VMworld 2010 has started!

August 31, 2010

Well VMworld 2010 has started this week and a lot of news is being released. Here are the latest news facts:

– VMware has released VMware View 4.5. VMware View 4.5 includes the following new functionality:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 support
  • VMware View Client with Local Mode support
  • VMware View Client for Apple Mac OS X
  • Support for vSphere 4.1

More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vFabric Hyperic. VMware vFabric Hyperic is the leading platform for web and custom application monitoring and performance management for physical, virtual and cloud environments. By providing top-down visibility and control across all layers of the technology services and infrastructure used by your web and custom applications, it allows you to ensure applications are meeting their service level commitments through reduced application downtime. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vFabric tc Server. VMware vFabric tc Server provides a lean platform for running modern applications and is ideally suited for the virtualized datacenter. Thanks to its very small footprint and lean approach, vFabric tc Server typically requires significantly less computing resources when compared to typical application servers, allowing customers to yield greater application server density within a virtual environment. More information can be found here.

– Symantec announces Symantec ApplicationHA. Symantec ApplicationHA integrates with VMware vCenter Server and VMware High Availability to ensure high availability for applications running in virtual machines. Symantec ApplicationHA complements VMware HA with application health monitoring and control. More information can be found here.

– Symantec announces Symantec VirtualStore. VirtualStore is a software-based NAS solution that scales servers and storage independently, efficiently provisions virtual machines, and delivers advanced storage optimization capabilities for VMware environments. VirtualStore was developed in collaboration with VMware and integrates with VMware’s management tools such as VMware vCenter Server and VMware vMotion. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vCloud Director. VMware vCloud Director lets you pool virtual infrastructure resources in your existing datacenter and deliver them to users as a catalogue-based service with VMware vCloud Director. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vShield Edge. VMware vShield Edge integrates seamlessly with vSphere and includes essential network gateway services so you can quickly and securely scale your cloud infrastructures. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vShield App. VMware vShield App lets you protect applications in the virtual datacenter from network-based threats. Get deep visibility into network communications and enforce granular policies with security groups. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware vShield Endpoint. VMware vShield Endpoint lets you offload antivirus and anti-malware processing to dedicated security-hardened virtual machines delivered by VMware partners. More information can be found here.

– VMware has released VMware Converter Standalone 4.3. VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 includes the following new functionality:

  • Support for VMware vSphere 4.1 as source and destination targets
  • Support for importing powered-off Microsoft Hyper-V R1 and Hyper-V R2 virtual machines
  • Public API and sample code for submitting and monitoring Converter jobs
  • Support for importing Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 sources
  • Ability to throttle the data transfer from source to destination based on network bandwidth or CPU
  • IPv6 support

– VMware has released VMWare Chargeback 1.5. VMWare Chargeback 1.5 includes the following new functionality:

  • Hierarchy management tools, filters, and views
  • Support for resource allocation on chargeback hierarchical entity
  • Auto-Costing for VMware High Availability, VMware Fault Tolerance, and guest operating systems
  • Configuring cost at the host and cluster levels
  • Enhanced cost model support
  • Support for custom billing policies
  • New cost analysis dashboard
  • Customizable reporting interface
  • Support for generating reports in multiple currencies
  • Support for multiple LDAP servers
  • Resource-based authorization
  • Full support for vCenter Chargeback APIs
  • Support for VMware Cloud Director

Application consistent quiescing and VDR

August 18, 2010

Taking snapshots of your virtual machines seems an adequate way of protecting your virtual machine and it application data. However, protecting transactional systems like SQL, Active Directory, Exchange and other systems using snapshots requires a little more attention.

To create a working snapshot of your virtual machine, the virtual machine needs to be in a Quiesce state in order to guarantee a consistent and usable backup. This generally requires flushing any outstanding writes.

VMware Data Recovery (VDR) uses Microsoft Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) quiescing, which provides the backup infrastructure for certain Windows operating systems, as well as a mechanism for creating consistent point-in-time copies of data known as shadow copies.

VSS produces consistent shadow copies by coordinating with business applications, file-system services, backup applications, fast-recovery solutions, and storage hardware. VSS support is provided with VMware Tools, which runs in the guest operating system. Until VMware vSphere 4.1, VMware did not fully support the VSS-writers if you are running Windows Server 2008 virtual machines. A good friend of mine has an excellent article on this.

With VMware vSphere 4.1 this has changed and VMware now fully supports application level quiescing through VSS. VMware Data Recovery uses different quiescing mechanisms depending on the guest operating system that you run in your virtual machines. See the table below for the quiescing types.


For applicationconsistent quiescing to be available, three conditions  must be met:

  • The UUID attribute must be enabled. This is enabled by default on virtual machines created on ESX 4.1 hosts.
  • The virtual machine must use only SCSI disks. For example, application-consistent quiescing is not supported for virtual machines with IDE disks. There must as many free SCSI slots in the virtual machine as the number of disks. For example, if there are 8 SCSI disks on SCSI adapter 1, there are not enough SCSI slots free to perform application quiescing.
  • The virtual machine must not use dynamic disks.

Windows 2008 virtual machines created on ESX/ESXi 4.0 hosts can be enabled for application consistent quiescing on ESX/ESXi 4.1 hosts by enabling the disk UUID attribute. Use the following procedure to enable the disk UUID:

  1. Start the vSphere Client, and log in to a vCenter Server.
  2. Select Virtual Machines and Templates and click the Virtual Machines tab.
  3. Right-click the Windows 2008 virtual machine for which you are enabling the disk UUID attribute, and select Power > Power Off.
    The virtual machine powers off.
  4. Right-click the virtual machine, and click Edit Settings.
  5. Click the Options tab, and select the General entry in the settings column.
  6. Click Configuration Parameters
    The Configuration Paramters window appears.
  7. Click Add Row.
  8. In the Name column, enter disk.EnableUUID.
  9. In the Value column, enter TRUE.
  10. Click OK and click Save.
  11. Power on the virtual machine.

Application consistent quiescing is available for this virtual machine now that the UUID property has been enabled.

Tape Backup Integration with VMware Data Recovery

August 17, 2010

VMware Data Recovery (VDR) is VMware’s virtual machine backup product included with the following editions of VMware vSphere:

  • Essential Plus
  • Advanced
  • Enterprise
  • Enterprise Plus

The following is a list of the key features of VMware Data Recovery.

  • Disk-based backup and recovery. Utilizes disk based storage to enable speedy recovery of your virtual machines.
  • Full and incremental backup of virtual machine.  Save incremental changes and enable an efficient backup window.
  • Image level and individual file restore.  Recover entire virtual machine image in the event of a disaster (for virtual machines running any operating system) and recover individual files and directories (for virtual machines running Microsoft Windows operating system.
  • VSS support. Supports Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to enable consistent backups of virtual machines running Microsoft operating systems and applications.
  • Data de-duplication. Conserves storage space by de-duplicating data as it is streamed to the disk.

VMware Data Recovery has two options for backup targets; either VMFS or a Windows network share. VMware Data Recovery does not have an option for backup to tape.

However xtravirt has a good article on realizing tape backup integration with VMware Data Recovery. This way a 3rd party backup solution may not be required. You can find the article here.