Tips for Virtualizing SAP

If you’re a follower of mine on Twitter (@eczerwin), you know that about 8 months ago I was transferred by my company from Chicago, USA to Zurich, Switzerland.  This mission has been exciting and a lot of fun – but it’s not easy.


The mission – Move roughly 12TB of SAP data over the ocean into two new datacenters running on new iron, with one weekend of downtime.  In the future keep your eyes open for another blog post on exactly how we completed this data move.


My personal goalVirtualize every possible server that comes over (or at least what the app owners will allow without having heart attacks).


After having a chat with the SAP app owners and trying to soothe their concerns we moved forward like this;  all SAP application servers and test DBs will be virtualized, while production DBs stay physical (it’s only 2 servers).  Oh well, a bit of a compromise but we are bringing the physical server count down to more than half of the current numbers.  For all you hardware geeks out there let me give you a quick rundown of what we are putting this environment on …

The Iron

  • 2 EMC VMax-  1 for full production the other for test/dev and SRDF/A Target roughly 70TB usable
  • 4 DELL R910s for Datacenter 1 – 128 total cores and 1.2 TBs total memory – Production Cluster
  • 4 DELL R910s for Datacenter 2 – 128 total cores and 1.2 TBs total memory – Test/Dev/Failover cluster


The Hypervisor and utilities

  • ESXi 4.1
  • vCenter 4.1 running on a Windows 2008 VM
  • Powerpath/VE (Just listed as supporting ESXi 4.1 about a week ago)


In addition to all this new gear, I still have not mentioned the infrastructure for the backups which will include a couple more SANs and more replication.  I don’t want to be too longwinded about that here. After all, we are here to talk about virtualizing SAP.

While doing all the design for slot size and etc, I was researching and found there were some special requirements to virtualize SAP in a supported fashion. Our SAP environment is running on Windows 2003 x64, so most of these requirements will relate directly to running SAP on Windows. (Also big thanks to @BasRaayman for good insight into a lot of this.)

First and foremost, SAP absolutely requires memory reservations.  Most of these servers have 48GB of memory so we needed a very large cluster design to have the proper amount of slot sizes (in this scenario with such strong hardware, I chose not to use resource pools).  The way SAP works is the app fully allocates the memory and doesn’t free it up as long as it is running.  If these servers don’t have the memory guaranteed to them 100% of the time they will most likely perform very poorly.

Secondly, there is some cloudy information out there about CPU reservations in SAP. I spent a while reading through many SAPNotes (which led to some confusion) and chatting with colleagues about it. In the end I decided to trust in what I had designed, and let the Hypervisor deal with the CPU scheduling. The important part in this is that you plan for capacity and design your cluster(s) very carefully. In my opinion, CPU reservations are not necessary.

Now, next up is something you will need to prod your SAP Basis Administrators about. There is a memory model setting inside of the newer versions of SAP that is important to set when running in a virtual environment.  If you are running Windows 2003, it should always be set to classical.  However, if you are running windows 2008 there are differences to take into account.  If you have a CPU bound system with plenty of memory resources, go with the Flat Memory model as recommended by SAP.  If you are memory bound, go with Classical.  This can be tricky and require some monitoring and tuning after it is already live. 

For the particularly high I/O VMs, I decided to use RDMs for the data volumes (these are mostly housing large SQL DBs). Now I know this is not required as VMware stated the speed difference is next to nothing. However, if I see later the performance is fine I can always convert them to VMDKs. Also by using the PowerPath/VE plugin we have true load balancing and multipathing back to the VMax Arrays. When I get around to testing the performance with and without PowerPath/VE I may write another blog post about just that!

In my opinion SAP is like any other tier 1 application – just with a few additional special requirements.  It can absolutely be virtualized, don’t listen to all the naysayers.  My biggest word of advice is to plan carefully and keep your capacity in check, then any other extra bumps in the road should not be too bad.


— Ed Czerwin

The VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Course Experience

I haven’t seen many reviews of this class, so I thought I would share my experience for those thinking of registering for the VMware vSphere Troubleshooting course.

I was originally registered for Fast Track, but after I took a long, hard look at the course outline, I realized I already knew most of the material they would cover. I’m glad I changed my registration to Troubleshooting, especially since the requirements changed to include it as a prerequisite for VCP4 certification.

When I sign up for a technical class, I always worry that I’ll get a professional instructor with not much real world experience. My trainer for this course was John Davis from New Age Technologies. He was definitely well versed in the material, and since he had also spent considerable time in the field, he was able to share a lot of his real troubleshooting experiences. This was the most beneficial part of the class, so if you register, make sure you’re taking it with someone who has been in the trenches.

My intent is not to disparage the excellent VMware official curriculum, as it was very well put together, and quite thorough. I just learn much better when I can discuss with folks who have been where I am, and seen things I haven’t seen. I can read the book and do the labs anytime.

Day One

The first day, we jumped right into some CLI troubleshooting. Since I had been using ESXi, and the vMA, I was on somewhat familiar turf. In the first few labs, we configured the vMA, vi-fastpass, session files, and started right in with some vicfg commands. These are mostly network related commands in the first few labs.

We played around with tech support mode a bit, although this was a couple days before the 4.1 release where it became officially supported. In class we got the official “don’t try this at home” line from the instructor. We enabled SSH on ESXi and played around with Putty a bit. One of the coolest things I saw on day one was the vsish command on ESXi. For those who haven’t played with it, I recommend checking it out. It’s a bit like the Windows registry for ESXi. One can view tons of info about the system setup using this command.

We had an in-depth look at ESX, ESXi, and vCenter log files in the console, and in vSphere Client. We covered viewing, exporting, bundling, and even setting up log collection with the vMA. There were 5 labs on logging, and setting up the vMA to host the logs.

Day Two

On day two, we jumped into network troubleshooting. We covered a lot of new info on the inner workings of the dvSwitch, including synchronization, and what happens when it breaks, which I found helpful. There were a few labs where the instructor broke our network setup, and we had to fix the problem. Some of these breaks surrounded dvSwitch timeouts, obsolete dvSwitch info, and uplink issues.

We played with CDP, port binding methods, and VLAN / PVLAN troubleshooting. I think the PVLAN stuff was most beneficial. Even understanding how those work, it’s great to get some hands-on troubleshooting with them, not having used them in my own environments.

Day Three

Today we continued with networking, which is probably the most information packed module of the course, and with good reason. There were labs on Wireshark, tcpdump, net-dvs, and viewing / changing network configs from the vMA and CLI. As a CCNA, I had a pretty solid networking background going in, but I did notice some in the class struggled a bit with this. If you don’t have much networking experience, or at least a solid understanding of VLAN’s, I recommend brushing up before this course.

We went into management troubleshooting after wrapping up the network break / fix labs. Firewall configuration errors were something I really didn’t care about, but not everyone has the luxury of using ESXi exclusively. There was some database connectivity and lots of vCenter troubleshooting.

Storage was up next, and there was a ton of information on PSA, NMP, MPP, SATP, CHAP, and PSP. After we got all the acronyms out of the way, we did some great iSCSI break / fix labs. These were fun, and our sneaky instructor gave us some pretty hairy issues that may never happen in the real world, but provided fantastic troubleshooting opportunities.

Day Four

VMotion, DRS, HA, and cluster troubleshooting was the topic of the morning on day four. Reservations and swap file space issues cropped up, as did VMotion failures and admission control policies.

My favorite part of the class was absolutely the break / fix labs. On day four, we got the chance to have as many of these as time would allow. Previously all the break / fix scenarios were related to the chapter we were on, so you’d have a good idea where to start troubleshooting. But on the last day, it could have been anything. I had a blast troubleshooting the breaks that our instructor did for us, and I probably learned the most during this exercise.

In summary, I found the troubleshooting course much more valuable than the ICM or Fast Track would have been for me. For someone with zero to only a few months of vSphere experience, ICM or Fast Track may be a better choice. If you’ve been playing with it at least in a lab for 6 months or more, read the books, and VMware Documentation Roadmap, you’d probably find Troubleshooting a more beneficial course.

Will it prepare you for the VCP4 exam? No. But, in my opinion, neither will the others. The only thing that can adequately prepare you for the exam is the Blueprint.  I know that’s the standard response everyone gives, but it really is true. If you go through the Blueprint step by step, you’ll be good to go for the exam.

ESXTOP Replay and VM-Support output– AKA ‘Pain Train’

@vTrooper from the field here:

In an effort to help one of my customers troubleshoot some performance issues within his ESX farm I asked for a run of the vm-support file with some special parameters.  I expected I could pull a few minutes of esxtop data and replay it locally.  Why didn’t I just do the same thing with the esxtop parameters?  Well I wanted to get some of the specifics of the farm at the same time. I thought I could capture both the configuration and the performance data in a simple request.  Seems reasonable right?

Well the delivery of the vm-support file  yielded a legacy of discovery. Read on if you wish to avoid the ‘Pain Train’

Roadblock 1 – OMG the files are HUGE!

The command was simple and can be reviewed from the ‘man’ page of the ESX system.

vm-support -s -i 10 -d 600

This runs the vm-support output and then captures statistics of 10 second intervals for 10 minutes.  It will make the support file take longer to run but you get that sample of data you need.  Just SCP that zip file output and you are good to go to the next step.

Copying 305MB…….          WTF?!!   It was supposed to be 60 samples.  How did that happen?  How did I get a 3ooMB file compressed??  Checking the ‘man’ page again I forgot to exclude the core dumps and other log files. I should have used:

vm-support -n -s -i 10 -d 600

to exclude the core dumps in the vm-support payload. On 4 ESX systems each output was 300MB,65MB,154MB,91MB.  I’m still not sure why, but lets dive into the output and see what is there. I unzip the payload to my local machine and see what I pulled into the boat…. – OUT OF SPACE–   Wait what?  The 300MB monster expanded to 1.3 GB on disk . Well Poo.  I’ll go get coffee while I move some files around.  Ok there. Got the thing expanded. Now I should be able to find my ESXTOP output.  I browse through the file structure of the payload and find that the ESXTOP output is captured in VSI output files.  Only way to see inside the files is to run ESXTOP.  My windows workstation isn’t ESX so I have to try it another way.  Sheesh.

Roadblock 2 –  Wait!  Where the Hell Am I?!

Fine.  I’ll scp the files over to my ESX 4.0 system locally running in my Vmware Workstation 7.1 instance. This should be a piece of cake…. – OUT OF SPACE–   Really?  Again? Oh yeah; I created a small instance locally so I could jump into the CLI/Console and run a few commands if necessary.  I don’t really run ongoing VM’s here. No horsepower on the laptop, and no space apparently.  I had all my space in the VMFS volume not in the /root directory of the ESX console.  Guess I’ll just load the payload on the VMFS area.  Better make the VMFS datastore larger while I’m at it, ok there.  Whoo Hoo! Fully expanded vm-support file.  NOW I’m Ready!  Let’s run the replay command of ESXTOP:

‘   esxtop –R /volumes/vmfs/<vmsupportextractdir>


Are you kidding me?  The kernel version of ESXTOP can’t translate to different versions of the damn output? Unreal. I better go check what format the customer has on their ESX system, I have the configs in the vm-support output after all.  Let’s see /etc/vmware-release should tell me….

‘  VMware ESX 4.0 (Kandinsky)

Well is that the original version of ESX4 ,Update 1 , or Update 2?  Where was I, with my local version?  Let’s check another place: /proc/version

Linux version 2.6.18-164.ESX ( (gcc version 4.1.2) #1 Thu Mar 11 07:09:06 PST 2010 [ESX Service Console build 240614] ‘

Wait.  That doesn’t match what is on the console screen when I first login to the ESX node.

Let’s try another place: /etc/vmware/ft-vmk-version:

‘ product-version = 4.0.0  ft-version = 208167 ‘

OK.  I’m on Update 1 (208167) and the customer is on Update 2 (261974).   More coffee while I get that downloaded….. –OUT OF SPACE—   ? See Roadblock 1

Removed the big vm-support file now that I moved it to the ESX host and got the correct version updated.  Let’s try the replay again.

‘   esxtop –R /volumes/vmfs/<vmsupportextractdir>

SUCCESS!!  Now I’m cooking with Gas.   I’m able to get through the samples of the ESXTOP replay and see all the elements.

Roadblock 3 – The Phat Phinger!

Now I want to show the Customer the output and findings. All I should have to do is run the replay mode command and port that to batch mode and generate the .csv format of the values I care about. Right?

‘  esxtop –R << vmsupportextractdir>> | esxtop -b  >  foo.csv

After running this command I watched the foo.csv file grow and grow… And GROW .  It didn’t stop.  I thought something was up and checked the file.  I had the esxtop of my local ESX instance plugging data into the foo.csv file.  Not my customers vm-support supplied data. Yup I messed up.

The correct command is this:

‘  esxtop –R << vmsupportextractdir>> -b  >  foo.csv

And if you want to parse out more specifics you can run the ESXTOP command in interactive mode set the parameters you care about and save the .esxtop4rc file and run as such.

‘  esxtop –R << vmsupportextractdir>> -b  -c .esxtop4rc  >  foo.csv

It seemed like a marathon but I still had to finish the job.  I SCP’d the file off the ESX host back to my workstation for the last part…The EPIC Line chart:

Roadblock 4 – DDoS of Data <<ChoKe!>>

Now I had my Customers 4 ESX hosts each with a .csv format of the captured data. All I needed to do now is get those .csv samples into esxplot to get some view of the data.

If you haven’t seen the esxplot tool take a look at the vmware labs site and pull it down Here:

You won’t regret the ease of use and the ablility to jump through the data quickly.  Excel limits the column counts and esxplot accommodates the large datasets better than Excel to my knowledge.

How large are the datasets do you say?  Well.  Massive. Let me explain why:

Each of the 4 ESX hosts were told to sample 60 intervals of the default esxtop values.  I didn’t tell the customer to limit those on capture so they all went into the VSI cache files as the vm-support file was created.  Each .csv file included 17,000 metrics over those 60 samples.

Yup. 4 Million metrics would be parsed into my graph if I didn’t pull the unneccessary stuff out.  17,000+ * 60 * 4 = 4,080,000+   Not bad for 10 minutes of work.

Let’s cut to the chase.  I re-ran my extract from the vm-support files and minimized the data to the HBA’s I was reviewing by limiting the output in the .esxtop4rc file.  With those .csv’s reduced to under 5000 metrics I was much improved in parsing through the data to find the Active HBA’s and get my much desired graph of vmhba data.

Hard Knocks? – You Bet.  Now You Know This:

What else can I say folks.   Don’t try this at home. It probably took me a week to get through all these roadblocks for a simple set of data that was probably easier from the Virtual Center reporting tool.  The idea of having someone run the vm-support file and you tackling it by hand is a severe waste of your time.

Tell them what they’ve learned Bob:

  • You can run the vm-support command and capture performance output
  • You can run the esxtop –Replay command and parse that data in batch mode out to a .csv
  • You can limit that batch sample to a lesser amount with additional parameters in the batch mode command with -c
  • You can make pretty graphs of the 4+ Kazillion metrics that may even spit out some interesting data

And Finally:

I’m going to put this train back on some tracks and go find another  adventure in the field.

@vTrooper out

Give back – Vote for Virtual Insanity for the top VMware Blog!


It’s hard to believe that another year has flown by and Eric Siebert’s voting for the top Virtualization blogging contest is upon us once again!  If you enjoy the content that you read from Virtual Insanity, I encourage you to give back to the community and vote for us!

What other site discusses great technical VMware content ranging from core ESX, Spring Source, Linchpin’s and even open’s its doors to great guest bloggers??  Thanks for reading.


Host Affinity

In vSphere 4.1 VMware introduced a new feature call Host Affinity. Host Affinity allows for the creation of a “sub-cluster” within a VMware Cluster. This features lets a vSphere Administrator create a relationship between virtual machines and the ESX hosts on which they reside. The vSphere Administrator can configure rules that either allow virtual machines to run inside an ESX Host grouping or force these virtual machines to run outside this ESX Host grouping. If virtual machines are not specifically identified to run inside, or outside an ESX host grouping, they can drift in and out of an ESX host grouping.

Why should one consider Host Affinity? One use case is for ISV (Independent Software Vendor) licensing requirements. If an ISV requires that an organization license every ESX host the virtual machine can possibly run on inside the cluster, an organization can use Host Affinity configured with the “must run on hosts in this group” rule to limit which ESX hosts the virtual machine can reside. Organizations should check with their ISVs to ensure licensing compliance.

Another reason for using Host Affinity is for increased availability. Host Affinity, in combination with VMware HA allows for a higher level of availability. For example, a vSphere Administrator can configure an ESX Host DRS group in which they select ESX hosts that reside in different physical racks. The vSphere Administrator can then configure virtual machine anti-affinity rules to ensure the VMs do not run on the same ESX hosts. The net-net of this design is two virtual machines that will not reside on the same physical ESX hosts and hosts are in different physical racks. The virtual machines are protected against a hardware failure at the server level (meaning a physical server outage will not take down both virtual machines) and they are also protected against physical failure within the rack. Extending this example to a blade environment, use Host Affinity to create an ESX Host DRS group that has ESX hosts in different enclosures.

