Virtualization, VMworld

VMworld 2011 #vHunt: Shoot to kill, but only virtually!

If you’re visiting VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, you’re up for a hunting trip! Like the image says, you won’t be hunting wabbits, you’ll be hunting for people.

If you know what conventions like VMworld and EMC world are like, you also know that it’s usually tough to find people there. And it’s even harder when the person you are looking for is on the move at a convention.

Luckily, you are going to have it somewhat easier, since you’ll receive some hints on where folks are at via Twitter. They’ll also be changing their outfit ever so slightly to allow you to find them (think of caps, hats and the likes). As for myself, I’ll probably be wearing some sort of cap or hat, but you probably won’t be seeing that many folks in a Nascar shirt /bowling shirt that says “vSpecialist” and is sitting in a wheelchair.

Now, why would you want to find me or one of the others? Easy, we’re nice guys and can tell you a thing or two about virtualization integration on EMC. But besides that, you’ll also get the chance to win some cool prizes like iPads, PS3’s or some Iomega gear, sponsored by EMC, Intel, VCE ,Cisco, CSC and Brocade.

So, what’s the deal? Simple, follow these steps and see if you win:

  1. Me and a some others on the vSpecialist team will be tweeting various tasks and challenges throughout VMworld. Day and Night, on the floor, in the labs, in the sessions, at the parties, etc. You can identify those tasks and challenges by looking for the vHunt hashtag “#vHunt” in our tweets. You will find all kinds of things there, facts, trivia or fun challenges.
  2. Every time you respond to one of those challenges or tasks, tag it with “#vHunt. Someone from our team will be watching those responses.
  3. During the convention (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 3x a day, our marketing folks pick winners based on the criteria above, and hand the winners their prize.

That’s all there is to it, we’ll try to not flood you with tweets and make this a fun contest. πŸ™‚

The folks to watch out for are:

You can also follow this list that Matt put together, or just search for the “#vHunt” hashtag.

So, happy hunting and good luck! πŸ™‚

GestaltIT, VAAI, vCloud Director, Virtualization, VMware, VMworld, vSphere

vSphere 5, it’s here! What’s new?

It’s here, it’s here. πŸ˜‰

VMware just announced their new version of vSphere 5, and as you have probably found out, general availability is targeted toward August this year. There is a whole bunch, and I mean a whole bunch, of new stuff coming out, and everyone knows what we can expect at VMworld this year.

Let me be clear that this post is in no way trying to sum up all the new things that are introduced with vSphere 5, but this is mean to give you a quick and easy to consume overview of some of the major new features.

Key stuff that is new or has changed in vSphere 5:

  • Virtual hardware limits. We can now address 32 virtual CPUs and a maximum of 1TB of RAM (note that virtual machine hardware type 8 is required). We see people running larger and larger workloads, and are seeing more and more people moving their tier 1 applications to a virtualized environent. Anyone who has tried to virtualize a large database or business warehouse system will know what I mean.

    One word of caution though. Even though we can now create very large installations, be careful. This is not a sensible size for all applications, and you should check on an application specific basis if you really need something this big, and are able to leverage all of the resources it offers.

  • VMFS version 5. With the updated version of the VMFS there are some modifications being made. For one, you no longer need to use extents to create volumes over 2TB in size, and they have added support for physical RDMs that are over 2TB.
  • The service console is missing. Well, it's not really missing, but there is no more service console, due to the fact that you will now only find ESXi as the hypervisor. Although some people might be missing some things without the traditional ESX service console, this does offer some advantages like having only a single vSphere package, hardened security and less patches. But this should probably be one of the changes that almost everyone has seen coming, so I'm not going to go in to the depths on the pros and cons of this choice.
  • VAAI has again been enhanced. With vSphere 5, there are enhancements for both block and file based storage:
    • for block:
      • Thin provision stun has been added, which is basically an option to get feedback when a thinly provisioned LUN is full. You will now get a message back from the array, and the affected guests are “stunned”. This allows the admin to add some more free space to the LUN, after which the guests can resume normal operation.
      • Space reclaim is the second feature that has been added. Now, one caveat is that this hardware offload is dependent of VMFS version 5. Anything prior to that won’t do the job. If that prerequisite is in place, any blocks that are freed up by VMFS operations, things like VM deletion or snapshot deletion, will now return their blocks to the pool of free blocks.
    • For file:
      • You can now use NFS full copy. Somewhat similar to the block version, copying of files can now be offloaded to the array, which of course should speed up things like clone creation.
      • Extended stats adds the ability to get the extended information from files. Information about actual space allocation or the fact if the file is deduplicated can now be retrieved.
      • We can now use space reservation, to actually pre-initialize a disk and allocate all of the required space right off the bat.
  • VMware has redesigned HA. The new architecture should help people who want to work with streched clusters.

