VMworld HoL (Hands on Labs)

As always they are brilliant!! The lines are long - at some time during the days it calms down but it is well worth the wait
I took one lab yesterday HOL24 with the Horizon App Manager. It looks like a really great product.
Some info from yesterdays VMware mail.Take note of the last sentence.
Hands-on Labs
Even though the Solutions Exchange closes tonight at 5:30pm, you can stop by and take a Lab until 10:00pm – or- stop by tomorrow morning at 7:00am.
So far 4,900 labs have been with 54,000 VMs deployed, and any attendee who has completed more than 4 labs can now get a Fast Pass which will get you to the front of the line.


The ESXi Quiz Show - #VSP1956

This is going to be fun!! Why you may ask?

  1. because it has never been done before
  2. it is a great idea
  3. more than 400 people have already registered for this session.

This was Duncan Epping's brainchild.Bring a group of vExpert's together - and make an entertaining session out of it all. VMworld is all about knowledge, well ok also about technology a bit, and beer a bit as well, but what good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others?

There will be 3 Teams.

vExpert Team – The Raging vBulls
  • Chad “Warrior-Monk” Sakac
  • Jason “vTerminator” Boche
  • Maish “vBeliever” Saidel-Keesing
  • Eric “Link Master” Siebert
vExpert Team – vPredators
  • Vaughn “Sgt NFS” Stewart
  • Tom “VDI Warrior” Howarth
  • Mike “Axel” Foley
  • Scott “VMGuru” Herold
VMware Team – vRaminators
  • Frank “distributed” Denneman
  • John “VCDX 001″ Arrasjid
  • Kit “VC Ops” Colbert
  • Massimo “Hybrid Cloud” Re Ferre

I like all the "nicknames" we all have attached to the our names (and I will not tell you what the original name Duncan thought of for me [movie star])

The vPredators will compete against the Raging vBiulls - and the winner of that round will go up against the vRaminators.

It is going to be a blast, buzzers and all all, John Troyer, Duncan Epping, and a special mystery judge will be present as well.

If you have not already signed up - do so!!


VMworld 2011 Day 0

So my day started off not so well. Irene - you must have heard about that gal somewhere, that small little storm that was blowing up on the East coast? Seriously though, I hope that it does not cause too much damage and everyone stays safe and healthy.

My original itinerary was to fly at 00:05 on Saturday night from TLV to JFK, a stop-over of 2.5 hours and from there to Las Vegas.

I was notified that the flight to JFK had been cancelled. Bah!!! I started to look at the alternatives that were available from Delta, and on their site they said that nothing was available un till Tuesday. An then I felt really bad. I have been looking forward to coming to this event for almost a year, and because of a higher power - despite all my planning and work - this would not happen.

I would like here to publicly commend the staff from Ivy Worldwide (they are partially sponsoring my trip) who went above and beyond to get me another flight. Within an hour - they had Delta on the phone. and had me booked on an alternate route to the US.

This meant that I was going to arrive in Las Vegas 5 hours later - but hey - that's life. I flew from TLV to Amsterdam, short stop-over, from Amsterdam to Minneapolis, another short stop-over, and then from there to Las Vegas. A long trip, not enough sleep, but what we won't do to make our dreams come true.

I am currently writing this in the middle of the second leg of the journey, and still have another 7 hours of travel, but I am looking forward to arriving later in the day, Joining for the rest of the vExpert program update and maybe getting some sleep somewhere in the next week :)

That was day 0. I am almost there!!


VMworld 2011 US Program Guide

Program Guide

The Program Guide is now available.

Get it here

(No breadcrumbs that I could find regarding what will be happening next year.. Sorry!)

VMworld 2011 Mobile Apps

This is a repost of the original blog posted on the VMworld site

Take VMworld with You on the Go

The Mobile Web App

iOS Application for the App Store

Make sure you have VMworld with you while at the conference with the official VMworld 2011  mobile application. It is a show program, breakout session schedule builder and Solutions Exchange guide for attendees of the VMworld conference. The application is synced to email stations throughout the event and is compatible with iPhone, BlackBerry, and all other smartphones.
With the mobile application, you can:

  • View sessions by day and track
  • Schedule Breakout Sessions
  • View Hands-on Labs
  • Browse exhibitor listings by name
  • Find your way around the expo
  • Create a personal agenda containing the Breakout Sessions you pre-registered for
  • Complete session surveys
  • Follow the event’s Twitter stream
  • Receive the latest conference news

Visit www.vmworld.com/mobile on your phone to download and install the official VMworld mobile application.


