Jun 292010

In the past, I have reviewed all of the technical papers on the VMware site.  I’ve decided to change direction a little and I only plan on reviewing papers that would apply to the everyday VM Admin.  I’m also going to throw in my own ranking on each article (*****, 1 to 5 stars).  You will also notice a “vKeeper” reference in some of the papers.  This award is for the papers that I keep a local copy of on my computer for reference when I need them.  They are the docs that all admins should read thru and use as a reference as needed.  I have also added a section to my admin bookmark page just for the vKeeper docs.

PCoIP Display Protocol: Information and Scenario-Based Network Sizing Guide – (12 pages) A good paper with very good insight on the PCoIP protocol used in VMware View.  It gives some good suggestions and the required bandwidths needed to satisfy the end users on their desktop experience.  A must have for view deployments.  (****, 4 of 5 stars)

Application Presentation to VMware View Desktops with Citrix XenApp – (3 pages) This is a whitepaper to show how to deploy applications in VMware View desktops from XenApp.  While I can see this being useful for View admins who use XenApp, the description and instructions are very minimal.  Probably something better suited for a KB article. (**, 2 of 5 stars)

Timekeeping in VMware Virtual Machines – (26 pages) This is a very important topic for all VM Admins to know.  Time is relevant to everything in a VM, whether you are trying to authenticate to Active Directory or troubleshooting using event logs, accurate time is very important.  This paper goes into some really great detail on how VMware maintains accurate time in VMs.  If you are a VMware admin, this should be a standard read.   (*****, 5 of 5 stars, vKeeper)

SAN System Design and Deployment Guide – (244 pages of storage goodness)  I have a storage background so I specifically enjoy this one.  If you are running ESX on SAN shared storage (you should be on some type of shared storage) then this is a must read.  This whitepaper is also very helpful if you are studying for the VCP or one of the new VCAP exams.  This is another paper I keep local and definitely one all VM admins with SAN should review.  (*****, 5 of 5 stars, vKeeper)

Best Practices for Running vSphere on NFS Storage – (14 pages) On the heels of the SAN design and deployment guide, this paper describes the best practices for running NFS on vSphere.  I like the fact that this article references outdated best practices that have changed and why they have changed.  This is a HUGE help to admins who google a topic only to find conflicting information.  My only regret on this paper is that I would like to see more detail on the advanced options and how they affect the performance of NFS.  Still a important doc for VM Admins using NFS storage.  Should be reviewed by all of them to make sure they are current in their deployment of NFS best practices.  (****, 4 of 5 stars)

Location Awareness in VMware View 4 – (8 pages) Good information for View Admins to know where to find out where their clients are connecting from.  This is a common request from hospitals to have printers “follow the user” as they float from terminal to terminal.  There are some advanced topics in this article and some Active Directory knowledge is definitely required especially when using loopback mode in group policy processing.  Good info and hopefully View will include some GUI-based  native features in the future to assist with this.  (***, 3 of 5 stars)

VMware vSphere 4.0 Security Hardening Guide – (70 pages) This is a outstanding reference for any VM Admin.  Security affects everyone’s environment, from the 3-man shop to the largest infrastructure.  Setting the precedence of a solid, secure enviornment from the ground up will provide you with a infrastructure that is solid as a rock. I recommend reviewing this paper often and keeping this one handy   (*****, 5 of 5 stars, vKeeper)

VMware vStorage Virtual Machine File System – Technical Overview and Best Practices – (13 pages) This is a entry level paper on some of the very basics of VMFS and how they relate to RDMs.  This should be a good introduction to VMFS to new VM Admins.  I hoped with “Best Practices” in the title that there would be more technical references (advanced options for VMFS and how tweaking them affects the storage performance for instance).  I was also disappointed to see the LUN size question answered vaguely, suggesting to refer to the storage vendor to size your LUNs appropriately.  I prefer Duncan’s approach to LUN sizing and it’s what I recommend to all of my customers.  (***, 3 of 5 stars)

Look for the vPaper Report again next quarter (hopefully with some new releases in between). Until then, happy reading!