Server Virtualization

VKernel Enhances Automation for Virtualization Management With New vOperations Suite 4.5

VKernel, the award-winning provider of enterprise-class performance and capacity management products for virtualized data centers and cloud environments, announced today general availability of vOperations SuiteTM 4.5. Designed to provide new automation capabilities for virtual machine management, the new release introduces advanced VM management task automation which coupled with robust automation controls, offers data centers “trusted automation”. The new version 4.5 of the vOperations Suite (also referred to as vOPSTM) is currently available for download at

Growing VM Environments Generate an Increasing Volume of Management Tasks
Adequately operating a virtual machine requires undertaking regular management tasks for each VM. Virtual machines must be monitored for performance issues, reviewed for proper resource sizing and reported on for stakeholders to gain insight into health status. Manually executing any of these management tasks – and for each VM – is time-consuming. As environments grow, administrators begin to spend increasing portions of their week engaged in manual execution of these routine tasks.

As a result, the only way to support scaling virtualized environments is to increasingly implement automation to eliminate manual VM management or hire additional system administrators. For example, a VM administrator can manually delete approximately 60 abandoned VM images in one hour. With vOPS 4.5’s ability to automate deletion of abandoned VM images, an unlimited amount of files can be removed in seconds. The need for automation becomes particularly acute for cloud deployments, which are purposefully architected to remove manual steps from VM life cycle operations.

“As a managed service provider for the rest of the business, automation of tasks is critical to maintain low operating costs,” says Chris DiGanci, Senior IT Manager, PEER1 Hosting. “VKernel vOPS 4.5 delivers practical automation steps that we can tailor to our environment and will save my team member a significant amount of time.”

Effective VM Management Automation Fulfilled in vOPS 4.5

VM management automation has been introduced in vOPS 4.5 to vastly streamline recommendation execution. For automation to be truly successful, it must allow for:
“Out-of-the-Box” Functionality that Saves Significant Time – vOPS 4.5 requires only a click-of-a-button, eliminating the need for manual work in a VM management console which can take hours or days. Users can also adjust settings for different infrastructure areas.
Trusted Automation – vOPS 4.5 features robust control features for automation capabilities that allow virtualization administrators to automatically execute VM management tasks and set “trusted automation” for their environments. With vOPS 4.5, administrators can automatically: delete abandoned VMDK files, merge VM snapshots, solve VM performance issues, power-off Zombie VMs, resize vCPU and VM memory resources based on recommendations, update management dashboards in real-time in external systems, and calculate CPU, memory and storage requirements at any point in the future.

“As organizations continue to deploy more virtual machines, data center staffs are spending a growing percent of their time engaged in routine management tasks,” said Bernd Harzog, The Virtualization Practice. “To avoid significantly growing data center headcount as they scale, virtualized environments will have to begin to employ automation of management tasks to oversee growing VM counts.”

Additional Features
Other features available in vOPS 4.5 include:

  • Application type tags to denote which application is running inside a virtual machine
  • Storage DRS and storage cluster support available with VMware vSphere 5
  • Access to VMware VASA interface storage statistics available with vSphere 5
  • Capacity planning calculation adjustments for vSphere 5 HA methods
  • Improved support and visibility into Raw Device Mapping (RDM) storage objects
  • Additional management reports such as graphs for performance issue counts
  • Auto-set VM metric trend alarms that generate warnings when abnormalities are detected

“As our customers experience growth within their own organization, one thing we’ve learned is they have become overwhelmed with executing tedious management tasks,” says Bryan Semple, CMO, VKernel. “vOPS 4.5 directly addresses that pain-point and allows for simple to implement and easy to maintain automation.”

General Availability
VKernel vOperations Suite 4.5 is available now for a 30-day trial from The Japanese version of vOPS 4.5 will be available in Q1 2012. Pricing starts at $299 per socket per application.

Storage Virtualization Whitepapers

Maximizing Virtual Machine Scalability with iSCSI Storage

Server virtualization is being deployed on an almost universal scale to reduce costs and optimize data center resources. To underscore this point, a recent survey* reported several key findings:

  • Server virtualization is widely used—74% of respondents are currently using server virtualization and another 19% are planning deployments.
  • The number of virtualized servers is relatively small today—58% of respondents have virtualized 30% or less of their servers
  • The number of virtualized servers is growing—the percentage of virtual machines (VMs) run in production will increase from 39% to 58% within two years

This trend is accelerating with new multi-core servers that support many more VMS per physical server and meet the requirements of resource-demanding, mission-critical applications.

