Virtualization has touched every area of IT infrastructure and operations. Anyone who will work with servers, storage, networking and security must be fluent in the key virtualization platform. With VMware’s revolutionary Software Defined Data Center technology, the all new vSphere 6 is at the heart of building and delivering full-fledged IT services and infrastructure.
This video course will help you to quickly put the core features of vSphere to work. We will start by looking at the essential concepts of virtualization like ESXi and DCUI interfaces. We move on to see how vSphere works with Virtual Machines. We will learn about networking and varied storage configuration options. Important new features in vSphere 6 such as increased scalability, Network IO control, and fault tolerance would be addressed through practical examples. Finally you will learn how backup and replication features in vSphere help in data protection.
By finishing this course, readers would have acquired key skills to get started working with vSphere 6.0 and build a powerful and robust VMware based modern data center and infrastructure.
About The Author
Glen Martin has over 20 years' experience in enterprise IT operations and architecture and technical training, and over 10 years' vSphere experience in environments of all sizes.
For viewers who are new to virtualization or for those who are not familiar with VMware vSphere, we'll introduce some of the key information you'll need to orient yourself for the rest of the course.
ESXi is VMware's hypervisor and hosts virtual machines running on servers with ESXi installed.
A new installation of ESXi doesn't let us do much from the host. When we connect using a browser, the Welcome to ESXi provides some simple but relatively unknown features.
To configure networking and other core configuration, DCUI provides a simple interface.
To do anything useful in ESXi, we'll need to use either the vSphere Desktop Client or the HTML5 Host Client.
VMFS is commonly used as the filesystem for virtual machine storage. We are able to use the Datastore Browser to manage virtual machine and other files stored on VMFS and other type of datastores.
ESXi is an operating system designed for hosting virtual machines, and uses various components such as Linux, Vmkernel and the busybox embedded platform.
VMware Installation Bundles are used to update ESXi.
Beginning with ESXi 6.0 Update 2, the HTML5 Host Client is installed automatically.
A number of techniques exist for provisioning virtual machines, but we'll first look at the basics of a creating a single virtual machine.
Virtual machines have many of the same challenges as physical machines, and also some new ones.
We previously installed a virtual machine manually, but we are able to import/export virtual machines using the Open Virtualization Format.
Snapshots are very helpful for managing virtual machine state but there are some things to beware of.
To support growth, we can add hardware such as disks, network interfaces and potentially CPU and memory to a running virtual machine.
Virtual machines can potentially benefit from using native VMware device drivers, rather than a driver provided for compatibility. The VMXNET3 and PVSCSI paravirtualized devices are provided for this purpose.
Virtual switches are used to provide internal and external connectivity between virtual machines, VMkernel adapters and external networks. Proper network functionality depends not only on vSphere configuration but also on external physical switches.
Managing virtual machine traffic load is a key consideration, and there are a number of options available to distribute traffic load across multiple uplinks.
In order to provide IP services that vSphere requires for management, storage and other system networking, Vmkernel Adapters are needed. It is critical to understand the application of Vmkernel IP networking. We will look at core utilization scenarios and best practices, and will also re-visit some of these areas when we discuss storage and vMotion in later sections.
We briefly introduced VMFS and the datastore concept earlier, but it is important to understand not only how to work with VMFS but also how vSphere will interact with storage. We'll review various mechanisms that vSphere uses to provide deep storage integration.
The Network File System is commonly used for simplicity and does not require the use of VMFS or volume management. NFS is broadly supported, but vSphere has specific compatibility requirements.
NFS provides a solid base for IP-based storage, but vSphere does not provide native multipathing support for NFS. iSCSI is also a viable alternative for IP storage that provides performance and security benefits, although with some additional complexity.
As the number of datastores and storage paths available increases, it is important to optimize storage I/O effectively. vSphere does not use optimal methods by default, and vendors may provide their own extensions.
Any environment with more than a single host will be well served by adding vCenter, and all the interesting vSphere features require it. vCenter and Platform Services Controller provide a highly scalable infrastructure, but configurations with multiple vCenter and PSC servers can get quite complex.
For convenience and in order to support the centralization of Identity and Access Management, various identity sources can be integrated with the Single Sign-On service.
Once integration with an external identity source is available, it is highly beneficial to follow a least privilege model and identity.
Adding a host to vCenter is simple, but it is useful to understand how it works and what changes are made to the host. It's also sometimes necessary to restart the management agents if the host does not respond to vCenter.
The vSphere Desktop Client will be very familiar to anyone who's used any version of vSphere, but its days are numbered.
The vSphere Web Client has been put forward as an alternative to the Desktop Client but has been plagued with plugin and performance issues. Currently, vSphere Web Client is the official web client, but vCenter HTML5 Client is also coming along rapidly.
Deploying virtual machines quickly and consistently is key to providing rapid, secure provisioning. Virtual machine templates can be used to provide a partially configured, updated base image which can be cloned and customized at deployment time.
vMotion is the absolute rock star feature that truly rocked the industry. Host and storage portability of running virtual machines makes all of vSphere's advanced workload management features possible. It works like magic, but like all magic, it requires careful preparation and some behind-the-scenes tricks.
In a non-virtual deployment, high availability is expensive, complicated and requires unique solutions for each protected operating system and application. vSphere's HA features are transparent, are cross-platform, and can be configured in minutes. As your environment gets larger, it's important to think about the impact of the loss of multiple servers and how to accomodate workload demands during large restart events.
Distributed Resource Scheduler allows you to define clusters of hosts and datastores, which can then be treated as a shared pool of resources. Depending on the cluster configuration, we can handle initial and ongoing placement of virtual machines to hosts and datastores based on their utilization rates.
vSphere integrates a large number of infrastructure components and requires capacity and load management in order to ensure best performance and avoid problems.
When the unexpected occurs, you should know about it. vSphere provides a relatively simple system for notification by mail, visible alarm and SNMP trap. Alarms can also be configured to take action in response to virtual machine and host conditions.
By this point in the course, you'll have seen that you can do (almost) anything you need using the vSphere Desktop or Web clients. However, for troubleshooting and advanced configuration, you may need to get on the shell and use the various utilities available. We'll also discuss how we can access these functions remotely, with vCenter and Single sign-on integration for security and authentication.
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