Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

Lesson Learned: memory management in new HP DL360/380

Posted by martijnl on July 31, 2009

Can’t say I should not have known this (because it’s in the quick specs of both servers) but the new DL360G6 and DL380G6 have different memory management than the previous generation.

This means that there are strict limitations on the amount and type of memory that you can use and there are strict guidelines for how much memory can be used in a server given a CPU/Memory combination.

From the Quick Specs document of the DL360 G6:

DDR3 memory population guidelines

Some DIMM installation guidelines are summarized below:

  • For servers with eighteen (18) memory slots:
    • There are three (3) channels per processor; six (6) channels per server
    • There are three (3) DIMM slots for each memory channel; eighteen (18) total slots
    • Memory channel 1 consists of the three (3) DIMMs that are closest to the processor
    • Memory channel 3 consists of the three (3) DIMMs that are furthest from the processor
  • DIMM slots that are white should be populated first
  • Do not mix Unbuffered memory (UDIMMs) with Registered memory (RDIMMs)
  • Do not install DIMMs if the corresponding processor is not installed
  • If only one processor is installed in a 2CPU system, only half of the DIMM slots are available
  • To maximize performance, balance the total memory capacity between all installed processors
  • It is not required, but it is recommended to load the channels similarly if possible
  • You can only have up to eight (8) ranks installed per channel
  • You can only install two quad-rank DIMMs per channel
  • You can only install two UDIMMs per channel; if available, the third slot in the channel must remain empty
  • Populate DIMMs from heaviest load (quad-rank) to lightest load (single-rank) within a channel
  • Heaviest load (DIMM with most ranks) within a channel goes furthest from the chipset
  • For memory mirroring mode, channel 3 must be unpopulated. Channels 1 and 2 are populated identically
  • For lock-step mode, channel 3 must be unpopulated. DIMMs in channels 1 and 2 will be installed in pairs. The paired slots will be 1,4; 2,5; 3;6 on a 3DPC system or 1,4; 2,5; on a 2DPC system
  • No mixing DIMM voltage; all DIMMs must be the same voltage

WW QuickSpecs for the 360 G6 are here: You can find the Quick Specs documents (US and WorldWide) from the server information pages on


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Visio Toolbox

Posted by martijnl on May 13, 2009

If you use Visio while planning your Projects or documenting your (virtual) environments than you should take a look at the Visio Toolbox website. On it you will find white papers, articles and free addons for Visio to make your life with it a little easier.

One add-on that I lost and found again through Visio Toolbox is the free Work Breakdown Structure addon. I personally like to use WBS diagrams when planning a project and being able to integrate Visio and Microsoft Project with this tool is great.

Go check the site out at

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VMware announces vSphere 4

Posted by martijnl on April 21, 2009

With a press release and subsequent webcast tonight VMware has announced vSphere 4 as their next generation datacenter virtualization solution. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

PALO ALTO, CA, April 21, 2009 — VMware, Inc. (NYSE:

VMW), the global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter, today announced VMware vSphere™ 4, the industry’s first operating system for building the internal cloud, enabling the delivery of efficient, flexible and reliable IT as a service. With a wide range of groundbreaking new capabilities, VMware vSphere 4 brings cloud computing to enterprises in an evolutionary, non-disruptive way – delivering uncompromising control with greater efficiency while preserving customer choice.

As the complexity of IT environments has continued to increase over time, customers’ share of IT budgets are increasingly spent on simply trying to “keep the lights on.” With the promise of cloud computing, customers are eager to achieve the benefits, but struggle to see the path to getting there.  Leveraging VMware vSphere 4, customers can take pragmatic steps to achieve cloud computing within their own IT environments.  With these “internal” clouds, IT departments can dramatically simplify how computing is delivered in order to help decrease its cost and increase its flexibility, enabling IT to respond more rapidly to changing business requirements.

Read it in it’s entirety over here:

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VMware kondigt nieuwe versie aan op 21 april

Posted by martijnl on April 6, 2009

VMware heeft een aankondiging op haar website geplaatst van een webcast op 21 april aanstaande waarin de nieuwe generatie virtualisatiesoftware gepresenteerd gaat worden door Paul Maritz (President en CEO van VMware):

Join us for an exclusive peek at how VMware is bringing cloud computing to businesses of all sizes.

