Newsletter: February 9, 2014

Hi all,

I had not expected to do this today.  I thought tonight or tomorrow early.  But the kind of VMware partner I am means I don’t get all the access I thought it did.  Most but not all.  I had a good week at home but still in the lab and working with developers.    What gets into a 1.0 product, and what doesn’t get into 1.0 is a very tough call.  I have been learning a lot about it.  But a bunch of things today for one and all.  Everyone have a great week, and if at PEX have a great time, and look for me at the DataGravity booth (#222) or if you see me around please do not hesitate to say hi.  Walking around in San Francisco in the rain today is pretty nice, and this much rain is I think a little unusual.  But it is necessary – California has had a lot of drought.


PEX  Stuff – including IOS app comments
I noticed that when I use the Add to Calendar in the PEX app for the sessions I registered for that it added to them to the local time.  So that when I got into San Francisco and the time on my phone changed that all the sessions were now occurring at the wrong time!  Something to watch out for and you will need to delete them and add them again, or add them for the first time here – this could have been avoided if they add them to the calendar with a Timezone specified.  Using the app also allowed me to register for sessions I did not have access to.  And if you don’t pay close attention you will not notice.  It very quickly flashes an X when you try and register for something that is either full or you are not allowed too.  I suggest that you look online in the schedule builder to confirm just in case.  BTW, here is some good info from the PEX people – likely you have seen it but just in case.  I have been at all of the PEX events, and even the TSX before it, but this is my first where I get to attend and learn – very cool!

VMware Certifies new memory channel attached storage on vSphere 5.1 and vSphere 5.5
I saw on Cormac’s blog a most interesting article.  Likely it will not impact many of us yet but it is big and will impact many of us in the future I believe.  I am speaking about UltraDIMM from SanDisk.  Very interesting stuff and a great idea.  Check out Cormac’s blog here.

vSphere Web Client on Linux
This is a great read.  It is about how a blogger – Tim – tried to get the vSphere Web Client working on Linux.  It is quite a journey he had but it did end well.  So check it out here in case you want to run the vSphere Web Client on Linux yourself.  It took a bit of work on the part of the Tim, so most excellent he persevered and also wrote it all down!

ESXi syslog entries have localhost for hostname
This is something I saw a long time ago, but I did not put as much time in it as I should have.  And so it stayed a bug and was released in the wild.  It is definitely something I regret.  So I am very glad that Steve caught it and figured it out.  When you are working with Auto Deploy, and using Log Insight (or any other log tool) you will see the Auto Deployed hosts with localhost instead of their actual host name.  To understand the issue you can learn that here, but for how this impacts Log Insight check this out.

vSphere and SYSLOG
We have had some versions of ESXi have issues with sending syslog entries properly.  I was quite happy to see this blog that said all versions of ESXi are now fixed and should be reporting properly.  Check this out for more info including what patches you might need.

Don’t forget HA Admission Control, you can use Super-Metrics
I quoted this blog a while back as they did a good job about tuning capacity management in vC Ops.  Now they have one about turning HA admission control into a super-metric backed dashboard widgit.  And that is pretty  useful.  Check it out here.

Which vSCSI controller should I use?
Mark has a great blog on this subject.  We have seen lately more interest in this area.  We saw Michael write about some performance testing that suggested PVSCSI was a pretty good selection.  So very good to have more on this subject from Mark.

vSphere HA and VMs per datastore
This is important info that Duncan shares.  I had quite forgotten there was an HA related limit per datastore for VMs.  With solutions like Tintri and VSAN pushing a single very large datastore it is key to understand there is a limit (2048) in terms of virtual machines powered on that datastore.  Check out here what Duncan shares on this as this is something that should not be forgotten and should be part of your design.

Quick Tip – how to find the vCSA version / build number from the command line
If you work mostly in the UI than it is easy to find the version and build info of vC.  But it is not if you work mostly in the command line.  Which is where William spends a lot of time so it is no surprise that he shares here how to find the version number and build of vCSA.  I knew this already – for Windows that is, since a while back I had learned how to troubleshoot vC starting issues by starting it at the command line.  And of course once there I saw other things like the version option.

vSphere 5.5 VUM fails to download metadata and create baselines when using Oracle database
In one long road-trip I asked every customer if they used Oracle or not as the vC db.  It is funny that even in some of the very large Oracle shops I visited there was only one that did.  But where there is 1, there is more.  So it is important to know that if you are using Oracle for the VUM DB you might have some issues.  For the problem info, and the workaround check this out.

