Category Archives: Reviews

nVidia GRID K2 vDGA with VMware Horizon View using PCoIP

Today I’d like to share a very interesting lab session with you all – the result will be a dedicated virtual machine with one of nVidia GRID K2’s GPU Cores enabled and accessed via Horizon View’s PCoIP protocol, where we’ll take a small look at its performance and parameters.

Prerequisites

You will not need much for this very basic VMware Horizon environment – a VM where either vDGA or vSGA is present and Horizon View Agent & Horizon View Agent Direct-Connection Plugin installed to allow you to connect to it via PCoIP.  You will be connecting to this VM via the VMware Horizon Client. Continue reading

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Running 3DMark 2000 In a vSGA-Enabled Virtual Machine

Since I have made the vSGA feature to work in a Virtual Machine, I wanted to see how powerful will this rendering technology be. Sure, there is software that is dedicated to workstation performance benchmarks, but my mind has come around one application that was widely used to compare rigs (and it still is, although in a much newer version – FutureMark 3DMark 2013) It was MadOnion’s (love that company’s name) 3DMark 2000 and I remember running it countless times after swapping my 4MB Graphics Adapter for a 16MB nVIDIA TNT2 Ultra just to see the new, fluid FPS.

This post is a little nostalgy, sure, but seeing this benchmark run in a virtual environment, actually using a fraction of a GPU that is vastly superior to the PCI and AGP-powered adapters that  were available back then has evoked a smile on my face, and memories – oh the memories.

Anyways, without further ado I’d like to share the 3Dmark results with you – it is 1024×768 at 32bpp – nothing too fancy for today’s standards (and the most I could have squeezed off the settings). I didn’t expect an outright blast from the vSGA technology, mainly because the GPU  is being partitioned and also because of the fact that the maximum you can get is DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.1.

3dmark2000-1

Wow, almost 30k 3DMarks, good job!

Although this may be viewed by many as a redundant thing to do – it’s these little things that brighten my profession occasionally 🙂 I’ll be digging around vSGA and vDGA in the coming weeks, so this is just a little taste of things to come.

Enabling vSGA on an nVidia GRID Powered ESXi Server

We have a new lab environment and were so lucky to have an nVidia GRID K2 included in one server for testing out its rendering capabilities under virtualized environment. When I had some time to play around I made a first step towards drawing the GRID’s power and deployed a VM that will be using a shared 3D acceleration method, also known as vSGA. Continue reading

VMware vCloud Air: Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand Impressions

Foreword

I have noticed that there is a hybrid Cloud offering called VMware vCloud Air – Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand. This Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) allows you to have your own environment in VMware’s Data Centers. Everything is metered on pay-as-you-go basis – you pay for each resource used – vCPUs, RAM, Hard Drive Storage (you can choose between SSD-accelerated and “platter-based” only), plus licensing fees for Windows OS family. It has a simple, friendly user interface, but your VM Infrastructure Administrators will want to use the integrated vCloud Director Interface that is also included.

The current promo action runs with 300€ credit for you to spend on the first 90-day trial for everyone – if you are interested go and check it out. Since I like trying out new things, I’d like to share my first moments with this brand new service. Continue reading

Book Review: VMware vSphere Design, 2nd Edition

VMware vSphere Design Book Cover

Since expanding my digital bookshelf with some more VMware-oriented books, I finally finished one hefty piece in my library, and that is a Kindle Edition of VMware vSphere Design, 2nd Edition. I like getting my hands-on experience with hardware and am intrigued by data center design, so I just had to get this piece. Continue reading

Book Review: Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5

Book Cover

Today I’ll be sharing a short review for the of the book, Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 – Kindle Edition. I purchased it in order to enhance my knowledge, and in hope that it will help me be better prepared for the VCP510 exam. This book has  greatly fulfilled both of my expectations.

I read it from cover to cover, as I usually read all the technically oriented books in order to soak the most knowledge I can. The book is nicely written, with sidebars providing very useful knowledge from working experience. As can be expected from a book that contains “Mastering” in its name, it focuses on every single aspect of vSphere. Starting from the basics in each of its chapters, smoothly transferring to an in-depth level. There is a step-by-step walk-through for every action that is a subject of the chapter along with screenshots. Technically complex matters are displayed graphically to enhance your imagination, which is always nice.

The paperback version has 840 pages – this translates to roughly 15 hours of reading if you don’t just want to skim through the book or just look for enlightenment in certain chapters. But it is certainly good to read the book bit by bit – I guess reading it all in one sitting would result in an information overload 🙂

I wish I could sum up each element this book covers, but I’d be just typing out all vSphere features and aspects such as networking and storage and their underlying components – that many of you are already familiar with. If you have some vSphere experience – or you grasp the concept of virtualization with some IT background and seek a book that will get you started with vSphere, would like to know how certain things work “under the hood”, or just want to see how the authors tackled some real-world scenarios, this book is for you.

As for myself, I read this book with some ~5 months of last-level operator experience and learned many new things. For example did you know that during vMotion the memory snapshot of the source VM is sent to the destination ESXi host in clear text? Or that while using NFS connection to your datastores, only one of the two uplinks being used for the data transfer, even though LACP is used? And there’s much, much more. While sweating in the exam room answering the VCP questions, I recalled what I read in this book many times. Even though this book is revolving around vSphere 5.5 and its features, it is tremendeously helpful for use with earlier versions of vSphere 5.x.

I heartily recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn more about the vast amount features in vSphere. Be it people recently introduced to virtualization, or seasoned vSphere operators who would like to know more. It will even help you to prepare for VCP if you take your time and indulge in the chapters.