Feb 19

Cloud-Land

So Cloud-Land appears to be getting smashed on the traffic plan it is on…… So………………………………..

Time for some optimisation!,  I’ve just paid for an upgrade with my web host company so apologies if you have been seeing time out error messages due to excessive concurrent traffic,  it should hopefully cease now.

On the plus side, it’s nice to know technology folk are visiting here and the issue I have with the site being too busy is a good problem to have in my opinion!,

Lastly, please start commenting.  I endeavour to respond to every comment and love hearing from you .

 

Andre

Feb 18

Which 5 IT areas look to prosper in 2013?

Which 5 IT areas look to prosper in 2013?
Check out my latest trending article on our HPSD site,  thanks to @HPStorageGuy for hosting it.

Click Which 5 IT areas look to prosper in 2013? to read!

 

 

Feb 06

There and back again: Storage in the 21st Century

Where is storage going in this century?  How does it integrate with Cloud? What should CIO’s be aware off in this new age?  Want to find out?

My blog post on this is now live on the HP site, you can have a read at http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Transforming-IT-Blog/There-and-back-again-Storage-in-the-21st-Century/ba-p/130519

 

Dec 27

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

 Just a quick post to wish you all a happy and safe christmas, and a fantastic new year!

I know there are some really exciting things on the horizon for HP Storage and VMware technologies alike – better integration and better synergy between the two.
Next year is going to be wild…

Andre

Dec 17

HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage and VMware vSphere 5 best practices whitepaper

 

When supported with the correct underlying storage platform, server virtualization delivers greater consolidation, administrative efficiency, business continuity and cost savings. As a result, server virtualization is not only transforming the data center, but also the businesses that those data centers fuel. However, these transformative results depend on enterprise class storage to deliver the performance, availability, and flexibility to keep up with the dynamic and consolidated nature of virtualized server environments.

HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage is the next generation of federated Tier 1 storage and was built from the ground up to exceed the economic and operational requirements of virtual data centers and cloud computing environments by providing the SAN performance, scalability, availability and simplified management that clients need. It does this through an innovative system architecture that offers storage federation, secure multi-tenancy, built-in thin processing capabilities, and autonomic management and storage tiering features that are unique in the industry.

When deployed together, VMware vSphere and HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage deliver a compelling virtual data center solution that increases overall resource utilization, provisioning agility, application availability, administrative efficiency, and reduces both capital and operating costs.

 

Download here

 

Feedback welcome

 

Dec 04

HP EVA to HP 3PAR Online Import

What is it?

Now this is really cool, at a high level these new announcements now give you the risk free incentive to move your current workloads residing on an HP EVA P6000 to HP 3PAR and benefit from a leading storage platform.

 

HP EVA to HP 3PAR Import

So if you are currently running an existing HP EVA box and love the new HP 3PAR platform. I introduce to Online Import!

 

Online Import migrates volumes from a HP P6000 EVA to an HP 3PAR StoreServ system

Volumes are migrated online, minimally disruptive or offline depending on host OS, and best of all you can migrate full to thin volumes (and back again)

 

Online Import from EVA to 3PAR directly from EVA Command View:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seamlessly move from your legacy HP EVA array to the new 3PAR architecture, and reek the benefits that it has to offer virtual environments including:

 

Thin Conversion

Go thin on the fly! The migration will be performed enabling the reclamation of 128MB regions using the hardware based Gen4 ASIC magic, allowing in-line, wire-speed “fat-to-thin” conversions compatible with any host volume.

Zero Detection.

Stay thin! As data is written to new 3PAR LUN, provided you have zero detect on your existing thick LUNs will shed the weight and become thin!

Note: There are still some operating systems that do not support the automatic reclamation of space using the T10 UNMAP command. Have a read on my VMware-related post on this notion here.

Storage Tiering – LUN and Sub-LUN (Block)

Automatic data-driven and policy-driven response to data placement. Simply put – busy workloads reside on faster disk to service the IO queue, and less busy reside on cheaper disk. Just simple!

Licensing

There is a 180 day time based Peer motion shipped free, this license time starts at installation time, so if the license is enabled at the factory then it will start to tick down.

The license will generate appropriate alerts once the 180 days is drawing close.

Alternatively there is a permanent license too!

 

What is the difference between the existing Peer Motion and Online Import

The fundamental difference between these two offerings is based on the source array:

  • Peer Motion deals with HP 3PAR to HP 3PAR arrays only whereas
  • Online import deals with HP EVA to HP 3PAR arrays.

 

The other difference that one is disruptive (associated outage for cutover) and one is non-disruptive.  I still recommend VMware Storage vMotion over disruptive methods if time is not an issue for obvious reasons.

 

Supportability – EVA to 3PAR Import roadmap

 

So what’s the catch?

Of course with any migration, there are pre-requisites and requirements some are obvious and some are not.  The main pre-requisites are

  • Current version of OI supports only EVA x400 series running min firmware XCS09534000 to EOS/P7000

 

  • Destination array: HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 or 10000 running HP 3PAR OS 3.1.2 (not 3.1.1!!)

 

  • So there is no Online Import license for F- and T-Class, meaning F- and T-Class cannot be target for Online Migration …. However we can use the Peer Motion license for F and T (associated costs).

 

  • vDisks that are larger than 16TB cannot be migrated (unsupported size on 3PAR presently)
  • All vDisks presented to a host are migrated (no subset selection possible…..yet)

 

  • No support for HPUX hosts and\or clusters

 

  • Does not support Linux or Solaris clusters (Windows and VMware ESXi clusters only)

 

  • Can only migrate one HP EVA and one host at a time

 

  • Access to a box with HP P6000 Command View 10.2 to facilitate the migration which also has FC connectivity to source P6000 EVA and has IP connectivity to destination HP 3PAR StoreServ system over TCP ports 5781 (3PAR Events) and 5783 (3PAR Secure CLI).

 

How do I get it?

Easy! Online Import is part of the “Typical” Install Set for HP P6000 Command View 10.2

3RD party array -> HP 3PAR

So what happens if you are running a 3rd Party Array and wish to transition to HP 3PAR?  No problem, get in touch with our storage consulting team who has a vast amount of experience in this solution.

Have a read of my HP MPX200 post to gain an insight on the method we use, fast, risk-free and best of all giving you the ability to go thin on conversion.

 

Need a hand? Sure! Try our Storage Consulting Migration Services.

Get in touch, we have start-up services and care packs to make the ordering part simple!

 

HP EVA to HP 3PAR StoreServ Acceleration Service

That’s its folks, Some REALLY cool stuff has just been announced, Move to an awesome new storage platform and use a risk-free way to transition from your current EVA to it.

My colleague Francis Scarfi did a good write up on this service

 

Follow me on twitter @andrecarpenter

 

Dec 04

Introducing the new kids on the block… HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, at HP Discover in Frankfurt, we announced a new line of HP 3PAR storage systems boasting smarter architecture, higher storage capacity and greater performance for customers.

Built for converged infrastructure, cloud and virtual environments

Without being bias, I believe the HP 3PAR architecture holds a cutting edge story like no other. With full mesh architecture and the ability to scale as your virtual environment grows, 3PAR simply rocks. OK, that does make me sound like I have drunk the cool aid a tad, but a lot of customers like converged infrastructure models -that’s why 3PAR is in synch with our server stack and VMware technologies through management plugins.

 

Take a read why I think 3PAR architecture is a great platform for VMware environments and also read about our VirtualSystem offering in this space. And also Learn about other HP converged storage announcements in HP Discover in Frankfurt this week.

 

So without further ado, lets introduce these new kids:

 

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200

The new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 series is the entry level 7000 series model in the family. This model offers a 2-node architecture, and up to 144 drives (SSD, SAS , NL) with a maximum capacity of 250TB raw. Perfect for the home offices of small to medium size businesses.

On the connectivity side of things, the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7200 offers up to 12 8GB FC ports and up to 4 x 10Gb ISCSI host ports with an additional 2 built-in ports dedicated for HP 3PAR remote copy replication use.

