donderdag, december 13, 2007

VMware: Installing Suse Linux Enterprise 10 on ESX

After installing the VMware Tools on our Suse Linux Enterprise 10 guest, we kept losing the network configuration. Apparently, after loading the vmxnet driver there were 2 network cards present.

So here is the workaround:

  • Start yast (or use the gnome desktop to configure yast via the GUI)
  • Click the Network devices link and click on Network Card
  • Leave the default “traditional method with ifup” and click Next
  • Select the current configured card and click the Edit button
  • Write down (copy) the current configuration name (eth-id-xxxxxxx)
  • Click the back button and remove the current configured network card by pressing the delete button. NOTE: only 1 network card should remain
  • Back in yast overview, navigate to Network devices => Network Card
  • Select the card that is not configured and click the Edit button
  • On the configuration name, replace pci-xxx by eth-id-xxxx (written down earlier)
  • Fill out all necessary IP configuration (IP Address, subnet mask).
  • Leave yast and commit your changes
  • Done!

dinsdag, december 11, 2007

VMware: ESX 3.5 / VirtualCenter 2.5 / VCB 1.1 release!

VMware has just released the brand new VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5, filled with interesting new features:

  • Storage VMotion
  • VMware Converter integration

  • DPM (Distributed Power Management
  • Clone/provision virtual machines between datacenters
  • An integrated Update Manager (for ESX, Linux and Windows)
  • x64 customization
  • support for 256 Gb ram
  • VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) enhancements
  • and much, much more...

The release notes can be found here

donderdag, september 20, 2007

VMware: Stopping a Virtual Machine gone haywire

Sometimes a Virtual Machine can't be stopped via the VIClient. The job just hangs. There are a number of options to stop your Virtual Machine from within the Service Console. Keep in mind that these are last resort options!

  • Stopping the virtual machine by issuing the command vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<datastorename>/<vmname>/<vmname>.vmx stop. This must be done on the ESX host where the Virtual Machine is running!
  • If this does not work, one can issue the following command: vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<datastorename>/<vmname>/<vmname>.vmx stop hard. This will try to kill the Virtual Machine instantly.
  • A final solution is to kill the PID (process ID). Issue the following command: ps auxfww | grep <vmname> to locate the correct PID (BTW: this cannot be done via ESXTOP). The first number to appear in the output is your PID. The PID can be used to terminate the process by issuing kill -9 PID.

woensdag, september 19, 2007

VMware: New HA features in VC 2.0.2

As you know, HA is triggered on an ESX host after 15 seconds when it cannot contact it's cluster partners and the default gateway. By Default, all virtual machines running on the ESX host are shut down and restarted on the remaining ESX hosts in the cluster (using a Legato AAM agent to do it's job).

The only thing you could do up until now was changing the default gateway (via the das.isolationaddress option/value set). However, for most companies this is not enough. When a general network maintenance is scheduled, you should disable HA to avoid an unnecessary HA trigger.

New in VirtualCenter 2.0.2 are the following option/value pairs:

  • das.failuredetectiontime = <value> (default 15 seconds)
  • das.isolationaddress2 = <value>

These values can be set under Your Cluster => Edit Settings => VMware HA => Advanced Options.

See also VMware's HA_Tech_Best_Practices.pdf document for more info!

dinsdag, september 18, 2007

VMware: Installing Windows XP on ESX using LSI Logic driver

I get a lot of questions concerning the deployment of Windows XP on ESX. By default, ESX will use the LSI Logic driver when deploying a new Windows XP virtual machine. The LSI Logic driver is not found on the CD-ROM media, so Windows XP will not continue with the installation if this driver is not found.

The steps:

  • Create a new Windows XP Virtual Machine
  • Upload a Windows XP .iso file to your datastore/ISOstore (preferably a VLK version) and link it via the CD-ROM options in your Virtual Machine. Make sure it is connected / at power on
  • Go to and search for a driver for the LSI20320-R controller.
  • Extract all files in the symmpi_wXP_1201800.ZIP
  • Use a program such as WinImage to create an LSILogic.flp file and include the extracted files in the .flp image.
  • Upload the newly created LSILogic.flp to your datastore/ISO store
  • Link the .flp file via the Floppy options => use existing floppy image in datastore in your Virtual Machine. Do NOT connect it yet.
  • Power On your Windows XP machine. The installation of Windows XP should begin.
  • During setup, press F6 to select additional SCSI drivers
  • Now is the time to connect your floppy and use S during Windows Setup when prompted to connect to the floppy drive.
  • The LSILogic drive should appear. Press ENTER to continue
  • Setup will continue as normal
  • Install VMware tools
  • Done!

NOTE: when using the BusLogic driver instead, you can download & use a preconfigured .flp file from the VMware site: Follow the same procedure as described above. The driver should be name VMware SCSI Controller in Windows XP.

vrijdag, september 14, 2007

VMware: how to get more performance counters in VirtualCenter

Ever wondered why you could select gazillion performance counters in real-time, but only 1 or 2 counters when selecting Per Day/Per Week/Per Month/Per Year/Custom? Here is the solution: in the VIClient, go to VirtualCenter Management Configuration and then statistics. By default, the Statistics Collection Level is set to 1 (Basic Metrics).

Ideally, you could set the level to 3 or even 4. After a while, you will notice new performance counters available for selection in the chart options menu! These are great for doing memory sizing/ CPU sizing over a longer period of time. Great huh?

woensdag, september 12, 2007

HP: DL580 G5 released - the virtualization monster

HP has released the G5 version of the DL580. This is a lean mean virtualization machine:

  • Up to 4 Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processors with up to 8MB (4x2) shared L2 cache (16 cores in total)
  • Up to 128GB (with 4GB DIMMs, 32 slots!) of 667MHz DDR2 Fully-buffered DIMMs
  • Up to Eleven PCI-Express Slots

This is a great VMware/Viridian/XenSource/... virtualization machine with plenty of room for extra NICs & HBA's. I hope VMware will be able to use this model in their ESXi platform. How hard can it be to stick an extra 32Mb SSD module in this one ;)

woensdag, september 05, 2007

Citrix: Presentation Server with Ardence OS Streaming

Wilco van Bragt ( has written a nice how-to article on preparing a Citrix Presentation Server (version 4.0 or 4.5) with Ardence streaming.

Some Advantages of OS streaming in combination with terminal servers:

  • Flexible provisioning
  • Rapid software (OS/Apps) deployment
  • Servers are always 100% identical
  • Easy implementation of updates and hotfixes to the operating system and applications
  • Easy rollback scenarios
  • After a restart the system is back in clean state

Citrix MPS/Xensource/Ardence combo anyone ;)

Read the complete article here

woensdag, augustus 29, 2007

VMware: WTS/Citrix on VMware ESX 3

Are you interested in virtualizing your Citrix or Terminal Services environment? If so, check out Rene Vester 's article "A short guide to virtualizing Presentation and Terminal servers on VMware ESX 3" on the Brian Madden website. He goes into great detail on the steps required to successfully install WTS or Citrix in a virtualized environment.

