Tuesday, September 18, 2012

VMware Technical Questions and Answers and Interview FAQ -Part6- Download

51. What is a VMware VCP & a VCDX?

Until recently VMware’s virtualization certification was the VMware Certified Professional (VCP). Recently, VMware announced a more advanced certification – the VCDX. To become a VCP you must complete an official VMware training course (online or in the classroom), then pass a certification test at a local training center.

The VCDX builds on the VCP. To become a VCDX, you must first be a VCP and then you are required to pass 2 more advanced tests and present a VMware Infrastructure Design plan to a certification board.

You can learn more about the VCP and VCDX certifications at the VMware Certification Portal.

52. What is a virtual datastore?

A datastore, as it is used by VMware, is a storage container for files. The datastore could be on a local server hard drive or across the network on a FC or iSCSI SAN. Inside the datastore, you will find the virtual machines, VM disks, VM configurations, and any other files you place in the datastore (such as ISO files to install a VM). Datastores are using in VMware ESX Server (viewed with the VI Client) and in the new VMware Server 2.0.

53. Why should I try virtualization on my desktop PC?

While virtualization is still a new concept to some admins, it has been adopted by so many more. In my opinion, understanding virtualization isn’t hard, it allows you so much flexibility and power, and you need less hardware. When it comes to desktop virtualization you could, for example, run a Windows Server with Exchange 2007 and Linux Server running Apache, all inside your laptop or desktop computer – amazing! Plus, there are free desktop virtualization products like Microsoft Virtual PC which are easily installed. So, if you haven’t tried virtualization, I encourage you to try it out today by downloading Microsoft Virtual PC or VMware Server.

54. What is the Open Virtual Machine Format?

With various competing virtualization products a problem arose where different every virtualization software vendor had their own standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines. With the ability to share virtual machines over the Internet and between virtualization platforms becoming more and more important, VMware helped to create the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). The OVF is “a platform independent, efficient, extensible, and open packaging and distribution format for virtual machines”.

With OVF, you are able to download VMs directly from the Internet and immediately import & start that VM. Plus, there only needs to be a single file format stored on sites where VMs are downloaded.

55. Can I virtualize all my servers or should some servers or applications not be virtualized?

In my opinion, just about every server or application can be virtualized. What you need to consider is that 1) is there any specialized hardware that is required for that application which may not be supported when virtualized 2) will your virtualized servers have the resources to perform as well as the original physical server did?

Virtualized servers can support just about any amount of CPU, RAM, Disk, and Network bandwidth that is required by an application. Additionally, virtualized servers can support special peripherals such as USB, Serial (COM), and Parallel (LPT) ports for special application needs.

Of greatest concern is the virtualization of high performance applications such as SQL and Exchange. However, I have even virtualized these applications without end users noticing. Typically, the only servers that I do not virtualize are DNS servers (which are usually Windows AD Servers) as a DNS server will be needed by the virtualized servers to function.

You can read VMware customer case studies and Microsoft customer case studies to learn more about what types of server virtualization successes they have experienced.

56. What are the drawbacks to virtualization?

In the end, I don’t believe that there are any drawbacks to virtualization as virtualization will save money and make server administration easier. However, just like any critical new piece of your infrastructure, server virtualization must be done right, from the beginning. You will need to spend time learning and training to learn about virtualization.

Likely, if you choose an enterprise virtualization product, you will need to spend money on virtualization software. It may also be necessary to purchase servers with more RAM (or upgrade existing unneeded

servers) to be virtualization host servers (however you will be able to get rid of many servers with less RAM once they are virtualized).

If you do not already have one, you will likely need an iSCSI or Fibre Channel (FC) storage area network (SAN) to support some of the enterprise virtualization features. Also, keep in mind that as servers are more consolidated, if a single server goes down, you could loose as many as 50 virtual guest servers. With the servers being so consolidated, “all your eggs are in one basket” (or a few baskets), as they say. Because of this, you will need to choose servers that are as redundant and reliable as possible as your virtualization hosts.

Still, all of this investment in time, hardware, and software will be worth it, in the end, as you will realize so many benefits

57. How do I manage my virtualized servers?

Management of your virtual servers is easier than with traditional physical servers because you will have a more centralized interface for those consolidated servers. The application that you use to manage your servers will vary based on what virtualization application you use. For example, with VMware ESX Server, you will manage your servers (ie: power status, configuration, remote control) from either the VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client (VI Client) or the VMware Infrastructure Web Access interface (via a web browser). You could also manage your ESX Server via the command line using SSH.

With Microsoft Hyper-V, you would manage your server using the Hyper-V Manager MMC.

58. How much do virtualization products cost?

Virtualization products range in price from free to thousands of dollars. You would have to check each manufacturer’s website to verify the current prices as prices could change. However, based on today’s pricing, here are current prices for virtualization products:

VMware ESX Server – range in price from $500 to $6000 depending on the number of features and the level of service/support you choose

Microsoft Hyper-V - $999 for Windows Server 2008 Standard with Hyper-V Citrix/Xen Server - $780 for XensServer Standard

VMware Server - FREE Microsoft Virtual Server - FREE VMware Workstation - $189 Microsoft Virtual PC - FREE

59. Will Microsoft overtake VMware as the market virtualization leader?

Well this is the “billion dollar question”, now isn’t it? As Microsoft has a reputation for taking over companies and integrating or renaming those companies’ products into their own, it is easy to speculate that Microsoft’s Hyper-V will overtake VMware’s ESX Server in the virtualization top spot.

However, VMware has, in my opinion, at least a 2-3 year technological lead in the number of features that it offers and its general development. More importantly, VMware has developed a huge enterprise, and more recently, a strong SMB customer base. VMware has 10 years of virtualization experience, every Fortune 500 company uses its products, 92% of the Fortune 1000 use ESX, VMware as 11 virtualization patents, and over 100,000 customers worldwide.

On the other hand, as of this month, Microsoft just released their first enterprise virtualization product (Hyper-V) and that product is missing many of the features that it was originally advertised to have. While those features may come in the next version, even with those features, they will still be far behind VMware in the functionality of their Enterprise virtualization product and their customer base.

60. How much money can my company save with Server consolidation using virtualization?

There is no doubt that your company can save significant money by consolidation servers using virtualization. If you haven’t reviewed Virtualization FAQ #2, you should first read all the inherent benefits of virtualization. When it comes to calculating the dollar savings from consolidating servers with virtualization, I recommend that you check out the following ROI calculators:

VMware ROI/TCO Calculator

Microsoft Integrated Virtualization ROI Tool Intel Virtualization Calculator

With these calculators, you can help justify your server consolidation project. In the end, I know that you will be very satisfied with your savings, both in recurring costs and in administrative time savings.

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