Archive for November, 2008

Coolest VMware video training trailer ever

November 19th, 2008

If nothing else gets you excited about VMware virtualization, this video by Elias Khnaser should.  It seriously looks like a good DVD for the whole family.  I’ve asked Elias for the Blue-Ray version.

Brian Madden purchased by TechTarget

November 19th, 2008

No, a human being was not purchased like a head of cattle (at least let’s hope not). Brian Madden has been a well known mogul in the Citrix community for quite a long time and has been making a splash lately in the virtualization arenas (primarily virtual desktop infrastructure where Citrix products XenApp and XenServer compete for market share along with VMware, Microsoft, and others).

Brian Madden uses his personal name as his product brand to become successful in many of his accomplishments including public speaking, industry analyst, technical author, blogger, knowledgebase website, creator of the impressive annual BriForum convention, book publisher, etc.

Brian is a wealth of knowledge first and foremost. I’ve read a few of his Citrix/Terminal Services books and he ranks right up there at the top among the most knowledgeable authorities when it comes to Citrix and Terminal Services. I also regard Brian as an interesting character with a unique and funny personality. Read some of his blogs about his adventures and you’ll understand. A year or two ago I followed Brian over the internet as he sold his house and most of his possessions and became a world traveler with no place to call home except for whatever hotel he was in at the time. When he sold his house ‘n’ things, he hired entertainment for the kids such as one of those big enclosed hot air trampolines you’d likely see at a carnival. I think he had a popcorn machine, food, hired clowns, etc. All at his expense. Nobody does it quite like Brian.

TechTarget is an IT media company founded in 1999 that has 600 employees and went public in 2007. TechTarget writes “The Brian Madden Company brings the largest community of IT professionals specializing in application delivery and desktop virtualization.” In one transaction, TechTarget purchases an already existing and established fountain of knowledge that it can in turn use to help its clients. However, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the last part of their statement if you consider the virtualization leader, VMware, has built a virtualization community of well over 100,000 people from around the globe.

I wish Brian and TechTarget much success now and into the future.

Read more about the official announcement from TechTarget here.

Update: Brian’s official announcement at brianmadden.com

Quick hit: Why choose VMware?

November 18th, 2008

Why Choose VMware web page – There’s a lot of marketing FUD clogging the channels.  VMware would be irresponsible if they didn’t have theirs.  Seriously, you need information like this to make an informed decision on what virtualization solution is best for you and/or your business.

6 Reasons to Choose VMware fact sheet – These are good discussion points for use in your bosses office, on the bus or train, waiting at the airport, at a VMUG, on a first date, in a confessional booth, etc.

VMware launches referral program

November 18th, 2008

This evening, VMware launched a campaign that encourages grass roots promotion of VMware products through word of mouth, email, website, and blog widgets. A buyer taking advantage of the promotion receives special discounts on select VMware products. Then, VMware is rewarding its loyal followers with cash, gift cards, or donations to charity for qualifying referrals.

You can find my particular referral widget on the right hand side of this page (look for the VMware logo and a white background. You can’t miss it).

Read more about the announcement here.

Symantec declares VMware VMotion unsupported

November 18th, 2008

Bad news for VMware VI Enterprise customers everywhere. I just found out I have 110 unsupported production and development VMs in my datacenter. Symantec published Document ID 2008101607465248 on 10/15/08 removing VMware VMotion support from its Symantec Antivirus (SAV) and Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) products.

Operating systems impacted are: All Windows operating systems.

Reported issues include but are not limited to:

  • Client communication problems
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) communication issues
  • Content update failures
  • Policy update failures
  • Client data does not get entered into the database
  • Replication failures

This is of grave concern as many enterprise datacenters and VDI deployments are going to be impacted. My personal take is that someone jumped the gun in publishing a document with mysteriously vague detail, but we’ll have to wait and see what shakes out.

I hope that VMware can approach Symantec to get this resolved ASAP. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

Thank you vinternals for the heads up on this.

Update: Symantec has updated their support document stating that the problems a few customers have seen may or may not be related to VMware and VMotion. Until further notice, Symantec is supporting their products on VMware with VMotion. If you experience an issue with Symantec products, please contact Symantec technical support. This confirms my opinion that someone at Symantec jumped the gun by issuing the 10/15/08 support document stating VMware and VMotion is unuspported. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief now. Or at least I can.

