My First DockerCon

Wrapping up my very first DockerCon. I learned great new things, was introduced to new tech and reconnected with some old friends.

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Kubernetes Anywhere and PhotonOS Template

Experimenting with Kubernetes to orchestrate and manage containers? If you are like me and already have a lot invested in vSphere (time, infra, knowledge) you might be exctied to use Kubernetes Anywhere to deploy it quickly. I won’t re-write the instruction found here:

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Seizing AD Roles - File under Good to know

So lets say the power goes out and half of the vm’s on your “lab storage that uses local disks” go into an infinite BSOD loop. I was lucky as one of the servers that still worked was a AD Domain Controller with DNS. Since I usually don’t try to fight BSOD’s and just rebuild. I did so. One very helpful page to move the AD roles was this article on seizing the roles. Which I had to do since the server holding the roles was DOA.

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FlashStack Your Way to Awesomeness

You may or may not have heard about Pure Storage and Cisco partnering to provide solutions together to help our current and prospective customers using UCS, Pure Storage, and VMware. These predesigned and tested architectures provide a full solution for compute, network and storage. Read more here:

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VMware Space Consumption on Thin Provisioned Data-Reducing Arrays

A common question I get from my customers is: Why does vSphere say my data store is full? when the array is 4% used? I usually make a quick explanation of how the VMFS file system has no clue that the block device underneath is actually deduping and compressing the data. So even though you provisioned 1TB of VM’s the Array might only write a fraction of that amount. This can get many different reactions. Anger, disbelief, astonishment and understanding. This post is to visually show that what vSphere is thinking is used on VMFS will not necessarily be reflected the same on a data reducing array (including FlashArray).

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New Features in Pure1 - Analytics

The best just gets better? Pure1 Manage is Pure Storage’s SaaS based management tool for Pure customers. Beside getting tons of health, capacity and performance information you now have some new. It is a pretty hard upgrade process that requires updating VM’s at each site and possibly some consulting services. Just kidding. It is already available, no effort from you required. Just login to pure1.purestorage.com.

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UNMAP - Do IT!

Pretty sure my friend Cody Hosterman has talked about this until he turned blue in the face.  Just a point I want to quickly re-iterate here for the record. Run unmap on your vSphere Datastores.

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VMworld 2015 Wish List

As I no longer have view into roadmap for anyone. I thought I would make my wish list for announcements coming from VMware in 5 days. Actually it is a wish item.

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Top 5 - Pure Storage Technical Blog Posts 2014

Today I thought it would be pretty cool to list out my favorite 5 technical blog posts that pertain to Pure Storage. These are posts that I use to show customers how to get things done without re-inventing the wheel. Big thanks to Barkz and Cody for all the hard work they put in this year. Looking forward to even more awesomeness this year.

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Provision vSphere Datastores on Pure Storage Volumes with Powershell

A week or so ago our Pure Storage powershell guru Barkz @purepowershell sent out some examples of using Powershell to get information via the Pure Storage REST API. My brain immediately started to think how we could combine this with PowerCLI to get a script to create the LUN on Pure and then the datastore on vSphere. So now provision away with Powershell! You know, if that is what you like to do. We also have a vCenter plugin if you like that better.

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VAAI and XCOPY with Pure Storage

VAAI has been around (almost 4 years now)for a while now and this is one thing I don’t often hear customers or others talking about very often. When your vSphere hosts detect that Hardware Acceleration is compatible. The host will attempt to send VAAI compatible commands to the storage device. As we describe it usually Full Copy is explained as if you need to clone or Storage vMotion a VM the ESXi host issues a command to move the storage device to move the blocks. So when describing this in the past it was a very simple, the Host issue the command and the blocks move. Set it and forget it, right?

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Twelve Months for a Forklift? Check that, Forever Flash

Recently I was speaking with a potential customer and they were planning on taking 12 months to move from one end of life architecture to latest and greatest from their very big storage provider. Absolutely amazing that customers everywhere have been living with this for years now. Pure Storage introduced a very awesome solution to this issue. Built on the technical awesomeness that a purpose built for flash platform can provide. No legacy to protect so Pure is more than happy to change the way Storage business is done. More on this later.

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What do we really need? Cloud? or Change?