As server capabilities grow, many data centers are finding their 1Gbps Ethernet (GbE) infrastructure is the next limiting factor for server virtualization. The solution is migration to 10Gbps Ethernet (10GbE) and the transition is gaining momentum as prices drop for 10GbE adapters and switches.

As part of this next- generation iSCSI environment, VMware introduced support for 10GbE iSCSI adapters with VMware vSphere 4.1. With this new capability, data center administrators have more choices for 10GbE iSCSI deployments. The goal of this technical brief is to provide information that will be helpful when choosing network connectivity for a 10GbE iSCSI solution.

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Network Virtualization

Xsigo Virtual I/O Provides Kroll 50 Percent More VM Throughput and Saves on Cost

Xsigo Systems, Inc., the leader in virtualized data center infrastructure, today announced that Kroll Factual Data, a division of Kroll, the world’s leading risk consulting company, has successfully deployed Xsigo virtual I/O in its virtualized data center. As a result, the firm increased the transaction capacity of its 700 Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines by 50 percent and gained six times more bandwidth per server at 50 percent less cost than alternative 10 gigabit Ethernet-based solutions.

“Our demand for IT capacity is exploding, and we needed an infrastructure solution that would let us do more right now, while giving us headroom to grow in the future,” said Galen Wiles, director of IT for Kroll Factual Data. “We looked at FCoE-based solutions and at 10 gigabit Ethernet, but felt that Xsigo’s solution best meets the combination of interoperability, performance, and value that we need. Bottom line, the Xsigo I/O Director saved us $15,000 per blade chassis while enabling 50 percent more capacity from our Hyper-V virtual machines.”

Kroll Factual Data deployed an advanced virtualized data center infrastructure solution consisting of a pair of Xsigo VP780 I/O Directors with 20Gb server interconnects, Dell blade servers, Microsoft Hyper-V software, Hitachi AMS 2500 storage arrays, and FalconStor storage virtualization software.

“We generate a tremendous amount of server-to-server traffic as data moves among our various proprietary applications, and that puts load on the network that can cause unpredictable performance,” said Galen. “With Xsigo, we eliminated those bottlenecks to help ensure a superior user experience for our clients.”

In a recent example, the firm resolved an I/O contention issue in just two hours with Xsigo virtual I/O, rather than the four to five days it would have taken to re-configure a physical network.

“Kroll Factual Data faced a business challenge that’s becoming increasingly common in virtualized data centers: how to ensure predictable application performance when data must traverse complex network paths,” said Bruce Fingles, Xsigo’s vice president of product management and alliances. “Xsigo flattens the network to reduce that complexity, and delivers four times the bandwidth of 10G Ethernet to help companies like Kroll Factual Data increase efficiency and get the optimum performance from their virtual machines.”

Server Virtualization

SmartDeploy to Co-Host Webcast on Windows Migration Best Practices

SmartDeploy, a leader in IT management solutions, software and services, today announced its upcoming webinar with Futurestate IT, scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST titled “Windows Migration Best Practices: Developing a Simplified Approach to OS Upgrades.” Prowess CEO, Aaron Suzuki and Futurestate IT Co-Founder and COO, Eric Courville have teamed up to deliver a simplified guide to a successful Windows migration in this 30 minute webcast.

Implementing a Windows 7 migration is a time consuming, costly and potentially high-risk project for any IT department. The challenges and costs associated with this transition has caused many organizations to delay their Windows 7 migration projects as they wait for a simplified end-to-end solution to ease this transition.

Prowess and Futurestate IT will deliver the must-know tips and best practices for the entire project from initial assessment and planning to application compatibility and Windows deployment. The webcast will explain how utilizing cloud solutions and virtual machines can help eliminate risk, reduce TCO and complete migration projects faster with fewer complications.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Identify cost, time and resources required for your Windows migration project
  • Minimize risk associated with application compatibility
  • Develop a device driver and deployment strategy for your organization
  • Save thousands in IT labor costs

“This webcast will provide attendees with best practices for their OS upgrade projects,” said Suzuki. “Our webcast with Futurestate IT will teach participants how utilizing cloud solutions and virtual machines can help eliminate risk without the cost and complexity.”

Server Virtualization

Cormant Announces the Ability to Query Virtual Machine Managers with CableSolve

Cormant Inc., a software development company specializing in IT infrastructure management, today announced CableSolve now queries virtual machine (VM) managers such as VMware ESX® and Cisco UCS® environments. With this update, data center and IT infrastructure managers are able to see a holistic view of their physical and virtual servers in the context of the overall IT infrastructure for the first time. The technology will be demonstrated at Interop New York in booth #657 and within the InteropNet.

Recognizing the need to understand the link between physical and virtual environments, CableSolve can document and visualize both physical and virtual environments in a single-pane-of-glass. This enables a real-time view of VMs on their physical host servers, and a historical view of the VM locations. CableSolve can also be configured to provide other VM characteristics such as memory usage, processor usage and hard drive space, which can be compared to the host physical server’s capacity, ultimately leading to a more efficient data center and a smoother transition to virtualization.

“There is a trend toward virtualization servers to save power and space, more efficiently utilize infrastructure and support green initiatives,” said Paul Goodison, CEO at Cormant. “CableSolve has always been highly effective at allowing IT managers to see which servers might be candidates for virtualization, either because of age, power consumption or function. Yet it’s important to note that physical servers that run virtual environments often place significantly higher demands on the physical infrastructure, as they use more power and generate more heat than traditionally provisioned servers. CableSolve is aware of which servers are used for virtualization and can query the server or smart power distribution units for power and temperature data, providing a truly holistic view of all the available information.”

According to Jay Pultz, vice president at Gartner, “Virtualization is an incredibly powerful technology to reduce hardware costs, reduce power costs and improve utilization; understanding the interplay of physical and virtual machines is vitally important.”

CableSolve has always excelled at visualizing the physical infrastructure and the addition of VM queries delivers another layer of visibility to data center and IT infrastructure managers. In fact, CableSolve provides complete visibility into both the physical, including all assets and connectivity, and logical layers, including live data from a robust scripting module. Additionally, with CableSolve’s portable handheld management module, IT managers are able to move, change, track and audit all assets and connectivity using a pocket PC handheld device or smartphone.

Server Virtualization

FlashSoft Introduces Application Acceleration Solution for VMware vSphere 5

FlashSoft SE-V Applies Enterprise Flash To Accelerate Application Performance in Virtual Machine Environments Based on VMware vSphere 5

FlashSoft Corporation, the Flash Virtualization Company, today announced the immediate commercial availability of FlashSoft SE-V, the company’s solution for accelerating application performance on Windows Server in virtual machine environments based on VMware vSphere 5. The new solution is based on FlashSoft SE, the company’s software that enables enterprise flash as a server-tier cache, and is already used today in numerous business-critical production environments. Today FlashSoft brings the same performance benefits to applications running on virtual machines (VMs) based on the VMware ESXi software platform. The solution is available for free evaluation through a 30-day “Try Before You Buy” program:

Enterprise IT sees virtualization as a key to agility and value in computing infrastructure, and enterprise flash memory is a key to enabling applications to deliver necessary performance when running in virtual servers. However, as enterprise flash hardware continues to get larger and faster, it’s become apparent that a key requirement for enterprise flash is the software that enables flash memory to work as a high-performance read-write cache in the server. This “tier minus one” cache based on enterprise flash eliminates the IO bottlenecks that restrict the performance and capacity of enterprise applications, especially when running in virtual servers.

FlashSoft SE-V is designed specifically for Windows Server instances running on VMs supported by the VMware ESXi platform. In performance tests, a standard OLTP application suite based on MS-SQL was accelerated by more than 3X — the same kind of performance acceleration that FlashSoft SE provides in non-virtual server environments.

“The core of FlashSoft SE-V is based on our proven FlashSoft SE product, so it delivers the same degree of performance and reliability that our customers enjoy with our current product,” said Ted Sanford, founder and CEO of FlashSoft. “Now IT managers can apply flash memory to enhance application performance in virtual machines based on the VMware platform.”

Performance Report, User Guide and Video Available

To introduce the FlashSoft Solution for VMware environments, FlashSoft is providing a set of technical bulletins for IT administrators, including:

  • “Accelerating Application Performance on Virtual Machines” – this guide provides an overview of the solution architecture and provides the result of several performance tests to demonstrate the solution’s ability to enhance application performance on the VMware platform:
  • “User’s Guide to FlashSoft SE on VMware” – this guide gives step-by-step instructions for the installation and configuration of the FlashSoft software in a VMware environment and provides practical guidance on performance optimization.
  • “See For Yourself” video – Hosted on the FlashSoft website, this brief video provides a side-by-side performance comparison of applications running in VMs:

In addition, FlashSoft is extending its 30-day “Try Before You Buy” program to its VMware solution. Due to the unique evaluation requirements of VMware environments, the evaluation program for VMware software will allow FlashSoft SE to be installed on multiple VMs on a single host server.

