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Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Professional Add-In for Rack Server Virtualisation (Virtual Rack)

This free Microsoft download called the “Rack Server Virtualisation Add-in” provides the capability to pull the rack-server data either from an Excel spread sheet or from the user and render the Visio diagram.

With over 70% of server hardware being under-utilized, this very valuable tool can draw a clear picture of your hardware utilization. This tool auto-generates the diagram of your rack and provides clear server details from a linked Excel template. Analyse your racks and servers using WMI or get the utilization data over time using the Operations Manager connection. Microsoft Visio 2007 Add-In for Rack Server Virtualisation (Virtual Rack) uses various new features of Visio 2007 to display the details of servers, racks and colours present in the Data Centre. This add-in enables consolidation of physical servers by allowing many virtual servers to run concurrently on one physical server results in improvement of system utilization, reduction in number of physical servers, lowering costs, increasing flexibility etc.

The Visio 2007 Add-In provides users a virtualisation picture in addition to the existing picture of the rack based on some parameters to compare the power consumption and space saving before and after consolidation. Use the virtualisation button to see the before and after detailed diagram of your racks. See clearly where you have the opportunity to save on space and power.

Download the Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Professional Add-In for Rack Server Virtualisation (Virtual Rack).

VMware Server 2.0 Release Candidate 1

This newest version offers the capabilities from before, plus an array of new features, increased performance and stability—including a broader range of guest operating system support, direct access to virtual machine consoles, an intuitive Web-based management interface, and increased memory for greater scalability. With over 3 million downloads worldwide, VMware Server continues to innovate to provide users with a superior introductory experience to virtualization—for free.

What’s New

* Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS): Properly backup the state of the Windows virtual machines when using the snapshot feature to maintain data integrity of the applications running inside the virtual machine.

* Virtual Machine Communication Interface (VMCI): Support for fast and efficient communication between a virtual machine and the host operating system and between two or more virtual machines on the same host.

* Support for SCSI pass-through (generic) devices: Allows for SCSI devices such as tape backup devices to be connected to virtual machines.

* Expand disk capacity on the fly: Allows for adding new SCSI hard disks and controllers to a running virtual machine.

* Firefox 3 as a supported browser for the management interface.

Download it here

7 side effects of sloppy virtualization

ORLANDO — IT professionals may initially be awestruck by the promises of virtualization, but Gartner analysts warn that awe could turn into upset when organizations start to suffer from seven nasty side effects.
David Coyle, research vice president at Gartner, detailed the seven side effects at the research firm’s Infrastructure, Operations and Management Summit, which drew nearly 900 attendees. While virtualization promises to solve issues such as underutilization, high hardware costs and poor system availability, the benefits come only when the technology is applied with proper care and consistently monitored for change, Coyle explained.

Here are the reasons Gartner says virtualization is no IT cure-all:

1. Magnified failures. In the physical world, a server hardware failure typically would mean one server failed and backup servers would step in to prevent downtime. In the virtual world, depending on the number of virtual machines residing on a physical box, a hardware failure could impact multiple virtual servers and the applications they host.

“Failures will have a much larger impact, effecting multiple operating systems, multiple applications and those little tiny fires will turn into big fires fast,” Coyle said.

2. Degraded performance. Companies looking to ensure top performance of critical applications often dedicate server, network and storage resources for those applications, segmenting them from other traffic to ensure they get the resources they need. With virtualization, sharing resources that can be automatically allocated on demand is the goal in a dynamic environment. At any given time, performance of an application could degrade, perhaps not to a failure, but slower than desired.

3. Obsolete skills. IT might not realize the skill sets it has in-house won’t apply to a large virtualized production environment until they have it live. The skills needed to manage virtual environments should span all levels of support, including service desk operators who may be fielding calls regarding their virtual PCs. Companies will feel a bit of a talent shortage when moving toward more virtualized systems, and Coyle recommends starting the training now.
“Virtualized environments require enhanced skill sets, and virtual training across many disciplines,” he said.

4. Complex root cause analysis. Virtual machines move — that is the part of their appeal. But as Coyle pointed out, it is also a potential issue when managing problems. Server problems in the past could be limited to one box, but now the problem can move with the virtual machine and lull IT staff into a false sense of security.

“Is the problem fixed or did you just lose it? You can’t tell in a virtual environment,” Coyle said. “Are you just transferring the problem around from virtual server to virtual server?”

5. No standardization. Tools and processes used to address the physical environment can’t be directly applied to the virtual world, so many IT shops will have to think about standardizing how they address issues in the virtual environment.
“Mature tools and processes must be revamped,” Coyle said.

