VMware and Cisco UCS Integration

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Apr 042016
 


Posted by
Alan Renouf
Technical Marketing

One of the main areas of PowerShell that always impresses me is the integration of applications which were not designed to work together, it is often an overlooked and yet very powerful feature which enables products from the same company and even products from multiple companies to be glued together by PowerShell and integrate data and automation actions to perform some fantastic integration.

Recently I worked with Eric Williams from Cisco and we collaborated on some PowerShell scripts which used both Cisco PowerTool (PowerShell snap-in for managing Cisco UCS) and PowerCLI to integrate the Cisco UCS devices with VMware vSphere.  With this combination we were able to use a mixture of technologies to create some scripts which automated the deployment of Cisco UCS blades from bare metal all the way up into vCenter.

These scripts not only deployed the Cisco UCS blades but also downloaded the latest version of ESXi from the VMware website, used this to PXE boot the UCS blades with VMware Auto Deploy and then finally applied created and utilized a host configuration using Host Profiles.

There was very minimal pre-work performed for both UCS and VMware in the environment being demoed in the video below. 

For UCS, the pre-work that was performed was racking, stacking, and cabling the physical UCS gear and performing an initial configuration of UCS manager.  On the storage side, a 200 GB LUN was created and zoned to a range of 18 WWPN's as well, of course this could also have been done with PowerShell snapins from some of the storage vendors if needed. 

For VMware, vSphere and Auto-Deploy software were both installed and configured inside of a Windows 2008 R2 server that had DNS, DHCP, and TFTP installed and configured to best practices from VMware for AutoDeploy. 

From there, PowerShell utilizing the Cisco UCS PowerTool module and VMware PowerCLI snap-ins takes over!!! 

Three different scripts were created to perform the following functions:

  1. Initial Configuration – The first scripts configures all of the pools, policies, VLANs, VSANs, Service Profile Templates, etc. needed on the UCS side to create new servers to be used in the cluster to be created in VMware.  On the VMware side, this script will download the latest ESXi hypervisor, as well as create separate AutoDeploy Hypervisor and Cluster rules that define the hypervisor version and destination cluster for net new servers with the Service Profile Template name provided in the OEM strings like "oemstring=$SPT:CL2012", where CL2012 is the service profile template name.  The script will create a new service profile from a template, associate it with a server from a pool, monitor the progress of the association and addition of the host into the cluster, perform initial configuration of the new host in the cluster and create a host profile from the configuration, and create a rule for the cluster to use the new host profile. 
  2. Addition of New Hypervisors – The second script is run to add new hypervisors to the cluster created in step one.  This script accomplishes that by creating a new service profile from the template created in script one, associating it, and booting it which will cause the server to boot via AutoDeploy based on the AutoDeploy and cluster rules created from script one, which are triggered from the service profile template name.  The script will verify the host is added to the cluster and is fully compliant with the host profile created in step one.
  3. Rolling Hypervisor and Server Firmware Upgrade of a Cluster – The third script will download the newest version of a ESXi hypervisor from VMware, create a new AutoDeploy rule utilizing it for servers that are created from the Service Profile Template created in step one.  Once the rules are updated, the script will loop through each hypervisor one by one in the cluster by first setting the hypervisor in maintenance which will trigger VM evacuation, shutting the hypervisor down, change the host firmware pack on the service profile which upgrades the firmware on the server, powering the server on which will cause the server to boot the updated version of ESXi via AutoDeploy and rejoin the cluster.

These scripts can be downloaded from here and are provided freely as examples of how you can use both UCS PowerTool and VMware PowerCLI together to achieve end to end automation.  Please feel free to modify and utilize them as examples of how you might automate UCS and VMware in your own datacenter.

 

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The post VMware and Cisco UCS Integration appeared first on VMware PowerCLI Blog.

Audit and Manage ESXi Hosts with PowerCLI

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Jan 052016
 

It’s not enough in this day and age for administrators to oversee their virtual environments. Increasingly I hear more about the need for updating the ESXi hosts’ drivers and firmware during maintenance windows. I get it, I completely understand this need. So how does an admin keep up on what hardware all of his VMs are running on? What if you need to check the hardware to compare it against the Hardware Compatibility List for a new version?

We’ve made this much easier! Read on!

Introducing Two New Cmdlets

In PowerCLI 6.0 R2 we introduced two new cmdlets to help admins have visibility into the physical hardware their virtual environments are running on.

Get-VMHostHardware

Get-VMHostHardware allows users to query their ESXi hosts and return specific information about each machine. Some of the key information returned includes:

  • VMHost Name
  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Serial Number
  • Asset Tag
  • BiosVersion
  • CPU Model
  • CPU Count
  • CPU Core Count Total
  • Mhz Per CPU
  • NicCount
  • and more…

This can be very beneficial when running a report on the hardware the virtual environment is running on. Information from this cmdlet, like the Bios Version, can be very helpful when planning the next maintenance window for specific hosts. Now you have two options for determining which hosts need to be updated. First, exporting all results to CSV and then filtering on BIOS version or other property. Second, modify the PowerCLI command to filter results to return exactly the data that you want to see. For example, you may use the following code to bring back each unique BIOS Firmware version across your hosts:

$Hardware = Get-VMhost | where {$_.ConnectionState –eq $true} | Get-VMHostHardware | Sort-Object BiosVersion –Unique

We use the ConnectionState property because the Get-VMHostHardware cmdlet cannot query against a disconnected host, so rather than seeing an error for any host that is not connected, we take care of it at this stage.

