Saturday, April 30, 2011

Windows 8 to be released in 2012

Microsoft has been silent about the future Operating System,apart from the leak on the MSDN Blog a long time back there has been no news about when Windows 8 will be released, though recently Microsoft Netherlands team on the occasion of first Birthday of Windows 7, has posted on the official news site ,that Windows 8 will hit the market in about 2 years time.They have also mentioned that Windows 7 SP1 would be available in first half of next year.

If Windows 8 would be  within two years then it would be interesting to see when the beta version is released,probably somewhere around June or July next year..

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Virtual Machine snapshots

Virtual Machine snapshots

Virtual Machine (VM) snapshots allow you to preserve the state of the virtual machine so you can return to the same state repeatedly
Understanding Snapshots

snapshot captures the entire state of the virtual machine at the time you take it. This includes:
  • Settings state : The virtual machine settings ( BIOS + .vmx )
  • Disk state : The state of all the virtual machine's virtual disks.
  • Memory state : The contents of the virtual machine's memory (optional). 
When you revert to a snapshot, you return all these items to the state they were in at the time you took that snapshot. 

Snapshots are useful when you need to revert repeatedly to the same state but you don't want to create multiple virtual machines or when you are going to apply changes which results you are unsure of. 

You must power off the virtual machine before taking a snapshot if the virtual machine has multiple disks in different disk modes. Also Memory cannot be snapshot'ed if any of the disks of the Virtual Machine are in independent mode. 

Although you can take an undefined amount of snapshots, VMware supports only up to 32 levels. 

When you take a snapshot, be aware of other activity going on in the virtual machine and the likely effect of reverting to that snapshot. In general, it is best to take a snapshot when no applications in the virtual machine are communicating with other computers. 

You can take a snapshot while a virtual machine is powered on, powered off, or suspended.

Using the Snapshot Manager

The Snapshot Manager lets you review all the snapshots for the active virtual machine and act on them directly. 

  • The Go to command allows you to restore the state of any snapshot.
  • Delete commits the snapshot data to the parent and then removes the selected snapshot.
  • Delete All commits all the immediate snapshots before the You are here current state to the base disk and removes all existing snapshots for that virtual machine. 
Throughout all this document we will use delete and commit as synonyms. Do not interpret 'delete' as deleting physically a file. Why do we use delete instead of commit? Because the snapshot manager has only 2 buttons for the operation of committing snapshots and their names are 'Delete' and 'Delete all'

Snapshots configuration files

Every time a snapshot is created several files are created or updated. They are the following:

Snapshot descriptor file 
Snapshot settings file 
.vmdk and -delta.vmdk
Snapshot disk/delta files 
VM configuration file

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop Exam Registration Now Open

VMware Certified Associate 4, Desktop Exam LIVE. No pre-reqs, but skills required. Get certified! VMware offers world-class Desktop certifications designed to validate and recognize individuals with the technical capabilities and real-world experience needed to increase efficiency, reliability, and availability when delivering desktops from the datacenter as a managed service.

VMware Education recommends the listed courses in preparation for the VCA4-DT exam but there are no course requirements in order to take the exam

For more reference :

