Newsletter: March 8, 2015

Hello everyone,

I am writing this at home, where I am for two weeks which is most excellent.  I have just spend three weeks on the road at our corporate HQ as well as visiting customers and potential customers on both coasts.  I like doing that very much indeed.  Helps me keep my knowledge up on customers so I can keep my Customer[0] knowledge and lab current, but I also like helping customers get the most out of their DG gear.

This may turn out to be an interesting week.  vSphere 6 may drop, and there may be some interesting news from Apple this week too!  When I work at home I get to spend more time in the lab and that generally means I find things to share.  I had to install VUM recently to work with my vCSA and I stumbled a little bit with that as I had not done an install for a while.  So that caused this to be written.  And what I love about blogging this sort of thing is that people share.  So two people have already reached out and helped me improve that article!

Something for everyone this week I hope, but certainly a range of things.

Have a great week!


Long awaited Fling, Windows vCenter Server to VCSA Converter Appliance is finally here!
This is truly a big deal.  Even in my own personal lab I have Windows vC since this lab has been around a very long time.  For anything new for a long time it has been the VCSA as it is easy and smooth, plus upgrades are easy too.  When I heard they were working on this I was excited, not only would it help me but I bet a lot of people would be helped too!  So very happy to see that this has hit the light of day!  I hope to test it soon!

Managing vCenter 6 and the PSC Services
This is a most excellent article done by Nick Marshall – of Mastering vSphere 6 fame, and it is very good to know.  SSO is gone, and the Platform Services Controller (PSC) replaces it, and some other services and so it is one of the few net new items in vSphere 6 – as compared to the improved or upgraded things.  So very good info that will be useful for us all.

VMware Certificate Authority overview and using VMCA Root Certificates in a browser
VMware has a surprising number of products, and quite a number of them use certificates.  vCenter, ESXi, View, vR Ops are four that are big in my labs, but vRA is also common and they all need certificates.  Managing them is a pain.  VMware has started on a journey to make this better for customers and we see it started in vSphere 6 with the VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) and it is part of Platform Services.  Mike has a nice article on this tool here.  Good to know as you will be able to use this info with vSphere 6 to do a bunch of things, but one that will be very nice indeed.  You can get rid of the cert message when you connect to vCenter!

New PluralSight Course – Upgrading your vSphere Environment
I am quite a fan of what Chris Wahl does, but also of PluralSight so it is pretty interesting when they get together.  He has done an Upgrading vSphere Course that looks very good indeed.  Here is his article on it, and here is the table of contents from it – if you have PluralSight access.  I do recommend if you have not done many upgrades to check out this most excellent training.  It covers off a lot of stuff and is very well done.  It is not all about the bits, it is about successful upgrades – so that means research and planning – along with working with the bits!  So a Professional Services type upgrade so very good to know and understand.  BTW, here is a video on the upgrade – not a replacement for the training, but a quick look at the process.

Duplicate MAC address concerns with xVC-vMotion in vSphere 6.0
Considering how mobile a VM is in vSphere 6 I believe that this is a righteous concern, but really how big or small is up for discussion.  Check out what William has to say on this here.

Updated ESXi TPS setting and what to consider for VDI
Here is a short article that talks about TPS in the VDI environment.  I do believe that VMware needs to do what they did but it has been handled a little poorly I think.  It should be easier for a customer to improve security or leave things as it is – after all TPS provides a lot of memory savings and if you are not concerned about security why not avoid the change?  Here is more info on the actual configuration parameters.

vSphere HA respecting VM-Host should rules?
This is a new change in behavior that is possible but not enabled in vSphere 6.  So in vSphere 6 an HA event will restart VMs on any hosts, regardless of any affinity rules – just like in vSphere 5.  Find out how this changes in vSphere 6.

Exercise Caution Using Dynamic Discovery for Multi-Homed iSCSI Targets
This is something I have not seen much or worked with much, but it sounds like if you use multi-homed iSCSI targets you should understand this!

VMware Virtual SAN Alarms for vCenter Server with PowerCLI
A nice article by Rawlinson about alarms for VSAN, and a script to implement them that works in vSphere 5 or 6.  Nice job!

Home Labs made easier with VSAN 6.0 + USB disks
This is a great find by William.  It should really help get more VSAN into home labs and that is wonderful.

VMware Virtual SAN 6.0: Bootstorm Demonstration
A short article and video about booting really a lot of virtual machines in a big VSAN cluster.  Certainly shows that vSphere 6 VSAN is new beast that can handle a lot more.

