Newsletter: January 12, 2014

Hello all,

I am sorry to have not done last weekend’s newsletter.  But I was swamped both in my personal and professional lives.  But I have a lot to share so I need to get started!  So here is this weeks of things to be aware of and hopefully something for everyone!

BTW, need a little help.  How do you back up CIFS shares?  Are they backed up when the machine that hosts them is backed up?  What about CIFS shares from appliances?  How do you back those up?  I was looking at my backup strategy for my lab and it is pretty darn good.  But I have a CIFS / AFP share that has a lot of info on it and CrashPlan / Time Machine / Veeam don’t back it up.  So I am curious what people do.  You can leave comments or email me.

vCSA 5.5 root account locked after password expiration
I knew that we would have troubles with this when I saw the vCSA 5.5 in very early development and it defaulted to expire the root account.  But fortunately there is a KB article that can help when you are locked out.  I have heard lately several people running into this so I am happy to share this article!  BTW, if you need help disabling expiry than check this out.

vMotion fails at 14% with the error: timed out waiting for migration start request
This is an interesting one.  To know if it is what you are experiencing you will need to wander through host log files.  This is a key reason to use something like Log Insight.  You could in fact have a rule fired when this error occurs.  In fact the vSphere Content Pack may actually have one already you could enable.  I need to check.  I share this as it is a good example of why you need some sort of log indexing tool, but also I am not sure at all how this error could occur.  But the solution is part of the KB so that is good.

vSphere 5.5 Application HA, Advanced App Monitoring explained
This is something that is not often used, and is not often talked about, but has been updated again in vSphere 5.5.  Check out a brief explanation of what App HA is here.

Manage VSAN with RVC – Parts 1 through 5
Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and the last one which is part 5.  This is what you need to get started and use RVC to help with VSAN troubleshooting.  Later this year VSAN will be not beta and will be something you can easily use.  It is a very powerful new way of doing storage and it works very well indeed (Except for pricing that will give you a heart attack that is).  So be ready to manage and troubleshoot it now while playing with it in the lab.  Because some of you will be told to get it going for your company when it is GA.  BTW, you do not see the .vswp file in the VSAN world, but with this you can in the RVC.

Disks not available for use in VSAN configuration
The writer of this blog discovered he did not have all of the disks he thought he would.  He did do something I consider a best practice though.  He used manual mode to configure VSAN.  That is absolutely the right way to do things – especially the first time.  So he found his issue quicker this way.  Some of his disks had something on them so VSAN would not use them.  He uses partedUtil to truly erase the disks and make them usable – which I have not used but seems better than my method. I myself use GPartED to restart the host and erase the disks.  But a better idea – I think and have not tested – is to partition the disks with VMFS and I think it will let you overwrite them, and than remove the VMFS partition and they will be good to use than.  At least if this works it will be simpler than using partedUtil or GPartED.

Monitor Wear and Tear of Your VSAN SSDs
I saw this today and thought it worth sharing as I know many who are playing with VSAN in your home labs.  I think that in a home lab consumer grade SSD will last longer than expected, but it is good to know you can check it out – especially if I am wrong.

Learn more about vSphere 5.5 – from GSS
I saw this recently again and it reminded me about all the good info.  If you are about to jump into vSphere 5.5, or your customer is, than this collection of KB article will be interesting.

VMware Horizon View Best Practices
Here is some from VMware GSS, but it is pretty light.  My best suggestion is to start with a diagram first, and than do a task list.  Of course, this assumes you have also checked out the docs too!  As well, here is a 5.2 Performance and Best Practices TWP that has some good info.

View Client Device Detector
This is a cool little tool that can provide additional PCoIP information to a user for a support desk.  Very handy actually so check it out here.  Someone asked me for something like this, but I forgot who.  I hope they read my blog!

Upgrading to Horizon View 5.3 – Step 3 – Security Server
This is mid point in an upgrade to View 5.3 series but it is an interesting article.  He has a problem / solution during the upgrade that others have had, and he has a good snapshot of things at the end of the article.  I took a quick look at his other articles on this subject and they looked good as well.  I would suggest to also not forget about upgrading the feature pack as part of this operation.

