Newsletter: March 11, 2016

Hi all,

I hope everyone had a good week?  I sure did, but I am in fact looking forward to the weekend. I have not been home for a week yet, so a full weekend at home is nice to look forward to.  But, want to know something a little odd?  I am unemployed, and yet, I still get up at 0500 to head for the gym, and spend the day in the lab.  It needs a lot of work, and there are some odd issues that need attention.  This is not really unemployed behavior though – is it?  But it is fun, and wherever I end up I will likely need a lab.  Plus I need it for me too to keep skills sharp.

I started looking for work this week and that has been pretty interesting.  I have been able to talk with some interesting people about fascinating products.  Definitely having fun chatting with people, and it is nice not having to just jump at the first job.  I need something interesting, and something I can stand on a stage and not worry about what not to say.  Plus I like to make a difference where I work.  So we will see.

I have three APC UPS in my lab, and when I tried to access them this week to confirm they were OK I had an odd error.  So that was fun to deal with and I wrote it up in case it impacts anyone else.  Also, I had to pull Zimbra out of my lab and get something working for email stuff.  That is told in this and this. I also added a troubleshooting section to my Win7 template article.

But lots to share, and as always, I hope something for everyone. Have a great week!


vSphere Beta coming soon….
Duncan has announced that there will be a vSphere beta soon and provides you a means to indicate your interest.

Best Practices for Running VMware vSphere on Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
Someone was looking for this recently and I thought it worth sharing.  This is the most current – that I can find – document on NFS and vSphere. While many storage vendors will have papers on NFS and vSphere this is one from VMware and good info.

Scaling 2-node VSAN (ROBO) to a 3-node or more
Cormac talks about how you could move from a 2-node VSAN cluster to something bigger.  This is a very good thing to know.  I suspect there will be a good chance that a number of customers will start with 2-node and want to grow.  After all, I am sure that VSAN will surpass their expectations!

VMware Platform Services Controller 6.0 FAQ
Some great info here on the PSC.  If you want to learn more this is a good start!

Compare and Contrast – VSAN and VVols
Cormac has an a nice article looking at VVols and VSAN and doing the compare / contrast.  This article is particularly interesting as well due to Cormac answering the question why Software Defined Storage (SDS).  Pretty well done.

Applying Custom Attributes beyond Host & Virtual Machine Objects
An interesting article about using custom attributes.  I too used them – not for automation like William, but to track things like application name, owner, support contact kind of stuff.

VSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker
This new fling can be quite handy if you want to test VSAN out in your own lab or environment.  It will give you a good idea of what needs to be done before you play with VSAN.  Once you have VSAN installed the Health Check plug-in (installed automatically with VSAN 6.2) is what you use to make sure everything is on the HCL after the install.

vSphere 6 ESXtop troubleshooting poster
A poster to help remind you about how to use esxtop?  I can use that! Check it out here.

ESXi Embedded Host Client
You can now find version 6 of this great tool here.  While it will continue to be a fling, you may have heard that it will be in vSphere 6.0 Update 2 that should be out soon.  This means if you want a GA version of this great tool you can have that and it is built in to ESXi.  However, if you want to push the envelope you can do that and install the fling.

Virtual SAN 6.2 Space Efficiency Technologies White Paper
Another VSAN TWP is now available – this one about the new features of Dedupe and Compression.  Find it here.  BTW, here is an article that connects with VSAN videos – none more then 3 minutes long.  That list of videos will grow over time I am told.

VSAN 6.2 Part 7 – Capacity Views, and Part 10 – Problematic Disk Handling
You likely know that Cormac is working his way through the VSAN 6.2 feature set, but I want to mention two articles I think particularly interesting – one on the new views, and one on problematic disk handling.

Alert: Important KB updates for current NSX for vSphere Users
Here is a Support Insider article with some important NSX information. Be sure to check it out if you are an NSX user.

NSX 6.2 Fundamentals – LiveLessons
Want to learn more about NSX 6.2?  Using videos?  Check this out.  There is a lot of lessons and I think it might be a good way to pick up knowledge if you like learning via video.

NSX Bytes: NSX-V 6.2.2 Release
This is a minor release but you can learn more about it in this article.

