VMware is in an enviable but tricky situation: The company must work closely with hardware partners, keeping these prime sales and promotional channels happy and supportive. But VMware must also innovate around proprietary OEMs, subverting their products with integrated software before a rival steps up with an integrated alternative.
I talk to dozens of companies every week, and every one says the same thing: â€œOur product is compatible with VMware!â€ But not everyone’s definition of â€œcompatibleâ€ is the same, and some are not compatible with the requirements of production data centers. Therefore, I present to you my spectrum of compatibility for VMware.
As an IT professional, I subscribe to a simple rule: I won’t recommend a solution that’s not listed in the support matrix or HCL. â€œI don’t care if it works, only that it supported,â€ is really a cynical overstatement of this position. Of course I care whether or not a solution works! But merely claiming that something works is not sufficient for me to recommend it. I need to be able to demonstrate that it’s a supported configuration. Show me the listing, and I’ll start recommending it.
The most exciting enhancements in VMware vSphere 4.1 is the addition of vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI). This new API allows VMware ESX to offload storage processing functions to capable storage arrays, reducing the workload on the server hardware in introducing new and exciting possibilities for performance and efficiency. VAAI in ESX 4.1 includes three separate capabilities: block zeroing, full copy, and hardware assisted locking.
I’m building a home/lab server to run a variety of workloads, but VMware ESX is chief among these. Sadly, VMware ESX is especially picky about network interface cards (NICs): Although many are supported, most are intended for servers and thus very expensive and difficult to find at retail. So I set out browsing through the VMware ESX HCL, Newegg, and Amazon to find the best network card for my home lab machine. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.
VMware has one awesome hardware compatibility list, but its thoroughness can be daunting. It’s fairly easy to search for a specific piece of hardware, but it’s difficult to tell what’s supported in a general sense. I’ve boiled down certain key hardware categories into a general plain-english list of what’s in and out of the ESX HCL. Let’s kick things off with FCoE CNAs.