Newsletter: April 5, 2013

Hello all,

I hope everyone is well?  Winter may be starting to break here but I am not sure.  It should have broke quite some time ago but this has been a tough winter.  I had a fun week in the lab and I am happy to say thing are starting to take shape!  I was very excited and happy to be recognized as a vExpert this week.  Quite exciting!  I have quite a range of things to share today so as always I hope something for everyone!

There is a lot here today, but sometimes that just happens!  A bigger than normal range of things too.  A lot of work to gather, assemble, check and write – so I hope you all find something to learn, smile, or laugh about.


Nest halts sale of Nest Protect
There is an issue that Nest found with respect to one of the Nest Protect smoke detector’s key features – Nest Wave.  I love that feature since if you set off the Nest you can wave at it to silence it.  They have halted sales and disabled that feature.  They still have a wonderful product and I quite like them.  The best feature is how they work together.  If one alerts, the others connected will also alert and tell you where the issue is.  So they are still doing a great job for me even without that feature enabled.  So while they have an issue, I still recommend them as an excellent improvement in your home fire defense.  I am confident they will fix this issue as quickly as they can, and they will update my three Nest Protects for me!  Here is an interesting piece on this situation.

How to reset ESXi 5.x root password and under which conditions
VMware says you cannot do this – reset the ESXi root password.  But it turns out you can in very specific circumstances.  The ESXi host needs to be part of vC, and you need to use a Host Profile.  Find out details here.

Auto Deploy deep dive
This is a nice series on getting Auto Deploy to work.  I quite like Auto Deploy, but it does have a lot of moving pieces and that makes it a little harder to make work.  I am not a fan of Host Profiles as they are quite finicky and tricky sometimes. But this blog author has a series that takes you through getting everything working.  As of today he has the first three parts done, but not the fourth – which is the Troubleshooting one which is also tricky when it comes to Auto Deploy.  Find part 1 here, and the series here.  Be aware he does this all with statefull installs.  Of course, that works, but the real power of Auto Deploy is stateless – the flexibility of stateless is pretty handy!

VSAN Configuration Maximum Query Script
William has an interesting blog on how you can create a script that checks your VSAN enabled cluster configuration limits and compares them against the VMware Configuration Maximums for VSAN.  Very cool.

Upgrading to VMware vCSA 5.5 from vC 5.1
This is an interesting article on how a customer moved from vC 5.1 to vCSA 5.5.  It was not a smooth journey for them.  And it seems like the writer has not had a good time with VMware.  He mentions how he has had issues with vC upgrades in the past, and how he has had a lot of issues with VMware Tools.  This is a little worrisome as neither should be true.  The story of the upgrade and what they did and went through is good reading.  I had thought this was going to be an article a little different – not sure what exactly, but it was certainly interesting.  It does of course make me glad to know that VMware is working on a lab fling to migrate a vC to a vCSA.  That would help in this circumstance but help how much I am not sure.

Deploying and using the SSL Certificate Automation Tool 5.5
Here is a KB article that will help you get going with updating or replacing your SS Certs in vSphere.  This is a good document to help you get started and it helps you through the process too.  Of course, if this is your first time, it would be handy if you could do this in a lab first.  I wonder if there is a VMware HOL lab that this is in where you could try it out first – that would be handy!

Understanding VMware VAAI Offloads and Unloads
Here is a link to an article that talks more on this subject.  Good info.  Here is a link to a different article – one that I use to remind myself how to check what VAAI functionality is supported in an array.

VSAN Part 20 – VM Swap and VM Storage Policies
Cormac does the typical great job on explaining how VM Swap is handled and why in VSAN.  Someone asked me about this subject recently and I had no idea how the swap was handled so this was great to find!  Thanks as always Cormac!

Quick Tip – How to snapshot and revert a physical ESXi host
This is very cool.  Very glad that William shared it out.   You can ‘snapshot’ a physical host by capturing a single file.  Very cool so thanks William!  Check it out here.

