Tag Archives | labs

NetApp at VMworld 2012 – Demos & Solutions


It’s time to talk about some of the demos & solutions we’ll be featuring in our booth and in the Hands On Labs at VMworld this year. I worked first-hand on developing the demos for VMware Zimbra & Octopus and had a blast doing so. We have other solutions in the area of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications that I was involved with as well, in addition to many others. I’d like to personally invite my readers to drop by the booth to see what new things NetApp has in-store! Stay tuned for more details leading up to August 26th.

See you at the show…

Oracle & SAP

See how SAP running on VMware can change the way you develop, test, and train with NetApp rapid backup, restore, and cloning technology. With NetApp’s integrated data protection and fast recovery, you can confidently virtualize your SAP applications, and turn a process that takes hours or days into one that takes minutes!

VMware Site Recovery Manager

In this demo we will show automated site failover and failback using VMware Site Recovery Manager and NetApp Data ONTAP Cluster-Mode.  The demo will also show how NetApp storage efficiency technologies can be leveraged to test site recovery plans without incurring additional storage overhead and without impact to the existing production environment.  See how NetApp delivers disaster resiliency and business continuity.

VMware View

In this demo, we will show VMware View 5.1 integration with NetApp Data ONTAP through the use of VMware Composer API Integration (VCAI) to create high-performance, storage-efficient clones that allow customers to gain the benefits of using View Composer automated pools.

Microsoft Exchange & SQL

We will demonstrate the key features of NetApp SnapManager for Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server and Single Mailbox Recovery (SMBR).  The demonstration will include backups and restores (database and single mailbox).  In addition, using SMSQL we will create zero-storage-footprint database clones. Lastly we will demonstrate the integration of the SnapManager products into SnapCreator to perform all backups, restores, clones etc. from one pane.

NetApp Flash Accel

We will demonstrate how to implement the Flash Accel caching solution within the VMware vSphere infrastructure and leverage the intelligent, centralized management capabilities of VSC.  See how host-side caching can improve performance with applications, and learn about data durability, persistency and coherency considerations between host-side caching and FAS storage solutions.  Finally, discover how Flash Accel delivers host-side caching that improves the latency and I/O performance of Windows applications in VMware vSphere environments, providing greater storage efficiencies and ensuring that the right storage media is used at the right time for the right data.

VMware Zimbra & Octopus

In this demonstration, we will use NetApp storage efficiency technologies to decrease the overall solution cost for VMware Zimbra and Octopus environments. In addition to storage efficiency, we will demonstrate how NetApp uses application-aware backup, recovery, and DR technologies for Octopus and Zimbra to increase the speed of backup, recovery and disaster recovery.

VMware vCloud Director

In this demonstration, the attendee will learn how NetApp SnapCreator can enable individual tenant-based backup and recovery of a VMware vCloud Director environment in either a private cloud or service provider landscape.  In addition to backup and recovery, attendees will see how NetApp and VMware have integrated vCD and the NetApp Virtual Storage Console APIs for management and provisioning in a vCD environment to deliver greater business agility and movement to cloud architectures.

NetApp Insight Balance 4.1

OnCommand Balance 4.1 demo will highlight the new support for Cluster-Mode and physical NFS support for Solaris and Linux environments.  This brings the OnCommand Balance patented technology to a broader NetApp audience and builds on the improved analytics of 4.0 to go well beyond the virtual world.

NetApp Cluster-Mode

In this demonstration, we will highlight Data ONTAP running in Cluster-Mode and its ability to move workloads seamlessly between nodes within the storage cluster without disrupting data access.  We will also demonstrate how customers can simply add or remove cluster nodes to expand or refresh their storage infrastructure.  This is a compelling exhibition of NetApp’s delivery of an agile data infrastructure that allows businesses to go further, faster with high-performance, non-disruptive solutions.

NetApp Flash Pools

In this demonstration, we will show how NetApp Virtual Storage Tiering uses Flash Pool to enable automated storage tiering without the need to manually move data in and out of different tiers.  We will show how it improves the response time, increases IO performance, and provides storage efficiency to accelerate your business processes.

NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC)

In this demonstration, we will show how the NetApp Virtual Storage Console can be used to orchestrate common storage management tasks such as infrastructure optimization, virtual machine optimization, datastore provisioning, virtual machine cloning, and backup and restore of your virtual infrastructure.

