Newsletter: June 7, 2014

Hello all,

I hope everyone had an interesting week – I did and of course it makes things more fun!  Had a wonderful dinner last night on the best balcony of the city, and at one of the best restaurants too – called River Cafe.  Highly recommended.  Finally figured out Win2K12 templates but have not written it all up yet but you should see that soon.  I hope everyone finds something interesting in this issue this week.  Heading back out on the road to HQ and that should mean a little more time to publish stuff.

BTW, VMworld – I assume many of you will be there – right?  DataGravity – my employer – will be there and our booth will be near the VMware booth.  If you saw us at PEX, our booth will be a lot bigger, and we will answer your questions this time!  In fact, we will even have demos of what makes DG special.  So make sure, save time to visit with us!

Also BTW, have you checked out my list of recommended restaurants?  I was just looking at it and they are some really great places.

Have a great week!


Alert – HP Proliant Servers: with Smart Array controllers may have PSOD under ESXi 5.0 / 5.x / 5.5
I missed this and only just saw it.  If you upgrade your HP Smart Array controller to 5.x.0.58-1 you may end up in a position where ESXi will PSOD.  So not good.  Find more info on this here.

Alert – Windows 2012 R2 Update April 2014 may break VMware Customization
If you install this patch – called April 2014 on your Win2K12 templates, make sure to install VMware Tools again to prevent customization issues.  This is not confirmed but I have heard it from a reliable source.

vCenter Heartbeat End of Availability
This is very odd.  There is no other product to replace Heartbeat.  I know VMware is working on stuff, but this makes no sense to me.  But as of June 2, VMware does not sell Heartbeat any longer.  If you own it already it will be supported to 2018.  But in the meantime, what do you do?  Aside from backups, and HA, there is not much if you want to really have good up-time.  I guess there is quite a back-story here since VMware has put people into a very awkward spot and I don’t think they do that lightly.

vCenter Availability and Performance Survey
This is important and I hope many of you will be able to do this survey as I know the PMs really need the input.  Seriously.

Does Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) affect Performance?
I thought it might impact compatibility in some odd software but I had no idea that performance could be impacted and the fact is it could be.  So a good point to be made here in that you should not use EVC if you do not need too! See the full info here, and thanks very much for this Mark!

vSphere Hardening Guide 5.5 Update 1 Released
Mike has updated the Hardening Guide and it is now GA which I know many have been waiting for.  Remember this guide is an excellent way to help you improve the security in your virtual infrastructure but be aware that you should understand what you are doing and the impact of what you are doing before you do it.  This Guide really helps with that but it is up to you to decide what is required out of the Hardening Guide.

vSphere Security: Active Directory Authentication
I heard of several out there who had trouble enabling AD integration on ESXi hosts.  This is a very useful feature and it helps you get through audits easier too.  Find out more about how to enable and use this feature here.

Another OpenSSL issue
This is not as serious as the last one and not as much VMware stuff is impacted but you can find out more here.

My VSAN Nightmare
This has played out very interestingly.  It started with this article.  It is written up very well indeed!  I would love to meet Jason Gill one day to talk about his adventure.  Than Chuck Hollis weighs in on this here. And here is the last on this, which is the root cause from the customers point of view.  The customer had used the HCL in their purchasing and that came back to hurt them.  This is a tricky beast since the H310 was actually legitimately on the HCL but if the HCL is tweaked a little – and I think it will be – than this card may not be on the VSAN HCL any longer.  And, I have this bad feeling I may have just bought four of these darn adapters.

VSAN: The performance impact of extra nodes vs failure
Here is an interesting article about how the number of nodes is impacted by failure.  Some good info.

Extending VSAN capabilities in the vSphere Web Client using vCO
William has a very good point in this article that most people do not realize that you can add context aware vCO workflows into the vSphere Web Client – which is darn cool.  William does this to provide additional VSAN information that he wants to see in the Web Client.  So a cool example of what can be done!

Issue in VMware vMotion that stop at 14%
This is a fascinating issue that likely you will not run into.  However it is a good story and good info that who knows, may help one day!  Check it out.

Migrate a VM from vCD to vCAC
This is an interesting article and a good one to see as I can see people moving their VMs from vCD to vCAC.  I know I would do that if I as a customer.    I expect to see more on this subject in the future – including an official solution from VMware.

Design Choice: vCenter Windows or vCenter Server appliance?
This is a good article talking about if you should use the vCSA or the Windows vC.  Certainly the feature set of the vCSA has reached a point where this is a very reasonable decision point. I quite agree with the author, and I will be installing the vCSA hopefully this coming week in a new lab I am building.

Guest customization runs repeatedly on virtual machines deployed to ESXi 5.1 host build 1743533
This is one that I have seen and been frustrated by.  I had not seen this note however when I had the issue.  But this is good info to have, even if you are not using ESXi 5.1.  A similar issue can occur in other ESXi versions and situations and this solution should still work.