Avoid LACP with iSCSI Port Binding or Multi-NIC vMotion
Some great learning and an important suggestion as well.  Check it out here.  Chris always does well!

vSphere 5.5 Enhanced LACP Support Design Considerations
This is a good read to help you understand more about LACP and designing it’s use.  Some great news about improvements in LACP for 5.5 is how it starts.  A good read indeed.

You know iSCSI and VMware .. I bet not … Part 1
This is an interesting article that brings up some important points for designing your iSCSI storage network.  I know that people sometimes miss this thinking so it was good to find this and share it out.  Find the article here.

To Zero or not to Zero, that is the question ….
This is a good breakdown of the vSphere disk formats and how when a VM is using a disk that doesn’t have a zeroed disk format it still cannot read any previous data on the disk.  Did you ever wonder if that was possible?

I heard someone talking about being able to move his vC config from one place to another to help with better testing.  It reminded me of this.  It has not been updated since 1/19/12 so not sure how it will handle vC 5.5 U1 – or not.  You may want to test first.

ESXi DCUI Shutdown vs. vCenter Shutdown of a host
This was interesting when I saw it.  The behavior of a DCUI shutdown vs. vCenter Web Client host shutdown can impact virtual machines and HA.   So very good that Duncan wrote it up.  Short version – use vC Web Client to shutdown host if you want HA to restart virtual machines which are running on that host NOT the DCUI.

ESXi enhancement for Headless System Support in ESXi 5.5 Update 1
William Lam was the one to first spot this.  I think that many of us will not need this info often.  But, I bet it will helpful in some interesting and odd circumstances I have not thought up yet.  So something for your toolkit.

VMware ESX Release and Build Number History
This is cool.  Nice graphic at the bottom, but definitely a cool list of the history of versions / builds.

Build TFTP Server for ESXi Installs
I saw a customer once who used TFTP to do ESXi installs and it was pretty slick. I was thinking about that recently when I saw this article that shows you how to set up the environment to do TFTP hosted ESXi installs.  Lots of steps, but a good outline to follow that is pretty clear, and it is nice to have an automated way to deploy ESXi hosts – consistently the exact same way!

What happened to that Hardening Guide setting?
Aside from the obvious that you should always use the hardening guide that matches the version of the software you are hardening, there is some good info in this article that Mike has done.  Check it out here.

Win2K8 R2 logon time increases or becomes unresponsive at Welcome screen after configuring guest VMs for backup
This is a very odd KB article.  It concerns an old product – vDR, and 5.0x and 5.1.x of SRM.  So very odd.  Plus, it can occur on Hyper-V too.  MS does have a hotfix.  But if your Win2K8 R2 VMs start to have a slow logon than you need to investigate this article.  I have not seen this issue in the wild.

VMware Horizon View 5.3.1 now GA
This release is called a maintenance release but if the release notes are right there is no fixes in it.  It adds full support of VSAN but nothing else it seems.  It looks like this was out on the 11th of March.  You can find Andre’s review of the limits here.  If you are not using VSAN you do not need to rush to this release!

Using Webcams and Microphones with View Client with Mac OSX and Linux
A short video that talks about using webcams and microphones when you are using View Mac / Linux talking to Windows View desktops.  You need to be using fairly new versions but this looks cool.

View Desktops plug-in for vSphere Web Client
I shared this out via my old newsletter quite some time ago.  I was not impressed by it.  I was reminded of the functionality recently in this blog.  I hope that this improves in functionality but also the install process!

Customizing the View Portal Page After HTML Access Has Been Installed: Horizon View 5.3
Many View customers that I have talked to like to change the View portal.  It has been easy and hard at different times in the VDM and View product life.  Here is some info that will help.  It even covers of moving the client files which I know someone who asked for!

Free e-learning course – VMware Horizon Workspace Fundamentals [v1.8]
Workspace is a collection of products – what was once Project Octopus, and others are all coming together in Workspace.  I was a user of it at VMware and it was pretty handy.  All the apps I needed were served from Workspace, and there was the ability to store files and data with it, and it worked on Mac’s and Windows just fine.  But I know it was painful to install and configure.  So I am very happy to see some training available for free.  You can find more about it here.

