Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where to start with your VMWare ESX Whitebox

http://www.virtualpro.co.uk has a cool write up on building a ESX White Box.

I know a lot of small shops that could find this very interesting, so I wanted to share this blog.

 

There have been a couple of postings recently by people who have spent some time custom building PC’s capable of running VMWare ESX. A great example is Eric Sloof who has built a monster white box capable of running the new VI4 Beta software.

That’s got me interested in building one,  perhaps to road test new features if I can ever get invited to participate in a VMWare beta program,  or perhaps just to run ESX 3.5i so I can play about with new Microsoft Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 Beta.

One of the main issues with building a whitebox is ensuring compatibility with the VMWare HCL,  so where on earth do you start looking so you can ensure your whitebox works.  Well I’ve put togethere some links together to get you started,  I hope they’re of some help.

VMWare Hardware Compatibility List

The new fully searchable HCL just has to be on the list,  double check your planned components,  you may be suprised to find they are actually supported on the HCL.

VM-Help.com – The unnofficial VMWare ESX whitebox HCL

This site is stacked full of useful information on tried and tested hardware combinations

The Ultimate Whitebox web site

Though this is a relatively new site it has some really well laid out information on hardware combos

Tim Jacobs post on his Whitebox

This post is just under a year old but still contains some good information.

Now HP were doing some crazy deals on their HP ML tower server range last year.  I was having a look at servers direct in the UK today and the prices are pretty good,  I’m tempted to buy one of these  rather than build a solution from scratch.

So how have people got on with ESX on the HP ML Series server? Well here are a few more links that may help.

instaling ESX 3.5 on the HP ML110 G5

Kiwi Si who runs the TechHead has a great lab article about installing ESX 3.5 on the ML110 G5

ESX 3.5 operating on a ML115 G5

Virtual VCP has put this article together detailing the changes required to get ESX 3.5 working on the new ML115 G5 servers.

Thing to remember with all whiteboxes are they are not supported by VMWare and you will be relying on the VMWare community to help you out with any problems.  My advice is,  if someone has listed the exact components that worked for them,  copy it as it will most likely work for you.

 

I think that a White box is the way to go for testing, and I think it is great that people are blogging about their experiences and or where to start the process when building these.

Thanks to VirtualPro

Full Source Link http://www.virtualpro.co.uk/2009/01/17/where-to-start-with-your-vmware-esx-whitebox/

Are you a EMC ControlCenter and VMware customer? Good hotfix to know about..

Virtual Geek has a write up on EMC ControlCenter and Vmware, and a hotfix. I wanted to post this as it is one of those things that is good to know.

Was working a customer case where they were having issues with VMotion and Control Center. Control Center is one of the only Storage Resource Management tools with tons of VMware integration – and has had it for more than a year.

Ok, Control Center has active discovery (i.e. agent) and passive discovery mechanisms (i.e. leverage an API). Most VMware-integrated features use the passive mechanism – basically ControlCenter has a VM-proxy (i.e. a host which can be a VM that has software that queries the ESX CIM API and the VC APIs). Some customers want more. For example, they want file-level reporting for chargeback and analysis WITHIN the VM. Or, they want drill-downs into databases in VMs. These require agents to run inside the VM if you want that (again, ESX-layer chargeback, utilization reports, thin provisioning use, performance and VMDK->Datastore->LUN/filesystem->backend details – those have no agent requirement).

So, the problem only arises when ControlCenter components running on a guest systems (ergo agents to provide file-level reporting or application integration) are Vmotioned and ControlCenter has discovered the ESX server hosting the VMs that those ControlCenter components are running on.

The root cause is that the ControlCenter store component incorrectly interprets a Vmotion activity as a deletion of a VM (i.e. at the ESX CIM level, the VM just disappeared, and requires correlation at the VC layer). That deletion is not allowed by other rules within the ControlCenter repository and the discovery of the ESX server fails resulting in stale data in ControlCenter and sometimes corruption to ControlCenter component configuration data.

We just released a hotfix for this problem for EMC Control Center 6.1 (HF4486) and will be releasing one for 6.0 shortly (HF4485).

This primus case contains more information regarding the problem. emc203588

http://knowledgebase.emc.com/emcice/documentDisplay.do;jsessionid=0735EE24ACC9E5D50A82A6A5D8CF9820?docType=1006&clusterName=DefaultCluster&resultType=5002&groupId=1&page=&docProp=$solution_id&docPropValue=emc203588&passedTitle=null

Based on our testing, once the correct hotfix is applied, Vmotion of VMs with ControlCenter components installed will work fine and there will be no support limitations.

Thanks ControlCenter team!!

Thanks for the write up, gives people a chance to know about it.

Full Source Post

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2009/01/are-you-a-emc-controlcenter-and-vmware-customer-good-hotfix-to-know-about.html

Setting clients to Reboot at 12:15 A.M

 

Some of our client devices have a need to do a daily reboot, and I didn’t feel like manly setting up a scheduled task on each device. I needed something I could run via login script or USB stick, that only takes a couple of seconds of time per device.

Therefore, with some help from the Internet I developed the following.

 

schtasks.exe /create /RU SYSTEM /SC DAILY /TN Reboot /st 00:15:00 /TR "shutdown -r -f -t 60"

Copy the above line and paste it into notepad, or your text editor of choice, and save it as a .bat file.

