Networking

Turning a ‘No you cannot attend’ to a ‘Yes’ for VMworld

Posted on Updated on

I’ve been lucky enough to make it to every VMworld since 2008 and 2014 will be my 7th. time in a row. In this blog post I wanted to share with you a breakdown of some of the tips and tricks I’ve used to get to these events. Being the former Phoenix VMUG leader I’ve shared these tips with fellow VMUG users and now I’m sharing them with all of you. Users would tell me cost is the number one reason why they don’t go – “My Company sees value in this event but will not pay for it”. This breaks down to Food, Hotel, Travel, and the infamous golden ticket, aka the VMworld pass. So how do users overcome the cost to attend? This is what this blog post is all about…

Working with your employer –

Having your employer pick up the tab not only benefits them as a company but yourself too. As you know VMworld is full of great content and the socialization aspects are second to none. Chances are you’ll be asked to put together a total cost to attend and this cost can be quite high for some companies on a tight budget. My suggestion is if you are getting the big ‘No’ then work with your boss around the total costs. First find out why it’s a ‘No’ and look for opportunities to overcome this. Maybe your company will pay for some of the items. Example – They might be able to cover airfare, but the rest is on you. Don’t forget if your company has a VMware TAM (Technical Account Manager) reach out them. Even if you are not directly working with the TAM they are your best resource not only for VMware Technology but also for getting you to VMworld. They don’t have passes but they usually know the community very well and can assist.

Sometimes I hear “My employer will not allow me to accept gifts”. True your company may have a policy around the type of gifts you can receive and by all means follow this policy. However, keep in mind you may be able to take vacation time and represent yourself at this event not your employer. Then there is a possibility gifts could be accepted but on the premises you don’t represent your company. Some companies are okay with this but just make sure they are. If you are able to do this I would suggest you represent it as ‘personal development’.

How do I get a free VMworld Pass?

This can be your biggest challenge. However here are some ways to get your hands on one.

  • Give-a-ways
    • I can’t tell you how many vendors have giveaways contests right now — hit them early and enter as many contests as you can find
    • Tips-
      • When you enter, find out who your local vendor contact is and let them know you entered. Then stay in contact with them.
      • Keep in mind not all contests are the same, some are based on random drawing and others are not. This is why I say keep in contact with the vendor.
      • How do I find give-a-ways >> Google ‘VMworld getting there for free’
  • Get the word out
    • Tell your boss, workmates, vendors, and partners.  Post on Twitter, Linked-In, etc. and Repeat again and again. By doing this you let others know about your strong interest in getting there, in turn they might get a lead for you.
    • Most importantly, reach out to your local VMUG leader and ask them for tips in your area. They are usually well connected and might have a lead for you as well.
    • Follow Twitter and Linked-In – You never know who is going to post up “I have a pass and need to give it to someone”. Yes that is right, before the event you can transfer a pass to someone.
      • New to Twitter, need contacts? It’s a pretty simple to get started.  Simply find the #VMworld hastag, see who is posting to it and start following them. Then look at all their contacts and follow them too, soon you’ll have a gaggle of folks.
    • This sound like work.  Why do all this? Simple, distributed coverage model. The more people know the more likely they are to help and in turn the more likely you’ll succeed
  • Don’t forgo an Expo-Only or Solutions Exchange Pass
    • If you get offered this pass take it. I can’t tell you how many vendors have these passes and have trouble giving them away, seriously this is gold but folks don’t know how to leverage them.
    • First off this pass has great value, there is a TON of value here.
    • Second this pass can get you on to the Solutions Exchange floor where all the vendors and partners are.
      • Once there start talking to all the vendors, fellow attendee, all those folks you meet on Twitter, etc. as you never know who has a full pass they couldn’t get rid of, take it and upgrade yours.
    • Third, while you are there with an Expo Pass use Twitter and the VMworld hash tags to let folks know you’re here and you are looking for a full pass.
    • Stop by the VMUG booth on the Expo floor, you never know who will be there and you never know if users there might be able to help you.
  • Vendors and Partners
    • Find out who is sponsoring VMworld this year, and then…
      • Start calling the ones you know well, ask them for support getting there.
      • Don’t forget to call the ones you don’t know so well too.
      • If you have an upcoming deal on the table with a vendor, inquire if they will throw in passes, travel, etc.

