Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Art of VM Templates-thin provisioning-guest partition alignment:

I found as excellent blog discussing this often overlooked art that I suspect many Vmware Admins might miss out on. Guest parition aligment, thin provisioning your templates so they deploy faster...are all big wins in a virtual environment.

For Linux templates

For Windows templates

The parition alignment tips can also be used for the physical world...just run fisk -l to get the proper /dev/XXXX name first.

Some final notes on the thin provisioning:
to convert vmdk file: vmkfstools -i test3.vmdk tes3thin.vmdk -d thin -a lsilogic
to create vmdk file: Vmkfstools –c 10G –a lsilogic -d thin test2.vmdk

IMPORTANT: You will not see the disk space savings with the ls command. Instead after doing this use the du command to see the savings.

In our case a 10gb template converted to thin format went down to little over 3gb...and instead of 10 minutes to deploy only took 3 minutes!
The Most Useful VMware Commands you need:

One of the weakest areas of Virtual Center is reporting in my opinion, and while the Powershell toolkit is giving us ways to workaround this..I wanted to share some simple commands I learned working with VMware support that I really find invaluable.

List out all virtual machines on ALL storage LUNS:
ls -l /vmfs/volumes/*

See all virtual machines on LUNS that start with VPC:
ls -l /vmfs/volumes/*/vpc*
or even better:
find /vmfs/volumes -name vpc*.vmx

Search all LUNS for a particular virtual machine:
find /vmfs/volumes -name vpc*.vmx -print | grep -i vmname

In the above you match up the long string of numbers with the output from ls -l /vmfs/volumes to find the english name of the LUNS shown.
Document VMware ESX Servers for Free!

UPDATE: The author has converted to powershell his script...very nice. Get the OLD SCRIPT or get the NEW SCRIPT at the authors page.

One of my favorite blogs had this wonderful information on how to document your ESX servers for free. Highly suggest you try this. It produces and very nice HTML report.
Join the VMware 4 Converter Beta Program:

Now is the time to start using and testing the next VMware converter release. It has a long list of new features shown below. Those with a VMware Store acct can get the beta here. Those that need an account go here.
  • Physical to virtual machine conversion support for Linux (RHEL, SUSE, and Ubuntu) as source
  • Physical to virtual machine conversion support for Windows Server 2008 as source
  • Support for converting new third-party image formats, including Parallels Desktop virtual machines, newer versions of Symantec, Acronis, and StorageCraft
  • Workflow automation enhancements to include automatic source shutdown, destination start-up as well as shut down one or more services at source and start up services at Windows destination
  • Power off source machine when conversion is finished
  • Hot cloning improvements for cloning any changes to the source system during the P2V conversion process
  • Target disk selection, and ability to specify how the volumes will be laid out in the new destination virtual machine
  • Destination virtual machine configuration, including CPU, memory, and disk controller type
    Bug fixes described in Resolved Issues and known issues described in the Known Issues section

The following features are no longer supported:
NT4 hot cloning
ESX Server 2.5 destinations

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

VMware Site Recovery Manager is HOT!

Site Recovery Manager just got update 1 in Dec, 2008 and I've got some links to documents and new video showing the possibilities of the product.

First, VMETC has a nice round up of link, video, and tips.
And another very nice SRM central links place is here.

Next, the run-virtual guys have made another excellent video covering SRM.

And finally, see a documented process for creating a 2-site SRM Demo environment on a laptop!
VMware 2008 Year of Virtualization Events:

If your feeling a little worn out from the often frantic pace of changes in the virtulization world it might help to review one account of those changes just from a VMware point of view. Of course that doesn't really shed light on all the changes in the industry this past year, and 2009 looks to be even more exciting with these predictions just from VMware!

Come Jan 2, 2009...put on your seat belt and prepare for another exciting year with virtualization!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It has been a wild and crazy year with virtualization and I got so busy I didn't find time to blog some after VMworld. I appologize for that. But, we should ALL be very thankful that we have jobs and are fortunate enough to be employed, working, or learning in a field where virtualization jobs are really in demand.

VMware will have a Major release next year and the competition will still keep trying to should be another fun year!

Please remember our troops in your prayers who are in harms way everyday...but most important..remember the reason for the season!

Jay Rogers
New VMware Blog-- UPTIME:

The newest blog from the VMware stables has left the starting gate. The blog, entitled Uptime, will cover business continuity, high availability, and disaster recovery.

Continue to the site now.
Blades and Complexities of HA Planning:

"I have also seen customers with 2 Blade Chassis in a C7000 6 Blades in each. An firmware issue affected all switch modules simultaneously instantly isolating all blades in the same chassis. Because they were the first 6 blades built it took down all 5 Primary HA agents. The VMs powered down and never powered back up. Because of this I recommend using two chassis and limiting cluster size to 8 nodes to ensure that the 5 primary nodes will never all reside on the same chassis."

More good info at the source.
Fiber Channel Storage Maximums Explained:

"Have you ever been confused by all of those maximums and descriptions in the Fibre Channel section of the Configurations Maximums reference document? Which ones are for a host and which are for a cluster? Well read on to find out."

Continue reading at source...
Script to help Load Balance HBAs on Active/Active SAN:

Nice script to help with load balancing your traffic accross all HBAs. For Active/Active SANS only.

More info here.
VMware Technical Resource Documents:

If your looking for the best place to keep updated on the lattest technical documents provided by VMware look no futher than this single web page!
ONLINE VMware Hardware Compatibility Site:

Now you can quickly and easily see if hardware is VMware certified online.
Search by hardware manufacturer, model number, or even by keyword.

Try it out now

Friday, December 19, 2008

VEEAM Offering New Free Tool for Christmas!

