Some topics seem to pop up at random intervals, one of them being virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controller servers. The question is often either “Should I virtualize my Domain Controllers, and if so should I virtualize all of them?” or “Should I do a P2V (Physical 2 Virtual) conversion of my existing Domain Controllers, or create new ones?” In this post, I’ll be talking about the second question. While there is a lot to be said about the first one as well, I’ll leave that for future post.
In fresh blog post, called “Resource pools and simultaneous vMotions” by Frank Denneman prompted a quick Twitter discussion regarding the vCenter client (and perhaps even vCenter itself). A simple Why are there no folders under Host and Clusters view ? from Maish Saidel-Keesing got the ball rolling. Could it be that the design of the client itself helps perpetuate the myth the resource pools is an organizational unit, one that should be used as a way of grouping VMs?
When HP announced their new ProLiant MicroServer, I really hoped that it would be the perfect answer to a specific use case I’ve been looking at lately. Basically, what I’m looking for is a small chassis, low noise branch office server that would be used to host a single virtual machine, offering Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) and Distributed File System (DFS) file-shares. Initially it looked to fit the bill perfectly:
During preparation and preliminary information gathering for a new internal project, I had a need to emulate various networking conditions and scenarios. More specifically I’m looking at the possibility of running the vCenter Client over high latency satellite links, with varying bandwidth availability and even packet loss scenarios. Obviously the best way of testing this, in a controlled environment, is to use some kind of WAN emulator that lets you control the various networking characteristics.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Finally USB pass-through is possible on ESX hosts with the new vSphere 4.1 release! This feature ha been available in VMware Workstation/Fusion and Player for quite a while. The freshly added feature in vSphere 4.1 even works if you vMotion the guest from one host to another, which is in itself pretty amazing functionality! In this post, I’ll show how to setup and use the new USB pass-through feature in vSphere 4.
If you run your vCenter on SQL Server Express 2005, you are missing the ability to set up scheduled backup jobs with SQL Maintenance Plans, a feature available in the full version of SQL Server. This might not be a problem if your backup software has SQL Server agents that you use to backup your vCenter databaser, but in smaller environments or even in your lab, you might not have that kind of backup scheme available to you, so what do you do?