What about Food, Hotel, and Travel Costs?

  • Food
    • There will be free food everywhere, in-fact feel free to give some to the homeless I usually do.
    • If you get a pass then lunch and usually breakfast are included.
    • For dinner, find out where the nightly events are as they usually have food.
    • Talk with Vendors as they might take you out, you never know.
  • Hotel
    • Ask a Vendor to pay for just the room or ask them to gift hotel points to you.
    • Room Share with someone at the event << Think about it, you won’t be in the room that often and chances are from 7AM till 10PM you’ll be out of your room.
    • Use travel sites to cut down the cost.
      • Secret Hotels: Best Western Carriage Inn and The Mosser. Good if you’re on a budget but chances are they are full this year (2014).
    • Use your hotel or other travel points to book the hotel for free.
    • Get a low cost hotel away from the event, but watch your travel costs.
  • Travel
    • Airfare
      • Ask a vendor to pay for just the airfare, or maybe they have points they can gift you.
      • Use your own travel points to pay for this.
    • Rideshare to the event
      • See if one of your connections are driving to the event, offer to split fuel costs.
      • You drive someone to the event, and they pick up the hotel or vise versa.
    • Local Travel
      • Use the following –
        • VMworld Shuttle
        • Bus
        • Uber
        • BART
      • Once again hit up those vendors, they might have a way to get you around for free

Finally here is a breakdown of how I got to so many events and how/who paid for it….

Year Pass Travel Food Hotel
2008 VMworld Vendor Sponsor – Full Pass Employer Paid Vendor / Event Employer Paid
2009 VMworld VMUG Sponsored – Full Pass Vendor paid for Airfare with Miles Vendor / Event Employer Paid
2010 VMworld VMUG Sponsored – Full Pass Vendor paid for Airfare with Miles Vendor / Event Vendor Sponsored
2011 VMworld Vendor Sponsor – Expo Pass but I got an upgrade to Full by asking others I drove two others and I paid for the fuel Vendor / Event Travel Companion paid for room
2012 VMworld Employee Labs Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid
2013 VMworld Employee TAM Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid
2014 VMworld Employee TAM Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid

Summing it up…

My take is this, if you REALLY want to go you’ll get there but sometimes it takes effort to do so and if you do it right it might not cost you a thing. Don’t let anything stop you and find your way there.

Finally, after you’ve been to the event don’t forget about the folks who got you there and say ‘Thank you’. Then over the next year continue to build this relationship, as you never know if you’ll need help again, or you want to help someone else get there.

Network port diagram for vSphere 5.x – Poster

Posted on Updated on

 

This is by far and away my favorite VMware Poster and I use it as a reference quite often.

Benefits –

  • Clear representation of all the TCP/IP Ports needed by VMware Products and their dependences
  • PDF has a very clear diagram that can be printed on to a large format
  • PDF Diagram has reference numbers that correlate to further slides for more information

You can find the PDF Here >>http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2054806

PIC of the Reference Link –

Part of a PIC of the Port Diagram

Geeks.com – Time to Say goodbye for now

Posted on Updated on

I was a bit shell shocked when I went to one of my favorite online stores, geeks.com, only to find out they had closed.

They had been open for 17 years and they were one of the first sites I trusted to buy quality products from new or used.

They had a lot of common items but every now and then they had something different or unique. It was one of the reasons why I kept coming back.

I had recommended geeks.com many times and everyone I sent there always let me know what excellent service and product they had.

Well Geeks.com – I salute you – you had a good run, I’m sorry to see you go, and I hope one day you return!