Veeam will be unveiling a new free tool is on Dec. 22 – everyone who registers will automatically receive a download link that day via e-mail. This holiday gift is marked “do not open until Dec. 22.” has revealed the tool will be Veeam Monitor 3.0.

Update: It's official:
Here's your free gift from Veeam!
We're pleased to announce a new free version of Veeam Monitor

Free real-time monitoring for your free ESXi

Because you registered early, your personal download link is below. Please do not share or post this link -- that will prompt a flood of unwanted e-mail to you for each person who registers using your personal link.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

VMware Online Virtualization Forum:

Network with VMware product experts, customers, partners and other IT Professionals. Attend 30-minute presentations and get the latest info on VMware solutions, products and industry trends. Access real-time information from industry leaders without the hassle or expense of travel. Create a multi-media resource kit, including white papers, videos and podcasts.

Go there now!
Nice ESX Console QuickRef Card:

From this blog check out the REFERENCE CARD current as of ESX 3.5 update 2.
Top 10 Predictions for Virtualization in 2009:

Nice article from VMware perspective:

More predictions are also listed here:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New VirtualCenter Update 3 available:

Some key fixes are:
  • Permissions Can Be Configured for Individual Virtual Machines and Resource Pools in VI Client
  • VMware VirtualCenter password might display in error window
  • WebAccess component JRE updated to version 1.5.0_16
  • FLEX license server upgrade
  • HA network compliance check
  • Plug-ins Updates
  • In HA-DRS cluster, the enter maintenance mode task stalls and VMs do not migrate
  • Once HA advanced settings are created, they cannot be deleted

Get the update at the standard download location or see the release notes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

VMware Clarifies Microsoft SVVP Validation Status:

Please see this site for a discussion about the certification process and status...and even a challenge if you need something certified. There is also a FAQ.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Great central links place for VMworld 2008 info:

I give credit to this as I learned about it from

But the VMworld 2008 collection of links is here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

VMworld 2008 ESX 4 beta demonstration videos:

VMware Fault Tolerance (the best HA possible)×600.html

VMware DVS (VNetwork Distributed Virtual Switch)×600.html

Host Profiles×600.html

Original source of this info was

Monday, September 15, 2008

VMworld 2008- Day1:

I attended three instructor led labs today, Site Recovery Manager, Powershell scripting, and a third lab as a non-preregistered guest: VMware Life Cycle Manager. Overall I would say this was a very productive day with some very valuable hands-on experience. The SRM lab guys were very tired after being up all night due to some technical problems, which only allowed 2 out of the 4 rows of stations to be operational. But then this was the 8am first run of the Lab and there was still much learned in the session.

For me, I am wanting very little powerpoint presentation and more hands-on time. Some of the labs (SRM for example) spent over 1 hour just on the ppt stuff we all have seen before if you have been to any of your local Vmware stuff or VMUG events. This left very little time for hands-on and for the part you really want out of the labs. So my suggestinon VMware, less ppt, more using the products time..and I like a structured instructor led approach, not just read the PDF manual and follow the steps. Save that for the self-paced labs. The Life Cycle Manager got top pick for me, followed by the Powershell scripting lab, based on how the labs were run.

Well, off to the vendor Solutions Exchange Expo, probably the 2nd best reason to attend VMworld. With over 200 vendors all with solutions related to your virtual needs it is often overlooked as one of the best aspects of the show.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Very excited to be attending VMWORLD 2008 next week:

I sure hope you are signed up to attend VMworld, the largest virtualization event in the country. Although created by VMware and some partners, the even is really mean't to be a celebration of knowledge of this technology that is allowing us to rethink how we work and redesign our datacenters. So, no matter what Hypervisor fan you really should be at this event!
With 300 breakout sessions, 13 instructor-led and five self-paced labs, nearly 8,000 total lab seats, and more than 200 sponsors and exhibitors it is THE event to attend for anyone into virtualization.

If you not attending though, be sure to watch the Keynotes LIVE here starting next tuesday at 8am (vegas time).
Good VMware Video:

You might want to watch this video from the EMC World Las Vegas Event held in May of 2008. In particular the LAST video by Dr. Stephen Herrod Chief Technology OfficerVMware.

In addition, remember there is free training videos located at

Friday, September 5, 2008

Properly Organizing for Virtual Infrastructure:

This Network World article is really hitting on some fundamental realities that I have been preaching for some time now in our own organization. As Virtual Infrastructure redesigns our datacenters and the skill sets have to increase, companies will have to reevaluate how they've organized IT. They also will need to reward those increasing there virtualization skills and taking on new responsibilities as datacenters are redesigned. Some good quotes from the article:

...The skill set required for this technology is only going to increase, as is the number of mission-critical applications hosted on a virtual architecture," he says. "So, its relevance is going to increase every year for the foreseeable future.

...virtualization has necessitated a higher level of trust among already integrated systems and network teams, as well as a higher skill level.

...The application administrators and developers need to be brought in to play along with the server, storage and network teams.

...At least get folks from different silos together, maybe monthly, to talk about virtualization best practices, product selection criteria and management processes

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New PowerShell Plug-In for Virtual Center:

A new startup company, Icomasoft, has opened up a beta program for a new plug-in for VC that will be a must have for Powershell use in ESX environments. You can apply to the beta program at this link.

Many impressive capabilities are mentioned as the source of the new here
New Cross-Platform Hypervisor Management tool!

Virtual administrator should keep an eye of further developments of a new management tool from a company called BlueBear. They are developing a tool called Kodiak. It will eventually manage VMware (now), Xen, and Hyper-V. 

The really interesting part is it being cross-platform, it runs on Windows, Linux, and Max OS X.
ESX 3.5 Update 2 Validated by Microsoft now for support!