This is a great addition to my previous blogpost "Best practices for deploying Citrix on ESX"

Read the entire article here

donderdag, augustus 23, 2007

WTS: How To Configure Folder Redirection

Patrick Rouse has written a nice little article on the use of folder redirection in a SBC environment.

Folder redirection can limit the amount of data that is copied between the Roaming Profile Share and the Terminal Server at each logon and logoff. This is accomplished by redirecting folders like Desktop, My Documents, and Application Data to a Network Share outside of the Roaming Profile Share, so it is not copied at each logon and logoff.

You can read the complete article on the website

Microsoft: W2K8 "Documentation Survival guide"

Microsoft has created a nice link to all info concerning Windows Server 2008 on technet. It's called the Documentation Survival Guide. Jump to it here


• Windows Server 2008 product information:
• Windows Server 2008 TechCenter:

• Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows Server 2008:
• Windows Server 2008 TechNet Virtual Labs:
• Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides:

• Windows Server 2008 Troubleshooting:
• TechNet Troubleshooting and Support:

Connect with Community

• Windows Server 2008 Forums:
• Windows Server 2008 Podcasts:
• Windows Server 2008 Chats:

Additional Resources

What can you do to secure your systems? These links to prescriptive security guidance resources, virus alerts, and security bulletins will help you find the security information that you need.

• TechNet Security Center:
• TechNet Security Virus Alerts:
• Microsoft Security Bulletin Search:

Downloads, Help and Support, TechNet Technologies, and Scripting

Need to find the latest product downloads or other technical information? These links will help you keep your systems current and learn about the latest Microsoft technologies.

• Microsoft Download Center:
• Microsoft Help and Support:
• TechNet Products and Technologies:
• Script Center:

Windows Server 2008 Technical Library

Need to learn more about what’s new for key Windows Server 2008 technologies and where to get additional information? These links to the Windows Server 2008 Technical Library will provide you with introductory and technical overviews and other resources.

•Active Directory Certificate Services:
•Active Directory Domain Services:
•Active Directory Federation Services:
•Active Directory Rights Management Services:
•Application Server:
•Availability and Scalability:
•DNS Server:
•File Services:
•Group Policy:
•Network Policy and Access Services:
•Performance and Reliability:
•Print Services:
•Security and Protection:
•Server Manager:
•Streaming Media Services:
•Terminal Services:
•Web Server:
•Windows Deployment Services:
•Windows SharePoint Services:

woensdag, augustus 15, 2007

Citrix: Citrix to acquire XenSource

Holy god, this is breaking news! After rumors on the brianmadden website about Citrix wanting to buy XenSource, there is now an official statement: Citrix has signed a definitive agreement to acquire XenSource.

Citrix’s acquisition of XenSource comes on the heels of a substantial new release of XenEnterprise, the company’s flagship commercial product line. The new XenEnterprise v4 marks a significant milestone. Citrix will thus become one of the major players in the virtualization field (and a direct competitor to VMware & Microsoft).

Read the official announcement on the Citrix website here

woensdag, augustus 08, 2007

Microsoft: Windows Server 2008 Component Posters

I came across some interesting W2K8 posters. These two posters, originally published in the July 2007 issue of TechNet Magazine, provide a strong visual tool to aide in the understanding of various features and components of Windows Server 2008.

One poster focuses exclusively on powerful new Active Directory technologies, while the other provides a technical look at a variety of new features available in Windows Server 2008 (such as Server Core, Network Access Protection, and more).

These should look great on my wall. Make sure to download them here

woensdag, augustus 01, 2007

VMware: ESX 3.0.2 and VCB 1.0.3 released

As promised, VMware's ESX 3.0.2 has been released. In addition, VCB version 1.0.3 has also been released. Keep in mind that VCB 1.0.3 is compatible with VirtualCenter 2.0.2 (released recently) and ESX Server 3.0.2 (or newer) only. There are tons of updates in this release. Check them out here.

Download the ISOs at the source

VizionCore: ESXReplicator 2.1 Beta announced

Vizioncore has announced the Public Beta Release of esxReplicator v2.1, a real-time replication solution for the VMware Vi3. It addresses a number of problems we face in production. esxReplicator 2.1 offers the following new features:

  • Fixed Interval Scheduling
  • Failover Testing
  • VM Display Name configuration
  • Free Space Monitoring/Alerting

The beta release can be downloaded from:

maandag, juli 30, 2007

VMware: Cisco to provide 3rd party vSwitches for ESX

Info from

VMware will allow 3rd party vendors to develop their virtual switches for ESX Server virtual network, and Cisco is expected to be the first company announcing such product.

This is great news, as the current vSwitches are lacking in features.

Cisco will be presenting at VMworld 2007. BTW, see you guys there!

Microsoft: Vista Performance, Compatibility & reliability packs

Microsoft just released some important updates for people using Vista and suffering from (amongs others) slow file copies.

938979 Vista Performance and Reliability Pack
This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the performance and responsiveness for some scenarios and improves reliability of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios.

938194 Vista Compatibility and Reliability Pack
This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the reliability and hardware compatibility of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios.

938828 XP Explorer.exe Reliability Pack
This is a reliability update. Install this update to improve the stability of computers running Windows XP. This update prevents crashes in explorer.exe.

These packs (actually, they are hotfixes) are downloadable via or via the source

dinsdag, juni 19, 2007

Virtualization: A brief architecture overview of VMware ESX, XEN and MS Viridian

Massimo Re Ferrè has written a nice overview article on hypervisor architecture:

It is my feeling that there has been a bit of confusion lately around how hypervisors are being positioned by the various vendors. I am specifically referring to the three major technologies that seem to be the most relevant strategically going forward:

  • VMware ESX
  • Microsoft Viridian
  • Xen

VMware ESX is the VMware flagship hypervisor product: it's the basis for the Virtual Infrastructure version 3 framework.

MS Viridian is the next generation hypervisor that Microsoft is going to use in the Longhorn time frame and that is currently being developed. It's basically the successor of Microsoft Virtual Server.

Xen is an opensource hypervisor that is being integrated by a number of players which include RedHat, Suse, XenSource and Virtual Iron.

Read the article here

woensdag, juni 13, 2007

VMware: VirtualCenter out of sync

I entered the office and fired up my trusty VIClient to connect to our design environment, just to discover all machines were shutdown. Suddenly the phone started ringing. All production VMs were shutdown as well? What happened?

It turned out to be a massive (physical) switch failure: during the weekend, all switches were failing in cascade due to some switch intervention (oeps). Result: all NICs in all ESX hosts lost their connection. So, every ESX host had noticed it couldn't ping it's default gateway and started shutting down ("releasing") all VMs (the default HA behavior). But...there were no other ESX hosts to pick up the host failure :)

After booting the VMs, we noticed something strange: VirtualCenter was completely out of sync with what was running on the ESX hosts themselves and we couldn't VMotion/Edit Settings/.. our VMs. Some VMs appeared to be running on a host when they were not! Really strange, strange stuff.

To get your VirtualCenter back in sync (and if rebooting the VC Service doesn't help), you must restart the vpxa (VirtualCenter) agent on every ESX host by issuing the following command:

/etc/rc.d/init.d/vmware-vpxa restart

dinsdag, juni 12, 2007

VMware: The dreadful sticky snapshot

When working with VMware ESX’s snapshot technology and/or VCB for a while, you will notice that sometimes a snapshot doesn’t get committed correctly. This occurs when for instance an ESX host crashes or hangs during a VCB snapshot.

