Newsletter: November 26, 2016

Hello everyone,

I hope that everyone had a great week?  Some of you had Thanksgiving, and I hope it went very well. From some of the tweets I saw you have eaten very well indeed.  For a number of years in a previous job I was able to have Canadian Thanksgiving at home and an extra one when in the US.  Was great fun!  And many of us have a lot to be thankful for so those who celebrate Thanksgiving should remember and enjoy the family time.

I had a number of articles out this week, including one on moving to my new Mac, which has been updated a few times already, and the TL;DR is that I am very happy indeed with this most excellent new MacBook Pro. For those of you who are Veeam customers you can now change your vSphere Web Client with some Veeam wallpaper and it is sort of cool looking too.  I also had a tough issue in my View environment which you can see in this article.  I had another irritating issue in that I could not use Dell OpenManage to update my hosts and the full info is here. I also heard that my article on Backup / Restore of vSphere 6.5 encrypted VMs was checked out by people who know and they think it is accurate and that is good.  They did not know all Veeam functionality so testing is still required. I have updated it several times lately as well.

BTW, I heard from Veeam support how many Ransomware cases they have helped customers with.  I was very surprised just how many cases it was – sorry but cannot share the number – but it was huge.  People need to get smarter about what they click on and open!  But at least they are doing backups which sometimes can help undo the issue.

Also, I am sure many of you have done it already, but for everyone else I suggest you read the vSphere 6.5 What’s New doc.  It is amazing how much new stuff is in vSphere 6.5.

I am working on making either FreeBSD or Nexenta work in my lab to support my shared storage needs.  So far it is Nexenta as I am having trouble making FreeBSD work on my machine.  You will see how that all goes when I figure it out.  Should be interesting as this is shared storage for 5 vSphere hosts, and I expect to run approximately 30 – 40 VMs on it. I am happy they both have community versions and I have a nice old server to put one of them on!

But, like always, I have a lot to share, so we should get started.

Have a great week,


vSAN Customers, in particular, should install this patch
I saw something from Duncan that vSAN (particularly AF) customers should install this patch soonest.  If Duncan shares this sort of info, you best get it done soonest.

Installing vSphere 6.5 in my lab
I used a Mac – running Sierra – to install 6.5 VCSA in my lab.  I did not hit any of the issues that others did.  The reason is, I think, that I had the ISO local, and extracted the ISO and ran the setup within it.  So I didn’t mount the ISO.  Emad has an article that talks of the issues.  I did not know that Sierra was not supported when I started. But it is very nice to have 6.5 in the lab.  I just wish it was the whole lab and not just one host. Here is some help for installing the VCSA via Windows but the info would still help if using a Mac too.

VMware ESXi 3.5 – 6.5 Hypervisor Size Comparison
This is quite interesting actually  – even in 6.5 the hypervisor is amazingly small. The range from 3.5 to 6.5 is interesting too.

Odd errors upgrading your host via VUM?
I have seen this a couple of times where there was some innocuous error message and the host could not be upgraded via VUM.  This did not happen recently going from 6.0 U2 to 6.5 but I have seen it before.  I have always been able to fix this issue with a restart of the host that cannot be upgraded.  Odd, but it works.

Custom script bundle is now possible with Auto Deploy in vSphere 6.5
I was quite surprised to see this article from William as I did not expect it.  This is a big deal.  I did a lot of work with host profiles and Auto Deploy in the past.  In fact, over a number of clusters I suspect it was several hundred servers or more.  I did the testing and the design and someone else implemented so I forget the exact numbers.  It worked good if you had a standard host and it is very good to hear how things have improved, especially that you can execute a custom script!

vSphere Client and vSphere Web Client 6.5 FAQ
Here is an article which is an FAQ on the vSphere Client (HTML5) and the vSphere Web Client (Adobe Flex) and it has some good info.  As well you can get info on functionality for the vSphere Client in this article.

VMware vSphere 6.5 Configuration Maximums Changes
The Config max info has changed in 6.5 and here is a breakdown of it.

vCenter 6.5 Upgrade: A problem occurred while connecting to the migration assistant on the VUM
This is good to understand – not just the problem and the solution, but it shows some other useful stuff.  If you think you might have a hiccup during your upgrade migration to 6.5 you should check this out.

VMware vSAN: 2016 Edition
A nice write-up covering off the new version of vSAN, but also links to the same write-up but done in previous years.  Interesting to see how vSAN has changed.

vSphere 6.5 – what’s in it for Service Providers Part 1
Anthony has an article about whats in 6.5 for SP and it is good info. He has a different viewpoint – as a Cloud guy and so has a different set of things in 6.5 to talk about.  But, I think some of his stuff is good for anyone!

vSphere 6.5 Update Manager Performance and Best Practices
An article that talks a little about VUM performance in vSphere 6.5.  Nice to see this since VUM is now part of the VCSA.  This actually helps performance as there is no patch files being moved from VUM to vC any longer. The article connects to a new whitepaper on this subject.

vSphere 6.5 Link-O-Rama
Like we have seen in the past there is a most incredible list of vSphere 6.5 links available on vSphere-Land. Amazing collection actually.

VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Update 2a now GA
This looks like a small release and mostly security related. You can find the release notes here. I checked in my Appliance Management UI for my VCSA and saw there was an update waiting.  I wish it could email me when it showed up! I note that it had this article about this update in the info screen. I like the info supplied with the update – you can see if there is a reboot required, additional info, and it seems to work well. I like the show / hide details as I like to see what is going on during an update.  Don’t forget after you apply the patch to reboot, and that it takes a bit.  BTW, my upgrade went smooth.

Capacity Expansion & Disk Group Design Decisions – All Flash vSAN
Jason has an interesting article that has some good info on working with vSAN and how it can change a little between hybrid and All Flash.  Good learning!

Troubleshooting Storage Performance in vSphere – The Basics
This is a very good 3 article series on troubleshooting vSphere storage performance.  I used to know the author but have not seen him for a long while.  Very smart performance guy.  Find part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Veeam Backup & Replication and vSAN integration deep dive
A very nice article by Luca on how well Veeam and vSAN get along.  Some good learning on that subject but also on vSAN and Veeam. BTW, if you are curious where the log snippets came from it is from the backup job logs.

Using vSphere Storage Policy-Based Management in Mixed Storage Environments
Rawlinson has a short video / webinar about using SPBM in mixed storage environments.  I was talking with someone recently who only new a little of the theory of SPBM and this webinar from Rawlinson is perfect to help people that know the theory of SPBM but not sure how it applies. It is worth knowing.  SPBM is not just for the big companies that need automation, but it is pretty handy in small companies to help avoid mistakes.

vGhetto Automated vSphere Lab Deployment for vSphere 6.0 u2 and vSphere 6.5
Some more amazing stuff from William. This script(s) will stand up a complete vSphere environment.  Not just a host, or vCenter.  Pretty amazing. A complete environment – so three nested ESXi, and VCSA for them, and a shared vSAN datastore, all built by script, and in 36 minutes.

vRealize Automation v7.2 is now GA
I heard from Jad that 7.2 has been released, and it seems like a big release.  See more here. Here is the release notes and bits.  API support for upgrades / install / config is pretty interesting actually. Here is another article that talks of this release and vRealize Orchestrator as well.

New PluralSight course – vRealize Automation 7
If you learn from video and you need to get started with vRA v7 you are very fortunate indeed as you can find the course right here.

vRealize Automation 7.2 – Install and Configuration
A nice article series with lots of info and articles – very nicely done – on this new version.

Ensure your load-balancing is right for a vRealize Automation 7.x HA Install
If you need to do some HA with vRA this is a good article to read as it is not the easiest nor, thanks to improvements in the last number of releases, the hardest thing to do. Some very useful info.

Deploying to AWS with Software Components on vRealize Automation 7
This is an interesting article that will help you to use vRA and talk to AWS.  Powerful as you can do some serious automation in this case.

Veeam 9.5 Released: Top New Features
Anthony has a great list of new features in 9.5.  By no means is this all of the new features but the ones he likes.  I really like the ReFS 2016 support and the infrastructure cache.  Both are very important and will hit most of the Veeam customers.

Using Veeam Replicas for Granular Restore Points
This is a good article in that I suspect there are a number of Veeam customers that don’t realize they can restore from Replicas.

Does Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshot make things go faster?
I have heard this question myself recently.  So the article I found on this subject recently has good timing.  I definitely think there is people that would be helped by this article.

How to upgrade to Veeam ONE 9.5 + What’s New
A nice article to help you upgrade ONE to the current GA version.  It is a nice tool that I quite like.  It has a lot of interesting capabilities and 9.5 adds more.  Some of the reports it does are quite handy.

ZFS Cheat Sheet
I saw this recently and I have heard a few of you chatting about ZFS.  So it is cool that I can share it out. If you want to learn a little more about ZFS command this suggested article will help.

List of All Available Windows CMD Commands
This is a handy list of commands.  I heard someone looking for this sort of thing.  So I am sharing it. I looked at it first on my iPad and used the Reader Version thing.  So when I was working on this newsletter and looked at it I realized this is a terrible web site.  So much wasted space – so much crap – I am amazed.  But the list is there and hopefully you read this article on a device that will clean up the page for you – or maybe using InstaPaper – which I use often and really like.

How can you monitor your Wifi Connection on OS X?
This article talks about two great tools.  One I already knew about and liked – Wi-Fi Explorer, but a new one to me that has turned out very cool called Wi-Fi Signal.  I have Wi-Fi Signal running in my Menu bar all of the time.  Very good info that is very easy to find or see.  Both tools are recommended.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
Matt has an interesting article on Imposter Syndrome.  I was on an incredible team of RockStars at VMware and everyone was famous in various ways, and very smart and experienced.  But then we had three folks added to the team who were not.  They were all junior and were our operational people.  They went through some initial issues due to Imposter Syndrome.  They did not deal with it by becoming a RockStar, but by being great at their job.  They realized that a great operations person is as important as a RockStar architect.

Lessons Learned From My Time in the Marine Corps
This is a very good article about the time someone spent in the USMC.  Actually I guess it is more about the things learned in the USMC that are still important and useful outside the USMC.  I fully understand and agree.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far,


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