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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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How to join VMware vCenter server appliance (VCSA) 6.5 to the Microsoft Active Directory (AD) Domain
Posted by Vladan Seget on August 1, 2017
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VMware Photon OS has been the latest OS used for vCenter Server Appliance 6.5. This is the latest move from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as VMware wants to own the Operating system (OS) and manage its development cycles and patches releases.

Things that aren’t possible on Windows OS or SLES. That’s why VMware used Photon Linux and continues to develop Photon OS which is optimized for VMware platforms.

Verify the domain status

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Setting statistics collection levels for the VMware vCenter Server and estimating the size of its database
Posted by Alex Samoylenko on July 3, 2017
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Very often, VMware vSphere administrators have to find the reasons of performance issues by analyzing the historical data of various metrics on the VMware vCenter Server. However, sometimes the default set of metrics is not enough if you view performance data for the previous night or the end of the past week – in this case, you need to change the level of collected metrics and, possibly, the frequency of their collection and retention.

In the VMware vCenter Server settings, you can set the data collection levels, different collection intervals and the time period that the data will be stored on the Server. In addition, you can set an approximate size of the virtual infrastructure in the host servers and virtual machines, which will allow to roughly estimate the size of the vCenter database. Let’s take a closer look at these settings.

vCenter Server Settings Statistics

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StarWind VVols for VMware vSphere Environment
Posted by Dmytro Malynka on June 16, 2017
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Introduction

VMDK file to LUN storage architecture has been the most usable scenario for years until VMware released Virtual Volumes in vSphere 6.0. In the case of an array with block access, own VMware file system – VMFS  – was used -, and NFS was used for file storage. The array capacity was divided into LUNs or NFS-shares and presented ESXi hosts in the datastore form. Frequently, datastore is a large capacity storage housing numerous VMs. In fact, allocating a separate datastore for each VM is quite inconvenient and time-consuming in terms of administration.

With this approach, the VM storage maintenance operations are at the datastore level, and not at the Virtual Machine level. The operations like snapshots, replication, deduplication, encryption, etc. are performed at the storage level, thus being implemented faster with no use of compute and networking resources. The traditional VM storage technology described in vSphere is still supported. At once, Virtual Volumes (VVols) is an object containing VM files virtual disks and their derivatives.

This handy and at the same time advanced technology was integrated with StarWind Products, that I am about to implement.

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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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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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VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) and after install tricks
Posted by Vladan Seget on April 10, 2017
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It is not new that VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) is a very popular option, especially for small businesses which can save money on an additional Windows Server license.

It is a prepackaged and preconfigured virtual appliance with PostgreSQL database, vCenter server 6.5 components and also (in case you deploy “all-in-one” VM) Platform services Controller that contain all of the necessary services for running vCenter Server such as vCenter Single Sign-On, License service, and VMware Certificate Authority.

The VCSA is running Photon OS which is a VMware own lightweight distribution, optimized for fast booting, security, and scalability. During a long time, VMware was using Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) distribution, but the fact that VMware did not own the stack was a break to faster development.

Reset Root password on VMware VCSA

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vRealize Operations Manager Gems
Posted by Michael Ryom on March 29, 2017
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Working with vRops over the last years has taught me one thing. The development of vRops goes so fast. Sometimes so fast that you do not realize when or what has changed. However, there are many “hidden” gems in vRops, which will make you and the product shine even more.

So come along, as I will show you my top ten hidden gems of vRops…

Datastore KPI view

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Virtual workload migration with VMware
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on March 27, 2017
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It is quite surprising how many companies migrate virtual workload nowadays. There could be different reasons – expiring contract with the service provider, move to the new office, consolidation of resources to minimize Capex and Opex, but in every case, companies need efficient and flexible V2V migration solution.

Very often people think of migration in terms of moving data from one place to another. However, migration is much more than that. For instance, you would probably want VMs to keep the same IP addresses after the migration. Which means you need to consider stretching VLANs between the source and target locations in case you cannot migrate all VMs in particular subnet in one go. You must plan a network cutover too.

Cross-vCenter vMotion

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