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    VMware vSphere: Design Workshop

    I attended the VMware vSphere: Design Workshop last week.  The course description showed a 60/40 lecture to lab split, which always helps to keep everyone’s attention.  I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and it was clear to provide a basic blue-print for VMware partners to follow during design and/or implementation engagements.

    Some of the topics covered were, or should be, review for most participants designing infrastructure; creating standard labels for port-groups and datastores.  Some of the topics were more advanced such as determining HA slot sizes.  A great review of the topic can be found at Duncan Epping’s Yellow Bricks blog entry.  Calculating the slots sizes is an important, if fuzzy area, that all designers should take in to account.  Of course everything goes out the window in 6 months after VM sprawl begins.

    The class also covered more esoteric, in my opinion, topics such as pVLANs and NPIV support.  pVLANs are an interesting topic in themselves, briefly covered by Cisco.  Based on the pVLAN configuration, they can provide Layer2 segmentation within a VLAN, in isolated mode.  I personally can’t determine a use-case for pVLANs, or how effective they are in the Virtual World.  Only time, and experience will tell.

    NPIV is an interesting topic, were we can now map storage directly to a VM via a virtual WWN.  This allows us to explicitly track I/O to the SAN from the VM.  It’s a topic I need to review more.

    The two design scenarios were interesting: SMB vs Enterprise.  I would have liked to switch between the scenarios; alas each lab built upon the previous.  Pooling everyone’s thoughts and design principals did help to make everyone think about building environments in different ways.  At least it did for me.

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