Newsletter: March 21, 2014

Hello all,

It has been a while since I did a newsletter.  A long PTO in India, and a very busy work life has slowed a lot of things down.  I am working at my first start-up, and it likely will not be my last as it is a lot of fun but it is also very hard.  I am very much looking for GA of our extraordinary product so I can start sharing knowledge about it.  This blog is where you will find the coolest info and it will be fun!  I had some time this week to work with some interesting CloudPhysics stuff that I will not talk about here, but there are some cool things coming from them!

I know that this is a big issue but I have a lot to share.  It has collected over the last while while I was on PTO.  I should be back to a smaller more normal size next week.

I have a lot to share today, so I think something (or more) for everyone!


Almost wrapping up: Vietnam Trip
Duncan has an interesting article about volunteering in Vietnam.  What a great thing he has done.  Please check it out, and if you can send some money to one of the charities he mentions that would be great.  I particularly like the Orphan Impact one.  I am most impressed with what Duncan has done, and quite sad I never did this when I worked at VMware!

How to Supercharge your Virtual SAN Cluster (2 Million IOPS!!!)
Wade had done an excellent job on this article.  Not only does he show you how VSAN can handle a large number of IOPS, and even how it does that in a predictable fashion, but he also talks about how he did the testing.  So a lot of good info that you can use.  Check it out here.  Note how Wade used pvscsi?

VSAN and vCAC, XvMotion, and backups with VDP
Rawlinson has done a couple of articles on things I have heard people talking about.  The first is about migrations like XvMotion, and the other was how VSAN would work with vCAC.    So short answer is yes – works.  But to learn more check this out on XvMotion and this on vCAC.  Jeff has an article here about doing backups of VMs on VSAN – there is no issue with backup and VMs on VSAN but it is still an interesting article.

VSAN Design Considerations…
This is something that Duncan did a while back, but he has continued to update and did that again recently.  Definitely this is something to check now and again before you build out VSAN for a customer.  BTW, the VSAN Design and Sizing Guide has been updated also so make sure you keep an eye on it for changes.

VSAN – The spoken reality
This is a good article that Duncan has done.  Some very good points.  Design a solution that fits the needs.  Have an open mind and design carefully and don’t get caught up in the old way of thinking.

Exploring VSAN Ready Nodes, Per-Socket Pricing, and Design Guides
A nice breakdown by Chris Wahl of VSAN and things to think about before you buy.  This is not in-depth design info article but rather a good look at things you need to think about and understand including packaging and pricing.

Now available as Rough Cut – Essential VSAN: Administrator’s Guide to VMware Virtual SAN
This should be an interesting book but I have not seen it yet.  It is available only to those with Safari Books online access.  But I will be sure to purchase it when I can!  Based on what we have seen from Duncan and Cormac in their blogs I bet this book will be very good indeed!

Using VSAN with Storage Arrays
Chuck has done a nice job talking about having VSAN and a storage array and how they both have a place.  This is something I have seen come up recently in a few places.  Chuck has great points and it should help in a number of different conversations.

Switching to the PVSCSI controller
Steve has an interesting article on getting the PVSCSI controller working in a VM.  He has trouble making it work in SLES but he figured it out.  So good info.  He also has some links to other material on PVSCSI.  Why this interest in this controller?  In a word – Performance.  A good article on this can be found here.

Connecting to vSphere Web Client fails with error: HTTP Status 404
This can happen with vSphere 5.1.x and 5.5.x and there is no resolution.  It happens when you install the vSphere Web Client to a non default location.  You can uninstall, reinstall to fix this issue.  I should add that I use the same path (folder structure), but a different drive letter for my installs and that works without this error.  So it looks like the issue is the folder path and not the folder drive letter.  For more info or to follow the progress of this issue you can use this.

Getting started with vCNS
If you need some help getting started with vCNS you can find it here.  This is something that is not as simple and logical as the rest of VMware stuff.  Except for vCAC that is.  In any-case it is nice to see this help with getting started as this is very cool software that can help in a lot of different customer situations.

vSphere HA VM Monitoring – Back to Basics
This is a very good blog article to read – good job GS.  I agree that VM Monitoring is rarely used by customers.  In fact it is rarely used in my own lab!  Check out GS’s article and think about using this feature.  I am enabling this feature now in my lab.

Broadcom data corruption on ESXi / ESX hosts using the tg3 driver and TSO enabled
This is an important KB article since I think it might impact a fair number of customers.  More detail and solution is available here.  If you do not have TSO enabled this will not impact you.  But it is worth reading (and updating) since you might enable it one day!

Want to learn more about vscsiStats?
You can learn what is vscsiStats if that is what you need.  I would think most of you know what it is and a little about it.  I think in one of the VMware courses I did we  covered a very little bit about this very useful utility.  If you want to learn a lot more about what it is, and how it can help you, than Irfan has a great blog on the subject here.  Thanks very much for this Irfan!

