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Vsphere newbie questions

Posted on 2011-03-06
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Hi,

I have recently brought up Vsphere and have been migrating VMs from VMWare Server to Vsphere.  There are several things I'm not sure of and/or are missing.

1. In server, I had created shortcuts to various VMs and dropped them on my desktop.  Is there a similar capability with Vsphere?

2. Do I need to be concerned with fragmentation on the Vsphere datastore?

3. I have an adaptec raid controller in this machine.  Is there any way to manage this from a VM?  I have 5 drives that I want to put into a raid array but would like not to have to bring the server down for that.

4. This server has 4 nic cards.  How can I tell how many of those Vsphere is using to get to the lan?

Thanks!

--Ben
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Question by:Ben Conner
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paulsolov earned 250 total points
ID: 35047406
have recently brought up Vsphere and have been migrating VMs from VMWare Server to Vsphere.  There are several things I'm not sure of and/or are missing.

1. In server, I had created shortcuts to various VMs and dropped them on my desktop.  Is there a similar capability with Vsphere?

--Everything is managed trhought the vmware infrastructure client which is installed on a separate system, typically RDP/VNC access is preferred

2. Do I need to be concerned with fragmentation on the Vsphere datastore?

Typically not but you can perform defrag on the OS

3. I have an adaptec raid controller in this machine.  Is there any way to manage this from a VM?  I have 5 drives that I want to put into a raid array but would like not to have to bring the server down for that.

ESXi is a bare metal install, you will need to shutdown the system and go into raid utilities to get this done

4. This server has 4 nic cards.  How can I tell how many of those Vsphere is using to get to the lan?

You can configure as many as you want, you will not use them. You can also subdivide the nics into vswitches for different subnets or for management and production network.  It's a bit different than vmware server

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by:bgoering
bgoering earned 250 total points
ID: 35047524
1. In server, I had created shortcuts to various VMs and dropped them on my desktop.  Is there a similar capability with Vsphere?

As paulsolov has said - most vm access is through rpd, vnc, or the console capabilities of the vSphere client. If you do wish to continue doing what you are used to it is still possible, and managed much as you were used to doing it on VMware Server. Browse to your vCenter server and select log onto web access. Once in web access select your vm, and under commands you will find a link to generate virtual machine shortcut.

2. Do I need to be concerned with fragmentation on the Vsphere datastore?

I have never been concerned with vmfs fragmentation. But be aware if you are using thin provisioned disks then use the OS defrag utilities that can cause your actual space utilization to grow dramatically.

3. I have an adaptec raid controller in this machine.  Is there any way to manage this from a VM?  I have 5 drives that I want to put into a raid array but would like not to have to bring the server down for that.

There are no facilities to manage your raid controller in ESXi, If you are wanting to dedicate the raid controller to a particular virtual machine, and the OS in the vm is capable of managing your controller - then you might be able to use VMDirectPath I/O to manage your raid controller. Note there are some restrictions and conditions that have to be met for this to work. Take a look at http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1010789 for more information.

4. This server has 4 nic cards.  How can I tell how many of those Vsphere is using to get to the lan?

vSphere will use however many you configure it to use. To really answer this question properly I would need to understand your network and your needs. If it is a single LAN segment then you can assign all of your nics to vSwitch 0 that was created when you installed ESXi, then configure them to be active/standby and/or load balanced.

Good Luck
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by:bgoering
ID: 35047533
Note that on your question 4 - if you do assign multiple nics to a single vSwitch, then you will also need to configure either port-channel or LACP on the physical switch to aggregate the nics..
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by:paulsolov
ID: 35048345
@bgoering:  You dont always need to configure etherchannel and LACP is not supported (dynamic portion is not supported so it's just a static trunk).  ESXi will use teamining by default and will only need trunking  if multiple VLANs are used.  This is especially true if you have multiple switches that are trunked together but don't support cross switch trunking.  

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Author Comment

by:Ben Conner
ID: 35049692
This is a dead-simple setup.  All VMs are on the same vlan, and I don't have a need (that I know of) to split them up.  How do I install the extra NICs to vSwitch 0 ?

You guys were right, RDP was very simple to set up and gain access to.  

--Ben
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by:bgoering
ID: 35049852
@paulsolov - you may be right. I only trunk VLANs for my setup/

@bconner - from the vSphere client select your ESXi server, then the configuration tab. Click on netorking then properties on vSwitch0. Select the network adapters tab, then Add.

Hope this helps
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by:paulsolov
ID: 35050017
I have had a lot of customers ask and I refer them to Scott Lowe's blog who literarly wrote the book

Using Link Aggregation
There’s not a whole lot to this part. In the ProCurve configuration, users will mark the ports that should participate in link aggregation as part of a trunk (say, Trk1) and then set the trunk type. Here’s the only real gotcha: the trunk must be configured as type “Trunk” and not type “LACP”.

In this context, LACP refers to dynamic LACP, which allows the switch and the server to dynamically negotiate the number of links in the bundle. VMware ESX doesn’t support dynamic LACP, only static LACP. To do static LACP, users will need to set the trunk type to Trunk.

Then, as has been discussed elsewhere in great depth, configure the VMware ESX vSwitch’s load balancing policy to “Route based on ip hash”. Once that’s done, everything should work as expected. This blog entry gives the CLI command to set the vSwitch load balancing policy, which would be necessary if configuring vSwitch0. For all other vSwitches, the changes can be made via VirtualCenter.

That’s really all there is to making link aggregation work between an HP ProCurve switch and VMware ESX.



http://blog.scottlowe.org/2008/09/05/vmware-esx-nic-teaming-and-vlan-trunking-with-hp-procurve/

c
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Author Closing Comment

by:Ben Conner
ID: 35064094
This is one of the best succinct discussions on Vsphere basic setup that I've been privileged to have.  These guys gave outstanding information at just the right level to get the point across, and the job done.  Much appreciated!
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