    Basically, VMware has moved away from underlying EMC Autostart based construct to an entirely new model. The HA agent is now called the FDM, and one of the nodes in the cluster will now take on the role of master. All of the remaining nodes in the cluster are slaves to this master, which means that we are no longer using the primary/secondary concept that was common with the previous version of HA. During normal operation, we should only see one master node per cluster.

    Benefits of the new construct are that we are no longer that susceptible to DNS issues. Also, VMware has added additional communication paths, -we can now also leverage so called “Heartbeat datastores”-, that will aid us in the detection of failures. And, as a bonus VMware has also added support for IPv6.

    Since the entire HA stack has been rewritten, there are a lot of changes coming, and I’m planning on getting down to the nitty gritty in a future post, and I’m sure that my friend Duncan will also be explaining this in great detail on his blog.

  • VASA, or “vSphere Storage API for Storage Awareness” is basically a way for the storage array to actually tell vSphere what it can do, or what it is currently doing. Imagine getting feedback if your storage is cable of VAAI. Or something more simple like telling vSphere what RAID level a datastore has. Sounds sensible right? Now combine that with the new Storage DRS in vSphere 5, and you get a pretty good picture of what VASA can help you with.
  • Storage DRS. The DRS feature in vSphere is already pretty well known, and it’s something that I see in use a lot at customer sites.

    Well, now you can also use DRS for your storage. To enable this feature, you create a so called “datastore cluster”, which is in essence nothing more than several datastores combined. Now, when you create a new VM, it is placed inside of a datastore cluster, and storage DRS balances everything out based on some key criteria like space utilization and I/O latencies. More to follow in a different post.

Now, this is by no means a complete overview, and I’ll be going in to these an other new features in upcoming posts. And I don’t want to flood you with information that can also be found on plenty of other blogs out there, but this should give you a good start. Look back for the things mentioned up here, but also for things like the added support for software based FCoE initiators, APD / PDL, the vSphere storage appliance, the new SRM 5 or vCloud Director 1.5.

Virtualization, VMware, VMworld

VMware is raising it’s bar, still time to register!

I’m sure most of you will have already known this, but some might have forgotten to register, or some wanted to but never got around to it, so here’s a reminder.

Tomorrow, July 12th, VMware is having an online event called “Raising the Bar, Part V”, where VMware is going to be “presenting on the next generation of cloud infrastructure”, or as VMware has put it:

Register now for this online event

July 12, 2011
9am-Noon Pacific Time

VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will be presenting on the next generation of cloud infrastructure. Join us and experience how the virtualization journey is helping transform IT and ushering in the era of Cloud Computing. 

9:00-9:45 Paul and Steve present – live online streaming
10:00-12:00 five tracks of deep dive breakout sessions
10:00-12:00 live Q&A with VMware cloud and virtualization experts

The event is free — if you sign up today you'll get an email reminder. This is a not-to-miss event!

These vExperts will be on-site at the event in San Francisco and will be covering the event live! (Also watch for live-tweeting from @VMwareEvents and @jtroyer with the #vmwarecloud hashtag)

After the event, you'll still be able to ask questions on Twitter. And on Wednesday, we'll be recapping the event on our VMware Community Roundtable — join us for an hour of live Q&A.

See you there!

Some people say they already know what’s coming. For me, that would be all the more reason to register and see what kind of cool stuff VMware is showing during the event. And, if you register for the event, you’ll automatically be entered in to the free drawing for a ticket to VMworld. More info about the drawing can be found here

Virtualization, VMware, VMworld

VMworld session voting has opened | Update: And has now closed

Vote for someone else!

There, i’ve said it. And if you’re wondering if I took something, you are actually wrong.

