Newsletter: January 4, 2015

Hello all,

I hope everyone is doing well - and remembering to write or type 2015?  It was nice to have some time off lately and I even actually took it off in the mountains.  But home early and lots of work in the lab.  I have some co-workers who have not used vC Ops, and are now using vRealize Ops so I am trying to help remotely with some articles - a big one on upgrades out soon I hope.  However, I did do an important article recently and had a title that was not descriptive enough I think.  It was the View: Customizing Timeout error.  If you just look at the title and see View you may dismiss the article.  But the issue occurred outside of View if you were doing the very simple deploy VM from template.  It was a frustrating issue.

I hope that everyone has a great week and a successful and happy 2015.


vRealize Automation 6.2 Install and Config (Live!) Videos
I am very impressed with what Jad has done. This is an amazing resource for anyone working with, or starting to work with vRealize Automation.  I worked enough with it at VMware to both get more frustration AND more excitement then you might expect.  What I mean is that it is hard and in fact very complex at times, but, when you are done it can do amazing things.  Literally at times only limited by your imagination.  So it is worth the tough work as itturns out great for your end users!  BTW, you should follow Jad and watch his site as he provides lots of value in that space.

New: VMware Certified Professional 6 - Cloud (VCP6-Cloud)
This is about vCAC 6.1 or vRA 6.2 but not sure which one.  But definitely a good thing to chase after.  Find out more here.

vRealize Automation 6.2 indefinitely on additional tenant login
This is a problem and solution that Frank does quite well at, but it also seems familiar to me. But if you are working with vRA or vCAC you should check it out in case you bump into it.

SQL Server Templates with VMware - Dude Where’s My Drive Letters?
Another great article by Michael on Long White Virtual Clouds.  I find it really interesting that when you deploy a multi disk or multi mount point VM from template that when it is complete and ready for use the drive letters or mount points are not at all what you desired or created! So if you have a VM with multiple drives especially SQL boxes where there might be five or six, you are likely going to need the info in this article!  I would like to think that this is a bug on Windows 2012 / sysprep that may get fixed one day.  BTW, I have added a link to Michael’s article on my Win2K12 template article.

Duplicate MAC Address Between VMkernel Interfaces and Network Adapters
Another excellent article by Chris Wahl on duplicate MAC address and VMK adapters.  Great info.

Setting iLO IP Address via ESXi CLI
I am currently - and for a while this has been true, a Dell server guy.  The R710s I ended up with at home and the R720s I have at work are pretty darn good and I really like the Dell Openmanage Plugin for vCenter to manage them - still I know nothing like it.  I think that is the smallest, lightest, and easiest tool out there to manage firmware in servers.  However, for many years as a PS guy I was an HP server guy.  The DL380’s and DL580’s were my favorites in those days.  So it was a surprise when I saw this article that shows you how to configure the HP iLO card via the ESXi CLI.  Very handy as in the past I always had to restart the server to do the initial config - if I forgot to do it during deployment.

Upgrade to vCenter Server 5.5 failing due to service misconfiguration
I love the line in this article about Lesson Learned: Never trust an error message that you did not write yourself.  Nice.  This is a good example of a problem and figuring out the solution.  Quite an interesting upgrade issue.

Part 1: VMware DPM vs ESXi memory ballooning
I saw this article recently and what drew my attention was the DPM in the title.  I am a big fan of DPM (Distributed Power Management) and have used it a lot.  It has helped out my electricity usage in my home lab at various times over the years.  I have chatted with the dev staff on this feature and they are smart and interesting.  I can assure you that hardly any of the customers I have visited over the years have used it, or maybe have used it in the lab, and anything that might help convince customers to use in in production would be good indeed.

Setting up a small lab CA on Windows 2008R2 for vSphere certification replacement
I found this article recently while looking around at cert replacement.  It is pretty useful as it is a quick and useful process that you can get working easily.  But today when I was confirming the link I found this new article about SSL / SSO and what is taught to VMware TSE (technical support engineers).  That looks like a great series (part 2 is here).

