Newsletter: February 3, 2014

Hello all,

I had a hard weekend of travel getting home, and than family things so my newsletter did not even get a start this weekend.  But I am starting it now and hope to have it out soon.  I spent another week working with product management and developers and that is always fun indeed.  I like very much helping to create software that people need, and can use easily and smoothly.  I did blogs recently – today – on using CloudPhysics to do a quick audit, and one on updating Log Insight to 1.5.  I have a big backlog of ideas and thoughts for blog articles but not enough time to do them!  But I hope to do a number this week.

Next week I will be at PEX and I hope to meet and chat with many of you.  Look for me at our DataGravity booth, and at the Veeam meetup Monday night.  See this for the Veeam PEX activities.  BTW, the PEX iOS app is finally in the store.

I hope everyone finds something interesting or useful in today’s newsletter.

Scaling VSAN: Adding a new VSAN host
This is an interesting article that Jad has done.  It steps you through adding a new host to an existing cluster, but it also shows some workaround type stuff that I think others may need.  Find the article here.

VSAN.Me
This is a new site that is trying to collect all the VSAN related blogs and information.  It does have a good amount of information.  But a lot of wasted space due to the pictures of everyone who has shared information.  It is too bad they have not enabled RSS as it would be more likely I could follow them.

VMware VSAN meets EZLAB
This is a nice blog by Jad about his lab and how VSAN fits into it.  Good info and he has a very busy lab!

Configuring Auto Deploy with the vCenter Appliance – Part 1
My previous group used a lot of vCSA, and we were very happy with it.  Auto Deploy with the vCSA is a little different though.  Here is the start of a series on doing Auto Deploy with the vCSA.  It looks good so far.

BIOS Power Policies Affect Performance
Mark has an article here that talks about the vSphere and BIOS settings for the suggest best practices.  He has additional info in the links too.

Back to Basics: Enabling AD User / Groups to Manage VMware SSO
I have seen this NOT done in a few places but it is a good idea to do!  It is easy and not hard but it is also not obvious.  But it is one of those things I would consider a best practice.  Check out how to do it here.

vCenter Server Heartbeat Product Walkthrough’s Now available
Heartbeat is still the best way to keep your vC working when things are not going well.  Gone is the day where you could have a cold spare in a VM somewhere.  Too many things need vC running.  If you want to check out Heartbeat you can easily do that now in a walk-through. Check it out here.

Test Driving the VMware vCenter Support Assistant 5.5
I was one of the beta guys on this as I think this is a very important product for VMware, and it’s customers.  But no one was able to get me an account with licenses associated with it so I could use this product to do all it should.  So I did not contribute at all to it but I do like it a lot. It is a tool originally designed to make it easy to submit SR with the associated logs.  But it has grown to be more.  But check out Chris Wahl’s test drive of it here.  You can see the original announcement of this version here.  I think that this great tool is not that familiar with customers, and of course that would mean it is a good idea to introduce your clients to it – or if you are a customer than you should install it!

Blog Series: ESXi 5 STIG Revision 4 is Out!
This updated STIG for ESXi 5 has a lot of improvements in it.  It is a useful guide to help you secure your environment.  See more info here.

Customizing the View Portal in Horizon View 5.3
I have not looked at doing this for a while, and it has gotten much worse.  This blog will show you how to do some basic custom portal work, but it will be lost if you use HTML Access and I think you should use HTML Access as it is very handy.  But in case you need to customize the View portal, and have no desire to use HTML Access you can use the info from the blog mentioned below.  The example in the blog is about providing direct links to the View clients.  It would have been good to get an example of customizing the portal for a Company logo.

VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 Reference Architecture now available
This is an important document for anyone building vCAC for customers.  Most company’s I know use Professional Services, or ex PSO guys in Technical Marketing to do these kinds of documents.  But in this case it was done with QE and some involvement of PSO.  The previous version of this was not as good as it could be and I think that this version should be better.  I see more info on load balanced environments which is an improvement.  Find the RA here.

Automating VMware ITBM configuration
This is a very exciting product that is part of the vCAC suite.  It is easy to install and it really shows its value fast.  But William has a script to automate the install, and for the partners that is a good way to do things.  See the article here.

VMware vSphere Data Protect 5.5.x appliance / space partition fills up due to Postgress events
This was one I experienced, and helped test out patch / workaround info.  It showed itself to me as not able to do an upgrade successfully – since there was not enough temp space to work with due to the issue with Postgress configuration.  But this is an important patch so everyone should work through this!

Log Insight 1.5 – videos
You can get a general UI intro here, and learn what’s new in this one.