As you most likely will know when you read my blog, I work for a company that is well known for their storage products, and is also known for software solutions in a boat load of ranges like backup, replication, business continuity and much more. And a large part of my job is working with customers that use, or considering using, virtualization technologies like VMware.

VMware has a big convention each year called VMworld, which brings the top speakers and topics to a central location for a couple of days to talk shop and show people what’s new and what’s good.

This year, like every year, there was a call for papers. Basically A request for people to send in their ideas and suggestions for topics and sessions that should be presented. And boy, did they get some feedback on their call. There were boatloads of papers submitted and reviewed by the VMware guys and girls, and in the end they left roughly 800 session in their system.

Now, 800 sessions might be a bit much for one convention, which means they need help in selecting the best ideas and the hottest topics, and they need your help.

How? Just go to the VMworld, register an account if you don’t already have one, and go through the list with session abstracts and vote for the ones that you think are best.

Did I also submit a session? Yep, and if you want to look it up, it’s session number 1863 and goes by the title of “vStorage APIs – What has changed since the introduction / How does it help me in real life?”.

But as I stated in the first sentence, vote for someone else. I’ve only partially seen the list of topics, but there are so many good sessions proposals out there! I’ve seen so many folks blowing their own horn over their sessions, and I’ve decided to take a different route. Take your time, go through the list, and pick the ones you like best. If that should include my session? Great! If not? No problem, since you get to decide what sessions should be included, and you make the difference in making sure that VMworld will be a rocking event with only the best info and sessions. And the only way to do that, is by making sure you vote for the sessions you want to see.

So go out there and vote and help make it a rocking event, and who knows, maybe we’ll get to see each other there!

Update: May 19th 2011

And the voting has now closed. Thanks for voting folks!

General, VMworld

Lack of updates and VMworld Copenhagen 2010

Hey folks,

first of all, I need to apologize. There have been way no updates for quite some time now. Things were hectic with me wrapping up things with my previous employer, and with getting things organized at my new spot. Things are slowly coming together, but it’s been quite time intensive, which left me with little time to actually write much for my blog.

But, things are hopefully changing. I’m headed for VMworld 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday, and I’m bringing along my digital notebooks. Since I’m still fairly new in my new role, I won’t have quite the same schedule as my colleagues, and I hope that this will allow me some time to visit some of the sessions and create some notes that I’m able to share with you all.

So, keep your eyes open for things to come in this space!

VMware, VMworld

UPDATE! Contest: Get away to VMworld with Gestalt IT / Pay it forward!

Some of you may have already read about the contest over at the Gestalt IT website, but I thought this contest was nice enough to give you an overview here and link back to the contest.

Now, I’m guessing that most of the folks reading here will be familiar with the event called VMworld, but for those that aren’t, here’s a short overview:

the annual VMworld gathering in San Francisco has become the central event for virtualization-related companies. Although focused on VMware, the conference draws many companies. And the labs and sessions are really awesome!

So, what is Gestalt IT doing? Because most people can’t afford to attend if their boss is not allowing them to go, Gestalt IT decided to set up a contest that will cover the following (if you should win):

  • One conference ticket.
  • One roundtrip air ticket from one of the major airports near you to SFO or another airport in the San Francisco area.
  • Three nights at a hotel within 1 mile of the Moscone Center in San Francisco (VMworld runs August 30 through September 2).

Now the final question would be what you need to do to enter, right? Well, we decided that VMworld was created for the community of VMware customers, users and partners. So, what we want to know from you is what you will do for our and/or your community by attending VMworld. Will you take notes from sessions and try to help people back home? Are you going to try and get some video interviews that will answer the burning questions your community may have? We want to know how you plan on “paying it forward”!

So, what are you waiting for? Get on over to the contest page to read all of the details and to enter the contest. We look forward to seeing your entries!


I received word that the contest has been extended. The winners will be announced Friday, August 13th. Yes, you read that right, winners. We were lucky enough to find some additional sponsors, which means that we will now give away two trips to VMworld. Check out the details here!

Also, a special thank you to Symantec and Xsigo for their help as a sponsor. And a thank you to two wonderful additional sponsors, Zetta and Veeam, that made it possible to pick two winners.