Newsletter: May 10, 2014

Hello all,

A week at home is always good.  Back on the road on Monday but only for two weeks this time.  I had a lot of time in the lab this week – our product has reached a point where I am having fun using it – bug hunt time and thinking about best practices.  So a lot of fun.  I think a smaller newsletter today which is good as socially (meaning my wife’s ideas) we are busy this weekend!

I have several things to look forward to for you (and me actually).  The first is I have an excellent draft Win2K12 template that I need to check once more before I share it so you should see it soon.  It is a little different than past versions and it will be good to share it out.  As well, I requested the vExpert perk from SolarWinds which is Virtualization Manager.  I am quite excited about checking out that product and I will be sure to share how it goes.  Before I moved into VMware’s R&D I always used Uptime Software’s product to manage my lab.  It was easy to install, simple to configure, and not hard to grow plus easy to use, and of course that meant it was a great product.  I quite like the combination of vC Ops and VIN but I it has a big footprint in my lab, and it is hard to use at times – and easy at times.  But I look forward to learning something new and seeing how well it works.  As I said I will be sure to share!

Have a great weekend – or week if this takes longer than I expect!


Alert: vCenter Server consumes most of the CPU, memory, or disk I/O after enabling Virtual Flash
This is not a very new, but it is something that is not that well known.  I suspect that is because there is not a lot of people using Virtual Flash yet.  But it is good to know about, but what is bad is it doesn’t not have a solution yet.  The last time the KB article was updated was April 1.  So not good.  But if you are going to, or are in fact using vFlash you should check the KB article and subscribe to it.

Enhanced LACP Support missing in my Distributed Switch 5.5
I saw this once in a lab, and I was puzzled by it, but ended up not solving or understanding it.  So it is cool to find this article that explains how this happens and how to fix it!

Using Secondary Management Network for vSphere Replication
This is sort of funny.  Some time ago I shared out this article.  But today I was going to share out this article.  But it sounded familiar.  It is a good subject of course – how to put vSphere Replication traffic out a different management port but familiar?  Turns out that both articles are done by the same guy.  A PS guy who first blogged the info out on his own site and than wrote it again five months later in a VMware blog.  But I am irritated that the author did not put a first published note in the blog.  Either of these blogs are good for you to get vSphere Replication working in a way that most customers I know would much prefer.

ESXi: Got no data from process
Steve ran into an interesting problem trying to configure syslog on his ESXi hosts.  He goes through the process of understanding the issue and fixing it.  So good info.

vCenter Server 5.5 setup stuck installing Directory Services
I had this problem recently, and it was exactly the same.  So I tried the solution I found through Google in this.  The solution seemed harmless so I tried it and it did not work.  Which is good.  Since it caused me to look more carefully.  It turns out I was installing vCenter 5.5 on Win2K12 R2 and it is NOT supported on that OS.  So I removed my nonfunctional solution I tried, and used vC 5.5 U1 and it worked fine.  This is a bit of a reminder for me about how Google shows you answers and you have to decide what is right or wrong in your context.

Uninstalling vC 5.5 U1 is tricky
I had to do this recently and I was surprised to discover that the new installed had information that it should not – and would not complete successfully.  I looked more closely and found a surprising amount of stuff left behind.  Check out the ProgramData folder on Win2K12 to see what is left behind.  The CS or CIS folder is what held the stuff that was confusing my install.  I ended up – due to being in a hurry – to deciding to not investigate how to make this work and I deleted the VM and started over again.

Unable to replace file in Datastore using vSphere web client 5.1.X
I saw this just recently and thought it interesting.  Turns out it is true in vSphere 5.5 U1 as well.  You do not get the error message as seen in this article but it is true you cannot replace in the upload operation using the vSphere Web Client.  Not a big deal as you can delete before you upload just fine.

Routed vMotion: Why?
I had this come up quite some time ago in a past job and I did not get a good answer.  Nor did I find any good info on the subject at the time.  So it was quite nice to see this and be able to share it out.

Build TFTP Server for ESXi Installs
This is an excellent article that will help you get a TFTP server built and configured and installing ESXi hosts.  It covers off the TFTP and as well as the scripts necessary to install hosts.  Very handy, and well described as well.  At the end is a video too.  Looks cool!  Who wants to build out ESXi hosts – more than 1?  Or 10?  This looks like a great solution to that.

The VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) adapter, an eye opener
It is not hard to install the pvSCSI adatper while you are installing the OS, but updating the OS to use it later is harder.  You can find out how here which is good as the logical way to do this will stop your VM from booting.  We have reached a point in the market where you should use this adapter by default in SAN and NAS.  I think for home labs maybe not.  Here is a good reason why I say this.

Now available: VMware vSphere Performance Book
This looks like an excellent resource for helping to design vSphere environments from the ground up for performance.  One of the good and bad things for vSphere, is that you can install it easily and end up functional, with little effort or thought, and it will work.  Maybe not as fast or as reliable as it should but it will work.  But with the right design, you get better performance and reliability.  And this book is about performance and how to get it right in your design.  It is always better to start with a high performance design rather than trying to do it later.  This book is available in Canada on Kindle but not hard copy for some reason.  BTW, a friend of mine is one of the best performance guys I know, and he has already bought this!

Quick Tip – Enabling HTML5 VM Console in the vSphere Web Client for IE
If you want to use the HTML5 VM console in the vSphere Web Client (and IE) you will need to install the Client Integration Plugin – which is not necessarily bad but if you cannot do that than William has the answer for you!  Check it out here.  Any desktop I regularly use the vSphere Web Client on I do install the Client Integration Plugin (CIP).

vSphere Web Client on a Mac uses by default port 7331 to do VM Console
One of my co-workers – SteveK – had an issue using the vSphere Web Client and the VM Console recently.  This after I told him it works great.  The vC he was working with had the firewall enabled and it turns out that was stopping the VM Console from working (from a Mac).  During the vC install it does open the firewall for what it needs but it doesn’t cover off the VM Console port.  He was able to create a TCP 7331 inbound rule in the firewall and now the console worked great.  Remember that 7331 is only the default value and it could be something different.  You can check the URL for the port by pointing at the Launch Console option in the vSphere Web Client.  He used this article to help him troubleshoot.

Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder to create an installable ISO that is not vulnerable to Heartbleed
The premise of this is building an ISO that has in it the specific patches necessary to not be exposed to Heartbleed.  But it is good information anyway to help you understand how easy it is to build  a customized image that you can use as an ISO or burn to CD.  This is an easy way to provide value to a customer – build an ISO that is specific with the current patches and added management or custom VIBs.

Notes from the Field: VSAN Design – Networking
I shared an article from this same author a while back about designing VSAN for a customer and he has another one today for us.  This new one is about designing the network side of VSAN.  Check it out here.  This is quite a useful article and good learning.

Introduction to Automation via vCenter Orchestrator – Yes you can! And Part 2 as well
This is a nice introduction to using vCO.  It actually starts at the beginning in what it is and where it fits and than it breaks down it down into components.  I have actually shared this before, but now the author has a part two.  So you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.  I believe that in some of the future certification tests there will be vCAC and VCO as well so we all need to learn more.  Plus, it is a great enabler as well on its own!  Here is a nice article on why to learn more about VCO.

Log Insight 2.0 Beta: Machine Learning
This is a very big deal.  I have played with it and it really helps me to find what I need to to find.  The noise is reduced significantly in Log Insight results through machine learning.  Very cool – and you can find out more about it here.

Log Insight 2.0 Beta: Windows Agent
Here is a nice article about how in Log Insight 2.0 they have a Windows agent that can be used to redirect Event Logs and text files to Log Insight from Windows hosts.  It is pretty cool since it can do API connections to Log Insight and forward event logs that are in fact multiple lines and they come through just fine (not broken up).  So quite cool.  Over time you can image that you will be able to push out these files from the LI console but today you can see their status but not push them out.  One thing I have had issues with is when you use the agent to forward text files you have the ability to use an event market to denote a new line.  This is important to get right as often there are multiple line messages in vSphere but the language is a little complex (regex).  But that is minor compared to how useful and cool the agent is.

vCAC Integration with vCHS
It turns out this week a number of people started using vCAC and vCHS and were tweeting that it worked and it was cool.  After the 5th time (or whatever it was) I realized I wanted to learn a little more.  I knew it could not be as easy as it sounded.  I found this.  Quite interesting article written by a PS guy I think who has been actually doing the work of connecting vCAC to vCHS.  So I think it will be quite helpful.  Don’t forget that vCHS is a cloud, and that is built with a familiar product (heavily customized vCD) but it runs workloads just like your vSphere runs workloads, and once you are connected to vCHS you can move workloads back and forth using the vSphere Web Client.  So very cool.  But it you really want something powerful and flexible, but also constrained and managed, that means using vCAC to manage your workloads whether they be in your vSphere, or up at vCHS.

vCloud Automation Center 6 Certificates A to Z
This is a handy article!  Doing certificates is hard just about always – unless you have a tool to use that is.  But vCAC 6.x is more than a product – it is a collection of products and of course that makes doing certificates harder – hardest?  But it is good to find in one place the info you need to successfully manage the certs in vCAC 6.

PowerCLI 5.5 R2 and the Site Recovery Manager API
I remember before SRM was even a shipping product a customer asked me for API support he could use.  Of course that did not show up for a very long time.  But it did show up eventually, but this is the first time I have seen it to be really useable by anyone.  Ken gives a great introduction to it in his article.  While I say easy, maybe I should say possible.  This is not your normal PowerCLI interaction as there is not SRM cmdlets to make it a little easier but the fact is it works.  Ken really shows you what you need and it is all in PowerCLI and this makes it possible now to do a lot of different things from the command line that I know people have been waiting for.  Great job Ken!