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7400

Need more grunt than the 7200 model? Enter the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7400 model. This model offers up to 4-node architecture with up to 480 drives (SSD, SAS, NL) for simply awesome tiering capability through the use of our Dynamic Optimisation and Adaptive Optimisation automated tiering functionality. With a maximum capacity of 864TB of raw space, this puppy won’t see you running out of space anytime soon.

For connectivity, the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7400 offers up to 24 8GB FC ports and up to 8 x 10Gb ISCSI host ports with an additional 4 built-in ports dedicated for HP 3PAR remote copy replication use.
Stay tuned for SPC-1 benchmark results on this model.

 

What is the difference between the two 7000 series models?

Technically speaking, the number of drives supported, maximum capacity and port counts are the major differences, with the 7400 model offering more than the 7200 model across all accounts.

Both support RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 6 giving you the flexibility to choose, and not locking you into just one.

Take a look at the back of one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good thing to remember is that both models have support for our HP 3PAR software packages, which means that you can get the most out of your environment.

 

Still the same cool architecture and guarantees you’ve known from before…

 

System wide striping for greater performance – Everything touches everything, full mesh performance, write-cache mirroring, smart I/O processing for mixed workloads.

Gen4 ASIC for hardware based thinning – Good for those Eager-zero thick VMDKs and removing the excess “fat” from thick LUNs .

But wait there’s more, these bad boys also support HP 3PAR Dynamic and Adaptive Optimisation – policy-based autonomic LUN and sub-LUN meaning it will put your virtual machines on the right storage tier at the right time resulting in a cost-effective way to store your data.

 

Double VM density – guaranteed!

With the unique system wide striping, and support for mixed workloads (whether virtual or not), we can guarantee you twice the density of VM’s over legacy arrays. We have such tight support with VAAI primitives such as atomic test and set that we can offer HW-assisted locking on VMFS volumes as well as superior performance through Adaptive optimization.

 

Learn more about HP 3PAR Get Virtual Guarantee Program

 

50% less capacity – guaranteed

The key is in the magic sauce – GEN4 ASIC offering Silicon-level integration with VMware VAAI primitives such as Write Same for thin conversion/detection and Space Reclamation to keep virtual environments thin!

Support for VMware stuff?

You bet! These new models have Remote Copy Integration for VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and Peer Persistence Integration with VMware MetroCluster.

HP 3PAR Management Plugin for vCenter

Given the recent announcements and developments released in vSphere 5.1 (read my post here on these), the plugin will be available via new Insight Control Storage Module for vCenter.   This will be the one stop management plug-in for all HP Storage and HP Servers. Calvin Zito did a really good overview on this plugin and its capabilities, be sure to take a read.

The HP Insight Control Storage Module for vCenter v.7.1 is available free from the HP Software depot – download it here

 

Technical Specifications

Supportability

The HP 3PAR StoreServ models are supported on the following hosts:

  • Citrix XenServer
  • HP-UX
  • IBM AIX
  • Microsoft Windows Server, including Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Oracle Linux (UEK and RHEL compatible kernels)
  • Oracle Solaris
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise
  • VMware vSphere

Need a hand? Sure!

HP Technology Services can assist in getting you up and running as well as any migration services you may require. Get in touch with myself or check out these pre-canned services.

 

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 Storage Installation and Startup Service:

This carepack service can help you plan and deploy the new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 into operation with up to two hosts connected to the virtual volumes

A final oriental session ensures you are comfortable with the new platform.

 

HP 3PAR Best practices whitepaper for VMware vSphere 5.x

In closing, HP 3PAR is optimally built for virtual environments, if you have a VMware farm and looking to get more out of your environment –  take a look at the official BP document.

 

Download this whitepaper here.  Or get in contact with myself, as I am always happy to answer questions.

 

Nov 28

FYI: VMware EOA for ESX 4 (not ESXi)

   

VMware Announces End of Availability Date for VMware vSphere® ESX hypervisor 4.x and VMware Management Assistant Versions 1 and 4

 

On November 28, 2012, VMware is notifying customers of an End of Availability (“EoA”) date for VMware vSphere® ESX hypervisor 4.x and for VMware Management Assistant (“vMA”) versions 1 and 4. The end of availability date is August 15, 2013. This is a follow-on communication to the general announcement made in July 2011 in connection with the launch of vSphere 5.0.

 

This notification has NO IMPACT on existing vSphere ESXi 4.x environments, and your customers are NOT required to take any action. However, it is recommended that customers make a backup or keep an archived copy of these binaries and generate any necessary license keys in order to maintain or expand a vSphere ESX hypervisor version 4.x or vMA versions 1 and 4 environment. These steps should be completed prior to August 15, 2013. VMware will not provide any binaries or license keys for vSphere ESX hypervisor 4.x or vMA versions 1 and 4 after August 15, 2013.

Please note:

  • vSphere ESX hypervisor 4.X and vMA support lifecycle
    The end of support life (“EOSL”) date remains May 21, 2014. Learn more about VMware’s support lifecycle.
  • Customer’s ability to use the binaries of vSphere ESX hypervisor 4.x or vMA versions 1 and 4 past August 15, 2013
    Customers retain the ability to use licensed binaries past the EoA or EOSL dates. However, they will not be able to download binaries or generate new license keys after the EoA date or obtain technical support and subscription after the EOSL date.
  • vSphere ESXi 4.X availability and support – There is NO impact
  • vMA 4.1, 5, or 5.1 availability and support for all versions – There is NO impact

Contact the Partner Support Center if you have any questions or require assistance. Beginning November 28, 2012, your customers can access an FAQ and learn more about these changes by visitingvmware.com.

Nov 22

Release of VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0

What is it?

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager is a component that enables support for managing heterogeneous hypervisors when used in conjunction with VMware vCenter Server v5.1 and vSphere Client 5.1.

It is not available for the vSphere Web Client, with this in mind I am not sure what the roadmap for this will be post 5.1 seeing as they are EOL the desktop client.

 

Supported Hypervisors

·         Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

·         Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

 

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0 Release Notes

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0 Admin Guide

 

Nov 11

VMDownUnderground and the lead up to VMware vForum 2012, Sydney Australia

VMware vForum is an annual tech conference that has been adapted from the ever-popular VMworld, which is why it is sometimes dubbed the mini VMworld, it never fails to disappoint as it is always full of quality presenters and content.

This year, the conference is being held in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th November 20122 from 8am to 6pm both days, Visit to be able to gain access to over 75 Sessions and Hands-On Labs available across the two day event. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to hear and collaborate with VMware executives, subject matter experts and industry thought leaders on the very latest technology and trends.

Tickets to attend main sessions, including the keynotes, Exhibitor Hall and Labs are FREE of charge.

Make sure you register for vForum here

 

VMDownUnderground

The ever popular , join other VMware technologist type individuals over a beer to discuss everything physical, virtual, cloud and more.

More details can be found at http://vmdownunderground2012.eventbrite.com/  – This is now sold out!

All proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to Bear Cottage to help them to care for children who have a life-limiting illness.

 

HP @ VMware vForum

Here is a look at the sort of demo’s that HP will be exhibiting at vForum, I will be there and to promote our “Get Virtual Guarantee” and of course available to talk everything 3PAR and VMware.

HP EG Demos: Wed 14 Nov10:35 – 10:45am

HP Booth

Wed 14 Nov12:30 – 12:40pm

HP Booth

Wed 14 Nov3:35 – 3:45pm

HP Booth

Thurs 15 Nov10:35 – 10:45am

HP Booth

Thurs 15 Nov12:30 – 12:40pm

HP Booth

Key Demos title and summary: Be the Master of your VM universe Customers will see how easy it is to provision and managevolumes and data stores; plus create and view snapshots for rapid onlinerecovery of files, directories, entire VM’s or data stores, all from within the

VMware vCenter console.

 

HP Data Protector Integration into VMware vCloud Director Customers will learn how Data Protector provides advancedand integrated data protection for vCloud Director. Shhh…. Secret tips to dealing with Firmware Customers will learn how with HP’s integration with vCenter, they can quickly and easily perform Firmware updates and patches. Stop giving IT away… HP will show customers how they can start charging for their IT resources. Managing your network from a single pane of glass Customers will learn how HP Networking Intelligent Management Centre and VMwarevCenter integration provides a complete, end-to-end view of their physicaland virtual network environment.

