Working with the IOMega ix12-300r

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I installed an IOMega ix12-300r for our ESX test lab and I must say it’s just as feature rich as my personal ix4 and ix2.

I enjoy working with this device for its simplicity and feature depth. It’s very easy to deploy and it’s a snap to integrate with ESX.


Here are some of the things I like about ix12 and a high level overview to enable it with esx.

Note: Keep in mind most of the
features below are available on the ix2 and ix4 line but not all..

See http://iomega.com/nas/us-nas-comp.html for more information about the ix line and their features…


The Drives…

Our ix12 (the ix## is the amount of possible drives in the unit, ie ix2 = 2 drives, ix4 = 4drives) is populated with 8 x 1TB drives.

By default the 8TB unit will come with 4 x 2TB drives, I opted to buy a 4TB unit and expand it by 4TB, giving us the 8 x 1TB drives.

The drives are Seagate Barracuda Green SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive – ST31000520AS – SATA II (Rev 2.6 Drives) 5.9K RPM, they should perform nicely for our environment…

(Buts like most techies, I wish they were faster)

More information here about the drives and SATA 2.6 vs 3.x




Storage Pools…

A storage pool is not a new concept but in a device this cost effective it’s unheard of.

Basically, I’m dividing up my 8 drives like this..

Storage Pool 0 (SP0) 4 Drives for basic file shares (CIFS)

Storage Pool 1 (SP1_NFS) 2 drives for ESX NFS Shares only

Storage Pool 2 (SP2_iSCSI) 2 drives dedicated for ESX iSCSI only

I could have placed all 8 drives into one Storage pool but…

One of our requirements was to have SP0 isolated from SP1 and SP2 for separation reasons…


NO Down time for RAID Expansion… Sweet…

Another great feature is NO down time to expand your RAID5 Set..

Simply edit the Storage pool, Choose your new drive, and click apply.


The Raid set will rebuild and you’re all done!

Note: the downside to this… If you decide to remove a drive from a RAID set, you’ll have to rebuild the entire set.

TIP: To check the status of your RAID reconstruction check on the Dashboard under status or the home page at the bottom.

Mine reconstructed the 3 Storage Pools or all 12 drives at the same time in about 4.5 hours…


Teaming your NIC’s!

The ix12 comes with 4 x 1gb NICS, these can be bonded together, stay separate, or a mix of both.

You can setup your bonded NICs as Adaptive Load Balancing, Link Aggregation (LG), or Failover modes.

In our case we bonded NIC 3 and 4 with LG for ESX NFS/iSCSI Traffic and set NIC 1 up for our CIFS traffic.

For the most part setting up the networking is simple and easy to do.

Simply enter your IP’s, choose to bond or not and click apply.

Note: Don’t uncheck DHCP from unused adapters, if you do you’ll get an invalid IP address error when you click apply.

Also, making changes to the network area, usually requires a reboot of the device.. Tip: Setup your Network First..


Adding the NFS Folder to your ESX server

Note: These steps assume you completed the Iomega installation (Enabled iSCSI, NFS, Files shares,etc), networking, and your ESX Environment…

From the ix12 web interface simply add a folder on the correct Storage pool.

In our case I choose the folder name of ESX_NFS and the SP1_NFS storage pool

Tip: ALL Folders are broadcasted on all networks and protocols… I haven’t found a way to isolate folders to specific networks or protocols.

If needed make sure your security is enabled… I plan to talk with IOMega about this…


In vCenter Server, Add NAS storage and point it to the ix12.

Note: use /nfs/[folder name] for the folder name…


Once it’s connected it will show up as a NFS Data store!


Adding iSCSI to your ESX Server..

Note: This assumes you setup your esx environment to support iSCSI with the ix12…

Add your shared storage as an iSCSI Drive, set your iSCSI Drive name, and Select the correct Storage Pool.

Next is to set the Size of the iSCSI device, in this case we have 922GB free, but can only allocate 921.5GB

After clicking on apply, you should see the information screen…


In vCenter Server ensure you can see the iSCSI drive..

Add the iSCSI disk…

Give this disk a name…


Choose the right block size…

Finally there she is… one 920GB iSCSI disk…



From a price vs. performance stand point the IOMega line of NAS devices (ix2, ix4, and our ix12) simply ROCK.

It will be hard to find such a feature rich product that will cost you so little.

This post has merely scratched the features of these devices. It is really hard to believe that 10+ years ago Iomega was known only for ZIP and Jazz Drives…

There new logo is IOMega Kicks NAS, and from what I’ve seen they do!


Follow up posts…

Over the next couple of months I hope to performance test my VM’s against the ix12

I’d like to figure out their protocol multi tendency issue (CIFS, NFS, iSCSI broadcasting over all NICS)

I’ll post of the results as they come in..




VM ESX and ESXi 4.1 Comparison

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I’m reposting this for my reference, but I thought you might like it too..

I recommend you go to the link below for the most updated information…


See this URL –


VMware ESX and ESXi 4.1 Comparison


This article provides a detailed comparison of VMware ESX and ESXi 4.1. The article is separated into capabilities or features and compared at that level.



VMware ESX

VMware ESXi

Service Console

Service Console is a standard Linux environment through which a user has privileged access to the VMware ESX kernel. This Linux-based privileged access allows you to manage your environment by installing agents and drivers and executing scripts and other Linux-environment code.

VMware ESXi is designed to make the server a computing appliance. Accordingly, VMware ESXi behaves more like firmware than traditional software. VMware has created APIs through which monitoring and management tasks – traditionally done through Service Console agents – can be performed. VMware has provided remote scripting environments such as vCLI and PowerCLI to allow the remote execution of scripts and commands.


Tech Support Mode (TSM) provides a command-line interface that can be used by the administrator to troubleshoot and correct abnormal conditions on VMware ESXi hosts.

CLI-Based Configuration

VMware ESX Service Console has a host CLI through which VMware ESX can be configured. VMware ESX can also be configured using vSphere CLI (vCLI) or vSphere PowerCLI.

The vSphere CLI (vCLI) is a remote scripting environment that interacts with VMware ESXi hosts to enable host configuration through scripts or specific commands. It replicates nearly all the equivalent COS commands for configuring ESX.


VMware vSphere PowerCLI is a robust command-line tool for automathing all aspect of vSphere management, including host, network, storage, virtual machine, guest operating system, and more.



  • vCLI, PowerCLI, and vSphere SDk for Perl are limited to read-only access for the free vSphere Hypervisor edition. To enable full functionality of vCLI on a VMware ESXi host, the host must be licensed with vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essential Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Advanced, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise Plus.
  • Certain COS commands have not been implemented in the vCLI because they pertain to the management of the COS itself and not ESXi. For details, please see the vSphere Command-Line Interface Documentation.

Scriptable Installation

VMware ESX supports scriptable installations through utilities like KickStart.

VMware ESXi supports scriptable installations using a mechanism similar to Kickstart, and includes the ability to run pre- and post-installation scripts.  VMware ESXi also provides support for post installation configuration using PowerCLI- and vCLI-based configuration scripts.

Boot from SAN

VMware ESX supports boot from SAN. Booting from SAN requires one dedicated LUN per server.

VMware ESXi may be booted from SAN. This is supported for Fibre Channel SAN, as well as iSCSI and FCoE for certain storage adapters that have been qualified for this capability. Please check the Hardware Compatibility List for supported storage adapters.

Serial Cable Connectivity

VMware ESX supports interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESX host.

VMware ESXi does not support interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESXi host at this time.


VMware ESX supports SNMP.

VMware ESXi supports SNMP when licensed with vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essential Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Advanced, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise Plus.

The free vSphere Hypervisor edition does not support SNMP.

Active Directory Integration

VMware ESX provides native support for Active Directory integration.

VMware ESXi provides native support for Active Directory integration.

HW Instrumentation

Service Console agents provide a range of HW instrumentation on VMware ESX.

VMware ESXi provides HW instrumentation through CIM Providers. Standards-based CIM Providers are distributed with all versions of VMware ESXi. VMware partners include their own proprietary CIM Providers in customized versions of VMware ESXi. These customized versions are available either from VMware’s web site or the partner’s web site, depending on the partner.

Remote console applications like Dell DRAC, HP iLO, IBM RSA, and FSC iRMC S2are supported with ESXi.

Software Patches and Updates

VMware ESX software patches and upgrades behave like traditional Linux based patches and upgrades. The installation of asoftware patch or upgrade may require multiple system boots as the patch or upgrade may have dependencies on previous patches or upgrades.

VMware ESXi patches and updates behave like firmware patches and updates. Any given patch or update is all-inclusive of previous patches and updates. That is, installing patch version “n” includes all updates included in patch versions n-1, n-2, and so forth. Furthermore, third party components such as OEM CIM providers can be updated independently of the base ESXi component, and vice versa.

vSphere Web Access

vSphere Web Access is only experimentally supported in VMware ESX.

VMware ESXi does not support web access at this time.


For licensing information, see the VMware Sphere Editions Comparison.

For licensing information, see the VMware Sphere Editions Comparison.

Diagnostics and Troubleshooting

VMware ESX Service Console can be used to issue command that can help diagnose and repair support issues with the server.

VMware ESXi has several ways to enable support of the product:

  • Remote command sets such as the vCLI include diagnostic commands such as vmkfstools, resxtop, and vmware-cmd.
  • The console interface of VMware ESXi (known as the DCUI or Direct Console User Interface) has functionality to help repair the system, including restarting of all management agents.
  • Tech Support Mode, which allows low-level access to the system so that advanced diagnostic commands can be issues. For more information, see Using Tech Support in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).

Jumbo Frames

VMware ESX 4.1 fully supports Jumbo Frames.


VMware ESXi 4.1 fully supports Jumbo Frames.



Additional Information

Storage – LUN Naming Standard

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I started working with my networking and storage teams to develop a LUN naming standard in hopes to better organize our LUN names.

We have a Fibre Channel SAN and needed a standard that is easy for us to follow and ID our LUNS quickly.

Some of the information in the standard might seem redundant (Like LUN ID) but we wanted to have a LUN name that was informational and would work for multiple teams.

Here are some Examples…


General Purpose LUN, Building AC, MED Resource Pool, Disk Tier 02, LUN ID 00ABC, Not Replicated


Notes Server 02, Building AB, MAX Resource Group, Disk Tier 02, LUNC IS 00CDF, Replicated

Here is the breakdown…

LUN ID Name (No more than 10 characters, Normal is 3) – Is the name of the LUN, or specific server, or purpose

Location (2 Characters) – The building where the LUN is normally located

LUN Priority (3 Characters) – Is the name of the resource pool the LUN is attached to, this helps with DR recovery

LUN ID (5 Characters) – This is the LUN ID assigned by the SAN at the time of creation, helps with combination with the SAN team

Replication (4 Characters) – Use NRPL for not replicated and RPL for replicated

vSphere 4 – Increase a VMs Hard disk under Windows 2008

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Here’s how I recently changed the C: boot drive on a Windows 2008 VM

One of our older Windows 2008 templates has a 40GB C:\ hard disk, however I’d like it to be 50GB.

With the combination of vCenter Server 4, Windows 2008 and vSphere 4 this couldn’t be easier!


  • Have admin access to vCenter Server and the Windows server
  • A quick snapshot is always a good idea


  • While the server is still ON, yes I said “While the server is still on”, in vCenter Server right click on the VM
  • Choose Edit Settings, Choose the Hard disk you want to expand and type in the new size, Choose OK

  • In Windows 2008 server open Server Manager, Click on Storage, Click on Disk Manager
  • Note the extra space on your hard disk

  • Right Click on the C: drive and choose Extend Volume
  • Choose Next on the Welcome Screen
  • Type in the amount you want to extend by or just click next the max
  • Click Finish to start the expansion, in about 2 seconds you’re done…

vSphere: NUMA 706: Can’t boot system as genuine NUMA

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If you install vSphere on NON-NUMA hardware the following warning message will be displayed on the Service Console splash screen

cpu0:0)NUMA: 706: Can’t boot system as genuine NUMA. Booting with 1 fake node(s)

To resolve the warning message uncheck the option setting vmkernel.boot.usenumainfo

ESX 4.1 Host Profile Copy

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Wouldn’t it be nice be able to make a copy of an existing host profile allowing you to create new profile?

vCenter Server 4.1.0 doesn’t have a copy function but you can export the profile then import it with a different name.

Note – Keep in mind this might not work on your destination hardware, you should use a base profile that is simlar and go fromt there. You also might have to tweek the copied profile for it work properly.

In vCenter Server 4.1.0 go to the Host Profiles area on you vCenter server

Simply right click and choose export profile

Choose ok to this warning…

Choose a good name and click on save

When the creation is complete from the main window Choose “Create a new host profile” > Import Profile >, Browse to the Import location and choose your file > Enter a new Name for the profile > Choose Finish

Once your done you can now edit this profile, updated it, add hosts, etc..

vmworld 2010 – The Schedule

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Here is my schedule for vmworld 2010…  This year I plan to hit the self-paced labs in the morning, followed up by super-sessions, performance, and cloud computing throughout the week.   Hopefully I’ll have time for lunch and the vendor area!
EA7850  —  Design, Deploy, and Optimize Microsoft SQL 2008
SS1055  —  Partner Track Super Session
TA8102  —  Tuning Linux for Virtual Machines
EA8210  —  Zimbra and The Future for Mission Critical Apps in the Virtualized Enterprise
ALT3005  —  VMware vCenter™ Orchestrator – Orchestrating the Cloud 
ALT2004  —  Building the VMworld Lab Cloud Infrastructure
EA7829  —  Panel Discussion: Virtualization’s Impact on the Delivery of Healthcare IT Services
TA9420  —  vSphere 4.1 Overview
SP9820  —  Getting the Most Out of Your Storage Infrastructure with Client and Server Virtualization
TA6720  —  Troubleshooting using ESXTOP for Advanced Users
TA8133  —  Best Practices to Increase Availability and Throughput for VMware
SS1011  —  How Cisco, EMC and VMware Are Changing the IT Landscape with Vblock Converged Infrastructure
TA8623  —  Storage Super-Heavyweight Challenge
SP9721  —  How to Use Virtual I/O to Provision and Manage Networks and Storage Resources in a Private Cloud
TA6944  —  PowerCLI Is For Administrators!
TA8051  —  Infrastructure Technologies to Long Distance VMotion – What Is “VM Teleportation”?
TA8101  —  Virtual Storage and VMware vSphere: Best Practices and Design Considerations
TA7994  —  vStorage Update for vSphere 4.1 

VMware KB TV on You Tube

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Here is a great source for VMware related information all on YouTube…


Best Practices and URL’s

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Here’s a great check list that I came across today…  Enjoy!

Component Check (per Best Practice)

Host Verify equipment was burned in with memory test for at least 72 hours

Host Verify all host hardware is on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)

Host Verify all host hardware meets minimum supported configuration

Host Check CPU compatibility for vMotion and FT

Host Check ESX/ESXi host physical CPU utilization to make sure that it is not saturated or running in a sustained high utilization

Host Verify all hosts in the cluster are compatible versions of ESX/ESXi

Host Check ESX/ESXi host active Swap In/Out rate to make sure that it is not consistently greater than 0

Host Check to make sure that there is sufficient service console memory (max is 800MB)

Host Verify that ESX service console root file system is not getting full

Host Check if any 3rd party agents are running in the ESX service console

Host Verify that NTP is used for time synchronization

Network Verify that networking in configured consistently across all hosts in a cluster

Network Check to make sure there is redundancy in networking paths and components to avoid single points of failure (e.g. at least 2 paths to each network)

Network If HA is being used, check that physical switches that support PortFast (or equivalent) have PortFast enabled

Network Check that NICs for the same uplink have same speeds and duplex settings

Network Check that Management/Service Console, Vmkernel, and VM traffic is separated (physical or logical using VLANs)

Network Verify that portgroup security settings for ForgedTransmits and MACAddressChanges are set to Reject

Network Check the virtual switch portgroup failover policy for appropriate active and standby NICs for failover

Network Verify that VMotion and FT traffic is on at least a 1 Gb network

Network Check that IP storage traffic is physically separate to prevent sharing network bandwidth

Storage Verify that VMs are on a shared datastore

Storage Check that datastores are masked/zoned to the appropriate hosts in a cluster

Storage Check that datastores are consistently accessible from all hosts in a cluster

Storage Check that the appropriate storage policy is used for the storage array (MRU, Fixed, RR)

Storage Check to make sure there is redundancy in storage paths and components to avoid single point of failure (e.g. at least 2 paths to each datastore)

Storage Check that datastores are not getting full

Virtual Datacenter Check that all datacenter objects use a consistent naming convention

Virtual Datacenter Verify that hosts within a cluster maintain a compatible and homogeneous (CPU/mem) to support the required functionality for DRS, DPM, HA, and VMotion

Virtual Datacenter Check that FT primaries are distributed on multiple hosts since FT logging is asymmetric

Virtual Datacenter Verify that hosts for FT are FT compatible

Virtual Datacenter Check that reservations/limits are used selectively on VMs that need it and are not set to extreme values

Virtual Datacenter Check that vCenter Server is not running other applications and vCenter add-ons (for large environments and heavily loaded vCenter systems) and is sized appropriately

Virtual Datacenter Check that the DB log setting is Normal unless there is a specific reason to set it to High

Virtual Datacenter Check that the vCenter statistics level is set to an appropriate level (1 or 2 recommended)

Virtual Datacenter Check that appropriate vCenter roles, groups, and permissions are being used

VM Check any VMs with CPU READY over 2000 ms

VM Check any VMs with sustained high CPU utilization

VM Check any VMs with incorrect OS type in the VM configuration compared to the guest OS

VM Check any VMs with multiple vCPUs to make sure the applications are not single threaded

VM Check the active Swap In/Out rate of VMs to make sure it is not consistently greater than 0

VM Check that NTP, windows time service, or another timekeeping utility suitable for the OS is used (and not VMware Tools)

VM Check that VMware Tools are installed, running, and not out of date for running VMs

VM Check VMs that are configured and enabled with unnecessary virtual hardware devices (floppy, serial, parallel, CDROM) and any devices that prevent VMotion

VM Check VMs that are not yet on virtual hardware v7

VM Check VM configuration (memory reservation) for VMs running JVM to consider setting reservation to the size of OS+ java heap

Item URL

Documentation http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs

VMTN Technology information http://www.vmware.com/vcommunity/technology

VMTN Knowledge Base http://kb.vmware.com

Discussion forums http://www.vmware.com/community

User groups http://www.vmware.com/vcommunity/usergroups.html

Online support http://www.vmware.com/support

Telephone support http://www.vmware.com/support/phone_support.html

Education Services http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/index.cfm

Certification http://mylearn.vmware.com/portals/certification/

Technical Papers http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/resources

Network throughput between virtual machines http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1428

Detailed explanation of VMotion considerations http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/1022

Time keeping in virtual machines http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/resources/238


VMFS partitions http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/resources/608

VI3 802.1Q VLAN Solutions http://www.vmware.com/pdf/esx3_vlan_wp.pdf

VMware Virtual Networking Concepts http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/997

Using EMC Celerra IP Storage (VI3 http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/1036

VMware vCenter Update Manager documentation http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vum_pubs.html

VMware vCenter Update Manager Best Practices http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10022

Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 4.0 http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10041

Recommendations for aligning VMFS partitions http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/resources/608

Performance Troubleshooting for VMware vSphere http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10352

Large Page Performance http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/1039

VMware vSphere PowerCLI http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/windowstoolkit/

VI3 security hardening http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/resources/726

VMware HA: Concepts and Best Practices http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/402

Java in Virtual Machine on ESX http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/Java_in_Virtual_Machines_on_ESX-FINAL-Jan-15-2009.pdf

CPU scheduler in ESX 4.0 http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10059

Dynamic Storage Provisioning (Thin Provisioning) http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10073

Understanding memory resource management on ESX http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10062

Book – VMware vSphere 4.0 Quickstart Guide

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I bought this book today… based on some blog posts I found (see below).
I must say it is one of the best.. It is a pocket reference so be aware the print is a bit small…

Download the Power-CLI Scripts from the book here…

Here are some notes about the book.. From this URL…

What a great way to kick off the new week – The highly anticipated book, vSphere 4.0 Quick Start Guide: Shortcuts down the path of Virtualization, has arrived at Amazon.com! I look at this new release as the 2nd edition or vSphere edition of RapidApp’s Quick Start Guide to ESX 3.0 which is still available and was a huge success.

The vSphere 4.0 Quick Start Guide was written by a lineup of new authors who are well known rock stars in the virtualization community: Bernie Baker, Thomas Bryant, Duncan Epping, Dave Mischenko, Stewart Radnidge, and Alan Renouf. I obtained a preview copy of this book at VMworld 2009 in San Francisco and I can tell you that this it is absolutely amazing. Nowhere else will you find as much information in such a small and convenient footprint. Its small size allows you to put it in your pocket and take it virtually anywhere: On the plane, on the bus, into a meeting, or into the datacenter. As with the first edition, there are several blank pages in this book which allow you space to write down notes, command line information, configuration maximum changes, information about your environment, helpful URLs, etc. The authors did a great job on this book and considering the cumulative years of experience and combined expertise packed into this book, you can’t beat the price. I don’t think a better value exists. My copy has been traveling with me daily in my laptop bag. I give it two thumbs up.