Category Archives: vmware

VMware Named 1 of the 10 Best Innovative Companies in the World

Great news coming out from Forbes today, VMware was ranked #3 in the world for innovation. It’s something a lot of us cloud engineers have known about for years and now this really helps to solidify VMware globally as an innovation leader!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/08/14/the-ten-most-innovative-companies-in-america/?partner=yahootix

Meet Trevor –VMware Hands-on Lab

Check out this great video around how VMware Hands-on Labs can enable you to do more with VMware products.

It really goes over the finer points on how customers can logon to HOL, check out our products/technologies, and then deliver them into your environment.

BTW — Great job Doug Baer, oops… I mean Trevor J

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk9716huKG4

What to do with old Event Lanyards?

Over these past years I’ve collected a bunch of lanyards, buttons and stuff.  Mainly I collected them as an end user, VMUG leader, and now as a VMware employee. At one point my car had a custom VM license plate. I hung on to all this stuff because I really liked it or wanted to remember good times.  However everything was just starting to pile up and collect dust.  This past weekend I made a choice to not box them up or toss them away but do something creative which included a power staple gun.  Attached to this post is my creation, they went from being a dust pile to a work of art.  

It’s pretty simple to make…

  • You need –
    • One Rectangle Cork board (I found my at Wal-Mart)
    • Power Staple Gun
    • Scissors
    • Enough lanyards to create a layout
  • Start in the middle, place the first one on an angle, staple them to the back side, and cut off the excess
  • Working out from the middle I used two straws as a spacer and placed the next lanyard on an angle. Make sure its square as any deviation will show
  • From there repeat, adjust, staple, and cut
  • If you have a plate you want to mount, center it, and I just used push pins to hold it up

     

Enjoy and Good times!

Network port diagram for vSphere 5.x

Check out this great network port diagram for vSphere 5.x. It was recently released on kb.vmware.com

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2054806

This is a must have for those doing architecture and design around VMware – Enjoy!

Home Lab – Adding freeNAS 8.3 iSCSI LUNS to ESXi 5.1

About a half a year ago I setup my freeNAS iSCSI SAN, created 2 x 500GB iSCSI LUNS and attached them to ESXi 5.1. These were ample for quite a while. However I have the need to add additional LUNS…. My first thought was – “Okay, Okay, where are my notes on adding LUNS…” They are non-existent… Eureka! Its time for a new blog post… So here are my new notes around adding iSCSI LUNS with freeNAS to my ESXi 5.1 Home lab – As always read and use at your own risk
J

  1. Start in the FreeNAS admin webpage for your device. Choose Storage > Expand Volumes > Expand the volume you want to work with > Choose Create ZFS volume and fill out the Create Volume Pop up.

When done click on Add and ensure is show up under the Storage Tab

.

  1. On the left-hand pane click on Services > iSCSI > Device Extents > View Device Extents. Type in your Extent Name, Choose the Disk Device that you just created in Step 1 and choose OK

     

  2. Click on Associated Targets > Add Extent to Target, Choose your Target and select the new Extent

     

  3. To add to ESXi do the following… Log into the Web Client for vCenter Server, Navigate to a host > Manage > Storage > Storage Devices > Rescan Host

    If done correctly your new LUN should show up below. TIP – ID the LUN by its location number, in this case its 4

  4. Ensure your on the Host in the left Pane > Related Objects > Datastores > Add Datastore

     

  5. Type in the Name > VMFS Type > Choose the Right LUN (4) > VMFS Version (5) > Partition Lay out (All or Partial), Review > Finish

     

  6. Setup Multi-Pathing – Select a Host > Manage > Storage > Storage Devices > Select LUN > Slide down the Devices Details Property Box and Choose Edit Multipathing

     

     

  7. Choose Round Robin and Click On Okay

     

  8. Validate all Datastores still have Round Robin enabled. 2 Ways to do this.
    1. Click on the LUN > Paths. Status should read Active I/O for both paths
    2. Click on LUN > Properties > Edit Multipathing – Path section Policy should state – Round Robin (See PIC in Step 8)

     

     

    Summary – These steps worked like a charm for me, then again my environment is already setup, and hopefully these steps might be helpful to you.