What’s New in VMware vSphere 4.1

  • vCenter Server 4.1 now requires a 64-bit Windows operating system, it will not installl on a 32-bit Windows OS.
  • This is the last major release to support ESX and the Service Console, ESXi will be the only choice in the next major release due out next year. Almost all vendors now support using APIs instead of Service Console agents.
  • The Host Update utility that installed with the vSphere Client is now gone in 4.1. You’ll notice that the size of the vSphere Client download is much smaller in vSphere 4.1 as a result. To patch ESXi hosts you need to either use Update Manager or the CLI utilities.
  • The vSphere Client is no longer bundled with ESX & ESXi installations, this was done to reduce the build size so the ISO file that is used to install ESX & ESXi with is smaller. In previous versions when you access the web interface of an ESX or ESXi host you had the option to download the vSphere Client directly from the host to install it on a workstation. Having the vSphere Client available as a download from the host was more for convenience. It can still be downloaded from VMware’s website or from the vCenter Server’s web interface. Doing this reduced the size of the ESX ISO from 814MB (4.0) to 631MB (4.1) and reduced the size of the ESXi ISO from 353MB (4.0) to 290MB (4.1).
  • When installing vCenter Server you can now choose the JVM maximum memory size for the Tomcat application server that is installed on the vCenter Server. This can drastically reduce or increase the amount of RAM that the JVM uses which is the biggest memory consumer on the vCenter Server. For small (<100 hosts) the JVM is set to 1024MB, medium (100 - 400 hosts) the JVM is set to 2048MB and for large (>400 hosts) the JVM is set to 4096MB. This setting can be changed at anytime by loading the Configure Tomcat utility in the VMware start menu folder and selecting the Java tab.
  • Application Monitoring is a new feature of HA which will monitor applications that have been modified to transmit a heartbeat that vSphere can detect and restart a VM if the application stops responding (crashes). This adds another layer of the stack that HA can monitor uptime for (Host, Operating system, Application), currently no applications support this but will there will probably be some in the future.
  • Name/case changes:
    • VMotion -> vMotion
    • Storage VMotion -> Storage vMotion
    • ESXi free or standalone edition -> vSphere Hypervisor
    • ESX & ESXi paid editions -> Hypervisor Architectures
  • The VMFS disk format has been upgraded from version 3.33 (vSphere 4.0) to version 3.46 (vSphere 4.1), like some prior updates this one is minor and not worth re-creating your VMFS volumes for. The new VMFS driver (not the disk format) in vSphere 4.1  includes new storage offloading algorithms which are introduced in vSphere 4.1 via VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration).
  • A new feature in the Performance views will show you VM/host power usage in Watts. ESX 4.1 can gather host power consumption on platforms which provide that data through IPMI sensors. Newer platforms from HP, Dell, IBM, and Fujitsu are supported, and there is a way to teach ESX on how to get host power consumption on other systems which have host power consumption IPMI sensors. If you go to vClient and click on “Performance” and then choose “Power” from the drop down list at the top, then you should see host power consumption chart if the host is supported. However this feature will not work by default and is considered experimental. To enable it click on the Configuation Tab on an ESX Host, in the Software box, click Advanced Settings. In the list of options click on Power and scroll down to near the end of the list on the right hand side and you will see a setting called Power.ChargeVMs , change this value to 1 and click OK.  This is one more step to make this work, you need to edit the /usr/share/sensors/vmware file and add information for your server, by default there is an example of a Fujitsu server showing the syntax that should be used when describing sensors. VMware added this functionality so that OEMs and customers can add support for their systems without the need for VMware to update sensord itself. For example for an HP385 G6 servers which has two IPMI sensors called “Power Supply 1 and “Power Supply 2, you can add a single line to the sensor file like this: ”default:power:HP:ProLiant DL385 G6:Power Supply 1,Power Supply 2:WATTS” You’ll need to restart sensord on the server afterwards. The names of the sensors put in these configuration files must match the correct vendor sensor name, the vendor and product names can be anything you want. VMware plans on having OEMs produce their own configuration files for sensord and either send them to VMware or ship them as part of their oem.tgz custom archives.
  • Memory Compression is a new feature to version 4.1 of vSphere than can offer VMs performance benefits. It provides a mechanism for swapping out memory which is between that of physical memory and disk, and works when a VM’s memory is under contention. The performance gains are had by the memory not being swapped out to slower disk based storage.
  • Load-based teaming found in vSphere 4.1 provides the ability to dynamically adjust the teaming algorithm which will balance the network load across a team of physical adapters connected to a vNetwork Distributed Switch.
  • A new feature with vSphere 4.1 is the extra storage performance and NFS statistics that can be accessed via the performance charts and esxtop. These metrics provide a useful insight into storage throughput and any host or virtual machine (VM) latency.
  • You will receive a prompt when creating a Distributed vSwitch to choose a vDS version, either 4.0 or 4.1, if your hosts are all 4.1 you can choose the 4.1 version which enables additional features such as Network I/O control and dynamic load balancing.
  • vSphere 4.1 added another new feature to HA that checks the Operational Status of the cluster. Available on the cluster summary tab, this detail window called Cluster Operational Status displays more information about the current HA operational status, including the specific status and errors for each host in the HA cluster.
  • backup and restore operations for Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2 applications.
  • VMware multi-core virtual CPU support lets you control the number of cores per virtual CPU in a virtual machine. This capability lets operating systems with socket restrictions use more of the host CPU’s cores, which increases overall performance. You can configure how the virtual CPUs are assigned in terms of sockets and cores. For example, you can
    configure a virtual machine with four virtual CPUs in the following ways:
    • Four sockets with one core per socket
    • Two sockets with two cores per socket
    • One socket with four cores per socket
  • Using multi-core virtual CPUs can be useful when you run operating systems or applications that can take advantage of only a limited number of CPU sockets. Previously, each virtual CPU was, by default, assigned to a single-core socket, so that the virtual machine would have as many sockets as virtual CPUs. When you configure multicore virtual CPUs for a virtual machine, CPU hot Add/remove is disabled. TO set this in the vSphere Client inventory, right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings. Select the Hardware tab and select CPUs and select the number of virtual processors. 4 Select the Options tab and Click General in the Advanced options list, click Configuration Parameters, click Add Row and type cpuid.coresPerSocket in the Name column. Type a value [2, 4, or 8] in the Value column. The number of virtual CPUs must be divisible by the number of cores per socket. The coresPerSocket setting must be a power of two. Click OK and power on the virtual machine. You can verify the CPU settings for the virtual machine on the Resource Allocation tab.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vsphere Support for Memory Hot Add and CPU Hot Plug