Performance Evaluation of Network I/O Control in VMware vSphere 6
Thanks to Mark I found this.  I bet without Mark’s tweet on this document almost no one would have found it (as it is in the forums).  This will show how the vSphere 6 NIOC is pretty useful in terms of performance and quite an improvement I think.  I also found this via Mark – Oracle Scalability in vSphere 6.

Migrating virtual machine may cause guest operation system clock to fail behind in real time
This KB article caught me by surprise.  I mean that I knew this, and it is in fact logical.  But in my experience the time lag is corrected.  Meaning for Windows using their own time management, or Linux using NTP everything is smooth.  But I guess that is not always true and thus the KB article.  My own best practice in this space that has done very well with me for years is this: Consistent time first, and correct second.  The PDC emulator in windows points to the same thing that ESXi hosts points too.  Premium solution is that they both point at a NTP server that is on the edge of your network, and it points to three off site NTP servers.  Not premium is that they both point to off site NTP servers.  This takes care of Windows and ESXi hosts.  Linux can use the same NTP sources that ESXi does.  And you should be good.  While this is simplified a bit it is correct and useful.

VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide
This technical white paper (TWP) will help you understand the different deployment scenarios of vC in vSphere 6.0.  Lots of interesting info, including how to configure the F5 load balancer in front of vC.  While you need none of the info in it if you are going to install vC once, the fact is you can learn a lot from it to make it a better install, but if you install vC for customers, you should definitely check this doc out!

vSphere Replication 6.0 Compression
It is pretty handy that in vR 6 you can enable compression since not everyone has equipment to do that between sites or between networking hardware.  Compression will provide fast snyc times and lower bandwidth utilization so both are nice!  To learn more about this see Jeff‘s article.

Integrating vR Ops Custom Groups with vSphere Tags
An interesting use of vSphere tags in vR Ops.  Being able to tag vSphere objects and then use that to organize in vR Ops is pretty useful.  See how to do this here.

vRealize Operations for Horizon View 6 – Quick Setup Guide
I really want to have some time to get this going in my lab.  Very handy to help with dealing with performance and troubleshooting of virtual desktops.  So it was good to find this article.

vRealize Operations 6.0.1 upgrade
Iwan has done an article on the 6.0.1 vR Ops upgrade.  While I have not upgraded my appliances yet, I have heard from various that it has gone smooth.  It is an easy upgrade, but you can find the how to right here.

How-To: Installing VMware vRealize Operations Manager
A nice article if you need help installing vR Ops.  I would suggest along with the info in the article to use a FQDN for the VM name.  This is an informal best practice for appliances.  Also I would suggest to define three NTP servers and not one.  As well, once you have vR Ops working you should add in some of the default Management Packs.  You can find info on that here.

50 articles that fix EVERYTHING in Horizon View
Here is a wonderful list of 50 VMware KB articles on View.  Check it out.

Log Insight and Regular Expression
Here is a nice intro to RegEx and Log Insight.  Actually it is more about what is possible in RegEx when working in Log Insight.  While I know what RegEx is I am not a true consumer of it so this was great info.

12 Reasons Why You Should Use the Log Insight Forwarder
This is a fascinating list of reasons why you should use the forwarder capability in LI 2.5.  Some great ideas!  Thanks Steve.  BTW, if you want to learn more about event forwarding check this out.

VMware vRealize Log Insight is not accessible after a reboot
I do not think that this is a common issue, but just in case it impacts you it is good to know it exists.  If you restart your LI appliance and it is not accessible – meaning you cannot log into it you may have this issue and here is the info to confirm if you do or don’t and how to workaround it if you do.

VMware App Volumes – What about performance?
I have suggested in this newsletter before, and when talking to people, that App Volumes is something pretty interesting.  Something that is I think more important for many to get into your lab and test then perhaps NSX.  However, I have not done any work with it myself as it is not something I can justify at this time, but I have been watching the space.  It was very nice to see this recently where it talks about performance as I was curious about that.  They do a nice job on the review but also the graphics they use too.  BTW, here is the Deployment Guide, and here is a primer to learn more about App Volumes.

PowerShell and Profile
Someone wanted to know how to have their PowerShell start in a particular folder.  You can see about that in my article about Getting Started with PowerCLI.  However, if you want to do a lot more then that you can check this out.  BTW, I really do not appreciate all the advertising in that article, and if I could have found something else I would have referenced it instead.  So I do apologize in advance on the advertising.

vRealize Automation 6.2 – Foundations and Concepts
Here is the Foundations and Concepts guide.  A good doc to start with on your journey to learn more about vRA.

