Monday, September 30, 2013

Calculate Bandwidth Requirements using vSphere Replication Capacity Planning Appliance!

With a number of consulting engagements which I have done and the one's which I am working on, I have seen an increasing demand for using Host Based Replication solutions for data replication. In few of my recent projects, I have implemented VMware Site Recovery Manager with the combination of VMware vSphere Replication. 

I have written about vSphere Replication(VR) in the past and I am not surprised that a number of VMware customers are shifting focus from a storage based replication solution to a host based replication solution due to the cost-benefit and flexibility which comes with such a solution. In my projects I started with replicating simple web servers to DR site using VR and now customers are discussing database servers, exchange and other critical workloads to be replicated using vSphere Replication. With an out of the box integration with a solution such a as VMware Site Recovery Manager, building a DR environment for your Virtualized Datacenter has become extremely simple and cost effective.

The configuration of the replication appliance and SRM is as easy as going NEXT, NEXT & FINISH..., however the most common challenge has been around estimating the bandwidth requirements from Protected Site to Recovery Site for replication of workloads. One of the most commonly asked question is "How do I calculate the bandwidth requirements for replication?"

Honestly, this is not only a concern with any host based replication solution, but storage based replication too. I have done crazy things like capturing Writes on a workload in KB/Sec for days to get to an average change rate for a workload. This has to be done for each workload which you want to replicate and finally you will come to an estimate which is mostly no where close to the actual figure. Nevertheless, something is better than nothing.

During my recent discussions with VMware product management, I requested them to come out with a tool which can do this mathematics for a given workload and help us estimate the bandwidth requirements. This is critical for customers as an over-sized bandwidth requirement can lead to waste and ultimately unnecessary OPEX (Operational Expenditure) while an undersized bandwidth calculation can break the DR solution which can be catastrophic for any business.

The great news is that such a tool (fling) now exists and is called the 

As quoted by the developers "The vSphere Replication Capacity Planning Appliance allows administrators to model the network impact of a virtual machine replication without producing actual replication traffic. The appliance provides command-line tools to configure replication for any VM in a vSphere Virtual Center. The replication is established in preview mode and thus requires no storage space. Networking traffic, required for the replication, is measured and displayed in an easy-to-understand graphical format that allows you to estimate the network bandwidth required."

As I write this article, I am downloading the OVA and would try this in my lab to see what do I get out of this. Since this is a fling, you might want to know that there is no official support for Flings but if this works, it would be great to see this as a part of the vSphere Replication Appliance.

To download a copy for yourself visit the following link -

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

vSphere Design Pocket Book - Grab your free e-copy now!

A few days back I wrote about the vSphere Design Pocket Book being available for a pre-order in this article - Pocket Size Magic for Designing your vSphere Infrastructure. Pre-order your copy now!!

The book is now available for download and you can get a free e-copy through this link - Register and Download vSphere Design Pocket Book.

So go ahead, download your copy and find out how you can design your vSphere environment efficiently using the words of wisdom.

To read more about the release, refer to the following article written by Frank Denneman (The mastermind behind this community book) - Free ebook version of the vSphere Design Pocketbook is available now

Special thanks to PernixData for sponsoring this book. Follow them on Twitter to know more about what they have to offer.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

VMware Certified Associate - Your Gateway to learn about the disruptive world of VMware!

This blog post is for those who are looking for an entry point in the world of Virtualization. As technologists most of us know that Server Virtualization is not a new concept. The approach of creating logical partitions of physical hardware to create virtual compute units has been around since Mainframe days.

VMware however changed the game by bringing Virtualization to x86 servers which are considered to as commodity servers today. This was the most disruptive change which happened to the data center landscape. Today we all know that VMware is a leader in x86 Virtualization and with its latest announcements at VMworld 2013, VMware clearly lays down the path on Virtualization of the other critical components of the data center such as Storage and Network. This concept of bringing Virtualization to all the layers of data-center was named as Software Defined Datacenter by VMware. This term soon became an industry standard  and now there are several market research companies working towards forecasting the market opportunity for SDDC which runs into billions of dollars in the coming decade.

Coming back to where I opened this article. We as IT professionals, students and technology enthusiasts should look to participate and benefit from this next wave of technology disruption. This is a great opportunity and one should invest time and efforts to learn the technology and prepare ourselves to to be a part of this paradigm shift.

I was lucky to be introduced to VMware technology 6 years back. In the past 6 years, I have met numerous individuals who want a start point to learn this technology and make a career out of it. Today if I look back at the success of VMware and look forward at its vision, it is easy to predict that investing time in VMware technology would give massive returns. If you are not on this express train already, then let's see how you can jump on and begin your journey.

Before VMworld 2013, the only way to get started with VMware was by self study, VMware Install, Configure and Manage Classroom Training and then a VMware Certification such as VCP-DV (VMware Certified Professional - Datacenter Virtualization

The biggest issue with this approach was that in order to get the VMware VCP certification, you need to attend the official VCP Training. Although this training is completely worth every penny spent, this might be a substantial amount of money for a beginner. VMware has been innovative not only with its solutions, but with the learning paths and certifications as well. VMware at VMworld 2013 announced some exciting changes in their learning paths and certifications which will make it inexpensive for beginners to step in the world of VMware. Without further ado lets see how you can get started:-

STEP 1 - Read this article and all the links embedded :-) This will give you a 10,000 feet overview of the great opportunity in front of you.

STEP 2 - Create a free e-learning account with by visiting VMware MyLearn Portal

STEP 3 - Register & attend VMware Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals training for free. This is a self paced training and you can register for this using the My Learn Account created in step 2.

STEP 4 - If you want to get your hands dirty (recommended), then create a home lab on your laptop with evaluation licenses which are good for 60 days. To make it easier for you, there are a number of forums on the internet which can tell you how do you make this lab. Here is one such website which has automated the entire process for creating the home lab -

STEP 5 - Now comes the interesting part of getting certified. Although a certificate not always represents one's expertise on that subject, I believe it is a good way to keep yourself updated and engulfed with the basics of a technology. VMware has now make this affordable for beginners with the introduction of the VCA-DCV certification. 

As quoted by VMware - "With the VCA-Data Center Virtualization certification, you’ll have greater credibility when discussing data center virtualization, the business challenges that vSphere is designed to address, and how virtualizing the data center with vSphere addresses those challenges. You'll be able to define data center virtualization and provide use case scenarios of how vSphere and data center virtualization can provide cost and operational benefits."

The great news is that the certificate cost as quoted by PearsonVue is just $95.00. Here is the path which is laid down by VMware for VCA-DCV:

To know more about this exam refer to the following link.

The LAST STEP would be to take the first step in this amazing world. So go ahead, start right now and invest in your future. 

You are welcome to share your comments, thoughts, opinions and ideas which might help others to take their first step and be successful. Also, feel free to reach out if you have any questions and I would be happy to help!!

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