Installation of VMware vCenter Support Assistant fails with the error: could not authenticate to SSO because of the time difference
We all know that time is critical in IT – right?  We need to make sure our IT infrastructure has consistent time – doesn’t even have to be right – but it MUST be consistent.  Here is another app – and a handy one too that will not install if the time between it and SSO is not consistent.  See more on it here.  BTW, I really like this software and think everyone should have it installed.  You can see more of what I have written on it here.

NSX Bites – Controller Deployment Gotchyas and other NSX stuff
There are a variety of how to guides on the internet about how to install NSX – I have even shared some links myself but here is an article about issues the author had that you should know in advance.  As well, in a different article the same author talks about the NSX Roadblock – which is something I have heard a lot about.  BTW, here is a great link to watch for learning about NSX.  Here is an interesting compendium of NSX info.

Configuring vCenter Server Orchestrator 5.5
Here is a nice article that will get your Windows based vCO working.  It is installed by not running on every modern Windows vCenter.  Once it is running you can use this book to help you with the workflows.  This book is for an older version of vCO, which mostly impacts the install / configure kind of stuff, but the workflows learning is still good.  BTW I am – and others – are trying to convince Cody to update the book.

vCenter Orchestrator Client won’t start – Java security issue
I am sharing this to help you solve a potential vCO and Java issue.  However, I have seen this exact issue with the Supermicro KVM stuff, and I think I heard about this with the Dell iDrac stuff too.  So know this problem, and the solution and be aware now the solution may be good for other things!

Log Insight, syslog agents and multiline messages
Here is an excellent article by Steve on multi-line messages and how to deal with them.  This is quite important and useful.  I had not seen multi-line messages in any syslog tool until I worked with the LI 2.0 beta and used the Windows agent.  It produces multi-line messages as necessary and it is very handy indeed.

The VMware View from the Horizon at 38,000 feet and 8000 miles away
This is a great blog article that Michael has written.  Using View from so high, and so far away, your desktop is pretty cool and really a good example of how powerful and flexible that View is.  My lab is not so big or fancy as Michael’s but I too have used it via View from all over the world and it is very handy indeed.  Certainly this proves that PCoIP really contributes!

VMware View Composer agent initialization state error (16)
This is a frustrating license related error that a number of people can hit in their home labs.  You can avoid it easily too once you know how!  Check out the article here.

Atlantis ILIO and VMware Virtual SAN
Atlantis has an interesting product that I have seen often in the field, and connecting it with VSAN is sort of interesting.  Here is a short article with a video on the subject.

Upgrading to SQL Server 2014: A Dozen Things to Check
This is quite a big deal.  Heard some guys talking about it recently and looked on the internet and it is not really just a next, next, finished kind of thing.  Even though that is what it looks like.  So if you are going to do the upgrade make darn sure to check this first.

Brocade demo of vC Ops and Log Insight
This is sort of interesting if you use Brocade gear – they show you what vC Ops and Log Insight look like, and how useful they are – when you are using Brocade gear.  And since it is a video they really do show you.

Fail to Plan then you are planning to fail
I think I know more about DR than most.  I have been around a number of serious data center problems.  I have helped recover from 3 or 4 serious datacenter issues – two by trains, one by fire, and two to water.  So I used to train my customers seriously hard to deal with outages but also how to avoid them.  One of the best things to remember is practice makes perfect.  But it was all manual in those days so practice was hard and took time and often had scripts galore.  But when I helped make SRM (yes, I was involved in a small way), I realized that it was critically important.  It allowed you to practice more easily and completely, and have many people practice and able to understand and see the results.  So definitely a major improvement.  So this article about how you need to plan brought all this back for me.  The author is quite right – you need to plan!  Tools like SRM are important but they are not the plan or the process.  I have heard from many of you, and seen it myself, but it seems that VMware is forgetting about SRM.  They are slow to increment it’s features for example.  I have had several customers explain to me that with their Tier 1 apps protected with SRM they will never allow other vendors to push out VMware.  But VMware really doesn’t see that and it is most disappointing.  Even with the lack of care for SRM it is still the best thing around and should be used by more customers!

Veeam Backup & Replication 7.0 patch 4: VSAN support
I blogged here about my Patch 4 upgrade, but you can see in this article how VSAN and Veeam get along.  There is more to VSAN support than I realized and it sounds very much like Veeam made some cool decisions about how they support it.