If you are at vForum or VMDownUnderground, please come up and introduce yourself at the HP Booth.
See you there!

Oct 24

My HP 3PAR Fit for VMware Environments Blog Post on HPStorageGuy’s site.

This is the first of hopefully many to come that will be hosted on Calvin’s Around the Storage Block site (Thanks Calvin!)

You may read here:

http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Around-the-Storage-Block-Blog/HP-3PAR-Fit-for-VMware-environments/ba-p/124361

Oct 17

APAC Virtualization Podcast – Episode 62 – VSA

Join Craig Waters (@cswaters1), Chris Trioni – (vArchitect, VCE), John Martin (Principal Technologist, NetApp), Cormac Hogan (Senior Marketing Architect for Storage, VMware) and myself (Solutions Architect, HP) where we will discuss the recently announced Software Defined Datacentre (SDD) and where storage fits into the whole story.

Start Time (GMT+11): 17/10/12 9:00 PM Sydney time (EDT)

 

More information can be found here:

http://apacvirtual.com/2012/10/12/episode-62-virtual-storage-appliance-vsa/

 

Follow the guys on twitter:

@andrecarpenter – Andre Carpenter

@cswaters1 – Craig Waters

@life_no_borders – John Martin

@christroiani – Chris Troiani

@VMwareStorage – Cormac Hogan

Oct 09

run VMware View?? read this!!

Following the announcement of VMware vSphere 5.1, I came across this interesting KB article

http://bit.ly/PksIcy

In a nutshell:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is important as VMware View runs on the vSphere platform, so if you are looking to upgrade the hypervisor to 5.1 then you may run into some support problems should you be running VMware View as well..  Dont sweat, sources tell me this is a temporary obstacle and will be cleared up in the near future, for now my advice is to hold off the upgrade or run separate clusters for your view environment if you absolutely need the vSphere 5.1 features sets.

Sep 27

My first VMworld 2012 – A wrap

VMworld 2012 was held in San Francisco, USA  in August this year.  This was to be my first (and hopefully not last) VMworld conference,  I have a lot of memorable moments from the whole trip – probably too many to list here but nonetheless it was a very memorable trip.  The flight over and back was full, not cool for a relatively tall fella like myself.

I met some brilliant minds in the industry, and got to go to my first NFL game ever (Thanks @vStewed!) as well as doing a podcast with a good colleague of mine Calvin Zito (@HPStorageGuy), you can listen to the podcast at this link.

 

Some of my favourite sessions:

STO1430: Tracking Down Storage Performance Issues: A Customer’s Perspective http://goo.gl/uTtH8

Speaker Keith Aasen, NetApp, Scott Elliott, Christie Digital

 

STO2980: vSphere 5 Storage Best Practices @ http://goo.gl/pbP0g

Speakers: Chad Sakac, EMC Corporation, Vaughn Stewart, NetApp

 

VSP1800: vSphere Performance Best Practices http://goo.gl/I6lPc

Speaker: Peter Boone, VMware

 

Over 300+ sessions available for download @

http://www.vmworld.com/community/sessions/2012/

 

Now, onto some of the major new announcements that are worth a mention:

 

vRam goes vByeBye

Probably the biggest announcement made at VMworld 2012 was that VMWare has decided to drop the vRAM memory model that came out last year with vSphere 5.0.

This meant each edition of the vSphere tool had a virtual memory cap for each license, and if you needed more virtual memory for your ESXi host, you had to buy enough licenses to cover the total virtual memory in use by your VMs. Personally I wasn’t a big fan of it as I liked the simpler per socket approach as did a lot of VMware customers.

 

Monster VM’s now with more monster!!

The new release of ESXi has a bigger, faster, stronger CPU virtualization method, VMware refer to this method as ” virtualized hardware virtualization” or “VHV” for short, which  offers guest operating systems running inside of the VM “near native access to the physical CPU.”

New specs offered with this release of vSphere include 64 vCPU, up to 1TB RAM, 1 million IOPs out of a single VM.  All of this whilst still keeping the efficiencies we have all come to love with vSphere.

 

Shared Storage? Doesn’t matter!

Another important announcement is the capability to perform a virtual machine live migration between two separate physical servers  without the need of those physical hosts being attached to the same storage. Traditionally this requirement has been around since vMotion came out with ESX Server, but now VMware has redesigned it so that the memory state and files with the metadata describing a powered on VM can be transferred between hosts using their DAS.

 

No more desktop client…. 

vSphere 5.1 now comes with a new Web-based client that you can use instead of the Windows-based application that or the Linux-based virtualized console . This new web console snaps into vCloud Director, the cloud orchestration tool sold by VMware. Pity for IOS users as this new web client requires Adobe flash 🙁

I am curious as to how VCP certification will change given that the questions revolve heavily around the desktop client GUI.

 

Storage vMotion goes parallel!

Storage vMotion now supports up to four parallel disk copies per VM. Nuff said.

See What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Storage for more.

 

vCenter Single-Sign-On (SSO) 

vCenter Single Sign-on is a new feature in 5.1 that means you no longer log directly into vCenter Server but with a security domain defined in your vSphere environment.

Previous versions of vSphere meant you needed to log into vCenter Server directly, you were authenticated with the provided username and password against the Active Directory configured for vCenter Server

A point to note is that vCenter SSO is an additional component in the vSphere suite, but is required before any other vSphere 5.1 component (not ESXi) is installed or upgraded to 5.1.  The idea is that it will run as an additional service on top of vCenter service so there is no need to start re-architecting or working out the impact that it may have to your virtual environment

 

In closing.

VMworld 2012 was simply outstanding, the quality of the sessions and the solutions exchange were remarkable. You can find a link ,  I look forward to the next one I have the opportunity to go to and especially to meeting more people and catching up with in the industry we have come to love.

For a quick overview on Whats new content, please visit this link,

 

Sep 26

New blogpost: Would you like a side of DR with that? 2/2

Second part of this blog post on DR -and my suggested 7 step recipe, now live at:

http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Transforming-IT-Blog/Would-you-like-a-side-of-Disaster-Recovery-with-that-2-2/ba-p/121951

Sep 24

HP Get Virtual Guarantee Whitepaper for VMware environments

Further to my earlier post on what is VM density, I mentioned HP’s ‘Get Virtual Guarantee” programme.

Here is a link to the whitepaper on this, have a read and consider.  Virtual environments are a lot more fun when they are performing optimally.

 

Ping me if you have any questions @andrecarpenter or andre.carpenter@hp.com

Sep 17

vCloud Networking Poster

This is an excellent in any virtualisation processional’s toolkit.. A good friend of mine wrote the following about this poster here so I will quote from his post.

“The poster is a reference to all things related to vSphere Standard Switch (VSS), vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS), and Virtual Extensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) technology. It provides you information on the different components, terminologies and parameters of VSS, VDS, and VXLAN. It also explains the advanced features of VDS and discusses some best practices.”

Download the PDF from here

Sep 13

vSphere 5.1 How-to’s and Troubleshooting Links

For those who have been eager and upgraded to vSphere 5.1, here are some relevant KB articles should you get stuck.

 

Configuration

Troubleshooting

 

Sep 11

VMware vSphere 5.1 released!

 

VMware vSphere 5.1 has finally been officially released.

For me, one of the biggest things I have looked forward to is the revamped vSphere web client,  which was announced at VMworld 2012 a few weeks back.

 

With the desktop version going away, the new web based client means that I (and other MacOSX users) can now enjoy the freedom of not spinning up a Windows virtual machine in order to get access

to the windows based desktop client.

 

Below is the related downloads and documentation links:

 

vSphere Licensed Downloads (valid download account required).