Going through the VCAP-DCD material and I had a question. Since it comes with the assumption that everyone is working toward building a private cloud. So I started asking, do I need to build a “cloud” and why? Now don’t think I have completely gone bonkers. I still think the benefits of cloud could help many IT departments. I think more than how do I build a cloud, the question should be what do we need to change to provide better service to the business.

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Start with Applications

I have been revisiting my work towards some advanced datacenter certifications and decided to journal some of the thoughts I have during the process. After a 3 year break I decided it was time to start pushing toward some of these goals.

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No Spindles Bro

I was assisting one of my local team members the other day with sizing a VM for Microsoft SQL. I usually always fall back to this guide from VMware. So I started out with the basic seperation of Data and Logs and TempDB.

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I am now at Pure Storage

Thought that after 2 weeks I would put it on my blog. It is long past official as I have already done “New Hire” and I am officially part of the Puritan family. My Orange pants are on order. One thing I am excited about is getting to install the array for my customers. Not just talking about how awesome it is but getting to see it. This should definitely inspire blog posts to share what I learn along the way. I know many people probably already knew this, but someday I would like my blog to be a FLASH of the progression through my career.

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Getting Ready for VMworld in Barcelona

My planing for VMworld in Barcelona began right after Speed 2 Lead Megalaunch from EMC. First came the meetings about who should be staffing the booth. In years past EMC would staff the booth with mainly BU (business unit) experts. Great people, but this really made for a product centric style in the booth. Some vSpecialists would be floating around the booth having conversations that usually spanned across multiple EMC business units. (example: How do I configure iSCSI multipathing for VNX while backing up with Avamar and Data Domain?) This year our goal was to flip it around. Where there would be mainly pre-sales people that loved VMware and EMC together. Complimented by a few experts from the BU’s to answer the deepest of questions.

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VSI 6.0 vSphere Web Client

I didn’t get a chance to post this to the blog earlier this week. I wanted to share a demo I worked on this week showing how to install the new Web Client based Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI). We all know that the windows only client is in its last days (lived about a year too long in my opinion). So the new plugin to provision storage for the vSphere admin is a welcome addition. This very first version supports storage that is being Softwared-defined via ViPR.

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Installing VMware vSphere 5.5 - Quick Tour

So if you haven’t gone through it in your lab, what is better than getting an idea of how to install vSphere 5.5 with a few screenshots. For the beginners out there I just wanted to walk through the process really quick like.

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Virtual Storage Integrator 5.6 - What's New

The Virtual Storage Integrator or VSI has been around for a while. Seems every release something new and exciting gets added that customer have asked for. The VSI 5.6 plugin for EMC is the latest version (9/13/2013) of the plugin to help streamline and simplify interactions between the vSphere client and the EMC storage used to support your Virtual Data Center/Private Cloud/Software Defined Data Center.

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VMworld 2013 - In-N-Out Burger Meetup

The annual 2vcps run to In-n-Out burger! This kid from Southern California now living in Atlanta, Georgia needs to get some burgers. So let’s meet up get a Double Double and talk a bit about all the cool things going on at VMworld.

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This: I love Google Analytics

I have not really dug into the features of Google Analytics for a long time. I was curious today to see how people were following links through the site and how they got here. I found this report that totally made me geek out.

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UPDATE: OSX on Fusion VM

I won’t fully apolgize for saying I wanted to punch Apple. Mainly, this is made much harder than it needs to be. If this doesn’t make sense read my previous rant about getting the install image for OSX Mountain Lion to run a VM legally and licensed on my Mac Mini purchased with Mountain Lion pre-installed.

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Virtual Storage Integrator - VSI 5.5

Actually using the Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) from EMC will simplify the complex environments used to create virtual data centers and private clouds. Wanted to bring to your attention some of the new features in the VSI

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An All New but Very Similar Adventure

The more things stay the same the more they change, or something like that. At the beginning of the month I started a new place within EMC. I am now the VMware/Cloud/SDDC guy for the Solutions Marketing and Enablement team with the EMC Solutions Group. Exciting new and fun things coming especially around content related to the same old theme for me. VMware, Virtualization, Cloud and all the related points, now with a focus on end-to-end solutions that address requests coming from the business. I am working with a pretty awesome team and I am excited to see what we can produce over the next few months.all-the-stuffz

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VMware View Stretched Cluster

The last few days I have been considering the best way to stretch a cluster of VMware View resources. After digging and talking to people smarter than me I figured out there is a lot of things to consider and that means lots of ways to solve this. In this first post I want to highlight the first overall solution that was inspired by an actual customer. This design came from one of the fine EMC SE’s and it inspired me to share further. I stole his picture. It is very storage centric (imagine that) so most of what I share will give some detail to the VDI and VMware portion.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas everyone it was a busy year. Can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store. To everyone out there that takes the time to check out my blog, thank you. I hope you have a great holiday time, enjoy your family time and see you in 2013.

