Newsletter: January 18, 2014

Hello everyone,

I trust that everyone had a week that they survived?  Survived is good, but if you had fun, and accomplished things, that is of course even better!  I have a range of things this week, and as always I have tried to make sure we cover off a wide range of things.  Something for everyone I hope.

BTW, I have added some other things to this blog.  Near the top of the screen you may have noticed there is now an Other Stuff choice.  It is a drop down menu for Reminders or for vBOG.  For those of you who used to read my newsletter than Reminders is from there.  A collection of links.  The other choice, vBOG is interesting as it is a collection of interesting tidbits that are good to know when you are working in the virtualization space.

BTW, below is a snippet about how the latest Java update breaks vCO.  It actually breaks a bunch of things so make sure you check it out.  Also, this is one of the largest newsletters I have done.  Sorry about that but I had a lot to share.  But I am caught up now and next week should be more normal.


vSphere ESXi 5.1 Update 2 Released
This is a big release.  There is a long list of resolved issues.  Check out the release notes.  I do recommend this update as soon as is reasonable.  It really fixes a lot of things.  As I am using vSphere 5.5 in my lab I have not tested the upgrade to U2.  You will need to upgrade your vC client as part of this upgrade.

vSphere vCenter 5.1 Update 2 Released
This too is a big release.  Not just because we now support Win2K12 R2 to host vC, or as a guest, but there is a long list of resolved issues as well.  Make sure to check out the release notes.  I have not tested this release as I am using 5.5b.  Do not forget that you will need to use the new vC client a part of this upgrade.

How to calculate what your Virtual SAN datastore size should be and Designing VSAN
Duncan has done a great job on helping your understand how to plan what your VSAN datastore size should be.  Most excellent article, and he even did a calculator for you here.  I want to make sure you understand that the add 10% disk space thing is a very good idea and one you should pay attention too.  Plus the 10% guideline is just that.  I think if you can do 15% that will help to protect against unforeseen things in the architecture.  Duncan has another great VSAN article about designing your hardware  for VSAN that is pretty darn good.

Virtual SAN Read IO – cache / buffer / spindles
This is a good explanation by Duncan but also a good picture too.  The question was how does VSAN handle read IO when the data can be in a variety of places.

VSAN hardware guidance Part ii – storage controllers
This is interesting and something to know.  Not all controllers will  support VSAN.  Some of the popular controllers from HP could not support VSAN at first as they always did some sort of RAID.  No RAID or RAID0 is what VSAN needs.  Check out the info here.  It seems like when VSAN is released it will get a version number VSAN v1.0 for example.  That is silly and means we now need to track vC, ESXi and now VSAN.  Too bad it did not just ship as part of ESXi and that was it.  Maybe it will …

VSAN Part 14 – Host Memory Requirements
This is a good article by Cormac about the memory overhead for VSAN.  I think for production hosts this is not as big issue as for those of us doing VSAN in our home labs were we are a little more constrained.  Cormac reminds us that if you are a beta user you have access to a Design Guide that is part of the PofC kit that would have answered the questions around host memory.  For more info check this out.

Quiesced snapshots fail on Win2K12 VM with Exchange 2013
You see an error like”an error occured while saving the snapshot: msg.snapshot.error-QUIESCING-ERROR” . The MS Windows Server Backup Features are not installed on the affected VM.  The errors will not occur if you install the Server Backup Features – that will allow VSS to work properly.  See more info including log entries in this.

Deleting the VMDK disk fails with the error: This operation not allowed in the current state
This is one that I have seen before, and solved without really know what happened.  So good to understand.

vCenter SSO 5.5: AD Group Membership Gotcha
This is something good to know when you are designing your SSO 5.5 infrastructure.  I would like to point out in his screenshot you can see he is using AD as a LDAP server for an identity source.  The best practice here – from me, both in my work, and in discussions with the dev staff, is that you should try to not use this option.  It doesn’t scale well, and is not as solid as the Integrated Windows Authentication option.  BTW, here is a link to a very good article on using the Integrated Windows Authentication option.

