Archive for February, 2009

Virtualization Wiki launched

February 11th, 2009

Rynardt Spies, proprietor of the VirtualVCP blog, has launched VI-Pedia, the Virtualization Open Wiki.

It looks like Rynardt has already begun populating the Wiki with links to VMware’s HCL information.  I think the following information which I posted over at the Petri IT Knowledgebase would also prove to be useful on the Wiki:

Community-Supported Hardware/Software for VMware Infrastructure
http://www.vmware.com/resources/communitysupport/
In 2007, VMware began maintaining a web page of non-HCL hardware that works with VMware ESX. This is a list of hardware and software components that have been reported to work with VMware Infrastructure, either by the community or by the individual vendors themselves. Great for people trying to build a cheap lab out of dubious or whitebox hardware. If your hardware is not on the official VMware HCL, check this list to see if someone has reported that your particular piece of hardware works with ESX.

Additional Resources for Community-Supported Hardware/Software for VMware Infrastructure
http://www.vm-help.com/
http://www.vm-help.com/Whitebox_HCL.php
http://ultimatewhitebox.com/
http://www.vmweekly.com/articles/hardware_recommendations_to_build_cheap_esx_server/1/
http://www.mikedipetrillo.com/mikedvirtualization/2008/10/building-a-500-vmware-esxi-host.html

Thank you for putting this together Rynardt!

VMGURU to release 4 chapters of VI3 book today

February 10th, 2009

Scott Herold of VMGuru.com and co-author of the book VMware Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide has announced today the release of four of the book’s chapters in PDF format today.

I’ve read the previous version of this book a few years ago and I’m in the middle of reading the current version.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  It is worth it’s weight in gold and the fact that the authors are going to begin giving it away for free to the virtualization community is baffling to me but yet at the same time it is a symbol of their generosity and commitment to providing the community with top notch technical and operations detail on VMware virtual infrastructure.

Generally speaking, many technical authors don’t make a pile of money writing books.  Be sure to thank the authors Ron Oglesby, Scott Herold, and Mike Laverick for their hard work and generosity.

More information about this book can be found here and here.  Stay tuned to VMGuru.com for the official release of these chapters which should happen sometime today.

VDI: VMware View 3 Premier vs. Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1

February 9th, 2009

VDI was hot in 2008 and it’s predicted to be even hotter in 2009.  On the heels of this prediction, VMware commissioned The Tolly Group to compare two VDI solutions head to head:  VMware View 3 Premier and Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1.  The Tolly Group has published their findings in an eight page report which you can grab here.  The results are not at all surprising:

Executive Summary

The VMware View 3 VDI solution deploys more simply and more rapidly than Citrix XenDesktop 2.1.  VMware provides more comprehensive, efficient image and storage management of virtual desktops.  It provides end users with a quality of experience on the LAN that matches or exceeds that offered by the Citrix solution.

The Tolly Group used a standard virtual desktop configuration for both test environments:

  • 1 CPU core
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Hard disk drive storage
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (full installation)
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2

In their report, they confirm the following five facts as the bottom line:

VMware View 3:

  1. Installed more rapidly and with considerably fewer steps and less manual intervention
  2. Provides simpler image management that makes more efficient use of disk
  3. Requires no manual configuration of Microsoft Active Directory or DHCP
  4. Allows management of all VDI functions through a single web-based GUI
  5. Provides equivalent end-user experience on LAN as Citrix for Microsoft Office applications

Given the opportunity, Citrix declined to actively participate in the product comparisons.

2-9-2009 9-06-16 PM

SAN zoning best practices

February 6th, 2009

For our datacenter core/edge SAN fabric redesign planning, Brocade sent me a Secure SAN Zoning Best Practices document which I thought I’d pass along because it has some good information in it.  Although this document contains the Brocade name throughout, the principles can be applied to any vendor’s SAN fabric.  Please keep these best practices in mind when designing and configuring SAN fabrics for your VMware virtual infrastructure.

Here’s the summary:

Summary
Zoning is the most common management activity in a SAN. To create a solid foundation for a
new SAN, adopt a set of best practices to ensure that the SAN is secure, stable, and easy to
manage.

The following recommendations comprise the Zoning best practices that SAN administrators
should consider when implementing Zoning.

  • Always implement Zoning, even if LUN Masking is being used.
  • Always persistently disable all unused ports to increase security and avoid potential problems.
  • Use pWWN identification for all Zoning configuration unless special circumstances require
    D,P identification (for example, FICON).
  • Make Zoning aliases and names only as long as required to allow maximum scaling (in very
    large fabrics of 5000+ ports for Fabric OS 5.2.0+).
  • All Zones should use frame-based hardware enforcement.
  • Use Single Initiator Zoning with separate zones for tape and disk traffic if an HBA is
    carrying both types of traffic.
  • Implement default zone –noaccess for FOS fabrics.
  • Abandon inaccurate Zoning terminology and describe Zoning by enforcement method and
    identification type.
  • Use the free Brocade SAN HealthTM software and the Fabric OS command zone -validate to
    validate the Zoning configurations.

Download the full document here.