The additional information provided by this cmdlet will allow you to verify CMDB data as well as feed reports back to CMDBs or other groups in your company.

Get-VMHostPciDevice

Want a cmdlet that will return all PCI Devices on your ESXi Host? Look no further! The new Get-VMHostPciDevice cmdlet will return all the information you ever wanted about your ESXi Host devices. It operates just like the previous cmdlet so you will need to make sure that the hosts are powered-on and connected before running this cmdlet otherwise it will return an error for any host not in this desired state. I find it easiest to export this information to either a CSV or use Out-GridView to pull this information into a nicely formatted window to look through. The code below can be used to bring back all PCI Device information on all ESXi Hosts in your vCenter

Get-VMHost | Get-VMHostPciDevice

You could take this information and export it to CSV and save it for future reference or support.

To learn more about these two cmdlets, use the Get-Help cmdlet to see examples or read more about them in the onlinecmdlet reference here.

Have you updated to PowerCLI 6.0 R3 yet? Why not? Did you know it supports all the way back to vCenter Server 5.0? Download it today from here and gain the latest benefits.

The post Audit and Manage ESXi Hosts with PowerCLI appeared first on VMware PowerCLI Blog.

How to confirm ESX and ESXi host hardware compatibility

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Jul 212015
 

Continuing on with our KBTV Webinars series, here we have the thirteenth and final installment of the current series titled vCloud Connector and Datacenter Extension.

Note: This video is roughly 35 minutes in duration so it would be advisable to set aside some time in order watch it fully.

How to confirm ESX and ESXi host hardware compatibility

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für How to confirm ESX and ESXi host hardware compatibility
Jul 212015
 

Continuing on with our KBTV Webinars series, here we have the thirteenth and final installment of the current series titled vCloud Connector and Datacenter Extension.

Note: This video is roughly 35 minutes in duration so it would be advisable to set aside some time in order watch it fully.

Top Questions From Our Micro-segmentation with NSX Webinar

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Top Questions From Our Micro-segmentation with NSX Webinar
Apr 232015
 

Our friends from around the VMware blogosphere publish everything from how-to content to put your skills to the test, to strategic concepts that can help you think differently about how you work. Check out the latest posts and try something new!

Using Super Metrics to Populate Widgets in vRealize Operations Manager

Want to get more metrics out of your VMware vRealize Operations Manager dashboard? Get step-by-step instructions on how to populate a widget with your required super metrics.

Link VMware Horizon Deployments Together with Cloud Pod Architecture

Looking for an easier way to link Horizon deployments? Learn how to configure and manage Cloud Pod Architecture right from the web interface with Horizon 6.1.

The Cloud Architect: Change Champion for the New IT

With so many recent changes in IT, the career field is constantly evolving. Learn to adapt your skills to stay relevant—and consider roles like that of the cloud architect as the industry shifts to service-oriented IT.

Why Service Owners Are Integral to IT-as-a-Service Delivery

While service owner accountabilities won’t change drastically in the shift to an ITaaS environment, their importance will. See how they’ll take on a coaching role in order to drive delivery.

Approval Policies: It’s All About the People

Having trouble implementing efficient approval policies? Find out why people approvers may be resistant—and how you can work toward a solution together.

Top Questions From Our Micro-segmentation with NSX Webinar

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Top Questions From Our Micro-segmentation with NSX Webinar
Apr 232015
 

Our friends from around the VMware blogosphere publish everything from how-to content to put your skills to the test, to strategic concepts that can help you think differently about how you work. Check out the latest posts and try something new!

Using Super Metrics to Populate Widgets in vRealize Operations Manager

Want to get more metrics out of your VMware vRealize Operations Manager dashboard? Get step-by-step instructions on how to populate a widget with your required super metrics.

Link VMware Horizon Deployments Together with Cloud Pod Architecture

Looking for an easier way to link Horizon deployments? Learn how to configure and manage Cloud Pod Architecture right from the web interface with Horizon 6.1.

The Cloud Architect: Change Champion for the New IT

With so many recent changes in IT, the career field is constantly evolving. Learn to adapt your skills to stay relevant—and consider roles like that of the cloud architect as the industry shifts to service-oriented IT.

Why Service Owners Are Integral to IT-as-a-Service Delivery

While service owner accountabilities won’t change drastically in the shift to an ITaaS environment, their importance will. See how they’ll take on a coaching role in order to drive delivery.

Approval Policies: It’s All About the People

Having trouble implementing efficient approval policies? Find out why people approvers may be resistant—and how you can work toward a solution together.

How to restart the Management agents on a VMware vSphere ESXi or ESX host

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für How to restart the Management agents on a VMware vSphere ESXi or ESX host
Jul 072014
 

Ever wondered what all of your options are when it came to technical support from VMware?

Listen to David Hulbert as he provides a 3 minute overview of VMware Technical Support, describing all of the levels of support options available.