4 concurrent vMotion migrations per host when using vDS or Cisco Nexus
This is an interesting in that you have a lot of 10 GB links so you think your limit for concurrent vMotion activities should be 8.  But since there is some 1 GB port-groups connect to the vDS you are limited to 4 vMotions.  There is no solution to this currently but a workaround is to have no 1 GB port-groups on your vDS.  More info can be found here.

vSphere 5.5 – Storage Enhancements part 9 – PDL AutoRemove
This is great info about an important improvement in vSphere 5.5.  PDL AutoRemove is a cool new feature that helps in specific APD situations and you can learn more about it here.

VMware vSphere Security course at PluralSight
There is vSphere Security training available now that includes labs, best practices, and real world examples.  You can see the outline here.  This would be excellent I think for anyone that is in Professional Services.  It looks quite good but I do not know anyone who has taken the this or other courses at PluralSight.  Not sure how it is priced but it may be included if you have a Plus membership to PluralSight.  Not sure.

VUM upgrade installation fails with the error: 25127
This can occur when the SQL database account has been changed.  Find out how to fix this here.

vSphere Does Not Need LAG Band-aids
This is an easy and clear read that has a very good point.  LAG’s are not normally needed so why use them?  There are some interesting comments.  Check out the story here.

DNS name does not display as FQDN on the Summary tab of a virtual machine
I saw this recently in someones lab and it was quite irritating.  I like to see the DNS name as FQDN and not just as a name.  You can fix this with this information.

Installing and upgrading to ESXi 5.5 – Best practices and tips
This is not really best practices about upgrading to ESXi 5.5.  But, it is still interesting, and it does have a couple of tips on upgrading hosts, particularly free ESXi hosts.  Check it out here.

VMware Memory Ballooning – Sch.Mem.MaxMemCtl vs. Mem.CtlMaxPercent
This is something I was asked about once and was not sure of the details.  But this is a good explanation about the difference between these terms: parameters and ballooning.  Check it out here.

VMware vSphere 5.5 Virtual Storage Adapter Performance
This is some fascinating research that Michael has done and it has a surprising finish to it as well.  I just added a note to my todo list in my lab to check out pvscsi.  See the full story here.

Increasing Storage vMotion Performance with Unified VMFS Block Size
This is something important to note if you are upgrading from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5.  If you are not careful, or do not plan well, you can definitely increase the time it takes to do SvMotion’s.  Great article for us and it is found here.  BTW, I think we saw similar issues way in the past, not with SvMotion, but in other ways when we had upgraded I think from VMFS 2 to something else, so this is good to understand.

Consolidate virtual machine disk files Unable to access file since it is locked
I saw this myself a while back and it was frustrating.  I wish I had seen this when I had the issue.  Storage vMotion and than consolidate works.  Cool.

The Upgrade process from 5.1 to 5.5b
This is a blog with a video as well as an article. It is a good brief on the upgrade process.  One thing to mention is the 5.5b did not update VUM and it was not necessary to install.  For more on 5.5b check this out.

Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: File “/vmfs/volumes/vmname.vmx” line1: Syntax error
If you see this error message or something similar you have a problem.  There are corrupt files – such as the .vmx.  If you cannot do a restore, and want to fix this, or maybe understand it, you will need to submit a log bundle and call support.  More info can be found here.

Three ways to get certificate and thumbprint from ESXi
How often have you connected ESXi to vC and been prompted to accept a Cert that you just said yes to?  More than a few times I suspect.  If you want to actually do it right, and confirm the info is correct you can.  The info to do that is found here.  I think that this is not as important for most of us as it is for some of us.

OpenStack with vSphere and NSX
This is a series written by one of my previous co-workers who is very good around networks, and is quite interested in NSX and OpenStack.  Here is part 3 of his series on building out OpenStack with NSX.

Time to switch your vCenter attributes to tags
This is a nice article to see.  I quite like tags and use them a lot.  In my world, I use tags to define application owners, support people, application, project and a few others.  Very handy as it makes the information very easy to find and use.  I can use the owner to find the contact info for the owner of an app – which does include name, phone and email.  Or I can use the project to gather all of the things I am working on into one spot.  Very cool.  But check out this as it has a lot of good info, including something people often miss about importing attributes to tags.

