Network connection lost after vCSA restore

Today we encountered a strange error after restoring a vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) in our vCloud Director environment.No Connection.jpg

You would expect that a restore of a virtual machine would return it to its original state at the time of the back-up.  As it turns out this is not the case when restoring a vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA), vSphere Data Protection (VDP) Appliance or vSphere Management Assistant (vMA).

The first thing we noticed was that it took a very long time (10 minutes) for the vCenter Server Appliance to start up.
This is very unusual because with the underlying hardware and the reserved resources this would normally take less then a minute.
When finished the console shows ‘NO NETWORKING DETECTED. Please configure your network.

vCSA no network.JPG

You will notice that the console also shows no IP address and  to manage the appliance you should connect to https://0.0.0.0:5480 (good luck with that).

The reason that there is no network connection is quite strange. The restore of the vCenter Server Appliance did return it to its original state at the time of the back-up, but for some strange reason a new MAC address is generated for the appliance. The MAC address is stored in a configuration file that does not get updated with the new MAC address, which causes the appliance to not be able to find the correct NIC. The operation creates a new UUID and so a new Mac Address is assigned for the virtual NIC. As a result the virtual NIC is now detected as ‘eth1‘ rather than ‘eth0‘.

Eventually we found VMware KB article 2012451 which describes how to resolve this issue on the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA), vSphere Data Protection (VDP) Appliance or vSphere Management Assistant (vMA).

To resolve this issue on the vCenter Server Appliance:

  1. Right-click the vCenter Server Appliance Virtual Machine and click Edit Settings.
  2. Click Network adapter 1 and record the new MAC Address value. Click OK.
  3. Power on the vCenter Server Appliance and click the Console tab.
  4. Log into the vCenter Server Appliance with root credentials.
  5. Change directory to /etc/udev/rules.d/:cd /etc/udev/rules.d/
  6. Back up the /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file.
  7. Open the /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file in a text editor, and change the MAC address to the value recorded in step 2 for eth0.
    For example:SUBSYSTEM==”net”, ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”, ATTR{address}==”00:50:56:aa:52:39″, ATTR{type}==”1″, KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth0″ 
  8. Comment out the line corresponding to the eth1 interface.
  9. Save and close the file.
  10. Restart the vCenter Server Appliance.

After the restart our vCenter Server Appliance is up and running again.

Updated: Supported Business Applications on the VMware Platform

More and more applications are supported on the VMware Platform, with the release of VMware vSphere 5.5 the boundaries of virtual machines have been expanded even more. Often we get questions about which applications are supported on the VMware virtual platform. There is a website page where you can search for specific applications and if they are supported by the software publisher and a link to the support statement. In January 2012 there where 3490 applications support, nowadays the counter shows 5058 applications and counting.

You can search for an application by entering its title or the name of the software publisher.  Search results will display all supported software as well as applications that have already been submitted by other users.  If the application is not currently supported, you may Register/Login to vote and help VMware get the application officially supported sooner by the software publisher.

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IBM Cognos licensing in a VMware environment

IBM makes it possible with their licensing to run IBM Cognos on a virtualisation hypervisor like VMware ESXi and make full use of vMotion, HA and DRS. Many IBM products can be licensed as User-Based or Capacity-based. If the product has a server component, it will commonly be licensed as Capacity-based. Within a virtual environment like VMware you may use sub-capacity licensing for certain IBM products like Cognos.

Common used abbreviations are: PVU – Processor Value Unit / ILMT – IBM License Metric Tool / VM – Virtual Machine, a VM represents a complete system with processors, memory, disk and network resources.

Summary

  1. Yes you can and may use IBM Cognos, licensed through PVU, in a VMware environment.
  2. Yes you may use vMotion, HA, DRS to move the VMs through the whole cluster.
  3. No you do not have to pay for the whole cluster. You may license for the cheapest, or virtual or the physical underlying infra. Counting all physical cores in a VMware server/cluster where the VM with IBM software resides versus the total amount of vCPUs for the specific IBM software in multiple VMs. Follow the Virtualization Capacity license counting rules to determine, by program, the number of processor cores required to license. Determine the PVU factor by checking the correct table.
  4. Yes you need to install the ILMT tool within 90 days of signing the contract (a few exceptions apply, but I recommend you use the tool to make your life easier).
  5. You are not required to report to IBM the PVU usage on a regular basis, but you are required to generate quarterly ILMT reports and keep them for a period of two years. These reports must be provided if IBM conducts an audit.

PVU licensing is based on the processing capacity (expressed in PVUs) available to the IBM middleware. In the case of VMware, IBM license based on the number of  virtual cores (vCPUs) available to a partition. Each vCPU is equal to one processor core for PVU licensing. IBM license to the lower of the sum of vCPUs or full (physical) capacity of the server or cluster. Copies of the revised IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement – effective 18 July 2011 are available for download here.

Difference between Sub-capacity licensing and full capacity licensing

  • Sub-capacity licensing lets you license a PVU-based software program for less than the full processor core capacity of the server, when the software program is deployed in an eligible virtualization environment.
  • With full capacity licensing, you are required to obtain PVU license entitlements for all activated processor cores in the server, regardless of how the software was deployed.

