VMware SDK and Visual Studio 2008

I went to install the VMware SDK for vSphere 4.0 on to my desktop running Windows 7 64-bit, Visual Studio 2008, and .Net 3.5 SP1 and discovered the SDK setup is not friendly with these versions.  According to VMware you need Visual Studio 2005 and .Net 2.0 if you want to run the SDK.

So like most of you reading this I turned to my trusted adviser…google to find the answer I was looking for.  Much to my disappointment after 5 minutes of searching around I didn’t find any instant gratification for my problem so I decided to just go ahead and figure it out on my own.

It turned out to be a relatively easy task once I discovered what was causing my issues.  There are two windows cmd scripts that need to be edited to point to the proper locations of your installations.  I have included the modified cmd files in our downloads section for those of you that would like them.  These files are built to support my specific configuration but they are very easily edited to support your configuration.

[Read more…]

Go Virtual, Get Green, Save Money, & Be a Hero!

In this tough economy many companies are scrambling to virtualize to cut costs and promote a green environment.  Others would like to but with budgetary constraints and freezes they just can’t get the funding to take on a VMware virtualization initiative.  Even with the promises of ROI on their horizon once they do so it just doesn’t seem enough for some organizations.  Well I’m here to say so what, don’t let a light budget get in your way.

Start with the low hanging fruit, development, and staging machines.  Take the initiative to take advantage of these free hypervisors and save your organization some money.  Once you do reap the reward.  Keep track of how much money you just saved your organization, let everyone know, and not only will you get recognized, but you will just have gained some job security.  I’m surprised more organizations are offering cost savings initiative to hep try and curb the expenses and cut back.  Think about it, if your company offered a bonus based on savings everyone would be looking for ways to cut costs and cash in on the savings.

I heard of a company that did just this.  Employees were offered bonus equal to a percentage of what they saved.  How great is that…..it is a win win for everyone.  The company saves money, the employee who drove the initiative makes more money, jobs are saved and everyone is a hero.  So what are you waiting for?  If your company doesn’t offer something like this why not drop a note in the suggestion box.  Then go get yourself some by getting virtual.

How you say, it’s very simple.  Develop a plan.  Identify the servers in your environment that would be easy candidate, nothing production or at least nothing in the lime light.  Determine how many you could virtualize on to how many hosts and calculate the savings that could be had with nothing but a little bit of elbow grease.  Submit your finding and  cash in.  I know I make it sound so easy, but the reality is that it’s not that hard.  I never could understand why it is not a much larger initiative.

Even if you don’t feel you could tackle the job yourself or with the IT staff in your organization, no problem.  Factor in consulting costs, yes I know spend money, but you can still save considerably with this approach.  Consulting fees are fixed term costs.  There are no licensing, support, etc….and once your project is complete you will immediately start saving and be able to start getting that outlay of capitol back in the bank.  Many consulting companies offer Resident Consultants that you can work out a fixed fee to perform the work, no need to buy licensing or a paid product for these guys, just pay for their time.

I know I know all these companies want to sell you hardware and licensing and they push you into quoting you extremely high prices for this end to end.  Forget those guys I can tell you that there are companies that are not like that and focus on the services and the customer.  I can tell you this because I work for one.

Citrix XEN Server a Free Hypervisors

So everyone knows that the big three all have freely available versions of their hypervisor.  The obvious reasons are to gain market share.  Get you hooked for free and then charge you for the all the extras.  Just because that is their plan, doesn’t mean it has to be yours.  You can go virtual now and later when everything levels off with the economy you can choose to get the more advanced features, or not if you feel you don’t need them.

Citrix is including XenMotion and the management console for free.  This alone gives them a huge advantage over VMware and Microsoft in the free hypervisor market.  I frequently hear people stating the XEN is not an enterprise solution yet, well get your head out of the sand because it most certainly is.  Not more than a year ago I was saying the same thing when I got certified on XEN 4, but now with the release of XEN 5 I totally believe that XEN is an enterprise solution and a damn good one at that.