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If you changed your IP in Puppet Razor

If you happen to build your puppet server using VMware Workstation then export the OVF so you can import it into an vSphere environment later. I had a bit of weirdness after the IP address changed. After setting my static IP I had to restart puppet. It seemed like it was going to work BUT the microkernel image was downloading from the old IP from my Workstation.

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In-n-Out trip VMworld 2012

Time for the 4th annual trip to In-n-out at VMworld. This year we are in San Francisco. The calendar during dinner tim is getting packed with all kinds of things. SO as an attempt to get more people. The in-n-out trip will be a post EMC party deal level out any adult beverages trip. On Tuesday the 28th post 10pm give or take 15 minutes I will try to caravan to the In-n-out. They are open until 1am. See you there!

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Lead the Transfomation

Speaking with customers everyday the most common thing I see the infrastructure teams struggle with is how do we get from X to Z. We are virtualizing first. Evaluating tier 1 apps as VM’s. Migrating non-essential services to the cloud. As an overall strategy how do I get from what I have, to where I want to go? While there are many topics to get you going on this path, from management and orchestration to improved monitoring and security. One thing we as infrastructure guys often forget to ask is, “Are our applications ready for the future?” Many of the off the shelf applications are just fine for many of our use cases today will they still be viable in 5-10 years? Can we take a design that was created from a physical silo, virtualize it, and hope to be cloud ready? Maybe. How can we think in a new way about our applications? Currently we take our application and think of it this way:

20120509-100452.jpg It consumes parts of these buckets. Physical or Virtual, the application is bound by the contraints of a general purpose OS accessing some sort of physical resources that are bound a physical RU in a datacenter. So even as we look to build out like this:

20120509-104434.jpg We take the same solutions that we used in the physical world in order to provide scale and high availability. Mainly clustering. Does clustering provide actually cloud enabled applications? Most likely not. We look to the new bubble of dot com innovators for solutions to the boxes the old guard of application vendors have locked us in. I am not going negative on any current application but rather trying to challenge us to think beyond the way we have always done things. So if we want to move towards a new model, public, private or hybrid cloud. It would be in the best interest of the infrastructure teams to lead the charge and provide thought leadership when moving applications to a cloud. I would argue in the near future you do not want to be the one that is seemingly hugging your infrastructure. It is always better to be leading the change than roadblocking it, especially when the change will drive the business to the next level of service capabilities.

20120509-105917.jpg So a few questions to start asking:

  • What does my data actually look like?
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View Client on iPad with Bluetooth Keyboard

I was very excited to try out my View desktop using my new ZaggFolio Keyboard case. I did not have a chance to try out the View Client with the keyboard until today. I was sad to find out the keyboard does not work very smoothly. So I would like to point this out:

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Atlanta vBeers – March 12, 2012

Next week besides the already large numbers of Virtualization and Storage experts in the Atlanta metro there are a few more people coming to town. Don’t really need a better excuse, and with all the people based in Atlanta (we should do this more). Monday March 12, 2012 a #vBeers will be occur at the Taco Mac near the Perimeter mall. Five to 8 or later if you prefer.

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Extents vs Storage DRS

I was meeting with a customer today and had to stop for a second when they said they were using 10 TB datastores in vSphere 4.1.

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CCNA Exam Experience and Happy New Year

IF you have been paying attention to me on twitter the last few days I was whining about studying for the CCNA. Even though I work with switching on a regular basis for the past 5 years there is still lots of little details you forget about when it comes to the intricacies of how a network works. That being said, I don’t normally work on border routers ever anymore. It has probably been 3 years since I configured a router to route, I mostly play with Layer 3 switches for Inter-VLAN activity. I was surprised by how much has changed since I last passed the CCNA in 2006. Some quick non-test question disclosing thoughts.