 

Back To Basics: Configuring Standard vSwitch with PowerCLI (Part Three of Three)

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Back To Basics: Configuring Standard vSwitch with PowerCLI (Part Three of Three)
Mai 282014
 
Post by Mike Laverick, Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist, Competitive Team This post originally appeared on Mike Laverick’s blog Introduction In this final part of the three parter on the Standard vSwitch I look at exactly the same configuration as achieved with the Web Client. Standard vSwitch benefit greatly from the strategic use of Foreach loops. […]]> Post by Mike Laverick, Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist, Competitive Team

This post originally appeared on Mike Laverick’s blog

Introduction

In this final part of the three parter on the Standard vSwitch I look at exactly the same configuration as achieved with the Web Client. Standard vSwitch benefit greatly from the strategic use of Foreach loops. In my case I use Foreach loop to list all my ESX hosts (I only 3 per vCenter environment!) and then repeat the configuration. In a larger environment you may well want to use the get-cluster cmdlet to limit the scope of your configuration to particular ESX hosts in a particular cluster.

The other thing I would say is that these are quite crude examples – deliberately so. There&#rsquo;s no error checking or validation.

One thing I am stumped by is how to use PowerCLI to add management ports to the VMware ESX host. I&#rsquo;ve worked that out for VMotion and FT, but not for management. My main reason is to show how to do that for high-availability to avoid network split-brain. If anyone can help me out on that I would update this post, and credit you…

Creating an Internal Standard vSwitch

This script creates an internal vSwitch. An internal switch doesn&#rsquo;t allow for any outbound communication from the physical ESX host. Internal vSwitch are limited in use because generally you want to access the VM from outside world. But they can be useful when say building a VM and you want the NIC to function, but you don&#rsquo;t want folks able to RDP/PuTTy into the VM. In addition to creating a vSwitch called vSwitch1, it also adds VM portgroup called &#rsquo;IsolatedNetwork&#rdquo; as well.

Foreach ($vmhost in (get-vmhost)) 
{ 
 $vswitch1 = New-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $vmhost -Name vSwitch1 
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch1 -Name IsolatedNetwork 
}

Creating an Basic Standard vSwitch

This script does exactly the same as above, except it maps a physical network card to the vSwitch. This offers basic communication to the outside world, but critically no network redundancy. So it may be useful in circumstance where network redundancy isn&#rsquo;t a massive requirement. Generally, you will want to give network redundancy to VMs and storage networks – but other ancillary communications might it might not be needed. .

Foreach ($vmhost in (get-vmhost))
{
 $vswitch2 =  New-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $vmhost -Name vSwitch2 -Nic vmnic1 
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch2  -Name BasicConnectivity 
}

Note:Previous editions of VMware ESX would also require the -NumPorts parameter to indicate the number of ports (think of them like the little ethernet RJ on a physical switch except they are in software, not hardware!) on the vSwitch. This setting is no longer significant in vSphere 5.5 since Standard vSwitch support the &#rsquo;elastic&#rdquo; creation of ports on demand.

Creating an Teamed Standard vSwitch with VLAN Tagging

In this example I kill two birds with one script. First handling network redundancy and load-balancing by mapping the physical nics vmnic2 and vmnic3 to the vSwitch, and at the same time enabling VLAN support. Despite all the wonders which is network overlaying with methods like VMware VXLAN and VMware NSX, its still pretty common to see people segmenting their networks with the Ye Olde VLAN. VMware supports a &#rsquo;tagging&#rdquo; process by which ethernet packets are tagged as the leave the ESX host with a VLAN ID. 4 bytes are added to the packet to basically say &#rsquo;hello I&#rsquo;m a VLAN Tagged packet AND my VLAN ID is…&#rdquo;. The tagging process adds teenie-weeny CPU overhead, so small that in this day age of CPUs its almost invisible. It allows the VMware ESX host address thousands of VLAN&#rsquo;s despite having a limited number of NICS.

Foreach ($vmhost in (get-vmhost))
{
 $vswitch3 =  New-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $vmhost -Name vSwitch2 -Nic vmnic2,vmnic3 
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch3  -Name VLAN12  -VLanID 12
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch3  -Name VLAN13  -VLanID 13
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch3  -Name VLAN14  -VLanID 14
 New-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualSwitch $vswitch3  -Name VLAN15  -VLanID 15
}

Note:Previous editions of VMware ESX would also require the -NumPorts parameter to indicate the number of ports on the vSwitch. This setting is no longer significant in vSphere 5.5 since Standard vSwitch support the &#rsquo;elastic&#rdquo; creation of ports on demand.

Continue reading »

Top 4 Reasons Why Visibility and Control Are Key to Virtualization

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Top 4 Reasons Why Visibility and Control Are Key to Virtualization
Mai 132014
 
Organizations invest in virtualization for all the right reasons—things like lowering IT costs, improving utilization rates, and increasing IT agility. But when you invest in virtualization, how can you be sure you are you getting the maximum value from your investments? Answer: Make sure you incorporate operations management capabilities into your VMware vSphere solution. This […]]> Organizations invest in virtualization for all the right reasons—things like lowering IT costs, improving utilization rates, and increasing IT agility. But when you invest in virtualization, how can you be sure you are you getting the maximum value from your investments?