How to run View PowerCLI
It turns out that there are some issues with using PowerCLI and View.  Luc does a great job education on them, and how to do things better.  Check it out here.

SRM 5.5 now supports 1500 protected virtual machines, but….
It is important to note that you must be using SRM 5.5 and ESXi / vC must in fact be patched to the very most current revisions and it only impacts array replicated virtual machines.  For the full info check this out  as well as the linked KB article that Ken references.

VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 – Technology and Features
You can find the announcement blog here, but there is also a technical what’s new from engineering here.  This is a significant release and I have been using it for a while and am very happy with it.  Update: there is a small difference in builds from what I am using and for some reason I cannot download Log Insight right now – and I should be able to – so I cannot tell you how the upgrade will go!  The release notes are here.  I like the changes to System Monitoring, ucount, and the fact upgrades are now done easily in the UI.  This is a big release and done by a bunch of very cool guys who I loved working with!

Don’t forget to upgrade the vC Ops operating system (OS) after upgrading to 5.8
I have heard that a number of people have forgotten this – aside from me that is!  You download the .pak for the vC Ops 5.8 upgrade and it goes fine and smooth as it always does.  But than you get distracted and forget to do the OS upgrade.  Don’t forge to do this!  Find out more here.  As well, I confirmed the file to do the upgrade is available, and it was not the last time I checked which is the real reason I did not do the OS upgrade when I upgraded vC Ops.

ESXi / ESX hosts no longer present in the vC Ops inventory
As of vC Ops 5.8 there is new functionality – that I had asked for – along with other customers, and I am happy to see it is now available.  This functionality will allow vC Ops to recognize that a host has gone into maintenance mode, and not alert on it.  Very handy.  But, sometimes when that host comes out of maintenance mode vC Ops doesn’t see the state change.  So that host will remain unseen by vC Ops.  You can fix this if some cases easily, and in some a little harder.  For the full story check this out.

Top 50 Articles for 2013 – from VMware GSS
This is the list of the top 50 articles that VMware support people used to solve customer issues.  So an interesting list indeed.  They should have a corporate version that hides the Fusion articles as there is usually quite a few.  But maybe not as many of us do use Fusion.  If you are responsible for a vSphere environment, or if you support customers who have vSphere, than I suggest you check out this list.  It is likely you will recognize some of it, and maybe the rest of it is good to see in case it haunts you later.

Want to learn more about VAAI?
I did.  I found some good info in a variety of places.  Background and education can be found in this technical white paper, some independent learning here, a good comparison between block and NAS can be found here, you can also find here some good learning but also how to check your storage to see what it is supporting.  As well, there is an FAQ from VMware GSS here.  There is a lot of info, but this is great info and worth knowing.

New version of ESXi-Customizer
This is a new release of the tool to help create customized ESXi ISO images.  A UI where the VMware tool is PowerCLI to do the same.  If you use this tool you need to get the latest version, but also learn about how it is depreciated.

Pimp my vCAC 6 with the new icon pack
Ryan has a great site to watch for information on vCAC.  He has one now that shares a new icon pack.  This is quite nice and it is also for vCAC 6.0.  Check it out here.  Also note his vCAC Custom Search option.  This is very cool as it searches only the relevant vCAC stuff /sites for the answer you need or want.

vCloud Automation Center 6.0 Support Matrix
This is the document you should be aware of as it is the supported matrix of products and more for vCAC v6.  This will be updated at unexpected times as well.  It also covers off upgrade which is going to be very important in the future.  As well make sure to check out the section on deprecated!

How to start vCO configuration service on vCAC 6 Appliance
This service is not started by default and it can be awkward to figure out how to start it.  Thanks to Ryan here you can learn how.

