Newsletter: December 23, 2016

Hello everyone,

I am starting this on the 23rd before we head into the mountains.  And it is cold and snowing so it should be an interesting ride.  Not sure when I will publish!

Update – we had some fun getting into the mountains.  There was a 15 car pileup we had to navigate around.  There was two semi’s involved and it was a mess.  And of course the blizzard made it interesting.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I do have a lot to share so best to get started!


Worried about VMescape?
Then go here. If you want to know a little of the back story see this article.

Collect log files in a distributed vRealize Automation environment
This was quite interesting to read in that I had no idea that the log collection would work in a distribution environment. Most impressive actually.

vSphere HTML5 Web Client updated to 2.19
You can see the changelog here, and it is an easy upgrade, which I recommend if you are running this interesting HTML5 vSphere Client. I like checking out this client and its updates as it is very nice to work in and it is the future too for those of us who work in vSphere. This version has an amazing feature – a dashboard that has a collection of useful and interesting information.  I like that very much.  Clean and useful.  Well done!

Get-EsxTop – Another Look
This interesting article talks about how you can get and use ExtTop info via PowerCLI which is very powerful. This is handy if you are remote from a server and all you have is PowerShell, but it might be a way to pull info into a spreadsheet or database too.

Veeam Backup and VIX libraries: howto backup a networkless VM using VSS
This article is a couple of years old, but the idea is still correct.  VMs that have no network connected can be connected by vCenter for VMware Tools update, and that should be the clue that other things are possible like a backup.  Or DR software executing scripts inside of a virtual machine.  VIX has been absorbed into another API – Guest Operations maybe, but the functionality is still there.

Some of useful VMware PowerCLI scripts added into VMware Sample Exchange
This article has some cool PowerCLI scripts, but it also reminds us of the VMware Sample Exchange.  A very cool place to find scripts that can help you out.

Complete List of VMware SRM vRealize Orchestrator Workflows
A most impressive list of vRO workflows specific to SRM can be found here.  This provides a serious amount of power for someone that wants to build out a DR protection strategy that is in fact somewhat automated.

What’s new in SRM and vSphere Replication 6.5
GS talks about the latest release of SRM in this article.  Some important stuff actually – such as full support for VCSA HA.  I think for many of the customers that I have worked with, or talked with, that VCSA HA should be done without even asking.  Very important functionality, and with SRM support for it that makes it even more attractive. As mentioned in the tidbit above vRO integration is quite welcome too! I also like the idea of the SRM vROps management pack.  That is adding the capability for vROps to manage and report on the health of SRM rather than virtual machines that may be part of SRM.  That means in one place you can see more of the important stuff and know right away that it is healthy or not. So a very nice release.

Disk Controllers for VSAN with or without cache?
Duncan comments that the dumb array controller is what you need and that is very true.  In the early VSAN days when there was no guidelines or suggestions I got into trouble using array controllers with cache. Cache is often very good and something we want and need but not in VSAN.

Upgrading ESXi using vSphere Update Manager 6.5 on the VCSA
Technically I should mention it is the VMware Update Manager, not the vSphere Update Manager, but that doesn’t change the fact that you can find the process in this article to update your hosts to 6.5 – all working in the vSphere Web Client.  BTW, this is how I always do my host updates – for upgrades, or patch updates.

vSphere Content Library Assistant
A new fling has an interesting idea – it can create a Content Library for you, and migrate your templates to it.  It does save a little time and work I guess. I really like Content Libraries, and I think that with the changes in 6.5 a lot more people will be able to use them.  I think to get the most out of them, and know how to support them, it might be good to know how to create one, and add templates to it.  So maybe, it would be better to not use the fling?

vROps Editions: Advanced
This article talks about what makes the advanced version of the vROps suite.  I believe Advanced is sort of the minimum level to be at.  The article also talks about the differences between the different versions. In this article I heard about Blue Medora Manager of Manager and that sounds quite interesting.  The table that breaks down the different editions is also quite interesting.

New vSAN Management Pack for vROps
Good to hear about this new MP as I think it will be greatly appreciated by vSAN / vROps customer – which, BTW, I am one. While one mgmt UI to monitor is a Holy Grail that we may never have, but the least number of management UI is a good thing so the more we can monitor in vROps the better.  Especially, since I want predictive DRS in my lab!

Monitoring vSphere Replication
Here is a simple article that will help get you going with monitoring VR using vROps. A good example of what is possible with vROps.

Tuning of VDI desktops
This came up recently as I was thinking of building out the best template ever for my work lab.  That was before I realized that licenses (or how few I have or how they are managed) would make the idea of templates unworkable. But the very powerful tool for tuning / customization of a VDI desktop is called OSOT. You can learn more about it in this article. It is a useful and powerful tool.  In addition, you can find an article that has a template for it (OSOT) that is pretty darn good.  So I was the source for the idea of this tidbit, but now I cannot use it, and thought it good to share out in case someone else was interested.