The problem here is that a redo file (or delta, snapshot file) is created, but never removed. When looking at the snapshot manager, no snapshots appear to be available. Snapshots are devastating for your datastore performance, so we must remove them as quickly as possible! In the worst case, the redo file and the vmware-x.log files will eat up all the remaining disk space on the infected datastore and a message will be displayed (AAAaaaaaaaaaahh):

You will notice a number of <originaldiskname>-00000X.vmdk and <originaldiskname>-00000X-delta.vmdk files appear when browsing the datastore. When you look at your Virtual Machine disk properties (via Edit Settings) you will notice that your disk name will have changed from <originaldisk.vmdk> to <originaldisk>-00000X.vmdk, meaning a snapshot version is being used.

You can use 2 tricks to recover from this scenario:

  • Execute vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<datastorename>/<vmname>/<vmname>.vmx removesnapshots on the Service Console. However, most of the time this will not work and you will have to revert to the method below.
  • Manually create a snapshot in the VI Client and remove it after it has been created. This will remove ALL existing snapshots and revert back to your <originaldisk>.vmdk. Great huh?

vrijdag, juni 08, 2007

VMware: VMTSPatchmanager for patching

Massimiliano Daneri of (well known for his backup scripts) has created a useful tool for patching your ESX: VMTSPatchmanager.


  • Automatic Patch downloading from VMware Web site
    Virtual Center Integration
  • Support for Background Intelligent Transfer Service (Microsoft BITS)
  • Password saved inside the Microsoft Protected Storage
  • SSH Connection (with root or other users)
  • Implement a tiny Web server to deliver the patch
  • Multi Thread implementation
  • Configuration Wizard

Download it here

Microsoft: Terminal Services Session Broker

Michel Roth over at has written a nice (p)review on the new load balancing options for terminal servers in Server 2008. Read his article here

donderdag, mei 24, 2007

WTS: Using ThreadMaster to Tame Rogue Applications

Duane Bradley has written an excellent tutorial on how to deploy & configure the free tool Threadmaster to "tame" CPU usage for specific applications on a Terminal Server or Citrix box. Read the article here

dinsdag, mei 22, 2007

Microsoft: Technet Magazine A guide to deploying WTS

James D. Silliman has written a short but insightful article in Technet Magazine on deploying Windows Terminal Services on a Windows 2003 platform. In the article, he discusses GPO’s, security filtering, Folder redirection, installing Office using templates and admin installl, some licensing info, etc.

Definitly a good read for people new to Terminal Services. Read the article here

Microsoft: Its all about Virtualization now...

Yesterday, I attended the TechNet Webcast: Windows Server 2008: Server Virtualization Solution Scenario. It was quite interesting (although not as technical as I had hoped).

To summarize, Microsoft’s virtualization strategy is divided in 4 types of “virtualization”:

  1. Desktop virtualization: desktops/servers can be virtualized on your local desktop using Virtual PC technology. Nothing new here.
  2. Application virtualization: Microsoft bought Softricity a few months ago, one of the leading companies for applications virtualization. They are now selling Softgrid as their application virtualization solution (and a good one I might add). Softgrid 4.1 is now the current version, and version 4.2 will be released soon. Zerotouch (a web portal front end) was dropped.
  3. Presentation virtualization: this one is quite funny (and the most surprising). As you might know, Server 2008 will have a bunch of new “Citrix-like” features for Terminal Services like load balancing, TS Web Access, TS gateway (SSL tunnel), remote (published) apps and UPD (called “easy print”). So now, Terminal Services is looked upon as being “presentation virtualization”. BTW, Citrix already uses the term “application virtualization” for its Metaframe Presentation Server solution.
  4. Server virtualization: Oh yes, the combination of Virtual Server 2005 R2 (SP1) and/or Windows Server 2008 virtualization (“Viridian”) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (now in Beta 2). SC VMM version 1.0 will be released in 2007, mainly to manage VS 2005 R2. A new release of SCVMM 2.0 will be released as soon as Viridian is ready (stripped of some features or not ;)) in 2008. So stay tuned!

During the presentation, a comparison was made between VMware ESX server and Windows Server 2008 with Windows Server Virtualization. The thing to note here is that VMware uses drivers in its hypervisor model, while WSV uses no drivers in their hypervisor. Instead, they deploy drivers directly in Virtual Machine instances. I can’t wait to compare it (even with hot-add & live-migration features stripped) to ESX!

maandag, mei 21, 2007

VMware: deploying a VM using a custom sysprep.inf answer file

You can create a template VM and use sysprep to rename, reSID, etc. a new VM. The difference between the default approach and my approach is that in my approach you can completely configure your VM as you would like (for example, use the correct regional settings).

In our example below you will notice that the regional settings default to Belgium/Dutch. You can change this (or other settings) using the setupmgt.exe found in de DEPLOY.CAB on your windows 2003 CD-ROM.

The steps:

  • Create a template VM, install the latest VMware tools and convert your VM to a Template

    IMPORTANT: make sure the VM is not joined to a domain, otherwise the Join to Domain section during the sysprep will fail.
  • Download the sysprep 1.1 files from and unzip them in the following directory on your VirtualCenter server: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\1.1 (you can also use the unzipped content in the on the windows CD-ROM located under SUPPORT\TOOLS)
  • Create a custom sysprep.inf file using the setupmgr.exe file found in The content should look similar to the following:

    JoinDomain=<NetBIOS Domain Name>
    DomainAdmin=<administrator name or delegated user>
  • In the VI Client when connected to your VirtualCenter, go to Edit => Customization Specifications. Create a new customization file.
  • Select the appropriate OS type (in our case Windows) and check “Use custom sysprep answer file”. Fill out an appropriate name (like “Sysprep Windows 2003 SP2”)
  • In the next screen, select Import a file and browse to your sysprep.inf file or copy/paste the contents in the sysprep.inf text field
  • When using DHCP, select Typical Settings in the next screen. Select Custom settings when using a static IP.

    IMPORTANT: Make sure to fill out the default gateway & alternate gateway with the same gateway IP (this is a known issue)
  • Make sure Generate New SID is selected in the next screen
  • The Sysprep customization should know be available to use in combination with your template.

vrijdag, mei 18, 2007

Microsoft: WTS Step-By-Step guides in upcoming Win2K8

Microsoft has released some very interesting step-by-step guides related to (amongst others) Terminal Services:

  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Gateway Server Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc
  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Licensing Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc
  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Terminal Services RemoteApp Step-By-Step Guide.doc
  • What's New in Terminal Services for Microsoft Windows Server Code Name Longhorn.doc

Download them here

Microsoft: Requesting TSCALs for Win2K8

To be able to test the new features in WTS Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has made available test TSCALs (Terminal Services Client Access Licenses). You can request batcehs of 20 Per-user or Per-device licenses. Go to this website to request & have fun!

Microsoft: Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008

Patrick Rouse has written an excellent article on new TS features that will be available in Windows Server 2008.