ESXi 5.1.0 Installable

vCenter Server 5.1.0 and modules

VMware vCloud Director 5.1.0

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.1.0

VMware vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 1.2.0

VMware vCenter Operations Management 5.0.3

VMware vCenter Configuration Manager 5.5.1

vSphere Data Protection 5.1.0 

vSphere Replication 5.1.0

vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.0 

vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.0

vCenter Orchestrator Appliance 5.1.0

 

vSphere Free Downloads

HP Custom Image for ESXi 5.1.0

ESXi™ 5.1 Reference Poster

vSphere PowerCLI 5.1

vSphere CLI 5.1

vSphere Management Assistant 5.1

 

Release Notes

VMware vSphere® 5.1 Release Notes

vCloud Director 5.1 Release Notes

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.1 Release Notes

VMware vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 1.2 Release Notes

vSphere Command-Line Interface 5.1 Release Notes

What’s New In ESXCLI 5.1

 

Documentation

VMware vSphere 5.1 Documentation

ESXi and vCenter Server Product Documentation Archives

Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 5.1

vSphere Command-Line Interface Documentation page

VMware vSphere PowerCLI Documentation page

vSphere Management Assistant Documentation page

VMware Sphere Replication Documentation page

VMware vCenter Update Manager Documentation page

VMware vCenter Orchestrator Documentation page

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Documentation page

 

Knowledge Base

Installing vCenter Server 5.1 best practices

Methods of upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1

Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 best practices

Methods of installing ESXi 5.1

Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.1 best practices

Methods of upgrading to ESXi 5.1

Location of ESXi 5.1 log files

Upgrading vCenter Server, ESX/ESXi hosts, and vShield Edge Appliances for vCloud Director 5.1

Network health check feature limitations in vSphere 5.1

Understanding vSphere 5.1 network rollback and recovery

Manually configuring HA slot sizes in vSphere 5.1

Upgrade paths from vSphere editions to VMware vCloud Suite 5.1

Network port requirements for vCloud Director 5.1

Installing vCloud Director 5.1 best practices

Supported web browsers in vCloud Director 5.1

Installing and configuring a vCloud Director 5.1 database

Supported guest operating systems in vCloud Director 5.1

Upgrading to vCloud Director 5.1 best practices

 

Licensing

vCloud Suite Licensing

VMware vSphere 5 Licensing, Pricing and Packaging

 

 

Sep 11

HP Customized version of ESXi 5.1 is now available!

HP Customized version of ESXi 5.1  is now available!

Download:

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/details?downloadGroup=HP-ESXI-5.1.0-GA-10SEP2012&productId=28

Release Notes:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c03537464.pdf

Also, an updated version of the HP Customized version of ESXi 5.0 U1 (October 2012)  is also available:

Download:

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/details?downloadGroup=HP-ESXI-5.0.0-U1-15MAR2012_V2&productId=229

Release Notes:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c03537272.pdf

Sep 10

What is VM Density?

What is it?

VM Density used to be (and still is) referred to as the following three contextual definitions related to performance:

  • Number of VM’s that can run on a certain number of physical CPU’s
  • Number of VM’s or workloads running on a host
  • Number of VM’s or workloads running on a single datastore.

What is the business benefits for me?

Storage CapEx – In order to cater for a certain workload IO requirement you need the right mix of spindles to achieve that requirement.  Running more workloads on less spindles can decrease the initial CapEX spent and TCO is also reduced for a variety of reasons.

Server CapEx – By getting the best efficiency and optimal configuration allows the customer to run more VM’s on less physical servers.  So customers may not need to spend more CapEx buying extra servers, this provides particular benefits in TCO such as power, maintenance as well as licensing.

Licensing benefits – By having less hosts, customers generally spend less on host licensing.

 

So how do I optimise my VM density? Enter HP 3PAR

At HP, we introduced the HP 3PAR Get Virtual Guarantee earlier this year, which is a program to guarantee you will double your VM density from a IOPS perspective over your legacy solution if you shift to 3PAR.

So here is a hypothetical situation to explain the guarantee

If you are currently running an environment with workloads of say 30,000 IOPS (collectively), we guarantee we can provide an array that can handle at least 60,000 IOPS for those workloads.

Cool huh?

Small print – If you are running your virtual machines in an environment such as FusionIO or SSD’s then this guarantee will not apply.

 

Whats the secret sauce to this?

HP 3PAR Wide striping – Each physical drive within an HP 3PAR is broken up into chunklets which in turn is made up into RAID groups, so when data (VM’s in this example) is written, the blocks are striped to every single spindle in the array using these chunklets.  This approach aggregates the storage which of course pools the IOPS allowing better performance.

HP 3PAR has been designed from the ground up for virtual and cloud environments, with its VAAI, ASIC and thin provisioning capabilities contributing it really is one of best VMware integration stories on the market.

Refer back to my specific blog post on HP 3PAR Wide Striping here

 

Migration?

Interested but not sure how you may transition to HP 3PAR? Get in touch, HP Technology Consulting can provide expert storage consulting about how to get the job done.

 

Sep 10

Second blog post for HP – Would you like a side of DR with that? 1/2

 

Have a read here

http://h30507.www3.hp.com/t5/Transforming-IT-Blog/Would-you-like-a-side-of-Disaster-Recovery-with-that/ba-p/120591

 

Sep 03

Whats news in vSphere 5.1 – A dive in.

There has been a number of improvements made to the base hypervisor, probably notably around Auto Deploy.

For those who are not familiar with Auto Deploy who have not had a chance to play with it, what it essentially gives you is the power to rapidly deploy new vSphere hosts into your environment and bring them up to a specified patch level you define.  Putting this in a cloud-computing context and in particular infrastructure as service is a BIG step forward – This is becoming more and more automated,  time to market is a key metric when measuring how well your cloud computing business is running.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the new announcements.

 

vSphere 5.1 – Platform

The vSphere 5.1 has undergone a number of enhancements including:

  • Local ESXi shell users automatically get full shell access.  It is no longer required to share a single root account enhancing your audit-trail.
  • SNMPv3 is now supported bringing authentication and SSL support to the host-monitoring infrastructure.
  • Auto Deploy now offers a stateless caching mode that caches the boot image in order to permit a host to boot using the last good-known image should the Auto Deploy infrastructure be unavailable.  I see this as a potential turning point in the adoption of Auto Deploy.  There is a requirement for a dedicated boot device for this feature to function.
  • Auto Deploy can now be leveraged for stateful installs.  This may be beneficial to accounts that already have PXE in place but want to continue using traditional stateful methods.

 

vCenter 5.1

  • vCenter Server is the primary point of management for most environments and it too has been enhanced and tuned for this new release.  Some of the new additions include:
  • The vSphere Web Client is now the primary point of management.  It was noted during a session @ VMworld last week that the vSphere Client will no longer see development or receive new features.
  • An interesting new feature of the Web Client is the ability to pause a task and resume it from the “Work in Progress” task section.   This is helpful if you need to gather additional information to complete a task without cancelling it and starting over.
  • The Web Client does NOT need to be installed on the same server as vCenter Server and you can scale-out your vCenter services across servers.
  • Support for Open LDAP & NIS authentication using the Web Client (not the traditional vSphere client), this will make Linux-only environments happy.
  • Single Sign-on.  Read the PDF for more (the traditional vSphere Client is not supported).
  • The Web Client can track multiple vCenter Servers and inventory objects using the updated Inventory Service so you can now manage multiple vCenter environments from a single pane of glass without using linked-mode unless you wish to share permissions and licenses.

 

vSphere 5.1 – Performance

Outside of the obvious scalability improvements (64vCPU’s, 256 pCPU’s, >1M IOPS) vSphere has undergone a number of refinements in order to improve performance and management;

vSphere can now attempt to reduce the memory overhead of a VM by swapping out the overhead memory reservation of each VM to disk.  This can increase overall consolidation ratios and improve VM per host densities but it comes with the requirement that the swap file be manually created by the administrator to leverage this feature.

Use the following CLI command in your kickstart install or perform post-install.

esxcli sched swap system set -d true -n <datastore name>

 

If you have previously read and implemented the recommendations in the Best Practices for Performance Tuning of Latency-Sensitive Workloads in vSphere VMs technical white paper you will know that it can be a manual and administratively intensive process (outside of PowerCLI).  vSphere 5.1 now offers a checkbox to enable the VM .VMX settings for you saving a number of manual steps.

