Monday, September 26, 2011

vSphere 5 and the new vSphere Distributed Switch – NetFlow


With vSphere 5 comes a plethora of new features and functionality across the entire VMware virtualization platform.  One of the core components that got a nice upgrade was the vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS).  For those of you that have not had the chance to use the vDS, it is a centralized administrative interface that allows access to manage and update a network configuration in one location as opposed to each separate ESX host.  This saves vSphere administrators or network engineers a lot of operational configuration time and/or scripting activities.   The vDS is a feature that is packaged with Enterprise Plus licensing.  Here are some of the new features that are included with the vDS 5.0:
  • New stateless firewall that is built into the ESXi kernel (iptables is no longer used)
  • Network I/O Control improvements (network resource pools and 802.1q support)
  • LLDP standard is now supported for network discovery (no longer just CDP support)
  • The ability to mirror ports for advanced network troubleshooting or analysis
  • The ability to configure NetFlow for visibility of inner-VM communication (NetFlow version 5)
NetFlow Basics

I could do a write-up on each one of these components as they are all worth discussing in more detail, but I wanted to focus on the NetFlow feature for this post as I think it’s an awesome addition.  NetFlow has had experimental support in vSphere for some time, but now VMware has integrated the functionality right into the vDS and is officially supported.

NetFlow gives the administrator the ability to monitor virtual machine network communications to assist with intrusion detection, network profiling, compliance monitoring, and in general, network forensics.  Enabling this functionality can give you some real insight into what is going on within your environment from a network perspective.  Having “cool features” is a nice to have, but having features that you can utilize and show value back to the business is a completely different value add.

Let’s look at how to setup NetFlow on the new vDS, then take a look at the data you can extract from NetFlow with a third party NetFlow viewer.  Once you see the value of the data, you can then make some important IT business decisions on how you need to mitigate risk and protect your investment by getting ahead of the curve (aka VMware vShield or some other third party software).

Setup your vDS 5 Switch

Ensure you are running VMware vSphere 5.0 and have activated Enterprise Plus licensing to setup the vDS switch in your environment.  You can see below the new option to deploy a vDS 5.0 switch, and of course we offer backwards compatibility for those that need to deploy to their 4.x environments.  Select the 5.0 version and hit next.

In the “General” section give the vDS a name, in this example I am giving him “dvSwitch5”.  Select next the number of network interface cards you want to participate in the switch and then select next.

For each host in your cluster that you wish to participate in the vDS, you will need to configure the network interfaces that will support this vDS implementation.  In this example I have selected vmnic 4 and vmnic 5 to be members of the vDS 5 switch.  Select next.

That’s it, review the summary and select finish for your vDS configuration to come online and begin configuring NetFlow.

Setup Netflow on the vDS 5

Now you have a fully functioning vDS 5.0 switch, you can actually start to use it!  First let’s go ahead and configure NetFlow on the dvPortGroup, then we will move some virtual machines over to the new vDS so we can get some real data flowing.  Right click on your newly created dvSwitch and select “edit settings”.  Go to the “NetFlow” tab across the top of the page.  You will need to give your vDS an IP address so your NetFlow tool will know where to collect the data from.  Populate an IP address for the vDS, then you will need to enter the IP address of the collector you plan on using to pull the data from.  Make sure you enter the correct port number (default is 1) for how you setup your NetFlow application to communicate

Right click on the dvPortGroup within the vDS and select the “monitoring” option and enable NetFlow so you can begin to collect data.

Move a few VM’s over to the new vDS so you can begin to capture some real data within your newly established NetFlow configuration.  I have highlighted below how you can change the network connection on a VM to now utilize the dvSwitch5 we created earlier.


VMware vSphere 5 offers some great new features that are integrated into the new vSphere 5 Distributed Switch.  Start to leverage your existing investment by examining your network infrastructure with the NetFlow data you can now begin to extract.  Once you have gathered this data, begin considering how you can mitigate some of the security and compliance risks within your organization.  VMware vShield is a product that can help you in this regard and will integrate into your current environment.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

VMware Workstation 8 Released

Why Choose VMware Workstation?