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A Year Later

Around this time last year I blogged that I was joining EMC as a Sr. vSpecialist. Well that is just what happened and at the beginning of the year I started at EMC. I have been between Georgia and Florida quite a few times sharing with customers about VMware and EMC. It has been great fun and lots of hard work.

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My First Big Data

Ok while I was on vacation away from all things virtual last week. Some reason I had some deep thoughts about Big Data. At least deep for me. So this is mostly incoherent rambling, but I want it written down in case it happens.

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VMware View and VNXe

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation at a the TechX conference in Baton Rouge. I wanted to share what I presented with regards to running VMware View 5 with a VNXe. The solution is meant for those shops where the IT team is one. That one person must do everything.

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What is up at VMworld 2011

First of all I would like to thank my wonderful wife for letting me go to VMworld one week after our new daughter was born. Don’t worry, we have family in town so she is being take care of. This is a post that I wanted to write a week ago but I have been unplugged for a week to enjoy the before mentioned new child.

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In-n-Out VMworld 2011 Update

Just quick update and reminder about In-n-Out. Even though @jtroyer is a traitor going over to Five Guys we are still having the meetup. (five guys is good grease, don’t get me wrong.)

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VMworld 2011 - In-n-Out

I will be wearing a different shirt at VMworld this year, but that is not important. What is important is getting to In-n-Out.

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VSI Plugin: vSphere Multipathing Coolness

One of the tasks that always made me crazy when doing deployments was managing multipathing. Starting with vSphere 4.0 most of the storage platforms recommended using the Round Robin policy. At some point we all had to modify the policy for each datastore via the vCenter client. It is like stabbing yourself in the eye with a sewing needle. The other way is to use a script from the cli to change the default policy for each datastore. Much easier but there should be a better way for those that don’t have crazy script capabilities.

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An Idea for vCloud Director and View

Sometimes I am sitting up late at night and I have a thought of something I think would be cool, like if x and y worked together to get z. This time I thought this was good enough to blog about. Now I want to stress that I do not have any special insight into what is coming. This is just how I wish things would be.

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No clever title - ESXCLI

I have been missing in action for a few weeks. It is time to catch up for all the lost time. One topic I feel many people don’t know too much about is esxcli. I know how to do what I usually do with esxcli. There is a lot more there for us to explore.

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VCAP-DCA Study

I found over the years that I don’t really know something until I can teach it to someone else.

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Putting the Truck in Reverse Review of 2010

I had to come up with a super cheesy line for the title. Maybe this post will be a little different than the other reviews of the past year. I am always just trying to be funny and in my own mind I am. I won’t list the number of views to my site (because my numbers are small compared to some) but I did double my viewers from 2009. I won’t write the Christmas letter of changes during the year, mainly because my big Virtualization/Storage industry change won’t come until 2011. This last year was a banner year though. I wrote 46 new blog posts this year. Almost one a week, which was my goal.

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Making Changes

It is not catchy or a creative title. It does however communicate exactly what I need to say. Things for me are going to change in a good way. It has been a very chaotic final three months of the year. Without going into every personal detail emotions have swung from really high and great to very low and difficult. It is awkward for me to kind of share the personal parts of my life.

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Wyse PocketCloud on iPad

I have run the Wyse Pocket Cloud application on my iPad almost since I purchased the iPad last spring. I must admit though, I couldn’t really use it on a regular basis. One, my main workstation at work is a Mac. Two, I just didn’t have the pressing need to use windows from my iPad. So I saw that the application updated a week or so ago and decided to try it out to check things on my home PC when I am not sitting in my home office. I first noticed that the Wyse PocketCloud Windows Companion can now login using your gmail or Google Apps account to connect you straight to any PC that is running the agent. Reminds me more of how LogMeIn worked but using authentication I already have available.

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Trunks – Dell Power Connect and Cisco

I recently needed to install a stack of Dell 6224 Power Connect switches. The core of the network was actually a Cisco 3560 (no G). While there are already posts existing from Scott Lowe about using the “General” mode to keep VLAN 1 untagged and also have other VLAN’s tagged. Dell’s General mode traditionally works just like a default dot1q trunk in Cisco. However when VLAN 1 is in use I secretly grumble because I know the fact that Dell’s general mode is finicky when interoperating with some devices. Most of the time general mode works like a charm but not on this day.