Full capacity licensing is based on every physical, activated processor core in the physical server. Back when servers were one processor core sitting on top of one chip plugged into one socket, software was licensed on full capacity basis by default. The concept of full capacity licensing has not changed, even with the proliferation of multi-core and multi-socket servers. Licensing was basically simple. But with partitioning and more sophisticated server virtualization technologies that create virtual CPUs, virtual servers/partitions (aka virtual machines, LPARs, etc.) that can be moved and/or resized on the fly, came the demand for more flexible licensing terms. Thus IBM announced its sub-capacity licensing offering back in 2005.

Why use sub-capacity licensing

IBM’s Passport Advantage Sub-Capacity Licensing offering enables you:

  • to leverage server virtualization to more effectively consolidate their infrastructure and reduce their overall total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • allows flexible software licensing using advanced virtualization capabilities such as shared processor pools, micro-partitioning, virtual machines and dynamic reallocation of resources
  • gives growing customers the flexibility to choose how to add workload environments without making trade-offs between hardware design and software licensing
  • enables you to license software for only the processor core capacity available to the partition hosting the IBM software
  • provides a tool (ILMT) which allows you to track and manage the processor core capacity available to IBM PVU-based middleware

How to count the correct PVU units

First you must understand your virtual environment and how it is setup. So how does the physical server look like, which processor brand and technology is used, than which virtualisation technology and version is running. Furthermore how the IBM software is deployed into Virtual Machines and how do those VMs look like with virtual hardware and specific virtual cores applied to it.

Scenario1.pngScenario2.png

If you know the environment than you can use the formula below to calculate the total amount you need to pay or have payed. In the scenarios we use a Physical server with 2 pCPU with each 4 cores. Scenario 1 has 4 pServers with a total of 32 Cores and Scenario 2 has 2 pServers with a total of 16 Cores.

  1. Get the correct PVU value for the used Processor Type, Brand and Model in this PVU table. How does the physical server look like? We use Intel E5- 2600 series CPU in both scenario’s, so we have to get the PVU value for the used Processor Type, Brand and Model in this PVU table. After checking the table we find that the PVU value is 70 for each core.
  2. Count the vCPU used in all VMs for the specific IBM product and call that total # of Cores where each virtual core is equal to one core for PVU licensing. For scenario 1 that will be 7 Cores and for scenario 2 it will be 18 Cores.
  3. Check your contract, offer or invoice for the cost per PVU.

# of Cores x # of PVUs  x Cost per PVU = Total Price to Pay

For scenario 1 the physical layer will be 32 cores x 70 PVU = 2240 PVU and the virtual cores will be 7 vCPU x 70 PVU = 490 PVU

For scenario 2 the physical layer will be 16 cores x 70 PVU = 1120 PVU and the virtual cores will be 18 vCPU x 70 PVU = 1260 PVU

Generally, for any Eligible Product installed in an Eligible Virtualization Environment, you may license to the lower of:

  • PVUs for the maximum number of virtual cores in the virtual machines (VMs) available to the Eligible Product at any given time or
  • PVUs for the maximum number of physical cores in the server/cluster available to the Eligible Product at any given time

So in scenario 1 we will pay for the virtual CPUs and with scenario 2 it is smarter to pay for the underlying infrastructure. But reality is that servers are getting bigger and CPU’s are getting more and more cores. So I think most organizations will use the virtual core count to lower their cost but still make full advantage of virtualisation with HA and DRS. IBM sees vMotion as a Mobility event, where a running VM is moved from one physical server to another, and you may do that without restrictions if correctly licensed ofcourse.

To determine the correct number of Processor Value Unit (PVU) licenses required for the Eligible Virtualization Environment (for VMware vSphere):

Compliance and Entitlements

Q: Do I need to use the ILMT tool?

A: Yes you do, the IBM License Metric Tool is required when you are using Sub-capacity licensing or in other words running the software in VMware. There are some exceptions tho, but I would advise you to always use the free ILMT tool to make your life easier. The ILMT helps you maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment, and measures the PVU licenses required by software Product. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements, and help you maintain an audit ready posture. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. The tool generates audit reports. These reports provide the Processor Value Unit (“PVU”) license requirements based on the Virtualization Capacity available to the Eligible Sub-Capacity Product.

Exceptions to this requirement are:

1. when ILMT does not yet provide support for the Eligible Virtualization Environment

(In order to be notified when ILMT support for eligible virtualization technologies become available, customers need to subscribe to “My Notifications”.

2. if your Enterprise has fewer than 1,000 employees and contractors worldwide, you are not a Service Provider, and you have not contracted with a Service Provider to manage your Eligible Virtualization Environment

3. if total physical capacity of your servers with an Eligible Virtualization Environment, measured on a Full Capacity basis, but licensed using sub-capacity terms is less than 1,000 PVUs.

For the above exceptions, customers must manually manage, track, and prepare a Manual Calculation of Virtual Capacity worksheet for each server. For more details about the requirements for this worksheet, you can go to Virtualization Capacity License Counting Rules or use the Manual Calculation of Virtual Capacity worksheet.

 

Q: Do I have to pay for the ILMT tool?

A: No. The IBM License Metric Tool is a free product that IBM makes available to IBM Passport Advantage clients to help them determine the consumption of processor value units (PVU) for the IBM full and sub-capacity software they acquired. The tool helps clients assess if they are compliant with licensing requirements and it provides reports that are required for IBM compliance audits.

 

Q: How can you obtain the IBM License Metric Tool?