Answer: Make sure you incorporate operations management capabilities into your VMware vSphere solution.

This is what you get when you deploy vSphere with Operations Management. It gives you the performance and reliability of the world’s leading virtualization platform coupled with critical operational insights that help you proactively manage capacity utilization, manage performance issues, and analyze future risk.

A new VMware white paper dives deeper into this story. It outlines four reasons why greater visibility and control are critical to getting the most value out of your virtual infrastructure:

  1. Reduce costs and boost efficiency
  2. Actively monitor and improve performance
  3. Reduce risk through proactive management
  4. Optimize capacity and resources

This paper builds a compelling case for incorporating operations management capabilities into your virtualization solution to gain the greatest returns on your virtualization investments.

To get the full story, download the Top 4 Reasons Why Visibility and Control Are Critical to Getting the Most out of Your Virtual Infrastructure.

Follow VMware SMB onFacebook,Twitter,SpiceworksandGoogle+for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

Debunking Myths About vSphere Data Protection

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Debunking Myths About vSphere Data Protection
Mai 082014
 
This post originally appeared on the Virtual Reality blog and was written by Jim Armstrong The release of VMware’s vSphere Data Protection 5.5 (VDP) seems to have caused a stir in the virtual backup industry. It appears we have hit a soft spot with some of the other vendors offering backup solutions for vSphere and […]]> This post originally appeared on the Virtual Reality blog and was written by Jim Armstrong

The release of VMware’s vSphere Data Protection 5.5 (VDP) seems to have caused a stir in the virtual backup industry. It appears we have hit a soft spot with some of the other vendors offering backup solutions for vSphere and have seen some confusing messaging coming from our partners/competitors in this market. While we’re certainly proud of the technology partner ecosystem built around VMware solutions I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on vSphere Data Protection.

The Myths

  1. Other vendors claim they never need agents to perform backups, where VDP Advanced does
  2. If you cannot directly view your backup files you may lose your ability to recover from a disaster
  3. Replicating your backups off-site requires expensive “WAN acceleration” technology
  4. VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery technology
  5. VDP cannot automatically verify the recoverability of a VM

We’ll dive in to each of these a little bit to get to the truth about vSphere Data Protection.

Myth 1: Agents, or the lack thereof

Some vendors claim they require no agents to do vSphere backups, even for application aware backups of Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint, whereas VDP Advanced does require agents for these applications.

The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of VMs do not require agents because of the way our vSpheredata protection APIs work. This is the case for VDP and every other vSphere certified backup solution. But, a proper application consistent backup of Exchange, MS SQL, SharePoint and other applicationdoes require an agent, even for vendors like Veeam. Need proof? Here’s a quote from page 235 of the Veeam Backup & Replication Version 7.0 User Guide:

“To coordinate proper indexing and VSS activities, Veeam Backup & Replication injects a runtime process inside the VM…In the Guest OS credentials section, specify an account with local administrative privileges for injecting the process.”

Call me crazy, but a runtime process injected on a VM via admin credentials to do indexing and other activities on behalf of another server is the very definition of an agent. The biggest difference between VDP and Veeam’s agent approach is that VDP’s agents are a one-time install via wizard, whereas Veeam’s agents are installed and uninstalled each and every time a backup job runs.

And don’t forget – our VDP Advanced agents also run on physical servers so you can back up your entire Exchange, SQL, or SharePoint environment with VDP Advanced.

Myth 2: If you can’t directly access your backup files, you may suffer dire consequences

First things first, it really doesn’t matter which backup system you choose – your backup files are useless without the backup servers. Further, if you’ve lost your backup infrastructure, I’d say the odds are good you’ve lost other critical parts of your infrastructure as well. In cases like this, perhaps backups aren’t the best option for getting up and running. You might want a disaster recovery solution like ourSite Recovery ManagerorvCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recoveryfor this situation.

But what about smaller, localized issues? What if your backup server gets wiped out? First and foremost, I’d recommend you use a product that includes backup replication so you always have 2nd and 3rd copies of your backups, hopefully on-site and off-site. With VDP Advanced, your backups could be replicated directly to another VDP Advanced virtual appliance so you could immediately restore from the 2nd appliance – no additional configuration or setup needed. (Even ifvCenter is down!)

So what happens if you have your backup files but your backup server is gone? Nothing! At least not until you re-install the backup server and database and maybe some proxies and repositories so that you can actually use those files, stealing precious minutes or hours from your recovery time objective.

Even if you’re using our basic version of VDP, which is included with most versions of vSphere and does not have built-in replication, keep in mind that everything you need to protect your backups – the backup files, database, everything! – is contained within a single VM. Simply copy the VM to secondary storage periodically to avoid a single point of failure.

Myth 3: You’re going to need to buy a WAN accelerator to handle replication

VDP Advanced includes highly efficient, secure backup data replication across any link at no additional cost. How do we do it and why don’t you see some special “WAN accelerator” configuration inside VDP Advanced? VDP Advanced is based on EMC Avamar and uses the same enterprise-class deduplication algorithm and replication engine as Avamar. What this means to you is, VDP does all the required deduplication as soon as the backups are created, across all backups stored on the appliance. No additional steps are needed to further optimize the data for WAN transfers. Plus you get the added benefit of using less storage for the primary backups so you save money on your overall backup solution!