I Want More Bandwidth - but KISS - #BRC2K11

This will be the 3rd and final post for the Bloggers Reality Contest that I am participating in before VMworld 2011.
The topic we will be dealing with today is converged networking.

Why is it necessary?

A few years ago, when I was starting out with virtualization, I started out with rack mount servers. From the start I knew that I would be using Network attached storage - and that the minimum amount of network cards I would need for my for these ESX servers was 6 1Gb NICs, two for management and vMotion, two for network traffic for the virtual machines and two more for iSCSI / NFS. It became apparent very quickly that this does not scale, for a number of reasons.
  • The connection of each ESX host to two redundant switches, become a cumbersome process, which takes up a considerable amount of time both of the Networking team and the Server Team as well. Connecting the ports to the correct switches, making sure that the VLANs are set for each network port and so on.
  • It became evident that using 6 ports for each ESX server would leave no free ports for the rest of the servers in that rack. Each patch panel has 16 ports by default. 2 ESX servers per rack - eat up almost all of the ports immediately, which means either running more that 16/24 ports to each rack, or limiting myself to how many ESX servers I can install in each rack.
  • In short, this is not an easy process
So how would you solve this? That is where 10Gb Ethernet comes in. Instead of running those six 1Gb NICs I mentioned above - run two 10Gb NICs - that will give you all the throughput you had before, and then some, of course redundancy included.
Unfortunately though, this does solve all of your problems. What happens if you also need connectivity to a Fiber channel array? That means more cables coming out of your servers - more port being used (be they ethernet or SAN fabric).
And all of the above of course is relevant also for the Storage stack as well.

What are the solutions out there?

If someone were to ask me who are the two major players in the converged networking game today, I would instinctively say HP and Cisco. The solutions they provide are similar in some ways, but are very different in others.
I would like to stress this is my own understanding of both of these solutions - I could be mistaken in some of the details, and as always would be happy to hear your feedback if there are any errors in my description.
Cisco control the network stack. I think that this is pretty much agreed upon by almost all. They have also gained a large market share in the past two years for the converged systems market. The continued UCS growth is something that HP cannot afford give up because it is taking good percentage of their market share.
HP have Virtual Connect and their Flex-10 technology for HP Bladesystem that will allow you to converge the both your Ethernet and Storage traffic over the same network card,
Cisco have their CNA cards that will allow you to pass Ethernet and FCoE over the same network card.
HP keep all traffic internal to the Chassis internal - thus internal VM / vMotion traffic stay within the chassis, as opposed to UCS which sends all the traffic up the top of the rack, regardless.
It is extremely difficult to explain in such a short post which one has more benefit, which one is better and who has the better solution. The answer to that question is actually very simple. The vendor that has a solution better suited to your needs - is the best solution.

Summing UP

This is the last post of a series of three that I (and several other bloggers) have written as part of the Bloggers Reality contest.
We touched on topics that were related to HP's solutions and products that we were exposed to. Some of us are very familiar with their products, some of us did know anything about them at all. Despite that, we all had some great articles published on the each of these subjects. We all learned new things, and most of all (I think I can speak for all of the contestants) we all had a good time!
I would appreciate your comments on this post, what you thought about this blogger's contest, and what you would have liked to see more of, and of course also less of.
Please remember this is a contest and your vote for this post is needed (and your comments as well).

One last note - KISS - Keep it simple stupid (for all of you who did not know what that was)


How many vMotions?? - The PowerCLI Way

As an addition to Luc Deken's and Jonathan Medd's great VIProperty Module, I wanted to add one property that I found useful.

Ever wanted to know how many vMotions have been made in your clusters?

Using the GUI is fine, but not for more than one cluster. You can see the option on the summary tab of your cluster


And of course the PowerCLI way.

New-VIProperty -Name NumberVmotions -ObjectType Cluster -Value {
 } -force

And now you have a new parameter called NumVMotions (and yes that the way VMware defined the property)

[18:11:39 PM] ~> Get-Cluster RD | select Name, NumberOfHosts, NumCPU, NumberOfVMs, NumberVmotions

Name           : RD
NumberOfHosts  : 6
NumCPU         : 52
NumberOfVMs    : 384
NumberVmotions : 2170

And for all your clusters..

Get-Cluster | select Name, NumberVmotions | ft -AutoSize

Great Module!!!!


Orchestration Will Rule Them All #BRC2K11

On Wednesday night I participated on session 2 of the Blogger Reality Contest. From the rankings that were published on Wednesday - I am actually not doing so well (so your continued and strengthened support would be appreciated) - but hey this is not about the competition - it is all about the participation. It is great to interact with a whole new set of people, and I am sure that the relationships built during these three weeks will last. But let's get back to the technology part of it.

