001

Table of Contents
 
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dear Reader
Dedication
Acknowledgements
About the Author
Introduction
What Is Covered in This Book
The Mastering Series
The Hardware Behind the Book
Who Should Buy This Book
How to Contact the Author
 
Chapter 1 - Introducing VMware Infrastructure 3
 
Exploring VMware Infrastructure 3
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 2 - Planning and Installing ESX Server
 
Planning a VMware Infrastructure 3 Deployment
ESX Server Installation
Postinstallation Configuration
Installing the Virtual Infrastructure Client
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 3 - Creating and Managing Virtual Networks
 
Virtual Networking Components
Creating Virtual Switches and Port Groups
Creating and Managing NIC Teams
Creating and Managing VLANs
Configuring Virtual Switch Security
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 4 - Creating and Managing Storage Devices
 
Understanding VI3 Storage Options
Understanding a Storage Area Network
Creating and Managing LUNs
ESX Network Storage Architectures: Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and NAS
Creating and Managing VMFS Datastores
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 5 - Installing and Configuring VirtualCenter 2.0
 
Introducing VirtualCenter 2.5
Installing the VirtualCenter Back-end Database
ESX 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Licensing Strategies
Installing VirtualCenter 2.5
Creating and Managing a VirtualCenter Inventory
Using VirtualCenter Topology Maps
Planning a VirtualCenter Deployment
Managing VirtualCenter Settings
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 6 - Creating and Managing Virtual Machines
 
Creating a Virtual Machine
Installing a Guest Operating System
Installing the VMware Tools
Managing and Modifying Virtual Machines
Creating Templates and Deploying Virtual Machines
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 7 - Migrating and Importing Virtual Machines
 
Guided Consolidation
Performing Physical-to-Virtual Migrations
Importing Virtual Appliances
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 8 - Configuring and Managing Virtual Infrastructure Access Controls
 
Managing and Maintaining ESX Server Permissions
Managing and Maintaining VirtualCenter Permissions
Virtual Machine Management Using the Web Console
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 9 - Managing and Monitoring Resource Access
 
Allocating Virtual Machine Memory
Allocating Virtual Machine CPU
Resource Pools
Exploring VMotion
Clusters
Exploring Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 10 - High Availability and Business Continuity
 
Clustering Virtual Machines
VMware High Availability (HA)
Backing Up with VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
Restoring with VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 11 - Monitoring Virtual Infrastructure Performance
 
Creating Host and Virtual Machine Alarms
Performance Graph Details and esxtop
Monitoring Host and Virtual Machine CPU Usage
Monitoring Host and Virtual Machine Memory Usage
Monitoring Host and Virtual Machine Network Usage
Monitoring Host and Virtual Machine Disk Usage
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 12 - Securing a Virtual Infrastructure
 
User Access to VirtualCenter and ESX Server
Managing Client Access to ESX Server
Managing and Configuring the Service Console Firewall
Kerberos Authentication for ESX Server
Auditing and Monitoring Important Files
VMware Update Manager
The Bottom Line
 
Chapter 13 - Configuring and Managing ESXi
 
Understanding ESXi Architecture
Deploying ESXi Installable
Deploying ESXi Embedded
Managing ESXi
The Bottom Line
Appendix A - The Bottom Line
Appendix B - Common Linux and ESX Commands
Appendix C - Third-Party Virtualization Tools
Appendix D - VMware Infrastructure 3 Best Practices
Index

001

Dear Reader
Thank you for choosing Mastering VMware Infrastructure 3. This book is part of a family of premium quality Sybex books, all written by outstanding authors who combine practical experience with a gift for teaching.
Sybex was founded in 1976. More than thirty years later, we’re still committed to producing consistently exceptional books. With each of our titles we’re working hard to set a new standard for the industry. From the paper we print on, to the authors we work with, our goal is to bring you the best books available.
I hope you see all that reflected in these pages. I’d be very interested to hear your comments and get your feedback on how we’re doing. Feel free to let me know what you think about this or any other Sybex book by sending me an email at nedde@wiley.com, or if you think you’ve found a technical error in this book, please visit sybex.custhelp.com. Customer feedback is critical to our efforts at Sybex.
 
Best regards,
002
Neil Edde
Vice President and Publisher
Sybex, an Imprint of Wiley

This book is dedicated to the support group that surrounds me and makes each day an enjoyable step in the architecture of my life. To my wife and sons — who remind me each day why everything I do has so much value and meaning. To my mom and brothers — who have helped me develop the tools to be successful in life. To my good friends Shawn and Rawlinson — who assure me each day that being a nerd is one of the best things I can be. Without all these folks work would be work — not an enjoyable experience to look forward to. It is all those close to me who help me face and overcome the many challenges that I face. I am certain that without their support I would not thrive for a moment.

