Sunday, December 28, 2008

Panologic Interview - Infoworld

From InfoWorld, David Marshall:

Pano Logic's silver box shines in 2008 and into 2009
Everyone loves a shiny, silver box. And Pano Logic hopes to capitalize on that with its virtual desktop solution.

Pano Logic CTO, Aly Orady, talks about the company's desktop virtualization solution and how it can help fight a challenging economy in 2009.
Q: How has this year been for Pano Logic?
A: As we close the books on the company's first full year of sales....

Click to read more..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Microsoft Patch - Out of Band - Important

This alert is to provide you with an overview of the new security bulletin released (out of band) on Wednesday, December 17, 2008. Microsoft released security update MS08-078 to address a new vulnerability allowing remote code execution in affected versions of Internet Explorer. MS08-078 has a maximum severity rating of Critical for all versions of Internet Explorer. This security update was released outside of the usual monthly security bulletin release cycle in an effort to protect customers. We request that you take action immediately by first assessing and preparing your own systems and networks and applying the security update, then reaching out to your customers to assist them in securing their systems and networks by applying the update.

Details about this security update are below, but here are your key resources:

· The full bulletin for MS08-078 is available at
· Attend the webcast hosted by Microsoft to address questions about this bulletin:
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 1pm PT or Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 11am PT
· We recommend that Microsoft partners use the Microsoft TechNet Security TechCenter as a source of security information:

Executive Summary
This security update resolves a publicly disclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights. The security update addresses the vulnerability by modifying the way Internet Explorer validates data binding parameters and handles the error resulting in the exploitable condition.

This security update also addresses the vulnerability first described in Microsoft Security Advisory 961051.

Microsoft recommends that partners first assess their own systems and networks and apply this security update, then reach out and follow up with their customers to assist them in securing their systems and networks to help ensure that their computers are protected from attempted criminal attacks..

New Security Bulletin Technical Details

Severity Rating
This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 5.01, Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 6 SP1, and Internet Explorer 7.
Impact of Vulnerability
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer can detect whether your computer system requires this update.
Affected Software
Internet Explorer 5.01 (Windows 2000), Internet Explorer 6 (Windows 2000), Internet Explorer 6 SP1 (Windows XP and Windows Server 2003), and Internet Explorer 7 (Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008). For information about Internet Explorer 8 (Beta) please see the FAQ section of the bulletin.
Restart Requirement
The update will require a restart only if the required files are being used. If this occurs, a message appears that advises you to restart.
Removal Information
· For Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003: Use Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel or the Spuninst.exe utility
· For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008: WUSA.exe does not support uninstall of updates. To uninstall an update installed by WUSA, click Control Panel, and then click Security. Under Windows Update, click View installed updates and select from the list of updates.
Bulletins Replaced by This Update
Full Details:

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Case of the Rebooting Virtual Desktop and the VMware Bug

Just got an email in my inbox. It solves the riddle of why the virtual desktop I use daily on my pano box reboots when it vmotions. I had turned off DRS for that individual machine to combat the problem.

Dear ESX 3.5 customer,
Our records indicate you recently downloaded VMware® ESX Version 3.5 U3 from our product download site. This email is to alert you that an issue with that product version could adversely effect your environment. This email provides steps you can take to correct any issues that you may currently have or prevent you from encountering the issue.
Title:A Virtual Machine may unexpectedly reboot when using VMware HA with Virtual Machine Monitoring on ESX 3.5 Update 3
Symptoms:Virtual Machines may unexpectedly reboot after a VMotion migration to an ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host OR after a Power On operation on an ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host, when the VMware HA feature with Virtual Machine Monitoring is active.
Problem Statement:A virtual machine may reboot itself when the following conditions exist:
Virtual Machine is running on ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host, either by virtue of VMotion or a Power On operation, and
Host has VMware HA enabled with the "Virtual Machine Monitoring" option active.
Virtual Machine monitoring is dependent on VMware tools heartbeats to determine the state of the Virtual Machines. With ESX Server 3.5 Update 3, after a VMotion or Power On operation, the host agent running on the ESX server may delay sending the heartbeat state of the Virtual Machine to the Host. VMware HA detects this as a failure of the Virtual Machine and attempts to restart the Virtual Machine.
Resolution:Note: Before you begin please refer to KB 1003490 for important information on restarting the mgmt-vmware service.
To work around this problem:
Option 1: Disable Virtual Machine Monitoring
1. Select the VMware HA cluster and choose Edit Settings from the right-click menu (note that this feature can also be enabled for a new cluster on the VMware HA page of the New Cluster wizard).
2. In the Cluster Settings dialog box, select VMware HA in the left column.
3. Un-Check the Enable virtual machine monitoring check box.
4. Click OK.
Option 2:
1. Disconnect the host form VC (Right click on host in VI Client and select "Disconnect" )
2. Login as root to the ESX Server with SSH.
3. Using a text editor such as nano or vi, edit the file /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml
4. Set the "heartbeatDelayInSecs" tag under "vmsvc" to 0 seconds as shown here:0true
5. Restart the management agents for this change to take effect. See Restarting the Management agents on an ESX Server (KB 1003490).
6. Reconnect the host in VC ( Right click on host in VI Client and select "Connect" )
Please consult KB 1007899 for further details on managing packages already registered.Please consult your local support center if you require further information or assistance. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this issue may cause you. Your satisfaction is our number one goal.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yellow-Bricks Article- Fixed or MRU for Storage

Great post by Duncan Epping:

Fixed or MRU, what will it be…
I had a question from a fellow blogger about the Fixed/Most Recently Used setting for a SAN’s path policy.... read more

VMware and Symantec Partner with VCS

I was just forwarded an interesting article on the new-found relationship between Symantec and VMware. Some readers may be familiar with Veritas Clustering Services (VCS) and it's integration with VMware. From my own experiences, I always thought it was a great idea. I had seen VCS in action with the x's (linux, unix, etc), and had seen a demo of it in action with VMware about a year ago. We even recommended it to a customer, but unfortunately the Symantec sales team and the distributor had no idea how to quote it and it took about 3 different transfers on the phone to get someone who knew what we were talking about. To me it seemed like someone said "hey it works in linux, esx is kinda linux, lets brand it." Now I don't know if that is what really happened, but it wasn't fully baked.

