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vCenter sysprep file locations June 27, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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Sysprep file locations for Virtual Center Server guest customisation

We were doing the guest customisation section of the VMware ICM course today and I typed up on the screen the location of the sysprep files folder on Windows VCenter, this is necessary because we use the Linux VCenter App in the class.

Then I thought, hang on a second why not stick them in a blog, so here you go

If vCenter Server is installed on Windows Server 2008 and above, <directory_path> is %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep which generally translates to C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep by default.

Note: C:\ProgramData may be a hidden folder.

If vCenter Server is installed on any other Windows operating system, <directory_path> is %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep\ which generally translates to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep\ by default.

Note: Remember Only Windows 2003 64 bit for VC 5.0 and additionally WinXP Pro 64 bit for VC 4.x

If vCenter Server is installed on Linux Virtual App, <directory_path> is /etc/vmware-vpx/sysprep

VMware virtualising SQL, self paced course June 24, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training.
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I found a self paced online course from VMware for Virtualising SQL, so I’ve signed up for it.

On a lot of the VMware courses we talk about physical to virtual conversions, and a question that gets asked quite a bit is, “What is the best practice for virtualising SQL?” I normally point the delegates to the article on the VMware Website.

I’ve now decided that the next exam for me will be the VCAP-DCD v5, so I went onto mylearn to have a look at the DR course and found this.

Virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server with VMware [V5.X] Customer

Summary:   – Format: Self-Paced

– Length: 3 Hours



This self paced course facilitates the avoidance of the pitfalls commonly encountered when experienced VMware vSphere professionals cross the chasm of Tier-1 SQL Server virtualization.

Objectives: After completing the course, you should be able to:

Describe how to design and implement SQL Server database on VMware.

Describe how to design for uptime and performance.

Discuss how to leverage VMware products and technologies.

Discuss various SQL Server licensing scenarios.


To access the course, follow the link





VMworld 2012 Registration Open, I’ll see you in Barcelona June 23, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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VMworld 2012, will you be going?

Every year VMware runs two events called VMworld, one is in Europe and the other is America.

This year the European VMworld will be held in Barcelona between October 9-11 2012, the location being Gran Via Barcelona.

The American VMworld will be in San Francisco between August 26-30 2012, the location being the Moscone Center.

So why attend?

You’ll get in-depth training and hands-on experience in all the IT infrastructure areas that matter to you in relation to virtualization and cloud computing.

The conference offers 200+ unique breakout sessions and hands-on labs covering everything from virtualising enterprise applications and managing desktops as a service to security and compliance. There’s also a lot about private, public and hybrid clouds, so you can fully explore all the options.

You’ll see all the newest solutions side-by-side in the Solutions Exchange—VMware expect about 125 sponsors and exhibitors. This is a great way to separate hype from reality so we can make the best possible purchase decisions.

You’ll have a chance to talk with industry experts about how to achieve your top IT priorities.

You’ll be able to network and compare notes with other professionals and make contacts you can draw on for advice and best practices for months to come.


If you want to persuade your boss, go to the following link, VMware have kindly prepared a template letter


Generally just for a lot more info go to the following link.


VMware Operations Manager Suite June 22, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training.
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Do you monitor performance on your VMware environment by using Performance Charts and RESXTOP, do you sit in front of your PC gazing at vSphere Client waiting for alarms to pop up?

Yes, me too.

Wouldn’t it be good if I could set some metrics and just get a nice clear indication of problems occurring on my system?

How about a product that would monitor my system for me? Well there is, it’s called VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite

The link below will take you to the product page.


Also as I work for QA Training, VMware have created a course called

VMware vCenter Operations Manager: Analyse and Predict

This is a two day course; follow the link below to view the course data sheet.





RESXTOP Counters for Storage June 20, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in RESXTOP.
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Here is the final RESXTOP post, this one is about Storage.

Disk throughput can be monitored using RESXTOP.

The disk adapter screen hit the d key in RESXTOP.

READs/s – Number of disk reads per second

WRITES/s – Number of disk writes per second

The sum of reads/second and writes/second equals I/O operations/second (IOPS). IOPS is a common benchmark for storage subsystems and can be measured with tools like Iometer.

Disk throughput can also be monitored using the following metrics instead.

MBREAD/s – Number of megabytes read per second

MBWRTN/s – Number of megabytes written per second

As well as monitoring disk throughput, the disk adapter screen (type d in the window) lets us monitor disk latency as well, for myself, this is the counter I’m most interested in, purely because disk throughput does not necessarily mean we have an issue.

The following counters are of interest

ADAPTR – The name of the host bus adapter (vmhba#), which includes SCSI, iSCSI, RAID and Fibre Channel adapters.

DAVG/cmd – The average amount of time it takes a device (which includes the HBA, the storage array, and everything in between) to service a single I/O request (read or write).If the value < 10, the system is healthy. If the value is 11–20 (inclusive), be aware of the situation by monitoring the value more frequently. If the value is > 20, this most likely indicates a problem.