In Kernel or Not In Kernel – This is the Hyperconverged Question
Michael has a very thoughtful article here on the idea of storage (or other things actually too) in the Kernel or not.  Even though I am a very long term VSAN supporter, and did lots to help it to get to life, I realize there is a very important point in Michael’s article.  Even if you are not a VSAN user you can be impact by VSAN.  Check out the article, it is pretty interesting!

VCDX – How to Start your Design
Do you need any help to start your design as part of a VCDX project?  Some good info right here.  As I have said before, this is good info for anyone that designs or is starting to design as even if you don’t go for the VCDX it will help you do better.

Need a silent installer for tools and applications in Windows?
Sort of like apt-get or maybe yum? I just heard about this recently and it is called Chocolatey and you can find out more here.

PernixData FVP 2.5
This amazing software has been upgraded again!  Check out the story here on the new version.

New version of LeftHand OS for HP StoreVirtual Now Available
Here is the announcement of the update – version 12 which is quite amazing.  Very fond of this software.  Have not used it for a while, but it had the best UI in the storage industry for a long time when I was working with it.

Introducing the VMware vR Ops Management Pack for Citrix XenDesktop
There is a lot of customers using Citrix on VMware, and again a lot of customers with vR Ops, so the fact that soon you will have a MP that can help you manage better the Citrix environment is quite handy. See more info here.

Blue Medora NetApp Management Pack: A deeper dive
This company has done a number of different Management and Content Packs so they have some great experience.  Iwan has a nice look at the NetApp MP.

Empower Your Operations with Tintri and vRealize
This is most excellent. If you use Tintri and vRealize you can have install a Management Pack that will really make things easier for you.  Check it out here.  Be aware this is currently a vC Ops 5.8 MP.  Thanks for this Clint!

Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE RC
So Anton has released an update for the free Veeam Endpoint Backup tool, which is pretty exciting and you can find it here with more info.  It does talk about a patch for the Backup & Replication servers but be aware it is not a production patch but only for use in test with the Endpoint tool.

Veeam ONE 8 Patch 1 now GA
This wonderful tool has a patch and you can find the release notes here.

Alternatives to Home Lab Learning
Here is an interesting look at the alternatives to Home Labs.  A good roundup of the options.

KEMP has released a Free LoadMaster
I have heard several people talk about KEMP load balancers in very good terms.  So pretty smart they have decided to share a free version of it.  See what Eric has to say about it here.

Microsoft Launches Office 2016 for Mac preview, and available for free
I hear that this is pretty good, and that it installs beside your existing install so if you are unhappy with the new you can go back to using the old.  See review here and another bigger one here.  I know several people with it on their main production machine.  I may or may not do that.  Be aware it has some sort of feedback tool and everyone should use it if they have suggestions!

Post Partner Exchange 2015 Wrap-Up
In this article we have the wrap-up of PEX and how you can now find the assets in Partner Central.  What gets my attention is it really confirms that PEX is history.  Not even sure if it will use the PEX name any longer, and it will not be technical.  We – as partners – will get access to the technical content from VMworld – whether we attend or not it seems – and that is our technical enablement that PEX used to do.  The new event will be about business enablement.  So good in some ways, and very poor in others.  We will have to see how this develops.

NSX license keys in vExpert benefits now
I was impressed to see that NSX license keys are now in the vExpert benefits.  It has been hard for people to get those licenses – even NFR ones so this is a big step in the right direction.

Sitting on the Anchor of Humanity
An interesting op-ed type article about how the author has no religion, and will use anything that accomplishes the stated goal.  A good point for sure.  As a professional services guy, and a sales SE overlay, my goal was to make sure the customer got the right solution.  That solved the actual problem.  But I did have the belief that VMware and the products I pushed like SRM, could really solve a lot of problems.  But I did not hesitate to say when it was not the right thing.  So I think you can be a vendor guy and still do the right thing.  As well, I have met once or twice PS guys that never did the smae thing because they took this religion too far.  Always do the right thing for the customers but if there are two solutions, you should pick the one you know best – not at the cost of other solution though.

VCAP5 – DCA (VDCA550) Study Guide
If you need some help in the form of an outline and a process you can find it here.  It looks pretty good!

Best of Both Worlds – A Macbook for the WLAN Professional
This is an interesting read.  But it is really for the WLAN guys as there is velcro involved – at least it is not duct tape any longer.

Vote for your favorite blogs
Vote for the top virtualization bloggers lon vSphere-Land. It will produce a list of the top virtualization blogs that will be a wonderful guide for people in our industry. Especially for new people in our space. So you need to contribute so that the best group of blogs can be determined, and be used as a guide for people. I was very happy and impressed that I made the list last year.  See what Chad has to say on this and Duncan here.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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