PCoIP Log Viewer Updated for View 5.3
This is quite a useful tool for people that work with View.  Definitely worth using.  It has been in beta for a while, and now it is GA.  Find more info, and the tool here.

Load Balancing Horizon View – Design
Here is some good info on load balancing View.  And most View infrastructures will need this so it is good to learn with.  This blog starts out looking at the different choices for load balancers that View can use, than it looks at View and what needs to be considered there.  So good info and you can find it here.

MS Office requests reactivation each time it logs off the VMware Horizon View 5.2.x desktop
This is an odd one.  If you have less than five desktops with Office installed, you will get this request to reactivate each time you log off.  However, if there are at least five desktops you will not.  Odd.  It is related to the KMS server and its behavior.  But check this out for more info.

vC Ops 5.8: Critical Data Collection Bug
This is related to something I mentioned last week in the newsletter.  ESXi hosts no longer present in vC Ops inventory.  But it looks like there are other issues associated with that issue.  Anthony has the full story here, but I suspect a patch will be out shortly.

Breakdown: Troubleshooting Issues with VMware vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View
vC Ops is a great product.  But, it is very easy to get lost and confused with it.  That easy UI only lasts so long!  But thanks to the work done in the add in product – vC Ops for View, you can have a very much easier to use tool to help you manage the View infrastructure.  It is very powerful indeed.  In this article it helps you understand how you can manage View better using vC Ops for View.  This is very useful information to help you make better and easier use out of vC Ops for View and that is good since this is a very good tool.

vCAC 6.0 Installation Gotcha
Zack has shared a vCAC 6.0 gotcha here that is good to know.  Win2K12 ships with a version of .NET that is not supported by the IaaS components of vCAC but there is a workaround.

How to enable Advanced Service Designer in vCAC 6.0
It is true that vCAC 6 is hard enough to install – particularly the IaaS part of it, but it turns out that the thing I heard product managers (PMs) and other stalk about a lot – the ASD or Advanced Service Designer is also not easy to find.  Partly this is due to it needing to be enabled before use.  Check out the full details here.

SDDC Whiteboard
Jad has a great demo of the SDDC whiteboard he does for partners and customers.  I had to do a whiteboard like this once and I had to wing it.  There is a surprising amount of products and complexity to this subject.  Best to not wing it and so Jad’s demo of his SDDC whiteboard  is pretty good to learn from.  Check it out here.

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 / 6.0 – Custom Hostnaming Extension v3.0
One of the things that is still very hard with vCAC 6.0 is the ability to allow the customer to name a VM(s) that is provisioned with vCAC whatever they want.  It is easy to use the supplied machine prefix, but that is not very flexible.  We are lucky that Tom has worked out a way to do this that works in both vCAC 5.2 and 6.0.  You can find it here.  Make sure you set a good amount of time aside for working through this.

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Proof of concepts – lessons learned
This is interesting.  There are some great nuggets of issues from vCAC 6.0 Proof of Concepts but also testing in big environments.  So good things to know if you are doing vCAC 6.0 work.  Find the info here.

vCloud Automation Center network selection during VM request
This is a great example of what you might have to do when working with customers and vCAC.  In this case it was network choices in a drop down menu.  Other times it might be something else so it is good to have this information to help.

Java Version 7 Update 51 and the vCO Client
This is about how the most current version of Java breaks the vCO client.  It also breaks the Intel RMM KVM over IP solution too.  The solution in this blog fixes the issue in both vCO and RMM.  I suspect that this issue will break the KVM over IP in SuperMicro as well, and probably Dell too.   But if so the workaround will work for them too.

How to get Active Directory User Attributes
This is the info you need to get a variety of different AD user attributes into vCO to use for your workflows.  Maybe a notification to a manager when someone tries to request something.  Very handy.

VM Inventory as email with hyperlinks to vCenter Web UI and VM console
This is a great PowerCLI script that will produce an email with a list of the VMs and a link to the console of them.  Very cool and I can see it being handy when in a shop where there is a number of people producing VMs.  But check it out here.

Remotely Managing VMware vSphere through your mobile device
This is pretty darn cool.  Being able to select a script on your mobile device that executes in your vSphere world that you are remote from.  Amazing.  Very powerful I think. Check it out here.