Just a quick note, if you liked geeks.com then check out http://www.pacificgeek.com/ they were very similar in product and layout.

Network port diagram for vSphere 5.x

Posted on Updated on

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 – VMware ESXi 5.1 with iSCSI and freeNAS

Posted on Updated on

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
  • The 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…

Browser Cache Issues — 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 then cleared my cache in IE and these issues were gone.

Jumbo Frames — Can I use 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, when enabled none of the LUNS would connect, once I moved the frame size back 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 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 the 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.

VMware Guest Operating System Installation Guide gets an Online Facelift

Posted on Updated on

At some point in your VMware administrator career you discover you need information around the correct settings to deploy a VM properly.

You find that you need to answer questions like –

What is the supported network adapter for my Guest OS?

Are Paravirtualization adapters supported for my Guest OS?

Can I do Hot memory add?

A few years ago the default standard was the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.

It gave you all the information you needed to setup the virtual hardware or confirm what recommend virtual hardware should be by the OS Type.

Recently the compatibility and OS installation guides have come online and they can lead you to best practices around settings and KB’s too.

In this blog post I’m going to step you through how to find basic information around a Windows 2008 server.

Start here – http://partnerweb.vmware.com/GOSIG/home.html#other

This link will take you to the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.

Select your OS – In this case I choose Windows 2008 Server


Here are the base install instructions for the Guest OS, note at the bottom the KB Articles and Guest OS Compatibility Guide.

The Guest OS Compatibility Guide can tell you what network drivers etc are support for the guest OS..


Click here to go to the VMware Compatibility Guide, Select your OS Family, OS Type and choose Update & Review…

Then select your ESX / ESXi version to see the details…


Here are the results…  Also from this page you can choose a different product like ESXi 5.0U1 or other…


Home Lab – Adding a Layer 3 Switch to my growing Home Lab

Posted on Updated on

Most recently I expanded my home lab to include a Layer 3 switch.

Why would I choose a Layer 3 switch and what/how would I use it is the topic of this blog post.

Here are my requirements for my home lab –

I would like to setup my home network to support multiple VLANs and control how they route.

This will enable me to control the network traffic and segment my network to allow for different types of testing.

I’d also like to be able to run all of these VM’s on Workstation 9, support remote access, and ESXi Hosts.

 

Frist thing I did was come up with a drawing of what I wanted. It included all my wants and needs…

This was my chance to brain storm a bit and I just wrote down everything I wanted or really needed.


From this drawing I came up with this list…

  1. Support Remote Access
  2. VLANS
  3. VLAN Routing
  4. VLAN Tagging
  5. ESXi Host with 5 NICs
  6. Workstation 9 Host with 5 NICs
  7. Support 5 Different VLANs
  8. Support Internet Access for VM’s
  9. Local Storage support for home files
  10. Printer / Scanner need to be on the network
  11. I’m going to need a switch with 24 Ports or better
  12. Design the network so that I can power down the test lab and allow home devices to print and access the Inet.

Second thing – What do I currently have to work with…

  1. Windows 7×64, Workstation 9, 32GB RAM, iCore 7, 2 x SATA3 2TB 6gbs HD, 2 x SATA3 SSD (60 & 120), 1 NIC
  2. IO Mega IX4 with Dual NICs
  3. Older Netgear 16 Port Gig Layer 2 Switch unmanaged
  4. Netgear N900 with Guest Network Support

Based on these lists I came up with my shopping list…

  1. I need a Layer 3 Switch to support all this
  2. I need some Multiport Giga Bit NICs

Let’s start with the switch…Here is what I looked for in a Switch –

Must Have –

  1. Layer 3 Routing
  2. VLANs
  3. VLAN Routing
  4. Managed
  5. Quiet – It is a must for home networking as I work from home and am frequently on calls.
  6. Cost effective – keep it below a few hundred