Acknowledgments
Although I am content knowing that books like this don’t hit the top of the best sellers list, I know that this one has been written as a labor of love. There are many people to credit for keeping the dream alive.
First, a quick thanks to VMware directly. They have constructed a product that has altered the layout of information systems and that is unrivaled in today’s market. While the VMware engineers have been great at producing the software, the employees of VMware education have been instrumental in bringing the product to the world. Thanks to VMware Education Services for their support.
To all of the folks at Sybex, including Tom Cirtin, Pete Gaughan, Lisa Bishop, Christine O’Connor, and Neil Edde — thank you. I have written for several publishers and without a doubt this group of folks works as hard as any I have seen. Tom and Pete, thanks for believing in this book even when the technologies changed so quickly that the scope seemed to go out of focus. Lisa and Christine, I don’t know what to say except for a humongous thanks for putting up with my ever-so-frequent revisions and my repetitious queries regarding file locations. Thanks also to copy editor Liz Welch, proofreaders Ian Golder and David Fine of Word One, and indexer Robert Swanson. The organization and professionalism of the Sybex team was a cornerstone in making this book happen.
A special thanks to Andrew Ellwood, my longtime friend and colleague, who contributed some incredible intellectual property to this book. I can trace my success in training and IT back to a few people and without a doubt Andrew is one of those few. You are a great mentor and friend, and I know we will continue to work together in as many ways as the IT world will let us.
To Brian Perry, who, like Andrew, lent his great virtualization mind to the creation of this book. Undoubtedly you have one of the brightest minds in the business, and I am lucky to have had your expertise reflected in the final product. Certainly our paths will lead us to more endeavors where we can pool our brainpower for the greater good of the virtualization community.
And what would a good book be without an amazing technical editor? Thank you to Chris Huss, who like me, saw this project as a labor of love and a way to spread that virtual love to the rest of the virtualization community. It was clear from the beginning that we shared a vision of what we wanted to offer through this book. I believe your work and efforts cemented our ability to deliver exactly what we set out to do. Thanks Chris.
To Rawlinson, my partner in crime, who may have gotten lost in the mix, you can rest assured that you keep me motivated to stay on top of my game. You are constantly pushing me to be a better nerd. But more so thanks for being a great friend who makes what I do for a living the best job on the planet. You may have been dancing on stage with Madonna at the MTV Movie Awards but that just makes your transition to IT professional (aka Nerd#1) even more impressive than anyone can imagine. Who would have thought you would go from X Games rollerblading competitor to one of the best and brightest minds in the world of information technology?
Last, but certainly not least, to Shawn Long, thank you for an unquantifiable amount of support in completing this book. The hardware, software, and time you supplied are nothing in comparison to the uncompromising faith you had in my finishing the book. If the world could see the way we work, there would be no better picture of teamwork. What I don’t know, you certainly do know. What you don’t know, I try to learn. While our work is built around something virtual, our friendship is anything but. A lifetime of thanks for the energy you supply in helping me succeed.
I almost forgot: Thank you to Red Bull and Smarties for giving me the sugar high needed to push through the nights.

About the Author
Chris McCain is an author, consultant, and trainer who focuses on VMware and Microsoft products. As an owner in the National IT Training & Certification Institute (NITTCI) and a partner at viLogics, he has been instrumental in providing training to thousands of IT professionals and consulting to some of the largest companies in the world. Chris has provided support in the form of training and consulting to companies such as Microsoft, VMware, IBM, Dell, Credit Suisse, Intel, and others.
In addition to virtualization, Chris offers expertise across a variety of technologies, including Active Directory, public key infrastructure, SQL Server 2005, IPSec, SharePoint, and more.
Chris holds a long list of industry certifications, including VCP, VCI, MCT, MCITP, MCSE: Security, and CISSP, to name a few. His other book credits include contributing to the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Administrator’s Companion by Microsoft Press, the MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-647) by Microsoft Press, and the Mike Meyers Passport Certification Series: Exam 70-293 by McGraw-Hill.
As an IT professional, Chris is dedicated to providing value to the community as a whole through his personal blogs at www.GetYourNerdOn.com. Visit the site to find a growing library of videos and commentary on IT technologies across Microsoft, VMware, and more.

Introduction
For the past several years, the buzzword exciting the information technology community has been security: network security, host security, application security, just about any type of security imaginable. There is a new buzzword around the information technology world and it’s rapidly becoming the most talked about technology since the advent of the client/server network. That buzzword is virtualization.
Virtualization is the process of implementing multiple operating systems on the same set of physical hardware to better utilize the hardware. Companies with strong plans to implement virtualized computing environments look to gain many benefits, including easier systems management, increased server utilization, and reduced datacenter overhead. Traditional IT management has incorporated a one-to-one relationship between the physical servers implemented and the roles they play on the network. When a new database is to be implemented, we call our hardware vendor of choice and order a new server with specifications to meet the needs of the database. Days later we may order yet another server to play the role of a file server. This process of ordering servers to fill the needs of new network services is oftentimes consuming and unnecessary given the existing hardware in the datacenter. To ensure stronger security, we separate services across hosts to facilitate the process of hardening the operating system. We have learned over time that the fewer the functions performed by a server, the fewer the services that are required to be installed, and, in turn, the easier it is to lock down the host to mitigate vulnerabilities. The byproduct of this separation of services has been the exponential growth of our datacenters into large numbers of racks filled with servers, which in most cases are barely using the hardware within them.
Virtualization involves the installation of software commonly called a hypervisor. The hypervisor is the virtualization layer that allows multiple operating systems to run on top of the same set of physical hardware. Figure I.1 shows the technological structure of a virtualized computing environment. Virtual machines that run on top of the hypervisor can run almost any operating system, including the most common Windows and Linux operating systems found today as well as legacy operating systems from the past.

