ESXTOP via vSphere Web Client

I was impressed when I saw this latest fling from VMware. This add-on provides detailed performance stats through the Web Client GUI, previously ESXTOP was only accessible through the command line. All flings are in a ‘experimental technical preview state’ but this is a handy one to see in the future.

If you have not used ESXTOP for performance stats before, I suggest you take a look at this fantastic guide on how to interpret them – click here.

esxtop_webclient_plugin_vsphere

Features

  • Separate tabs for CPU, memory, network and disk performance statistics
  • Flexible batch output
  • Flexible counter selection
  • Advanced data grid for displaying stats (sortable columns, expandable rows, etc.)
  • Configurable refresh rate
  • VM-only stats
  • Embedded tooltip for counter description

Click here to download the plug-in.

Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) disabled in ESXi future release

By default TPS has been enabled on ESXi hosts. TPS allows virtual machines to share identical memory pages and reduce the overall host memory footprint. This is achieved by allowing the hypervisor to scan at 60 minute intervals (default) for identical memory pages, reclaiming redundant copies and keeping a single memory page in physical RAM mapped to the virtual machines.

ESXi_TPS_ImageA recent article from VMware – Security Considerings and disallowing inter-Virtual Machine Transparent Page Sharing (KB2080735) acknowledges recent academic research that, under certain controlled circumstances, makes it possible to measure memory timings to try and determine a AES encryption key in use on another virtual machine running the same physical CPU. Whilst the probability of this occurring in the real world is low, VMware have taken the decision to disable TPS by default from future ESXi update releases as a security measure. However, administrators can turn it back on for the whole host or even individual virtual machines as needed manually.

New installations;

TPS no longer enabled by default from the following shipped releases.

  • ESXi 5.5 Update release – Q1 2015
  • ESXi 5.1 Update release – Q4 2014
  • ESXi 5.0 Update release – Q1 2015
  • The next major version of ESXi

Click more to read on

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VMworld 2014 – Day 0

VMworld-Logo-2014-SmallWhile VMworld officially starts tomorrow for most of us, today was the Partner Day where there are various sessions for them to understand the VMware solutions roadmap ahead.

I was there to get registered early and take a VCAP-DCD certification exam in CC5.2. I had initially underestimated how much floor space VMworld takes up. The test centre was a good walk away during which I also strolled into the the Hand-on-Labs section, which did look exciting indeed. I am looking forward to that tomorrow afternoon.

Registration was easy enough. I also received my backpack, badge, notepad, flyers, a water flask & 2 t-shirts throughout the day.

 

Transportation at VMworld 2014 – Europe

For those attending VMworld, below are useful transport links to and from the conference.

Metro Shuttlebarcalona_this_way

A shuttle service will operate to/from the Europa Fira metro station. The Service is scheduled as follows:

  • Sunday – 12 Oct: 14.00 – 20.00
  • Monday – 13 Oct: 07.00 – 21.00
  • Tuesday – 14 Oct: 07.00 – 20.00
  • Wednesday – 15 Oct: 07.00 – 00.00
  • Thursday – 16 Oct: 08.00 – 16.00

Click More for a Metro Map & the full transport schedule More

VMworld 2014 Barcelona – Evening Events and Activities

There are only a few days left until VMworld 2014 -Barcelona. If you are going, you definitely need to pre-register and put together your plans in Schedule Builder on VMworld.com.  VMworld-Logo-2014-Small

Aside from the excellent technical sessions, hand on labs, hall crawls and meetings, there are a lot of other events and activities taking place around town in the evenings to wind down!

Below is a list of the VMworld Europe 2014 ones I am aware of so far. Let me know If I have missed any and I will add them. See you there!

Click More to View the full list

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VMware Virtual SAN & Sizing Tool

VMware have released the Virtual SAN sizing tool this month.

vmware-virtual-san-diagram

Virtual SAN has had a lot of attention over the past year since it was announced. Naturally it makes sense to answer the question – How does Virtual SAN work? What is it?

To put it simply – Virtual SAN is a software defined storage solution from VMware. Unlike other products out there, Virtual SAN sits inside the ESXi layer and therefore is not an additional software appliance. Virtual SAN aggregates local storage from ESXi hosts into a single shared datastore presented to all hosts in the Virtual SAN cluster.

Do not be surprised with the SSD requirement. Virtual SAN relies heavily on SSD for performance, every write I/O will go to the SSD first, and then eventually follow through to Magnetic Disks.