Taking a closer look at Horizon 7: Desktop & App Virtualization Re-imagined
Here is a short article and video on Horizon 7, and a link to a deep dive.  Which I missed by accident.  Hope they share it out soon. I expect v7 to be out soon and I am quite interested in Horizon View 7.

The Definitive Guide to End-User Computing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions
Andre is very knowledgeable in the are of EUC and so this sounds like an interesting guide to read!

Troubleshooting Horizon View with Log Insight
Nice article that talks about using Log Insight to troubleshoot a View issue.  Good example if you are starting out with Log Insight.

vRealize Automation 7 Guide
You can find a great collection of vRA v7 info here. There is 21 sections to help you get going.  It has other links to useful stuff too. A great resource – thanks Eric Shanks for this!

vRealize Automation Data collection doesn’t work
A friend of mine used this article to solve a problem with vRA v7 this week.  So I thought good to share again!

vRA v7 Custom Hostname with Event Broker (EB) Subscription
Doing a custom hostname in vRA v6 was tough.  Really tough.  Someone did something – in vRO I believe to help but it was not easy or simple.  In vRA v7 it does get easier.  And here is an article to help.

VMware Infrastructure Navigator
Here is a nice article about a wonderful tool – I quite like VIN and find it quite useful.  Here is the article I wrote about why I like VIN so much.

Support for upgrading VMware Tools in VMware vRealize Operations Manager
There is none.  Don’t do it.  In fact, in any appliance – whether it be vR Ops, Log Insight, or whatever, do not upgrade the VMware Tools.  It is the job of the appliance author to upgrade the tools and then test if it breaks anything – not your job!

vRO Scriptable tasks
If you are just getting started with vRO this article should help with some good examples of things good to know!

VMware User Environment Manager 9.0
A short article on the new version of UEM 9.0 and it is pretty interesting.  Sounds like a good tool that I would like to play with in the lab one day.

Ravello PowerShell Module – Automating a Lab Setup
This is very amazing. Would you like to have a script to build out your lab in Ravello?  With but only a click or two?  And it would of course be done the same way each time if that is what you want and need.  Wow. Most excellent and thanks very much Luc!  This is what vExperts really need – especially with the generosity that Ravello is showing towards vExperts.

Managing the Virtual Machine Lifecycle with PowerCLI
You can learn more about managing the lifecycle of a VM using PowerCLI in this article / video.  They have other videos as well.  Pretty handy!

Licensing Options for your vSphere Home Lab
Chris Wahl has the options for software licenses in the home lab in this article.  Good info.  Currently I am getting licenses via vExpert and that is pretty good.  One thing to note is that you must download trial software to use with your licenses.  What this means is that when you want to upgrade things like vR Ops, or Log Insight, you will need to delete, and install new.  You cannot get the .pak file to do the upgrade – at least not for the products I tested.  Nevertheless, the vExpert designation is a very good way to get licenses for your lab.

VMware Cert Program Simplified Exam Registration Process – New Announcement
You can now register for a test while you are in MyLearn.  That is helpful in fact.  Check out the news.

Nutanix Guest Tools
A nice article explaining what the NGT is, and in fact there is quite a bit of nice features included.

My Mobile Data Experience with Google’s Project Fi
This is an article about a very interesting mobile service.  While it is open to all in US with the right kind of phone, it is not open in Canada.  At VMware they were big enough to have phone people in-house so as I traveled they changed my plan as necessary.  So I always had the same number and they got savings.  Unfortunately at my next employer I had to switch SIM’s and that got to be a little awkward – actually a lot. So something like Project Fi for iPhones would have been ideal!

Frank has an article where he talks about the writes accelerated in his home lab management cluster.  I have some storage performance issues in my home lab I am working on and this is likely something I should think about.

Intel Updates True Key App to Simplify Security
I have not used this software, but it looks interesting.  And the idea is a good one I think.  This app will help you manage your credentials and provide more options – like additional biometric that may not be normally supported in your app.

VxRail First Impressions, Installation, Configuration (part 1)
I was wondering when I might see one of these.  I did not expect – but I would not have minded – to have a unit sent to me to try out. So I was watching to see who would do a setup / config article.  Pretty interesting stuff, I would love to check out the VxRail gear.  And I hear they GA’ed yesterday (Thursday).