It is official now per this press release:

VMware ESX is the Industry’s First Hypervisor to be Validated by Microsoft, Offers Customers Expanded Support Options for Microsoft Applications

This is great news as qustions about Microsoft support have and having to work around their support confusion have been a big issue for some in moving foward with virtualization.

Further confirmation is available at this Microsoft Team Blog link.
SearchMyVM-New Google-like Search tool for ESX Server Environments:

Got an email today from VKernel mentioning their new tool. Might be a very good new market for this as in larger environments it can be difficult locating a particual VM. From the email:

"As dynamic virtual environments continue to rapidly grow in size and scope, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find even the most basic information," said Alex Bakman, founder and CEO of VKernel. "Our SearchMyVM virtual appliance enables users to easily query and find the information they are looking for. By making it a free product, we can help IT administrators find information quicker as well as demonstrate how simple all of our virtual appliances are to use and deploy."

You can download the product from
UPDATE: After loading this tool I think all ESX admins are going to find this really handy. Especially those not trying to learn the powershell stuff.
  • Simple appliance import in VC 2.5 in the open OVF format
  • start the appliance, answer question about DHCP or not and time sever (appliance runs Suse Linux)
  • Access the appliance via browswer, add your virtual center server or ESX server
  • see the examples provided or better yet the help area for even more examples

Some quick examples I did: --find a particular vm


vm.cdroms.object.cdroms.connected=true --vms with cd connected

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

VMware Joins Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program:

This is major news, so now after ESX validation, there will be official Microsoft support for their OS and applications running in VMware! More info at these links:
Link1, link2, link3, link4.

In addition, Licensing changes were announced, again being more virtual friendly (see link1).

And this news:
Microsoft now supports Exchange Server 2007 SP1 running Hyper-V or hypervisors validated under the Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's Different: Free ESXI -vs- Licensed ESXI:

Great article you will not want to miss that covers some possibly unknow differences between the versions. Good info to be aware of.

Read the original article here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

ESX 3.5 Works in VMware Workstation 6.5 beta2:

Those guys at the Xtravirt site (along with a lot of input from the VMware Community forums) have a VERY NICE document detailing how to get ESX 3.5 and virtual machines running now in the VMware Workstation 6.5 beta 2. Very valuable for study and demos.

Xtravirt was the first people to figure out how to do this before with VI 3 but the functionality broke with Workstation 6.5. VMware has decided to put the functionality back in Workstation 6.5 due to popular demand.

Get the whitepaper here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New VMware Training Options:

VMware has opened new Online training options to make learning more flexible.

VMware's innovative Flex Online program enables you to take our flagship VMware Infrastructure 3: Install and Configure course online in a way that fits your busy schedule.

If you only have time on the weekends or before or after your workday, Flex Online is right for you. Over a span of two weeks, Flex Online gives you multiple opportunities to hear each lecture and participate in discussion. You choose among several time blocks during those two weeks in which to perform the course's lab exercises. Some options are on weekends and others are on weekdays.

You can learn more here.

Enrollment has started also for Site Recovery Manager training here.
VMWORLD 2008 Schedule Builder is LIVE!!!

Get your reservations fast before they fill up (especially the instructor led labs)!

To go the Scheduler.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS...VMware offers free ESX Version to battle Microsoft!!:

Exactly what I was hoping VMware would do, I just read this information at this site!
This is going to be really good for VMware and combating the competition. Now just need to work on that licensing model some.

" The next version of ESXi, which will come in about two weeks, will be available at no cost, said VMware CEO Paul Maritz. ESXi is a basic hypervisor, which is technology that separates the OS from server hardware so multiple OSes can run virtually on one physical server."

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Version of ESXManager tool (free):

New features are:

Virtual Center independent
Keeps track of Virtual Machine Host Registration, Migrations and Status
Manage Virtual Machine Configuration
Display and work in the Virtual Machine Console
Kill Virtual Machine Process (if the VM can't be powered off)
Rename Virtual Disks of registered Virtual Machines
Move Virtual Disks and keep the disk attached to the Virtual Machine
Virtual Machine Registration, Start , Restart , Reset, Power Off, Suspend
Extend Virtual Disks
View-Search-Filter Logfiles on the ESX Host.
Define and save custom SSH commands with Parameter handling
Publish and share custom SSH commands with other ESX Administrators

Dowload here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

VMware Infrastructure - Architecture Advantages:

Well with the final birth of Hyper-v, it might be good to do a little review on the Architectural Advantages of VMware Infrastructure. Check out this article at

Some interesting parts I thought:
“The architecture for Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V puts standard device drivers in their management partitions. Those vendors claim this structure simplifies their designs compared to the VMware architecture, which locates device drivers in the hypervisor. However, because Xen and Hyper-V virtual machine operations rely on the management partition as well as the hypervisor, any crash or exploit of the management partition affects both the physical machine and all its virtual machines.”

“The Xen and Microsoft architectures rely on routing all virtual machine I/O to generic drivers installed in the Linux or Windows OS in the hypervisor’s management partition. These generic drivers can be overtaxed easily by the activity of multiple virtual machines – exactly the situation a true bare-metal hypervisor, such as ESXi, can avoid. Hyper-V and Xen both use generic drivers that are not optimized for multiple virtual machine workloads.”

“Products like Xen and Microsoft Hyper-V lack an integrated cluster file system. As a result, storage provisioning is much more complex. For example, to enable independent migration and failover of virtual machines with Microsoft Hyper-V, one storage LUN must be dedicated to each virtual machine. That quickly becomes a storage administration nightmare when new VMs are provisioned. VMware Infrastructure 3 and VMFS enable the storage of multiple virtual machines on a single LUN while preserving the ability to independently migrate or failover any VM.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

VMware Communities Roundtable Discussions:

You should try to give a listen each week to these nice roudtable discussions that happen each week with links to all the topics they discuss.

