vCenter Update Manager to lose it’s fat

Dwayne Lessner who runs IT Blood Pressure, has written a guest post on GestaltIT called Is My Favourite VSphere Tool Is Going Away?

In his article, Dwayne talks about vCenter Update Manager 4.1, and the fact that it seems to be the last version of the tools that will allow you to patch your Windows and Linux guests:

VMware vCenter Update Manager Features. vCenter Update Manager 4.1 and its subesquent update releases are the last releases to support scanning and remediation of patches for Windows and Linux guest operating systems and applications running inside a virtual machine. The ability to perform virtual machine operations such as upgrade of VMware Tools and virtual machine hardware will continue to be supported and enhanced.
VMware vSphere 4.1 release notes

Dwayne talks about this as being a bad thing, and that’s where I disagree. I have never understood why VMware saw it as their job to patch the operating systems the guests are running, and I have yet to see anyone actually use this feature. Obviously I was wrong, someone does indeed use it, but I really can’t understand why.

I’m a keen believer in doing what you know, and doing it well. Let “native” patching solutions take care of the guests, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) comes to mind, and leave vCenter Update Manager (VUM) to take care of patching your VMware products.

I wouldn’t mind seeing vCenter Update Manager (VUM) extended into patching the VMware Workstation, Fusion and Player installations your enterprise might have, but I really think that losing the fat that is guest OS patching can only be a good thing.

vCenter Server 4.1 Performance and Best Practices

VMware has published a new whitepaper called VMware vCenter Server Performance and Best Practices.

This is a must read if you manage a vCenter 4.1 installation, or are currently planning your upgrade.

The whitepaper highlights the performance improvements in the latest version, sizing guidelines, best practices and some really good real world information from several case studies. One simple, but probably often overlooked tip, is that the amount of vCenter Clients connected to your vCenter Server has an impact on it’s performance. How many admins consider that when they start up their clients?

The whitepaper also comes complete with performance graphs comparing the latest release with the 4.0 release, based on real data from several case studies.

vCenter Performance Graph

If you only read one whitepaper (this week), let it be this one. You will not regret it, I promise.

Where in the world is VMware Server?

Over at PlanetVM Wil van Antwerpen posted The Future of VMware Server back in May 2010. Wil makes the argument that it seems like VMware is indeed abandoning VMware Server as a product, leaving us with VMware Workstation and VMware Player as the two Windows installable virtualization solutions from the company.

This has caused some reactions, including my own comment, where I question the smartness of abandoning what might just be one of the best virtualization “gateway drugs” VMware has to offer.

In my opinion, abandoning VMware Server would be a bad move, but re-reading the documentation from VMware and thinking more about the consequences this might have made me realize something;

What if VMware is working on a replacement product or management solution?

I seriously doubt VMware would want to abandon the use case that VMware Server has, even if they do indeed abandon the VMware Server product itself. I don’t have any inside knowledge about this, but lets say that VMware is working on a management framework for VMware Player?

Something that you can install, in addition to VMware Player, that lets you set auto-start parameters for VMs, let them run headless and remotely manage them? Wouldn’t that pretty much allow us to do the same with VMware Player, that we today use VMware Server for?

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.