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Dynamic Cluster Pooling

Dynamic Cluster Pooling is an idea that Kevin Miller ( @captainstorage) and I came up with one day while we were just rapping out some ideas on the whiteboard. It is an incomplete idea, but may have the beginnings of something useful. The idea is that clusters can be dynamically sized depending on expected workload. Today a VMware Cluster is sized based on capacity estimates from something like VMware Capacity Planner. The problem is this method requires you apply a workload profile across all time periods or situations. What if only a couple days of the month require the full capacity of a cluster. Could those resources be used elsewhere the rest of the month?

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Storage Caching vs Tiering Part 2

Recently I had the privilege of being a Tech Field Day Delegate. Tech Field Day is organized by Gestalt IT. If you want more detail on Tech Field Day visit right here. In interest of full disclosure the vendors we visit sponsor the event. The delegates are under no obligation to review good or bad the sponsoring companies.

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Storage Caching vs Tiering Part 1

Recently I had the privilege of being a Tech Field Day Delegate. Tech Field Day is organized by Gestalt IT. If you want more detail on Tech Field Day visit right here. In interest of full disclosure the vendors we visit sponsor the event. The delegates are under no obligation to review good or bad the sponsoring companies.

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Equallogic, VAAI and the Fear of Queues

Previously I posted on how using bigger VMFS volumes helps Equallogic reduce their scalability issues when it comes to total iSCSI connections. There was a comment about does this mean we can have a new best practice for VMFS size. I quickly said, “Yeah, make em big or go home.” I didn’t really say that but something like it. Since the commenter responded with a long response from Equallogic saying VAAI only fixes SCSI locks all the other issues with bigger datastores still remain. ALL the other issues being “Queue Depth.”

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Gestalt IT - Tech Field Day

I am honored to be included in the upcoming Gestalt IT Field Day. Looks like a great group from the community will be in attendanc. I am looking forward to the collection of presenters. With how busy I have been delivering solutions lately it will be really good to dedicate some time to learning what is new and exciting. I plan to take good notes and share my thoughts here on the blog. For more information on the Field Day check it out right here: http://bit.ly/ITTFD4

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How VAAI Helps Equallogic

I previously posted about the limits on iSCSI connections when using Equallogic arrays and MPIO. If you have lots of Datastores and lots of ESX hosts with multiple paths the numbers of connections multiplies pretty quickly. Now with VAAI support in the Equallogic 5.02 firmware (hopefully no recalls this time), the number of Virtual Machines per Datastore is not important. Among other improvements, the entire VMFS volume will not lock. As I understand VAAI the only the blocks (or files maybe?) are locked when exclusive access is needed.

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ESXi 4.1 pNics Hard Coded to 1000 Full

I have recently made the transition to using ESXi for all customer installs. One thing I noticed was after installing with a couple different types of media (ISO and PXE install) the servers come up with the NIC’s hard coded to 1000 Full. I have always made it a practice to keep Gigabit Ethernet at auto-configure. I was told by a wise Cisco engineer many years ago that GigE and Auto/Auto is the way to go. You can also check the Internet for articles and best practices around using auto-configure with gigabit ethernet. Even the VMware “Health Analyzer” recommends using auto. So it is perplexing to me that ESXi 4.1 would start to default to hard set. Is it just me? Has anyone else noticed this behavior?

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Vote for the top VMware Blogs

The vSphere Land top 25 is up for vote once again. I am low on the list of bloggers, I just want to get close enough to see the shoes of the guy at #25. Like the picture I took in San Francisco during VMworld, I can barely see the top of the hill. Hey though, very excited to be on the ballot once again. Get on over and vote. Vote for me if you like the blog.

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VMworld 2010 Recap - Five Session Highlights

I thought I would get more into posting my thoughts on each session. To be completely honest I was in some really good and really bad sessions. My goal was to find sessions that would potential benefit my day to day work. Not just a session where they talk about features we may or may not see in the next year. More of that knowledge came from doing the labs. Next year I will make more time to check all the labs out. I do not really learn well listening to someone speak anyways. I am more of a hands on learner.