FIGURE I.1
The process of
virtualization involves
a virtualization layer
called a hypervisor that
separates the physical
hardware from the
virtual machines. This
hypervisor manages the
virtual machines’ access
to the underlying hardware
components.
003
For those just beginning the journey to a virtual server environment and for those who have already established their virtual infrastructures, the reasons for using virtualization can vary. Virtualization offers many significant benefits, including server consolidation, rapid server provisioning, new options in disaster recovery, and better opportunities to maintain service-level agreements (SLAs), to name a few. Perhaps the most common reason is server consolidation.
Most servers in a datacenter are performing at less than 10 percent CPU utilization. This leaves an overwhelming amount of processing power available but not accessible because of the separation of services. By virtualizing servers into virtual machines running on a hypervisor, we can better use our processors while reducing rack space needs and power consumption in the datacenter.
Depending on the product used to virtualize a server environment, there are many more benefits to virtualization. Think of the struggles IT professionals have had throughout the years and you’ll gain a terrific insight into why virtualization has become such a popular solution. The simple process of moving a server from a datacenter in Tampa, Florida, to a datacenter in Atlanta, Georgia, is a good example of a common pain point for IT pros. The overhead of removing an 80-pound server from a rack, boxing it, shipping it, unboxing it, and placing it back into another rack is enough to make you want to virtualize. With virtual machines this same relocation process can be reduced to simply copying a directory to an external media device, shipping the external media device, and copying the directory back to another ESX implementation. Other methods, such as virtual machine replication and full and delta images of virtual machines, can be taken with third-party tools.
Although a handful of products have emerged for enterprise-level virtualization, this book provides all of the details an IT professional needs to design, deploy, manage, and monitor an environment built on the leading virtualization product, VMware Infrastructure 3.

