Tuesday, August 28, 2012

vSphere 5.1: Best Practices and Technical Papers

With the introduction of vSphere 5.1, there will be many concerns on the best practices that many are interested in.

I have listed the available technical papers that are in VMware site and will update them whenever there is new one updated for easy access and reference.

Best Practices
VMware vSphere 5.1 vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices
VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Database Performance Improvements and Best Practices for Large-Scale Environments
Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 5.1

Technical Papers
VXLAN Performance Evaluation on VMware vSphere 5.1
Storage I/O Performance on VMware vSphere 5.1 over 16 Gigabit Fibre Channel
The CPU Scheduler in VMware vSphere 5.1
VXLAN Performance Evaluation on VMware vSphere 5.1

vSphere 5.1: What's New

With the introduction of vSphere 5.1.  There would be many questions on the new features and enhancements been made.  So here are the breakdown of all the new and enhancement documents.

What's New in vSphere 5.1
Introduction to VMware vSphere Data Protection
Introduction to VMware vSphere Replication
Introduction to VMware 5.1 - Performance
Introduction to VMware 5.1 - Storage
Introduction to VMware 5.1 - Platform
Introduction to VMware 5.1 - Networking

Hope these will give you a good idea on the changes.

As for the editions and add on,  the same editions that are in vSphere 5 are still here which includes Essential, Essential Plus, Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

What has been added is Standard with Operations Management.  This edition adds in vCenter Operations Suite Advanced for active monitoring and capacity monitoring and vCenter Protect Standard for patching.  This edition is very useful for customer starting on a small virtualization project while still able to provide a good active monitoring tool and patching systems all in one package.  For the vCenter Operations Management Suite, it is still licensed by per pack of 25 VMs.  However for this vSphere edition, all VMs licensed in this suite will be protected and not restricted by the any number of VMs.  However this only applies to VMs that are hosted and licensed on vSphere Standard with Operations Management and no VMs on other licenses.

You will see what is available for all vSphere Editions from here.  Do ignore the entitlement portion as that is for kits purchase and customer are allowed only to purchase one kit per site to be used.

vSphere 5 & 5.1 Licensing

As of today's announcement, the new vSphere licensing for 5 and 5.1 will be by per processor licensing moving forward from 27th August 2012.  This eliminate the need of vRAM entitlement which was used in vSphere 5.0 last year.

This come effect for all new and existing customers on vSphere 5.0 while vSphere 5.1 is yet to be released for download.  The updated End User License Agreements (EULA) will replaces and supersede statement can be found here.

This change was decided due to the feedback and confusion created when vRAM entitlement was release last year in partners and users.  Though vRAM would benefit people with bigger environment, the core processor licensing was still easier for everyone.

You can read from the vSphere 5 Licensing white paper here.  You may also refer to all the resources of vSphere whether for 5.0 or 5.1 all at this place.

I have the table of the license entitlement between 4.1 and prior and the new change for 5.x below:

vSphere 4.1 and prior
vSphere 5.1
Subscription and Support
Core per Proc
- 6 cores for Free ESXi, unlimited CPU
- 6 cores for Essential, Essential +, Standard and Enterprise
- 12 cores for Advanced, Enterprise +
Physical RAM capacity per host
- 256GB for Essential, Essential +, Standard, Advanced, Enterprise
- Unlimited for Enterprise Plus
- Unlimited for all licensed editions
- 32GB physical RAM limitation for *Free ESXi with no API support
*For ESXi 5.1 Free Edition, it has a hard limit of 32GB physical memory.  Server with more than 32GB physical memory will not be able to boot up.  No API support means there are no VAAI, VADP, etc. API support for the free edition.

 Number of vCPU per VM
vSphere 4.x Edition
vCPU Entitlement
vRAM Entitlement
Free ESXi
Essential Plus
Enterprise Plus

Number of vCPU per VM
vSphere 5.1 and after Edition
vCPU Entitlement
vRAM Entitlement
Free ESXi
Essential Plus
Standard with Operation
Management Suite Advanced
(8 for vSphere 5.0)
Enterprise Plus
(32 for vSphere 5.0)

Typically most customers who have big servers with high number of physical memory and running Standard edition will end up with more licenses after the new change.  But little will change for those using Enterprise or even Enterprise Plus.