Winner of more than 50 industry awards, VMware Workstation is recognized for its broad operating system support, rich user experience, comprehensive feature set, and high performance. It's the perfect companion for any technical professional that wants to save significant time with a tool that is backed by world-class support.

Introducing VMware Workstation 8!

VMware Workstation 8 is your on-ramp to the cloud. With over 50+ new features, it’s going to dramatically change the way you work with virtual machines. Save time, enhance collaboration, and do more than you ever thought possible with a PC

Access Anytime, Anywhere

VMware Workstation provides a seamless way to access all of the virtual machines you need, regardless of where they are running.   Connect to Server enables remote connections to virtual machines running on VMware Workstation, VMware vSphere, and VMware vCenter.  Now you can work with local and server hosted virtual machines side by side within the same interface.  You are no longer constrained by the power of your PC to run multiple virtual machines at the same time.

Share the Benefits

Sharing a virtual machine is quickest way to share and test applications with your team in a more production like environment. Run VMware Workstation as a server to share virtual machines with your teammates, department, or organization. VMware Workstation provides enterprise caliber security to control user access and levels of control.

Unleash the Power of Your PC

VMware Workstation takes advantage of the latest hardware to replicate server and desktop environments. Create virtual machines with up to up to 64GB of RAM with significantly improved virtual SMP performance. And now for those times when you need it, virtual VT enables you to run 64-bit nested virtual machines. Additional improvements include improved NAT performance and support for HD audio, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) and Bluetooth.

From PC to Datacenter

Simply drag and drop a virtual machine to move it from your PC to a VMware vSphere server. It’s the easiest way to deploy a complete application environment from your PC to a server for further testing, demoing, or analysis

Download the copy of the VMware Workstation 8 from here 

vSphere 5 Product Documentation - PDF and E-book Formats

VMware really did an outstanding job with the availability of vSphere 5 information at their new vSphere 5 Documentation Center. It offers a wide range of documents in searchable HTML format but also offers all guides in PFD, ePub and mobi format. It even has a link to one downloadable zip file with all the vSphere 5 PDFs you need.

Archive of all PDFs in this list [zip]
vSphere Basics [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Installation and Setup [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Upgrade [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere vCenter Server and Host Management [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Virtual Machine Administration [pdf | epub| mobi]
vSphere Host Profiles [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Networking [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Storage [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Security [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Resource Management [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Availability [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Monitoring and Performance [pdf | epub| mobi]
vSphere Troubleshooting [pdf | epub | mobi]
vSphere Examples and Scenarios [pdf | epub | mobi]

VCP5 Mock Exam is available

VMware has released the mock exam for VCP on vSphere 5. The VCP5 mock exam consist of 30 questions and is available here. The official VCP5 exam can be scheduled at the end of this month. Check your local VUE test centre for available dates.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vblock Infrastructure Packages - Integrated best-of-breed packages from VMware, Cisco and EMC

 IMAGINE a different model, a hybrid model, where best-of-breed companies in disciplines critical to IT – networking, servers, storage, and the virtualization layer – all come together to deliver IT to business in a new, accelerated, deceptively simple and in a startlingly cost effective way. IMAGINE no more. Cisco and EMC, together with VMware, are putting you on a new road to greater efficiency, control and choice. A faster road to unprecedented IT agility and unbounded business opportunities. With the Virtual Compute Environment’s Vblock experience.

Vblock Infrastructure Packages Scalable Platform for Building Solutions

 •    Vblock 2 (3000 – 6000+ VMs)
  • A high-end configuration - extensible to meet the most demanding IT needs
  • Typical use case: Business critical ERP, CRM systems 
   Vblock 1 (800 – 3000+ VMs)
  • A mid-sized configuration - broad range of IT capabilities for organizations of all sizes
  • Typical use case: Shared services – Email, File and Print, Virtual Desktops, etc.
 Vblock 0 (300 – 800+ VMs) ~1H 2010 

  • An entry-level configuration addresses small datacenters or organizations
  • Test/development platform for Partners and customers
 Virtualized Workload Environment Vblock 

