Newsletter: September 14, 2014

Hello all,

For the first time in a long while I am writing this from home.   Wow, do I ever appreciate that. A very busy week at work recovering from a lost lab.  My lab was built on pretty darn good quality beta code, but due to doing something odd, and a power outage, I lost it all.  So rebuilding is what I have been doing.  It is running again, and I will be doing some interesting things with it this week which you will see.  I am writing how to articles on three things – 1) vSphere Replication, 2) Zerto, and 3) how to backup a CIFS share.  All are interesting and useful, and I hope to get two of them at least out this week.  All depends on meetings!

I did an article on mass SvMotion that is pretty handy if you want to move a lot of virtual machines around.  It has some very cool latency code in it that helps the script not overwhelm storage.  Very cool and done by Luc Dekens – the latency code that is.

I have a good list of things for everyone this week, and I hope something is found that is particularly interesting for each of you!  The schedule tasks in Web Client is pretty interesting, and surprising too, plus PSPing is cool.  So I do hope something for everyone.

Have a great week!


vSphere 5.5 Update 2 now GA
This is a small update, but it does solve a number of issues.  Plus it is required for a number of things like SRM 5.8, View, and others too I think.  One of the few new things is the Customer Experience Improvement Program which sounds interesting and of course I am a believer in those things.  Find the release notes , ESXi bits and vC bits.  Third party comments here.  I have not upgraded yet, as I am trying to get some blog articles done – as I mention above.

Yet another blog post about vSphere HA and PDL
I think I have shared this out before, but it is a great resource and I know someone was looking for it.  Definitely lots of good info and links.  Also some interesting comments too.

Major vSphere Toolkit Update – v2.0 Live
This is from Derek Seaman and is a very handy tool to help you with VMware certificates.  Check it out here.

HP Customized version of ESXi 5.5 U2
You can find the info on an HP customized ESXi 5.5 U2 here.

Scheduling Tasks in the vSphere Web Client
I work in the vSphere Web Client more than anyone I know of – other than some of the UI people.  And I did not know this.  Check this out – you can schedule tasks pretty easy and in a natural way I did not know.  This doesn’t seem to work in Chrome (or Firefox) on the Mac but does in Chrome in Windows.

How to build custom ESXi ISO for Apple Mac Mini
William once again helps with making Mini’s work better with ESXi.  Also, in this article he shows you how to build your own custom ISO and that is good to know.

vCenter 5.5 fails to start after reboot with the error: Unable to create SSO facade: Invalid response code: 404 not found
William had this problem, but this KB article almost solved it.  It however needed several other things:

restart vmware-sts-idmd

restart vmware-stsd.

After the KB article and the two restarts all was good.

vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8 now GA
This is a big release.  One I have been waiting for.   One of the key things – that I saw done quite some time ago is vSphere Web Client integration.  Very good to see that in the wild now!  But also, another big thing is integration with vCO.  This has a lot of possibilities!  Release notes and bits.  This is another product where you should test the upgrade, or perhaps have help from someone who has done it before!  Once my product has SRM support I will be able to have it in my lab and I will be sure to let you know how the upgrades go!  You can find a little more about this release here.  BTW, yes, SRA’s from 5.5 work with 5.8.  BTW, the operational limits of SRM 5.8 can be found here.  Also BTW, if you want the full scalability of SRM you will need to be using vSphere 5.5 U2.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8
This is a very informative and nice review of SRM 5.8 by Cody Hosterman.  Nice job.

VMware SRM 5.8 GA with EMC SRDF SRA
Drew has some good info about SRM and SRDF in this article.  Things are a little different with SRDF and SRM and he talks about those.  If you use SRDF you really should check out the article.

Network Ports for SRM 5.8
This is quite useful when working on your SRM 5.8 design plan.  One thing I learned the hard way is that some SRA’s have their own specific ports that will not always be reflected in their documentation!  Since SRM is always deployed in pairs that means there will be a firewall or two between them!  So this port info should help.

View 6.01 now GA
This is a small release but with some interesting new functionality.  It is important to note that this release of View requires vSphere 5.5 Update 2.  I have met people that have been waiting for this specific release due to the USB 3.0 support, and location based printing.  Find the bits, and release notes.  FWIW, I have not done this update yet due to the articles I must concentrate on that I mentioned above.

View Clients updated – 3.1 GA
As you know the View Clients release separately from View – which is pretty handy but this time they released I think almost at the same time as View did.  You can see more here – including a note that they work with iOS 8 but will need an update for the iPhone 6 Plus.  BTW, the update Mac client has a slightly different name – VMware Horizon Client instead of VMware Horizon View Client.  If you do not get prompted to finish the upgrade you know you are using the old one.