Free Instructional Video: vCloud Director Concepts and Architecture

The following URL will take you to 13 recorded sessions. They deliver an overview of VMware vCloud Director concepts and architecture, installation, creating Provider Resources, creating Organizations, creating and populating Catalogs, building a vApp, creating vShield Edge Firewall Rules, creating site-to-site VPNs, and more. Enjoy!

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=36740&ui=www_edu

 

 

 

Home Lab – VMware ESXi 5.1 with iSCSI and freeNAS

Recently I updated my home lab with a freeNAS server (post here). In this post I will cover my iSCSI setup with freeNAS and ESXi 5.1.

Keep this in mind when reading – This Post is about my home lab. My Home Lab is not a high performance production environment, its intent is to allow me to test and validate virtualization software. Some of the choices I have made here you might question, but keep in mind I’ve made these choices because they fit my environment and its intent.

Overall Hardware…

Click on these links for more information on my lab setup…

  • ESXi Hosts – 2 x ESXi 5.1, iCore 7, USB Boot, 32GB RAM, 5 x NICS
  • freeNAS SAN – freeNAS 8.3.0, 5 x 2TB SATA III, 8GB RAM, Zotac M880G-ITX Mobo
  • Networking – Netgear GSM7324 with several VLAN and Routing setup

Here are the overall goals…

  • Setup iSCSI connection from my ESXi Hosts to my freeNAS server
  • Use the SYBS Dual NIC to make balanced connections to my freeNAS server
  • Enable Balancing or teaming where I can
  • Support a CIFS Connection

Here is basic setup…

freeNAS Settings

Create 3 networks on separate VLANs – 1 for CIFS, 2 x for iSCSI < No need for freeNAS teaming

CIFS

The CIFS settings are simple. I followed the freeNAS guide and set up a CIFS share.

iSCSI

Create 2 x iSCSI LUNS 500GB each

Setup the basic iSCSI Settings under “Servers > iSCSI”

  • I used this doc to help with the iSCSI setup
  • Only exception is – Enable both of the iSCSI network adapters in the “Portals” area

 

ESXi Settings

Setup your iSCSI vSwitch and attach two dedicated NICS

Setup two VMKernel Ports for iSCSI connections

Ensure that the First VMKernel Port group (iSCSI72) goes to ONLY vmnic0 and vice versa for iSCSI73

Enable the iSCSI LUNs by following the standard VMware instructions

Note – Ensure you bind BOTH iSCSI VMKernel Ports

 

Once you have your connectivity working, it’s time to setup round robin for path management.

Right click on one of the LUNS, choose ‘Manage Paths…’

Change the path selection on both the LUNS to ‘Round Robin’

Tip – After the fact if you make changes to your iSCSI settings, then ensure you check your path selection as it may go back to default

 

Notes and other Thoughts…

I had issues with freeNAS updating information on their web interface, even after reboots of the NAS and my PC. I moved to Firefox and all issues went away. I cleared my cache in IE and these issues were gone.

Using Jumbo Frames with the SYBA Dual NICs (SY-PEX24028) – Short Answer is NO I was unable to get them to work in ESXi 5.1. SYBA Tech support stated the MAX Jumbo frames for this card is 7168 and it supports Windows OS’s only. I could get ESXi to accept a 4096 frame size but nothing larger, however none of the LUNS would connect, once I moved the frame size to 1500 everything worked perfectly. I beat this up pretty hard, adjusting all types of ESXi, networking, and freeNAS settings but in the end I decided the 7% boost that Jumbo frames offer my wasn’t worth the time or effort.

Summary…

These settings will enable my 2 ESXi Hosts to balance their connections to my iSCSI LUNS hosted by freeNAS server without the use of freeNAS Networking Teaming or aggregation. By far it is simplest way to setup and the out of the box performance works well.

My advice is — go simple with these settings for your home lab and save your time to beat up more important issues like “how do I shutdown windows 8″ J

I hope you found this post useful and if you have further questions or comments feel free to post up or reach out to me.

Great vSphere 5.1 Upgrades KB’s & Articles

A few of my fellow TAM’s put together this list of great KB’s / Articles that may help you in the process of upgrading to vSphere 5.1 – Enjoy!

vCenter 5.1:

 

vSphere 5.1 Misc:

 

Single Sign On Specific:

Home Lab – freeNAS build with LIAN LI PC-Q25, and Zotac M880G-ITX

I’ve decided to repurpose my IOMega IX4 and build out a freeNAS server for my ever growing home lab. In this blog post I’m not going to get in to the reasons why I choose freeNAS, trust me I ran through lot of open source NAS software, but rather on the actual hardware build of the NAS device.

