Thursday, November 27, 2008

Upgrade VirtualCenter Database from SQL Express

Article from the VMGuy:

What happens when I outgrow SQL Express for Virtual Center?
Thanks to Ryan for sending in this request. As many of you know, when you install Virtual Center (VC) in your environment it requires a database. By default, you may use SQL or Oracle. If you do not have a database server handy, you can use the included MS SQL 2005 Express database engine. This included SQL Express engine is supported by VMware in production environments up to 5 physical ESX hosts or 50 Virtual Machines.
What happens when we outgrow that? Can we upgrade in-place? The good news is, yes you can..........

Click to read the rest

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ThinApp - VMware's Application Virtualization - Try It

For those out there that weren't aware, VMware acquired Thinstall in January (along with Foedus) and rebranded it ThinApp. Thinstall was a company that provided application virtualization. Application Virtualization is a very vague term, as Citrix, Softgrid (now App-V owned by Microsoft), and even web based apps can be classified as virtualized. Each vendor does it differently, but the end result is delivery of an application without having to install it the traditional way.

In lay mans terms, ThinApp allows you to create distributable msi's / exe's that behave like standalone apps. Remember the applications on Windows 95 that would just run when you clicked the exe, no registry, no writing to system32? Well that's the idea here. What happens under the covers is that an administrator uses a clean machine / snapshot method of capturing an install. Then the ThinApp software uses it's intelligence to to create a project. From that project an administrator can create exe's and/or msi's for delivery. When delivered through logon script etc as and exe the user can launch the exe without admin privileges and all dll's / registry entries are put into a virtual space. So the app thinks it has full access to the system, when in fact it is writing to a harmless virtual space. The MSI works very similarly, however it can also be deployed via Group Policy / SMS / etc and provides a better method of file association.

One of the major benefits of delivering applications this way is that there is no dependence on build of machine. As long as you are running Windows, the application will run. It runs in it's own space, so it is even possible to run ie5 / ie6 / ie7, all at the same time. The other major benefit comes from the fact that you are just launching a file. If ie7 was pushed out for example and you wanted everyone to run ie8, you would just need to replace the exe or shortcut target on the file server. There are also options for offline applications etc.

If anyone has any questions or would like more information, please email me at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pano VDS 2.5 Officially Released

From an email:

Pano VDS 2.5 is now available for upgrading existing Pano deployments. A complete version of the Pano Manager Virtual Appliance will be available on 12/1 for new installations.
Pano VDS 2.5 is a significant release offering a number of new features and enhancements for both end users and administrators. For more information on this release, please click on "What's New."
For end users:
• Console Direct™ technology – Pano Console Direct technology provides a superior experience to end users whether running office productivity applications or viewing Flash videos on sites like YouTube or CNN. Console Direct connects directly to the Windows console session, bypassing RDP and its limitations altogether.
...And More. Click on "What's New" for details
For administrators:
• Online Help – Product instructions, workflow checklists, troubleshooting tips and FAQs are now all available from one convenient online help system. The online help system leads administrators through the workflow of common tasks step by step and also allows them to quickly search for their topic of interest.
...And More. Click on "What's New" for details
Pano Logic Customer Support

Friday, November 21, 2008

vOptimizer Info Released

vOptimizer Pro is Coming Soon!

On Wednesday, December 3, at 10:00 a.m. CDT, Tom Edwards and Chris Page, will be presenting the new version of Vizioncore's vOptimizer Pro - an innovative virtual machine storage optimization and rightsizing/reclamation solution that helps to manage virtual machine sizing, sprawl and growing enterprise storage costs.
This solution performs a fully automated partition adjustment of any ESX based virtual machine, via an innovative process of mounting an offline virtual machine, inspection of the virtual machine’s file system and guest OS, followed by a (NTFS) resizing of the virtual machine’s partition. vOptimizer Pro reduces virtual machine failure risk by enabling the periodic rightsizing of virtual machines that are in danger of running out of space. The whole process is fully automated, based on preconfigured profiles and settings for free space allocation and executed via calendar schedules.
Key features include:
Fully automated storage resizing/reclamation process
Wizard and user-friendly customizable profiles enable easy setup of storage resizing jobs
Recovery of costly enterprise storage by increasing virtual machine density on ESX servers
Administrators can specify the amount of space for specific categories of virtual machines (Web Servers, VDI, etc.)
Full VMware® VirtualCenter integration
Reports depicting cost savings to assist with quantification of data center efficiencies
Storage resizing template configurable by percentage or absolute free space
Throughput optimization and latency decrease with option for fully automated 64KB Block Partition Alignment

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Thoughts - Equallogic ASM-VE

Today I installed Equallogic Auto Snapshot Manager / VMware Edition V1 for the first time. The first thing I had to do was upgrade the controller firmware to 4.0.2 from 3.x. It took about 20 minutes once I could get telnet to cooperate (use putty not DOS). No problems, quick reboot, then you have to open up a new browser because the old java gui that is loaded in the browser cache is not valid. Then I went through the documentation of ASM/ VE and found that it requires the newest version of Java, so I installed.

