StarWind iSCSI SAN Passed VMware’s Certification Program

StarwindYesterday shortly after we posted the review about the StarWind iSCSI SAN software there was a press release by Starwind. The press release announced that they had passed the VMware Certification Program for VMware ESX 4.1 server. The press release can be found here.

In short this means that the Starwind iSCSI SAN software has passed the test labs from VMware and will now be included in the VMware compatibility guide.


Starwind review

Recently Starwind contacted us and asked if we would be interested in doing a review on their iSCSI SAN software solution. The enthusiasts that we are, we quickly replied that we would take the challenge. After some e-mails back and forth and setting up a small test lab we where ready to go.


So what is the Starwind iSCSI SAN solution? The solution enables you to change a Windows server into a iSCSI SAN. With this solution Starwind is mainly aiming for SMB organizations. As far that I could see the Starwind solution offers the same (basic) functionality as you would expect from the hardware counterparts.

Some of the key features mentioned by Starwind are:

  • Synchronous Data Replication: Real-time data replication across a 2 node storage cluster.
  • High Availability / Automatic Failover: Fault tolerant active-active technology eliminates a single point of failure.
  • Remote Replication across a WAN: replicates data to a remote location allowing multi-site disaster recovery in the event of a disaster at the primary site.
  • CDP & Snapshots: captures instant, point-in-time volume images, allowing a user to rollback and recover an entire volume or individual files and folders.
  • High Speed Caching: accelerates storage I/O by using the server’s memory.
  • Server clustering: supports Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, VMware ESX and vSphere 4.0 and other applications.
  • Central Management Console / User Interface: allows IT professionals to easily manage all storage from a central management console built on the same tree structure used in Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.


Imtech ICT awarded VMware Premier Partner status for 4th time

This is the fourth year Imtech ICT is awarded the Premier Partner status by VMware. Where a few years ago server virtualization prevailed, we now see a large increase in projects around the subjects (internal) Cloud, VDI, Security and Collaboration.

Thanks to a lot of dedicated people involved, by training and dedication to the VMware platform, we can accelerate the ongoing virtualization business and projects.

This partnership fits in with Imtech’s strategy for IT operational excellence through innovative solutions to its clients.


VMware announces Horizon App Manager

Two of the challenges introduced by cloud, SaaS, web applications is that users need to remember many passwords, and that administrators need to create accounts for each employee for every internal and 3rd party application that the company uses.

Yesterday VMware has announced VMware Horizon App Manager which solves many of these problems.

VMware Horizon App Manager gives end users access to SaaS and Web applications across different devices while retaining control and visibility and ensuring compliance via policy-driven management. VMware Horizon App Manager lets you provision and entitle secure access to end users, track SaaS license activity, and get usage reports.


Updated VMware support policy on MSCS

August 2010 I wrote an article on support for Exchange CCR clustering on VMware with iSCSI.

VMware’s response then was very simple and straight forward. Exchange CCR clustering on VMware is not supported on iSCSI!

When asked if VMware had plans to change this support issue in the future the response was promising.

“The Exchange team within VMware requested the vSphere product team to support iSCSI for CCR and DAG clusters. They also would like to remove the RDM requirement for CCR and DAG.
Response from the product team is that they are testing and will update the support stance in a future release.”

Well, the future is now. I stumbled upon a VMware KB article, released May 5, which provides clear guidelines on the vSphere support status when running various Microsoft clustering solutions on VMware vSphere 4.


Rumors on vSphere 5

The release of VMware vSphere 5.0 is almost visible on the horizon now.
In the online communities and when talking with colleagues the term ESXi 5 and/or vSphere 5 keep coming up.

The general expectation is that the release will be announced at VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas.
(no promise just a wild guess)

Version 4 of VMware vSphere/ESX(i) is quite suitable for most of our needs, but other players on the hypervisor market (Microsoft, Citrix) are closing the gap fast. So VMware needs to keep innovating to stay ahead and the reputation of VMware demands a new and improved version which will again stun the world. Packed with features with which Microsoft will ‘quick’ it’s customers again until they got it themselves in 2-3 years.

But fortunately the rumors on VMware vSphere 5 look very promising. Of course the configuration maximums will be improved again, not that anyone will come even close, but the added value must be in the new and improved features in my opinion.


EMC Isilon 15PB Storage system

EMC Isilon 108NLEMC has announced a new storage system called Isilon 108NL. The Isilon storage system consists of 36 disk 4U nodes which can be joined together to create a 144 node storage system with a capacity of 15 PB.

It’s a scale-out storage system where each node contains its own 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps interfaces so you can add capacity while maintaining throughput.

According to EMC, the Isilon 108NL can achieve a throughput of 85 GBps and a maximum of  1.4 M IOPS. The Isilon can be equipped with 1, 2 or 3 TB Hitachi SATA disks giving it 36, 72 or 108 TB per storage node. The Isilon is by powered by the OneFS operating system which supports NFS, SMB, iSCSI, http and FTP and delivers N+4 data protection on cluster, directory or file level.

Can we beat Kasparov with a single virtual machine?

14 years ago, on May 11, 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue II chess-computer won a six-game match by two wins to one with three draws against world champion Garry Kasparov.

In June 1997, Deep Blue was the 259th most powerful supercomputer achieving 11.38 GFLOPS running 30 parallel RS/6000 SP Thin P2SC-based system nodes, with each node containing a 120 MHz P2SC microprocessor enhanced with 480 special purpose VLSI chess chips.

But how does that relate to computing power in 2011 and especially to virtual computing power running VMware vSphere 4.1?


Connect ISO to VM the PowerCLI way

I recently bought a new server for my home lab, or at least, it was the start of my home lab. After my ESX host crashed two years ago I didn’t took the time to rebuild it.

As I started to rebuild every single VM on my host I quickly became somewhat irritated by the fact that I had to switch to the vSphere client to mount an ISO and then back to my RDP session to do the installation.

I thought to myself “This should be easier. Why isn’t there a tool that can list the ISO’s on the datastores and give you the choice to mount one of them?”.


Orchestrator plugin for Active Directory released

Last Friday VMware released the Orchestrator plugin for Active Directory v1.0. With the plugin it is possible to manage Active Directory objects straight from within Orchestrator.

For those of you that don’t know what VMware Orchestrator is:

VMware vCenter Orchestrator provides out of the box workflows that can help administrators automate existing manual tasks. Administrators can utilize sample workflows from VMware vCenter Orchestrator’s workflow library and provide a blueprint for creating additional workflows.

VMware vCenter Orchestrator exposes the building blocks to enable more detailed workflows to be created for VMware vSphere.