What Is Covered in This Book

This book is written with a start-to-finish approach to installing, configuring, managing, and monitoring a virtual environment using the VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) product suite. The book begins by introducing the VI3 product suite and all of its great features. After introducing all of the bells and whistles, this book details an installation of the product and then moves into configuration. Upon completion of the installation and configuration, we move into virtual machine creation and management, and then into monitoring and troubleshooting. This book can be read from cover to cover to gain an understanding of the VI3 product in preparation for a new virtual environment. Or it can also be used as a reference for IT professionals who have begun their virtualization and want to complement their skills with real-world tips, tricks, and best practices as found in each chapter.
This book, geared toward the aspiring and the practicing virtualization professional, provides information to help implement, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot an enterprise virtualization scenario. As an added benefit we have included four appendices: one offering solutions to Master It problems, another detailing common Linux and ESX commands, another discussing some of the more popular tools and third-party products that can be used to facilitate virtual infrastructure management, and another describing best practices for VI3.
Here is a glance at what’s in each chapter:
Chapter 1: Introducing VMware Infrastructure 3 begins with a general overview of all the products that make up the VI3 product suite. VMware has created a suite with components to allow for granular licensing and customization of features for each unique deployment.
Chapter 2: Planning and Installing ESX Server looks at planning the physical hardware, calculating the return on investment, and installing ESX Server 3.5 both manually and in an unattended fashion.
Chapter 3: Creating and Managing Virtual Networks dives deep into the design, management, and optimization of virtual networks. In addition, it initiates discussions and provides solutions on how to integrate the virtual networking architecture with the physical network architecture while maintaining network security.
Chapter 4: Creating and Managing Storage Devices provides an in-depth overview of the various storage architectures available for ESX Server 3.5. This chapter discusses fibre channel, iSCSI, and NAS storage design and optimization techniques as well as the new advanced storage features like round-robin load balancing, NPIV, and Storage VMotion.
Chapter 5: Installing and Configuring VirtualCenter 2.0 offers an all-encompassing look at VirtualCenter 2.5 as the brains behind the management and operations of a virtual infrastructure built on the VI3 product suite. From planning, installing, and configuring, this chapter covers all aspects of VirtualCenter 2.5.
Chapter 6: Creating and Managing Virtual Machines introduces the practices and procedures involved in provisioning virtual machines through VirtualCenter 2.5. In addition, you’ll be introduced to timesaving techniques, virtual machine optimization, and best practices that will ensure simplified management as the number of virtual machines grows larger over time.
Chapter 7: Migrating and Importing Virtual Machines continues with more information about virtual machines but with an emphasis on performing physical-to-virtual (P2V) and virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migrations in the VI3 environment. This chapter provides a solid, working understanding of the VMware Converter Enterprise tool and offers real-world hints at easing the pains of transitioning physical environments into virtual realities.
Chapter 8: Configuring and Managing Virtual Infrastructure Access Controls covers the security model of VI3 and shows you how to manage user access for environments with multiple levels of system administration. The chapter shows you how to use Windows users and groups in conjunction with the VI3 security model to ease the administrative delegation that comes with enterprise-level VI3 deployments.
Chapter 9: Managing and Monitoring Resource Access provides a comprehensive look at managing resource utilization. From individual virtual machines to resource pools to clusters of ESX Server hosts, this chapter explores how resources are consumed in VI3. In addition, you’ll get details on the configuration, management, and operation of VMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).
Chapter 10: High Availability and Business Continuity covers all of the hot topics regarding business continuity and disaster recovery. You’ll get details on building highly available server clusters in virtual machines as well as multiple suggestions on how to design a backup strategy using VMware Consolidated Backup and other backup tools. In addition, this chapter discusses the use of VMware High Availability (HA) as a means of providing failover for virtual machines running on a failed ESX Server host.
Chapter 11: Monitoring Virtual Infrastructure Performance takes a look at some of the native tools in VI3 that allow virtual infrastructure administrators the ability to track and troubleshoot performance issues. The chapter focuses on monitoring CPU, memory, disk, and network adapter performance across ESX Server 3.5 hosts, resource pools, and clusters in VirtualCenter 2.5.
Chapter 12: Securing a Virtual Infrastructure covers different security management aspects, including managing direct ESX Server access and integrating ESX Servers with Active Directory.
Chapter 13: Configuring and Managing ESXi finishes the book by looking at the future of the hypervisor in ESXi. This chapter covers the different versions of ESXi and how they are managed.
Appendix A: Solutions to the Master It Problems offers solutions to the Master It problems in each chapter.
Appendix B: Common Linux and ESX Commands focuses on navigating through the Service Console command line and performing management, configuration, and troubleshooting tasks.
Appendix C: Third-Party Virtualization Tools discusses some of the virtualization tools available from third-party vendors.
Appendix D: Virtual Infrastructure 3 Best Practices serves as an overview of the design, deployment, management, and monitoring concepts discussed throughout the book. It is designed as a quick reference for any of the phases of a virtual infrastructure deployment.

The Mastering Series

The Mastering series from Sybex provides outstanding instruction for readers with intermediate and advanced skills, in the form of top-notch training and development for those already working in their field and clear, serious education for those aspiring to become pros. Every Mastering book includes:
• Real-World Scenarios, ranging from case studies to interviews, that show how the tool, technique, or knowledge presented is applied in actual practice
• Skill-based instruction, with chapters organized around real tasks rather than abstract concepts or subjects
• Self-review test questions, so you can be certain you’re equipped to do the job right

The Hardware Behind the Book

Due to the specificity of the hardware for installing VMware Infrastructure 3, it might be difficult to build an environment in which you can learn by implementing the exercises and practices detailed in this book. It is possible to build a practice lab to follow along with the book; however, the lab will require very specific hardware and can be quite costly. Be sure to read Chapter 2 before attempting to construct any type of environment for development purposes.
For the purpose of writing this book, we used the following hardware configuration:
• Three Dell PowerEdge 2850 servers for ESX
• Two Intel Xeon 2.8GHz processors
• 4GB of RAM
• Two hard drives in RAID-1 Array (Mirror)
• QLogic 23xx iSCSI HBA
• Four Gigabit Ethernet adapters: two on-board, two and two in a dual-port expansion card
• QLogic 40xx iSCSI HBA
• EMC CX-300 storage device
• Two Brocade fibre channel switches
• LeftHand Networks iSCSI virtual storage appliance
As we move through the book, we’ll provide diagrams to outline the infrastructure as it progresses.

Who Should Buy This Book

This book is for IT professionals looking to strengthen their knowledge of constructing and managing a virtual infrastructure on VMware Infrastructure 3. While the book can be helpful for those new to IT, there is a strong set of assumptions made about the target reader:
• A basic understanding of networking architecture
• Experience working in a Microsoft Windows environment
• Experience managing DNS and DHCP
• A basic understanding of how virtualization differs from traditional physical infrastructures
• A basic understanding of hardware and software components in standard x86 and x64 computing

How to Contact the Author

I welcome feedback from you about this book or about books you’d like to see from me in the future. You can reach me by writing to chris.mccain@nittci.com or by visiting my blog at www.getyournerdon.com.

