Newsletter: April 4, 2015

Hello all,

I trust this finds everyone well today?  I had a busy but interesting week.  Yesterday had fun adding SSD and controllers to my work lab hosts. More on that below.  Lots to share this week and as always I hope everyone finds something interesting.

I am very proud that I made it into the Top vBlog 2015 list.  I really appreciate that people voted for me.  It means a lot to me – so thank you very much!

I also want to thank Eric Siebert for doing the Top vBlog as I know that it is a great deal of work.  I believe that it provides a great service for our community.  If you are new to this community, or want to learn more about virtualization,  looking at the top 25 blogs (in this article) is a great way to start.  But you should also check out the full list – here – as there is an amazing range of talent producing blogs.  You will be surprised at what you can find!

BTW, I have updated my vSphere Upgrade article – again.

As always, thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions!


Error 1009 in vSphere Web Client
I shared out the wrong link for this article last week – sorry about that.  And I had this problem this week too.  Here is the correct link for this issue.  Important to note that the solution works in 5.x and 6.x too.

How to deploy VCSA 6.0 using the HTML UI Installer on Mac OSX
This is most handy as of course I am a Mac user like William.  If you want to use your Mac, and the HTML UI installer you can.  Check it out here.

vSphere Web Client 6.0: working remote via tethering
This is an interesting article that looks at the bandwidth usage when using vSphere Web Client 6 over a tethered link.  Looks like that the improvement of performance of the vSphere Web Client may come with a larger footprint locally.  But very interesting numbers so check out the article if you might be working via VPN and a tethered mobile device.

VCP6-DCV Beta Exam
Here is a nice article that talks about the beta VCP6 exams.  Good way to save some money too!  But also, he has prepared a PDF version of the VMware online only blueprint.  He has mentioned he will add to it as well.  Nice.

Choosing a port binding type in ESX/ESXi
This KB article talks about the different port binding types and of course you might wonder why I am sharing it.  With the odd requirement to use ephemeral ports for VCSA 6.0 during provisioning I was curious about ephemeral as I had not used that type before.  In fact I think a pretty cool use of this binding type is shown in this article.

A preview of native syslog support in VCSA 6.0
This is very cool indeed.  You can enable syslog and point it somewhere and most of the ESXi and vC logs will be automatically sent off.  No other configuration needed.  This is the first seen in public of the Common Log initiative at VMware.  I think it is a wonderful preview!  Thanks for sharing William – a pretty darn good article for your first as a father!

vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) Interoperability Matrix
Nice article that details the support and interoperability of the features and products as it pertains to VVols.  Very good to know as it is not all obvious.

VM Snapshots with VSS – Traditional vs VVols
Cormac once again does a great job explaining the old, and the new, and why the new is better.  Very nicely done Cormac!

Creating a Microsoft Certificate Authority Template for SSL certificate creation for vSphere 6
I suspect that more people are doing replacement certs then previously, and I know that more people are using an internal MS CA too.  This will help with it all.  BTW, here is another helpful KB article.

vCenter Server advanced settings for vSphere 5.5 and 6
An interesting list of settings where the majority of them should not be touched!  William also mentions how he can set some of them – the user settable ones – via script which can be handy for a scripted install of vC that, for example, should finish with the SMTP mail sever set.

Location Based Printing – A cool feature of VMware Horizon 6
Nice article that should get you started on using this very handy feature in View.  This is a very old problem that still exists.  Users move around, and forget where printers are.  View has helped that out but I think it is better now.  Much better.

Log Insight 2.5: Backup and Recovery Part 1, and Part 2 of of 3 parts
Looks like a very useful series from Steve on doing backup and recovery of your LI infrastructure so that is pretty good to know.  This is also a good way to learn more about the parts of LI too.  Find part 1 here and part 2 here.

vRealize Operations Manager Content Pack for Log Insight
This is pretty exciting as content packs really help us admins work with log files.  So very good to see one for vR Ops 6.0.  You can find it in the Market Place in the LI UI.  However, there is additional work required.  Check out the Configuration Guide for more info.  It is on the resources tab of the Solution Exchange page for this CP.

SQL 2014 Always On Availability Groups
I am not a DBA, not even remotely in fact, but I do know some very smart SQL guys and one of them mentioned some about doing AG.  That reminded me of something I saw and I said I could help.  There was some laughter, and then I shared this.  Which I think will be big help indeed.  So I did help.  Thanks to Derek Seaman!

Performance Characteristics of Microsoft SQL on VMware vSphere 6
An interesting TWP on how to make SQL work really well on vSphere 6.  You can do nothing to SQL, or Windows and it will work fine (on VMware).  But sometimes you need much more and that can be done via tuning.  This TWP has the specific info to help a lot in this area.

PernixData FVP and PowerCLI
You can learn more about cache pollution, but things like anti-virus or backup operations can ‘pollute’ cache including FVP by pulling all the backup files through the read cache and pushing out all of the end user learned cache info.  On typical storage arrays that might be hard to manage but with FVP you can use PowerCLI to avoid that issue.  Cool.  See how here.