Minimum Virtual SAN requirements;

  • 3 x ESXi 5.5 hosts per Cluster
  • 6GB Ram per host
  • 1 x SSD & 1 x Magnetic Disk per Host
  • 1 GB Ethernet NIC dedicated for Virtual SAN per Host

Full requirements can be found here.

Licensing;

Virtual SAN is licensed on a per CPU basis with a 60 day trial. For example, if you have a Virtual SAN cluster that contains 6 hosts with 4 CPU’s each, you will need to assign a 24 CPU licence.

Virtual SAN sizing tool;

vmware-vsan-calculator

Virtual SAN customers can get easy sizing estimations for the hardware resources necessary to support a Virtual SAN design. You just need to provide high level virtual machine data on capacity, performance and desired availability requirements.

The sizing tool can be accessed at – http://virtualsansizing.vmware.com

How to enable Virtual SAN;

If you plan to test this out in a Lab, you can emulate the SSD / Magnetic Disk set-up through VMware Workstation / Fusion.

Enabling VSAN is simple. Step 1 – Create a VMKernal Port dedicated to Virtual SAN, Step 2 – Enable Virtual SAN at a cluster level as displayed below;

enable-virtual-san

Gartner Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2014. VMware vSphere Leads

Recently Gartner published their annual Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualisation [2014].

A lot has happened in the virtualisation / cloud space, and VMware certainly remains the overall leader in 2014. When comparing 2011-2014, we see Citrix move into the niche player’s quadrant and VMware / Microsoft remain stable in the leaders quadrant. A new entrant for 2014 is Huawai and their hypervisor – FusionSphere which is mainly running on Huawai server hardware currently.

The full Gartner 2014 report can be read here.

virtualisation-gartner-mq-2014

2011 – 2013 quadrant diagrams can be seen in the full post.

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Veeam Whiteboard Fridays: Disaster Recovery Wars

VEEAM-DR_WARS-PROMO

I have just come across these recordings on DR strategy and the Veeam product line. The recordings feature Veeam One for VMware virtual environments including best practices on DR.

Aside from the DR learning, the star wars theme gives it an interesting spin! Go from an IT padawan to a  true Virtualisation Jedi in the 3 part training series.

Master your DR skills in three episodes:

• Episode IV – A New Host: learn how to prepare for disaster, document your environment, ensure your backups are current and configure your backups.

• Episode V – The Admin Strikes Back: be prepared for the recovery. Watch and learn more about the recovery of primary VM’s and rebuild your environment effectively

Episode VI – Return of the Admin: deep dive into restoring services, best practices around restores, focus on getting services up and running for end-users.

Click here, register and view the video series.

vCenter Server 5.5 root account locked out after password expiration

If you have not come across this yet, you probably will soon if you have deployed a vCenter Server 5.5 Appliance. The root account on the vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 will lock out 90 days after deployment, or root password change. Not to be alarmed, VMware added the security best practice to encourage administrators to frequently change the password or be locked out every 90 days.

The KB article 2069041 –  “The vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 root account locked out after password expiration is located here, and describes the process to a) prevent a forced lockout every 90 days and b) how to unlock a locked out root account on the vCenter Appliance.

Certainly a handy KB article if you are approaching 90 days following your vCenter 5.5 Appliance deployments.

vSphere HomeLab – Step-by-Step Guide – ESXi 5.5 Installation

Posted here is part 3 – How to Install ESXi 5.5. This part goes through the installation of ESXi 5.5 on VMware workstation 10. The Final Part 4 will be posted this weekend with the installation and configuration of Openfiler shared storage (iSCSI & NFS). Thank you for the e-mails so far!

OVERVIEW

VMware ESXi 5.5 is a bare metal hypervisor from VMware. Bare metal hypervisors run directly on the host computers hardware to control resources and manage multiple guest operating systems. For your home-lab you will need two ESXi 5.5 hypervisor instances. This guide focuses on how to install a successful instance of the ESXi 5.5 bare metal hypervisor within VMware workstation for your home lab.

CONTENTS

  1. Download ESXi 5.5 software from VMware
  2. Set-Up Virtual Machine in VMware Workstation
  3. Install ESXi 5.5
  4. Configure – Hostname, IP Address, Gateway, DNS on ESXi 5.5
  5. Test Installation – Access ESXi 5.5 using the C# Windows vSphere Client
  6. Repeat – Steps 2-5, to create the 2nd ESXi 5.5 Server for your Lab.

Link to the vSphere 5.5 Home Lab Page – Click Here

Direct Link to Part 3 of the series mentioned here – Click Here