To summarize:

  • TS Easy Print: this will be Microsoft’s answer to Universal Printer driver solutions. As you know, there was already a “fallback” mode available in Windows 2003. TS Easy Print will be available with the new RDC 6.1 client
  • Per-Session default printer: This feature ensures that different sessions logged on with the same user name retain session specific default printers
  • SSO (Single-Sign on) when using Vista/Server 2008 combinations. 
  • Dual-monitor support
  • Terminal Services RemoteApp: his feature provides Seamless Windows & Session Sharing functionality to users with Remote Desktop Client 6.x. Also, Session sharing will be available (as seen in Citrix MPS releases)
  • Terminal Services Load balancing: With the new Terminal Services Session Broker, Win2K8 Terminal Servers can be effectively load balanced based on:
    • Session Count
    • Weight
    • Black hole avoidance (avoid a new TS from being overloaded with new logon requests)
    • Drain mode (aka redirect new logins to other TS servers)
  • Terminal Service Web Access: Similar to Citrix Web Interface, this IIS Portal delivers RemoteApp Connection information to a client with the Remote Desktop 6.x Client.
  • Terminal Services Gateway: Similar to Citrix Secure Gateway, this feature provides RDP over HHTPS (443) traffic from DMZ to your trusted network.

Definitely check it out here

dinsdag, mei 15, 2007

VMware: May patches for ESX 3.0.1

VMware has released new patches for ESX 3.0.1:

ESX-4825991 Patch | 05/15/07 | Critical Patch
ESX-5095559 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-5140477 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-6657345 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-6704314 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-7281356 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-7302867 Patch | 05/15/07 | Critical Patch
ESX-7408807 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-7557441 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch

donderdag, april 26, 2007

Microsoft: Terminal Services Load Balancing in LH Beta 3

After announcing TS Easy Print, Microsoft made an even bigger announcement at BriForum Chicago: Longhorn will have Load Balancing! It goes to show, that Microsoft thinks really highly of BriForum A big compliment to Brian as far as I'm concerned! The Load Balancing capabilities will be included in Longhorn Beta 3 for the first time.

Read the article on Thincomputing here

VMware: TSX Nice 2007 presentations now available

The presentations from TSX Nice are available here

Microsoft: Longhorn Beta 3 and the UPD "Easy Print"

Longhorn (Terminal) Server will have its own "universal printer" functionality. It should be available (I have not checked it) in the Beta 3 Longhorn Server version (released & available for download NOW).

Microsoft calls it: Easy Print. It's based on the Microsoft XPS document standard (which is similar to PDF). The "Easy Print" feature of Longhorn server is quite comprehensive though and is more than just a universal print driver in that it:

  • Supports (nearly) every printer 
  • Compresses the data stream send to the TS Client 
  • Enables you to use the properties (UI) of the native printer driver 
  • Allow you to specify which printer gets redirected into your Longhorn TS Session

Tnx to for the info

zaterdag, april 21, 2007

VMware: definitive guide to ... VMware

Check out this post on VMTN forums! It has all the links/references/... you would ever dream of! Tnx to Arne for the info.

woensdag, april 18, 2007

VMware: PAM Password Aging in ESX 3.0.1

As you know, the service console for ESX 3.0 is a modified version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 Update 6.0. By default, a password aging & complexity policy is active. Password aging policies are set:

  • Maximum days = 90 days by default
  • Minimum days = 0 days (you can change your password whenever you want)
  • Warning time defaults to 7

Normally, the root and vpxuser have no password aging by default (value is –1).

You can disable the password aging policy as follows:

  • For all newly created users (disable globally):
    esxcfg-auth --passmaxdays=0 (or –1)
  • For existing users:
    chage -M -1 (or 0) <username>

dinsdag, april 17, 2007

VMware: VCB(mounter) "Error: Host unreachable"

Today I discovered that there is an issue with VCB(mounter) and .vmx/.vmdk placement.

For some reason, our P2V tool had placed all config files (.vmx, log files, etc.) on /vmfs/volumes/datastore 1/<Servername> and our .vmdk files on /vmfs/volumes/datastore 2/<Servername>. In a normal environment, config files and vmdk files are kept together.

As you can see in the screenshot, the initial snapshot gets created but no operations can be performed and a timeout occurs after 45 minutes.

vcbMounter created a snapshot, and placed the snapshot files by default in the /vmfs/volumes/datastore 1/<Servername> folder where our .vmx resides. For some reason, VCB(mounter) is not able to “find” our original .vmdk files.

You have 2 options in this scenario:

  1. If you don’t want to have your .vmx and your .vmdk files togheter: change the Virtual Machine Working Location from the location where the .vmx file resides to the datastore location where the .vmdk files reside and (re)add to the VirtualCenter inventory.

    This can be done by editing the .vmx file and adding the following parameter:
    workingDir = "/vmfs/volumes/454b27d2-f2172987-4798-0017085ce0dd/<ServerName>/"

    Note the UID notation, and not the linked name

  2. If you want your .vmx and .vmdk files together: migrate your VM using a “cold" migration and relocate your .vmx (configuration files) to the datastore where your .vmdk files reside (see also my previous article here). This is the easiest & fastest approach.

woensdag, april 11, 2007

VMware: Handy trick to rename a Virtual Machine

Just a quick trick. As you all know, you can rename a Virtual Machine in VirtualCenter. However, the name changes but the files (.vmdk, .vmx, etc.) still have their previous name. Renaming all filenames/references manually is a daunting & error prone task.

Just shut down your VM and migrate it to a different datastore. All relevant files/folders will be renamed! Isn’t that easy or what?

Microsoft: Multiple Password "Policies" in Longhorn Server

Geert Baeke has posted an interesting article on how to deploy multiple password "policies" with Longhorn April CTP build. Check it out here

donderdag, april 05, 2007

VMware: bundled patch ESX-6431040

Be aware of the fact that patch ESX-6431040 is a bundled tgz, so it will not work with the ESX autopatching scripts you can find in the community. The following patches are contained within this bundle:

  • ESX-1161870
  • ESX-3416571
  • ESX-5011126
  • ESX-7737432
  • ESX-7780490
  • ESX-8174018
  • ESX-8852210
  • ESX-9617902

I personally unpacked the main patch, repackaged all extracted patches (they have a normal patch structure and are extracted in subdirectories) and added them to my patches list.

woensdag, april 04, 2007

VMware: Running VirtualCenter in a VM

VMware has released a technical note on running VC in a VM. I personally don't like running VC in a VM, for the reasons covered in the technote. I do like the concept to P2V your existing physical VC (connected to an external SQL/Oracle DB) and use it in a DR scenario.

Some things to note when deploying VC in a VM:

  • You need to obtain a host-based license & an initial standalone ESX host, as you cannot boot your VC without a (host- or server-based) license :)
  • Shutting down/maintenance on your Virtual VirtualCenter can be tricky: you need to locate VC & connect to an ESX host to power on VC or change your hardware config for your VC.

Download it here

maandag, april 02, 2007

VMware: configuring a static MAC address in a VM

Sometimes it can be necessary to configure a static MAC address in a VM. A typical issue during P2V is an application that has its licensing based on the MAC address.

VMware has defined that VirtualCenter does not use the following range: 00:50:56:00:00:00 to 00:50:56:3F:FF:FF where 00:50:56 is the OUI.

The steps:

  1. Power off & remove the server from the VirtualCenter inventory. This is a necessary step, because VC will overwrite your settings during Power On!
  2. Edit the .vmx file and locate the following generated MAC address:
    Ethernet0.addressType =
    Ethernet0.generatedAddress =
  3. Change the value for ethernet0.addressType from “vpx” to “static”
  4. Change ethernet0.GeneratedAddress to ethernet0.Address
  5. Change the current MAC to a MAC address in the following range:
  6. In VirtualCenter, select an ESX host and go to storage
  7. Browse the data store & locate your VM
  8. Right-click on the .vmx file, and select Add to inventory
  9. Power On the server. Issue the command ipconfig /all and locate the VMware NIC. Your manually assigned MAC address should be there.

I know you can set your MAC address inside Windows, but I would avoid this.

vrijdag, maart 30, 2007

VMware: autopatching ESX with an FTP repository

Dominic Rivera from vmprofessional has posted a more advanced Perl script for patching different versions of ESX. He uses an FTP repository & does an MD5SUM check before installing the downloaded patch. Check it out here!

Sources are available:


Pre-compiled patchlist.txt

VizionCore: ESXReplicator beta 2.0 Update

I got a lot of reaction on my latest post. I said the following:

As does Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure, ESXReplicator makes use of VM snapshots on the source VM during replication

It is very important to note that there is a huge difference in the snapshot techniques used by Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure and VizionCore ESXReplicator.

Vizioncore only leverages snapshots during the replication cycle to free up the VMDK as they scan it. Replicator has it's own engine for the differential (cool huh?). This is very different to Double-Take that relies on a snapshot always being open.

VMware: New patches released

VMware released some new patches for ESX 3.0.1. Especially the ESX-1541239 is an interesting one, as it addresses a critical issue with Emulex HBA drivers.

ESX-1541239 Patch 03/29/07 Critical Patch
ESX-2257739 Patch 03/29/07 Critical Patch
ESX-2559638 Patch 03/29/07 Security Patch
ESX-6431040 Patch 03/29/07 Security Patch
ESX-9916286 Patch 03/29/07 Security Patch

maandag, maart 26, 2007

VizionCore: ESXReplicator 2.0 Beta 8 preview

EsxReplicator is a real-time replication solution for the VMware ESX Server environment. A beta is now available to the public with support for VI3. I must admit that I was fairly impressed by this beta version. VizionCore has done a great job. We had just 1 small problem after setup (a Next->Next->Finish install BTW).

OK, let’s check the necessary steps (besides installing the .msi):

The first step is to configure your SMTP settings, and fill out the recipient and from mail address. Also, you can set your VC Tree Expand Level (tree level expansion).

Then, next steps include adding, configuring and connecting to your VirtualCenter and/or ESX hosts.

Ok, now comes the fun part: replication. Just add a replication job via the GUI by selecting the appropriate VM and selecting Add Replication job or Assign a New Job.
A Replication Job Wizard is displayed. Note the intervals: a minimum of 15 minutes in between replication steps:

You can specify to disable quiescing, the target host and datastore. That’s about it!

You can see a nice progress summary when a job is executed. This is useful to quickly determine when & where a job failed.

Job details are shown after a replication process. Check out the giant clock! BTW, all replication job details are saved under C:\Program Files\vizioncore\esxReplicator\Logs folder.

Some remarks:

  • As you can see, this is a very simple and straightforward product
  • As does Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure, ESXReplicator makes use of VM snapshots on the source VM during replication
  • ESXReplicator did not detect that my VM was already on the same LUN as the to-be- copied replication, so my replication job failed.
  • Also, a 2nd server with the name SR-LIC01 was added to the inventory. So effectively, we had 2 SR-LIC01’s in our VC inventory! Not a good thing and something that Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure does not allow to happen (it registers the VM for a brief period and then removes it from the inventory).
  • We saw a rather high impact on the service console (CPU0 and vmnic0), but this is normal considering it is an ESX to ESX host action.
  • It looks like ESXReplicator is VMotion aware, nice!

Conclusion: VizionCore ESXReplicator 2.0 for VI3 looks like a very promising product. It is simple & easy to use.

HP: Data Protector VCB integration packet for VI3

For those using HP Data Protector as a backup solution: HP finally released a VCB/script toolkit for use with VI3

This package contains the scripts and the document describing the integration of VMware Consolidated Backup 3.0.1 snapshot capabilities with HP Storage Data Protector 5.5 and 6.0.

Download it here

dinsdag, maart 20, 2007

VMware: SAN System Design & Deployment Guide

I just noticed that VMware has released a new guide on designing & deploying ESX on a SAN. It's a fine read.
Download it here

vrijdag, maart 09, 2007

VMware: Beware patch 2

Some installation remarks on patch 2 for VirtualCenter. These are the experiences of the guys on the VMware forums and myself :)

  • Make sure to disable HA and DRS when patching your VirtualCenter. Otherwise, some ESX host may become disconnected from VirtualCenter.
  • Make sure to upgrade your VI Client! The new VI Client (build 40644) is NOT backwards compatible. I saw weird stuff happening when using the new VI Client on the patch 1 VirtualCenter release!!
  • Check your VPXA agent version after the installation (issue vpxa –v). The new version should be VMware VirtualCenter Agent Daemon 2.0.1 build-40644 (was 33643). If not and your ESX host shows a disconnected state in VC, start to panic :). Or just install it manually by running 'service mgmt-vmware restart' at the console. Reconnect the ESX host.
  • License location has changed from C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware License Server\vmware.lic to C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware License Server\Licenses\vmware.lic. I had to reboot the license server.
  • Last but not least: Don’t click Yes when asked to overwrite the data. It will wipe out your DB!

VMware: (Auto)patching your ESX host

As you all know, patching an ESX host is not exactly fun. VMware has promised to deliver a better patching system in their new version (ESX 3.1 and VC 2.1). In the meantime, we have to make sure that our ESX hosts are patched. In this post, I will use an IIS repository to deploy ESX patches from a central server (well, its not a push but rather a pull technology).

A special thanks goes out to Arne who wrote an article (in Dutch) on his excellent ictfreak blog on configuring IIS for ESX patches. I decided to use it and add a Perl script and a patchList to make the process more manageable.

First part: installing & configuring IIS
  1. Create a folder called VIPatches
  2. Download all patches from the VMware site
  3. Extract them to the VIPatches folder. It should look something like this:

  4. In the VIPatches, create a file called patchesList.txt with the relevant patch numbers IN THE CORRECT ORDER. Make sure no additional carriage returns are available after the final patch (in our case 3199476).
  5. Install IIS
  6. Go to IIS manager and create a new website. Call it VIPatches (or something similar)
  7. Change the port number to a free port (example: port 8082)
  8. Make sure to browse to the correct folder (in our case E:\VIPatches) and to activate Directory browsing

  9. On the directory security tab: make sure Anonymous logon is selected.
  10. On the HTTP Headers tab, MIME Types button: add .* and ‘application/octet-stream’
  11. Browse with your preferred internet browser to http://<servername>:8082/VI3Patches. You should be able to see all patches.
Second part: configuring & patching your ESX host
  1. Use the Service Console
  2. Open the appropriate firewall port by issuing the following command (depending on your configured port in IIS):
    esxcfg-firewall -o 8082,tcp,out,httpClient
  3. Create (touch) a script under /tmp called (or create it on a central location so you can copy it to all your ESX hosts with WinSCP or FastSCP).
  4. Open with nano (or vim) and add the following content:
    # -- auto update esx perl script
    # by Vincent Vlieghe
    # Version 6/03/2007

    use LWP::Simple;

    $patchlist = get 'http://<yourservername>:8082/patchesList.txt';
    @array = split(/\n/, $patchlist);
    foreach $item (@array)
    print $item;
    $item = trim($item);
    $cmdQuery = "esxupdate query | grep ESX-$item";
    if(system($cmdQuery) == 0)
    print "\n$item is already installed - skipping\n";
    print "\n$item is not yet installed - installing\n";
    $cmdUpdate = "esxupdate -n -r http://<yourservername>:8082/ESX-$item update";
    sub trim($)
    my $string = shift;
    $string =~ s/^\s+//;
    $string =~ s/\s+$//;
    return $string;
  5. Replace <yourservername> with the IIS servername. Make sure the ESX host can contact it (check your DNS!).
  6. Make sure your ESX host is running in maintenance mode.
  7. Run the script by issuing perl Watch and enjoy!
  8. Reboot your ESX host when all updates are installed.

dinsdag, maart 06, 2007

VMware: new patches available for ESX 3.0.1

Some new ESX 3.0.1 patches are available. Update ESX-3199476 adds support for using Microsoft Clustering Server (MSCS) with Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP 1) and R2 Guest Operating Systems.

There are now a total of 20 patches available for download. BTW: High on my ESX agenda is: creating some general (Perl) script and a (virtual) update server for easier maintenance. Why? Because installing 20 updates for every existing/new server introduced in the environment is a pain in the ***. Download them here

VMware: VCB & existing snapshots

Just a quick note here for people using VCBMounter / VCB: VCB does NOT support existing snapshots. We noticed a delay of 5 minutes during the (manual) execution of the VCBMounter command initialization & the actual snapshot failure. This results in a disconnected ESX host in VirtualCenter (30 seconds disconnect). This also means that the snapshot backup didn’t work.

You actually lose some functionality (namely: creating snapshots before an upgrade/service pack & testing it for a number of days before committing the snapshot). Something for VCB 2.0 maybe?

zaterdag, maart 03, 2007

VMware: VirtualCenter 2.0.1 Patch 2 (Build 40644)

VirtualCenter 2.0.1 Patch 2 (Build 40644) resolves a variety of issues and includes several improvements:

  • Database Issues
  • License-Handling Improvements
  • Performance, Performance-Reporting, and Related Issues
  • Other Issues

I would suggest to download the patch here & install it. I know I will ASAP!

vrijdag, maart 02, 2007

Microsoft: Hypervisor - Windows Server Virtualization Demo

For those who can't wait to see MS Server Virtualization in action, check out this little demo movie on Arlindo's blog (MSFT Belgium). If they can do what they promise (hot add almost all components, etc.), then VMware has some catching up to do :)

VMware: VMware Server 1.0.2 released

For those using VMware Server: a new maintenance update, 1.0.2, is now available for download. This update fixes numerous bugs. Check the release notes here

Citrix: CPS 4.5 first impressions: installation

Well hmmm, the installation process has not really changed since MPS 4.0. It uses the same installation screens to connect/create your IMA datastore, configure XML ports, etc.. This is what I have noticed during installation:

The prerequisites have changed a bit:

  • You can only install CPS 4.5 on Windows 2003 (x86 or x64)
  • Access Management Console now uses .Net Framework 2.0 (was .Net 1.1)
  • Java JRE 1.5 (was Java 1.4)

  • Visual J# .Net 2.0

The new Access Management Console is to replace the (Java based) Presentation MC. From now on, applications are published from within this console. Also, the new Access Management Console is now divided into a number of separately installed components:

What I didn’t understand is the fact that you can still choose to install the Standard Edition. The Standard Edition does not exist anymore… Confusing??

This is new: you can now Enable IMA encryption during the installation of CPS 4.5.

The IMA encryption feature provides a more robust AES encryption algorithm. IMA encryption is a farm-wide setting. If you enable IMA encryption during Citrix Presentation Server installation, each server you add to the farm has IMA encryption enabled. To enable IMA encryption during installation, you must generate a key, which is used for all the servers in your farm, and specify that key during Setup. You can generate the key before Setup or during Setup.

Citrix: Application Streaming Internals

With the release of CPS 4.5, Citrix has updated its documentation library on One of the documents that caught my eye is Citrix Application Streaming Internals. It is more like a white paper/getting started guide and is worth the read.

This white paper provides you with details about profiling and Citrix Streaming Profiler internals for Citrix Presentation Server 4.5. It is one of a series of white papers designed to provide you with more detailed information beyond the scope of the Citrix Application Streaming Guide included with the Presentation Server documentation.

Download it here

donderdag, maart 01, 2007

VMware: Best practices for deploying Citrix on ESX

First and foremost: this tuning list is my own experience and the experience of several users on the VMware forum. Your mileage may vary.

The goods:

  • Virtual Infrastructure 3
  • Windows 2003 Std (or Enterprise) Edition R2 (x86, not x64)
  • Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 (yes, I know, the old one ;))

The tips:

  • First this: it all depends on the applications used! Context switches is the key here...
  • Use Windows 2003, not Windows 2000
  • Don’t P2V your servers, but use clean templates
  • Make sure the correct HAL (single or multi) is installed in the virtual machine. Otherwise, your vCPU will spike.
  • Always assign 1vCPU. If necessary, add a 2nd vCPU. Do not use 4 vCPUs!
  • Use 2 GB to start. Scale up to +-4 GB of vRAM if necessary
  • Use 1 .vmdk for your system partition (C:\ or other remapped drive letter) and 1 separate .vmdk for your program files.
  • Put the page file on the 2nd .vmdk
  • Important: disconnect any .iso file in your virtual CD-Rom
  • Use roaming profiles and cleanup your profiles at logoff
  • Disable sound for your published apps
  • Install the UPH service (download it here)
  • User sessions: for me, 30 users on a VM is the sweet spot. Do not expect to get as many users on it as on a physical box!
  • Scale out, not up. A major advantage of VM is to clone/NewSID/sysprep existing servers and put them into your existing Citrix farm. Just stop & disable your IMA service, clean up your RMLocalDB (if you use enterprise) and NewSid the thing. Refer to this support article for more info.
  • Use dual core or quad core systems. This because ESX will have more CPU to schedule its vCPUs on.
  • Don’t ever use a 2 vCPU Citrix virtual machine in a 2 pCPU physical machine!
  • Do not install the memory ballooning driver while installing the VMware Tools
  • Do not use a complete installation Vmware tools: there is an issue with roaming profiles and the shared folders component. See my previous article for more info.
  • Disable COM ports, hyperthreading, visual effects & use speedscreen technology where possible.
  • Use snapshots when installing applications or patching your servers (yes! With VMware you can do this!). In case of disaster, you can still revert to the original working server without using backups. Make sure all snapshots are removed ASAP when finished!
  • Always check that there are no snapshot leftovers (f.e. the infamous _VCB-BACKUP_ when using VCB)
  • Don’t forget you can use DRS rules to run your citrix servers on separate physical hosts.
  • Check out this vmworld 2006 presentation
  • And last but not least: do not forget to read ESX's (excellent) performance tuning white paper.