How to troubleshoot SQL Server performance issues with simple tools
This is something that came up recently and I found this article that should help.  If you want to learn how to troubleshoot SQL performance issues this should get you started.  You can find part 2, and part three too.  Through this blog author I also found an article he did about a SQL health-check that might be useful

Start Off 2014 with free training materials from Veeam Software
Here is an excellent blog about excellent training materials on Hyper-V and vSphere from Veeam and other people.  So very handy and very nice that Veeam has done this!

Veeam Backup & replication Version 7 Overview
Nice overview of Veeam 7 with both Doug and Anton, plus through it you can find other videos with more.  Great guys and always have been very good to me!  This is a video from a Tech Field Day.  I like v7 and I was impressed with how easy and smooth the upgrade was too!

New FREE eLearning: VDPA
I saw this recently and thought it was nice to see.  Only 2 hours, but that is likely all you need.  VDPA is pretty easy but there are some parts of it that are a little different so this training is good for most – particularly for the people that have never worked with VDP or VDPA or other backup software.

Improve Availability with VDP Advanced and vSphere Replication
Are you not sure how VDPA and VR will play together?  Meaning how protected by VDPA virtual machines will handle being replicated by vSphere Replication?  It is a good thing to think about actually.  It is great that Jeff has written about it here.  Short answer is no worries.

Backup Interoperability Matrix
This is sort of interesting as it is a big chart on the interoperability of backup software and vSphere / Hyper-V as done by a third party.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Two-Tier PKI CA Part 2
We saw the start of this series in this where it is helping to to get a Windows Certificate Authority working and it continues in this which is part 2.  This is a useful series and quite frankly I think more of us with home labs should not be using the default certificate we are using.  Derek’s blog can get us started on using something better.

Want a better way to remember where your applications are installed?
I took a quick look at this service recently and I thought it was pretty cool.  It remembers your URL and credentials for you.  Lets you organize things.  It supports RDP, SSH, and VNC connections.  Handy in particular if you are working via an iPad.  Check it out here.

HP Autonony releases HP Data Protector 8.1
This is a big release and includes vCD and vSphere 5.5 support.  In fact it includes self service recovery by users which is pretty good.  The press release is here.

QLogic – Execution Throttle Feature Concerns
This is an interesting issue that was not an issue, but could have been.  A sharp eyed customer thought there might be something here and so reached out to Cormac.  And than things become clear.  But, have no fear, there is no throttling done on the QLogic HBA even though  one of their documents says there is.  See the story here.

VCDX #113 – my path to success
This blog article about the path to success to become a VCDX is interesting.  Near the bottom of it he has good suggestions that will help others, but this person is a customer and not a VMware Partner or VMware employee.  So very rare in fact I think there may be only one.  Check it out here.

Installing EMC Avamar Virtual Edition
I almost did not share this.  I like Avamar, and with VDP / VDPA being able to replicate with Avamar I think that will help make Avamar more popular, and will provide great value for the customer using VDP.  But you cannot get trial versions of Avamar VE.  But I guess they are working on it and that is good.  I think if more people tried out Avamar, it might be more popular.

What Are IOPS? And why should you care?
This is a nice piece on some basic information.  Someone was asking about this recently and when I saw this article I thought that it answered their questions well, and was worth sharing.

Google’s latest idea for Gmail will give you plenty of reasons to switch to iCloud
I saw this and was quite surprised.  I always thought people needed to know your email to send you email.  Not so anymore for those of us using Google.

Now introducing Nimble Scale-Out
Here is a blog about the release candidate from Nimble for Scale-Out, and here is one that goes into a little more information.  There are very light weight blogs that have very little detail, but I there is not much else out there on Nimble.  I am hopeful he will go into more depth!

Ultimate Boot CD 5.2.8 Released
I like this CD quite a bit.  I have used it for disk wipes, to copy stuff off disks that will not boot but are still accessible, and so I consider it part of my tool kit.  Find out more here.

Long White Clouds 2013 Year End Review
I am most impressed with the year end review that Michael has done.  He must have kept great track of the year!  I have quite enjoyed reading his blog and I had a most excellent dinner with him at the last PEX.  Thanks Michael for a year of great reading.

