Newsletter: January 25, 2014

Hello all,

I had an interesting week working with engineering on our cool new stuff.  Helping them to understand what is a ‘typical’ customer network, or how customers might adopt and use our stuff.  So really a lot of fun.  But I was able to collect some useful and interesting things as well and so I hope there is something for everyone today.  BTW, I wrote recently on what I do, and how how I think storage should do more.

Have a great week!


Happy Birthday Mac!
I had forgotten about this until I saw this.  Yesterday was the big birthday for the Macintosh computer and it is a well deserved one.  That blog had me check this out and it was something.  The video and site are quite interesting for me.  My first Mac was one at work which was a Mac 512.  My own first Mac was an SE.  It was very exciting times actually.  But check out the site as it is really well done and interesting.  Many, including me sometimes talk a lot about iPads and iPhones that have changed things.  But the Mac, was really what started things changing and provided the ability (and money) to make even bigger changes like the IOS would.  Both directly, and indirectly a lot of what we take for granted know in our technology work is related to Apple.

VSAN contest – good grief!
Here is a brief blog from Duncan about how many virtual machines some guys at a VMUG got on three hosts.  Really amazing actually.  Check it out here.  I think we will start seeing more FUD on VSAN as we get closer to it being GA’ed so it is good to see things like this.

Building a hyper-converged platform using VMware Technology
Duncan has done a very good job  building out a physical pod that is ‘hyper-converged’ and ready to do a really significant amount of work.  It is worth reading not just to get a shopping list – which it is pretty good for – but also see the process that Duncan goes through.  You will learn – as always – as you read through part 1 and part 2.  I think what Duncan has done, is create a really good design for a modern cluster that most customers would do very well with.  If you don’t use the SSD for  VSAN, you can use it for other things, but I think it will be very well used for VSAN so this is pretty exciting.

Disabling alarms in vCenter and ignoring “Health Status Monitoring” errors in vC Ops
This is something I have seen a lot of.  I have raised bugs on it, and I have seen it less in some builds and more in others.  It is something I feel is ignored to the last minute in the VMware dev cycle and as a result it is harder to fix.  However, I have also seen where this error is fixed when you ‘fix’ your DNS so that it resolves long / short and forward / reverse so maybe not a bug.  In this blog the writer shows you how to disable this error so it doesn’t generate a lot of red in vC Ops.  I think every single customer who has this issue should call VMware support.  If VMware gets a lot of calls on what appears to be the same issue they are very good indeed at prioritizing that to be fixed.  So please, if you get this issue call GSS and after that, if they do not fix it, use the info in the referenced blog to clear it out.  I should add that I think that with vC 5.5b, and vC Ops 5.8 that this issue is much less rare.  In fact, I do not remember this error occurring at all since I hit vC 5.5b.  So maybe upgrading is another way to avoid!

VSAN Part 15 – Multicast requirements for networking – misconfiguration detected
This is an interesting issue.  VSAN requires the ability to use multicast between the hosts in the cluster.  It is not done often but it is required.  So if you cannot do that you get a misconfiguration detected error that is hard to figure out.  See the full story, and workaround here.

When to centralize vCenter SSO 5.5
Justin has an article that answers this question.  I think that SSO 5.5 works seriously better than before, but I think there is still work to be done for the bigger customers that need to have different configurations and redundancy than the smaller customers.  There is a TWP out soon that will help with some of this.

VMware Cloud Director – 5.13 now GA
This is a big release in that there is more supported databases and guest operating systems, plus  a lot of things fixed.  The release notes are found here.  I do not use vCD, nor do I expect to, so I have not tested this upgrade.  I have been asked why I don’t use it.  The answer is simple in that I try to work like the ‘average’ customer.  And before the ‘average’ customer starts using something like vCD than I will too.  But it will not be vCD but rather I suspect something like a new kind of vC, or perhaps vCAC.  Some will in fact use vCD but they will not know it is vCD as it will be held by someone who is a hybrid cloud operator.  I would like that for my own lab one day but it is still too expensive.

Horizon View Clients update – v2.3
I saw this announced recently, and you can find it here.  I am very happy that they broke the clients out of the core View stuff.  It means they are able to release separately from View, and more often.  This is a very minor release it seems as it includes drag and drop for the desktops shown in the View client workspace as well as Real time audio for Mac clients.  I upgraded my Mac View client, and after I paused before selecting my desktop, the client crashed.  I restarted it and did the same thing again and had no issues.  Not sure about you, but I often have troubles finding the View client download so here it is and I will add it to my reminders page.