Where is Connect using SSH in vCAC 6?
This is a very good article that Ryan has done.  If you have tried to use the Connect menu in vCAC to connect to Linux using SSH it has not been easy at all – invisible in fact.  Ryan shows you how to do this in his blog article.  This solution works but it is not ideal.  I would like the Connect using SSH to start up my SSH client – in my case the wonderful SecureCRT.  But that is quite a bit harder than you might expect, so the solution that Ryan has works, and works easy.  Thanks for this Ryan!

Enabling Dev Ops using vCAC 6
Here is an interesting blog article that talks about how you can use vCAC 6 to support Dev Ops activities.  Which makes sense of course but I can see it being a bit of hard work! There is a video as well.

VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials
I saw this review and it was more than good enough to encourage me to buy this book.  And it is pretty good indeed.  Read the review, and if you think you need a little help with vC Ops than this book is for you.

How to get started with vC Ops
This is a number of articles that can help you get started with vC Ops.  Here is the evaluation, editions, architecture, and installing links. These are good articles and helpful, but the book above is even better.

VSAN and vCenter Operations Manager Interop
Cormac talks about how VSAN and vC Ops can and do inter-operate.  It is good to know since vC Ops 5.8 was out before VSAN.  For more details check this out and you will learn what works now, and what is missing.

How to install and configure vCenter Hyperic 5.8
This is something that is not that common.  I have only seen it installed a few times, and it was always done to get data into something else.  Meaning once it was to help get info out of a VNX and into vC Ops.  Another time it was to get more info into vC Ops.  I was surprised to see in the recent upgrade to VMware Infrastructure Navigator (VIN) the ability to install Hyperic Agents.   So not really sure what is going on with Hyperic at VMware.  But here is some help to install.  Here is the pubs, and some videos.  There is not a lot of info out there on this subject!

Beginner’s Guide to VMware vCenter Orchestrator – Part 1
This is very good for many of us.  VCO is very powerful and capable but it is not used by many customers or partners – or me.  So it is very good to see something that will actually help people get started.  I hope that the author keeps this series going!

vCenter Orchestrator Visio Stencil
I saw this recently and I thought a number of you would appreciate this.  It is a Visio stencil that has a bunch of the different shapes that you might need when designing workflows in Visio.  Very cool!  Find them here.

PowerCLI Script to set DNS and NTP on ESXi hosts
This is a very complete article on a script to configure DNS and NTP on ESXi hosts.  It is a nice script, with some good examples of code in it.  I like how he mentions to make sure your vC is doing good time first.  So good info.

Intro to PowerCLI
Here is a link to a Intro to PowerCLI video.  If you don’t know PowerCLI – and you should – this is a good start to it.  Follow it up with this and you will be on your way!

PowerCLI GitHub Repo
This is a pretty good idea that this fellow has had.  The PowerCLI scripts he uses at work he has checked into GitHub.  They are all not created by him, but rather used by him and checked in.  Some of them are pretty handy!  Here is his blog on the subject.  BTW, if you want to learn more about Git you can check this out.

PowerCLI – Rolling Reboot vSphere Cluster
This is an interesting script and a great example of how PowerCLI can help.  A script to restart, one at a time your hosts in a cluster.  Quite handy.  I would use this for testing in Auto Deploy for example.

vCloud Networking and Security 5.5.1 now GA
This is a small release but it has some good bug fixes!  See the release notes here.

vShield Endpoint – Trend Micro Deep Security
I am a big fan of Trend Micro’s Deep Security product. It was one of the first of it’s type, and it has been out for quite a while.  As a guy who had done a lot of work with customers on anti – malware, I really understand how good it is to move the anti – malware off of the client PCs.  So I have been a fan of Trends products for a while.  It is a bit tricky to get DS going and so it is good to see you have some good help available.  Here is part 1, part 2 and part 3.  Here is a link to the Deep Security 9.0 best practices.  I would like to be using this in my lab so one day so if I do I will share how I make it work best.

Symantec Endpoint Protection Integration with VMware Horizon View
This is the start of a series on integrating View and SEP.  This is something that needs to be done carefully – both to make sure that the protection is in place appropriately, but without unexpected negative impact.  So a bit tricky to design properly.  So here is the first two parts of the series – part 1, and part 2 (and just found part 3).

