Newsletter: May 16, 2015

Hello all,

It has been a while since I did a newsletter.  Between PTO, and traveling it has been difficult to have the time to do one (it takes roughly 1 day to do a newsletter).  But this weekend I am at home and should get it done.  I have so much to share I really need to get this done!  I have been home and working in the lab and that has been good, and I even have another week at home too!  So I think there will be lots to share from next week in the lab.  We will see!

BTW, I have some sessions open to vote on for VMworld, plus a Windows 7 VMware template article, and an installing a new Cisco RV325 firewall series that you can check out.

Have a great week!

ESXi 6.0 Change Block Tracking patch released
For those of us doing backups in vSphere 6, and using Change Block Tracking (CBT) it has been sort of like there was not CBT in use and things took a lot longer then expected to complete.  So very good this patch is out!  So thanks to Magnus for letting us know it was out!  BTW, I have recently finished upgrading my lab to this patch level and of course it was easy using VUM and I had no troubles.  I hope someone does some time tests before and after the upgrade – it would be good to hear.

New version of Support Assistant – supports vSphere 6
I believe this released while I was on PTO so I missed it.  I installed it in my work lab yesterday and adding it to my personal vSphere 6 lab now.  I really like this tool and think everyone should have it installed for the next time they need to get help.  Plus it analyzes your logs for issues which is nice!  Here are the release notes and bits.  It looks like it has fixed the attaching files problem that has been quite frustrating but not sure if it has fixed the name of your Support Assistant in the email issue (shows your UUID rather then the name).  If you want to learn more about the Support Assistant here is an article I did.  This was written to update an earlier version but should still help.

Veeam 8.0 Update 2 supports vSphere 6
This is good to see.  It took a little while but it actually really supports vSphere 6.  So things like vVols and SPBM (meaning when a VM is restored it is restored to the proper policy and means you do not have to pick it yourself).  Find out the full list of improvements here.  BTW, I have done this upgrade – in vSphere 5.5 and it was smooth and quick with no issues found.  Here is the release notes for Patch 2.  Here is an updated review by Anthony.

Updating the vSphere 6 VCSA
The VCSA in vSphere 6 is a little different and in particular it has a different way to do updates.  Currently it is CLI based but not hard, and i suspect it will UI based in the future.  But William has the details here.

vSphere 6 Install Series – now with Part 16 and User Solution Certificates
Derek has done an amazing job once again with his vSphere 6 install series.  If you had not done much with VMware before, you could use his series and have a very well installed and configured VMware environment.  In particular I really like the parts of the series around certificates.  Here is the most recent about User Solution Certs but here is the first if you have not seen this series.

Virtual Volumes (VVols), vSphere HA and Heartbeat Datastores
Another wonderful article by Cormac on VVols HA and heartbeat datastores.  This is a good article as I was wondering how HA and VVols would work.

Performance charts are empty and you see an error message
This is a vSphere 6 issue and I think in the larger enterprises which have greater numbers of hosts in vSphere clusters there is a very good chance you will see this issue.  There is a workaround if you do.  Find out more here.

PernixData stops working after upgrade to vSphere 5.5 U2 Patch ESXi550-201505002
This can be quite frustrating – after doing normal host updates you lose out on the PernixData solution.  So all of a sudden your VMs are performing at the old slow speed!  But check out this article for the story and a solution.

XCOPY Improvement in vSphere 6.0 for Thin Virtual Disks
Cody has written another very interesting article about how XCOPY works in vSphere 6.  While he works for Pure, and you may or may not have a Pure array, this is still very good info and I suspect it will impact most customers using vSphere 6.

So VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) is here, when will people start using it
In this article the author takes a look at VVols and talks about why people should start using them or in fact wait.  He has some good points!

VMware VSAN Health Check Plugin Released
This looks like a most excellent resource to have installed if you have VSAN but it only works currently at vSphere 6 and not earlier.  It does many different health check type checks but one is pretty interesting – is your components used by VSAN on the HCL?  This can be quite useful if something drops off the HCL.

Understanding VSAN 6.0 memory consumption
Here is an article that explains nicely the memory consumption that VSAN 6.0 has.  There is a somewhat complex formula used but the article explains it well.  My experience is that it was never an issue for me but most of my work with VSAN was with hosts that had lots of memory.

vSphere VDS span port with Wireshark in 2 minutes
I did hear – once or twice that it was hard to sniff ports in a virtual environment.  I guess this author did too and so he set out to prove it was not so.  See his article here.  He shows how it is quick and easy.

Add Storage Wizard Slowness and Unresolved VMFS Volumes
Another nice article from Cody about an interesting issue.  Some great learning!

Adding a vmnic to ESXi connected to VDS fails after upgrading from 5.5 to 6.0
The error seen for this is “Unsupported address family”.  I think that this could be quite frustrating for someone to find, especially since there is no resolution.  I don’t think that many will find this but a few will.  Hopefully not until VMware has fix for it.