Both FlashSoft SE and FlashSoft SE-V offer technical advantages including:

  • Provides a persistent read-write cache in the compute tier.
  • Compatible with any SSD: SATA, SAS or PCIe.
  • Requires no modifications to data, applications or storage; the SSD-based cache is completely transparent to the server and storage infrastructure.
  • Automatically tunes over 60 operational parameters to support specific SSD architectures and application types.
  • Minimal server overhead; optimized metadata management and cache design enable 100MB of server memory to manage 1TB of flash, utilizing only 5% of CPU.

Pricing and Availability
FlashSoft SE-V for Windows Server/VMware is available for evaluation and purchase now. To learn more about the 30-day “Try Before You Buy” program, visit The new FlashSoft SE-V product is licensed for use in multiple Windows Server VMs running on a single VMware server. License cost is based on the number of virtual machines on the server and the SSD or PCIe flash card used to host the cache.

Cloud Computing

Embotics Unveils V-Commander 4.0 For Simplified Private Cloud Management

Management, provisioning and automation for virtual data centers in less than 1 hour

Embotics Corporation a pioneer in virtualization and automated private cloud management, today unveiled EmboticsV-Commander 4.0, Cloud Edition, which accelerates virtualization and private cloud initiatives within mid-sized and large data centers. V-Commander 4.0 delivers an integrated set of easy-to-use management, provisioning and policy-driven automation features, while installing and delivering ROI in less than 1 hour.

V-Commander 4.0 enables customers to quickly overcome traditional stall points introduced by highly dynamic virtual data centers. Enterprises need to scale their management and automation capabilities at the same rate as their virtualization adoption, and with limited or fixed resources and staffing levels, automation becomes a requirement. V-Commander 4.0 addresses the wide range of private cloud adoption challenges by offering rapid provisioning, self-service, service catalogs, IT costing and chargeback, workflow automation, resource optimization, and lifecycle management capabilities.

“The combination of resource management and easy to deploy best practice automation in one integrated product made V-Commander the perfect choice for us,” said Steve Goodman, Senior Server Engineer, Aston University.

“Organizations currently need management solutions that boast ease-of-use, time-to-value and integrated solution breadth in order to optimize the deployment of IT services,” says Ronni Colville, VP Distinguished Analyst, Gartner. “Private Cloud management solutions that integrate automation, configuration, capacity and performance management, without adding complexity, will become a requirement as virtualization adoption continues to accelerate.”

V-Commander 4.0 includes the following new features:

  • Self-service service catalogs
  • Automation of IT service and change requests
  • Embedded approval workflows and best practices
  • Integrated IT cost visibility and chargeback
  • Wizard driven provisioning
  • Intelligent placement of IT services/virtual machines (VMs)
  • Tracking, auditing and reporting on service delivery

“The promise of the private cloud is transforming how IT views on-demand services,” said Jay Litkey, CEO, president and founder of Embotics. “As organizations embrace a holistic approach for delivering services via the private cloud, they require a solution that can not only manage the end-to-end lifecycle of virtual machines, but is also capable of automating service requests and scaling up their virtual data centers. By simplifying the virtualization management burden on IT, enterprises are poised to extract a full return on their investment in the cloud.”

Availability and Pricing
Available immediately and starting at $399 per socket per year.

Blog & Tutorials

How to use VMware PowerCLI to get All VM Mac Addresses?

Just a quick how-to on using VMware PowerCLI to get All Virtual Machine (VM) MAC addresses, host VM is registered to and VM name.

I was trying to track down a VM and did not want to go through 100 VMs just to find out what MAC address its NICs had. I knew the IP address this particular mac address was mapped to and found that out using “show arp” command on cisco router:
#show arp
[table id=4 /]
Once I knew the MAC address was in fact a VM (0050.56xx.xxxx mac addresses are used by VMware for its virtual NICs), I opened up Windows Powershell and executed this command (you will need PowerCLI installed and loaded):

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-VM | `
>> Select-Object -Property Name,@{N=”MacAdresses”;E={$_.NetworkAdapters | ForEach-Object {$_.MacAddress}}},VMHost
[table id=5 /]
Both (from cisco router ARP and VMware PowerCLI) show same MAC address mapped to myTestVM on host Now you can safely disable that NIC or change IP address on it (in case of duplicate IP issues, etc.)

On older version of powerCLI, you may get this warning message:
WARNING: ‘NetworkAdapters’ property is obsolete. Use ‘Get-NetworkAdapter’ cmdlet instead.

So, be sure to change the command if necessary. Your setup and deployment maybe different from mine so make sure you are aware of the risks and I take no responsibility for your wrong doing.

If you have any questions on this or other tutorials, post in our Virtualization Forum.