Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hands-on labs - that I did...

This post is mostly for myself to keep track of the labs that i did at VMworld 2010 and what struck me as useful features...

vSphere 4.1 - new features
Storage IO shares and limits. They're not quite there yet with Storage DRS but this is a first step.
DRS feature - possibility to keep one or more VMs bound to a specific host. This is practical in relation to licensing issues where you pay per physical core/socket in a cluster.
8 concurrent VMotions!
Better HA info with new Cluster info link. It will aggregate relevant HA info and display it in a window.
Scripting ESXi installation with PXE boot and get the files over the network from a tftp server looked pretty straight forward.

VMware View 4.5 - install and configure
Components: Main View Manager server (not the correct name, I believe..). Transfer server for offline clients. View agent installs on the VM. View client to connect to View Manager.

vCloud Director - install and configure
Basically a VM that install on top of your VI and communicates with vCenter. Works as administration unit and self service portal to customers/admins. Installs on a RHEL 5 U4 or up, 64-bit. Licensing is done per VM. vShield Manager is required.

Update Manager
Practical for host patching of course... Also relevant for upgrading VMware Tools and HW version. Tools and HW version can be done in a single script.

Thinapp 4.6 - new features
The new feature that IE6 can be packaged easily is very useful. If you package an app on WinXP it can be run on other OS'es, e.g. Win7, without modification. Every time I play around with Thinapp it always strikes me why we don't use it more...

PowerCLI 4.1
One of the first examples is a script to go through your VMs and find and delete all snapshots older than a given date - e.g. older than seven days. This example is spot on and something that we're working on imlementing as well.

vShield Zones
One thing that I noted in this lab is that vShield has a built in load balancer which was easy to configure. This could probably be a good substitute for MS NLB.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VMworld 2010 - Hands-on labs, first impressions

There's been a lot of talk about the hands-on labs at this years VMworld. Here in Copenhagen there are around 240 thin clients with each two screens running up against two datacenters in Florida and Virginia with a dedicated 100 Mbit line over the Atlantic. There's also a fail-over possibility to a datacenter in Europe, should an issue occur. The whole solution is based on a number of Lab Manager installations with a custom interface on top of it which has been built for the purpose.
So far, I have taken four labs, and I must admit that I'm impressed. It works so well that you're not even thinking about what is going on under the hood. What you're actually experiencing is that as soon as you're choosing a lab, then almost instantly you have two ESX servers and a number of VMs provisioned for you. A VMware employee told me that part of the custom code is calculating the most popular labs, and then pre-deploying a number of these up front as to reduce waiting time.
Furthermore, the whole user experience is pretty cool. They've made a GUI for choosing the labs, and on flatscreens around in the room you can see statistics such as most popular labs and total number of VMs created and labs completed (see pictures below).