Newsletter: November 19, 2016

Hello all,

I had a good week – particularly since I was able to talk with customers about Veeam.  I even got to do a session at a vForum – in Houston – and it was pretty fun too. It was good to talk with people about Veeam 9.5 as it is a big release indeed.  I even found a very large Veeam customer that I will get to visit and chat with and make sure our very biggest customers are getting what they need.

I know many of you have mentioned you like my upgrade articles but I am not going to be able to do that in a timely fashion this time. I need to keep my home lab so that I can continue to work with Veeam.  So my upgrade is delayed but I will in fact install vSphere 6.5 this weekend to play with it.

I wrote up how I think a backup of an encrypted machine would work, and how restores would work too.  I will keep it updated as I learn, and test, more. I also updated my View desktop to Win10 and that went just fine.

BTW, it looks like it took almost two days for the 6.5 bits to be in the VMware Software Download tool.  Not bad at all, and have I said before how much I like that tool? I certainly do.  You can learn more here about it.

As always, I have lots to share and I hope you find something interesting and useful.


Upgrading to vSphere 6.5
As I mentioned above I cannot do that currently.  I have only lab and I need to keep my Veeam products working and they will not support vSphere 6.5 for 30 – 60 days.  But if you can do an upgrade, you need to check this KB article to see if any of the VMware software that is not support is necessary for you. But if none of that scares you off, then here is an article that talks about the order of upgrades.  Once you know you can upgrade, go read all the release notes carefully! That can be most easily done – thanks to William – from here.

vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 Installer Improvements
Emad has an article that talks of the installer improvements and it is all very good to know! I love how the CIP is not necessary any longer!

vSphere 6.5 – Everything you need to know
Brian has updated his page again with more links and articles. He keeps track of what is new now to help us out.

A pretty cool method of Upgrading to ESXi 6.5
William has a slightly different way than what I normally use to upgrade my hosts. I believe it is a good method to know about and have in your tool belt.

VMware vSphere 6.5 has EVC support for new processor – Broadwell
I do suggest people use EVC and use the ‘highest’ support they can and so it is good to see more EVC support in 6.5. See more here.

Predictive DRS
This is very important and cool too.  DRS works well in most cases by responding to changing situations, but I love the idea of moving things before they are impacted.  See more about pDRS in this article.

vCenter HA Failover Scenarios, and Gotchas
I think that VCSA HA will be very popular over time.  And here is an article about someone testing it out but also clearing up for me what is failed in terms of triggering a failover and what is failed but not failing over.  Good info. Here is a different article about the gotchas that are good to know for your design and implementation.

Migrating to vCenter 6.5: Design decisions and important characteristics limitations to discover
An article about the thought process that someone has about moving to vSphere 6.5.  Some good things to think about.

VASA Provider Considerations: Controller Embedded vs. Virtual Appliance
A very good discussion of the VASA Provider considerations and good info to know when you are thinking about VVols and talking to vendors! And yes, we should all be thinking about how soon we can be doing VVols.

VMware Virtual SAN Automated Deployments with PowerCLI
Rawlinson has an article that includes some pretty interesting PowerCLI that will automated a deployment that has a lot of config around it.  Very interesting script!

Installing the VCSA 6.5 from Mac OS Sierra
Once this newsletter is done, and my new MacBook Pro is working, I will be installing vSphere 6.5 in my lab.  Not an upgrade but new and separate since I need my Veeam stuff working. But of course I will be doing it from my Mac since that is now supported.  But, here is two reports of it not working – first, and second. We will see how it goes for me.

A comparison of VMFS5 and VMFS6 in vSphere 6.5
I do believe that most customers should be using NFS, or VVols.  But, if for some reason you cannot, than in vSphere 6.5 there is some serious improvements in VMFS.  See more here.

USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter (NIC) driver for ESXi 6.5
I wrote here about getting my NUC working with some USB 3.0 Ethernet adapters and it took a few tries but then all was good.  When I hit 6.5 this will not work any longer.  So very good William has a new driver – which he talks about here.

Testing vSphere 6.5 DRS – over commitment Ratio
A short article on testing of the over commitment ratio in DRS and some good info. I think I would like to see more testing on this feature and some suggestions.

Whats new in vSphere 6.5 storage – unmap and resignaturing
Cody has two great articles on new storage stuff in 6.5 – one on unmap and one on resignaturing.  BTW, due to my past with SRM, I know that resignaturing can almost cause pain and suffering. Cody is very smart, and has a lot of experience so that explains why these articles are so good.