Nice to have –

  1. Quality Brand
  2. Support
  3. Community behind the product
  4. Non-Blocking Switch
  5. OSPF or RIP

Basically most good Layer 3 switches achieve the requirements for 1-4. However these switches usually run in a Data center or Networking closet and are quite loud

I did some looking around for different switches, mostly used Cisco and Extreme Networks. These are switches that I am familiar with and would fit my home lab. However I’ve seen my share of their innards, I know their fans are loud and cannot easily be replaced. When I was at VMworld 2012 I chatted quite a bit with the Netgear folk about their products and I remember talking with them about their products and how they fit SMB to Enterprise quite nicely. I started to look on Ebay and I found an affordable Netgear Switch. I did some research on line and found how others were modifying the fans to help them run more quietly.

My choice was the Netgear GSM7324. It is a 24 Port Layer 3 Managed Switch from 2008. It meets all my must have needs and it fulfilled all of the “Nice To haves”

I also bought the following to support this switch –

Startech Null Modem DB9 to USB to run the CLI on the Switch

Sunon MagLev HA40201V4-0000-C99, 40x20mm,Super Silent FAN for $10 apiece, they fit perfectly and they run the switch at a tolerable noise level

TIP – And this is important… I had to move the PIN outs on these fans to meet the PIN outs on the Switch. If I didn’t it could have damaged the switch…

Next I started looking for Multi-Port Gigabit NICS…

What do I have to work with?

I’m using the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3 for Workstation 9 and MSI Z68MA-G45B3 for my ESXi 5.x Host.

What are the Must haves for the NIC’s?

  1. Dual Gigabit
  2. VLAN support
  3. Jumbo Frames
  4. Support for ESXi and Windows 7×64
  5. I need about 4 of these cards

I choose the SYBA SY-PEX24028. It’s a Dual NIC Gigabit card that meets my requirements. I found it for $39 on Newegg .

Tip – When choosing a network card I needed to ensure the card will fit into my motherboards, not all x1 PCIe slots are the same and when looking at Dual Gigabit NICs most only work in server class hardware.

 

Summary –

I achieved what I was looking to accomplish and with some good design work I should have a top notch home lab. All in all I spent about ~$400 to upgrade my home lab. Which is not a bad deal considering most Layer 3 switches cost $400+. All my toys have now come in and I’m off to rework my lab…. But that my friend is a different blog post…


 

Test Lab – Day 2 CLI with the Xsigo!

Posted on Updated on

Yesterday I did about 90% of the hardware install. Today, Day 2, our Xsigo SE will be here to assist with the installation and configuration of the Xsigo to the ESX Hosts..

Today’s Goals..

  • Install 2nd Xsigo VP780
  • Install vmware ESXi 4.1 on 4 servers with Xsigo Drivers
  • Configure both Xsigo vp780’s

 

Install 2nd Xsigo VP780…

Day 2 started out with a gift from Mr. FedEx, it was the parts we needed to install the 2nd Xsigo. Only yesterday afternoon we discovered we were missing some power cords and mounting brackets. A couple quick calls to Xsigo and viola parts are on their way. Props to Xsigo for a VERY quick response to this issue!

Based on the lessons learned from Day 1 we mounted the 2nd Xsigo VP780 and it went much smoother. Notice the WE part of installing the VP780, these things are heavy & large and you’ll need some help or a giant with huge hands to install them into a rack. See their install manual for more information.

When we powered them up I was amazed by the amount of air they moved through the device >> Very NICE!

Keep in mind at this point all the test lab hardware including the Xsigo fiber modules (2 x 10gig Fiber modules per device), and networking is mounted and interconnected…

 

Install vmware ESXi 4.1 on 4 servers with Xsigo Drivers…

You’ll need the Xsigo Drivers installed for ESXi to recognize the infiniband cards and for proper communication.