VMware is once again leading the virtualization industry by bringing cloud computing to the datacenter. Transform your IT infrastructure into a private cloud—a collection of internal clouds federated on-demand to external clouds—delivering IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service.

On April 21, 2009, we’ll be unveiling how VMware is taking IT to new heights of efficiency, choice and control through service-level automation—dramatically reducing capital and operating costs and maximizing IT efficiency—with the freedom to choose any application, OS, or hardware.

Join Paul Maritz, President and CEO of VMware, as he and other VMware leaders officially unveil the next generation of virtualization technology from VMware.

Don’t miss your chance to participate in one of the most groundbreaking events this year.

De aankondiging is te vinden op de website van VMware, hier is ook een mogelijkheid om te registreren voor deze webcast.

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Hyper-V vs. ESX presentation

Posted by martijnl on March 5, 2009

Gabrie from GabesVirtualWorld uploaded his Hyper-V versus ESX presentation. I think it is a nice condense overview of the pro’s and con’s of both solutions.

Read the full post here:

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VMware View errors while destroying VM’s

Posted by martijnl on March 5, 2009

Today I ran into two specific errors while destroying virtual machines from a pool (the pool was being downsized). Both were at the “Initiating OS Shutdown phase”.

  1. VMware Tools is not running in this Virtual Machine
  2. Cannot execute scripts

Both errors occurred while resuming the virtual machine from suspend (the desktops have the setting “Suspend when not in use”). It seems like the OS Shutdown commands are executed while the VM is still resuming from suspend and the necessary services are not up and running yet. It is not a big problem because vCenter Server just keeps trying to shutdown and power off and because I am destroying the VM’s anyway I am not really interested in having a clean shutdown.

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Mobile virtualization video

Posted by martijnl on February 28, 2009

This is my video of the mobile virtualization demo from VMworld Europe 2009.

This is the device that was demoed: While this is not a phone like what is mentioned in the video it is still very impressive. There are hurdles to take though because you will probably want to have different phone numbers attached to different environments and that usually means multiple SIM cards (in the case of GSM).

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Live Bloggin Keynote day 2

Posted by martijnl on February 25, 2009

Welcome back for the live blog of the keynote of day two from VMworld Europe here in Cannes. The weather is not as good as yesterday but we are looking forward to another great day of speaches and sessions.

The keynote this morning is introduced by Maurizio Carli. The main speaker is Dr. Stephen Herrod who is the CTO and Senior VP of R&D and the topic is a more technical look at the announcements made yesterday combined with several demonstrations.

Check the tech

New performance figures for the vCompute are 8 vCPU, 256GB per VM, 40Gb/s of throughput.The power is now available to run a VM that needs 510 spindles to saturate the I/O.

The recently announced SPECweb world record is elaborated on. Effectively it means that the configuration could run 3 billion pages per day.

In the vStorage layer front thin provisoning is coming and there will be the possibility for hardware vendors to talk directly to the array from the virtual infrastructure. There will be a software variant of thin provisioning but doing it from the array will be much faster.

After the storage there is time for networking. Most of the information we know already from the announcements of the distributed vSwitch and the Cisco Nexus 1000V switches.

Building the giant computer

All this consolidation leads to a large pool of resources. Mr. Herrod now talks about DPM (Distributed Power Management). DPM will power off host servers when they are not needed saving more power on top of the power savings that you already have by consolidating the servers.

Application vServices
In the new version there will be improvements on the management layer with built in chargeback and poilicy settings. Application vServices also contains the availability services such as High Availability. Within vSphere there will be a new functionality called Fault Tolerance.

Fault Tolerance will enable you to get High Availability for Virtual Machines compared to hosts (which are protected by VMware HA). Fault Tolerance will shadow a virtual machine running on one host to a copy on another host and the virtual machine will fail over instantly should the host running the primary machine fail. When that occurs it will also generate another shadow on another host to maintain the level of protection.

VMware VMsafe was introduced last year and it comes back in the keynote. It seems that there are actual implementations by vendors but nothing to be demonstrated it seems.

vShield Zones (virtual firewall layer) is also discussed but only briefly.

vCenter Server Heartbeat is discussed. With this product you can finally protect protect the management server itself. The goal is to get the management server in a highly available state as this was not possible before.