Achieving Operational Efficiency through vCenter Operations with Dell Storage
This is a nice marketing piece on vC with a Dell storage plug-in, as well as vC Ops with a Dell add-in management pack.  This is a great combination for those vSphere customers with Dell storage.  Very nice indeed.  However the blog doesn’t say much useful but it does give you the names and some indication of what is possible so that is good.  Too bad technical marketing didn’t do this blog and include maybe an example of how you could solve problems with this combination of software.

Ten Key vCenter Operations Dashboards for EMC Storage Analytics
Another simple blog intro to a very cool integration point of vC Ops.  EMC has something they call ESA that brings a number of dashboards already created to vC Ops that are very useful to help manage EMC storage.  Great examples in fact of what can be done.  So if you have vC Ops and EMC and don’t have these cool dashboards you should get them.  The blog has more info on this subject like where to find ESA and some videos.

Management Pack for Storage Devices – Behind the SAN Curtain
A good friend of mine has done an interesting blog on an add-in for vC Ops 5.8.  It is called Management Pack for Storage Devices (MPSD) and you can learn more about it in Jeff’s blog.  This has the possibility to really help with troubleshooting, and we all know how often it concerns storage right?  So this is pretty cool.  You can find the MPSD here.  Important note: when you download this file it will have a file name so long you cannot use it to upgrade (working in Admin UI) – which is how you install the MPSD.  So rename it so that it is shorter – I renamed it to vmware-vcops-5.0.0-MPforStorage-1.0-1450289.pak.

Tuning vC Ops for your environment – Part 5 – Capacity Management Tuning
Someone asked me about this a while back.  They wanted to tune the Capacity Management part of vC Ops so it would be more like what they needed.  I found this which has some very good info in that area.  This would be good to review for background info on this subject.

Stop logging me out vC Ops!
This is good info.  If you want to change the forced log out time in vC Ops this will show you how.

Top 20 KB articles for Jan 2014
This is always a good thing to check out.  The Top 20 articles that VMware GSS used to solve customer issues.  You might see something that you haven’t seen yet, and the odds are good you might.  Forewarned is Forearmed of course, and is always a good thing.  One that caught my attention is Resetting the vC 5.x Inventory Service database (2042200) but watch out for it, while it may help it will delete all your tags.  As always it has Installing / upgrading best practices for ESXi (2052329), and vC (2053132).  Something I know would have helped someone I know out is how to determine Network / Storage firmware and driver version in ESX / ESXi (1027206).  One I see is one I lived recently – unable to delete the virtual machine snapshot due to locked files (2017072).  It is a tricky one so read it carefully if you need it.

UCS Manager Plugin 0.9.2 (beta) for VMware vCenter
I know many that use UCS and it is not the easiest to manage.  It looks like Cisco is trying to help with that with some integration with the vCenter Web Client.  Check it out here.

CloudPhysics and Performance
This is an interesting video on how you can find and understand VM performance issues.  It really shows some incredible functionality in CloudPhysics.  Very cool.  Check it out here.  This is another great example of why I like CloudPhysics so much and suggest that many VMware customers need it.  BTW, this may not be available to you if you are a Community user of CloudPhysics but you might be able to get it by clicking on this.  See the CloudPhysics blog for more detail on this.

Email in your lab – two different choices
I have email in my lab – as I try to make my lab realistic, and so I can get email driven reports, like vCheck, but also so I can send and receive email.  As a VMware guy I used the Zimbra appliance and that was great.  It looks like Zimbra will not support the appliance in the future, and with my license expiring I need to replace it.  There are two directions you can go in from here.  Jonathan has a great idea of an SMTP capability from Microsoft running on your DC.  That works great if you just need to forward stuff out to your real email.  But if you need to send and receive email as a real user, as well as forward things out, you need something else.  I recently shared a link to a blog that talked about a Linux Domain Controller which was pretty cool.  What I missed with it, and have checked more now, is that it also provides email support.  So this is likely what I will do.  A very small VM with DC and email.  Wow.  And a nice looking admin capability.

VCAP-DCD | Exam Experience
I know several of you like reading this stuff.  This one seems to be pretty good.

CCIE Bootcamp Review
I have had the pleasure of working close with two CCIE’s and I am most impressed with them.  Not only great guys but very smart indeed.  Also, not just book smart, but experience smart too.  So I have always respected the CCIE test.  When I saw this I found it interesting as it talks about what it takes.

ThreatExpert
This is a cool resource to get an idea of the malware and adware that are out in the wild including where first seen.  I have heard that it is sponsored by Symantec and they may not do that in the future.  Which is too bad as I think that this is quite useful.

Zerto Resource – Landing Page for Zerto
I was introduced to this recently and thought it pretty handy for someone that is working with Zerto.  Check it out here.

