Newsletter: January 17, 2015

Hello all,

I am home after two weeks.  In fact, last time I was home to change clothes, and leave.  So actually first home after a month.  I am home for three weeks so that is pretty exciting.  I do have a lot to share today - as always I guess - and I hope everyone finds something useful.

I had a very poor upgrade to vSphere 6 in my work production lab.  I still need to make vROps, VIN, and Dell OpenManage work after my upgrade.  While my Dell did not before the upgrade both vROps and VIN did and they were absolutely clobbered by the upgrade.  Here is an article of my adventure so far. I have some important things to do for work, and I need to do my next vSphere test so the next while will not see me solving these issues - I think.  I also did a cool article about using a new feature (fingerprints) in our DataGravity software with third party security software - you can find it here.  In fact if you want to learn more about our latest release of software you can find it here.

While Veeam v9 dropped earlier in the year for the SP partners, I got my partner update of v9 this week.  Very excited to get it.  Looking forward to playing with it.  Will let you now how it goes.

I had the pleasure recently to introduce someone to DRS, HA and VMware Update Manager.  That was really a lot of fun and it was also a surprise!

But enough, lets see what I have to share today!

Have a great week,


Heads Up! Don Not Upgrade VMware Tools on Hosts with ESXi 6.0 U1b
I reported on this in the last issue of the newsletter but there is an update on Jan 14 by Michael on more specific info where it occurs, and from VMware as well.  Hopefully we should see a KB article shortly.  But good to know this is not as prevalent as it seemed at first.

Did you know ESXTOP Replay Mode?
This article shows you how to capture ESXtop data, which in fact I used recently to help some of our developers work with a performance issue.  But this article goes further and shows you how to replay that capture in ESXtop.  Very cool.

vCenter Server returns 503 Service Unavailable errors
I can confirm that the issue in this KB article has been found in the wild, and the Win2K8 R2 patch from Microsoft works fine to solve it.

Blocking vSphere C# Client Logins
This could be a fun trick to share with your co-workers!  Blocking vSphere 6 C# clients from working can actually be fun but also frustrating troubleshooting too. Find out how from William here.

Download or Upgrade - VMware vCSA / ESXi 6.0 Update 1b
I like this article, in that it helps anyone know how to download / update.  Even for example EVAL experience people.  Some great info - especially if you are a parent of a kid in university. Another article from the same author is here about upgrading your ESXi server.

vSphere 6: Part 8 - Configuring ESXi Hosts Settings
This article is from the author who did the basic vSphere 6 config article series.  In this one he covers off some host config.

Disable VSAN site locality in low latency stretched cluster
This article is about a customer using a VSAN cluster within a building.  This is not as strange or rare as you might expect.  I have helped a few customers to do SRM inside a very large building.  I suspect one of them that I remember well would love the idea of a VSAN stretched cluster.  So very good info to share Duncan!  Thanks.

Jumbo Frames and VSAN Stretched Cluster configurations
An interesting problem / solution around what you see in the VSAN Health Check - which I think is a very cool tool. See the article for more info.

Memory test should be done for each vSphere host before production use
This is one of my best practices - do a memory burn in test on your vSphere hosts before putting them into production use.  I did this very long ago, and it was in fact recommended in those days by VMware.  No one recommends it now, but I think it is still worth it.  I was talking to a customer who had a memory error in vSphere recently and it was not good.  So use a tool like MemTest86 and check your host carefully - like overnight or over the weekend once they are racked and stacked and make sure memory works.  VMware is heavily dependent after all on memory!

VCSA 6.0 prompting for a manual fsck
I too have seen this before vSphere 6, and it was pretty easy. So a little different in vSphere 6.  Find out more here.  It is not just hit Y.

Download and install ESXi Host Client on all hosts in vCenter
Thanks very much to Paul for reminding me of thisAlan has done a very nice script and shared it out, for doing the download and install of the most excellent ESXi Host Client.  In my small work lab I used VUM to install the client, but in my home lab, I will be sure to use this most excellent script!

Upgrading ESXi itself is now possible with the new Embedded Host Client v4
This is another reason that I quite like the Host Client.  A great way to do updates if you have too, but there is a lot more.  My personal and work lab both support this great tool.  So the fact I can upgrade ESXi is handy, but I believe I will be able to use that functionality to upgrade other VIBs as well.

Correlating VMware product build numbers to update levels
I find this article quite useful, and I used it again this week, and so I thought to share it out.  It will show you build numbers and version numbers.  So if you have just the build you can easily find the version. Handy sometimes.

