Rynardt Spies

Rynardt Spies

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This script will report all ESX Virtual Machine snapshots found on the SAN via email.

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EMC has introduced a new line of Symmetrix products. The new Symmetrix products can start small and expand up to support the largest virtual datacenter infrastructures.

EMC Claims that the new Symmetrix V-Max and V-Max SE (Virtual Matrix Architecture) storage arrays can scale up to hundreds of thousands of terabytes of storage and is capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of virtual machines.

The Virtual Matrix Architecture is built on the V-Max engine, which contains all the necessary disk and I/O ports along with multiple Intel quad-core processors, up to 126GB of memory and the Engenuity operating system [by EMC].

EMC marketing vice president Barbara Robidoux said that the new V-Max architecture is "the single biggest innovation for the storage industry in years. Each Symmetrix Frame can fit up to eight V-Max engines. This gives a total of 1TGB of memory and twice the front-end and back-end connectors supported by EMC's current high-end DMX-4 systems. Also, an entry-level V-Max SE costs 10% less than a DMX-4, but due to Intel's quad-core processors, the V-Max offers significantly better performance.

Connectivity options include:

  • Fibre Channel
  • iSCSI
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Ficon for IBM mainframe systems.

 

Now, I'm off to get one for my home lab ;-)

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After patching some test ESX hosts with ESX 3.5 Update 4, the problem with the VMware tools being shown as "Not running" after a VCB backup operation seems to have been solved. This has cured some backup woes at least.

I will now run ESX 3.5 Update 4 in a test cluster (with virtual machines that will be backed up with VCB) for a few of weeks before updating production ESX hosts to Update 4.

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Last week we started having problems with VCB Backups. Normally while a VCB backup job is in progress the VI Client will report that the VM tools is not running on the VM that's being backed up. When the VCB backup job completes, the status of the VMware Tools changes from "Not running" to OK.

However, I've seen cases where even after the VCB job completes, the VMware Tools status fails to change from "Not running" to "OK". If you then try to run a VCB job on the same VM, the job will fail if the VCBMounter is set to look for the virtual machine IP rather than virtual machine name or UUID.

I first noticed this problem on Monday, 16 March, but a couple of days later I found a VMware KB article dated 18 March 2009 which describes the exact same issue. The problem seems to be occurring only on hosts with patch bundle ESX350-200901401-SG. However, instead of offering a fix to the issue, VMware is only offering a few workarounds. I hope they release a patch to fix this issue soon.

Some workarounds given by VMware are:

        1. Restart the mgmt-vmware service immediately after the backup job is done. This changes the Tools status to OK. You can write a cron job to do it periodically.

          OR
  1. Log in and log out, or log out if you are already logged in, from the virtual machine. This changes the Tools status to OK if it was showing as Not running.

    OR
  2. Use VCBMounter to look for virtual machine name or UUID rather than virtual machine IP. Virtual machine IP only works when the status of tools is OK, but virtual machine name and UUID works even if the Tools status shows as Not running.

 

My preferred workaround: 

I find that restarting the VMware Tools Service in the guest OS always gets by the problem, but loggin into every single VM that reports the wrong status for it's VMware Tools could be a bit of a drag. So I choose to do this remotely rather that logging on to each VM.

From any Windows workstation/server, open a command pompt and run:

sc \\{vm-name-or-ip-address} stop "VMTools"
sc \\{vm-name-or-ip-address} start "VMTools"

 

Information on this issue can be found on the VMware Knowledge Base article: KB1008709

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ImageIt is good to see that VMware has managed to keep momentum even as Citrix and Microsoft launched their Hypervisors as an onslaught on VMware's Virtualisation market share. Now, even today customers still select VMware Virtual Infrastructure as the best platform to run Microsoft Exchange. I guess this goes to show that although Microsoft and Citrix may be catching up, VMware is still miles ahead in the race and this is why I say so:

I've been playing around with Windows 2008 R2 Beta with Hyper-V for a little while now to try and get a feel for what it does and how it does it. Even though I'm a hardened VMware supporter (this is no secret by now, and I'll stay a hardened VMware supporter for the foreseeable future), I do think Microsoft is making steps in the right direction. I haven't really had enough time to play with Citrix XenServer, so I can't really comment on that. I have no doubt that Hyper-V on Windows 2008 R2 will be a good product. However, even though Microsoft seems to be throwing everything they have at their attempts to get Hyper-V and their entire package on par with VMware, it still just feels like they’re are just about trying to catch up with the functionality of, well, VI3!, a product that is just about to be superseded by the new VMware vSphere. Now I don't have the exact details, but I'm sure vSphere will be released later this year. vSphere will have an enormous amount of new functionality (some of which may still be well kept secrets by VMware). If vSphere is released this year with lots of new bells and whistles, what will Microsoft have to do to get Windows 2008 R2 on par with vSphere? Time will tell I guess.