Myth 4: VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery mechanism

“Instant Recovery” is the hot marketing item in the backup world (it’s kind of a boring world). Strategies for restoring data quickly is a topic I’d like to explore further in a more detailed article so we can look at how we’d approach some common scenarios with VDP. For now I want to say this about “instant” recovery; the feature looks good in the brochure, but instant recovery techniques from nearly every vendor end up with VMs that are pinned to a single host, running from your backup storage, with IO shuttled through some sort of proxy VM. Add it all up and you’re left with a significant performance and usability hit to the recovered VMs. If you later decide to move that VM from backup storage to production, it often requires multiple steps to move and rehydrate the VMDKs and then rebuild them from the delta disks that were written while the “instant” VM ran.

In contrast, VDP Advanced can utilize Changed Block Tracking to restore a VM directly on full production storage. This means only the blocks that have changed since the selected restore point will be restored. As a result, restore times can be dramatically reduced – up to 6X versus traditional restore methods according to theVDP Advanced studyperformed by ESG Labs.

Myth 5: You cannot verify a backup with VDP

This myth is just plain wrong. VDP Advanceddoesinclude automated backup verification. And we’re not just talking about verifying a file checksum. A VDP backup verification job can be created to automatically restore and verify the full functionality of a VM on a scheduled basis, e.g., once per week. Results of the backup verification jobs are reported in the VDP Advanced user interface and email reports so that administrators have the utmost confidence that important VMs can definitely be restored when needed.

Where VPD Advanced Shines

We’ve designed VDP and VDP Advanced to offer a great value to our customers, who often struggle to setup a good backup system and cannot afford the high price of some of the enterprise backup solutions. We think VDP excels in many areas but especially with features like:

  • Reduced storage consumption to save you money (up to75% less storage)
  • Fast and simple recovery for VMs, applications, and files (up to6x faster)
  • Application protection for Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint (virtualandphysical)
  • Integrationdirectly with vCenter
  • Overall simplicity (go from zero to your first backup in30 minutes)
  • Leveragethe best technologyavailable (powered by EMC Avamar)

As I said at the start, we’re very proud of the ecosystem of partners we’ve built around vSphere, even those we compete with at times. While we at VMware focus on building products that are “better together” we realize that no single product will fit every customer’s needs and at the end of the day it’s you – the customer – who has to navigate the maze of features and jargon and figure out the solution that’s best for you. I hope this article makes that task a little bit easier.

For more information about vSphere Data Protection Advanced, check out our latest whitepaper and infographic.

Follow VMware SMB onFacebook,Twitter,SpiceworksandGoogle+for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

Debunking Myths About vSphere Data Protection

 Allgemein, Knowledge Base, Updates, VMware, VMware Partner, VMware Virtual Infrastructure, vSphere  Kommentare deaktiviert für Debunking Myths About vSphere Data Protection
Mai 082014
 
This post originally appeared on the Virtual Reality blog and was written by Jim Armstrong The release of VMware’s vSphere Data Protection 5.5 (VDP) seems to have caused a stir in the virtual backup industry. It appears we have hit a soft spot with some of the other vendors offering backup solutions for vSphere and […]]> This post originally appeared on the Virtual Reality blog and was written by Jim Armstrong

The release of VMware’s vSphere Data Protection 5.5 (VDP) seems to have caused a stir in the virtual backup industry. It appears we have hit a soft spot with some of the other vendors offering backup solutions for vSphere and have seen some confusing messaging coming from our partners/competitors in this market. While we’re certainly proud of the technology partner ecosystem built around VMware solutions I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on vSphere Data Protection.

The Myths

  1. Other vendors claim they never need agents to perform backups, where VDP Advanced does
  2. If you cannot directly view your backup files you may lose your ability to recover from a disaster
  3. Replicating your backups off-site requires expensive “WAN acceleration” technology
  4. VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery technology
  5. VDP cannot automatically verify the recoverability of a VM

We’ll dive in to each of these a little bit to get to the truth about vSphere Data Protection.

Myth 1: Agents, or the lack thereof

Some vendors claim they require no agents to do vSphere backups, even for application aware backups of Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint, whereas VDP Advanced does require agents for these applications.

The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of VMs do not require agents because of the way our vSpheredata protection APIs work. This is the case for VDP and every other vSphere certified backup solution. But, a proper application consistent backup of Exchange, MS SQL, SharePoint and other applicationdoes require an agent, even for vendors like Veeam. Need proof? Here’s a quote from page 235 of the Veeam Backup & Replication Version 7.0 User Guide:

“To coordinate proper indexing and VSS activities, Veeam Backup & Replication injects a runtime process inside the VM…In the Guest OS credentials section, specify an account with local administrative privileges for injecting the process.”

Call me crazy, but a runtime process injected on a VM via admin credentials to do indexing and other activities on behalf of another server is the very definition of an agent. The biggest difference between VDP and Veeam’s agent approach is that VDP’s agents are a one-time install via wizard, whereas Veeam’s agents are installed and uninstalled each and every time a backup job runs.

