Newsletter: April 12, 2014

Hello all,

I have had a busy week, and this weekend I head back to the DataGravity HQ which should be a lot of fun.  But this is one of those odd weekends with a full day of travel tomorrow, and a night out tonight.  So I am starting this newsletter today (Saturday), and hopefully will finish it in the hotel lobby tomorrow night.  At least I sure hope so!  As a reminder I have put up on my site the suggestions I share with people that ask about visiting Napa and Sonoma.  Some great locations that my wife and I have enjoyed a lot.  This joins the recommended restaurants I like too.  But a lot of things to share and as always I hope everyone find something interesting.  Suggestions and comments are always welcome.

End of Availability of vSphere Storage Appliance
I was surprised to see this – the end of VSA?!  This was something that I saw way before it was released and it did not make sense to me.  I thought that that EMC Lenova or QNAP devices that were on the VMware HCL would be better solutions for customers.  But we were not listened too and than we had a product.  Now I must admit it looked good, and it seemed to work good but the fact is I was surprised it was a product.  And now it is retired.  See here for more info.

vCenter Server Design Considerations
This is a nice read on the things you should think about before you start designing your vCenter infrastructure.  A good list of things to think about and for many perhaps a nice reminder.

vCenter Server SSO videos
I found this quite by accident somewhere.  This is a collection of videos on SSO.  Things like config for NLB, updating the SSL and more.  Handy!

Upgrading LSI firmware while ESXi is running!
Duncan shares something out that one of his readers shared with him and it is pretty cool.  The guy’s name is Tom and he did quite well.  You can find the info here.  I quite like the command esxcli storage core device list | grep -i model as I needed something like that recently.  So now you have some info that will help you do an upgrade better than the official documentation!

Installing vCenter SSO 5.5 in a vCenter 5.1 Environment
This is quite a useful idea that this article talks about.  You want to move from vSphere 4.x or 5.0 to 5.5 but are not quite ready to move 5.5.  You can move to 5.1 but yet use SSO 5.5.  This is quite an interesting article and certainly useful thinking.

vCenter Appliance Network Settings Reverting
This is something I have lived.  It is painful, and it can happen with any vApp.  Which means vCSA or vC Ops or Log Insight as some examples.  If you set the wrong DNS info when deploying the vApp, it matters not if you change it to the right info inside the VM.  Once the vApp restarts the “proper” info will be written into the VM as it starts.  Very frustrating.  So I suggest you get the networking info correct when you deploy the vApp.    Read this for more info and what actually happens.

Gotcha – disable reserve all guest memory setting does not remove the reservation
This was quite interesting when I saw it.  If I had to guess the behavior of disabling this feature I would have guessed the same as the user who reached out to Frank.  But it is a bad guess once you think it through.  But this is a very handy feature – when you add or remove memory from a VM, the reservation is automatically kept in sync.  Nice.  See Franks blog here.

Issue after upgrading your vSphere vC 5.5 U1 from Win2K12 to Win2K12 R2
This is a very interesting problem, and the solution is interesting too.  I would guess that there is a chance that many of you may be impacted by this – at least those of you who do upgrades!  If your vSphere Web Client is not working after you upgrade to Win2K12 R2 than you know the solution can be found here.

ESXi 5.5 U1 Upgrade Tip – get the right ISO
This is a pretty basic tip, but I have heard of several people not doing this right.  So, if there are two, than it is definitely worth sharing for others.  You need to take the right ESXi 5.5 U1 ISO to do upgrades with.  Check out the info here and here.  But in short, use install ISO to install, or use Vendor ISO if you have that option, and driver roll up ISO after the install.

Technical Short: What’s with iSCSI Port Binding
This is something I was talking about today, and curious about it, I looked around on the Internet and I found this document.  It is a little different and it is thinking about it for something else, but it is good info and it links to good info.  It is an easy read with some good points.

New TWP – What’s new in VMware vSphere 5.5 Networking
There really is a lot of updates in vSphere 5.5 for networking and you can learn about them here in a new technical white paper.

Technical Short: The complication that is vmkernel multi-homing
This is a good reminder of something that is important and that I have seen people make the mistake of not remembering or not knowing.  It talks about the problem and the solution.  Scott Lowe than chimes in on Twitter with some interesting info too.  The short important info is to don’t do multi – homing of vmkernel ports unless there is a very good reason – of which there is not many!  Check out the full story.

The problem with the Swiss Storage VSAN review
Chuck – I do know most people I mention by name, but not Chuck.  But, he does seem like a Chuck so I will use his name.  He has a reply to a review of VSAN he did not like.  It is in fact good reading but he does have one issue in it that I need to mention.  VSAN does require a separate network.  When I first started working with VSAN I had no separate network and it did not work out well.  I changed to a new dedicated 1 GB network and it all worked fine.  You do need a separate network!  Find Chucks blog here.

Change the default VM hardware version in the web client
I would suggest not doing this.  I would suggest to work in the vSphere Web Client and get used to it.  I do and quite like it.  I mentioned some of the reasons here why.  But if you must control the default value of the VM hardware so that you can use the vSphere Client it is possible.  Bear in mind that this change will change the hardware level for VMs created new.

Auto Deploy Deep Dive: Part 4 Troubleshooting
In this deep dive on Auto Deploy series the author has hit part 4 which is about Troubleshooting and of course that is quite important normally but with the complexity and distribution of components that Auto Deploy has it is much more important.  Find part 4 here.

vSphere App HA 1.1 now GA
This is a product that I do not know much about.  It is a tool that can monitor applications and restart them as necessary.  Just like VM Monitoring but with more flexibility I believe.  Here is a little more (and more here) on App HA, and here is the release notes for this new version.

PowerCLI – Update vSwitch with additional uplinks, LB Policy and active / standby
This article talks bout how you can take hosts that have only vmnic0 configured and use PowerCLI to add another uplink and the associated settings.  Interesting and a good example of what you can do with PowerCLI.  Check it out here.

VMware Horizon 6 announced
I watch the session on this on the 9th.  I was impressed and heard / saw lots of good things.  There is a zillon blog articles out now.  But I heard somewhere the release in is 2014?  That cannot be right and so don’t take it as gospel.  But if it is than I really do not need to talk much about Horizon 6 as we have a long wait.  But I will share some good articles – first is Kit with a more detailed brief on what is announced.  Brian Madden has an interesting article on it too.  Rawlinson has a nice piece on the VSAN integration.  Warren has a good look at App Remoting which I think is a big part in this release.  Here is a Gartner guy who comments on this announcement that reads well.  Here is a couple of videos on Horizon 6 (some extra detail in these videos).  Here is another article that is done by a partner with some different thinking.  A lot of the articles are saying more or less the same and not providing much detail.  So I did the best I could with the selections above.

Changing a View server cert
I heard someone complaining about how hard it was to change the certs for a View server.  Someone else jumped in and said this was a great help when they change.  Hope that this helps.

How to download the vCloud VMRC plug-in
I saw this recently and I think it quite a good idea.  Put the vCD VMRC plug-in in the desktop image to make things a little more efficient for the users.  This is the sort of thing that is done by a proactive IT shop so very happy to find it and be able to share it out.

Changing the VMware ESXi host log level and why to not do it
I mentioned a while back in one of my newsletter that this might not be good to increase the ESXi host logging level.  Steve in an article on his blog actually details why this is a good idea – to not increase that is.  Check it out here.  Thanks Steve for helping with this.

Log Insight 2.0 Beta: Scale – out
This is a nice article on how to do the scale out in LI 2.0 beta.  I am using 2.0 and quite like it, but this cluster stuff is very cool indeed but I am not testing it due to time constraints.  Here is a little more info on the LI 2.0 beta.

Importing a CA-signed certificate in VMware vSphere Log Insight
The documentation may be a little weak for doing a cert in LI 1.5.x.  Fortunately there is someone who figured it out so if you need help with this – before the docs are updated – you can find it here.  It looks like this article could use a little more info I think.  He mentions you need to get everything in a single file and in the correct order but he really doesn’t provide any suggestions around that.  And he mentions you need to strip things out but is not that clear on what to strip and doesn’t show a clean and good file.  So yes, definitely a bit more data in this article would have been useful.  But maybe not if you know a lot about this subject?

Part 1 – Creating a Cluster Utilization Dashboard in vC Ops Custom UI
This is an interesting series about creating a dashboard on CPU, Memory, and disk utilization in a cluster.  And seen after one single click.  So very powerful.  It is a combination of normal and super metrics and normally many of us would need help with super metrics but in this blog article series we will step through it and you will end up with a very useful dashboard and the knowledge of how to build it!  Find the first article here.

Snapshot Management in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
Someone asked me about the snapshots in NetApp that SRM uses.  I found this article that was useful.  The real answer to learn about SRM and NetApp is this technical report.

SRM test cleanup fails with “Error – no hosts with HW version ’10’ and datastore(s) which are powered on and not in maintenance mode are available”
This is some error message.  You would think from the most detailed information in it that you could easily solve the issue.  But no, that is not the case and why I am sharing it out!  This issue occurs when some of the placeholder VMs are deleted.  Yes, really!  See a bit more info in this article.  It is good to note that this will not occur in SRM 5.5.

VSAN Compatibility: SRM and vSphere Replication
Yes.  It is compatible and it works well together.  Rawlinson has an article here that even has a demo of using VR to move from traditional SAN to VSAN.  I have heard competitors that say that VSAN is only good in a few situations, such as greenfield., or in a small office, and of course the truth is that VSAN will fit where there is a requirement for it.  So Rawlinson has a good writeup as well as a video on this subject.  I think that this is a good use of SRM.

Retrieving logs from VMware Cloud Automation Center 6.x
I have shared this information before from people’s blogs (for example), but this time it is the official VMware info.  Which means it will be updated and you can complain about it if necessary.  Check it out.  This product – vCAC – is part of the SDDC vision that VMware has for the future.  In fact a key part and so you really need to monitor it carefully.  When it breaks, or has a hiccup it can be complex to deal with.  But capturing all of the logs into one place can be very helpful – especially if you have storage, vSphere, vC, vCO all contributing their logs into the same destination.

How to configure vCAC’s embedded vCO to allow domain account usage
I have heard others asking for this sort of thing.  Customers always love to be able to use AD accounts everywhere – it helps with auditing and controls.  So good to find this article.

Protecting VCAC workloads with NSX security groups
This is a big deal.  This is a way – sort of I guess – that you can replace Lab Manager.  It is not smooth and cool yet but it is on the journey towards that.  But in the meantime, being able to provision a workload with NSX security groups attached is pretty handy!  See how to do that here.

ALERT: vCAC 6.x Identity Appliance – Bug Please Read! Lose tenant / System Exception / blank Page submit button
If you are using vCAC 6.x you should check this out to avoid an issue.  The issue is that the account that the system uses for internal purposes of communication has an expired password.  So not good at all.  But find the full details here.  This will happen to all vCAC 6 customers.

 vBrownbag – A Foundation for Security – VMware’s vSphere Platform with Mike Foley
This is a good security video that is the result of Mike Foley doing a chat with vBrownbag.  Some good info, and you can find it here.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update review
I mentioned that I was going to upgrade my local VM from Win7 to Win8.1 Update and someone asked me about the Update.  What was it.  I did not know as it was just what I downloaded from MSDN.  But I found this that describes it in case you are curious.

Host Microsoft Exchange in a hybrid cloud
I missed this when it first came out.  But the author has detailed just how you can have ‘part’ of your Exchange 2013 local, and ‘part’ in a hybrid cloud.  The article is here.  This is very interesting indeed.  A case could be made – with a very good design – that typical backup and DR are not necessary.  Very interesting possibilities here.  I am not really a fan of Exchange, but if I was still in PS I would be looking at this very closely as I think you could find customers for this fairly easy if you knew what you were talking about!

CTRL character pass-through in vSphere web client
Steve had an interesting situation – the CTRL key was not working in a vSphere Web Client console session.  His research lead him to using Firefox in the future for this sort of functionality to work.  But find out why and what was going on in this.

Extra VCDX Experience achievement unlocked and more
A nice story from a guy who did not make his VCDX but I suspect will next try.  Some good info.  He mentions this article which is very informative as well.

First time for Non -VMware Employees: SDDC Intensive Workshop
I think this is pretty amazing.  I wish that I knew about it in my time at VMware and I would have worked hard to be there.  This is a week long workshop that has a lot of lab, a lot of products and a lot of work of connecting everything in a useful way.  It has vSphere, vC Ops, vCO, vCNS, vCAC and others.  You should know something of all of them before you show up!  One of their tag lines is turning product experts into solution experts.  Don’t hold it against them – I know that many of you reading this are already solution experts!  But this does look like an interesting opportunity to learn.  It will be hard, but I think you will get a lot out of it – check it out here.  Check out the video too – I had Damian as an instructor once and he is first rate.

