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 libdfc.so libdfc.so.bak. This creates a backup of the file libdfc.so
  5. Navigate to /tmp and execute the following command ./Install.sh
  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.