VMware vRA 7.0+ and Chef
I used to know a bit about Puppet, enough to make it work for me in the lab, and really liked it. Then I learned a little about Jenkins, and was quite impressed with what they could do with it at my last employer, but I have not worked with or talked with anyone about Chef. But then I saw it talks to vRA – using some sort of knife it seems. So pretty cool.

Getting Started with DataCenter CLI
Kyle has an article about a new CLI that vSphere has that is sort of like a API explorer I think. A nice intro and a demo is in the article.

VMUG Advantage features EVAL Experience, now with latest VMware vSphere 6.5 inside!
I am only superficially aware of VMUG Advantage, but I thought it quite good for people that were not vExperts or had access to vSphere bits.  But I had no idea that there was such a delay in accessing current bits. So this article is good to learn a little more, including that 6.5 is available now, but also another option in this area – one without the delay.

Demystifying Data Duplication: The Three Types of dedupe
An article that talks of the two types of dedupe that we likely have all hear of – post, and in-line.  But it also talks of a third type that I had not heard of before.

What every browser knows about you
Check out this link to see what your browser shares about you.  Not cool. I  need to speak harshly with my browser.

Top 10 virtualization stories for 2016
Not sure if I agree with all of them, but they are at least a good reminder of what has happened!

Learning from a year of Security Breaches
A good set of lessons that came after the writer spent a bunch of time helping customers with security breaches.  Also good to learn from the pain of others! Many of us who have done even basic security work will recognize much in this list of lessons.

You need to rethink that “jump server”
Some very good ideas on improving the traditional jump server idea.  Which I have built a number of times in the past for customers but could have done better it turns out.

Veeam wallpaper delivered via GPO
Michael has an article that will help you deliver your wallpaper of choice to all the desktops.  Very handy in fact and while he shows it for some Veeam themed wallpaper you can use what you want.

Veeam Error: Client error: NFC storage connection is unavailable
I love to see article that talk about an issue, and how to solve it.  Especially when there is multiple solutions to an issue.

Fixing Domain Controller Boot in Veeam SureBackup Labs
This is a pernicious issue, that can be quite frustrating, and so it is very good to have a good description of it, and some workarounds too. It is safe to say it will get better to deal with at some point in the future.

First Look at AWS Management Portal for vCenter – Part 1 – Deployment
I am fascinated by the VMware / AWS stuff, and if I was still at VMware I would be all over it.  I think there is some real possibilities with it, and I am quite interested in it. Here is an article that talks about the ability to connect your on-premises vSphere with AWS and be able to manage and work in vCenter – for both the stuff in VMware and the stuff in AWS.  So pretty interesting – to say the least.

To CBB or to LTSB? that is the question
An interesting article that looks at CB, CBB, and LTSB. These acronyms are important to know if you work in an Enterprise that uses Windows, or if you are an Enterprise guy.  It is not a completely good or completely bad situation to be in, and worse, there is more questions than answers.

A look at the Cisco UCS Manager HTML5 interface
I am not a fan of the Cisco UCS Manager UI.  I found it a bit complex.  I visited a customer once who was a UCS shop but didn’t like the UI either.  They made their own, and it actually made a lot of sense to me and was a lot easier to work with.  It did not do everything, but did what they needed.  So it was interesting to read this article that talks about HTML5 for UCS. It seems that the HTML5 redo included some changes to make for better organization.

Investigating ChronoSync 4.7 for Cloud Backup
I use ChronoSync to move files from a SMB share to a portable external hard drive as a form of backup.  It is a powerful and flexible tool.  Here is an article about using it to move files to the cloud.

SolidFire VVols Special Sauce
I always knew SolidFire was interesting, first because a guy I knew long ago – Adam Carter – was involved with them.  And he was very smart – he was part of the LeftHand team in the old days. Then a friend of mine went to them – Andy Banta – and he too is very smart, and in fact a little fussy.  He would not go work for a place that had nothing to be proud of.  So I know a bit of the theory behind SolidFire, and it sounds pretty cool.  But here is an article that talks of some of the specific reasons that SolidFire is different.

Apple AirPods
I did not buy these things or try to buy them, when they first came out.  I was impressed but wanted to learn more about them.  I have heard very good things about AirPods.  They don’t fall out, they pause music when one is taken out, and with a tap you can talk to Siri.  They are very easy to pair, and once paired that pair is shared with all of your devices via iCloud.  Which I find very handy.  The case for them charges them, which means the time between charge is 24 hours.  About 4 hours for when the AirPods are in your ears but once back in the case they are charged.  Here is an article about fixing connection problems, and one about how to pair, plus a review.

Thanks for reading or skimming this far, and have a wonderful Christmas!


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