Northtech Consulting

Specialists in Citrix, VMware, Microsoft and Cloud Technologies

May 31, 2016
by Yendis Lambert
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VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 Deduplication, Compression, and Erasure Coding

Hyper-Converged solutions featuring all-flash storage are the future as they continue to decrease in cost and offer dramatically better performance when compared to magnetic disks. Virtual SAN is optimized for modern all-flash storage with efficient near-line deduplication, compression, and erasure coding capabilities that lower TCO.

Deduplication and compression enable considerable capacity savings across the entire Virtual SAN cluster — especially in environments where standard OS builds (templates and clones) are used and where there is abundant data commonality such as file shares. RAID-5/6 erasure coding reduces capacity consumption by as much as 50% versus RAID-1 (mirroring) with the same levels of availability for FTT=1 and FTT=2 Virtual SAN rule sets.

Find more information in this white paper: VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 Space Efficiency Technologies

May 31, 2016
by Yendis Lambert
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VMware Logon Monitor

vmloginVMware Logon Monitor monitors Windows user logons and reports a wide variety of performance metrics intended to help administrators, support staff, and developers troubleshoot slow logon performance. Metrics include, but are not limited to, logon time, CPU/memory usage, and network connection speed. VMware Logon Monitor also receives metrics from other VMware products which provide even more clues about what is happening during the logon flow.

While other VMware products are not required to benefit from VMware Logon Monitor, some VMware products may be active during user logon. The Horizon Agent, Horizon Persona Management, and App Volumes are examples and will soon report additional metrics which may further enhance the value of VMware Logon Monitor’s logs.

Please see the VMware Logon Monitor Metrics PDF for more information.

March 22, 2016
by Yendis Lambert
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Azure IP address 168.63.129.16

msft-azure

Have you ever wondered what this IP address is?  Well 168.63.129.16 is a virtual public IP address that is used to facilitate a communication channel to internal platform resources for the bring-your-own IP Virtual Network scenario.  Because the Azure platform allow customers to define any private or customer address space, this resource must be a unique public IP address.  It cannot be a private IP address as the address cannot be a duplicate of address space the customer defines.  This virtual public IP address facilitates the following things:

  • Enables the VM Agent to communicating with the platform to signal it is in a “Ready” state
  • Enables communication with the DNS virtual server to provide filtered name resolution to customers that do not define custom DNS servers.  This filtering ensures that customers can only resolve the hostnames of their deployment.
  • Enables monitoring probes from the load balancer to determine health state for VMs in a load balanced set
  • Enables PaaS role Guest Agent heartbeat messages

The virtual public IP address 168.63.129.16 is used in all regions and will not change.  Therefore, it is recommended that this IP be allowed in any local firewall policies.  It should not be considered a security risk as only the internal Azure platform can source a message from that address.  Not doing so will result unexpected behavior in a variety of scenarios.

Additionally, traffic from virtual public IP address 168.63.129.16 that is communicating to the endpoint configured for a load balanced set monitor probe should not be considered attack traffic.  In a non-virtual network scenario, the monitor probe is sourced from a private IP.

 

Source: David Goddard

February 7, 2016
by Yendis Lambert
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VMware vExpert 2016

The vExpert 2016 Announcement has been made by VMware and I’m honoured and pleased to say I have been awarded the accolade for the fourth year running.

vexpert2016

I would like the thank Cory (@vCommunityGuy) and the team at VMware for all their hard work vetting the individuals that apply.

Looking forward to working with many vExperts and attending the many VMware events throughout 2016.

December 19, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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Installing ESXi Using PXE – VMware vSphere 6.0

vmwareYou can use the preboot execution environment (PXE) to boot a host. Starting with vSphere 6.0, you can PXE boot the ESXi installer from a network interface on hosts with legacy BIOS or using UEFI.