Introducing up.time 7.3!
This is the software that I used for some time to look after the management of my lab.  Quick to install, easy to configure, and in an hour you are monitoring your infrastructure.  A little more work and you can be monitoring services instead of servers or applications.  So pretty cool.  They were the first to integrate vCO in their alarms destinations and that is very cool indeed – for example, an app with a performance issue can generate an SMTP alert for you, and a vCO workflow to add a host to a cluster.  They have just released v7.3 and you can find more info from here.

Review: Solar Winds Server and Application Monitor
I found this review after I heard we get a license for it as part of the vExpert program.  So I read the review carefully as I was curious if I should claim the license and check it out or not.  I am quite happy with vC Ops – even though I want it to improve a lot and be easier to use.  The next major release will be quite an improvement but I am still looking for something a little easier.  This tool is known as SAM and it looks quite interesting.  Find the review here.  I am definitely asking for the license!

NetApp VSC 5.0 for VMware vSphere Web Client Now Available
I am a very big fan of the storage vendor plug-in’s that add storage configuration / management into the vSphere Web Client.  It means that the VMware IT admin can do more in one place.  Very handy.  Some of the vendors even add to this tool best practice information and even sometimes implementation help.  So here is information on the latest release from NetApp.  BTW, if you want to help improve the VSC check this out.

How Not To Botch A Live Demonstration
I know many of us do demo’s.  I know some vendors are quite strict about not doing live demos and in fact insist their people do canned or recorded ‘live’ demos.  I love doing honest live demos but I know they are tricky and you need lots of practice and you need to have a plan b.  I will generally have plan a, b, and c.  For my last VMworld session I had a live demo in one lab, a live demo in a different lab, and a recorded demo I could talk to on my laptop.  But it turns out there is a lot more to know if you want to really do well – so check this out.

Crypto for everyone
If you would like to learn more about crypto than this is your chance.  This is a Crypto 101 course that is an intro on the subject.  Check it out here.

Product Review – Remote Desktop Manager from Devolutions
This sounds like a pretty useful product indeed.  Nice job on the review! I use a similar Mac OSX based one called Jump which I am very impressed with – the recent Dropbox / iCloud support is most handy.  As well, Devolutions is offering a license as part of the vExpert program – so pretty nice.

Does Amazon Fire TV bring the heat?
No Fire TV in Canada as Amazon doesn’t have their digital library in Canada yet.  So even Prime (which I really like) doesn’t have it either.  But this does sound like a nice device, and it is good to see competition for my favorite  TV type device – the Apple TV.

Namebench – a DNS replacement
A friend of mine – MarkA made a suggestion recently that he said sped up his browsing performance.  And it looks quite interesting – it benchmarks DNS services very quickly and provides you with the DNS that is fastest.  And it makes a difference.  Check it out here.

Veeam best practices on Nutanix
This may seem odd to share (I mean how many Nutanix customers do I know – and how many of those use Veeam?), but when I checked it out I found there was a lot of good info.  Best practices that would serve in any environment.  Find it here.

VCAP5-DCA Update for vSphere 5.5
This is good info about how the VCAP5-DCA exam has changed for vSphere 5.5.  While it is good to have it updated, and good to know more it is too bad that there are no exam guides that were released at the same time.  Seems it would be nice to co-ordinate it.  But check out the info here.

Email & Website Fraud
Someone was asking me about this sort of stuff – due to Heartbleed, and I got quite a good phishing type email.  I found this banking site had some good info on it.  Check it out here.

The Ultimate Guide to solving IOS battery drain
This is an interesting read, and it has some great ideas on dealing with – or learning about – battery drain on an IOS device.

Apple Makes a change – and forgot to tell me!
A while back Apple stopped doing automatic downloads of newly released material that I had already purchased.  Like if I purchased a TV season and only 1 or 2 episodes were out yet.  I could download them immediately but the ones that were not out would automatically download when they were released.  I liked that quite a lot.  After an iTunes upgrade at some point it stopped working.  Now I get an email and have to go get the new episodes.  I finally took the time to call Apple.  None of the support people could figure it out, but once it was escalated enough, and the tier 3 guy checked, it turned out to be a deliberate change on the part of Apple.  If you used this functionality, and want it back, you need to complain here in the iTunes area.

Thanks for reading (or skimming through), have a great week!


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