Patch Release ESXi550-201601501-BG breaks connectivity to vCenter
This is related to the issue outstanding of upgrading hosts before vCenter, but it also shows how to undo the patch.

Don’t use 4K Native drives for VMware vSphere ESXi nor VSAN
Here is a story about what happens if you do.

Hidden OVF 2.0 capability found in the vSphere Content Library
William has an interesting use-case for a hidden OVF 2.0.  One OVF that deploys deploys multiple VMS as determined at deploy time.  Very cool.  He shows it off with nested ESXi but I see it useful for other things like Apache clusters for example.

SSD log buildup can cause poor performance in a VSAN Cluster
This sounds serious, and yet also a little rare and that is sure good.  But to find out more about this odd SSD related error you can find it here.  Good to see there is a resolution too.

Snapshot Consolidation changes in vSphere 6.0
Another very useful article from Cormac.  Very good to learn that the snapshot consolidation has changed how it works and definitely a good change. Thanks Cormac!  This is another reason to migrate up to vSphere 6.0.

Find ESXi Installation Date with PowerCLI
This is interesting as I did not know you could find via script what the install date of your ESXi host was, but also the amount of info in the UUID for the host.  Find out more here.

Desktop Virtualization
One of my past co-workers - Anthony Rizzo, has an article about Desktop Virtualization.  Pretty interesting as I did not know you could host desktops and applications in Horizon Air.  This does have a lot of possibilities, especially around DR, and remote call centers.  Imagine how better security is if you supply a couple of apps to rather then a desktop.  That also impact maintenance as well.

What is Access Point?
I have shared this out some time ago, but it came up again.  Here is an excellent article - by a very smart dude, about a new tool in Horizon View that replaces a View Security Server with an appliance that has a much smaller attack surface.  Incidentally, here is a fling that will help deploy one - which is pretty useful as the Access Point has no UI.

Quickprep or Sysprep - What’s the difference?
This is something people have asked me over the years, and it is good to know the differences between these two features as there is an important difference.  Find out more in this article.

View 6.2.1 Upgrade, two caveats
Some interesting adventures doing View upgrades.  Good info really, and a reminder that order is important.  It links to another article that is quite good too.

Log Insight for Web Traffic
A new article from Steve on some new content packs for Web Traffic.  It looks a little different from typical content packs, but it still is the same in that it gives you a great way to understand your Web logs better.

New v6.1 VOA Reports Available: Now with Dashboards & Improved Graphs
I have not used this but I have recently heard someone talking about it nicely.  BTW, vSphere Optimization Assessment is VOA..  So making better use of your virtualization optimization.

Announcement: Welcome 2016 with a vROps Webinar Series
This looks like a great way to learn more about vROps and of course that is wonderful.  Some smart people are involved and I quite look forward to it.

vRealize Automation: Why my VM provisioning request got Rejected?
This is a good point, if you make a request in vRA, and it is denied you should be able to see why.  This is in vRA v6.

vRealize Automation v7 Simple Installation
A very nice install article on installing vRA v7.  But, you should start here which is called vRealize Automation 7 Guide.  It connects to all of the articles! Both those that are done, and those that will be done.  Very cool.  Thanks very much for doing this Eric Shanks - this should really help people get started - especially in home labs which is a great way to learn new technology.

vRealize Automation Gugent stuck and machine deployment timeout
This is one I have had issues with.  In fact I had one like this in my vRA training class!  So good info to know and understand.  Here is a KB article that is similar.

Photon Platform Devbox: give it a try!
You can learn more about Photon in this article, and in fact get going with playing with it via this article.

New Book: VMware Network Virtualization
I think if you want to do NSX it is a little (lot?) different than what most virtualization guys do and the course is critical of course - especially if you want a license to play with - and so a book is very helpful.  I know somewhat one of the authors and he is pretty darn smart so that should really help with this complex subject.

Oracle Licensing and Support on VMware: Awaken the FUD in your Datacenter!
Michael talks about Oracle overcharging, and it is something to understand as I too have talked to a lot of customers over the years about how difficult and confusing dealing with Oracle is.  So a very good article for anyone who has any responsibility around Oracle to be familiar with.

ControlUP! 5.0 is now GA
I looked at this software sometime ago and quite liked it.  They have now hit 5.0 and that is quite good to see. This version seems to be about historical reporting and analytics for EUC.  See the info here.

Using NFS to Share Data Between UNIX and Mac OS X
Another interesting story from Stephen.  If you want to share data between UNIX and Macs using NFS you need to read it.