How to run View PowerCLI
From the looks of this article it is quite a bit different to do View PowerCLI than it is normally.  So it is good that Luc has it all right here.

VMware: virtual Standard Switch management with PowerCLI
This is info on creating and managing vSS with PowerCLI and you can find out all about it here.

Deep Security: Sending events to vCenter Log Insight
This is an interesting article about configuring Deep Security to send logs to LI.  Not hard but sure a good idea.  And Hugo even does a little dashboard example for Deep Security.  I am quite found of Deep Security and hope to get it going in my lab one day.

Getting Started with Log Insight 1.5
This talks about what is new with LI, and the upgrade possibilities, which is a good intro to LI.  Check it out here.  I like very much the improvements in 1.5 and recommend it strongly.  It turns out the TAP program doesn’t provide access to LI as part of the program and I will be complaining about that this week.  Don’t forget about the promotion running until the end of this month – you get a free 25 license pack of Log Insight if you buy certain other VMware products.  Find out more here.

Cisco UCS Log Insight Content Pack now available
In my previous life, we had a lot of Cisco UCS gear.  So I am sharing the link to the LI UCS Content Pack for them.  But if you have UCS gear, and you use Log Insight, than this will be quite useful for you.

Service Release for VMAX SRDF SRA 5.1 posted
This is an important update for SRM users that are using the VMAX SRDF SRA.  You can find out more here.

Hardened Virtual Appliance Operations Guide
This TWP is about the VMware appliances and how they have been hardened according to various standards.  The TWP also goes on from there and talks about what else should be done to further improve the security aspect of the appliances.  I happen to know this paper is going to be updated soon, but in the meantime it does have good info.

Partner Exchange Scheduler Build is now live
I was notified of this yesterday I think and so immediately booked what I could.  I was not so impressed.  It is my first PEX that I am attending as a partner and able to attend sessions.  So I am looking forward to it.  But when I filtered on technical, and intermediate and advanced I found only 37 sessions.  And not all were really technical like I wanted – meaning not a partner class on something partner.  So I booked what I could but I was still surprised.  Duncan of Yellow Bricks was dropped which astonishes me.  Great speaker, and technical.  And I see guys who are not as good a speaker or as technical, or as popular and they have 2 or 3 sessions.  We will see how it goes.  I will be sure to share what I experience.  BTW, if you know me, please do not hesitate to say hi, I would love to meet readers.  Plus, we have a booth, and while we have no product yet, it would still be good for you to check us out.  So look for DataGravity.

Expanding Zimbra appliance disk
I use the Zimbra appliance in my lab.  It appears that Zimbra – now part of Telligent, is not going to support it going forward.  That is bad news for customers of Zimbra as it was the easiest and simplest way to get 50 or 100 users using Zimbra.  Without it I suspect the options are going to be professional services and while that is very good in a way, it will be more costly.  I recently ran out of disk space on the appliance.  And of course, I was under the impression I just had to add a disk to the VM and restart.  But that did not work for me.  I found info here where it said I had to do some steps to add a disk to the VM.  But it did not work for me.  I found another spot that said it should work – meaning add a new VMDK and restart Zimbra, but if it didn’t than use this info.  This info worked just fine and all good.

Installing Veeam ONE Server
I stumbled across this recently and liked it.  I will be getting this going in my own lab soon and I thought I would share it out.  See the full info here.

Quad-Core, 32 GB RAM, 240 GB Flash, 2 TB, Dual-NIC Home Lab Part List
In this, and this, Jonathan has done an interesting job talking about his new home lab.  He has gone with the idea of one physical machine that is quiet and powerful that will allow him to run nested several other ESXi hosts, and even be able to start virtual machines on those nested ESXi hosts.  This is a great choice for a constrained space for learning and testing.  He has done some good research too.

Back to Basics – Configuring Storage: Fibre Channel (Part 1 of 6)
This is good background information if you need it, or perhaps if you need a refresher.  Good info on storage and it covers both the storage overview but also the host and array side too.  So it is nice stuff.

