Upload MS Sysprep files to VMware vCSA

After re-installation of my homelab, I decided it was time to use the VMware vCSA instead of the Windows based vCenter Server. Doing some testing on Infinio and , I wanted to install some windows XP machines. After creating a XP template I wanted to use the wizard to customize the XP installations but got the following message:

sysprep1 click to enlarge

In the old days this was rather easy to solve, but with the VMware vCSA appliance I wasn’t so sure… During my google search, the first I came across was this article this article by Hugo Phan, and this solved the problem.

But then when I logged into the mgmt interface of the vCSA https://FQDN-vCSA:5480 I noticed there is another way also. Let me explain:

First log on to your vCSA. When logged in, on the first window (vCenter server – summary) you’ll find sysprep files and the upload button:

sysprep2 click to enlarge

In the sysprep files upload window first choose the windows OS of choice, and then choose files:

sysprep3 click to enlarge

Make sure all files from the deploy.cab are uploaded to the sysprep folder on the vCSA, and click close:


In the post from hugo you can find the links for the OS’es that need the sysprep files (from windows Vista and newer OS’es sysprep is build in), so make sure you’ll read that post as well.

Post Hugo:


Accelerate Cloud storage with Avere FXT

Using the cloud as your NAS Filer will most of the time end up with poor performing applications and complaining users. Avere Systems FXT and Avere OS (AOS) could be the solution for this problem. Using the Avere edge filer cluster capabilities and use it in front of the Amazon’s AWS S3 cloud storage (public Cloud) or the Cleversafe’s object Storage (S3 API) solution as the core filer should give you the flexibilty and performance you need while still being manageble. Let’s have a closer look on how this works.

First, take a look at this video of Ron Bianchini, President and CEO at Avere Systems talking about the Avere Cloud NAS solution on SFD4.

A Brief Avere History

Avere accelerates your NAS system by putting an edge filer in front of an core filer (any NAS filer). In version 1.0, which was released around 3 years ago, Avere introduced their hardware solution as well as a software solution (AOS) on top of their Edge filer (containing RAM, SSD and SAS) to accelerate the operations performance. As well as linear performance scaling through clustering multiple edge filers. The core filers are then capacity (SATA and NL-SAS) and can be any 3rd party NAS (EMC, Oracle, NetApp, all others or a whitebox) and are responsible for data protection as well as compliance functions.

how-it-works-text-web (Click to enlarge)

While AOS 1.0 was a revolutionary step in NAS performance optimizing the Avere customer base wanted the ability to support multiple core filers from multiple vendors. AOS 2.0 was released 2 years ago and gave the Avere customers a heterogeneous solution through a Global Name Space (GNS). The opportunity to add multiple vendor filers through an NFS mountpoint to add them to the GNS.

The next question the Avere customers had was to be able to manage all filers through one management interface, which Avere released with AOS version 3.0. FlashMove is used to transparently move data between Core filers, while FlashMirror gives the Avere customer the opportunity to replicate between multiple core filers. More information on this later.

In their latest AOS 4.0 (which is still in Beta) Avere introduces the possiblity to an Object Store as a core filer. At this moment AWS S3 (S3 API), EMC Atmos (S3 API) and Cleversafe (S3 API) are supported. In a later stadium Rackspace, HP and Openstack (Swift) will be supported as well. With AOS 4.0 FlashCloud you can dynamically add public and privat cloud solutions (object storage) to the Global Name System (GNS).

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 22.07 (click to enlarge)

FlashMove and FlashMirror

FlashMove gives you the ability to move data without interruption. By taking advantage of the Avere Global Name System functionality data can be migrated between core NAS filers (or Cloud/Object Storage) by serving active data to the clients through the FXT cluster while moving the data between core filers. This gives you the possibilty to move your data from the filers to the cloud without downtime.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 20.27

FlashMirror makes sure data is mirrored between a primary and a secundary core NAS Filers. Keeping them both in sync by sending updates in parallel to both core NAS filers. FlashMirror offloads the replication-processing load from the storage and supports clustering to scale replication performance. FlashMirror is easy to install in existing environments and is a storage-side replication solution that works with all NAS vendors, which makes it one of a kind.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 20.45

A3 Architecture

The A3 Architecture is an architecture build by the creators of a wide variaty of File Systems like the Andrew File System, Spinnaker File Sytem, NetApp Data ONTAP and others. The A3 architecture is build on three innovations:

  1. Tiered File System
  2. Scale-Out Clustering
  3. Virtualization and Visualization

Tiered File System

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 14.04

The Tiered File System(TFS) is responsible for the placement of active data on the RAM, SSD, and HDD media on to the FXT cluster and is resposible for the placement of inactive data on the Core filer(s). It makes sure data is monitored through allocation algorithms so data can be managed and allocated in the right way to increase performance. TFS provides NFSv3 and SMB to the client/server side, and NFSv3 to the Core Filer(s) side.

Scale-out clustering

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 14.04

The Avere FXT cluster provides great performance scaling and High Availabilty. A cluster can excist of up to 50 FXT appliances which can deliver millions of operations/sec and tens of gigabytes/sec throughput. Active data is balanced across the FXT cluster to avoid hot spots and so that resources are shared and scalable. With the High Availability (N+1) functionality data is available even in the event of outage.

Virtualization and Visualization

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 14.04

Using Avere’s Global Name Space (GNS) the FXT appliance provides File System Virtualization. This enables a customer to managing multiple vendor NAS systems through a single pain of glass and presenting all data to the clients through a single mountpoint. Visibilty is provided through a statistics through grapical interface. It provides the customer with the needed insight in the operations of the NAS environment which includes the clients/server side and the storage side. This can also be monitored by 3rd-party products through the SNMP and XML-RPC interfaces.

Avere your Cloud

Avere gives their customers the possibilty to keep the “hot” data on the local FXT cluster, close to the user while the FXT cluster “talks” over WAN links with the Core Filer(s) in a private and/or public cloud. When “cold” data becomes written a couple of times, it will be promoted to the FXT cluster so users don’t struggle with performance. This results in much better application performance and data consistency.

CloudDiagram2v2 (click to enlarge)

Giving users a single pain of glass to manage the storage server across multiple datacenter and storage providers Avere FXT clusters are a very effecient way to make sure your filer is manageble, and meets the performance needs of your company. Leveraging Cloud and making sure you’re multiple vendor NAS infrastructure is manageble is one thing, giving blazing fast performance with it is just awesome.

Avere at SFD4.

As the video above is only one of the 3 video’s of Avere Systems at Storage Field Day 4, here are the other 2:

Ron Bianchini’s Overview of Avere Systems

Avere Systems Use Cases

Other websites to keep in mind (click to open):

The official Storage Field Day 4 site

The official Avere Systems TFD sponsor site

The official Avere Systems website

The Pack Rat (Stephen Foskett) Scaling Storage In Conventional Arrays

The Pack Rat (Stephen Foskett) Scale-out NAS Field Day

Hans De Leenheer #SFD4 – Vendor 8: Avere

Chris Wahl: Avere’s Edge-Core Architecture Beefs Up Tired, Hoopty NAS Storage

Live stream and Agenda for SFD4

In about half an hour we’ll start with Storage Field Day 4 (CloudByte will kick-off the event). I’ll put up a live feed on this site, and hope you’ll join the conversation. When you have a question about the company presenting make sure you’ll give us (the delegates) a tweet which includes the hashtag #SFD4 and one of us will ask the question for you.

Here’s the link where you can follow us:

Looking forward to your questions. So please join the conversation. For the people who wants to pick the presentation they are really interested in, us this calender:

GestaltIT SFD4 Calender