Archive for February, 2010

Intel Nehalem EX & DDR3 Speeds

Written February 19th, 2010 by
Categories: Server Hardware
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We all hate that adding DDR3 sticks to a server slows down the QPI speed (or RAM Bus for lack of a better example).

That changes with the Nehalem EX proc (and perhaps Westmere), as the CPU governs the speed. You can throw up to 16 sticks of DDR3 RAM per CPU at either 800, 978, or 1066MHz, and the governing factor is the CPU: Read the rest of this entry »

vSphere Maximum Configuration – VMs per host limitations on Update 1

Written February 18th, 2010 by
Categories: Virtualization
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When planning a new virtualization environment, consolidation numbers are always flying around, and specifically the number of VMs you can run on a host.

According to This Doc you can have a max of 320 VMs per host, but keep in mind the number’s different for HA clusters. I was also pleased to find out the numbers were slightly changed for Update 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Fast deployment of vSphere ESXi 4.0 running on a 1GB SD-Card

Written February 18th, 2010 by
Categories: Server Hardware, Virtualization

When we’re ready to deploy new ESXi hosts in our environment, we order them from Dell with ESXi pre-loaded on the internal SD-Card. This is nice and all, but what do you do when you have to go through and configure NTP, Users, Groups, Scratch directory, lockdown mode, and the list goes on?

You’d have to fire up each server, go through and configure everything, x10 if you had 10 new servers.

Since we’re working on a new rather larger virtualization deployment, we were looking at ways to overcome this.

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Cisco UCS Blade System – Part 3 – moar vSphere ESXi & UCS woes

Written February 16th, 2010 by
Categories: Server Hardware, Virtualization
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Well, Cisco finally came with an answer to why I was able to break the stuff like clock work before, and that answer was firmware. A new firmware has been release for the chassis, blades, & FEX (and I’m sure I’ve either got that in the wrong order or hardware), but I can’t say I’m excited about it.

We set more time aside to have Cisco come in and upgrade the bits, as if we haven’t wasted enough time already. This time, they sent the big guns to work on it, or gun, rather, as they sent one of the engineers named Troy. He was a good guy, very knowledgeable, but he can’t help it that he works for Cisco, we’ve all gotta eat, right?

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Cisco UCS Blade System – Part 2 – my vSphere ESXi & UCS woes

Okay, so now that we’ve tested different OS installations, now it’s time to test the real purpose we acquired these blades for: Virtualization

A little info on the hardware: Cisco N20-B6620-1, dual Xeon E5540s, 24GB of RAM, and two 73gb drives

We’re using VMware ESXi 4.0u1 for our testing, and booting from the SAN. Yes, I know, it’s only still experimental with vSphere, I don’t like it, but that’s the path I was lead down by my superiors.

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Cisco no longer makes switches for other blade enclosure manufacturers

Written February 16th, 2010 by
Categories: Server Hardware

I heard today that Cisco will no longer make their Nexus-line of switches for non-Cisco brand blade enclosures.

What does this mean exactly? Those of us with the Dell M1000e blade chassis who are currently using pass-throughs and were waiting for the promised Cisco Nexus 4000 won’t have to wait anymore because it’s NEVER coming out.

Am I the only one who thinks Cisco shot themselves in the foot by doing this?

I mean, I have hands-on experience with UCS and wouldn’t wish that evil on anyone.

I just wanted to add that this affects all OEM vendors like Dell, HP, and IBM, as Cisco dropped production of new switches for other blade systems.

Cisco UCS Blade System – Part 1 – drawing back the veil

We were some of the earliest of ‘adopters’ for a paid POC to get the Cisco UCS system in-house.

Cisco sent the hardware & a group of techs to get this thing off the ground. Any new hardware being deployed shouldn’t require a group of people from the vendor to come out to set it up, should it? In today’s society, it should be user friendly, plug-n-play, which we all know Cisco to be, right? Heh, okay, or not, but anyway, our trouble had just begun.

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