My upgrade to 5.5 Update 1
I first did my hosts.  I created a new baseline and called it 5.5 U1 and added to it the 14 patches that were released on March 11.  Than I applied that baseline to my cluster.  VUM took a little while but it ended with everything upgraded and no issues.  The build of 5.5 U1 upgraded hosts is 1623387.  This is not the normal way to upgrade – I normally start with vC.  But I thought I would do it different this time and see how it did.  It did fine.  The vC upgrade (Windows based for me) went fine as well.  But once again the Inventory Service took a while with no indications.  As I mentioned in the past it can fool you into thinking it is done and you continue which is not good.  So I force myself to be careful and wait now.  If you have not ever used the simple install or upgrade you will never be able to use it after that.  I learned that is still true.  If you have been surprised in some of the past upgrades when you accidentally uninstall VUM when you think you are upgrading it, you will not be surprised this time since there is actually a VUM upgrade.  Don’t forget to update your VUM plug-in after the upgrade.  While this is an Update there is mostly fixes in it.  I do like the Win2K12 R2 support and of course VSAN too.  Otherwise it is mostly fixes.  Here are the vC Release notes, ESXi Release notesVUM release notes and PowerCLI 5.5 r2 release notes. BTW, vC build is 1623101 and the ESXi build is 1623387.  If you were using the vCSA – and I wish I was, you can be reminded how easy the upgrade is in this article.

Want to learn more about vSphere Flash Read Cache – vFRC?
I know someone who did and I thought the best info, and easiest to read was here.  Great job Cormac.  Duncan also did some good stuff here too.

vSphere Data Protection Backup to Tape
This is quite a good blog from Jeff.  He not only answers the question – Yes – that you can have VDP protected data on tape, but he tells you how, and than even shows you how to automate and test.  So well done!  Check it out here.

Install a wildcard certificate on a Horizon View Security Server
This is a useful article in that the author had a wildcard certificate to add to a View server but it did not have a private key.  So a problem since you must have a private key.  So he shows you how to solve that problem, and than how to implement the updated cert with the View server.

Windows 7 VM is unresponsive to RDP or Pings, but …
If you have a Windows 7 VM that you cannot access via RDP, or you cannot ping successfully, but you can access via the vSphere Web Client, or vSphere Client, console, than you likely have a Windows 7 power saving issue.  Find out more here.  BTW, the reason I found this KB article is because the Knowledge Base Advisor in Cloud Physics said it was important and I should check it out!  You should check out this excellent  guide that will help you configure Win7 (or Win8) for better behavior in a virtualized environment.

Migrate to View (MTV)
I saw this Fling recently that will migrate a virtual machine from non – VDI to View.  But I must admit I do not like the look of it.  I do not have time to test it – I do wish I had a minion to help get more things done!  But from reading through it I believe it would be best to not use this tool.  Or if you must, test it very carefully.  Why am I worried or concerned?  I was stung in the past when customers wanted to move existing virtual machines into View.  As attractive as that sounds the customer was much better served by building for View.

Google and VMware?  DaaS?
Someone was curious about why Google was at PEX, and what DaaS is going to mean in the short term.  I thought this gives some good info on these two subjects.

Virtual disk size on Log Insight virtual appliance
Steve has an article around different questions about the hard disk on the Log Insight appliance.  Check it out here.

Automated deployment & configuration of Log Insight with PowerCLI
While Log Insight is easy to install, really easy in fact, it is also good to know that you can automate the install if necessary.  This can be done with PowerCLI and that is pretty cool.  If you need to know how to do this you can find out how here.

How vCAC integrates with Service Now
I too have been asked about how vCAC integrates with services like Service Now.  You can find an overview of this here, but it also has a link to the step by step info to enable.  Nice!  Thanks Ryan.

vCAC 6.0.1 is GA
I am very late with this.  I think it released as I was heading out on PTO.  But this is an important release so I am sharing even though I am late!  There is a lot of significant fixes in it – I know some of you had issues with load balancing that is fixed in this release.  So if you are not using this particular build for your work – you need to!  Check the release notes out.

vCAC 6.0 POC and Detailed Implementation Guide
I was fortunate to know Jad when I was at VMware.  Great guy and very smart – also fun to eat and drink with!  He has a very important POC guide for you – implementing vCAC.  It is a complex and powerful product, and this guide is very useful!  I would suggest that you do not install vCAC the first time – especially on a PofC without installing it in a lab first.  Also make sure you have tight requirements you fully vet and test before you show up onsite!

My Notes on vCAC for VMware Architects
This blog has a nice slide deck in it that the author of the blog has tried to collect information that will help others design and build out vCAC.  Quite useful due to the complexity of vCAC.  Find it here.  If you do much with vCAC you should follow this guys blog.

