SolarWinds VM Console

SolarWinds has released a new free vSphere tool called SolarWinds VM Console.

    Free VM Console Highlights:

  • Bounce (shutdown & restart) VMs without logging into vCenter or vSphere
  • Get end-to-end visibility into your VMware environment—from vCenter through ESX hosts to VM guests
  • Track the real-time up/down status of your VMs from your desktop — without logging into VMware apps
    Additional VM Monitoring Features:

  • Take a snapshot of your VM prior to shutdown
  • Search on VM names or IP addresses
  • Use your vCenter/vSphere credentials to view a top-down hierarchy of your virtual environment

I’m not sure why you as an admin might want to use this tool instead of the vSphere Client, but in environments where you have delegated control over certain VMs (like a test environment etc.) it might be a useful addition to your tool-belt.

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.