Free ebook: Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
If you need to learn about MS System Center, or get an intro like me, you can find a good ebook here.  They have Mobi, ePub, and PDF.

New Book – Troubleshooting vSphere Storage
Just got this new book, and have not finished reading it, but it is interesting so far.  It is called Troubleshooting vSphere Storage and can be found here.  The other Storage book for vSphere I know of is Storage Implementation of vSphere v5.0 which is pretty good and can be found here.

VCDX defend clinic: Choosing between Multi-NIC vMotion and LBT
This is interesting from Frank, and is good for you to look at if you have an urge to work towards VCDX and have not defended yourself yet / before.

Intel S2400SC based servers – things to be aware of
I shared recently that I had bought another of these – for a total of two.  I had been happy with them.  They are not what you would normally buy for a home lab, but I try to make my home lab very realistic.  So one of the reasons I buy this kind of server is the number of networks I need.  I have vMotion, Storage, management and public networks, and I may add a new 10 GB storage network too.  So I need more than average 2 network ports.  But I also like to have iDRAC kind of functionality.  And these servers have that.  But with my second one I have learned some additional things I need to share.  I boot these to USB and I wanted to use an internal USB slot.  It turns out that USB 6 inside this server will impact negatively the Setup.  You will frequently not be able to enter the BIOS setup if you use USB 6.  To find where to configure BMC management, or the RMM management if you buy it extra like I did, is in BIOS, and not at boot, and at the very bottom of the Server Management screen.  For a very strange reason, that I was not able to fully figure out, the internal disk I bought (SSD and HD) was not visible in BIOS, or in vSphere.  In the BIOS RAID I was able to use it to create or delete a RAID volume.  But I was concerned a little about it not being visible in BIOS and a lot concerned about it not seen in vSphere.  What was odd about this storage as that it used a SATA octopus cable.  I replaced it with three individual SATA cables and than I could see the drives in BIOS or vSphere.  So odd but at least I figured it out.  It is not hard to update these servers using a USB which I did so I am using the current level of BIOS and related stuff.  I think the good price of the servers is that they may be discontinued by Intel.  Not sure.  you can find the Support info here. I have two of these, and they work, and are quiet, and I have not had much trouble – other than the invisible drives, but due to how hard it is to find info on them, and the feeling I have that Intel may not support them much longer, I would be leery of buying more of them.  If I see any BIOS updates of any type this year, I will be happy and consider my concern not realistic perhaps.  I must admit the only issue I have with the 3 Dell R710 is that I cannot easily buy more of them.  Plus they cost more than the Intel servers but not by much. BTW, part of my frustration is there is not a single Intel blog of help I can find for this. For the company I am part of – DataGravity, I will make sure that this blog will always have technical help and info. You will not be alone.  Update, thanks to @ersontech I learned that while BMC and RMM share very similar screens in the UI, you need RMM to provide the KVM over IP, and so it is a worthy purchase (and not expensive)!

How long have I … been on Twitter
If you are not sure how long you have been on Twitter, one way to answer that is with this.  For me, 5 months, 3 days, 2 hours, and 3 minutes is the answer.  At least right now it is.

Soapbox – Flu Shots
It seems to be in for Albertan’s to avoid Flu Shots.  I had someone try and tell me they were bad for me.  Talking to several doctors and nurse’s lately they laughed.  But than it got a bit serious.  As of a few days ago we had 10 dead, and 300 people in hospital being treated for Flu.  Our worst season in a while.  And of course no medical types would say how many could have missed dieing or being in the hospital if they had flu shots but every person I asked said they would have expected many to have avoided any hospital or death.  So before you get fooled by silly and incomplete news, talk to your doctor, your nurse, whomever, and get the damn shot!

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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5 thoughts on “Newsletter: January 12, 2014

  1. Hi, can I request you to provide email option in your blog. So that when you post new blog pst (highly useful like this) we get immediately informed. Thanks for sharing !!!

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