A: Even though ILMT is a no-charge product offering, an order must still be placed to establish an IBM entitlement record for the license as well as software subscription and technical support (S&S) coverage. That’s because ILMT receives the same level of technical support offered for the rest of the Passport Advantage product portfolio, as opposed to other free tools and utilities that are offered “as-is” with limited to no technical support. For additional guidance and instructions on ordering ILMT, see IBM License Metric Tool PA Online Ordering.(PDF, 926KB)   The initial order for ILMT should use P/N D561HLL. In order to maintain an entitlement record, S&S should renewed annually using P/N E027NLL.

 

Q: Increase available capacity or buy licenses first?

A: Buy licenses first, because you would be out of compliance. The licensing terms require that customers must obtain license entitlements before increasing the processor core capacity to be in compliance. IBM will request payment for the licenses required for the additional processor core effective the date the additional processor core capacity was added (includes back coverage for Software Subscription and Support)

 

Q: Is VMware vSphere an eligible virtualisation platform?

A: Yes. It sure is check for sub-capacity.

EligibleVirtualisationTechnologyVMware

Q: Do I need to report the PVU usage per eligible product to IBM on a regular basis?

A: You are not required to report to IBM the PVU usage on a regular basis, but you are required to generate quarterly ILMT reports and keep them for a period of two years. These reports must be provided if IBM conducts an audit.

ILMT_Tool_EDIC

Q: Can I install the tool or must I hire someone?

A: You can Install it yourself or hire an IBM partner to help you.

For installing instructions you can educate yourself, download the tool, install the tool and configure it.

 

 

 

 

PAR3241 – VMware Horizon View: Finally the Replacement for Server-Based Computing?

VMworld 2013.png

I just visited VMworld breakout session PAR3241 – VMware Horizon View: Finally the Replacement for Server-Based Computing?

Speakers:
Spencer Pitts, EMEA EUC Practice Lead
Edwin Weijdema, Enterprise Architect Imtech ICT

This session is not about a fantastics new feature which blows server based computing right out of the water. It’s about the success a VMware partner can achief in the EUC space with VMware Horizon View and how VMware can help the partner to do so.

The desktop has changed dramatically over the years. In the past we managed PC’s with ‘desktop management solutions’ like Norton Ghost. The only fancy deviation from that were mobile workers with laptops. The applications were all client or server-based and we never heard of clouds and SaaS. The world was simple.

That all changed within the last few years. You’re now not only servicing employees but also contractors, outsources, partners, citizens or students. They use non-owned devices, they use multiple devices, mostly non windows and connect using WiFi, 3G, Internet from all over the world.

But first of all, in this context, what is VDI? VMware differentiates between server based computing and a server hosted desktop. VDI in the VMware sense is a server hosted desktop with a desktop operating system.

VDI is great and it tackles a lot of issues which you encounter in a server-based computing environment, but is it a solution that fits for 100% of the use cases?  It all dependents on the users, applications, etc. This is different for every customer. But if you know how the users work and know which application they use you can judge if VDI is the way to go for this specific customer. VDI is just one of the execution platform which can solve your desktop problems along with sever-based computing, SaaS, FAT clients, etc.

But what slowed the adoption of VDI in the past?

  • Cost of storage (60% + was storage cost overall solution)
    Nowadays VDI storage solutions got cheaper and faster with vendors like FusionIO and with products from vendors like Pernix Data you don’t have to sacrifice VMware features when using local storage.
  • Microsoft licensing model
    This is something we cannot control, VDA unavoidable with a true VDI solution.
  • Density
    There’s a perceived massive density difference between SBC/VDI. This may have been true in the past but now this is a myth. Real world figures now show a 15-25% difference but with far better performance. The achieved density depends on the applications, don not dispense VDI based on these assumptions.
  • No 100% coverage
    Some customers dispense of VDI because it adds another management solution besides their primary desktop solution.

But VMware Horizon View has come a long way.

  • VDM 1.0, released in 2003
    This was not a VMware development but a customer requesting support for a Windows desktop OS running on a VMware hypervisor connecting with RDP.
  • VDM 2.0, released in 2007
    This included the introduction of the Connection Broker. With VDM 1.0 switching desktops or spanning multiple physical server meant specifying a different desktop IP address.
  • View 3.0, released in 2008
    This included View Composer for efficient storage utilization and ThinApp for application virtualization.
  • View 4.0, released in 2009
    This was the first version with support for PCoIP
  • View 4.5 & 4.6, released in 2010
    Included advanced features making View real enterprise ready. It included Application delivery, Windows 7 support, support for mobile clients and increased security.
  • View 5.0, released in 2011
    In this version PCoIP got a complete protocol overhaul and included software 3D graphics and persona management.
  • View 5.1, released in 2012
    Focussed on IOPS reduction, USB revamp, end-to-end monitoring, more and better security and support for more clients.

In the past VDI use cases got stuck between 40-50% but nowadays customers can achieve 90-95% depending on customer workloads.

Imtech ICT uses a true business architecture and translates the customer requirement to a technical solution to achieve the maximum use case and try to hit 100%. The customer doesn’t care about the server, storage, IOPS, bottlenecks, etc. The customer cares about the end solution to deliver their applications to support the core business. To do this Imtech ICT delivers a robust, scalable foundation based on the Imtech Validated Architecture with a FlexPod, build on Cisco, NetApp and VMware. On top of that they deliver a VDI desktop solution. The underlying infrastructure is a ‘black box’ and on top of that they build a VDI solution. The key is that Imtech chose a default solution based on a validated architecture/blue print. They do not design every solution from scratch, they know the required building blocks for the underlying black box. This speeds up the time to market and in the end the total cost of the solution. Picking a vendor  for the VDI platform, picking a hardware vendor and making an architecture that’s proven and repeatable.

