Archive for July, 2009

VMware ESXi 3.5 upgrade to ESXi 4.0

Installation

Recently I had the chance to begin testing VMware ESXi 4.0. One noticeable difference is installing ESXi to a thumb drive. On ESXi 3.5 you would have to download the ISO. Extract the DD image and write it manually to the thumb drive. This was not too hard if you have done it a couple times, but the first time can be a little bit difficult. ESXi 4.0 resolves this issue. With ESXi 4.0 you just download the ISO, burn it to a CD, boot from the CD and tell ESXi to install on whatever free media is available on your system. When software is difficult to install is never good. Good job VMware! Somebody must have been wearing their thinking cap!

Vsphere vs. Infrastructure client.

Another noticeable difference right off the get go is the new interface client to the VM host. They have changed the name from Infrastructure client to Vsphere. I like the new interface. Seems to have better detailed information and looks a lot cooler.

Faster.

I don’t know if I’m imagining this or if this is really the case. But it seems as though my VM’s run a bit faster on ESXi 4.0. I’m sure there are some notes somewhere on VMware’s website talking about machines running faster. But I do my best to make sure and not read all of their selling points. I like to see the software work for myself.

Some quaky things.

Make sure and read the Hardware Compatibility list before installing ESXi 4.0. Something I encountered that scared the crap out of me was a loss of my Management Network Card. Let me explain:

I have a single onboard NIC which registers as a EtherExpress Pro 100/s Server adapter. I have two more onboard NIC’s that register as Broadcom 5704 Gigabit network adapters. (In case you are wondering the motherboard is a Thunder K8SD Pro (S2882-D).)

When I upgraded from ESXi update 2 to ESXi 4.0 the EtherExpress Pro 100/s adapter completely disappeared. I haven’t spent the time to figure out why it disappeared. Because this was a production machine I had to immediately get the management console working on the Broadcom NIC’s. So word of caution to people upgrading to ESXi 4.0! Just because you have ESXi 3.5 working on your server doesn’t mean that ESXi 4.0 is going to have all the same compatibility as 3.5 did.

License.

Make sure when you register your copy of ESXi for you pay attention to the license part. The license from ESXi 3.5 does not work on 4.0. But don’t worry, the free license is still as functional as the previous ESXi 3.5.

Final Thoughts.

I think ESXi 4.0 was a very nice upgrade, definitely worth taking the time to upgrade your systems. VMware has enabled my business to make a lot more money off of physical hardware. Additionally I’m saving expensive rack space here in Hawaii. Colocation in Hawaii is probably one of the most expensive places in the world. So thank you VMware for making free products that work well and are easy to use!

Aloha,

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Windows 2003 Server R2 X64 VS. X86

I have a big beef with Microsoft. Everybody already knows that if you install Windows 2003 Server R2 X86 versions you can only really allocate 4GB of RAM. Thank God Microsoft released X64 2003 Server that allows users to expand the memory way past the 4GB mark. 64-bit 2003 Server is an awesome system. It’s stable and can handle a lot more work load than X86.

Recently through the trial and error process I realized that you cannot install the Group Policy Management Console on Windows 2003 Server X64. Fortunately Microsoft has figured out how dumb that was and enabled GPMC for 2008 Server X64. Only problem is that 2008 Server is basically Windows Vista. Additionally in 2008 server Microsoft heavily modified IIS making it horribly difficult to adapt too quickly. Microsoft needs to pull its head out of its rear and get with the program.

So word of advice: do not make your active directory controllers 2003 server x64 unless you can dedicate an X86 machine just for GPMC.

 Aloha

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