 

The traditional vMotion and storage vMotion (svMotion) have been combined into one operation offering the ability to perform a vMotion of a VM that does NOT leverage common shared storage.

This means that two servers using direct attached storage (DAS) can vMotion a VM between them.

Consider this feature beneficial for migration scenarios but there is a catch!  The svMotion operation occurs across the “Management Network” vmkernel interface.

So if you are using an HP BladeSystem/Virtual Connect infrastructure you may want to review your design if you have followed any of the Virtual Connect guides that say it is a “best practice” to use a 100Mbit Management FlexNIC.  A 1GE Management interface is recommended and what I recommend.

 

While on the svMotion topic; vSphere 5.1 has changed from performing serial disk migrations of VMDK’s within a VM to a parallel method if the VMDK’s reside on distinct datastores, so lets take a look at Storage stuff

 

 

vSphere 5.1 – Storage

Storage is commonly the least understood topic and receives the least exciting but most useful features.  I won’t cover the new disk format as it is primarily View related however there are other areas of improvement.

 

  • High Availability will now restart VM’s that encounter a Permanent Device Loss (PDL) state (5.0 U1 did too).  Please understand that a PDL is much less common than an All-Paths-Down (APD) state where HA does NOT respond but we may yet get there in the future.  HA responding to PDL’s is a step in the right direction.
  • 16Gb FC HBA’s are now supported.  Where vSphere 5.0 supported 16Gb HBA’s in 8Gb mode, vSphere 5.1 enables the full 16Gb throughput.  An interested tidbit confirmed by Emulex reps on the VMworld show floor indicated the leveraging a 16Gb HBA in 8Gb mode will outperform a similar 8Gb HBA due to the 16Gb HBA ASIC improvements in I/O processing.
  • SMART monitoring has also been introduce using esxcli  (but NOT vCenter) in order to examine disk error characteristics.  This has been targeted for SSD monitoring but it can only be leveraged using the command line.

 

  •  The ability to automatically detect and set the congestion threshold to the 90% percent throughput mark.  This is done using the SIOC injector that measure latency against throughput and can dynamically tune the threshold to the characteristics of the underlying disks.  It is very much a “set it and forget it” feature that dynamically adjusts to a changing environment.

 

  • Additionally, the underlying SIOC injector has also undergone improvement in where it measures the latency characteristics.  Instead of a leveraging the datastore latency metric which effectively ignores the storage stack above the datastore level, the new SIOC injector leverages a new value coined VmObservedLatency that measures higher up the virtualized storage stack as detected by the actual VM’s in order to more accurately reflect the performance characteristics experienced by the application or user.

 

  • The SIOC injector now also has the ability to detect common underlying disk striping configurations in order to avoid svMotioning VM’s across datastores backed by the same spindles on the back-end of the array.   The VMware vSphere Storage DRS Interoperability white paper includes recommendations when and when _not_ to enable I/O load-balancing in a SDRS cluster but obviously these recommendations were not always being followed.

 

 

vSphere 5.1 – Networking

Networking is another interesting topic and the vast majority of improvements are focused the vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS).  I should call out that if you are using Enterprise Plus licensing you should take a serious look at the vDS as the classic vSS (vSphere Standard Switch) is unlikely to evolve in the future effectively at its max feature potential.

  • Network Health Check (VLAN, MTU and failover team validation) is a very welcome addition as I have seen customer environments encounter HA events (and unplanned VM downtime) due to misconfigured teaming and/or switchports.  You want this feature!!

 

  • vDS Management network rollback and recovery is the catalyst that will calm the fears of a cluster-wide failure due to accidental misconfiguration of a fully vDS design.  If a change occurs and the management network loses connectivity the vDS will automatically rollback the last change(s).  A very impressive live-demo of this feature was shown at VMworld.  This is one of the last hurdles for what I see as the beginning of majority support for the vDS instead of the vSS.

 

  • vDS Distributed Port Auto Expand – while a nice touch in itself the PDF has some helpful information on selecting the best vDS “Port Binding” method for your environment.  The Static Binding method is the default and likely best candidate for the majority of environments out there.  Consider a traditional server has a fixed cabling configuration into a physical switch, the cables do not move.  This is akin to static binding, a fixed configuration that does not depend on vCenter to PowerOn VM’s.

 

  • Dynamic Binding is depreciated.

 

  • Ephemeral is a “plug-and-pray” method with no fixed binding but you therefore lose vCenter performance history and stats and increase the troubleshooting complexity.  Not recommended for most.
  • There are a number of other great features but I want to point out one last new feature that mitigates a risk that has been hiding under the radar across most environments.   The BPDU filter.  If your VMware environment is connected to a network that leverages the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) then prior to vSphere 5.1 it is possible to take host VM networking offline if you follow VMware’s own switchport configuration guidelines.

 

  • VMware recommends that all hosts should NOT participate in STP by enabling PortFast and BPDU Guard that prevents accidental layer 2 bridging loops from causing a network disruption.  The problem is that a VM with two or more vNIC’s attached could potentially bridge interfaces and introduce a loop.  When this loop is introduced, BPDU packets are sent out and a properly configured switch would err-disable the port attached taking the VM offline and eventually all other vmnic’s attached to the switch by nature of VMware failover capabilities.  Consider this a denial of service risk.

 

  • Now with the vSphere v5.1 you can enable this advanced feature, Net.BlockGuestBPDU, which is disabled by default on both the vSS & vDS.  This is the only feature that I can see that has made its way into the vSS and I would highly recommend that any environment using STP and no intention to leverage VM-based bridging by design enable this setting.

Aug 31

Whats new in VMware vSphere 5.1?

Aug 30

Meeting Calvin Zito

I have “virtually” known Calvin for some time now having subscribed to and read his blog, I actually sent him a message just when I joined HP to say “G’day”, over the months we stayed in contact and organised to potentially meet at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco (depending on travel approvals). We organised to meet and finally I had the privilege of meeting Calvin at VMworld and recording a joint podcast with him that introduces me to his bloggers (Thanks Calvin!).  I also learnt that Calvin also lived in New Zealand once upon a time and also shared a love for the All Blacks!

Calvin is a great advocate for HP Storage and posts regularly on his blog about interesting events around HP Storage, VMware and similar.

You can read his blog post about me here and within that  is a link to the podcast I did with him, we are planning to work on more blogs\podcasts in the near future so watch this space.

Note: Calvin referred to me as an “Aussie” and not a New Zealander in his post – will need to get this fixed 🙂

photo

Aug 07

Official Blog for HP.com

I am now blogging for HP.com WW, I will endeavour to try and update this blog as much as I can. Running two blogs is time consuming!!

check out my first post on HP.com here – “Taming Big Data”, please comment – I like reading and responding to any suggestions or feedback etc.

 

Thank you for visiting

Jul 10

Building the business case to choose HP 3PAR – The Ninja’s way.

One of the cool things I get to do in the HP storage consulting business is show customers the potential savings they may profit from simply by moving across to an HP 3PAR storage array. This assessment nicknamed the Capacity Savings Assessment is backed by HP’s Get Thin Guarantee and can really show what the move to 3PAR can do for your business.

This assessment can help you evaluate your data utilisation rates and provide reports on capacity, power, cooling and even floor space savings.

This can introduce a range of benefits to your business such as smaller footprint, smaller electricity bill, less management overhead etc.

 

Here is what some pages from the sample report looks like:

So how does it do this? it scans the host’a filesystem and reports allocated vs used vs freespace.  To report accurate potential thin savings, the environment must not be thin provisioned already (no point in thinning out an already thin environment right!)

Current support host sets are Windows (any flavour), Unix, Linux and VMware vSphere 4/5.

Key reporting includes Capacity Utilisation, Disk Space Usage, Summary of the 3PAR configuration and a comparison of a 3PAR configuration with the current environment.

From a VMware perspective, the newest release no longer uses VMware PowerCLI  to obtain the information, instead it utilised vSphere’s native SDK and can scan NFS datastores.

 

 

 

 

To help justify a business case of what this means in $ value, consider the following page:

Now I ran this on my home lab, so the statistics aren’t staggering but I hope you get the point.