VMware provides blue prints like the VMware AlwaysOn Desktop Solution Design and VMware BusinessMobile Desktop in which they do the same allowing partners to do the same as Imtech ICT. The blue prints can be found at the VMware Desktop Solutions website.

To do this you can also use the Gartner segmentation model which uses 7 different worker category templates and define functional requirements in business terms. The model diffentiates between:

  • Productivity task worker
  • Communications task worker
  • Office-based Information worker
  • Campus-based Information worker
  • Content/media worker
  • Traveling worker
  • VIP

The outcome is a graph which a partner can match to a preferred desktop solution like VDI or SBC. It’s not about the technology itself, it’s about understanding the customers needs and profile. VMware is not saying SBC is dead, there’s a use case for both.

Important to note is that SBC is no longer much cheaper than VDI used to be. Major cost for VDI have reduced, given more performance and have become more cost effective. Density has increased with this increased performance and the application landscape has become more demanding, flexing the boundaries of SBC solutions.

How many vCenter Server Desktop entitlements in Horizon View Bundle?

WhatIsInVMwareHorizonViewBundle.pngThe last couple of months we got several questions from customers asking how many licenses they are entitled when they buy a Horizon View 100 pack Bundle. The bundle includes everything a customer needs for a full end-to-end VDI deployment. Horizon View is sold in two packages—as a bundled solution that includes VMware vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server Desktop, or as an add-on to a separate or existing VMware vSphere infrastructure.

So now the question arises for how many vCenter Desktop and vSphere Desktop servers are you entitled if you buy a Horizon View 10 or 100 Bundle pack? We have to dive into the universal EULA from VMware and the specific Product Guide to find an answer for that.

If you go through the universal EULA you will find the following:

12.9 Product Guide. In addition to the above sections, Your use of the Software is subject to the terms and conditions of the Product Guide, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Ok so lets move over to the Product Guide. VMware Horizon View has several components like vSphere Desktop, vCenter Standard Desktop and View Manager. I have highlighted the important parts.

From the Product Guide:

2.1 VMware vSphere 5.5
2.1.2 Product Edition/Suite Specific License Notes

VMware vSphere Desktop
In addition to the general license notes above, if You purchase a license to VMware vSphere as a part of VMware vSphere Desktop, the following terms apply:
You may only use VMware vSphere Desktop to host (i) a virtual desktop infrastructure for up to the number of Desktop Virtual Machines for which You have paid the applicable license fees, and (ii) associated desktop management and monitoring tools. VMware vSphere Desktop is not subject to a processor limitation. “Desktop Virtual Machine” is a hosted Virtual Machine with one of the following Windows operating systems: XP, Vista, 7 and 8.

VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View and VMware Horizon Suite
“Powered On Desktop Virtual Machine” means a Desktop Virtual Machine receiving a remote connection from a device or running locally on a device.
In addition to the general license notes above, if You purchase a license to VMware vSphere as a part of VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View or the VMware Horizon Suite, the following terms apply:

You may only use VMware vSphere Desktop for up to the total number of Powered On Desktop Virtual Machines for which You have paid the applicable license fees. Your use of VMware vSphere Desktop is limited to hosting Desktop Virtual Machines and running VMware products which are included in VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View or the VMware Horizon Suite, or third party connection brokers and desktop management and monitoring tools. Your use of individual features included in VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View or VMware Horizon Suite is limited to that particular product. The use of individual features interchangeably between VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View or the VMware Horizon Suite is strictly prohibited.

3.4 VMware vCenter Server 5.5
Your use of VMware vCenter Server Desktop included in VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View, or the VMware Horizon Suite is limited to managing Servers that are solely hosting Desktop Virtual Machines and VMware products which are included in VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View, VMware Horizon Suite or third party connection brokers and desktop management and monitoring tools. Your use of individual features included in VMware View Enterprise, VMware Horizon View, VMware Horizon Suite is limited to that particular product.

VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance
In addition to the general license notes above, the following terms apply to the license to VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance provided with this EULA:
You may only download the number of copies of VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance that are for You to exercise the license granted to you in Section 2.1.

Q&A

Q: When you buy a Horizon View 100 concurrent user bundle how many licenses are you entitled to use?

A: If you buy a (for instance) 100 concurrent user Horizon View bundle, you receive a special version of vSphere (vSphere Desktop) and a special version of vCenter Server (vCenter Server Desktop) that are restricted to supporting VDI workloads only (i.e. specifically forbidden in the EULA to support or manage standard server workloads). The 100 user license means that you are entitled to run (vSphere Desktop) and manage (vCenter Server Desktop) the virtual machines necessary to support up to 100 concurrent Horizon View connections. If the customer subsequently purchased another 100 concurrent Horizon View licenses and added them to their existing installation of 100 concurrent connections, then the existing installed instances of vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server for Horizon View can then support/manage up to 200 concurrent connections (because the customer has purchased 200 licenses in total). So as many vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server Desktop as needed.

Q: If you want to split the 100 concurrent connections over several deployments like Develop Test Accept is that possible?

A: Equally, if the customer wanted to support their 200 users (connections) via multiple installed instances of vSphere Desktop/vCenter Server for Horizon View, then provided the total number of virtual desktop users across all instances do not exceed 200, then that would also be compliant with the EULA (for instance, they could install five instances of vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server for Horizon View across multiple servers, each supporting 40 users). What matters is the total number of users vs the number of licenses purchased.

