June 5, 2009

find VMWare ESX/ESXi update/build (and found a new source of VMWare expertise)

Filed under: VMWare — Dan @ 4:26 pm
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As a follow up to my previous post, supported virtualization environments for SQL Server, here is a great blog post at Techhead on How to Determine the VMWare ESX or ESXi Build Version.  I was looking to find the Update# from the Build#, and Techhead’s handy table provided that:

VMware ESX Update: Build Number:
ESX 3.5.0 Update 1 64607
ESX 3.5.0 Update 2 110268
ESX 3.5.0 Update 3 123630
ESX 3i (3.5.0) Update 3 123629

He lists three ways via the VMWare Infrastructure Client to find the version & build, as well how to use the Service Console to find version, build, and updates applied/update level.  He also provides a link to the VMWare kb that covers this.

Nice to find what looks to be a great reference on VMWare technology, in addition to just getting an answer to my build# question.


April 22, 2009

supported virtualization environments for SQL Server

Filed under: SQL Server — Dan @ 4:58 pm
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It’s useful to know which virtualization environments Microsoft considers “validated” for use by SQL Server, whether or not you have a Premier support contract with Microsoft or not.  And they do of course provide a level of SQL Server support even if you run it in a non-validated virtualization environment.

This blog entry from Microsoft Customer Service and Support SQL Server Engineers gives details on support for SQL Server in a virtualized environment.  Here’s the summary at the end of the article:

  • If you use Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, you are supported for SQL Server 2005 and 2008.
  • If you choose to use a non-Microsoft virtualization solution, check to see that your configuration is SVVP certified. If it is, Microsoft CSS will support you and work with your vendor to help find a resolution to your issue.
  • If your configuration is not SVVP certified, be prepared for Microsoft CSS to ask you to reproduce your problem outside of the virtualization environment should you choose to seek assistance from CSS.
  • Here is a list of currently SVVP-certified products:

    This list comes from here, which you can get to from the SVVP page by clicking Products under Additional Information in the left pane.  Note that there are hardware specs for each of the SVVP-certified products (click the link for the product you want to see).  No doubt this list will change as more products get certified.

    Oh, it might also be worth mentioning that it appears that SVVP-certified products are certified to run Microsoft’s server software, as specified on the SVVP Products page, which currently includes Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 SP2, and Windows 2000 Server SP4 and later.  So it sounds to me like the SVVP certification is for the Windows OS, beyond just SQL Server.

    Thanks to Michael Otey (again) for this tip, pointing me to the SQL Server Engineers Blog.

    SQL Server licensing with muliple CPUs or virtualization

    Filed under: SQL Server — Dan @ 3:41 pm
    Tags: , ,

    This article by Michael Otey deals with a couple questions about SQL Server 2005 licensing. 

    The per CPU license is applied per CPU socket, rather than the number of cores.  So a server with a single quad-core CPU would need just one license, not four.

    When virtualizing SQL Server, the number of CPUs on the host does not matter.  You need to license for the number of CPUs the virtual machine (VM) is configured to use.  So if you have a host with 4 CPU [sockets], running 3 separate VMs with SQL Server, and each one is configured to use one processor, you would only need 3 SQL Server per-CPU licenses, rather than 4.  Conversely, I suppose if you had 5 separate VMs with SQL Server each configured to use one processor, you would need 5 SQL Server per-CPU licenses.  And of course, if some of your VMs are using multiple CPUs, that increases the number of licenses needed.  For example, in the case with 5 SQL Server VMs, if 3 of those were using 2 CPUs each, then you would need 3×2+2×1=8 SQL Server per-CPU licenses.


    • Michael’s article deals with SQL Server per-CPU licensing.  There are other licensing options by CAL (client access license).
    • This article is now a couple years old, so I would advise checking for yourself on current licensing for SQL Server 2005, as well as 2008. 

    With that in mind, I’ll add in here links to Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 and 2008 licensing documentation, in case additional questions arise.

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Licensing 
    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Licensing (Word Doc)

    February 16, 2009

    a little comparison of VMWare Server vs. VMWare Workstation

    Filed under: VMWare — Dan @ 5:07 pm
    Tags: ,

    Found a couple useful links on this.  First, kontrawize, here, http://kontrawize.blogs.com/kontrawize/2006/03/vmware_server_v.html, starts off by noting what for me is perhaps the most important difference.  Workstation is user-mode, i.e., the Virtual Machine (VM) only runs if you are logged in to the host and have started the VM.  If you log off, the VM is stopped.  Server, on the other hand, runs as a service, which means the VM is not dependent on whether anyone is logged in to the host or not.  In fact, you can configure the VM to start upon host startup, as opposed to having to manually start the VM after you log in.

    One of the comments in the above blog leads here, http://www.virtualization.info/lab/VMwareWKS60_vs_VMwareSVR10.pdf, the only side-by-side feature comparison I was able to find at that time.  Although it’s now a little old, I found it extremely useful to have a feature comparison in grid format like this.

    Wanted to document this stuff for myself at least, maybe it will help someone else, too.

    November 13, 2008

    Clock running slow in Linux guest on VMWare Server: one solution

    Filed under: VMWare — Dan @ 3:19 pm
    Tags: , , ,

    Correct clock time on this Linux VM (Virtual Machine) is important for us, as the purpose of this Linux machine is to house the Extract part of our primary ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) process, so if the clock is not right, the extracted XML files will not be ready for the next ETL step.  Learned today to pay close attention when attempting to re-install/upgrade VMWare Tools, which is the core of our clock sync solution, as an incorrect re-install attempt can disable it.  With that in mind, here’s the process I went through two years ago, when initially setting up this Linux VM as part of our ETL, and part of which I ran through again today to correct the failed VMWare Tools install.

    1. Checked for updates to VMWare Server
    2. Turned off virtual machine and backed up by copying virtual machine files
    3. Added kernel parameters to boot loader: to all lines in /boot/grub/grub.conf that started with “kernel”, added “clock=pit nosmp noapic nolapic” (per http://kb.vmware.com/KanisaPlatform/Publishing/329/1420_f.SAL_Public.html)
    4. Reset clock in Linux guest
    5. Installed & configured VMWare Tools in Linux guest (from http://www.vmware.com/support/ws4/doc/new_guest_tools_ws.html)

    VMware Tools for Linux Guests

    1. Power on the virtual machine.

    2.      After the guest operating system has started, prepare your virtual machine to install VMware Tools.

    Choose File > Install VMware Tools.

    The remaining steps take place inside the virtual machine.

    3.      Be sure the guest operating system is running in text mode. You cannot install VMware Tools while X is running.

    4.      As root (su –), mount the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image, change to a working directory (for example, /tmp), uncompress the installer, then unmount the CD-ROM image.

    Note: You do not use an actual CD-ROM to install VMware Tools, nor do you need to download the CD-ROM image or burn a physical CD-ROM of this image file. The VMware Workstation software contains an ISO image that looks like a CD-ROM to your guest operating system. This image contains all the files needed to install VMware Tools in your guest operating system.

    Note: Some Linux distributions use different device names or organize the /dev directory differently. If your CD-ROM drive is not /dev/cdrom, modify the following commands to reflect the conventions used by your distribution.

    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt
    cd /tmp
    tar zxf /mnt/vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz
    umount /mnt

    5.      Run the VMware Tools installer.

    cd vmware-tools-distrib

    6.      Log out of the root account.


    7.      Start X and your graphical environment.

    8.      In an X terminal, launch the VMware Tools background application.

    vmware-toolbox &

    Note: You may run VMware Tools as root or as a normal user. To shrink virtual disks, you must run VMware Tools as root (su –).

        6.  After launching VMWare Tools application (vmware-toolbox &), on the Options tab, check the Time synchronization … box.

    Had to remind myself how to start Linux in text mode, and found that here: http://www.webmasterforums.com/software-distro-specific/1760-starting-linux-text-mode-rh9.html: “edit /etc/inittab….the line that says id:5:initdefault, make it 3 instead


    Also noticed that the file vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz from the ISO image actually had a different name, too, in this case.


    Our Specs:

    Host machine: Windows Server 2003

    VMWare Server 1.0.6

    Linux guest: RHEL 4


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