You can determine whether a guest OS supports CPU Hot Plug by changing the VM’s settings to whatever guest OS you want to check, and then saving the VM’s settings and editing the settings again to see if the option appears.some popular operating systems and their support for Memory Hot Add and CPU Hot Plug.

To enable these features the VM must be powered off, so it’s best to enable them when you create a VM. Once you have enabled the features, you can edit the VM’s settings while it is powered on and add more memory or more CPUs to it. In some cases, depending on the operating system, your VM may see the additional memory/CPU after you add it but will not be able to use it until it has been restarted. Consult your guest operating system documentation to find out if this is the case in your situation. Memory Hot Add and CPU Hot Plug are great features that can help to ensure that your VMs are highly available while being expandable when needed and without interruption.

Friday, April 22, 2011

VMware Converter

Importing Virtual Machines

To Import a virtual machine, just click on the Import Machine button the top left side of the interface. 

Next, you'll see the Import dialog box come up. Click Next twice. Select the type of source to import from:

In our case, we selected physical computer but notice all the different sources you can import virtual machines from. You could import an existing virtual machine, a physical machine that this program is running on, or a remote machine over the network

We filled out the remote IP address and administrator username/password, then clicked Next. The VM Converter will connect to the remote machine over the network at this time. You will get the message that the VM Converter agent needs to be installed on the remote machine

Next option you have to type Vcenter  Name and Domain user id and password 

After pushing the VMware converter agent below screen will appear 

Next you will need to choose a destination, click Next.

We will choose to put this physical machine on our standalone VMware Server (as that is all we have installed).

Select the destination and check with Virtual machine Name and data store space. 

Take the default network options and click Next. Take the default on customizations and click Next.

You are now ready to import the virtual machine!

Verifying the Import

The import will now begin. Here is what it looks like:

Click Finish to start the PV2 process.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

VMware converter Background process

1. Agent Installation Location
Locally: Install Converter and agent directly on source machine if converting directly into ESX Server
Remotely: Connect to source machine over network to install agent

2. Agent Installation
Use local administrator account
Avoid domain accounts that have restrictive policies
Allow reboot for Windows NT 4.0 and 2000 sources

3. Machine Preparation
Do not deactivate services or harden security
Workstation service
Server service
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper service
Volume Shadow Copy service (Windows 2003 or XP)
Ensure sufficient free disk space (at least 200MB)
Mirrored or striped volumes across multiple disks should be broken
Dynamic disks with utility partitions should use cold cloning
Disable Windows Simple File Sharing (Windows XP only)
Disable anti-virus software
Defrag hard disks
Shutdown any un-needed Windows Services
Clean-up any temporary files and un-needed data
Run chkdsk
Keep users off if possible
Power off VM if not using hot cloning
VCB VM exports need editing prior to import
Edit virtual disk filenames inside .vmx
Rename filenames for .vmdk files to match those listed in .vmx
Edit index .vmdk file to change references to span files

4. Network Preparation
Open TCP/UDP ports 139, 445, and 902 (Converter 3.0.0) or 443 (Converter 3.0.1)
Open network ports between source and destination
Alternative is to create a VM visible to source, copy VM files to location visible to destination, and import VM
Use FQDN to connect to both source and VI3

5. Converter Preparation
Run on OS greater than or equal to source if source is
VM and powered off, or
Symantec Livestate System Image

6. Cloning
Starter edition limitations and workarounds
Cannot remote hot clone directly into VI3
Workaround 1: install Converter on source machine
Workaround 2: select standalone VM as destination, and then import VM to VI3 using two steps
Cannot run multiple tasks concurrently
Workaround: run multiple copies of Converter
Cannot cold clone
Workaround: create new VM, use third-party cloning application such as Ghost, and run Converter configure
Do not resize volume for fastest clone speed (block-level copying)
Resize volumes if source disks have inefficient utilization (resorts to file-level copying)
Use cold-cloning disk-based cloning (not volume-based) for non-Windows systems
Use hot cloning for Windows NT 4.0 systems to avoid NTFS upgrade
Destination needs to be writeable