Q: How many licenses are delivered by default when I purchase a VMware Horizon View 100 pack bundle?

A: There is no written rule here but what we see is that you get licenses for 5 ESXi servers with 2 CPU per server completed with 1 vCenter Server Desktop.

Q: How do you get more license keys if needed for vSphere Desktop and/or vCenter Server Desktop?

A: We are still trying to get a clear answer here from VMware, there seems to be a order form you will need to fill out but we haven’t gotten our hands on the correct process and form yet!!

 

HorizonView100PackOnevCenterLicense.png

Now if you want to activate a second vCenter Server Desktop you get the above error message.

Summary

  • Horizon Mirage, Horizon Workspace are named user
  • Horizon View is licensed by concurrent connection
    • Concurrent connection defined as a powered on desktop virtual machine receiving a remote connection from a device
    • View Add-ons cannot be deployed on vSphere Desktop that came as part of a View Bundle
  • vSphere Desktop and vCenter Desktop are restricted to desktop deployments and following exceptions:
    • ‘Desktop VM’ is defined as VM with the following OS: Windows 95/98, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate, Business or Enterprise, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    • Exceptions to ESX usage: View Manager, vCenter Server, Another Connection Broker, any Desktop VM management and performance monitoring tools used solely for, and/or any other Horizon Family products (including Workspace and Mirage)
    • For mixed server + desktop environments, you must buy a la carte!!
  • Horizon Suite is licensed by both named user and concurrent user
    • Component products within that license metric take on the same license metric

But most important: You are entitled to as many vSphere Desktop servers and vCenter Desktop instances as long you don’t exceed the total number of concurrent connections that are reasonably necessary for you to exercise the license granted to you.

Cisco UCS: What’s the maximum bandwidth per blade?

Cisco UCS chassisAs I already mentioned in this article, Cisco UCS is a complex combination of components. With the release of the M3 type Cisco UCS blades the number of components have increased and so did the complexity. The result is that I receive calls from colleagues/customers on a regular basis, complaining about the amount of bandwidth per Cisco UCS blade.

I already described that, the maximum number of VIF’s depends on the number of uplinks to the chassis.

With the introduction of the M3 Cisco UCS blades we got a VIC1240 Modular Lan On Motherboard (mLOM) mezzanine adapter which gives 2 x 10Gbps to each Fabric Extender.

There’s also an additional mezzanine slot which can be used for a variety of additional hardware like a FusionIO- or LSI Nytro WarpDrive adapter. In this case we can also use this slot to expand the capacity of the VIC1240 by adding a port expander or a VIC1280. This mezzanine slot also provides 2 x 10Gbps to each Fabric Extender.

Now I learned that the amount of bandwidth for each fabric depends on the combination of the network interface(s) in the blade server and the type of Fabric Extender in the chassis.

How?

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How to: Shutdown ESXi host in case of a power failure

Power OutageWhen running a virtual infrastructure based on VMware vSphere, you have multiple techniques to create a high available environment. You can create a cluster, use VMware HA or FT but when the power fails you’re done. To buy us a little bit of time, you can add a UPS with enough capacity to power your servers, switches and storage for a limited period of time. Just enough to start a standby generator or just wait until the power returns.

But what when this takes too long and you must power down your virtual environment including all virtual machines?

When you’re on-site and aware of the power failure you can shut everything down manually of course but what when you’re not there, in the evening, during weekends, etc.? You return in the morning finding that all your virtual machines are down and corrupted?

You will have to automate the shutdown of the virtual machines and ESXi hosts and I found two ways to do this.

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Horizon View in a stretched cluster environment: Can I have that? No!

vmware_horizon_suite logoEver since VMware started selling View as a desktop solution, we’ve had these discussions with colleagues and customers. You probably are familiar with the topic:

Many companies have more than one location, but they all want to manage their IT infrastructure as if it was one. So, if we can throw in a big data-line between those locations with low latency, highly resilient, including rapid fail-over and so on.. can we create one big View desktop pool for all our users spanning all our locations?

The answer is: No you cannot!

“But the bandwidth is 10 Gbps and the latency is very low!”

It doesn’t matter, you still cannot.

“Why??”

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How to license Windows 8 in a VMware Horizon View deployment

MicrosoftAgreementsWaterfallIt is a common misunderstanding that, if you buy software licenses you can do anything with it. You will not become the owner of it, you only get the use right of the software under STRICT CONDITIONS. What you may or may not do with Microsoft software is recorded to the smallest details by Microsoft in several documents, like the End User License Agreement (e.g. Enterprise Agreement), Product Lists and Product Use Rights.

Only a few people read all those documents, but in general nobody reads them all. They just buy the licenses and think are correct or are offered by their IT supplier. Always check with a license expert that what you want to achieve complies with what is possible with the licenses you want to acquire. This prevents disappointment and high costs later on.

I wrote a post on licensing Windows 7 in a VMware Horizon View environment and most things mentioned in that post are still valid also for Windows 8. Below I will zoom into changes or summarize important facts for a complete understanding.

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VDI optimization script (part 2)

unravelingIn my previous article I wrote about a VDI optimization script from Microsoft for Windows 8 and Windows 7. This article focuses on the features and services you could disable or adjust to increase the performance of your VDI desktops. There are a lot of changes that can be made and you might want to decide which change you do or do not use within your own infrastructure. Running the script in it’s default form could very well not be the way that you want it to be.