The install of ASM / VE was very simple. You put in the IP and credentials for Virtual Center, then the IP and credentials for the Equallogic Group. It installs in about 2 minutes and starts the services and verifies installation. Once up you log in via a web gui and it looks very Equallogic (if you can use that as an adjective?). Pretty much just shows the hierarchy of VirtualCenter. You have options to take Smart Copies and setup schedules for Smart Copies. Smart Copies are snapshots of the running virtual machine, it's memory state (optional), and any attached iSCSI rdm's. (optional). This is very similar to Microsoft DPM as it takes point in time snapshots for rollback.

One thing that I wish would be included would be the ability to put a Smart Copy online and mount the vmdk to recover files (much like vRanger). As it is, this is just a rollback technology. That being said, the size of the snapshots are extremely small and don't grow like VMware initiated snapshots. So in practice, I believe that this feature allows administrators to create snapshots of vm's prior to doing updates, etc. without the fear of snapshot overgrowth leading to LUN crashing. Now if there was a way to add this as an option to the snapshot process inside of VirtualCenter (also Update Manager as well) and it has file recovery options it would make for one killer app.

I plan on adding more information as the testing proceeds and will add screenshots.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Akorri Adds Plug-In for VMware vCenter to BalancePoint Performance Management Software

Littleton, MA, November 18, 2008
– Akorri, Inc., the leader in performance and capacity management for the virtualized data center, today announced the availability of the BalancePoint™ Plug-In for VMware vCenter - a new capability sold with its award-winning BalancePoint software solution that allows VMware administrators to use BalancePoint directly from their VMware vCenter console, simplifying the management of virtualized environments.
“The BalancePoint Plug-in for VMware vCenter provides ‘single pane of glass’ management of a virtualized data center from within the vCenter console,” said Jeff Boles, Sr. Analyst, Taneja Group. “BalancePoint complements the element management aspects of vCenter by providing end-to-end performance management for all virtual and physical infrastructure components. This type of detailed insight goes well beyond basic utilization monitoring, and is absolutely critical to companies when they virtualize business-critical production applications.”
“We are excited to further our integration through our new Plug-In capability,” said Tom Joyce, President and CEO of Akorri. “Our goal is to simplify the management of heterogeneous virtualized server and storage environments. By adding this plug-in we have taken an important step towards providing a unified management experience, which is essential for our VMware customers.”
About Akorri
Akorri performance and capacity management software with advanced analytics provides automated visibility and analysis across IT silos to help enterprises fix problems, optimize utilization and improve performance in the virtualized data center. Certified for VMware environments, Akorri BalancePoint virtual appliance provides visibility into the root cause of performance issues through deep drill down into server and storage resources, and the ability to understand both server and storage virtualization. BalancePoint enables IT organizations to optimize performance and capacity to meet service level objectives at the lowest possible cost. For more information, visit
Akorri, BalancePoint, Cross-Domain Analysis and the Akorri logo are trademarks of Akorri, Inc. All other trademarks used or mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.

Media Contacts
Lisa AlloccaRed Javelin Communications for

Post from Akorri Website

vFoglight Red CPU "wheel" caught in the wild

I have been testing vFoglight for a while and have been waiting for a red CPU "wheel" to pop up. Well I finally saw it when I had a Linux box go out of control!

VMware Command Cheat Sheet

Very nice pdf cheatsheet that shows ESX Commands.

Cheat Sheet

Originally posted on blog:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dell / Equallogic partner with ExaGrid to provide cost effective data dedup backups!