Main site is here.
VMware Infrastructure Architectural Advantages:

So with Hyper-V releasing tommorrow and the bound to happen Hyper-V is free comments (hopefully know one is falling for that one), you might need to ammunition for the less informed on why VMware is Architecturally better than those others.

Read all about it here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Virtualization.Info's new REVIEW CENTER:

One of my heroes in the industry for sure, Alessandro Perilli is creating some very nice professional reviews of the major hypervisors. Worth a look for sure.

See more at the Review Center.
Pass-through authentification support in VC 2.5:

Just learned this great tip from the VM / ETC blog. Adjust the properties of your Virtual Center icon to pass-through your logon credentials by adding this:

-passthroughAuth -s vchostname

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New VMware Workstation 6 support running ESX 3.5 now!

It appears VMware has listened to the customers and they are putting back in the ability to run VMware ESX 3.5 inside of VMware Workstation. Reports so far are detailed in the links below but it appears at present you can installed ESX 3.5 inside workstation but you can not run any virtual machines yet...with that support coming in the next beta release.

There is also some changes needed in your VMX file. See these links:

Monday, May 26, 2008

XtraVirt's new FREE SAN Appliance! this is really cool and just what you need to do some of the DR testing. This is a free tool that works similar to LeftHand Network's SAN appliance, using your free space on your ESX servers as replicated ISCSI storage.

The Xtravirt Virtual SAN (XVS) appliance for VMware ESX3 Server, is a free solution to provide the benefits of shared VMFS storage without the cost of a SAN – this allows the utilisation of otherwise unused local storage in the ESX server to facilitate enterprise level features such as vMotion, DRS and HA normally only available through the use of a shared storage device. All volume data is synchronously replicated between hosts, providing full fail-over capability with data integrity in the event of host, disk or appliance failure. The appliance is menu driven and has been designed to be as easy to configure as possible, and full documentation is provided. Its features include:

- XVS is a SAN and local Disaster Recovery all-in-one
- It provides enterprise level functionality such as vMotion, DRS, and HA, all using direct attached storage

- All volume data is synchronously replicated between hosts providing full failover capability with data integrity in the event of a host, disk or appliance failure

More Info and download.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Demand for Virtualization Jobs up 40%-mostly for VMware skills: has an article or see the full report from DICE.

"There are more than 1,500 jobs posted on Dice that require VMware experience, up 40 percent from only six months ago. Right now, only a handful of jobs call for Hyper-V knowledge..." job board has over 7,500 jobs related to VMware, over 290 to Xen, and just 57 to Hyper-V.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Citrix Releases it's XenDesktop VDI product:

See this article for more info.
Interesting info:
"To deliver its out-of-the-box Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Citrix includes with DDC several other products: the back-end virtualization infrastructure (XenServer), the streaming server (Provisioning Server), the application virtualization & streaming server (XenApp), the SSL VPN gateway (Access Gateway), the monitoring suite (EdgeSight), the QoS engine (WANScaler), the remote control (GoToAssist) and the VoIP gateway (EasyCall)."

"It's worth to note that while Citrix offers its own hypervisor with XenDesktop, the product also supports VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V once available."
Server Core (Server 2008) Configuration tool Updated:

Get version new version 1.1.3 here.
Product Activation
Configuration of display resolution
Clock and time zone configuration
Remote Desktop configuration
Management of local user accounts (creation, deletion, group membership, passwords)
Firewall configuration
WinRM configuration
IP configuration
Computer name and domain/workgroup membership
Installation of Server Core features/roles
DCPROMO wizard (3 scenarios supported)
Windows Server Backup performance configuration
Automatic Updates configuration

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Whitepaper: SQL 2005 and VC Database Performance:

Get it here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

First Annual Carolina VMware Users Summit BIG success:

The first CVSU was packed, and a big success. Held April 25, 2008 in Charlotte, NC..we were honored to have our guest speaker be the famous Mike Laverick from web site and co-author of the best selling Pre published VMware book "Advanced Technical Design Guide" to be available in stores. He is also a popular VMware Instructor but probably most famous the fabulous free Guides he creates for us mere mortals dealing with VMware.
Below is my summary of his keynote points on "The Myths of VMware Virtualization":