There are two installation options…

  1. Install ESXi 4.1 and add the Xsigo Drivers after the install.
  2. Download the drivers and re-master the ESXi ISO yourself (This is a good option if your building / rebuilding lots of servers)

We chose to re-master the ESXi ISO with the Xsigo drivers.

Here is the link to master the ISO

I won’t bore you with the details of installing ESXi, however the only gotcha I ran into was the Dell R5400 SATA RAID controller.

I setup a SATA RAID group, during the ESXi install it recognized the RAID volume, and ESXi installed to it without issue.

However after the reboot of the host it would not boot to this volume.

I didn’t have time to troubleshoot, for now we just broke the RAID group, reinstalled, and it worked perfectly.

ESXi Management NICS’s..

Our test lab network will be isolated from production network traffic. However, one of our servers will need to be in the production environment. We setup one physical NIC (pNIC) on to our production environment. This will allow us to temporarily transfer VM’s from production to test, we’ll then disconnect this pNIC and setup ESXi to use the Xsigo NIC for management.

(More to come on this on Day 3)

 

Configure both Xsigo vp780’s…

Configuring the vp780 was very simple. We attached a laptop to the Xsigo and in about 20 commands our Xsigo was up and running..

These are the basic commands we used to setup our pair of Xsigo’s (A and B), the commands below reflect B only.

The commands would be the same for the A Xsigo simply change the appropriate parameters…

NOTE: I don’t recommend you execute these commands in your environment, keep in mind these are for my reference ONLY… I also recommend you contact your Xsigo representative for assistance.

 

Here are the commands we executed..

 

Getting into the Xsigo VP780…

We used a standard Xsigo provided rollover cable plugged into Serial1. (Serial2 is for Tech / Debug – Don’t use)

We connected to the console via Putty or Absolute Telnet (COM Settings are 115200,8,1,None,None)

Tip: All default passwords are in the CLI Config Guide by Xsigo

 

Setup the Xsigo via the Wizard…

Once the connected we used the XgOS config Wizard and entered in the following..

Welcome to XgOS

Copyright (c) 2007-2010 Xsigo Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Enter “help” for information on available commands.

 

Would you like to use the XgOS Configuration Wizard? [Y/n]

Hostname: xsigo-b

Domain: YOURDOMAIN.COM

Is this Director to be designated as the IB subnet manager (leave as Y unless using an external, non-Xsigo subnet manager) ? [Y/n]

Do you want this Director to send diagnostic data to Xsigo periodically? [Y/n]

Please input the ‘root’ password: ****

Please confirm the ‘root’ password: ****

Please input the ‘admin’ password: *****

Please confirm the ‘admin’ password: *****

Please input the ‘recovery-password’: ****

Please confirm the ‘recovery-password’: ****

IP Address [static/DHCP]: 555.555.555.555

IP Address [static/DHCP]:

Enter NTP Server 1: 555.555.555.555

Enter NTP Server 2:

Enter Timezone [<Tab><Tab> for the list of Timezones]: America_Phoenix

Welcome to XgOS

Copyright (c) 2007-2010 Xsigo Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Enter “help” for information on available commands.

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo]

 

Now it’s time to setup the Xsigo…

Place the Xsigo into Trunk Mode..

Port 10 and Port 11 are the 10gig Fibre Modules; this command places them in Trunk Mode

set ethernet-port 10/1 -mode=trunk << Port 10 will be used for our IP Network (Vlans for Guests, vmotion, hosts, etc)

set ethernet-port 11/1 -mode=trunk << Port 11 will be used for our NFS

Rear of VP780

Ensure Trunk Mode is activated..

Use the command ‘show ethernet-port ‘

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] show ethernet-port

 

name type state descr mode flags lag access-vlan vnics vlans

——————————————————————————-

10/1 nwEthernet10GbPort up/up trunk -s— 1 0 none

11/1 nwEthernet10GbPort up/up trunk -s— 1 0 none

2 records displayed

 

Setup Phone Home for Support…

set system phone-home -customer-name=”YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE”

set system phone-home -contact-email-address=YOURNAME@YOURDOMAIN.COM

set system phone-home -contact-phone-numbers=”555-555-5555″

set system phone-home proxy [YOUR PROXY IP HERE] [PROXY PORT if needed, default is 3128]

Note: For this command the syntax is [PROXY IP Address] one space [PROXY PORT], don’t use ‘:’ to as the separator.

