Part I – Update Manager (VUM) Installation and Configuration Guide


So during my first data center virtualization project, I had to write up a series of documents for internal reference.  These documents were to help us perform a standard installation at each site we migrate.  I thought it would be helpful to post them for anyone else looking to perform these tasks, as well.  This series of posts is about VMware Update Manager 4.1U1 and its associated Update Manager Download Service.  It appears in three posts because the topic can be logically separated into three steps: installing and configuring VUM, installing and configuring UMDS, and a patching guide once your initial update infrastructure is in place.  This post, as you can see, is part I.  Let me know if it helps you out or if I missed something.  All the best!

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SQL Server 2008 backups for VMware databases


At a minimum, you’ll want to perform regular backups of your vCenter, Update Manager, and System databases. You don’t have to be a DBA to perform simple backups. You don’t need to know T-SQL or database programming to perform these steps. There’s an easy wizard that walks you through a standard Windows Next-Next-Finish set up.

There are a couple things to note in the walkthrough below. We’re using SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition 64-bit on a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 SP2 Enterprise Edition. The SQL server is also a virtual machine in a vSphere 4.1 environment.

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Binding iSCSI Port Names to VMware Software iSCSI Initiator – ESXi 4.1


For my notes, I’m sharing what I’ve found searching the ‘net to bind VMkernel NICs to VMware’s built-in iSCSI software initiator in ESXi 4.1 I know ESXi 5.0 has changed this process to a nice GUI, but we’re stuck with the CLI in 4.1.

If you’re configuring jumbo frames as I’ve shown in a previous post, bind the VMkernel NICs after configuring jumbo frames.

Assuming you have two uplinks for iSCSI traffic, on the vSwitch of your iSCSI port group, set one uplink, temporarily, to unused. You’ll also want to note the vmhba# of the software iSCSI adapter. You can view this from the Configuration tab > Storage Adapters and viewing the iSCSI Software Adapter. You’ll also need to note the VMkernel NIC names of each iSCSI port group. You can view these from the Configuration tab > Networking and looking at the iSCSI port group. It will show the iSCSI port group name, the vmk#, IP address, and VLAN if you have one configured. Then from a CLI, either via the console or SSH, execute the following commands for each iSCSI port name:

Example: esxcli swiscsi nic add -n vmk# -d vmhba#

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How to Configure LUN Masking with Openfiler 2.99 and ESXi 4.1


Note: If you’d like to see screenshots for this article, check out this other post.

I’ve been building a test environment to play with vSphere 4.1 before we begin our implementation. In order to experiment with the enterprise features of vSphere I needed shared storage between my ESXi hosts. As always, I turned to Openfiler. Now, I’ve deployed Openfiler before, but it was just one ESXi host and a single LUN. It was easy. There were plenty of good walkthroughs on how to set this up in such a way. But using the Google-izer, I couldn’t find a single page that explained how to configure Openfiler for shared storage between multiple hosts. When I finally got it working, I felt accomplished and decided to document the process for future reference. Maybe someone out there will find it useful, too.

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VMware OS Compatibility – Upgrading Windows


It’s no fun doing research all day on your only day off, so I took a minute to read Mike D’s VMware blog over at http://www.mikedipetrillo.com/ where I came across some interesting and fun stuff.  The “stuff” is actually just an embedded YouTube video but one that should send you back in time for a few minutes to reminisce about simpler days.  The video shows the upgrade of every major version of Microsoft Windows since — get this — Windows 1.0! He actually started with MS-DOS 5.0 because the earliest Windows versions required it.  One interesting tid-bit is that the launch of Windows 1.0 predates that of the VGA standard and its numerous analog extensions we’ve all come to know and love. Instead, it uses EGA. 

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File System Alignment in Virtual Environments


In speaking to my fellow Implementation Engineers and team leads, I’ve come to learn file system misalignment is a known issue in virtual environments and can cause performance issues for virtual machines.  A little research has provided an overview of the storage layers in a virtualized environment, details on the proper alignment of guest file systems, and a description of the performance impact misalignment can have on the virtual infrastructure. NetApp has produced a white paper that speaks to file system alignment in virtual environments: TR 3747, which I’ve reproduced below.

In any server virtualization environment using shared storage, there are different layers of storage involved for the VMs to access storage.  There are different ways shared storage can be presented for the hypervisor and also the different layers of storage involved.

VMware vSphere 4 has four ways of using shared storage for deploying virtual machines:

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