VMware vSphere 5 released today!

VMware Announces General Availability of VMware vSphere® 5

VMware vSphere 5 supports virtual machines (VMs) that are up to four times more powerful than previous versions – VMs can now be configured with up to 1 terabyte of memory and 32 virtual CPUs. When combined with VMware vSphere 5’s enhanced High Availability, these gains in VM scalability and performance enable customers to virtualize any business-critical applications with confidence in the application’s continued performance and availability.

VMware vSphere 5 also introduces three key new flagship features – Auto-Deploy, Profile-Driven Storage and Storage DRS – that extend the platform’s unique datacenter resource management capabilities, delivering intelligent policy management to support an automated “set it and forget it” approach to managing datacenter resources, including server deployment and storage management. Customers can define policies and establish the operating parameters, and VMware vSphere 5 does the rest.

VMware News Releases
VMware vSphere 5 Documentation
VMware vSphere 5 Download

USB support for VMware ESX / ESXi 4.1 – finally!!!

VMware ESX 4.1 (finally) supports USB device passthrough from an ESX or ESXi host to a virtual machine.

Requirements
USB device passthrough requires:

  • Virtual hardware version 7 or higher
  • A USB Arbitrator
  • A USB controller
  • A USB device or device hub

Limitations
The USB Controller has these limitations:

  • USB controller hardware and modules that support USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices must be present on the host.
  • You can add only one virtual USB controller to each virtual machine.
  • The USB arbitrator can monitor a maximum of 15 USB controllers. If your system includes an additional number of controllers and you connect USB devices to these controllers, the devices are not available to the virtual machine.
  • You must add the USB controller to the virtual machine before you can add a USB device.
  • You must remove all USB devices before you remove the controller.
USB devices have these limitations:
  • You can add multiple USB devices to a virtual machine that resides on an ESX/ESXi host to which the devices are physically attached.
  • A USB device is available to only one virtual machine at a time.
  • You can add up to 20 USB devices to a virtual machine.
  • Unsupported USB devices may not interact as expected with other ESX/ESXi features. For a list of supported USB devices, see Supported USB device models for passthrough from an ESX or ESXi host to a virtual machine (1021345).
  • Before you hot add memory, CPU, or PCI devices, you must remove any USB devices. Hot adding these resources disconnects USB devices, which may result in data loss.
  • When you suspend and resume a virtual machine, USB devices behave as if they have been disconnected, then reconnected.

Adding a USB controller and a USB device
To add a USB controller:

  1. Right-click on the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Choose USB Controller and click Next.
  4. Click OK.
To add a USB device:
  1. Right-click on the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Choose USB Device and click Next.Note: To support vMotion, select Support vMotion while device is connected.
  4. Click OK.

Choosing a network adapter for your virtual machine

Only those network adapters that are appropriate for the virtual machine you are creating, are available configuration options in the Choose Networks window.

  • Vlance — An emulated version of the AMD 79C970 PCnet32 LANCE NIC, an older 10 Mbps NIC with drivers available in most 32bit guest operating systems except Windows Vista and later. A virtual machine configured with this network adapter can use its network immediately.
  • VMXNET — The VMXNET virtual network adapter has no physical counterpart. VMXNET is optimized for performance in a virtual machine. Because operating system vendors do not provide built-in drivers for this card, you must install VMware Tools to have a driver for the VMXNET network adapter available.
  • Flexible — The Flexible network adapter identifies itself as a Vlance adapter when a virtual machine boots, but initializes itself and functions as either a Vlance or a VMXNET adapter, depending on which driver initializes it. With VMware Tools installed, the VMXNET driver changes the Vlance adapter to the higher performance VMXNET adapter.
  • E1000 — An emulated version of the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A driver for this NIC is not included with all guest operating systems. Typically Linux versions 2.4.19 and later, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and later, and Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) and later include the E1000 driver.
  • VMXNET 2 (Enhanced) — The VMXNET 2 adapter is based on the VMXNET adapter but provides some high-performance features commonly used on modern networks, such as jumbo frames and hardware offloads. This virtual network adapter is available only for some guest operating systems on ESX/ESXi 3.5 and later.

    VMXNET 2 is supported only for a limited set of guest operating systems:

    • 32 and 64bit versions of Microsoft Windows 2003 (Enterprise and Datacenter Editions).
       
      Note: You can use enhanced VMXNET adapters with other versions of the Microsoft Windows 2003 operating system, but a workaround is required to enable the option in VMware Infrastructure (VI) Client or vSphere Client. See Enabling enhanced vmxnet adapters for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (1007195) if Enhanced VMXNET is not offered as an option.
       
    • 32bit version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0
    • 32 and 64bit versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
    • 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0
    • 64bit versions of Ubuntu Linux
  • VMXNET 3 — The VMXNET 3 adapter is the next generation of a paravirtualized NIC designed for performance, and is not related to VMXNET or VMXNET 2. It offers all the features available in VMXNET 2, and adds several new features like multiqueue support (also known as Receive Side Scaling in Windows), IPv6 offloads, and MSI/MSI-X interrupt delivery.

