VMTurbo, a unique way to better control your virtualized environments

Been trying out this VMTurbo stuff and it’s definitely a unique approach versus traditional systems management. It’s more actionable and automated versus telling me a bunch of information that I would have to decipher and deal with.  Both approaches have merit but it depends on how you’d like to control your virtualization environment that makes the difference.  Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
What Is Control Watch Video
Why You Need Control Watch Video
How We Give Control Watch Video

Give it a try: VMTurbo Download

Windows Server 2012 Licensing – a quick reminder

This came up recently for a customer and while it’s not new news, I thought a quick reminder would be useful. There are a few key points to remember about licensing of Windows Server 2012 in server virtualization projects, these rules apply to XenServer, VMware, Hyper-V, Oracle VM, etc.:

  • Licenses are applied to physical servers, never to virtual machines. If you are thinking about how you need a license for the VM you are about to build, you’re probably doing something wrong
  • There is feature parity between Standard and Datacenter editions, Enterprise Ed has been dropped
    • The only difference between these 2 major editions is in the number of virtual OSE’s (operating system environments, aka a virtual machine) granted with the license
    • A license covers 2 processor sockets within 1 server, 1 license cannot be purchased to cover 2 servers each containing 1 populated processor
    • The license allows for one bare-metal install of the operating system, but doesn’t require it – as would be the case if your hypervisor is anything other than Hyper-V
    • Virtual OSE grants by edition:
      • Standard: 2 virtual OSE’s per license
      • Datacenter: unlimited OSE’s per license
  • More than 1 license of the same edition may be applied to a given physical server to cover additional CPU sockets or additional virtual machines
    • 2 Standard Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and/or up to 4 VM’s
    • 2 Datacenter Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and two * unlimited for the number of VM’s ..that’s like beyond infinity, but 4 CPU sockets.
  • The license cannot be transferred more than once every 90 days – yeah, you read that right. This rule is to prevent a license from jumping from one host to another to follow live migration activities
    • This is where most people pause and say “oh..”. That tells me they were purchasing 1 license per VM and just thinking the license moves around with the VM
    • You need to cover the high water mark of virtual OSE’s for a given host
  • Licensing math:
    • Standard Ed. list pricing is $882
    • Datacenter Ed. list pricing is $4809
    • The break-even point for Datacenter is at 5.45 Standard licenses; in effect, for a density of more than 10 VM’s (5 std licenses each granting 2 OSE’s), you should use a Datacenter Edition license
  • A real world example: New virtualization customer deploying 3 VMware hosts
    • We generally size the environment for N+1, meaning we’re planning that 1 of the servers is a “spare” from the perspective of workload sizing – so all the workload can run on just 2 servers; we’re planning for this and so should you in your licensing.
    • If you plan to run more than 20 total VM’s in this environment, you need 3 Datacenter Edition licenses
      • 20 VM’s running on 2 servers = 10 VM’s/server
      • 10 VM’s requires 5 Standard Edition licenses to have enough OSE grants
      • More than 10 per server, and it’s now cheaper to have just bought a single Datacenter Edition license
        • 6 * $882 = $5292, which is greater than $4809 for datacenter
      • Since you don’t know which host (think of a rolling patching cycle) is going to carry the increase load, all the hosts in the environment should be licensed uniformly to this high water mark
    • Depending on the licensing model, an upgrade from 5 * Standard Edition licenses to a single Datacenter Edition license may not be possible – plan ahead!
    • If you have OEM licenses that came with your old physical server environment, these are likely not transferrable – they don’t follow the P2V action
  • With this understanding, while you might have some work to do upfront (or scrambling to get back into compliance now) the long term savings are very real for dense virtualization projects that can leverage the Datacenter Edition license. On a modern 2 socket server with 16 cores/32 threads, 10 VM or greater density is easily achievable

General licensing FAQ:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf

Licensing brief for virtualized environments:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/WindowsServer2012VirtualTech_VLBrief.pdf

BIOS Settings for Hyper-V Role in Windows 8 on Lenovo W-Series

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Recently I upgraded to Windows 8 on my Lenovo W510 in order to setup a virtual lab in Hyper-V. Hoping to save others the frustration I experienced during BIOS configuration, I thought I’d share the Intel hardware virtualization settings necessary for the role. The order that settings are made and complete power downs after certain settings changes are significant. Don’t save time with warm boots!

Step 1. Boot the machine, press F1 to enter setup, and you’ll be presented with this menu.  Make sure that the BIOS is the most recent version (1.45 as of this post).  Press enter on Config.

BIOS top level menu

BIOS top level menu

Step 2. In Config menu, arrow down to CPU and press enter.

Config Menu on Lenovo W510 BIOS

Config Menu on Lenovo W510 BIOS

Step 3. In the CPU menu, make sure the settings are:
• Intel Hyper-Threading = Enabled
• Intel Virtualization Technology = Enabled
• Intel VT-d Feature = Enabled

Core Multi-Processing Enabled, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology Enabled, Intel Virtualization Technology Enabled, Intel VT-d Feature Enabled

Hardware Virtualization BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

If any settings in Step 3 had to be changed, hit F10 to save the settings and then power the machine off. Re-enter the BIOS by pressing F1 on the next startup.

Step 4. Return to the Main Menu in Step 1, and select Security. This menu will appear.
Arrow down to Memory Protection and press enter.

Security Menu on Lenovo W510

Security Menu on Lenovo W510

Step 5. In Memory Protection, make sure Execution Prevention is set to Enabled
Press ESC to return to the Security menu from Step 4

Execution Prevention Enabled

Memory Protection BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

Step 6. Confirm the following settings:
• Security Chip = Active
• Intel TXT Feature = Disabled

Security Chip Active, Intel TXT Feature ***Disabled***

Security Chip BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

Press F10 to save settings, and power down the machine. After restart, the Hyper-V role can be installed.