Category Archives: Uncategorized

PowerCLI: How many VMs on your Datastores ?

How many VMs do you have on your datastores ?  Do you know ? should you care ?

Yes, you should care, you should care because over saturated datastores can cause issues with IO and also cause scsi locks if you are using fibre.  So what is the sweet spot ?

Unfortunately its one of those “It Depends” situations, isn’t everything !

It depends on the type of shared storage you are using, fibre, iSCSI, NFS and also depends on the types of VMs you are using, all I can recommend is that you try and distribute your VMs evenly and try and think about the type of VMs you are putting on the same datastore, for example, if you have multiple SQL servers on the same datastore or if you have an exchange server on the same datastore as your SQL VM’s then do something out it.

The first place I would start is by reading the great Yellow-Bricks article “Max amount of VMs per VMFS volume” where Duncan tells us how he works out his sweet spot 😉

You can see how evenly you are currently distributed with the following one-liner:

Get-Datastore | Select Name, @{N="NumVM";E={@($_ | Get-VM).Count}} | Sort Name

Example Output:

Name NumVM
ESX01_Local 0
iscsi_0 0
iscsi_1 2
iscsi_2 1
NFS_1 7

And don’t forget, with the wonders of Move-VM and SVMotion we can move some VM’s around to start evenly distributing the load on our datastores.

I would also suggest monitoring from the SAN up so you can see straight way if you have a volume or LUN issue.

Script List – Finally !

I have had a link there for a while, you know the one at the top of this page that said ‘Script List’ but didn’t actually contain anything.

Well I finally managed to get some time to fill out a page with a list of all the scripts I have created so far, please take a look, there are some in there which I had forgotten about !

I have categorised these into the following categories…

  • Getting Started
  • Virtual Machines
  • ESX Hosts
  • Licensing
  • Datastore’s
  • Networking
  • Reporting
  • Lessons
  • Cluster
  • Snapshots
  • Security
  • Others

Let me know if there is anything you are looking for that doesn’t exist as yet, I’m sure I can help out.

VMware Virtual User Group

I was contacted and asked if it was a good idea to start a VMware Virtual User Group, I think this is a great idea and it would compliment the already existing physical user groups and podcasts which exist.

To get an idea of the kind of format please visit Marco Shaw’s site and watch one of the Powershell User Groups.

To get a better idea of if this would be widely received and the kind of things people would like to see I thought I would start a quick survey. 

So please take 2 minutes to fill out this single page survey and help pave the way for the virtual user group…

Click here to take our Online Survey

 

Who knows, if its a hit we may even get more members than the Dutch VMUG 🙂

Veeam Backup and FastSCP

I was looking for a way to transfer some VM’s from a Linux VMware 2.0 server to a VMware ESX 3.5 server as fast as possible to minimise the amount of downtime.

As these files would need to be copied to a windows share first for the converter to import i started with WinSCP, when it told me it was going to take 5 hours I looked elsewhere, I have used the Free Veeam FastSCP program before and new that unfortunately I could not copy files from a Linux server to the local windows machine.

During the previous week I was made aware, courtesy of @VMDoug that there was a new Beta of this product, I downloaded it and installed it and to my surprise look at what I found….

A nice new shiny ‘My Computer Node’.

As it turns out, that VM that was going to take 5 hours to transfer was done and dusted in 45 minutes !

Very, Very Impressive, and this is still a beta !

But as Duncan at Yellow Bricks makes clear in his post, this is not necessarily the most secure method of transferring the data, but as I was on the same network and not worried about the security it worked out great !

Go download Veeam Backup and FastSCP from the Veeam site now, every VI admin should have it !

VMware London User group

Ok, so I attended my first VMware London User Group today, not strictly sure that I should have attended seeing as I’m from deepest darkest Wiltshire (I can put a fake cockney accent on pretty well govna).

Im now typing this on the train home and was left with a few questions……

  • Was it worth the £50 train ticket and £5 parking fees at the station car park ?
  • Was it worth the fact that I got to the train station in plenty of time only to find out the train had been cancelled and I had to catch the next one?
  • Was it worth the tube taking 45 minutes to get to the location meaning I was an embarrassing 45 minutes late after the train fiasco ?
  • Was it worth the tube being delayed on the way home and having to wait 1hr 10 minutes for the next one ?
  • Is it worth me sat next to the guy with the biggest snoring problem in England?

One word……

DEFINITELY !

As I got to the location where the meeting was being held I made my way into the back of the room just as I heard my name being mentioned, there were around 50ish people in the room and I wondered why the presenter was asking If I was there, I later found out that he had recently added me to his list of blogs that he reads (Hi Alaric) and he was telling the attendees to check out the scripts I had written using the VI Toolkit.

Compellent Storage

After finally sitting down and forgetting about the horrendous train journey I started to relax, as Alaric Davis finished his introductory speech (sorry I missed it) Andy Hardy from Compellent took the stage and proceeded to tell us about his company and the Storage equipment they produce, a cutting edge product that it seamed would be suited to most infrastructures looking for a quality storage solution.

All the benefits of VMware’s server virtualisation – from reduced hardware costs and simplified management to robust disaster recovery – can be amplified across the data center with Compellent’s feature-rich SAN. A unique Dynamic Block Architecture makes Compellent a perfect match for Virtualised environments, allowing you to create a virtual pool of storage and automatically manage it at the block level.