 

Once completed then check confirm your information…

Enter the command ‘show system phone-home’

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] show system phone-home

——————————————————————————-

enabled true

freq weekly

next Fri Jan 14 12:44:52 MST 2011

notify no

strip yes

alarm yes

name COMPANYNAME

email EMAIL@EMAIL.com

phone 5555555555

copy

p-host 555.555.555.555:3128

p-user

——————————————————————————-

1 record displayed

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo]

 

Check on the Phone Home Log….

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] showlog phonehome.log

Wed Jan 5 17:30:33 MST 2011: Phone home successful to http://phone-home.xsigo.com:6522

Wed Jan 5 18:04:14 MST 2011: Phone home successful to http://phone-home.xsigo.com:6522

Wed Jan 5 18:04:38 MST 2011: Phone home successful to http://phone-home.xsigo.com:6522

[Press CRTL-C to Exit]

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo]

Tip: your log might be empty until it has something to send

 

Ensure your Physical servers are attached…

As expected all 4 servers are attached to this Xsigo.. (If they don’t show up here it could be an interconnect or ESXi issue)

Enter the command ‘show physical-server’ to view your connected servers.

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] show physical-server

——————————————————————————-

name localhost <<< This is the ESXi Hostname

guid 2c903000b4df5

descr

port xsigo-001397001:ServerPort2 << This is the Xsigo Port the Server is connected to

os VMware/ESXi-4.1.0:xg-3.5.0-1-246491/x86_64 << This is the version of ESX & Xsigo Driver

version 2.7.0/3.0.0

server-profile << Notice this is blank, We configured it next

——————————————————————————-

name localhost

guid 2c903000b4ea5

descr

port xsigo-001397001:ServerPort3

os VMware/ESXi-4.1.0:xg-3.5.0-1-246491/x86_64

version 2.7.0/3.0.0

server-profile

——————————————————————————-

name localhost

guid 2c903000b4ea9

descr

port xsigo-001397001:ServerPort4

os VMware/ESXi-4.1.0:xg-3.5.0-1-246491/x86_64

version 2.7.0/3.0.0

server-profile

——————————————————————————-

name localhost

guid 2c903000b5095

descr

port xsigo-001397001:ServerPort1

os VMware/ESXi-4.1.0:xg-3.5.0-1-246491/x86_64

version 2.7.0/3.0.0

server-profile

——————————————————————————-

4 records displayed

 

Create Server Profiles…

Creating a server profile enables you to assign devices to your specific host.

In our case we used the ESX Hostname as the Xsigo Server Profile name.

This will help us to keep the profiles well organized.

Keep in mind YOURSERVERNAME# equals your ESX Hostname and it will become your Xsigo Server Profile Name…

Long way to create a Server Profile…

add server-profile [server profile name]

View the new server profile…

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] show server-profile

name state descr connection def-gw vnics vhbas

——————————————————————————-

YOURSERVER1 up/unassigned 0 0

1 record displayed

 

Assign the server profile to a port on the Xsigo…

set server-profile YOURSERVER1 connect localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort1

 

Short way to create a Server Profile…

add server-profile YOURSERVER2 localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort2

add server-profile YOURSERVER1 localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort3

add server-profile YOURSERVER1 localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort4

 

Then use show server-profile to confirm your entries…

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] show server-profile

name state descr connection def-gw vnics vhbas

——————————————————————————-

Yourserver3 up/up localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort3 0 0

Yourserver4 up/up localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort4 0 0

Yourserver1 up/up localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort1 0 0

Yourserver2 up/up localhost@xsigo-001397001:ServerPort2 0 0

4 records displayed

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo]

 

 

Set Up and attach the virtual NICS to your server profile…

In this step we created our Xsigo vNICS, attached them to the appropriate server profiles, and the 10gig Modules.

