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Free vCenter 4 Pre-Upgrade Utility To Help Check Patch Readiness For vSphere

vCenter 4 agent pre-upgrade check

VMware made upgrading to vSphere 4 easy enough, but there are still a few things that can go wrong. One example is that admins must consider the patch and version levels of VirtualCenter and ESX  to begin. After the vCenter upgrade specific  compatibilities between vCenter 4 and ESX 3.x must be understood if a mixed mode environment will exist during the span of the upgrade.

vCenter 4 Pre-Upgrade Check

Although the Agent Pre-Upgrade Check Utility was introduced last Fall when VMware released vCenter 4 Update 1, I had not come across a situation where using the tool identified problems with ESX upgrades. Judging by several other blog posts that demonstrated the utility on the web already, most all of these bloggers showed “pass” scenarios as well. For me that was the same result until this week. In fact, the vCenter Pre-Upgrade Check proved it’s worth to me in a huge way.

For those not familiar how to use the Pre-Upgrade Utility, just start the autorun.exe in the vCenter 4 U1 .zip file or from the install DVD. At the bottom of the vCenter Installer menu is the option to start the pre-upgrade check. See the image to the right of this post.

Once the tool starts point it at the VirtualCenter 2.5 server. After less than 5 minutes

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VKernel Capacity Modeler Free Until End Of Year (2009)

I received the following offer in an email this week from VKernel and I thought I would post this information for all VM /ETC readers:

” .. VKernel is now offering FREE perpetual licenses of our Capacity Modeler software until 12/31/09. VKernel Capacity Modeler is an alternative solution to the high-priced VMware vCenter CapacityIQ.

Download VKernel Capacity Modeler now and get the same function for FREE

Recognizing that VMware CapacityIQ’s capacity planning and ‘what if’ functionality is roughly equivalent to VKernel Modeler, Vkernel is offering anyone that downloads Modeler between now and December 31, 2009 free perpetual licensing for unlimited CPU sockets.

Download the FREE VKernel Capacity Modeler and get the ability to quickly plan, simulate, and validate hundreds of real–world “what if” VMware resource allocation and VM deployment scenarios. With VKernel Capacity Modeler, user can perform:

  • Capacity Planning
  • Interactive “What If” Modeling Scenarios
  • Proactive Problem Prevention
  • Predictive Capacity Impact Analysis

If you want to quickly solve more serious VMware issues, download FREE trials of our Capacity Analyzer and Optimization Pack software.”

I haven’t had the chance to use either product, but I thought VM /ETC readers could benefit from this offer.

Note the “roughly equivalent” statement above. I cannot speak to a comparison of the two products, but I still feel that any capacity analysis and modeling tool for free is worth investigating. If any readers have any experience with this solution please comment for the benefit of others.

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The Optimized Data Center Conference – The Georgia Aquarium 10/15

Rarely do I mention my employer’s events on VM /ETC. To their credit they don’t ask me to, and they allow me to remain an independent voice in the virtualization blogisphere. For the record, I was not asked to post this entry either.

Softchoice’s Optimized Data Center Conference is a customer appreciation event worth considering both for the technology and for the venue. This week the conference will be at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA on Thursday, 10/15. Next week the event will be in Vancouver, BC on Thursday, 10/22. I’ll be at the event this week with my family, and I encourage you to join me with yours! The event is free and open to anyone, so even if you’ve never done business with us we welcome your attendance.

I’m not going to try to sell you on Softchoice or our partners in this post. I’m confident we do a great job of that already. I’m simply trying to tell you why the event is worth your time.

Some quick info on the event from the site link above:

You’ll get…
  • 40+ of the leading IT manufacturers all in one location
  • Valuable insight into the emerging trends in the Optimized Data Center
  • Advice on stretching your IT budget with useful technology strategies
  • Great food, open bar, and unique entertainment
  • Fun prizes, giveaways, and product samples for all attendees

So, if you are not interested in hearing my co-workers talk then come for the vendors. Think of this as a one day Vendor Fair! Our Gold Sponsors are VMware, Microsoft, NetApp, EMC, Cisco, Citrix, HP, and IBM, and there are many, many more vendor participants worth visiting with! The Optimized Data Center is about hardware consolidation and virtualization. In my opinion, the message is extremely important and relevant to VM /ETC readers.

Bring Your Family!

At 5:30 pm the only people left in the Georgia Aquarium will be Optimized Data Center Conference attendees and partners. Bring your family! While you are attending the business piece of the conference your family can roam the Aquarium for free!!. At 5:30 pm they will join us in a reception area so we can all experience the venue together – exclusively!!

Parking at the Aquarium is free to conference attendees as well.

Coverage of the Conference

To get a taste of what to expect check out some online coverage from the first leg of the conference held in Toronto last week.

We will be tweeting again this week, so if you are not able to attend follow us on Twitter:

If the hashtag changes I will update this post. I’ll be adding more twitternames as I figure out who will be tweeting along with me.

Let me know if you can make it to the Aquarium this week via email (on the About Page) or leave a comment on this post. I’d love to see you and your family there!

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Free VMware Player 3.0 RC Adds Ability To Create VMs

A public a release candidate of VMware Player 3.0 is now available to the public. The free Player finally has the ability to create new virtual machines (VMs), thus making it a viable alternative to other free, host based hypervisors such as VirtualBox and Microsoft’s Virtual PC. Not packing quite as many features as the licensed VMware Workstation, Player version 3.0 still offers a good enough platform for basic desktop testing and development.

More information and a download link is available at VMware Communities: VMware Player Release Candidate.

The Feature Highlights listed on the VMware Player 3.0 RC Page:

  • The ability to create Virtual Machines
  • Aero support for Windows 7 and Windows Vista guests!!!
  • OpenGL support for Windows guests (give Google Earth a try!)
  • New User Interface including a Virtual Machine Library
  • Windows 7 support (as a Host and Guest OS)
  • Automatically download and install the latest VMware Tools package
  • Multiple Monitor Support
  • Print from your VM without installing printer drivers. Virtual Printing courtesy of our friends at ThinPrint.
  • ALSA Sound support on Linux hosts enables multiple VMs to play “music” concurrently
  • VIX API support will let our coding fans write applications that can interact with their VMs

I have not had the opportunity to try the new Player yet, but I plan on downloading it soon and will probably post some screen shots when I get it installed.

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VMworld 2009 Booth Talk – Vizioncore’s Free P2V/V2V, VM Management, and VMDK Alignment Utilities

At the VMworld 2009 Vizioncore booth I discovered 3 new free tools from Vizioncore that all VI administrators, no matter which popular hypervisor platform you use, should know about. vConverter SC, vControl Multi-Hypervisor Management, and vOptimizer WasteFinder offer unique features that accomplish and automate common virtual environment administrative tasks. These products include tools for P2V and V2V migrations between multiple vendor platforms, a web based multi hypervisor management server, and virtual disk optimization through VMDK alignment and wasted storage scanning.

Vizioncore is banking on creating wider interest and adoption of its full product suite in the virtualization market, but for now administrators definitely come out the winners with these great tools at no cost. The free products mentioned in this post (as well as all of Vizioncore’s software) can be downloaded here.

I’ve summarized these utilities in the rest of this post. Continue reading

PHD Technologies Adds Patch Downloader To List of Free VMware Utilities

PHD Virtual added their latest VMware utility to it’s ever growing list of free tools for virtualization administrators. Patch Downloader 6.0 is best described as a tool that will “ease the pain” for dowloading ESX 3.X patches in environments without vCenter Update Manager (VUM). Designed to filter the list of ESX patches available by selecting the desired version of ESX/ESXi, Patch Downloader enables the administrator to review individual patch classifications and instructions. Patches are then easily downloaded to a configured repository where they are ready to be manually transferred and applied to each ESX/ESXi host. I assume support for ESX 4 patches will be added soon.

The following image is a screen shot of Patch Downloader downloading ESX 3.5 patches.

Patch Downloader is the fifth free tool from PHD Technologies. The following excerpt is from an email I received and provides links and and a brief explanation of the other tools already available.
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Managing Virtual Infrastructure With Free Tools

David Marshall has written a post on his Virtualization Report Blog on titled 10 free tools to help with your virtualization environment. While writing this post David asked me for my input on what free tools I use on a regular basis. You may be thinking “great, just another blog post about the same free virtualization ecosystem tools”, but I commend David for sticking with a slightly different approach to this topic.

When I responded I applied the idea of “what free tools I actually use the most on a day to day basis.” Sure, there are a lot of “the same virtualization ecosystem tools” I mentioned earlier in my list, but in reality what I depend on the most and show my clients are utilities designed for physical server environments too. For example, burning ISO files, remote desktop connections, remote access and file transfer, and server operating system status information tools get used just as much as the specific tools developed to administer the virtualization hosts.

David also polled fellow vExperts Stephen Beaver and Jason McCarty as well, so check out the post in full for a great list of tools and links to download them. Marshall is a vExpert himself by the way, and his (one of many he writes for) is an awesome source of virtualization news, press releases, and opinion.

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