Chapter 1
Introducing VMware Infrastructure 3
VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) is the most widely used virtualization platform available today. The lineup of products included in VI3 makes it the most robust, scalable, and reliable server virtualization product on the market. With dynamic resource controls, high availability, distributed resource management, and backup tools included as part of the suite, IT administrators have all the tools they need to run an enterprise environment consisting of anywhere from ten to thousands of servers.
In this chapter you will learn to:
Identify the role of each product in the VI3 suite
Discriminate between the different products in the V13 suite
Understand how V13 differs from other virtualization products

Exploring VMware Infrastructure 3

The VI3 product suite includes several products that make up the full feature set of enterprise virtualization. The products in the VI3 suite include:
• VMware ESX Server
• VMware Virtual SMP
• VMware VirtualCenter
• Virtual Infrastructure Client
• VMware VMotion
• VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)
• VMware High Availability (HA)
• VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
Rather than wait to introduce the individual products in their own chapters, I’ll introduce each product so I can refer to the products and explain how they affect each piece of the design, installation, and configuration of your virtual infrastructure. Once you understand the basic functions and features of each product in the suite, you’ll have a better grasp of how that product fits into the big picture of virtualization, and you’ll more clearly understand how each of the products fits into the design.

VMware ESX Server

VMware ESX Server 3.5 and ESXi are the core of the VI3 product suite. They function as the hypervisor, or virtualization layer, that serves as the foundation for the whole VI3 package. Unlike some virtualization products that require a host operating system, ESX Server is a bare metal installation, which means no host operating system (Windows or Linux) is required. ESX Server is a leaner installation than products requiring a host operating system, which allows more of its hardware resources to be utilized by virtual machines rather than by processes required to run the host. The installation process for ESX Server installs two components that interact with each other to provide a dynamic and robust virtualization environment: the Service Console and the VMkernel.
The Service Console, for all intents and purposes, is the operating system used to manage ESX Server and the virtual machines that run on the server. The console includes services found in other operating systems, such as a firewall, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agents, and a web server. At the same time, the Service Console lacks many of the features and benefits that other operating systems offer. This deficiency, however, serves as a true advantage in making the Service Console a lean, mean, virtualization machine.
The other installed component is the VMkernel. While the Service Console gives you access to the VMkernel, it is the VMkernel that is the real foundation of the virtualization process. The VMkernel manages the virtual machines’ access to the underlying physical hardware by providing CPU scheduling, memory management, and virtual switch data processing. Figure 1.1 shows the structure of ESX Server.

FIGURE 1.1
Installing ESX Server
installs two interoperable
components: 1) the
Linux-derived Service
Console, and 2) the virtual
machine-managing
VMkernel.
004
ESXi is the next generation of the VMware virtualization foundation in that it lightens the load to a 32MB footprint as installation of a hypervisor only. ESXi is only a hypervisor and does not have any reliance on an accompanying Service Console.
I’ll go into much more detail about the installation of ESX Server in Chapter 2. The installation procedure of ESX Server also allows for the configuration of VMware File System (VMFS) datastores. Chapter 4 will provide an in-depth look at the various storage technologies. Once your core product, ESX Server, is installed, you can build off this product with the rest of the product suite.

VMware Virtual SMP

The VMware Virtual Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) product allows virtual infrastructure administrators to construct virtual machines with multiple virtual processors. VMware Virtual SMP is not the licensing product that allows ESX Server to be installed on servers with multiple processors; it is the configuration of multiple processors inside a virtual machine. Figure 1.2 identifies the differences between multiple processors in the ESX Server host system and multiple virtual processors.

FIGURE 1.2
VMware Virtual SMP
allows virtual machines
to be created with two
or four processors.
005
In Chapter 6 we’ll look at how, why, and when to build virtual machines with multiple virtual processors.
ESX Server includes a host of new features and support for additional hardware and storage devices. At the urging of the virtualization community, ESX Server now boasts support for Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) storage and network attached storage (NAS) in addition to Fibre Channel storage technologies. Chapter 4 describes the selection, configuration, and management of all three storage technologies supported by ESX Server.

VMware VirtualCenter

Stop for a moment and think about your current Windows network. Does it include Active Directory? There is a good chance it does. Now imagine your Windows network without Active Directory, without the ease of a centralized management database, without the single sign-on capabilities, and without the simplicity of groups. That is what managing ESX Server computers would be like without using VMware VirtualCenter 2.0. Now calm yourself down, take a deep breath, and know that VirtualCenter, like Active Directory, is meant to provide a centralized management utility for all ESX Server hosts and their respective virtual machines. VirtualCenter is a Windows-based, database-driven application that allows IT administrators to deploy, manage, monitor, automate, and secure a virtual infrastructure in an almost effortless fashion. The back-end database (SQL or Oracle) used by VirtualCenter stores all the data about the hosts and virtual machines. In addition to its configuration and management capabilities, VirtualCenter provides the tools for the more advanced features of VMware VMotion, VMware DRS, and VMware HA. Figure 1.3 details the VirtualCenter features provided for the ESX Server hosts it manages.
In Chapter 5, you’ll learn the details of the VirtualCenter implementation, configuration, and management, as well as look at ways to ensure its availability.

