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26Oct/110

P2V Tips

Pre-P2V

  • Cleanup Irrelevant Data
    • Don't bring over that downloads folder on every server full of drivers, hotfixes, patches, service packs, etc.  Remember storage is now shared among many VMs now, try not to duplicate things like that.
  • Stop transactional services during P2V
    • MSSQL, mySQL, etc.
  • Disable Windows Updates
    • You don't want your source to reboot due to automatic updates mid-P2V
  • Do not resize volumes during P2V
    • Resizing volumes will increase P2V time significantly because instead of doing a block-level copy the convert would have to use file-level copy
  • Set Target disks to Thin
    • Take advantage of thin provisioning--make sure you have vCenter Alarms setup to alert you when datastores near capacity

Post-P2V

  • Move the Page File to a seperate volume (if it isn't already)
    • If you are moving away from traditional backup methods to new vStorage methods you can't exclude the page file from backups typically--however if it's on a dedicated volume (separate vmdk) you can typically exclude it then
  • Don't Team NICs
    • You should build redundancy at the vSwitch level and use a single NIC for the VM (having a separate NIC connected to another vSwitch for backups, or Internal/External Interfaces is still ok)
  • Cleanup
    • Get rid of all the extra software/agents physical servers require--Dell OpenManage, HP Insight, Broadcom/Intel Teaming Utilities - If your using Dell Servers use my Cleanup Script to automate the process
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9Oct/110

My South Florida VMUG Presentation from 10/6/2011

Here is my session on a quick overview of vCenter Orchestrator.

Q3 2011 - part3 SFLVMUG SDPBC Michael Requeny.MP4

Thanks to Tony the VMUG Leader for posting the recordings from the Q3 SFL VMUG.

Links I spoke about:

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7Oct/110

vCenter Orchestrator Script – Increment VM Name by 1

Simple little code snippet that you might find handy to use in vCenter Orchestrator.  I am working on a workflow that needs to clone a VM and the name should increment by 1 for example, we want to clone appweb1 (but we already have appweb2, 3, 4) so we want the new VM to be appweb5.

Inside a new Scriptable task create an output parameter called newvmname and make it's source itself.  Then use this bit 'o code:

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5Oct/110

Rapid Provisioning of 180+ ESXi Servers with SD Cards

We needed a fast way to provision 180+ ESXi servers to boot from SD Cards, ESXi 4.1 introduced Scripted Installation to ESXi (the feature has been in ESX classic for awhile now)

However it is limited:

  • Installation on USB Devices (SD cards, flash drives, etc.) isn't currently supported.

Uhoh, our plan is to use SD Cards in Dell PowerEdge T610s and Dell PowerEdge 29xx (I'll explain how on the 29xx in a later post) for our installs.  This isn't good...

We figured we could build a golden image and clone our SD cards from that, but cloning the SD cards proved difficult.  I tried a lot of different apps and nothing seemed to work--we had trouble with DD even.  Then I stumbled across this blog post from Luke: Fast deployment of vSphere ESXi 4.0 running on a 1GB SD-Card

Luke recommended WinImage to do this cloning, I still couldn't get WinImage to work at first but a quick email to Luke cleared up my troubles (thanks again Luke)

It was good to see my process to create the gold image was similar to how Luke did his just a few minor variations:

Creating the Gold Image

  • Use a spare box for these steps--
  • Install the Dell customized ESXi 4.1 onto the SD Card
    • The Dell customized ESXi isn't actually required--from what I've read it simply updates support links and other textual things to refer to Dells support pages for various things...but whatever.
  • Add the host in vMA so I can install OpenManage 6.3.0
    • OpenManage for ESXi is provided as a VIB and I choose to install via vMA
  • Set root password
  • Configure CIMOEMProvidersEnabled
  • Configure NTP
  • Add your license key--even if it's ESXi free VMware will provide a license key -- otherwise you'll start the evaluation clock ticking...
  • Create custom roles
    • By default there are only three roles: No access, Read-only, and Administrator
    • I create an additional role, Virtual machine user with basic access to work on VMs (Power on/off, Remote Control, Mount Discs, etc.)
  • Ensure networking is set for DHCP
  • Ensure no datastores exist
  • Shutdown & yank the SD card out of the host
  • Clone to a file using WinImage
  • Clone from a file to a new SD card using WinImage
  • Test
  • Profit $$$
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3Oct/119

Building a Cost-Effective vSphere ESXi 5.0 Home Lab

Many folks have blogged about building a home lab--I have an old lab that really draws some power and not really giving me what I'd like.  With that in mind I set out to build a new lab but with the intent of being as cost-effective as possible.  Lots of folks are running T610s and T110s but those draw a lot of power and cost quite a bit more then I'd like.  Others white-box some awesome labs for cheap but they still consume a lot of power.

I came across the HP Micro Servers that seem to be gaining alot of popularity, but opted against them for 2 reasons:

  • They use older generation AMD processors - I can white-box similar functionality with the latest generation processors for less money
  • HP - 'nuff said
So I came across the new AMD E-350 boards and found gold.  These boards are cheap (~$80-$120) and have an integrated dual-core AMD processor (these are the next generation processors from what is in the HP Micro Servers).  The low energy draw is very impressive, it appears you can run one of these with load and they will consume under 40 watts.  I want atleast 2 rigs and was originally set on quad-core or six-core processors but the ultra-low power consumption of these AMD chips changed my mind there.  I can run 3-4 of these for less money and match core counts.  In my experience I typically run out of memory resources way before hitting any CPU contention issues on the system I manage at work.  Remember this is a home lab, you shouldn't need lots of RAM therefore why have a quad-core or six-core processor if your only going to use 8Gb of RAM in your host?
I ordered these bits last night to try out one and if I like it I'll order 1 or 2 more setups:
  • Motherboard: ASUS E35M1-M Pro
  • RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
I have drives, a case and a power supply kicking around already.  I'll post up some performance metrics once the board arrives.
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