Here are the hardware components I choose to build my freeNAS box with…

Tip – Watch for sales on all these items, the prices go up and down daily…

Factors in choosing this hardware…

  • Case – the Lian LI case supports 7 Hard disks (5 being hotswap) in a small and very quiet case, Need I say more…
  • Power supply – Usually I go with a Antec Power supply, however this time I’m tight on budget so I went with a Cooler Master 80PLUS rated Power supply
  • Motherboard – The case and the NAS software I choose really drove the Mobo selection, I played with a bunch of Open soruce NAS software on VM’s, once I made my choice on the case and choosing freeNAS it was simple as finding one that fit both. However 2 options I was keen on – 1) 6 SATA III Ports (To support all the Hard disks), 2) PCIex1 slot (to support the Dual Port NIC). Note – I removed the onboard Wireless NIC and the antenna, no need for them on this NAS device
  • NIC – the SYBA Dual NIC I have used in both of my ESXi hosts, they run on the Realtek 8111e chipset and have served me well. The Mobo I choose has the same chipset and they should integrate well into my environment.
  • RAM – 8GB of RAM, since I will have ~7TB of usable space with freeNAS, the general rule of thumb is to use 1GB of RAM per 1TB of storage, 8GB should be enough.
  • Hard Disks - I choose the hard disks mainly on Price, speed, and size. These hard disks are NOT rated above RAID 1 however I believe they will serve my needs accordingly. If you looking for HIGH performance and duty cycle HD’s then go with an enterprise class SAS or SATA disk.
  • SSD – I’ll use this for cache setup with freeNAS, I just wanted it to be SATA III

Install Issues and PIC’s

What went well…

  • Hard disk installs into case went well
  • Mobo came up without issue
  • freeNAS 8.3.xx installed without issue

Minor Issues….

  • Had to modify (actually drill out) the mounting plate on the LIAN LI case to fit the Cooler Master Power supply
  • LIAN LI Mobo Mount points were off about a quarter inch, this leaves a gap when installing the NIC card
  • LIAN LI case is tight in areas where the Mobo power supply edge connector meets the hard disk tray

PICS…

LIAN LI Case

5 Seagate HD’s installed…

Rear view…

Side Panel…

Zotac Mobo with RAM

Removal of the Wireless NIC….

Zotac Mobo installed in case with dual NIC…

Everything Mounted (Except for the SSD)….

Home Lab – More updates to my design

Most recently I posted about adding a Layer 3 switch to my growing home lab. The Netgear Layer 3 switch I added (GSM7324) is preforming quite well in my home lab. In fact it’s quite zippy compared to my older switches and for the price it was worth it. However my ever growing home lab is having some growing pains, 2 to be exact.

In this post I’ll outline the issues, the solutions I’ve chosen, and my new direction for my home lab.

The issues…

Initially my thoughts were I could use my single ESXi Host and Workstation with specific VM’s to do most of my lab needs.

There were two issues I ran into, 1 – Workstation doesn’t support VLANs and 2 – my trusty IOMega IX4 wasn’t preforming very well.

Issue 1 – Workstation VLANs

Plain and simple Workstation doesn’t support VLANs and working with one ESXi Host is prohibiting me from fully using my lab and switch.

Issues 2 – IOMega IX4 Performance

My IOMega IX4 has been a very reliable appliance and it has done its job quite well.

However when I put any type of load on it (More than One or Two VM’s booting) its performance becomes a bit intolerable.

The Solutions…

Issue 1 – Workstation VLANs

I plan to still use Workstation for testing of newer ESXi platforms and various software components

I will install a second ESXi host similar to the one I built earlier this year only both Hosts will have 32GB of RAM.

The second Host will allow me to test more advanced software and develop my home lab further.

Issues 2 – IOMega IX4 Performance

I’ve decided to separate my personal data from my home lab data.

I will use my IX4 for personal needs and build a new NAS for my home lab.

A New Direction…

My intent is to build out a second ESXi Physical Host and ~9TB FreeNAS server so that I can support a vCloud Director lab environment.

vCD will enable me to spin up multiple test labs and continue to do the testing that I need.

 

So that’s it for now… I’m off to build my second host and my freeNAS server…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers