VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#2 – Lessons Learned


This is my second day attending VMware vSphere Fast Track training at Jean Cordier Academy in Leuven, Belgium.
Day one brain dump is available here,  It is time to sum up what I have learned today in no particular order.

  • Coffee in big boilers still sucks, but still you can’t miss a day without it 🙂
  • My trainer, Bert De Bruijn,  is like a fountain of knowledge 😉
  • vNetwork Distributed Switches is new to vSphere. It can hold a 3-day training courses on its own. There are so  much to say about it!
    • It provides similar functionality to a vNetwork standard switch,
    • Configuration is centralized to vCenter,
  • What are the benefits and features of vNetwork Distributed Switches:
    • It definitely simplifies administration,
    • Supports private VLANs (PVLAN),
    • Enable networking statistics and policies to migrate with the VM during a vMotion which is useful for debugging, troubleshooting and SLAs,
    • vNetwork Appliance APIs to allow third party like the Cisco Nexus 1000v,
    • VM network port blocking,
    • RX rate limiting (only TX is available with standard vNetwork switch),
    • For complete list of key features follow this link,
    • Migrating virtual machines between vSwitch or PortGroups to vDS or dvPortgroups,
    • There is much more at VMware.com.
  • Storage Technology:
    • DAS, FC, iSCSI, NAS
  • Datastore Types:
    • VMware vStorage VMFS,
    • NFS,
    • Raw Device Mappings (RDMs).
  • VMware vStorage VMFS:
    • Clustered File System,
    • Underlying technology for vMotion, HA and DRS,
    • Allows concurrent access to shared storage,
    • Provides on-disk locking,
    • Can reside on local, Fibre Channel or iSCSI storage.
    • Provides VMFS Volume Grow and Thin Provisioning,
    • Read more at VMware.com.
  • Raw Device Mapping (RDM):
    • Mapping file in a VMFS volume that acts as a proxy for a raw physical device,
    • Required when using Microsoft MSCS,
    • Much less flexible than VMDKs,
    • Can be snapshoted,
    • There are no necessarily faster than a VMDK,
    • Read more at VMware.com.
  • Storage devices are identified in several ways:
    • The SCSI ID i.e. 02000000006001c230d8abfe000ff76c198ddbc13e504552432035
    • Canonical name (NAA ID) i.e. naa.600a0b8000473300000005dd487de47e. If it cannot be retrieved vSphere uses a mpx file i.e. mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
    • Runtime name i.e. vmhba1:C0:T0:L0 (This is not persistent through reboots)
    • iSCSI uses IQN or EUI whilst FC target uses WWN.
  • ESX/ESXi supports:
    • 8Gb FC,
    • FCoE
    • ESXi supports boot from SAN but flash card or USB key is the way to go.
  • FC SAN components are very similar to iSCSI, there is:
    • A storage system,
    • Physical hard disks,
    • LUNs,
    • SPs (Storage Processors),
    • FC switches. ethernet switches for iSCSI,
    • HBAs
  • FC addressing and control:
    • Zoning happens at the FC switch level,
    • LUN Masking happens at SP or ESX host, preferably SP
    • Max 1024 paths and 256 LUNs per host, if you have 8 paths (2*dual ports HBAs) you can see only 128 LUNs
  • Storage multipathing:
    • For scalability use Round Robin,
    • For Availability use MRU (not fail back) or Fixed (with fail back).
  • Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA):
    • VMKernel job,
    • VMKernel APIs allows MPPs (MultiPathing Plugins)
    • VMKernel has generic NMPs (Native Multipathing Plug-in)
    • There are also SATP (Storage Array Type Plug-in),
    • EMC PowerPathVE is a known SATP for vSphere.
  • iSCSI over 10GbE is supported.
  • iSCSI is  not supported for Microsoft MSCS.
  • ESX/ESXi supports bidirectional CHAP authentication.
  • VMFS datastore
    • Maximum 2TB with a block size of 8MB,
    • Recommended to format with 8MB block size even thought your VMFS is less than 2TB in total.
  • ESX/ESXi supports NFS over 10GbE interface and up to 64 volumes
  • vSphere CLI Storage, main commands are:
    • vicfg-iscsi
    • vicfg-scsidevs
    • vicfg-nas
    • vmkfstools
  • What is a Virtual Machine (VM)?
    • A set of virtual hardware
    • A set of configuration files such .vmx and .nvram
  • VMX stands for Virtual Machine eXtension
  • vmxnet3 use it whenever possible
  • e1000 is similar to the chipset from an Intel PCI 1000Mb NIC
  • Always install VMware Tools to enhance the performance of the VM
  • Ctrl+Alt+Ins in the VM’s console only works once the VMware Tools is installed

This is it for today. Tomorrow will be another exciting training day. Come back for the third part…

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About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
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One Response to VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#2 – Lessons Learned

  1. Pingback: VMware vSphere Fast Track Day#3 – Lessons Learned « DeinosCloud

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