FUD, next few years not about features, fighting to convince each virtual vendor is best.
10 Myths of Vmware Virtualization
1. To manage ESX you have to know Linux:
everyday learn something new, he bought book to learn basics in Linux...
attitude: (what I don't know can always learn). All virtual vendors have a common
interface (Back background and white text).
2. Microsoft and Xen will win the war:
a) cheaper--get what you pay for. free hypervisors end up costing more due to (b) below
b) get more on ESX server due to memory sharing...others will require you to have much
more physical servers and licences
c) Xen went to per server licensing...VMware might have to look at this he suggests
d) Real reason for "free" virtual stuff is to get you locked into a vendors products (and
virtual machine format).
e) after you have created terrabytes of virtual machines in one format (like vmware) what
would be reson to leave that platform and go through big complicated virtual disk
conversion, when that other platform (microsoft/xen) is really not that much
f) hypervisors will become a commodity. Why even charge $28 for Microsoft's stuff? We
pay premium from Vmware because it is so much better. VMware moving to
automation and management.
g) size of total market tapped so far is only 5%...big market! Best interest to have
competition for negotiating.
3. Microsoft and Xen will win because there are more windows guys out there:
a) Vmware is dealing with infrastructure, not just software. Important as selecting a
storage or networking vendor. Not lightly made decisions and changes not easy.
Once virtual infrastructure is embeded into infrastructure..there is no Back-out
plan. This needs more knowledge and attention than standard LAN roles.
b) you don't make a decision to buy a product by the skill sets in house. You buy products
good for the business and scale up skills
c) right now premium on VCP certification, other certifications coming. As more and more
get the same certifications the value of these will go down over time (like MCSE)
d) important to keep learning new stuff not just ESX server like:
Site Recovery Manager for example will be BIG for companies and DR plans.
VMSafe, Continue High Availability other examples.
4. Microsoft or App vendor does not support their OS/app in Vmware:
a) Microsoft support statement (even for their hypervisor) "Best Efforts". KB articles
b) MS should welcome Vmware/Xen as it will help them sell more OS licenses
c) Microsoft supporting virtual should be easier (virtual hardware is same and reduces
complexities of different hardware issues to figure out so in there best interest)
d) Driver development easier
e) like to see micrsosoft embrace this
f) really like to see copy of windows designed to run in virtual
g) All share same customers, top 100 vmware customer are microsoft's top 100
customers. So Microsoft is not going to be able to push out VMware
with these big customers through support statements. MS can't say get
better support with MS Hyper-v due to this.
h) Oracle stuff, out with on Xen version and support for VMware questions. Oracle been
supporting vmware and have kb support statement. Don't say they support
Microsoft Hyper-V!!! Do support Xen.
5. Will Windows run better only in Hyper-V:
a) microsoft has not fully embraced pararvirtualization (vm aware). Some Linux distros do.
b) vmware has included support for this
c) if microsoft does this vmware supports this
d) future benefits in the hardware advances, Nested page tables, NPIV, etc.
e) if microsoft adopts pararvirtualization all virtual vendors will reap the rewards
f) Companies will make intelligent decisions on what best virtual platform..not just
because on my windows start menu.
g) thinks they will get market share from being on start menu, but doesn't mean they will
use that to kill off competition
6. Vmware users hate Microsoft:
a) many of us make living off Microsoft
b) many moan about the top dog
c) most vmware vms are windows OS
d) best way to run a microsoft OS with this other system called Vmware
e) how did we get here..been forced to run just one app inside of windows
f) we don't hate microsoft, multi OS support is needed in todays world
7. VMware days are numbered just like Netscape
a) just because they did does not mean so for Vmware
b) they took for granted there customer and didn't evolve
c) many have said this about Citrix for 10 years and they are still very strong
d) difficult for Microsoft to be all things to all customers and be the best in all
e) still thing room for niche players (Xen, VMware)
f) 10 years time...10 years is an eternity in our industry
8. Applications won't perform well in virtual machine
a) consultants will often not suggest virtual for citrix/oracle/sql but they did no
analysis to support this finding
b) more of a CYA for the vendors
c) plenty of evidence to support will work fine in virtual
d) issue is more about the vendors/consultants don't want to think, requires effort,
thinking, motivation
9. Going green and IT industry
a) IT not really friendly to environment
b) improvements being made
c) can do more like what we do with old computers
10. Vmotion helps with DR
a) vmotion requires two working ESX this is not true
b) microsoft blog discussion arguing about this
c) Site Recovery Manager is the answer for DR
In conclusion:
don't believe the hype
Watch for FUD
Manage Vmware with Powershell Useful script examples:

www.ntpro.nil/blog site had very useful information of on a new Wikki web page that has some terrific example code for Managing VMware with Powershell and the new VI toolkit. Check it out here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

My First Storage Vmotion!

April 11, 2008; another milestone to mark in my virtualization journey! Storage Vmotion is just one of those things (like vmotion) that make putting servers in a Datacenter that are not vitual...just that much more ridiculous. I assume all the other competition will try to copy VMware's innovation on this too..but just remember VMware is the one with the vision that just keeps on amazing us all (and teaching us completely innovative ways to run a datacenter!

I used the Virtual Center Plugin from Lost Creations, the first external company from VMware to publish some really cool plugins for Virtual Center 2.5. The plugin was a dream to install and use. Not sure why, but they have removed the dowload links for this and other plugins from this site for now. Have to look into that.

Friday, April 11, 2008

New FREE Tool shows your Wasted Storage Space in Each VM:

Download the tool at the Mightycare Website. Look for MCS StorageView at the bottom of the page.

The tool displays the logical partitions in each virtual machine (ESX 3.x or VC 2.x or higher) and with your setting on free space comfort range, show you how much storage is wasted and in which virtual machines. Nice!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cost Per VM more important that cost of Hypervisor: has a good case study comparing the major advantage VMware has over the compeition with it's memory technology. The # of vms you can run and cost savings are amazing! I will summarize below but please read the full story at the link above.

- We took a common dual socket server with 4GB of RAM and tried the test with ESX Server 3, Citrix XenServer v4 and Microsoft Hyper-V beta. We created and powered on 512MB Windows XP VMs running a light workload and kept adding them until the server couldn’t take any more. Our Hyper-V and XenServer tests topped out at six and seven VMs respectively, which was expected. You see, both those products subtract the full amount of memory allocated to each running VM from the host’s physical RAM. When you factor in the additional memory required by the hypervisor and the management OS, there’s room left for at most seven VMs. In fact, XenServer and Hyper-V will flat out refuse to let you power on an additional VM with a warning that memory resources have been exhausted, as shown in the screen shots below. XenServer and Hyper-V can’t do what we call “overcommiting” memory and that should strike you as tremendously wasteful when most data center VMs are lightly utilized.

-The VMware ESX Results (ESX=40 vms, Hyper-v=6, XenServer=7)

-Those 40 VMs have more than 20GB of total RAM allocated and they are running fine on a server with 4GB of physical RAM – a 5:1 memory overcommit ratio. Our exclusive ability to efficiently overcommit memory lets VMware Infrastructure support more than five times as many VMs on the same hardware as our competition! We repeated the test using Windows 2000 Server VMs running SQLIOSim to see how we fared with heavily loaded VMs. Hyper-V and XenServer both topped out at six and seven VMs again when they hit their memory limits, but the ESX Server platform ran fine with 14 VMs – twice as much as the other hypervisors!

