Jul 31, 2012 Blogs
in ‘Want a cheap Home Lab?‘ I wrote:
This is a very, very good deal. Especially with a 16GB RAM upgrade (yes, the N40L can handle it!) costing you no more than € 100. Just add any SSD, and you’ve got a roaring machine that’ll fit perfectly into your home: it’s a quiet machine and won’t draw a significant amount of power. And since it’s a small machine you can tuck away under a desk, it has the seal of approval from my girlfriend.
I have just upgraded my N40L with a 16GB kit from Patriot (PGD316G1333ELK) and a OCZ SSD. I can confirm this Patriot kit works flawlessly on the N40L!
One pre-cautionary tip though: in this thread I read “I set parity checking to ‘enabled’ and the box recognized both sticks. Then I set parity checking back to ‘auto’ since it wouldn’t make sense to use parity checking with this memory, and both sticks were still recognized in both BIOS and OS“. So please make sure to set ‘parity checking’ to enabled or auto.
Also, you might want to consider flashing the BIOS with a modified version. That will enable AHCI for the fifth (in the 5.25″ optical drive bay) and sixth (eSATA) SATA ports. Check out the details here.
Check out these screenshots for some more info:
Jul 24, 2012 Blogs
I just got word of the availability of Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments by Sean Crookston and Harley Stagner.
Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere® Deployments
The Complete Guide to Planning, Deploying, and Operating High-Performance VMware vSphere 5 Virtual Infrastructure
To make the most of VMware’s vSphere 5, IT professionals need knowledge, tips, and insights they’ll never find in the manuals–or in any book, until now! In Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments, two world-class VMware experts offer start-to-finish lessons for vSphere planning, implementation, operation, management, and troubleshooting: expert insights drawn from their unsurpassed “in-the-trenches” consulting experience.
Writing for experienced VMware professionals, the authors focus on high-value techniques optimized for the new vSphere 5, helping you establish frameworks that support your virtual infrastructure’s evolution for years to come. They present scenarios and examples drawn from real-world data, helping you address crucial issues ranging from sizing and performance to redundancy. The book concludes with a full case study that walks you through a design from inception through implementation and explores the reasons for each key decision.
- Building a strong foundation for virtual infrastructure: design considerations and best practices
- Smoothly integrating vSphere 5 into current environments and considerations
- Establishing a more stable infrastructure
- Choosing hardware and making optimal configuration decisions
- Transforming your VMware design from blueprint to completion
- Operating vSphere solutions more efficiently on a day-to-day basis
- Automating tasks and maximizing availability
- Streamlining the installation of updates, patches, and upgrades
- Forecasting and planning capacity on an ongoing basis to support growth
- Overcoming roadblocks on the journey to 100% virtualization
- Monitoring vSphere 5 with tools provided by VMware and its community
- Discovering the most valuable and current online VMware resources
- Examples using Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) are provided throughout the book
Get it while it’s hot on Amazon!
Jul 19, 2012 Blogs
I just got a message from John Coley announcing the vCloud Director “next generation” beta program over at StratoGen. He’s looking for beta testers that will push his platform to the limits. Specifically, he’s looking for power users familiar with building complex environments using VPNs, inter-vApp networking and advanced storage features.
StratoGen are pleased to announce the start of our [...] beta program which will provide valuable feedback on our implementation of the next version of VMware vCloud Director.
Beta testing underpins all of our product launches and is crucial in our ability to provide services that lead the hosted VMware market whilst remaining highly resilient. In this program we are particularly interested in working with experienced “power users” who are familiar with VPNs, complex internetworking and able to utilize [...] SAN storage.
By participating in this program you agree to be contacted to provide feedback on usability and platform performance. In return you will be one of the first to use this exciting new technology, and allocated temporary resources on our USA based enterprise platform.
StratoGen is a leading VMware hosting provider with award winning cloud platforms in both the USA and UK.
If you would like to take part in the program please visit http://www.stratogen.com/products/vmware-hosting.html and follow the link for the Beta program to register your interest.
Jul 8, 2012 Blogs
A friend of mine just pointed me to a very sweet deal on the new HP MicroServer (the N40L); it's on sale for only € 167,79 (including BTW / VAT) over at Inmac.
The direct link to the SKU is http://www.inmac.nl/product_info.php/info/p161028. I found a coupon code (try 'K9W6RM') which removes the € 7 shipping fee.
This is a very, very good deal. Especially with a 16GB RAM upgrade (yes, the N40L can handle it!) costing you no more than € 100. Just add any SSD, and you've got a roaring machine that'll fit perfectly into your home: it's a quiet machine and won't draw a significant amount of power. And since it's a small machine you can tuck away under a desk, it has the seal of approval from my girlfriend.