Virtual Infrastructure Client

The Virtual Infrastructure (VI) Client is a Windows-based application that allows you to connect to and manage an ESX Server or a VirtualCenter Server. You can install the VI Client by browsing to the URL of an ESX Server or VirtualCenter and selecting the appropriate installation link. The VI Client is a graphical user interface (GUI) used for all the day-to-day management tasks and for the advanced configuration of a virtual infrastructure. Using the client to connect directly to an ESX Server requires that you use a user account residing in the Service Console (a Linux account), while using the client to connect to a VirtualCenter Server requires you to use a Windows account. Figure 1.4 shows the account authentication for each connection type.

FIGURE 1.3
VirtualCenter 2.0 is a
Windows-based application
used for the
centralization of authentication,
accounting, and
management of ESX
Server hosts and their
corresponding virtual
machines.
006

FIGURE 1.4
The Virtual Infrastructure
Client can be used
to manage an individual
ESX Server by authenticating
with a Linux
account that resides
in the Service Console;
however, it can
also be used to manage
an entire enterprise by
authenticating to a VirtualCenter
Server using
a Windows account.
007
Almost all the management tasks available when you’re connected directly to an ESX Server are available when you’re connected to a VirtualCenter Server, but the opposite is not true. The management capabilities available through VirtualCenter Server are more significant and outnumber the capabilities of connecting directly to an ESX Server.

VMware VMotion and Storage VMotion

If you have read anything about VMware, you have most likely read about the extremely unique and innovative feature called VMotion. VMotion is a feature of ESX Server and VirtualCenter that allows a running virtual machine to be moved from one ESX Server host to another without having to power off the virtual machine. Figure 1.5 illustrates the VMotion feature of VirtualCenter.

FIGURE 1.5
The VMotion feature of
VirtualCenter allows a
running virtual machine
to be transitioned from
one ESX Server host to
another.
008
VMotion satisfies an organization’s need for maintaining service-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee server availability. Administrators can easily instantiate a VMotion to remove all virtual machines from an ESX Server host that is to undergo scheduled maintenance. Once the maintenance is complete and the server is brought back online, VMotion can once again be utilized to return the virtual machines to the original server.
Even in a normal day-to-day operation, VMotion can be used when multiple virtual machines on the same host are in contention for the same resource (which ultimately is causing poor performance across all the virtual machines). VMotion can solve the problem by allowing an administrator to migrate any of the running virtual machines that are facing contention to another ESX host with greater availability for the resource in demand. For example, when two virtual machines are in contention with each other for CPU power, an administrator can eliminate the contention by performing a VMotion of one of the virtual machines to an ESX host that has more available CPU. More details on the VMware VMotion feature and its requirements will be provided in Chapter 9.
Storage VMotion builds on the idea and principle of VMotion in that downtime can be reduced when running virtual machines can be migrated to different physical environments. Storage VMotion, however, allows running virtual machines to be moved between datastores. This feature ensures that outgrowing datastores or moving to a new SAN does not force an outage for the effected virtual machines.

VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

Now that I’ve piqued your interest with the introduction of VMotion, let me introduce VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). If you think that VMotion sounds exciting, your anticipation will only grow after learning about DRS. DRS, simply put, is a feature that aims to provide automatic distribution of resource utilization across multiple ESX hosts that are configured in a cluster. An ESX Server cluster is a new feature in VMware Infrastructure 3. The use of the term cluster often draws IT professionals into thoughts of Microsoft Windows Server clusters. However, ESX Server clusters are not the same. The underlying concept of aggregating physical hardware to serve a common goal is the same, but the technology, configuration, and feature sets are very different between ESX Server clusters and Windows Server clusters.
An ESX Server cluster is an implicit aggregation of the CPU power and memory of all hosts involved in the cluster. Once two or more hosts have been assigned to a cluster, they work in unison to provide CPU and memory to the virtual machines assigned to the cluster. The goal of DRS is to provide virtual machines with the required hardware resources while minimizing the amount of contention for those resources in an effort to maintain good performance levels.
DRS has the ability to move running virtual machines from one ESX Server host to another when resources from another host can enhance a virtual machine’s performance. Does that sound familiar? It should, because the behind-the-scenes technology for DRS is VMware VMotion. DRS can be configured to automate the placement of each virtual machine as it is powered on as well as to manage the virtual machine’s location once it is running. For example, let’s say three servers have been configured in an ESX Server cluster with DRS enabled. When one of those servers begins to experience a high contention for CPU utilization, DRS will use an internal algorithm to determine which virtual machine(s) will experience the greatest performance boost by being moved to another server with less CPU contention. Figure 1.6 outlines the automated feature of DRS.