-Now, let’s get back to the cost per VM comparison to see which hypervisors provide the most bang for the buck. In the table below, we add up the costs for a basic hypervisor deployment. We’ll assume a 2-way, 4GB server costs us $6,000. Next, we add the costs to run Windows in each VM. For that, we’ll take advantage of Microsoft’s policy that lets us run an unlimited number of Windows VMs on a host licensed with Windows Server Data Center Edition (and yes, that policy also applies to VMware and Xen hosts.) Licensing Windows Server Data Center Edition costs us $5998 for two sockets. After that, we plug in the cost of the VMware Infrastructure 3 licenses, and to make things interesting, we’ll assume the competing hypervisor is absolutely free.

-The next row in the table shows how many concurrent 512MB VMs each hypervisor can support. For VI3, we’re assuming a conservative 2:1 memory overcommit ratio based on our heavy workload test, which lets us run 14 VMs. For our hypothetical free hypervisor, we’re stuck at seven VMs because memory overcommit isn’t an option. That’s right, no other hypervisor technology allows memory overcommitment – it’s a VMware exclusive.

-Finally, we do the division and find that even our high-end VI3 Enterprise bundle beats a free hypervisor in cost per VM! Going with any other hypervisor means you’ll need more hardware, network and storage connections, switch ports, floor space, power and cooling to support a given population of VMs. That should make your decision easy if all you’re doing is simple server consolidation, but there’s more to consider. VI3 Enterprise includes a powerful array of virtual infrastructure services like VMotion, DRS, HA and more that let you automate, optimize and protect your operations, and those features put us far ahead of the offerings from the Xen vendors and Microsoft.

-If you’re ready to get started consolidating your servers, don’t be lured by seemingly low cost hypervisors into a decision that will limit your VM density and lock you into spending more on hardware. Instead, put memory overcommitment at the top of your list of hypervisor feature requirements. You’ll spend less on the project by stretching your hardware further and, since only VMware has memory overcommitment, you’ll get the proven reliability and advanced virtualization features of VMware Infrastructure thrown in for free. Beware the high cost of a “free” hypervisor.
Microsoft Hyper-V "Quick Migration" not good enough for datacenters:

Learn more details of Quick Migration weakness compared to all other hardware-based hypervisor vendors Vmotion and Live motion abilities. Also learn more on how VMotion actually works.
Read more: part 1 and part 2.

As the Article states:
"Every other hardware-level virtualization provider in the market, with the exception of Microsoft, is enabling their customers to enjoy the freedom of no downtime migrations. It begs the question: Where is Microsoft’s Quick Migration really good enough? As a follow-up: Why would you want to go that route when every other hardware based virtualization provider can offer you no downtime migrations."

Monday, April 7, 2008

VMware beats competition with true HOT-Add Features: noticed an interesting new feature in VMware Workstation 6.5, true hot-add for Disk, CPU, and Memory on Server 2008 guests!

This became possible for ALL hypervisor vendors since the Dynamic Hardware Partitioning (DHP) technology Microsoft started implementing in Server 2003 SP1 but fully implemented in Server 2008.

Microsoft dropped highly touted plans to include this in May of 2007 in its first Hyper-V release which opened the door for other Hypervisor vendors like VMware to take advantage of it first.

Normally VMware adds features first to VMware Workstations products and then they show up in the ESX product many expect this to show up possibly in the ESX 4.0 product.

Please see more info in the full article.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

VMware ESX 3.5 first update due April 10:

Per, we get to try the new UpdateManger feature April 10, when the first updates for ESX 3.5 will be released.
VMware Sales Professional (VSP) Certification info:

"The VMware Sales Professional (VSP) program is an online, self-paced curriculum that has been broken down into an accreditation for each of VMware’s four main solution areas. The first accreditation can be completed in about 5-7 hours and each subsequent accreditation requires about 1-2 hours."
Selling Infrastructure Optimization Solutions
Delivering the VMware Message
VMware Solutions Overview
VMware Products Overview
VMware Corporate Overview
Virtualization Overview

Learn more from the source.
VMware Workstation 6 Beta now Open:

I received an email about this but good info is available on site.

- Use Unity to integrate your guest apps with your host
- More Powerful VM Record and Replay
- Support for Smart Cards & Smart Card Readers
- Enhanced ACE Authoring
- Link State Propagation Networking
- Improved 3D graphics Support

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Online What's New in ESX 3.5 Class!

Enroll or learn more here.


- Format: Self-Paced
- Length: 120 Minutes
- Cost: $100US


This course is open to anyone but is designed for students who have already taken a VMware Infrastructure 3 instructor-led course. It assumes a strong working knowledge of VMware Infrastructure 3. The course contains sixteen brief eLearning modules. Topics include: an overview module of many the new features, a module on upgrading an existing VMware Infrastructure to ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5, and several guided demonstrations on how to operate three of the key new features: Storage VMotion, VMware Update Manager, and Guided Consolidation. In addition, the course provides eight interactive simulations, which give the student hands-on practice with the procedures being demonstrated.Note: For optimum performance a high-speed Internet connection is strongly recommended. Pop-up blockers may need to be disabled.

Monday, March 31, 2008

VCP Special Forum now LIVE on VMTN:

NTPRO.NL is reporting a new forum focussing on the VMware Certified Professional program.