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ESXi 5 on an Apple Mac Mini

mac_minien looking to refresh my home lab environment for some time now. Since I moved into a rental townhouse upon my move to NC, I have had power issues when my home lab is 100% powered-on. A couple of times, I have even tripped the breaker entirely. Between my desktop machine, (2) HP Proliant ML110 G5s, a Netgear ReadyNAS NVX, and (2) Netgear ReadyNAS Duos, it’s just too much load for a single breaker to handle; let alone the cost of powering the whole thing.

I had my eye on the Apple Mac Mini 2011 w/Lion Server since it was released as this would make the perfect low power and low noise option. This model comes with a quad core CPU that supports up to 16GB of RAM and uses 85W (peak) of power per machine. The current servers I have are dual core, and are all limited at 8GB of RAM. The idea was to replace the (4) 8GB servers that I have with (2) Apple Mac Minis running ESXi 5.0U1. I had some minor concerns about the fact that the Mini has only a single NIC, but I don’t really foresee 100% utilization, but if I do, I always have the older servers available for more capacity. Perhaps someone will come up with a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter to address this bottleneck.

When the new Mac Mini was released someone tried to get ESXi installed and running but had some issues getting the Gigabit on-board NIC to be recognized in ESXi. Apparently the driver for the Broadcom NIC that Apple uses didn’t get included in the release of ESXi 5. As a result, I put my plans on the back burner, thinking that someone would eventually figure it out.

Well, finally it appears as though someone got it working with ESXi, by installing a custom VIB from VMware for the infamous Broadcom NIC (found here). This was posted on the following site back in January (I have been busy; what can I say). The blog post was pointed out to me on Google+ by my blogger friend & fellow Tech Field Day delegate: Shannon Snowden over at Virtualization Information.

Since he was also successful in getting it working, I thought I would take a stab at it. I did have a couple of pre-requisites around what I wanted to accomplish by doing this, however.

I wanted to have the ability to host nested ESXi servers on the machine, so that I could have an all-in-one ESXi lab cluster. In order to realistically accomplish this, I needed to have an SSD in the machine, one with high IOPS performance and high enough capacity to hold all the VMs. I currently use an OCZ Vertex 2 in my desktop machine, and decided that I would do a quick search to see the current deals at Newegg, Amazon, etc. By coincidence, Newegg had a deal (which has since expired) for a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 with a free 32GB OCZ Onyx for $249.99 (before $20 rebate). They also had the 2x8GB Corsair SODIMMS that others have installed successfully in the Mac Mini for $99. I decided on picking up 2 of each in anticipation of a 2-node build.

The parts arrived 2 days later, so I took a lunch trip over to the Apple store and picked up the Mac Mini w/Lion Server ($939 with my NetApp discount) After returning, I spent 30m disassembling the Mini and swapping out the RAM and 2 HDDs. It was a bit tricky getting at the 2nd HDD, but well-documented on iFixIt. After getting the hardware in working order, I performed the install of ESXi on the 32GB drive and reserved the 240GB drive as a local VMFS datastore. In addition, I added the required Broadcom NIC driver. It only ended up taking 1-2hr total, including the hardware upgrade, to get everything working. Once it was proven that everything worked, I picked up another Mini last Fri. and performed the same operation; this time it went much faster. By about 10PM on Fri. night, I had a working, silent, 2-node ESXi cluster.

I did run into one issue that I wanted to point out… Upon powering on the 2nd machine and starting the ESXi installer, I noticed some pretty sluggish performance. The installer was taking longer to got through the motions than it had for the initial build. I thought maybe I had a memory issue or another problem. As I was moving the machine around on my desk, I noticed that there was an unreasonable amount of heat coming off the aluminum casing. I removed the cover/foot from the bottom and realized that the power connector for the fan wasn’t fully-seated and thus the fan was not spinning. As this is the last component to get re-installed after replacing the HDDs, it is somewhat difficult to ensure that it is re-seated properly. Also, it’s hard to hear whether the fan is spinning as the Mini is so quiet. Please check it carefully before closing the access panel, so you don’t make the same mistake. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that any harm was done and the sytem is running much better and much cooler now.