Create multiple VMs using PowerCLI
This is a handy article since it shows you how can easily create a bunch of virtual machines.  And you never know when you might find that handy!  I have several times.  See the article here and be aware he is going to update the article in the near future to support virtual machines from template instead of from scratch.

vCheck Updated
Alan recently updated the amazing vCheck utility.  I have not updated to it yet, but hopefully will tomorrow.  This is a great tool.  Not sure what has changed and the changelog.text and readme.md did not make it quite clear.  I think it was something about the vCSA check.  But no matter, it is time to upgrade as this is a most excellent tool!  Get the latest build here.

Microsoft’s Resilient File System (ReFS)
I found this quite interesting.  It is a likely replacement to NTFS one day.  Not yet, and likely not soon but it does seem to be an improvement in the right direction.

How to: Backup Exchange DAG’s with Veeam
I was asked about this a while back and I stumbled across this today.  A simple overview and answer that yes, Veeam can backup Exchange DAG’s.

NFS and Exchange – not a good combination
This was passed to me recently – where Tony Redmond writes about NFS and Exchange and how they are not a good combination (his article has some excellent links on this subject).  I have seen quite a number of people that have ignored this without issue.  But, that is not a good thing to do and you should be careful.  What I find curious is how long this has been true.  If they knew this in 2010 why did they not start improving their product so that it could work on NFS?  Another idea is to visit this site and vote to “support sharing exchange data on VMDKS on file shares”.  I have voted on this, and hopefully enough people will to catch Microsoft’s attention.

Some vExperts have vCloud Hybrid Service access
I hope to be a vExpert and I would love to have access to vCHS.  I know people working on it, and very smart ones too, plus I have seen bits and pieces.  To actually use it and put it through it’s paces and write about it would be lots of fun.  So if you are a vExpert you should check this out.

Two “Big Deals” – EMC Architect Tool, and a HUGE new way to get EMC software
This is an interesting blog from Chad over at Virtual Geek.  It is great that people can get EMC software easier than in the past.  But what really impresses me is the EMC Architect Tool. That is darn cool. And if you are an EMC SE or partner, you can get a Visio of what you do in it.  Wow, that is really impressive.  It has only one VMware shape right now but I am sure they can add more easily.  This is a very cool tool!

Understanding Storage Architectures
This is a most impressive read.  I have read it carefully once, and I will need to do it several times more.  But it is very interesting, and I think it is very important as well.  There is pure education, as well as some good ideas in this document.  I think truly only Chad could have written it!  I wish I had worked for Chad as I suspect I would be a lot smarter right now!  Check out this great doc here.

Fitbit Force
I bought one of these recently and got it working today.  Pretty easy to do, and it fits easily on my wrist and doesn’t bother me.  Since I did that I have gone 1,038 steps and .79 of a kilometer running around the house doing all the normal things I do.  It will be interesting to see how this does with my work outs, hiking, and other things.  I will let you all know if it goes well and is useful over time.

How I lost my $50,000 Twitter Username
This was interesting reading.  I hope that Paypal and GoDaddy – neither of whom I deal with any longer – will learn from this.  I am always encouraging and supportive when business ask me to prove myself and ask odd questions.

Siri for the home?
One of my very cool co-workers is the ultimate gadget guy.  And one of the things he has introduced me to is called Ubi.  It is really Siri for your home or office.  If I was not heading off on a long road trip to PEX and India, I would be ordering one!  Check it out here.

Chris Wolf – Why I decided to join VMware
This is sort of interesting – why he decided to join VMware.  I can understand.

Soapbox – I like Apple latest earnings!
As a shareholder of Apple, I was quite happy with their recent earnings.  I was surprised that the analysts did not like what Apple accomplished.  For more background check this out.

Soapbox – don’t read if you have tender feelings!
I am very disappointed that VMware has asked Veeam and Nutanix to not be at PEX.  I cannot believe that they did this.  But I guess I left VMware at the right time as this sort of behavior is something that would really bother me.  It is unprofessional, and something they should be actually ashamed of.  But there is another way to look at this – partners everywhere should realize they need to know Nutanix and Veeam because VMware has confirmed that they are both stellar products that VMware is afraid of.  It is also very good to know that both of them support both VMware and other hypervisors.  Once  upon a time VMware depended on a strong product and honest and very hard working people to sell and support it.  We always took the high road and never disparaged our competitors.  But things are a little different now, and I am not sure what has happened.  That is mostly politeness as I can guess what has happened.  VMware – take note, I think that this is the start of things going poor for you.  Have you forgotten that your partners make you more than 90% of your revenue?  Shame on you!

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

Michael

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