In this article I will try to explain the script in such a way that you should be able to read it and take out the parts that you want to use. Maybe after looking at the script you decide that you don’t want to use the script in itself, but it at least will show you where you can make the changes and choose your own way of applying it. So lets get started…

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VDI optimization script (part 1)

Car repairIn the summer of 2010 Erik wrote an article about “How to: Optimize guests for VMware View” in which he describes all sorts of changes he makes for a Windows XP or Windows 7 virtual desktop in a VDI environment. The changes that are suggested in the article are still valid, but after reading them I was wondering if there are new additions, specifically with Windows 8 now on the market. During my search I quickly came across a Visual Basic script that was released by Microsoft on their Technet site for optimization of a Windows 8 virtual desktop.

At the beginning of the script there is a disclaimer that you should have knowledge of the vb scripting language and that you should proceed with caution. Since the script is fairly long and a lot of changes are being made I decided to break the script down and put this in a table to give an overview of the services and settings being changed. As the title of the article indicates this is part 1 of the article, in part 2 I will try to explain the different pieces of the script in such a way that more people might understand what is happening inside the script.

While putting everything into a table I also looked if these changes could be made for a Windows 7 desktop too. The table is divided in several parts (and one bullet list) to provide some more overview to the whole.

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VMware Horizon View 5.2 Performance and Best Practices and 3D graphics

compassAt VMGuru.nl we’ve done a lot of articles on VDI performance and best practices. Recently I’ve done an article on ‘How to improve VMware View video performance‘ and Edwin did an article on ‘Boosting Google maps and video with VMware View‘.

Researching the possibilities and changes with Horizon View 5.2, Eric Sloof pointed me to two new technical white papers.

VMware recently released two white papers, one on the performance and best practices for the new VMware Horizon View 5.2 and the second on the use of hardware accelerated 3D graphics with VMware Horizon View 5.2.

This is must read material for everyone who’s designing, planning and installing a VMware Horizon View 5.2 VDI environment.

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Using Serial Ports in a VMware Environment

Serial Port

Serial Port

While pursuing the 100% virtual mark you once in a while run into trouble with legacy hardware where there is hardware directly attached to the physical server you are going to virtualize. If it is USB equipment you can use USB Anywhere devices to make it happen, but if it is serial port connected equipment it gets harder to tackle that issue.

For instance you want to virtualize a building management system server with reading equipment connected to the serial ports. Is that possible? Yes you can!

It is possible to use a Virtual Serial Port Concentrator, as for instance the Avocent ACS V6000, which is described in this KB article and as mentioned in the vSphere 5 documentation here.

By connecting physical serial ports over the network with a virtual machine you can break the dependency of the physical layer and the OS layer. By solving this puzzle you can protect the organization against legacy hardware failure  and/or from software that nobody knows how it is installed anymore.

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Look at the Horizon! VMware’s Horizon Suite is finally here

vmware_horizon_suite logoFor years VMware has been busy creating a range of Horizon-like products. At VMworld 2009 there was already a preview of what the folks in Palo Alto were working on.
Since then a lot has changed, AppBlast was shown, Octopus came (and went again).

30 minutes ago VMware finally launched their new range of end user computing products called the VMware Horizon Suite.

So, what does Horizon consist of? Well, actually Horizon is the new name for the collection of ALL End User Computing (EUC) products VMware has to offer, some of which you already know and love, like VMware View and ThinApp. But now the new cool products are finally here!

So, what is VMware Horizon Suite? It consists of these products:

Horizon Suite

VMware Horizon View

View box

VMware View is now as part of the new Horizon Suite and it got a new name VMware Horizon View 5.2. It is just a minor .2 release but VMware put a lot of effort in this new View version and added

significant number of features to improve View performance, scalability and user experience.