If you haven’t kicked the tires around on yet, what are you waiting for?  It’s free!  You have nothing to loose except a little time, even then you will at least gane some knowledge that you didn’t have before.  So what are you waiting for go get virtual.

Setitng up Hyper-V Linux Integration Components on SLES 10

After finally setting up a SLES 10 server on Hyper-V I thought I write a little how to on getting the Linux Integration components working. Microsoft includes an install doc that doesn’t really tell the whole story.

I had already installed SLES before I read the manual and found out that XEN Virtualization support needed to be installed as well and Microsoft documentation also states that you need the C++ compiler. What they really mean is the gcc compiler. What they fail to mention is that you also need he kernel-sources installed as well.

Read More of this post

VMware vSphere Upgrade Path Overview

Many of you are wonder how you will go about upgrading to VMware vSphere when it is release. Well I’m here to say don’t worry. The upgrade path from ESX 2.x & 3.x is very painless and fairly simple. A lot of you will remember all the phone you have had in the past performing upgrades and scripting installs, well VMware is quickly trying to make all of that a thing from the past with new features available in vSphere.

Read More here

Just some more vSphere information

Here is some information about vSphere that I thought would be good to share with the world. As with everything else this is just a drop in the bucket. I’m currently working on putting together some upgrade videos and screenshots so take a look back and hopefully I will have them done by the end of the week.

Here is some interesting information about vSpehere and what it supports keep in mind these are just some notes I jotted down:

ESX 4 Hosts (vSphere Host)
256VM’s per host
64 Cores per host
512GB Ram per host

vSphere VMs (Hardware version 7)
8 vCPUs
256GB Ram
VMDirectPath I/O
Hot Plug Support (Supports CPU’s and Memory)
ESX 2.x and 3.x VM support
Paravirtual SCSI adapter
MSCS 2008
Persistent Reservations in vmkernel
LSI Logic SAS (Virtual SAS controller)

Networking Improvements
New iSCSI stack with 10-30% improved performance
TCPIP 2 Support (Based on FreeBSD 6.1 / IPv6 / locking and threading capabilties)
VMXNet3
MSI/MSI-X
Receive Side Scaling
VLAN offloading
VMware Directpath I/O

Storage Improvements
SCSI-3 Compliant
VMFS still SCSI-2
Target PortGroup Support (TPGS)
Asymmetric Logical Unit (ALUA)
Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA)
Updated iSCSI stack
Native SATA

Service Console
64-bit, 2.6 based Linux kernel compatible with RHEL 5.2
Supports for both 32bit and 64bit applications
root file system stored in VMDK
vmkernel runs and owns device drivers only 64-bit
Address Space layout Randomization (ASLR)
No Linux dev packagers and libraries

CPU
Enhanced Intel step down
Enhanced AMD Power Now

Security
Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
Digitally signed and validated modules
Memory integrity techniques with microprocessor capabilities to protect against buffer-overflow

Guided Consolidation
500 Simultaneous Physical Machines
Modular Plug-in can be installed on different machine

Coverter

Physical / Virtual / 3rd party
Server 2008 Support
Covert Hyper-V Machines to VM’s

Update Manager

ESX / ESXi and Virtual Appliance Upgrades
Upgrade Virtual Hardware
VMware Tools
Base Line Groups

Upgrade vcenter steps

No SQL 2000 Support
2.x & 3.x Upgade Path
Upgrade vCenter
Upgrade Update Manager
Use Upgrade Manager to Upgrade Hosts
Upgrade VMware Tools, then the VMware Hardware.

vSphere Host Update Utility
3.x to 4.x
Dosn’t Upgrade VMFS Datastores or VMs
Installs with vSphere client
Support Rollback for ESX only
Can be used to install patch releases to standalone hosts
Copies Script and ISO to ESX hosts reboots and installs