26 Mar 2010
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This may be old news but now, but for those of you who didn't know, PHD Virtual released esXpress 4.0 recently. The full press release is below:


PHD Virtual Delivers New esXpress VM Backup Solution Designed for Large Virtualization Environments

Dedicated Virtual Machine (VM) Backup Company, PHD Virtual, Offers Dramatic Performance, Ease of Use and Scalability to Seamlessly Protect Large Virtual Infrastructures 



MOUNT ARLINGTON, N.J. – March 24, 2010 —PHD Virtual Technologies, award winning provider of esXpress VM Backup, today announced the latest release of esXpress, the industry’s fastest multi-VM backup and restore solution on the market. With the unique architecture of esXpress, customers have access to the only backup and restore solution available that was custom built for large virtualized deployments.  This architecture provides customers with scalability to meet their needs along with heightened reliability when compared to other solutions in the marketplace.  This new version, developed by the only company dedicated to virtual machine backup technology, runs backups up to 20 times faster through an enhanced, single-click backup interface and simplifies restore processes through a centralized web-based restore engine that offers concurrent use by multiple users.


“PHD Virtual is laser focused on the backup and recovery needs of today’s large virtual environments,” said Thomas Charlton, president and CEO, PHD Virtual. “As a result, we have developed esXpress to be the industry’s fastest and most scalable data protection solution for the virtual enterprise. This latest release is packed with features for lightening fast performance, simplified usability and extensibility into physical backup environments with support for traditional backup solutions.”


esXpress creates small virtual machines – virtual backup appliances (VBAs) – which uniquely use the virtual environment itself to perform the backups, eliminating the need for added hardware or software resources. This latest release adds Change Block Tracking (CBT) to this powerful VBA foundation for dramatic backup and recovery performance. By reading only the blocks that have changed, and not scanning the entire virtual disk each time a backup is performed, esXpress shortens the backup window and uses considerably less data I/O while also reducing overall loads on network and SAN resources.


esXpress uniquely delivers:

  • Linear scalability – With its ability to offer 16 concurrent backups, esXpress offers unmatched performance and scalability to meet critical backup windows
  • Verifiable and Measurable Deduplication – esXpress delivers source-side deduplication to reduce network traffic, offer one-pass restores, and deduplicate data across an entire storage target.
  • Reliable Change Block Tracking (CBT) –esXpress is the only virtual backup solution that validates the CBT data for each backup, ensuring data integrity and reliability.
  • Distributed Architecture / Fault Tolerance – esXpress features a distributed architecture which does not rely on Virtual Center or any other single application to run backups, making it the only truly fault tolerant backup solution available.


Pricing and Availability

The new esXpress 4.0 is available now with pricing starting at $1,000 per host for four concurrent backup streams delivering the best price/performance for data recovery and protection in virtual environments. The product supports unlimited sockets and unlimited cores per host and no additional hardware is required.

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

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.

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.

31 Dec 2009
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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. 


14 Dec 2009
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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!



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