And don’t forget – our VDP Advanced agents also run on physical servers so you can back up your entire Exchange, SQL, or SharePoint environment with VDP Advanced.

Myth 2: If you can’t directly access your backup files, you may suffer dire consequences

First things first, it really doesn’t matter which backup system you choose – your backup files are useless without the backup servers. Further, if you’ve lost your backup infrastructure, I’d say the odds are good you’ve lost other critical parts of your infrastructure as well. In cases like this, perhaps backups aren’t the best option for getting up and running. You might want a disaster recovery solution like ourSite Recovery ManagerorvCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recoveryfor this situation.

But what about smaller, localized issues? What if your backup server gets wiped out? First and foremost, I’d recommend you use a product that includes backup replication so you always have 2nd and 3rd copies of your backups, hopefully on-site and off-site. With VDP Advanced, your backups could be replicated directly to another VDP Advanced virtual appliance so you could immediately restore from the 2nd appliance – no additional configuration or setup needed. (Even ifvCenter is down!)

So what happens if you have your backup files but your backup server is gone? Nothing! At least not until you re-install the backup server and database and maybe some proxies and repositories so that you can actually use those files, stealing precious minutes or hours from your recovery time objective.

Even if you’re using our basic version of VDP, which is included with most versions of vSphere and does not have built-in replication, keep in mind that everything you need to protect your backups – the backup files, database, everything! – is contained within a single VM. Simply copy the VM to secondary storage periodically to avoid a single point of failure.

Myth 3: You’re going to need to buy a WAN accelerator to handle replication

VDP Advanced includes highly efficient, secure backup data replication across any link at no additional cost. How do we do it and why don’t you see some special “WAN accelerator” configuration inside VDP Advanced? VDP Advanced is based on EMC Avamar and uses the same enterprise-class deduplication algorithm and replication engine as Avamar. What this means to you is, VDP does all the required deduplication as soon as the backups are created, across all backups stored on the appliance. No additional steps are needed to further optimize the data for WAN transfers. Plus you get the added benefit of using less storage for the primary backups so you save money on your overall backup solution!

Myth 4: VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery mechanism

“Instant Recovery” is the hot marketing item in the backup world (it’s kind of a boring world). Strategies for restoring data quickly is a topic I’d like to explore further in a more detailed article so we can look at how we’d approach some common scenarios with VDP. For now I want to say this about “instant” recovery; the feature looks good in the brochure, but instant recovery techniques from nearly every vendor end up with VMs that are pinned to a single host, running from your backup storage, with IO shuttled through some sort of proxy VM. Add it all up and you’re left with a significant performance and usability hit to the recovered VMs. If you later decide to move that VM from backup storage to production, it often requires multiple steps to move and rehydrate the VMDKs and then rebuild them from the delta disks that were written while the “instant” VM ran.

In contrast, VDP Advanced can utilize Changed Block Tracking to restore a VM directly on full production storage. This means only the blocks that have changed since the selected restore point will be restored. As a result, restore times can be dramatically reduced – up to 6X versus traditional restore methods according to theVDP Advanced studyperformed by ESG Labs.

Myth 5: You cannot verify a backup with VDP

This myth is just plain wrong. VDP Advanceddoesinclude automated backup verification. And we’re not just talking about verifying a file checksum. A VDP backup verification job can be created to automatically restore and verify the full functionality of a VM on a scheduled basis, e.g., once per week. Results of the backup verification jobs are reported in the VDP Advanced user interface and email reports so that administrators have the utmost confidence that important VMs can definitely be restored when needed.

Where VPD Advanced Shines

We’ve designed VDP and VDP Advanced to offer a great value to our customers, who often struggle to setup a good backup system and cannot afford the high price of some of the enterprise backup solutions. We think VDP excels in many areas but especially with features like:

  • Reduced storage consumption to save you money (up to75% less storage)
  • Fast and simple recovery for VMs, applications, and files (up to6x faster)
  • Application protection for Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint (virtualandphysical)
  • Integrationdirectly with vCenter
  • Overall simplicity (go from zero to your first backup in30 minutes)
  • Leveragethe best technologyavailable (powered by EMC Avamar)

As I said at the start, we’re very proud of the ecosystem of partners we’ve built around vSphere, even those we compete with at times. While we at VMware focus on building products that are “better together” we realize that no single product will fit every customer’s needs and at the end of the day it’s you – the customer – who has to navigate the maze of features and jargon and figure out the solution that’s best for you. I hope this article makes that task a little bit easier.

For more information about vSphere Data Protection Advanced, check out our latest whitepaper and infographic.

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What Should You Look For in a Backup and Recovery Solution?

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Mai 062014
 
For small and midsize organizations that leverage the VMware vSphere platform, there are many backup and recovery options. So how do you know which option makes most sense for your virtualized environment? For starters, look for a solution built to back up a VMware environment, as opposed to the many traditional data protection solutions that […]]> For small and midsize organizations that leverage the VMware vSphere platform, there are many backup and recovery options. So how do you know which option makes most sense for your virtualized environment?