Once I had everything in working physical order, I decided to start working on getting the virtual layer set up to suit my needs. I started by moving my AD, MSSQL and vCenter VMs temporarily to the local SSD storage to get an idea of the performance. It was pretty good, however, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t isolating those important VMs on local storage so I then moved them back to my iSCSI datastore on the ReadyNAS, where they now sit. This allowed me to use Update Manager to update the ESXi installs with all the latest patches, etc.

I can report that the Minis are working quite well and were successful at performing a “burn in” over the weekend. I haven’t done any real load testing on them yet, but I do plan on getting the nested ESXi builds started this week. I will update you all with another blog post with the results of that testing.

Finally, I decided that this is such a cool use case of nested ESXi and pefect hardware for a home lab that I submitted an abstract last week for VMworld to talk about how to implement and get the most out of it to learn ESXi and have a very portable VMware lab solution. Please stay tuned as the public voting comes available. I would love to have you vote so that I can expose the importance and usefulness of a home lab to more and potential VMware professionals. Also stay tuned for more on the Mac Mini as I perform additional testing.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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VMworld 2010 – Wrap-up

I just finished attending my first VMworld in San Francisco, CA. It was a most rewarding and worthwhile conference on several fronts, most notably in people networking and future vision from both VMware and its ecosystem of partners and vendors. I made several contacts that will serve as a useful team to help answer questions and keep me up-to-date on the latest developments as well as problems and solutions others are seeing out in the real world. The people I met are too numerous to name but each of them had a unique perspective that I hope to draw on in the continuing evolution of virtualization and cloud computing.

VMware’s Vision

VMware made several product and acquisition announcements throughout the week that further cement their position as the dominant virtualization but more importantly cloud services player. I estimate that VMware has now further distanced themselves from the likes of Microsoft and Citrix to the point where I would say they have about a 3 year lead over either company. The announcements and their approach to cloud security and networking for cloud environments is something that I have yet to hear any realistic information about from any of the competitors (if you can even call them competitors). I guess what they do to combat the likes of VMware remains to be seen. They are leading the charge and their approach makes sense as we look to the cloud reality ahead. As Paul Maritz (President & CEO of VMware) and other executives mentioned, the cloud is happening with or without VMware. VMware has a very strong position going forward and I expect them to aggressively release products and make acquisitions that further strengthen their position in the industry.

Hands-on Labs

Another high note from the conference was the self-paced, hands-on labs. These were absolutely amazing! I only wish that the hotels around the venue had remote access to these to allow attendees to take the labs on a more convenient schedule. I felt that I had to pick and choose between going to labs and missing a breakout session that I was really interested in attending or a speaker that I wanted to meet in person and discuss his virtualization experiences and expertise. In fact, I wonder what happens to the labs in between VMworld US and VMworld Europe. It would be a great benefit to provide access to the lab environments to attendees externally so that they can really see all the new technologies and products that VMware hopes we will test, buy and then implement in the coming year. After all, IT budget season is upon us. Even better would be for VMware to practice what is preaches and create an LCaaS (LabCloud as a Service) offering that would allow attendees or any users for that matter, the ability to pay an hourly fee to access the labs any time throughout the year. Perhaps a service provider or individual can step up to the plate and offer this service as part of their portfolio.


Being a new blogger and twitterer on the scene here in Japan, I was very thankful to have the opportunity to let people know that I am out there, what I stand for and what I am trying to accomplish in the community over here. Reciprocally, I hope that I can introduce the VMware community in Japan to the wealth of knowledge and great people that I encountered at VMworld. I even had the unexpected fortune of getting some ideas for my blogging, etc. that will help grow the community even further. I had the opportunity to meet all of the top global virtualization and cloud bloggers and intend to help them develop a following over here. This will only help further grow virtualization and cloud here in Japan but also help to facilitate a mutual understanding despite our language barriers. Finally, it was an absolutely joy to take part in the v0dgeball (dodge ball) competition on Thursday evening. Not only did I have a chance to talk on a more personal level to some of my idols in the virtualization and cloud world, I made some personal friendships that I hope will stand the test of time… but only time will tell.

Until next year… keep on virtualizin’ and I’ll see you in the clouds!

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