6. Virtual machine sprawl. The most documented side effect to date, virtual server sprawl results from the combination of ease of deployment and lack of life-cycle management of virtual machines. The issue could cause consolidation efforts to go awry when more virtual machines crop up than there are server administrators to manage them.
“The virtualized environment is in constant flux,” he said.

7. May be habit forming. Once IT organizations start to use virtualization, they can’t stop themselves, Coyle said. He offered tips to help curb the damage done from giving into a virtual addition.

“Start small. Map dependencies. Create strong change processes. Update runbooks. Invest in capacity management tools. And test, test, test,” he said.

Original : Network World

VMware Workstation 6.5 Beta 2 released

Can we start a VM in ESX 3.5 on WS 6.5 ? Yes we can :-)

The beta 2 of VMware Workstation contains a permanent fix for this problem……

New Features in VMware Workstation 6.5:

-Seamless integration of guest & host applications with Unity
-Advanced VM Record and Replay with Visual Studio integration
-Support for Smart Cards & Smart Card Readers
-Link state propagation networking
-Enhanced ACE authoring capabilities
-Easy Install Option’s support for Linux
-Improved 3D graphics Support
-Virtual Machine Streaming

Thanks to NTPRO.NL

Ops Manager: MP Viewer

Last week, Boris Yanushpolsky released MPViewer 1.6, which added exporting to Excel functionality. However, a programming bug caused the MPViewer to not be able to view the Exchange 2007 (also known as Exchange 12) MP in HTML (http://blogs.technet.com/stefan_stranger/archive/2008/06/25/goaaaal-mpviewer-with-export-to-excel.aspx), a feature Boris added last October.

Boris has corrected the issue and added some additional new features while he was at it – including frequency for performance viewers and breaking out monitors by type. You can get version 1.7 at http://blogs.msdn.com/boris_yanushpolsky/archive/2008/06/25/mpviewer-1-7-now-works-with-latest-e12-mp.aspx.

The MPViewer, a free utility (and not officially supported by Microsoft) displays what’s in a management pack before importing it. Boris posted the earliest versions of the MPViewer in October 1007 (http://blogs.msdn.com/boris_yanushpolsky/archive/2007/10/10/what-s-in-my-management-pack.aspx), and has been making numerous enhancements to it.

You can download Version 1.7 from http://blogs.msdn.com/boris_yanushpolsky/archive/2008/06/25/mpviewer-1-7-now-works-with-latest-e12-mp.aspx.

Capacity Bottleneck Analyser virtual appliance released

VKernel has released its Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer virtual appliance, and they are offering a FREE 14-day trial in your own data center. Everyone implementing virtualization is — or will be — challenged by capacity bottlenecks. To maintain optimal performance in your VMware ESX environment, you really should give the Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer a try. You'll quickly be able to:

• Find current capacity bottlenecks (CPU, memory, and storage).
• Predict future capacity bottlenecks — e.g., you will experience a memory bottleneck in cluster X in 7 days.
• See exactly how many more virtual machines can fit into any of your hosts, clusters, or resource pools.

The trial is free, deployment is instant, and you'll have 2 full weeks to put it to work. Why not download the trial right now ?

SVMotion 1.0 – VMware VirtualCenter Storage VMotion GUI Plug-in

SVMotion is a VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 plug-in that provides an integrated, graphical tool that can be used to invoke storage VMotion (SVMotion) operations.   All you need to do is select the virtual machine whos storage you wish to VMotion and click to tell it which datastore you wish to move it to.  SVMotion does the rest.
 

SVMotion 1.0 ships with the following features:

  • No longer counts RDM files against datastore size, fixing the bug that plagued the last version.
  • SVMotion operations against templates are not supported since VMware does not support them.
  • Added tool tips that explain why a relocation cannot take place
  • Automatically registers itself upon installation so you dont have to enable it inside the VI client.
  • All SVMotion events write out a log, enabling better understanding of what went wrong in case of an error.
  • Aside from the library that loads the plug-in, all of VMwares internal code has been replaced with the VI Toolkit for .NET.
  • The project is now supported by almost 20 unit tests, helping to ensure fewer bugs and greater stability.
  • The unit tests can be expanded to include testing for a system-resource supported number of servers since they use mock testing designed to work with the VI Toolkit for .NET.
  • The project is now built using NAnt, which allows nightly builds of the source, creates distributions, and builds the MSI installer.

 

Click here to download the "SVMotion 1.0 – VMware VirtualCenter Storage VMotion GUI Plug-in"