How to deploy vCenter Operations Manager for View 5.x
This is something interesting to find.  It is easy to install vC Ops, but when doing it for View there are other steps that are not so clear.  You can find all the info you need to do this here.

Designing and Deploying VMware Horizon Workspace 1.8
This was something I used at VMware and I like it.  I like the portal idea as a way to manage applications for users and knowing where you can always find what you need.  With Horizon 6 coming out and really pushing this more I have seen a bit of an increase in looking at Workspace as it is today.  You can find some help on designing a deployment, and doing the deployment thanks to a good set of articles.

VMware NSX: Install, Configure, Manager [6.0] – beta
I wrote last week about different places you could find info to learn more about NSX and so it is cool to share I found a course to mention this week.  Check it out here.

The Veeam Explorers: Now for AD and SQL!
This is an announcement of new features in Veeam 8, primarily the ability to do application type restores for AD and SQL.  This adds to existing functionality in this area and it is very handy.  Not sure when Veeam 8 will ship.

One Size Does Not Fit All: vSphere Custom Reporting and Analytics
This is a very good reminder about what exactly you can do with CloudPhysics.  It is a great tool and I do not know of any customers would not not learn and be amazed with they can do with CloudPhysics in their own environment.  This article talks mostly about what you can do with Card Builder and Krishna has some great examples.

vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) launches two new offerings
This is interesting to see as it shows that vCHS is growing in its capabilities.  The fact you have choices now for your storage tier as well as data protection shows it is in fact developing.  If I was rich I would likely think seriously about moving my lab to vCHS.

Nimble Storage revisited – a chat with Wen Yu
Cormac talks with Wen about Nimble in this interesting article.  Nimble is growing and so this is an interesting talk.  Check it out here.

Rockin’ VMTurbo’s Operations Manager with UCS Integration
This looks pretty interesting.  In my past life we had a very a large UCS deployment and we did very little monitoring.  I remember when I tried to get vC Ops into that environment it was painful.  But this article about how to monitor all of it using VMTurbo was pretty interesting and would certainly have been useful!

Deep Security: DSVA Availability options
I am very fond of this particular security solution (Deep Security) and when I saw this I was curious about what are the availability options?  Hugo talks about product things, and VMware things to help with the availability.

Getting the big IT purchase approved
This is a great little article that should help some consultants starting out and customers as well.  When I was a consultant I did a lot of what is mentioned in this article and that is definitely part of the reason I was so successful – and when I say I was successful I mean that my customers were successful!  Great info.

Printing an e-certificate from a transcript
I was surprised to see this but I realized I had heard people recently talking about finding their certificates.  It is funny in that in the last month or two VMware has sent me links to the ‘updated’ certs I have for VCP.  So I can print out my VCP 3, 4, or 5 certificates.  Who am I going to print out my VCP3 for?  But at least I can.  Here is the information you need if you want to print one of your certificates.

WebCommander – updated
This is a very interesting lab fling.  It allows you to assigned people to specific tasks instead of the whole vCenter Client.  It has a lot of possibilities.  I think it is used in VMware QE and I could see it used in a help-desk world too.  So lots of ideas.

vExpert 2014 NFR and VIP License Programs
Here is a link to the updated list of perks for being a vExpert.  Very much appreciated – I use and love Pluralsight, and I would love to use PernixData if I had time.  I hope to use SolarWinds in the near future.  Find out more about the vCHS perk in this.

58 facts you probably didn’t know about The Star Wars movies
This is an interesting collection of facts on the movies.

Soapbox – VMworld and voting
I mentioned last week I voted for sessions.  I know a lot of great and good speakers and I voted for the ones that had topical and important subjects.  But I was amazed at how many people submitted multiple sessions.  Three seems like the magic number.  I would suggest they be prepared for disappointment for not getting any or all approved.  There are not many spots and about 1600 submitted sessions.  Then there are the NDA sessions that are not in the public voting.  I asked my boss about this once as I thought a lot of sessions were not being approved and I thought they should be.  My boss explained how they figured out how many slots they had, and how it cost to have more slots for sessions.  It was quite amazing.  That year the number for slots was 250.  I suggested that all of the product marketing sessions be recorded and available on and listed as pre-requistes for the appropriate sessions.  That would mean more technical sessions would be live but yet the intro sessions would still be available.  The idea did not do well.  This year I saw even more product marketing guys listed.  I also saw a surprising number of guys pushing on Twitter for people to vote for their four sessions.  I did not know most of them, and I wondered how they could do a great job on preparing four sessions?  I used to pick sessions internally and I tell you the support system really helped.  It knew all of the past history at VMworld of the speakers and how they were rated.  So that was quite helpful.  And sessions with a lot of info in non marketing language were helpful to me deciding on voting for them or not.  It was amazing how few people understood that.  One or two sessions, with detailed and careful preparation are your best changes to get in.  Plus doing sessions that you get marked very high on is quite helpful too!

Thanks for reading or skimming so far!


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Posted in Alert, Newsletter
4 comments on “Newsletter: May 10, 2014
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