Newsletter: August 16, 2014

Hello all,

I hope that everyone is doing well today?  I had a hard and long week working with developers and team leads and it was fun.  We got a lot done and that is always good.  Plus time in the lab too so it was a very busy week.  I have a good range of things today and so as always I hope something for everyone!  Keep an eye on my blog, and twitter next week.  Can’t say much but watch!

Are you ready for VMworld?  I am not quite.  But soon I hope.  I am very much looking forward to it.  I will be in our booth, so I hope many of you will visit and say hi.

BTW, someone asked me about the names I quote.  Do I actually know them?  The way it works is if I say “Duncan did a great job”, or something like that, I know Duncan.  If I say “Derek Seaman did a great blog article on cert changing” then I do not know him but think it worth recognizing him.  See the difference?

Have a wonderful week, and I will write the next newsletter while at VMworld.


ALERT: Storage Controllers for VSAN that are not longer supported
I believe this happened once already, and here it is again.  Remember that this doesn’t mean the controllers will not work but generally it means they may not work at scale.  So OK for home lab.  Find the alert here.  If you have controllers in use that are not supported anymore you should make sure you know that and have a plan to replace them.  Maybe do not push the cluster as hard until you figure things out.

ALERT: HP Custom ESXi Image - 5.5 Upgrade Failure (and resolution!)
This could be very frustrating for people.  If you have trouble upgrading your ESXi with VUM or manually, when using HP customized images, you should check this article out to see if you have the issue and if so what the resolution is.

Update - VMware OS Optimization Tool is more tricky then expected
I talked about the VMware OS Optimization Tool in the last issue of this newsletter.  I found out the hard way that one thing it did was not welcome.  So as always for these sort of things, make sure you test carefully!  It removed the admin$ share from the machine where it was run (and the VMs provisioned from that template).  This broke the Veeam backups that needed it (quiesced mode).  So while the tool is handy, be sure to test carefully with it!

Odd keyboard behavior when configuring in VM console
I was configuring a VM (an appliance) recently in the VM console and I was getting that very irritating issue with keys repeating out of control.  This made it very hard to authenticate.  Of course normally I see this when I am working via a Satellite connection or something like that - in this case that was not true and there was no latency issue.  There is a KB article that can help with this problem but I was suspicious.  I have seen one appliance recently - Log Insight I think - that shipped with the commands from that KB article as part of the appliance.  Interesting.  In my case the solution was to close and open the console again.  Note the KB article number - 196?  That is a very old article.

Schedule VM Version upgrades with vCO
It is important to keep both VM hardware versions, and VMware Tools current.  Failing to do this can impact many things - from SRM failovers not being as quick as they should to virtual machines that are not performing as fast as they should.  There are a number of different ways to upgrade virtual machine hardware and here is an interesting one that uses vCO to help.

vSphere 5.5 Toolkit Updated
This is a most excellent resource if you want to update VMware certs.  Derek Seaman has done a script that will help you do it right!  And we know that it is a little complex right?

Create VMware SSL Web Certificate
This is an article about getting the SSL web certificate ready for updating the VMware SSL certs.  Other articles linked to this one will help with other parts of the process.  Maybe the toolkit above may be easier?

Configuring Highly Available vCenter SSO with SSL certificates
This detailed article will get you going if you use vSphere 5.5 so that you will end up with highly available SSO and it will have custom SSL certs.  Nice.

Downgrade your ESXi host
This is quite useful info since it is non destructive to your settings but also because sometimes you need to know how to do this - such as when the NFS bug was a problem. So a good article to be aware of.

Recovering vCenter Server after the major Outage
So an interesting and useful outline here.  But, I suggest you do not get into that situation.  Have a management cluster if you can.  It should be isolated and using it’s own storage (maybe VSAN) if possible.  It has the mgmt tools in it and it manages the other environment which is where you run all your apps.  So while one environment goes down the other doesn’t.  But, in any case make sure you know where vC is running as you never know!

vCenter SRM reports SOAP errors when polling vC in a vFlash enabled environment
Not sure how many customers are using vFlash yet, but for those that are you may have an issue if you are also using SRM in the same environment.  For more info check out this article.

Failure for a user to get a desktop in a pool they are entitled for
This is a very specific and odd error.  One of my co-workers was not able to get a desktop in a pool that I had entitled him for.  Turns out I misspelled his account name.  So I deleted it and created it new.  I added it to the group he was part of and he was still not able to get a desktop.  He could authenticate to View, and see the pool but not get a desktop.  I turned to twitter to get help.  Thanks to Christian Mohn I got an answer.  When you add someone to an AD group, that action is not complete until they log into the AD domain again.  That was my problem.  I added the guy to the group that was used in View to entitle, but he had not logged in again so he was not seen as in that group by AD so View could not deploy.  So why did it let him log into View?

How to install ITBM Standard
This is very interesting software.  Long ago when working on some of the vCAC beta and alpha programs I had to install this software.  It was not hard.  But it was very cool since in the first five minutes or so I learned about what things cost.  I do not agree with the author to use sync with host time but that is minor.  It is good to have help to get this app working as it is relatively unknown but yet very useful to help with cost and usage reporting.

Load Balancing Log Insight: NAT vs. Transparency
This is a great description of an important issue when you are load balancing Log Insight.  Steve has done a great job - as usual.  I do like very much working with Steve and hopefully one day in the future I will again!