The aim here is to by going thin will mean less storage which can mean less power and less datacentre costs!  which of course can mean cost savings.

So onto the technical stuff.

What network ports does it use?

Windows: port 135 (RCP/DCOM)

Linux: port 22 (SSH)

ESX: port 443 (HTTPS)

 

How much network traffic will there be?

Network traffic resulting from a capacity scan is marginal. Testing shows less than 4KB per scanned host.

 

What permissions does it require?

Windows: User account must have Read Security and Remote Enable permissions on WMI namespace root\cimv2

Linux/Unix: User Account must be enabled for SSH login and have permission to run the df and lshal commands.

ESX server: User account must have vCenter browse privilege.

 

Will it add overhead?

No, the discovery tool is a lightweight tool, the execution overhead is marginal, typically less than 5% CPU utilization.

 

Intrigued? Why not contact me and organise a free assessment on your storage and VMware environment. If you are not in my area, contact me anyway as we have ninja champions all over the world.

 

 

 

Jun 22

Many blog posts to come

Been busy – I am half way through a series of blog posts including the HP 3PAR NinjaThin Assessment tool for virtual environments.

 

Watch this space, thanks for all your emails also.

 

A

May 06

HP 3PAR Management plugin for VMWare vCenter

 

What is it?

The HP 3PAR Management Software Plug-In for VMware vCenter is a vSphere vCenter management console plug-in that allows easy identification of HP 3PAR virtual volumes used by virtual machines and datastores.

 

What does it do?

It can provided a single pane view of the virtual machines and the 3PAR virtual volumes resources they are attached to.  It can show capacity, usage, thin and thick properties on a volume basis and also the disk type the virtual volumes are made up of.  The beauty of this plugin is that you do not need to login to the inform console to view the virtual volumes mapped to your ESXi hosts. Note: It does not allow you to provision\manipulate the storage from this GUI – Inform Management console is still required for that!

 

A peek at the interface

 

This screenshot really does say it all, you can see how much savings you are getting with using the 3PAR thin suite functionality, you can also see the name of the virtual volume that the VMFS is housed on making it easier for administrators to locate and map virtual machines, trouble shoot and provide reports.

And of course, it shows you whether or not you are getting the most out of your EZT VMDKs, by showing the status of the Zero Detection engine on the array ensuring your 3PAR stays thin!

And best of all, the plugin is free!

For more information on this great plugin please visit here or contact me

 

Apr 19

vSphere 5.0 Hardening Guide – Public Draft

Here is a draft which discusses the differences between ESX 4.1 and ESXi 5.0 Hardening guidelines.
http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-19056

Apr 04

T10 UNMAP in VMware vSphere and 3PAR

What is T10 UNMAP?

UNMAP is a SCSI command used to reclaim space from blocks that have been deleted by a virtual machine (OS or application).

In vSphere 5, UNMAP is used for space reclamation of deleted data after common operations

This is particularly beneficial and important in thinly provisioned environments as it allows the storage array to realise these are unwanted or unused blocks and to return them to the free capacity pool.

 

What makes UNMAP important?

HP 3PAR thrives on the thin suite and it supports UNMAP as of Inform OS 3.1.1, however the first release of vSphere 5.0 had some issues where there were unexpected timeouts when the UNMAP command was issued from the ESXi host during an operation.

So when an operation like storage v-motion or a virtual machine is deleted, a copy or movement of data is kicked off essentially leaving behind deleted blocks, HP 3PAR can only realise this so long as UNMAP is started to reclaim those blocks. Since administrators are using storage v-motion on a day-to-day basis, the impact can be huge.

 

So what do you do?

Disable it until VMware release a fix – expected in the next patch release.

Use a manual command such as sdelete on Windows or dd on Linux to write zeros at the file system level, The 3PAR’s ASICs will pick these zeros up so long as zero detect is enabled.

 

How can UNMAP be disabled?

Support for UNMAP in our storage arrays is enabled by default and cannot be disabled by customers. In vSphere support for UNMAP is enabled by default but can be disabled via the command line interface.

esxcfg-advcfg –s 1 /VMFS3/EnableBlockDelete

 

This can be completed automatically by installing ESXi 5.0 Patch 02. For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.0 Patch Image Profile ESXi-5.0.0-20111204001-standard (2009330).

 

Summary

  • This issue only affects thin provisioned arrays in the 3PAR family
  • UNMAP is a SCSI command standardized within T10 SCSI command set – It is not specifically a vSphere 5 feature
  • This Issue only occurs when using ESXi 5.0 and 3PAR arrays that have the latest firmware.
  • Customers can still reclaim space without UNMAP using the 3PAR arrays zero detect functionality should they disable UNMAP
  • A patch is available that resolves this issue

Mar 29

An interesting view from two years ago…

 

Data growth – IDC believes that the Digital Universe will grow by 44 times that of 2009 by 2020. IBM estimates that data and content is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 64% a year or more. (Zettabyte = 1 trillion gigabytes).”

Source: IDC Digital Universe Study, sponsored by EMC, May 2010.

Mar 26

Gartners Magic Quadrant – “Magic Quadrant for Midrange and High-End Modular Disk Arrays.”

 

Gartner is an independent provider of IT and research advice, Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Midrange and High-End Modular Disk Arrays assesses storage vendors on their “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision.”  Placing the candidates into one of the four quadrants each representing different definitions.

So what does this mean?

Legend
  • Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow.
  • Visionaries understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute well.
  • Niche Players focus successfully on a small segment, or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others.
  • Challengers execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.

And to be selected, the vendor must meet the following criteria:

  • The vendor must have midrange and high-end modular disk array storage systems commercially available and have active references that are using them in production scenarios.
  • The vendor must generate at least $25 million in annual midrange and high-end modular disk array hardware revenue.
  • The vendor must actively market its branded midrange and high-end modular disk array products in at least two major regions (for example, North America and EMEA, or Japan and Asia/Pacific).
  • The vendor must sell its branded midrange and high-end modular disk array products to user organizations via its direct sales force or through a reseller partnership sales channel.

from http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/research_mq.jsp

From an HP perspective –  Gartner included the following HP Storage solutions:

  • HP 3PAR
  • HP LeftHand
  • HP Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA)

So let’s dissect this and see what changes have occurred since the last period.

Certainly, there has been massive movement shown in this graph , EMC and NetApp’s gap closed slightly and HP’s ability to execute position increased dramtically as did its position in the visionaries quadrant, this is no doubt due to the acquiring, development and rise of it’s 3PAR platform.
There hasnt been much movement from HDS, Dell seems to have taken a sideways step in some ways, IBM remains static since the last period. Its hard to really say who really leads in this view,  NetApp and EMC are  “Leaders” and are performing or executing really efficiently  however HP are also leaders and appear to have a better understanding of the market and where it is going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look forward to the 2012 version of this research release, it surely shows there is a healthy competitive environment for this area of technology. Well done to the leading four storage Vendors – EMC, NetApp, HP and IBM.

 

Mar 14

HP DCT Cloud training – a “look” into what Data Centre Transformation is and where it sits in the journey to cloud.

busy…….Please hold…. Life is very busy right not. post to come

Mar 09

vBenchmark – A Quick look

What is vBenchmark?

vBenchmark is a tool from VMware and is a simple to use tool that measures VMware virtual environments looking into how much physical RAM you are saving by virtualising your servers, provision time for a server, what is HA, storage v-motion, v-motion doing for you from a downtime savings perspective.

It can obtain performance metrics across one or multiple vCenter servers

 

What can it do for me?

It can give you a view of what going virtual as a business decision is doing for you, it is good for justifying the decision to move to a virtualised environment – cost savings on hardware is the first and most prominent benefit that virtualisation can offer not to mention the green factor. vBenchmark gives you figures\statistics from a resources and business perspective.

 

 What does it look like?

I set vBenchmark up on my laptop as a virtual machine to take a look at the interface. Whilst my laptop isn’t the most performance system around, it did give me ability to gain an overview of the tool.

 

The Console

 

The web interface

Where can I get it from

http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vbenchmark

 

Overall, a very useful tool provided you have historical data in your VCDB to populate it.  It works brilliantly and can assist in trending\future proofing your virtual environment.

