vSphere and HP Virtual Connect Flex-10

On a regular basis we have info sessions with our most important vendors.  Last week we had a session with HP to tell us more about virtualization in their hardware products. The session was especially targeted at Flex-10. Flex-10 is the way how HP breaks s a 2 x 10Gb Ethernet pipe into a flexible, easy to change, smaller Ethernet ports.

Flex10-01Why is this so important for us virtual friends? Of course it is a huge cost saver not only in hardware but also in management of the environment but the most important thing is that it opens up a lot of new virtual design opportunities.

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One of the coolest things is that we now can make a design for up to 4 blade chassis with each physical 16 server blades and let’s say 320 virtual servers where all the traffic between the servers never leaves the blade chassis. It is all handled with the blade chassis. Also all of the vSphere traffic like VMotion and service console can be handled within the chassis at 10Gb speeds.

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Visit the dutch VMUG

On the 11th of December the anual Dutch VMUG conference will take place at the Nieuwegein Business Center. The final agenda has recently been published and judging on the names and topics it is going to be an awesome event again.

Not only will key representatives of several well known vendors present you the latest info; at the Dutch VMUG gurus like Eric Sloof, Luc Dekens and Bouke Groenescheij will take you on a journey to the trenches of virtualization. I can promise you that it will be worth it!

You can also meet some of the Dutch prominent bloggers which will be walking around and helping out during the event. And of course VMGuru.nl will also be present. Don’t hestitate to come by and say hi.

vSphere 4.0 Quick Start Guide

It has been a public secret that some of the great minds in the virtualization community had joined forces to write a vSphere 4 quick start guide.

The idea was simple, provide an easy to use reference guide for all level administrators, consultants and architects.

Together Dave Mishchenko, Duncan Epping, Bernie Baker, Thomas Bryan, Stewart Radnidge and Alan Renoufhave write a great quick start guide which is available from Booksurge. Booksurge is an Amazon company which means Amazon sells it as of November 23rd for $15,99.

So what is the vSphere Quick Start Guide? 256 Pages of tips and hints on how to get around with vCenter, the Service Console and Powershell.  Recently VMware introduced many new features in vSphere 4.0 and with this handy pocket guide you will learn about each of these new features. With each chapter, the pages in this essential guide will answer common questions while giving you unprecedented insight into: Expert tips & tricks, pitfalls to avoid, RemoteCLI & PowerCLI scripts, Configuration how to’s and Virtualization best practices.”

Judging the reputation of the authors, I think it’s $15,99 well spend. As soon as I’m home again I’m going to order a copy.

Vizioncore releases vFoglight 6

VizioncoreLogo

Today Danny Claproth from Vizioncore had a very interesting message on his twitter, “Vizioncore vFoglight 6 is officially GA


This is the long awaited version which we heard a lot about during our vFogLight training at the end of October.

vFogLight 6 Pro is available in two versions, the x86 version for small environments only and the x64 for the larger enterprise implementations, and it offers a new and improved user interface, report wizard, FAQs, improved scalability and the enhanced capacity planning feature.

Also vFogLight Pro has full support for the complete VMware vSphere 4 suite, so ESX 4, ESXi 4 and vCenter 4 are supported

A full list of features can be found here and the release note can be found here.

A trail version can be downloaded here.

New articles published for week ending 11/22/2009

In the last week these items are added or edited in VMware’s Knowledgebase at http://kb.vmware.com

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VMware View 4 released

Yesterday VMware released it’s new version of its VDI solution, VMware View 4.

VMware View 4 includes the following new features and improvements:

  • VMware View with PCoIP – PCoIP provides an optimized desktop experience for the delivery of the entire desktop environment including applications, images, audio, and video content for a wide range of users on the LAN or across the WAN. PCoIP can compensate for an increase in latency or a reduction in bandwidth, to ensure that end users can remain productive regardless of network conditions.
  • PCoIP includes VMware View Display with support for up to four monitors and the ability to deliver the optimal resolution and pivot orientation to each monitor independently.
  • VMware vSphere Support – VMware vSphere 4 support enables improved virtual machine scalability, performance, and management, with continued support for VMware Infrastructure 3.x.
  • Enhanced single sign-on – The Log in as current user feature is integrated with Active Directory and smart cards to help simplify the process of logging in to a VMware View desktop.
  • Restricted entitlements – Administrators can control user access to virtual desktops based on the View Connection Server being used for authentication.
  • Smart card policies – Administrators can set group policies to force desktop disconnection and require reconnection when users remove smart cards.
  • Domain filtering – You can use vdmadmin.exe to control the accessibility of domains and traverse trust relationships more quickly.
  • You can cleanly delete View desktops using scripts.
  • You can log in to View desktops using user principal names (UPN).
  • You can explicitly configure IP addresses to override those supplied by the View Agent when accessing a desktop.
  • Mixed Active Directory and Kerberos authentication is supported.