Also announced here, is more info on the new VMmware Certified Design Engineer program. Some details from that post are below:

The VMware Certified Design Engineer certification will be available later this year. The certification involved taking several courses and exams, including:

Install and Configure
Design course (currently under development)

VCP on VI3
Enterprise Exam (currently in private beta)
Design Exam (currently under development)

Once all of this has been completed the candidate must present a defensible design to a panel of VMware Solution Architects for consideration. As you may guess, this is a certification specifically targeted for VMware partners that will be assisting VMware in design and deployment and is only intended for a relatively small audience. That being said, the Enterprise Exam, which has a number of live lab style questions, should be available to the public in the next few months and may become part of a mid-line certification between VCP on VI3 and VCDX. That is also under consideration.
Server Core Graphical Configuration Tool:

Introducing CoreConfigurator

Product Activation
Configuration of display resolution
Clock and time zone configuration
Remote Desktop configuration
Management of local user accounts (creation, deletion, group membership, passwords)
Firewall configuration
WinRM configuration
IP configuration
Computer name and domain/workgroup membership
Installation of Server Core features/roles

Download and learn more here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Intel Six-Core CPUs are next then more Virtualization Extensions: is reporting in Q4 Intel will introduce it's first SIX-CORE CPU codenamed "Dunnington". In 2009/2010 even more exciting news for Virtualization is the inclusion of new virtualization extensions, one of which is Extended Page Tables support..which has been a performance problem in virtualization that will be fixed by the processor. All virtualization vendors are working to support these new extensions.

Nehalem, the 2009/2010 processor will also include futher inprovements for virtualized environments like replacement of the Front-Side Bus with a new QuickPath InterConnect that integrates the memory controller on the processor die, and can run two threads at the same time for each core.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

VMworld Europe Sessions and Labs Online for download: is being updated now with all the sessions and labs from VMworld Europe 2008. Even better news is those that attended VMworld 2007 also have access to download the content!
POWERSHELL for VMware Beta open:

First shown at VMworld 2007, most that saw the powershell tools for VMware would have bought it on the spot if they could. Now the lab content from VMworld Europe event in Canne, is available and the beta is availbable for download for all! Highly suggested you learn how this will improve management of your environment!

David Marshall has done a review of VMware’s adoption of PowerShell on the website:

VMware's blog dedicated just to the Powershell:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dell planning to offer ESX 3I for FREE

The Inquirer and are announcing Dell will be not charging for ESX 3I with new PowerEdge Servers. This would be a excellent move to combat the coming price war other competitors are taking (or will be taking when their hypervisor is ready).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Desigining Resource Groups:

Rich, over at VM/ETC has a really good article on Resource Group design.

I was always thinking along the Pizza Box design and found it difficult to grasp how much I should split up my resources...but the Tug-of-war method sounds a little easier to get started with.

Thanks Rich.
Comparison of True Hypervisor cost when Memory Page Sharing not included:

Check out this very interesting data on "About Oversubscription".

Also includes a storage comparision!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New VIRTUALIZATION CONGRESS EVENT! is organizing a first, an event called Virtualization Congress.

The title screen sounds very interesting:

  • "Case Studies, not marketing pitch"

  • "Products in action, not slide shows"

  • "Open competition, not allilances"

More info also here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Storage VMotion GUI:

It appears someone has created the first VC 2.5 plugin for integrated GUI access to Storage Vmotion. Try this in your lab first of course.

"VMotion is a VI 2.5 client plugin (the FIRST released, third-party plugin in fact) that extends the client's functionality by providing an integrated, graphical tool that can be used to invoke storage VMotion (SVMotion) operations. This plugin is not supported by VMware. In fact, the plugin is not anywhere close to supported by VMware because it is the result of a two-week dive into the inner-workings of the VI client libraries with popular reflection tools (reverse-engineering). l o s t c r e a t i o n s is working on a white paper that describes how to build VI plugins."

Download and read more here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

VMworld Lab Attendance Certificates:

For those that have attended VMworld 2007 LAB and I would imagine those that attend VMworld Events for 2008 (Europe and America), you should be getting a very nice "Certificate of Completion" for each lab you attended. This is a very nice touch and another aspect of VMware that makes it the leader in Virtualzation, It also is another reason VMware is the leader in Virtualization with the training opportunities and Vmworld learning events they provide! And it's nice for attendees to be able to show off their skills improvement to employers.

Good VMware VDI links:

The original article has much more details and you should check it out.

Official VMware VDM Guides

VDM 2.0 Release Notes
Introduction to VMware Virtual Desktop Manager
VDM Installation and Administration Guide

Additional Resources, White Papers and Best Practices:
Ziff Davis: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
VDI Server Sizing and Scaling White Paper
VDM Load Balancing Guide
Windows XP Deployment Guide for VDI
Using the Wyse V10L and S10 Thin Clients with VDM

VMware VDI - FAQs

VMware VDM - VDI Design Guide

VDI Best Practices White Paper

VMware Reference Cards!

I learned about this from
"When I deliver a VMware course, one of the first things I tell my students is that they have to visit and learn the VMreference card by heart. Last Friday I had a short e-mail conversation with Forbes Guthrie, he has been working on the GA release of the VMreference card for the past few weeks and I was interested in when he would put the latest version 1.0 online. Forbes is a VMware, Windows and Linux sysadmin/designer from Vancouver with more than 10 years of experience in the field. He’s also a huge fan of NTPRO.NL ;-) and has been working last Saturday and Sunday to complete the ESX3 VMreference card version 1.0. I just took a peek at the result and it looks great. Forbes really did a great job with putting all the essential VI3 information on one card. When you want to take a peek at the reference card you should visit his site at"
Virtual HBA's coming to VMware:

"A partnership between VMware Inc. and Xsigo Systems Inc. will result in Xsigo's I/O virtualization product being integrated with ESX Server and its management software folded into VMware's Virtual Center GUI."

Learn more here.