Citrix: Presentation Server 4.5 available NOW

Presentation Server 4.5 is available now for download on Download and test!

woensdag, februari 28, 2007

VMware: VCB troubleshooting "guide"

SearchServerVirtualization has a nice (basic) article on VCB troubleshooting. It explains what error messages you can (and will :) ) encounter and what you can do to fix it.

One of our large customers is using VCB. We created a custom script using PowerShell and Perl to automate backup to disk (so no backup to tape because it would be to slow). We use Perl to enumerate all running VMs in VirtualCenter (see for more info on this). Then we use PowerShell to leverage the VCBMounter command on the VCB server and capture the verbose log files (switch -L 6) to get as much information as possible.

Citrix: Office 2007 vs Office 2003 performance

Want to know how well Office 2007 performs on a SBC platform? Check this article that states that the impact on the CPU is significant compared to Office 2003. I wonder how well this will run in a Citrix VM...

Thanks to Wilco for the link!

dinsdag, februari 27, 2007

Microsoft: Virtualization licensing round-up

For those who are not aware: I decided to post a short round-up list on MS "virtualization" licensing.

  • Windows 2003 R2 Datacenter edition: unlimited number of VMs with Windows 2003 Datacenter edition can be deployed on 1 physical host.
  • Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition: up to 4 instances/ Virtual Machines can be used with 1 single Enterprise license on 1 physical host
  • SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition SP2: an unlimited number of virtual instances can be run on servers that are fully licensed for SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition.
  • Virtual Server 2005 R2: free (SP1 coming up shortly)
  • Windows Vista Enterprise Edition (?): up to 4 VM instances with 1 license (not yet confirmed). This would be great for VDI!

The main question here is: in a world where we use VMotion (and soon: Live Migration for Windows Server Virtualization) to do hot migrations between different physical hosts, how can we keep track of these "free" instances? Is it still useful to look at the (single) physical host level? Should we buy a separate datacenter/SQL/Enterprise license per server? IMHO, this is nearly impossible to maintain and not intuitive...

BTW: Exchange Server 2007 (= x64 only) is not yet supported in a VM, so no "free" virtual licenses (yet).

VMware: MSA 1000/1500cs optimal config (Active/Passive)

When configuring an MSA 1000 or 1500cs, use the following recommendations/guidelines (this for Active/passive or single controller setups):

  • Make sure you have the recommended firmware version. Currently, for MSA 1500cs this is version 5.10. Minimum version is 5.02. Minimum version for MSA 1000 is 4.48 (is also the recommended version).
  • Make sure Selective Storage Presentation is enabled (can be done via the ACU) and the Host Mode for your HBA connections is set to Linux (NOT default). This is true for VMFS and RDM LUNs. Mode can also be set via the command line.
  • The Array rebuild should be set to "High"
  • Make sure all shelves (MSA 30 or MSA 20) are populated with at least 1 RAID set and not left empty.
  • Make sure all disks have the latest firmware. This is important (disk threshold metering). Some customers have witnessed problems where disk status was presented as green. However, the disk had failed causing the MSA (or EVA) to fail completely.
  • HP recommends assigning a dedicated I/O module to each enclosure.

HP has a SAN Best Practices paper for VI3. Download it here. Also, make sure to read the Storage SAN compatibility guide

zondag, februari 25, 2007

Citrix: Client package 10 & streaming client now available

Citrix has released the new version of there ICA client package, 10. This version is used with CPS 4.5 (to be released in march).

Windows Vista is officially supported now. The majority of the known issues experienced with Presentation Server clients 9.x on Vista have been resolved. For more information, refer to Knowledge Base article CTX112067, Microsoft Windows Vista - Known Issues.

The Citrix Presentation Server Client Package is a three-in-one package of ICA clients. Based on Windows Installer technology (.msi), the client package provides an easy-to-use wizard that guides one through the installation and configuration steps for any or all of these individual clients:

  • Program Neighborhood
  • Program Neighborhood Agent
  • Web Client

The Citrix Streaming Client is a new client introduced with the Presentation Server 4.5 release. This client is used when Streaming Applications to the Desktop.

Download it here

vrijdag, februari 16, 2007

Microsoft: Vista Enterprise released

Microsoft has released the Enterprise version of Vista (x86 and x64 version). It makes use of the new VA 2.0/MAK (Volume Activation 2.0/Multiple Activation Key) as Volume License Key system.

Gone are the days where you could install XP on VMware Workstation and test/snapshot/copy/delete/play/etc. with it. You have to activate this one :). Only a number of activations is allowed. I'm assuming they will use the same Licensing mechanism for Windows Server 2007 (Longhorn).

Download (and activate ;)) it now on

donderdag, februari 15, 2007

Citrix: Hotfix Rollup Pack R03 released

Just a quick note here: Citrix has just released the next Rollup pack for CPS 4.0 and AE 1.0 & 1.5. Download it here

dinsdag, februari 13, 2007

Citrix: Presentation Server 4.5 released

OK guys, Citrix has launched Presentation Server 4.5. However, it is not available for download yet.

Brian Madden has an excellent article on his blog. It looks like Citrix will drop the Standard Edition and will launch a new version called "Presentation Server Platinum Edition" (what's in the name).

A remarkable thing is that it will support 500 users per server (!). This would need a powerful server + an x64 edition on it for sure.

Citrix: Wilco reviews Ardence

Wilco van Bragt has written a good review on OS streaming/virtualization with Ardence (recently acquired by Citrix). Check it out on Wilco's blog

dinsdag, februari 06, 2007

VMware: vmhba display bug in VI Client

Be aware that there is a bug in the VI client that shows strange HBA/SP configurations after doing a rescan. In our screenshot below, only 2 targets (0 & 1) are configured. However, an (empty) 3rd target is shown:

To avoid confusing, use the esxcfg-mpath -l command to display all available SAN volumes, there paths & policy.

woensdag, januari 31, 2007

VMware: Converter Enterprise Review

We got our hands on the Converter Enterprise License & download RTM, so I guess it is time to write a small (first impressions) review...

OK, VMware Converter (Enterprise) is cool. But we already knew that... I tested a migration with the coldclone.iso (WinPE environment, offline P2V) mounted as virtual media via ILO. Works like a charm. It looks similar to the online version, but it does not have (duh..) the license part. Instead, a network configuration item is available to change IP/DNS/WINS settings or map a network drive.

You can also use the PETool to add extra drivers to the WinPE environment.

