Maximum vSphere: Tips, How-Tos, and Best Practices for Working with VMware vSphere 4
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Maximum vSphere: Tips, How-Tos, and Best Practices for Working with VMware vSphere 4

by Eric Siebert, Simon Seagrave

ISBN-10: 0137044747

ISBN-13: 9780137044740

Pub. Date: 09/03/2010

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Best Practices, How-Tos, and Technical Deep Dives for Working VMware VI4/VI3 Pros

Maximum vSphere is the comprehensive, up-to-the-minute, working reference for everyone who plans, implements, or administers VMware virtual infrastructure. Authored by top VMware consultants, it brings together proven best practices, tips, and solutions for

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Best Practices, How-Tos, and Technical Deep Dives for Working VMware VI4/VI3 Pros

Maximum vSphere is the comprehensive, up-to-the-minute, working reference for everyone who plans, implements, or administers VMware virtual infrastructure. Authored by top VMware consultants, it brings together proven best practices, tips, and solutions for achieving outstanding performance and reliability in your production environment.

This book brings together crucial knowledge you won’t find anywhere else, including powerful new vSphere 4 techniques drawn from the experiences of dozens of advanced practitioners. You’ll find sophisticated, expert coverage of virtual machines, vCenter Server, networking, storage, backups, vMotion, fault tolerance, vSphere management, installation, upgrades, security, and much more.

Author Eric Siebert takes the same hands-on approach that made his VMware® VI3 Implementation and Administration so popular with working professionals. Whether you’re implementing or managing vSphere 4, upgrading from older virtualization technologies, or taking new responsibilities in any VMware environment, you’ll find this bookindispensable.

Coverage includes

  • Understanding how key vSphere 4 changes affect production environments
  • Working with ESX and ESXi hosts and host profiles
  • Getting “under the hood” with vSphere 4 virtual machines
  • Making the most of vCenter Server and plug-ins
  • Choosing and configuring storage for maximum efficiency
  • vSphere Networking: physical/virtual NICs, standard/distributed vSwitches, Cisco Nexus 1000V, and more
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting vSphere performance: CPU, memory, disk/storage, and other issues
  • Backing up and recovering VMware environments
  • Using advanced features, including High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource, Distributed Power Management (DPM) and Vmotion
  • Managing vSphere through the client, Web access, command line, Management Assistant, Powershell, ESX Service Console, and third-party tools
  • Building your own vSphere 4 lab
  • Performing more efficient installations and upgrades

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Product Details

Prentice Hall
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Table of Contents



About the Authors

Chapter 1 Introduction to vSphere 1

What's New in This Release 1

Storage, Backup, and Data Protection 2

ESX and ESXi 6

Virtual Machines 7

vCenter Server 8

Clients and Management 10

Networking 11

Security 12

Availability 13

Compatibility and Extensibility 14

Configuration Maximum Differences from V13 15

Understanding the Licensing Changes 16

Summary 19

Chapter 2 ESX and ESXi Hosts 21

What's New with ESX and ESXi Hosts in vSphere 21

64-Bit VMkernel and ESX Service Console 21

Support for More Memory, CPUs, and VMs 22

Support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep and Enhanced AMD PowerNow! 24

