Posts Tagged ‘Documentation’

VMworld 2011 Hands On Lab Posters

December 15th, 2011

If you were at VMworld 2011 US and/or Europe, you may have seen or heard of the posters being given away at the Hands On Labs.  Supplies were limited at the US conference and if you attended in Copenhagen maybe you didn’t get a chance to get into the labs to grab some posters.

Although VMworld is over, you still have access to the posters.

One way would be to request a Dell Compellent Executive Briefing with me. I brought a few pounds of posters back from Copenhagen and what’s mine is yours if you’re willing to listen to me talk about the great integration points Dell Compellent Storage Center has with VMware’s growing portfolio.

The other option would be to go online and grab a copy of the posters which you can view electronically or have printed at your local copier shop.  This blog post was inspired by Xtravirt email bulletin 94 – thanks for pulling together the links guys.

vSphere 5.0 CLI Reference Poster

VMware Management with PowerCLI 5.0 Poster

vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive Sale

November 26th, 2011

I assume you follow Duncan and Frank and read their blogs, but in case you don’t, check out this Crazy Black Friday / Cyber Monday deal!  Between now and Monday 11:59pm PST, prices are slashed on Frank and Duncan’s ebook vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive.

The sale pricing is as follows:

US – ebook – $ 4.99

UK – ebook – £ 3.99

DE – ebook – € 3.99

FR – ebook – € 3.99

If you’re serious about vSphere 5, you need this book in your technical library.  Even if you’re already a seasoned vSphere expert, there are some major changes in the features which Duncan and Frank deepdive on.  Tis the season for giving so if you already have a copy for yourself, take advantage of these prices to pick up another copy for your favorite co-worker, employee, manager, spouse, or child.  Now is as good a time as any to get the young ones started on VMware virtualization.

vSphere 5 Configuration Maximums Updated For The Cloud

November 11th, 2011

A few nights ago, Chris Colotti and Dave Hill presented a vCloud Architecture Deep Dive brown bag session.  Among the tips I picked up in that session was a comment from Chris that my most favorite VMware document of all time had been updated within the last 6 weeks – vSphere 5 Configuration Maximums.  Basically what was added was the inclusion of vCloud Director configuration maximums:

Item Maximum
Virtual machine count 20,000
Powered‐On virtual machine count 10,000
Organizations 10,000
Virtual machines per vApp 64
vApps per organization 500
Number of networks 7,500
Hosts 2,000
vCenter Servers 25
Virtual Data Centers 10,000
Datastores 1,024
Catalogs 1,000
Media 1,000
Users 10,000

If you’ve been following the progression of this document, you will have noticed that VMware has been adding more application layer components to it.  That is because VMware has broadened its cloud platform portfolio which is fundamentally dependent on vSphere.  Chris mentioned this in his lecture and I began noticing it a few years ago, vCenter now extends beyond just a tier 2 management application.  It has become a tier 1 cornerstone for other VMware and partner ecosystem cloud applications and infrastructure tools.  Be mindful of this during the design phase and do not neglect its resource and redundancy requirements as your scale your vCloud environment.

Enjoy.  And by the way, Chris has a Dell T310 Server with 20GB RAM for sale.  Check it out.

Enabling vCenter Server 5.0 Database Monitoring

September 27th, 2011

I stumbled across this while rummaging through the vSphere 5.0 Installation and Setup document.  Page 183 contains a small section (new in vSphere 5.0) which describes a process to enable database monitoring for Microsoft SQL Server (surrounding pages discuss enabling the same for other supported database platforms).  The SQL script provided in the documentation contains an error on the first line but I was able to adjust that and run it on the SQL 2008 R2 server in the lab.  Following is the script I ran:

use master
go
grant VIEW SERVER STATE to vcenter
go

Once access has been granted, vCenter will collect certain SQL Server health statistics and store them in the rotating vCenter profile log located by default at C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs\vpxd-profiler-xx.log.  These metrics were taken from my vCenter Server log file and serve as an example of what is being collected from the SQL Server by the vCenter Server:

–>
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Storage: Manually extensible data files/Unit/count/Range Type/range/RangeMin/0/RangeMax/0/Timestamp/2011-09-27T18:00:01.79Z/Value/0
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Memory:Database pages/Unit/timesIncrease/Range Type/range/RangeMin/0/RangeMax/3/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Storage: Peak data file storage utilization/Unit/percent/Range Type/range/RangeMin/60559224/RangeMax/90/Timestamp/2011-09-27T18:00:01.802999Z/Value/0
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Memory:Availaable/Unit/kiloBytes/Range Type/range/RangeMin/5120/RangeMax/60559416/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Memory:Page Life Expectancy/Unit/seconds/Range Type/range/RangeMin/300/RangeMax/60559416/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/IO:Log growths/Unit/timesIncrease/Range Type/range/RangeMin/0/RangeMax/3/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/CPU:Usage/Unit/percent/Range Type/range/RangeMin/0/RangeMax/80/Timestamp/2011-09-27T18:00:01.75Z/Value/44
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/Memory:Buffer cache hit ratio/Unit/percent/Range Type/range/RangeMin/90/RangeMax/100/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–> DbMonitoring/Counter/General:User Connections/Unit/count/Range Type/range/RangeMin/255/RangeMax/60559416/Timestamp/1970-01-01T00:00:00Z/Value/N/A
–>

Per VMware’s documentation:

vCenter Server Database Monitoring captures metrics that enable the administrator to assess the status and health of the database server. Enabling Database Monitoring helps the administrator prevent vCenter downtime because of a lack of resources for the database server. Database Monitoring for vCenter Server enables administrators to monitor the database server CPU, memory, I/O, data storage, and other environment factors for stress conditions. Statistics are stored in the vCenter Server Profile Logs. You can enable Database Monitoring for a user before or after you install vCenter Server. You can also perform this procedure while vCenter Server is running.

One thing that I noticed is that these metrics were being collected in the vCenter log files prior to running the enabling script.  I’m not sure if this is because vCenter already had the required permissions to the master database (I use SQL authentication and I didn’t explicitly grant this), or perhaps this is enabled by default in the vCenter installation routine when the database prepare script runs.

The instructions provide plenty of context but are are fairly brief and don’t identify next steps or how to harvest the collected metrics.  Perhaps the vCenter Service Health agent monitors the profile log and will alarm through vCenter.  If not, then I view this as a monitoring framework VMware provides which can tailored for specific environments.  Thresholds could be defined which trigger alerts proactively before dangers or an outage occurs.  Admittedly I’m not a DBA.  With what’s provided, I’m not sure if this provides much value above and beyond native monitoring and alerting provided by SQL Server and Perfmon.

VMware Talk Puzzler

March 15th, 2011

SnagIt Capture

I’ve been a fan of the Car Talk radio program since I was introduced to it in 1993.  I hope the Tappet brothers don’t mind if I borrow the theme from one of their popular segments appropriately called Puzzler.  It seemed fitting for this article which I’m going to call VMware Talk Puzzler.  Not surprising, the goal of the Car Talk Puzzler is to listen to the problem (which is typically not simple), then provide the root cause.  In this adaptation, I’ll present a real life vSphere problem.  If you choose to take a stab, your job is three fold:

1) Identify the root cause of the problem.

2) Identify the solution.

3) Identify the unique tasks or chain of events which lead to the problem.

Here we go.

I was called in to help troubleshoot a problem.  “Carl” had created a virtual machine in a VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1 cluster.  The problem Carl was experiencing was that the VM would not power on.  Error messages in vCenter include but are not limited to:

  • “Failed to find a host for powering on the virtual machine.”
  • “The following faults explain why the registered host is not compatible.”
  • “The number of virtual CPUs may be limited by the guest OS selected for the virtual machine or by the licensing for the host.”

I asked if the ESXi cluster and vCenter were licensed.  Carl confirmed by showing me that vCenter was licensed with Standard Edition and the hosts which wouldn’t power on the VM were still using 60 day Evaluation licensing as they were just recently built.  I further verified the Evaluation licensing had not yet expired.

