May 292009

A couple new technical papers got posted this week.  Some good reading for the IT staffers working hard this summer.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Performance on VMware vSphereTM 4 <-Great reading for seeing how Exchange performs on ESX4.

Smart Card and Certificate Authentication in VMware View  <-If you need to use smart cards with VMware View this a must read

Repurposing a PC to a Thin Desktop Using VMware View <-a very common question from customers that want to extend the life of their PC a little longer.  Good reading on a few ideas on how to do so.

Network Segmentation in Virtualized Environments  <-Some good ideas if you need to seperate and firewall off sections of your infrastructure.

May 272009

View 3.1 was released today.  Here’s the what’s new from the release notes:

  • Performance Improvements – Login times are significantly improved and server utilization is reduced.
  • Automated LDAP Data and View Composer Database Backup – You can now configure automated backup of LDAP data and View Composer databases in View Administrator, enabling disaster recovery.
  • Client Information – Information about the client device that the end user is connecting from is now provided for the desktop session as registry settings. This enables customers to use third party tools or create custom scripts to map local printers to devices. The information available includes the device name, IP address, and MAC address.
  • Improved Logging – Debug logs are now enabled by default. Logging has been improved to provide more informational messages with minimal performance impact.
  • Edit Desktop Wizard Navigation – Improved wizard navigation enables you to quickly modify existing desktop pools.
  • USB Improvements – View 3.1 offers more reliable and broader device support with reduced bandwidth consumption. A separate TCP/IP stream is used.
  • Multimedia Redirection (MMR) for Windows Vista – MMR is now supported in Windows Vista environments. MMR technology delivers the multimedia stream directly to the client using an RDP virtual channel instead of decoding and rendering it with RDP. This enables full fidelity playback in View Client.
  • Adobe Flash Bandwidth Reduction – The Adobe Flash bandwidth reduction feature improves end-user productivity when browsing Adobe Flash content.
  • Multi-Protocol Support – View Client can now use HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) as the display protocol when connecting to HP Blade PCs, HP Workstations, and HP Blade Workstations. The connection is brokered by View Manager. HP RGS is a display protocol from HP that allows a user to access the desktop of a remote computer over a standard network. VMware View 3.1 supports HP RGS Version 5.2.5. VMware does not bundle or license HP RGS with View 3.1. Please contact HP to license a copy of HP RGS software version 5.2.5 to use with View 3.1. This release does not support HP RGS connections to virtual machines.

You can download the full release here.

May 262009

Some say that I report the news too often.  Some engineers spam their customers and partners with email, I use this web site to provide info on good bits of info that I find.  Today, I noticed 6 new technical articles posted last week that might be helpful for many of my readers out there.

Performing a Command-Line Installation of vCenter Server <- This could be very helpful if you need to deploy multiple vCenter servers perhaps for a number of branch offices.

Configuring the Net-SNMP Agent on ESX Hosts <-Good reading to run SNMP direct from ESX hosts.

VMware vSphereTM 4 Evaluator’s Guide <-If you’re thinking about kicking the tires on vSphere, you’ll want to read this.

License Server Configuration for vCenter Server 4.0 <-If you need to maintain a license server for running 3.x and 4.0 ESX hosts together, this could be helpful.

PXE Booting VMware ESXi <-I’ve seen many hacks on how to do this in 3.5, here’s the real answer in 4.0.

Replacing vCenter Server Certificates <-If you want to replace the vCenter certificates with your own from a CA or you’re own self-signing, here’s how.

May 252009

WOW.  Release vSphere and a whole bunch of KB articles come with it.  Glad I didn’t wait two weeks to post this one.

Here’s this week’s selection of the 300 Knowledgebase articles new or updated in the past 7 days :

May 222009

I’m training all of my partner engineers this week and they always ask the toughest technical questions.  Thanks to Scott Phillips for asking me this one:

What does Fault Tolerance do to prevent a split brain if both Primary and Secondary VMs become isolated?

Fault Tolerance (FT) uses an on-disk generation number file.  When FT is enabled the primary VM creates a file on shared storage called generation.N where N is a counter number.  The secondary VM is started and when it connects to the primary, the primary tells the secondary what the generation number is.  Once the Primary or secondary detects that there is a failure in the other half of the VM pair, it will try to rename the generation.N file to generation.N+1.  If the rename succeeds, the VM takes over as being the Primary (or remains the primary if it already was) and takes corrective action to rebuild a secondary and become protected again.  If the rename of the generation.N file fails, that means that the other VM in the pair already renamed the file and took over and the current VM shuts down.

There you have it, the disk subsystem prevents both VM’s from becoming the primary at the same time and creating a split brain.