Newsletter: August 31, 2014

Hello everyone,

I am recovering from hard work at VMworld, and catching up on email.  Plus doing some blog catch-up too. I already wrote up some thoughts and suggested reading on VMworld.  There is a lot out there.  But this is a normal newsletter and I hope there is something for everyone!

This week I will spend a bunch of time in the lab, getting several interesting things working and I hope to share that work out with you.

BTW, I am catching up after missing last week – sorry about that – both for missing last week, and for sharing so much this week!  But I deleted as much as I could before sharing so I really do hope everyone finds several things interesting!

Have a great week!


Improving Network / CPU use in nested ESXi environments
Did you know that when you are doing nested ESXi and your vSwitch (or dVS) is configured for promiscuous mode that all of your VMs on that switch see all of the traffic?  I bet you did know that but did the impact of that config really register with you?  It did to William and he ended up getting a Lab Fling out that really eases the processor and RAM usage (of the pESXi) in this situation.  Check out the story here.  This is a very big deal if you do any nested ESXi on ESXi.

EVO demo
You have likely seen and heard a lot on EVO:Rail but I just found a video I had not seen before.  It is done by an old co-worker and friend of mine Dave Shanley.  A great video and I really like the start of it.  Make sure to watch full screen.

EVO wallpaper?
You can get some great EVO pictures of Marvin.  Get the biggest one – original size – for your wallpaper – it looks great on my MBP Retina. Dave is the lead engineer but is also quite a graphics whiz as well!

Migrating vCenter Server 5.5 from Win2K8 R2 to Win2K12 R2
This was a case of someone who wanted to move from physical Win2K8 R2 with vC to virtual Win2K12 R2 with vC.  This is not a simple task but you can find out how to do it here.  While this is not supported by VMware, the article really helps break it down so it is not as painful as it could be!

Log Insight Calculator
I have generally told people to deploy Log Insight with an extra 400 GB disk and see how things go in the first week or two and you can start getting an idea on how good or not your storage design is.  This is not ideal of course, but I have used it in some big labs and small ones too and it was OK.  So I am very happy that Steve has done up a calculator that is a lot more helpful!

NetApp unlocks the power of VVOLS
This is a nice introduction to VVOLS, and also – of course – talks about how VVOLs work with NetApp.  Here is a link to a VMworld session that is very good info on VVOLs too.

Aspiring VCDX Study Guide Link-O-Rama
This is a most amazing collection of resources that someone who wants to work his way to VCDX would be hard pressed to find better.  This is just what you need to start you on your way to certification.

The VCAP-DCA 5 study sheet
If you are working on this cert you could use a little help to make you more efficient and I think this will help.

VCAP-VDCA550 – Objective 4.4: Configure and manage vSphere Replication
A good reminder on working with vSphere Replication – one of the things that every single VMware customer has that a surprising number of them do not use.  Some do not use it due to FUD, and some because they do not know they have it.  But it is part of the testing and so it is good to see this article.

Automating vSphere Replication bandwidth with PowerCLI
This is a pretty handy script for setting bandwidth limits on VR, but even if you are not into that, I suggest – if you use PowerCLI – to check out the article as it is a pretty darn interesting example of PowerCLI.  It looks pretty darn good to me.

Ultimate VM batch deploy script
This is a very handy PowerCLI script if you want to deploy a bunch of virtual machines easily.  It is not that just deploys a lot of virtual machines with simple names for the purpose of loading your hosts or storage but rather deploy virtual machines that are useful.  I will be trying it out soon!

PowerCLI report on (mis)configured storage
Another useful script that you will not need often but is handy for troubleshooting or investigating.

Want to use GitHub for your PowerCLI scripts?
If you create any original PowerCLI scripts, or if you modify other peoples scripts in nice ways, you should consider using GitHub to keep your scripts in.  Or, if you want to understand why Alan uses GitHub for his vCheck script check out this how to with Chris Wahl.

VSAN Calculator now available
I played with this and found it quite useful.  I think it will be helpful to plan more effectively your VSAN implementation.  Check out the announcement by Rawlinson here.  And I can confirm, he is not an ex-figure skater.

VSAN training on PluralSight
You can get VSAN training via PluralSight now which is pretty handy.  I like their tools and selection.  Find out what is in the course here.

Monitoring VSAN with Virtual SAN Observer technical white paper
This TWP looks pretty good and if you are using VSAN you should check it out as it will allow you to troubleshoot and understand VSAN at a deeper level.  It also has a lab that it is related to in the VMware Hands-on Lab.  Not sure if it will be in the public catalogs soon or not.

