Jun 28, 2009 Blogs
I’ve been optimizing my hosted environment for the last couple of days now. Besides upgrading the hard- and software of the physical server (Virtual Lifestyle running on ESX 4!), I’ve been optimizing the Guest OS of the VM running this website. After doing the usual stuff (like running “aptitude update” and “aptitude full-upgrade”), I set my sights on optimizing the virtual hardware of this VM.
Two major improvements were to be made:
- Upgrade the virtual ethernet adapter to VMXnet3
- Upgrade the virtual SCSI adapter to pvSCSI
Jun 28, 2009 Blogs
A part of the VMware vSphere Client is the Host Update Utility. After getting the client itself to run on Windows 7 (64bit), I now figured out how to run the Host Update Utility on this OS as well.
Make sure you’ve followed the steps in VMware vSphere Client on Microsoft Windows 7!. The only extra step needed is quite simple:
- Copy VpxClient.exe.config to C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\VIUpdate 4.0\.
- Rename VpxClient.exe.config to VIUApp.exe.config
Again, I needed to run the Host Update Utility as an administrator, but you might not have to. Please comment below if so.
Jun 26, 2009 Blogs
You might have noticed some downtime of my blog yesterday. Despite efforts to minimize the downtime, Virtual Lifestyle went dark for over five hours. Due to some setbacks in the upgrade process, I needed to test the different scenarios all over while the physical box was down, to make sure that the VM’s that were on a local VMFS RAID-set weren’t destroyed by using the UDA to install the box.
Instead of running VMware ESXi 3.5u3, this machine is now running VMware ESX 4 (build 164009). This should improve the performance and availability of Virtual Lifestyle greatly. Besides the change of hypervisor, the virtual machine running the website will get a pvSCSI adapter to further improve performance. Of course, the virtual hardware has been upgraded to version 7.
Lastly, the hardware got an upgrade too. The dual core Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 has been replaced by an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600. As the host is running up to 15 VM’s simultaneously, the two extra cores are more than welcome.
All in all, the VM’s on this host should see a significant upgrade in performance by a simple upgrade of both hardware as wel as software.
Jun 24, 2009 Blogs
I’m currently testing the newly released Ultimate Deployment Appliance version 2.0 (beta) for provisioning a couple of ESX-hosts. As these hosts are too diverse to create kickststart scripts for, but don’t have a DVD -ROM drive to install ESX 4 from, I decided to use the UDA simply as a boot medium. In other words, I wanted the UDA to just serve the installation files through PXE and present the default installation GUI. No form of automation (via kickstart or otherwise) were needed to get the job done.
I soon realised that such an UDA was great for all the other ESX installations I do at all kinds of customers: no need to build customized scripts for every installation type or customer, but the ease of not having to fiddle around with physical media (have I mentioned before that most physical stuff like DVD’s gives me a rash?). Just attach the server and UDA (running on a laptop, in my case) with a crosscable or separated VLAN to prevent your regular network to go bonkers on the extra DHCP/TFTP server, boot the server, and off you go: a normal installation is presented on the console of the ESX-host.
So, how do you alther the UDA to enable this piece of fine magic? It’s actually quite simple.
Jun 19, 2009 Blogs
On the 19th of June, the Dutch VMUG held a meeting at Sun Microsystems. This session was all about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, as seen by Sun. Topics included the Sun VDI product, including the array of tools and Thin Clients of Sun Ray. We enjoyed listening to Jaap Romers, Sander van der Post and Mike Jansen. Also, Viktor van den Berg, the Dutch VMUG Leader was present to make sure everything went smooth.
The biggest announcement was of course the VMUG’er of the Week. According to Viktor, this is the first time the title is used, and will most likely be the only time as well. It turned out to be a joke at my expense, as I attended last weeks Citrix iForum Benelux 2009 wearing a ‘Official Dutch VMUG Blogger’ shirt. I got quite a lot of reactions on it. It seemed that the Citrix personnel did not like it at all that the word ‘VMware’ appeared on the shirt. Citrix seems to stick their head firmly in the sand to ignore the market leader on server virtualisation. Well played, Citrix.
Now, back to the meeting. As we all expected, Eric Scoop Sloof has already posted a video of the event. Please visit NTPro.nl to watch Eric’s video. My take on the meeting can be seen in this video:
Jun 9, 2009 Blogs
I just received word that Tripwire launched their new flagship product, vWire. In addition to the vWire launch, a “Gurus in Real Life” website is released. This is an exciting day for both Tripwire and Virtual Lifestyle, as I am featured as a Guru! I am the first Guru featured on the website, so please do check it out on http://guru.vwire.com/
vWire Gurus in Real Life
As a technical trainer for VMware Infrastructure and vSphere classes I need to set up ESX and vCenter environments really quick without requiring human interaction. This led me to develop a complete infrastructure for automated installation of VMware ESX hosts. Using the Ultimate Deployment Appliance and standard API’s and methods like the anaconda installer, kickstart scripts, esxcfg-* and vimshell commands, I can reinstall an ESX-host, attach it to iSCSI and NFS storage, as well as adding the host to a vCenter server for central management.
Having this infrastructure in place for training and development environments, I realized that it had much more potential. Because I am extremely busy, I simply do not have the time for extensive troubleshooting, I started work on building a complete monitoring system for my production and hosting environments and attaching the monitoring system to the automation tools.
Integrating automation tools with advanced monitoring tools will assist administrators in maintaining a stable virtual environment without manual effort. This also eliminates the risk of administrators making small mistakes while reinstalling, thus guaranteeing a consistent environment.
vWire Press release
vWire continues Tripwire’s tradition of its free Tools, ConfigCheck and OpsCheck. I’ve used both tools extensively, as they give great information about your VMware environment. Being free tools, these do not integrate into you existing management layer for virtual environments. vWire incorporates this kind of functionality in one product, and is unimaginably extensible with the support of PowerShell. This allow administrators to create a completely automated management layer where vWire does all the work for you.
As Jase McCarty put it:
Now there’s a place to upload Powershell scripts to, and have them execute whenever custom alarm conditions occur. No more, “better go check”. With vWire, is it more like, “hey, Mr. Admin, this just happened, and I took care of it, Sincerely vWire.”
I think this nails it, automation just the way we like it!