Newsletter: May 18, 2014

Hello all,

I have had a pretty good – and hard – week at the HQ.  Our product is taking shape and that is quite exciting.  I had a purchase approved so we are going to build out a realistic customer type lab and so that is quite exciting indeed.  I have some good stuff to share today and as always I hope you all find something interesting.

I have started to read Network for VMware Administrators and I am very impressed indeed.  Not only good info, but the style is very good and quite good for learning.  While I have not finished it I am very much enjoying it.  This really is a book for every IT admin’s bookshelf.  It is one you will likely need to buy both a Kindle copy and a hard copy.  I like the hard copy for easy reading, but I like the Kindle to have it beside me when I work.

Have a great week!


The Gotcha with vFRC and vCenter 5.5
I mentioned this last week as an Alert but I also forgot to mention that there was a workaround in the KB article.  There still is no updates on that KB article but Michael on LongWhiteVirtualClouds has a good writeup on this issue.  Thanks for the mention Michael!

Configuring a ‘whitelist’ for VM Advanced Settings in vCD
This is quite good news.  When you do an OVF export and import in vSphere it is considered ‘lossless’ and it works well.  This is not true when you import into vCD as some information on the configuration of the OVF is dropped by vCD.  For more information and a workaround check out Williams article here.

How to build a Windows 2012 R2 VMware Template
I did a article on building out a Win2K212 R2 template that turned out pretty good.  You can find it here.  I consider it live so it is under the Other Stuff link at the top of my site (not sure if that was a good idea or not).  I have already updated it after comments on twitter.  As I use it and improve it I will continue to update it.

Prepping for the VCAP-DCA exam
This is an excellent article for anyone thinking of doing the VCAP-DCA exam.  It sets out a good plan and shares good info and resources.  Well done!

How to run Nested ESXi on top of VSAN
This is something that I thought would work without issue but I was as surprised as William was when someone found it did not work.  The background, and the solution can be found here.  Good work again William!

Virtual SAN resources
The VMware resources page for VSAN has been updated, and there is now a PofC guide there.  Not sure if that is really necessary but it could help, especially for those who have not worked with it yet.  In particular it has some good troubleshooting info in it.

How long will VSAN take rebuilding large disks?
This is almost a FUD type of issue but Duncan explains it clearly here.  Very good info to know and remember.

VSAN Part 25 – How many hosts to tolerate failures?
Cormac makes a good point in this as I think it is a little bit counter intuitive at first.  I love the clear and easy to understand error message too!  Find the full article here.  I do like the chart better than the formula.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Preparation before vCenter 5.5 install
Here is some info on things to do before you install vC on Win2K12R2.  Another thing for the list is make sure you are doing vC 5.5 U1 since it is the first to support Win2K12.  Recently I did an install without an external SQL so I used the SQL Express that comes with vC and I did none of these steps and it worked fine.  I must admit I do prefer using the vCSA.  Not only fewer per-requisites but also easier upgrades too.

Best Practices for Performance and Links to Performance Information
You can find the best practices for performance here, and a great set of performance links here.  Don’t forget the book on this subject that you can find here.

This is a nice article to help install and configure the vCNS Edge SSL VPN.  It has links to help with the setup of the rest of the vCNS infrastructure as well.  This is something I think more customers should be doing.  Definitely a nice tool and many people own it already!

Why is VSAN deploying thick disks?
This is interesting and something good to understand so that you can avoid this issue in your designs.  The behavior of VSAN is a little different when you do not have a VM Storage Policy.  For a very long time in development the storage policies did not work and so I did a lot of work without them and I must admit it as a tiny bit simpler but of course less flexible.

Patching or Upgrading ESXi host fails with “insufficient memory” error
This is a very interesting problem.  The process that Frank used to troubleshoot it was interesting as well, and the log files he looked in are good ones to know.  It seems odd the solution but it is clear that it worked.  I hope that Frank’s customer passed this all on to VMware support as there may be a bug in there somewhere.

Using different sized disk in VSAN
This is interesting as for a number of years in the past we always knew that if we had an array of 1 TB disks, and replace one or added new, and it was a 2 TB disk it would only be used as a 1 TB disk.  This is a part of RAID and the way it is for RAID but VSAN is not RAID so this issue doesn’t impact VSAN.  But to learn more about this see what Duncan has to say in this.

Three great example workflows for VCO
Simon has produced three sample workflows for VCO that do very useful things – the first is to upgrade VMware Tools / Virtual Hardware, the second is to disable SSH on hosts, and the third is to change advanced settings on an ESXi host.  Cool examples for those just starting out with VCO.

Part 10 – vC Ops Custom UI – Configuring User Authentication and Permission
This will help you get AD working via LDAP in the Custom UI of vC Ops.

VMware Horizon View 6.0 training (beta) now available
This looks like an interesting and useful course.  Considering that View 6.0 is not GA yet.  They sure did a big announcement of it but I do not know when it will be GA.  I do not like that sort of thing.  I like how Apple does it – secret until it GA, and normally you can get it soon and they tell you when you can get it if it is not right than.

Optimizing Audio Traffic and Quality for PCoIP
This is a good little article that really shows how configuration can make a big difference.  If you are doing audio in your View world you should really check this out. Also of note in this article is that they use the Teradici driver.

VMware Horizon View 6
In case you have forgotten the big announcement, or ignored it when you heard there was no shipping date info, I have found a nice overview of Horizon View 6 for features and packaging.  You can find it here.

SRM DNS changes
This is a blog article about an SRM customer that has Linux machines that don’t do Dynamic DNS (DDNS) so he needs to script the DNS changes during failover.  So a good lesson that many will find useful I think.  Ben in the comments points out that there are dynamic environment variables added during the failover or test failover that you can use in scripts.  One use is to tell if you are on the protected or recovery side, or if you are in a test failover.  Also, many Linux distro’s do support DDNS which helps failovers out a lot.

Adding physical HP endpoints to vCAC
Someone was looking for help on this a while back and I saw this yesterday.  Not sure if better late than never this time.  This is also very brief help and only on adding the endpoint and it would have been nice to have more info on this subject.

vCAC redirects to the incorrect SSO address
This is a short story that has a good to know tidbit in it.  Renaming vC is always tough!  But vCAC makes it just a little tougher!  Find the story here.

Puppet Enterprise with vCAC – Part 1 Automatically install the PE agent
I am sitting here wearing a Puppet Labs t-shirt, and I am in fact quite a fan of Puppet so it is good to share this.  You can learn how to use vCAC to push out the PE agent using vCAC in this article.  Good job Ryan!  In the comment section there is an interesting comment about using Puppet to roll out vCAC.  Here is another article on this subject – with a video.

vCAC Resources
I saw this last week and it is quite handy.  It is a collection of useful vCAC 6 links.  You can find install help, or videos on various subjects and much more.  Check it out here.

Log Insight 2.0 beta: Dashboard filters
This is something updated in LI 2.0 and I think it is pretty cool.  Some people talk about the beta of LI 2.0 and concentrate on the scale out, but things like machine learning and dashboard filters are pretty handy!

PowerCLI – reporting to HTML
Here is an article that talks about how to report to HTML from PowerCLI and PowerShell.  Quite handy if you would like to do that!

Data Locality matters – a LOT
This is an interesting blog by Andre that I think can apply to a lot of things, not just Nutanix.  Although this shows Nutanix has carefully considered this and have done something to help, I think we can remember this for other things.

Microsoft TechEd 2014 – Recap
You can find a nice recap here by David Hill.  Through links in his article he covers off in more detail several days at the show.  Definitely interesting and there was a troubleshooting session (Case of the unexplained) that sounds very good.  BTW, the event site is still up and there is lots to see.  David did not talk about the Azure stuff at TechEd but you can find all about that here.

Virtualizing SQL Servers with VMware – Doing it Right
This is a new book – not quite out yet – that looks very good indeed.  It is another VMware Press and I see that Michael Webster has contributed and that means there should be some very good – and detailed – info in this book to make sure our virtualized SQL servers are running at their peak.  Check it out here.  We have quite a few technical books now – on storage, performance, design, troubleshooting storage, networking, and more but this is the first dedicated one on SQL and there is really a lot of SQL servers out there on VMware.

Configuring Database Servers for Optimal Performance
Some great lines in this article by Michael Webster.  I love “your database is just an extension of your storage”  and “the bitterness of poor performance lasts long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten”.  If you want some help designing better database servers you can find some good info in this article.

VMware Dead Space Reclamation (UNMAP) and Pure Storage
UNMAP is the ability to reclaim storage from an operating system – meaning space that has been deleted in the OS can be returned to the array and not held by that VM that is not using it any longer.  So it is sort of cool but has had a number of issues – first with VMware and than with array vendors.  VMware has fixed up its end in vSphere 5.5 but here is an article about how UNMAP works on Pure Storage.  Very interesting.

What is the minimum permissions for the VMware Data Protection vCenter service account?
You can answer that question here.  Wait, it actually tells you to visit the product docs!  So here is a little help – document, than look for Appendix B, page 133 which has the answer.

You know who’s smart?  Friggin’ Doctors, Man.
This is a little bit different of a blog article.  Not what I usually share.  The title offers that clue.  But it is very topical anyway and quite interesting.  It is about problem based learning that vet’s use.  But it really applies to us.  I bet some of you – in professional services organizations (PSO) who are likely using some of this now if you are successful.  So very good info.  Find out more here.

Three ways to protect virtual machines
This is an interesting article by Eugene Kaspersky about the different ways to protect virtual machines – no agent, light agent, and full agent.  I had at one time though no agent was the way to go, but even when I was doing that with Trend I realized that it was not necessarily the best way.  But in this article you learn more about this and it is good info.  While this info is related to the Kaspersky product, that doesn’t minimize the value of this info.  I believe it applies to Trend as well who has been my go-to partner for some time in this area.

Gaining confidence to be an effective public speaker
Some good info on this can be found here.  I very much agree with the author to know your subject and practice.  I think everyone should be videoed as well so you can both hear and see your bad habits.  Things like saying hmm, or fiddling with change in your pockets, or moving around too much.  All bad habits.  It is important to get comfortable as there will be times when it is very hard.  I presented long ago on the VMware Data Recovery product and there was a lot of people in the room and many from competitors – so lots of rock stars.  And some of them really like asking hard questions.  So it was very intimidating but since I had a lot of practice and experience plus knew my product it turned out to be very fun too.

VMworld justification and Rookies Guide
Remember when VMware used to have an email template to help you justify attending VMworld?  I don’t think they do it any longer but someone has and you can find it here.  As well, if you have not been before you can find some useful suggestions here that can help improve the adventure that VMworld is.

Free Study Guide for Microsoft Certification Exam 74:409 – Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center
It is nice of Veeam to do this free study guide as I think it will help and I know many of the partners I know may spend a lot of time with VMware but they also spend time with Microsoft and this test is a good one for them!  Thanks Veeam.

EMC World Review
If you missed EMC World, and that was a little hard to do, you can find some of it still at this URL.  Plus, they will be adding everything to this web site over time so by the end of this month everything should be there.

Architecture, or Carpet bombing
This title is trying to be antagonistic I think, and it is over the top.  The article is a bit strong in it’s attack on what EMC did at EMC World. but I think it has a bunch of good points.  Definitely things that EMC should be thinking about but I suspect they are not – at least based on the their recent actions.  Check out the article here.

New SolarWinds Virtualization Manager 6.1 Creates Voltron-like Monitoring
This is a splendid review of the SolarWinds tool for managing VMware infrastructure.  I have submitted my name to SolarWinds to get a vExpert license to this software as I really want to take a look at it but I have not heard from them yet and I am most disappointed!  After I saw the excellent review that I reference here I was more disappointed!  I really want this software in my lab.

vCert Manager Installation
This is a tool to automate the management of certificates in a variety of different VMware products.  Very cool indeed.  They are kind enough to provide a license to vExperts to test it out.  I have a copy of it at home just waiting for me to have time to make it work.  This is something that can potentially really help out a VMware customer  See Frank do the install of it here.

Updated list of recommended restaurants
I added another restaurant to the list I recommend which you can find under the Other Stuff link at the top of my site.  This one is Legal Sea Food in the Boston Logan airport.  More info here.  I practically live on the road so when I find really good places to eat I like to share them so others can find them easier.

Mac OSX 10.9.3 Upgrade
This upgrade released the other day.  I did it yesterday on my primary laptop (MBP Retina) but since I am on the road I had only one laptop to test it on.  You can find the Apple info on this release and third party info and more here. There is quite a bit in in this update, including improvements in a few areas that impact me like IPSec VPN.  My upgrade did work but it was not smooth.  I started it and looked away.  I looked over at one point and saw it had restarted and was applying the update.  Next time I looked back it was a black screen.  I could not get the login prompt to show.  I closed the lid and the logon screen showed on my external monitor just fine.  I unplugged the external monitor and nothing.  I held the power button down long, paused, and than short and my laptop started up fine.  It did let me know it was shut down inappropriately but everything was fine, including the upgrade.  So I think my laptop video stalled at some point.  But it did end up with everything good.

Eight terminal utilities every OSX command line user should know
William shared this out and I quite appreciate it.  I had not seen it nor likely would I.  Very cool collection of commands that are quite useful at the command line in OSX.

Want to learn a little more about the guy that started Google?
I stumbled across this piece on Larry Page and it was sort of interesting. It is the story of his comeback – and it is quite the story.

VMware vExpert Resources & Benefits
Here is a link for a collection of the links and information you need as a vExpert.  Nice that it is all in the same place.

Reset lost admin password on OSX
Here is the info to reset a lost admin password on OSX.  Not sure, but I suspect it will not work on a Mac that has FileVault enabled but not sure.

Fix Tweetbot on the Mac crash issue
This just in.  Today my Tweetbot for Mac was crashing.  Not sure why or how it started but the fix is easy.  Type in the terminal the following information –> defaults remove com.tapbots.TweetbotMac remoteConfiguration and hit return.  This immediately fixed my issue.  BTW, I quite love Tapbots products – Tweetbot for iPad and Mac are both great products.

Thanks for reading (or skimming) this far!


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