This enables the use of both high end and slow disks to produce the most optimal performance which is managed by the SAN itself. Seamed like a great product to me and I will certainly be handing out the information to the contract I am working on at the moment which is undergoing a SAN refresh.

If you’re thinking about storage then I strongly suggest you check out the Compellent products and give Andy a ring, a thoroughly nice guy.

Lifecycle Manager

Next up was Alexy Stokes, a specialist systems engineer from VMware who gave us a great insight into lifecycle manager, a product which is used to request, create, deploy, update, track, and decommission VM’s. It does this using a customisable Intranet portal based application, where users can choose and deploy VM’s which will then follow through a set of approvers, and rules to best place the VM, build the VM and present it to the users.

An interesting product that it seamed to me should be part of a bigger product that should merge Lifecycle manager, Stage Manager and Lab manager.

Lifecycle manager seamed to come in two forms, the locked version which was a set application that could fit into most companies and work along there current procedures to guide and add accountability for the full lifecycle of creating a VM, which isn’t a bad thing as most companies I have worked in or for do not update there processes to account for VM’s which means that the justification that was needed for the physical servers is no longer needed for virtual servers thus leading to sprawl.

There was also the unlocked version of Lifecycle Manager which enabled a tiered solution of deploying machines to meet customer needs and business process allowing for the locked version to be opened up and fully customised (with the help of VMware or some Javascript developers). It can be manipulated to incorporate custom asset, license key databases and other such existing systems.

Both versions can be customised to meet the style of your current intranet allowing the application to seem part of an integrated business application.

Once the VM’s have gone through the process the users are then presented with a webpage which allows them to perform common tasks on the vm such as snapshot, power on/off, reset, console access through http, and rdp to the newly created server.

He then showed us how this fit into the other similar products like Lab Manager & Stage Manager.

I spent quite a bit of time afterwards in the pub talking to Alexey who struck me as a very clever and friendly person, hopefully I will meet him again in the future.

Round Table

Following the excellent presentation on Lifecycle manager there was an interesting QA type round table in which we managed to talk about some of the areas where we had found issues, some of the finer issues in VI and other useful subjects. I found this to be a highly useful part of the meeting which allowed the attendees to pick the brains of the expert panel at the front of the stage. Hopefully there will be a repeat of this in future meetings, this really allowed us to ask the lingering questions and discuss the areas you always wanted to know.

VMworld recap

The bit I had been looking forward too, the VMworld recap, this was presented by Richard Garsthagen and took us through some of the big announcements made at VMworld, still not sure what we are allowed to blog about on this subject so I wont elaborate too much but will provide you a link for the extended presentation by the Richard and all the other slides from the VMUKUG which will be uploaded here, again, I strongly recommend you give a quick look if you are interested in the future developments of VI, he gave a great demo of some of the future enhancements due in the next version of VI (Apparently not being named VI4) Vservices, vNetwork and lots of other vWords.

Conclusion

So, all in all despite the fact that I’m a contractor and don’t get paid to take days off and attend such events, this was a very useful training exercise and highly recommendable to anyone thinking about going to the next user groups, the friendly presenters and attendees made the event a great experience and not just because there was £500 behind the bar afterwards!

If your reading this, thanks very much guys, oh yeah apple and pairs and all that geeza !

As always your comments are welcome, please leave them by clicking the comments link below.

Free ESX Secuirty Compliance Checker


Compliance Checker is a free, downloadable tool that provides a real time compliance check for multiple VMware ESX host servers at a time.

This product is a robust utility providing detailed compliance checks against both the VMware Hardening Guidelines and the CIS benchmarks for ESX. Unlike other free tools in the market, Compliance Checker is a fully functional product.

For example, you can print the reports that Compliance Checker produces, and can run compliance checks across multiple ESX servers at once.

Download it here

IP’08 & VM’08 – Day 1 Review

Day 1 sounded good, can’t wait to attend tomorrow….

Earls Court 2 buzzed with activity from the moment the enthusiastic voice announced that IP’08 and the new VM’08 were open for business. It was standing room only in the seminars and keynotes, particularly for the virtualisation sessions – there was a palpable sense of anticipation and curiosity for what is still, for many organisations, a new concept in computer engineering. Wth Microsoft, Citrix and VMware showing the latest solutions in action.

Among the exhibitors, the mood was surprisingly optimistic given the recent upheavals on Wall Street and Threadneedle Street, summed up by porttracker’s Caroline Barker-Littley: “If companies can get more out of their existing resources, it is good news at a time of belt-tightening. Tools like ours that can discover and re-utilise seemingly lost ports – just as virtualisation can utilise unused and ‘lost’ server capacity – become very attractive when efficiency is a priority.”

From the get-go there was little room to swing a virtual desktop on the stands of IP show regulars such as Avaya, handling wide-ranging enquiries from security to Unified Communications. Avaya keynote speaker Martyn Lambert noted that visitors were anxious to cope with the rapid pace of technological and social change and the need to respond effectively: “They know that if they haven’t got a strategy for customers using Web 2.0 and social networking phenomena, such as Facebook and blogging, their competitors will. It’s an exciting time to be here.”.