Improved Host Server Hardware Integration and Reporting in the vSphere Client 27

Selecting Physical Host Hardware to Use with vSphere 28

64-bit CPUs and Long Mode 28

AMD and Intel Virtualization Extensions 29

Checking Your Server Hardware 29

Differences between ESX and ESXi 31

ESX Service Console 32

ESXi Management Console 33

Functionality Differences between ESX and ESXi 34

Using Host Profiles 37

Creating and Configuring Host Profiles 37

Applying Host Profiles 39

Summary 40

Chapter 3 Virtual Machines 41

What's New with Virtual Machines in vSphere 41

Virtual Machine Hardware Version 41

Support for Eight vCPUs and 255GB of Ram 42

Support for Additional Guest Operating Systems 43

VMXNET3 Virtual Network Adapter 43

Paravirtual SCSI Adapter and IDE Adapter 44

Memory Hot Add and CPU Hot Plug Features 44

Display Adapter Settings 46

Support for USB Controllers 47

Virtual Machine Communication Interface 47

VMDirectPath Feature 49

Anatomy of a Virtual Machine 52

Virtual Machine Hardwar 53

Virtual Machine Files 55

Virtual Machine Disks 59

Summary 66

Chapter 4 vCenter Server 67

What's New with vCenter Server in vSphere 67

vCenter Server Linked Mode 67

vApps 70

Licensing 72

Alarms and Events 73

Permissions and Roles 76

New Home Page 80

vCenter Server Settings 81

Searching 83

Plug-ins 84

Guided Consolidation 85

Converter 86

VMware Data Recovery 87

Update Manager 87

Third-Party Plug-ins 89

Summary 90

Chapter 5 Storage in vSphere 91

What's New with Storage in vSphere 91

vStorage APIs 91

Paravirtualization 94

Growing VMFS Volumes 97

Choosing a Storage Type 100

Local Storage 100

Direct Attached Storage 101

Fibre Channel Storage 102

iSCSI Storage 103

NAS/NFS Storage 105

Mixing Storage Types 106

Additional Storage Considerations 107

LUN Size Considerations 107

Choosing a Block Size 110

VMFS versus Raw Device Mappings 111

10K versus 15K rpm Hard Drives 113

Raid Levels 113

Jumbo Frames 114

Boot from SAN 115

Drives and Storage Adapters 117

Storage Configuration 120

Local Storage 120

Direct Attach Storage 120

Fibre Channel Storage 120

iSCSI Storage 122

NFS Storage 123

Summary 124

Chapter 6 Networking in vSphere 127

What's New with Networking in vSphere 127

Distributed and Third-Party vSwitches 127

Private VLANs 128

IP Version 6 128

Physical NICs 130

Virtual NICs 132

Vlance 133


Flexible 133

E1000 133



Standard vSwitches 137

Distributed vSwitches 138

Deployment Considerations 139

vDS Configuration 141

Cisco Nexus 1000V 143

Advanced Functionality for vSwitches 144

Benefits of Using Nexus 1000V 145

Installing and Configuring Nexus 1000V 146

Choosing a vSwitch Type 147

vShield Zones 149

Additional Resources 153

Summary 154

Chapter 7 Performance in vSphere 155

What's New with Performance in vSphere 156

CPU Enhancements 156

Memory Enhancements 156

Storage Enhancements 157

Networking Enhancements 158

Monitoring vSphere Performance 158

Resource Views 159

Performance Charts 160

Understanding Host Server Performance Metrics 167

Performance Alarms 171

Troubleshooting vSphere Performance Issues 172

esxtop and resxtop 173

CPU Performance Troubleshooting 178

CPU Load Average 178

Physical CPU Utilization (PCPU USED (%)) 179

Physical CPU Utilization by a World (%USED) 180

World Physical CPU Wait (%RDY) 181

Max Limited (%MLMTD) 182

World VMkernel Memory Swap Wait Time (%SWPWT) 182

vCPU Co-deschedule Wait Time (%CSTP) 183

CPU Configuration Tips 183

Memory Performance Troubleshooting 185

Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) 186

Physical Memory (PMEM/MB) 187

Memory Overcommitment Average 188

ESX Service Console Memory (COSMEM/MB) 188

VMkernel Memory (VMKMEM/MB) 189

Swap (SWAP/MB) 190

Memory Compression (ZIP/MB) 191

Memory Balloon Statistics (MEMCTL/MB) 191

Memory Performance Troubleshooting a Virtual Machine (VM) 192

%Swap Wait Time (SWPWT) 194

Memory Configuration Tips 194

Disk/Storage Troubleshooting 195

Device Average (DAVG/cmd) 196

VMkernel Average (KAVG/cmd) 196

Guest Average (GAVG/cmd) 196

Queue Depths (QUED) 197

Storage Command Aborts (ABRT/s) 197

Storage Command Resets (RESETS/s) 198

Storage Configuration Tips 198

Network Troubleshooting 200

Network Configuration Tips 201

Additional Troubleshooting Tips 202

Summary 203

Chapter 8 Backups in vSphere 205

Backup Methods 205

Traditional Backups 206

Backup Scripts 207

Third-Party vSphere-Specific Backup Products 207

Backup Types 208

VMware Data Recovery 209

Installing VMware Data Recovery 210

Configuring VMware Data Recovery 211

Summary 216

Chapter 9 Advanced Features 217

High Avilability (HA) 217

How HA Works 217

Configuring HA 219

Advanced Configuration 224

Additional Resources 224

Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) 224

How DRS Works 225

Configuring DRS 225

Distributed Power Management (DPM) 227

How DPM Works 227

Configuring DPM 228

DPM Considerations 230

VMotion 231

How VMotion Works 231

Configuring VMotion 232

VMotion Considerations 233

Enhanced VMotion Compatibility (EVC) 234

Storage VMotion 235

How SVMotion Works 236

Configuring SVMotion 236

Fault Tolerance (FT) 237

How FT Works 238

Configuring FT 240

FT Considerations 243

Summary 245

Chapter 10 Management of vSphere 247

vSphere Client 247

Web Access 249

vSphere CLI 249

vSphere Management Assistant 251

PowerShell and PowerCLI 252

ESX Service Console 254

ESXi Management Console 255

Free Third-Party Tools 257

SSH Console Utilities 257

SCP File Transfer Utilities 257

Summary 258

Chapter 11 Installing vSphere 259

Installing vCenter Server 260

Choosing a Database for vCenter Server 260

Physical Server or Virtual Machine? 263

Operating System and Hardware 264

Prerequisites 265

vCenter Server Installation Steps 265

Installing ESX and ESXi 267

Preparing the Server for Installation 267

Importance of the Hardware Compatibility Guide 268

Boot from SAN Considerations 270

ESX Partition Considerations 270

ESX Installation Steps 273

Installing ESXi 278

Installing ESXi on a Local Hard Disk 278

Installing ESXi on a USB Flash Drive 279

Summary 284

Chapter 12 Upgrading to vSphere 285

Compatibility Considerations 285

Hardware Compatibility 286

Software and Database Compatibility 286

Third-Party Application Compatibility 287

VMware Product Compatibility 287

Planning an Upgrade 287

Upgrade Phases 288

Upgrade Methods 289

Upgrade Techniques 293

Rolling Back to Previous Versions 294

Pre-Upgrade Checklist 295

Phase 1 Upgrading vCenter Server 297

Backing Up Key Files 297

Agent Pre-Upgrade Check Tool 298

Running the vCenter Server Installer 299

Post-Installation Steps 300

Phase 2 Upgrading ESX and ESXi 301

Using the Host Update Utility 302

Using Update Manager 303

Post-Upgrade Considerations 305

Phase 3 Upgrading Virtual Machines 306

Upgrading VMware Tools 306

Upgrading Virtual Machine Hardware 307

Using Update Manager to Upgrade VMware Tools and Virtual Hardware 308

Summary 309

Chapter 13 Creating and Configuring Virtual Machines 311

Creating a Virtual Machine in vSphere 311

Creating a Virtual Machine 311

Installing VMware Tools 316

VM Hardware, Options, and Resource Controls 318

VM Hardware 318

VM Options 321

VM Resources 325

Summary 329

Chapter 14 Building Your Own vSphere Lab 331

Why Build a vSpher Lab? 331

What Do You Want from a vSphere Lab? 333

What You Need to Build Your Own vSphere Lab 334

Hardware 334

Software 335

Environment 335

Support: The "Official" Line 335

Hardware 336

Server 337

CPU 338

Memory 341

Network Controller 343

Disk Array Controller 345

Shared Storage 347

Network Switches 353

Software Components 356

Environmental and Other Lab Considerations 357

Running Nested VMs 358

VMware ESX/ESXi on VMWare Workstation 7 359

Virtual ESX/ESXi Instances on a Physical ESX/ESXi Host 360

Summary 363

Index 365

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