In the example below, we will create two (2) virtual machine DRS groups, one for the SQL virtual machines and one for the Exchange Mailbox Server virtual machines. We will create one ESX Host DRS group consisting of two (2) ESX hosts. We will then configure VM to Host Affinity rules to keep the SQL virtual machines inside the ESX Host DRS Grouping and the Exchange Mailbox virtual machines outside this ESX Host DRS grouping. The reason for this is to ensure we are meeting our SQL Licensing requirements and to keep the Exchange Mailbox server outside this ESX Host DRS grouping. All other virtual machines will be able to run on any of the ESX hosts in the cluster. Note, the lab I am working with has four (4) ESX Hosts, so the example below is for illustrative purposes and not necessary what one would do in a production environment.

In the diagram below, please note the the following:

  • CLUSTER02 has four (4) ESX Hosts
  • SQL2K8_01 is running on ESX06
  • SQL2K8_02 is running on ESX05
  • EX_2010_mbx01 is running on ESX07
  • EX_2010_mbx02 is running on ESX08


Next, create the virtual machine and ESX host DRS groups.

  • Right click the Cluster, and select Edit Settings… to bring up the properties dialog box.


  • Click on DRS Group Manager, the click on the Add… button inside the Virtual Machine DRS Group section to bring up the Virtual Machine DRS Group dialog box


  • Once the Virtual Machine DRS Group dialog box appears, give the DRS group a name (SQL VM DRS Group), then locate the virtual machines (in this case the SQL2K8 virtual machines) and move them from the “Virtual machines not in this DRS group” on the left to “Virtual machines in this DRS group” on the right using the >> button, and click OK to save the DRS Group configuration.


  • Repeate the same steps to create the Exchange MBX VM DRS Group.
  • Next, create the ESX Host DRS group – click the Add… button under Host DRS Groups to bring up the Host DRS Groups dialog box.


  • Once the ESX Host DRS Group dialog box appears, give the DRS group a name (SQL ESX Host DRS Group), then  located the ESX Hosts that will be part of this group (in this case ESX07 and ESX08) and move these ESX Hosts from the “Hosts not in this DRS group” on the left to “Hosts in this DRS group” on the right using the >> button. Click OK to save the DRS Group.


  • On the Cluster Settings dialog box, click Rules and then click Add.. to open the Rule dialog box
  • In the Rule dialog box, under Name, give the rule a name (SQL VM-Host Affinity)
  • Under Type, select Virtual Machines to Hosts
  • Under Cluster Vm Group: Select the appropriate group (created earlier, SQL VM DRS Group)
  • Next, select the affinity type and level, Must run on hosts in group
  • Under Cluster Host Group, select the ESX DRS group, SQL ESX Host DRS Group
  • Click OK to save the configuration and close the Rule dialog box


  • Click Add…, this time we are going to add the Exchange Mailbox server anti-affinity rules.
  • On the Rule dialog box, under Name, give the rule a name (Exchange_MBX VM-Host Anti-Affinity)
  • Under Type, select Virtual Machines to Hosts
  • Under Cluster Vm Group, select the previously configured Exchange MBX VM DRS Group
  • Next, select Must Not run on hosts in group
  • Under Cluster Host Group, select SQL ESX Host DRS Group
  • Click OK to save the settings.


We have configured virtual machine to ESX Host Affinity rules to keep our SQL virtual machines contained within our pre-defined sub-cluster and we have configured our Exchange mailbox servers so they will not run inside this sub-cluster. Next, we will create a virtual machine to virtual machine rule. This rule will be used to keep the Exchange mailbox servers on different hosts.

  • On the Cluster settings page, click Add… to bring up the Rule dialog box once again
  • Under Name, give the rule a name (Exchange_MBX_VMs Anti-Affinity
  • Under Type, select Separate Virtual Machines
  • Click Add… to bring up the Virtual Machine dialog box and select the appropriate virtual machines, in this case EX_2010_mbx01 and EX_2010_mbx02 and click OK to close the virtual machines dialog box


  • Click OK to close the Cluster settings dialog box. Once this is done, vCenter will apply the changes and begin to migrate virtual machines (because DRS is set to Fully automated) in adherence to the configuration changes.


