Category Archives: Management

vSphere – vCloud – Fast Provisioning – My Thoughts…

Yea, some would say this post is probably overdue but lately I have sincerely been thinking. Have we been drinking some Kool-Aid around this feature? I couldn’t help but have some concerns around possible implementation of this feature in VCD installments. I in particular, am not sold on it completely. Here are just some quick reasons for me that didn’t exactly sell me.

  1. It’s a very “new” feature in regards to VCD which is still early in its years as a cloud platform.
  2. No way of currently updating those linked clones unlike VMware View. (some admin over head as well as using local and shared catalogs)
  3. Added complexity (with linked images, snap chains, and how you have handle storage motion)
  4. By Default ALL linked clone images are mis-aligned. (VMware has yet to address this problem) In some cases this could be a compounding factor causing some additional I/O overhead.
  5. Design has to be highly considered and evaluated with a max of 8 node clusters (This will affect current installments as well)

So yeah, I know I look like the bad guy but I seriously think this release was just a target more to SMB than anything. IMO, this is more like a feature for those of smaller businesses because now they don’t have to go out and spend all that crazy dough on a VAAI capable array (Hooray for them :)) which begs to question….

Why do you need to enable this feature if you already leverage VAAI capable arrays?

It just seems to me that Fast Provisioning is a little pre-mature in its release. Although VCD continues to improve I think this features needs some serious improving before some bigger shops may decide to utilize it. The other down is that we have yet to see any real progress on the UNMAP problem and it’s now treated as a manual task we should run during certain times… or outages I should say. That really blows because we all know what kinds of benefits and problems thin provisioning on some array can cause. For the most part, it’s just really bad reporting… lol.

Here are some other sources I would recommend reading and I seriously think you should read them and learn for yourself if it’s really worth it. Also, be careful not to put the cart before the OX and do your homework. Some people drink the kool-aid and don’t think to question or ask “What’s really under the hood?”. Fast Provisioning should never be compared to VMware View… It’s similar but not identical.. I would definitely recommend reading Nick’s blog it opened my eyes to what he calls the “Fallacies” and of course Chris has a good read.

http://datacenterdude.com/vmware/vcd-fast-provisioning-vaai-netapp/
http://www.chriscolotti.us/vmware/info-vcloud-director-fast-provisioned-catalog-virtual-machines/
http://www.kendrickcoleman.com/index.php?/Tech-Blog/vcloud-director-15-features-that-effect-limitation-and-design.html

vSphere – Networking – ESXi Single NIC VDS Management Migration

Well, I wasn’t sure how to name this blog as VMware continues to use all kinds of different lingos for all of their bells and whistles. I had the unique opportunity to begin working with migrating management interfaces or also know as vmkernel interfaces around from VSS to the DVS switching. This present a lot of struggles but it seems to me that VMware has really improved this functionality in the later versions of vSphere. I recall running into many kinds of issues when doing this on 4.0. So far using a vCenter 5 server with a mix of 4.1 and 5.0 host testing has proved to be seamless and non-interruptive. However, I would still highly recommend considering all your options and testing this method THOROUGHLY before ever touching production environments.

I was able migrate a single physical NIC running ESXi management from a VSS to a VDS. This video covers how I did that. The reason for the video was because I got all kinds of senseless google links when trying to search for something documented. So, I did myself a favor and published one.

Remember, this is a test and this is only applicable for me to use in a few environments. In most cases I use redundant NICs. Now the real kicker about this is that to migrate from a VDS to a VSS requires a bit more thinking and planning. Especially if you only got access to a single PNIC. Maybe I will cover that some other time… for now try to use two. Also, this may be a solution for environments running single 10GB and need to use PVLANS or centralize managment.

vCenter Orchestrator Resources and Links

I wanted to only post some resources for VMware vCenter Orchestrator so here they are. I also hear through the grapevine a PowerShell plug-in is coming the best part is that vCloud is also getting the PowerCLI cmdlets as well! Cheers!

vCenter Orchestrator Links and Other Sources:

http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/orchestrator_pubs.html
http://professionalvmware.com/vcenter-orchestrator/
http://www.vcoteam.info/
http://www.vcoportal.de/
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/vco_va_420/dHRAYnRoamViZHAlZA > VCO Appliance

Appliance Download and Automated Installation:
Appliance
Installation – Cody Bunch
Installation 2 – VCO Team
Automated Installation – Lamw

Documentation Download:
Orchestrator Compiled Docs
(Admin guides and more)

Other Stuff:
Monitoring SNMP for Ticket Alerting “Use-Case” Plug-In
http://blogs.vmware.com/orchestrator/2011/09/snmp-plug-in-integration-with-vcenter.html
CIM Hardware (Yes, full hardware reporting and automation now..)
http://labs.vmware.com/flings/cim-plugin
Web Based UI Plug-in for VCO:
http://www.vcoportal.de/2011/10/welcome-back-perspectives/
Plug In List (Official)
http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vcenter-orchestrator/plugins.html
contains:
vCenter Server
vCloud Director
vCenter Update Manager
CiscoUCS Manager (this is the management application)
MS AD (Microsoft Active Directory)
HTTP-REST (This is also what VCD uses)
SOAP
AMQP protocol/MQ
SNMP

