How to configure VMware ESXi 6.7 or later for VMDirectPath I/O pass-through of any NVMe SSD, such as Windows 10 1809 installed directly on an Intel 900P booted in an EFI VM

Notice the 900P U.2 NVMe SSD above the motherboard There was a little-discussed and finally mature capability that arrived with VMware ESXi 6.5, back in November of 2016. See Amazon for the Intel Optane SSD 900P Series, but this consumer drive might not be ideal for most home virtualization lab…

Nov 28 2018

Close 4K look at a 4-Node-in-2U All Flash (Optane/NVMe) vSAN ReadyNode™ - The Supermicro SuperServer SYS-2029BT-HNR!

Once in a long while, I get an opportunity to get my hands on some amazing hardware, packed with top-flight components. This is one of those times! With permission granted to publish, I'm now able to give you a glimpse into what a fully supported vSAN ReadyNode really looks like, up close and…

Oct 31 2018

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3a RTM is now available featuring VMware vSphere 6.7 support

If you've been watching my article: Status of VMware vSphere 6.7 support by VM backup companies Apr 19 2018 you already know what's been happening with the VM backup companies trying to get full vSphere 6.7 support out the door within about 60 to 90 days of its announcement and release: …

Jun 26 2018

USB Image Tool for Windows easily backs up and restores your complete VMware ESXi hypervisor on USB or SD flash drives, a simple/free clone for peace of mind before patching or upgrading

I created the video below that features a very detailed walk-through of an imaging process of the ESXi hypervisor installation that seems to work quite well for me. I tested this heavily when tinkering with various vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 versions in my home lab. While the use of such an tool isn't…

Jun 14 2018

VeeamON 2018 Recap

Image above adapted from Anthony Spiteri's excellent VeeamON 2018 Recap. See also my extensive, picture-filled @paulbraren #VeeamON timeline. I may not have been VMware's first choice to cover this Other Veeam Vanguards from VMware's Technical Marketing team were unable to attend due to…

May 21 2018

Status of VMware vSphere 6.7 support by VM backup companies

Above image adapted from What's New with vSphere 6 HOL. Table of Contents, in alphabetic order: Altaro VM Backup Commvault Micro Focus VM Explorer Virtual Machine Backup NAKIVO Backup & Replication Unitrends Backup Veeam Backup & Replication This short article is really just about one of…

Apr 19 2018

Intel SSD 760p Series M.2 NVMe will be available in up to 2TB capacity at near SATA pricing and double 600p performance

Introduction This article takes a quick look at Intel's latest SSD specs, and their potential for use in a VMware virtualization home lab environment. I do not currently have a sample of the 760p for first-hand testing. The information here is based on a briefing I recently received from an Intel…

Jan 23 2018

Featured on "Home Gadget Geeks" Episode #340 "Paul Braren and Vintage Tech, 70s thru 90s Head Phones, Cell Phones, Camcorders and Video Games – HGG340"

"Home Gadget Geeks" available in 5 color choices and 3 sizes at Amazon. Alternative title: "Paul Braren's nostalgic look back at PC, audio, video, PC, and phone tech from the 1970s to 2000s, including the ThinkPad 701c Butterfly with an expanding keyboard" The below article…

Jan 7 2018

Intel announcements include details about benchmarking Optane P4800X in VMware ESXi, new 750GB capacity, and 3D XPoint fab expansion

There are three recent Intel announcements that are quite interesting. The first is about 4 recent detailed technical publications, the second is about a maximum Optane capacity doubling, and the third is about a new 3D XPoint fab, in collaboration with Micron. Of most interest to me personally is…

Nov 13 2017

Intel Optane SSD 900P Series is the latest in 3D XPoint NVMe hotness but it is not ideal for most home virtualization lab enthusiasts

Disclosure: The U.2 version of the 900P 280GB was the only model available anywhere, so I purchased one to test. Intel later provided me a loaner AIC version of the 900P as well, in the 280GB capacity. There were no stipulations, I continue to candidly share my experiences. Unfortnately, things did…

Oct 31 2017

How to use Intel isdct to change NVMe SSD variable sector size before using as VMFS or vSAN, note 4Kn (native) drives aren't supported by VMware yet

This article underwent significant changes since first published, as it was quickly found to contain conclusions that were incorrect. It was based on just one very early engineering sample I obtained directly from Intel that turned out not to be a reflection of the now generally available P4800X…

Oct 8 2017

Featured on "Home Gadget Geeks" Episode #325 "Paul Braren with Updates on VMware, the World’s first look at Intel Optane P4800X, eero and much more!- HGG325"

New podcast episode announced at the averageguy.tv, where you can also listen and/or subscribe: Paul Braren (@paulbraren) joins us to talk about his current work load at VMware and an update on some super fast VM parts that will make his home lab a bunch faster, his home Wifi set up with Eero, a…

Sep 8 2017

How to configure VMware ESXi 6.5.x for VMDirectPath I/O pass-through of any NVMe SSD, such as Windows Server 2016 installed directly on an Intel Optane P4800X booted in an EFI VM