After a minute, we see that vCenter Server has migrated virtual machines in accordance with our virtual machine to host affinity rules as well as our virtual machine to virtual machine anti-affinity rule.

  • SQL2K8_01 migrated from ESX06 to ESX07 (adhering to VM-ESX affinity rule)
  • SQL2K8_02 migrated from ESX05 to ESX08 (adhering to the VM-ESX affinity rule)
  • EX_2010_mbx01 migrated from ESX07 to ESX05 (adhering to VM-ESX Host anti-affinity rule)
  • EX_2010_mbx02 migrated from ESX08 to ESX06 (adhering to VM-ESX Host anti-affinity rule)
  • EX_2010_mbx01/EX_2010_mbx02 are not on the same host (adhering to VM-VM anti-affinity rule)


To prove strict adherence, we will attempt to migrate the SQL2K8_01 VM from ESX07 to ESX 05. Remember we configured the SQL 2K8 servers to run on ESX07 and ESX08, not ESX05 or ESX06.


We can see from the error message above we are not able to move the virtual machine to an ESX Host that is not part of the ESX Host DRS Group.

For more information on Host Affinity, consult the VMware vSphere 4.1 Resource Management Guide

What you missed at VMworld 2010

If you couldn’t attend VMworld 2010 which occurred last week, here is what you missed (in no particular order) …

Breaking Records … VMworld 2010 by the Numbers

How big was VMworld this year? Bigger than ever. Here are some statistics you might find interesting.

  • 17,021: The number of registered attendees. This is up from 12,500 last year, and up from 1,400 at the first VMworld in 2004!
  • 85: The number of countries represented by attendees.
  • 55: People who have attended every VMworld (I know one of them, and it’s not me … who are the others?)
  • 15,344: The number of labs delivered via the VMworld Lab Cloud. This is up from 4,500 last year!
  • 145,097: The number of VMs deployed to support the 15,344 labs.
  • 4,000: The number of VMs running per hour (on average) in the labs.

The VMworld 2010 Lab Cloud – Real Cloud Computing in Action


All VMworld labs were delivered via the Lab Cloud and let me tell you, it was beyond impressive.  Imagine walking into massive room filled with nearly 500 lab stations, sitting down at one of those lab stations, selecting from a catalog of close to 30 labs, and having your lab deployed for you on demand via a hybrid cloud.  Think about that for a second.  Many companies still believe cloud computing is nothing more than a marketing term. And even more believe that true cloud computing is still a few years (or more) out. But VMware really flexed its muscles by delivering 15k+ labs and 145k+ VMs via a true cloud computing solution, powered by VMware software and running on both Verizon and Terramark cloud offerings.  Duncan Epping gives us more details with his blog post, VMworld Labs the Aftermath.

Micro$oft and Citrix Shenanigans

You know, it really wouldn’t feel like a VMworld if both Citrix and Micro$oft weren’t prancing around with a variety of childish marketing tactics.  And this year, they certainly didn’t disappoint!

  • Citrix – As they have in previous years, Citrix littered every billboard and taxi cab top in a five block radius (probably greater) of Moscone Center.  But this year, they really went the extra mile and completely wrapped a whole bunch of taxis in advertising, and then hired them to drive around the event.  But here’s the kicker … they weren’t allowed to take passengers!  You ask, what’s the big deal?  Well, don’t you find it somewhat ironic that a company that promotes “Green IT” (i.e. saving CO2 emissions) via their software, decided to advertise by a means that does nothing more than waste CO2?  I mean, if the taxis could actually take passengers, then at least you could make an argument that the CO2 was well used.  Or at the very least, it was used for something other than FUD.

    I made a comment via Twitter that pointed out their use of non-passenger taking taxis for advertising during the event.  In response, both @CitrixPR and @simoncrosby said my claims were untrue.  So to prove I am not a liar (and they are), I tried to get a ride with one of the taxis.  Here’s what happened …

  • Micro$oft – I think I’ll file this next one under the category, “Hey Pot, this is Kettle, what color am I again?”  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Micro$oft, the absolute king of “vendor lock-in” took out a full page ad in USA Today warning VMware customers about multi-year license agreements.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a photo taken by @ssauer.


  • Why in the world would I highlight these shenanigans here?  Because with these actions, both Citrix and Micro$oft have done two things.  First, they continue to validate our direction and clear leadership in this space.  And second, they are showing their desperation and inability to keep up.  This may be a pretty bold statement, but let’s face facts, FUD is the weapon of followers, not leaders.  (And by the way, I LOVE the fact that Micro$oft opened their letter with “Dear VMware Customers.”  Ummm, aren’t all VMware customers also Micro$oft customers?)