For starters, look for a solution built to back up a VMware environment, as opposed to the many traditional data protection solutions that have been retrofitted for a virtualized world. In our experience, retrofitted solutions can be expensive, slow, complex, and unreliable.

Beyond that initial screening, there are three attributes to focus on. You want a solution that is highly efficient, resilient, and simple to use:

  • An efficient backup and restore solution should minimize storage and bandwidth consumption, which is one of the keys to making data protection affordable.
  • It should be built on reliable, mature technology that has proven resiliency—to give you the confidence that your mission-critical applications are adequately protected.
  • And it should be easy to use and easy to manage, which is one of the keys to reducing the operational costs associated with backup and recovery.

You’ll find all of these attributes in VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced, a solution built from the ground up for backup and recovery in virtualized environments.

For a closer look at how vSphere Data Protection Advanced can help your organization, check out our new infographic exploring six advantages of a backup and recovery platform built for your virtualized environment. Take a technical deep-dive in this on-demand webcast, and then head over to the VMware Hands-on Labs Online Portal to give vSphere Data Protection Advanced a test-drive, no download required.

Questions about backup and recovery for your environment? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

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Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder to create an installable ISO that is not vulnerable to Heartbleed

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Mai 052014
 
Here is a follow-up post from Andrew Lytle, member of the VMware Mission Critical Support Team. Andrew is a Senior Support Engineer who is specializes in vCenter and ESXi related support. VMware recently released updates to all products affected by the vulnerability dubbed “Heartbleed” (CVE-2014-0160): http://www.vmware.com/security/advisories/VMSA-2014-0004.html As per KB article: Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for ESXi […]]> Here is a follow-up post from Andrew Lytle, member of the VMware Mission Critical Support Team. Andrew is a Senior Support Engineer who is specializes in vCenter and ESXi related support.

VMware recently released updates to all products affected by the vulnerability dubbed “Heartbleed” (CVE-2014-0160): http://www.vmware.com/security/advisories/VMSA-2014-0004.html

As per KB article: Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for ESXi 5.5 – CVE-2014-0160 (2076665), the delivery method for this code change in the VMware ESXi product is through an updated ESXivSphere Installation Bundle (VIB). VIBs are the building blocks of an ESXi image. A VIB is akin to a tarball or ZIP archive in that it’s a collection of files packaged into a single archive.

Typically a new ESXi ISO file will be made available only during major revisions of the product (Update 1, Update 2, etc). If you need an ESXi 5.5 ISO which is already protected from Heartbleed, you can make your own ISO easily using vSphere PowerCLI.

The PowerCLI ImageBuilder cmdlets are designed to make custom ESXi ISOs which have asynchronous driver releases pre-installed, but it can also be used in a situation like this to make an ISO which lines up with a Patch Release instead of a full ESXi Update Release.

In this post we will cover both the ESXi 5.5 GA branch, as well as the ESXi 5.5 Update 1 branch. Choose the set of steps which will provide the ISO branch you need for your environment.

Creating an ISO based on ESXi 5.5 GA (Pre-Update 1)

These steps are for downloading the requirements for creating an ISO which is based on the ESXi 5.5 “GA” release, which was originally released 2013-09-22.

Step 1: Download the Required Files

When creating a custom ESXi image through Image Builder, we need to start by downloading the required files:

  • ESXi 5.5 GA Offline Depot (w/ Heartbleed patch) “ESXi550-201404420-SG” (ESXi550-201404020.zip) – https://www.vmware.com/patchmgr/findPatch.portal
  • vSphere PowerCLI (VMware-PowerCLI-5.5.0-1671586.exe) – https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=PCLI550R2&productId=353

Install PowerCLI through the Windows MSI package, and copy the zip files to a handy location. For the purposes of this example, I will copy these files to C:\Patches\

Step 2: Import the Software Depot

  • Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\Patches\ESXi550-201404020.zip

Step 3: Confirm the patched version (optional)

If you wish to confirm the esx-base VIB (which includes the Heartbleed vulnerability code change) is added correctly, you can confirm the VIB has Version of 5.5.0-0.15.1746974 and the Creation Date of 4/15/2014.

  • Get-EsxSoftwarePackages –Name esx-base

Step 4: Export the Image Profile to an ISO

  • Export-EsxImageProfile –ImageProfile ESXi-5.5.0-20140401020s-standard –ExportToISO –FilePath C:\Patches\ESXi5.5-heartbleed.iso

Creating an ISO based on ESXi 5.5 Update 1

These steps are for creating an ISO which is based on the ESXi 5.5 “Update 1” release, which was originally released 2014-03-11.

Step 1: Download the Required Files

When creating a custom ESXi image through Image Builder, we need to start by downloading the required files:

  • ESXi 5.5 Update 1 Offline Depot (w/ Heartbleed patch) “ESXi550-201404401-SG” (ESXi550-201404001.zip) – https://www.vmware.com/patchmgr/findPatch.portal
  • vSphere PowerCLI (VMware-PowerCLI-5.5.0-1671586.exe) – https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=PCLI550R2&productId=353

Copy the zip files to a handy location. For the purposes of this example, I will copy it to C:\Patches\

Step 2: Import the Software Depot

  • Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\Patches\ESXi550-201404001.zip

Step 3: Confirm the patched version (optional)

If you wish to confirm the esx-base VIB (which includes the Heartbleed vulnerability code change) is added correctly, you can confirm the VIB has the Version of 5.5.0-1.16.1746018 and Creation Date of 4/15/2014.