Dell Fabric Manager & The Future for CCIEs
This caught my eye.  I happen to really like CCIEs.  I have had some big projects where they were key parts in it and I like very much dealing with them.  At VMware, I tried really hard to get one on our team since I believe in their value so much.  But I do see the point the author of the blog is making.

8 Things You Need to know about Windows 8.1 Update
I heard a lot of questions and talk around the Win8.1 Update so thought I would share this.

#VFD3 Day 3: VMTurbo wants to vStimulate your vEconomy
This is a good read about a product and thinking around it that is pretty smart.  I have not used the product before, but I will certainly look at if the chance happens.

Cool map of cyber attacks – in real time
This is a very cool map of real time cyber attacks.  Makes me think War Games.

How Dropbox knows when you’re sharing Copyrighted stuff
I was curious about this when I first heard and looked around to learn more.  This was pretty good for explaining.

Researching 10 GB switches
The author of this blog is looking for some 10 GB switches for his work environment.  He has a good list and breaks it down by functionality so it is useful.  I recently bought a 10 GB switch myself.  It is a NetGear but it is not on this list!  Hope it works out for me!  This was a choice based on cost!

VMware Tools for Nested ESXi
These were updated recently to support IPv6 addressed and you can find the updated VIB here.

Amazon Fire TV Turns Up the Heat on Apple TV
I am big Apple TV guy – I have two – and I quite like it.  I hope that Apple will one day start treating it seriously and hopefully the Amazon Fire will convince them of that.  But for those of you who are not Apple people, and if you live in the US, I think you will quite like this new gadget from Amazon.

Mark Minasi on Microsoft Build 2014
Here is some interesting info and screenshots too about BUILD 2014 from Mark Minasi in his most current newsletter.  Check it out here.

Review: Klein Tools VDV526-052 LAN Scout Junior Tester
I needed a network cable tester recently and so when I checked the Internet for something I could afford to buy and yet get something decent I found this.  And so I bought one.

VCDX Paying it Forward
This was interesting – it was about Craig attending a VCDX Boot Camp.  Some good info if you are walking on that path.

VCAP5-DTD Document Bundle
If you are going to be working on your VCAP-DTD certification that you can get a zip of the study materials right here.  This makes it pretty easy to get started.

The Modern Travel Bag for the IT Professional
I got a kick out of this article as it reminded me of my kit I had when I was a professional services guy.  The title is for the IT Professional but I think it is really for the PS guy.  It is pretty well done!

Who made your SSDs and Why It Matters
This was pretty interesting reading.  Considering the use cases that are becoming more common like VSAN and vFRC you really do need to know more about SSD and that is a little more complex than it sounds.  So this is good reading.

SSD Smart Attributes with vSphere
This is an interesting blog about someone thinking about adding SSD into their virtualization world.  Of course the list of what that means is interesting – VSAN, vFRC both from VMware but others too.  He has some good points.  He links to a VMware KB that shows you how to pull the SMART info from a drive in the console.  Might be good to have this in the vSphere Web Client.

Running DSET on ESXi 5.1 / 5.5 Host Remotely
If you have Dell hardware – like I do – and if you have a technical issue, you will likely need to run something called DSET to gather detailed technical info for Dell support.  When I have done this I log into the ESXi console and execute a file and copy a log off using SCP.  However in this blog there is an easier method.  You add a module (VIB) to your ESXi image, and after that you can run something in your local Windows desktop to retrieve the remote log file.  Nice.  I wonder if it might be better to use VUM, or to build a new  image to incorporate the Dell VIB?

Heads Up about Citibank Corporate cards
I like Citibank corporate cards – not love since there is no loyalty program on them.  They took good care of me and were understanding when it took my previous employer a while to pay them.  But when I left that employer, and canceled the account, I expect to not hear from them again.  However, I was surprised to see a statement from them yesterday.  It turns out a vendor that I had canceled services with had billed my old credit card and Citibank had accepted it.  They were not so helpful with this.  Turns out it was / is possible for vendors to charge my old card even after I left and did not use it any longer.  It caused me a bunch of work and frustration.  And they said it might happen again.  Watch out for this when you stop using any Citibank corporate cards.

