Archive for August, 2013

A Look At vCenter 5.5 SSO RC Installation

August 30th, 2013

This week at VMworld 2013, I attended a few sessions directly related to vCenter 5.5 as well as its components, one of which is vCenter Single Sign On (SSO):

  • VSVC5234 – Extreme Performance Series: vCenter of the Universe
  • VSVC4830 – vCenter Deep Dive

First of all, both sessions were excellent and I highly recommend viewing them if you have access to the post conference recordings. 

If you followed my session tweets or if perhaps you’ve read half a dozen or more already available blog posts on the subject, you know that several improvements have been made to vCenter SSO for the vSphere 5.5 release.  For instance:

  • Completely re-written from the ground
  • Multi-master architecture
  • Native replication mechanism
  • SSO now has site awareness (think of the possibilities for HA stretched clusters)
  • MMC based diagnostic suite available as a separately maintained download
  • The external database and its preparation dependency has been removed
  • Database patitioning to improve both scalability and performance (this was actually added in 5.1 but I wanted to call it out)
  • Revamped multi-site deployment architecture
  • Full Mac OS X web client support including remote console
  • Improved certificate management
  • Multi-tenant capabilities
  • Drag ‘n’ Drop in the 5.5 web client

With some of the new features now identified and VMware’s blessing, have a look at the installation screens and see if you can spot the differences as compared to a vCenter 5.1 SSO installation.  These stem from a manual installation of SSO, not an automated installation of all vCenter components (by the way, the next gen web client is now installed as part of an automated vCenter 5.5 installation whereas it was not in 5.1).  Keep in mind these were pulled from a release candidate version and may change when vCenter 5.5 GAs at a future date.

I noticed one subtle change here – clicking on the Microsoft .NET 3.5 SP1 link in Windows 2008R2 actually installs the feature rather than just throwing up a dialogue box asking you to install the feature yourself.

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As this is a manual installation, we have the option to use the default or specify the installation location.  Best practice is to install all vCenter components together so that they can communicate at server bus speed and won’t be impacted by network latency.  However, for larger scale environments, SSO should be isolated on a separate server with five or more vCenter Servers in the environment.  On a somewhat related note, the Inventory Service may benefit from an installation on SSD, again in large infrastructures.

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We won’t likely see this in the GA version.

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We’re going through the process of installing vCenter version 5.5 but in terms of the SSO component, again this is a complete re-write and bears the respective version of 2.0.

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We always read the EULA in full and agree to the license terms and conditions.

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Big changes here.  Note the differences in the deployment models compared to the previous 5.1 version – previous deployment models are honored through an upgrade to 5.5.  Again, this is where the VMworld sessions noted above really go into detail. 

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the System-Domain namespace has been replaced with vsphere.local.

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The new site awareness begins here.

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I hope you agree that SSO installation in vCenter 5.5 has been simplified while many new features have been added at the same time.

As always, thank you for reading and it was a pleasure to meet and see everyone again this year at VMworld.


Veeam Launches Backup & Replication v7

August 22nd, 2013

Data protection, data replication, and data recovery are challenging.  Consolidation through virtualization has forced customers to retool automated protection and recovery methodologies in the datacenter and at remote DR sites.

For VMware environments, Veeam has been with customers helping them every step of the way with their flagship Backup & Replication suite.  Once just a simple backup tool, it has evolved into an end to end solution for local agentless backup and restore with application item intelligence as well as a robust architecture to fulfill the requirements of replicating data offsite and providing business continuation while meeting aggressive RPO and RTO metrics.  Recent updates have also bridged the gap for Hyper-V customers, rounding out the majority of x86 virtualized datacenters.

But don’t take their word for it.  Talk to one of their 200,000+ customers – for instance myself.  I’ve been using Veeam in the lab for well over five years to achieve nightly backups of not only my ongoing virtualization projects, but my growing family’s photos, videos, and sensitive data as well.  I also tested, purchased, and implemented in a previous position to facilitate the migration of virtual machines from one large datacenter to another via replication.  In December of 2009, I was also successful in submitting a VCDX design to VMware incorporating Veeam Backup & Replication, and followed up in Feburary 2010 successfully defending that design.

Veeam is proud to announce another major milestone bolstering their new Modern Data Protection campaign – version 7 of Veeam Backup & Replication.  In this new release, extensive R&D yields 10x faster performance as well as many new features such as built-in WAN acceleration, backup from storage snapshots, long requested support for tape, and a solid data protection solution for vCloud Director.  Value was added for Hyper-V environments as well – SureBackup automated verification support, Universal Application Item Recovery, as well as the on-demand Sandbox.  Aside from the vCD support, one of the new features I’m interested in looking at is parallel processing of virtual machine backups.  It’s a fact that with globalized business, backup windows have shrunk while data footprints have grown exponentially.  Parallel VM and virtual disk backup, refined compression algorithms, and 64-bit backup repository architecture will go a long way to meet global business challenges.

v7 available now.  Check it out!

This will likely be my last post until VMworld.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Unleash The VCDX In You

August 17th, 2013

VCDX certification – for anyone who is on the fence about going through with it, you may want to take a look at some short video clips shot at VMworld 2012 last year.  VCDXs who have gone through the certification process talk about what it has done for them in terms of opportunity, benefits, and perhaps life in general.  Up until last year, growth in the program was fairly modest.  I know through conversations there were a lot of people interested in VCDX certification but at the same time they were hesitant for a variety of reasons, most of which I feel stem from being confident in themselves.  In the past year or so, there has been a surge of candidates who have successfully completed the journey and I hope those who are still on the fence have noticed and it gives them a shot of confidence to unlock their true potential and show the panel and community what they are capable of.  As I mention in my video, making it to the defense stage shows incredible integrity and pass or fail it is still a great learning experience.  Now don’t get me wrong here, shelling out $300 for a design submission and $900 for a defense slot does not buy over-the-counter confidence and guarantee a pass.  It may serve as motivation but candidates will need to search within themselves to find what it is that will pave the road to success for them.  I was talking to a VCDX panelist one night and one thing that he mentioned is that successful candidates had one thing in common:  Confidence.  It made sense to me.  When I went through the process it was still relatively new.  Not knowing what exactly to expect or train for was the source of some anxiety but there’s more training resources available now to VCDX candidates than ever before including bootcamps and books from VMware Press which should help build confidence.  And by the way, being confident doesn’t mean you won’t be nervous going into your defense – you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t – or you may be over confident which can work against you in your defense.  Keep in mind there’s a good chance the panelists are smarter and more well prepared than you are.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at VMworld next week and hopefully I’ll meet some new VCDXs!


Jason Boche VCDX #34


Mark Gabryjelski VCDX #23


Doug Baer VCDX #19 and Randy Stanley VCDX #94

Updated 9/3/13:  Congratulations to the New VCDXs from VMworld San Francisco

  • Mike Tellinghuisen, VCDX 111
  • Timothy Antonowicz, VCDX 112
  • Jason Horn, VCDX 113
  • Tim Curless, VCDX 114
  • Kenneth Garreau, VCDX 115
  • Jonathan Kohler, VCDX 116
  • David Martin Hosken, VCDX 117
  • Brian Suhr, VCDX 118
  • James Galdes, VCDX 119