Xsigo I/O virtualization will change the datacenters…

Last week we had Xsigo visiting us on the office, at first i felt reluctant to another thing you have to put in and pay for when deploying a virtualization platform. but soon after we got into the presentation i started to get the picture and realized the huge capability of their solution and the gap in virtualization solutions that they fill.

So what do their solution do? The whole point is to not only virtualize the servers with some hypervisors and buy expensive storage with autotiering and leave the middle layer with the SAN and Network connections untouched, in a large deployment there will be cables to connect, lots of cables..  So the point is to connect all storage and network to the Xsigo I/O Director and from that you connect your servers (blade or rack) with Infiniband cards and cables (they can support up to 40 Gbps), this leads to quite a lot of savings on cables. But the smartest thing with this is that you get intelligence in the Xsigo box which gives you the opportunity to choose what bandwidth you would like to assign to what traffic, because you connect everything to it (FC, FC0E, iSCSI, IP etc). If you have servers that SAN-boot you can very easily with their management software point this profile to another hardware and all MAC´s and WWN´s will be the same! Also as you can make Server profiles, your deployment of new hosts will be very rapid and with no delays from example the networking team or SAN teams cause you have already defined this when doing the connection of the exisiting SAN and network devices :-). Another thing that is worth mentioning is when for example you are changing storage from iSCSI to FC, you will not have to put HBA cards and cables at each server.

 

As you can se on the picture there is massive amount of cabling that can be reduced with this solution. What is also cool is that they have a plugin för the VMware vCenter so you can manage their system via the VI Client.

The Xsigo I/O Director is of course not for free but can be a real cost-saver and utilizer when deployed in a new datacenter or when redesigning an existing.

 

I hope to in a near future get more knowledge about this product and also implement it. if you look at their site you can see that they have some large customers that have adopted their technology.

Certification MCITP: Virtualization Administrator

Today i took the 70-669 exam to become Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktop Configuration Technology Specialist, it was a little hard in some areas cause some of the questions was on MED-V that i have not so much experience in, but APP-V and Presentation virtualization was a bit easier. As always with the exams, read the question thoroughly and think about what they want and then look at the answers.

On tuesday i took the 70-693 PRO exam. and last year i took the 70-659 so now i am MCITP: Virtualization Administrator.

here is a graph of the path to become MCITP: Virtualization Administrator:

I have worked quite a lot with Hyper-V and System Center products and to study for the Desktop Virtualization i found this page and also used a free ebook to read, there are lots of free information on the internet and also some courses. The post that i wrote about earlier this month about the Microsoft Jumpstart videos also gives good information.

i have been teaching this 10215A on Addskills that is the course for Implementing and Managing server virtualization and i can recommend it for interested technicians that want to get to know the Microsoft virtualization technologies on server and presentation.

The course 10324A for Implementing and managing Desktop virtualization is quite new and i have not looked at it yet and as far as i know, no course centers offer it as of today at least not in Sweden.

Good luck in taking the exams! With the Second shot that Prometic offers at least some of the preasure is off your back to succeed the first time 🙂 although i have never had to use it …

5Nine Manager free for Hyper-V

I found a blog post about the 5Nine Manager for Hyper-V, the cool part about this tool is that it can be run on the Server Core installation and provide a GUI for management of the Hyper-V role and the virtual machines. If for example your host has problems and has network connectivity issues this tool can be handy and use to for example check the eventlog on the core server. It is developed on the Hyper-V public API´s and coded in .Net. The best part is that it is free, there is a 99 $ licensed edition where you also in Core can access the virtual machines console and configure hyper-v networking, but the free version is enough when in troubleshooting a failing host.

Features and Benefits:

  • Hyper-V Management – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V allows managing virtual machines, virtual hard disks and networks on both local and remote Hyper-V servers. Use 5nine Manager for Hyper-V to manage Hyper-V on Windows 2008 R2 core and Hyper-V Sever installations without resorting to remote management via the Microsoft Hyper-V Manager or Virtual Machine Manager Server. 5nine Manager for Hyper-V can also be used to administer Hyper-V R2 hosts joined to a domain that is managed by a guest operating system, thus overcoming cyclic dependency issues.
  • Network Management – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V provides comprehensive virtual network management as well as the management of virtual connections and bindings. Use 5nine Manager for Hyper-V to troubleshoot and fix network connections and related problems that cannot be fixed via remote management. 5nine Manager for Hyper-V Virtual Network Manager also allows reviewing and editing virtual network ports used by the virtual network interfaces and guests.
  • Secure your Hyper-V Hosts – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V does not extend a potential attack surface on managed Hyper-V servers and does not install or require any additional components.
  • Simple and Easy to Use – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V offers a simple and easy to use User Interface that is familiar to most of Windows 2008 Server users. In addition to this, 5nine Manager for Hyper-V further simplifies the administration tasks on Windows 2008 core installations and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 by providing a Graphical User Interface for file system views and operations.
  • Maximize Host Performance – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V has a small memory footprint and does not consume any resources on managed Hyper-V servers when it is not running.
  • Follow Best Practices – 5nine Manager for Hyper-V is a valuable tool for managing the virtualization stack on production environments that are utilizing Windows 2008 R2 Server core installations according to Microsoft Best Practices as well as the Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.