What about vRAM warnings?
So at GA for vSphere 5 and 5.1, there will be still vRAM entitlement soft enforcement warnings.  However due to the change in licensing, VMware have updated the Product Documentation to ignore all such warnings.  Also you will find an updated EULA here on exempting of vRAM.  The hard enforcement for Essential and Essentail Plus editions will be removed.

How can I remove the warnings I am finding them ignoring?
For Essential and Essential Plus customers to remove the hard enforcement, they will need to upgrade the vCenter for 5.0 Update 2 or vCenter 5.1 Update 1.  For the soft enforcement warning in other editions, the same applies.   Currently at time of writing I did not see any new updates for the vCenter.  So I believe this will come at a later stage perhaps in the next few months to come.

If I have vSphere 4.x Enterprise (limit to 6 cores per CPU), and I have a server with 2 CPU each with 8 cores, what will happen and how many licenses would I need?
Referring this to our Licensing policy here, If you have more cores than the licenses, you would need to top up the different for that CPU.  E.g. a 8 Cores CPU would requires 2 x vSphere 4.x Enterprise licenses as each vSphere 4.x Enterprise licenses only allows 6 cores per CPU.  In review to this, it is best to upgrade to vSphere 5.x where you are not limited by core per CPU.

Can I choose to have only license 6 cores and use only one license if I have a 8 cores CPU in vSphere 4.x?
Answer is no.  This is automated via vCenter and ESXi servers and due to the licensing, it will automatically use 2 x vSphere 4.x Enterprise for each CPU more than 6 cores.

Update 3rd Sept 2012
Added information on vCPU limit for vSphere 4.1 and 5.1

Update 4th Sept 2012
Added information on Free ESXi

Updated 4th Jan 2013
Added VMware Multi-Core Pricing & Licensing Policy.
vRAM licensing is no longer valid.  There is unlimited vRAM for vSphere 5.x.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review

Happen to be invited for a private Facebook fan event where 6 of us were invited.  It was a privilege so will just head to the review.  You can read about the technical specification here which I would go in details.  There is a review on the build which I never get to test it which you can view here.  So far I still like my ASUS Transformer TF101.  The build was solid and the price then was also good.

The brochure I receive on arrival.

The familiar Samsung brochure from all the Galaxy series.

The tablet on the table.  This is the white set that was presented to us on the day.  Just like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, it look just the same of the cause with just one different the S Pen which uses special touch technology from Wacom to be more precise than styluses for the iPad or iPhone.  This also add cost to the tablet which typically one Wacom writing pad would cost  you a price.

The display is a bit reflective and if you asked yes its using TFT instead of AMOLED display.  Yes a bit disappointed but to keep the cost low that is how it was matched. Resolution at 1280 x 800 can be put higher though.

I like the part where the speakers are facing you so I can hear the sound.  Used to own a tablet which the speakers are pointing to the sides.

 The S Note has also improve with a pre-draw pad to test out the type of brush and colours before you even used it.

Yes one of the key features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the split screen.  So you can split screen with any of the 6 embedded applications (not installed by yourself though) namely Browser, Polaris Office, S-Note, Video Player, Gallery and Email which you can see here below after I open the browser and if I choose Multi-screen feature, the other 5 apps are listed.  Do note that you cannot have two of the same app opened side by side.
 With this feature you can basically crop a image from a site and paste into a e.g. Word document in Polaris Office as show below:

The other cool features are like what is available in S3 or Galaxy Note ICS is the pop up play with one additional function: resize of the pop  up play video.  Also of cause the preview of all the video thumbnails just like S3.

One thing was there are three layout of the keyboard.  The full qwerty keyboard, a small qwerty floating keyboard which you can drag around the screen.  Especially useful when using the split screen and a thumb keyboard.  Similar to the same app that you can find on Google Play but this is fixed you cant customize the keyboard style.

