Archive for December, 2010

Desktop Virtualization: For the Niche or Future For All

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Desktop Virtualization. It’s the hot topic these days. But is it all just hype, or will it revolutionize the workplace? There are many forms of Desktop Virtualization, ranging from Client Hosted Virtual Desktops (CHVD) to Server Hosted Virtual Desktops (SHVD) and even those two categories can be broken down into multiple subcategories, including Type I and II hypervisors, blade PCs, Hosted VDI and Shared VDI. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in the middle of the Sahara, you’ve heard something about Desktop Virtualization.

And while it seems that every vendor under the sun is scrambling to get a product related to Desktop Virtualization out to market, is this really a technology that’s gonna stick or is it just the next fad destined to fade away when the next thing comes along? Honestly, how many people reading this have deployed some form of this technology on a large-scale rollout? And the more important question, which was recently posed by Brain Madden, ‘If Virtual Desktop is so great, then why aren’t YOU using it?’

I certainly think that this is a viable technology, but it’s not going to be as big as the hype is making it out to be. In my case, the push for this technology came on a whim from upper management in what seemed like an attempt to stay up on current technology and prove we could be on the cutting edge. The problem was, as we got into the project and performing use case, this technology wasn’t a viable option for mass deployment. Sure, we could have deployed it locally at our back office, or at a few locations, but there was no way this was going to be a mass roll out across all the branches and front offices due to current limitations.

And that’s where I draw my opinion from, because those conclusions we drew from our pilot are the same conclusions that a lot of my colleagues at other companies were realizing. I think Desktop Virtualization is a niche technology that has a viable place in part of the over all desktop solution, but it certainly wont be the death of the traditional desktop machine anytime soon. And to end, here’s a strong quote by Brian, who shares the same view:

The collected masses aren’t stupid. If VDI were so cheap, convenient, manageable, flexible, and wonderful then everyone would be using it. Don’t kid yourself: VDI is a niche. 10% max* at best. Mark my words.

*VDI will be 10% max. That might be 10% of all users, or 100% of users for 10% of their apps.

vCenter Server Error – Directory Partition has not been Backed Up

December 6, 2010 4 comments

During one of our weekly vHealth reports that run against our ESX environment, we noticed a new error showing up for our vCenter server. The error was complaining about the Directory Partition not being backed up. After checking the event logs on the vCenter server, the following error was found:

This directory partition has not been backed up since at least the following number of days. Directory partition:DC=virtualcinter,DC=vmware,DC=int ‘Backup latency interval’ (days):90 It is recommended that you take a backup as often as possible to recover from accidental loss of data. However if you havent taken a backup since at least the ‘backup latency interval’ number of days, this message will be logged every day until a backup is taken. You can take a backup of any replica that holds this partition. By default the ‘Backup latency interval’ is set to half the ‘Tombstone Lifetime Interval’. If you want to change the default ‘Backup latency interval’, you could do so by adding the following registry key. ‘Backup latency interval’ (days) registry key: System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\Backup Latency Threshold (days)

Obviously, this error threw up a flag with us. We backup our server on a regular basis and couldn’t figure out where this alert was coming from. After some digging we came across a KB Article from VMware, basically saying this error could be ignored.

This message does not impact the vCenter Server functionality and can be safely ignored because vCenter Server automatically backs up the ADAM database into the vCenter Server database.
A complete copy of the ADAM database is kept in the VPX_BINARY_DATA table of vCenter Server database. To know the last time when the ADAM database was backed up, see the CREATED_TIME column of the VPX_BINARY_DATA table.

The entire KB article can be found HERE. The one thing that did baffle us is that we do take system state backups of our vCenter server, however, something isn’t triggering the Backup Latency Interval to reset. We are still looking into this, though since it’s more or less a false alert, it has moved down the priority list. As soon as there is more info, I’ll update this post. If anyone has seen this before, feel free to share your thoughts or experiences.