Equallogic has partnered with ExaGrid to provide a cost effective backup and dedup solution. For those of you that are Dell/Equallogic customers this is something to look at.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dell / Equallogic - Auto-Snapshot Manager /VMware Edition software update

Dell/Equallogic just released new software for their PS line. It allows for integration with ESX. Excerpt and link below:

Auto-Snapshot Manager/VMware Edition

Automated, Integrated, and Scalable Protection for Virtual Machines
Benefits of Deploying Auto-Snapshot Manager VMware Edition:

High performance, space-efficient hypervisor-aware SAN-based snapshot support
Automated, consolidated virtual machine backup and recovery
Scalable HW-based solution for online data protection of virtual infrastructure
Reduced snapshot space overhead and enhanced ESX Server performance
Fast recovery of virtual machines and VMFS DataStores
Easy to navigate GUI with both SAN and VMware-centric views
Snapshot policies logically assigned to virtual machine hierarchies

Vizioncore vFoglight Video v1.0

I made this video to show some of the functionality and features of Vizioncore (Quest) vFoglight. This is a great window into an ESX environment. I will try to clean up the video and add some narrative. If anyone is interested in a webex demo, please contact me.

Veeam Configurator 2.0 Released

Just got this in email. I guess Veeam wanted to get a jumpstart on VMware who is planning on having a single point of configuration for all hosts in ESX4 / VDC-OS.

Looking for "Host Profile" functionality today?
Veeam Configurator 2.0 has it!
Available now!

Veeam Configurator 2.0 automatically discovers ESX and ESXi configurations across your enterprise and creates Veeam host profile templates. These templates can then be applied to groups of VMware hosts, and periodic scans will uncover inconsistencies and help you enforce policy compliance. You can also use them to quickly provision new or re-build existing hosts.

Features include:
Automated discovery
Change management & reporting
Compliance auditing
Change simulation
and more!
See how it works in your own environment.

Install VMTools on a Linux Guest

I was recently asked how to install the VMTools on a Linux Guest. Below are excerpts from the latest Basic System Administration Guide:

To install or upgrade VMware Tools on a Linux guest from X with the RPM
1 Open a console to the virtual machine.
2 Power on the virtual machine.
3 After the guest operating system starts, right‐click the virtual machine and choose
Install VMware Tools.
The remaining steps take place inside the virtual machine.
4 Do one of the following:
􀂄 If you see a VMware Tools CD icon on the desktop, double‐click it, and after
it opens, double‐click the RPM installer in the root of the CD‐ROM.
􀂄 If you see a file manager window, double‐click the RPM installer file.
In some Linux distributions, the VMware Tools CD icon might fail to appear.
In this case, continue install VMware Tools from the command line.
5 When prompted, enter the root password and click OK.
The installer prepares the packages.
6 Click Continue when the installer presents a dialog box that shows
Completed System Preparation.
A dialog box appears with a progress bar. When the installer is done, VMware
Tools is installed. There is no confirmation or finish button.
7 In an X terminal, as root (su -), run the following file to configure VMware Tools:
Respond to the questions the installer displays on the screen. Press Enter to accept
the default value.
8 When done, exit from the root account:
9 In an X terminal, open the VMware Tools Properties dialog box:
vmware-toolbox &

To install or upgrade VMware Tools on a Linux guest with the tar installer or
RPM installer
1 Open a console to the virtual machine.
2 Power on the virtual machine.
3 After the guest operating system starts, right‐click the virtual machine and choose
Install VMware Tools.
The remaining steps take place inside the virtual machine.
4 As root (su -), mount the VMware Tools virtual CD‐ROM image and change to a
working directory (for example, /tmp), as follows.
Some Linux distributions use different device names or organize the /dev
directory differently. Modify the following commands to reflect the conventions
used by your distribution:
mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
cd /tmp
NOTE Some Linux distributions automatically mount CD‐ROMs. If your
distribution uses automounting, do not use the mount and umount commands
described in this procedure. You still must untar the VMware Tools installer to
NOTE If you have a previous installation, delete the previous
vmware-tools-distrib directory before installing. The default location of this
directory is:

5 Uncompress the installer and unmount the CD‐ROM image.
Depending on whether you are using the tar installer or the RPM installer, do one
of the following:
􀂄 For the tar installer, at the command prompt, enter:
tar zxpf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-5.0.0-.tar.gz
umount /dev/cdrom
Where is the build/revision number of the Workstation release.
􀂄 For the RPM installer, at the command prompt, enter:
rpm -Uhv /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-5.0.0-.i386.rpm
umount /dev/cdrom
Where is the build/revision number of the Workstation release.
6 Depending on whether you are using the tar installer or the RPM installer, do one
of the following:
􀂄 For the tar installer, run the VMware Tools tar installer:
cd vmware-tools-distrib
Respond to the configuration questions on the screen. Press Enter to accept the
default value.
􀂄 For the RPM installer, configure VMware Tools:
Respond to the questions the installer displays on the screen. Press Enter to
accept the default value.
7 Log off the root account.
8 Start your graphical environment.
9 In an X terminal, open the VMware Tools Properties dialog box:
vmware-toolbox &
NOTE If you attempt to install an rpm installation over a tar installation—or the
reverse—the installer detects the previous installation and must convert the
installer database format before continuing.

