VMWare: Is diversification your best option?

14 01 2010

Over the years, many organizations have come to rely on VMWare for their underlying hypervisor of choice.  As the product has evolved, these organizations have been able to leverage additional core functionality that has moved VMWare to the forefront of datacenter operations.  Advances in management, availability, backup, and other areas have all fallen under the VMWare umbrella, and they are a nice fit.  The pieces of the the datacenter puzzle are fitting together.  To complete the puzzle beyond the local datacenter, VMWare started to really focus on the cloud.  The cloud was, and is, about offering up core services regardless of location and free from traditional infrastructure limitations.  I need some work done, and in a timely manner.  I dont really care where my SQL query is running, I just need the results.  Fast.  I need my email to just work.  Again, I dont care where it’s running.  It needs to send when I click send.  You get the idea. 

All these puzzle pieces have been making sense as we build out a more available and scalable infrastructure.  But then VMWare bought Zimbra.  All of a sudden, the focus is shifted from core available infrastructure to the applications running on that infrastructure.  Sure, VMWare has always made sure that any and all applications you want to run are available and scalable, but now they own an email application.  The can of worms is wide OPEN. I would offer the following questions to think about… 

1.  Now that VMWare owns an email platform, what are they going to do with it? Are they really trying to go toe-to-toe with Google and Microsoft in the application space?


2.  As they flesh out infrastructure in the cloud, how does VMWare email fit in?  Obviously, email is very important.  We use it every day. I certainly do care that it is up all the time.  But, as a business customer,  I also care about features and functionality around scheduling, document management, voicemail, and other features that are very mature on other platforms.  Can VMWare email deliver?


3.  If we go to the next logical step,as Google and Microsoft have, now we need to start offering vDocs, vPresent, vMessaging, vPhotos.  What next?  Historically, VMWare has been in the position of being on the forefront of virtualization, constantly innovating and bringing new functionalities to the datacenter. They are the clear leader.  Now they are trying to play catch-up in the application space?  This kind of ME TOO attitude leaves a sour taste in my mouth.


I do not claim to have all the answers here.  All I am asking is that VMWare remember their core business.  Please don’t diversify yourself into irrelevance.  Focus on what has made you the best! 


VMWorld 2009 Session Notes: Virtualizing Exchange 2007

2 09 2009

Exchange 2007 on vSphere 4…
1. 2K7 has reduced IO with larger cache, etc. This makes it easier to virtualize.
2. Must run it on server 2008 to get MS support.
3. Use 1vcpu 4.5 GB ram, and 500 heavy users as a building block.
4. Use 2vCPU 7 GB RAM, and 1000 heavy users as a larger building block.
5. Only 10 ms send latency enabling FT.
6. Disaster recovery…ha, FT, lcr and scr does not require microsoft clustering.


28 08 2009

VMWorld is coming up next week folks!  I will be there live blogging from the sessions.  Stay tuned!

VMWare Data Recovery Manager: Not quite ready for production

22 07 2009

Here is my quick take on data recovery manager for VMWare.



1.  Deduplication and compression

2.  Runs in a vm, easy to deploy.

3.  Backup window easy to configure…pick a block of time and it runs the backups within the window.



1.  No tape option or duplicate backup set option.  I realize this is difficult within a vm, but with no offsite option, backup scenarios are limited.

2.  There have been some bug fixes and they were some major glaring ones.  For instance, not deleting old snapshots with 1.00  I’m glad they fixed that issue, but what else is going to show up as more people use it?  It seems to need a few more revisions before I could trust it.

3.  Faulty backup sets…there were quite a few times when the recovery manager would deem a certain backup unfit to be restored from.  Why?  How do I fix it?

Data Domain is now owned by EMC

22 07 2009

Well it’s official folks, EMC owns Data Domain.  As you may know, EMC also owns VMWare.  I am ready for a completely deduped datacenter, all the way from production data to backup.  Who is with me?  The following letter was sent by the CEO’s of EMC/Data Domain…

Dear Data Domain Customers,
Today, with a majority of Data Domain’s shares owned by EMC, we are pleased to
announce that Data Domain and EMC have officially joined forces and become one company.  We are excited about the opportunities to accelerate our leadership in the fast-growing next-generation disk-based backup, recovery and archive markets.
Our companies already share many customers and business partners, and we intend to enhance and expand these essential relationships.  As a result of our business combination, our customers and partners will now have access to an extraordinary portfolio of storage products and services.
Deduplication technology is fundamentally altering the way our industry stores, protects and archives data.  It has ushered in new economics to long-running storage processes such as backup and disaster recovery. This powerful technology is permeating the entire storage infrastructure in various forms and approaches.  Both source-based and target-based deduplication approaches will feature prominently in our strategy, and in combination with virtual and physical tape automation architectures.
We are dedicated to maintaining and increasing the quality of innovation, support, and service that you have come to expect from our companies.  Together, we will continue to focus on cost reduction, power and space efficiency, and simplicity.  For our respective partners, you can expect to see increased market opportunities through an expanded set of solutions, programs and services.
Both EMC and Data Domain are very grateful to our partners and customers who have already chosen our companies for their storage needs, and we greatly appreciate the partnership. As we proceed with our integration in earnest, we expect many questions. Please refer to the
FAQ document, and we look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.
Frank and Joe
Frank Slootman, President and CEO, Data Domain
Joe Tucci, Chairman, President and CEO, EMC

Help I can’t vmotion with vsphere!

5 06 2009

Are you having trouble using vmotion after you upgraded to vSphere? There seems to be an issue where some improper cpu-id masks are applied as part of the hardware upgrade procedure. When you go to migrate a machine, you will get a cpu mismatch error. VMWare has addressed the problem with this KB article….


You basically shutdown the vm, go to edit settings, go to options, then down to CPU-ID and click advanced. Then click Reset All to Defaults. Click ok, then boot the vm back up. That should let you vmotion the vm around again. You will have to do this for all you vms that are having an issue.

RANT: VMWare Data Recovery Manager

1 06 2009

I just got VMWare Data Recovery Manager all configured. MAJOR GLARING PROBLEM. It only does block change tracking if you are backing up a vm that was created in vSphere 4.0. So for ALL your vms that were created in 3.5 (yeah, that would be all of them), it sends the entire snapshot every time the backup runs. For 4.0 created vms, it will send just the changes every backup. Sure, the data is deduped on the Data Recovery Manager, but ALL that data is still sent over the wire before it gets deduped. Dont they realize that we have other backup procedures in place that could be using network bandwidth during the “backup window”? I realize that this is very similar to using something like a Data Domain box as your backup target, but this is SO CLOSE to being an easy way for a set it and forget it, type vm backup. I dont want to worry about my network bandwidth getting totally hammered during the backup window, thank ya.

Maybe I am way off base here….If all your hosts can “see” the vmfs volume for the target of your backups, do they write directly to the store over their isci nics? Or do the snapshots have to flow “through” the data recovery manager vm? Im thinking its the latter…What part of my network is getting hammered when I hit GO?