Sunday, July 31, 2011

vSphere vCenter 5 Design Considerations


vCenter has become one of the most critical components of vSphere. Issues with vCenter can cause panic attacks because you feel that your VMs are at a risk, but be not afraid, plenty of barriers are built in. If you didn't know already, HA doesn't depend on vCenter once the hosts have been configured, heartbeats are sent and vCenter failing won't leave VMs unprotected. vMotion, DRS, and DPM on the other hand all do rely on vCenter. The focus of this blog article is to discuss installation strategies for all the VMware vCenter required components:

VMware vCenter
VMware Update Manager
VMware ESXi Dump Collector
VMware Syslog Collector
vSphere Web Client (Server)
Auto-Deploy
VMware vSphere Authentication Proxy


The goal of this exercise is to distribute the components of vCenter evenly across the board so each server isn't being hit to hard, at the same time reduce the number of guests needed.

vCenter has become one of the most critical components of vSphere. Issues with vCenter can cause panic attacks because you feel that your VMs are at a risk, but be not afraid, plenty of barriers are built in. If you didn't know already, HA doesn't depend on vCenter once the hosts have been configured, heartbeats are sent and vCenter failing won't leave VMs unprotected. vMotion, DRS, and DPM on the other hand all do rely on vCenter. The focus of this blog article is to discuss installation strategies for all the VMware vCenter required components:

VMware vCenter
VMware Update Manager
VMware ESXi Dump Collector
VMware Syslog Collector
vSphere Web Client (Server)
Auto-Deploy
VMware vSphere Authentication Proxy

The goal of this exercise is to distribute the components of vCenter evenly across the board so each server isn't being hit to hard, at the same time reduce the number of guests needed. 

option 1 (more consolidated):

Server 1 - The database:
Microsoft SQL

Server 2 - The core:

VMware vCenter
vCenter Orchastrator
VMware ESXi Dump Collector

Server 3 - The addons

VMware Syslog Collector
vSphere Web Client (server)
VMware Update Manager
Auto-Deploy
vSphere Authentication Proxy

Option 2 (more separated):

Server 1 - The database:
Microsoft SQL

Server 2 - The core:
VMware vCenter
vCenter Orchastrator
VMware ESXi Dump Collector

Server 3 - The addons
VMware Syslog Collector
VMware Update Manager
Auto-Deploy
vSphere Authentication Proxy

Server 4 (maybe DMZ):
vSphere Web Client (server)


Server 1 - The database:
Microsoft SQL

Server 2 - The core:

VMware vCenter
vCenter Orchastrator
VMware ESXi Dump Collector

Server 3 - The addons
VMware Syslog Collector
vSphere Web Client (server)
VMware Update Manager
Auto-Deploy
vSphere Authentication Proxy

Option 2 (more separated):
Server 1 - The database:
Microsoft SQL

Server 2 - The core:
VMware vCenter
vCenter Orchastrator
VMware ESXi Dump Collector

Server 3 - The addons
VMware Syslog Collector
VMware Update Manager
Auto-Deploy
vSphere Authentication Proxy

Server 4 (maybe DMZ):
vSphere Web Client (server)

One of the new features in vSphere 5 is VMFS-5


VMFS-5 is one of the new features in vSphere 5. VMFS – Virtual Machine File System. VMware wants to make the management of storage easier for the customer, by having the possibilities to create larger LUNs with more VMs. So to manage less datastores, because the possibility to have 2TB+ VMFS volumes without using extents. The use of extents was necessary in vSphere 4.x to create larger than 2TB datastores.
The 2TB limit stays for the size of the largest VMDK, but you can have 2TB+ disk if you’re using Physical RDMs.
There is a theoretical maximum number of powered on virtual machines that are supported per VMFS volume -  2048. But, there are many considerations to take into account. And one must take into consideration the necessary IOPS for the underlying storage array to handle the load.
The unifying block size (1Mb) is introduced, and so you’re able to create a larger files (>256GB) by using those blocks. You’re no longer asked to use larger blocks – 2,4 or 8MB file blocks in order to create large files. But note that if you upgrade the existing VMFS-3 to VMFS-5, the block size stays the same as it was in VMFS-3.
 What to choose. The transition (upgrade) or creation of new datastores with VMFS-5 format?
The upgrade is clearly possible and non disruptive, but you won’t benefit from much of the new features that VMFS-5 provides until you reformat the datastore and precise that you would like to use VMFS-5 as a format. Please note, that if you choose the VMFS-5 as a format, the only ESXi 5.0 hosts will be able to access those datastores.
VMware recommends to go clean, if you can. Create new datastore and format with VMFS-5.
As you can see on the image below, the choice between the VMFS-3 and VMFS-5 is indicated with the legacy host support for the VMFS-3 option.