Wednesday's topic was Converged Systems. I will not bother you all again with the converged part, we covered that all last week, and the three topics covered were:

  • HP VirtualSystem
  • HP CloudSystem
  • HP AppSystems

The one I would like to cover here in more detail is HP CloudSystem. A while back I wrote a post about The Datacenter - in a Few Years From Now where I presented this graphic below.  Hypervisor for Hypervisors  The relevant part I think is the one here below

And what does this have to with cloud though? The way I see cloud vision is having your pool of resources from which you can provision your applications and vApps to your end users. At the moment this is limited to a cloud for each Hypervisor. I cannot have a VMware vCloud that has Hypervisors that are not ESX. I cannot have a Microsoft Cloud with Hypervisors that are not Hyper-V and so on.. Yes, there are some products that will allow you to manage the multiple clouds under one "umbrella" and place the VM in your Hyper-V cluster or ESX Cluster or RHV Cluster according to different criteria. But today they still need to be separate clusters. Utilizing such an idea will make my infrastructure completely vendor agnostic - and I (the customer) could pick and choose whichever hypervisor suits me.

VMware has their cloud product - vCloud Director. Microsoft has their Private Cloud, Redhat has their CloudForms, Citrix has their Project Olympus. The purpose of this post is, not to get into who has the best cloud offering, nor who has the more mature product. The reality of today is that most infrastructures are running mainly on one platform, and one platform only. Will that change in the future? I think so - in my post Why Should you Care about Veeam Support for Hyper-V, I started to talk about the market share that other hypervisors are gaining and will continue to do so in the future.

I spent a hour on a conference call last week with a colleague who had built their own private cloud solution. I was interested in hearing the details behind the platform and how it was built, and I was quite surprised to actually hear that the whole infrastructure was built on VMware - but they had decided on a 3rd party solution for the orchestration of the the cloud and not to use vCloud Director. The reason being mainly because of the lack of integration the system actually has into current business process. The amount of time it actually takes to integrate into their current CMDB, and a number of other reasons as well. Looking back on the conversation I actually am starting to see that the above graphic that I made should actually be changed. A layer that translates the operations from kind of hypervisor to the other will not actually be the correct solution or the right way to go.

The way to actually go would be to create a system that would allow you to manage Hypervisors/Clouds from multiple vendors, all under one management portal. This way you as the Admin 1would still not care if the machine is running on a VMware / Hyper-V / Xen / Redhat cluster - for you the machine will be managed the same way regardless. The Orchestration software will be that to deploy the virtual machine according to your pre-defined criteria of cost / SLA etc. and present a unified interface to the end-user so they will be able to access their machine - again completely ambivalent to the what the underlying  hypervisor is.

HP CloudSystem HP CloudSystemcould be such a platform. Providing a layer of automation that is external to the the actual hypervisor - could actually be the answer. Treating Server / Storage / Network / Application Pools as exactly that - just pools - and to the end-business user who does not care what platform they run on - but rather that they work, this abstraction should work just fine.

You could even take this one level further by adding an external public cloud to your pool of services. Something like Cloudbursting.

Cloudbursting is an application hosting model which combines existing corporate infrastructure with new, cloud-based infrastructure to create a powerful, highly scalable application hosting environment.

To explain this in my terms, you use the public cloud as an extension of your compute resources to extend and scale as needed for your application.

The HP CloudSystem core is built on the HP BladeSystem architecture and includes the Matrix Operating Environment that enables rapid provisioning of complex infrastructure services and adjustment of those services to meet changing business demands. It also includes HP Cloud Service Automation software to manage the entire cloud lifecycle. Cloud Service Automation provisions applications, manages and monitors the cloud, and provides a single service view across the cloud and traditional IT.

HP CloudSystem’s core capabilities can be extended with

Cloud Maps: tools and best practices that enable CloudSystem to quickly and easily provision various kinds of common application environments from major vendors such as VMware, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. Cloud Maps can substantially reduce the time and effort needed to deploy CloudSystem services.

  • HP storage
  • HP networking
  • HP Software

To sum up this post - The future of the cloud (and your datacenter) will be in the automation layer and will look something like this. It will all lie in the orchestration layer.

Orchestration Layer

As this is a contest your vote does count. Please add you vote in box below. Thanks. Your comments of course are always welcome.