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The Fun Stuff at VMworld 2010

Much of my planned activities for the blog didn’t work out this year. Not too much in the sessions or keynotes that was worth a blog post yet. Expect some View 4.5 and vCloud Directory posts once I can get it in the lab. Probably the most useful parts of VMworld were the discussions at the Thristy Bear, Bloggers Lounge, Chieftain, over breakfast or dinner among many other places. There was a great turn out for the In-n-out trip noting that it took around 30 minutes on public transportation to get there. This post is sharing some of the few experiences* I had and the couple of pictures I thought to make while in San Francisco. I met a lot more people than last year. I couldn’t even begin to name them all off but it was a great time hanging out with all of you enjoying a few drinks and talking Virtualization and Storage and other topics.

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VMworld Day One Quick Thoughts

Just some quick thoughts on day one. For me things are going pretty smooth. I did skip lunch so I could get into the Building the VMworld Labs session but I would say it was worth it. Very good and practical information on how you build a datacenter in 2 months. Stuff that. Most of the time the sessions have some good information but this one was all good.

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Finding the Fusion OVFTool

The OVFtool is something I wished VMware Fusion had a while back and finally got a chance to use it the other day. I checked google and I found that it was located at:

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Storage IO Control and An Idea

After being out of town for almost all of July, I am finally getting to make a run at vSphere 4.1. I am throwing different features at our lab environment and seeing what they do. I don’t think I would be writing anything new in saying vMotion and Storage vMotion is faster. Clones and deploying from a template is faster (VAAI). I decided to take a peak at the Resource Allocation for IOps per VM. Nothing you do not already know, you can now assign shares and limits to the Disk IO. Useful if you need certain machines to never take too much IO and cause storage latency. This only kicks in when the latency threshold is exceeded.

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VMworld 2010 - In-N-Out Burger Meetup

Last year we had a great time going to In-n-out. For someone like me that was born and raised in Southern California, In-n-out is one of those things I must have when coming back to California. Luckily there is a location within a short trolley ride of the Moscone Center / VMworld 2010. If there is a lesson from last year if you are not used to public transportation you may need some practice. :)

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All out of HA Slots

A few weeks a go I was moving a customer from an old set of ESX servers (not HA clustered) to a new infrastructure of Clustered ESX hosts. After building, testing and verifying the hosts we started moving the VM’s. It became apparent after a little while there were some resource issues. After just a few VM’s were moved an alert appeared that we could not start any new machines. I start looking at the cluster and there is plenty of extra Memory and CPU. Still nothing will start.

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Some Xsigo Links

*Disclaimer I work for a Xsigo Partner, but I also think it is cool stuff. I do not get any compensation from any vendor for any blog post. My opinions are my own, unless I am copying them from someone.

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View Open Client 4.5 Beta 1.1 Now Out

I usually don’t just make announcements on this site. There are plenty of good news sites that let you know what is new and whatnot. I don’t remember if I saw this but I am behind on my reader feeds so forgive me if everyone already checked this out. The View Open Client is an open client (hence the name) to connect to VMware View Managed Desktop deployments if your OS is Mac or Linux and this is very good news. The java plugin or whatever you call it from the View web manager is annoying to me mainly because the java security is pesky. I know you can just change the settings in Java but I have had in the past where an update from Apple kills my previous settings.

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vExpert 2010 - a High Five from VMware

Last Friday night I received an email from John Troyer at VMware inviting me to the vExpert 2010 program. It is an honor to be included with such a great list of people. I never know how to respond to be complimented. That is why I like high fives. It is like saying good job, but the only expected response is to high five back. No awkward thank you, or speeches needed. Just don’t leave me hangin’ and everything is understood.

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Update Manager and Isolated ESX Service Console Networks

Sometimes you may be required to run your vCenter server that has two network interfaces. One in the network it can be reached for remote desktop access and the other where it has access to the ESX servers in order to manage the VMware hosts. This is sort of a hybrid model of an isolated management network. Where only one host can reach the management ports. One thing to think about in this model is Update Manager by default will not like it. Everything may look ok, but trying to scan a host will fail. Luckily though it is an easy fix.

