Virtualization Pro

August 12, 2010  4:41 PM

VMworld 2010 preview video

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

The editors at TechTarget have been hard at work organizing our schedule for VMworld 2010 in San Francisco, which is just around the corner.

We put together a short video on what you can expect.  Enjoy!

April 13, 2010  3:23 PM

vCenter Linked Mode configuration impacts maximums

Rick Vanover Rick Vanover Profile: Rick Vanover

In my earlier tip on configuring vCenter Linked Mode, I didn’t mention how the configuration maximums are affected when the federation feature is used. When Linked Mode is used, a few categories of the vCenter Server Maximums are changed.

There are four primary categories impacted by the use of Linked Mode vCenter Server systems. The first is that there is a maximum of 10 Linked vCenter Systems permitted. vCenter Server scales very well, so it would be an incredible infrastructure to roll in 10 different vCenter Server systems. This number can be met quicker if the vCenter environments are smaller due to separation by chargeback, development vs. production, or other business functions. There also can be a maximum of 1,000 hosts in Linked Mode, which is not 10 times the standalone vCenter Server limit. The singular vCenter Server has a maximum of 300 hosts running a 64-bit operating system. The other limits related to Linked Mode are powered-on virtual machines (10,000) and registered virtual machines (15,000). The primary situation where these limits can be reached for many environments is a VMware View VDI environment.

The configuration maximums document does not address a limit for roles and permission models that may be set across vCenter Server systems. With the vCenter Server permissions model, administrators can craft creative roles that are applied to vCenter Server systems. The one caution I would make, as in any permissions model, is to follow Active Directory best practices and not create too many nested levels of permission.

The vCenter Configuration Maximums document is one of the most useful documents, and is a critical tool for the VMware certification path. Be sure to check out the vCenter Server section of the configuration maximums document for all Linked Mode related changes.

March 18, 2010  5:54 PM

Dear VMware: Eat dirt. Love, Microsoft

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

Dear VMware:

Thanks for the letter. Not.



P.S.: Did you hear the news? I think your customers will have fun trading in their View desktops.

P.P.S.: We’re still bigger than you and can put money behind whatever we want because of our other products. Sucks having server virtualization be your bread and butter, don’t it?

Apparently, yesterday’s love letter wasn’t well received, because today Microsoft moved from mud-slinging to tossing it with a rocket-launcher. Trade in your VMware View virtual desktops, pledge us your allegiance and we’ll give you up to 500 free Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktops!

Of course, TechTarget has it covered. Get the story over at Microsoft and Citrix lure VMware customers with cutthroat promo.

Interesting quote from Tony Wilburn of Betis Group in the story:

“Has Microsoft ever before had to partner with another company in order to take on a rival?” Wilburn said. “When the No. 2 and No. 3 companies in the industry have to team up to take on the No. 1 player, doesn’t that make the one player look even stronger?”

March 17, 2010  8:24 PM

Dear Hyper-V: Thanks! Love, VMware

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

Dear Hyper-V:

Thank you for supporting vSphere adoption in your roundabout way. 

Much love, VMware

…not your typical mud-slinging blog, is it? 😉

Actually, my quippy love letter was inspired by an article we just published over at by Steve Kaplan.

In it, Kaplan basically argues that while smaller companies will take the bait and try Hyper-V because of cost Windows Server 2008 prevalence, when they inevitably sit down and plan for a virtualization adoption beyond test and dev, they will likely consider the virtualization roadmap… a.k.a. IT as a service, which translates to setting up a virtual environment that can support an internal cloud…which means, spending the money to bring in VMware vSphere.

Take a read. Argue about it with your colleagues. Start a debate on this blog. Or, Tweet with your VMware buddies about how VMware will still reign supreme, after all. “Woot woot!”

March 15, 2010  5:56 PM

Riddle: How do you power-off a VM if it’s already powered off?

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

As an instructor, Mike Laverick firmly believes that “pulling the plug” (or, restarting the host VM) is not the answer every time you run into a problem with a virtual machine that resides on the host VM. He is a believer in figuring out what’s causing the issue and fixing it. After all, why shoot ten VMs if only one is causing a problem? It’s like shooting all the innocent hostages just to get the bad guy.

So recently he published a “live blog” that chronicles his attempt to find a frustrating — but highly amusing (at least to me) problem: a VM that had been hot-migrated, but failed, so it was powered-off. But vCenter and other parts of the virtual infrastructure were stubbornly sure that the VM was, in fact, still on. Of course, although the VM was listed as powered-on, the options to control it were grayed out, so the poor Mike couldn’t power it off a second time.

Not to be defeated by the rogue, defiant VM that decided to vacation somewhere in vSphere land without his permission, Mike researched, found some possibly suitable solutions (and many not suitable at all), and finally, a lightbulb hit. Mike didn’t want to sacrifice the other VMs relying on their Mama VM (host VM). So why not send the VMs off to grandma’s (read: hot migrate them to another host) for a little vacation while Mama VM gets a reboot? Problem solved, albeit Mike had to bend his own rule of not “pulling the plug” on the host VM to fix a problem. 😉

The full post is worth a read, especially if you’ve experienced your own virtual frustrations. Just grab a cup of coffee, since it takes a bit of time to read in its entirety.

