Virtualization Pro


May 6, 2009  3:46 PM

Pointers for using thin-provisioned disks

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Thin-provisioned disks, or thin disks, have been getting a lot of exposure as a new feature in vSphere, but they can already be used in VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3). If not properly managed, however, you can overcommit disk space to the point where you can run out of Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) space, which would cause your virtual machines (VMs) to crash or fail. (For information on what thin disks are and the other virtual disk types that are used in ESX, see Choosing a virtual disk type for VMware ESX: Raw, thick and thin disks.) There are a few things you should know about managing think disks to prevent this from happening.

Continued »

May 4, 2009  8:18 PM

Using an iPhone to fix an ESX server while on vacation

Texiwill Edward Haletky Profile: Texiwill

As you may or may not know, I was recently on a ‘sort of’ vacation in Austin, TX., meaning I was still working on my latest book, VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment (which you can pre-order now on Amazon), so it was not much of a vacation. While away from my office I needed to access my host servers¬†to fix a VMware ESX security element, which required not Virtual Infrastructure Client access, but console access.

To the rescue was my handy iPhone and the TouchTerm application that I downloaded for free. TouchTerm provides an SSH client for accessing a remote SSH server. The application even allows the use of pre-shared keys, which alleviates the major security concern when using SSH and other SSL-based codes. Continued »


April 28, 2009  6:50 PM

New vCenter Server features in vSphere

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Although vSphere’s vCenter Server offers many useful new features, there are three small ones in particular that were sorely needed in VMware Infrastructure 3 that I’m glad to see in this release.

The first deals with the problem of too much data in the vCenter Server database. The majority of the data in the vCenter Server database is from both guest OS and host historical performance statistics and also Task and Event data. The statistic data is archived per your interval settings so there are limits to its growth, but Task and Event data is retained in the database forever, even for guest OSes and hosts that have been removed from vCenter Server’s inventory.

Continued »


April 23, 2009  5:14 PM

Licensing details from the vSphere launch event

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Yesterday’s much-anticipated vSphere launch¬† went off without any technical difficulties, and was exactly what VMware needed to do to build hype and excitement for vSphere. Many. however, were disappointed to find out that vSphere was not actually released, but it’s not far off. It is officially GA now and will be available to customers sometime in the next two months.

While there were few surprises to the beta vSphere users as to functionality, new information was released about editions, licensing and pricing.

To summarize the licensing changes: Continued »


April 22, 2009  8:01 PM

VMware vSphere may require a hardware upgrade

Texiwill Edward Haletky Profile: Texiwill

One of the things VMware’s products allow administrators to do is space out hardware upgrades, but that will soon change with the release of VMware vSphere. VMware vSphere’s hypervisor uses a 64-bit kernel. What this means is that vSphere ESX 4 is a 64-bit operating system that requires 64-bit hardware.

Granted, you have probably already upgraded to quad-core technologies which means you are probably safe, but those using dual-core technologies may not be. Case in point: HP DLxx0 G4 platforms. These are somewhere between 32- and 64-bit with EMT64 support, but unfortunately this is not enough to run VMware vSphere 4. You will need actual 64-bit hardware. Hopefully you can attain this with just a CPU change. Continued »


April 15, 2009  7:01 PM

Must-have VMware infrastructure plug-ins

Texiwill Edward Haletky Profile: Texiwill

There are quite a few VMware plug-ins out there, but which would you really use on a regular basis? Here is a simple guide to the plug-ins I use and why I would not use some of the others.

Must haves:

  • VMware Update Manager (part of VMware vCenter Server)
  • Storage VMotion plug-in. This plug-in was created by Andrew Kutz who now works for Hyper9 and works on the H9Labs.com projects.
  • H9Labs Hyper9 VI Client plug-in Also from Andrew Kutz. It allows me to do simple searches within the infrastructure and hooks in to Hyper9 if you have it. Continued »


April 14, 2009  8:41 PM

VMware vSphere is coming

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

We’re just one week away from VMware’s big announcement of vSphere, its next generation data center virtualization product. There is much excitement and anticipation of this new release as it is has been almost 3 years since VMware Infrastructure 3 was released. There are many new features in this new release that are sure to further distance VMware from its competitors.

Here’s a summary of some of the new features that we can look forward to in this new version:

  • Fault Tolerance (FT) – This is the next step up from HA which provided high ability but not 100% availability. Previously users who wanted 100% availability were forced to use a non-VMware native solution like Microsoft Clustering Server. Continued »


April 13, 2009  3:20 PM

Virtualization software vendors offer creative pricing — but is it enough?

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

In a push to keep sales figures up in a tough economy, several virtualization-oriented vendors have announced incentive pricing plans since the start of Q2.

Just last week, Columbus, OH.-based Veeam Software announced a program that will allow customers that currently pay for or have purchased competing software used to back up or replicate VMware ESX or ESXi to buy Veeam’s Backup and Replication products for 50% off. This promotion is going on through June 15th, 2009, and is available through Veeam’s reseller partners. Futher, any extended support plans can also be “rolled over” to Veeam at a 50% discount off of Veeam’s normal support price. Continued »


April 9, 2009  3:56 PM

VMware Tools FAQ

Texiwill Edward Haletky Profile: Texiwill

Installing VMware Tools is generally required so that virtual machines (VMs) can fully participate in the VMware memory overcommit features by providing the per-VM memory balloon driver. This driver provides a mechanism for the VM to contract and expand memory (within the preset settings of the VM) upon request by the VMkernel. Other than this, there are a host of other drivers and tools that make up VMware Tools. Those are:

  • vmmemctl – Balloon driver.
  • vmxnet – Paravirtualized network VMwaredriver.
  • vmblock – Block filesystem driver to provide drag-and-drop functionality from the remote console.
  • vmsync – Sync driver for freezing and thawing filesystems (Linux specific).
  • vmhgfs – VMware host/guest file system driver (not used within ESX).
  • SVGA Display Driver for Windows systems.
  • Mouse Driver for Windows systems.
  • vmdesched – Experimental driver for improving time keeping.
  • vsock – Socket driver that works with VMCI.
  • VMware Guest Daemon for controlling communication between the guest and the host including time sychronization.
  • VMware Toolbox for Linux or VMware Tray for Windows for controlling various VMware Tools settings.

A few FAQs:

Do I have to install VMware Tools?
Not at all, your VMs will run fine without VMware Tools, but they will not be notified when memory ballooning occurs. The balloon driver aids the OS in handling these cases. Continued »


April 9, 2009  3:43 PM

VMware needs stronger marketing

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

I used to wonder if VMware even had a marketing department; in fact, I still do. It seems to me that VMware’s products are so good and have such dominance that they really don’t need marketing to sell themselves.

But today there is much more competition in the virtualization space, and good marketing is a must for obtaining new customers and keeping existing ones. I don’t claim to be a marketing expert but I do know that if someone doesn’t know about your product, he probably won’t be buying it. Continued »


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