When complete each of our ESXi servers will have 4 Xsigo vNICS.

(2 vNICs for IP Network, 2 vNICs for Storage network)

 

Decoding the command…

The command ‘add vnic xnb.yourservername1 10/1 -mode=trunk’ breaks down to…

add vnic << Add vNIC Command

xnb << The vNIC Name (xnb = Xsigo, IP Network, B Xsigo Device, Xsb = Xsigo, Storage Network, B Xsigo Device)

yourservername1 << Which profile to attach to

10/1 << Which Module on the Xsigo to attach to

-mode=trunk << What transport mode

These are the command we entered..

IP Network vNICS

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xnb.yourservername1 10/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xnb.yourservername2 10/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xnb.Yourservername3 10/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xnb.Yourservername4 10/1 -mode=trunk

 

Storage vNICS

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xsb.Yourservername1 11/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xsb.Yourservername2 11/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xsb.Yourservername3 11/1 -mode=trunk

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] add vnic xsb.Yourservername4 11/1 -mode=trunk

 

Results from ESXi…

 

Other Information…

 

Set System back to factory Defaults…

If needed, you can set the System back to factory Defaults by the following command.

When complete you will need to access the system via Serial Cable.

Here are the steps:

set system factory-default

confirm << type in Confirm, my Putty will exited and the system will shutdown

NOTE: This command will erase the configuration from the Xsigo. Do it with caution

Tip: Note this will cause the system to shutdown, this means someone will have to manually power it back on.

 

Upgrade the XgOS via USB…

Download the GOS 2.8.5 to a USB Stick..

We inserted the stick into the USB Port on the VP780, then executed this command

system upgrade file://usb/xsigo-2.8.5.xpf

 

Other Handy commands…

show system status

show system

show system version

show system warnings

show serial

show system info

history

 

CLI Fun…

One thing I like about the CLI for Xsigo is TAB at the end of the command (most modern CLI’s have this and it sure is handy)

If I type in set system phone-home[Press TAB] it displays possible completions and qualifiers and then it displays the last command I typed in.

admin@ xsigo-b[xsigo] set system phone-home [Press TAB]

Possible completions:

disable Disable phone home

enable Enable phone home

noproxy Don’t use HTTP Proxy

proxy HTTP Proxy config

snooze Hit the snooze button

[Optional qualifiers]

-contact-email-address Email address for Xsigo technical support to contact when a problem is discovered. (or ‘none’)

-contact-phone-numbers Telephone number for Xsigo technical support to contact when a problem is discovered. (comma separated, or ‘none’)

-copy-url URL to send audit copy to

-customer-name Customer name (or ‘none’)

-frequency Phone home frequency (relative to when it is set)

-notify Will Xsigo notify you when problems are detected?

-send-alarms Send major alarms to Xsigo?

-strip-private Strip private information from phone-home data

Repeat ‘?’ for detailed help.

admin@xsigo-b[xsigo] set system phone-home

 

Day 2 Summary..

The pair of Xsigo’s were very easy to configure and install. I enjoyed working with Xsigo CLI, it is very well thought out, and I plan do to write additional blog about it alone.

Besides for the very few and sometime self-inflicted gotchas things went smooth.

It was nice to have a Xsigo SE on site to assist with the initial install and I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we spin up some VM’s and then test!

 

Still to do…

  • Copy vCenter Server & other VM’s from Production to this test environment
  • Test, Test, Test and more testing..

Test Lab – End of Day 1

Posted on Updated on

Day one was pretty simple it mostly comprised of hardware installation.

Below are my notes from todays adventure!