Anyway, back to Exchange on VMware. I found this article on the topic:
http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090310005551&newsLang=en  

 

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As expected, Veeam has released FastSCP 3.0 today. Here's the press release:

Columbus, Ohio, March 5, 2009 — Veeam Software, award-winning provider of systems management tools for VMware virtual datacenter environments, today announced the immediate availability of a new version of its popular FastSCP free tool, version 3.0. The new release, like all products in the Veeam Management Suite for VMware, supports VMware ESX, ESXi and the ESXi free edition.

Veeam FastSCP is widely used among VMware administrators and has become the de facto standard for file management and VM copy in VMware environments. It is used to quickly copy virtual machines between ESX hosts; between Windows and ESX; and between Windows or ESX and ESXi, including the free version of ESXi.

Since its first release in October of 2006, Veeam FastSCP has become the #1 most popular free tool used by more than 60,000 VMware administrators worldwide. The product has always been available at no charge, and continues to be free. With Veeam FastSCP and Veeam Monitor Free Edition, Veeam shows its commitment to contributing to the VMware community by offering quality free tools to help administrators in their daily tasks.... read on...

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ImageI am delighted to announce the release date for Veeam FastSCP 3.0. I have just received word from my sources at Veeam that the official public release date for Veeam FastSCP 3.0 is tomorrow, 05 March 2009. The software will be available to the general public as a free download.

Veeam FastSCP has always been a brilliant tool. Now, with support for ESXi servers, FastSCP 3.0 is a must have for ESX/ESXi Administrators.  Copying files between Windows and ESX/ESXi servers has never been faster or easier. FastSCP 3.0 will certainly make my job as a virtualization specialist a lot easier.

Thank you to Veeam Software for this new release, and for the release date information.

Get ready to download FastSCP 3.0 at www.veeam.com

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ImageI have to say thank you to the guys over at Veeam Software for giving me a pre-release copy of Veeam’s new version of FastSCP, Veeam FastSCP 3.0. They have decided to make this pre-release copy available to a select few VMware virtualization professionals to play with before the final release is made available for download.

So what is FastSCP? Anyone who is familiar with SSH file copies, know that it can take some time to transfer files via SSH between Windows and Linux / ESX when using programs like WINSCP. The typical rate for a normal WINSCP file copy in my experience is about 4 -5 MB/s. Veeam FastSCP allows you to copy files using SSH at more like 30MB/s!

So, I’ve been using FastSCP 3.0 for a couple of days now and I have to say I like it. Not only does FastSCP now support ESX as well as ESXi servers, but it’s a lot more neatly presented. It seems to be a lot easier to use than previous versions. I remember about a year ago, I used one of the previous versions of FastSCP to copy a 105GB file from the SAN to a Windows Server. I clicked the file and dragged it to its new location, like you would do in Windows Explorer, but this time only to find that I’ve actually moved the whole file and not copied it. This is one of the silly little annoying things that have been sorted out in version 3.0.

Also, when adding a new server in Veeam FastSCP 3.0, the wizard asks you to provide web credentials to the ESX server. These credentials, I found, can be the root user as it accesses the server through port 443. This is new in version 3.0. Then only will it ask you for SSH access credentials. By default ESX 3 does not allow root access via SSH. As with previous versions of FastSCP, you may specify a non-root user and then elect to elevate to root privileges.

Veeam FastSCP 3.0 now also includes email notifications. You can elect to be notified on successful jobs, warnings and/or errors.

I am still waiting for my sources at Veeam to confirm the official public release date. I will post this info as soon as I get it.

For now, be on the lookout for Veeam FastSCP 3.0 release date. It’s free (as always) and it’s worth downloading.

CLICK HERE FOR SCREENSHOTS!

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ImageThis morning I received an email from VMware informing me that I have been awarded a vExpert Award for 2009! I would like to send a big thank you to those who nominated me for the award. It's a pleasure to be contributing to the virtualization and especially VMware Communities.