Building a great VDI ready Windows:

Learn how Nlite and Vlite tools can help you in building a better VDI base template.

Using nLite you can easily build XP installations that are much smaller than your default install, not only in RAM usage but also in disk usage. With nLite you walk through a wizzard that helps you to disable unnecessary services, remove unwanted programs or accessories and remove unneeded drivers. Many drivers included in XP are not needed if you’re working with VDI desktops."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

VMware's NEW PDF's on VDI:

* using VMware VDI and VMsight for HIPPA/PCI compliance
* VMware VDM 2 load balancing guide
* Windows XP deployment guide
* using the Wyse V10l and S10 thin clients with VDM

You especially want the XP deployment guide for sure.
Read more at the source.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Learn how to Thinstall your Virtual Center Client:

" A colleague of me, Duncan Epping ( attend me at the VMware Blog where lots of questions are about the possibility of Thinstalling the VMware Infrastructure Client. Well, I give it a try and it all works fine! If you want to Thinstall your own VMware Infrastructure Client you can follow the following instruction. I Thinstalled using a Windows XP Service Pack 2 machine with Thinstall version 3.300."

See how to do it here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Plans for 2008: VMware -vs- Cirtix/Xen Strategy:

2008 will be an important year for virtualization with more competition, more automation, and more and more new inventions.

So read up on how Simon Crosby (Citrix/Xensource) and Mendel Roseblum (chief scientist-VMare) see 2008.
VMware's Thinstall Acquisition:

Well seeing is believing in my to learn more on the importance of this technology, see it in action, and try it out yourself...head over to here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Microsoft buy Calista VDI Vendor..might be looking to buy Citrix:

Read the full story here.

"Microsoft wouldn't disclose how much it paid for Calista, but Kay speculates that the price tag was likely south of $100 million. He also says Microsoft may be interested in acquiring Citrix. "Citrix, on its own, has a small market share," Kay says. "VMware was cleaning its clock." A Microsoft-Citrix combination could present formidable competition to VMware, he suggests. Buying Citrix, however, would be a significant deal: The company has a market capitalization of $6.4 billion."

Even more details here.
"CVD provides support for 100% of all file and streaming media types available for a modern Windows desktop experience without the need for dedicated hardware or software on the client."
"CVD optimizes the RDP protocol to drastically reduce network bandwidth requirements and improve the user experience in bandwidth-constrained and high-latency environments."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New "DESIGN EXPERT" VMware Certification:

Just read this over at Sound interesting for those invested in a virtualization career like myself.

On his personal blog Duncan Epping just published an interesting news about a new upcoming certification from VMware: the VMware Certified Design Exper (VCDE).

A new advanced certification for design architects of enterprise deployments, VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDE), will be in beta toward the end of November. The VCDE measures the consultants ability to design, implement, document and test a VMware Infrastructure data center for the enterprise. Requirements for the VMware Certified Design Expert include:

  • VMware Certified Professional (VCP) on VMware Infrastructure 3
  • Pass a VMware Infrastructure 3 Enterprise level exam and a VMware Infrastructure 3 design exam
  • Submit, present and defend a successful virtual infrastructure design plan

More Info on the new "Stage Manager" VMware product:

Information published here, mentions this about the new beta:

VMware starts a new beta program the 21st of January, the product is called Stage Manager. Stage Manager seems to be some sort of Lab Manager spin off. But it goes way beyond what Lab Manager can do.

  • You can easily boot shadow production servers
  • Create test environments for infrastructure changes
  • Build complex pre-production environments
  • Systematically propagate complex system changes through development, testing, staging and user acceptance phases before committing systems into production
  • Get a better grip on your change, configuration and release (CCR) management processes

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

VMware Expands Desktop Virtualization solution with Thininstall:

"Thinstall decouples applications from underlying operating systems, improving isolation and portability for applications across desktop environments. Thinstall’s unique, agentless approach to application virtualization enables the rapid, secure and cost effective delivery of software applications to desktops. Agentless application virtualization, pioneered by Thinstall, requires no pre-installed software on physical or virtual PC’s and no new deployment infrastructure or management tools. Thinstall’s architecture integrates into existing application management systems to deliver virtualized applications across a variety of operating system versions (NT, 2000, XP, Vista) and enables applications to move with users as needed."

Read more where the story broke, or here for the official announcement.

Monday, January 14, 2008

VMWORLD EUROPE News: has some really good info on new Lab and products coming from VMware that will be shown first at VMworld Europe next month. See here and here for more info.
Hands-on-Labs at the event are reported to be covering new items and information on:
  • VMware Update Manager
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware Dunes Lifecycle Management
  • VMware Stage Manager
  • VMware Guide Consolidation
  • VMware Consolidated Backup Integration
  • Automating VMware with PowerShell
  • VMware Lab Manager

Thursday, January 10, 2008

VMware VDI Future: On-Demand Streaming:

Interesting articles of the technology preview of the on-demand streaming coming from VMware and a comparison to the Citrix Ardence solution.

"Details are very light at this point, but during one of the keynotes at VMworld this past week, VMware presented a feature called “VMware OnDemand” streaming technology. This technology will allow a VM player to prefetch disk blocks from a disk image file across a network, allowing the VM to boot from that disk image before the image is 100% copied to the player machine.

This is VERY similar—at least in concept—to Citrix’s Ardence OS streaming technology. This can be huge in the virtualized desktop / VDI environment since it means that a user could start using a local desktop VM without having to wait for a multi-gigabyte disk image file to copy to their client device."

Read more at these two links:

Customizing the Sysprep.inf created by Virtual Center:

Scott Lowe, a new contributer to and a blogger on virtualization, has a nice article on how to adjust settings dealing with the Virtual Center sysprep process. Could come in handy in some situations like VDI.

Read the full article here.

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