This may not be the most technical post, but it should hopefully give VM administrators some ideas on managing their VMs.

Despite having tools like VirtualCenter, keeping track of your VMs can still be a mission. Today I look after thousands of virtual machines running on hundreds of ESX hosts in several data centres. Most of these VMs are production systems, some are clones of production systems, some are test and some are dev. Creating and managing machines for new services is not always an issue. We have processes in place to control VM sprawl. We know which VMs belongs to which customers. We also know who to contact in regards to which VM. This is all documented in change records and CMDBs. However, having to go back to CMDBs and change records every time you need to know who owns a VM is a bit of a slog. Sure we’ve tried adding relevant information into the “Notes” Attribute, but it gets messy and some administrators “forget” to add all the information we need into the notes.

To try and keep track of who owns what, I use a simple but very effective tool inside vCenter to manage VMs. It’s the “Custom Attribute” function of vCenter that allows administrators to specify custom attributes for all the VMs and hosts in vCenter. Custom Attributes are by no means a new feature in Virtual Infrastructure or vSphere, yet a lot of administrators don’t use them as they simply don’t realise that custom attributes functions exists or what custom attributes are for. I’ve seen many virtual Infrastructures built on VMware VI 3 (small environments to large enterprise environments) and I simply can’t recall ever seeing custom attributes being used.

Published in vSphere: vCenter

As the post's title states, this has nothing to do with virtualization, but I thought it was funny and good enough to deserve a mention. In April, we went on holiday to South Africa. As I'm originally from South Africa, I should be used to seeing things similar to this, but I guess I just can’t get used to it!

Anyway, this is how NOT to advertise!!! (I had to remove the phone number. I didn’t want to get a lawsuit against me!)


In the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of testing on running VMware ESX 3.5 on non-supported hardware (hardware that is not included on the VMware HCL). I’ve now got my home lab to an acceptable stage where I can do testing and studying. I’ve spent many hours on forums and blogs trying to find components that are cheap, quiet, fast-enough and most importantly, components that work with ESX 3.5!

Now that I’ve been through the trouble of finding out what works and what doesn’t, I thought it may be a good idea to blog on it and give others that would like to run ESX on cheap hardware a heads up before they go and waste money on stuff that does not work!

Although, I have blogged on this topic a couple of times before in brief, but I think it’s time for a proper post that describes the trails’ and tribulations of building a cheap ESX environment in more detail, with all the do's and don't's!

I've started writing the article as a blog, but I now realise that because of the amount detail I'm putting into it, it's going to cover a lot of pages. I therefore decided to blog some of it on the site, as well as provide a full ebook in PDF format which will contain all the information you'll ever need on running ESX on low cost hardware.

I'm hoping to have the eBook ready for download by early next week.

Thanks for reading!


Here's an interesting article on the demand for virtualization in the data centre. I've copied a paragraph from the article here, as I would like to throw a comment out on it: 

"VMware remains the market leader but Microsoft's Hyper-V is closing the gap. In response to a question in which we asked customers to select ALL the virtualization products they plan to use/deploy in 2009, nearly 60% said they plan to deploy VMware's ESX Server (29%) or the free VMware Server (30%). However, 52% of the respondents indicated they will use Microsoft's Hyper-V or the older Microsoft Virtual Server; 37% of respondents indicated they will opt for Hyper-V compared with the remaining 15% who said they will use the older Virtual Server. This percentage is double the number of survey respondents who indicated they would use Microsoft hypervisor solutions when we polled users in a 2007 survey"


Well, I'm not too sure about those figures. I mean come on... 52% of the respondents will use Microsoft Hyper-V? Oh no, sorry it's 37%. We'll have to see how long they stick to that. Honestly, I've not used Hyper-V in a production environment myself, so I can't really comment, but from what I've heard................................. well let's just see what happens. BTW. Why do I never get forwarded one of those surveys??

Anyway, read the full article here:


VMware will today be launching VMware MVP (VMware Mobile Virtual Platform), a technology believed to be bought by VMware from Trango Virtual Machines. At this time VMware MVP is aimed at allowing phone manufacturers  to run different types of phones on the same OS image.

Today, each time a new mobile phone is designed, the OS has to be modified or sometimes even be redesigned to run of the new device. VMware MVP will allow the phone manufacturer to install only low-level real time functions such as call handling while the actual Operating System with the user interface could be snapped in as a virtual machine. This will allow the user to switch between the operating systems like Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian.

 VMware MVP will be sold to the phone device manufactures and not to consumers. The functional scope of VMware MVP is not (at the time of writing) to allow users to run conventional  desktop operating systems on mobile devices, but to run multiple phone operating systems on the same mobile device.


This video demonstrates a simple VMware ESX 3.5 installation, but with a custom partition setup.


RT @elonmusk: The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really…
Follow Rynardt Spies on Twitter