vSphere Upgrade Options
Posted by Mike Preston on October 26, 2017
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When it comes time for your vSphere upgrade there are many different approaches to how you perform the upgrades on your ESXi hosts.   An administrator who looks after a small cluster may update one way, whereas an administrator who looks after an enterprise with 1000s of hosts may opt to go another.  Also, depending on how your environment is deployed you might want to choose one method over another.  Factors such as a whether or not your hosts are managed by a vCenter server, whether or not they are members of a cluster – these things all impact the methods in which you chose to update to the latest version of ESXi.  Certainly, some methods are much more simplistic than others to perform, some offer more advantages when upgrading at scale, and some are more prone to user error – let’s take a look at each method of upgrading our hosts below and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each…

VMware vSphere logo

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Accessing esxcli through PowerCLI
Posted by Mike Preston on October 4, 2017
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Picture this – you are working away developing a PowerCLI script that is performing multiple actions – you have it just about complete when you come to a roadblock.  After frantically googling around you find out that this one task you are trying to perform simply cannot be done through PowerShell, yet you know it exists within the local ESXi esxcli command namespace!  This has happened multiple times to me and thankfully, there is a way to access ESXi’s esxcli command namespace without having to leave the comforts of the PowerShell Console.

Chances are that if you have been working at all with ESXi you are familiar with the esxcli command – but for those that aren’t let’s take a quick look at what exactly it does.

esxcli namespaces

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Convert a physical Linux server to VMware VM
Posted by Romain Serre on September 6, 2017
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When you implement a virtual infrastructure, you may want to convert your physical servers to virtual to improve your datacenter consolidation. In this topic, we will see how to convert a physical Linux server to a VMware VM. To make this conversion, I used VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

Install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

To host VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, you need a physical or virtual machine based on Windows Server. Usually, when I run this tool, I use a virtual machine. Then run the executable to process the product installation.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

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Top 5 Best Utilities for your vSphere infrastructure presented on VMware Labs in 2017
Posted by Dmytro Malynka on August 23, 2017
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As all of you know, VMware Labs posts handful utilities for VMware administrators to make the management of vSphere virtualization infrastructure easer. Those tools are being developed by VMware Engineers, Community, and Open Source. Today I would like to emphasize some of the latest tools available to download and implement.

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

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3 Generations of My Homelabs
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 15, 2017
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Sooner or later every single IT guy comes to the idea of having some lab. There are a million reasons why you would need a lab: learning new technologies, improving skills, trying crazy ideas you would never dare to try in the production network, you name it. Even though it is a work-related activity for most home labbers this is just another hobby for many of us.  That’s why people spend so many hours of their personal time building the homelab, investing significant funds into new hardware, thoroughly planning its setup, looking for a help in online communities or sharing their experience to help others. There is a whole universe of home labbers and I am happy to be part of this community.

In this post, I would like to share my experience with 3 generations of home labs I have had so far and the thoughts about next generation.

high-level network diagram

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VMware vCenter Server Appliance Homelab tips
Posted by Vladan Seget on June 15, 2017
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Many IT administrators or virtualization guys runs their homelabs at home. It is a good way to learn new technologies, be able to break things in a lab to get stronger skills.

It is sometimes a challenge, to squeeze as much RAM as possible from it. The main challenge is always a memory utilization. VMware VMs are getting memory hungry all the time and they are not “optimized” for Homelab use, but rather for production environments. Yes, it is the main purpose of those VMs after all.

One of the large VMs, but most critical, is VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). This product is becoming very popular within VMware communities and it is very easy to setup. Today we will have a look if we can do some optimizations and some “tweaks” to make it less memory hungry.

Set service startup manual

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Design a ROBO infrastructure. Part 4: HCI solutions
Posted by Andrea Mauro on June 7, 2017
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2-nodes hyperconverged solution

As written in the previous post, for ROBO scenario the most interesting HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) configuration is a two nodes configuration, considering that two nodes could be enough to run dozen VMs (or also more).

For this reason, not all hyperconverged solutions could be suitable for this case (for example Nutanix or Simplivity need at least 3 nodes). And is not simple scale down an enterprise solution to a small size, due to the architecture constraints.

Actually, there are some interesting products specific for HCI in ROBO scenario:

  • VMware Virtual SAN in a 2 nodes clusters
  • StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance
  • StorMagic SvSAN

StarWind Virtual SAN overall architecture

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StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance Linux edition
Posted by Alex Bykovskyi on May 5, 2017
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Introduction

This article describes the new StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance, which was released on 26th of April. StarWind has always been a Windows native solution. However, due to market trends and the huge interest of our customers, we have decided to work in Linux direction. The main goal of the article is to show what StarWind VSA can do for clients and how you can work with it.

StarWind Linux-based VSA

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VMware’s Photon and containers in VMware
Posted by Gary Williams on April 12, 2017
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The past month has been categorized as something of a performance and upgrades challenge as one of the constant calls I hear is “application X is going to slow”, of course, a month ago it was fine but today it isn’t and normally this is just down to increasing load.
One of the common fixes for increasing load is to add more vCPU and RAM but often that can cause its own set of problems especially when NUMA boundaries are crossed and when vCPU contention pushes things a little too far.
The second part of the challenge is the upgrade challenge where various applications need upgrading but there are dependency chains to take into account, this is the sort of thing where application X needs a very specific version of application y. In those cases, an upgrade is much easier to do by reinstalling the OS and starting again then transferring the data across!

As a potential solution to these issues that I’ve been exploring is Docker on VMWare’s Photon OS.

 VMware Photon logo

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vSphere 6.5: HA & DRS improvements. Part 2
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on March 3, 2017
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In Part II we will review the remaining improvements in vSphere Availability and Resource Management brought by vSphere 6.5.

Challenge: HA Restart priorities are not flexible enough

Description

Modern applications can be very complex and may consist of more than one server. Very often multi-tier applications require specific restart order, e.g. classic scheme DB – App – Web.  For instance, if an application server powers on before the database server the application will fail to start. To make it worse, there is no guarantee that the application server will automatically recover after DB server is powered on.  Sometimes the application server will have to be rebooted to restore the service. Moreover, there could be inter-application dependencies which make the situation even more complicated.

DRS in vSphere 6.5 view

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