Nov 302009

Just a few technical papers released this past month on but I thought I should review them because I think some of them are very important.

Dynamic Storage Provisioning – A very nice introduction to Thin Provisioning in vSphere.  The concept of Thin Provisioning is explained as well as when you want to use it.  Some interesting points I noted in the article: Thin disks expand in chunks the size of the vmdk’s block size (1MB by default) and the only way to defragment a vmdk currently? – Storage vMotion.

Performance Study of VMware Thin Provisioning – Very good read on the performance impact of thin provisioned disks vs. thick disks.  I was somewhat surprised by the results.  There’s not nearly as much of a performance impact as I thought there would be.  A very good read if you are looking to justify Thin Disks for some applications within your organization.

VMCI Socket Performance – This was a very interesting paper that I’m still scratching my head on.  VMCI is the interface that programmers can use to communicate between VM’s on a given host.  So if a programmer is writing an app and it requires 2 VMs that do a lot of communication to each other, they can communicate on the VMCI interface instead of traversing the TCP/IP network and going thru all of the networking stack.  This paper shows the performance of using VMCI instead of TCP/IP for Windows and Linux boxes.  I’m scratching my head because the results are not as linear as I would have expected and there are scenarios that perform much better or worse than others.  Take a read and make your own conclusions.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4.0 Performance and Best Practices for Performance – I’m probably the #1 fan of SRM.  I think what SRM does for DR is like what a conductor does for an orchestra.  As you may know, SRM 4.0 now scales to 1,000 VMs.  It can take a while to optimize that number of VMs for recovery.  This paper is an excellent resource for optimizing the setup and config of SRM to scale effectively to a very large number of VMs.

Nov 202009

And the hits just keep on coming.  View 4.0 was release for download tonight.  It can be downloaded here.  Here’s the what’s new section from the release notes:

  • VMware View with PCoIP – PCoIP provides an optimized desktop experience for the delivery of the entire desktop environment including applications, images, audio, and video content for a wide range of users on the LAN or across the WAN. PCoIP can compensate for an increase in latency or a reduction in bandwidth, to ensure that end users can remain productive regardless of network conditions.
  • PCoIP includes VMware View Display with support for up to four monitors and the ability to deliver the optimal resolution and pivot orientation to each monitor independently.
  • VMware vSphere Support – VMware vSphere 4 support enables improved virtual machine scalability, performance, and management, with continued support for VMware Infrastructure 3.x.
  • Enhanced single sign-on – The Log in as current user feature is integrated with Active Directory and smart cards to help simplify the process of logging in to a VMware View desktop.
  • Restricted entitlements – Administrators can control user access to virtual desktops based on the View Connection Server being used for authentication.
  • Smart card policies – Administrators can set group policies to force desktop disconnection and require reconnection when users remove smart cards.
  • Domain filtering – You can use vdmadmin.exe to control the accessibility of domains and traverse trust relationships more quickly.
  • You can cleanly delete View desktops using scripts.
  • You can log in to View desktops using user principal names (UPN).
  • You can explicitly configure IP addresses to override those supplied by the View Agent when accessing a desktop.
  • Mixed Active Directory and Kerberos authentication is supported.
Nov 202009

The maximum uptime solution for vCenter has been upgraded to 5.5 Update 2 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the what’s new section from the release notes:

Support for Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (x86/x64) — VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (including x86 and x64 versions) operating systems.
Support for Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) — VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) operating system.
Protection of VMware vCenter Management Web Services — This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat adds the vCenter Management Web Server to its list of protected vCenter Server components.
Introduction of the WinZip Self-Extracting executable file for Setup — Installation and setup of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat is initiated through the use of a WinZip Self-Extracting executable file.
60-day evaluation mode — This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat provides a built-in 60-day evaluation mode that is triggered from the date of installation. Either prior to or upon expiration of the 60-day evaluation period, administrators will need to provide a valid license key to continue to leverage VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat functionality.
Tomcat Monitoring Rule — A new rule has been added for vCenter 4.0 Tomcat Web Server availability.
Note: The term vSphere Client is applicable to both vSphere Client and VI Client except where VI Client is specifically stated.

Nov 192009

The little backup application that could just got better and upgraded to v1.1 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the Enhancements section from the release notes:

File Level Restore Functionality is Officially Supported
File Level Restore (FLR) provides a way to access individual files within restore points for Windows virtual machines. In previous versions of Data Recovery, FLR was provided as an experimental feature. File Level Restore feature is now officially supported.

Integrity Check Stability and Performance Improved
The integrity check process is faster and more stable. Note that integrity checks are computationally intensive processes and can take significant periods of time. The exact amount of time integrity checks take varies based on of the size of the deduplication store. Even with these enhancements, integrity checks that take several hours are not unexpected.

Integrity Checks Provides Improved Progress Information

When an integrity check is running, a progress indicator is displayed. This progress indicator has been improved, although it does not provide the optimal level of detail.

Enhanced CIFS Shares Support

Nov 192009

vCenter was also updated tonight with update 1 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the What’s new section from the release notes:
IBM DB2 Database Support for vCenter Server — This release adds support for IBM DB2 9.5 as the backend database platform for VMware vCenter Server 4.0. The following editions of IBM DB2 are supported:
IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.5
IBM DB2 Workgroup 9.5
IBM DB2 Express 9.5
IBM DB2 Express-C 9.5
VMware View 4.0 support — This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.
Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support — This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest operating system platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform.
Pre-Upgrade Checker Tool — A standalone pre-upgrade checker tool is now available as part of the vCenter Server installation media that proactively checks ESX hosts for any potential issues that you might encounter while upgrading vCenter agents on these hosts as part of the vCenter Server upgrade process. You can run this tool independently prior to upgrading an existing vCenter Server instance. The tool can help identify any configuration, networking, disk space or other ESX host-related issues that could prevent ESX hosts from being managed by vCenter Server after a successful vCenter Server upgrade.
HA Cluster Configuration Maximum — HA clusters can now support 160 virtual machines per host in HA Cluster of 8 hosts or less. The maximum number of virtual machines per host in cluster sizes of 9 hosts and above is still 40, allowing a maximum of 1280 Virtual Machines per HA cluster.
Bug fixes described in Resolved Issues.