Newsletter: April 16, 2016

Hi everyone,

I hope this finds everyone enjoying the weekend?  And in particular after a nice week I hope. I had another week in the lab and taking it easy (not really so much) and it turned out a pretty good week.  I do have another job now, and it starts on Monday so I am pretty excited.  I talk about it here.

I would like to thank everyone for the best wishes, and congrats, about my new job – it is much appreciated.  I am very excited about it and I look forward to being able to share more about what I am working with.

I had some frustrating issues with vCheck and PowerActions when I went to get both working in my lab.  Some of the issues were with PowerCLI 6.3 R1. You can see how to get PowerActions working, which I quite recommend, but I also updated my vCheck article just in case that helps.  I am not sure if PowerCLI 6.3 R1 is the issue. I did find one user who things work better for him, but I believe he upgraded to vCheck, and upgraded to PowerCLI 6.3 R1 and that may make a difference.  BTW, I think most environments should have PowerActions and vCheck – they are pretty useful tools. As a result of that, I have added them to the vSphere Best Practices as suggestions.

BTW, the best way to download VMware stuff is using VMware’s Software Download utility.  It does an SHA or MD5 sum on everything downloaded too which is nice. I provide info on using this tool here.

Guess what? I have lots to share.  Surprise.

Have a great week,


vSphere closed beta soon to start
Would you like to help grow vSphere into something even better?  Would you like to help make sure there are no bugs in it – or as few as possible?  VMware would love the help, and every customer anywhere would appreciate you helping too!  See this link for more signup. Be aware you do need to contribute.  You will need to install, configure, play, and comment, plus be a vSphere 5.5 or 6 shop.  If you can do this at all I would most appreciate it – VMware really needs the help.

vSphere vCenter 5.5 Update 3d now GA
You can find the release notes and bits.  It looks like it is only an update for a security issue. It looks like it is only a vC update and not an ESXi update.

ESXi Embedded Host Client v7 now GA
I really love this fling, and I have already upgraded to v7.  But I wanted to understand the version a bit better.  Thanks to Etienne Le Sueur for explaining.  What is in vSphere 6.0 U2 is 1.0 of the EHC, and v7 just out recently is v1.1.  If / when U3 comes out, it may have 1.2 of the EHC so it will overwrite the v7 (1.1) that is on your hosts.  Make sense?  If you are conservative, you can NOT install the fling EHC but just use what is in the vSphere code stream and shows up in U2 and onward, including any new Updates.  Up to you but I find it so useful I am updating as the new version of the fling comes out to get the increase in functionality.

Can I still provision VMs when a VSAN Stretched Cluster site has failed?
You can get the answer, and learn more, from this article.  Glad someone asked this question though, very good to know!

Platform Services Controller Topology Decision Tree
A nice tool for someone planning a vSphere install.  Very nicely done, and will make a very useful poster.

Why I prefer to disable vSphere HA Admission Control
This is a very enlightening article, and it reminded me of something I forgot.   Something important. If you use Percentage of Cluster Resources Reserved you must set CPU / RAM reservation for every VM for it to work properly.  I do agree with much in this article and it does make me wonder about my use of HA admission control.

vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling v1.1 – h5client Continuous Improvement
They talked in here about this new update.  Added some nice features and so the HTML5 client is coming along nicely.  My upgrade BTW went smooth and no issues. I like this client a lot.   I am looking forward to it replacing the flash version!  BTW, this 1.1 version will remember your email address when you submit feedback using the little smile faces.  This is easy and is very helpful for the PM so please use it.

Yellow Bricks – updated
Today Duncan talks in an article about how he has updated the HA deepdive.  I noticed that several days ago, and it is already on my iPad and I have started to look at it!  A very good resource!  Thanks Duncan for keeping it current but also for distributing it in this way – very nice indeed.  And I would love to hear how he got the virtual Nimble array as that looks pretty interesting.