I guess the past is the past and now Symantec is on the virtualization fast track. The new VCS integration is now a little smarter. It now understands that a vmotion is not a host failure, it is more application aware and also integrates with the ESX host and the guests. However powerful that may be, the best part of the article was of course the drama. The author hints at how the new change of guard at VMware and the soon to be change of guard at Symantec may have sparked the reconciliation and buried the confrontational past.

Link to Article in

Another article in the sister site to has an article describing how VCS can integrate with vCenter to provide high availability on the vCenter side. It bridges the gap that we currently have with either using MSCS or putting vCenter in the ESX world as a vm.

Link to Article in

Thursday, December 4, 2008

VMware View with Composer Virtual Desktops - Screenshots

I just got done doing a 20vm test deployment with Composer linked clones. One thing I noticed is that time to deploy isn't much less than the old fashioned way. I haven't had a chance to try it on an enterprise class system and SAN (right now I am using a 3 HP c-class blades with 8GB of RAM each and and HP AIO SAN. All vmotion / ISCSI / Live network traffic runs over just 2 nics). Anyway, the big news is that the space savings is amazing. Inside the wizard for the Desktop Collection I specified that the personality drive should be 512 and mapped as a D drive. After the desktops were deployed I checked the datastores and found that there were 2 VMDKs, 1 was a replica, the other was a 1.3GB VMDK. I will dig into it deeper, but I figured I would post some screenshots while I was working on it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vizioncore vOptimizer Pro - Comments on first look at demo

This morning I was able to see fist hand a demo of Vizioncore's new storage optimization tool, vOptimizer Pro. My first impressions on the ergonomics of it were that it was clean and simple and very "vReplicator" like. The workflow was easy to understand and could be configured in minutes. As for features, what the product tackles is the problem of vm space under-commit and over-commit. Based on rules the product will scale the virtual machine's storage up or down based on rules.

For example if you have a 5gig vmdk on ServerA with 4gig used and a 50gig vmdk with 5gig used on ServerB and applied a rule that said you should have 50% freespace available, it would resize ServerA to 8gig (enlarge vmdk) and would resize ServerB to 10gig (shrink vmdk).
The aforementioned scenario explains the meat of the product, but there is so much more. It also provides for optimization of Windows partitions based on the 64k block offset (Link to VMware doc on topic). And in the future will be able to optimize Windows VM's even more by removing unwanted services and other tweaks.

For those managers out there and people in charge of budgets, it is important to note that you can assign cost per Gigabyte to your datastores. This is used for reporting after an optimization pass to show cost savings from using the product overall or by pass (this type of thinking was a real plus in the old vCharter but now missing in vFoglight).

There were only a couple of negatives I saw. The first one is a current necessary evil; you have to shut down the running vm to optimize. This is due to application quiescence and system stability. I understand the need, however it does not take away from the fact that a maintenance window must be created and services will be offline. I have found that one of the major selling points and strategic directions of virtualization is "online all the time" (see also VMware Fault Tolerance). The only other minor negative is that it is only supported on a physical box. This is due to licensing issues, and I am sure that it would run fine virtually, however YMMV when getting support.

As for pricing, like all Vizioncore products, you get a lot for your money. The pricing is going to be $299 per ESX host socket (like all thier other products, even vReplicator now) list price. Obviously if you go through a reseller you will get a better price (please email me to get a quote from my company if you would like).

All in all this is a product that is well worth the money, will show an immediate ROI, and should be in every virtualized datacenter. As soon as I get my copy I will have some youtube demos up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

VMware View Install - First Tip

So I couldn't wait to install VMware View 3 for the first time outside of beta and should have RTFM (see also Mike Laverick). Anyway for those of you who read first then install, here is the link to the admin guide. Link to guide.

More to come on the install and the performance of VMware View + Composer!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Article on Next Generation VI the VDC-OS

I just read the following article and found it very informative. Not only did it have a lot of good information on the new Virtual DataCenter - Operating System (VDC-OS) that will be VI4 with parts and pieces, but it also has great quotes from Paul Maritz and analysts in the virtualization world.

From Virtualization Review by Keith Ward:

Link to Article

VMware View (VDM 3) To Launch

In browsing around on the topic of VMware View I ran into this article. I have been beta testing the software for the last month and it finally helps get past the hurdle of ROI when you consider the cost of storage:

Article found @ by Chris Mellor:

VMware to cut desktop VM storage by 90%
View 3.0 launch preps for virtual desktops to become standard

By Chris Mellor
Posted in Enterprise, 2nd December 2008 00:02 GMT

VMware is rebranding its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology as VMware View, and having virtual desktops built from a generic golden master and user-specific files that cut VDI storage space by up to 80 per cent......

Read the rest of this article.