Make VirtualCenter highly available with VMware Virtual Infrastructure

November 17th, 2008

A few days ago I posted some information on how to make VirtualCenter highly available with Microsoft Cluster Services.

Monday Night Football kickoff is coming up but I wanted follow up quickly with another option (as suggested by Lane Leverett): Deploy the VirtualCenter Management Server (VCMS) on a Windows VM hosted on a VMware Virtual Infrastructure cluster. Why is this a good option? Here are a few reasons:

  1. It’s fully supported by VMware.
  2. You probably already have a VI cluster in your environment you can leverage. Hit the ground running without spending the time to set up MSCS.
  3. Removing MSCS removes a 3rd party infrastructure complexity and dependency which requires an advanced skill set to support.
  4. Removing MSCS removes at least one Windows Server license cost and also removes the need for the more expensive Windows Enterprise Server licensing and the special hardware needs required by MSCS.
  5. Green factor: Let VCMS leverage the use of VMware Distributed Power Management (DPM).

How does it work? It’s pretty simple. A virtualized VCMS shares the same advantages any other VM inherently has when running on a VMware cluster:

  1. Resource balancing of the four food groups (vProcessor, vRAM, vDisk, and vNIC) through VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) technology
  2. Maximum uptime and quick recovery via VMware High Availability (HA) in the event of a VI host failure or isolation condition (yes, HA will still work if the VCMS is down. HA is a VI host agent)
  3. Maximum uptime and quick recovery via VMware High Availability (HA) in the event of a VMware Tools heartbeat failure (ie. the guest OS croaks)
  4. Ability to perform host maintenance without downtime of the VCMS

A few things to watch out for (I’ve been there and done that, more than once):

  1. If you’re going to virtualize the VCMS, be sure you do so on a cluster with the necessary licensed options to support the benefits I outlined above (DRS, HA, etc.) This means VI Enterprise licensing is required (see the licensing/pricing chart on page 4 of this document). I don’t want to hide the fact that a premium is paid for VI Enterprise licensing, but as I pointed out above, if you’ve already paid for it, the bolt ons are unlimited use so get more use out of them.
  2. If your VCMS (and Update manager) database is located on the VCMS, be sure to size your virtual hardware appropriately. Don’t go overboard though. From a guest OS perspective, it’s easier to grant additional virtual resources from the four food groups than it is to retract them.
  3. If you have a power outage and your entire cluster goes down (and your VCMS along with it), it can be difficult to get things back on their feet while you don’t have the the use of the VCMS. Particularly if you’ve lost the use of other virtualized infrastructure components such as Microsoft Active Directory. Initially it’s going to be command line city so brush up on your CLI. It really all depends on how badly the situation is once you get the VI hosts back up. One example I ran into is host A wouldn’t come back up. Host B wasn’t the registered owner of the VM I needed to bring up. This requires running the vmware-cmd command to register the VM and bring it up on host B.

Well, I missed the first few minutes of Monday Night Football, but everyone who reads (tolerates) my ramblings is totally worth it.

Go forth and virtualize!

Migrating from ESX to ESXi? Watch the HCL differences

November 16th, 2008

If you are an ESX shop contemplating a migration to ESXi and all that it has to offer, keep in mind the two products do not share an identical list of compatible hardware. Generally speaking, the ESXi Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) is more limited in terms of hardware than ESX. There is a chance the hardware you have running ESX in the datacenter right now may not be supported by VMware for running ESXi.

Here are some examples of hardware models that are supported for ESX but not for ESXi:

Dell

  • 1855
  • 2600
  • 2650
  • 6650
  • M805
  • R300
  • T300

HP

  • DL360G3/G4
  • DL380G3/G4
  • DL385
  • DL580G2/G3/G4
  • DL585
  • DL760G2
  • All BL p-class blades

IBM

  • HS20-8843
  • LS20-8850
  • 346-8840
  • 366
  • 445
  • 460-8872
  • x3400
  • x3500-7977
  • x3550
  • x3650
  • x3655
  • x3755
  • x3800
  • x3950

Keep in mind VMware updates the various HCLs on average about once per week so what is or is not on the HCL today, may change at any time. Typically, hardware is added to the HCL on a regular basis as it is certified by VMware.

The ESX and ESXi 3.5u3 HCL can be found here.