From the top, you see the Power Button, Volume, MicroSD card slot, IR, ear jack and the SIM card compartment.  Yes it is using a standard size SIM card not micro SIM.  The ear piece have to be long to go via the back else it would have to go from the front when you are viewing the screen and obstruct your viewing.

The bottom is the typical 30pins jack on most Samsung Tablets or can I say all.  Not any micro USB for sure.

So what I like and what I do not like about this product?

Quad core processor so faster multitasking
2GB Memory, enough for more applications used
split screen, allow for quick work instead of switch between apps
S-Pen as just like Galaxy Note I am usin
Different type of keyboard especially thumb keyboard

TFT screen, AMOLED would be good for power saving
Resolution 1280 x 800, could have been higher
Split screen only available for inbuild 6 apps
Side bar cannot be relaunch after closing it only way to put in your S-Pen and take it out agai
No NFC so can't share with any phone with NFC
Not LTE but 3
Pricey, cost could be on the Wacom writing technology, Adobe Photoshop Touch
From other review they stated bad charging time.

Price is 16GB with 3G for SGD998 list price.  Will I get it?  Maybe with a 2 year contract if the price is right.

Update based on Comex 2012 pricelist:
The price at the Teleco are as follows for a subscription with 2years contract
SingTel $498 monthly $40 plan
StarHub $438 monthly $41.30
M1 $598 monthly $40

VCAP5 Upgrade Path

For those who are already VCAP5-DCA, currently there is a a fast upgrade track.

Typically you would need to take up VCP5 followed by the various VCAP track e.g. VCAP5DCD or VCAP5DCA to be certified VCAP in the different tracks.

However for now till 9th Oct 2012, the VCAP5DCA requires you only to take up VCAP5DCA if you are already VCAP4DCA to be upgraded.  You will also get awarded wth VCP5.

So hurry!

As for those who are already VCAP4DCD, you just need to take up the VCP5 and VCAP5DCD to be VCAP5DCD.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

VCAP5-DCA Passed!

Did the VCAP5-DCA beta exams which comprises more than a hundreds of questions.  As the kits are limited there were only a few participants or should I say unless you manage to book the exam for a time slot of your choice.

Its has been a long waiting time and finally receive a note that I have passed.  I didn't manage to finish the exam though but there are just too many things on each task to be completed.  I must congrats the certification team for able to rush the results out.  They have been providing us the update of the progress.  Having that there are the current certifications to be assessed and the betas.  It won't be easy.

I have drop some feedback to the certification team on some of the "not so specific" tasks which need to be completed.  That is the purpose of going through the beta exam.  Feedback is really important.

I managed to secure one slot before the closing date and brave through it.  4 hours of lab.  Experience wise?  Well its very slow comparing to the GA of VCAP4-DCA.  Maybe its still in beta and limited kits available and since its beta the performance are not really fine tuned.

Its almost the same with VCAP4-DCA testing you the basic fundamentals as stated in the blueprint however with more added from vSphere 5 due to its new features and functions.

For those who are thinking on doing this certification, you might be thinking how can I even remember or can I refer to some documents that what your daily administration task would do.  The answer is yes in a way.  Apparently I tested out the machine and it is able to surf the web.  So basically you can google for some information or documents online.  However as I mentioned, the resource on the machines are enough for you to complete your tasks in the exam and if you spend the time google-ing, the chances are you will have no time to complete.  Also the surfing is real slow.  You will give up eventually.  Let say it takes almost 2 minutes to open a browser and load Google completely.

For those who are doing or intend to do the VCAP5-DCA, do prepare and study well on the blueprint.  You should know some of the basic commands even with the new esxcli should be in your study list since whatever commands you been using in vSphere 4, will be changed due to that.

I cannot stress this, setup a lab environment at home and use that to go through the blueprint.  If you have not done that or taking it too easily, the results would be much expected.

vSphere Assessment Tool (vSAT)

If you are not aware, there is a new tool announced during VMworld US 2019. That is the vSphere Assessment Tool (vSAT). To access the sit...