During the conversion wizard, you can select disk layouts, add/remove any detected disks, resize disks, install VMware Tools, reSID the VM, rename the VM, select the appropriate datastore, etc. The usual stuff, actually.

If you would like to use the online version, just install the application and activate the license (via Administration => License Information). The license must be created via the vmware licensing website. A VmwareSoftware.lic file (host-based) is created in the same format (FlexLM) as a "real" VI3 host- or server-based license:

INCREMENT P2V_ENTERPRISE VMWARELM 3.0 permanent uncounted \
VENDOR_STRING=licenseType=production;count=-1 HOSTID=ANY \
ISSUED=26-Jan-2007 NOTICE=FulfillmentId=123456 SIGN="1234 1234 \
1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 \
1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 \
1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 "

After installing the license, you have an unlimited set of concurrent tasks (allrighty!) and a new source type is available: A remote machine. License information also states that the expiry date is set to <never expire>. As you can see, the .lic file can be used on HOSTID=ANY and is uncounted and permanent.

However, I noticed some problems/disadvantages using the bootCD:

  • No vCPU & memory selection possible.
  • It takes a (very) long time for the P2V process to take off
  • You cannot select NIC speed & duplex settings (!) when performing an offline P2V. In some environments (including ours) this can result in terrible copy performance, as autonegotiate might set the NIC to half duplex 10/100...
  • The memory is not set correctly in the newly created VM, I had 1024 Mb RAM physical memory, the VM only had 1020... (but is a known issue)
  • The help file states RC1_help ;)

This is just a first impression, and I didn't RTFM. It does not compare to PlateSpin PowerConvert's "power", but is definitely a good option for P2V migrations... A nice addition to the P2V arsenal.

Ow, and BTW, VMware P2V Assistant is dead ;)

maandag, januari 29, 2007

VMware: VMware Converter 3.0 is available

VMware Converter 3.0 has just been released. This is a great tool for P2V & conversions. Download the free starter edition here.

VMware Converter can be run on a wide variety of hardware and supports most commonly used versions of the Microsoft Windows operating systems.

vrijdag, januari 26, 2007

VMware: performance tuning technote

Check out this new white paper on performance tuning best practices for ESX. There is a ton of info in this document! A must read if you ask me.

General: To Do list for this year

I made a short To Do list for this year. 2007 will be thé virtualization year (or so they say ;)). So stay tuned for reviews/tips/tricks/...

  • Citrix Prestentation Server 4.5 (Project "Ohio"): testing the new features.
  • Running Citrix on VMware: best practices
  • SVS vs. Citrix streaming server (tarpon) vs. Microsoft Softgrid. Should be interesting to see how Citrix tarpon positions itself amongst the key players in the application virtualization field. To be reviewed soon!
  • Citrix Access Gateway 4.5: a collegue of mine is implementing the CAG Advanced edition (with AAC & endpoint checking), so I will definitely check this one out.
  • Beta 3 of Longhorn Server (aka Windows Server 2007) is coming! Beta 3 of Longhorn Server is expected to be feature complete and will be tweaked only for performance and quality control before the first release candidates. Excellent! I am really looking forward to test all new Terminal Services features & related policies/components.
  • VMware Converter (to be released soon)
  • VMware Workstation 6 (now in beta)
  • The new beta programs for ESX (ESX 3.1 and VC 2.1)
  • ESXpress versus VizionCore ESXranger 3.0 (with VCB integrated).
  • VDI: Citrix desktop broker, LeoStream Virtual Desktop Connection Broker & friends 
  • And last but not least: Microsoft Server Virtualization!

dinsdag, januari 16, 2007

VMware: snapshots and deleted .vmdk

Ever wondered what would happen if you would remove & delete an attached disk from a (multi-)snapshotted VM? So did we :). When you try to power it on, nothing will happen and the "power on virtual machine" task in VC will time-out.

Fix this by going to the Snapshot Manager and selecting "Delete All". Power on & you're good to go!

maandag, januari 15, 2007

VMware: replacing HBA drivers on HP Proliant servers

After installing the HP Management Agents for VMware ESX Server 3.x (latest version is 7.7.0), no HBAs are visible in the HP Management Homepage. We use Emulex as an example:

  1. Navigate to the Emulex website and download the latest LPfcUtil (lpfcutil-7.3.2.tgz for ESX 3.0.1)
  2. Untar this tgz in the /tmp folder on your ESX host: tar -zxvf lpfcutil-7.3.2.tgz
  3. Stop the hpsmhd & hpasm agents by issuing the commands: service hpsmhd stop & service hpasm stop from the service console
  4. Navigate to /opt/Compaq/storage/bin and enter mv This creates a backup of the file
  5. Navigate to /tmp and execute the following command ./
  6. Start the hpsmhd & hpasm agents by issuing the commands: service hpsmhd start & service hpasm start from the service console
  7. Check the HP Management Homepage by going to https://<servername>:2381 . A new item under Storage, “External Storage Connections”, should now be visible!

VMware: add local user bug in VI client

Just a quick note here when connecting to an ESX server stand-alone host (NOT the VirtualCenter server) with the VI Client: you cannot use * as a password character when adding a local user. You will receive the following error:

Use the following commands on the console instead:

useradd username
passwd username

vrijdag, januari 12, 2007

Citrix: 20-second delay with folder redirection

When deploying Windows 2003 SP1 hosts as Citrix servers AND when using folder redirection in a GPO, a delay of 20 seconds will appear during logon. This is a known issue and will be solved in Windows 2003 Service Pack 2 (now in RC). Read this Microsoft support article for more info. There is also a hotfix available via Microsoft support. Thomas Koetzing has a link to the (unofficial) hotfix here.

You can notice this behaviour when unabling UserEnvDebugLevel (see a previous article) on your Citrix server. Look for the following entries in the debug log file:

USERENV(1944.2a68) 10:50:30:964 UserPolicyCallback:
Setting status UI to Applying personal document settings...
USERENV(1944.2a68) 10:50:50:261 UserPolicyCallback:
Setting status UI to Applying personal document settings...

donderdag, januari 04, 2007

VMware: Workstation 6 first impressions

Ah, I love new releases. VMware WS 6 beta is no exception. There are tons of new (useful) features available. Included is the new VMware Converter (also in beta now). You can now import almost any format!

I really like the mapping of a vmdk in your host. It maps a drive like a network share (say Y:) and you can copy files into/out of the folders. Oh yes, shared folders are now disabled by default, so be aware of that. Also, you can only map a drive when the VM is shutdown. Do not forget to Disconnect it afterwards.

Another great feature is running VMs in the background.

I also like the Change Virtual Machine Version feature they included. You can convert your machines to be WS 5 or 6 compatible & back. USB 2.0, 8 Gb memory & 10 ethernet devices. Wow, why on earth would you need 10 ethernet devices in a VM :)??

Upgrade VMware tools anyone? Finally they got this one right.

Hmmm, hmmmm. I REALLY like this feature: the working directory.

From now on, for performance reasons we will be using 2 external USB drives instead of just one. One for the VMDK files (and friends), the other for our suspend and snapshot files. Great.

There are tons of other little things & features. Just check them out yourself by downloading WS 6 here! I'm glad I did.