Deleting Dormant Data with PowerShell
One of the cool things I really like with DataGravity is that there is so many different things that are possible - it is not just a storage array.  Here is another - from a co-worker of mine (Gabe) that shows you how to delete dormant data using PowerShell.  So a very smooth way to free up disk space, and yet you can undo things if necessary.  So very cool, and very useful!

DataGravity Discovery Series Review
This is a nice review of the DataGravity appliance.  One thing about the review is it shows a picture of a new version of our appliance - the DG1100C which is a 2U version of our appliance.  So that is pretty cool.  Same OS on this appliance formfactor as the rest of the hardware versions.

Odd issue in Veeam
I have had an odd issue in my Veeam environment for quite some time.  It fails at 99% when backing up View desktops.  I tried deleting one of them and the newly built desktop still failed the same way.  Veeam had me recently change from hotadd to network and now everything works fine.  So odd.  This is under v8, but I wonder if this sounds familiar to anyone?  I would like to understand it better and even maybe fix it before I upgrade to v9.  And I really want to upgrade to v9.

Veeam v9 Storage Settings, exclude dirty blocks and Day 0 update
I really like having the option to enable, or disable the exclude of dirty blocks - meaning deleted files.  It was not optional in v8 but is in v9 and that is good!  Find out more here.  BTW, here is a nice article about v9.  As well you can find main page, Whats New, Release Notes, and user guides.

The Forgotten Data Protection of SaaS: Backup for Office 365 and Google Apps
Interesting article / interview about backing up cloud apps / data.  Which I think most people forget about and they assume the cloud provider takes care of it.  Which is not always true!

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client 6.7
The EMC plug-in for the vSphere Web Client is a useful tool to help you with managing your EMC storage.  Quite handy and I have learned that not everyone is using it that could be using it. So check this out.

A visual Git Reference
I have seen people try and explain Git, and it is not always as easy as it sounds.  So here is a visual reference.

TCPDUMP: When and How?
A very nice article by Rob Nelson about using TCPDUMP.  This is one of the things that sometimes someone asks you to do.  And I have to always ask for specific info on command line parameters.  And Rob, IPX?  That goes way back!  This is a nice start for using tcpdump.

A Full Stack What?
Another interesting article from rnelson0 and definitely one that I think quite right and very interesting.  I do see the importance of Full Stack Engineer, and in fact I am sort of one, but Full Stack Human is pretty important as well!

Trend Micro AV gave any website command-line access to Windows PC’s
This is sort of interesting.  I had heard something about this, but it was Anton in his Weekly Forum Digest - which I just love reading BTW - where I saw a link and learned more.  It appears that it is in the consumer line of software - which I think is supposed to make us feel better. It doesn’t make me feel better since if the behavior that allowed this to happen could happen somewhere else.  I have done a lot of work with Trend and quite like the software so I am disappointed to see this - in consumer or enterprise no matter.

The 2015 Virtualization Review Editor’s Choice Awards
While my own employer is mentioned in this list, the fact is there is a lot of other very cool software mentioned - PernixData and Ravello for example.

How Tor Works: Part One
Tor is interesting technology and if you want to learn more you can in this article.  Nice article, BTW. Thanks to William for sharing this.

Sonos and Apple Music
I mentioned recently that these two things worked together - finally.  My wife got it working and liked it a lot but I was not around.  So got home yesterday and tried to make it work.  I traveled far yesterday, and without much sleep, so I may have been a little confused but I could not get Sonos and Apple Music working at first.  It is really not that hard.  First, you need to do it in a Sonos iOS app, and the Service is beta so look in beta.  Don’t try and do it on a Mac.  But it does works wonderful.  I have had Sonos for a long time, and like it a lot, and we had to stop using it when Apple Music came out as we liked it a lot.  Now I can use both it is wonderful indeed!

Apple Family Sharing and Family calendar
I have mentioned in the past I like Apple Music and in our household we changed over to the Family Plan for it.  One of the side benefits of it is it provided us with a Family Calendar.  Turns out cool.  When my wife invites me to something via the family calendar I don’t get a typical invite.  It is a push notice instead.  And it shows up in my calendar inbox as well.  So very easy to work with and doesn’t clutter things up.  And the calendar itself was automatically added to my calendar.  So very handy and nicely done.

The best apps for your new Mac
A nice list of apps here.  I certainly agree with a number of them - 1Password, BackBlaze, Tweetbot, and Evernote.  I would have added Slack to it as well.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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