Archive

Archive for July, 2013

Optimise your VDI image with a new OS optimisation tool

July 31st, 2013 No comments

VMware has released a new Fling called the VMware OS Optimization Tool for Windows 7.

One of my bugbears with the whole VDI industry is the I in “VDI”, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Many people often focus too much time and effort designing the infrastructure part of delivering virtual desktops: hypervisors, clusters, brokers, security, storage, networks, streaming, provisioning etc. and don’t pay enough attention to the actual OS build.

The OS build is absolutely critical for the success of any VDI project. If you don’t optimise your OS image you will use more CPU, memory and critically storage IOPS than you actually need which can ramp up your costs or cause your whole project to fail.

VDIOSTool

VMware has released the VMware OS Optimization Tool to assist with just this for Windows 7 desktops and VMware Horizon View. There are customisable templates to enable or Windows services and features to ensure you have optimum performance.

There is also a Remote OS Optimization Tool which allows you to connect to a remote Horizon View broker to optimise images.

Although this tool is specifically written for VMware View and uses VMware’s recommendations and best practices, the OS settings are as applicable when using Citrix XenDesktop or other brokers or in fact when running any Windows 7 workstation even without a broker when your users connect using just RDC.

If you are wanting to get more information on your current Windows desktop (not only limited to VDI) performance, I would also suggest looking at Helge Klein’s fantastic UberAgent for Splunk which gives you all sorts of information to help find out what’s taking too long.

To really ensure you cover all bases I would suggest using this new VMware tool in conjunction with other scripts and tools:

VDI Optimizer

VMware Horizon View Optimization Guide for Windows 7 and Windows 8

IT Blood Pressure’s EUC Tips

Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer

Citrix Windows 7 Optimization Guide for Desktop Virtualization

Project VRC White Papers (free registration required)

How to Optimize XenDesktop Machines

Best Practice: Group Policy for Virtual Desktops Infrastructure (VDI)

VDI Group Policy Optimisation Template and Script

HP Virtual Connect Firmware upgrade may cause Server Profiles to be unassigned causing a network outage

July 25th, 2013 4 comments

HP has released a serious advisory that upgrading certain Virtual Connect firmware may cause server profiles to be unassigned which will cause a a network outage for your blades.

http://h20565.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.PAGE/public/kb/docDisplay/?javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.prp_ba847bafb2a2d782fcbb0710b053ce01=wsrp-navigationalState%3DdocId%253Demr_na-c03708135-2%257CdocLocale%253D%257CcalledBy%253D&javax.portlet.tpst=ba847bafb2a2d782fcbb0710b053ce01&ac.admitted=1373876123412.876444892.492883150

The issue occurs when you have both single dense and double dense servers in your chassis and you are upgrading from Virtual Connect firmwares 3.10-3.60 up to Virtual Connect firmwares 3.70-3.75.

The upgrade process will complete successfully however the single dense server profiles will become unassigned which will cause a network outage for those specific server blades.

In order to fix this you will need to power down the affected blades, reassign the server profiles and power on the blades again! Ouch!

This doesn’t affect you if you are upgrading  from Virtual Connect firmware 3.70 to later firmware or going from Virtual Connect firmware 3.10 to anything below 3.70 such as 3.60 and won’t affect you if you only have single dense servers or double dense servers but not a mixture.

Virtual Connect firmware 4.01 which has been recently released fixes this but has a whole raft of new features that you may not be ready to implement so its worth being aware of this issue.

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , , ,

HP G7/Gen8 Blades: New Emulex firmware 4.2.401.2215 released

July 25th, 2013 1 comment

HP has released a new firmware version 4.2.401.2215 of its Emulex OneConnect 10Gb Ethernet Controller which is used in HP G7 and Gen8 Blades.

The built in LOM adapter names on a G7 Blade server are NC553i or NC551i and the Mezz card is NC554m. The CNA LOM added to a Gen8 Blade server is HP554FLB.