There was a little-discussed and finally mature capability that arrived with VMware ESXi 6.5, back in November of 2016. With last month's release of ESXi 6.5 Update 1, it's only gotten easier to configure your ESXi server to allow you to pass a single NVMe storage device, such as an Intel Optane…

Aug 24 2017

Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 2 has full vSphere 6.5 Update 1 support, free NFR also available for Veeam Agent for Windows, Linux, and Backup for MS Office 365

Turns out the question of what backup solution to use to protect a home lab's VMs in a home lab comes up a lot here at TinkerTry, especially when a major new release of vSphere arrives on the scene. It's become such an important thing to consider for IT Pros working off the NFR code…

Aug 23 2017

Intel's new Ruler form factor allows up to 1PB of NVMe in 1U, along with a new 2.5" 3.8TB SATA SSD and Dual Port SSDs for Data Centers

First, NAND based SSDs arrived in SATA, SAS, and PCIe form factors, almost a decade ago. In 2015, NVMe became widely available, in various shapes and sizes, including U.2 (looks like a thick metal 2.5" laptop drive), and HHHL (Half Height Half Length) PCIe cards, aka AIC (Add In Card)s. With…

Aug 15 2017

World's First Close Look at Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series - PCIe NVMe arrives with 375GB of 3D XPoint!

Disclosure This SSD is on a temporary loan from Intel, and it appears to be an engineering sample, in the 375GB size that is planned for product launch. This loaner was made with no formal expectations or stipulations, just a brief chance to TinkerTry this datacenter technology in my own VMware…

Aug 11 2017

How to find NVMe SSD firmware versions on VMware ESXi using ESXCLI

Keeping this one short-and-simple, to really encourage you to visit the source article to read through details and tips found at: New ESXCLI Commands in vSphere 6.5 Nov 19 2016 by Florian Grehl at Virten.net If you're wondering if your NVMe drive might need a firmware update, and you're running…

Aug 5 2017

10G networking for your Laptop - Promise SANLink3 T1 NBaseT Adapter blesses your Thunderbolt 3/USB-C desktop or laptop with 1.0/2.5/5.0/10GbE speeds

Shop The Promise SANLink3 T1 NBaseT Adapter is available on: Amazon - Promise SL3T1GL Thunderbolt 3 to Base-T Ethernet Bus Powered Adapter Dell - Dell part #A9623557 eBay - All items with SL3T1GL in the description Newegg - Promise Thunderbolt 3 to Base-T Ethernet Bus Powered Adapter (SL3T1GL) …

Jul 30 2017

See "What's inside VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 1" by Florian Grehl at virten.net featuring historical ESX/ESXi graph

Sometimes there's a post that is so perfect as it is that I just have to call it out, hoping to extend the readership of the author's source article. Simple, elegant, and to the point, not exactly my strengths. I therefore present to you, with little words to say other than "read this"…

Jul 28 2017

VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 1 downloads available (VCSA 6.5 U1 / ESXi 6.5 U1), new vSAN 6.6.1 goodness baked right in

Just want the easy upgrade (rather than download ISO) methods for vSphere 6.5 Update 1, also known as 6.5U1 or 6.5 U1? No problem, jump on over to: How to easily update your VMware vCenter Server Appliance from 6.5.x to 6.5 Update 1 (VCSA 6.5 U1) How to easily update your VMware Hypervisor from…

Jul 27 2017

Intel Optane M.2 16GB/32GB consumer NVMe SSDs for Windows caching are not that fast as VMware VMFS or NTFS, save up for bigger PCIe versions

Here are the Technical Specifications for the tested 32GB module. Intel® Optane™ Memory Series 32GB M.2 80mm Performance Sequential Read (up to) 1350 MB/s Sequential Write (up to) 290 MB/s Power - Active 3.5 Watts Power - Idle 1 Watt Endurance Rating (Lifetime Writes) 182.5 TB Enhanced Power…

Jun 11 2017

VeeamON 2017 - Availability Suite v10 announced featuring backup of NASs and built-in Management for new Veeam Agent for Windows v2, unifying VM & PC backups

If you've read TinkerTry for a while, you'll know I've enjoyed relying on Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, right through version 1.5, to protect multiple physical PCs in my family. Several times a year, I'll do a full restore of important PCs to a VM, to be absolutely sure my backups are good.…

May 31 2017

The VeeamON 2017 Experience

This article is a work in progress, more photos to be added soon. That's a lot of hi-res pics, glad I have KeyCDN ready for you! Had a great time at VeeamON 2017 in New Orleans, meeting many virtualization experts and bloggers for the first time. Oh, and I learned stuff too! There were also so many…

May 26 2017

Samsung tells M.2 NVMe SSD firmware updaters "Download Limit Exceeded. We apologize for your inconvenience." Seriously?

Trying to go here: www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools.html or here: www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/overview.html to get to the direct download URL here: ssd.samsungsemi.com/ecomobile/ssd/update14.do?fname=/Samsung_SSD_960_PRO_2B6QCXP7.iso for the latest…

Apr 27 2017