VMware ESX Server installation, troubleshooting and management guide

Use this guide to compare VMware ESX Server with Microsoft Hyper-V, and learn about VMware ESX licensing, features and deployment concerns.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Comparing VMware ESX Server and Microsoft Hyper-V
VMware ESX Server installation and features
VMware ESX Server: disaster recovery and backup
Troubleshooting VMware ESX Server
More VMware ESX Server installation and management resources

Installing, deploying and managing VMware ESX Server is a hefty undertaking for solutions providers. It involves performing effective capacity planning, systems monitoring, backup and disaster recovery for clients. It also requires you to select and control your clients' virtualization platforms according to their company needs. And after deployment, you must be ready for any issues that arise. With this VMware ESX Server management guide, learn when VMware ESX runs efficiently, then compare VMware ESX with Microsoft's Hyper-V and find out how to troubleshoot problems once the ESX Server is in place.

Comparing VMware ESX Server and Microsoft Hyper-V

This section compares the VMware ESX Server with Microsoft Hyper-V Server. It highlights the best performance features of ESX so that you'll be knowledgeable about what ESX can offer your clients. Also, you'll find information on VWware product licensing calculations that can help you get started. VMware now licenses ESX Server in three licensing levels as part of VMware Infrastructure 3.

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX cheat sheet
This guide has links to both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX resources that help you understand the product offerings of each virtualization platform. Use this cheat sheet to find a wealth of information on ESX and learn how this server performs against the competition. Find information on everything from the hidden costs of Hyper-V to the performance pros and cons of VMware ESX. Hear from bloggers as they predict the future of ESX.

How VMware ESX performance trumps Hyper-V's price
Expert David Davis explains how ESX performance outdoes the enticing price of Hyper-V. He says VMware is the more experienced vendor, and Hyper-V isn't ready for the enterprise. And when it comes to pricing, the Microsoft virtual machine (VM) platform can't compare to ESX, which comes in a variety of bundles so that your clients can choose the best fit and financial options for their companies.

VMware product calculations
VMware licenses ESX as part of VMware Infrastructure 3 to make it easier to calculate VM costs. Three licensing levels -- starter, standard and enterprise -- supply your clients with different features, including cluster file systems, local and SAN storage and the Virtual Center agent. To get your clients' ESX projects started, first decide which level works for their companies and then calculate the licensing costs using this easy how-to.

VMware ESX Server installation and features

As you begin to install your clients' ESX Server, there are a variety of essential add-ons and systems elements you should include. This section shows you how to install VMware ESX and focuses on a few important additions, such as Fibre Channel and the VM File System. Learn how to optimize your clients' ESX Server by using the VMware NetQueue feature, which eases performance problems when virtualizing high-bandwidth servers.

How to install VMware ESX Server smoothly
Excerpts from Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise provide an introduction to simple ESX installation from beginning to end. Author Chris Wolf explains each phase with step-by-step instructions and checklists. Learn how to install and deploy virtual machines on enterprise servers, configure ESX and troubleshoot installation.

VMware ESX essentials: Virtual Machine File System
This chapter excerpt from VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center explains how Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) can boost storage on your virtual machine. Learn why the VMFS is essential in order to manage your ESX Server and how to configure a client's network file system.

VMware ESX essentials: Fibre Channel and iSCSI
iSCSI is a cost-effective storage networking protocol that has a few significant advantages over Fibre Channel. This chapter excerpt from VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center gives solutions providers a general overview and comparison of the differences between Fibre Channel and iSCSI.

Using VMware NetQueue to virtualize high-bandwidth servers
A feature of VMware ESX Server 3.5 called NetQueue helps virtualize high-bandwidth servers so your customers get optimal server virtualization. Solve I/O performance and other problems with VMware NetQueue by enhancing ESX Server performance and reducing overhead caused by heavy network I/O traffic.

VMware ESX Server: Disaster recovery and backup

Once you've deployed the server, use VMware ESX for disaster recovery, backup and even cloning virtual machines. Book excerpts in this section provide detailed how-tos for ESX shell scripts and for connecting VMs with your clients' business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Read these tips to find out how to use ESX at its full capacity.

VMware ESX Server in the enterprise: Planning and securing virtualization servers -- Disaster recovery and backup
Disaster can take on many forms. In this chapter excerpt, learn how to achieve dynamic resource load balancing (DRLB). DRLB is a preventative measure that is necessary for preventing disaster issues. Once the ESX Server is deployed, recovery and backup are an essential next step to make sure you manage the server efficiently.

Cloning virtual machines utilizing ESX shell scripts
Cloning is the process of copying an existing VM's virtual disk to a new file for a new VM to use. With ESX shell scripts, your server can perform cloning to build your virtual infrastructure. This chapter excerpt outlines the basics.

Scripting creation of virtual machines in ESX shell
Use these easy step-by-step instructions for scripting the creation of your VM. With your VM configuration file and virtual disk, you can automate a script that runs repeatedly and customizes to build the VMs your clients need.

Troubleshooting VMware ESX Server

With the on-going management of your ESX Server, you're bound to experience performance problems at some point. Solving those issues could be as easy as restarting ESX services or as complicated as rebuilding network configurations. This section has troubleshooting tips for a wide array of problems, such as networking or service console issues and even the infamous purple screen of death. Also learn to troubleshoot ESX problems during installation.

VMware server: How to troubleshoot VMware ESX Server installations
It's not always a perfectly smooth process. Chris Wolf explains how to use the System Configuration Wizard and other inside shortcuts. Find out how to troubleshoot problems, such as failing to configure everything from swap files to the virtual machine network.

How to troubleshoot common ESX problems in VMware
No one wants to see the purple screen of death -- VMware's screen that signals your system has crashed and burned. This author outlines troubleshooting for the purple screen and other issues that could arise post-deployment, including service console problems and networking problems.

More VMware ESX Server installation and management resources

Learn ESX with this training tool
Installing and configuring NTP on VMware ESX Server
VMware ESX and ESXi, bare-metal hypervisor for virtual machines
VMware adds tools to virtual machine management

This was first published in July 2009

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