How to: Optimize guests for VMware View

We’ ve been doing quite a few VMware View POC’s and the question that colleagues keep asking me is:
‘How do I optimize my Windows guest OS for use with VMware View?’.

First of all, I primarily use x86 versions of Windows XP and 7. The disk usage is much less, I seldom need more than 4 GB of RAM and application compatibility is still an issue on x64 systems.

After installation of the guest operating system in the template virtual machine I do the following to optimize the operating system for use with VMware View.


Bad network performance on new ESX host

At a client site we came upon a problem with Windows 2003 VM’s. They would get low network performance when we moved them to a newly formed ESX cluster consisting of HP 460c G6 blades. In some cases logging on to the server with a remote session took about 20 minutes.

As I mentioned this only occurred when we moved a VM to the new cluster, but also VM’s that where newly installed would get the same problem when running on the new cluster. As we are using Altiris to install and configure new VM’s a colleague decided to install a new VM by going through the steps manually which normally would be done by Altiris and found out that after the activation of a security template the performance dropped significantly.


Happy birthday founder!

Hello Folks!

Today Erik celebrates his 36th birthday. We’re happy to have his party today and we all wish him many happy returns!

VMware ALERT: VMware View Composer 2.0.x is not supported in a vSphere vCenter Server 4.1

There was an issue discovered earlier today that prevents View Composer from working with vSphere 4.1.

Because of that VMware View Composer 2.0.x is not supported in a vSphere vCenter Server 4.1 managed environment as vSphere vCenter Server 4.1 requires a 64 bit operating system and VMware View Composer does not support 64 bit operating systems.

VMware View 4.0.x customers who use View Composer should not upgrade to vSphere vCenter Server 4.1 at this time. The upcoming VMware View 4.5 will be supported on VMware vSphere 4.1.

Check out this VMware KB article for more information.

VMware apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you know how to spread the word to your friends and colleagues, please do so.

How to: Upgrade to vSphere 4.1

With yesterdays release of vSphere 4.1 comes the challenge to upgrade your existing installation to this new version. Because I have been testing the beta for a while now, I couldn´t wait to try it in our new testing environment.


However, there are a few caveats:

  • VMware released a KB article with the supported upgrade methods for ESX(i) 3.0.x, 3.5 and 4 full, embedded or installable;
  • Do NOT upgrade vCenter server to version 4.1 if you are using VMware View Composer 2.0.x. Check out this VMware KB article for more information.

Before you start the upgrade process, back-up the vCenter- and Update Manager databases.

After downloading the needed ISO´s, I started with the upgrade of the vCenter server.

But first of all, I had to uninstall all incompatible vCenter components, in this case Guided Consolidation 4.0.

When this is done, it´s time to update the vCenter server.


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VMware vSphere 4.1 released

A few minutes ago VMware has released the new version of VMware vSphere, version 4.1.

This new vSphere version contains 150 new features and has improved scalability, memory management, DRS, etc.

Besides all the new features the greatest news is that vSphere 4.1 is the last version which will have an ESX version (with service console). As of the next version there will only be two versions, ESXi embedded and installable.

Below you will find a detailed list of features that are include with the vSphere 4.1 release:

  • Scalable vMotion;
  • Wide VM NUMA;
  • Storage I/O can be shaped by I/O shares and limits through the new Storage I/O Control quality of service (QoS) feature;
  • Network I/O can be partitioned through a new QoS engine that distinguish between virtual machines, vMotion, Fault Tolerance (FT) and IP storage traffic;
  • Memory compression will allow to compress RAM pages instead of swapping on disk, improving virtual machines performance;
  • Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS) now can follow affinity rules defining a subset of hosts where a virtual machine can be placed;
  • Virtual sockets can now have multiple virtual CPUs. Each virtual CPU will appear as a single core in the guest operating system;
  • Support vCenter on 64 bit operating systems only;


VMware abandons CPU based licensing model

With the release of vSphere 4.1, VMware has released a new licensing model.

The management products below change from a CPU-based pricing model to one that is VM-based.

  • VMware vCenter CapacityIQ;
  • VMware vCenter AppSpeed;
  • VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager;
  • VMware vCenter Chargeback.

Until December 15th these product can be offered both ways, CPU-, or VM-based.

As of today VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager is end-of-sale.

This new licensing model has no impact on VMware vSphere licensing!

VMware vCenter

EqualLogic firmware with vStorage API

This month Dell released their  firmware for EqualLogic iSCSI SANs.

A couple of things that caught my attention:

  • vStorage API support. Things like snapshot, storage vmotion etc are now handled by the array, instead of the ESX host
  • you can create seperate volume administrators. No more need to create group admins if you only need to create volumes
  • 2TB disk support for the 4000 en 6000 series. The 6500 series already had support for 2TB disks
  • You can mix 5500/6500 in a pool. This is still not recommended

Features like this makes it even a better storage system than it already was in my opinion.

Problem solved (?)

Update: The problem seems to be solved! We will continue to monitor the web server but it looks like we’re back in business.

Since last week we are experiencing problems with the stability of our web server.

Sorry for the inconvenience, we’re working hard to find and correct this problem.

Until then, we will restart the web server manually once or twice a day.

Again, sorry! We hope to be up, running and reliable as soon as possible.