The official vExpert Statement from VMware can be found at: http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2009/02/vmware-vexpert-awards.html

Here's the information from the email I've received:

Congratulations! On behalf of VMware, we would like to thank you for all the work you’ve done giving back to the virtualization community and sharing your expertise with others. We are pleased to present you with the VMware vExpert Award for 2009. VMware is giving this award to individuals who have contributed significantly to the community of VMware users over the past year.

VMware vExpert award winners will receive:
* An award certificate and gift
* Access to a private vExpert community
* vExpert logo to display on website or email signature
* Free subscription to conference session materials on VMworld.com
* Access to exclusive online events and other opportunities to participate in activities
* Inclusion in public vExpert directory
The vExpert award duration is one year (through February, 2010).

 

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At VMworld Europe 2009, VMware today announced VMware vShield Zones, a new security virtual appliance for the virtual datacenter operating system that will enable strict compliance with security policies and industry regulations for user data.  Previously, compliance required diverting network traffic to external physical appliances, resulting in disconnected ‘islands’ of infrastructure. With VMware vShield Zones, customers will be able to create logical zones in the virtual datacenter that span all of the shared physical resources, with each zone representing a distinct level of trust and confidentiality. This will allow businesses to comply with corporate security policies and regulations on data privacy while still running applications efficiently on shared computing resource pools.

Traditional security products, such as firewall appliances, often require that all network activity pass through a handful of fixed physical locations in order to be monitored. Virtualized applications, in contrast, can be migrated between physical hosts for higher resource efficiency and improved uptime. Until now, companies virtualizing security-sensitive applications faced the choice of either leveraging virtualization capabilities such as live migration for optimal load balancing and availability, or enforcing strict security compliance. To solve that dilemma, most customers ended up dividing their virtual environments into smaller, less efficient clusters for areas such as their Internet-facing demilitarized zones (DMZ’s) or consumer credit data processing systems subject to Payment Card Industry regulations. VMware vShield Zones will enable customers to create security zones within enterprises or in multi-tenant cloud infrastructures, where security policies are enforced even as virtual machines dynamically migrate between hardware devices. Deployed as a virtual appliance and integrated with VMware vCenter Server, VMware vShield Zones helps make it easy to centrally manage and enforce compliance with security policies across large pools of servers and virtual machines. Built-in auditing capabilities make compliance straightforward and verifiable.

“VMware virtualization solutions have enabled companies to pool their computing resources and deliver IT as a dynamic, shared service,” said Raghu Raghuram, vice president, server business unit, VMware. “VMware vShield Zones enhances this architecture by enabling customers to segment and isolate their application traffic in a shared environment, thereby delivering new security benefits and making VMware Infrastructure a safe place to run business critical applications.”

Savvis recently rolled out a new virtual datacenter hosting and private cloud computing solution providing enterprises with an opportunity to cut costs without having to sacrifice security or performance.

“Maintaining multi-tenant isolation and network segmentation for hundreds of customers simultaneously is critical to the Savvis Cloud Compute solution,” said Ken Owens, technical vice president for security and virtualization at Savvis. “Providing a manageable way to internally partition the virtual datacenter allows us to deliver the most efficient and cost-effective infrastructure for our users to meet their security and compliance objectives.”

VMware vShield Zones will broaden the VMware portfolio of application services with network zoning and segmentation capabilities for the VDC-OS. Application services include services for security, availability, and scalability that are critical to internal and external clouds. In parallel, VMware is continuing to partner with security vendors who have been developing a wide range of complementary security offerings with VMsafe technology. Partner solutions offer a range of enhancements that can include defense-in-depth protection layers such as intrusion prevention, additional logging and notification options, and integration with physical firewalls and security appliances.

More than 50 vendor partners use VMware’s VMsafe technology to develop unique solutions that are virtualization-aware and that leverage new security capabilities such as hypervisor introspection. Altor Networks, Check Point Technologies, IBM Internet Security Systems, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro are charter VMsafe partners who have already demonstrated prototypes of best-of-breed solutions integrated with the APIs. Additional partners such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, RSA, Reflex Systems, Third Brigade and Sourcefire have more recently joined the VMsafe program.

Attendees at this week’s VMworld Europe 2009 can perform a test drive of VMware vShield Zones in the Hands-On Lab area as well as view demos of security partner solutions, such as a hands-on preview of Altor Networks’ VMsafe-integrated Altor VF Firewall, in the Labs and Solutions Exchange areas.

Pricing and packaging of VMware vShield Zones will be announced later in 2009. Customers can visit http://www.vmware.com/vshield to learn more about the product and register to download a beta release scheduled for spring of 2009.

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@unicorn_1485 What's your number? I can arrange a call 😉
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