Readers: If you’ve got your own VM troubleshooting story, email it to me. If I get enough submissions, I’ll record it in a podcast that you can later listen to and giggle along with.

March 9, 2010  4:43 PM

So, you want to learn View, ThinApp, Nexus 1000V and PowerCLI?

Makking Mak King Profile: Makking

As all of you no doubt agree, ongoing training is a constant in our world. If we don’t move forward with our learning and abilities, we get left in the proverbial dust. Thus, it was with great enthusiasm that I began reviewing TrainSignal’s latest VMware training series: VMWare vSphere Pro Series Vol. 1: View, ThinApp, Nexus 1000V, and PowerCLI. For myself, this is the second series of Train Signal videos I have had the pleasure to use in my ongoing training. My first review was regarding their series on vSphere/ESX. From the outset, I was extremely impressed by what I experienced. In particular, the ability to load training videos on my iPod was of tremendous benefit, as it allowed me to learn while training at the gym, and even while waiting to have the emissions tested on my vehicle — for those of you unfamiliar with this Colorado requirement, it is akin to waiting at the DMV with your car idling. Continued »

March 4, 2010  4:16 PM

Technical tips from you, the readers!

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

Last week, I traded books for tips from you — the readers. Several people now have additional literature in their possession. And as great as that may be for them, the real value is in sharing the tips they bartered for  books.

Here are the tips:


“When in doubt, Google it. There is a great community of users out there to leverage. Many times they have the answers before the product techs do.”  –Cory Gabriel


“Don’t go to VMware for support using Site Recovery Manager (SRM).” –Andrew Heyn


“After nearly half a week of setup, don’t use open source XenSource. There is no zen in Xen.”  –Jason Ruiz


Here is a bit of PowerShell Alan Renouf of helped me develop. In our hosting environment we limit outbound traffic to 100 MBps so that any of the ~200 virtual machines on our nine hosts can’t flatten any of our upstream connections (as they have in the past!)”  — Daniel Roberts

 Add-PSSnapin -Name “VMware.VimAutomation.Core”


$VCUser = Read-Host “User ID: “

$VCPassword = Read-Host “Password: “

$portgroupname = Read-Host “Enter the name of the PortGroup:”

$vlanid = Read-Host “Enter the VLAN ID”

$viserver = Read-Host “Enter the vCenter Server FQDN or IP”


Connect-VIServer -Server $viserver -User $VCUser -Password $VCPassword

$ESXHost = Get-VMHost | Sort-Object -Property Name


ForEach($objHost in $ESXHost){

    $VSwitch = Get-Virtualswitch -VMHost (Get-VMHost $objHost) | where-object { $_.Name -match “Vswitch1” }

    Write-Host “Adding Virtual Port Group” $portgroupname “with VLAN Tag” $vlanid “to” $objHost

    $PG = New-VirtualPortGroup -Name $portgroupname -VirtualSwitch $VSwitch -VLanId $vlanid


    $vswitchName = $vSwitch.Name

    $pgName = $PG.Name

      $pgVlanID = $PG.VLanId


    $HS = $objHost | Get-View

    $nwSys = $HS.ConfigManager.NetworkSystem

    $mor = Get-View $nwSys


    $portgrp = New-Object VMware.Vim.HostPortGroupSpec

    $portgrp.Name = $pgName

    $portgrp.VswitchName = $vswitchName

      $portgrp.VlanId   = $pgVlanID

    $portgrp.policy = New-Object VMware.Vim.HostNetworkPolicy

    $portgrp.policy.shapingPolicy = New-Object VMware.Vim.HostNetworkTrafficShapingPolicy

    $portgrp.policy.shapingPolicy.enabled = $true

    $portgrp.policy.shapingPolicy.averageBandwidth = 104857600000

    $portgrp.policy.shapingPolicy.peakBandwidth = 104857600000

    $portgrp.policy.shapingPolicy.burstSize = 107374182400


    $mor.UpdatePortGroup($pgName, $portgrp)





“Changing VM folder names for better organization — With vSphere and vCenter version 4, it is now possible to change the folder names in which your VMs are stored without manually editing .vmdk definitions and powering off the machines for cold migrations.


1.) In the vCenter interface, rename the VM to the name you would like the underlying folder to have
2.) Perform a storage VMotion of the machine from one datastore to another. Choose thin provisioned format to save on disk space as an added bonus.
3.) Observe underlying folder and other VM configuration files have changed names on the fly. Also causes VMDK files to have sequential numbering.