  • Get-EsxSoftwarePackages –Name esx-base

Step 4: Export the Image Profile to an ISO

  • Export-EsxImageProfile –ImageProfile ESXi-5.5.0-20140404001-standard –ExportToISO –FilePath C:\Patches\ESXi5.5-update1-heartbleed.iso

Installing the ESXi ISO

The ISO file which was created in this steps can be used in exactly the same manner as the normal VMware ESXi 5.5 ISO. It can be mounted in a remote management console, or burned to a CD/DVD for installation.

Top 20 Articles for April 2014

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Mai 052014
 
Here is our Top 20 KB list for April 2014. This list is ranked by the number of times a VMware Support Request was resolved by following the steps in a published Knowledge Base article. Response to OpenSSL security issue CVE-2014-0160/CVE-2014-0346 a.k.a: “Heartbleed” (2076225) VMware ESXi 5.x host experiences a purple diagnostic screen mentioning E1000PollRxRing […]]> Here is our Top 20 KB list for April 2014. This list is ranked by the number of times a VMware Support Request was resolved by following the steps in a published Knowledge Base article.
  1. Response to OpenSSL security issue CVE-2014-0160/CVE-2014-0346 a.k.a: “Heartbleed” (2076225)
  2. VMware ESXi 5.x host experiences a purple diagnostic screen mentioning E1000PollRxRing and E1000DevRx (2059053)
  3. Installing Windows in a virtual machine using VMware Fusion Easy Install (1011677)
  4. Installing async drivers on VMware ESXi 5.0, 5.1, and 5.5 (2005205)
  5. Re-pointing and re-registering VMware vCenter Server 5.1 / 5.5 and components (2033620)
  6. Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for VMware vCenter Server 5.5 (2076692)
  7. Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for ESXi 5.5 – CVE-2014-0160 (2076665)
  8. Purging old data from the database used by VMware vCenter Server 4.x and 5.x (1025914)
  9. Troubleshooting Fusion virtual machine performance issues (1015676)
  10. Investigating virtual machine file locks on ESXi/ESX (10051)
  11. Unmounting a LUN or detaching a datastore/storage device from multiple VMware ESXi 5.x hosts (2004605)
  12. Uninstalling and manually installing VMware Tools in VMware Fusion (1014522)
  13. Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in ESXi/ESX 4.x and ESXi 5.x (1027206)
  14. Resetting the VMware vCenter Server 5.x Inventory Service database (2042200)
  15. Installing VMware Tools in a Fusion virtual machine running Windows (1003417)
  16. Permanent Device Loss (PDL) and All-Paths-Down (APD) in vSphere 5.x (2004684)
  17. Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from the View Composer database in VMware View Manager and Horizon View (2015112)
  18. Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 best practices (2053132)
  19. Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.5 best practices (2052329)
  20. Installing vCenter Server 5.5 best practices (2052334)

Why Your Organization Needs a Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Plan

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Apr 302014
 
Businesses know they need to back up their data, their workloads and their applications in the event that disaster strikes. Downtime of business-critical applications or data loss could cause a major disruption for organizations caught without a comprehensive disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration,approximately 25% of […]]> Businesses know they need to back up their data, their workloads and their applications in the event that disaster strikes. Downtime of business-critical applications or data loss could cause a major disruption for organizations caught without a comprehensive disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration,approximately 25% of businesses that are affected by a disaster fail to reopen.

Organizations don’t need to wait for a disaster to strike to start thinking about disaster readiness. As recent natural disasters have taught us, such as Hurricane Sandy or the Fukushima earthquake, catastrophes can strike with barely a moment’s notice, and having a workable, well-thought-out disaster recovery plan is crucial to help a business get back on its feet and recover quickly following a disaster.

Today, pretty much every organization makes backups, typically every 24 hours or more. In a disaster, that means hours or days of data can be lost, and it takes hours or days to restore everything from backups. Disaster recovery protection (continuous replication) offers a much higher level of protection, allowing an organization to set a recovery point measured in minutes or hours, and the organization can quickly restart applications rather than having to restore them from different storage. Yet many small-to-mid sized businesses simply don’t do DR at all because implementing DR has been either too complicated, too expensive or both.

DR services have sprung up to address the complexity challenge, but in almost all cases they don’t make it any simpler – they just transfer the complexity to a managed services team, who manually manage the DR on a customer’s behalf. As a result, these services remain relatively expensive because the complexity is still there, and the customer is being billed for people time as well as the cost of the infrastructure.

We think there’s plenty of room to make DR faster, cheaper and simpler for everyone by applying the tenets of large-scale, standardized hybrid cloud computing to the problem. The cloud is changing how IT organizations operate, and disaster recovery should not be an exception.

To learn more about vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery

Join us for the VMware Online Forum on May 8 to attend a webcast and participate in our expert chat session. Register now.

Learn more about vCloud Hybrid Service and be sure to subscribe to the vCloud blog, follow@vCloudon Twitter or ‘like’ us onFacebookfor future updates.

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