Maintaining the vCenter Server Database
Someone was talking about this recently and I think it was the next day I saw this.  A video from VMware support on maintaining the vC db.  Handy!

Detecting duplicate VM MAC Address using vCenter Server Alarm
This is something that is likely a best practice.  A configuration change to enable being alerted on duplicate VM MAC address occuring and in some environments that is a very good change.  See more about this here.

Duncan Epping and VMworld
Here is a quick note from Duncan about two of his sessions.  I definitely like the sound of his first one.  But check them out here.  Duncan is pretty darn smart and also a very good speaker so if are interested you should vote!

Creating Custom Dashboards in vRealize Operations with 3rd Party Integrations
This is an interesting article that is a little different than normal.  This aricle is about creating dashboards using metrics from different adapters – in his example they are combining info from NetApp, UCS, and Oracle Management Packs.  So quite useful for most as even the default install has potentially Log Insight, VIN and vCenter Management Packs installed.

vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 Tutorial
Here is a wonderful list of articles on vR Ops 6.0.  A good start to learning vR Ops.

12 Reasons Why You Should use the Log Insight Integrated Load Balancer
Steve has a theme lately of lists of 12.  Here is one that is quite important – why you should use the Integrated Load Balancer.  If you are thinking of load balancers in the context of Log Insight you should check this out.

Log Insight sessions at VMworld?
If you want to see some Log Insight sessions at VMworld – and I certainly do, you should check out this article as Steve has all of the session info to vote for.

Deploying Log Insight Windows Agent via AD
Thanks to Steve for reminding me that product docs are sometimes great.  I had asked him about using AD GPO to distribute the LI Windows agents and he shared this link.

Log Insight Retention Period
A good explanation of the retention period that Log Insight has.  This is good to understand so that you understand how long your events will be kept in LI and not archived.

Zerto Virtual Replication v4 is now GA
This is a most interesting release.  I cannot wait to get it into my lab!  Being able to replicate between VMware and Hyper-V is pretty cool but also AWS is handy too.  The updated UI – now in HTML 5 – looks pretty good too.  Find out more here.

Nutanix vRealize Automation Reference Architecture
vRealize Automation is a very powerful tool and I believe it will slowly become more and more common to be used by a wider range of customers.  So it is nice to see that Nutanix is recognizing that and supporting it with a Reference Architecture.  Find out more here.

PowerCLI in the vSphere Web Client – Announcing PowerActions
I heard someone say today that they had not heard of this.  So, I am sharing this out again.  If you want to have the ability to build and execute PowerCLI while you are in the vSphere Web Client you can.  See more on this here.

Project Enzo?
Someone pointed out there was a lot of marketing type info on Project Enzo and they were curious what it was.  I did some Googling and found that they were right.  Here is the best thing I found that talks about it.

CloudPhysics and health check
I was talking to someone about how you can use CloudPhysics to do a daily health check.  I showed them what was possible and it was quite exciting.  Here is a look at some of what can be done for a Heath Check using CloudPhyics.  Very powerful and indeed useful too.  BTW here is some info on new releases from CloudPhysics.

Nutanix Community Edition announced
This is very cool I think.  Nutanix has done something very smart in releasing their product in a Community Edition because a lot of people will try it out and see what all the fuss is about. Some of the people will become customers but it will also help out partners who want to learn more before helping customers with their Nutanix gear.  So I think this will be pretty cool!  I may even try it out!  BTW, here is the Nutanix index which is full of very good Nutanix info.  It was just updated to cover the Community Edition.  Here is some info on the journey to having a Community Edition that is interesting.

Announcing Networking & Security Smart Labs on AWS and Google Cloud
Ravello have quite an interesting product.  They provide you with a UI that allows you to build a lot of VMware type labs – with things like SRM or VSAN inside them.  It might run on AWS or Google, but you don’t pay them you pay Ravello but only for what you use.  I had the opportnity to play with it and am very impressed.  If my work had not overwhelmed me I would have done more.  I wanted to do some vSphere Replication between my home lab and the Ravello lab and see how failovers with SRM went.   Pretty cool – right?  See this for more info.  Here is an article about a 250 node vSphere lab.  Very cool – just what you need in a home lab is the ability to expand when you need too and yet only pay for what you use.

What is the User Environment Manager or UEM?
I was a little curious about this when I heard about it recently.  Here is a nice breakdown of it. Here is an article on one of the components.

The end of Tera1 zero client support in VMware Horizon View 6
This is important if you have any zero client used for View.  Not all of them will work with View 6.0.1.  I can tell you have I have several in this category!

Cool tool: Unitrends Free Edition – Backup Up to 1 TB Free!
This is pretty interesting.  It looks like a very nice tool and yet free to start is nice. This does look like a cool tool!  If I am lucky I will get this tool working in my lab today!