Running VCO workflows from vCAC during provisioning of virtual machines
This is important knowledge as it is the key way to modify provisioning workflows – among many other potential workflows.  There are a variety of ways you can do this but VCO is an important way, and potentially the main method in the future.  Check out the blog that shows a good example of extending a provisioning workflow using VCO.

Installing vCenter SRM on Windows 2012 reports an MSI error in the event log
I am surprised at the range of issues I am hearing about with Win2K12.  I heard someone say yesterday that he was skipping Win2K12 for Win2K12 R2 as it seemed to fix a lot of things.  But in any-case, here is an issue with installing SRM on Win2K12.  This is not a major error, and in fact can even be ignored sometimes.  But for the background info, and when you can avoid it, check out this KB article.

OpenStack with vSphere and NSX – Part 5 – creating virtual networks
This is an interesting series that Christian is working on.  I used to work with Christian and he is very detailed and methodical so if you want to learn more about OpenStack and NSX this is the series to follow.  Check out the latest in the series here.  Last I heard VMware was not providing to the bits to partners to suppor them testing and learning NSX in their labs.  The hands on labs was the only place to play with it.  That is a bad thing, and I think a very poor way of doing things, but I hope it is not true any longer and you get a chance to work through Christians series.

Creating a manual VSAN cluster with PowerCLI
This is a great example of what can be done in PowerCLI.  Alan has a snippet of code that will allow you to setup your VSAN cluster but with VSAN set to manual.  Which is my personal best practice during the initial build out.

Display VMware Horizon View Pool Information using PowerCLI
I think that is is pretty useful way to help with documentation for a View environment.  But, I believe that using PowerCLI to do this is not as easy as this blog suggestions.  I am not able to test this at this time, but if you have trouble following this suggestions in the referenced blog, you can use this which I know will get you going to the point where you could successfully do the referenced PowerCLI.

Hands down ultimate VDI/DaaS platform – persistent desktops
This is an interesting article by Andre after his start at Nutanix.  He is talking about how the Nutanix scale out architecture is particularly suited to persistent desktops and how good that is!  Check it out here.  BTW, check out the Nutanix story here.  It is interesting.

VMware Data Protection – Operation failed due to snapshot
This is an interesting problem, and an interesting solution.  I may have seen this issue quite some time ago with one of the early builds of VDP and while it is too bad the problem can still occur, it is pretty good the workaround still works.  Check out the full story here.

Virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controllers on vSphere
I was very surprised to see this in a way.  The discussion of virtualizing DC’s is pretty darn old.  I think it was one of my first VMworlds when the IRS showed why they virtualized their DC’s and they proved it was not a bad thing and in fact was good.  But I know the author and he is very smart, and very detailed.  So this is a pretty good document that has wonderful background information.  However, I must add, that I think just because you can now clone DC’s safely, that you do not have to do that.  I do not.  I also do not replicate domain controllers.  While that may work better now there is not enough value to this to do it and I like to avoid the risks that are easy to avoid.  However, Deji has provided additional great value in the Appendix – which may be longer than the actual text part of the paper – that will help you test things for yourself.  Find more info here.

VMware, Puppet, EMC, and SAP
This is an interesting read about building a cloud that has as its key service SAP.  But the thought process is good, and it is interesting too.  It ties together quite a range of technology but I think that the end result, given a good team at implementation would be pretty cool.  But the bog is interesting and you can find it here.

Visual Guide to LAG thinking for Server Admins
This is not an article that is really directly vSphere related, but it is quite interesting and educational, and it has pictures that I find useful.  If you want to learn more about LAG check this out.

Adopting the Cloud, importing vs. build your enterprise virtual machines
This blog was interesting as it is a topic that we have had before, when we were thinking about importing our physical machines into virtualization or building fresh but now it was about importing to the cloud or building fresh.  At the end of the blog it actually mentions a product that might help but I am not aware of it, or suggesting anyone should look at it.  But I think the blog itself is a good one and worth thinking about.  In the original virtualization phase I generally suggested build fresh was the best.  I had lots of experience and much of it was painful as customers choose instead to import – and I had to tidy.  We went through that again when we considered importing desktops for VDI vs. building new.  Again, building new was the right answer in most cases.  So we have it again with the cloud, and I think the right answer may be the same one again.  Check out the story here.