Fantastical 2 for iPad – Calendar and Reminders
I am a fan of the Fantastical 2 for the iPhone and so when I saw they had an iPad version I grabbed it.  Very nice indeed.  If you need something better than what is default on an iPad this is a very good choice!  Check it out here.

My DNS provider has a very nice little iPhone app for dealing with IP addresses.  Works well and is quite handy.  Check it out here.

The Modern Icebreaker – Show me your …. Home screen
I saw this recently and it made me smile.  What a great idea.  Steve talks about his home screen here, and how he uses it as an icebreaker.  Be warned, I am going to start doing this too!

Telling Lies Could Actually Protect you Online
This is a blog about how when you are working online and you need to provide the answers to security question when you are setting up an account, that you should not use the real answer.  My mother’s maiden name most certainly doesn’t have the right answer – but rather something that is NOT related.  This is quite a good idea I think and I have been doing it for years.  So harder to remember but more secure.  Simon talks about this sort of idea here.

Book Release: Tips on Using Visio to make network diagrams
This is quite useful if you do network diagrams.  This guy – Greg Ferro is very good at network diagrams and he shares his knowledge in this book.  Quite good – even if he doesn’t use Visio any longer.  He is another convert – like me – to OmniGraffle.

A Closer Look at AirWatch
Kit talks about why VMware purchased AirWatch and he does so in good detail.  It sounds like a very exciting product and I now see why VMware bought it!  Great article.

vSphere 5.5 Home Lab
Frank did some great research and put together a nice list of hardware to upgrade his vSphere home lab.  I have a similar lab to him but with Dell R710’s and like very much what he put together for his upgraded lab.  His list is here.  I had trouble finding / buying parts in Canada and called my local and friendly clone shop to source them for me.  But even that did not work as the processor could not be gotten easily and the replacement may or may not work with the other components.  So really too bad, I quite like the motherboard that Frank picked out.

Install and Run OS X 10.9 Mavericks on the iPad Air
Yup.  Didn’t expect this did you?  I didn’t.  But if you want to run Mavericks on your iPad it is possible.  Check this out.

Tag Use
If you are interested in something that I have written about, you can use Tags to find more of it.  At the very bottom of every blog – full or summary versions, you can see a Tagged with: followed by one or more tags.  Click on what you are interested in and you will get a list of articles that are tagged the same.  Here is an example for Piper or View.

Pictures and Restaurants
I have on occasion been asked about my holiday pictures – this I guess since I often visit interesting places.  So I have put some up on Flickr and have links to them on my site.  As well, people sometimes ask me about where is a good place to eat.  So I am adding a page for that too.  You can find both of these pages under Other Stuff from my home page.  I will continue to update both of these moving forward.

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


5 thoughts on “Newsletter: April 5, 2013

  1. Michael,

    I am glad you found the Auto Deploy Deep Dive series interesting! I decided to use ‘stateful’ only for my auto deploy series because, as you mentioned, host profiles are really a #*$! so a stateful profile is an easy way to show off auto deploy without going into the weeds. Plus I actually needed it for my physical install that spawned the series 🙂 Site stats do bear out that no-one likes host profiles either, about 60-70% of the people who view part 1 have viewed part 3, but barely 20% have viewed part 2.

    1. Also, I will be presenting the series on the US vBrownBag on 4/16 for anyone who wants to see it live and ask questions. I’ll be glad to show a little more about host profiles then.

    2. Agreed host profiles suck. In my lab I have two sets or family’s of hardware and it is very tough to do host profiles. When I was at VMware I had very large groups of identical hardware and host profiles worked much better but still not perfect. So I do understand.

  2. Ello buddy ! thanks for your point of views or even suggestions , I desire your blogging . I am going to return for every and each of your jaw dropping good website articles or reviews and perhaps writing . You do have a brilliant work manner . This has been quite a fabulous informative article . Please continue pursuing the superb content .

Leave a Reply