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B.Y.O.P - The Alternative Vblock

In college I often would be invited to a get together that could often include the letters BYOB, Bring Your Own Beer. Sometimes a cookout would be BYOM, Bring Your Own Meat (or meat alternative for the vegetarians). So today I want to leverage this to push my new acronym B.Y.O.P. Bring Your Own Pod. Lately I have been seeing people talk about Vblocks. If I can venture a succinct definition a Vblock is a pre-configured set of Cisco, EMC and VMware products tested by super smart people, approved by these people to work together, then supported by these organizations as a single entity. Your reseller/solutions provider really should already be doing this very thing for you. You may choose to buy just the network piece, or the hypervisor but your partner should be able to verify a solution to work from end to end and provide unified support.

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You might be a vDiva if...

I am avoiding a post where I have to think really hard about a topic. That makes me procrastinate and come up with even crazier ideas. I am writing this one down now. Most of these apply to me so if you are offended by any of them you are probably a vDiva.

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Operational Readiness

One thing I am thinking about due to the VCDX application is operational readiness. What does it mean to pronounce this project or solution good-to-go? In my world it would be to test that each feature does exactly what it should be doing. Most commonly this will be failover testing, but could reach into any feature or be as big as DR plan that involves much more than the technical parts doing what they should. Some things I think need to be checked:

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Firewalls are not Routers

I am no network super-genius but I do enough with networking to be able to get by. Two common mistakes I find many times are flat networks and firewalls as the default gateway. A flat network is when generally switches are connected to one another without any configuration. There is one broadcast domain which means every packet that the switch does not have an entry in the MAC address table, is sent out all the ports but the originating port. This repeats across all of the switches until the layer 2 destination is found. Now, this means your expensive Cisco switches are barely better than hubs. You don’t have collisions like you would on a hub and once the switch learns where the MAC address lives it keeps that information for a certain amount of time. Then again in this network setup the logs are most likely not monitored so if there where collisions and other errors it goes unnoticed. That is not the title of this post though. Although related to a flat network using the firewall is a different issue. Using the firewall as the router works just fine when you have a flat network. You may never notice the problem in a small network, but as your network grew you noticed how problems can come up when there is just one big network. So someone smart said use vlans to segment the network, create smaller broadcast domains. Then when you try to fix or change the flat network with subnets and vlans can you find out the new vlans can not reach the rest of the original network.

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Using Network Load Balancing with View

If you have a smaller View deployment but still want to have redundant connection servers look no further than Microsoft NLB. Solve this problem without the need for an expensive hardware loadbalancer. Will it have all of the bells and whistles? No. If you have less than a 1000 users you probably would not see the benefit of the advanced features in a hardware load balancer. Make sure to read the whitepaper from VMware about NLB in Virtual Machines.

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Ask Good Questions

This happened a long time ago. I arrived at a customer site to install View Desktop Manager (may have been version 2). This was before any cool VDI sizing tools like Liquidware Labs. I am installing ESX and VDM I casually ask, “What apps will you be running on this install?” The answer was, “Oh, web apps like youtube, flash and some shockwave stuff.” I thought “ah dang” in my best Mater voice. This was a case of two different organizations thinking someone else had gathered the proper information. Important details sometimes fall through the cracks. Since that day, I try to at least uncover most of this stuff before I show up on site.

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VMware View - User Profile Options

All the technology and gadgets for managing desktops are worthless if your users complain about their experience with the desktop. Something I learned administering Citrix Presentation Server. Differing methods exist to keep the technical presentation of the desktop usable, for example the mouse being in sync and the right pixels show the right colors. What is also included in the user experience is a consistent environment where their personal data and settings are where they should be. Here are a few methods for managing those bits when using VMware View.

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Random Half Thoughts While Driving

So I often have epiphany teasers while driving long distances or stuck in traffic. I call them teasers because they are never fully developed ideas and often disappear into thoughts about passing cars, or yelling at the person on their cell phone going 15 MPH taking up 2 lanes.

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Top 25 - Vote Now

Well time to get on over to Eric Siebert’s vSphere-land and vote for the top 25 VMware Blogs. The goal this year is to have someone besides my Mom and myself vote for me. So if you happen to like the content of this blog please vote for me. Now some recap of recent posts to remind you why a vote for 2vcps is a vote for vAwesomeness.