  • Improved storage efficiency with SEsparse Disks
    Horizon View 5.2 uses a new vSphere capability that implements a new disk format for virtual machines on VMFS that allows for reduction in size and utilization allocated blocks more efficiently by filling it with real data. Unused space is reclaimed and View Composer desktops stay small.
  • Unified Client with View Desktops in Horizon
    When co-installed with Horizon Suite the View Desktop pools are connected into Horizon Suite after they are provisioned. The Horizon Suite provides a single point of access for end users to their desktops, data and applications. Horizon Suite supports SSO brokering user to the available desktops based on entitlement policy.
  • Clientless HTML5 Access to View Desktops & Apps
    Access to View desktops and applications via Horizon is possible from any modern device using a remote protocol delivered through any HTML5 capable web-browser.This is the technology previously code-named AppBlast. It will direct users to existing View desktops leveraging Horizon View Security Server for network routing when available. This is a true install-free access to virtual Desktops.
  • Hardware Accelerated 3D Graphics
    Horizon View 5.2 uses a new vSphere capability that enables shared access to physical GPU hardware for 3D and high performance graphical workloads. Virtual desktops still see abstracted VMware SVGA device for maximum compatibility & portability, but use Accelerated 3D Graphics , enabling truly high performance graphics in a cot effective manner with multiple VMs sharing a single GPU resource. The solution is fully compatible with hosts lacking physical GPUs (for vMotion, DRS, etc).
  • Improved Video Chat with MSFT Lync Support
    Horizon View 5.2 provides Microsoft Lync 2013 client support, including full support for UC VoIP and Video on both RDP and PCoIP. This new feature enable a tighter integration between Microsoft Lync and Office applications with full collaboration capabilities. Some of the features are compresses USB webcam traffic upstream for reduced bandwidth usage,leverages UDP based channel for improved WAN performance, enabling improved performance of USB media devices.
  • Windows 8 Desktop Support
    Horizon View 5.2 now fully supports Windows 8 virtual desktops as guest OS. It also comes aligned with the Windows 8 Client Support.
  • PCoIP New Features
    • Support for MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) network devices
    • PCoIP GPO settings take effect immediately when changed (host side only).
    • Relative Mouse enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
    • Multi Touch enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
  •  PCoIP Security Improvements.
    • Port scanners that scan PCoIP Security Gateway now pass successfully.
    • OpenSLL upgraded to a more secure version.
    • Weak SSL ciphers removed.
  •  PCoIP Performance Improvements
    • Image caching supported on Teradici APEX card and Tera2 Zero Clients
    • Improved image cache management and compression
    • Bandwidth reductions in both the LAN and WAN environment
    • Support for vertical offset caching
    • Improved responsiveness and fluidity during scrolling
  • Horizon Based ThinApp Entitlement for View
    Horizon View 5.2 provides a tight linkage of View ThinApp Entitlement to the Horizon Workspace and includes a migration tool to help admins to import the current pool-based entitlements to the Horizon Workspace user/group entitlements. This approach unifies application entitlement across all end user devices & virtual desktops.
  • Large Pools with more than 8 hosts
    The 8 host cluster limit for Linked Clone pools using VMFS has been removed. The new limit is 32 hosts per cluster across the board for all pool types, Linked Clone or not. The added feature may completely change how VMware View deployments are designed and deployed for many customer.
  • Support for 10,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server
    Horizon View now supports 10,000 virtual desktops per View pod with a single vCenter Server instance. In previous versions VMware had only validated 2,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server.
  • Multi-VLAN support
    Multiple Network Label Assignment is being introduced with Horizon View 5.2. This is a powerful feature that allow administrators to utilize a single base image and assign it to multiple different VLANS or PortGroups. This first release comes only with PowerShell support; no Admin UI integration.
  • Provisioning, Rebalance, Recompose performance increase
    • More than 2X improvement on end to end provisioning time
    • Significant improvement on pool re-balance time
    • Availability of Rolling Refit Maintain allowing for a configurable minimum number of READY desktops during refit operations that support both automatic and semi-automatic linked clone pools

VMware Horizon Mirage

Mirage is VMware’s way to manage the physical world. These are the features that come with Mirage:

Simplified Desktop Management

Layered PC Image Management

Manage your PC image as a set of logical layers owned by either IT or the end-user. Update IT managed layers while maintaining end-user files and personalization. Then, if a PC is simply malfunctioning, IT can restore the system layers on an end point to fix an issue without overwriting user layers. Or, quickly migrate a user from an old PC to a new PC without losing any of their user data, profile, or user-installed applications during a hardware refresh cycle.

vmw-dgrm-mirage-backup-recovery-lg

Desktop Recovery

Full PC snapshots and synchronizations of any IT or end-user initiated changes to the datacenter ensure quick desktop recovery. Minimize end-user downtime when an end user’s PC has been lost, stolen or damaged and quickly restore the end-user system to a new device.

Application Layering *NEW in 4.0*

Easily deploy applications or VMware ThinApp packages to any collection of end users by leveraging Horizon Mirage’s app layering technology.

Scalability with Low Infrastructure Footprint

Designed to support up to 1,500 end users per Mirage Server and can easily scale up to 20,000 end-users per server cluster.

Branch Office Optimization

Enable any Mirage Client endpoint into a Branch Reflector to optimize branch office management. Mirage Branch Reflector allows you to download any updates once from the Mirage Server and allow peer to peer updates to other Mirage Clients in the branch office. Advanced algorithms ensure that only required data is ever sent between the Mirage Server and Mirage Clients in a remote location or office.

Empowering End User Productivity Across Boundaries

Optimized and Adaptive Experience

The VMware Horizon Mirage client monitors the resources being used on an end user’s PC to make sure that the backup and synchronization processes never interferes with their productivity. Horizon Mirage will automatically throttle CPU, RAM and network usage up and down as needed to guarantee a seamless end user experience.

Personalized Performance

Allow end-users to leverage the local computing resources of their desktops and laptops and maintain offline productivity. VMware Horizon Mirage managed images can install natively onto the Windows PCs, or as virtual desktops on Mac or Linux desktops and laptops with Fusion Pro. Image layering gives end-users the flexibility to personalize and customize their systems.

Self-Service File Access & Recovery

The Mirage File Portal allows end users to access any file on their endpoint from any web browser. An end user can also restore any file or any directory on their own with just a few clicks on their PC.

VMware Horizon Workspace

Horizon Workspace is designed to bring everyone and everything together. It is designed to accomodate people with iPhones, Android phones, Windows laptops, Mac laptops and even Linux users, to sync data, access applications and desktopsand In itself, Workspace consists of three main modules:

  • Data Synchronization (formaly known as Project Octopus)
  • Web applications and Thinapp Packages (formaly known as Project AppBlast)
  • View desktop access from mobile devices

vmw-scrn-horz-ste-dashboard

Combined with a single sign-on engine, Workspace offers a single webbased portal. From here your users can shared files, web based applications like Google Docs, SalesForce or Gmail, access your thinapped programs and connect to their View based desktop. The portal supports users with Windows, IOS, Android, Mac OS X and Linux. The next paragraphs describe the features of Workspace.

