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PVSCSI Bug Causing Exchange 2010 Jetstress to Crash

A few weeks back I was called in to help a customer who was experiencing problems completing Jetstress testing for an Exchange 2010 deployment. It wasn’t an issue of Jetstress reporting failed tests. Rather, they were unable to get through most of their tests without the Jetstress application actually crashing (JetstressWin.exe has stopped working). They would see the following after the Jetstress testing completed but before it could write any log files to disk. The only Jetstress related error in

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2012 – The Year of SQL Virtualization

Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen me say this a few times – 2012 will be the year of SQL virtualization, specifically SQL on vSphere.  I figured it was about time to back that up with some facts and some opinions on just why I am so adamant about that statement. I spend a lot of time talking to organizations and helping them virtualize their mission critical applications.  In the last few years, many organizations

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Microsoft Jetstress 2010 now supported in virtual machines

Microsoft announced on the Exchange Team blog today that they now support running Jetstress 2010 inside a virtual machine.  You can read more about it and a little bit of the background on this one at the Exchange Team blog post here. If you aren’t familiar with Jetstress, here’s a two second version:  Jetstress is a tool from Microsoft that simulates the disk activity of an Exchange Mailbox server.  It is used to simulate the load on the storage system

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Virtual machine snapshots and tier-1 apps: Not always supported

After seeing a discussion in the vExpert forums and in my own experience in talking to customers, I came to the conclusion that many people aren’t aware of some of the support restrictions around virtualizing tier-1 Microsoft applications. The one support requirement that many folks aren’t aware of is the use of virtual machine snapshots on Microsoft applications, particularly Exchange or SQL.  For both applications, Microsoft is explicit in stating that virtual machine snapshots of any kind are not supported.

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Guest clustering on vSphere: A familiar topic revisited

Yes, it’s 2012 and we’re still talking about whether or not organizations should consider running a Microsoft Windows Failover Cluster (sometimes referred to as MSCS clustering) in a vSphere environment.  I know this topic has been written about before by others but I wanted to share some of my own thoughts and experiences around this topic.  My focus these days is helping organizations virtualize their mission critical applications, and in that pursuit the topic of guest clustering comes up often.

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Storage DRS of Exchange 2010 Workloads

On September 15th, VMware released a new whitepaper entitled “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Performance on vSphere 5.”  If you are interested in virtualizing Exchange 2010 (or really any mission critical application) I’d recommend giving it a read. One of the interesting things they’ve done in this test aside from scale up/scale out testing is to formally test vMotion and Storage vMotion during LoadGen.  LoadGen, if you are unfamiliar, is a Microsoft tool used to simulate user activity in an Exchange

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Clearing up confusion regarding HA/vMotion support for Exchange 2010

As I discussed last week, Microsoft has updated their guidance and support regarding hypervisor high availability and live migration technologies with Exchange 2010.  This is welcome news for anyone looking to virtualize Exchange 2010 on vSphere, as it now allows you to take advantage of vMotion and HA on all Exchange servers, even those in a Database Availability Group (DAG). Microsoft’s language on this change in support is causing a little bit of confusion on exactly what they do and

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vSphere and Exchange admins can live in harmony – Microsoft finally supports HA and vMotion

This Saturday, Microsoft published a new white paper entitled “Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper V” that provides a lot of great info that is applicable to VMware as well.  One of the most important things in this entire document is a change in policy regarding supporting virtualized Exchange 2010 with Database Availability Groups (DAG) in combination with hypervisor high availability and live migration.  Previously Microsoft did not support the use of high

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