Tested / Supported / Certified by VMware? (caching / dr solutions)

Lately I have been receiving more and more questions around support for specific “hypervisor side” solutions. With that meaning, how VMware deals with solutions which are installed within the hypervisor. I have always found it very difficult to dig up details around this both externally and internally. I figured it was time to try to make things a bit more clear, if possible at all.

For VMware Technology Partners there are various programs they can join. Some of the programs include a rigid VMware test/certification process which results in being listed on the VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG). You can find those which are officially certified on our VMware Compatibility Guide here, just type the name of the solution in the search bar. For instance when I type in “Atlantis” I get a link to the Atlantis ILIO page and can see which version of ILIO is supported today with which version of vSphere. Note that in this case on vSphere 4.x is listed, but Atlantis assured me that this will be updated to include vSphere 5.x soon.

Then there are the Partner Verified and Supported Product (PVSP) solutions. These are typically solutions that do not fit the VCG, for instance when it is new type of solution and there is no certification process yet. Now of course there are still strict guidelines for these solutions to be listed. For instance, your solution will only be listed on the PVSP (and the VCG for that matter) when you are using public APIs. An example for instance is the Riverbed Steelhead appliance, it follows all of the guidelines and is listed on the PVSP as such. You can find all the solutions which are part of the PVSP program here.

Finally there is the VMware Solutions Exchange section on vmware.com. This is where you will find most other solutions… Solutions which are not officially tested/certified (part of the VCG) or part of the PVSP program because of various reasons. Note that these solutions, although listed, are not supported by VMware in anyway. Now, of course VMware Support typically will do its best to help a customer out. However, it is not uncommon to be asked to reproduce the problem on an environment which does not have that solution installed so that it can be determined what is causing the issue and who is best equipped to help solving the issue.

I am not saying that those solution that are not listed on the VCG or PVSP should be avoided. They could very well solve that problem you have, or be the solution to fulfill your business requirements and as such be the “must use” component in your stack. It should be noted though that when introducing any 3rd party solution that there is a “risk” associated with it. From an architectural and operational perspective it is heavily recommended to validate what that risk exactly is. How you can minimize that risk? What you will need to do to get the right level of support? And ultimately, which company is responsible for which part? As when push comes to shove, you don’t want to be that person spending hours on the phone just figuring out who is supporting what! You just want to be on the phone to solve the problem right?!

I hope this helps some of you out there who asked me this question.

** Note: the above is not an official VMware Support statement or a VMware Partner Alliances statement, these are my observations made while digging through the links on vmware.com **

Awesome appliance, vCenter Support Assistant

Today an awesome appliance called the vCenter Support Assistant was made available to the world. I have seen some screenshots and a demo and feel that this appliance is a MUST HAVE for anyone who files Support Requests. Just the fact that you can do that from a single interface, which also allows you to upload the support bundle just makes life a whole lot easier.

vCenter Support Assistant

Ryan Johnson wrote an excellent article on this topic… and I am going to steal his thunder so I suggest you head over to the VMware TAM Program blog (open to everyone) and read up on this excellent Appliance.

vCenter Resiliency?

After the whole MSCS’ed vCenter support discussion VMware Technical Marketing reached out to me. Lets be clear, the intention of this article is not to change support. The intention of this article is to get an idea of how many of you would be interested in seeing a whitepaper on vCenter resiliency with MSCS/VCS which could be supported on best effort by GSS.

I was asked to figure out what would most interest you. I appreciate any comments around this but specifically would love to have answers on the following:

  • Based on which technology would you prefer to see a whitepaper? MSCS or Veritas Clustering?
  • Would you be looking for a total solution including VMware Update Manager and Orchestrator or just purely vCenter Server? In case of the total package, why?
  • Are there any other components that would need to be included in a whitepaper?

Again, any help / answer / comment is very much appreciated.

ESXi and Boot From SAN support

Rodos just reported on twitter that it looks like Boot From SAN is supported for ESXi. Unfortunately the KB article Rodos refers to in his tweet, kb.vmware.com/kb/1015000, is incorrect and Boot From SAN is not supported for ESXi. I’ve already reported this internally and hopefully the KB article will be fixed soon. The correct statement can be found in the install guide and is as follows:

Installing on a Fibre Channel SAN is supported experimentally. Do not attempt to install ESXi with a SAN attached, unless you want to try this experimental feature.

Source: ESXi Installable and vCenter Server Setup Guide (page 20)

For those interested in what “experimental” actually means, read this section on the VMware website.

Oracle feels that not many people want to run their apps in a virtual environment!

I just noticed the following article by “Oracle Storage Guy“:

Re: Need a favor – Oracle

You are not going to believe this.  Some VMware folks met with Charles Phillips, the president or CEO of Oracle and he said no customers had ever mentioned to him that they wanted Oracle to support their products on VMware.  Or modify the licensing scheme.  He offered if anyone knew of customers who did want better or more support for Oracle on VMware, or virtualization friendly licensing, to email him directly.  His email is Charles.phillips@oracle.com and he really needs to hear that customers run Oracle on VMware, and better support / licensing would be nice!

Apparently VMware provided Oracle a list of customers that wanted Oracle to support their Apps / Databases on VMware and even better change the licensing scheme to one that actually makes sense in 2009. Of course Charles Philips, Oracles President, responded that he never heard about this before. Charles apparently said that anyone who is looking for Oracle’s support or a licensing scheme based on vCPUs should drop him an email. Oracle customers can contact Charles.

Thanks Charles for taking this serious.