(Small Print) HP is not the only one to offer such software or orchestration platforms. There are several other vendors and other 3rd party companies that provide the same or similar technologies. HP is one of the sponsors of this event, which mean they are partially footing the bill for my trip to VMworld this month. I am highly grateful for the opportunity and honor but I am under no obligation to write anything positive (or negative for that matter) about any of the presented solutions. The opinions and thoughts above are my own so take them as they are.


List of sessions for VMworld 2011 US

Last year I posted a list of all of the sessions available for VMworld Copenhagen (there is an improvement this year with the session builder - but it still leaves a lot of space for improvement), and here is one for VMworld 2011 US.

Click on the image below to get an Excel spreadsheet of all the sessions (updated as of yesterday). Easy to filter on time, Speaker, Track, Session Type etc.

You still need to actually register for a session to participate.

VMworld 2011 Spreadsheet

Less than 3 weeks and counting….


HP and Minority Report (also Converged Storage)

So here it comes, Blogger Reality Contest - Session #1. We all participated in a briefing of HP's Converged Storage Solutions

But before even starting about what we learned, I asked myself what is converged storage? Well it seems that it is actually an HP term - because on Google there is not very much else besides answers that pertain to HP (small mention there of a another company - Nimble).

OK - so that did not help much. So so what is Converged Storage then? Storage we all know - is that small little thing that all of our data is kept - you know what I mean? Those 3.5" Floppies?  And converged well I actually went and looked that one up on the www.


Out of all of the definitions, I think that either the 1st or the 3rd is most appropriate for what we are discussing here. Actually a bit of both.

I do not consider myself a storage expert - not by a long shot. But what I can say, is that during my day-to-day work I deal with storage - A LOT - and have had experience with a several vendors, be it IBM, HP, NetApp, EMC, Nexenta and some others as well.

So how do I perceive how HP envisions Converged Storage?

Not everyone starts up buying a HP X9000 or a FAS6200 or a Symmetrix when they start out their business. Usually - it will be a USB disk for shared storage - then perhaps a Minority Reportsmall NAS device and then when the business grows and expands you need to start looking out at proper storage. So in here come the bigger vendors. But ideally - what I would like from an IT point of view would be getting a Storage array that can grow as my company grows. And if that could actually be done with the least amount of downtime when I need to expand then that is great. And here is what HP are proposing to offer.

Start off small. Get what you need out of your array, make use of its maximum potential. But when you grow you will want an easy upgrade or an easy path for expansion. Allow me to expand as much as I want. In the beginning I started by fixing computers in my garage and I will grow to be the next VMware / Google / Amazon / Microsoft. I will need a storage platform that will grow with me and my business.
And if you want to put a cherry on the top - then make in completely non-disruptive and transparent.

I might be jumping ahead a little bit to what we will be seeing next week, but half of the presentation was about the Converged Systems. In your datacenter you probably have a separate department or at least a vendor for each of your infrastructure components. Your storage is provided by one vendor, your network is provided by another, and last but not least your servers could be a third. And the IT world has seen that this is not the ideal setup, because you have to put all the pieces of the puzzles to together and to get to play a nice and happy tune. Not always is that the easiest of tasks. And if they are all different vendors, then I can bet you all that there will not be "One Admin to Rule them all". And we can see that the market is going in the direction of combining as may of these components as possible in one converged solution.

Cisco and their UCS have become one of the major players in a the converged infrastructure market. They have managed to integrated 2.75 / 3 of the major components in the infrastructure. I say 2.75 because the Network and compute are there, prominently there, and the technology is in place to hook you up to storage in any way you would like or think, but they do not own or have a stake in Storage (yet).

The major storage players are just that storage players, they have little or no say in the compute or networking stack.

And here HP comes in. They are one of the only companies that can supply a solution in each of the 3 above mentioned categories. More of this on the next post.

To sum this one up - Converged Storage is:

  • an HP term - but is something every CIO would drool over
  • it is storage that will grow as you grow
  • be a part of a complete solution
  • integrate seamlessly with all the other components in your infrastructure (regardless of the fact if they are from the same vendor or not)

2 more short points. Why a picture of Minority Report? because of the graphic on the landing page - just reminded me..

Minority ReportMinority Report???

And one last thing. There are two short videos on the site that explain the concept of Converged Storage The first one was way to high-level for me - with a lot of nice words and high level explanations.
Not my cup of tea.The second one though - I think was right on - explained perfectly what the idea is behind converged storage. Simple and simplistic, just the way I like it.

HP Converged Storage

Please take a second to voice your opinion on the post in the poll below.
No Negative Feedback Welcome (Sorry Had to put that in there… :)). Comments of course are always welcome.