Using SRM to protect vC Ops
Cormac has done a good job showing you how to protect vC Ops in this article and this one.  However, I believe that vC Ops is something that normally should be in your management cluster and NOT protected by SRM.  There should be vC Ops on the recovery site too since it is not a dark site and has workload there as well.  When applications like Oracle or Exchange are failed over they will impact vC Ops already there and you are done.  This is not ideal as vC Ops will need to start to normalize things with these new applications but that is not as bad as it sounds.

Disable vMotion for a single VM
Frank (and me for that matter) have never had to do this in the wild for a real customer.  But we have heard the question asked and Frank has figured it out so if you need to do this the info is out here.

VMware and Wildcard certificates
This is interesting as I have rarely worked with wildcard certificates.  We had one in my group at VMware that we used in a variety of places.  It turned out to be quite handy but also we paid a lot of money for it.  It looks like the majority of products do not support it.  I can tell you that we used if with View in a variety of configurations and versions with no problems at all.  I think except for View it is best to not use a wildcard cert with VMware products.  I do believe that will improve in the future.

You down with NTP?
You certainly should be.  With the VMware applications that are impacted by it, and the business applications too, it is quite a list.  Think of SSO or AD where 5 or 10 minutes time difference means you cannot log in.  Frustrating.  Every SE, or sysadmin should be worried and careful with NTP.  There is a nice CloudPhysics card that can help if you use CloudPhysics.  Here is an article with good reminders.

Want to learn more about CloudVolumes?
Here is the article that announced VMware had acquired CloudVolumes, but here is one that Kit does about why.  Here is one that is the start of a series of working with CloudVolumes before VMware bought them and is most informative.  BTW, I believe if VMware does things right with CloudVolumes it could be very disruptive to the industry – which of course means great things for customers.  But this will be hard.

New 10 GB switch in the reasonable price range
I have previously mentioned I used NetGear 10 GB switches (XS712T and XS708) in my work lab.  I do not use them any longer – I have donated them to our Sustaining Engineering people.  I had several issues with them that were small and not frequently occurring but irksome.  They had current firmware but poor support.  So I changed them out for one Arista switch and no more issues.  But the difference between the NetGear at around 1400 US each vs 20000 US for the Arista was serious dollars.  But it sure works great!  I used the NetGear as it was cheap but I thought it would work a bit better.  I thought a lot of small business might use something like that for access into the 10 GB market.  But I saw a tweet recently from Erik Bussink about something new from the Cisco Small Business line.  It is the SG500XG-8F8T and it looks to be about 4000 US and it has 16 ports which is pretty generous at that price I think.  I am a fan of the Small Business line – I have a variety of switches and firewalls from it and they are pretty good and easy to work with too.  Here is hope that this 10 GB switch turns out good and I hope too that Erik Bussink shares his experience about it.

How to repair / reinstall the VCO on Windows
This is not something that you will need to do often, maybe not even ever, but it is good to know that it is here if you need it!

Learning VCO Part 1 – Bulk VM Creation
While this is about learning VCO it doesn’t help you get started, but it does help you get your first workflow and that is good help indeed.

Would you like to know how to have a PowerShell script execute inside a VM – thanks to VCO?
You can learn how to have a Powershell script executed by VCO inside of a VM.  Sort of handy actually and a nice use-case.  Check out how in this article.

Dropbox changes
I guess most of you with Dropbox have heard already?  Your 100 GB is now 1 TB – called Dropbox Pro?  I never used all of the 100 GB so this is not a big deal to me.  Remote wipe is sort of cool, as is expiring shared links.  And I guess they QOS the shared links (I sure didn’t know that before) since with this new or updated offering we get higher shared link limits.  I must admit I am thinking of iCloud Drive in Yosemite as I like having less vendors in my life and if I need to pay Apple, or pay Dropbox, I will likely choose Apple.  But we will see.

Veeam 8
Veeam 8 has been building for a while now.  They talked a little more about it at VMworld and you can see that info here.  One new feature in v8 – that I had not heard before is interesting – you can replicate from the backups rather then the actual production copies.  Nice.

VMworld swag and Parties
I was asked about VMworld swag. Swag is defined as stuff given for free! I normally don’t take swag, thinking I am a vendor and should leave it for customers. I will take shirts, or a glass sometimes if it is offered and from someone I like and know. This year I did take up on vExpert gifts though. The fleece and battery charger from Tegile was very nice indeed. I liked the SolidFire beer glass a lot too. I really like the Puppet Labs golf shirt. I also liked the vNerd t-shirt that Pluralsight was handing out. I visited them before the opening of the floor to say thanks for providing access for vExperts to their great product. I should have asked for a t-shirt too! I did get a very nice NSX t-shirt but I cannot wear it since I know very little about NSX. The NSX BU, along with the vExpert program had one of the nicer parties. I really liked seeing Elastic Sky and my good friend Jeff singing in it. The Cisco Geekfest was pretty good too and I was very lucky to meet up with lots of old friends that I really enjoy. I also met Matt Bender, and Amy Lewis, and both are very interesting and cool. I consider them – due to their very public persona – sort of like swag so that is why I mention them!