Companies with vCenter orchestrator plug-ins:
RadWare: (Automating Load balancing and auto provisioning of more web servers when load gets high)
http://www.radware.com/Solutions/Enterprise/Virtualization/vDirect.aspx
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=4rkV3ebQens&vq=medium
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6X-J6llsuho&vq=medium
Uptime: (More monitoring)
http://support.uptimesoftware.com/orchestrator.php

***Disclaimer: The thoughts and views expressed on VirtualNoob.wordpress.com  and Chad King in no way reflect the views or thoughts of his employer or any other views of a company. These are his personal opinions which are formed on his own. Also, products improve over time and some things maybe out of date. Please feel free to contact us and request an update and we will be happy to assist. Thanks!~

VMware 101 – Using PowerGUI VMware Powerpacks for remediation

Well, as anyone knows starting a new job you almost always hit that point to where things get a little slow and you have to find things to do. If your VMware environments are anything like the majoirity of them out there chances are you can do some remediation. Now, First off you have to give credit where it’s due and I can honestly say that Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens both do a fabulous job of bringing all kinds of cool scripts to the table. Anyways lets get on with it.

First thing is first run over to Quest and grab PowerGUI Free and then you want to get the VMware Quest Powerpack and then the VMware Community Powerpack. You also want to pick Alan’s vCheck which is one of the most excellent tool ever!!

1.http://powergui.org/entry!default.jspa?categoryID=21&externalID=1802
2. http://www.virtu-al.net/featured-scripts/vmware-powerpack/
3. http://www.virtu-al.net/featured-scripts/vcheck/
(Note: props to Alan and Kirk who spent majority of there time working on these excellent tools!)

Remediate Away!
Here is usually where I start:

1. Modify the vCheck to your liking (refer to the link on Alan’s log for any questions) the things I usually end up modifying on this script are:

  •  Snapshot age ( I change to 3 days 72 hours is long enough)
  • Update NTP to your NTP server
  •  Change Datastore free space remaining
  • Disable detecting dead path to LUN (seems to hang for me at times)
  • Can adjust the VM free space (though personally it needs to be % based not MB Free
  • Change vCenter alerts to something appropriate (I use 7 days)
  • Change VM removal time frame (I also use 7 days)

2. Now run the script and check out your remediation items, pay attention to certain issues like:

  • vMotion restraints because of CD-Roms attached
  • Datastores low on space (powerpack can help with this)
  • VMware tools out of date, issues, or not installed at all
  •  Snapshots
  •  The above appear to be the more common ones I run this script weekly.

3. From the Powerpacks I usually run the following scripts.

  • Best Practice Queries >Disk Queries > Orphaned VMDKs
  • Best Practice Queries > Disk Queries > RDM’s
  • Best Practice Queries > Disk Queries > Thin Disk
  • Community PowerPack > Resource Pools > Ballooning Script
  • Virtual Machine > VM with over X number CPU’s
  • CD-ROMs mounted to VM

4. On an interim basis I will rerun a vCheck or I will run single scripts on an as needed basis:

  •  Snapshots > All Snapsots
  • Virtual Machines > HAL Information (Not really an issue with win2k8
  • Virtual Machines > CPU Ready %
  • Virtual Machines > VM with active memory ballooning
  • Waste Finder > If I feel like doing some deeper Datastore Cleanup
  • Powered off VM
5. Things not covered by the other scripts but also should be remediated or changed:
  • Scan VM’s for NIC Drivers (Update install vmxnet3 if using e1000)
  • Check Disk Alignment of all your VMs both Linux and Windows and each drive then update templates
  • Enable LPS for certain VM if needed – windows doesnt enable by defualt but ESX 3.5 and up does. Yields memory savings based on app.
  • Check to ensure windows 2008 templates and VMs have the WDDM display driver

At first glance some of these items may not makes sense, but you have consider your own environment.   HAL is a good one to run really more so the first time around just to make sure your older stuff windows 2k3 and 2k are using the right HAL for the vCPU.  I also like to run and dismount all ISO’s from the VMs. Now, you may want to make sure its not a VMware tools ISO mounted to the VM.  If it is then you can possibly get a pop-up for a linux VM and its will appear to be unresponsive until someone answers the pop-up with a yes or no.  Keep in mind remediation is about starting with the quick and easy and then working your way down.  It takes time and creativity.

Now you will have challenges when remediating some things like snapshots when they are really big and I will add a secondary part describing what I normally do, in most cases a clone fixes the issue.

(NOTE: I will be adding additional links later on)

***Disclaimer: The thoughts and views expressed on VirtualNoob.wordpress.org  and Chad King in no way reflect the views or thoughts of his employer or any other views of a company. These are his personal opinions which are formed on his own. Also, products improve over time and some things maybe out of date. Please feel free to contact us and request an update and we will be happy to assist. Thanks!~

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