ESXi 6.5 Virtual Appliance is now available
William has got the updated VA now for 6.5 – which actually has more new stuff in it than I expected.  But check it out here.

Benchmarking an HCI Solution with legacy tools
I think that Duncan has some good points to be aware of in his article.  Use the right tool for the job is something I heard often as I was growing up, then in the army, and then in professional services.  It applies here too. I think more of us should learn to use the tool that Duncan suggests.

vRealize Operations 6.4 is GA
You can see the marketing info on it, and the release notes. This looks like a big release, not the least of which is the support for pDRS, but they have done some significant UI work, and I hear that looking for root cause is easier now.  I also hear it is faster now too.  I can confirm both the OVA and the upgrade .PAK show up in the VMware Software Download.

Log Insight 4.0 is GA
You can find more about the new release here or here from Steve. You can also find the release notes.  There is a couple of things to note – while it works with 6.5, the Content Pack for vSphere has not been updated yet.  No big deal as things still work but you don’t see the new actionable logging in the widgets.  I love the new UI, and in fact it seems noticeable quicker for me too.  The auto update agents did not work for me either.  That may mean they don’t work, or that I did not do some additional setup.  Not sure yet. I will investigate since I really need this feature working!  Even in my small lab I have a surprising number of agents in use.  The upgrade .PAK came down with the VMware Software Manager which I really appreciate. Wish all apps did that! BTW, in my upgrade – which worked perfect, I did not see this issue but I understand a few people have.

Log Insight: Support Bundles
A reminder that you can pull support bundles from the UI or the CLI of LI, but the agents can do log bundles too.

PowerCLI 6.5 R1 is now GA
This is now available, and you can see more on it here. This supports previous versions of vSphere, as well as 6.5.  And it works with the fling for PowerCLI on the Mac (and Linux).  BTW, I have heard that this is downloaded by the VMware Software Download Manager but I have not been able to confirm that.  Still looking around and searching.  BTW, my upgrade was smooth with no issues.  BTW, here is a note on the vSAN part of this PowerCLI release.

Workspace ONE Nov 2016 Release
If you ever have a chance, you should get a demo of this product.  It has come a long way, and it does some very cool stuff.  Here is the info on the newest release. This is one of those odd apps, that allow you to provide easier access of apps to users, but with an increase in security!

vCenter Converter 6.1.1 works with vSphere 6.5
You can learn more about this in this article. This tool has improved but has been around for a long time.  I have used it in the past quite a lot.  Not so much any more.

Evaluating Your vSphere Environment for Best Practices and Security
This is a new course on PluralSight, and I have started to watch it.  So far so good. It is basic stuff so far but only in the beginning so that is likely appropriate.

Recovering NSX Manager with corrupt file system
This is a useful article – even if you are not using NSX as it teaches how to deal with a typical filesystem issue when the typical tool is not available!

Photon OS 1.0 is here
With more people hearing that the OS on the 6.5 VCSA is Photon – which is pretty darn good – there is more questions around Photon OS.  Find out more here.

List of virtual storage arrays – and where to download them
In this article you can find a list of VSA and the links to get them – and it is quite a list.  My suggestion is Nimble and Dell EMC Unity as the two easiest to install / configure / manage particularly for a non storage person.

Pensa Networks
I saw this recently and it strikes me as odd and interesting too.  I can use their environment, which they can make look exactly like mine, to test a patch or whatever.  Sounds very interesting but also a little odd.  I have been invited to a briefing and I am quite interested to learn more.

PowerShell Profile
Rob Nelson has an article on profiles that is quite useful. It will help you get started with profiles.

PowerCLI script to verify ESXi 6.5 support
This script is useful but it identified one machine in my lab that I know runs 6.5 as unsupported – which yes, I recognize is not quite the same. It also did not know what to do with my Intel whitebox servers or my NUC.  I have reported to the author the results so I expect it to improve.  I do have older gear and odd gear in my lab.

Certificate Generation Utility for VMware Validated Design for SDDC – and updated Validated Designs
I had not realized there was a cert generation tool in the Validated Design.  But there is and it has been updated. The Validated Designs themselves have been updated too.  Not sure if anyone uses this stuff, but I bet there is elements of it that are useful and interesting, and maybe more.