New Product Announcements and Technology Previews

  • View 4.5 – VMware’s next big release of their VDI product will be GA this month.  VMware View is a product that has been around for a while, but this release is packed with a ton of new Enterprise features and it appears that analysts are finally calling it ready for prime time, as noted by the highly respected Chris Wolf (Research VP at Gartner) in his blog post, VMware View 4.5:  Ready for the Large Enterprise.
  • vCloud Director – Next to View 4.5, this is probably the most exciting product announcement at VMworld.  You may know of the product as “Redwood,” the not-so-secret internal code name for the product.  But what is it?  It’s a product that will provide the interface, automation and management required by enterprises and services providers to build private and public clouds.  Duncan Epping is very familiar with the product and gives us a great overview with his blog post, VMware vCloud Director (vCD).
  • vCloud Datacenter Services – vCloud Datacenter Services deliver globally consistent enterprise-class cloud computing infrastructure services.  From the VMware website

Offered by VMware-certified service providers (Verizon, Terremark, Bluelock, SignTel and Colt are the first five), vCloud Datacenter Services provide the business agility and cost effectiveness of public clouds without compromising on portability, compatibility, security and control demanded by enterprise IT organizations.

  • vShield App, vShield Edge, vShield Endpoint – What is the biggest concern executives have when it comes to cloud computing?  Opinions vary, but no matter who you talk to, everyone would put security in the top three list of concerns.  And most would put security in the number one spot.  So to help address this, VMware announced three new products that are aimed directly at solving security issues in the cloud:  vSheild App, vShield Edge and vShield Endpoint.
  • Project Horizon – Steve Herrod gave us a preview of new product in development at VMware, currently called Project Horizon.  What is it?  It’s kind of hard to describe, but think of an Apple like App Store for the enterprise (not that an App Store is 100% descriptive, but I would say it’s close).  I can tell you it generated a lot of buzz and chatter on Twitter.  One particular Tweet during the keynote that caught my eye came from Chris Wolf …

SaaS, thin apps, virt desktops provisioning, plus Single Sign On for SaaS – exactly why Horizon is game changer.

New Acquisitions

During Steve Herrod’s keynote speech on Tuesday, he announced the following two acquistions.

  • Integrien delivers real-time infrastructure monitoring, analysis and alerting capabilities.  More details will be revealed in time, but it’s obvious their products align nicely with VMware’s cloud computing vision.
  • TriCipher brings technology that will provide layer of security to existing VMware products.  TriCipher delivers identity-based security, which will integrate a hybrid of different clouds and enable access to SaaS applications from a variety end points.

Best of VMworld 2010 Awards

Congratulations to the Best of VMworld 2010 Award winners!!  Check out the companies and products that really shined at this year’s event.
Category Winner
Business Continuity / Data Protection Symantec for NetBackup 7
Security VMware for vShield
Management VKernel for Capacity Management Suite
Hardware Virtualization Cisco Systems for Cisco Nexus 7000 Overlay Transport Virtualization
Desktop Kaviza for Kaviza VDI in-a-box 3.0
Private Cloud Computing newScale for newScale 9
Public/Hybrid Cloud Computing Terremark for Enterprise Cloud
New Technology Veeam Software for Veeam Backup & Replication 5.0 Enterprise Edition
Best of Show Veeam Software for Veeam Backup & Replication 5.0 Enterprise Edition

And that’s what you missed at VMworld 2010.  See you next year!

VMWorld recommendations – By popular demand…


Over the past few VMWorlds, I have sent out an email to my customers outlining some of my personal picks for the sessions I think would be the best to attend based on my direct experience with the speaker, either through personal relationship, or presenting with them at another event. I have taken a look at all of the speaker names, and chosen only the ones I know are “golden” in technical knowledge or presentation skills! Try not to miss the ones marked “Highly Recommended” as they are sessions that have an extraordinary speaker or topic.

Remember, the standard disclaimer applies: These are my own picks and your mileage may vary! Feedback on my picks would be appreciated, and I know they will be better than my Fantasy Football picks this year!! 🙂

Link to recommendations doc… VMworld 2010 Speaker Recommendations – Tom’s Picks