How to SSH between ESXi 6.0 U2 hosts without providing a password
An interesting article by Cormac and I can see that likely a lot of heat is behind it.  Definitely not something you want to do in production but good to know as, for example, it is very handy in a pod in the HOL.

Resilient vSphere 6.0 PSC deployment without Load Balancer
I think that this article has it right.  Using a Load Balancer – with the typical complexity that it brings, is not a quick decision.  Sometimes it is better to not use one, and have a process to deal with the situation that occurs due to it not used.  Great info!

Migrating from Embedded SSO to External PSC
An article that will help you  with the process of migrating from embedded SSO to external PSC.  Make sure to review this article as well.

Understanding vSphere Private VLANs for Fun and Profit
This is one of the better explanations for PVLANs I have seen.  Thanks Rob for reminding me of this.  BTW, don’t forget the author of that explanation is the author of the most excellent book – Networking for VMware Administrators. I tweeted to him recently to see if he might update the book but never heard back.  Hope he keeps it up.

Seriously, stop using Port Channels for vSphere Storage Traffic
This article is several years old, but I think it still has good info.  I used it recently when chatting and I thought worth sharing!

Log Files Uncovered
This article has the common vCenter log names and description but also links to more info on other logs.  So one stop shopping for vSphere logs.  Not sure he had to go back to ESX 3.0 or even ESX at all!

Fault Tolerance Performance in vSphere 6
I heard chatter somewhere where people were worried about FT performance.  Here is the answer to that worry – in short – don’t worry.

Composite USB Devices Step by Step
Some help to make things like Microsoft LifeCam cameras work with View. The help is in the form of a document – actually a .doc file and not even a PDF.  Interesting.

True SSO Diagnostic Utility
I talked about True SSO last week, and while it looks pretty cool and useful, it was complex enough in the setup to make me reconsider getting it going in my lab or not.  And then this week there is a new lab fling for doing basic True SSO validation.  Nice. And definitely confirms I do not need this in my lab!

Load Balancing VMware Identity Manager with F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
Dean has an article on using a very popular load balancer to improve availability in VIM. Not only is there a TWP on how to do this, there is a lab on it too in the HOL.  Very cool!

Introducing Swagger UI on vRO 7.0.1
Anyone who is a very serious user of vRO I suspect will be happy to see this.  It will help you do API calls much easier.

New Training Course – Data Center Automation with vRealize Orchestrator and PowerCLI
Wow!  I would love this course – especially if Eric was teaching it!

VMware PowerCLI Pocket Guide
A useful list of PowerCLI commands that is quite handy. The commands includes examples so quite useful.

PowerCLI Best Practice: Correct Use of Strong Typing
I am a simple user of PowerCLI and most of it is copy and paste and tweak.  But I do see the importance of what Alan is talking about in this important article.

vRealize Orchestrator 7.0 Content Pack for Log Insight
This article talks about the new CP for LI that will help you understand more about vRO.  Very Nice.

Test driving VMware Photon Controller Part 1: Installation
An interesting article by William about getting Photon working.  This new version has a management UI which I think is pretty handy!

Why Docker != Containers and Docker OSS != Docker Inc.
Long interesting article on this subject, and as always, very well done.

Ubuntu – VMware Template Cleanup Script
I do not have a need for an Ubuntu template – I am more of a Centos guy I think, or SLES maybe, but this article has some very good info in their script for Linux templates.  Next time I do a Linux template I will be sure to use some of the info.

vRA7 Software Agent Gotcha for Centos 7 or RHEL 7
An interesting issue, and one that would be hard to troubleshoot I think.  So good to see both problem and solution in this article.

VCIX-NV Exam Recap
Anthony Spiteri has quite the article about his adventure of doing the VCIX-NV exam.

NSX vCloud Retrofit: Intro and VSM to NSX Manager Upgrade
This is a bit old but a good look at moving NSX into vCD.

Nutanix OpenStack Part 1 – Deployment
An interesting article about getting OpenStack working on Nutanix.  Good info if you are interested in OpenStack.