Vblock 0 Components


Cisco UCS B-series 


Cisco Nexus 1000V

Cisco MDS 9506 




VMware vSphere 4 


EMC Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager

VMware vCenter

EMC NaviSphere

EMC PowerPath

Cisco UCS Manager

Cisco Fabric Manager
Vblock 1 Components


Cisco UCS B-series 


Cisco Nexus 1000V
Cisco MDS 9506 


EMC Symmetrix V-Max 


VMware vSphere 4

EMC Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager
VMware vCenter
EMC Symmetrix Management console
EMC PowerPath
Cisco UCS Manager
Cisco Fabric Manager

Vblock 2 Components 

  •  Network and Storage Components Balanced systems performance, capability & capacity
  •     Compute Components High Density Compute Environment
  •    Accelerating Virtualization Accelerate IT Standardization and Simplification  Enable              
  •   Vblock: O/S and Application Support
Vblock accelerates virtualization of applications by standardizing IT infrastructure and IT processes 

  •          Broad range of O/S support
  •         Over 300 Enterprise Applications explicitly supported
Vblock applications 

VMware View 3.5
View 4 in-test
Oracle RAC
Accelerate virtualization, standardize IT infrastructure

 Scalability Security Availability vNetwork vStorage vCompute VMware vSphere 4.0 vCenter 4.0 Infrastructure APIs Application APIs 

Monday, September 5, 2011

VMware Management with PowerCLI 5.0

As VMware expands its PowerShell offering, known as PowerCLI, the poster has been a key resource for keeping the details close to hand and ensuring the help is right in front of you when you need it.

An updated poster was released at VMworld and adds to the original vSphere PowerCLI core cmdlets enabling people to reference all PowerCLI related details in one handy place.

It includes the details from the following:
  • vSphere
  • Image Builder
  • Auto Deploy
  • Update Manager
  • Licensing
  • View
  • vCloud
Make sure you download the PDF copy of the poster from here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

VM Hot add list

VM hot add list

OSMemory hot addMemory hot removeCPU hot plugCPU hot unplug
Windows Server 2003 STD X86NONONONO
Windows Server 2003 STD X64NONONONO
Windows Server 2003 ENT X86YesNONONO
Windows Server 2003 ENT X64YesNONONO
Windows Server 2008 STD X86YesNONONO
Windows Server 2008 STD X64YesNOYesNO
Windows Server 2008 ENT X86YesNONONO
Windows Server 2008 ENT X64YesNOYesNO
Windows Server 2008 DC X86YesNONONO
Windows Server 2008 DC X64YesNOYesNO
Windows Server 2008 R2 DC X64YesNOYesNO
* Reboot of guest OS required to recognize added hardware

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Easy upgrade ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.0

Last week I did an upgrade from vSphere ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.0 using the ESXi 5 installation CD. The upgrade process was very easy.. elapsed time: 10 minutes!

Current installed OS: VMware ESXi 4.1.0 build 260247

Mount the vSphere 5.0 cd-rom in the host
Boot from CD-Rom drive

Choose: ESX-5.0.0 Installer in the menu

Press: Enter to continue the installation

 Accept the EULA – Press: F11

Select the disk to with the existing ESXi 4.1 installation

 The setup detects there’s an older version of vSphere installed, select in the menu what to do
The selected storage device contains an installation of ESXi and a VMFS datastore. Choose whether to upgrade or install and overwrite the existing ESXi installation. Also choose whether to preserve or overwrite the existing VMFS datastore.
( ) Upgrade ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore
( ) Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore
( ) Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore

Confirm Upgrade: Press F11 to start the upgrade process

 Upgrade is started…

 Upgrade Complete!

ESXi 5.0.0. has been successfully installed.
ESXi 5.0.0 will operate in evaluation mode for 60 days. To us ESXi 5.0.0. after the evaluation period, you must re-apply your licenses to this server. To administer your server, use the vSphere Client or the Direct Control User Interface
Remove the installation disc before rebooting
Reboot the server to start using ESXi 5.0.0
 Final result: Successfully upgraded from ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.0

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...