Varonis Seven Part Guide to Penetration Testing
I have not read all of the 7 or 8 parts to this series but I have read several and they are quite good.  If you want to learn more about pen testing start with this.

Essential Virtual SAN – Second Edition – Rough Cuts now on Safari!
Very glad to see that this second edition is getting closer.  I really liked the first edition and with all of the changes in VSAN 6.2 it is good that an update is on the way.

Leveraging VirusTotal for Security Context
At DataGravity they hired a CSO a month or so before I left.  I had looked forward to working with him but never got the chance.  He is a serious security guy and he has written a very interesting article about how you can use the file fingerprints that are part of the DataGravity Storage in a very useful way.

Hard Disk Drive Versus Solid State Drive: What’s the Diff?
Another nice BackBlaze article that you can learn from.

A generic (and highly academic) discussion around multi-tenancy
This article is, like all of Massimo’s articles, detailed and interesting, plus thought provoking too.  Multi-tenancy is something people often ask for, and sometimes define differently and generally want it in the future.  Interesting stuff!

Understanding block sizes in a virtualized environment
This is quite a good article on something that is often bandied about without a real understanding of the meaning.  Or even when people know a bit about it they don’t really understand the depth of it.  So handy to have this article!

Docker Lab Installer
I heard someone talking about Docker recently and I realized there is an interest of getting it going and playing with it a bit.  Check out this article to help get it going if you want – and use a Mac. You can learn more about Docker in here. Also, just in case, here is an article on installing VMware’s Photon OS.

Tidbits from Anton’s Weekly Forum Newsletter
From Antons recent newsletter I learned a number of things.  All you need to know about Nano server, Raspberry PI 3 now on sale, and an OpenSSL vulnerability.  Thanks Anton for sharing.  BTW, I was looking forward to Nano server, but it turns out what I though I knew about it is not right.  The Nano paper, by Mike Resseler is most excellent.  It is the place to start your learning or work with Nano – I recommend it.

vSearch – Super vCenter
Before I headed out on PTO I got vSearch working in my lab and loved it.  Very cool.  Frank has an article about making it work.  Very cool tool!

New OS X Ransomware Keranger Infected Transmission BitTorrent Client Installer
Likely you have heard about this – new and interesting ransomware that is targeting the Mac platform.  Very interesting as it even has a signature from Apple and the App Store that means it would open on my Mac – and most Macs – even when GateKeeper is configured well.  You can learn more about this from Palo Alto Networks who found it, and from The Verge as well.  Good info!

An Apple Pencil – drawn review of the Apple Pencil
This is pretty cool, and very well done I think.  Even if you don’t want to know about an Apple Pencil, you should check out this article!

Everything Siri can do for you and your Apple TV
I know a number of you have Apple TV.  For those of you that have the fourth generation of the Apple TV you have Siri.  A fun tool and even useful at times as a way to find something new to watch. Or when you wife asks a question at the wrong time you can ask Siri to rewind x minutes.  Here is an article that talks in detail of what Siri can do for you.

Tactical Flashlight that is a weapon
I mentioned a while back I had a very good Tactical Flashlight and I was very impressed with it.  But, I have found another one that is quite interesting.  It has an 800-lumen LED.  The previous flashlight I really like is 220-lumen.  What this means, is that this new flashlight – ShadowHawk X800 – can actually be used as a weapon.  If you point it at someone and light it off, it can in fact disorient people enough for you to attack, or run away.  You do not have to always have it work at that brightness level however.  I have ordered several of these already – will let you know how it goes.  Here is a review, and US order, and Canadian order.

Beware Neat Software
I have used Neat‘s scanner and organization software (called NeatReceipts) a lot.  I have suggested it to various people over the years.  It stopped working reliably for me on the Mac when El Capitan came out.  But it has a lot of my info in it.  But scanning still doesn’t work any longer.  They have a beta that supposedly fixes it but it doesn’t work that well. Considering how long it has not worked should have been a warning flag.  I just learned yesterday that they are not going to improve or fix any of their Windows or Mac software.  If you want to work with them you need to have a subscription and use the cloud.  I know some of you will appreciate that, and I know it is a powerful feature, but for the info I have in my Neat database I would rather it was local and my responsibility to protect and backup.  And I don’t want another monthly cost.  So I share this info as FYI.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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