Albany,NY - DynTek to Hold VMware Fast Track Class

DynTek - Albany, will be holding the VMware Fast Track Class. This class puts 2 classes into 1 vigorous week. Contact for more information.

Technical training for your design, implementation, and support engineers is critical to the success of new product deployments, product upgrades, delivering high levels of support for your users, and insuring the maximum return on your product investments. Trained engineers are better able to manage the existing environment and utilize the capabilities of the products you have implemented to their fullest.

DynTek is hosting the VMware Fast Track class in Albany, NY from December 8th through 12th. The Fast Track class is the VMware authorized course, presented by Alternative Technology, a VMware Authorized Training Center. The class will be taught by a seasoned, vendor-certified instructor who is highly skilled engineer with years of practical "real world" experience.

This intensive, extended-hours training course covers the installation, management, and use of VMware ESX Server, VMware VirtualCenter, VMware DRS, VMware HA, VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), VMware Converter, Storage VMotion, and VMware Update Manager. It combines the content from the 3.5 versions of the VMware Infrastructure 3: Install & Configure and Deploy, Secure, and Analyze training courses. The course reduces classroom time from 8 days to 5 days AND reduces your cost by $800.00. Upon completion of this course, you can take the examination to qualify as a VMware Certified Professional.

Course Objectives
At the end of the course, you should be able to:
• Perform manual and scripted ESX Server installations
• Understand and configure security on the Service Console
• Install, configure, migrate, manage, and monitor virtual machines using ESX Server and Virtual Center
• Utilize VMware Converter and VMware Update Manager
• Learn specific commands used to administer an ESX Server
• Configure and implement VMware HA, DRS and VCB
• Perform fault analysis in Virtual Infrastructure

Target Audience
This class is designed for experienced system administrators and system integrators who are responsible for scaling their organization’s deployment of VMware technology. This fast-track program is most suited for those willing to work hard to achieve superior VI skills with minimal time away from the office.

• Willingness to participate in a demanding, high-intensity training experience
• Comfort with system administration using command-line interfaces

Panologic Announces Windows Native VDI Driver - Escape from RDP

We wanted to share some news with you about an exciting new chapter for Pano Logic.
We have just preanounced that Pano Virtual Desktop Solution 2.5 will be available on November 25th 2008. While it may seem like just a dot release, it represents the introduction of Console Direct technology, a significant addition that unleashes the Pano Solution from RDP and Terminal Server Session to dramatically improve user experience.
You can learn more about Pano VDS 2.5 and Console Direct Technology at a new web page .
I've included a copy of our press release below for your convenience.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line or contact your Regional Sales Manager.

