VMworld 2011 – The excitement grows!

August 28, 2011 Leave a comment

So I am heading out tomorrow for VMworld 2011. This year it is in Las Vegas, so I have decided to drive out there. One reason I decided to drive was for the flexibility of when I could arrive at the event. One would ask why is that so important to me – well 4 words – VMworld Hands on Labs.

I am most excited this year for the Hands on Labs. In previous years for VMworld I have had to work a booth and this year I get to attend as a regular eventee. So I have taken my time and have signed up for over 20 break outs. Reality is I hope to make it to half of them.

So I am most excited about getting to spend some time in on the Hands on Labs. I will be arriving Sunday @ 1:00pm, so I will have plenty of time to register and then get over to the labs. The hours for the labs are as follows:

Sunday, Aug. 28th 2pm – 8pm
Monday, Aug. 29th 7am – 3pm and 5pm – 8pm
Tuesday, Aug. 30th 10am – 10pm
Wednesday, Aug. 31st 7am – 7pm
Thursday, Sept. 1st 7am – 4pm

Here is a link to the VMworld Hands on Lab blog.

– Geographically distributed Public Cloud model
– 480 lab seats, 50 lab hours, 24,000 lab seat hours
– Targets – 18,000 to 20,000 labs completed
– Targets – 225,000 to 250,000 VMs deployed

As VMworld is occurring I will make sure to come back to my blog and update the experiences that I encounter. Especially the Hands on Labs with my recommendations. You may also follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/bradault.

Categories: VMware

Its a party! BYOD – Bring Your Own Device

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Its time to party and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

So how many devices do you have? Do you have a desktop, laptop, IPhone, droid, blackberry…well I think you get what I am talking about. We all carry around several devices. This is true of the ubertech to even my mom. She carries around a droid phone and an iPad while at home she has a new Windows 7 machine.

So this got me thinking about what will desktop’s be like in the next 2-3 years? When I look at the specs of my HTC Thunderbolt Droid phone it has a 1GHz processor and 768 MBs RAM. That is insane! My first computer was the Apple II plus and it was running with a whopping 1MHz and 16K of RAM. Ok maybe that is taking it back too far because that system was basically only good for basic programming and playing the Apple Olympics Game (I loved playing that game, vividly remember banging on the keys to make the guy run then space bar to throw the javelin). So my first computer that I really used for word processing and spreadsheets was an IBM PS/2 Model 25 running around 5-10MHz. That would mean my phone is 100 times faster then my early computers.

Anyways, my point is that in this modern era of computing we have devices in our hand that are plenty powerful to do the major of the tasks we require a computer for. Why not use them within our business environments.

Does your company have a policy in place for all these mobile devices? If not this is the time to start thinking about it. What if when a company hires a new employee, rather than purchase a new desktop/laptop, the IT department gives the new employee access to a virtual desktop that is residing in the companies “fenced in” data center. There are serveral benifits to this –

1. The company does not have to purchase a new asset for each new hire. I have even heard of companies that are including in the the new hire package a sum of money for the employee to go purchase their own new equipment.

2. Since the company doesn’t own the asset then IT is not responsible for support of the system and operation system and the things such as patch management. This will result in less support costs for the company.

3. End users get to pick the device that they are most comfortable with. I have even heard of some companies that are using iPads because of its coolness. That is the end user not only is using it as their desktop, but they also get to use it at home with their families just as they would have they bought the iPad themselves.

4. Since we would be deploying these desktop’s virtually from a “fenced in” corporate datacenter the desktops are more secure.

5. Desktop mobility. We can acess our desktops on any device. Not just the device I brought to the party, but I could use my co-workers device.

I look forward to posting much more about this subject in the future. I really think we are at a great time in desktops. When was the last time we did a major refresh to the desktop within companies and I am not talking about just moving from Windows XP to 7. This is going to be a major shift in how our users access their desktops just like it was back in the day when we moved from the old green screen console terminals to desktops.