Infrastructure Navigator - solving vCenter Extension issue
Iwan has a nice article on clearing up an extension issue.  This is not that uncommon and good to know.  In his case it is VIN but I had the issue with VDP.  The process to fix is the same and very good to know.  Here is a KB with more info too - and it has the names of most of the extensions so you can copy and paste rather then type.

vCenter Support Assistant 5.5 fails to retain hostname
I am a big fan of the Support Assistant and use it whenever possible to submit SR’s to VMware.  I also love the monthly emails about what VMware has found, or not found rather, in my logs which I automatically submit weekly.  If you have a problem with it retaining its host-name, or you want to change it this can help.

How to change vCenter Operations Manager session timeout
This is a good change.  I do not normally advocate this sort of change - changing timeouts - but the fact is that vC Ops is a bit different.  I like to keep it open and handy too!  In fact I have a monitor on the wall I like to leave it up and running on.  This is a vC Ops change and not a vR Ops change.

PowerCLI - View - Pool Health Check Report
If you have a View environment, of any size I suspect, it is likely important to keep it running.  And a Pool Health Check report emailed to you might help you be proactive in managing View.  Find our more info here.

Log Insight 2.5: Updated Content Packs
I saw this recently in my own LI instance.  There were two Content Packs that had updates.  It was sure easy to update too!  The two default Content Packs - General and vSphere were updated for 2.5 and Steve talks more about those changes here.

Log Insight - No events have been received recently
An interesting issue and the steps that were taken to deal with it. Good info on a problem, and a solution but also what else happened.  Good to know as I suspect this might be able to occur in other situations so the process involved is good to know.

VMware Horizon 6 RDSH Performance and Best Practices whitepaper
If you want to learn more about how to get the best RDSH performance you should check out this info.

ESX/ESXi hosts might experience read or write performance issues with certain storage arrays
In this KB article it talks about this performance issue and how to avoid it.  However, of course, VMware doesn’t mention which arrays.  I saw a tweet from BlueShiftBlog that both Nimble and EQ are impacted with this and can benefit from the changes in the KB article.  Not sure if anyone else is.  This is an old KB article, but I notice it was updated with vSphere 5.5 and it was last edited November 14, 2014 so it is pretty current.

Veeam Backup & Replication 8.0 Patch 1
I had a little popup on my Veeam server that said there was a mandatory patch and I clicked it and it open up a web browser to help me get the patch!  Cool.  And it was a very smooth and easy upgrade - as per normal.  No issues.  Here is the Release Notes.

Deduplication ratios - what should be included in the reported ratio
This is a most excellent article about dedupe ratios and what should be included in them.  It is good info and also likely a reminder to people as well - not everyone is clear on how they report this sort of thing!  It is important as it can really impact some of your storage conversations and thinking. He links to another article he did called Intelligent Cloning that is also very good reading.  Great stuff!

A self elevating PowerShell script
I forget the linkage that caused me to find this - but I think it was Michael Webster, then David Klee, and a call out in one of his PowerShell scripts.  But this article is about how to do a self elevating PowerShell script.  Very handy I think.

Create a recovery CD with PE Builder
This caught my attention rather quickly.  A long time ago, around 2006 I used something called Bart PE Builder to do a rescue type CD.  I used it a lot and it save a lot of customers over the years.  The last version of it was in 2006 and the web site is still up!  But there is a new vendor in this space - AMOEI’s PE Builder is the tool.  The result is the same thing - an ISO that you can use to rescue physical or virtual machines that are having boot issues.  Rescue meaning to edit the partition table or copy files off the partition.  Find out more here.

Want to learn more about Puppet?
I took a Puppet course once and had a lot of fun. Puppet is a powerful tool and it is pretty useful and flexible as well.  Puppet has updated the Learning VM which you can find here.  That is a good way to start.  However I found an amazing resource to get started with Puppet.  You can find it here and it is for vSphere admins too. There is a lot of lessons and it looks very good.

Install Apache on CentOS from ISO image
I saw this recently and thought it quite handy.  I use CentOS in my lab for Linux and one of the guys made a comment about Apache.  So cool.

New VMware e-Learnings available
You can learn more about vR Ops v6 or VMware App Volumes.  Both are fundamental but are both free.  Find out more here.

The rise of single-socket ESXi Host
Iwan has a great article on how ESXi hosts are becoming more common with less sockets rather then more.  I agree with ideas on the trend of the changing to less sockets and how likely 1 sockets will be.  But I also think some of the customers I know will ‘pause’ on two sockets for a while I think.  Just due to being conservative.  I spent some time with Iwan a while back and he is a very sharp SE and has a very good collection of Customers - wonderful customers in fact.  He was one of the best host SE’s in Asia for me and I quite appreciate it!