Dell EMC Unity array
I use Unity VSA in my home lab. Remember we added support for it in Veeam Update 2 of 9.0? I installed it with no issues on my own, and I upgraded it this week on my own again with no issues. I do not normally do well with traditional storage. Typical EMC or NetApp I cannot install on my own with swearing and fuss and complaints. But Unity is not traditional storage. Pretty easy to install and use, and even update. I wish we could get it into my work lab. But no. Learn more about Unity here.

Microsoft Docs Site
You can find all or most all docs from Microsoft on this new site.  I quite like it, and it reminds me of what the Storage and Availability BU at VMware did with this site a while back. It would be nice if both of them added RSS support so that we could track changes a bit easier.

Setting yourself up for success with Veeam Pre-Job scripts
I have used pre and post scripts before – normally to help with application consistent backups, and or to coordinate with storage array snapshots.  So it was quite cool to see this pre script in this article.  Good example of what is possible.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 is out, lets see what’s new
Luca does a nice job breaking things down in the very cool new release of 9.5  This is a big release and full of interesting stuff. Here is another article on the release from Doug that has some good links.

Are you a Veeam Service Provider?
There is a patch for you if you are that will – after you apply the patch – allow you to upgrade to the GA version of Veeam B&R.  If you are not a Veeam Service Provider just ignore this!

Want to learn more about ReFS and Veeam?  Like what ReFS block size to use?
64 is the answer to that question, but if you check out this forum post, and this article and finish with this article you will learn a lot more about ReFS and Veeam.

Dude – where’s my Veeam Powershell?
I answered the question in my article, but in this article they have the answer and a sample use case that is pretty darn good.

Need help installing Veeam 9.5 – maybe your first interaction with Veeam?
You can find help in this article.  BTW, the 9.0 license will support 9.5 too.  I suggest you do Enterprise Manger upgrade first, and if not doing an upgrade then install it too – I install it second.  It will provide the potential for the vSphere Web Client plug-in.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage
Some interesting new features – in 9.5 – for NetApp customers that also use Veeam as their backup platform.  Read all about them here.

Encoding vs. Encryption vs. Hashing vs. Obfuscation
An interesting article that explains these four terms that are often misused.

Don’t do it: consumer-grade solid state drives (SSD) in Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)
VMware went through this with vSAN, and now Microsoft is seeing the same issues in S2D.  While consumer grade SSD lets us play with stuff like S2D or vSAN in home labs easier (actually cheaper too) they are not a good choice for enterprise grade – see more in this article.

All your protocols belong to us
An article that talks of the various protocols and then a product – Dell EMC Isilon.  Interesting.

HOMELAB – Supermicro – 5028D-TNT4 storage driver issue and fix
My co-worker Anthony bought this new computer based on my suggestions, and recommendations, and so when he started having issues I was a little concerned.  But he figured it out and it all turned out well.  A good article with problem and fix, but the troubleshooting is pretty good too!

UEFI boot: How does that actually work, then?
This is good background info since vSphere supports this in some cases.  Good info actually.

A look at Illumio Adaptive Security platform
Here is a good article to learn more about this seriously interesting technology.

How to turn on System Integrity Protection (TIP) for your Mac
This should already be turned on – and on my Mac it is, but there are some reports that the new MacBook Pro (late 2016 models) are showing up with it off.  You can check if it is on, and turn it on if necessary with the info from this article. BTW, SIP is root level shielding like what is in the iPad and iPhone and quite worth having on.

MacBook Pro external display support explained
I had heard that my new MBP 15″ could drive two 5K monitors or four 4K monitors but was a little curious about cables, connections and resolution.  So it was nice to see this article with the details.  Not that I have any 4K or 5K monitors but this does mean I can also drive 2 or 3 normal monitors too.

Curious how much can run in 16 GB of RAM on a Mac?
There has been a lot of chat about why was there not a 32 GB option for the new MBPs?  I do in fact think over time there will be, and there should be, but have you ever really wondered what you could do with 16 GB?  Someone did and tested it.  Pretty impressive actually.

Why Apple A10 leads the mobile chipset industry
This is an interesting article about how the A10 chip has really enabled the Apple mobile products and it really shows what a silicon advantage is.

Selling a Mac?  Need to get it ready…
Here is some info to think about if you are selling or giving your Mac away.  Definitely important info.  BTW, if you have or about to move, to a new Mac this Apple article might help.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far!


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