FIGURE 1.6
VMware Distributed
Resource Scheduler
(DRS) aims to maintain
balance and fairness
of resource utilization
for virtual machines
running within an ESX
Server cluster.
009
Chapter 9 dives deeper into the configuration and management of DRS on an ESX Server cluster.

VMware High Availability (HA)

With the introduction of the ESX Server cluster, VMware has also introduced a new feature called VMware High Availability (HA). Once again, by nature of the naming conventions (clusters, high availability), many traditional Windows administrators will have preconceived notions about this feature. Those notions, however, are premature in that VMware HA does not function like a high-availability configuration in Windows. The VMware HA feature provides an automated process for restarting virtual machines that were running on an ESX Server at a time of complete server failure. Figure 1.7 depicts the virtual machine migration that occurs when an ESX Server that is part of an HA-enabled cluster experiences failure.

FIGURE 1.7
The VMware High
Availability (HA) feature
will power on any
virtual machines that
were previously running
on an ESX Server that
has experienced server
failure.
010
The VMware HA feature, unlike DRS, does not use the VMotion technology as a means of migrating servers to another host. In a VMware HA failover situation, there is no anticipation of failure; it is not a planned outage and therefore there is no time to perform a VMotion. VMware HA does not provide failover in the event of a single virtual machine failure. It provides an automated restart of virtual machines during an ESX Server failure.
Chapter 10 will explore the configuration and working details of VMware High Availability.

VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)

One of the most critical aspects to any network, not just a virtualized infrastructure, is a solid backup strategy as defined by a company’s disaster recovery and business continuity plan. VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) is a Windows application that provides a LAN-free Fibre Channel or iSCSI-based backup solution that offloads the backup processing to a dedicated physical server. VCB takes advantage of the snapshot functionality in ESX Server to mount the snapshots into the file system of the dedicated VCB server. Once the respective virtual machine files are mounted, entire virtual machines or individual files can be backed up using third-party backup tools. VCB scripts integrate with several major third-party backup solutions to provide a means of automating the backup process. Figure 1.8 details a VCB implementation.

FIGURE 1.8
VMware Consolidated
Backup (VCB) is a
LAN-free online backup
solution that uses a
Fibre Channel or iSCSI
connection to expedite
and simplify the backup
process.
011
In Chapter 10 you’ll learn how to use VCB to provide a solid backup and restore practice for your virtual infrastructure.
012
Real World Scenario
VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE 3 VS. VMWARE SERVER (AND THE OTHERS)
 
The Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3) product holds a significant advantage over most other virtualization products because virtualization on VI3 does not require a host operating system. Products like VMware Server and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 both require an underlying operating system to host the hypervisor.
 
The lack of the host operating system in VI3 offers additional stability and security. Without an underlying operating system like Windows, there is less concern for viruses, spyware, and unnecessary exposure to vulnerabilities.
 
With products like VMware Server (which require a host operating system), limitations from the host operating systems spill into the virtualization deployment. For example, installing VMware Server on Windows Server 2003 Web edition would establish two processors and 2GB of RAM limitations on VMware Server, despite its ability to use up to 16 processors and 64GB of RAM. At the same time, however, there’s the advantage that hosted products have over the bare metal install of ESX Server. The existence of the host operating system greatly extends the level of hardware support on which the hypervisor will run. If the host operating system offers support, then the virtual machine will too. A great example of this hardware support is to look at the use of USB. ESX Server does not support USB, while VMware Server (and Workstation) includes support. Since the underlying host understands the USB technology, the virtual machines will also offer support.
In all, each of the virtualization products has its place in a network infrastructure. The Virtual Infrastructure 3 product is more suited to the mission-critical enterprise data center virtualization scenario, while the VMware Server product is best for noncritical test or branch office scenarios. And of course you cannot forget the best part of VMware Server: it’s free!

The Bottom Line

Identify the role of each product in the VI3 suite. Now that you’ve been introduced to the products included in the VMware Infrastructure 3 suite, we can begin discussing the technical details, best practices, and how-tos that will make your life as a virtual infrastructure administrator a whole lot easier. This chapter has shown that each of the products in the VI3 suite plays an integral part in the overall process of creating, managing, and maintaining a virtual enterprise. Figure 1.9 highlights the VI3 product suite and how it integrates and interoperates to provide a robust set of tools upon which a scalable, reliable, and redundant virtual enterprise can be built.

FIGURE 1.9
The products in the
VMware Infrastructure
suite work together
to provide a scalable,
robust, and reliable
framework for creating,
managing, and monitoring
a virtual enterprise.
013
The next chapter will begin a start-to-finish look at designing, implementing, managing, monitoring, and troubleshooting a virtual enterprise built on VI3. I’ll dive into much greater detail on each of the products I introduced in this chapter. This introduction should provide you with a solid foundation so we can discuss the different products beginning with the next chapter. You can use this introduction as a reference throughout the remaining chapters if you want to refresh your base knowledge for each of the products in the suite.
Master It You want to centralize the management of ESX Server hosts and all virtual machines.
 
