DefinIT Because if IT were easy, everyone would do it…


How to Virtualize Mac OS X using ESXi 5.1

Posted by Simon Eady

As a proof of concept I recently tried to virtualize OS X (Mountain Lion) - It is important to note that VMware is now licensed to do so and you can read more here.

The following is an overview of the steps I followed to achieve my goal in some cases it was trial an error as I am not a regular Mac user.

The Hardware

As OS X requires Apple hardware to run you will have to find yourself a Mac that will install and run ESXi. You can check VMware's HCL even though the results only listed MacPro5,1 I was able to run ESXi 5.1 on a MacPro4,1. I did try it on an earlier MacPro but no joy. For this proof of concept test i have the following hardware.

  • 2x 4core MacPro4,1
  • 7GB Ram
  • Single 1TB SATA Drive

I am also aware others have used Mac mini's as Lab machines but I will not cover that here.

ESXi installation

The installation is simple, by burning an ISO with ESXi 5.1 and booting the MacPro from the CD and then follow the usual steps to deploy ESXi.

Note - if you find nothing happens and you end up with a black screen with "Select CD-ROM boot type" its likely your MacPro cannot run ESXi though I have read a few article where individuals have performed firmware updates etc.

Once you have have ESXi installed configure it in what ever fashion you wish (a static IP is never a bad idea)


Installing and configuring VMware Infrastructure Navigator 5.8

Posted by Sam McGeown

According to VMware, Infrastructure Navigator is

…a component of the VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite. It automatically discovers application services, visualizes relationships and maps dependencies of applications on virtualized compute, storage and network resources.

Effectively it takes a look at the network connections that are running between your VMs (and physical servers) and works out which applications and services are running on each, and the dependencies – both upstream and downstream – for each VM.

This is particularly useful in large enterprise environments where perhaps application developers have not (shock) documented the dependencies for a particular application. I can think of several times when I’ve been 100% confident that (according to all the documentation provided) I can decommission a server, or the service running on a server, only to have to turn it back on due to a production outage – because an un-documented dependency exists.

Effectively, Infrastructure Navigator leverages VMware Tools to run a netstat command on each VM and work out what connections are being used. It comes with a library of already classified services – e.g. MSSQL running on port 1433 is a pretty obvious service. Non-classified services (or services configured for running on a non-standard port) can be easily added to the library to build up a detailed picture of which VMs depend on each other (as well as “unmanaged” servers/services that are out of the scope of vCenter).


Installing vCOps 5.8 in the DefinIT Lab – 4GB RAM and 2 vCPU

Posted by Sam McGeown

vCOps There’s no doubt that vCOps is a great product for proactively monitoring your vSphere environment, but it’s a hefty package for the lab. The minimum recommended RAM is a whopping 16GB – in my lab that’s the whole of my management host! I recently needed to do some testing so I wanted to get it running in the lab with the barest minimum I could get working, and it turns out you can get working with just 4GB and 2 CPU…albeit you wouldn’t want to monitor much! I also want to use vFlash Read Cache to accelerate I/O in the lab – this requires upgrading VMtools and the VM hardware to version 10.

Bear in mind that this is a lab install, and production environments should follow the recommended minimums and configurations!


2014: what does the future look like?

Posted by Simon Eady

After attending the "Future of IT" Google hangout in September, I was asked to give a quick summary on what 2014 may hold.

So without further ado..

I believe in 2014, we will see an increased demand for - and usage of - hybrid clouds, especially among SMEs who are trying to avoid large investment on private clouds to accommodate high demand, short term projects.

End user computing will play an ever larger role, with BYOD becoming even more viable for businesses, including those with strict data controlled environments. This will make use of the many mature products now available such as Horizon Workspace.

Network virtualization will gain more traction but only in some enterprise and highly specialised SME environments - NSX is a good example of this. We may well see an increasing amount of SMEs adopting virtualization in either a more serious manner or start looking at it for the first time now that local host storage is becoming a reality, cutting out the need for potentially expensive storage solutions.

You can read the full blog post here

Feel free to comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts!


Moving on – I’ve got a new job!

Posted by Sam McGeown

2013 has been an amazing year for me – I was awarded the vExpert title, I’ve taken and passed my VCP5-DCV, VCAP5-DCA and VCAP5-DCD and spoken at the London and UK national VMUGs. I’ve attended my first VMworld and spent countless hours in the lab and on study, generating about 30 blog posts. All I can say is that it’s been a truly blessed year.

After two and a half years working as a Senior Infrastructure Analyst for a global insurance company, the time has come for a change! For a while now I’ve felt that I’ve outgrown my current role and that perhaps it was time for a change. I have worked with some really excellent people on my team while here, and I’ll definitely be sad to say goodbye to some of them! I’ve had the opportunity to work on some huge-scale environments and highly complex systems – all of which allowed me to learn and grow in ways not possible in a “normal” size environment.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a lot of really good guys through Twitter, VMUGs and VMworld – including several of my colleagues-to-be at Xtravirt. Gregg Robertson, Daren Woollard and the rest of the Xtravirt guys are a real testament to the company and so when Gregg asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the chance to interview for a role there – despite being quite far along the process for 2 other roles and having an offer on the table.

In the end, I chose to join Xtravirt because I believe they are market leaders for virtualisation and specifically cloud consulting, and they continue to learn and strive for excellence as a matter of course, which fits closely with how I approach my work. I am really excited to be joining and for the chance to be part of a company that I feel I can make a difference for, as well as developing and learning myself. While it may sound cheesy (or even a little obsequious)  Xtravirt has a bit of a family feel to it, and that too makes it a very attractive place to work.

So there it is – I will be starting in January as a Senior Consultant for Xtravirt and I am really excited to get my teeth into the role!

Finally, I have to thank my amazing wife Ruth for supporting, encouraging and believing in me, and for her patience and understanding while I went through the process that ended here.


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