7. Configure
Avoid cloning utility partitions
Check partition numbers in boot.ini
Automatic Install VMware Tools option is only available for ESX Server VMs

8. Clean-Up Prior to Power On
Edit VM settings according to desired goal
Number of vCPUs
Add/Delete USB devices
Add/Delete Serial and parallel devices
Remove Floppy drive if not needed
SCSI controller type (BusLogic vs. LSI Logic)
OEM source may require license activation
SMBIOS.reflectHost =TRUE in .vmx may avoid reactivation
Requires destination host to have same hardware

9. Clean-Up After Power On
Detect hardware
VMware Tools installation may hang if hardware not detected
Allow reboots to occur
Detect hardware and VMware Tools installation
Verify HAL and change if necessary
Remove non-present old hardware
Next type DEVMGMT.MSC and select Show Hidden Devices
Delete any old grayed out non-present hardware

Monday, April 18, 2011

New vCenter XVP Manager and Converter - Hyper V

VMware vCenter XVP Manager and Converter provides basic virtualization management capabilities for non-vSphere hypervisor platforms towards enabling centralized visibility and control across heterogeneous virtual infrastructures. It also simplifies and enables easy migrations of virtual machines from non-vSphere virtualization platforms to VMware vSphere

The vCenter XVP Manager Server system is a physical machine or virtual machine, which must meet specific requirements. The vCenter XVP Manager Client plug-in installs on a vSphere Client machine and has the same hardware requirements as vSphere Client. vCenter XVP Manager Client host operating system requirements are different from those for vSphere client .

Server Hardware Requirements

  • CPU – 2 CPUs
  • Processor – 2.0GHz or faster Intel or AMD processor
  • Memory – 3GB RAM
  • Disk Storage – 2GB
  • Networking – Giga bit connection recommended

Server Software Requirements

vCenter XVP Manager Server requires a virtualization environment that includes the following components:
  • vCenter Server 4.0 or 4.1
  • One of the following supported versions of Microsoft Hyper-V: 
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
    • Windows 2008 (64 Bit) Hyper-V Core (including Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions)
    • Windows 2008 (64 Bit) Hyper-V Full (including Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions)
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 or System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
vCenter XVP Manager Server installs on a physical server or in a virtual machine running one of the following Windows host operating systems:
  • Windows XP Pro SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 64-bit SP2
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Core and Full)
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard (Core and Full)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter (Core and Full)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 64-bit (Core and Full)
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit (Core and Full)
The host must also have Windows Remote Management (WinRM) v1.1 (installed separately on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, included in Windows Server 2008).

Client Hardware Requirements

  • CPU – 1 CPU
  • Processor – 266MHz or faster Intel or AMD processor (500MHz recommended)
  • Memory – 200MB RAM
  • Disk Storage – 1GB
  • Networking – Gigabit connection recommended

Client Software Requirements

  • vSphere Client 4.0 or 4.1
  • vSphere Converter 4.0 (to support conversion of Hyper-V virtual machines to VMware virtual machines)
  • One of the following Windows host operating systems:
    • Windows XP Pro SP2
    • Windows XP Pro 64-bit SP2
    • Windows XP Pro SP3
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2
    • Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2
    • Windows Server 2003 64-bit SP2
    • Windows Vista SP1
    • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Core and Full)
    • Windows Server 2008 Standard (Core and Full)
    • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter (Core and Full)
    • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 64-bit (Core and Full)
    • Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit (Core and Full)
  • .NET framework 2.0
  • PowerShell 1.0
  • SCVMM 2008 Admin Console or SCVMM 2008 R2 Admin Console (to support importing Hyper-V inventory information from SCVMM)
    • Management of the following Microsoft Hyper-V platforms: 
      • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
      • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) with Hyper-V role enabled
      • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 
      • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role enabled
    • Familiar vCenter Server graphical user interface for navigating through and managing non-vSphere inventory
    • Ease of virtual machine migrations from non-vSphere hosts to vSphere inventory
    • Compatible with VMware vCenter Server 4.0 & 4.1
    • Scalable up to management of 50 non-vSphere hosts
For more detailed information refer to the vCenter XVP Manager and Converter Technology Preview Release Notes and Installation Guide (included in zip file download).

Upgrading your vSphere Site Recovery Manager

vSphere 5.5 going end of life in September 2018, we have been traveling all over doing workshops for upgrading to vSphere 6.x. However, wi...