I asked Carl to show me details of the VM.  He proceeded to show me the VM was created with the following shell specifications:

  • Guest OS: Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64-bit)
  • VM Version: 4
  • CPU: 8
  • Memory: 4096MB 

 

1) Identify the root cause of Carl’s vSphere problem.

2) Identify the solution for Carl.

3) Identify the tasks or chain of events which lead to Carl’s problem.

If you think you know the answer, write it on the top of a shrink wrapped pallet containing a Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis, fully loaded with UCS B200 M2 Blade Servers each with 192GB RAM, UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects, and a pair of Cisco Nexus 5548P next generation 10GbE switches and send to my mailing address.

Or… reply in the comments section below.

The first correct and complete answer (I hope there is just one) will receive internet recognition, real life respect, and if I can find one, a prize.  No promises on that last one but I’ll see what I can do.

VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive review

March 14th, 2011

A few months ago, I wrote about the arrival of the new VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive book.  Having finished reading the book, I thought I’d write a quick follow up.

This book was a pretty easy read, and by that I mean it as a compliment in that the authors did a superb job in conveying the details of deep technical discussions in a way that I think is easy to comprehend and understand at different levels.  At the same time, the coverage did not disappoint.  All aspects of HA, DRS, and even DPM were discussed at length.  Along the way, Basic Design Principles in each section were highlighted to summarize the technical detail.

Duncan and Frank cover not only the supported parameters, but the unsupported and sometimes undocumented tweaks as well.  Most important, they are very clear in pointing out what’s supported by VMware and what’s not.

I feel that I have a pretty good handle on HA and DRS but that doesn’t mean that time spent reading this book was wasted.  I picked up some design bits that I hadn’t thought about before having not been exposed to the environments in which they would apply.  Some sources do a fine job in discussion either HA or DRS, but what sets this book apart is that it expands into how the two operate together which is just about as important to understand as the individual topics themselves.  The DRS and DPM chapters exposed the computational math behind the decisions which DRS makes.  Quite honestly, I probably learned the most here.  Not that I’ll be able to keep the formulas in memory for very long, nonetheless the content and the size of the book will make it a great reference.

Capping the end of a great book I was pleasantly surprised to find an Appendix containing all of the Basic Design Principles, as well as all of the advanced parameters for HA and DRS.  If you’re short on time for reading, advanced to the 11 page Appendix in the back and you’ll get a pretty good summary of the first 18 chapters.

If you buy the book, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Thanks Duncan and Frank!

VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive arrival

December 7th, 2010

IMG01201-20101207-1659

I think Eric “Scoop” Sloof was the first to announce this yesterday, complete with a video and everything! Come on Eric, let some of the other bloggers have your scraps. 8-)

I received a copy of a brand new book hot off the presses titled VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS technical deepdive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman.  Having just received it tonight, of course I haven’t had time to finish reading it yet.  This is the pre-game party blog post.  Just by thumbing through the pages, I’m going to draw a few conclusions.  I’ll see if I’m right by the time I actually finish reading the book.

  1. 224 pages and 18 chapters in length.  I’ve seen entire virtual infrastructure books which have been written in as many or less pages than this.  And this book covers just HA and DRS.
    Conclusion: Even factoring in a fair amount of diagrams, this will be the most comprehensive HA and DRS handbook in existence.
  2. HA and DRS are perhaps two of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted technologies in VMware’s suite of virtual infrastructure offerings.  What exactly is confusing about these tools?  First, they are both set-it-and-forget-it automation.  The technologies will more or less “just work” out of the box.  This simplicity bestows an overwhelming amount of confidence in cluster configuration because the complexity is masked by an easy to use interface.
    Conclusion: There’s a lot going on under the hood in both HA and DRS that administrators should know about to properly configure and tune their environment.  The detail this book goes into should rock your world.
  3. This book covers DPM.
    Conclusion: That is good.
  4. There are many great looking diagrams and flowcharts.
    Conclusion: Very helpful in reinforcing what’s written in detail.

I look forward to relaxing with this book while on vacation the rest of this week.  Nice job from what I’ve seen so far guys!

You can read a review, write a review, or purchase this book on Amazon’s web site here.