This firmware is required if you are going to be using the new dual hop FCoE features in Virtual Connect 4.01.

The firmware update process is offline and requires you to boot from an Emulex OneConnect bootable .ISO which can be downloaded from:
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=329290&prodSeriesId=5033632&prodNameId=5033634&swEnvOID=54&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=co-117280-1

The following issues have been resolved from the previous firmware version 4.2.401.605

  1. Fixed VMware PSOD ESX 4.1/5.0/5.1 seen on BL465cG7, BL685cg7 servers with BE2 based card. For more details see the following Customer Advisory
  2. Fixed FW memory leak with multiple logins to a redirected target
  3. Fixed FW to allow setting Speed/Duplex to Auto/Auto
  4. Fixed Fw to allow Bonding with Citrix platforms
  5. Fixed FW to allow upgrades of version 4.x to 4.x+ without requiring cold boot
  6. Fixed UEFI to not require 2nd reset
  7. Fixed UEFI driver version reported
  8. Fixed FW to prevent LOMS at 10G from negotiating 1G with Blade switches
  9. Fixed FW for BE3 to report correct values of ethernet stat “In Range” error
  10. Fixed FW to boot from secondary iSCSI when selected
  11. Fixed FW iSCSI boot failure from secondary target when primary target given is incorrect
  12. Fixed UEFI NIC default settings retention
  13. Fixed FW hang during boot with SLES 10 SP4
  14. Fixed FW error while performing Shared Uplink Set port remove/add test

I’ve updated my post: HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 & VMware ESX(i) pre-requisites

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , , , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: RBAC and Multicast + some more

July 24th, 2013 2 comments

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches.

This is part 6 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

Custom role-based configuration

VC 4.01 now also adds more options for role customisation.

You can split your administration into Storage Admin, Server Admin, Network Admin and Domain User.

image

You can now configure more operational permissions for these users and the GUI will show you what will change when you are about to apply the new permission.

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Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: SNMP and sFlow enhancements

July 24th, 2013 5 comments

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches.

This is part 5 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

SNMP MIB enhancements

HP has added a number of enhancement to SNMP for VC 4.01. A number of old traps have been depreciated and new traps added to provide more granular error reporting.

A trap is sent for each VC managed element state change (domain, enclosure, module, port, network, fabric, server or profile). Each trap describes what changed and what caused the change. There is also improved correlation between Traps, SIM events and the VC system log.

For example, pre-4.01 you would only get a Domain status notification with a very generic message saying the status of the domain has changed for a number of different reasons, say when a network port is disconnected.

In 4.01, three traps will be received when a port is disconnected which will result in Network, Profile and Domain managed status traps being sent to management stations.

image_thumb102

Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: Priority Queue QoS

July 24th, 2013 No comments

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches.

This is part 4 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

Priority Queue QoS

QoS is the next major enhancement in VC 4.01.

Pre VC 4.01 there is very little QoS for any traffic. Traffic flows on a first in first out basis, if there’s any congestion, the traffic at the tail of the queue is dropped.

image_thumb70

Basically you can control the Max that a FlexNic can transmit and receive but that’s it. VC performs no classification, marking, policing or traffic shaping. If there are any QoS traffic markings they are passed through VC in VLAN Tunnelled Mode but stripped out if using Mapped Mode with SUS.

Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation

July 24th, 2013 3 comments

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches.

This is part 3 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

Min/Max Bandwidth Optimization

The next major enhancement in Virtual Connect 4.01 is a far more flexible bandwidth rate limit control. HP is finally catching up with Cisco UCS to offer this.

Virtual Connect has always had the option to set the available bandwidth for a FlexNic but this was a single value that didn’t have any rate adjustment based on traffic flow. This meant that although you may have 10Gb of bandwidth available to your LOM with multiple FlexNics, if one FlexNic was reaching the maximum of its allocated bandwidth yet another FlexNic on the same LOM was hardly utilised, VC couldn’t dynamically give more bandwidth to the starved FlexNic. You would have to go into VC and manually reconfigure the FlexNic bandwidth.

VC 4.01 is now able to share unused bandwidth proportionally among FlexNics and FlexHBAs. FlexNics/HBAs can now be configured with a minimum guaranteed and a maximum capped ingress bandwidth from the blade to VC.

image_thumb30

Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: Dual-hop FcOE support

July 24th, 2013 1 comment

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches.

This is part 2 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

Dual-hop FcOE support

Dual hop FCoE support is a major enhancement particularly for people looking to further converge their infrastructure from the chassis to ToR switches such as the Cisco Nexus 5000 series or HPs 5800/5900 series switches. This means you can keep your existing FC SAN fabric in place and connect it to your Cisco Nexus switches along with your LAN traffic. You then only need to connect your HP blade chassis to the Cisco Nexus switches and from there the LAN and SAN traffic is split off to their relevant upstream switches.

Dual-FcOE has arrived in VC 4.01 but HP are planning Multi-Hop FcOE support sometime in the future.

image

(all graphics from HP, 4.01 was a minor update from 4.00)

Read more…

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 Update: What’s New

July 19th, 2013 2 comments

HP has released a significant firmware update to its Virtual Connect line of HP Blade chassis switches. The main highlights are Dual-hop FCoE support and enhancements to QoS and bandwidth optimisation.

This is part 1 of a 6 part post on HP Virtual Connect 4.01:

  1. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: What’s New
  2. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support
  3. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Min/Max Bandwidth Optimisation
  4. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Priority Queue QoS
  5. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: SNMP and sFlow enhancements
  6. HP Virtual Connect 4.01: RBAC and Multicast + some more

The full list of new features is:

Dual-hop FCoE Support Extending convergence for Flex-10 and FlexFabric
Bandwidth Optimization Min/Max for NIC Bandwidth
Priority Queue QoS Prioritizing critical application traffic
SNMP MIB enhancements Improved monitoring and troubleshooting
sFlow monitoring Monitoring and planning at flow level
Multicast Filtering Single source multicast
Custom role-based configuration Delegate management permissions
GUI and CLI enhancements Session timeout and CLI tab completion

There are a number of dependencies for VC 4.01

  • Onboard Administrator – v3.70 recommended, 3.11 minimum
  • Virtual Connect Support Utility (VCSU) – v1.8.1 or later
  • Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM) – v7.2 (Will work in older VCEMs in compatibility mode, i.e. no new VCM features will be supported)

image HP says Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) 2013.02.00 is recommended as a Baseline Release Set but VC 4.01 has also been tested with SPP 2012.08.0, and SPP 2012.06.0 (B). Not quite sure what this means as if it has been tested with the previous versions they should be the minimum. Knowing the historical issues with firmware incompatibility, I would suggest ensuring you have SPP 2013.02.00 on your blades first.

It’s worth noting that VC 4.01 is not part of any particular SPP package. HPSUM or the VCSU can be used to upgrade to VC 4.01 after you have upgraded your blade firmware.

The Emulex firmware version for the built in LOMs on a G7 Blade server (HP NC553i or NC551i) or Mezz card (HP NC554m) or the CNA LOM added to a Gen8 Blade server (HP 554FLB) need to have their firmware upgraded to support dual hop FCoE. The latest Emulex firmware version for the NC55x controllers is currently 4.2.401.2215. This firmware is NOT included in the SPP 2013.02.0, but it can be downloaded as a separate standalone update tool (bootable ISO file) or as a HP SUM component.

HP Virtual Connect 4.01 can be downloaded from here

You can read the Release Notes which detail the list of other fixes and also highlight some of the issues so a must read before deploying in case they affect you.

You can also read the User Guide and the Setup and Installation Guide

I have not updated my HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 & VMware ESX(i) pre-requisites post yet to reflect this new version as with such a major change it’s worth checking everything works as advertised so get testing!

Next up: HP Virtual Connect 4.01: Dual-hop FcOE support

Categories: Flex-10, HP Tags: , ,