Proud to announce that Architecting EUC Solutions book is now available
An article that talks about this new book. I have purchased it, and while only in the first few pages, the TofC looks pretty good!

Google Compute Engine uses Live Migration technology to service infrastructure without application downtime
An interesting article, but I would have thought that every cloud provider has Live Migration – or vMotion to help them out.

Using virtual synology in a scale out distributed Storage architecture
And interesting story about doing distributed storage in a HomeDC.  Quite interesting. Eric Bussink has a very cool home lab environment.  If I was going to start my home lab (HomeDC) over again I would in fact use the hosts that he has and some of his ideas.

Veeam Package for vRealize Orchestrator
This is very cool, and so very happy to see it works with Veeam v9 too!  If you want a Veeam package for vRealize Orchestrator you can find it right here. Thanks Eric!

How to reset root password in vRealize Orchestrator
Yes, you can do this, and yes, you might have too one day! See how here.

VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager: Most frequently Asked Questions
Some good info if you are curious about vCloud Air and moving to it.  I knew what the vCloud Connector was so I was curious about what the Hybrid Cloud Manager is, and the article helps.

Think you’ve seen all the features coming in Windows Server 2016? Think again!
Something important in this article I want to highlight:

Now Microsoft looks at this and also at what the competitors were doing and thinking, how can we compete in this space? or where are we lacking ?

I think that this is accurate when you look at the features in 2016.  There are in fact great features that I am excited about, but there is also a bunch of stuff that fits into the comment above.  The reason I highlight that is I think it is a big mistake but something that is easy to happen that you need to be on the guard for.   Why look at competitors, why not look at customers and what they need?  How many of them actually need containers for example. I am very happy to see other things like the dedupe improvements or the storage improvements.  And I am very excited about Nano.  I started talking with customers at my last employer about containers.  Most had not heard of containers, or others had and were not looking at them due to a perceived lack of value in containers for them.

Puppet Enterprise Migration From 3.8.4 to 2015.3.3
An interesting article about the update of Puppet and some interesting things to watch out for.  I can tell there is some pain and suffering behind this article.  So thanks for sharing Rob!

Migrating to Exchange Server 2016
Exchange upgrades (in fact any email upgrades) are sometimes complex and painful.  Here is a PluralSight course on upgrading to Exchange 2016 in case you need it.

ZeroStack’s full stack from Infrastructure to Application
A nice breakdown of what ZeroStack is. I do not have a lot of experience with it so this was a good intro.

Add a Jenkins Node for Windows Powershell
A nice article on adding Powershell functionality to Jenkins.  I am not so familiar with Jenkins, in fact I only saw it for the first time at my last job.  It looks pretty powerful and I know it is useful and so connecting it to Powershell is pretty interesting.

UCS Platform Emulator Available
The UCS emulator was updated very recently and you can find it and more here.

Two-Step vs. Two-Factor Authentication – is there a difference?
Not sure why I found this, but thanks to whomever it was.  This article is quite useful to explain the important difference between two-step and two-factor.

StoreVirtual VSA + VMware Best Practices Guide just got better
In case you use the HP VSA you can find the updated BP in this article.  Worth checking out in fact.

OK, panic – newly evolved ransomware is bad news for everyone
OK a little strong in the title but some good info about a newish ransomware tool in this article.  I am sharing this partially due to it being a little interesting, but also because it is a good reminder to make sure you have things ready for these kind of attacks.

How to use Sonos for Mac: The ultimate guide
I am a very big fan of Sonos.  Am using it to listen to Apple Music on all three floors of my home right now! If you want to learn more about using it check this article out.

3D Touch is a niche I can’t live without
This is a feature I do not use often, but I am trying to use it more often.  It makes a number of things easier, like phoning my wife, or creating a new contact record.  I like it with Evernote too and use that.  But it is still a niche player with me.  Here is an interesting article about using it.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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