VMware Network Performance

I found this performance study from VMware today, it was actually released yesterday but i want to put a small post about it anyway because i found the results very interesting!

This study shows that the virtual machines on vSphere 4.1 can saturate the physical network cards at 10 Gbit and also what was cool, VM-VM traffic inside one host could get speeds up to 27 Gbit. In this graph that i have copied from the report you can see that with only one vCPU you can get almost 10 Gbit both in transmit and recive, this is really cool cause this shows that virtual machines runnig in vSphere can be loaded with serious amount of network traffic and still deliver!

This report among other shows that there is no longer arguments for using a physical installation for your critical applications! and with the features that comes with virtualization you get more security and availability also.

Collaboration is everything..

Today i have tried to inform my coworkers that we need to collaborate more!

Collaboration means working jointly for success and not as in some cases, solo..

If we have the tools to work together we as a company also needs to do it more actively. My point here is that in the world we live in today there is a distraction from all media sources which in some cases leads to different implementations and deliveries and to unite the companies employees we maybe need updated tools and processes or start actually use the one we have, so we can deliver better and faster and also in a standardized way no matter whom it is delivering, this would give a single method of delivery and give the company a stronger brand and competitiveness compared to other companies in the same industry segment.

The challenge here would be to get all of the coworkers to accept and do the deliveries in a standardized way and help develop the process delivery when they find things that can be done in a better way. The documentations of this is the Management headache but everyone is involved in the development process!

HP Blade 460c G7 strange issues

Today i have been helping a customer with their Hyper-V R2 Cluster and patching it with the hotfix for westmere processor. one strange issue was that we found two of the blades reporting only 36 GB RAM, while the others correctly showed 72 GB RAM. As it was another consultant that was responsible for assembling the servers we first thought that they had missed to put in all DIMMs, when we loooked in the servers all slots where filled? And when we put it back in the chassi and powered on the server correctly showed 72 GB RAM! really strange.

after boot:

i used the following powershell commands in VMM powershell console to get the memory for the cluster nodes:


Get-VMHostCluster -name cluster01
Get-VMHost -VMHostCluster $VMCluster | ft Name, TotalMemory

If this happens again we will report it to the HP Support, (Edit) it happend again now..  it seems to be related to a reboot of the hosts 🙁

Add multiple cores on your vCPU´s in a VMware vSphere VM

And why would you like to add cores to a virtual machines vCPU´s? well as the following table shows, if you have a physical win 2008 r2 standard with 2 pCPU´s and 4 cores each and you want to virtualize the machine with the same amount of cores for processing, the virtual machine cannot utilize the 8 vCPU´s because of the version of the operative system.

How do we in the virtualization platform then?

In VMware vSphere you can use the advanced settings and configure cores on vCPU and lure the operating system to use 8 cores..

 

there is a VMware KB for this 1010184

If you set up a new virtual machine you would probably set it up with enterprise or datacenter edition and then this is not an issue. there might be software that is licensed per cpu and then this could be a way to use more cores instead of more vCPU´s and get better speed and still be in compliance with the license.

 

Microsoft Virtualization Jumpstart videos for VMware Professionals

On Technet Edge there is a couple of videos for Virtualization admins to learn more about how Microsoft Virtualization solution works.

It is a very good way to get up to speed what Microsoft has to offer and that it is a competitive solution!

from the jumpstart site:

About this Jump Start series:

The “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals” Jump Start is specially tailored for VMware and Microsoft virtualization technology pros. This cutting-edge course features expert instruction and real-world demonstrations of Hyper-V, many components of the System Center Suite, including VMM 2012, and a myriad of VDI solutions. This course is designed for Data Center Managers, IT Professionals, IT Decision Makers, Network Administrators, Storage/Infrastructure Administrators & Architects. Expert IT infrastructure consultant, Corey Hynes, and Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Symon Perriman, leveraged an engaging “team teaching” approach which makes the class as entertaining as it is educational.

Click here to watch the complete video series


 

Hyper-V 2008 R2 hotfix CSV redirect

Hi

on one of the blogs i am following, Adian Finn, he has a post about a new hotfix from Microsoft that has come out regarding a problem with Hyper-V clusters and CSV volumes in redirected mode, read more at this link and get the hotfix

Stop error 0x0000007a occurs on a virtual machine that is running on a Windows Server 2008 R2-based failover cluster with a cluster shared volume, and the state of the CSV is switched to redirected access

Consider the following scenario:

  • You enable the cluster shared volume (CSV) feature on a Windows Server 2008 R2-based failover cluster.
  • You create a virtual machine on the CSV on a cluster node.
  • You start the virtual machine on the cluster node.
  • You move the CSV owner to another cluster node, and you change the state of CSV to redirected access.
  • The connection that is used for redirected access is switched to another connection when one of the following scenarios occurs:
    • The cable for local area network (LAN) is disconnected.
    • The related network adapter is disabled.
    • The connection is switched by using Failover Cluster Manager.

In this scenario, you receive a Stop error message that resembles the following in the virtual machine:

STOP 0x0000007a ( parameter1 , parameter2 , parameter3 , parameter4 )
KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR

Note

  • The parameters in this Stop error message vary, depending on the configuration of the computer.
  • Not all “0x0000007a” Stop error messages are caused by this issue.
  • You may also receive other Stop error messages when this issue occurs. For example, you may receive a “0x0000004F” Stop error message.