VMware Supported Features

VMware was the first hypervisor to include Macs as part of their hardware compatibility list (HCL) and has steadily increased support for Mac virtualization functionality since. There are several VMware features MacStadium customers can leverage to optimize and improve their CI/CD virtualization and automation endeavors.

Creating VMs from the Marketplace or OVF

The VMware Marketplace exchange platform gives users the means to find hundreds of preconfigured VMs ready to be deployed. Files of type .ovf can be executed immediately for easy deployment in both development and testing environments. You can find more information about the VMware Solution Exchange here.

The OVA/F Transfer plug-in allows you to import and export virtual machines as OVF/OVA templates to/from vCenter via the vRealize Orchestrator. However, be aware that while MacStadium customers can run vRealize Orchestrator, we do not offer technical support for that product. For more information, see OVF Transfer Plug-In.

Linked Clones

Linked Clones are virtual machine copies created from the snapshot of a single parent VM. They share virtual disks with the parent VM in an ongoing manner, which conserves disk space and allows multiple VMs to use the same OS. Linked clones allow for faster creation of virtual machines by using the exact files on the parent VM at the time of snapshot and allow a VM to look and feel more like a container. It’s an excellent method of creating short-lived ephemeral VMs.

For more information, see Understanding Clones.

Instant Clones

Instant clones are very similar to linked clones in that they share a virtual disk of a parent VM and therefore consume less storage than a full VM. But, instant clones take it one step further by doing the same thing with memory.  Instant clones are created off a running VM instead of a powered off VM. This provides better methods of management for provisioning, updates, and memory utilization. Instant clones are also an excellent method of creating single use ephemeral VMs with faster boot-times and more stability.  Instant Clones are only available in VMware 6.7+.

For more information on when best to use each type of clone, see Instant Clones vs Linked Clones.

High Availability (HA)

VMware HA provides protection against hardware failures. The HA service always monitors your virtual machines and can restart failed VMs on alternative host servers to reduce application downtime.

For more information, see How vSphere HA Works.

vMotion

VMware vSphere vMotion enables zero downtime live migration of workloads from one server to another. vMotion guarantees the integrity of these operations so the service remains available during scheduled maintenance. This feature is also very useful for migrating to new computing or storage resources as your environment grows.

For more detail, see vSphere vMotion.

vNetwork Distributed Switch (VDS)

The VDS provides a centralized interface from which you can configure, monitor and administer virtual machine network switching for the entire data center. The vNetwork Distributed Switch ensures quality of service (QoS) to different VMware network features by allocating the maximum bandwidth wherever needed. While MacStadium does not enable this feature, customers are able to leverage this functionality if they choose to do so.

For more information, see vSphere Distributed Switch.

Distributed ResourceScheduler (DRS)

When activity peaks, the DRS can automatically and evenly spread the load of virtual machines across all the nodes in your private cloud. MacStadium enables this feature for Resource Management by default. Customers can also enable Power Management, but must implement it themselves.

For more information, see Enable VMware DRS to Manage Workloads.

Snapshots  

A snapshot captures the entire state of a VM at the time the snapshot is taken. Snapshots are useful when you need to repeatedly revert to the same state but you don't want to create multiple virtual machines.

For more information, see VMware backup and the VMware snapshot.

Rollbacks

VMware provides users with a way to revert to earlier versions of the full installation and individual components as well as a method to rollback network changes that may have incorrect configurations. Currently, MacStadium only supports network rollback, not host rollback.

For more information, see vSphere Networking Rollback.

Storage vMotion

VMware Storage vMotion gives administrators the means to move virtual machines to different storage without any downtime. Storage vMotion guarantees the integrity of these operations so the service remains available during scheduled storage maintenance. This feature is also very useful for migrating to new storage arrays.

For more information, see Under the Covers with Storage vMotion.

Thin Provisioning

Thin Provisioning increases VM storage efficiency through dynamic allocation and intelligent provisioning of physical storage capacity. Thin Provisioning lets you use just as much storage capacity as currently needed and add required storage space at a later time. By eliminating the need to periodically request more storage, Thin Provisioning helps to eliminate application downtime.

For further detail, visit Thin Provisioning.

vSphere Replication

vSphere Replication delivers flexible, reliable and cost-efficient replication to enable data protection and disaster recovery for all virtual machines in your environment.  Replication creates a copy of a virtual machine that can be stored locally within a cluster or at another site, providing a data source to rapidly restore a virtual machine within minutes.

For further reading, see vSphere Replication.

Storage I/O Control (SIOC)

VMware SIOC helps improve the quality of storage in vSphere. Users can configure rules and strategies for every virtual machine and application to enable permanent availability. At a basic level SIOC is monitoring the end-to-end latency of a datastore. As soon as congestion is detected, resources are automatically allocated to high priority applications. MacStadium does not offer assistance with this feature, but customers can choose to enable it. SAN storage is required.

For more detail, see Enabling and Monitoring Storage I/O Control.

Network I/O Control

Network I/O control addresses network traffic convergence and management challenges by flexibly partitioning physical network bandwidth among the different types of vSphere network traffic flows. Be aware customers must enable Network I/O Control by themselves.

For more information, see Network I/O Control.

Hot Add

Customers must enable Hot Add before they can leverage its functionality. Hot Add lets you add memory resources for a VM while the machine is still powered on, preventing service disruptions caused by having to power down to reconfigure the VM.  

Keep in mind that Hot Add must be enabled on the VM while it is offline, and that it is also OS dependent.

For more detail, see VMware Hot Add: How and When to use it.

Host Profiles

VMware lets you store configuration information for a group of hosts in a host profile. This can be created from the reference host.

For more information, see VMware Host Profiles: Technical Overview and Updating Profiles From the Reference Host.

Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

Storage DRS is an intelligent vCenter Server feature for efficiently managing VMFS and NFS storage, similar to the DRS which optimizes the performance and resources of vSphere clusters.

For more information, see Enable and Disable Storage DRS.

Datastore Clusters

A VMware Datastore Cluster is a collection of multiple data stores, which from the VM provisioning perspective can be viewed as a single entity.

For more information, see Creating a Datastore Cluster.

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