Master It You want to minimize the occurrence of system downtime during periods of planned maintenance.
 
Master It You want to provide an automated method of maintaining fairness and balance of resource utilization.
 
Master It You want to provide an automated restart of virtual machines when an ESX Server fails.
 
Master It You want to institute a method of providing disaster recovery and business continuity in the event of virtual machine failure.

Chapter 2
Planning and Installing ESX Server
Now that you’ve been introduced to VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) and its suite of applications in Chapter 1, you’re aware that ESX Server 3 is the foundation of VI3. The deployment, installation, and configuration of the ESX Server requires adequate planning for a VMware-supported installation.
In this chapter you will learn to:
• Understand ESX Server compatibility requirements
• Plan an ESX Server deployment
• Install ESX Server
• Perform postinstallation configuration
• Install the Virtual Infrastructure Client (VI Client)

Planning a VMware Infrastructure 3 Deployment

In the world of information technology management, there are many models that reflect the project management lifecycle. In each of the various models, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll find a step that involves planning. Though these models might stress this stage of the lifecycle, the reality is that planning is often passed over very quickly if not avoided altogether. However, a VI3 project requires careful planning due to hardware constraints for the ESX Server software. In addition, the server planning can have a significant financial impact when calculating the return on investment for a VI3 deployment.
VMware ESX Server includes stringent hardware restrictions. Though these hardware restrictions provide a limited environment for deploying a supported virtual infrastructure, they also ensure the hardware has been tested and will function as expected as a platform for VMware’s VMkernel hypervisor. Although not every vendor or whitebox configuration can play host to ESX Server, the list of supported hardware platforms will continue to change as newer models and more vendors are tested by VMware. The official VMware Systems Compatibility guide can be found on VMware’s website at www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_systems_guide.pdf . Witha quick glance at the systems compatibility guide, you will notice Dell, HP, and IBM among a dozen or so lesser-known vendors. Within the big three, you will find different server models that provide a tested and supported platform for ESX Server.
THE RIGHT SERVER FOR THE JOB
Selecting the appropriate server is undoubtedly the first step in ensuring a successful VI3 deployment. In addition, it is the only way to ensure VMware will provide any needed support.
 
 
A deeper look into a specific vendor, like Dell, will reveal that the compatibility guide identifies server models of all sizes (see Figure 2.1) as valid ESX Server hosts, including:
• The 1U PowerEdge 1950
• The 2U PowerEdge 2950 and 2970
• The 4U PowerEdge R900
• The 6U PowerEdge 6850 and 6950
• The PowerEdge 1955 Blade Server

FIGURE 2.1
Servers on the compatibility
list come in
various sizes and
models.
014
The model selected as the platform has a direct effect on server configuration and scalability, which will in turn influence the return on investment for a virtual infrastructure.

Calculating the Return on Investment

In today’s world, every company is anxious and hoping for the opportunity for growth. Expansion is often a sign that a company is fiscally successful and in a position to take on the new challenges that come with an increasing product line or customer base. For the IT managers, expansion means planning and budgeting for human capital, computing power, and spatial constraints.
As many organizations are figuring out, virtualization is a means of reducing the costs and overall headaches involved with either consistent or rapid growth. Virtualization offers solutions that help IT managers address the human, computer, and spatial challenges that accompany corporate demands.
Let’s look at a common scenario facing many successful medium-to-large business environments. Take the fictitious company Learn2Virtualize (L2V) Inc. L2V currently has 40 physical servers and an EMC fibre channel storage device in a datacenter in St. Petersburg, Florida. During the coming fiscal year, through acquisitions, new products, and new markets L2V expects to grow to more than 100 servers. If L2V continues to grow using the traditional information systems model, they will buy close to 100 physical servers during their rapid expansion. This will allow them to continue minimizing services on hosts in an effort to harden the operating systems. This practice is not uncommon for many IT shops. As a proven security technique, it is best to minimize the number of services provided by a given server to reduce the exposure to vulnerability across different services. Using physical server deployment will force L2V to look at their existing and future power and datacenter space consumption. In addition, they will need to consider the additional personnel that might be required. With physical server implementations, L2V might be looking at expenses of more than $150,000 in hardware costs alone. And while that might be on the low side, consider that power costs will rise and that server CPU utilization, if it is consistent with industry norms, might sit somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. The return on investment just doesn’t seem worth it.
Now let’s consider the path to virtualization. Let’s look at several options L2V might have if they move in the direction of server consolidation using the VI3 platform. Since L2V already owns a storage device, we’ll refrain from including that as part of the return on investment (ROI) calculation for their virtual infrastructure. L2V is interested in the enterprise features of VMotion, DRS, and HA, and therefore they are included in each of the ROI calculations.
THE PRICE OF HARDWARE
The prices provided in the ROI calculations were abstracted from the small and medium business section of Dell’s website, at www.dell.com