VMware Horizon View AutoConnection Utility
This is a useful little tool that will allow you to use old Windows based systems like thin clients.  Turn them on and automatically connect to your virtual desktop.  Cool.

This is the start of something very useful  – A FAQ by Duncan of Yellow-Bricks on EVO.  Some good stuff and I expect it to grow too.

EVO:RAIL vs VSAN Ready Node vs Component based
This is a nice article by Duncan about an important point.  One he suggests often – what are the customers requirements?  What problem are you solving?  So this is a nice article.

VMware PowerCLI 5.8 R1 Released
There is quite a nice release – performance enhancements and lots more you can do with storage polices but see here what Alan has to say about this release.

vCenter Orchestrator 5.5.2 now GA
This too was updated recently and I know that more and more people are using it, and with things like vCAC and SRM being able to work with it – in fact required for vCAC that is driving more use of vCO and that is a very good thing!  Find the release notes here.

vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for SRM 5.8
This is really quite interesting.  It is not what I envisioned at first but it still very powerful.  It is important to note that it only works with 5.5.2 of VCO.  Find the release notes here.  This will definitely allow what I talked with customers about in the past – protecting virtual machines automatically or via a portal.

VDP and VDPA 5.8 now GA
This is another of the new releases around VMworld.  The release notes has no information on this release – bits.  Seems odd.  But it has a long list of resolved issues which is good.  Fortunately Jeff has the scoop on whats new in this article.

Canceling a job using CLI in VDP
If you cancel a job in VMware Data Protection and it doesn’t stop you can force it to stop in the CLI.  Find out how in this.

vC Ops – Custom UI and Active Directory Integration
This is something that is a little complex at times so I think that it is good to know there is something with an article that has figured it out.

vC Ops 5.8.3 now GA
This is a small release in terms of new features but as you might get guess there is a good list of fixes.  Find the release notes and bits.

Log Insight – Events vs. Event Types vs. Field Table
This is a very good – and short too – article about something I know several Log Insight users do not know about or use.  So very good that Steve talks about it here.

Log Insight Use Case: Authentication Logs
This is a very interesting and useful article by Steve – how to monitor authentication logs.  Very cool and easy to apply to other things too!

Some useful NSX Troubleshooting Tips
Cormac has been playing with NSX and it seems he has been learning too and we get to benefit by that!  He has an article with some useful NSX troubleshooting tips and that is – from the look of the tips – very handy indeed.

NSX for vSphere 6.1 now GA
This is a big release with a lot of cool new features.  Things like Unified IP Address management across the entire data center, and more firewall options.  I have heard from others they are impressed and excited about the enhanced micro – segmentation.  Release note can be found here.

vCloud Automation Center 6.1 now GA
There is a lot to this new release.  Find the full list in the release notes and here is the bits. Here is a nice third party article on what is new.  I know it is a small thing but I like the simplified URL, and the enhanced NSX support.  With a lot of work you can now replicate – I think – the Lab Manager experience.  From the End User – or consumers point of view I think that is true but the effort to make it all work on the part of the admin is significantly different.  I should also mention that I think that vCAC is more powerful.

Installing vCl0ud Automation Center 6.1
This is a complex product and very complex to install and configure.  So it is very good indeed that GSS has done an article on getting it going.  For PofC and lab work they mention and not for production.  That makes sense and doesn’t lessen the usefulness of what they have done.  I am very much impressed with how much is possible with vCAC when it is up and running.  It is mostly limited by your imagination (and budget a little too).  But it is worth getting it going in the lab and start thinking about what you can do with it.  Find the help here.  This is a very dry article.  Some pictures – NOT video, would have been nice.

vCAC 6.1 Pre-req Automation Script Released
This is a very handy script that you can use to make sure the Windows server is ready to host the vCAC Infrastructure option.  I have used older options of it before and it is quite handy – it helps avoid mistakes!

Upgrading vCAC from 6.0 to 6.1
Here is a link to an article about doing this upgrade.  There are a few steps!  This is an upgrade that should be practiced.  So don’t do it in your production world without backups – and practice.

VMware IT Business Management Suite
ITBM was one of the nicest and easiest to install apps when I was building out vCAC beta pods at VMware.  It showed useful info quite quick and it was easy.  So when I saw the iPad app I thought that was interesting.  The app produces info on the cost of virtualization (and IT) and that is something that would be handy on an iPad in a meeting.

