VMworld Sunday and Monday – Monkeys Fly

This is the disjointed cliffs notes but too long for twitter version of my VMworld experience so far. Monkey comment is to distinguish this post from the other 11billion being posted already. Thanks.

Sunday

Arrived unhurt from Memphis. Met a few other VMworlders on the plane. 

Cabby sped away without giving me change, I am a big tipper I guess.

Discovered shorts and flip flops are not San Francisco attire. Needed to get my jeans and fleece out. Stopped washing my hair to fit in too.

Registered for the conference picked up my sweet bag and goodies.

Went to Taylor’s Automatic Refreshment down on the embarcadero for lunch. Very good.

Went and studied for a few hours for the VCP 4

Attended the VMworld Underground Warm-Up Extravaganza at the Thirsty Bear. I had a great time. I met several people that I only knew via twitter and blogs and message boards. It was great to put names to faces.

Monday

Could not sleep much past 5:30 PDT this morning. Got up did some additional VCP studying. Headed out to breakfast

Went into SRM troubleshooting lab at 7:30 besides some technical burps it went well, good to troubleshoot intentional and unintentional technical problems. I learned what to look for in the log files which was the main reason I elected this lab.

Had extra time and felt like there was no way I could get more vSphere info into my head I sat for the VCP 4 an hour early. I am glad that I did. Must have been too many people testing at once or the test software is just no good. The test would pause for 30-60 seconds between each question, slowing down my rhythm and frustrating me a little. I kept doing minute per question calculations in my head. All technical problems are forgiven though because I passed. Mainly glad I don’t have to do that again for a while. Hopefully the exam engine or whatever was wrong will be ok next time.

Getting ready for the Welcome Reception tonight and catching up on some email and other business. Thank you to everyone with all the kind words about me passing the VCP 4. Woo woo! 

Using iSCSI to get some big ole disk in a Virtual Machine

First, I have lived in the South too long, because I said “Big ole disk” and couldn’t think of a more appropriate phrase. Now someone rescue me if I start to tell you to “mash” the power button on your server or SAN. I kid.

I am sure everyone out there has used this before but I like to document these things just case someone else needs help.

A coworker and I were installing a vSphere environment last week to support some new software for a customer. The software vendor required approximately 30 x 146GB drives in a Raid 5 to store images. Never would guess the software vendor happens to sell SANs too! I exaggerate it actually called for 3TB of usable space.

So my thought was to get over 2TB limit of VMFS we would need to use the MS iSCSI initiator inside the VM. Then my coworker thought we could enable MPIO using two virtual Nics with vmxnet3. We tied each vmxnet3 nic to a separate port group and assigned one of the 2 physical NICs to each port group. Additionally vmxnet3 lets you enable jumbo frames and the physical nics were already set to mtu 9000 because this was on the software iscsi vswitch. So we were able to get multiple paths from the VM to the network and have jumbo frames all the way through.

Next we presented the iSCSI volume of 3TB to the Windows machines. Of course at first it sees it as a couple of smaller volumes. Convert the disk to GPT and align to 64k, then format with NTFS. Just like that a 3TB disk inside a Virtual Machine.

iSCSI MPIO

Now we saw IOMETER push better sequential IO than an RDM that was set up for Round Robin, but not quite as good in the Random IO department as a RDM.

The main gain here is to get a file bigger than 2TB minus 512B. Useful for the scan/image servers that store a tons of files for a long time.

To sum up and make it clear.

1. Use the Microsoft iSCSI initiator and MPIO inside the VM when you need more than 2TB on  a disk.

2. Use 2 port groups and bind them to separate physical nics to let the MPIO actually work over 2 nics.

3. With vSphere use the VMXNET3 driver for network to use jumbo frames, the E1000 driver does not support this.

VMworld 2009 – In-n-Out Burger Run

After you run the 10k on Monday evening what else do you have to do in the evening at VMworld? I know many of you will be shining your shoes and getting your top hats ready putting on your Ball Gowns for some big vendor party. Before that though, on Tuesday or Wednesday at 5:30 or 6 pm I will try to lead an expedition to a California classic, In-n-Out burger. For those of us exiled from California it is common to make In-n-Out a destination when we visit. Sound like you are a native Californian and order something not on the menu. Like a “4×4 Animal Style” – 4 beef patties, 4 pieces of cheese and all the onions and whatnot grilled to perfection.

So let me know if you are interested and while try to organize a meetup and trolley/train/cab/bus/walk over.

Things a VMware Consultant should not Tweet.

So I don’t have any real content today. So I will make up things you should not tweet from a customer site.

1. @duncanYB How do I add a host to vCenter again?

2. Just overwrote dudes LUNS, hope there wasn’t anything on them.

3. Licenses? Everyone can use my file.

4. Just P2V’d dudes server in the middle of the day. Hope no one noticed the reboot.

5. iSCSI, Service Console, VM Network, DMZ, VMotion. All on one NIC Sweet!
(don’t ruin the effect by commenting about 10GigE)

6. Exchange and SQL on SATA? No better use for a single 1 TB drive!

7. Just finished my first ESX install on a real server. Faster than it was in Workstation.

8. @Texiwill is there  a way to blank the root password for the Service Console?

9. Failover is for dummies that don’t do it right the first time.

10. Can’t wait to leave here so I can finish building my life size Yoda robot.

Add your suggestions in the comments or tweet them to me @2vcps