Newsletter: March 30, 2014

Hello all,

I hope that everyone has had an interesting week?  Things good I hope.  I have spent a bunch of time working on making our secret product the best version 1.0 I can.  It is harder than it sounds I assure you.  I am very excited for the day I can share with you what it is!  I had a big newsletter last week due to my PTO, and today it is much smaller but still something for everyone.

BTW, thinking of increasing my skills, and using Pluralsight to do that.  They look pretty good but curious if anyone has used them?  Any comments?

Have a great week!


Speeding up the vSphere Web Client UI
I work by default in the vSphere Web Client.  I quite like it!  Some time ago one of the UI dev people told me about how I can make it work better, and sometimes faster, by tweaking the Flash Player.  I have shared that out before but I see that William has written it up too.  I do this and it works.  But I saw another one recently and I have not heard of it before.  It does make sense to me and certainly people are reporting it works for them.  I have not made this change as I do not need it at this time.  But, if my performance changes I will be sure to try it out.

vCenter Active Directory SSO error = Cannot load users for the selected domain
This was something I have seen once or twice but was never able to find a root cause.  But Jonathan has found the same workaround I did.  Check out the story here.

vSphere 5.5 Home Lab – Frank and Erik
I have had a home lab of one sort or another for a long time.  In fact, my first real machine was a Compaq Proliant – maybe a 1600 if I remember right?  I ran Novell on it and it let me do a lot of things at home before I did it at a customer.  This helped me to be very successful, and it made it clear if I wanted to do very well with customers a part of it was I had to have a lab to work on things before I did them at a customer.  It has turned out very well indeed for me.  I now have 5 or 6 hosts – mostly Dell R710 and Intel white box servers.  I would like to have more memory in my cluster, and maybe make it quieter too.  So it was quite interesting reading Franks blog about him redoing his home lab.  In particular I am very impressed with the motherboard he has found.  For any of you thinking of upgrading your lab you could do a lot worse than use Franks shopping list and quite frankly it might be hard to do better.  Someone else who is going through this at the same time and is interesting to read is Eric in this.  I do agree with both of the bloggers in that labs today need to be able to do a lot more than in the past!  Thanks to Frank and Eric as there is quite good info to share in their blogs.

Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance with no DHCP
This is a good article in that if you don’t have DHCP it is a little harder to deploy a vCSA.  Find the details here.  If you are a Linux guy you don’t really need this detailed reminder but many of us are not Linux guys so this is something useful to know.

Regenerating expired SSL certificates after two years in vC 4.x / 5.0x
I saw that someone needed this article (KB 1009092) this week, and I thought that maybe someone else might too.  This is the sort of thing that is better to know about before you need it.  If you are upgrading something that was once vCenter Server v4, you should definitely read this!

Top 20 vSphere 5.5 Support Topics
This is the list of the KB articles that address the bulk of the calls into the VMware Support organization on these products.  See the full list here.  I like these lists because in theory I should perhaps recognize something, or perhaps in your case your customers may have seen some of these or perhaps they may in the future.  So good to know. There is a variety of Install or upgrading best practices which are good to know about.  But there are some surprises too – like this one on Migrating the vC DB from SQL Express to SQL.  I have warned you of this one before – Broadcom NICs using tg3 become unresponsive.  I am curious what exactly happened that cause this one to be come so important – re-pointing and re-registering vC 5.1 / 5.5 components?

Using the pktcap-uw in ESXi 5.5
Someone asked me about using tcpdump on an ESXi and I knew that I had heard something about that somewhere and that there was a better way to do it.  Here is what I found – and yes, it is better.

Duncan’s FAQ on VSAN – updated
I heard that Duncan updated his FAQ on VSAN recently.  Check it out here.  This is great info on VSAN.

What is the RAW to Usable capacity in VSAN?
It depends.  Yes, really it does.  People remember that SSD is not really included in calculating how much usable space there it but it gets complicated from there.  Find a good article about this here.

SRM – Changing a placeholder datastore
I have had been asked about this before and explaining it without a whiteboard is awkward.  So I am glad that GS has written up how to do this.  Check it out here.