The 35 Best WordPress Plug-ins
I do use WordPress myself for this blog, and I am pretty happy with it.  But some of the long term bloggers I know host WordPress themselves and that means this list of the best WordPress plug-ins is for them.  Some interesting options if you host your own server.  I suspect one day I will do that myself too.

VCDX Journey
James is doing a series on his journey of becoming a VCDX.  It starts here and I think it may turn out to be quite helpful for others.

VCAP-DCD Study Resources
If you are working towards your VCAP-DCD this article can help.  It has links to things that helped the author of the article be successful.  I agree with a number of his suggested resources.

Cool CloudPhysics card, and a problem with vMotions yesterday card
I did a blog yesterday on a new CloudPhysics card, and the fact that vMotions yesterday is not quite working right but will be soon.  You can check it out here.

Virsto is now EOL
As of the first of this month Virsto was no longer for sale.  For more info check this out.

Web Commander – cool web based utility for VMware vSphere Environments
Have you ever wanted to have a UI front end to your PowerCLI scripts so you can manage your environment of vSphere?  So of an interesting idea.  But you can do this if you like.  Check this out.

VCAP5-DCD Exam Experience, Prep Materials and Book Competition
Here is some good info that can help with getting your VCAP5-DCD.

VMware Workstation 10 review and some advanced tips
I know a fair number of you have Workstation on your laptop but I have not used it for quite some time.  When I saw this review I was quite surprised by how far it has come.  Downgrading virtual machine hardware?  Managing ESXi hosts?  Wow.

Fast Active Directory object recovery tip for Veeam
This is very cool.  Being about to recover a deleted AD user using Veeam.  Who would have guessed you could do that.  This is in an older AD that has no AD recycle bin.  Check it out here.

I was not very informed about Nutanix.  I knew the basic about converged infrastructure but not much more.  Than Michael Webster went to work for them which was a big surprise.  Than Andre Leibovici went to work for them – another big surprise.  And than I saw this videoThis was interesting too.  Now I understand more, and is it ever cool.  I am going to go say hi to them at PEX and hopefully get a demo.

Bootstrapping Windows Servers with Puppet
This is a very detailed and interesting article about a non Windows Dev Ops guy who normally built all his software for cross platform Java code that was Linux based.  Than had to fold in Windows.  So an interesting story.

Tools to simulate CPU / Memory / Disk Load
These are not benchmarking tools, but rather, tools to help you stress a virtual machine.  Sometimes people use IOMeter to test for performance, but if you want to stress test your virtual (or physica) machines for example, to see how DRS or vC Ops might handle the situation than these tools will be quite handy.  Check out the article here.

Hotel Wifi Speed Test
I am going to start doing this test in each hotel I stay.  It is really good info to have for those of us who travel a painful amount.  Check it out here.

The NSA can do what to my iPhone?
If you follow the news, especially the security news you would have heard about DROPOUT Jeep which is / was the plan by the NSA to subvert iPhone’s back in 2007 / 2008.  A very good writeup on this can be found here.

iFIXit tears down the new Mac Pro and finds it is a repairable Mac!
This was a big surprise to me.  I did not expect the new Mac Pro to be something that could be repaired (or upgradable).  I thought it would follow the trend seen elsewhere and it would have limited repair at best.  So it was a surprise to find out it was not like that.  Full info can be found here.

What is IFTTT anyway?
This is something that is quite different.  I am working on having a yellow light displayed in my office when certain people email, and a red when other do, and purple when my wife emails me.  The way that my Hue lights can do this, since they do not speak email, is with this extraordinary middle-ware called IFTTT.  Here is a good article about what it is.  IFTTT is really something that is most limited by your imagination.

How to completely remove Office for Mac 2011
I am used to normally being able to drag an app to the trash to uninstall it on a Mac, or maybe there is an uninstall app bundled with the Mac App, or maybe it is in a folder with it.  But only Microsoft would have a painful routine to uninstall Office for Mac 2011.  I had to do this recently and it was a surprise.  But just in case you need to to this you can use this to help.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!  Have a great week!


4 thoughts on “Newsletter: January 18, 2014

  1. Hi Michael,

    Just found you had this Web site for your newsletters which were limited to partner community and I had been reading for almost two years. It’s great that it’s open to everyone!


  2. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously feel this site needs a lot more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!

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