15 Sep 2009
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I’ve been trying to install VMware vCenter Server on Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition. This is because I am working on a few blog articles on protecting the vCenter Server against hardware failures. At the moment, I’m busy working on two blog posts.

1.       Protecting vCenter with VMware vCenter Server heartbeat;

2.       Protecting vCenter with Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS).

 

Whilst trying to install vCenter on Windows Server 2008 R2, I ran into some issues I had to resolve before I could do anything useful.

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01 Sep 2009
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VMware announced vCloud Express™ at VMworld 2009. vCloud Express allows for the provisioning of infrastructure on-demand. Unlike conventional hosting, services running inside the cloud provided by vCloud Express services are charged for by the hour. This is paid for by credit card. The credit card details are taken upon registering for a vCloud Express account with a service provider that provides vCloud Express services.

 

Service providers who will provide vCloud Express services, will display the VMware Virtualized™ logo on the website. This is because VMware vCloud Express™ essentially runs on vSphere and it therefore ensures compatibility with VMware environments on external as well as internal clouds.

 

With vCloud Express™, service providers can now provide a fast and cost-effective solution for their customers to gain on-demand access to a VMware Virtualized™ environment. Virtual Machines can be easily and quickly be deployed. This is especially useful for application development and testing. As vCloud Express™ runs on vSphere 4, it also supports all the guest operating systems that vSphere 4 supports. From registration to deploying machines, vCloud Express™ is fully web based.

 

Terremarks’s implementation of VMware vCloud Express™ was demonstrated on stage at VMworld 2009. The demonstration was quick and easy and demonstrated just how easy vCloud Express™ makes it for clients to register for the service and provision a server in minutes.

 

Although still in Beta, the following service providers are currently offering vCloud Express™ services:

 

United States and Canada (Amaricas):
Terremark, Hosting.com, BlueLock

EMEA:
Logica

APAC:
Melbourne IT

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24 Aug 2009
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As I'm trying to get to grips with Hyper-V, I've decided to purchase MS techNet Plus which allows a single user to use any of Microsoft's software products for private use for one year.

A TechNet Plus subscription is normally £234.00 excl. VAT at 21.5% (If you live in the EU, VAT is charged at the Irish rate of 21.5%). This comes to £284.31. However, I found a discount code that gives you 25% off. The total amount for my purchase came to £213.43.

The Promo Code is: TMSAM10

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24 Jul 2009
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In ESX 3.5, when trying to create a new snapshot, the following error is reported in the VI Client:

An invalid snapshot configuration was detected


Also, when reading the Virtual Machine log file (vmware.log) located in the same location as the VM, you may find references to delta files such as "vm_name-000001.vmdk", but when browsing the datastore, the delta file does not exists. Also, when running vmware-cmd hassnapshot,  "hassnapshot ()= " is returned, which means that the VM has no snapshots in place.

If this is truly the case, why is "An invalid snapshot configuration was detected" returned when trying to create a new snapshot?

VMware records snapshot information about the current VM in a .vmsd file. This file is located with the rest of the virtual machine configuration and VMDK files on the datastore. The file is normally called .vmsd. This file will contain information, even if your VM has no snapshots in place.

It is possible that in some cases, ESX fails to properly clean up after previous snapshots were removed. The information for previous snapshots may still be recorded in the .vmsd file. The file may indicate that you still have snapshots in pace, although all previous snapshots were removed and the dalta files have been merged. When you then try to create a snapshot, the .vmsd file will inform the ESX host that there is a delta file in place and that it has to create a second or third delta file. When the ESX host interigates the VMFS file system, it's unable to find the snapshot delta files specified in the .vmsd file and therefore errors with "an invalid snapshot configuration was detected."

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14 Jul 2009
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Today I was planning on testing the new 16 patches released by VMware for vSphere 4. I wanted to place these on my 2nd ESX host. I normally place my ESX hosts in maintenance mode before I remedaite updates. As I placed esx2 in maintenance mode, the VMs, as expected, started to migrate over to the other hosts in the cluster with VMotion. The VMotion migration of two of my VMs running Windows XP, failed with the following error message: 

A general system error occurred: Failed to write checkpoint data (offset 33558328, size 16384): Limit exceeded

It turns out that a VM must have less than 30MB Video RAM or VRAM assigned in order to be compatible with VMotion. As I normally run these two VMs at 1680 x 1050 resolution, I went all out an assigned the maximum amount of memory allowed, which is 128MB as VRAM, hence the reason for the VMotion failure.

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14 Jul 2009
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VMware ESX / ESXi 4 does work out of the box on the HP Proliant ML110 G5. I know, I'm using ML110's with ESX 4. However, I still see posts like this http://communities.vmware.com/thread/163029 were people have problems with this ML110 and ESX 4 and even ESX 3 combination.

Now, if you look at the link to VMware Communities, you will notice in one of the screen shots attached that the CPU is a 1.8GHz Dual Core. The ML110 G5 comes in more than one CPU, so beware that when you decide to get one of these HP Proliant ML110 G5 for running ESX 4, make sure you get one with the Intel Xeon 3065 CPU that runs at 2.3GHz. The reason is because not all Intel CPU's shipped with the ML110 supports Intel VT, and this is a requirement for ESX 4.

Now I know you're probably saying: "The guy in the post is not using ESX 4." My point is simple: It doesn't matter what version of ESX the post refers to. If you want ESX 4 to run on the ML110, make sure you have the correct processor.

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@martinclarkson No! A Rubiks cube is an essential part of staying sane.
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