Monday, December 26, 2011

Nondisruptive upgrade of VMFS-3 to VMFS-5

In vSphere 5 the VMFS filesystem has been updated to version 5 (currently 5.54). In vSphere 4.1 update 1 the VMFS version was 3.46.

In earlier versions of ESX, live upgrades of VMFS, or in-place upgrades, haven't been an option so to upgrade VMFS, basically a new LUNs had to be created and then VMs could be migrated to these new LUNs.

With vSphere 5, VMFS can be upgraded nondisruptively. This is done for each LUN by going to:

Datastore and Datastore Clusters -> Configuration -> Upgrade to VMFS-5.

It is a prerequisite that all connected hosts are running vSphere 5. The upgrade itself takes less than a minute (at least in a small test environment).

In VMFS 5, there is only one block size which is 1 MB. However, when upgrading from v3 to v5, the block size remains what it was before (see the last screendump). In the example below, the 8 MB block size is retained.

The new maximum LUN size is 64 TB - but a single .vmdk file can still not exceed 2 TB minus 512 bytes. The only way to have larger .vmdk's than 2 TB is to create an RDM and mount it as a physical device (as opposed to virtual). See this VMware whitepaper for further info.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Licensing: vSphere 5 Enterprise and 8 way VMs

In my experience, more and more customers are asking for multiway VMs with more than 4 vCPUs. For my company, an IT service provider, this is a little problematic as most of our licenses are vSphere Enterprise - not Enterprise Plus.

With vSphere 5, 8 way VMs are now possible both in the Standard edition and Enterprise edition. For up to 32 way VMs, the Enterprise Plus license is required.

See link for more info, page 6.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

VMXNET 3: Supported Guest Operating Systems

VMXNET 3 is the newest NIC driver for VMs (requries VM HW v7). It should be chosen as default for all supported guest operating systems. Windows Server 2000, however, is not supported. Here's link to VMware KB with more info. Remember, that when you delete the old NIC and add a new one, then all IP info is wiped and should be reconfigured (mostly relevant for static IPs).