This helps avoid the situation where you don’t know which VM is which because the folder name has nothing to do with the current machine name. (Happened to me at least once or twice). Also, nice thing about the thin-provisioning (if you decide to do it) — you can always right-click on the VMDK in the datastore browser and click Inflate to convert the disk back to a thick disk, also on the fly.” –Chris Wells


“For beginners like myself: Be sure to buy a VMware book when your boss decides to implement VMware in your environment, and be sure to have a backup plan in place from day one!” –Rowell Dionicio


“When doing a P2V of a Windows server, be aware of the OS licence. OEM licences do not like to be virtualized. You will need to run a Windows repair install and use a new licence key.” –Craig Dalrymple


“In order to trunk network interface cards (NICs), you have to set your active NICs’ load balancing to “Route based on IP hash.” And always make sure you are trunking the right ports on the switch. ;)” –Jason Wainwright


And last but not least, a vendor decided to plug its own free tool:

“My tip for you is that there are many free tools out there that will help users manage their environment. Our company (VKernel) just released a new one today that shows administrators what they have for physical resources and how much of them have been allocated, as well as the number of VMs that are over- or under-provisioned. This is a powerful but small app that runs on a Windows desktop and connects directly to vCenter.

It can be downloaded from here and looks like this:



Think your tip should be on our blog as well? Email it to me!

February 23, 2010  2:52 PM

Book giveaway extravaganza!

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

Ever wanted to get your hands on a virtualization book but just haven’t gotten around to it? Now you can — for free! Just send me your best virtualization tip — it can be PowerShell code, something funny (i.e., if your virtual machine isn’t working, make sure it’s powered on), something serious, and any length is acceptable. If I like it, I’ll send you the book of your choice, based on what I have available (so please send me your first and second choices.)

You’ll also see your tip published right here on the Virtualization Pro blog.

Here’s what’s waiting to be shipped to your home or office (or, home office): ]

[availability updated 1:53 PM EST]

  • VMware Certified Professional Exam Cram — Elias Khnaser — x1
  • VCP VMware 310 Cert Flashcards Online — Traenkenschuh — x1
  • VMware VI and vSphere SDK — Jin — x4
  • Applied Security Visualization — Raffael Marty — x1

Why am I giving them away? TechTarget is moving offices, and nobody wants to lug all the books around, so it’s ship ’em out to you or toss ’em. I’d rather get them into the hands of people who can use them.

And even if you don’t have a VMware tip, tell me why you think you’d be the best owner of the book of your choice and hey, I just might send it to you anyway!



February 23, 2010  2:42 PM

VMware’s quarterly earnings and you

Makking Mak King Profile: Makking

That frenetic time in the business circles known as “earnings season” is upon us yet again. It is a time when companies announce how they have fared during their past fiscal quarter and give estimates of how their short and long term future prospects appear. These values tend to have real impacts for those that trade in the markets. They also can be used to determine how well a company is doing in its industry, in addition to what the future may hold for those that work with their product line.

VMware posted their quarterly earnings on January 25. After reading the official report from VMware, I picked out a couple highlights that I thought were interesting:

– Fourth quarter revenues were up 18% from the fourth quarter of 2008
– 2009 revenues were $2.0 billion, an increase of 8% from 2008

And a quote from Paul Maritz, president and CEO:
“The quarter’s strong performance, anchored by demand for vSphere, signals that virtualization is a key technology for customers who need to save money today, yet invest in a strategy that is central to the emerging cloud computing model,”

Think about what these numbers and quote mean in the context of what has happened in the financial system over the past 18 months. Banks from the time of the Civil War have collapsed. Credit markets nearly froze up. International currencies has seen large fluctuations. Yet, VMware has actually GROWN REVENUE. Not a small amount, but a full 8% from 2008. That is astounding to me. I don’t know of any individuals that have grown their income by 8%, let alone a company doing so.

So what does that growth tell us? It tells me that some companies are still willing to spend money, if they see a tangible benefit. This benefit has be measured in dollars, not just processing cycles or application performance. Companies exist to make money, pure and simple. That is true for VMware, as well as its customers. It is apparent to me that the financial benefits of virtualization and cloud computing are sufficiently attractive even “in this economy” (for some levity, I ask you to start counting how many times you hear the expression “in this economy” in a single day — you will be amazed) to prompt customers to move forward with their IT projects, at least as much as it involves VMware and eventual cost savings for them.

What does that mean to those of us that work with and support VMware products? First, it means we are in a better position than many others in our field. This feels like having a CNE or MCSE certification did in the mid 90’s. We have seen the benefits of virtualization, have learned how it works, and have helped our own customers (whether internal or external) to reap the rewards as well. As one individual I work with likes to say: “It’s better to win.” Yes, dear reader, count yourself among them when you see VMware post quarterly results like this. It means that you have chosen to work with a software vendor with a solid product line that is in demand. Good call.


Mak King

January 11, 2010  3:33 PM

The Law of Unintended Consequences and SiteSurvey 2.0

Makking Mak King Profile: Makking

Perhaps you have heard of “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” Though it isn’t an actual law of science, such as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, it is a phenomenon that we all have no doubt experienced, sometimes daily.

The Law of Unintended Consequences explains that in any endeavor, actions will have unanticipated results. These results can fall into the categories of positive, neutral or negative (with the negative usually attracting the biggest spotlight, and the subsequent blame).

Today, for example, I encountered this law, but in the all-too-rare, positive consequence. As I was researching some processors for their Fault Tolerance compatibilities on the VMware website (riveting, I know), I happened across a new software tool that was released just hours previously, SiteSurvey 2.0.  Hey, something new to try out — and it’s free! Continued »

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