PSOD vSphere 5.5 U2 HP BL460c Gen8 v2

After an upgrade to our HP BL460c Gen8 blades we had multiple blades showing a Purple Screen of Death (See screenshot)

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In our environment we have multiple DC’s as well as multiple versions of the HP BL series blades. Multiple adminstrators across multiple DC’s experienced the same problem. The problem only seems to affect the latest HP BL460c Gen8 v2 series (as far as we can tell), but it might be other vendors with Intel Haswell Xeon v2 CPU’s might be affected as well (please let me know if you’re having the same problems on other hardware).

We decided to roll the affected servers back to 5.5 U1 and wait for a solution but Frank Büchsel (@fbuechsel) of fbuechsel.eu provided me with following workaround. In the BIOS when you turn of the Intel VT-D option, your server will start without trouble:

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Thanks Frank!

VMware is working hard to process the logfiles and making sure this problem is solved ones and for all! Keep you updated on the status. If you have a solution or questions/answers please give us a tweet or something!

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VMware PEX, PernixData FVP 1.5 and Atlantis ILIO USX

There’s always a lot of gossip around VMware Partner EXchange (PEX), and it’s not any different during this years edition. It all started about 2 weeks ago when Joe Kovar at CRN posted: VMware Limits Some Storage Vendors Presence At VMware PEX. In the post Joe told us that VMware asked Nutanix and Veeam were asked to stay away from PEX, which VMware hosts this week in San Francisco. My good friend Hans de Leenheer did another post on this: VMware uses its right to bear arms! where the replies are of most interest to me… I’m not choosing sites, but Nutanix and Veeam not being present on this Partner Event is very strange, but as always there are most likely two sites of the story…

PernixData announcement

During the event PernixData their Flash Virtualization Platform (FVP) 1.5 software, which includes support for vSphere 5.5, the vSphere webclient and as a result they now support the whole VMware vSphere 5.x family. The way PernixData describes the 1.5 release is:

  • Robust vSphere Support: With FVP supporting VMware vSphere 5.0 to 5.5 now, a customer has the oppertunity to choose the VMware release of their choice.
  • Seamless management through vSphere Web Client: With VMware moving more and towards the Web Client and away from the vCenter Client this move by PernixData is great. Being able to manage you’re complete vSphere environment including the PernixData through the Web Client is a great achievement.
  • Seamless deployment: Installing FVP within ESXi can be done quickly (within 20 minutes) without changes and reboots needed to the VM’s, the hosts or primary storage.
  • Clustered platform compatible with all VMware Operations: It’s important if you’re implementing new software to make sure your normal operation will not be compromised. PernixData FVP 1.5 uses it’s patent pending Flash Cluster Technology to support all VMware operations and products like vMotion, HA, DRS, VDP, SRM, Horizon View and vCloud Director. Making sure you can keep on using VMware vSphere, but in a way you never experienced before.

For a great post on the PernixData FVP 1.5 release please read this post by Chris Wahl: Man Alive! PernixData Unleashes FVP 1.5

And don’t forget to visit PernixData.com and do a trial.

Atlantis Computing announcement

Another big announcement was done by Atlantis Computing during PEX. Atlantis announced their ILIO USX software. Atlantis released the ILIO software a couple of years ago. With the ILIO software Atlantis uses the server RAM to build an in memory storage solution providing Real-Time Compression, Inline Deduplication, Thin provisioning and Fast Clone solutions. Let’s dive a little deeper into the ILIO USX solution

As a VMware consultant I see a lot of customers struggle with the rapid growth of their virtual environments. While more and more application being virtualized, a lot of the customers are struggling with the right buck for the money. Not all environments are greenfield (duh…) and investments made in the near past need to be taken in account when making sure that an enviroment performs the way it should. As already said not everything is greenfield, but in some cases building a new environment along side the “old” one provides the oppertunity to make use of new players on the market like Nutanix and Simplivity. But wait a second, if they can build this, wouldn’t it be possible to this myself also? Yes, with Atlantis ILIO USX you can.

Using their unique In-Memory Storage Technology Atlantis is able to create an In-Memory very high performance solution, but still leverage the underlying storage solution a customer already uses. With the need of an NFS share for the front end, one might think it might need a very large NFS share and let the tiering be done by the storage solution, with USX you have the possibilty to choose the need for storage is seperated, or as Atlantis calls it: “Application Defined Storage Volumes”:

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The release is already available, but one must remember that this is a 1.0 release. There are multiple improvements coming in the near future, including :

  • QOS – Quality Of Service (A very cool feature if you ask me)
  • Snapshotting
  • Backup/Archiving
  • DR/Replication

There still are two things that are really cool with ILIO USX:

  • Working alongside VMware Virtual SAN. Where most “caching solution” vendors are looking at ways to talk bad about VMware’s Virtual SAN whereever possible, Atlantis ILIO USX proves it can work with VMware Virtual SAN just fine. More information can be found here: VMware Virtual SAN with Atlantis ILIO USX
  • Working with IBM (the new IBM X6 series) that supports the Diablo UltraDIIMM technology shows the great possiblilties Atlantis ILIO USX offers. With Flash technology provided to leverage the memory channel interface lateny can be in nano seconds in stead of microseconds. And not have to worry of dataloss in case of a system outage…

Awesome annoucements if you ask me, and more then worthy of reading more on this. So here are a couple of posts by my fellow bloggers:

Luca Dell’Oca: Atlantis launches USX. In memory storage for your VMware environment

Marcel van den Berg: Atlantis releases Unified Software Defined Storage ILIO USX

Marco Broeken: Atlantis ILIO USX, In-Memory Performance for Servers

Andrea Mauro: Atlantis ILIO USX – Unified Software-defined Storage

Atlantis Computing: ILIO USX page

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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:

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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:

http://vmwire.com/category/vmware-vcenter-server-virtual-appliance/

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The SDBB (Software Defined Bla Bla)

Last week i was in San Francisco for VMworld 2013. Loved the show, and most of all loved meeting all my friends VMware Community

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During VMworld, and in the months prior for the event the buzzword seems to be Software Defined (Everything). And although I think highly of innovative and perfectly developed software, hardware is still the driver behind the software force.  Without hardware, there would be no software, and because of the innovations at the hardware level, software is able to do it’s awesomeness these days. So naming it software defined is a bit stupid IMHO!

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As said, I think highly of great software. But when you think of it lots of the software houses that developed software for many years just used the innovation of hardware in a boring way. Using the extra resources the hardware would (or could) offer is what a lot of these software houses did instead of doing the same innovation in their software. as the hardware vendors did. It made developers lazy. So a revolution in Software development is needed, but giving all credits to software isn’t.

With virtualization of the X86 hardware (with VMware as the main driver behind this force) the hardware vendors (Like Intel and AMD) developed more and more cool features on the hardware side that can be leveraged by software. After server virtualization we started virtualizing the storage and now we start virtualizing the network. This are all awesome achievements and I hope to see much more on these great technologies.

Did a server (before Software Defined) do anything without software installed on it? Or a switch or router? Have you ever seen a  NAS or a SAN perform without software? So why does it now all of a sudden has to be named software defined? Hardware needs Software, as Software needs Hardware, so let’s rename it to something both of these awesome technologies are equally represented ;-)

Lots of questions. Do I have the answers? not really, but I guess the most of the renaming and rebranding has to do with Marketing. Renaming and creating buzzwords sells. So doing renamed technologies that already existed is all about making decision makers drool, and buy the new software (and hardware) products. It’s all about selling, and the developers just keep on   creating the awesome software they are creating as well as the hardware vendors will keep on creating incredible cool hardware.

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Deep Security 9 Part 3: The Deep Security Manager

In part 1 we installed the VMware vShield part which is needed to get Trend Micro Deep Security up and running. In part 2 we created a database instance that will be used by the Deep Security Manager (DSM). In this part we’ll focus on the installation of the DSM itself. The DSM is the management interface used to manage and monitor the Deep Security environment. You will use this to deploy Deep Security Virtual Appliance (DSVA) instances as well as creating scan profiles, monitor the Deep Security infrastructure and more.

Let’s install the DSM now, first we’ll need to make sure we’ll have the right software (can be downloaded here):

After you’ve downloaded and extracted the Deep Security Manager files, doubleclick on the manager execution file

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The Setup will start and in the Welcome screen Click Next

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In the License Agreement screen select I accept.. and then click Next

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In the Select Destination Directory screen Browse to the destination folder and Click Next

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In the database screen select and setup the right Database setup (as created in part 2) and click Next

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In the License screen provide your License activation code and press Next

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In the Adress and Ports screen provide the FQDN of the DSM and click Next

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In the credentials screen Provide a Username (MasterAdmin is standard) and a password and click Next

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In the security update window leave the defaults and click Next

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In the Co-located Relay screen select Yes and include AntiMalware and click Next

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In the Smart Protection Network screen Enable Trend Micro Smart Feedback and click Next

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In the confirm Settings click finish to install the DSM

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After the installation is finished open a browser and browse to the FQDN (httpS://yourdsm.xxx:4119) of the DSM in the logon screen provide the username and password to log in to the DSM

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After Login the DSM interface will look like this

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In Part 4 we’ll install a Deep Security Virtual Appliance (DSVA). See you there ;-) And if you have any question please let me know.

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The VMware vExpert 2013 nomination

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Today VMware (John Troyer) opened the VMware vExpert 2013 application program. As a vExpert 2012 I know how awesome it is to be in this awesome group of people. I’ll quote John for what the vExpert title is all about:

Each year, we bring together in the vExpert Program the people who have made some of the most important contributions to the VMware community. These are the bloggers, book authors, VMUG leaders, speakers, tool builders, community leaders and general enthusiasts. They work as IT admins and architects for VMware customers, they act as trusted advisors and implementors for VMware partners or as independent consultants, and some work for VMware itself. All of them have the passion and enthusiasm for technology and applying technology to solve problems. They have contributed to the success of us all by sharing their knowledge and expertise over their days, nights, and weekends. They are, quite frankly, the most interesting and talented group of people I’ve ever been in a room with.

There are three paths that you can follow for becoming a vExpert:

Evangelist Path
The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public or were in a language other than English.

Customer Path
The Customer Path is for leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have been internal champions in their organizations, or worked with VMware to build success stories, act as customer references, given public interviews, spoken at conferences, or were VMUG leaders. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path
The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning through accreditations and certifications and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements. A VMware employee reference is required for VPN Path candidates.

This year it is possible again to Recommend someone for the vExpert Title. When you know someone that goes above and beyond whenever it comes to VMware make sure to recommend her/him at this site:

http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2013/03/vexpert-2013-applications-are-now-open.html

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