I've just ordered the N40L with 16GB of RAM and an additional memory upgrade kit for my N36L that I already have running in the lab. Together with my Dell Precision M4600 with 16GB of RAM, I have all the home lab I need
Jul 3, 2012 Blogs
I’m proud to introduce AppAssure as the newest sponsor on Virtual Lifestyle!
Since their acquisition by Dell, I’ve been following them very closely. I’d suggest you take a look at this vendor, they have a very promising product set.
Some of my fellow bloggers’ coverage on the subject:
Jul 2, 2012 Blogs
I usually fiddle around with SysInternals SDelete, but VMware’s newest fling, ‘Guest Reclaim’, might be a worthy replacement. Instead of zeroing the blocks like SDelete does, Guest Reclaim actually brings SCSI UNMAP support to Windows-based virtual machines. This removes the need for a Storage vMotion (after SDeleting a thin provisioned disk inside a VM) to actually free up the unmapped blocks all the way to the SAN LUN. You still need to execute a VMFS-based reclaim of those blocks on VMFS-level (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2014849), but running Guest Reclaim periodically in a couple of VMs that accumulate the most dead space and manually running vmkfstools afterwards really speeds up the process.
Dead space from the virtual disk is released to the underlying VMFS data store. VMFS can then repurpose space for other virtual disk. Future releases of ESX will have tools that can further release this dead space to the backend array.
Too bad this tool doesn’t seem to be supported on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. Although the PDF explicitly mentions Windows 8 *not* being supported; there’s no mention of Server 2008 R2. I suspect it’ll work fine, since Windows 7 is supported.
One odd mention for defragmentation; it’s pretty common these days not to (automatically) defragment VMs. The read-me included with this tool explicitly suggests running defrag in some scenarios. I urge to be very cautious with this suggestion.
Guest Reclaim reclaims dead space from NTFS volumes hosted on a thin provisioned SCSI disk. The tool can also reclaim space from full disks and partitions, thereby wiping off the file systems on it. As the tool deals with active data, please take all precautionary measures understanding the SCSI UNMAP framework and backing up important data.
- Reclaim space from Simple FAT/NTFS volumes
- Works on Windows XP to Windows 7
- Can reclaim space from flat partitions and flat disks
- Can work in virtual as well as physical machines
Whats a Thin provisioned (TP) SCSI disks?
In a thin provisioned LUN/Disk, physical storage space is allocated on demand. That is, the storage system allocates space as and when a client (example a file system/database) writes data to the storage medium. One primary goal of thin provisioning is to allow for storage overcommit. A thin provisioned disk can be a virtual disk, or a physical LUN/disk exposed from a storage array that supports TP. Virtual disks created as thin disks are exposed as TP disks, starting with virtual Hardware Version 9. For more information on this please refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_provisioning.
What is Dead Space Reclamation?
Deleting files frees up space on the file system volume. This freed space sticks with the LUN/Disk, until it is released and reclaimed by the underlying storage layer. Free space reclamation allows the lower level storage layer (for example a storage array, or any hypervisor) to repurpose the freed space from one client for some other storage allocation request. For example:
- A storage array that supports thin provisioning can repurpose the reclaimed space to satisfy allocation requests for some other thin provisioned LUN within the same array.
- A hypervisor file system can repurpose the reclaimed space from one virtual disk for satisfying allocation needs of some other virtual disk within the same data store.
GuestReclaim allows transparent reclamation of dead space from NTFS volumes. For more information and detailed instructions, view the Guest Reclaim ReadMe (pdf)
Thin provisioned (TP) SCSI disk
Space can be reclaimed on SCSI disks that advertise themselves as thin provisioned (TP) devices.
GuestReclaim queries the device for its TP status using standard SCSI primitives like reading the vital product data page (B0 vpd). GuestReclaim will issue SCSI Unmap commands to the underlying storage for reclaiming dead space.
Supported Operating Systems
- Desktop: XP onwards up to Windows 7
- Server: Until Windows 2008
The tool needs to be executed with Administrator privileges.
Supported Filesystem NTFS only.
The tool is provided as a standalone binary executable. Unzip the package, and it will contain a program. The tool needs to be executed with Administrator privileges.
GuestReclaim.exefrom the command prompt. Use the
--listoption to list available thin provisioned disks on the system. If none show up, it means that the first 16 drives are not thin provisioned. Export an environment variable
RECLAIM_DEBUGto see verbose output of the TP querying results.
For detailed instructions, you’ll get the pdf in the download, but you can also view them here in the pdf.