Friday, January 25, 2013


I was talking to one of my colleagues at my previous employer. They took advantage of the upgrade promotion VMware was offering to upgrade their VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses to vCloud Suite Standard which includes VMware vCloud Networking with Security Standard, VMware vCloud Connector Advanced, VMware vCloud Director, and VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus. They upgrade a significant amount of processor licenses.

Because of the issues and bad reviews of the new vCenter 5.1 SSO, they decided to hold off on upgrading their VMware environment until the next version, but they still wanted to take advantage of the deal so they could license the additional  components. Unfortunately, the new licenses do not work in their 5.0 environment. You can provide a version downgrade from vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 4, but there isn’t an option to downgrade to version 5. VMware is trying to figure out how to resolve the issue, but right now there doesn't seem like a simple solution

I thought I would pass along the information in case you are planning on upgrading your licensing and don’t intend on upgrading your software.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

VMware's HOL - Troubleshoot and Optimize VMware View

Back in November, I wrote a blog on VMware's Project NEE, their next generation education environment. At that time, I had access to their VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage lab, but now I have the opportunity to try out several more labs. In this post, I will review the Troubleshoot and Optimize VMware View hands-on-lab (HOL).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mission Critical Hosting Environment Part 2

Data Protection
It’s all about recovery; data protection design protects against all relevant types of failure and minimizes data loss. While disk capacity has increased more than 1,000-fold since RAID levels were introduced in 1987, disk I/O rates have only increased by 150-fold. This means that when a disk in a RAID set does fail, it can take hours to repair and re-establish full redundancy.
RAID levels:
·    RAID-1: An exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data on two disks.

·    RAID-5: Uses block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks.

·    RAID-6: Extends RAID 5 by adding an additional parity block; thus it uses block-level striping with two parity blocks distributed across all member disks.

·    RAID 10: Arrays consisting of a top-level RAID-0 array (or stripe set) composed of two or more RAID-1 arrays (or mirrors). A single-drive failure in a RAID 10 configuration results in one of the lower-level mirrors entering degraded mode, but the top-level stripe may be configured to perform normally (except for the performance hit), as both of its constituent storage elements are still operable—this is application-specific.

·    RAID 0+1: In contrast to RAID 10, RAID 0+1 arrays consist of a top-level RAID-1 mirror composed of two or more RAID-0 stripe sets. A single-drive failure in a RAID 0+1 configuration results in one of the lower-level stripes completely failing (as RAID 0 is not fault tolerant), while the top-level mirror enters degraded mode.

For mission critical systems being able to overcome the overlapping failure of two disks in a RAID set is important to protect from data loss. RAID 0+1 stripes data across a pair of mirrors. This approach gives an excellent level of redundancy, because every block of data is written to a second disk. Rebuild times are also short in comparison to other RAID types.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mission Critical Hosting Environment

This analysis is focused on mission critical IT systems and building an infrastructure environment with an increased amount of system availability and recovery. Mission critical applications such as customer facing web applications are vital to a smooth operation of most business operations. System downtime translates to financial losses to the organization.

Customer facing web applications have improved business capability; however it is driving the need for decreasing recovery time objectives and more stringent service levels from a service availability perspective. We cannot treat all IT data center systems the same, some systems are more critical to the operation of your company than others. Business requirements have changed over the past few years for system applications that drive business revenue, expectations are that systems are available 24/7, like online retail systems.

The proposed solution recommends creating an isolated infrastructure cell to host your mission critical systems that support your vital business functions. This environment is going to be small in scale,  designed to host mission critical applications. Not only does this give you the capability to improve reliability from an infrastructure component level; but it will enable you to create process improvements from a service management perspective.

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