The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for ESXi

OpenStack Logo

The future of OpenStack looks bright, and with the all the software-defined data center (SDDC) features contained in the recent release of “Grizzly” they are now ready to compete toe-to-toe with heavyweights like VMware, Nutanix, Dell, and HP. Whether they can start unseating VMware products in the enterprise remains to be seen, though. Despite the immediate SDDC advantage of OpenStack, companies and technologies like that of Nicira and Virsto, both acquired by VMware, are not to be ignored.

StorageNetworking

I recently had the joys of helping deal with an All Paths Down (APD) situation which presented itself when removing a LUN from all the hosts in a cluster. If you do not detach the device first, which will also initiate an unmount operation before you physically unpresent the LUN from the ESX, it causes an APD situation to happen. ADP is when ESXi server no longer has any active paths to a device. When the device is no longer present and you rescan the adapters ESXi server will still retain the information on the removed devices and hostd will continue to try to open a connection to the disk device by issuing different commands like read capacity and read requests to validate the partitions tables are set. If SCSI Sense codes are not returned from a device (you are unable to contact the storage array, or the storage array that does not return the supported “SCSI codes”), then the device is in an All-Paths-Down (APD) state, and the ESXi host continues to send I/O requests until it times out.

At the NE VMUG, while walking the floor I saw a new virtualization backup player, perhaps the first generic Replication Receiver Cloud: TwinStrata. And information gained while not at the NE VMUG. There is also a new virtualization backup player just for Hyper-V: Altaro. As well as a new release of Quest vRangerPro. The Virtualization Backup market is a very dynamic market with new ideas, technologies, and concepts being put into the market at every turn. In many ways, the market leaders are not the bigger companies but the smaller and fast growing companies. In the past, it was about features associated with pure backup, but now it is about features and fast disaster recovery and recovery testing.

With the announcement of vSphere 5.0, VMware has kept its word on only having VMware ESXi for the physical host operating system. This is the first release of vSphere with just VMware ESXi as an option. I must admit that I was not a big fan of the concept when it was introduced as an option in the 3.x days. I had a very slick automated process in place that was one of my pride and joys at the moment and VMware ESXi was just lagging behind in functionality compared to what I was able to do with VMware ESX. My attitude started to change with the release of VMware ESX 4.1 as presented in an earlier post and now that vSphere 5.0 is announced I must admit that I think VMware has gone about this process of a cutover to ESXi quite well and the functionality that is presented in this release is quite impressive.

In my last post I talked about how to resolve an issue where a disgruntled employee walked out with the USB memory stick that had VMware ESXi installed on it. In that particular case, the VMware ESXi host kept on running and I was able to get a backup and restore the current running configuration via some PowerShell Magic. All in all it was a pretty easy issue to resolve with very little down time. This got me thinking about which method would be the best option to use in the Enterprise. Installing to local disks or installing to a USB memory stick.

I got a call from a client today that is running a VMware ESXi server as a proof of concept in their SMB environment. The admin that setup the VMware ESXi Server configured the ESXi server to boot and run ESXi from a USB memory stick. Things have been running fine but the company and the administrator that setup the server had a falling out, so to speak, and the administrator left the company and took the USB memory stick with him. The server continues to run fine as ESXi basically runs from memory but, rebooting this host is now not an option since there are no files available for the host to boot from. So what is the best way to recover and get things back to normal? I did a little research and the information that I have found will work will both ESXi 3.x as well as vSphere ESXi.

VMworld is clearly the largest dedicated virtualization conference, and yet from an Open Source perspective it is slightly disappointing because the VMware ecosystem naturally attracts proprietary software vendors, and also some of the more interesting activities in Open Source are through multi-vendor foundations which do not have the same marketing budgets as vendors themselves.

Nevertheless, there are a number of key Open Source players, and some interesting smaller players, represented at VMworld.

Unless you have been on vacation or hiding under a rock then you have heard the latest buzz in the industry that vSphere 4.1 has been released. There have been a lot of blog posts on the topic already. You can find one example here, here and what we at virtualizationpractice.com posted here. The thing I want to hit on for this post is the fact that this release will be the last release for full version of ESX. Moving forward on any new releases of ESX will be strictly ESXi. Anyone that knows me over the years knows that I have not really been a big fan of getting rid of the full version ESX Server. Call me old school and the fact that I have spent a great deal of time developing the automation used in the environments that I have supported over the years and have been really happy with what I was able to accomplish via kickstart and bash.