Work completed…

  • Network team mounted and configured the EX4200 switches with appropriate vlans (NFS, VM Service Console, vMotion, and others)
  • Severs were mounted and remounted to make room (see Installation gotchas below)
  • One Xsigo was mounted, and due to some missing brackets the other will have to be mounted tomorrow
  • Ethernet CAT and Infiniband cables were all cabled and routed
  • Physical Servers for VMware ESXi 4.1 were installed

Installation Gotchas…

Installing & Mounting the Xsigo VP780 proved harder then I expected, this in no way is a slam against Xsigo, and it is totally my fault for not fully reading the manual.

I suggest you run through the Quick Install Manual prior to installing the VP780. There are a LOT of brackets and about 5-8 bolt packages. All are necessary for their intended purpose.

My mistake was I just looked at the VP780 which is 4U in size and planned out 8U for both.

However the mounting / support bracket requires 1U of space… This brings the total to 5U per Xsigo or 10U for both.

This miscalculation caused a bit of a delay and I had to remount some servers to make up this space.

Lesson learned, read the manual before installing.

Xsigo Stuff..

From a DC cooling and cabling perspective the Xsigo is designed very well. In the front there are 4 massive primary fans and 4 smaller fans for the Power Supplies.

This design puts the intake in the front pulling cool air though the Xsigo and out the rear. All the cabling is done in the rear and cable management is a breeze as I can directly cable the rear of my servers to the rear of theXsigo.

Front View

Rear View

Physical Server Front..

Physical Server Rear (Look Mom No Cables!!) – It’s Pretty Sweet that 2 Cables can do so much

Still to do…

  • Install Vmware on site 1 and 2 cluster with Xsigo Drivers
  • Install 2nd Xsigo into rack
  • Copy vCenter Server & other VM’s from Production to this test environment
  • Test, Test, Test and more testing..

Test Lab – The Plan and Layout with Xsigo, juniper, IOMega, vmware, and HP/Dell servers)

Posted on Updated on

This week I have the pleasure of setting up a pretty cool test lab with Xsigo, juniper, IOMega, vmware, and HP/Dell servers.

I’ll be posting up some more information as the days go on…

The idea and approval for the lab came up pretty quickly and we are still defining all the goals we’d like to accomplish.

I’m sure with time the list will grow, however here are the initial goals we laid out.

Goals…

  1. Network Goals
    1. Deploy the vChissis solution by Juniper (Server Core and WAN Core)
    2. Deploy OSPF Routing (particularly between sites)
    3. Multicast Testing
    4. Layer 2 test for vm’s
    5. throughput Monitoring
  2. VMware Goals
    1. Test EVC from Old Dell QuadCores Servers to new HP Nehalem
    2. Test Long Distance vMotion & long distance cluster failures from Site1 to Site 2
    3. Play around with ESXi 4.1
  3. Xsigo Goals
    1. Test Redundant Controller failover with vmware
    2. Throughput between sites, servers, and storage

Caveats…

  • We don’t have a dual storage devices to test SAN replication, however the IOMega will be “spanned” across the metro core
  • Even though this is a “Site to Site” design, this is a lab and all equipment is in the same site
  • The Simulated 10Gbs Site to Site vChassis Connection is merely a 10Gbs fibre cable (We are working on simulating latency)
  • Xsigo recommends 2 controllers per site and DOES NOT recommend this setup for a production enviroment, however this is a test lab — not production.

The Hardware..

2 x Xsigo VP780’s with Dual 10Gbs Modules, All Server hardware will be Dual Connected

2 x HP DL360 G6, Single Quad Core Nehalem , 24GB RAM, Infinband DDR HBA, gNic’s for Mgt (Really not needed but nice to have)

2 x Dell Precision Workstation R5400, Dual QuadCore, 16GB RAM, Infiniband DDR HBA, gNic’s for Mgt (Really not needed but nice to have)

6 x Juniper EX4200’s (using Virtual Chassis and Interconnect Stacking Cables)