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VSphere features and upgrade guide

This vSphere features and upgrade guide has information on the six vSphere editions, the proper steps to perform a vSphere upgrade and ways to effectively monitor performance.

Solutions providers can use this VMware vSphere features and upgrade guide to help customers that are deciding whether they want to implement VMware vSphere. You will learn about new vSphere features and the six available editions, from Standard to Enterprise.

This guide also offers advice for performing a vSphere upgrade and outlines the factors that need to be assessed before implementation, such as hardware requirements and compatibility. Take a look at the necessary steps to upgrading virtual machines (VMs) and virtual hardware in vSphere.

The final section of this guide describes how to monitor and tune vSphere performance with tools such as the Distributed Resource Scheduler and the command-line tool, esxtop. You'll also find resources on how to manage performance monitoring alarms and navigate resource consumption graphs.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS


VSphere features and editions
Performing a vSphere upgrade
Monitoring and tuning vSphere performance
More on vSphere features and upgrades

VSphere features and editions

There are many vSphere features and editions available, but do you know which ones are the best fit for your customer's infrastructure? Solutions providers can use this section to learn about the different licensing and storage options available in vSphere, including centralized licensing and thin provisioning. Knowing how to differentiate between the six vSphere editions and discovering what each can offer your customers is important for creating business opportunities. After reading these tips, you will have a greater understanding of both new and existing vSphere features.

FAQ: Comparing vSphere features and editions
This FAQ offers information on various vSphere features, including vCenter Server Linked Mode and vApps,that are available in different editions. Centralized licensing ensures that customers don't have to manage licensing on a per-host basis, and new features such as virtual disk thin provisioning can improve storage for your customers. Take a look at the features of each of the different vSphere editions available: Essentials, Essentials Plus for retail, Standard, Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

VARs see vSphere 4 as opening for managed services bid
Being able to discern which vSphere 4 editions are important to your customers is an integral part of your role as a solutions provider. First, you have to determine which vSphere features meet your customers' needs the best. You can create business opportunities and new managed services offerings around certain features such as host profiles, which is exclusive to the Enterprise Plus edition.

Understanding VMware vSphere products and features
Use this tip to learn why VMotion, Storage VMotion and other new vSphere products are attractive to customers. VMware Consolidated Backup enables solutions providers to back up running VMs using an existing backup application. vShield Zones, which produces a virtual firewall within a customer's virtual infrastructure, is another of the vSphere features that will help draw customers toward vSphere.

Performing a vSphere upgrade

By reading through this section, you can learn the best methods for helping your customers take on a vSphere upgrade. You'll find steps for upgrading customers' VMs, VMware tools and virtual hardware. You will also find out the proper way to upgrade existing clusters that vCenter manages. Testing existing hardware for vSphere compatibility is also an important process that solutions providers must consider before performing a vSphere upgrade, and this section will help you through this process.

Upgrading to VMware vSphere 4
Take a look at these four most scenarios that you may face when upgrading to vSphere for your customers. The most common situation solutions providers encounter involves existing clusters that are being managed by vCenter and have some standalone ESX hosts. This tip details the three steps for performing a vSphere upgrade when you're faced with this scenario. You will also learn how to migrate to VMware ESX 4.0 and use the Host Update Utility.

Upgrading virtual machines for vSphere implementation
This tip details the necessary steps for upgrading your customers' VMs for vSphere implementation. This upgrade process includes using the Upgrade Manager to upgrade the VMware tools and virtual hardware. You will also learn how to manually upgrade vSphere virtual machines and what you should do after upgrading to vSphere.

Upgrading to VMware vSphere: Test first, deploy later
You need to take a few factors into consideration before performing a VMware vSphere upgrade for your customers, and that includes making sure you have tested your customers' servers first. Before a vSphere upgrade, you need to be aware of the hardware requirements, such as a 64-bit CPU. You also need to ensure compatibility between vSphere and existing VMware management products, including VMware Lab Manager and Site Recovery Manager. Fully understanding the vSphere upgrade path and its dependencies will help ensure a smooth upgrade process for yourself and your customers.

Monitoring and tuning vSphere performance

Monitoring vSphere performance is done in a variety of ways, but the best monitoring method depends on your customers' environment and needs. They will be looking for the most cost-efficient ways to maximize performance, and command-line tools such as the esxtop tool and resxtop will ensure their CPU, disk, memory and network aren't wasting money . Another method to save on costs is to use alarms to monitor resource consumption and tune your customers' hardware so they're using the proper amount of RAM. Use this section to learn more about other tools and outside influences that could affect vSphere performance.

Monitoring vSphere performance with command-line tools
Using the command-line utilities listed in this chapter excerpt can simplify the process of monitoring vSphere performance. The esxtop command-line tool monitors CPU, disk, memory and network on a particular ESX host. Find out why esxtop is only available for VMware ESX and why esxtop shows only single hosts. You'll also find steps for capturing data using esxtop and you'll learn why customers with VMware ESXi must use resxtop to look at real-time performance data.

Monitoring VMware vSphere performance using alarms
Solutions providers can use alarms to monitor vSphere performance and resource consumption. This chapter excerpt delves into how to create and manage these alarms using vCenter Server. VCenter Server also has more features for vSphere performance monitoring, including expanded performance views and charts. The Resources pane and the Virtual Machines tab in vCenter Server provide an overview of resource usage, and the Performance tab is used to illustrate resource consumption over time.

Tuning vSphere 4 hardware for optimal performance
Tuning vSphere for optimal performance will create business opportunities for solutions providers, because customers will see that you've helped them make the most out of their investment. From deciding how much your customers should spend on RAM to determining the amount of guests per host and dealing with network cards, this resource reviews the hardware options for vSphere. Find out how tuning hardware, such as drives or disk controllers, can ensure your customers see you as their go-to solutions provider.

Maximizing VMware vSphere 4 performance
To maximize your customers' vSphere 4 performance, you should talk to them about tools such as Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol or VMware's Distributed Resource Scheduler, which distributes resources to guests based on a priority system. Solutions providers should also make their customers aware of outside influences that affect vSphere performance, including antivirus and backup software. Learn how tracking guest and host performance are each affected by certain applications and hardware.

More resources on vSphere features and upgrades:

VSphere features overview
VSphere features
VSphere upgrade guide
Performance best practices for VMware vSphere 4.0
VMware vSphere performance and scalability improvements

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