Newsletter: October 26, 2014

Hello all,

I am writing this while in Austin Texas.  As I flew into it I saw an amazing city.  However, I am out on the outskirts where it is mostly hot, sunny, and lonely.  Although, next door to this hotel there was an amazing Oktoberfest celebration.  I know a bit of that subject – even though I am not a beer drinker, and this was a pale imitation but they made up for that in pure wild enjoyment.  I am looking forward this week to meeting customers and partners in Austin, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Chicago, and South Bend.  Whirlwind I think!

This week was a very busy affair and I have a number of blogs started but not finished and I apologize for that, and will get them done as soon as I can.  If you are curious one is about doing CIFS backups with Backup Exec, and one is the tools for my series on file migrations.  As well I have one on searching our DataGravity appliance that I am looking forward to share.

Again I have a huge collection of things to share so I hope something for everyone.


Alert: VDP prior to 5.8 has a serious security issue
If you are using VDP prior to 5.8 you likely have a serious security issue.  If you upgrade to 5.8 you will not have that issue.  Find here CVE, and VMware info if you need more.

Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) Example Architectural Decisions Register
Josh Odgers has a great idea in this register for articles on TPS.  I have found a number of great reads through it.  With TPS defaulting off in the future you may need to tweak your architecture decisions.  His Register page has a great collection of into to help with this.  I shared info out recently on why this change from VMware was occurring but you can read about it here if you need.

vSphere Web Client tips – Related Objects tab
The author of this blog is correct.  This is a nice feature of the vSphere Web Client.  I often use the Related Object tab.  Here is another from him on getting rid of the Getting Started pages, and here is a link to one of my first blog articles where I mention some of the things I like about the Web Client.  I do in fact almost exclusively work in the vSphere Web Client.

Accessing Site Recovery Manager GUI generates continues and immediate log-in prompts to remote vC
I am sharing this for several reasons.  First, it can impact most of the SRM versions prior to 5.8, and it can be very frustrating.  You can avoid it by using a best practice that we should all be familiar with.  Do not work on the console of the vCenter server.  If you use a C# client outside of the vCenter console this issue will not occur.  It is appropriate to generally not work on the console of the vC server but rather on your own desktop.  This will mean less of an impact on a resource that is used both indirectly and directly by many other users.  Find out more on this issue here.

Pairing vSphere Replication sites fails when vCenter non – default port in use
I have seen a number of issue over the years when users change the default port for vCenter HTTP and here is another one – this time with VR.  Changing ports is not normally a good way to improve security.

The Bajillion Spiffy Upgrades to vRealize Operations 6.0
With this sort of title you can guess where this article comes from?  But it does a good job talking about the beta of vRealize Operations 6.0.  This is something I helped a little with when I was at VMware.  I remember reading the PRD and talking with people about it and realizing what a big deal it was.  Very happy to see it getting closer to life.  Not sure how close it is as it is seriously over due, but when I know I will share.  If you use vC Ops today make sure to check out Chris Wahl’s article as it is pretty interesting.

New – vCloud Automation Center 6.1 Reference Architectures and High Availability Guides
While this might be vRealize Automation now, vCAC is still pretty easy for my muscle memory to type.  With a complex product like this, the Reference Architecture and HA guides are very important indeed.  Glad they are available!

VMware NSX 6.1 and vCAC 6.1 – Connecting NSX to vCAC
This is a logical mix of products that is very powerful.  Think about using a friendly front end to roll out a “Test Exchange – Full with clients” pod that is accessible to a select set of users but no one else, but yet still has inbound (maybe) and outbound (probably) email capabilities.  This is doable using these two products (yes, really but is hard!).  See this article for more info on connecting them.

vCAC (vRA) Cloud Client
This is a command line tool that will allow you to accomplish tasks in vRA.  So it is not a REST API you are playing with but you are executing actual commands in vRA.  So very cool.  Find out more here.

Visio stencil links for VCDX defense with updated links
These stencils can be used by anyone who needs to do a design that looks good – or a presentation too for that matter.

What is coming for VSAN and vSphere?
Duncan does a great job of pulling into one article the different things in the public about what is next for vSphere and VSAN.  A great list of things that is for sure!

vSphere Distributed Switch health check gotcha
This is an interesting problem / solution.  I am surprised what caused the issue but it is good to know.  Check it out here.