Prevent Decommissioned VMs from being powered on
This is quite interesting and it might be handy.  This article describes a method to prevent decommissioned virtual machines form being powered on.  Handy I think.

All about VMware Standalone Converter
This is something I have not used much lately as in my world most things are already virtualized.  Plus, even when I was a PS guy I did believe if possible it should always be built in virtualization rather then P2V’ed.  When you P2V there is lots of cleanup that is very important to do!  But it is still a useful tool and you can find more about it here.

VMworld 2014 Top Ten
This is called the Top 10, but there was about 24 when I saw it last, and today when I check it I see 29.  But this is a great list of sessions worth watching.  There is a really a great collection of things to learn!  I suggest you watch one per lunch hour for the next while – it will enrich your knowledge.  I am doing that.

DataONTAP 8.2.2 now GA
This is, I am told, an important update.  You can find the bits here, but I have no idea what the update is.  Why on earth would the release notes be secret?  Odd I think.

MS Exchange Server Performance on VMware Virtual SAN
This is nice to see as it shows that Exchange can work nicely on VSAN.  No surprise to me.

VMTurbo Datacenter Stencils for MS Visio and OmniGraffle
This is always good to see – free stencils.  Find out more here.  I quite like them and very much appreciate being able to download OmniGraffle stencils as well as Visio.

CloudPhysics updates, now with more awesome included
Here is a short article about the new features in CloudPhysics.  I love that product and find it very useful indeed and I love the new features.  Especially the new smart alerts.

VMware Fling: ESXi Mac Learning dvFilter for Nested ESXi
This is quite interesting, and quite useful if you virtualize virtual machines (otherwise known as nested virtualization).  I have mentioned the fling before when William talked about it.  But here is a smart guy that does some testing around this fling and it is quite well done.  Check it out here.  This is something my old team at VMware could really use – I wonder if they use this fling or not?

Troubleshooting networks with PSPing
This is one very cool tool.  It is one I did not see before in the Sysinternal tools at Microsoft.  But I can see it’s usefulness and will add it to my toolkit.  Check it out here.

hMailServer – simple mail server
Thanks Mike for this.  It is a very simple mail server that is perfect for a lab.  I currently use the Zimbra appliance that has gone the way of the dodo which is too bad.  One that I have shared before is the Zentyal that does both domain controller type stuff as well as email.  They say replacement for MS Small Business server and MS Exchange server.  But Mike’s find is even smaller.  When I have some time I will be retiring Zimbra for this hMailServer.

Books – Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware, and Essential Virtual SAN – Administrators Guide to VSAN
I received both of these books at home while traveling so I have not read them yet.  But I am very much looking forward to it.  I have heard enough from others, and I know a number of the authors, so I believe that they are very good indeed.  In case you have not got them yet you can find VSAN on Amazon, and SQL on Amazon.

SQL and Oracle databases on VMware Best Practices
Here are two TWP on this subject – one for SQL and one for Oracle.  Both are dated now but are still useful.  The book I mention above for SQL is the best set of info right now and I think there is one on the way for Oracle but these two TWP can be useful now too.

VMworld 2014 – SDS Data Protection = Recoverpoint VM
This is quite interesting.  And important.  It has the features of its big brother in hardware but yet it is software alone in a VM.  One feature important is consistency group support – meaning replicating a bunch of VM’s in a consistency group which means they recover at exactly the same state.  Handy.  The delivery model is cool too – download and use as long and as much as you want.  If you need or want support you pay at that time.  Great job Chad!

Application Dependency Diagram
This is a short article on the importance of having knowledge and a diagram of application dependency as you are designing your virtualization solution.  They are also very good to have for preparing your disaster and business continuity plans.

Symantec Online Technical Product Traning
I have mentioned this in the past I think, but Symantec does free online product training now.  Used to be quite expensive but not any longer.  And lots of different subjects.

Hands On With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
If you are curious of the new iPhones check this out.  I should have next week my new iPhone 6.  You can see other things like the Apple Watch through that link.

Everything Apple Announced Today that Actually Matters
In this you can see what LifeHacker thinks is important of the iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple Pay.  My own personal thoughts is that Apple Pay is very important indeed.

How to enable Apples secure two-step verification for your iCloud and iTunes accounts
This is something that celebrity’s should think abut also some of us who are not.  It is not perfect as it doesn’t protect everything in the Apple world that you are connected to but I think it will be cover off more things in the future and that is likely when I will look at it.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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