    VMXNET 3 is supported only for virtual machines version 7 and later, with a limited set of guest operating systems:

    • 32 and 64bit versions of Microsoft Windows XP, 2003, and 2008
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Asianux 3 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Debian 4/Ubuntu 7.04 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Sun Solaris 10 U4 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Ubuntu
You can read the official knowledge base at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1001805

Storage Protocol Choices & Storage Best Practices for VMware ESX

I’ve read about this presentation on Eric Sloofs Blog created by Nicholas Travers who works as a VMware Technology Consultant at EMC. The presentation is called “Storage Protocol Choices & Storage Best Practices for VMware ESX” and deals with storage considerations like:

StorageBestPractices

How many VMs per LUN?
Standard LUN Size?
NFS, RDM or VMFS?
iSCSI, or FC?
How do I scale iSCSI and NFS?
Queue Depths?
I need a 3TB LUN… How?
Why do I need multi-pathing?
I need SRM support… How?

You can download the PDF file here -> Storage Best Practices

Article from: ntpro.nl

Checksum Offload – network slow downs?

Hi.
I’m pretty sure that the Checksum Offload causes a bunch of network slow downs – especially in a virtual environment.
Whenever a customer says that it takes a good few seconds to open i.e. a Word document, placed on a share, I always disable Checksum Offload wherever possible on the NIC, inside the VM. This has always been the main reason for the slow downs. I’m not sure why exactly, but it seems that disabling this feature solves the problem!

Offload

Any comments are welcome!

Hot to get VMware vSphere Client to work in Windows 7

Here is a step-by-step guide to get VMware vSphere Client and the vSphere Host Update Utility to work in Windows 7. My system is running Windows 7 – 64-bit, so please make sure you enter the correct “Program Files” folder if your system is 32-bit. Let’s get started:

1.  Open the following folder:
     C:\Program Files (x86)\Vmware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher

2.  Edit the VpxClient.exe.config file and make it look like the following:

vmconfig 

     Just add the lines from 12 to 14 and your set!

3.  Create a new folder in the same location called Lib, and then place the System.dll (attached here -> System.dll).

4.  Edit your system environment variables and create a new one, DEVPATH, and set it to:
     C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\Lib

 Now, vSphere Client should work!  But the Host Update Utility still need some tweaking, here are the final steps:

5.  Copy VpxClient.exe.config file (from above) to the following location, re-naming it to VIUApp.exe.config:
     C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\VIUpdate 4.0\

And now the Host Update Utility will work, also.

Have fun!

Upgrading your virtual hardware to version 7 (VMware vSphere)

If you’ve upgraded to or installed ESX(i) 4.0 you’ll see that you have an advanced option to pick which virtual machine hardware version to use for your new VMs. As noted in the image below, the virtual hardware version will determine which other VMware products the VM can be run on. Virtual machine version 7 is also required for new ESXi 4.0 features like virtual IDE hard drives, VMXNET generation 3 virtual NICs, the LSI Logic SAS virtual controller and VMDirectPath. If you’ve upgrade from ESXi 3.5, you can use the process below to upgrade the virtual hardware version from 4 to 7.

Click on the images to get full-size previews.

upgrade_0

 1) While the VM is powered down, right click on the VM and select Upgrade Virtual Hardware. If the VM is already at version 7 then the option will not be available. The option will also not be available if the VM is running. As shown in the 2nd image, the option is upgrade the virtual hardware is not reversible. This includes a VM with a snapshot on it. If you’re using vCenter Server, you can use Update Manager to upgrade the VM which will automatically backup the VM before the upgrade. As shown in the 3rd image below, it is best to upgrade VMware Tools in the VM prior to upgrading the virtual hardware. This will help preserve network settings especially on Microsoft Windows VMs.

upgrade1

upgrade2

upgrade3

2) If you’ve opted to upgrade VMware Tools prior to the virtual hardware upgrade, selec the Cancel option shown on the image above and click OK. Then power on the VM and once it has booted up, you can right click and select Guest \ Install/Upgrade VMware Tools. With ESXi 4.0 you can select to manually upgrade VMware Tools or to have VMware Tools automatically upgraded.

upgrade4

upgrade5

3) After VMware Tools has been upgraded, the status should show as OK on the summary page for the VM. Select the Upgrade Virtual Hardware option again. After a few minutes the process should complete as shown in the 3rd image below.

 upgrade6

upgrade7

upgrade8

4) Once the process has completed, the VM Version should show 7 on the VM’s summary page. You will also want to check the console of the VM as the change in virtual hardware may require a further reboot of the VM.

 upgrade9

upgrade10

5) And there you go, hope this works out for you! Thanks to VM-Help for the info.