VMware Networking Demysified

VMware vExpert and fellow Northern Virginian, Ken Cline, has posted an excellent article on his Ken's Virtual Reality blog that aims to demystify VMware networking.  The article, the first in a new series by Ken, provides an overview of networking in an ESX/ESXi environment and breaks down the intricacies of the vSwitch and VLANs.  The article comes complete with some nifty diagrams to help make sense of the topic. The timing of this article is great for me as it helps to frame my thoughts as I delve into the design of my latest VMware project on an IBM BladeCenter with IP SAN … [Read more...]

DL380 BIOS Configuration for VMware

One more post to wrap up the nonsense with my DL380 G3 ESX servers.... Vincent Vlieghe noted that you must make a couple changes to your DL380 G3's for ESX to work correctly.  His post was written back in 2006 when we were still working with ESX 2.x, but the same appears to be true of ESX 3.5 RTM (Updates are not supported on this hardware per the HCL).  The changes you must make to BIOS are: For stable operation on these systems, ESX Server requires a BIOS MPS Table Mode setting of Full Table APIC. With the exception of the specific systems referenced below, the following BIOS settings … [Read more...]

Double-Check the HCL

I wrote some time back about networking problems with a clean install of ESX 3.5 U3 on a HP DL380 G3 server in a lab environment.  A simple downgrade to ESX 3.5 RTM corrected the issue and I didn't think much about it.  One of the servers in the lab died and I went about the business of rebuilding it.  Having learned my lesson, I started with an ESX 3.5 RTM install and then patched to Update 3 plus other applicable updates.  Much to my chagrin, the server began crapping out on me randomly.  Some reboots, some networking issues, and other assorted not so good things.  Now the DL380 G3 is not … [Read more...]

VI Toolkit for Windows v1.5 Released Today

VMware released version 1.5 of the VI Toolkit for Windows - the PowerShell management and reporting tool of choice for many VMware administrators. The new version carries build number 142961. You can download v1.5 here: http://blogs.vmware.com/vipowershell/. The update includes some 32 new cmdlets, including ones for getting/setting NTP settings on ESX, getting/setting Advanced configuration options on ESX, getting/setting ESX Firewall settings, and the ability to modify DRS rules using PowerShell. Existing cmdlets have also been updated with new parameters, and several fixes have been … [Read more...]

Securing Your Virtual Infrastructure

Between budget cuts and New Year's resolutions, improving your security posture is probably near the top of your to-do list.  Much has been made of security concerns in a virtual environment, but it is always good to re-visit your configurations and make sure they are still on par with recommended best practices.  I began re-reviewing VI security best practices after reading at post by Bob Plankers at The Lone SysAdmin (Bob has been on my reading list for years - he has a great style and always brings fresh insights) on why you would want a second super-user account on your ESX servers. We … [Read more...]

Landing a Virtualization Job

As the New Year rolls around you may find yourself looking for a new paying gig. Times are tough, but the virtualization space shows continued strength as companies seek to consolidate servers, reduce administrative burden, and hunt down cost savings in the data center. We will look at how you can land that new virtualization gig quickly. Virtualization jobs come in all shapes and sizes, from the small shop IT guy who runs everything from the desktop to the data center (or data closet as the case may be) to large silo-structured enterprise environments where IT staff rarely deviate from … [Read more...]