Simplified Workspace Management

Combine applications and data into a single aggregated workspace

  • Manage files, devices, applications and data through a single management console
  • Add, update and delete users via active directory. Manage internal and external users
  • Entitle and provision web applications through single sign on (SSO). Entitle and manage ThinApps
  • Quickly deploy new applications with data-as-a-service to stay competitive and build future growth opportunities
  • Offer user self-service application provisioning through an application catalogue

Complete Security and Control

Enterprise-grade security to meet industry compliance and security requirements

  • Fully on-premise solution gives total control to IT (security, SLAs, backups, upgrades, etc.)
  • Individual and group-based management to set policies and govern usage over files and data accessed and shared by and between end users — Prevents a security breach or compliance violation
  • Policies for data quota, allowed file types, max size, domains, expiration, external, version, hierarchical storage management
  • Ensure compliance with privacy regulatory and governmental policies
  • Inspect and audit file access, sharing and all other aspects of the service

Empower Employees with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Seamless access to enterprise applications and data, anywhere, anytime

  • Everywhere data access – in the office, at home or on the road
  • Full collaboration (folder/file sharing with anyone, external user access, versions, comments)
  • Improve end user productivity by providing end users with secure access to applications and files on any device from anywhere: iOS, Windows, Android, Mac, and all major browsers (including high-fidelity preview capability)
  • Reduce end-user downtime and service interruptions
  • Access to files each time users login (stateless desktop)

VMware Horizon – Suite

So, how does this fold into a suite? Take a look at this table:

Horizon Suite Products Overview

Now, there’s a point to pay attention to. VMware Horizon View is still licensed on a concurrend user basis. Mirage, Workspace and the whole suite, however, are per NAMED user.

More info can be found at VMware’s website.

VMware View 5.2 specs courtesy of Andre Leibovici of MyVirtualCloud.net

Upgrading your vCenter Server Appliance from version 5.0 to 5.1 – A Howto

VMGuru used to run on an “ESXi only” install with no extra management. It’s a single server in a data center in Amsterdam, so there never was a need for a vCenter Server. When the VMware Octopus Beta started in which we participated, the deployment of the Octopus appliance required a vCenter server. So, instead of installing a full blown SQL server, a Windows server  etc., we decided to use the vCenter appliance.

With the introduction of ESX 5.1, a new vCenter also was introduced. The functions in the new vCenter Server Appliance have improved much so an upgrade is the way to go. Now when I tried this in my home lab, it went south big time and I ended up throwing everything away and starting over with a brand new vCenter install. For our server in Amsterdam I decided to do the upgrade again to show that it can be done properly. Now, VMware has a how to procedure in their knowledge base, but it’s very compressed and skips a few small steps, so we decided to write it out including screenshots to make it more accessible to all the folks out there who like to upgrade their vCenter Appliance but don’t know how.

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Microsoft SQL 2012 Licensing in a VMware environment – Part One

More and more Microsoft SQL Servers are being deployed virtually in a VMware environment, but how can you license them correctly?

Microsoft changed their licensing again on April 1st, 2012. With the general availability of SQL Server 2012, the changes around SQL licensing are live.

 Some highlights are:

  • There are three main editions now:
    • Standard
    • Business Intelligence
    • Enterprise.

The Web edition is now only available for Service Providers through the SPLA license agreement.

  • Per CPU licensing is no more. You have two types of licensing only:
    • Core-Based
    • Server+CAL licensing.

Microsoft chose this way because virtualization is on its way to 100%, server hardware gets more powerful over time, doubling cores every 18 months. Also companies demand more flexibility with workloads traveling between private and public clouds.

  • Furthermore Microsoft tries to simplify and make licensing more predictable for customers with evolving infrastructures.

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Yet another VMware View book.. But wait, this one is different!

As a vExpert, we have a special place with VMware. Not just socially, but really, in the community pages. Usually this place is filled with news about new stuff coming out, reviews about software, technical questions, opinions and so on. A few months ago Mike Laverick, one of the valued members and a vExpert, posted a request to help him with the review of a book he and Barry Coombs were writing. There were no financial benefits, just a helping hand for charity.

So, I jumped on the bandwagon and a few weeks later I received my chapter to review in the mail. It was a very fine piece of work. And now the good news is, you can read it too! Not just one chapter, mind you. The whole book is finished and ready to download!

It’s all about building a desktop on VDI with VMware View. It’s all new and up to date and gets you up and running quickly as it is written by people who do this for a living all day, not just another theoretical dude. It’s a must-read if you plan to go the VDI way.

Now, why is this different, you say? Well, the digital version of the book is for sale for only 12,72 Euros at LuLu but that isn’t the best part. The best part is, you’ll be supporting Unicef when you buy it! The printed version will follow soon after, but as this is hot from the (virtual) press today, we didn’t want you to miss out on this brand new book.

VMware vCloud Director design guidelines

After VMware vSphere and View, VMware vCloud Director is the next big thing to setup and customers start asking for it. But the problem is that the knowledge and available resources are limited. So for real life implementations of vCloud Director we have to rely on VMware employees to show us the ropes.
First of all, what is VMware vCloud Director. In short, VMware vCloud Director gives enterprise organizations the ability to build secure private clouds as a base for a infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution. Coupled with VMware vSphere, vCloud Director delivers cloud computing for existing datacenters by pooling virtual infrastructure resources and delivering them to users as catalog-based services.

The vCloud Director architecture is shown below.

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