Kevin Strohmeyer
Director of Product Marketing

New Pano VDS release delivers users a fully native Windows user experience without using RDP, providing for optimized audio, video and native support for PC-compatible USB devices, purpose built for virtualization
MENLO PARK, Calif. – November 17, 2008 – Pano Logic™, developer of a server-based desktop virtualization solution, today announced Pano Virtual Desktop Solution (VDS) 2.5. The new release is the first desktop virtualization solution to optimize the Windows user experience without using the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which eliminates the dependence on Microsoft Terminal Services technology and provides native session support for Windows applications, video, and audio interfaces and native USB device drivers. These new capabilities are available through Console Direct™, a new technology in Pano VDS 2.5 that plugs directly into the Windows Operating System to deliver a fully native experience. In addition, new capabilities for Pano Manager improve IT’s ability to maintain and support virtual infrastructure through quick and easy role-based access for the help desk.
“With Pano Logic’s latest release, video has been significantly enhanced,” said Jeff Cunningham, director of information systems, AREC department, University of Maryland. “Additionally, the new role-based access controls allow me to assign role-based management for my Active Directory users.”
New features in Pano VDS 2.5 include:
Native Console Support – offering the ability via Console Direct to allow the Windows desktop to use its native interfaces for video, audio and USB devices. While other technologies use a Terminal Server Session with RDP, which doesn’t have access to all Windows native interfaces and therefore detrimentally affects user experience and device support, Console Direct enables the use of native drivers such as touch screens and smart boards that must communicate with the console session. Only Pano VDS allows the deployment of these interactive devices while maintaining zero management at the end-point.
Internet Video – delivering support of native video, audio and USB device drivers directly from the Windows operating system, ensuring quality video replay with any codec (including Adobe Flash Video) with no tearing and tight audio video synchronization.
Quick and easy role-based access through Active Directory – providing help desk staff the ability to have view-only access to the Pano Manager to look at alerts, statistics and connection status to quickly troubleshoot and resolve customer requests.
These new features further enhance the robust capabilities that are already a part of Pano VDS. Purpose-built from the ground up, the Pano Logic approach is to provide a zero management client and leverage a customer’s VMware server virtualization infrastructure to deliver a complete Windows desktop environment. Pano VDS can be installed in less than 60 minutes, and is centrally managed from the data center.
“Pano VDS sets the standard for desktop virtualization,” said Mike Fodor, vice president of product management at Pano Logic. “VDI is all about giving customers what they need without the headaches of a PC. To be successful at this, solutions need to deliver a rich user experience. Pano VDS is able to do this by eliminating the technical constraints of the past - that forced IT to be reliant on protocols like RDP - to deliver a robust, and easy to manage Windows experience.”
About Pano Virtual Desktop SolutionThe Pano Virtual Desktop Solution includes the hardware clients and software components required to turn your existing virtual infrastructure into a purpose-build virtual desktop solution. The key components of the solution are the:
Pano Device – Winner of the prestigious red dot award for design, the Pano device is a zero client with nothing to manage or maintain at the user end point. The Pano device connects keyboard, mouse, display, audio and USB peripherals over an existing IP network to an instance of Windows XP or Vista running on a virtualized server. The Pano device is power friendly, consuming only 3% of the energy consumed by a traditional desktop computer.
Pano Manager – A web-based management interface, deployed on your VMware VI3 infrastructure which enables administrators to automate virtual desktop deployment by integrating with existing directory services and VMware Virtual Center.
Pano Desktop Service – A lightweight service residing within each Windows desktop virtual machine that links peripherals attached to the Pano device to the unmodified native Windows drivers.
About Pano LogicPano Logic develops virtualization-based software and hardware solutions that deliver superior desktop computing. The company is privately held, and backed by leading investment firms Velocity, Foundation Capital and Goldman Sachs. Pano Logic is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and has an office in Toronto, Canada. For more information about Pano Logic, visit

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ESX 3.5 U1 10Gbps Ethernet Document from VMware

This is a link to a VMware published technical document outlining tests of ESX 3.5 U1 (applies to recent U3 as well) w 10Gbps network adapters. Below is an excerpt from the Conclusion section:

The results presented in the previous sections show that virtual machines running on ESX 3.5 Update 1 can efficiently share and saturate 10Gbps Ethernet links. A single uniprocessor virtual machine can push as much as 8Gbps of traffic with frames that use the standard MTU size and can saturate a 10Gbps link when using jumbo frames. Jumbo frames can also boost receive throughput by up to 40 percent, allowing a single virtual machine to receive traffic at rates up to 5.7Gbps. Our detailed scaling tests show that ESX scales very well with increasing load on the system and fairly allocates bandwidth to all the booted virtual machines. Two virtual machines can easily saturate a 10Gbps link (the practical limit is 9.3Gbps for packets that use the standard MTU size because of protocol overheads), and the throughput remains constant as we add more virtual machines. Scaling on the receive path is similar, with throughput increasing linearly until we achieve line rate and then gracefully decreasing as system load and resource contention increase. Thus, ESX 3.5 Update 1 supports the latest generation of 10Gbps NICs with minimal overheads and allows high virtual machine consolidation ratios while being fair to all virtual machines sharing the NICs and maintaining 10Gbps line rates.

KB - Modifying HAL for Processor Count in a Windows Virtual Machine

This is a good kb from VMware regarding changing the HAL (not from 2001:A Space Odyssey) after changing the virtual processors from multi to uni or vice-versa. This will greatly improve performance and efficiency of the CPU especially on database servers in my experience.

Best Practices for ESX 3.x Local Partitioning

These are the recommended partition settings according to VMware's VI Architecture Design document.

VMware Distributed Power Management (DPM) Video

Videocaster drummonds1974 posted this great demo of VMware's cluster feature, Distributed Power Management (DMP). While it is still officially considered experimental, I have set it up successfully in production sites. DPM uses DRS type logic to determine the minimum number of ESX hosts that are needed to run all guests while still staying within the parameters of your HA rules. Great idea for "Going Green".


Welcome to the vOptimize blog. The purpose of this forum is to provide a collection of new, and linked information to help end users better their virtual environments. There will be posts of new and compelling products, procedures, and notes from the field. Please stay tuned as this blog is ramped up!