Want to learn more about VVOLS?
I was asked about this recently.  A good place to start is on Hans VVOLS landing page.  Lots of very good links on it – check out the VMworld ones to start.

Introducing VMware Horizon Flex
This strikes me as an improved and rename ACE server.  But that doesn’t change the fact it looks handy.  Imagine being able to say that a VM was not able to do USB but was able to do Copy and Paste but change your mind later?  Or expire the VM?  See the intro to this here.

Nutanix Best Practices – Microsoft Distributed Filesystem
This is a most excellent paper by @vDerekS about DFS on Nutanix gear.  So this Technical White Paper (TWP) is good for any of the Nutanix partners or customers out there, but is also good for anyone that wants to learn more about implementing DFS.  So pretty good!

Nutantix and vCloud Automation Center
Michael has an article that links to a number of videos about using vCAC (or vRA as it is now known as) with Nutantix.

PowerShell for Newbies: Getting Started with PowerShell 4.0
If you want a helping hand getting going with PowerShell 4.0 you can find an intro session here – thanks to Veeam.

Don’t open random PowerPoint presentations from strangers!
There is a significant security issue in PowerPoint currently and it is explained here.  This bug is serious in that if it is exploited it could allow access to your entire system at the authentication level that the user in PowerPoint has.  Very big potentially.

Time Machine, Spotlight, Stalled Backups, and a SanDisk MicroSD card
This is an interesting story of a problem and working through it to things working again.  This is a problem I think more then one person might run into.  Check out the story.

The Retina iMac vs. the Mac Pro – on paper
This is a fascinating comparison between two very nice computers.  I did not anticipate seeing the day where this sort of comparison would take place!

Want to build your own watch?
Stephen did.  And he actually did!  Check out his story.  Definitely something cool to do if you have a spare day in the right part of Switzerland.

VSAN is no better than a HW array
I saw this when it was new, and thought good grief.  I thought cheaper and so much easier maybe, but some interesting points.  So I put it on the list for my newsletter.  Then when I check it out again while writing my newsletter today I find 34 comments that I have to read, and several of them are actually links to other things, and I have to read them  too.  So, again, good grief.  A very interesting discussion by some smart and knowledgeable people, plus others I do not know, and great points had by all.  My point in this day and age is to suggest don’t by a hardware array, or a VSAN, or a VSA unless it does exactly what you need, and has a future to it – in other words make sure you solve the actual problem.  For many customers I know a VSAN is better then a HW array as it is easy and doesn’t need a storage team.  I have seen a number of places where a VSA was magnificent.  I have visited customers that not only need hardware arrays but need the biggest and fastest.  My employer sells a hardware array but it is different than all other hardware arrays.  If it does the job it should be what gets bought and used.  When you read Nigel Poulton’s article make sure to check out the comments too!

Halloween Cookbook: Tips and Tricks to roust Goblins from your datacenter
Krishna has done a most excellent job of showing you how useful and important Cloud Physics is.  I would not think of not having it in my lab!  His article is around Halloween, but his examples of what you can do is very illuminating.  Would you like to have those options in your datacenter?

How to finally inject OVF properties into vCSA when deploying directly to ESXi
This article – which I have shared before – has been updated with new information.  The ovftool 4.0 has been released which makes the article a little easier!

Migrating a dual-nic vMotion network to IPv6
This is quite a good idea – a vMotion network is private and only impacts vMotion.  So a pretty good idea for implementing IPv6 in a small way.  Find the story here.  I thought it cool that he got this working with help from a blog one of my previous co-workers did.  Christian and I were on the Integration Engineering team (in the old days) and he was one of the big proponents of IPv6 and helped out lots of teams with it.

Let’s talk about best practices
Steve has a great article on this subject.  Best Practices are often seen by customers as best for them.  This may be right, or it may be wrong.  The idea of best practices is that they are important suggestions.  One of my old bosses at VMware said Recommendations for Success was a safer term but what I think best is if customers and partners think about best practices or Recommendations for Success and see if they make sense for them and use them, or not use them, or get ideas from them as appropriate in their specific case!

