26 Mar 2010
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I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to be on the legendary Mike Laverick’s chinwag last night. Mike and I hooked up our webcams and logged onto Skype to have a relaxed chat about some topics that affects the virtualisation enthusiasts today. In the session we talked about:

  • How I got into Virtualisation;
  • Our home lab environments (Mike is quite serious when it comes to his lab!);
  • The challenges that new blade systems such as HP Matrix and Cisco UCS brings;
  • A discussion on NFS, iSCSI and FC;
  • VMware’s plans to discontinue the Service Console version of ESX, in favour of ESXi;

The Chinwag is available here: http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/2010/03/25/chinwag-with-mike-and-rynardt-spies-episode-08/

I would also recommend that you subscribe to Mike Laverick’s Pod Cast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mike-laverick-podcasts/id356669479

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11 Mar 2010
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I've been passed a press release regarding executive changes at PHD Virtual. The full press release to follow below:



 Virtual Machine Backup Leader, PHD Virtual, Names Thomas Charlton Chairman and CEO 

The Pioneer of Virtual Backup Appliances Adds Technology Management Expert to Corporate Team 

MOUNT ARLINGTON, N.J. – March 10, 2010 — PHD Virtual Technologies, award winning provider of esXpress VM Backup, the fastest multi-VM backup and restore solution on the market, today announced that Thomas Charlton has been appointed Chairman and CEO by the PHD Virtual board of directors. Charlton has more than 20 years of leadership experience in emerging technology ventures, leading past companies to increased profitability and successful acquisitions.

“We are pleased to add Thomas to PHD Virtual’s corporate structure,” said Michael Triplett, managing director, Insight Venture Partners and PHD Virtual board member. “Thomas brings a wealth of company management expertise and innovation to PHD Virtual from his years of experience.  His amazing track record in corporate growth and visionary thinking will help continue PHD Virtual’s dramatic growth.”

Prior to joining PHD Virtual, Charlton was the CEO of multiple software companies, including Shunra Software (network emulation and appliances), VoiceGenie Technologies (Voice XML speech platform) and Trailblazer Systems (eCommerce EDI software). Responsible for each company’s strategic direction, revenue growth, profitability and global expansion, Charlton led Shunra and VoiceGenie to profitability, and led VoiceGenie and Trailblazer Sytems to successful acquisitions by Alcatel and Nu Bridges respectively. Charlton also served as CEO at Tidal Software (enterprise job scheduling) which was recently acquired by Cisco Systems, Inc.

“I am excited about the opportunity that PHD Virtual represents based on the innovative technology it has built to address the growing data protection needs of the virtualization market,” said Charlton.  “Customers with virtualized environments cannot adequately protect their growing information through traditional data protection solutions. Virtual server environments need technology that has been purpose-built to meet the unique requirements of virtual machines. PHD Virtual is the only technology to be designed specifically for a virtual environment with the performance and scalability enterprise customers require. It also delivers the unique distinction as a virtual solution that integrates easily with a customers’ physical storage environment for true end-to-end data protection.”  

About PHD Virtual Technologies
The fastest multi-VM backup on the market and pioneer of Virtual Backup Appliances (VBAs), PHD Virtual Technologies has been transforming data protection for VMware since 2006. Its award-winning data protection solution, esXpress, is used today by more than 2,000 enterprises worldwide to achieve scalable, high availability and cost effective backup and restore solutions for VMware. esXpress was awarded Best of VMworld Finalist for 2009. In 2008, esXpress was named "Data Protection Product of the Year" by  SearchServerVirtualization.com. PHD Virtual also provides a suite of free, virtualization utilities to assist with the administration and management of virtualized environments. PHD Virtual supports global resellers through its Channel Xpress partner program and is a proud VMware Technology Alliance Partner. For more information, please visit www.phdvirtual.com.

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08 Feb 2010
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This is more of a note for future reference rather than a blog post.

I recently had to replace a RAID-10 member disk as the original disk had developed bad sectors and was causing mostly read related problems in the array. (That’s a whole other story it it’s won right and I don’t have time to get into that now). However, when I tried adding the replacement disk to the server, I found that the disk had a GPT table and not an msdos partition table, unlike the other 3 members in the RAID array. I was therefore unable to add the disk “as-is” to the RAID array as all disks are required to have the same partition table type. I therefore needed to remove the GUID Partition Table and replace it with an msdos partition table.

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24 Jan 2010
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Over the past few weeks I’ve heard a whole lot of arguments around vCenter design considerations. A few of the questions asked were:

  • Do I install vCenter on 32 bit or 64 bit?
  • vCenter as a physical or Virtual machine?
  • vCenter Database – Local or Remote?
  • Placement of the Update Manager Server and Database

Before I dig into the vCenter design topic, I think it would be good to put some perspective on this post and why I’ve decided to blog on this. Last week I attended a meeting with some fellow virtualisation consultants and one of the topics raised in the meeting was to find a common standard practise between us regarding vCenter Server design and specifically the “default” stance between the consultants in regards to the placement of the vCenter server and whether it should be a physical or a virtual machine. Some consultants were in favour of the idea of a default stace and others were against the idea, stating that the decision of vCenter being hosted on a physical or virtual machine is down to the circumstances of each consultancy engagement. Thinking back now, I don’t think we came to an agreement in the end.

This post is basically my opinion on vCenter design, and the steps that I take in deciding what my infrastructure design will look like.


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12 Jan 2010
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I've received information of Novell’s intentions to include support for VMware vNetworking Distributed switches in vSphere. Currently, when performing migrations to vSphere using Novell Platespin Migrate, the tool fails to properly detect VMware vNetworking Distributed Switches, preventing any migration operation from using them.

Novell product management have potentially scheduled the support of vDS for June 2010.

If you are going to be using Platespin Migrate to perform migrations in a vSphere environment that utilises vDS networking, Platespin Migrate will require a standard virtual switch, including at least 1 port group.

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07 Jan 2010
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As I have now rebuilt my Openfiler 2.3 iSCSI box, I thought that it would be wise to document the procedure as I have installed Openfiler on a USB memory stick. This was something I’ve wanted to do this for a while now. Basically, I’m trying to cut back on the number hard disk drives in my environment. If therefore decided to install Openfiler on a USB memory stick instead of another hard drive. I could then run 4 750GB SATA drives in RAID10 and leave the Openfiler OS to run on the USB stick.

As most servers can boot from USB, I didn’t expect any issues with installing and booting Openfiler from USB. However, Openfiler doesn’t load the USB storage drivers when it boots by default. You’ll have to tweak the initrd image in order to boot from USB.

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However, after watching Breakthrough Curing Cancer, the future looks promising. Some amazing work being done by amazing people! 2/2
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