KAVG/cmd – The average amount of time it takes the VMkernel to service a disk operation. This number represents time spent by the CPU to manage I/O. Because processors are much faster than disks, this value should be close to zero. A value or 1 or 2 is considered high for this metric.

GAVG/cmd – The total latency seen from the virtual machine when performing an I/O request. GAVG is the sum of DAVG plus KAVG


RESXTOP counters for Networking June 19, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in RESXTOP.
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The following are a list of the most interesting statistics which can be gathered within RESXTOP.

To display network statistics in RESXTOP, type n in the window.

Configuration information about the objects is listed first, followed by the performance metrics.

The USED-BY column identifies the network connections by:

Physical adapter – An example is vmnic0.

vSphere network object – One example is VMkernel port, such as vmk0.

MbRX/s – Amount of data received in Mbps

PKTTX/s – Average number of packets transmitted per second in the sampling interval

PKTRX/s – Average number of packets received per second in the sampling interval

%DRPTX – Percentage of outbound packets dropped in the sampling interval

%DRPRX – Percentage of inbound packets dropped in the sampling interval

RESXTOP memory counters for the Ballooning mechanism June 18, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in RESXTOP.
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Balloon Driver Counters in RESXTOP

In a previous post I mentioned that the balloon driver wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, the reasoning behind this is as follows.

Ballooning as a process is part of normal operations when your host memory becomes overcommitted, now think of your normal physical servers, if you have a server with let’s say 8 GB of RAM, would you expect that server to be constantly using 8GB of RAM, hopefully the answer is NO!!!

The fact that the ballooning is occurring does not necessarily indicate a performance problem, if we also get swapping, then we do have a problem.

What the balloon driver does is allow the guest VM to give up physical memory pages that are not being used. To enable this all we have to do is install VMTools.

Onto the counters that are useful metrics to analyse, these are important in that, even though ballooning is not a bad thing, the counters give us an indication that perhaps we are approaching memory saturation.

To access the counters hit m when in RESXTOP to access memory

MEMCTL/MB – This line will display the memory balloon statistics for the entire host. All numbers are in megabytes.

The ‘curr’ is the total amount of physical memory reclaimed using the ballooning mechanism.

The ‘target’ is the total amount of physical memory ESXi wants to reclaim with ballooning.

The ‘max’ is the maximum amount of physical memory that ESXi can reclaim with ballooning.

MCTL?- This value is either Y for the balloon driver installed per VM and N if not installed.

MCTLSZ – This value is also reported per VM and represents the amount of physical memory the balloon driver is holding for use by other VMs.

MCTLTGT – This value is also reported per VM and represents the amount of physical memory that the host wants to reclaim from the VM.

MCTLMAX – This value is also reported per VM and represents the amount of physical memory that can be reclaimed as a maximum.

RESXTOP Memory Counters for Host Memory Swapping June 17, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in RESXTOP.
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I mentioned in an earlier article that within a VMware ESXi environment that Host Swapping was a bad thing, the reason for that is, if an ESXi host runs low on physical RAM, then the issue is, that VMs memory will be swapped to disk. This host level swapping severely affects the performance of the VMs being swapped.

Based on the above statement, we should monitor for swapping.

We could check the advanced performance graphs in our vSphere client, what we would do is highlight our ESXi host, click on the Performance Tab and then select Memory from the drop down, we are interested in two counters.

Memory Swap In Rate – The rate at which memory is swapped from disk.

Memory Swap Out Rate – The rate at which memory is swapped out to disk.

We can also use RESXTOP from the vMA virtual appliance, the most interesting counters are listed below.

From RESXTOP press m to access the memory counters.

SWR/s – This indicates the amount of memory, measured in megabytes and represents the rate at which the ESXi host is swapping memory in from disk.

SWW/s – This indicates the amount of memory, measured in megabytes and represents the rate at which the ESXi host is swapping memory to disk.

SWCUR – This is the amount of swap space currently used by the virtual machine.

SWTGT – This is the amount of swap space that the host expects the virtual machine to use.

Just as an additional bit of info, we can also get some useful statistics from the CPU screen (press c within the RESXTOP screen).

%SWPWT – This gives us an indicator of a performance issue due to wait time experienced by the VM. It represents the percentage of time that the VM is waiting for memory to be swapped in.


Free e-book from Microsoft on Windows 2012 June 16, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Microsoft Virtualisation blogs.
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Just a short post today.

Have you started looking at Windows Server 2012 yet?

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer I was sent a link to a free e-book talking about the features of Windows Server 2012, also we’ve been encouraged to pass on the link, so here it is.

I’ve had a quick look through and the chapters on virtualisation and on clustering were the sections I found most interesting.


Microsoft Beta Exams available to all June 15, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Microsoft Training.
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Microsoft is now making their BETA exams available to everyone, the advantage to us is that we become early adopters and from that perspective we get a head start on the technologies.

For Microsoft they potentially produce better exams as they can rely on more input from the BETA exam testers.

Everyone wins.

So the three exams that will be available from now are

Exam 410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012


Exam 687: Configuring Windows 8


Exam 480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3


If you take these BETA exams the price is the same as non-BETA exams.

Take a look at the following link for further details