Synology Releases DiskStation Manager 5.2
There is really a lot of new stuff in this version such as Docker supporter.  Yes, amazing, and completely unnecessary for me.  However snapshots on iSCSI is pretty useful.  And I really like how SSD caching is using 90% less memory then 5.1. I particularly like how simple and easy the update is!  For more specific update info check out the release notes for my 1813+.

EMC vVNX for your Home Lab
The VNXe is now available in a virtual edition.  This is a most excellent way to learn more about the array but without imapcting your production users!  I used to use virtual arrays when I was working on SRM and that was very handy indeed.  See more info here and it will help you to find the vVNX as well as get it working.

Deploy and install NetApp ONTAP Simulator 8.3 RC1 for a vSphere cluster
For all the same reasons of the vVNX mentioned above but for NetApp.  For learning more about NetApp when you own one, or seeing how a different storage vendor does things when you don’t one one.  Plus if you just have one NetApp and are curious about SRM this would be a simple way to test things out.  Find out where to find the Simulator and get it going in this article.

New Tool: Decoder for ESXi SCSI Sense Codes
Here is an article that will help you understand any ESXi SCSI sense errors that you might find in the VMware logs.

Keeping Up with the Snoops X 10.0
Here is the latest article on this interesting subject.  This subject area is very American but it does impact the rest of us.  It is good to follow.

Lily Camera
This is sort of cool I think.  You have a little something in your pocket, and toss this flying camera into the air.  You have already chosen a mode so it follows you in front, or behind and gets good quality video of you doing whatever.  I have purchased one – thinking it might be useful for when my wife and I are up high in the mountains.  We will see – but it won’t ship until Feb 2016 so I need to be patient.

Reducing noise in your photos
This is not an area I know a lot of, but I know that ‘noise’ produces graininess in your pictures.  I heard people talking about how to reduce that and this came up. Pretty interesting really and certainly affordable.

Scanning business cards on iOS? or Windows?
I have picked an app that works very well at scanning business cards and putting them into my local contacts.  It even links them with LinkedIn if it can and that pulls a picture info the contact record.  So I am pretty happy with it!  The name is Scannable and can be found on iTunes here.  However, if you are a OneNote user then here is one that I think pretty good for you.

iPad app Paper gets business-like improvements
I have seen several people use a drawing type app on the iPad that looked pretty interesting called Paper.  But it has been updated lately with diagramming tools, and it can feed into Keynote and PowerPoint.  See 9to5Mac and Wired reviews.  Looks very interesting.

New Skinny Linux Distro Available – Includes VMware Tools
This is quite handy if you want a small Linux distro that already has VMware Tools installed and you can find more here.

Windows 10 build 10074 release to Fast and Slow Ring Insiders
I heard several guys in my hotel lobby recently talking about Windows 10 and there was some very good comments and then I saw this article.

Troubleshooting: Recreation and Validation
A nice article that talks about troubleshooting, and making sure when you fix something you test it so you know really you fixed the problem rather then a symptom.

Spinning Gold with the PowerCLI Cookbook
You can find a nice review of a good resource in this article.  It is about the PowerCLI Cookbook and I listened and bought a copy of it and it turned out very well.  I like this Cookbook.

Tiny project that projects BIG
Several of my co-workers have a tiny Asus S1 LED projector that works very well and projects very well.  It can work from battery, and it can charge your iPhone in an emergency.  If you want a project that is easily small enough to be in your bag, and yet bright enough for a big room this is the one.

Did you catch the DataGravity name in the recent emails from Corey?  He suggested great things were on the way and that is in fact true.  Not sure when things will happen but I am looking forward to it all!

Links not working in PDF or ePub?
I am writing a doc in the beta Office 2016 for the Mac.  When I create a PDF that has URL type links, and bookmark type links, they do not work.  If I recreate the Table of Contents, and the Table of Figures on a PC using Office 2013, and then create the PDF from it, all links of all types work.  Odd.  I did mention to Microsoft.  So I do all my edits, proofing, etc. on the Mac.  But before I do PDF or ePub for sharing, I do a recreate of the TofC and TofF on the PC and then the PDF and ePub.  Does not add much extra time and it works good.

Mac OS X Photos tidbits
If you import some pictures, and while when they are full size look great, but when are small (thumbnails) they do not, you can hold cmd + option and start Photos and that issue will normally be solved.  You can delete iPhoto and or Aperture, but do not delete their data – as Photos is using it.  If you need to add location info to pictures you cannot do that in Photos, but if you add the pictures to iPhoto, put the location in, and then export them with location info as jpg, you can then import them to Photos and you are golden.  Once you start using Photos you cannot import from iPhoto or Aperture once you have done it.  A little more info can be found here.

Zagg Ruggged Book iPad case
I wanted a tough case for my iPad so I could bring it into the mountains with me.  I bought this one as it looked good and was a good price.  But, it is in fact too good for me.  It is almost bulletproof, and the keybard battery lasts two years.    So it is very rugged and I think I only need a little rugged.

BTW, want a chance to win free VMworld 2015 tickets? Check this.

Thanks for reading, or skimming this far!


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