Upgrading to vSphere 5.1 has been a bit of a hot topic ever since it became a GA product in 2012. The problems some customers have experienced during the upgrade process to vSphere 5.1 have been well documented and VMware certainly received a lot of feedback which was taken on board. But many upgrades still went through without any major dramas at all. I completed a couple of small scale upgrades without any problem just after the GA. The real trouble was when you started to try and integrate into larger scale and more complex environments with more complex requirements. So is now the time to upgrade if you haven’t already?
VMware and SAP Shake Up Enterprise Applications with Production HANA Support in Hybrid Cloud and SDDC
I was first involved in virtualizing SAP in 2007, when SAP first offered support for deployment in VMware’s hypervisor. The project was for a large government department in New Zealand. Since then I’ve been involved in a number of large scale SAP deployments on VMware, mainly around Asia Pacific and Japan region. Back then we were trail blazing, and we knew it. But we took a methodical risk based approach and ensured we tested everything adequately (especially performance), the result was it worked just fine. These days virtualizing SAP is much more mainstream. But now we are about to take on the next generation of extreme workloads that will deliver even more massive business benefits that virtualization by itself has, here I’m talking about SAP HANA and VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service.
VMware vCenter 5.1 Update 1 was released a few days ago with a number of great enhancements and fixes. Unfortunately there was also an issue discovered. In some circumstances if you have an admin user account with more than 19 groups assigned within AD you would be prevented from logging into the web client. VMware has released an alert article on the VMware Support Insider Blog - ALERT: Login issue after updating to vCenter 5.1 Update 1 and it urges you to check KB 2050941 (Cannot log in to vCenter Server using the domain username/password credentials via the vSphere Web Client/vSphere Client after upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1) for further information and for updates. This has been fixed in vCenter 5.1 Update 1A. Read on for further details.
A little while ago I wrote an article titled 5 Tips to Prevent 80% of Virtualization Problems. This article was all about storage and how to configure your storage and the dangers to watch out for. This is because problems in virtualized environments are predominantly caused by or related to storage in one way or another. In that article I explained the impact of queue depths on performance and also some of the dangers of making the HBA device queue depths too high. What I didn’t know at the time I wrote the previous article was that the default queue depth for QLogic HBA’s was changed between vSphere 4.1 and 5.x. This article will being you up to date on the changes and the impacts of the change in default values between vSphere 4.x and 5.x.
Many of you that have submitted a paper for VMworld 2013 would have received an email saying that call for papers public voting is now open. For those that didn’t get the email I thought I’d let you know that you can now start voting for sessions. The competition this year is going to be even more insane than last year, so it would be advised to get in early and make your top sessions known.
One of the most important documents for any vSphere administrator or architect has been released. The vSphere 5.1 Hardening Guide is now available. The guide was announced on the vSphere Blog by Mike Foley – vSphere 5.1 Hardening Guide – Official Release. I’d like to thank Mike and the rest of the VMware Security Team that was involved in putting this invaluable resource together. It has been reformatted from the previous version to make it easier to use. I think you’ll all like the new improvements.
I just read a great article written by James Knapp at ViFX (One of VMware’s Premier Partners in New Zealand) on the Best Practices (and good practices) of utilizing a Management Cluster as part of your VMware vSphere architecture. I would recommend you read it. I’ll give you my very brief take on this.
Fight the FUD: Virtualization of Oracle Evolves to Best Practice for Production Systems by David Floyer
I recently read an article published on Wikibon written by David Floyer titled Virtualization of Oracle Evolves to Best Practice for Production Systems. He makes some good arguments regarding virtualization of production Oracle systems, including ROI and TCO analysis. The examples given provide you with an idea of how you might optimize your environment to improve the efficiency of your investment in Oracle software without sacrificing SLA’s. I would highly recommend that you review the article as it contains some critical advice when considering Oracle software investments, including how to protect your investments from audits. I have first hand experience with how significant the savings can be from a properly optimizsed Oracle designs on VMware vSphere. You just need to take a bit of care and be smart about how you go about it. Here I will give you some additional things to think about based on a recent conversation I had with an Oracle Account Executive, which was quite interesting in my opinion.
This is a brief article to let you all know that VMware has greatly improved the default and maximum limit of open VMDK’s per host in the latest patches to ESXi 5.0. Once you apply patch ESXi500-201303401-BG the default and maximum amount of open VMDK storage per host will be 60TB on VMFS5, up from 25TB previously. The VMFS Heap Size is increased from a default of 128MB to a default of 640MB.
The number of enquiries I’ve been receiving regarding Microsoft Failover Clustering, especially for Microsoft SQL Server Databases has skyrocketed in the past few weeks. I have been receiving a number of enquiries from customers and also from partners including cloud service providers. As a result I thought I’d write this article to help you understand what the current status is of support for Microsoft Failover Clustering on VMware vSphere 5.1 (GA) and with regard to some VMware products.