PowerCLI for Site Recovery Manager
This has been a long time coming.  If you are using PowerCLI 5.5 R2 you can now interact with SRM.  This is very important.  This means you can automate certain actions and that is something I know of customers who have been waiting for a long time for this.  Check out this blog for more info.  BTW, the normal place to find PowerCLI provided me with the 5.5 version (build 1295336) and not the R2 version (build 1671586).  You can find the R2 version here, and the release notes here.

Learning PowerCLI
I bought this book recently as I thought it looked pretty good.  I have not spent much time with it yet but it start out very good.  If you need help getting started with PowerCLI this book is for you!

Introduction to PowerCLI
Alan helps you get started with PowerCLI in this.  Nice video.

The VirtAdmin SSH Tool for vSphere Clusters
This is quite interesting – someone has written a PowerCLI script that has a GUI, and can enable and disable SSH on each host in the Cluster.  Check it out here.  I know people that really need this tool!

new vCheck plugin: SRM RPO Violation Report (v0
This was interesting to see.  It supports the idea that Alan had when he moved vCheck to Github – the ability to have others support the growth of vCheck.  So in this blog the author has done an SRM RPO Violation plug-in.  I think you will get it next time you upgrade vCheck.  Very handy!

vCenter Operations Manager Sizing Guidelines
This is the gospel for designing your vC Ops environment.  They may not always be ideal for the largest users of vC Ops, but those people would be better serviced by getting VMware PSO to help them.  Don’t forget that this KB article is updated as versions change and as more testing is done.

My vC Ops upgrade to 5.8.1
This was an easy upgrade.  While I like the .pak method of doing an update, and in fact I am the one that suggested it as a method for Log Insight updates, I wish that vC Ops would let us do an semi – automatic download / upgrade like the vCSA and VIN.  But in any-case this upgrade was smooth and easy for me and I had no issues.  Make sure to restart your vApp after the upgrade to make sure you are using the updated IO scheduler.  You can find the release notes here.

vC Ops 5.8 Critical Data Collection Bug
This is something I have shared before, but now the article has been updated with the info there is a GSS supplied patch that does in fact solve the issue.  If you have this issue than your hosts – at least some of them – will be seen as white boxes in the UI instead of green / yellow / red.  I did not experience this issue so it does not impact everyone.  But if you do have it you can get a fix now.

CloudPhysics – Update
As I mentioned I am working on some improvements that CloudPhysics has that are not GA yet but they are impressive.  Through that work I also saw that vMotions Yesterdays is working properly again, and a number of column display issues have been solved as well.  When I can write about these cool new features I will be sure too!

Use CloudPhysics to Determine How Much SSD Cache to Buy
It is easy to buy too little, or buy too much, SSD.  Too little doesn’t help and too much doesn’t help more but costs a lot more.  So it is great to have CloudPhysics to help you decide what is the right amount of SSD to buy.  Check this out.

CloudPhysics At Virtualization Field Day on March 5th
They have the videos up from this Field day with CloudPhysics and they are pretty good.  If you are thinking of using CloudPhysics, or already do, you really should check them out.

Ruby vSphere Console (RVC) 1.6 Released
This is actually an old article that William did on RVC.  However with the release of VSAN, RVC has more importance now.  You can use Williams article to help get you going.  Than you can continue with this one that is going to help get you going with VSAN and RVC.  It is the start of a series in fact.

Cisco UCS PowerTool.  Inventory, faults whatever …. Get Out!
There is a number of people that I know that have UCS gear, and could in fact use the info in this blog.  I love how the export of info can end up in a SQL db.  Nice.

Install ESXi on a UCS boot from SAN LUN
This is a good article on how to install ESXi on a boot LUN in UCS.  Good info and so helpful if you have not done this before.

Nutanix resources – thanks Andre!
Andre has created a link on his blog to keep track of the various blogs and articles that provide useful Nutanix information.  You can find that link here.  One of the key ones is for the Nutanix Bible which is a very useful resource.

Practical tips for a Veeam Backup and Recovery deployment
This is a nice article on tips for implementing Veeam.  Some good info that should be helpful for anyone starting out with Veeam.

Microsoft OneNote is now on the Mac
One of the very few software packages I missed when I moved off of the PC was OneNote.  But now I am a big fan and user of Evernote.  But for those of you who are big fans of OneNote and want to move off of a PC you can now do it!  I took a quick look at it last night and was quite impressed with it.  Find it here.  The price is right!

What is Windows Defender Offline?
In the old days there was BartPE, but in recent years we have used WinPE (here and here).  WinPE is the Windows version of  Linux Live Image.  Meaning you can boot to WinPE and do certain things.  I heard people talking about it in an airport.  They wanted to add anti – malware to a WinPE image they used at their company for a lot of things.  In the old days that was possible with a few tools but was problematic and I was curious if there was something for Windows that was smooth and easy.  I found this.  It is not designed specifically for WinPE but it is designed to work from a CD, so it might be useful in the same situation as WinPE.