This will set the device you run this on, to make a new scheduled task, which is daily reboot at 12:15 , which is run as system, with a 60 sec count down.  Admin rights are required to create this task.

Run it once per PC you want to reboot .

 

 

I hope someone can find this useful.

NetApp and Virtualization One Stop Shop!

Christopher Kusek, Technology Evangelist

http://www.pkguild.com posted a collection of Netapp related information.

I am going to quote it here. Please refer to the source post for updates and changes.

NetApp and Virtualization One Stop Shop!

You ever ask the question “Wow, I wish there were a consolidated place to find everything* there is to find about NetApp and Virtualization?

I ask that question all the time. The following is a release of my internal notes I’d forward to people when they say “NetApp + Citrix?” “NetApp + VMware” or “NetApp + Hyper-V”

This way, both you AND I have a single place to go look and I don’t have to reinvent my wheel!

Everything you wanted to know about NetApp and Virtualization but were afraid to ask.

NetApp Virtualization Team Blog – Great resource of information and the definitive source on updates of new documents, TR’s, etc – It is where I’ll update new links like those above from.

VMware and NetApp

Microsoft and NetApp

Citrix and NetApp

Oracle and NetApp

And some definite –must- reads!

NetApp 50% Virtualization Guarantee* (Effective until December 31, 2009)

Top Must Read Knowledge Base Articles (Virt-KB!)

NetApp Virtualization and Twitter!

Yes! I was able to track down the folks at NetApp who are on Twitter, so follow them here!

NetApp Virtualization and YouTube!

  • NetAppTV (Customer Success Stories and other cool videos)
  • NetAppTube (Demos from VMWorld and more!)
  • NTriantos (SMVI, VDI, OSSV and more!)

Since we have been looking at NetApp, these caught my eye. I hope someone else will find them useful. Make sure to check out http://www.pkguild.com if you haven’t before.

Thanks to http://www.pkguild.com and NetApp

Source Post

http://www.pkguild.com/2009/01/16/netapp-and-virtualization-one-stop-shop/

Veeam FastSCP 3.0 for ESX/ESXi Public Beta has been officially launched!

The http://www.veeam.com/forum have a post announcing the Veeam FastSCP 3.0 for ESX/ESXi Public Beta

Veeam FastSCP 3.0 for ESX/ESXi Public Beta has been officially launched!
For download link, FAQ and known issues (constantly updated) please refer to this thread (stickied).
http://www.veeam.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1975
Please direct your feedback on this beta to the following thread
http://www.veeam.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1976, or send it to [email protected] if you prefer email.
Happy testing!
This thread will now be closed.

I hope to try this out.

Full Post http://www.veeam.com/forum/topic.asp?whichpage=2.93333333333333&TOPIC_ID=772&#2159

iSCSI – Hardware or Software – How many TOEs do you have?

 

Carrlo and I were discussing this on Twitter, and I saw that they posted a related blog, and there are some good comments.

Check it out, he titled it iSCSI – Hardware or Software – How many TOEs do you have?

 

 

More and more of my new implementations of VMware Infrastructure are being connected to iSCSI SANs (EMC, LeftHand, and Equallogic) and the question has come up about whether or not to spend extra dollars on TOE (TCPIP Offload Engine) Network cards.  The TOE cards take the burden of processing iSCSI packets away from the host’s CPU and place it on the Network Interface Card itself.  In theory this should speed performance of the host machine.  For ESX implementations, VMware has provided a very solid software iSCSI initiator that I have been using with great regularity.  I’ve become curious if others are using TOE cards in their environments or just using the straight SW solution.

 

Most of the compatible cards seem to be in the $1000 dollar range while most 1GB Network cards seem to be in the $200 range.  Due to the high costs of these TOE Cards, I am curious to know if anyone is receiving the expected performance increases to justify the higher costs and if it is at all worth the price and effort of putting the TOE cards in.

If you have any experiences with TOE cards in ESX environments, please let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Thanks!

 

Full Post http://www.vmwareinfo.com/2009/01/iscsi-hardware-or-software-how-many.html

active directory user account import tool or method

I’m lazy and need to import all my users phone, fax, department, title and company into active directory. I’m looking for a free or near free tool to update user account information in active directory. This way I can have the users or our secretary do the input. A quick Google search yielded some possibilities but I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with this.Also is there a way to give all users in a certain domain and group similar information like company or department? This way if I decide to type this in manually I would only have to input 3 fields of data not 5.

http://rlit.forumaster.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Cheap Network Storage Solution?

 

I was reading http://blog.fosketts.net/ ‘s article on Iomega and how EMC has thrown them a life line

I saw them talk about Iomega’s ix2, and how it was HCL certified. ( http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?action=search&deviceCategory=san&productId=1&keyBasic=iomega&maxDisplayRows=50&key=&release[]=-1&datePosted=-1 )

 

I thought this was interesting, as it indicates that you could get a very low cost VMware supported NAS device for under $500.

Partner Name Model Array Type Supported Releases

EMC      Iomega ix2      NAS            ESX 3.5 U3, ESX 3.5 U2, ESX 3.5 U1, ESX 3.5

 

From VMware’s HCL.

Here is EMC’s Press Release on the device.

 

 

I Would love to hear if anyone has tried this device on ESX or ESXi, and what type of results they have gotten.

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