Networking FAQ 1: Breaking into the Field
This is I think - hope - the start of an interesting series.  He has done a real good job with the first article.  Some great info.  The author has no RSS feed so it will be hard track his progress but he does have a link to the series.  I would like to add that Cisco has been very generous in my home city of Calgary in that they have funded an amazing lab (or 2) at one of our local colleges.  So some good Cisco training - along with the other college stuff makes for a nice start to being a network person - and quicker then a University degree.  The author has a great collection of cheat-sheets.

The Top 100 VMware / virtualization people you MUST follow on Twitter
This is an amazing list of people.  I have been lucky to meet and chat with a few of them and they are smart indeed!  I follow many of these people and it is quite worthwhile!

Import files to subscribe to all the Top vBlogs via RSS
This is quite handy.  100 blogs of great info.  Find out more here.

Best Practices for virtualizing AD on vSphere
This used to be simple.  It works great but don’t replicate or clone or snap the AD VMs - or do so very carefully.  Make sure the time was managed and use the same source as the ESXi hosts.  That was not too big of a deal really but it has changed.  What has changed is Microsoft has something called the VM-Generation-ID that is supported by VMware and together makes it possible to snapshot an AD VM successfully.  Find out more here.

Trust Relationship Between Workstation and Domain Fails - fix without double reboot
I think we have all had this issue at one time or another.  And it exhibits sometimes oddly where an app won’t work, but it is actually the workstation is not trusted by the domain.  We all know how to fix it by joining a work-group, then joining the domain again.  But there is a better way.  See the story here.

Reset the Domain Admin password in Windows Server 2012 R2
This is quite handy.  I used a trick like this back in Win2K3 I think.  I had no idea this sort of thing was still available and in fact in Win2K12 R2 and is much easier now too.  It is certainly true if you lose the physical control of a host you have lost the battle.

A Small Virtual machine for a Test lab
This is actually a very small virtual machine. Quite handy.  I used it long ago in some of the virtual pods I built at VMware but I was reminded about it again recently.  If you need a small VM in a nested environment this is a good one.

Using hMailServer in the lab
This is quite an interesting article.  Every lab needs a mail server.  I used to use the Zimbra Appliance and with that withering on the vine, this looks like a simple and easy choice!  This product has been around for a while and has quite the history of updates so that bods well for the future of it.

Integrity of I/O for VMs on NFS Datastores - Part 1 - Emulation of SCSI Protocol
This is a fascinating article on how VMs on an NFS Datastore are still working as if SCSI was in use.  You can find part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 to complete the series.  This should help someone who is not sure about running apps on NFS to understand how NFS is not a barrier and there is a lot of incorrect FUD out there.  I am happy to see this as I am a big fan of NFS and I really seeing more and more people either moving to, or thinking of moving to NFS.  These articles should help deal with the FUD.

Startup stock options explained
I saw this recently and it was very well done.  It helped me understand the stock options I got at VMware - and so much appreciated too!  But I thought it was clear and well done so thought I would share it out in case it helps anyone else.

Building a virtual Cisco Nexus lab on vSphere
This is something I know several of you might be interested in.  If you want to learn more about Nexus this can definitely help.

My Lab Toolbox: SenseConnector
This is a remote control type tool, but a little different then the Jump Desktop I normally use.  It does the remote but it does things like allow you to do a PowerCLI action as part of the connect.  See the article here.

VMware Home Lab - Why, What, and How?
If you are just thinking about doing a home lab, or redoing one, this is some great stuff to think about.

When security goes right
This is an interesting story of security going right.  Odd since we normally hear about it going bad.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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3 comments on “Newsletter: January 4, 2015
  1. e1ang says:

    Thanks for the kind words Mike. Every time an expert is visiting Singapore, I think it’s dumb if I don’t take advantage of his/her expertise and bring to my customers. So it’s a pleasure to host you. Look forward to seeing you again. All the best in 2015. e1

  2. e1ang says:

    Yup, I agree that most enterprise will take a “pause” at 2 sockets. It takes a long time to change in the large enterprise. From TCO view point, Windows Datacenter edition cannot be split into 2 separate physical servers. It will be interesting to see in 2016 on how fast the single socket rose in 2015. Cheers! e1

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