Categories: VMware

My top 10 break outs that I am looking forward to during VMWorld 2011

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

10 – SPO3977 Next-Generation Storage and Backup for Your Cloud – Chad Sakac is one of those individuals that I will always take time to listen too. I am very interested in seeing what he has to say about the Next-Generation Storage and Backup. If you have never heard Chad speak, you must go listen to him. He has such great insight and passion.

vSphere 5, SRM 5, and vCloud Director 1.5 dramatically increase integration points for the storage partner community – opportunities for increased efficiency, simplicity, and lowered costs. This is a must-see session for anyone wanting to learn what EMC and VMware – the two clear industry leaders in their respective areas – are doing around storage in VMware use cases

9 – CIM2452 VMware vCenter Operations Technical Deepdive – VMware vCenter Operations is a new tool for performance, capacity and configuration management. It leverages advanced analytics that learn normal behavior and can identify when behavior is abnormal.

8 – VSP2360 VMware vCenter 5.0: What’s New, What’s Cool – The upcoming release of VMware vCenter™ will offer many interesting new features as well as improvements to existing features that customers and partners have asked for. This session will discuss these new features and how each can help our customers and partners.

7 – VSP3307 Deployment Considerations for ESXi 5.0 – This session will explore all you need to know about ESXi 5.0 deployment. We will start with the use of Image Builder to create ESXi images tailored for your environment. We’ll then go over deployment options such as VUM, scripted installation, Boot from SAN, and Auto Deploy. Finally we’ll address options for post-deployment configuration, including scripted installation, Host Profiles, and vCLI andPowerCLI scripting.

6 – CIM2916 What’s New in VMware vCloud Director – VMware vCloud Director helps customers build secure private clouds combining unprecedented agility and efficiency with security and control within the corporate datacenter. In the next version of vCloud Director, we have added new features and functionality that help customers reduce TCO, increase CapEx and OpEx savings and connect vCloud Director to enterprise systems such as IPAM, CMDB and so on. Attend this session to learn about exciting new functionality and how to use, manage and operationalize these new features in your private cloud.

5 – EUC2846 View Enterprise Architecture Design and Implementation Best Practices – During this session you will learn how to leverage the best and latest features in VMware View™ for your enterprise-scale infrastructure, as well as best practices for planning and executing your deployment. You will learn how to properly design your storage infrastructure using the latest sizing guidance for IOPS and footprint. Hear how the experts determine if your network is ready for PCoIP from the perspective of bandwidth, latency and quality of service.

4 – VSP2347 What’s New with VMware vSphere 5.0 – VMware vSphere™ is the best platform for building cloud infrastructures. Come see and hear how vSphere 5.0 enhances the industry’s leading virtualization platform. This overview session will look at the highlights of this significant release and show how they can provide value in your IT department.

3 – VMWorld 2011 Hands on Labs

2 – Paul Maritz Keynote Speech – Monday (8/29 3:00pm). Always enjoy listening to Paul Maritz talk about VMWare and the future of the company.

1 – Steve Herrod Keynote Speech – Tuesday (8/30 8:00am). Always enjoy the keynote speech. Get to here from VMWare brass as to the direction of the company and Steve always shows some cool futures.

Categories: VMware

The UCS Model

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The UCS Model

Categories: Cisco UCS

VMware vSphere 5.x New Licensing Model

July 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Not sure if you heard the news today, but VMware release a lot of information about the NEW vSphere 5.x that will be released later this year. I will in another communication highlight all the new features.

For today, I wanted to get information out about the new licensing model.

vSphere 4.x and older, the licensing was (is) based on physical CPU and maximum number of cores (depending on version). In short, you pay for a license for each physical CPU in each of your physical hosts. Example –  Customer has 4-Cisco B200 M2 with 2 physical CPU’s each, they would need 8 licenses.

vSphere 5 is much different. Now (when released) you must license per physical CPU with pooled vRAM entitlement. Ok the physical CPU makes sense, but what is vRAM. vRAM simply put is the total memory configured (allocated) to the Virtual Machines within the entire licensed environment. vRAM does not have to equal the physical RAM on a host server. It will be common to have more physical RAM then it would be to have vRAM.

The new license will be unlimited cores. But depending on the licensing level, each license will have a vRAM maximum. As for now they will be:

Standard – 24 GB of vRAM
Enterprise – 32 GB of vRAM
Enterprise Plus – 48 GB of vRAM

So lets do an exercise and see where this puts us.