OpenStack with vSphere and NSX
I have shared articles from this series that Christian is doing on using OpenStack, NSX and vSphere and it is pretty good.  He is one of my past co-workers and very smart indeed.  So a good series that you can find here.  He is up to part 6 now!  BTW, he has done one of the HOL labs that you can work with at PEX on this same subject!

Service Release SRDF SRA for SRM
This is an important update for SRM users that are using SRDF.  This is a good blog to read and yet you should actually get the SRA from VMware rather than the blog.  That keeps you in support, and also provides additional and important QA to the SRA.  I fully expect the way things are going at VMware that one day this will not be true, but for now it is.  You need to get SRA’s from VMware only.

HP releases Insight Control for VMware vCenter 7.3 including HP OneView support
I have not worked with this software for a long time.  Once upon a time it was very popular in my world and I used it extensively.  But I really have not seen it for a long time and so when I saw this talking about a new release it was quite good to see.  It has a long list of new and updated features.  I like how it is a plug-in to vC as well.  That is key.  I note in the documentation it says that it completes the transition to vC Web Client so that sounds like it may be pretty nice.

 ESXi host time keeping best practices
This is an area I have spent a lot of time helping customers with.  It is so important to keep time consistent, for a variety of reasons.  Microsoft AD needs time consistent to allow users to log in, and tracking bad guys through your logs requires your log time to be consistent.  It is in fact most important to have consistent time in your enterprise, followed by correct time. Here is some good info on ESXi host time keeping.  It links to a number of documents and one of them I found something I did not know.  On the KB article talking about using MS AD DC’s to provide time keeping to ESXi hosts it had some info I had not seen before.  It requires editing files on the ESXi console.  I have not done this but yet I have had no issues.  A little closer investigation shows that this is necessary for Likewise which is what ESXi uses for AD integration.  Since I have not normally done that I have not seen any issues.  The issue is that Likewise syncs the time when it connects and two things connecting to sync is never good.  More companies are now using AD in the ESXi console – which is good since it means that accounts can be audited easier, and password complexity can be managed easier.  But with more companies doing AD in the console that means this extra config is more important to understand and do.

vSphere 5.1 – Unable to deploy VM from template
I hope that everyone reads this as it can help in more than just 5.1 upgrades.  It will happen if you export and import custom specifications, and it can happen if you use the vSphere Web Client to enter the passwords into the custom specification.  In all cases you will need to reenter the passwords and using the C# client.  But check out the blog here.

vSphere Monitoring and Performance
This is a new document that talks about monitoring and performance of vSphere 5.5.  It starts with understanding counters and talks about how to improve.  It has quite a few pages, and covers off a lot of things.  I think that it is basic, but solid info and is a great baseline to start with.

HA Poster now available
I really like this poster.  I was going to print it out big for my home office, but I think I will get an original from Irfan so that is really handy.  Not sure the exact measurements to use if I print it big for my home office anyway.  When this came out I saw a complaint or two about having to type in your name and email for the poster.  Irfran believes that he did a lot of work on the poster, and it is fair if he wants to do a survey that he has our info.  I think that this is quite reasonable and certainly the poster is worth it.  He has done a lot of work so it is only fair.

vCAC – Add VM requester to Windows Local Admin
This is a good example of something that should be a feature, but it is not.  And thanks to John for sharing out how to do this as it is definitely a good thing to know how.  And yes, I did send a note suggesting that this should be a feature!  If you want to add the requester of a VM to the local admin group, this can be done with this info.

The vCAC Advanced Service Designer Explained
This is one of the key new things in vCAC 6.0 and yet it is one of the more hidden in a way.  I heard some guys talking about what was new in vCAC 6.0 and what they were going to have to learn and the ASD was not mentioned.  But I believe it is key and something important to learn.  Certainly the dev people I know – and once I knew many of them for vCAC often mentioned it.  So here is a nice blog that defines and provides a good example.

vCAC 6.0 – Basic Hypervisor blueprint
Yves has done a video – the first of his I have seen, on doing a vCAC blueprint. His organization has a number of vCAC config videos which can be found here.  I find vCAC a bit complex in places, so the videos are quite helpful.

