0 have changed their MAC address. No issue on the VM build when ESXi was upgraded to the 4.1 (but still in free mode).

continue reading…

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Around a month ago I’ve got an issue with VMware SRM 5.0.1 during a test of the Recovery Plan.

In my case the storage was well configured for the replication, but not to permit the reverse reverse replication. So the reprotect task was locked and there was no way to remove this state because also the Delete Protection group was greyed out. If you fix the storage part usually the issue could be fixed in a clean way, but in my case the original LUN was removed and was not possible resume or fix the operation (also if you build a new LUN the ID could not be same). Also a SRM reboot was unsuccessful because the state was in the database.

I’ve looked around but I’ve not found a clean solution, so I’ve simple build a new Protection Group to look in the SRM DB and compare the wrong state with the clean one. With a little of patiance you can find the tables (note that are more than one and both on the production and the disaster recovery site) and fix the values. After that you can finally delete the Protection Group to really clean the database.

Now I’ve notice that there is a recent KB 2032621 (Protection group in vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.x hangs in reprotecting state during the reprotect task), available from Aug 9 2012, that describe exactly this situation and the same solution.

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Can’t make it to VMworld this year? But still want to hear breaking VMware news as it happens? This year there is a unique opportunity to attend at an online event: VMware NOW, a digital experience where you can watch the Keynotes and then dive into the new demos and details. Live on August 27 (when the VMworld US begin).

To attend at this virtual event use this registration form, or look at the Facebook event page.

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On 16 August 2012, VMware has releaded a new version of vCenter Server: VMware vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1b (build 804277).

This version introduces support for the following vCenter Databases:

  • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition Release 2 [11.2.0.3] – 64 bit
  • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition Release 2 [11.2.0.3] – 32 bit

Also the DB2 express embedded database provided with the vCenter Server Appliance has been replaced with VMware vPostgres database. This decreases the appliance footprint and reduces the time to deploy vCenter Server further.

Finally it resolves some issue (see the release notes for more information).

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Veeam has released the first patch for Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1, that fix some issues and add some enhancements:

  • Increased synthetic full transformation, and reverse incremental backup performance
  • Improved Direct SAN Access mode performance
  • Added PowerShell cmdlet for VeeamZIP operation.
  • Fixed issues with VMware and Hyper-V

For a full list refer to release notes included in the KB1671.

This patch is directly available (a login is required) from veeam website: http://www.veeam.com/download_add_packs/vmware-esx-backup/patch1/

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If Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager is installed on the same server as Veeam Backup and Replication, and Veeam Backup and Replication is upgraded to version 6.1 without upgrading Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager, you will get an error about the Veeam Backup Catalog Data service. Upon rebooting, the server will go into an infinite reboot loop.

The solution is well described in the KB 1645:

  1. Uninstall Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager and Veeam Backup Catalog service.
  2. Run Veeam_B&R_Setup_x64 to upgrade Veeam Backup and Replication to version 6.1.
  3. Allow machine to restart.
  4. Run Veeam_B&R_EnterpriseManager_Setup_x64 to upgrade Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager to version 6.1.

If you are experiencing reboots:

  1. During the boot process, click F8 and boot from “Last Known Good Configuration”.
  2. Uninstall both Backup and Replication and Enterprise manager and proceed to install 6.1 components instead.
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