Learning Veeam Backup & Replication for VMware vSphere
I am a little disappointed by this book.  It is very short and mostly talks about menus.  Not much extra info.  Meaning the impact of using this feature in this way rather than using the same feature in this other way.  What about the impact of doing this or that?  What about using a Win2K12 drive as a repository where dedupe is on?  Essentially this is a user guide.  I wish there had been a lot more experience of using Veeeam in it.  Not stuff I could figure out by looking at the online help or just trying it out.  This book is OK for someone who has not used Veeam before, in fact I think it is good for that.  I am noticing a theme though when I look at some of these recent PACKT books – simple and not with depth that comes from experience of using the product.  Not all are like that – I really liked the vSphere Storage Troubleshooting one, but others I have looked at are disappointing.  I have bought one or two and as I get time to look at them I will be sure to share!

Networking for VMware Administrators
I have a large library of computer books.  I use them as reference and look through them and read interesting parts.  One of the first I have read cover to cover is Networking for VMware Administrators by Chris Wahl and Steve Pantol.  I unreservedly recommend it for all VMware customers and partners – anyone who works with vSphere in fact.  It is a wonderful reference and the writing style is most excellent.  I like how they start at the beginning and work through to the end.  I like how they tell you about stuff, but also tell you the best way to use that information.  Very nice indeed.  I had to buy an electronic copy so it could travel with me.  So I have two copies and they are worth every penny.  Here is another review.

Top 20 Articles for May 2014
This is always interesting to read.  Do I recognize anything?  Is there anything I think might impact me?  These are the top 20 articles that VMware support used to solve customer issues in the month of May.  There is always a number of articles – four this time about Fusion related stuff.  But this is a good reflection of what is going wrong at customers so it is good to check it out.  You might just run into one of these at a client this next week!

Updated – Iometer – 1.10
I heard that Iometer has been updated and I know it is used by a number of you for testing.  You can find the updated Iometer here.

Why do batteries lose their charge over time?
I have often wondered about this, and I finally found the reason why.  If you are curious why this happens you can learn why here.

VAAI and XCOPY with Pure Storage
This is an interesting article about how VAAI and XCOPY is different on flash arrays.  Check it out here.

Free ThinApp Instructional Videos
ThinApp is a pretty useful tool, and one of those things I believe not enough customers are using.  Plus I think they get a license for it in some of the packaging that VMware has.  So it is good that here is some free videos about making ThinApp work.

An introduction to Microsoft Scale Out File Server
This is quite interesting.  Microsoft is definitely getting into the storage game.  Check it out here.  I think that SMB 3.0 is the first part of MS becoming a storage company – see this and this.

New Tintri Collateral – Backup Best Practices and Veeam Integration
Some new collateral for those of you who use Tintri gear – and if I had the money I would certainly have one of their appliances in my lab!  As well, here is a link to an article about how you can use the Tintri plugin for the vSphere Web Client to apply best practices to ESXi host(s) – very nice Tintri.

Introduction to Nutanix Backup to Cloud (Tech Preview)
This is quite interesting and certainly very handy.  The way they have architected it is quite smart and flexible I believe.  I think that this is going to work out very well for people.  We will see.

A proper server naming scheme
Thanks to one of my co-workers – SteveK – I found this interesting document on naming schemes.  Quite handy actually as I am building out a demo and executive briefing lab and want it to be realistic.

Memory Channel per Bank getting non active when using PERC H310 Controller card – Fixed!
This is interesting and very odd.  I do not understand why the total memory is being impacted by this card and why blocking a couple of pins fixes it.  But in case it helps out someone else here it is!

Automation is scary!
This is interesting what Duncan wrote, and I do agree.  I see people trying to automate when they don’t have a process of what needs to be automated and just want to automate.  Or automating what doesn’t quite work.  That is what makes automation scary, or maybe how little some people I know test the automation they do.

Nutanix Index
Andre has done a nice index of the articles and blogs around Nutanix.  You can find the index right here.

Postbox 3.0.11 is GA
I saw this recently and upgraded to it.  Very easy to do in fact and no issues.  You can see the release notes here.  You can see all of the Postbox articles I have done via this.

WWDC 2014
I was very impressed with the WWDC keynote.  It covers off some wonderful stuff and a lot of it will be very good for us users.  I am going to share a number of different links that should help show you why I am impressed.  10 Annoyances solved by iOS 8 and OS X YosemiteWWDC 2014 new technologies and Design Awards. Will iOS 8 make Andy Ihnatko rethink his Android phone – this is one of the better reviews of the keynote, Big Upgrades for Apple Mac OS X Yosemite, 8 Eye-Catching Features in Apple’s iOS 8, The coolest iOS 8 features that Apple didn’t talk about today.

Want to test drive Apple OSX 10.10 Yosemite? Try it on VMware Fusion and vSphere
This is very cool – William has already tested Yosemite on Fusion.  I actually have a spare MBA that I wanted to test it on but heading out on the road tomorrow so no time.  This is a darn good way to be able to test this new OS on your existing hardware!  I am very excited about Yosemite.

5 Reasons to Choose VMware vSphere 5.5 over Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V
David Davis does a good job on this, and I think it might be good to know about this article as it is well done and I think it is good to remind people.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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