The VMware View 4 release can be found here.

vSphere 4 Update 1 released

Last night VMware has released Update 1 for ESXi 4, ESX 4, and vCenter server 4.

According to the release notes Update 1 includes the following improvements:

  • Support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2;
  • Support for View 4;
  • Support for 160 VMs per host in a HA cluster with 8 hosts or less;
  • Increased vCPUs per core limit from 20 to 25;
  • Paravirtualized SCSI support has been extended to Windows 2003 and 2008 boot drives;
  • vDS performance improvements;
  • Support for DB2 database;
  • Improved support for Microsoft Clustering.

Besides this vCenter server now includes a pre-upgrade checker tool which enables you to proactively check ESX hosts for any potential issues that you might encounter while upgrading vCenter agents on these hosts as part of the vCenter Server upgrade process. You can run this tool independently prior to upgrading an existing vCenter Server instance. The tool can help identify any configuration, networking, disk space or other ESX host-related issues that could prevent ESX hosts from being managed by vCenter Server after a successful vCenter Server upgrade.

The release note can be found here.

vSphere 4 Update 1 can be downloaded here.

Advertising? Or just name calling?

bestVDIsolutionI do like advertising from time to time. I think advertising gives away a lot about how companies operate and what their internal values are. You also find out if the company understands their market and their potential users.

When looking for VMware View articles with Google I came across an ad for Citrix, look at the picture to the right. The ad is somewhat funny actually. Citrix says that their solution with HDX is faster than VMware View. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t, I don’t know. It all depends on workloads, hypervisor, storage and so on.

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New articles published for week ending 11/15009

In the last week these items are added or edited in VMware’s Knowledgebase at http://kb.vmware.com

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iSCSI Super Friends

Since last week I’ve got a new assignment which is a long way from home. Next to the downsides of traveling 5 hours a day and staying in hotels, it certainly has advantages.

During my 5 hour drive or when I’m staying in a hotel i have time to listen to the VMware Community Roundtable podcasts I put on my iPhone. For those of you who don’t know this. VMware Community Roundtable is a weekly conference call/chat for VMware enthusiasts. Every week there’s a different topic and this is your change to discuss these topics with the experts in the community. For those of you who don’t have time to attend, there’s the possibility to listen online or download the sessions as podcasts.

Last week I listened to a great topic which was called the ‘#66 – iSCSI Super Friends with EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP, VMware‘. This podcast was from September 30 so it was quite an old podcast but this was such a great session that I don’t want to keep it from you. This session discusses the multi vendor blog post by VMware (Andy Banta), EMC (Chad Sakac), NetApp (Vaughn Stewart), Dell/EqualLogic( Eric Schott), HP/Lefthand Networks (Adam Carter) on how to implement iSCSI with VMware VI3.5 and vSphere 4.

So for those of you who already heard it, sorry for the ‘old’ intel, for those of you who haven’t, this is a must read/hear.

iSCSIstorage

The mult vendor blog post discusses can be found here:

I really liked the conclusion that you can build iSCSI storage solutions which are as fast as fiber storage solutions and that tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 storage definitions should not be based on the technique used but on the service level agreement with your end user.

Personally I wonder what the future will bring. Will fiber channel disappear in favor of iSCSI? As discussed during this podcast, ethernet is ideal for storage connections, the questions is which protocol to use, NFS, iSCSI or FCoE. We will see ……

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2009/01/a-multivendor-post-to-help-our-mutual-iscsi-customers-using-vmware.html

Virtual machine resources: Less is more!

This week a colleague called me with a VMware ESX problem. He’s doing a Exchange 2007 implementation and he configured a virtual machine which should function as the Mailbox server. He was complaining that the virtual machine took 13 to 15 minutes just to boot and he suspected a storage issue as they had been struggling with the storage for a few days.

I asked him to check the virtual machine performance tab and asked him if he saw anything strange. Nothing! The server had plenty of memory left and was not using very much CPU.

When I asked him how many resources he assigned to the virtual machine his response alerted me. He configured the virtual machine with 16GB of memory and 4 vCPUs!

When I asked him why he gave the virtual machine so much resources his response indicated that he hadn’t read the Virtual Infrastructure best practices and applied the ‘MS, I might use those resources just once during my lifecycle‘ sizing. When we checked the%CPU ready performance statistics the values were astronomical.

So I explained the behavior of the CPU scheduler to him and asked him to reduce the number of vCPUs to 1 or 2 and try again. When I called him the next day he told me that the virtual machine now booted within a minute.