If you have the time and all your infrastructure is changing/migrating to ESXi 5.0, then you’d prefer the VMFS-5, otherwise you will face the following limitations when you upgrade by keeping your existing datas on the datastores.
 You will face the following limitations when you upgrade only (not clean format) to VMFS-5:
- VMFS-5 will continues to use the previous file block size which may be larger than the unified 1MB file block size.
- VMFS-5 continues to use 64KB sub-blocks and not new 8K sub-blocks.
- VMFS-5 continues to have a file limit of 30720 rather than new file limit of > 100000 for newly created VMFS-5.
- VMFS-5 continues to use MBR (Master Boot Record) partition type; when the VMFS-5 volume is grown above 2TB, it automatically & seamlessly switches from MBR to GPT (GUID Partition Table) with no impact to the running VMs.
- VMFS-5 continue to have its partition starting on sector 128; newly created VMFS5 partitions will have their partition starting at sector 2048.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

vSphere 5 – New Training Courses: What's New [V5.0] and VCP5





With the release of vSphere version 5.0, VMware will also offer two new training courses. These new training courses are still in beta and will be released when vSphere 5.0 becomes general available. The two day “VMware vSphere: What's New [V5.0]” is aimed at current vSphere 4 administrators and the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.0] is the full five day course. VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 VCP5 certification is available at the end of August, more information can be found at vue.com (VCP510). There are different paths to VCP5 certification based on your background. Choose your path and complete the three core validation components:


1.Attend a qualifying VMware authorized course.Already a VCP4? There is no course requirement until February 29, 2012. 
2.Gain hands-on experience with VMware vSphere 5.
3.Pass the VCP5 Exam.





This hands-on training course explores new features in VMware vCenter™ Server 5.0 and VMware® ESXi™ 5.0. Topics include VMware vSphere® 5 installation and how to upgrade from vSphere 4.x to vSphere 5.0. vSphere 5.0 is the first version of vSphere to include only the ESXi hypervisor.Objectives
  • List and describe key enhancements in vSphere 5.0
  • Upgrade a deployment from vSphere 4.x to vSphere 5.0
  • Use Image Builder to modify and export an image profile as part of Auto Deploy
  • Use Auto Deploy to Install a stateless ESXi host
  • Manage a version 8 virtual machine with the next-generation Web-based VMware vSphere Client
  • List and describe key networking enhancements, including the ESXi firewall and new features in vNetwork distributed switches
  • Upgrade and manage a VMware vSphere VMFS5 datastore
  • Understand and configure policy-driven storage management
  • Create a datastore cluster and configure Storage DRS
  • Configure a VMware High Availability cluster based on the new Fault Domain Manager agents
    This hands-on training course explores installation, configuration, and management of VMware vSphere®, which consists of VMware ESXi™ and VMware vCenter™ Server. The course is based on ESXi 5.0 and vCenter Server 5.0. Completion of this course satisfies the prerequisite for taking the VMware® Certified Professional 5 exam.
    Objectives
  • Install and configure ESXi
  • Install and configure vCenter Server components
  • Configure and manage ESXi networking and storage using vCenter Server
  • Deploy, manage, and migrate virtual machines
  • Manage user access to the VMware infrastructure
  • Use vCenter Server to monitor resource usage
  • Use vCenter Server to increase scalability
  • Use VMware vCenter Update Manager to apply ESXi patches
  • Use vCenter Server to manage higher availability and data protection
  • Use the Linux-based VMware vCenter Server Appliance

Saturday, July 23, 2011

vSphere5 Storage Appliance (VSA)



Get shared storage benefits without shared storage cost and complexity. For some SMBs, virtualization means dealing with complex shared storage for the first time. Not any more. VMware vSphere Storage Appliance provides SMBs with the high availability and automation capabilities of vSphere without the need for shared storage hardware.


Set it up in just five clicks

Before vSphere Storage Appliance, implementing virtualization required specialized knowledge in shared storage hardware. For example, a SAN configuration may require an FC Switch, a Server HBA, FC cables, and an external RAID Storage hardware. But with VSA, installation involves just a few mouse clicks and entering the desired IP address. And because VSA is integrated with vCenter Server, you can manage your entire IT environment in one place.

Get high availability without shared storage hardware

vSphere Storage Appliance runs on multiple servers simultaneously, so you can have the confidence that data is available to any of your workloads, even when a server fails. With vSphere’s availability features, you can restart snapshots of virtual machines automatically when a server fails, or use fault tolerant protection so applications run uninterrupted. Finally, perform maintenance with zero impact to the end user by migrating applications live from one server to another using vMotion.