We Believe in Choice and in Ecosystem!
This is the blog announcement that Tintri has a vSphere Web Client plug-in.  And a very nicely done one too!  Great example of what people who produce vSphere Web Client plug-ins should aspire too.  There is a demo of the client near the bottom of the article so be sure to check it out.  If you are a Tintri partner or customer you should check this out and make sure when it is released in a few days you get it working.

Would you like to replicate from your Tintri device to the cloud?
I was quite impressed when I saw this press release.  If you have Tintri storage and want to replicate it up to, or down from, the cloud, that is now possible with Green Cloud.  Very cool and you can find the press release here.

My Home Lab, ESXi 5.5 Server Build, and the Logic Behind it All
This is a blog about a home lab.  I know many of us like to check these out.  This one has a pretty interesting build of a home server and lots of details.  Quite a good read on a home lab situation.

VCP5 to VCDX #125 in 180 Days Part 1 & 2
This is a good story of how Derek become a VCDX.  He has some great discipline and lots of good experience.  It is most impressive what he did and he deserves kudos in significant quantity.  He also has a wonderful blog series on install / config of vSphere 5.5 and it even includes things like certificate update.  Very good info that can be found here.

How to send text to console – new feature in VMware HOL
You can now send text to your session in the HOL and this can be quite useful.  Check out the story here.

Re-certification Policy: VMware Certified Professional
There has been a lot of talk on this subject.  Twitter flew a while on it too.  But here is the VMware info.  I don’t think that this is too bad – yet that is.  Here is a good read on the situation from a third party.

Crackers report great news for 1Password 4
I have suggested to many that 1Password is the best tool for password management.  One reason is that the dev team is scattered around the world, and if a odd kind of US writ or warrant was served to push some crazy back door into it, it would likely not stay a secret due to the employees being scattered around the globe.  But another reason can be found here.  The dev team at Agile are rock stars, and part of that is how they listen and learn.  I have used 1Password for a long time, and it is a great product that works great and is supported great as well.

Keeping up with the Snoops 4: When the going gets weird…
This is interesting.  A British government organization (GCHQ) writing fake blogs to discredit people that have not even been charged with a crime.  Can this be true?  If the Brits do it than likely the rest of Echelon does it too.  Although I sure hope not.

Spy tech goes cheap: Track your car, kid, or enemy for 10$ a month
This is pretty amazing.  It is a new service that is still looking for money on KickStarter but it is pretty cool.  Very cheap to purchase as well as cheap monthly fees.  This was truly inevitable once we had GPS.

How Thieves Steal your Bitcoins
One of my co-workers mints bitcoins.  So when I saw this I thought it was a good idea to share.  There seems to be a lot of malware out there that can at least try and steal your bitcoins.  BTW I use Trend for AV on my Mac and am very happy with it!  You can find more about it here and I see it is on sale.

An inside Tour of San Francisco’s Sewage Treatment Plant
I have traveled a lot in the US and Canada visiting customers when I worked for VMware.  I often asked for a tour of the more interesting places when I visite.  A US government department and Harley-Davidson were the two best tours.  I tried but was never able to get a tour of a Sewage Treatment Plant.  Maybe that was good.  But if you are curious check this out.

WiFi Explorer
Need a Mac utility to look for and troubleshoot wireless networks?  I found a great one.  You can find it here.

IOS 7.1 Upgrade
This worked fine for me on old and new iPads, and both iPhone 4S and 5S.  I have not seen any negative changes to my iPhone on this – meaning my battery strength is still quite good.  You can find out more about what is in this release in this.  You can find an ARS Technical review here.

Mac OSX 10.9.2 Upgrade
It worked fine for me but for one small issue on one of my Macs.  Searching on the Internet seemed to indicated I was the only one with the issue.  But I share it just in case.  After I did the upgrade my music source for SONOS – which is the normal Music folder, was not seen by SONOS so I could not play music.  I love SONOS and so does my wife so this was a big deal.  To solve this issue I had to remove my Music source definition from SONOS and restart my Mac and add it back (don’t skip the restart or you will get permission errors when you try and add your Music folder to SONOS).  Than the indexing took a bit but other than loosing time nothing was lost.  But on several different other Macs there was no issues.  I upgrade MBP, and various iMacs.  You can learn more about this upgrade in this, and this.

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


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Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in CloudPhysics, Home Lab, How To, Newsletter, Upgrades
One comment on “Newsletter: March 21, 2014
  1. James Green says:

    Thanks for the mention! Glad you think the SSH tool will be useful! Great collection of links!


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