Virtualization Short Take #35

It’s that time again: time for another Virtualization Short Take! Here’s a collection of links, articles, posts, and other tidbits that I’ve found interesting, informative, or useful over the last few weeks. I hope that you find something useful as well!

  • Tom Howarth has been spending some time with Microsoft’s App-V application virtualization solution; he’s written a three-part series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Part 1 discusses domain and certificate setup, Part 2 centers around policies and GPO settings, and Part 3 covers the client-side setup for App-V. While Tom’s overview is extremely helpful, I don’t recall seeing any thoughts on App-V as a product. Tom, did you like it? Not like it? What was good or bad about it? It would be great to have a post that brings this sort of information together.
  • Interested in getting a better feel for the communications that occur between an ESX/ESXi host and vCenter Server? This post discusses decoding SSL traffic with Wireshark so that you can see what’s happening.
  • Jeremy Waldrop of Varrow has a good “getting started” post on using vCenter Server’s storage alarms. If you’re looking for an introductory piece, this is a good place to start.
  • If you’re using Hyper-V and have VMs that are generating lots of network traffic, this post from the Windows Server Performance Team discussing increasing the VMBus buffer size is probably worth a look for you.
  • And while I’m mentioning Hyper-V, Ben Armstrong aka Virtual PC Guy discusses an RDP ActiveX control that provides RDP connectivity to a VM (not RDP connectivity to the guest OS, which is distinct and separate). I’ve never been a huge fan of ActiveX controls, but this could be useful in certain environments.
  • Is defragmentation of VMs a good thing? Scott Drummonds asks the same question in this blog post. My only comment: avoid defragmentation with thin provisioned disks (array-level or hypervisor-level thin provisioning).
  • Of course, Scott Drummonds also had a flurry of very useful posts over the last few weeks: missing Perfmon counters, inaccuracy of guest performance counters, and Las Vegas taxi rates. (The Las Vegas taxi post actually helped me save some money when headed to the airport after PEX. Your mileage may vary—pun intended.)
  • Eric Sloof’s home-grown tests of running linked clones on an SSD aren’t definitive, but they definitely back up the value that has been seen with the deployment of EFDs (Enterprise Flash Drives) in virtualized environments.
  • This PowerShell script will show you the logged-in user for a given VMware View desktop. Handy!
  • Readers seeking more information on guest OS alignment should read this article by Jeff Muir. While the focus of the article is on VHD and NTFS alignment, the underlying principles are also applicable to VMDK files in VMware environments.
  • Frank Denneman, VCDX 29, has had a few good posts recently. He had a post that discusses the use of local storage for VM swap; this post was then parlayed into a greater discussion on understanding the impact of design decisions. It’s a pretty fitting discussion given the timing around all the VCDX defense panels at Partner Exchange and Frank’s own elevation to the VCDX priesthood. Frank’s article on VM sizing and NUMA was also a great read. Keep up the good work, Frank! (And I’m still waiting to see all the info about memory reservations you promised me…)
  • Jason Boche recently highlighted his adventures in using Round Robin multipathing with his EMC Celerra. One key takeaway is that he had to reboot the ESX/ESXi host after changing the SATP, so keep that in mind. There is also a very specific CLARiiON configuration that needs to be set: the Failover Mode needs to be set to 4.
  • Jonathan Medd provides some great information on users who might be new to vCenter Update Manager in this article.
  • If you are planning on virtualizing any SQL Server systems, be sure to check out this list of best practices for SQL Server, written by Scott Drummonds. The document is a bit old (December 2008), but the recommendations are still valid.
  • It appears that VMware has updated this KB article recommending the use of the LSI Logic vSCSI controller for low I/O environments. I’m glad to see VMware has added more information and clarification; the previous version of the article was a bit spartan, to say the least.
  • I think that Figure 1 on this page on Cisco solutions for VMware View environments would give even Hany Michael a run for the money! While Figure 1 is pretty complex, the information in the article is useful and helps underscore some of the many different ways Cisco products can be put to use in a VMware View environment.
  • Here’s a useful document on integrating Cisco UCS with VMware DPM.
  • This weekly summary of new KB articles is quite useful. OK, I know this isn’t new and many people probably already knew about it but it’s still useful. So get off my case, OK?

There’s more that I could include, but I should probably wrap this up. Here are a few other links worth mentioning:

The Backup Blog: Avamar and VMware Backup Revisited
VMware KB: ESX 4.0 and ESXi 4.0 shutdown and reboot commands
VMware KB: Masking a LUN from ESX and ESXi 4.0 using the MASK_PATH plug-in
Rethinking vNetwork Security
Announcing NVSPBind

That’s it for this time around. Thanks for reading and feel free to submit any interesting links you’ve found in the comments!

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2 comments

  1. Tom Howarth’s avatar

    my thoughts on App-V will come later when I start to show how to do Secquencing etc.

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