I am sure many of you have noticed that this site has been unavailable at times during the last two or so weeks. This is because I’ve been plagued with problems relating to my iSCSI SAN. The annoying thing is that the problems only started when I decided to move from the stable release of vSphere 4, running ESX Server and not ESXi, to a beta release of ESXi. This has now made troubleshooting the issues more complex as I’m not quite sure whether the issues are related to the new beta version or if it’s simply down to my iSCSI SAN, which is running Openfiler 2.3.
The highlight of the day was my wife’s statement: “If AOL, Google, Yahoo and those people can keep their systems online, why can’t you?” Well, let’s see... The difference is that my solution is a few hundred £££, not millions! You get what you pay for!
So, earlier today, I’ve decided to install the beta version of ESX rather than ESXi, but the problems still seem to be there. At the moment, I’m working on a slow and painful plan to move all the data (and we’re talking TBs here) from the iSCSI solution to a NAS. This will give me reduced performance, but it will at least allow me to rebuild my iSCSI SAN. I will also be going back to the stable release of ESX 4.0 for this environment and do my beta testing somewhere else (maybe in the solution centre at work). I do apologise if www.virtualvcp.com is down at times, but I’m working as hard as I possibly can with a limited budget to resolve the issues asap.
So you're designing a new Virtual Infrastructure on VMware right? Ok, one of the first decisions that your client will have to make is whether to virtualise on VI3 or vSphere. At this stage I'd say it would be a rather silly move to go with VI3.5 as VMware vSphere 4 GA has been available for quite some time now. However, I still see new designs based on VI3.5 being signed off. So why would I rather go for vSphere 4 and not VI3.5? Here are some my reasons:
We all know that vSphere is stable for production, if not more stable than VI3.5
Although vSphere 4 has more bells and whistles than VI3.5, it can still do what VI3.5 does. It just does it, well, better that VI3.5 in my opinion.
As people have learnt with ESX 2.5 when VI3 was released, you'll have to upgrade eventually. Sooner or later, you'll have to upgrade from VI3.5, so why do all the work twice? Why build a VI3.5 solution only to upgrade to vSphere 4 eventually anyway?
I'm not saying that you should go with the latest release, in fact, my policy is to always hold off one or two months before upgrading to the latest release of anything.
Well, ok, so now you have decided to go with vSphere right? Here's the next question... Do I run a 32-bit or 64-bit OS for my vCenter server? Do I install Windows 2003 32-bit or Windows 2003 64-Bit? Or, do I install Windows 2008 R2, which is 64-bit anyway? Now, I may be able to point you in the right direction here. As I'm bound by non-disclosure agreements for most of the information I have from VMware, I won't be able to say too much about anything I've been working with in the past few weeks. However, the purpose of this post is not to help you design a virtual infrastructure that will work for you today, but to help you design an infrastructure that will work for you today, tomorrow, and that will work for and with you when the time comes to upgrade to the next generation of VMware's Datacentre Virtualisation product. So, here's a tip, and probably the whole idea of this post: WHEN DESIGNING A NEW VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE, BE SURE THAT YOU CHOOSE A 64-BIT WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM FOR YOUR VCENTER SERVER DEPLOYMENTS AS IT WILL SAVE YOU A LOT OF TIME AND HASSLE IN THE NEXT YEAR!
I have just downloaded and deployed CapacityIQ and it all went fine until I actually decided to register my vCenter server with the appliance, only to find out that the newest product by VMware does not even support vCenter 4, or in fact vSphere! That will teach me to read the release notes before actually bothering to try something new. This is what the release notes have to say:
CapacityIQ supports VirtualCenter 2.5, Update 4 and Update 5, managing hosts running ESX Server 3.0.2 through 3.5. CapacityIQ 1.0 does not support VMware vSphere 4.0 or vCenter 4.0
Am I dreaming? What's going on here? VMware, why did you even bother? Heck, why did I even bother?
VMware has yet again delivered another value-add component to vCenter. vCenter CapacityIQ provides capacity management capabilities for virtualised data centre and or desktop environments. The product integrates with vCenter Server ensuring that your virtualised capacity is always predictable and efficiently used.
The product website states:
“VMware vCenter CapacityIQ balances business demand with IT supply, without compromising performance, availability and security. With CapacityIQ, your IT infrastructure is guaranteed to have sufficient capacity to meet any business service level agreements.”
Once I have had a good play with CapacityIQ (which I intend on doing sometime this week), I will report back with my review of the product.
More information on vCenter CapacityIQ can be found at: http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-capacityiq/
Myself, along with two of my colleagues, went on a day trip to this year’s IPEXPO Earls Court in London where we were shown a demo of esXpress at PHD Virtual Technology’s booth. We were very impressed by the presentation and some of the futures of esXpress. We were especially interested in the File Level Recovery features of their data De-Duplication appliance.
When I got back home from IPEXPO on Thursday, I decided to test the product for myself. So, I went on to download a 30 day evaluation from http://www.phdvirtual.com/ and I can surely say that I’ve been putting PHD Virtual esXpress 3.6 through some vigorous testing for the past few days. To start off with, I found esXpress easy to deploy and I was quite impressed with it. However I must confess that when I really started to dig into how esXpress goes about its business I started to have some concerns about it. However, I have decided not make any my concerns public until I have had a good chat with some people at PHD Virtual as I think that they will have an answer to most of my questions.
For those of you who do not yet know, VMware has launched it's official vSphere blog.
The new VMware vSphere Blog will be VMware's central place to check for news, commentary, links to new resources, and other information about VMware vSphere. The blog's editor is Mike Adams.
The blog can be found at http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere