HP P2000, Controller Crashes & ESXi PSOD!

I've recently been dealing with an interesting issue in my lab, as a result of deciding to upgrade the entire infrastructure to vSphere 5.5GA from vSphere 5.1. I'm lucky to have a pair of HP MSA P2000 units in my lab, connected to (amongst other boxes) some HP hosts - these items are the focus of this post. The MSAs and hosts were in the configuration as follows: MSAs paired over L2 network, each connected to a different /24 network. No QoS applied to either network. Hardware fully patched to the latest HP revisions. MSAs paired together using HP RemoteSnap replication software (for testing VMware Site Recovery Manager). Snapshots taken and replicated from 'primary' to 'secondary' every 30 minutes. Single vDisk defined per … [Read more...]

Synology DS1513+ Released

The Synology DS1512 has been a popular choice for many home labs in recent years. I hoped that the company's raft of recent product updates would reach this model eventually. Well my wish was granted as Synology have announced the DS1513+. There are a few modifications to note. The one that stands out the most at first glance is the doubling of LAN capability.  The DS1513+ boasts no fewer than 4 RJ45 ports. That does seem like quite a lot. It does open up some interesting possibilities though... The full specifications for the DS1513+ can be found here. … [Read more...]

Home Lab Build: vSpecialistLabs v2

So, time to update the home labs information, and yes, this time I may have overdone it a little in one or two areas. I spend most of Sunday rebuilding my home lab (christened some time ago as vSpecialistlabs v2), adding some elements, changing and tweeking some hardware, and removing other hardware I wasn't using at the time. Essentially, I've ended-up with a home lab that comprises the following aspects: Multi-site VM configuration, with multi-host clusters at both sites. iSCSI shared storage for main 'production' site. vSphere Replication to backup 'DR' site. Managed networking. Below is a picture of my home lab set-up, and you can immediately see where I may have gone OTT - screens! For some reason, I love to have … [Read more...]

Nutanix Bloggers’ Session 08/10/2012

I was invited to a briefing by the vendor Nutanix on Monday at VMworld. Now there are a lot of new / recent startups in the storage space and keeping a handle on them all could occupy my time completely so I did hesitate to accept the invitation at first. I had heard some good things about Nutanix from other bloggers though and, after looking at their website, I was intrigued to find out a little more. Along with a few other bloggers I found my way to the Tryp Apolo hotel in Barcelona where we were greeted by a number of Nutanix employees from EMEA and the US along with London VMUG's very own Jane Rimmer. Perhaps now is a good time to explain what it is that Nutanix do. They claim to be a software company but their software is … [Read more...]


I did promise to pop back to QNAP's stand at VMworld Europe when I posted yesterday about them introducing VAAI across their range of storage appliances. True to my word, I popped in for a chat. As a reminder, VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration) enables ESXi hosts to offload specific virtual machine and storage management operations to compliant storage hardware - basically talking some of the storage load from the hosts and letting the storage hardware handle it. Now whilst the functionality will be available across their range of products with release 3.8, it seems likely that they are only going to certify it on the x79 series. It will work on all of their current and past models however. The features to be implemented … [Read more...]


I purposefully wandered past the QNAP booth in the Solutions Exchange at VMworld Europe 2012 yesterday as I have one of their devices at home connected up to my lab (although as it gets older and my demands get higher I find that I'm using it less and less). I also know a few other individuals (e.g. Jeremy - co-author on this site) who have one in their home lab setup and QNAP have a good presence in the SMB market. As the title suggests, QNAP are going to deliver VAAI functionality very shortly. The really good thing though is that this does not mean that you need to buy a new model. As QNAP use the same OS package on all of their devices, the whole range will get the functionality as of version 3.8. Geeks (with QNAPs) everywhere will … [Read more...]

Configuring QNAP for VMware iSCSI

As part of the vSpecialistLabv2 set-up, I recently purchased a QNAP 459 Pro II NAS, with the purpose if connecting it via iSCSI to the physical and virtual hosts in the rest of the lab. The main part of the configuration of this device is to configure the QNAP storage for iSCSI for use with ESXi. Pre-requisites: Do the basic set-up of the QNAP device, using the configuration wizard. (See the QNAP manual). Assign the network information to the device, and ascertain successful basic network connectivity. (See the QNAP manual). Update the firmware to the latest version. (Easiest way is to use the auto-update feature in the admin GUI). (This how-to was done using firmware 3.7.3 Build 20120801). Process: 1) Connect-to and … [Read more...]

Fixing “HostDatastoreSystem.QueryVmfsDatastoreCreateOptions” Issue

Having recently made a right old mess of my home lab, I set about building it from scratch over the weekend. Having installed some nice, fresh builds of ESXi 5.0 I started adding in my SATA disks and began to create VMFS datastores on the hosts. The first one worked ok. The second one didn't for some reason. I got an error part way through the "Add Storage" wizard. The error stack wasn't too helpful: Call "HostDatastoreSystem.QueryVmfsDatastoreCreateOptions" for object "datastoreSystem-9" on vCenter Server "svr-vcenter.vspecialist.co.uk" failed. … [Read more...]

Non-Persistent Disks with VMs?

There are some features of VMware deployments using VMs that don't get the press they deserve, and hence aren't used as much as they ought to be. Non-persistent disks are (in my opinion) such a feature. When creating a new VM or editing an existing VM, under each disk's settings are Advanced options for that disk - Independent: persistent or non-persistent. The functions of these options are described in the 'Advanced' dialog box for the options: - Independent (Independent disks are not affected by snapshots) - Independent - Persistent (Changes are immediate and permanently written to the disk). - Independent - Nonpersistent (Changes to the disk are discarded when you power off or restore a snapshot). So, why do I care about … [Read more...]

Isilon, UCS, Nexus get the nod for UK Community Cloud Infrastructure

(Point of note: I work for Eduserv, this is my technology take on my current project deployment). Eduserv are building a new cloud service called 'The Community Cloud Infrastructure', with the first service to be deployed being the 'University Modernisation Fund Cloud Pilot'. (Subsequent public and hybrid clouds are planned for deployment on the platform in the future, to support Education, Health, Public Sector and other public bodies). As part of this project, there are some exciting choices and this post is to provide some background information about the technology stack to be used in the infrastructure, and here is the technology stack outline. The purpose of the platform is to be both scalable and resilient, whilst providing … [Read more...]