Customer has UCS C-Series and 4-B200 M2 (2 physical processors per server) and has purchased vSphere licensing for 8 CPUs at the Enterprise Level. This will give the customer the ability to license up to 8 physical CPUs and have a total of 256 GB vRAM. The customer wants to deploy 60 Virtual Machines with 4GB of RAM each. They would be able to do this, because we would take the number of virtual machines and amount of RAM associated to each to come up with the amount of vRAM needed (in this case 60 VM’s x 4GB = 240 GB vRAM). This is below the 256GB that is licensed from the 8 Enterprise vSphere licenses and leaves on overage of 16 GBs of vRAM.

So now the system administer wants to deploy 10 more virtual machines again with the 4 GB of RAM per virtual machine. This would be an additional 40 GB of vRAM (10 virtual machines x 4GBs of RAM = 10 GBs of vRAM) added to the existing 240GB vRAM giving us a total of 280GB vRAM. We now are in violation of the license and need to correct this. The customer has two options to correct this 1.) is to buy an additional vSphere Enterprise license that will entitle them to 1 CPU and 32 GB of vRAM. In this solution we are not concerned about the additional CPU, rather we will use this license to bump the vRAM for the entire environment up to 288 GB vRAM and giving us 8 GB overage. The 2.) second option for the customer would be to take the existing 8 Enterprise licenses and upgrade them to Enterprise Plus therefore giving them a total of 384 GB vRAM and and overage of 104 GB vRAM.

I hope that wasn’t as confusing for you as it was for me to write that.

So the first question in my mind is “Enterprise (or any level) will only allow me 32GBs vRAM per license per CPU and on a dual socket machine the most will be 64 GBs of vRAM per server. But my servers all have 96 GBs of RAM. Aren’t I wasting all that memory extra memory?”. The answer is NO. This is the exact type of configuration we should be implementing. Think of this scenario – Customer has 4 Cisco B-200 M2 with 96 GBs of RAM and they are using the Enterprise license. This will allow them to use up to 256 GBs of vRAM across all hosts. So lets say one of the hosts fail and the VM’s are then started up on another vSphere server. Well that server(s) must have additional memory overhead to be able to satisfy the VM’s that are being failed over to it. Remember the amount of vRAM that is able to be used is pooled amongst all the ESX hosts in the environment. We must design all of our ESX host for HA and configure them all to have additional RAM to satisfy the RAM that is needed for the failed VM’s. So now we have 3-B200 M2’s with a total of 288 GBs of RAM and we are only licensed for 256 GBs of vRAM. Make sense?

Categories: VMware

How to restart a Cisco UCS 6120/6140 fabric interconnect

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Log into the switch via Putty (or what ever your terminal choice is) as usual. Then at the # prompt type –

connect local-mgmt


Thats it. Pretty straight forward an easy.

Categories: Cisco UCS

Finally UCS firmware update is acceptable for System Admins!

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

So I have been working with Cisco’s UCS manager and blades servers for over two years now and my back ground is systems ( Microsoft Backoffice, Active Directory, Exchange, IIS, Sharepoint, etc) and very comfortable with GUI interfaces :). So one of my biggest complaints about UCS manager was the process of installing a new firmware update to the UCS environment.

First, let my state that the overall process of updating the firmware within UCS is easy and much more effective that other blades systems that I have worked with. I love the fact that I can go to one page and see the firmware version of every device within my environment.

But what I had an issue with was the process in which you had to “upload” the firmware bundle to the UCS system. So basically you had to log onto the Cisco web site and download a large bin file (@ 400 mb’s). The single large file I do love, no more hunting around to find the firmware to each device. Cisco has placed all the firmware into one file.

Once you have downloaded the file, you needed to set up an FTP, SCP, or SFTP server for the UCS manager to connect to to download the bin file. Huh? FTP server? Really? I know for Network Engineers this is how they update Cisco switches, but for System Engineers this is not common. Why can’t there just be a browse button and have the ability to browse my local drives and upload the firmware file. Every chance I got to talk to anyone at Cisco I would always make a comment about this, because every time I installed UCS my customer would ask me why.

So now with UCS Manager 1.4, Cisco has changed this. Now once you download the file you can browse your local drives and using the HTTP protocol download the firmware image. Yeah for Cisco and thanks for listening to us (well I want to think it was all me 🙂 ). It has made the process of updating the firmware to UCS much easy.

Another big plus for Cisco UCS – Cisco listens and regularly updates the manager and system’s to give their customers what they are asking for.

For more information and additional updates with Cicso UCS manager 4.1 follow this link –


Categories: Cisco UCS