VMworld Europe 2011 – Day zero

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

So finally i got my chance to attend a VMworld event , and i got the opportunity to go to the Copenhagen , Denmark.

I hope that during the event i will be able to chat with IT vendors and IT peers regarding virtualization and everything around IT, because virtualization is just part of the “big picture”.

For instance i look forward to discuss real life experiences in databases (Oracle/MS SQL) virtualization, with all their advantages or lack off..

Since i had never been into a VMworld before i really don’t know exactly what to expect, but i do know that i will try to get as much technical information as possible and to meet quite some really smart folks that “orbit” around the VMware/VMworld ecosystem.

As i start to attend the event itself i will try to update informations regarding the sessions and the event itself, so stay tuned aKa bookmark this page and came back later 🙂

For now, it’s time to get another dose of some medicines, because the flu decided to come along with me to this event…



VMware 4.1 – Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi installation script

September 27, 2011 1 comment

Dear reader,

If you ever wondered how to install Dell Openmanage agents in a VMware host only by executing a simple script, fear no more..It’s possible, it’s quite simple and i will show you how 😉

I recently had to install 7 physical hosts [Dell R515] with VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 1 and for that i come up with a very small and easy script to install Dell Openmanage agents.

For this task i just had to download the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi , create a local directory [c:\vmware] and run my script.

Please be aware that you need to have installed the VMware Vsphere CLI [ i used version 4.1] and in my case i installed in a 64Bits machine.

The script does the following :

  1. set’s the physical host in maintenance mode
  2. installs the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle VIB
  3. brings the physical host out from the maintenance mode

To make life easier i have zipped the Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle VIB together with the script and you download it here Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi . Please make sure you rename the file from .doc to .zip [wordpress doesn’t allow to upload zip files] and extract it to c:\vmware and not c:\vmware\vmware .

At the end you should be able to see the hardware status within the vSphere client .

Script contents  # START #

#Set the physical host in Maintenance Mode

cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\”
vicfg-hostops.pl –operation enter –server=your_vmware_host_ip –username=root –password=yourpassword

## Install OpenManage Agent – Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi

cd c:\vmware

vihostupdate.pl –install –bundle C:\VMware\OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-6.4.0-1266.VIB-ESX41i_A00.7.zip –server=your_vmware_host_ip  –username=root –password=yourpassword

#exit maintenance mode
cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\”

vicfg-hostops.pl –operation exit –server=your_vmware_host_ip –username=root –password=yourpassword

Script contents  # END #

VMware 5.0 Disk I/O performance – Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed vs Thick Provision Eager Zeroed vs Thin Provision

August 25, 2011 8 comments

Hello dear reader,

As you know VMware has announced some time ago the vsphere 5  and finally it can be downloaded by anyone 🙂

Based on this i decided to test the performance of the 3 types of disks supported by VMware :

Basically the VM had 2 virtual disks assigned for the benchmark :

  • Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed
  • Thick Provision Eager Zeroed
  • Thin Provision

Test setup :

One VM has been configured with 2 vcpu’s, 2 GB ram and 4 disks, all using the LSI SAS SCSI Controller :

  • Disk 01 is the Windows “disk”  (c:\ drive)
  • Disk 02 it’s a Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed disk
  • Disk 03 it’s a Thick Provision Eager Zeroed disk
  • Disk 04 it’s a Thin Provision disk

The VM had 1 Gigabit link without any sort of redundancy, link aggregation, no MPIO , no jumbo frames to an ISCSI storage. The purpose of this exercise is to see the performance differences between the 3 types of disks and not to see the performance of the ISCSI storage .

Anyway….let’s go for the results

Results : ( results parsed at http://vmktree.org/iometer/ )

  •     I/O of a Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed disk
Test name Latency Avg iops Avg MBps cpu load
Max Throughput-100%Read 0.00 3491 109 3%
RealLife-60%Rand-65%Read 12.87 4490 25 11%
Max Throughput-50%Read 101.44 6190 193 15%
Random-8k-70%Read 13.96 5681 44 17%
  • I/O of a Thick Provision Eager Zeroed disk
Test name Latency Avg iops Avg MBps cpu load
Max Throughput-100%Read 0.00 3511 109 1%
RealLife-60%Rand-65%Read 12.78 4460 34 30%
Max Throughput-50%Read 102.88 6261 195 2%
Random-8k-70%Read 14.19 5770 45 34%
  • I/O of a Thin Provision disk
Test name Latency Avg iops Avg MBps cpu load
Max Throughput-100%Read 0.00 3530 110 0%
RealLife-60%Rand-65%Read 13.06 4566 35 30%
Max Throughput-50%Read 102.36 6243 195 2%
Random-8k-70%Read 14.17 5767 45 36%

Conclusion :

It seems like VMware has quite similar performance across different types of disks (at least with the used benchmark profile for this test) and for me the Thin Provision disk would probably be the chosen one due to the fact of being…Thin .

During the next days/weeks i will try to get some more tests, against different storage devices and using ISCSI and NFS .

vSphere 5.0 Download available

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Well well well…it looks like vSphere 5.0 is , finally, available for download.