Did you wonder where the idea for DataGravity came from?
If you did, we actually have a blog now to answer that question.  It is an interesting story and you can find it here.

VMware Visio Stencils – v4
This collection has been updated again, with at least, new NSX shapes.  So could be handy!  Also, here is a another great collection.

Use PowerShell to migrate entire SQL server instance
This is an interesting article that will show you how you can safely migrate your SQL instance.  Not something you want to do often, or in fact at all but you can but if you need too.

My Synology SynoLocker Debacle
This is an amazing story.  Very well written and quite interesting.  This happened to someone I know – not the Synology part – but the encrypted files part.  It is very frustrating and a little scary.  I believe that everyone who pays is being tracked by the bad guys and are future targets.  This is all a good lesson to have defense in depth, but also be aware of what is hung out on the Internet, and keep things updated.

Making sense of Wireshark data
This is a free and very cool utility from SolarWinds.  And don’t we all know that sometimes it could be a little easier to look at Wireshark data?  For me all of the time I could use help! In fact SolarWinds suggest this utility will help you see if the performance impact is the network, or the application.  Sort of handy!

Consolidated list of VMware security advisories since 2012
This list is handy if you want to have a complete and current list of the security advisories.  Find more info here.

Twitter opens it’s analytics to everyone
Curious about what you can see when you use the Twitter analytics looking at yourself?  I learned about this here, but I have heard it is only a basic service but judge for yourself.

On-premise is not a word!
On-premises is in fact correct.  Find out more here.

New Sysinternals tool – Sysmon v1.01
I learned about this new tool in this article, but I found the utility here.  This might be quite useful to … a very small group of you out there.  But when / if you need this sort of thing, it will be most useful!

Application Performance Problems? It is not always the network!
This is a marketing feature, but it is still useful.  It describes symptoms and equates them with a product or tool.  Find out more here.

Send email to users whose AD password is near expiring?
This is something that is a little more important now then it used to be.  As a Mac user I do not often log into my own or work Active Directory domains so the normal password notification stuff doesn’t help me.  So an email about my expiring AD password is pretty handy.  Find the detailed instructions here.

Storage Landscape (Part 2) – Storage Architectures
This is a very interesting and well done breakdown of storage architectures of today and good explanation.  Here is part 2, but part 1 is pretty good too!

Work smarter, not harder – and science to back it up!
Thanks to Chris Wahl (and actually his wife) I found this article.  It is an important article that will make suggestions about what not to do so as to become more productive.  What is different is that there is science behind the suggestions.  So a little different.

Apple replacing defective iPhone 5 batteries
To learn more about this, and if your iPhone gets a new battery check out this article.  A little more info on this can be found here.

New Search engine in iOS is different
I saw this recently where it talked about a new option for search engine in iOS (and Mac OS X too) and I was quite impressed with the search engine.  It might be worth checking it out!

Getting more out of your music on an iPhone?
I saw this and found it quite interesting.  I have heard people on this subject before and I think that this might be a way for them to get more out of their iPhone in terms of higher quality of sound in headphones.

How I migrated from Windows to a Mac
This is a short article about how someone switched to a Mac and was happy.  He does list a bunch of the tools he used to use and what he uses now and that is why I shared it.  I would have mentioned OmniGraffle for Visio, and Evernote too.  But still some good info.

iPad Air keyboard cases
I am thinking if on September 9th they announce an iPad with Touch ID I will buy it.  So I am thinking about a new case with a keyboard so I can use it in more meetings and I found this article that had some good info.

The mystery of ‘moved’ rocks in Death Valley has been solved!
Thanks to a co-worker recently I learned how the rocks in Death Valley had been moved.  You can see they have been moved, but no one knew how it had been done.  My wife and I had seen them and wondered.  It is interesting to note that I have seen this sort of thing elsewhere and I think the same solution may apply to them too.

SOAPBOX – How to not make a total ass of yourself at trade shows!
I saw this – in title only, and added it to my list for the newsletter.  When I was editing things I realized I knew the author of the article – not personally but by name as it is very distinctive and I like reading her blog.  Reading what she puts up with at VMworld is pretty amazing and very wrong.  Make sure to read her article and understand that many of us do not think it right what she goes though.  This is important and should not be tolerated by anyone.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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