Monday, November 26, 2012

VMware Project NEE - Online Training Delivered From Cloud




Project NEE is VMware's next generation education environment that is powered by vCloud Director. It is a new VMware Labs project providing a richly featured, powerful online learning and lab environment delivered from the cloud to any device, anywhere, anytime. Project NEE will provide online labs, live chat, video, social media, and access to real virtual machines.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage lab in Project NEE. When you first start the console you are presented with a Windows 2003 Server. This instance is used for your VMware vSphere Client access to your ESXi hosts and vCenter server.

You will notice that there are two buttons on the side of the browser - Consoles and Manual. The Consoles tab provides you with access to the other virtual instances in the lab environment, and the Manual tab gives you the step-by-step instructions for the class.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moving vSphere and ESXi Hosts to 10 Gig

Let's face it, networking is one of the most important aspects of setting up a hosted environment. In the end, the virtual machines you deploy are useless until networking is configured and they can communicate across the enterprise. VMware networking provides a tremendous amount of flexibility with virtual standard switches (vSS), virtual distributed switches (vDS), and the vShield products. It allows you to create a secured multi-tenant environment that can be configured at the virtual switch level, or all the way down to the port if you are using the virtual distributed switch.

Let's have a brief networking overview of vSphere.

A vSphere standard switch works much like a physical switch. It is a software-based switch that keeps track of which virtual machines are connected to each of its virtual ports and then uses that information to forward traffic to other virtual machines. A vSpherel standard switch (vSS) can be connected to a physical switch by physical uplink adapters; this gives the virtual machines the ability to communicate to the external networking environment and other physical resources. Even though the vSphere standard switch emulates a physical switch, it lacks most of the advanced functionality of physical switches. A vSphere distributed switch (vDS) is a software-based switch that acts as a single switch to provide traffic management across all associated hosts on a datacenter. This enables administrators to maintain a consistent network configuration across multiple hosts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Windows Server 2012 on ESXi Hosts



VMware issued an interesting knowledge base article stating that snapshots, checkpoints, and VMotion actions of virtual machines with Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 are not compatible with ESXi hosts implementing different versions. This could cause an interesting dilemma for administrators that upgrade their clusters in a phased approach. In essence, you will need to do a cold migration of the virtual machine to the new host before you can perform the upgrade. This is something you want to keep in mind before you start deploying Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 in your environment. 



Details

Due to changes in Microsoft's virtual machine generation counter specification that was introduced in the Window 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2012 RC, corresponding changes were also required in the virtual machine BIOS. Snapshots, checkpoints and VMotion actions of virtual machines with these versions of Windows are not compatible between ESXi hosts that have implemented different revisions of Microsoft's virtual machine generation counter specification.
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