(Small Print) HP is one of the sponsors of this event, which mean they are partially footing the bill for my trip to VMworld this month. I am highly grateful for the opportunity and honor but I am under no obligation to write anything positive (or negative for that matter) about any of the presented solutions. The opinions and thoughts above are my own so take them as they are.


vSphere 5. 0 vRAM Entitlements are to be changed

The first rumor of this was mentioned here by Gabrie van Zanten

The original levels were as follows:

Current vRAM

As I mentioned on a previous post of mine vSphere 5 Licensing is (some kind of) per-VM licensing - VMware took a huge amount of flack from this. People were very verbal - very blunt and on the competition's side very, very pleased. The thread below has been extremely busy since the announcement, reminds me of the good old days..

Community Thread

The first sign of the change was with the announcement Update on VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) - where the mention of a maximum cap of allocated vRAM (reserved) to be counted - in this case 24GB


Then came along Gabrie's post and another from Derek Seaman

And these are the new entitlements

New Entitlements

In my previous post on Licensing I explained where this would really hit people hard.

So how does this change help the Essentials customers with a the raise from 24 -> 32GB Ram per Socket?

In essence - not that much. The extra addition of 16GB of RAM will not help those who have already gone beyond the 64GB ram. But to tell you honestly - if you are already packing your server with amounts of RAM above that - then you should not be using the Essentials bundles - From a business perspective,  the amount of VM's (or the kind of critical VM's - i.e. High resource VM's) on such high capacity servers, should have much stronger features backing them which are only possible to get in the Enterprise and up editions.


And what about high density servers? well here there is a different story. Those with such big servers will usually purchase the high-end licenses. And in this case the potential damage caused by the previous levels has been alleviated. Most 2 socket ESX hosts I know are under 192 GB of RAM - so they should be ok. and the same with 4 socket servers - under 384 GB RAM.

I would like to stress on more time - these levels are not installed RAM but currently, powered on VM's allocated RAM

One more loud complaint was the free vSphere Hypervisor that was limited to 8GB vRAM.

vSphere Hypervisor

Raising the limit to 32GB of RAM was the right thing to do. A small note, the physical limit is still in effect - no  more that 32GB of Physical RAM per vSphere Hypervisor.

My take on the change (and this is my personal opinion only).

This was either something planned from the start. The move to a vRAM model is the right thing. The entitlements were set low - on purpose - to generate the discussion - and get people looking at how / what their environments are using. After the idea had seeped through into our conscience then give the extra "present" of double entitlements - which covers I think more than 80% of the deployments out there - and gives the client the feeling of a win-win situation for both sides. Most people that have checked their current environments have come back with the answers that they would not need more licenses (and that was before today's announcement).

It also could have been a money grab attempt as has been said publicly more than once. But since the amount of loud feedback received caused some big-wigs in VMware to panic - and scramble with a more realistic solution that would not cause such an uproar.

If you ask me - the second option is not logical - I do give a company of VMware's size and market share a bit more credit.

Still - this did cause a lot of negative publicity, but more importantly it did something else. It took away the spotlight from all the great and upcoming features and improvements in the new release. And now that the biggest obstacle has been removed - VMware (and the virtualization community) can focus on the important stuff.

Just in time for VMworld!!

A last note regarding some things not well known about vRAM.

vApps - and Management products
vRAM entitlement - includes all the vApps - and mgmt products in use for example vMA, CapacityIQ, vCenter. These are counted  towards your vRAM entitlement. This is something that was raised to VMware to see how these could be removed and perhaps will be solved in a future version.

96GB Memory Cap
The maximum amount of memory that will be counted for a single VM is 96GB. That means the Monster VM is on! 1TB of vRAM will still only be counted as 96GB.

vRAM shared between vCenter Servers in Linked Mode
This can only be on a per-region basis. That means if you have a vCenter in the US and another in Europe - you cannot use both of these vCenters to as a vRAM pool. This is due to pricing differences between the different regions.

Oh yeah - and I hate to say - told you soo…..

Told you so


VMware vCenter Converter to be Retired

Who uses vCenter Converter? Well I do.

So I have some bad news for you. It looks like the built-in converter plugin which was part of vCenter 4.x will be no more.

vCenter 4.1 Install

This is screen shot from the Beta

vCenter 5.0 Install

This I used for performing the import of VM's into the my Virtual Infrastructure right from the vSphere client as in the screenshot below.

Converter Plugin

But this is all going away.

Release Notes

I will still use the Standalone version (5.0 is in Public Beta) but this feature will be missed (at least by me).