Is VAAI beneficial with virtual storage appliance based solutions?
This is something I take for granted since a very long time ago FalconStor in one of their upgrades added in VAAI support in their VSA.  But lately several people told me it was not true.  I do not have the FalconStor VSA any longer which is too bad as I would love to show how it is true.  But instead I was able to share this out and that cleared everything up.  Short answer is Yes.

Installing vSphere 6 series
You can find – via this link – the vSphere 6 series that has reached part 12 so far.  It has upgrade info for both vC and ESXi, but it is mostly about the install.  Very well done, and of course it covers off things like dealing with certificates!  This is, a most excellent resource!

11 Tips for Your Virtual Home Lab
Some good things in this list you can find here.

E1000 reminder – PSA
A reminder to make sure you are using vmxnet3 and not e1000, at least by accident.  BTW, if you don’t do this because you don’t care about improved performance do it to avoid issues.

In-Kernel vs. Virtual Storage Appliance
Here is an article that I found well written and interesting about in-kernel (VSAN) and virtual storage appliance (Nutanix). One of the things that came out of this article that I think important and useful to remember is that customer requirements are king, and that meeting them or exceeding them is what counts.  I know of customer’s where VSAN is the right solution, and I know of places that Nutanix is the right solution.  I think both products are pretty darn good.  Having said that, I would prefer VSAN in my home lab over Nutanix as that is the right solution for me.  Why?  Less footprint, and less electricity usage.  Plus, I am biased as I had a hand in the life of VSAN and of course that means a lot to me.

Finding Sensitive Data assets in Dropbox
A great example by one of my co-workers on how the DataGravity storage appliance helps you understand what senstive data might be leaving your computer in Dropbox.

Don’t buy Dell R720’s without some sort of drive controller installed
Due to some ‘difficulties’ I ended up with four Dell R720’s in my work lab that did not have disk controllers.  I like these servers very much but I had some arguments with them yesterday.  I want to get VSAN and PernixData FVP working in my lab – both are amazing products BTW and so I need SSD, and controllers.  I looked inside the servers and saw cabling so I bought SSD and controllers but of course I needed different cabling and so had to buy that.  It would have been cheaper and easier if I had bought the controllers with the servers.  And I could have avoided the cable issues and skinned knuckles.  Even if you buy cheap or simple controller and upgrade it later you will be better off.  I like the H710 and it is on VMware’s HCL and works pretty good too and so that is why I got.

When is an SSD not an SSD?
When I install it in my lab servers.  Funny at VMware I had lots of issues making disk look like SSD and now I have to make SSD look like SSD?  It turns out it is one button push for each SSD in vSphere 6, and many characters typed in vSphere 5.5.  Sucks that I am working in my work lab which is still vSphere 5.5 – not really but there is a lot of typing I need to do Monday!

Power Button, and LCD don’t work ….
In my R720’s I have one that the power button and LCD panel do not work.  Removing and adding cabling probably caused this issue.  Going to be very tough to fix.  But, the iDRAC power operations work fine.  So I can address this issue another time!  Have I mentioned ever before how handy iDRAC, or iLo, or RIB are?

Retiring the Rockstar: A Counterpoint
I actually used the term rockstar recently when talking about a potential hire.  Both of us understood what we were talking about.  But then as I was (am) working on this newsletter I found this article.  Sort of interesting as I had selected it some time ago – not sure when actually – for inclusion.  So I read it a little differently now.  I must admit I do like the idea he introduced me to of commandos / infantry / police.  As a former soldier (and yes I had a job there where I was a commando type) I understand easily.  These terms do make sense but I also agree with Scott that there is nothing really wrong with calling someone a Rockstar when it is appropriate.

Withings Activite
I was talking with a friend recently about the Apple Watch.  He was not really fond of it but was interested in what it could do.  He was thinking more about the Activite as it looks like a very nice watch.  Nothing more.  But yet, it tracks swimming, sleeping, running, walking type of things and also does silent alarm.  The battery lasts 8 months or more. It really looks quite interesting – looks like a nice dumb watch and yet is pretty darn smart inside.

How to be a Demo God
Some very good advice in this article, especially the part about how it is for us, and not the other guy!

Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Strategy
Duncan has an article on the CTO blog about a new white paper on Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Strategy.  The white paper is pretty good and I think it covers things very well.  Definitely a good read.  And it started with pretty good diagram!  Thanks for this Duncan!

SolarWinds April Fools joke
Words from SolarWinds “I thought you might be interested to know that today, SolarWinds revealed a brand new product developed by the most innovative technologists at the company and with millions invested in R&D. The product is built on SolarWinds’ reputation for easy-to-use, intuitive products and will use technology to solve the top problem faced by office workers everywhere.   The product is designed to: 1.  Bring psychological relief to the millions who can’t escape worry over the safety and integrity of their lunches, 2.  Ease human traffic in and around the office fridge, 3.  Eliminate thousands of wasted man-hours obsessively checking lunch status.   You can check out other unique features and watch an informative video about the new product here.” I hope that you don’t mind me sharing this, I thought it was funny.

Thanks for reading, or skimming this far!


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