So bottom line: Give a virtual machine the resources it needs for normal every day operation and be very modest. Monitor the virtual machine and adjust the resource settings according to your findings. In this case, less definitely is more and it’s very easy, especially in vSphere 4, to (hot) add resources. And if you do need 4vCPUs, it can be more effective to deploy two 2vCPU virtual machines instead of one 4 vCPU virtual machine.

VMware Virtualization Forum 2009 – 10 & 11 November

During the coming two days it’s all about the VMware Virtualization Forum 2009.

VMware Virtualization Forum event is a free, interactive full day event where you can learn about virtual infrastructure from experts, industry analysts and companies like yours. No matter what your company size, there’s a virtualization solution for you—from the desktop to the datacenter. You can visit the VMware Virtualization Forum 2009 and attend hands on labs in Orange County, CA.

If you join onsite you can join the Virtualization Forum online. During this highly interactive two-day event, you’ll experience all of the areas you’d find at the onsite event.

Plus during these two days, there will be an ask the experts panel. VMware gathered seven vExperts/bloggers to answer your questions.

These vExperts are:

Visit the VMware website to register for the VMware Virtualization Forum 2009 or check out the schedule.

Don’t miss your chance to:

  • Learn about VMware vSphere™ 4 — The next generation of the market leading virtualization platform
  • Attend introductory sessions on virtualization and learn how you can cut costs at companies of all sizes
  • Get practical advice on choosing a virtualization solution for everything from the desktop to the datacenter
  • Learn how to add capacity on demand to your IT infrastructure with cloud computing

New articles published for week ending 11/08/2009

In the last week these items are added or edited in VMware’s Knowledgebase at http://kb.vmware.com

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VMware View 4 released

Today is the day!

Today VMware released the new version of VMware View with the long awaited PCoIP protocol which provides a superior end-user experience over any network.

The new VMware View 4 is an integrated desktop virtualization solution, enabling reduced desktop costs, increased security, compliance and simplified desktop management, along with a rich, flexible desktop experience.

VMware View 4 is supported on the latest version of vSphere, bringing the most mature virtualization functionality to the desktops. View PCoIP establishes a new standard in the desktop user experience. Purpose-built for specifically delivering virtual desktops over the WAN or LAN, PCoIP is optimized to deliver the best user experience for the available bandwidth – without sacrifing user productivity.

With this this new version of VMware View with PCoIP it is possible to deliver a personalized, feature rich, graphical virtual desktop complete with applications and data and settings anywhere and anytime.

You can watch the VMware View 4 introduction video here.

Next week,  November 16th 19th, VMware View 4 will be generally available.

Free VMware Workstation 7 Fundamentals Course

For everyone who is new to VMware Workstation 7 and as a refreshment course for all other VMware workstation users, VMware has released a Free online course you can follow.vmworkstationlearning

I must say version 7 of VMware Workstation is a lot faster with starting up and booting virtual machines then version 6.5 was. One very nifty and cute thing I use is I can run ESX 4 in a virtual machine within workstation 7, makes it much easier to show it to customers and colleagues.

The Online Course will give an overview of VMware Workstation 7, helps you getting started and shows tips working with VMware 7. (Also useful for 6.5 users)

Virtual Infrastructure best practices

[Updated: 8-11-2009 10:00]

Lately I keep receiving questions from colleagues regarding virtual infrastructure design using VMware products. So I decided to sum up the best practices I use when designing a new virtual infrastructure. Some of the best practices are based on numbers and calculations but others are pretty obvious. Nevertheless you would be surprised how many environments I’ve encounter were the most basic best practices have NOT been met.

So hereby my list of best practices on:

  • ESX(i);
  • vCenter;
  • Licensing;
  • Storage;
  • Networking;
  • Virtual machines.

If you have additions or new insights please reply.

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Interview with Scott Murnan (Teradici) on PCoIP

With the launch of VMware View 4 with PCoIP on the horizon Scott Murnan, European Director of Teradici, was in the Netherlands at the end of October and Ann Jan had the pleasure to do an interview with him.

Together they shed some light on Teradici, the new PCoIP protocol, the differences with RCP and ICA, bandwith, latency, etc. So check out the video.

VMware View 4 launch November 9th, GA November 16th

Today I received an invitation for a ‘What’s new in VMware View 4′ training.

According to this invitation the release of VMware’s new version of View including the long awaited PCoIP will be release November 16th.
That is a week later then the date mentioned in earlier VMware View release chatter.

After a few phone calls I’m a bit wiser now. The release will probably be November 9th and the general availability will be a week later, November 16th.

So another 2 weeks till we can experience PCoIP first hand.

EffChoiceControl