Log Insight 2.0 beta now open
I thought this was a secret and that I was not supposed to talk about it.  So imagine my surprise when I found Eric and Steve talking about it.  I do have this, and am very happy with it so far.  But I will not talk much about it until it makes sense too.  Which is not in beta!  I hope people push it hard, in particular the serious new features.  Wait, it looks like Steve has password protected his article.  I guess maybe we were not supposed to talk about it!

VM snapshots made easy with vC Ops
We know that Alan’s vCheck script will watch for VM snapshots, and of course CloudPhysics does a great job on that too. But I have seen people do custom metrics on this in vC Ops.  And of course when you can watch one UI for more things the better.  Nice to see someone sharing how to do this.  Check it out here.

vCAC remote logging
Here is a link to a nice article about what you need to do so that Log Insight can monitor vCAC.  It is hard to do since there are logs everywhere and yet it is worth doing.  So very good to know if you need to monitor your vCAC environment.

Help with Linux commands
Need any help with remembering Linux commands?  Thanks to William I found this.

Update Fling – I/O Analyzer v1.6
This is a very interesting fling – a tool to help you understand storage performance and something that can help you diagnose storage performance issues.  Sounds too good to be true!  But three sharp performance engineers produced it and I think that this might turn out to be a very handy tool.  I think that I will be looking into it soon myself.

CloudPhysics – Turning the Power of IT Back on Itself
I have talked about CloudPhysics before, and I quite like their innovative and useful product, so I will likely talk about them again in the future!  But here is a link to an article that will get you started nicely with CloudPhysics.  If you don’t know who or what they are this is a good start.

Taking on your storage situation with CloudPhysics – new Storage Analytics release!
This is something I have been playing with lately.  I have not talked about it as I thought it was still in beta.  But I saw a blog about some new features here.  They are very cool new features that will in fact be very useful – they have some others that are pretty cool as well.  So stay tuned for some great new stuff from CloudPhysics.

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client 6.1
It is good to see the EMC VSI in the Web Client.  This is a new update and you can find more about it here.

When things go bad, slow down
This is a good reminder in that it is quite true.  When things get complicated, and go wrong, it is often the time to start slowing down.  I will go further and say that going slower and writing things down is how you will get through it.  Once long ago I was part of a small team – just two of us, and we were a superb troubleshooting team.  He was slow and methodical, and I was the wild card.  I would watch for a bit, make suggestions, but than make a jump.  If I was right, and sometimes I was, than the problem was over much sooner.  But when I was wrong, and sometimes I was, we had not lost anything since the other guy was still doing his thing.  It was a powerful combination and we were very successful indeed.  But, if you don’t have that, and you are working alone and getting stressed, than slow down and keep track of what you are doing – in written form.  Also remember to change only one thing at time too!

Cisco Starts to figure out Invicta
This is a bit about how Cisco is working with Whiptail.  It sounds like Cisco has the start of something interesting.  I was curious how they were going to use Whiptail and I see some indications of how it is going to be used in this article.

Office for the IOS platform is now out
This came out recently, and it is free to have, and you can read – Work / PowerPoint / Excel files, but if you want more you will need to have an Office 365 Subscription.  The subscription sounds pretty good if you are a Windows guy.  Meaning everything sync’ed together, and 5 licenses for Office on the web or on your computer.  Together with OneNote on the iPad you have quite an option here.  I have been surprised at how well Office has turned out on the iPad.  Most impressed.  Here is the blog with the info.

OneNote vs. Evernote
When I left working on a PC for a Mac I stopped using OneNote and eventually took up with Evernote.  I am still very happy with it.  So not going to start using OneNote but I did think about it.  OneNote is very pretty after all!  You can find a comparison of them here if you need a little bit of help deciding.

RAID Levels Explained
Someone wanted to learn a little more about RAID levels and here is something that will help with that.

New Acronym – at least to me – ABA
Someone at work this week used a new acronym that I had not seen before to explains something.  He said “Everyone seems to be WFH, OOO, or ABA”.  I knew Work From Home (WFH), or Out of the Office (OOO) but what was ABA?  I had to ask.  It was Abducted by Aliens.  Not bad!

Thanks for reading (or skimming this far),


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