By request, this post is a reproduction of an internal operational document I handed over for the environment in which I installed it.
The Dell Management Infrastructure consists of two dedicated VMs in addition to relying on vCenter and a database. The two dedicated VMs run three separate Dell applications in a Windows Server 2008 R2 VM and a Linux Virtual Appliance. The three applications are Dell OpenManage (OME), Dell Repository Manager (RM), and the Dell Management Plug-in (DMP) Virtual Appliance itself. An overview of the infrastructure is below.
Oh…my…goodness. This caused me such a big headache. I’m using DVD Store as a placeholder for a production database in the lab. We’re in the middle of a proof-of-concept of SRM and we’re getting close to the due date. My boss comes to me and says, “We’re close to the due date. Do you want to document the vSphere 5.1 upgrade or work on DVD Store?” Well, having played with DVD Store a bit in the last few weeks and knowing it wasn’t “plug-n-play” for a custom database size, I couldn’t hand the DVD Store project over to a workmate in good conscience. I didn’t find the learning curve for a simple fellow like myself short and to throw someone else knee deep into the project when I’ve already played with it wouldn’t be right. “I’ll work on DVD Store.” I said, dejectedly. You see, I rarely get excited about scripts I don’t write myself. And to be perfectly honest, once I started reading about DVD Store and the amount of work that would have to go into getting a custom-sized database, I put it off as long as possible. Now I knew I was going to be elbow deep in scripts the next day and I wasn’t very happy about it. Here’s what I found out.
I had occasion recently to delete a snapshot at a certain time. It’s easy enough to schedule the snapshot using the vSphere Client and built-in functions, but then, how to delete it on a schedule? Enter PowerCLI and the Windows Task Scheduler.
There was a VMTN forum post by Duncan Epping (@DuncanYB) that suggested using the generic form Get-VM | Get-Snapshot | Remove-Snapshot. This worked a charm for me and I put it into the following script.
A funny thing happened this afternoon. Usually, when you know there’s a hidden NIC in a VM, you simply run the command, set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1. Then you’ll see the hidden device in Device Manager. Well that didn’t happen to me.
The virtual hardware showed an e1000 vNIC installed in this VM, but no icon showed up in Network Connections.
I was recently asked to pull the performance metrics for a new SQL cluster at work. In an effort to finally get back to blogging, I thought I’d share my results and how someone else may be able to look at their clusters for ways to improve. I should start by saying that although this analysis was performed on a two-node Windows Server Failover Cluster using Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 (WSFC, formerly MSCS) and SQL Server 2008, SQL-specific metrics are not pulled. Rather, I looked at the Big Four: CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network. The second node in the cluster, Node B, was analyzed because the application using the first node was not in production yet, so we knew that node would barely be utilized.
Using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (a behemoth in its own right!), I was able to pull the previous six days’ worth of performance data. What I included in my analysis were graphs of performance for seven days, an explanation of what the data was measuring, and somewhat of an average baseline against which to measure.
The original work was presented in PowerPoint. I’ve taken screenshots of the presentation and included them here.
In response to Miguel’s post, here are my thoughts:
I’m sure at least one of the VMware dudes Miguel was talking to was once a Windows System Administrator. I’m also sure that that same VMware dude cringed at the thought of needlessly putting multiple services on a single VM. He probably thought that as long as the customer had enough money for Windows Server licenses, compute and disk resources, that one should obviously separate each service into their own server. Now, to take a step back, let us say that, yes, it certainly is possible to put all the services you mentioned, vCenter, SQL 2008, VUM, and maybe even SRM on the same box, whether virtual or physical. But of course, whether this is possible or not is not in question. It’s whether it should or should not be done in the first place. I’m going to pull out the age old consultant’s answer and say, “It depends.”
It depends on if the customer has the budget for more Windows or SQL licenses. Does the customer have the compute and disk resources for several more servers? Is there already an existing SQL box or cluster that could be used? Is a DBA on staff, or at least a competent Windows Server admin? Does the customer’s environment even need a full blown SQL installation or would SQL Express do fine?
Now I’m coming from a background of government contracting where money is usually thrown at such projects. Resources for such an implementation are little thought about because they’re going to be there no matter what. This question could impact SMBs more, but probably not large corporations.
I think there are certainly right and wrong ways to implement based on circumstances. On the one hand, if you have the licenses, compute, disk, and administrative resources, I say absolutely, put each service on it’s own separate box. In more constrained environments, you may need to double up two or more services.
That’s not the least of it. Recovering from a failed VM will cost you less in time, effort, and hopefully, money. With an “all your eggs in one basket” approach, if one VM goes down, is somehow unrecoverable, then you’ve lost a lot of data. Separating your services reduces the liklihood that any one VM failure/loss will result in mutlitple services lost.
So I was having a discussion with a few fellow VMware dudes, and we were discussing the vCenter installation methods. One train of thought is to install vCenter, VUM, SQL 2008,, and SRM on 1 VM with 2 vCPUs, 4 GB of memory an a 100 GB drive, Monitor for performance and adjust as required by analyzing the performance data. I have alwbeen doing installations this way lately without issue. I have also done installations on dedicated SQL boxes \ VMs. I have gotten good performance out of the environment with having all services on a single VM. In larger environments of 20 or more hosts and 300 + VMs, I have used a dedicated SQL server. The SRM documetation recommends a separate server for the SRM installation, but I have not seen any issues with it on the same box, and there was not any performance degradation in an…
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So far, our Physical-to-Virtual migrations of Exchange 2003 on x86 Server 2003 Enterprise boxes have gone mostly smoothly – until this evening, that is. In the past, a failure soon after the P2V process started was resolved with a reboot or by disabling the TCP Offload Engine on the Broadcom NICs (this was easily accomplished with the cmd.exe command netsh int ip set chimney DISABLED).
This evening’s P2Vs were a bit more challenging.
This is a quickie post to share what I found when installing vCenter Server on a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition virtual machine. This VMware KB article is the error we received.
Apparently, during the installation of vCenter Server, Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services is installed. I hadn’t noticed this before. We had no server roles installed prior to installing vCenter, but after clicking through the error boxes that appeared, we saw that AD LDS, sure enough, appeared to be installed.