Is Microsoft Direct Access the new VPN?
This is something that can avoid the use of a VPN and it sounds pretty good.  It started back with Win2K8 R2 but has been upgraded in Win2K12.  It is essentially application level VPN and sort of like what is done in IOS.  It is not actually an application level VPN, I guess we could call it an OS level VPN.  But it is cool and useful.  Check out this link for more info.

Tintri Global Center Now Shipping
For those who have read this blog, or the newsletter before it know that I am fond of Tintri.  I had a demo of it before it shipped that quite impressed me.  I still think of it as a great example of a usable UI that presents information easily and smoothly and makes an Admin powerful without pain.  So it is cool that they now have this tool to tie different instances into one UI – and still have the idea of workloads are central.  More info can be found here.  Cool.

Passed VCDX – My experience and tips
Viktor has a very nice write up on his journey to becoming VCDX 121.  If you are thinking of doing this – and if you are professional services you should be thinking of it than it is good reading.  If I was still PSO I would chase after this very strongly.  But check out Viktor’s story here.

Fooled by marketing metrics
This was an interesting read.  I loved working in Technical Marketing.  It was marketing that was truthful and technical and more about how to use our stuff the best way, and often showing that for things that others could not do. So actually helping customers do something they want to do, but also showing not yet customers how cool things were.  But, product marketing is something else.  I have worked with good ones, and with others.  The others do the marketing metrics like the blog talks about.

Top 10 DIY Office upgrades
This is something I think that could help many of us. I believer there is many of you with home offices.  I have a great home office, but it is not a DIY but rather thanks to the great stock options I had at VMware I was able to hire a professional!

vCheck Upgrade
Last week I mentioned that there was a vCheck upgrade available.  Of course, I had not done an upgrade before so I was curious.  It turns out that it is easy.  I moved the old folder structure to an archive and extract the new version.  So before the upgrade, and after the upgrade, the same file structure existed.  This also meant my scheduled job would continue just fine and it did.  I ran the script once just to be safe and it is a good thing I did as I needed to answer the configuration questions again.  But once done I got an email the next morning as always.  In the morning reports I had been seeing 6.15 and after this upgrade I saw 6.17.  So easy upgrade!  Which is good since I did not see any instructions for this anywhere.

Best Practices for virtualizing your Oracle databases with VMware
This is the third in a series by the chief Oracle architect at EMC.  Which I happen to know they have virtualized a lot of Oracle so this guy has a lot of experience and knowledge to share.

Leveraging Tools on the Go – A consultant’s perspective
This is a blog about something that use to impact me.  I had cool tools often but a number of places would not let me use them.  Than in the last few years of being PSO I thought the customer – and not me – should be touching the keyboard.  But before that I lived what this blogger is talking about and I think it is good to understand so you are prepared when you are in the same spot.

October 2015 – end of the swipe and sign era
This is pretty interesting as it talked about bringing the US credit card system inline with the rest of the world.  Meaning you will not sign but rather enter your PIN.  The US is the last jurisdiction in the modern world and it turns out the US has a quarter of the worlds credit cards, but yet suffers half of all credit card fraud.  This PIN system will most certainly help with that.  Here is a great article about this transformation.

XP cannot connect when using vSphere 5.5 C# client
I don’t use XP much, although somewhere I still have an XP desktop so I did not know that the vSphere 5.5 C# client and XP did not get along.  But thanks to this blog I do know, and I know how to fix it too!

vExpert 2014 applications are now open
I saw this recently and thought I should share it out so no one who blogs will miss it.  Than of course I realized I should apply!  I think it would be cool to be recognized for what I do with this blog.  Especially with the time I put into it.  So I did apply and here is hoping I get recognized!

Piper Comments
I got some comments on my blog about my getting a Piper working, so I did an update here.  Pretty cool gadget.

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


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One thought on “Newsletter: February 9, 2014

  1. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve incorporated you guys
    to my own blogroll.

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