Restoring vCD vApps with Veeam
I remember the first time, long ago, I tried to backup and restore a vApp or rather a VM from vCD.  In fact you can still find it on the internet seven years later.  I knew that recently Veeam had added this to their product, which I was not surprised to hear, and I knew it was not easy.  To properly backup a VM or vApp in vCD you need to use two API – one from vCD, and one from vC and use both sets of retrieved information to identify your VM and where it came from.  So not easy.  So it was good to find this where Hugo shows you it all works.

The new storage buyer
This is an interesting blog and I think that Chuck has it spot on.  Storage buyers are changing, and the market is changing too.  Not everyone will agree with this.  I have met storage teams that will buy what they always have and it will be incremental better but mostly similar.  But I have also met those who are more careful, and are thinking a little more broadly, and as a result have somewhat different expectations.  Those are the guys I like to spend more time with.  But check out the blog here.

Elastic Sky updates the VCP-DCD materials
Paul has updated some of his materials for VCP-DCD studying.  You can see his announcement of that here, and all of his VCP-DCD materials here.  Paul has quite a few materials to help with your studying as well as some test practice materials too.

VCAP-CID and VCAP-DCD exam experiences
This is a good bit on the experience of sitting both of these exams.  So some good info and tidbits to know.  Check it out here.

Wow – and WTF, a Linux DC?
This is pretty interesting and it certainly makes me smile.  First of course it was WTF.  But you can learn how to create a functional Linux based Active Directory Domain Controller.  For many labs I have seen, this will be a smaller footprint DC that means you can get all you need – including a Certificate Authority, but without the heavy footprint of Windows.  Amazing.  See the start of the series here.

The essential 4 gadgets for Content Creators
This is a pretty good list of gadgets for someone that produces content like videos and blogs with photos.  It is well done and you can find it here.

Could VMware GO be the answer for single ESXi management?
This is very interesting and I think it might be a good idea. How do you install and configure that first ESXi host if you only have the vSphere Web Client.  VMware Go could help with that according to this blogger.  I think that this might actually help in other areas – Mornay – thinking of you.

Support for Zerto Replication
This is not really good for VMware and Zerto customers but the fact is that the Zerto product is not certified by VMware, which means that Zerto customers using it with VMware are not able to get support from VMware.  Not good.  Both partners, and customers, must check the HCL before they purchase.  It doesn’t matter if it is a server or a storage platform, or something like Zerto.  While it is more of a software product and you might think that removes the need for certification but this software product reaches very deep into VMware to do things.  I hope that this can be resolved to the satisfaction of our common customers soon.  For the official words see this.

Want to learn more about IP v6?  Are you a Windows guy?
You can find a great book called Practical IPv6 for Windows Administrators here.  I have not checked it out but I have heard about it and good things too.  I do not know much about IPv6 but I did learn something about it at VMware that was quite interesting.  You can make legal IPv6 addresses that are swearwords.  Now is that cool or what!

Building or upgrading a Virtual Home Lab
This series will be interesting and useful for you if you have a home lab – particularly if you believe you need to run everything in one machine inside of Workstation.  A little different but I think it is popular.  You can find out more in the three parts that start here.

Using the Cisco SG300-20 in the Home Lab
This caught my attention since I have both an SG300-20 and an SG300-28 and am most impressed with them.  For Cisco UI it is pretty easy to use, and very full featured.  This is a nice article that introduces the switch as well as how he has implemented it.  I think more home labs should have this switch.  Very quiet, and a lot of features – it will allow you to do more network testing that will help at customers.

VCAP-DCA Lab Talk Part 1: Options and Use Case
This is a pretty good article on a home lab.  It looks at it from the point of view can the use case(s) be met which is a pretty good method and it covers off things pretty good.  Check it out here.

Deep Security – How Agent – Less works in VMware deployments
This is very cool stuff.  As I mentioned, when I have some time I would like to have this running in my lab.  I do not need to have AV in my virtual machines IF I am using vShield Endpoint AND Deep Security.  This means I am still protected but my virtual machines are not using as much resources and yet still protected..  Check this out to learn more how Deep Security does this.  I believe currently that Trend doesn’t support NSX but supports vCNS.  I know people that ask me about Symantec support this sort of thing and it only supports using NSX.  There is good reason I want to have Trend in my lab – and one of them is that they were the first to supply this sort of technology and as a result they have been doing it for longer than anyone and that counts.

Want to be a Veeam recognized System Engineer? (VMCE)
If I was still in professional services this is one I would look for pretty quick!  If you want to be certified as a Veeam SE than check this out.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far! Have a great weekend.


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3 thoughts on “Newsletter: January 25, 2014

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