ESXi is distributed in an ISO format that is designed to install to flash memory or to a local hard drive. You can extract the files and boot by using PXE.

vmware-pxe-vsphere6

PXE uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) to boot an operating system over a network. PXE booting requires some network infrastructure and a machine with a PXE-capable network adapter. Most machines that can run ESXi have network adapters that can PXE boot.

The Installing ESXi Using PXE technical note explains how you can PXE boot hosts with ESXi. The technical note explains how to boot using TFTP or using a Web Server, and discusses both legacy BIOS and UEFI.

December 17, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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Implementation Considerations for VMware App Volumes in a Citrix XenDesktop Environment

App Volumes works well with both Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp, either individually or in a combined XenDesktop and XenApp implementation. The same AppStacks that attach to XenDesktop virtual desktops to deliver applications to users can also attach to XenApp servers to deliver applications.

vmware-citrix-app-volumes

To learn more about using App Volumes in a XenApp environment, read Implementation Considerations for VMware App Volumes in a Citrix XenApp Environment. This paper focuses only on App Volumes in a XenDesktop environment

December 16, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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Oracle Real Application Clusters on VMware Virtual SAN

This solution addresses the common business challenges discussed in the previous section that CIOs face today in an online transaction processing (OLTP) environment that requires availability, reliability, scalability, predictability and cost-effective storage, which helps customers design and implement optimal configurations specifically for Oracle RAC Database on Virtual SAN.

vmware-vsan-oracle

Key Results

The following highlights validate that Virtual SAN is an enterprise-class storage solution suitable for Oracle RAC Database:

  • Predictable and highly available Oracle RAC OLTP performance on Virtual SAN
  • Simple design methodology that eliminates operational and maintenance complexity of traditional SAN
  • Sustainable solution for enterprise Tier-1 Database Management System (DBMS) application platform
  • Validated architecture that reduces implementation and operational risks
  • Integrated technologies to provide unparalleled availability, business continuity (BC), and disaster recovery (DR)
  • Efficient backup and recovery solution using Oracle RMAN

November 15, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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VMware Virtual SAN 6.1 Stretched Cluster Bandwidth Sizing Guidance

The purpose of this document is to explain how to size bandwidth requirements for Virtual SAN in Stretched Cluster configurations. This document only covers the Virtual SAN network bandwidth requirements. In Stretched Cluster configurations, two data fault domains have one or more hosts, and the third fault domain contains a witness host or witness appliance. In this document each data fault domain will be referred to as a site.vmware-vsan-stretchedVirtual SAN Stretched Cluster configurations can be spread across distances, provided bandwidth and latency requirements are met.

The bandwidth requirement between the main sites is highly dependant on the workload to be run on Virtual SAN, amount of data, and handling and failure scenarios.

Under normal operating conditions, the basic bandwidth requirements are:

vmware-vsan-stretched-cluster-bandwidth

 

November 13, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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Virtualizing PerformanceCritical Database Applications in VMware vSphere 6.0

The performance parity between bare-metal and virtualised servers is an accepted fact today. But what about the most demanding applications, such as monster virtual machines running databases and transaction processing applications?

vshere6-database-critical

Experiments in this paper demonstrate that VMware vSphere 6.0 virtual machines run out of the box at 90% of the performance of native systems even for the most demanding workloads at the highest throughput levels.

Download the Performance Study Technical Whitepaper

October 12, 2015
by Yendis Lambert
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Microsoft Azure Security

msft-azureAs we all know in this day and age our workloads are more likely to migrate to the cloud which I’m sure you all know has it’s benefits and it’s inherent downsides.  One discussion point on everyone’s mind is always security (so it should be), just how secure is the cloud. One thing to bear in mind is that your time and approach to defining security principles should be no different to that of on-premises.  Having worked with Azure for a number years I just wanted to share some pertinent information around the security model specifically with Azure.

The following diagram shows various layers of security Azure provides to customers both native in the Azure platform itself and through customer defined features

azure-sec

Before Internet traffic can get to the Azure Virtual Networks, there are two layers of security inherent to the Azure platform: Continue Reading →