Newsletter: July 11, 2014

Hello all,

I am very late with this.  I have not done last weekends yet!  Very sorry about that, but this is part of my excuse.  But also I am part of a start-up that is trying to do a very complex product, and it is Calgary Stampede time too.  So time has been very short.  I did get something short out on my View upgrade but not much else!  But I do have things to share and so here we go.

BTW, this will be a little big as I need to catch up on what I have to share.  Very sorry I missed last week.

Have a great weekend!

Architectural Decisions
Josh Odgers has done a great job talking about in one place a lot about what you need to think about architectural decisions when you are designing and building out your environment.  There is a lot of good stuff in this blog, and it covers off a lot of time and effort too.  It seems to be still live as there are articles from this year in it.  Something to read in concert with this is best practices and a very good list of those is found here.

Does reinstalling ESXi with an existing VSAN Datastore wipe your data?
I could see people wondering about this, but not be sure about the answer.  Of course most people I think would guess no.  Which is correct but William has more info and pictures in this article.

VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes updated
This document was updated somewhat recently with Cisco and Hitachi information.  If you do not want to design and build VSAN from scratch these Ready Nodes are pretty handy.

Great VSAN link indexes - Official and Unofficial
I saw this official VMware blog index for VSAN recently and it was being pushed on Twitter quite hard, but I think that Duncan’s is pretty darn good and has more than just the official articles too.

Learning more about ESXTOP?
I stumbled across this recently and it is an excellent resource for learning more about esxtop.  Duncan has done a great job with collecting into one place the most useful info on esxtop.  I know someone who was looking to learn more so I thought this would help - and where one wants to learn more there is often more!

003 Snapshot Dangers
You can learn about the dangers of VMware snapshots, along with the reasons why you should use snapshots in this video.  Some good info and well done.  Don’t forget that I recommend you run vCheck in your labs and production environments and it will alert you to this sort of thing.  Also, I recommend CloudPhysics and that too will help you catch this.  Using VMware Snapshots is easy but it can be a bit problematic so this is a good reminder on this.   Time Travel is indeed a problem!

Odd bug - DCUI ping doesn’t seem to do vmkping any longer
I was troubleshooting a storage issue and it turns out I was reminded of a bug from - I think beta 5.5 that appears to still be around.  When I used the DCUI to ping my storage it did not work, but it did when I did a vmkping on the CLI.  The DCUI does successfully ping anything on the management network.

How to Grow a Local VMFS datastore
This is most interesting.  It is easy to grow VMFS datastores and most handy too.  But I have never tried it on a local VMFS datastore and it turns out it works a little different.  I do not think you will need to do this often - ever even perhaps but if you do you now know it is possible and you can find details here.

My recent ESXi updates
On July 3 I updated my four or five ESXi hosts in my home lab.  This was done via VUM to make sure I had no outages and it went smooth.  I checked out the patch information and there was a number of patches to solve PSOD so they were important.  There was a total of seven patches but no issues with implementation.

My vCenter 5.5 U1b upgrade
I have been so busy I only recently did my vC upgrade to 5.5 U1b.  It went very smooth indeed.  There is still that odd pause with Inventory Service upgrade, but if you are patient it is no issue.  VUM really needs an upgrade so I did not uninstall it again.  I think that is now two upgrades in a row that VUM gets upgraded instead of accidently uninstalled - nice!  Don’t forget on Windows or Mac to upgrade your Client Integration Plug-in, and in Windows the VUM plug-in needs to be updated too.  The extra things I have like View 6, VIN 5.8.2, vC Ops 5.8.2, Log Insight 2.0, vCenter Support Assistant 5.5.1 that all depend on vC were fine.  So this was a smooth upgrade for me and that is always nice.  There are a number of fixes in this release that are important so be sure to check out the release notes.  I have heard that the VSAN fix in this may not be fixed but I have not confirmed that either way as no more VSAN in my lab. Here is the release notes, docs, and bits.

das.maskCleanShutdownEnabled is set to true by default
Someone I was talking with recently mentioned a VM was not started after an HA event and he was curious.  Turns out that someone had shut down the VM before the HA event and as a result it was not restarted.  Here is some info on this subject that once again Duncan explains clearly and it is much appreciated.

Virtual SAN & vSphere HA Recommendations
Good article by Rawlinson about how HA changes when you use VSAN with some good education around that along with some suggestions.  Quite an article and a lot of info!

Quick Tip - Steps to shutdown / start-up VSAN cluster w/vCenter running on VSAN datastore
I can see Williams idea in that a management cluster is a good thing to have, and it would be good for it to be on its own storage so it is quite independent.  But, if you do that, how do you shut it down successfully and bring it back when vC is on on VSAN?  William has it all worked out in his article.  Very nice - thanks William.

Large packet loss at the guest OS level on the VMXNET3 vNIC in ESXi 5.x / 4.x
This is something you should not see very often.  I believe it takes significant network traffic but once you do hit that very high network traffic, it becomes possible to have this issue.  There is also more information as well as a resolution for it in the KB article.  As I said this should not be common but it will be hard to troubleshoot if it occurs so it is good to know about it in advance.

Cannot open the vSphere Web Client VM console using the VMware vC Server Appliance 5.5 when no Internet access is available
This is definitely odd.  It is also not old.  In older builds I did a lot with the vCSA with no Internet connection available.  Now when I use vCSA it is always with Internet access so I can do easy upgrades but that is not a requirement.  Its a very odd issue but it does have a simple workaround.  Full info here.

Backing up a virtual machine with multiple disks fails with the error: Change tracking is not active for disks
This is another interesting article.  I know some backup will make sure Change Block Tracking (CBT) is enabled when a virtual machine is added to a backup job.  But I guess not all do so this is a good thing to know about.

Using the Log Insight ingestion API
If you have played with Log Insight you know it receives log events via syslog and allows you great flexibility and power to work with those events.  In Log Insight the Windows Agent doesn’t use syslog to send events to LI but rather does an API based type delivery of the logs.  Find out more in this great article by Steve.  I think this is very cool since your tool or application could use this method to deliver its logs to LI.  Very nice!

Changing the timezone for vCenter Log Insight virtual appliance
This is a little different and so it is good to have a little help which you can find here.  I have not done this and have not noticed any issues as a result.  I will look a little closer though now.

Would you like to know when a VMware host booted?
I saw this on twitter today from @MichaelRyom - you can do a search for initializing scheduler.  After that change the display to Count of events over time grouped by hostname.  Quite handy - if you are using Log Insight that is.

Log Insight 2.0 Configuration Maximums
This is good to know - likely not something to worry about for some customers but good when you are designing things.  I am a big fan of LI and really appreciate how far it has come in so little time, and how they have really worked on easy and smooth.

VMware vCAC IaaS Optimization Guide
Jad has once again produced a very useful article.  In vCAC 6.x there is an IaaS component that is running out on a Windows box whereas the reminder of the components is on the virtual appliances.  There is opportunity to improve the performance of IaaS and Jad has figured that out and has it all detailed in his article.

vCAC IaaS Installation Failure - 401 Unauthorized
This is an article about getting the vCAC 6.x IaaS components working but with an issue - and solution.  We know how hard troubleshooting vCAC is so I love sharing these kind of things.

NSX Series available
I hear a lot about people wanting to learn more about NSX.  Chris Wahl has done a number of articles to get you started and they can all be found here.  Here is something I have shared before but it is a useful collection of different NSX information.  Here is something new - NSX Use Case Library.

Load Balancing vCloud Director Cells with NSX Edge Gateway
Here is an article about how to do load balancing using NSX, in front of vCD.  This is very unusual for me that is, in that this load balancing terminates the HTTPS connection so it can be inspected before forwarding it on.  So very cool.  Check out the info here.

Dell DSET and ESXi 5.5
This article is about using DSET on an ESXi server that has no console.  DSET is an important tool for Dell support.  They often ask for it, and of course in the old days it was easy to put on an ESX server console and SCP the results file off of the host.  With ESXi that is harder.  So this article talks about how to do it which is good as it is not logical or reasonable.  I should add I had to do this once and there was no OpenManage involved.  At least I was not running it or used it.  I was using the Dell image of ESXi so maybe that helped?

Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing IT Right!
I know Michael Webster, so I am confident in suggesting if you want to know more about virtualizing SQL server this book is the way to do it.  But I also know Mark Achtemichuk so there is another reason for me to be very confident in this book.  I have already purchased it but I have not seen it yet.  Check out Michael’s article on it.

How to install Microsoft SQL 2012
I need to do this soon and when I saw this I thought it would be handy.  Also though there might be a few of you who were not SQL DBA’s and might need the help too!

Cormac Hogan and VMworld vVols sessions
If you like to learn about vVols, Cormac is good guy to learn from.  See what he is doing at VMworld in this article.

How to create a VAAI enabled iSCSI Datastore on a Synology DS713+
This is quite the article.  A lot of work went into it, and I suspect a lot of work outside of it figuring things out.  I am a new owner of a Synology but I have not had time to actually move things to it yet other then in testing.  I had planned on using NFS but I think VAAI is not supported on the Synology for NFS so iSCSI will be still in my lab.  This is a good article to have access to as I have found the Synology documentation pretty poor.

The DS414slim NAS as vSphere Lab Storage - Protocols, Performance, and Thoughts
This is a very well done review of the DS414slim and very good info.  He had an earlier one about the install so this one is just about the protocols and performance.

Is Atlantis USX the future of Software Defined Storage?
This article has a good point.  Check it out, and even if it is not right, and even if you think it doesn’t have a point, it is good to learn more about Atlantis.

Dell’s Chapter 2 with the EqualLogic Storage Management Pack
Here is a short marketing message - with several useful screenshots on the recent release of the EqualLogic Storage Management Pack for vC Ops.  So if you have vC Ops and EqualLogic then you really should get this free management pack.

vSphere vSS & vDS - Cisco Nexus 100V Feature Comparison
I have seen this before but not as well done or with as much detail so it is good to find it.  If you ever wanted to compare between these switch types this is how you can do it.

Henri - with an i - has an amazing collection of VNXe information on his site.  He has not blogged for quite some time - in fact the most current thing on his site is from May 4, 2013.  But the VNXe info is handy.  I believe he has or is about to get an new VNXe from Chad Sakac so hopefully we will see some new stuff.

EMC Redefine Possible - Live Blog
Here is a nice article of what happened at EMC Redefine.  In case you want a quick overview it is pretty good.

Summer Gift Part 6 - VSI 6.2 is out
Here is a reminder from Chad that the Virtual Storage Integrator v6.2 is out.  If you have EMC storage, or your customers do, they should be reminded that this is a free and useful tool.   When I traveled more than I do now and visited a lot of customers I was surprised how many of them did not know of, or use, the storage tools that are plug-ins for vSphere.  The VSI is a plug-in for the vSphere Web Client which is particularly good!

VSS Labs vCert Manager Part 2
This is the second article about getting the VSS Labs vCert Manager tool working.  This is a great tool and one that I have myself no time to make work.  I shared out Part 1 earlier and here is Part 2.  The author is doing a nice job detailing out how to get things working.  If you worry about and actually manage the vSphere certs you should think about this nice tool that will make it a much easier job.  Definite thanks to the author of this blog for doing this work!

Latest Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 ADMX Templates now available
So here is the info to find these tools but also a video on how to get them into use.

Dropbox - Introducing streaming sync: supercharged sync for large files
You can see the announcement of this here, and I think it is a nice improvement for the many of us that use DropBox.  If you want to learn a lot more technical about this you can through this.

Why Financial and Business Knowledge Matter in IT
A guy I know who is a very good TAM wrote this and I think he has some very good points.  A great design that doesn’t help the core business of the customer is not nearly as good as a design that actually empowers something that is key to the core business values.  Check out his column here.  Great stuff Frank.

Centos 7.0.1406 is GA, and has open VMware Tools in it!
This caught me by surprise but it is nice to see.  I am mostly a SUSE guy, but many I know prefer Centos.  Release notes and announcement.

Creating an Incident Report
We had a security issue recently at work that was minor but in fact was preventable and could have been far worse.  I wanted to provide a sample for doing an incident report so that we could use it to help make things better and in fact learn from this issue.  I have done many of these over the years, but I have not kept any customer data so I have no samples.  But I found this one on Google, and this screencast about it that is pretty good.  The Google incident report is very well done!

Sysadmin Casts - simple bite sized sysadmin screencasts (released weekly)
In looking for incident report examples I found this site that does weekly screencasts of various things.  It is mostly Linux sysadmin stuff but it might be useful for people that are not regular Linux guys - like me for example.

Attention Symantec Customers - eLearning now free
I saw this and I know a number of you have Symantec software in your labs and businesses.  Free training is pretty handy.  I have not tried it but I hope that it is quality stuff as I know it will help many.  I like having some free training out and available, but I also like having more technical and better quality training available for a cost - such as on PluralSight.

The OMG ridiculous single point of awesome for attending VMworld 2014 San Francisco!!!!
Chris Kusek has an article about VMworld that is useful in that it has a lot of advice and suggestions.  Some great info if you are not familiar with VMworld and even if you have been before.

My Yosemite Testing
Cannot say much about this, but I do like it.  My Trend Micro Titanium anti malware doesn’t work but everything else does so far.

OS X 10.9.4 Update
Went smooth for me on several different iMac / MacBook Pro / MacBook Air.  Fixed my issue with automatically joining Wireless networks.  More info in this.

iOS 7.1.2
I did an iPad and an iPhone 5s with no issues.  Which is almost normal for me.  Both of those I did via iTunes, but I did one other iPad over the air.  Again no issues.  You can learn more about this upgrade here or here.

CIFS - SMB v1 and SMB v2
When you use a Mac, and connect to something using CIFS you are using SMB v1 and if you use SMB to connect you will use SMB v2.  Which is the way to normally do it.  This might look like when connecting to a server - smb:// or cifs://uxintegration/uxintegrationCIFS.  It is good to know as I have seen storage devices that you have better success or performance using either CIFS or SMB.  Normally you should always use SMB.

Shazaam for wine? New app provides real-time wine label recognition
This looks very promising.  Could be useful.  I just got it and will test it out tonight. I will let you know how it goes but an app that can recognize wine bottles would be real handy in my life.

I just installed a tool which shows how popular websites are spying on me
I just saw this article and it is a bit worrisome.  Sure the NSA or CSE are spying on us, but they are not something to worry about (unless you are a bad buy) as much as the spying that so many companies do on us while we move between their websites.  I think there is more possible issues with this then the intelligence community.

Another brilliant start-up idea
Andy Ihnatko is someone that I have listened to on and off for years.  Often has interesting comments to things. and this idea for a start-up made me smile.

Soapbox - This is what happens when you don’t have good product management!
In this article someone talks about a laptop that has great spec’s but in fact turns out to be not such a good laptop.  This is absolutely what I worry about in my work as a product manager.  There is a lot of examples in our IT life and work that fit in this model.

Soapbox - 10 tricks to appear smart in a meeting
This was quite funny to see, and it was interesting to see how much activity it got over the Internet and Twitter.  If you use any of these tricks in meetings with me, I might embarrass you pretty good.  If you use multiple of these tricks I will really embarrass you - or at least I will certainly try too.  These tricks are not nearly as good as being honest and paying attention.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Newsletter, Opinion, Soapbox
3 comments on “Newsletter: July 11, 2014
  1. @vcdxnz001 says:

    I guess my home lab is not the norm as I get the packet loss problems all the time. I’ve had to increase the buffers on all of my guests, else they get overloaded. So it might be more common than people think.

  2. […] thought this was just something I had done in my lab environment. But after reading Michael White’s Newsletter and the VMware KB 2039495 - Large packet loss at the guest OS level on the VMXNET3 vNIC in ESXi […]

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