The underlying goal is to get the vCenter Servers also as virtual machines because 60% of clients still run these as physicals

vCenter has its limitations and with really large datacenters and cloud operators you will get to these limitations. If you have more than 3000 VM’s you need more than one server. New in vCenter Server is Linked Mode where you can manage multiple vCenter Servers from one client. There is also a new Search function to find what you are looking for in your really big cloud/datacenter. The maximum of linked vCenters is 10 (so 30.000 VM’s).

Configuring hosts will become much easier with vCenter Host Profiles. With these profiles you can configure a master profile for you host configuration and automatically remediate hosts to the host profile.

A minor announcement is that vCenter Server is available as a Linux Server as well as a preconfigured Virtual Appliance. The crowd seem to be pleased because there is a short applause.

More on the vCloud
More information about Federation and a discussion about one challenge for these clouds and that is long distance vMotion. There is a lot of work going into this and there are a lot of challenges to be solved mostly with replication, memory states and disk cosistency.

vClient (Desktop Virtualization)
Nothing new specifically here.

Mentions of Thinapp, Offline Desktops and VMware ACE technology.

Jerry Chen comes on to talk about virtual desktops and PC over IP technology. For the WAN with 150ms to 250ms latency they are now able to support virtual desktops with video, VoIP etc. where previously that wasn’t
possible with regular RDP.

Over the LAN PCoIP is able to support HD dual monitors, rich internet applications, animation and HD Video.

3D applications have always been a challenge but now there is a demo of 3D
applications (Google Earth and 3D modeling providing blade PC capabilities over a thin client. It seems really smooth and it is mentioned that this will support heavy 3D application such as AutoCAD.

Virtualization of a mobile phone
A technology where many have asked what the use of it is. The mobile phone hypervisor has a number of use cases from software providers wanting to provide a mobile phone virtual appliance to their customers to hardware
manufacturers wanting to test on a ingle hardware platform.

Demonstration of a Nokia N800 running two mobile operating systems. Very impressive. I will try to get the video online tonight. Keep in mind though that the device is not a phone.

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vCenter Orchestrator Session

Posted by martijnl on February 24, 2009

Wireless access is a bit patchy between the different conference halls but over here in the Grand Auditorium I have access to the Press network so I can do some live blogging again. While the (live) comment is in the title the post will get updated on the fly.

In this session we get an overview of what vCenter Orchestrator does and how it can assist with automation and orchestration. There are a lot of things that can be automated in a virtual environment. Orchestrator works with workflows. It has a workflow engine to make these processes and it comes with a number of standard workflows built it.

Orchestrator is also able to integrate with third party change management systems so changes can be scheduled and automatically handled, closed and documented results. It can also communicate with multiple vCenter servers so you only have to configure it once for your whole environment.

There are three parts to orchestrator:

  • Workflow Engine, this can react to scripts, scheduling, event triggers etc.
  • User Interface
  • Workflow Client, this is where you manage your workflows

Orchestrator is built on Java and will support future software versions of virtual infrastructure. Multiple database management systems are supported (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL) and it will come with an open API.

One thing I didn’t know is that LifeCycle Manager is a VMware Orchestrator ‘enabled’ application.

There are a lot of different use cases for Orchestrator. A lot of things that can be automated with Powershell scripting can be automated through Orchestrator so there may be a question about what the use is for Orchestrator. It could be valid for a specific organization to ask the question “should I buy this technology or build it myself?”.

That is always something to think about but all the functionality that is already in the product will make that decision easy I think. It is interesting however that Powershell integration is not available *right now*.

Projected release date is 1H09.

Update: I had a chance to ask the presenter about the status of Powershell integration and he commented there is a lot of work being done to integrate this into the product but that it necessitated a partial redesign or re-architecture of the application. According to him it is not a question of if but a question of when they will be able to get this done.

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Keynote part 2

Posted by martijnl on February 24, 2009

After Paul Maritz his keynote we are now looking at a presentation from SAP about their use of VMware in their infrastructure. The statistics here are impressive with a total of 8000 VM’s and 340TB of daily(!) backup.

Based on the internal demands SAP have been able (by using VMware solutions) to split their virtual machine provisioning into two service levels. With their internal solutions they are able to cater for both the volume business and the specials.

By building their own cloud and building out a virtualization provisioning system they are able to transparently provision a machine foruse evn by external service providers.

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