Enhanced Visibility into vCloud Director with Log Insight
This article talks about a new LI Content Pack for vCD.  This is a very big deal as if you ever managed vCD as you know the logs are critical.  This is a good example of the power of vCD.  You should have vC, vCD, and ESXi logs all in LI to facilitate faster troubleshooting and problem resolution.

Log Insight cluster - data not balanced across nodes
Another interesting article by Steve about a particular condition that can occur in a load balanced Log Insight cluster and how to recognize it and avoid it - or perhaps live with it. Find the article here.

Updated vCAC 6 icon pack
I think it is quite useful to use specialized icons to help end users recognize things when working in vCAC so it is handy that Ryan Kelly has updated his icon library.

Top 3 Scripts and Tools for July 2014
I have not shared this earlier but it cannot wait any longer!  This is a very good list of scripts that most anyone can use.  Check out the article by Brian Graf here.  I run vCheck in all my labs and have for quite some time.

What’s in PernixData FVP’s secret sauce
This is a very good introduction to FVP and why it is special.  Very interesting it is!

Great read: Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: doing IT right
This is a book that is on my desk at home - I think.  I am looking forward to it.  I know some of the authors and reviewers.  And seeing Duncan speak so well of it is pretty good too.  I look forward to checking it out.

Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library Documentation
This is sort of cool.  The full documentation and technet stuff too - in one PDF of about 8700 pages long.  Find it here.

“Prepare” ESXi 5.5 Host within Deep Security 9.0
When preparing ESXi as part of the Deep Security install you will likely have some issues (The installation transaction failed).  You can get around them easily if you follow this article.  I am very fond of DS and think more customers should be using it, or one of the similar packages.

Compliance Checker for Payment Card Industry
If you know someone, or maybe you are one, that looks after an environment that is regulated or influenced by PCI this compliance checker may be helpful!

Cisco UCS Platform Emulator (3.0(1cPE1))
For those of you who are working in a UCS shop, or if you have some UCS gear, you will be happy to know that they have upgraded the UCS emulator so you can practice and learn more about the UCS gear when you need to.  Which is handy and important.  Find out more in this link - - sorry to make it so long and ugly but WordPress messes it up somehow, and use the link in Chrome - has trouble in Firefox.

A Training Class Where I Actually Learned Something
I have taken a lot of technology classes over the years, although I want to take more, and I have even taught a bunch.  I sure identified with the article written by someone who took a most amazingly done class.  It was quite different but I really see the value in the different method. I hope a lot of people learn from this article.

New Training Course - VMware NSX Technical Overview with Labs [v6.0]
Here is notice about some new training on NSX.  Five days sounds exactly like what you need, and lots of labs.  Find out more here.

Yosemite Feedback Assistant
The most recent version of the Yosemite beta has the Feedback Assistant in it.  I wanted to use it as I thought it would be an easy way to do bug reports.  Turns out I cannot use it as I am not a public download beta guy.  If you are you can use the handy tool, but if not, and you get the bits as a developer then you need to do the normal bug reporting.  I could not find the Feedback Assistant on my machine but Spotlight found it fast and easily.  BTW, if you need a little help beta testing Yosemite you can find that here.

Using Swift as general purpose scripting language
This is not quite a getting started thing with Swift but it is helpful nevertheless.  The idea is to use Swift as a general purpose scripting language and that is sort of interesting.  Find the blog hereSwift is pretty darn cool and I think it will be very important in the future.  And I think it will help make things easier for dev guys which is great for us users.

VMworld apps ready
You likely already know this.  But they are out and you can find the iOS one here.  It is pretty well done this year, and they are even early with it - although I am a little late with it.

Tips and tricks for surviving and enjoying VMworld 2014
A good list of suggestions but also a nice chart that shows the attendance and how it has grown.  BTW, the battery pack he suggested is one that Duncan Epping suggested for me and has been most excellent.  Has been used by me in some very interesting places and done quite well - will do a partial charge on an iPad, and charge iPhones and do both types of activities a number of times.

VMworld Party Info
You can find out more info about the VMworld parties at this link.

VMworld 2014 Networking and Security Session Guide
If you want to know about NSX sessions at VMworld you can find out here.

Puppet Labs is Breaking all the Limits at VMworld
Here is the info on Puppet at VMworld.  I really like their product and if you don’t know them you should visit and get a demo.  They even have a HOL this year.

SMB3 PowerShell changes in Win2K12 R2: SMB1 can now be completely removed
This is good to know.  I like being able to make a smaller attack surface.

Multipath: Active / Passive, Dual Active, and Active / Active
Nice article explaining out these terms.  Well done and helpful.

How to validate your business idea by testing a hypothesis!
This is an interesting article that is more for startups, but it can be used in a number of places without change.

Personal - Wives sing a welcome for their soldier husbands getting home
This was supposed to be sung by soldiers (as part of the 100th anniversary), but Bryan Adams thought it better sung by the wives of the soldiers.  It is very moving indeed.  This was my sister Regiment. I am from the Loyal Edmonton Regiment.   Thanks to my wife Angela for finding this and sharing it with me.  It brings back a lot of memories.  If you ever were a solder, or you were involved with one, it will likely mean a lot to you as it does me.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far - have a great week!


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