Mar 08

VMware vSphere 5.0 Whitepapers


I was sending these links to a VMware vSphere 5 newcomer as they give great overviews of some of the new features in vSphere 5.0, thought it would save some time for folk collating the same.

Enjoy!!

 

What’s New in vSphere 5.0

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: VMware vCenter

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: Platform Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: Performance Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: Networking Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: Storage Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0: Availability Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware Data Recovery 2.0 Technical Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 Technical Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vCloud Director 1.5 Technical Whitepaper

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Technical Whitepaper

Mar 01

vExpert applications now open!!!


For those who care, vExpert 2012 applications are now open.

http://communities.vmware.com/vexpert.jspa for more details.

 

Feb 20

HP Storageworks MPX200 Migration.

So being part of the extended HP APJ Storage Consulting team, I wanted to share my thoughts on a preferred way to migrate between 3rd Party arrays and HP.

Having worked with the leading storage vendors in the world, I have seen many methods of migration during my delivery days.  There are obviously industry best practices to which customers typically tend to go for as directed and guided by the storage vendor, but then there are customers who prefer to do it themselves (usually utilising host based methods over array based methods).  There are obvious caveats of this,  host based migration tends to be a lot slower and places loads on the host handling the migration.
There there is SAN based migration, where a customer would have to usually purchase some form of license that gets enabled on the storage array itself,  this tends to be expensive (unless you get a very generous Sales Manager that lends a customer a license for the duration of the migration).

Enter, HP Storageworks MPX200 appliance for migration services.

What is it?

The HP Storageworks MPX200 appliance is a purpose built device that can assist in Database/Storage/Application migration from one storage array to another.

Best of all, it has heterogeneious array data migration capability!

Features

  • The MPX200 can have both 1GbE and 10GbE iSCSI connectivity, as well as 4/8Gbps FC, FCIP for SAN over WAN.
  • MPX200 includes remote online/offline data migration for support between two data centres and asynchronous replication.
  • Disaster recovery (DR) capabilities
  • Online/Offline migrations. There are some points to note around this though.
  • Schedule migration jobs.
  • Supported on heretogenous FC storage arrays – NetApp, EMC, Hitachi, IBM and of course HP.
  • Fully supported with Brocade and Cisco FC fabrics – this is because the architecture is built on QLogic FC HBA technology.

Use-Case Scenarios

When to use to migration to HP 3PAR

  • Heterogeneous Migrations
  • Consistent way to reclaim unused blocks across all major OSs, Space reclamation tools will prepare dirty blocks for Thin Provision

When to use to migration to HP XP

  • Convert Thick Luns to Thin Provisioned Luns using Space reclamation tools and MPX200 capability
  • Heterogeneous Migrations
  • User wants to cut over from old to new after migration is successfully complete

When to use to migration to HP EVA

  • Convert Thick Luns to Thin Provisioned Luns using Space reclamation tools and MPX200 capability
  • Heterogeneous Migrations

When to use to migration to HP P4000

  • Migrate FC storage to P4000 ONLINE/OFFLINE
  • Convert Thick luns to Thin provisioned luns

Performance

This is the cool part, you can migrate data online/offline at 4TB/HR with a  single blade and 8TB/HR full chassis between heterogeneous storage arrays using a user friendly data migration GUI.

Offline Migrations

  • No downtime required to plan & configure, Migrations up to 4TB/Hr
  • Server with less than 1TB storage can be migrated in 1 Hr. application downtime
  • Reduces implementation time – saves money
Online Migrations
  • Insert MPX200 into the Data path without application down time during migration
  • Downtime only when cutting over to new storage
  • Keeping Source data “Current” through out the migration process – User can always fall back

Licensing
Of course I leave this bit for last, it is really straight forwards and different licenses for different cases.

Capacity or Per-TB Licenses

  • “Fills the petrol tank”. Unused capacity will be available for next job
  • Can be installed at anytime, adding new license doesn’t overwrite remaining license capacity

Per-Array Licenses

  • Unlimited Data migration for a specific array
  • Many sources to one target
  • One source to many targets

Supported topology One

Supported topology Two 

Example topology for best performance

MPX200 patches into the same fibre channel switch as the source and destination array.

Jan 06

Happy New Year.

First off, happy new year.  Last year was great and some exciting changes happened:

 

1) I changed roles/companies.

2) vSphere 5 announced/released by VMWare.

3) All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup.

 

Here’s to another great year!

Dec 25

Merry Christmas

Just a short note to say merry christmas and best wishes for the new year to you and your family, thanks for visiting.

 

Andre

Dec 15

Cold migration in VMWare – What is it?

So the topic of what is a cold migration (in VMWare vmotion speak) came up in a conference call today with a customer.

It is a migration strategy when there are CPU compatibility constraints  between certain revisions of CPUs, it basically means there is no path to use v-motion as such so will associated outages.
When does it occur?

As mentioned, cold migration is a strategy or a decision to migrate virtual machines between different revisions of CPU (whether it be manufacturer or models). An example might be going from an AMD chipset to an Intel chip.  There are cases that going from a same vendor CPU requires an outage so cold migration would be an option.  More information on what to check, how to check can be found here

What happens? 

Quite simply, the virtual machine is powered off on the source host and powered on, so there is an outage but as long as both ESXi servers have visibility to the same shared storage, then cold migration can be very fast and the virtual machine downtime kept to a minimum.
The difference to vMotion

Biggest difference, vMotion is (typically) performed without any downtime on the virtual machine where as cold migration requires an outage to power down and power up the virtual machine on the destination host.

Another notable difference it happens at a management network layer and not the VMKernel layer (which vMotion uses)

That is cold migration in a nutshell!

Dec 05

VCP 510 exam – My thoughts

Having recently sat the VCP 5 exam, I thought I would offer some tips and study advice.  Overall, there are 85 multi-choice questions and you have 90 mins to complete and their is a lot more focus on new features, troubleshooting, and configuring than previous versions of the exam which was usually based around limitations and maximums.

 

 

Networking

  • VMKernel securing – how (and where) to do it.
  • Load balancing policies
  • Path Selection policies – Quite a few questions on these.
  • Traffic shaping
  • VDS – Lots on this topic. What features are unique to VDS and what aren’t,
  • Promiscuous mode vs forged transmits – About 2 questions involving these
  • Restarting management network – how to do it in vSphere 5
  • Securing your host – turning off ssh etc.
  • Uplinks – what are they and what do they do. Relationship with vSwitches
  • CNA – Question around image profiles and driver certification
  • ISCSI and implications of changing certain parameters such as CHAP

Storage

  • New features: VMFS3 vs VMFS 5, migration to VMFS5 – what changes and what doesn’t. Maximum file size supported
  • VSA – How to configure. Valid states of a VSA
  • RDM – Physical compatibility vs Virtual
  • Storage Profiles – Learn what it does.
  • VMKernel interation with storage array, what the array does and what the kernel does
  • VAAI – Benefits of VAAI and what the supported array can do.
  • Trouble shooting storage performance – What counters to look at

Advanced Features

  • HA – What it does.
  • FT – Why you would use it – use cases
  • DRS – Ports for DRS and HA
  • vMotion/EVC – Where to configure and requirements around CPU. NPIV and vMotion compatibility
  • Resource Pools, shares, limits and reservations – Lots of questions around these, learn what increasing and decreasing each element does and the effect.
  • Performance tuning and troubleshooting – They give you line graphs and ask you to understand and diagnose the issue, scenario based troubleshooting. (I.e Image shows error, what is the cause), ESXtop
  • Memory conservation – TPS vs ballooning
  • Upgrading from ESX3 to ESXi5 – One question on this, basically you can’t do it.
  • Upgrading from ESX4 to ESXi5 – rules, methods and things you need to look out for.
  • How to back up a ESXi host before upgrading
  • Understanding alarm warnings and alerts and how to configure
  • vApps and IP allocations, and what objects they contain.
  • Log file configuration. Increasing etc
  • vCenter Server – What extra capabilities does it give you over managing a host directly.
  • Auto Deploy – Learn Image profiles and how to use.
  • VSA – Quite a few on this, how to upgrade from earlier version was one question
  • Modifying Users and permissions and the impacts

Hope that helps.