Get world-class datacenter capabilities

vSphere Storage Appliance empowers smaller IT environments with the performance and efficiency of world-class datacenters. Get the most out of your hardware by pooling workloads for higher utilization. Then use the unique set-and-forget automation features of vSphere to guarantee application service levels for your most important applications, without constantly monitoring compute, network, or storage resources.

The list below highlights the key features of vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA):

Affordable Shared Storage

Turns internal server storage into fully virtualized, clustered, shared and highly available data stores at a dramatically lower cost than networked, external shared storage

Simple Installation and Configuration

Fully-automated installation and configuration of vCenter, vSphere and VSA
Ensures correct configuration for high availability

Storage Resilience Plus Availability

Synchronous mirroring of data stores
99.9% availability using vSphere High Availiability

Regular Server HCL Support

Full compatibility with fast growing hardware compatibility list
All VMware applications are supported

Simple Administration

Tight vCenter integration provides simplified administration via VSA plug-in.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

VMware vSphere 5.0 Licensing: Per-Processor with Pooled vRAM





vSphere 5.0 will be licensed on a per-processor basis with a vRAM entitlement. Each vSphere 5.0 CPU license will entitle the purchaser to a specific amount of vRAM, or memory configured to virtual machines. The vRAM entitlement can be pooled across a vSphere environment to enable a true cloud or utility based IT consumption model. Just like VMware technology offers customers an evolutionary path from the traditional datacenter
to cloud infrastructure, the vSphere 5.0 licensing model allows customers to evolve to a cloud-like “pay for consumption” model without disrupting established purchasing, deployment and license management practices and processes.

Licensing Unit: Per Processor (CPU)

vSphere 5.0 is still licensed on a per-processor basis, allowing customers to continue leveraging established purchasing, deployment and license-management processes. 

No Limits on Physical Resources

vSphere 5.0 licensing removes all restrictions on physical cores and physical RAM. This change eliminates barriers to deploying vSphere on new multicore server configurations, improving customers’ ability to choose server hardware that best meets their requirements.

vRAM Entitlement

We have introduced vRAM, a transferable, virtualization-based entitlement to offer customers the greatest flexibility for vSphere configuration and usage. vRAM is defined as the virtual memory configured to virtual machines. When a virtual machine is created,it is configured with a certain amount of virtual memory (vRAM) available to the virtual machine. Depending on the edition, each vSphere 5.0-CPU license provides a certain vRAM capacity entitlement. When the virtual machine is powered on, the vRAM configured for that virtual machine counts against the total vRAM entitled to the user. There are no restrictions on how vRAM capacity can be distributed among virtual machines: a customer can configure many small virtual machines or one large virtual machine. The entitled vRAM is a fungible resource configured to meet customer workload requirements.

Pooled vRAM Capacity

An important feature of the new licensing model is the concept of pooling the vRAM capacity entitlements for all processor licenses. The vRAM entitlements of vSphere CPU licenses are pooled—that is, aggregated—across all CPU licenses managed by a VMware vCenter instance (or multiple linked VMware vCenter instances) to form a total available vRAM capacity (pooled vRAM capacity). If workloads on one server are not using their full vRAM entitlement, the excess capacity can be used by other virtual machines within the VMware vCenter instance. At any given point in time, the vRAM capacity consumed by all powered-on virtual machines within a pool must be equal or lower than the pooled vRAM capacity.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Understand the Difference between ESX and ESXi 5

 VMware ESXi is VMware’s most advanced hypervisor architecture. Learn about the differences with the previous generation architecture.


Capability
ESX 4.1
ESXi 4.1
ESXi 5.0
Service Console
Present
Removed
Removed
Admin/config CLIs
COS + vCLI
PowerCLI + vCLI
PowerCLI + vCLI (enhanced)
Advanced Troubleshooting
COS
Tech Support Mode
ESXi Shell
Scripted Installation
Supported
Supported
Supported
Boot from SAN
Supported
Supported
Supported
SNMP
Supported
Supported (limited)
Supported
Active Directory
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
HW Monitoring
3rd party agents in COS
CIM providers
CIM providers
Serial Port Connectivity
Supported
Not Supported
Not Supported
Jumbo Frames
Supported
Supported
Supported
Rapid deployment and central management of hosts via Auto Deploy
Not Supported
Not Supported
Supported
Custom image creation and management
Not Supported
Not Supported
Supported
Secure syslog
Not Supported
Not Supported
Supported
Management interface firewall
Supported
Not Supported
Supported

VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.5.1

VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.5.1 is an exciting released for VMware. vsphere 6.5.1 released added a number of cool features that make it...