Recovering from full backup destination storage
As you may know I am using Backup Exec (BE) lately to work on backing up CIFS, and to reacquaint myself with it. I used it a lot long ago and I am quite happy and impressed with how it has turned out. But something happened that I wanted to share. I used a 400 GB drive as the repository for the backup. I do not have email working yet in my lab. So the storage was filled with backups. When I logged into the server today to make sure that it was OK I found all the backups were stopped. Storage was filled. So I added a new VMDK, formatted it in Windows, created it as a disk storage repository, and the backups started up again – in seconds. Oh so smooth. If I had the notifications configured to a working email I could have caught this sooner! But still impressed with how easy it was to get out of this spot.  BTW, another reason this is true is I had the jobs configured with ANY storage so when a new one came up they were OK with it!  That may be a ‘best practice’.

Want to be valued?  Then do something valuable!
This is extreme common sense.  But of course that makes it fairly rare.  People often think they are deserved more then what their employers think.  I think Grant’s ideas are bang on.  If you want to be valued, produce value.  For sysadmins, and system engineers, I think it is fairly clear.  Not only keep your systems up, or your projects done on time, but make sure that what is needed is understood and delivered and not necessarily what is wanted.  Be a force multiplier if you can.  Empower other people to work as smart or as well equipped as you.  Check out the article here.  Grant has his article in the Opinion category but I do agree and in fact think more then opinion.

CVS, and Rite Aide block NFC purchases
This impacts Apple Pay, and the Google version too.  And so they can do a product that is less then Apple.  Less secure, and less useful.  When in the US I do use CVS, but not any longer.  If they block this service for a better product, I would still be irritated but for one that is much worse for me – and of course as you might guess much better for them?!  Find out the full story here.  If enough of us block CVS over this hopefully they might learn!

Ebola: the real reason why everyone should in fact panic!
I read this article and immediately donated to Doctors without Borders.  I have always admired them and have donated before but this is more important this time.  Please check out the article.  Thanks to Leo Laporte for this.

Come get your Calculator updates
The Exchange 2010 Server Roles Requirements calculator, and the Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements calculator have been upgraded.  Find out more here.

Someone was asking me about this new – just out of stealth – security company.  It has an interesting story.  Check out this article where Steve Herrod talks about how excited he is to be associated with them, and here is a bit more about them, and here is an article from eWeek on them.   They are just out, and there is not much out there on them but from what I find they sound real interesting!  Here is another article – by Wired.  I will be watching these guys myself.

Compact nuclear reactor?
Or I guess I should say commercial as I think there has already been military versions of this already.  But in any-case this is an interesting story.

VMware Hands-On Lab – the best kept Free secret you don’t know about
I think that many people know about the HOL as they have used it at VMworld, but did you know you can use the HOL outside of VMworld?  Since you read this newsletter I can safely say you do, but here is a nice article that talks more about the HOL.  And yes, all of the VMworld labs are up there now.

Surf Securely: Passwords
Here is a good article that can be shared with families and friends who are not IT rockstars about using good passwords.

About iCloud changes in 1Password 5
I normally use Dropbox to sync my info between different copies of 1Password.  But with Yosemite I have booted Dropbox and use iCloud instead.  But when I upgraded to 1Password I could not use iCloud to sync between my devices and it turns out that is because I bought 1Password a really long time ago outside the App Store.  If you bought it in the App store you will be able to use iCloud to sync but if you are like me you cannot.  Find out more here.  I am exploring options with support at 1Password.

How Spotlight Suggestions handles privacy
There has been some bad press, and lots of factual errors about Spotlight Suggestions that this article will explain – and of course it means we do not need to worry about Spotlight Suggestions.

Resolving stubborn Wi-Fi Connection problems in Mac OS X
I have not had stubborn Wi-Fi issues lately, but this article is a good list of them and it might be useful one day – especially since it also suggests how to fix them!

How to use Apple Pay
I thought I might be able to use Apple Pay.  I was not quite sure how to get started, but I did know how to pay as it is pretty easy and the video of the keynote show specifically how it worked.  So when I saw this article on how to get started I was hopeful.  But it turns out that us Canadian iPhone 6 users cannot do this – not even in the US where I tried.  The sad part of this is that most of the Canadian credit card network has upgraded to use tap to pay that would I think work with Apple Pay.  I hope to see it in Canada soon.  BTW, as mentioned above CVS and Rite Add have actually taken steps to not support Apple Pay (or Google’s versions).  Not good.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!  Have a great week!


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