Nov 20

Thin vs Thick: VMFS formats.

This took me a little while to get my head around the concepts.

But here is my understanding:

Thin In this particular format, the of the VMDK file on the datastore is equal to the amount that is used within the VM itself as it zeros out the space prior to I/O being written, so for example if you create a 200GB virtual disk, and you populate it with 100GB worth of data, the VMDK will be 100GB in size and will grow as more data is added to it.

Thick The VMDK file on the datastore is the size of the virtual disk file that you provisioned but no prezeroing takes place like it does in thin format.  So for example if you create a 200GB virtual disk and write 100GB worth of data to it, the VMDK will still appear as 200GB in size but only contain 100GB worth of data.

Eagerzeroedthick The “truely” thick virtual disk, the size of the VMDK file within the datastore is equal to the virtual disk size that is provisioned. If you create a 200GB virtual disk, and write 100GB worth of data the VMDK will be 200GB and contain 100GB worth of data and 100GB of zero’s. Which format is the best? There are pro’s and cons for each. Thin format requires more monitoring and cant be used with RDM’s where Thick/Eagerzerothick are not as efficient as thin and one might not see as much space savings when implementing this type.

Nov 10

Enabling SSH and SFTP on ESXi 5.x Host

So I had just built a ESXi 5 VM when I wanted to upload some ISO’s into a datastore, alas SSH is turned off by default in ESXI 5

So, first part is to turn it on, you need to be physically at your ESXi box in order to do this part.

At the ESXi console screen

Logon using the root account

Select “Troubleshooting Options” from the menu

In the next menu, select “Enable SSH”, you will notice that it says ‘Disabled’ in the right hand pane

Press enter to change to enable

Thats it!, you can now quit out of there and go onto the next part which is to get the SFTP server running, truth is it is missing by default in ESXi 4

So lets get it

ssh into your esxi box using the root account.

cd /sbin */ Changes to the right directory
wget http://thebsdbox.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/sftp-server.tar.gz */ Downloads sftp-server files
tar xzvf sftp-server.tar.gz */ Extracts file into current directory /sbin
rm sftp-server.tar.gz */ Removes file now that we have extracted it

Log out.. Thats it! You should now be able to SFTP files to and from your ESXi 5 host!

Oct 29

HP 3PAR recovery manager for vSphere.

What is it?

HP 3PAR Recovery Manager Software for VMware vSphere enables the protection and rapid recovery of virtual machines and VMware datastores

What does it look like?

<insert image here>

What can it do?

It provides virtual copy management and allows you to take LUN-level snapshots of virtual machines and datastores through the vSphere management GUI by using array-based snapshots that are quick, space efficient, and virtual machine aware.

The plugin makes it possible to create hundreds of virtual copies. The number of virtual copies to retain and the retention period for each virtual copy can easily be specified

This plug-in can do granular restores at the VMFS level, the virtual machine level, or the individual file level.

Neat stuff!

If you want to know more, get in touch and email me or visit http://www.hp.com/go/3PAR

 

 

Oct 13

HP 3PAR Dynamic Optimisation and VMWare vSphere

In a nutshell, HP 3PAR Dynamic Optimisation Software is a software license/product enabled on the storage array itself that can provide a non-disruptive way to make changes to storage volumes hosted on the HP 3PAR Storage System.

Storage administrators can move volumes between different drive types or tiers (SSD, Fibre Channel, SATA/Nearline), leveling volumes as new drives are added into the array, all without outages or impacting any hosts that the system is busy serving I/O to.

So how is this good for virtual environments? It can be used to move running VMs between different tiers without impacting what the virtual machines are doing.

Similarly, as new drives are added to the array, the LUN that ESX is using can be striped across the new drives on the fly without taking an outage at the ESX server level. VMWare’s vMotion technology offers somewhat similar functionality, but at the host layer.

Dynamic Optimization works at the storage layer, which can be used to optimize storage service levels while VMware vMotion can be used to optimize CPU utilization across multiple hosts.  Very similar to storage vMotion but all on the array itself!!

Pretty cool!

Oct 12

Blog hacked..

Thanks to a inadequate web hosting backup strategy, and a person with too much time on their hands.  cloud-land has been hacked through a vulnerability in the wordpress theme I was using. The result is many posts (along with associated files/screen dumps) have been lost.  I have managed to salvage some posts prior to this happening due to writing the actual content into a word document offline I kept before I published on here but still………Grumpy!!!

 

 

Oct 01

HP 3PAR and VMWare vSphere whitepaper

Having written posts about HP 3PAR and VMWare vSphere integration, I found a  really good (more official) read on VMWare vSphere and HP 3PAR storage:

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/vmw-vsphere-3par-utility-storage.pdf

Enjoy!

Sep 25

http://www.vmware.com/a/vmmark/ – Impressive Benchmarks by HP

Personally, I love seeing stuff and tests like these.

Whilst other technologist’s from representing companies may be quick to defend why their particular company’s hardware doesn’t get the top score they would of hoped. I try to take another angle on approaching these sort of benchmarks.

Why? I’ll break down the reasons why I think these are good to have.

Competitive – Simply, without some form of benchmark or competitor to design your products to compete with – Then technology wouldnt get as sophisticated as it has. Whilst server virtualization hasn’t been as prevalent or utilised as much as it is over the recent years. This particular benchmarking results show there are some worthy competitors to HP in the server market. It wouldn’t be as fun if it was a one horse race. This keeps the engineering team from Fujitsu, Dell, HP etc returning to the drawing board to make servers better and better.

And for a virtualization geek, this is exciting.

Trending – We can see how well servers do now and compare in five years time, There may be a gradual improvement in scores in the five years, or they may just increase exponentially.

Reviews – Simply put, some-one looking to buy a server for virtualization purposes has a great source of information on best performing models as a starting point to purchasing the right server. It also provides the consumer with an idea of just what elements affect server performance.

Well done to the top four server vendors – Fujitsu, Dell, HP and Cisco

Sep 08

Cloud Computing – My own definition.

This will no doubt be tweaked over the years to come, but I thought I would share my own personal definition of what the concept of cloud computing is today.

“Cloud Computing refers to a virtual shared IT infrastructure where resources are provisioned as required from a shared pool of computer, storage and network on a pay per use basis via the Internet or WAN.”

Alternatively Wikipedia offers the following definition (Retrieved 5th August 2011 from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing)  “Cloud computing refers to the logical computational resources (data, software) accessible via a computer network (through WAN or Internet etc.), rather than from a local computer.”

My employer HP define it as “a delivery model for technology-enabled services that provides on-demand access to an elastic pool of shared computing assets.” from Finding the right cloud solutions for your organization,

Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to customers using Internet technologies (Retrieved August 8th 2011 from http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/cloud-computing/).

So lets dissect these and dig out the common denominator between the three different definitions. The common theme or series of words are

“Shared, Instant, scalable and accessible”.

Behind all these definitions, you’ll see a lot of supporting detail that give a broader understanding of what the cloud really is.  I think the common themes really boil down to:

  • Instantly available – services that can be made immediately available
  • Scalability & elasticity – both are enablers of resources becoming instantly available. Without the cloud’s scalability, the whole speed aspect of the cloud goes away.
  • Shared resources – services that run within a set of shared resources – infrastructure or applications – that gain the benefit of multi-tenancy.
  • Accessibility – services that are processed over the Internet to the end user.

Private Cloud A private cloud refers to a cloud computing  environment which offers services within a single enterprise organisation and it’s firewall but may be hosted internally or externally to the organisation.

Public Cloud A public cloud refers to a cloud computing environment made available to the general public using the Internet and is external to the 0rganisation’s firewall that owns the environment

Hybrid Cloud A hybrid cloud refers to a computing environment that combines both private and public cloud computing environments.

Agree? Please comment and share your definitions, I’d love to read! There are more exciting posts to follow this one, particularly around Hybrid Cloud the many cloud offerings that HP have in this space. But for now, we’ll save it for another time

 

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