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Vsphere Data Protection Free course from VMware January 16, 2014

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training, vSphere 5.5.
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This week I’m teaching a VMware fast Track in London, and one of the technologies covered is the VMware Data Protection Appliance.

This has now moved to Version 5.5 and VMware have released a new free course relating to the product.

The course is entitled.

vSphere Data Protection Advanced Fundamentals [V5.5]

This course covers.

The course consists of the following self-paced modules:

vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.5 Overview: This module provides information about the vSphere Data Protection Advanced backup and recovery solution for virtual machines. It also includes demonstrations of vSphere Data Protection Advanced features.

vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.5 Configuration and Administration: This module explains deployment considerations, installation, and configuration best practices for vSphere Data Protection Advanced. It also includes deployment and configuration demonstrations.

The course is available from VMware’s Education site and is available at the following URL.





VMware vSphere 5.1 What’s New self paced eLearning November 5, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training.
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As you may be aware, VMware have launched vSphere 5.1, this means we have some new features that have also arrived with the product.

Those lovely people at VMware have produced an hour long self-paced eLearning course.

VMware vSphere: What’s New [5.1]

It’s worth a look for current VMware people.

Sysprep files cannot be located (even through they are there) October 18, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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Came up against an interesting issue yesterday, when we worked through guest customisation, we found that the button to allow guest customisation in the vSphere Client was greyed out.

The statement from the vSphere client was that the customisation files could not be found.

We checked the vCenter server (linux version) the files definitely in the location required.


We tried logging out of the client and back in to no avail.

The next thing we did was check the properties of the template, first we converted the template to a VM and then.

vSphere Client > right click VM > edit settings> options TAB

VM options

The OS can be seen set to Windows 2003 32 bit, the problem was it was set to Windows 2003 64 bit


The template had the guest OS set to Windows Server 2003 64 bit, so this meant that when customisation was ran the client and vCenter was looking for 64 bit sysprep files (the VM/template had Windows 2003 32 bit installed).

We set the VM OS setting under options to Windows 2003 32 bit and converted back to template hey presto everything was fixed.

The case of the missing CPU affinity button October 1, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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I had an interesting failure on the course this week whilst testing the VMware Update Manager lab, the ‘Putting Server into Maintenance Mode” failed.


We immediately suspected that a VM still had a CPU affinity set.


We right clicked the VM > Edit Settings > Resources Tab, but we couldn’t find the CPU affinity option under advanced CPU.


The reason was as follows.


When the Lab Cluster was enabled for DRS, it disables the ability to set CPU affinities on the VMs, this makes sense, the reason being that one of the functions of DRS is to enable the VMs to automatically load balance, if a CPU affinity is set, the VM cannot load balance.


The fix therefore was to temporarily disable DRS on the cluster, go into the VM settings, remove the CPU affinity, the Advanced CPU option on the resources tab of the VM magically appeared.


DRS on the cluster was re-enabled and the lab worked a treat







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VCP5 becomes VCP5-DV September 5, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training.
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I was just looking at VMware’s certification page and noticed one thing straight away and that is.

My VCP5 is now a VCP5-DV , which stands for VCP5 in datacentre virtualisation.

Not really a problem, the recommended courseware for this certification now comprises of

vSphere 5 Install, Configure and Manage

vSphere 5 fast track

vSphere 5 Optimise and Scale

VMware have also released many more new certifications and I’ve written Blogs on each of these new certifications.




vSphere APIs Storage Awareness (VASA) July 5, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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vSphere APIs Storage Awareness (VASA)

Working on my vCenter I realise that I can see my LUN is 500GB, but I don’t know how it’s configured, is it RAID 1, RAID 5 or RAID 10, how many spindles do I have etc.

vSphere administrators do not have visibility in VMware vCenter Server into the storage capabilities of the storage array on which their virtual machines are stored. Virtual machines are provisioned to a storage black box. All the vSphere administrator sees of the storage is a logical unit number (LUN) identifier, such as a Network Address Authority ID (NAA ID) or a T10 identifier.

VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Storage Awareness (VASA) is a set of software APIs that a storage vendor can use to provide information about their storage array to vCenter Server. Information includes storage topology, capabilities, and the state of the physical storage devices. Administrators now have visibility into the storage on which their virtual machines are located because storage vendors can make this information available.

VMware vCenter Server collects the information from a storage array by using a software component called a VASA provider. A VASA provider is written by the storage array vendor. The VASA provider can exist on either the storage array processor or on a standalone host. This decision is made by the storage vendor. Storage devices are identified to vCenter Server with a T10 identifier or an NAA ID. VMware recommends that vendors use these types of identifiers so that devices can be matched between the VASA provider and vCenter Server.

The VASA provider acts as a server in the vSphere environment. VMware vCenter Server connects to the VASA provider to obtain information about available storage topology, capabilities, and state. The information is viewed in the VMware vSphere Client. A VASA provider can report information about one or more storage devices. A VASA provider can support connections to a single or multiple vCenter Server instances.


In all this gives us as administrators so much more information that can allow us to make informed decisions regarding placement of our VMs. Rather than trust (rather hash sorry, SAN administrators are all trustworthy) the SAN administrator, we can see how the storage is configured.

vSphere APIs Array Integration (VAAI) July 2, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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Storage APIs is a family of APIs used by third-party hardware, software, and storage providers to develop components that enhance several vSphere features and solutions.

Let’s start with the first one

VMware vSphere® Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI)

These are a set of protocol interfaces and VMkernel APIs between VMware vSphere® ESXi and storage arrays.

In a virtualized environment, virtual disks are sometimes located on a VMware vSphere® VMFS datastore. Disk arrays cannot interpret the VMFS datastore’s on-disk data layout, so the VMFS datastore cannot leverage hardware functions per virtual machine or per virtual disk file. The goal of VAAI is to help storage vendors provide hardware assistance to accelerate I/O operations that are more efficiently accomplished in the storage hardware. Think about all that processing that the array can provide.VAAI plug-ins can improve data transfer performance and are transparent to the end user.

In VMware vSphere 5.0, the above functionality is available for storage vendors to take advantage of the following features:

Hardware Acceleration for NAS

This plug-in enables NAS arrays to integrate with vSphere to transparently offload certain storage operations to the array, such as offline cloning (cold migrations, cloning from templates). This integration reduces CPU overhead on the host. Hardware Acceleration for NAS is deployed as a plug-in that is not shipped with ESXi 5.0. This plug-in is developed and distributed by the storage vendor but signed by the VMware® certification program. Array/device firmware enabled for Hardware Acceleration for NAS must use the Hardware Acceleration for NAS features. The storage vendor is responsible for the support of the plug-in.

Array Thin Provisioning  

This feature assists in monitoring disk space usage on thin- provisioned storage arrays. Monitoring this usage helps prevent the condition where the disk is out of space. Monitoring usage also helps when reclaiming disk space. No installation steps are required for the Array Thin Provisioning extensions. Array Thin Provisioning works on all VMFS-3 and VMFS-5 volumes. Device firmware enabled for this API is required to take advantage of the Array Thin Provisioning features. ESXi continuously checks for firmware that is compatible with Array Thin Provisioning. After the firmware is upgraded, ESXi starts using the Array Thin Provisioning features.