Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

VMware configuration maximums

December 9th, 2008

Configuration Maximums for Virtual Infrastructure 3 is by far one of my favorite VMware documents.  This is a useful document for the VMware evangelist and any VMware VI administrator to have tacked up on the wall of their office for use as a quick reference.  It’s also handy for identifying platform comparison points of discussion or decision.

The document answers most of the “How many…”, “How much…” type questions about the VMware Virtual Infrastructure capabilities (ESX hypervisor, VirtualCenter, guest VMs, etc.)  more than once I’ve used this document as the basis for interactive VMware trivia sessions at our local VMware User Group meetings.  This is one of the documents that will most often be updated as new releases of VMware VI are released so it’s a good one to keep tabs on.

The VI3 documentation page keeps us informed as to what date the document was last updated.  In addition, one of the RSS feeds I am subscribed to is VMware, Inc. This feed lets me know the moment any of the VI documents are updated (at which time I then download the updated document for my own document repository I maintain).  Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) documents seem to update almost weekly which is a good indicator that VMware Engineers are hard at work in their labs certifying compatible hardware thereby expanding the list of hardware we may run our VI on.

The virtualization hypervisors (I never thought about it but is this the correct plural for hypervisor?) and management tools are evolving rapidly.  VMware, by far the most innovative of all companies in the virtualization arena, must have teams of technical writers keeping product documentation up to date.  For me personally, accurate product documentation is of the utmost importance and I hope VMware stays on top of it.  Vendor documentation is the gospel for the products and it defines what’s supported and what is not.  Keep yourself informed by reading the vendor documentation once in a while.  Even if you’re not into reading, at least know where the documentation is located for reference purposes.  I promise you the VMware configuration maximums is an interesting/fun read.

ps.  For those paying close attention, the scheduled server maintenance has been completed this evening.  I am now going out to shovel the snow in the driveway for the 3rd time in 24 hours.

Maintenance tonight

December 9th, 2008

The blog, web, and Team Fortress 2 servers will be down briefly tonight for a little maintenance on the virtualized gateway router.  Duration should be about half an hour at the most.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

Speaking of maintenance, I doubled my hosting bandwidth over the weekend from 5Mbps down/512Kbps up to 10Mbps down/1Mbps up.  I performed a little bandwidth speed testing last night and initially I wasn’t overly pleased the results.  Depending on the remote host I tested speed against, I wasn’t seeing the numbers I should be on the download side.  Eventually I did find a remote host that proved I had a 10Mbps down pipe (I don’t have bursting AFAIK).  On the up side (which is what really counts for hosting performance and you readers), I wasn’t able to find any remote hosts that showed I had upstream bandwidth beyond 512Kbps.  I’ll be performing more tests and I will contact my service provider if I am not completely satisfied.  For what I’m paying for business class broadband, I insist that I be consistently getting the 80% of the promised speeds which I believe is the SLA with my provider.

Trust me, I could go really hysterical with regards to my provider but you readers deserve better so I’ll keep it bottled up for now.  Thank your lucky stars for whatever provider you have because chances are they are much better than what I have to work with.


Update: Bandwidth is looking good.  Explanation in comments below.

12-9-2008 9-45-07 PM

LAN party!

December 3rd, 2008

Once or twice a year, I like to pack up the truck with computer equipment and head to a LAN party. Last weekend, a friend of mine at work hosted his annual “After Thanksgiving LAN Party”. We got together Saturday morning and set up. We played games and ate comfort food throughout the day, into the evening, and past midnight (this is the usual schedule). Games played were Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Battlefield II Special Forces. The Team Fortress 2 dedicated server was virtualized with VMware Workstation 6.5 – it ran flawlessly. Thank you Brad for putting on a great time as usual!


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Get the most out of your laptop battery when traveling

November 22nd, 2008

I typically bring my laptop on the plane to use for working or watching a DVD. I don’t like to be interrupted by losing my battery mid flight. Here are some of my best practices for getting the most out of my laptop battery:

  1. Make sure the laptop batteries are charged before going to the airport. Don’t necessarily count on finding AC power at the airport to take care of this. You may also not have time at the airport to fully charge a dead battery. Trickle charges can take a few hours.
  2. Arrive early enough to find one of the few AC outlets at the gate. Top off the charge on your batteries before boarding the plane. AC outlets are often tucked away along the windows, in the floor, built into vertical support beams. If you can’t find an available outlet at your gate, go to the gate across the hall or to the next gate over and look for an AC outlet you can use there while still within earshot range of the boarding calls at your gate. I’ve also seen outlets in airport restaurants – relax, have some food, charge your laptop.
  3. If you’re going to use the laptop while waiting at the gate, make sure it’s on AC power instead of using batteries.
  4. Before boarding the plane, put the laptop in suspend mode instead of shutting it down. When you power the laptop back on when seated on the plane, the laptop comes up instantly in the OS rather than chewing up battery during a 5-10 minute boot up process
  5. Limit the use of USB devices, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM. These peripherals chew up battery at a fast rate.
  6. Limit the use of disk intense applications such as defrag or virus scan. This also chews up batteries at a fast rate.
  7. Limit the use of processor intense applications which will cause the CPU and fans to draw more power.
  8. Run the display at the dimmest setting possible.
  9. Turn off the Wireless and Blue tooth radio.
  10. Bring an extra travel battery that is obviously already charged. The last couple of laptops I’ve had I had the extra travel battery installed along with the regular battery at the same time. It makes the laptop a little bulkier and heavier, but for me the extended battery time (5-6+ hours) is worth it.
  11. When you’re done using the laptop on board the plane, if you’re critically low on battery, shut down the OS or hibernate as opposed to putting it into suspend mode. Suspend mode still draws minimal amounts of power and critical bits may still be active in RAM. If you go into suspend and then the laptop battery dies completely, the plug/power will have been basically been pulled from the OS and you’ll lose any unsaved information you were actively working on. It’s just plain not good to yank the power from your computer.

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:


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


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


  • 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.

Live migration between CPU vendors demonstrated by AMD and Red Hat

November 11th, 2008

Live migration (VMotion in VMware speak) across AMD and Intel processors is a feature we don’t have today and a technology that many would describe as nearly impossible.

The capability could be in your datacenter sooner than you think. Last Thursday, the Inquirer published an article along with a video where Red Hat and AMD demonstrate the process (of course using streaming video and sound to drive home the point of no interruption) proving that it is possible and the technology to do so may not be so far off. The article goes on to explain that not only can live migration occur between CPU vendors, the same or similar technology can be used to live migrate between CPU architectures from the same vendor (ie. AMD Barcelona Opteron <–> AMD Shanghai Opteron).

Take a look at the video:

VMware adds additional thin client support for VDM 2.1

November 6th, 2008

Effective 11/6/08, VMware has added support for four addtional thin client devices for VMware Desktop Manager version 2.1

  • IGEL Compact 3210
  • Premium 5310
  • Smart 2110
  • Winestra 4210

I thought it would also be worthy to mention that the thin client devices being given away for free by Chip PC at VMworld 2008, the Chip PC Xtreme PC NG 6600, are also supported by VDM 2.1.  I received a unit and I am currently evaluating its capabilities as I have time.  Hopefully one day it will make a good blog post.

Source:  Thin Client Compatibility Guide For VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM)