vCenter Server Storage Filters

vCenter has 4 Storage Filters: –

  • RDM Filter
  • VMFS Filter
  • Host Rescan Filter
  • Same Host Transports Filter

These filters affect the actions vCenter takes when scanning storage as follows:-

RDM Filter

When you attempt to add a RDM to a VM the RDM filter filters out any RDM that have already been added to a VM leaving only the ones the LUNs that are not currently formatted as a datastore or attached to a VM as a RDM. By disabling this filter you can add the same RDM to multiple VMs.

VMFS Filter

When you use the Add Storage Wizard to add a VMFS volume to an ESXi host then the VMFS Filter filters out LUNs that have already been formatted as a VMFS datastore.

Host Rescan Filter

When you add a VMFS datastores to one ESXi host the Host Rescan Filter triggers all of the other ESXi hosts to rescan for the new volume. Disabling this filter prevents the other hosts doing this. This may be helpful when adding large amounts of VMFS datastores to a cluster, i.e. you can add all the new datastores to one ESXi host, maybe via PowerCLI, and then once completes get each of the other ESXi hosts to perform a rescan.

Same Host and Transports Filter

The Same Host and Transport Filter filters out LUNs that cannot be used to extend a VMFS datastore due to host or storage incompatibility, for example if the LUN is not presented to all hosts using the datastore.

By default all of the filters are enabled. To disable a filter you need to add the relevant advanced setting to vCenter (Administration….vCenter Settings….Advanced Settings) and set it to FALSE. By default these settings are not listed in the Advanced Setting, therefore to disable any of them you need to add them. The relevant settings are: –

Filter Advanced Setting
RDM Filter config.vpxd.filter.rdmFilter
VMFS Filter config.vpxd.filter.vmfsFilter
Host Rescan Filter config.vpxd.filter.hostRescanFilter
Sam Host and Transports Filter config.vpxd.filter.SameHostAndTransportsFilter
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Posted in Configuration, VMware, vSphere | Leave a comment

VCAP5 Exams Retirement

Those of you who have planned to take the either of the VCAP5 exams, VCAP5-DCA or VCAP5-DCD, need to get in quick as VMware have announced the retirement of these two exams as follows: –

  • VCAP5-DCA – Data Center Administrator will be retired on June 2nd 2016
  • VCAP5-DCD – Data Center Design will be retired on June 24th 2016

I took VCAP5-DCD 23 months ago and had planned to take VCAP5-DCA but never found the time to ensure I was 100% prepared for it. These exams are not cheap, last 3hours and the closest testing centre to me for the advanced exams is a 2.5 hour drive away. Therefore, I only wanted to book the DCA exam if I was 100% confident of passing it. As my VCAP5-DCD exam was the last VMware exam I passed then my VCP certification expires in 1 month. Therefore I have booked the VCAP5-DCA exam to give it a go before it is retired and renew my VCP (assuming I pass).

The expected general availability (GA) of the VCAP6-DCV exams, VCAP6-DCV-Design and VCAP6-DCV-Deploy, is 30th May 2016. The beta period of these exams closed on 18th March 2016, for the Design exam, and 26th February 2016, for the Deploy exam.

UPDATE: Pleased to say I passed by VCAP5-DCA
VMware have extended the life of the VCAP5 exams are currently there are no published retirement date for these exams.

The following VMware exams are also being retired in June: –

  • VCIX-NV – VMware Certified Implementation Export Network Virtualisation on June 2nd 2016
  • VCP-Cloud – VMware Certified Professional Cloud on June 24th 2016
Posted in Certification, VMware | 1 Comment

vSphere Beta

There is a new vSphere Beta Program starting soon. I don’t know the exact date but I would suspect that it will be in time for the upcoming release (v6.5 maybe) to be ready for VMware at the end of August.

You can apply to be part of this vSphere Beta Program at http://info.vmware.com/content/35853_VMware-vSphere-Beta_Interest

This vSphere Beta is a private Beta but is open to VMware customers who have deployed vSphere 5.5 and 6.0.

Beta participants are expected to do the following: –

  • Online acceptance of the Master Software Beta Test Agreement will be required prior to visiting the Private Beta Community
  • Install beta software within 3 days of receiving access to the beta product
  • Provide feedback within the first 4 weeks of the beta program
  • Submit Support Requests for bugs, issues and feature requests
  • Complete surveys and beta test assignments
  • Participate in the private beta discussion forum and conference calls

vSphere Beta Program Overview

This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. People who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out the simple form found at the link above. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. VMware will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with them.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and VMware encourage you to use their software in ways that interest you. This will provide them with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling them to better align their product with your business needs.

Some of the many reasons to participate in this beta opportunity:

  • Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products
  • Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers
  • Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance
  • Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
  • Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings

 
 

 

Posted in VMware, vSphere | Leave a comment

Migrating Windows 2008 SQL Cluster to New Windows Domain

This procedure is unsupported and Microsoft recommends deleting the cluster and rebuilding it from scratch if you want to migrate it from one Windows Domain to another Windows Domain. However, I have had some success migrating a clustered SQL 2008 R2 server running on Windows 2008 R2 Failover Cluster. The instructions are at a high level and assume that you know who to configure Windows Failover Cluster, edit the registry and manage Active Directory Object. If you do not know how to do these things then you probably should not be attempting to follow these instructions in the first place. If I get the time I will update the instructions with more detail and some screenshots. YOU USE THESE INSTRUCTIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

  1. Set the cluster IP address to the correct network and the new IP address
  2. Add the cluster name to DNS with the new IP address
  3. Create a new Computer Account in the new domain for the cluster
  4. Update registry on each cluster node with the new GUID of the computer account created in the new domain (see below)
  5. Right click on the Cluster Name resource and select More Actions….Repair Active Directory Object
  6. For each clustered SQL instance
    1. Set the SQL Instance IP address to the correct network and new IP address
    2. Add the SQL instance name to DNS with the new IP address
    3. Create a new computer account in the new domain for the SQL instance
    4. Set permissions on the SQL instance computer account
    5. Update registry on each cluster node with the new GUID of the SQL instance computer account created in the new domain (see below)
  7. Restart the Cluster Service
  8. If you have done all of the above correctly then the cluster core services should successfully start and each of the SQL instances should start

Updating the registry with the new GUID of the computer account created in the new domain

 
 

The GUID of the new computer account will be in the format xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx. You can find this from the Attribute Editor as ObjectGUID

These are pairs of hexadecimal numbers, e.g. 11223344-5566-7788-9900-aabbccddeeff.

In the registry the first 3 sets of hexadecimal numbers have the pairs reversed e.g. 12345678 becomes 78563412, i..e the pairs are 12 34 56 78, so take 78 then 56 then 34 then 12. In addition the hyphens are not stored in the registry, so for a GUID of 5e6ff387-e531-4ee6-9bf0-6245aa54d31e it would be stored in the registry as 87f36f5e31e5e64e9bf06245aa54d31e.

In the registry under HKLM\Cluster\Resources each of the resources are listed in separate subkeys, to find the correct subkey for the cluster name, find the subkey which contains CoreCurrentName, below this look at Paramaters and edit ObjectGUID to match the translated GUID for the computer account that has been created in the new AD.

 
 

Permissions to set on the computer account created for the SQL instance

 
 

Give the cluster computer account the following permissions to the SQL instance computer account

  • Read
  • Allow to authenticate
  • Change password
  • Receive as
  • Reset password
  • Send as
  • Validated write to DNS Host Name
  • Validate write to service principle name
  • Read account restrictions
  • Write account restrictions
  • Read DNS host name attributes
  • Read MS TS gateway access
  • Read personal information
  • Read public information

 Updating the registry with the new GUID of the SQL instance account created in the new domain

 
 

The GUID of the SQL instance computer accounts needs to be translated in the same way as the computer account GUID was translated to be stored in the registry.

Again look in the registry under HKLM\Cluster\Resources and find the resource for the SQL instance name the Name key will be set to SQL Network Name (SQL-INSTANCE-NAME), e.g. SQL Network Name (SQLSERVER01), again under here open up Parameters and set ObjectGUID to the translated GUID for the instance computer account you have created.

Posted in Microsoft, SQL, Windows 2008 | 3 Comments

What is a SAN?

A pet hate of mine is when people refer to a Storage Device, such as a Fibre Attached NetApp Filer, as a SAN. It is not a SAN but a storage device that connects to a SAN. I often hear people say “Oh, you have bought a new SAN” when actually you have bought an additional Storage Device to connect to your existing SAN.

If you think about a network, or a LAN (Local Area Network), you have Servers connected to the LAN providing services to clients also connected to the LAN as depicted in the following diagram.

Similarly a storage device connects to a SAN (Storage Area Network) to provide services to other devices such as storage for servers, as depicted in the following diagram

More often than not there will be two SANs for redundancy, in a Fibre Channel setup these are commonly referred to as SAN fabrics. The following diagram illustrates this.

So in a Storage Area Network (SAN) environment you Storage Devices are like the Servers on your LAN and the Servers connected to your SAN are like the clients in your LAN environment. The LAN and the SAN are combined with the Servers being the common element, i.e. the Servers are connected to the front end LAN providing services to the clients but are also connected to the backend SAN using services from the Storage Devices as depicted in the following diagram.

Posted in Storage | Leave a comment

iPhone, Android or Windows Phone

Should I stick with an iPhone or switch back to Android or even get a Windows Phone? Don’t swear at me and say get a Blackberry!

I am currently using an iPhone 4S which I have had for just over 4 years now. I am getting sick of it, but that may be down to the age of it not because it is an iPhone. The on/off button does not work, which I understand is a common problem on this generation of iPhones. The battery doesn’t last a whole day and appears to be getting worse. These things could be fixed by getting a new button and a new battery or even upgrading to a newer iPhone.

I have struggled for a long time with the capacity of the phone; it is a 16GB iPhone. I am still running ios 7 because I do not have the space to download the upgrade. Often I cannot take photos with it because of a lack of storage and even if I delete a load of photos it doesn’t always free up the space. Other people I know with Android phones appear to be able to keep loads of photos on their phones without running out of space.

I was an early adopter of Android phones, having an early HTC Hero. The problem with this phone was that the early version of Android it was running, Cupcake (1.5) I think, had to store the apps on the internal memory and not on a memory card and the phone had very limited internal memory. This was soon rectified in the Android OS, however HTC never made that later OS available for the Hero.

What annoyed me the other day was that I wanted to get a photo from Flickr to my iPhone. I don’t use a Flickr app on my iPhone so accessed Flickr via Safari but couldn’t see a way to save the photo. If I accessed the photo on Flickr via my Windows laptop using Google Chrome I could save the photo but then couldn’t find an easy way to get the photo from the laptop to the iPhone. I attached the iPhone to the laptop via a USB cable and could access the photos on the iPhone via Windows Explorer but could not copy the photo to the iPhone. I thought I would have to synchronise the photo using iTunes but couldn’t work that out either. I’m sure I have done this in the past where I synchronise certain photo folders from my laptop to my iPhone but I think I switched that off a long time ago due to the lack of space issue. I ended up emailing the photo to myself and then accessing the email from my iPhone and then saving the photo. There should have been a better method that was simple to do without installing other apps on the iPhone; thinking about it now I think I have an app called WiFi Transfer that I have used in the past to get stuff on or off my iPhone but I had forgotten about that.

I’m sure if I had an Android phone then this would have been simpler.

I also use an iPad, or did before it was stolen, but I don’t think I need the phone and iPad/tablet to synchronise and/or share content. I would use similar apps on both of them and access the same email accounts but I don’t think that it would be a problem for me to have a different operating system on my tablet and phone.

So should I stick with an iPhone and invest in a newer one, go back to Android or even get a Windows Phone, I feel I don’t really want a Windows phone.

Once I’ve decided on the “type” of phone to get which phone should I get? I want something with a reasonable size screen but not so big that I cannot stick the phone (in a case) in my trouser pockets. I don’t need all the latest technology/gimmicks such as being able to scroll the screen up by rolling my eyes up or turning the pages of a digital book I am reading on the phone by waving my hand over the screen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Build and Manage Your Hybrid Cloud with Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

On Wednesday 10th February 2016, the day after VMware announced Workspace ONE, see Digital Workspace, they announced a new major version of Virtual SAN (vSAN) and vRealize Suite 7. A replay of the announcement can be seen in a video at http://www.vmware.com/digitalenterprise

Arnaud Chain, VP Enterprise & Strategy, VMware EMEA introduced the announcement of vSAN 6.2 which he said increases storage virtualisation by 10 times by the use of technologies such as: –

  • Deduplication and
  • Compression

vSAN fits in with VMware’s Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) which combines the following defined in software to provide one integrated architecture: –

  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Network

The announcement described how Clouds are becoming the new Silos with different tools and skills to manage and secure them.

VMware provides a Unified Control Layer across Multi-Clouds such as the following to deploy, secure and manage them:-

  • On-Premise Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC)
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud

VMware’s HCI includes: –

  • vSphere including vCenter Server
  • vSAN
  • NSX
  • vRealize Suite

vSAN has been implemented at more than 3,000 customers.

vSAN 6.2 provides all flash performance with superior economics. Usually with storage you have a choice between high performance or cost effective, whereas vSAN 6.2 combines the two providing: –

  • up to 100,000 IOPS per node
  • as low as $1 per usable GB

Hardware Partners have certified solution as vSAN Ready Nodes and you can get hardware with vSAN pre-installed from vendors such as Fujitsu and Supermicro. There are also Engineered Appliances such as EVO:RAIL containing vSAN.

Now you can purchase an EVO SDDS based integrated system containing: –

  • vRealize
  • NSX
  • VMware Hyper-Converged Software (HCS)
  • EVO SDDS Manager
  • Certified Partner Hardware

vRealize Suite is the leader in Cloud Management and Automation and is the most comprehensive in the market-place. It works across Private Clouds running on vSphere and other hypervisors as well as Public Clouds.

The Suite consists of: –

  • vRealize Automation
  • vRealize Business
  • vRealize Operations
  • vRealize Log Insight

vRealize Automation allows you to create applications and then deploy and manage them across their life-cycle.

vRealize Business provides a real time view of the costs of running your applications.

vRealize Operations and Log Management is used for day to day management of the underlying infrastructure.

The announced vRealize 7 contains the following versions of the products: –

  • vRealize Automation 7.0
  • vRealize Business 7.0
  • vRealize Operations 6.2
  • vRealize Log Insight 3.3

vRealize Automation 7.0 allows application blue printing which sets up the networking and storage for the applications.

There are more than 1,000 customers of NSX.

The latest version of NSX extends from the datacentre to AWS and Azure, it is the leading network virtualisation solution.

As part of these announcements Kenny Wilder, Director of Network Infrastructure at Fulton County Schools described how they improved performance of a critical system running on SQL by moving to vSAN, where response times had dropped from 50-60ms to <1ms and tasks that used to take 35 minutes now only take 5 minutes. They are now planning on moving SAP and their AirWatch implementations to vSAN. Kenny explained how vSAN works out much cheaper than traditional SAN solutions and how simple it is to implement. They have 10TB of vSAN at the moment.

Rawlinson Rivera (@PunchingClouds), Principal Architect, Office of the CTO – SABU at VMware gave some more details regarding vSAN 6.2 including: –

  • vSAN 6.2 is the 4th generation release of vSAN
  • It is embedded into the hypervisor

 

 

  • New Features include: –
    • Deduplication and Compression
    • Erasure Coding providing predictable all flash storage saving that is workload independent
    • Quality of Service which ensures SLAs with per VM, one click control of max IOPs
  • Virtual SAN for VMware Photon is the best software defined storage for DevOps
  • vSAN 6.2 is up to 60% less cost than competing all flash HCI
  • Includes new automation and operations using tools familiar to VMware Admins

 

Posted in Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, VMware, vRealize Suite, vSAN | Leave a comment

Digital Workspace

Earlier this week on Tuesday 9th February 2016 as part of the Mobility Online Event VMware announced the Workspace ONE solution containing the new Horizon 7 and improved Horizon Air. The video of these announcements may still be available for view at http://www.vmware.com/digitalenterprise/, you will need to register.

Sanjay Poonen, EVP & GM, End-User Computing explained how we are becoming a Digital Workforce working at the “speed of life” and that VMware had more than 62,000 End User Computing (EUC) customers and was growing 30% per year.

There was a common theme throughout the announcements of VMware vision of
One Cloud – Any Application – Any Device.

Workspace ONE encompasses: –

  • Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Windows Apps
  • Identity

Sumit Dhawan, SVP & GM, Desktop Products went on to explain how Workspace ONE provided

  • Flexibility
  • Security
  • Productivity

Workspace ONE provides a consumer experience, self-service access across all devices for the following Applications: –

  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • Windows

Workspace ONE is Enterprise Secure allowing the End Users to choose their own devices be it

  • Corporate Devices or
  • Bring Your Own Device

It also contains secure messaging and content applications with conditional access so you can control what your end users can access depending on how they connect. For example they may get access to more if they are connected across the corporate network than if they are connected via a public network.

Workspace ONE works hand-in-hand with VMware’s Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) infrastructure.

Roy Clements, Director, Solutions Engineering provided a demo of how the Single Sign On (SSO) within Workspace ONE means that you have a single identity with no need for passwords or tokens. He also showed the nice user experience of the included Boxer email client as well as Social Cast and Content Locker.

Mobile SSO provides a 3 way trust between: –

  • Workspace ONE
  • Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) Applications
  • The Device

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roy also demonstrated how the content can be protected and showed that you could prevent confidential content being copied from a secured document and pasted into an insecure location such as Twitter.

There are 3 editions of Workspace ONE starting at $8 per user per month for cloud. These editions are: –

  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Enterprise

These solutions are designed for the Cloud First.

Horizon 7 includes 4 major First-to-Market innovations

  • Just-in-Time Delivery from Project Fargo
  • App Lifecycle Management
  • Blast Extreme Experience
  • Smart Policies

With Just-in-Time Delivery you create a Live Template and then when users login they get a customised cloud desktop with their personal settings. This means that you don’t have to manage all those clones; just manage a single master desktop.

VMware’s latest Desktop as a Service (DaaS) Horizon Air offering now comes with a “Hybrid Mode” allowing you to connect your own infrastructure to the cloud so that you can run some of your desktops/apps on-premise for security and/or performance reasons but still get all the benefits of Horizon Air by leaving the Controls within the cloud such as:

  • Simple, out of the box setup
  • Provisioning of 0 to 2000 desktops in under 20 minutes
  • Automatic upgrades and new features
  • Ability to quickly move some users to the cloud

Horizon Air costs only $16 per user per month and Horizon 7 and 6 customers can experience Horizon Air for one full year for less than $1 per user per month

Posted in VMware, Workspace ONE | Leave a comment

Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 and vSphere 5.0

I had an interesting issue recently with HP Proliant BL460c Gen 9 blades containing Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors and running ESXi 5.0.

All appeared to be working fine until I added the blades into an existing vSphere cluster with Gen 8 blades containing Intel XEON E5-2600 series processors. I assumed I would be able to vMotion between the blades as the cluster was configured for EVC in Intel Sandy Bridge Generation mode. However, I could vMotion from the Gen 8 blades to the Gen 9 blades but not back to the Gen 8 blades or between the Gen 9 blades. I was getting the following warning when attempting to vMotion from a Gen 9 blade to a Gen 8 blade or between two Gen 9 blades (with the same processors installed in them)

Host CPU is incompatible with the virtual machine’s requirements at CPUID level 0x1 register ‘ecx’.

Host bits: 0001:0110:1001:1000:0010:0010:0000:0011

Required: x111:x11x:11×1:1xx0:xx11:xx1x:xxxx:xx11

Mismatch detected for these features:

* General incompatibilities

 

I discovered that if I created a cluster of just the Gen 9 blades without EVC enabled then I could vMotion between them but as soon as I enabled EVC, whichever Intel Mode I selected, I could no longer vMotion between the blades even though they had EXACTLY the same processors in them. I couldn’t even perform a storage vMotion on a VM running on one of the Gen 9 blades if EVC was enabled even if it was staying on the same host and just changing datastore.

On checking the VMware Compatibility Guide the HP BL460c Gen9 blades with Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors are not supported on ESXi 5.0. The earliest version they are supported on is 5.1U2 (or 5.5U2). I guess this is because vSphere 5.0 and 5.1 and 5.5 prior to update 2 does not recognise the Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors. The compatibility guide lists the version of ESXi and not vCenter so I am not sure if you upgrade vCenter to 5.1U2 and leave the ESXi hosts on 5.0 would you then be able to vMotion using EVC or do you need to get the ESXi hosts upgraded as well. I have not had chance to test this but if I do I will update this article with the results.

Posted in VMware, vSphere | 1 Comment

SRM 6.1 Support for Stretched Storage Cluster

At the US VMworld at the end of August 2015 VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 6.1 was announced. Once of the new features of this release is the support for stretched storage clusters. A stretched cluster is where your storage is stretched between two sites. A stretched storage cluster is used in a vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC), see https://pelicanohintsandtips.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/vmware-vsphere-metro-storage-cluster-vmsc/ for details of vMSC and the differences between it and SRM.

With SRM 6.1 and a stretched storage cluster this allows SRM recovery plans running in planned mode to utilise vMotion between the sites to move the Virtual Machines stored on the stretched storage cluster. This means a planned migration of the workloads can be performed without an outage. Prior to SRM 6.1 (and a stretched storage cluster) a recovery plan running in planned mode needed to shutdown the virtual machines at the protected site, present the storage at the recovery site and then power the virtual machines on at the recovery site; so there was always an outage in the workloads. As shown in the following screenshot when you perform a Planned migration there is a checkbox to Enable vMotion of eligible VMs.

Further details on this new feature plus the other enhancements in SRM 6.1 can be found at https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/SRM/vmware-site-recovery-manager-whats-new.pdf

As you have two vCenters with SRM, one at the Protected Site and another at the Recovery Site then this new functionality must take advanced of a new vSphere 6 ability to vMotion across sites and between vCenters. Therefore the two vCenters will need to be configured in Enhanced Linked Mode to enable cross vCenter vMotion.

Posted in Site Recovery Manager, VMware, vSphere 6 | Leave a comment