Check it out at www.vmware.com and have fun !

Equallogic Firmware – v5.1.1-H1

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently Dell Equallogic has released their newest firwmare 5.1.1 and it seems like this new firmware got some problems .

Basically users that had hard-drives with reported soft-errors stopped having access to those drives , and a spare process kicked in leading to performance drop and with one less available hard-drive.

To avoid some confusion the newest firmware is the 5.1.1-H1 (R187334) and the oldest one was the 5.1.1(R185010) .

If you have an Equallogic can you take a look to your current firmware by selecting within the Members tab , the Equallogic Member and select the “Maintenance” tab . You should see something like this :


As a side note…If you have this new firmware , within the SANHQ you may see some new attributes… 🙂

Have fun, and make sure you plan a maintenance window for any change on your environment, and that also includes any Equallogic firmware upgrade .



Dell R515 – H200 raid controller driver for CentOS / RHEL

July 25, 2011 1 comment

I recently purchased a Dell R515 server (awesome server btw!) with a PERC H200 raid controller and due to software support issues i had to run RedHat / CentOS 5.2 .

Based on the Dell Operating System Support Matrix this raid controller is only supported with Redhat / CentOS 5.5 , and this was a a major issue .
After digging around (Google is really your friend !) i was able to fix the problem by creating a device driver to be loaded during the installation of RedHat / CentOS 5.2 , either x86 or x86-64 bits platforms.

In short i had to download the already compiled driver available at the Supermicro support site , remove the signature from the driver and boot the system using the dd as an argument for the installer.

The signature had to be removed otherwise it would only work with RedHat and not with CentOS . For the procedure of removing the signature i followed the excellent post available at the CentOS forum

I have tested the driver with RedHat / CentOS 5.2 x86 and x86-64 bit installers and it works like a charm.

If the driver is loaded you will see that the disk is detected by RedHat / CentOS

and dmesg will output something like


The working device drivers can be downloaded here for the x86 and for the x86-64 (please remove the .pdf extension of the files…this is due to file upload restrictions) .

Have fun  !

To make use of the driver follow this instructions :
Installing the driver on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS system

Perform the following steps to install RHEL/CentOS (version 5)
using the Driver Update Disk (DDU):

1 Boot normally from the RHEL/CentOS installation media.
2 At the command prompt, type:
> linux dd
3 When the install prompts for a driver diskette, insert the driver update
disk (DUD) prepared earlier and press <Enter>.
4 Complete the installation as directed by the installation program.

– iDRAC –

When you use iDrac Enterprise it’s also possible to mount a driver image to a floppy disk, just like
it’s done for mounting an ISO file .

– Create a Driver Update Disk (DDU) —

Using a USB key:

Copy the driver image file(*.img or *.dd) into a USB key.

Using a USB floppy device :

1. Put a floppy disk into a USB floppy device, and plug the device into a USB slot of the system under test.
use “dmesg” to find out which device this USB floppy is enumerated to (for example, sdb, sdc, etc).

2. Then tranfer the driver image to the floppy:

Use > dd if=<image_file_name> of=/dev/sdx

Here the /dev/sdx is the device name found from dmesg in the above step.

3. Umount the USB floppy device before unplug it (preferred).

Using system floppy disk slot:

Insert a floppy disk into the system floppy disk slot, then at the prompt:

# dd if=<image_file_name> of=/dev/fd0

On most systems, the floppy drive is designated by the /dev/fd0 special file.
It is prefferred to execute the dd command before the floppy is mounted.

Module signature removal procedure :

I just fixed it. The signature should be removed from the kernel module:

# download mpt2sas- from ftp.supermicro.com

# mount driver disk as loop device
mkdir /mnt/loop
mount -o loop mpt2sas- /mnt/loop

# extract modules.cgz
mkdir -p /tmp/dd/cpio
cd /tmp/dd
gzip -dc /mnt/loop/modules.cgz > modules.cpio
cd cpio
cpio -idumv < ../modules.cpio

# check if the module is signed
cd 2.6.18-128.el5/x86_64
readelf -S scsi_transport_sas.ko | grep module_sig

# remove signature from module
objcopy -R .module_sig scsi_transport_sas.ko

# check if signature was removed
readelf -S scsi_transport_sas.ko | grep module_sig

# rebuild modules.cgz
cd /tmp/dd/cpio
find . | cpio -ovBc > ../modules
cd ..
gzip -9 -S .cgz modules
cp -f modules.cgz /mnt/loop

# unmount driver disk
umount /mnt/loop

Dell iDrac remote upgrade demo (no sound)

July 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently i started to receive some weird alerts from one of the management interface of one of my Dell servers. This specific server is running Opensolaris, and therefore the only way to upgrade the firmware of the idrac is to use a web based upgrade..

I got so many questions from some of my co-workers asking how this , (easy and trivial, for me at least) task can be done, that i decided to record a small video of the entire process.

If you’re interested take a look to the above video and see how a firmware upgrade can be done.. For more information check the Dell Techcenter iDrac page and the iDrac6 documentation .