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Recap of 2009

Thank you to everyone out there that gave any attention to this little blog. I tried to supply new information where I could and also document my journey trying to improve at the esxcfg- commands. In 2009 the traffic increased from less than 100 visits in a week to approaching 500 in a week. That is a slow hour for some of the best vm bloggers (Yellow-Bricks, Scott Lowe) but I am not trying to replace them.

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Storage Design and VDI

Recently I have spent time re-thinking certain configuration scenarios and asking myself, “Why?” If there is something I do day to day during installs is this still true when it comes to vSphere? or will it still be true when it comes to future versions. Lately I have questioned how I deploy LUNs/volumes/datastores. I usually deploy multiple moderate size datastores. In my opinion this was always the best way to fit in MOST situations. I also will create datastores based on need afterward. So will create some general use datastores then add a bigger or smaller store based on performance/storage needs. After all the research I have done and asking questions on twitter* I still think this is a good plan in most situations. I went over a VMworld.com session TA3220 - VMware vStorage VMFS-3 Architectural Advances since ESX 3.0 and read this paper: http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/1059 I also went over some blog posts at Yellow-Bricks.com and Virtualgeek.

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ESX Commands - Summary

It took just about a year. Which shows I need more consistency with my blog (should have been about 1 month). I finally finished a brief explanation of each esxcfg command. My little self study for the VCDX, this is in no way exhaustive.

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ESX Commands: esxcfg-vswif

The esxcfg-vswif command allows you to create and modify Service Console ports and their IP information. Many times I have to change stuff after the install process is complete and the only place is via the direct service console because network communication is not possible. This usually happens when the network team changes a vlan in the middle of the install or they change a subnet. Not to disparage network teams many times I am the network team and the virtualization team. Create a new vswif: #first add a port group with esxcfg-vswitch esxcfg-vswitch -A "Service Console Test" vSwitch-Test #then use esxcfg-vswif to create a new vswif esxcfg-vswif -a -i 172.16.50.40 -n 255.255.255.0 -p "Service Console Test" vswif1 #List your vswifs esxcfg-vswif - l #Example: [root@esx3 root]# esxcfg-vswif -l Name Port Group IP Address Netmask Broadcast Enabled DHCP vswif0 Service Console 172.16.50.50 255.255.255.0 172.16.50.255 true false vswif1 Service Console Test172.16.50.40 255.255.255.0 172.16.50.255 true false

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ESX Commands: esxcfg-vmknic

You need to have VMkernel ports to do VMotion, Software iSCSI and Fault Tolerance. These ports can be easy to create and manage from the command line. I generally can be found adding them for vSphere iSCSI. I especially use the cli for tasks that are repeated over and over. Creating multiple ports per ESX host is time consuming and tends to introduce typing errors. So it is always a good idea to get them all done in a script file to reduce the chance for error.

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Get iSCSI iqn from the ESX Command Line

I was in my personal ESX about to upgrade to update 1. I was distracted by trying to setup iSCSI from the command line. Right before I looked to the vSphere Client to get the iqn I said, “There is surely a way for me to find this from the command line.”

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ESX Commands: esxcfg-vswitch

This is a command I use the most often. It is big when I configure Equalogic and MPIO in vSphere. Additionally, many times I show up on site and the network is not configured prior to my arrival. Even if I sent all the configs ahead of time. People like to wait until the last minute. When building the ESX environment then I may build it with the Service Console in the default vlan or in which ever one it is plugged into in the physical network. So oftern the network guy catches up and sets the dot1q trunk and I lose connectivity and I have to go to the console and set the vlans correctly. Like this: esxcfg-vswitch -v 8 -p "Service Console" vSwitch0 Speaking of iSCSI you will also set your jumbo frames on the vSwitch from this command esxcfg-vswitch -m 9000 vSwitch1 esxcfg-vswitch Of course there is a ton more you can do from this command. Here is some man page action for you: ` esxcfg-vswitch(8) VMware ESX Manual esxcfg-vswitch(8)

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Upgrade to vSphere already

OK, SRM and View 4 are out. Go ahead and start planning those upgrades from 3.x to 4. I mean really, vSphere is out now for almost 6 months. Get Enterprise Plus or the Acceleration kit, just get to vSphere. Here are a few of my reason’s why.

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ESX Commands esxcfg-nics

esxcfg-nics-l I have been missing for a couple weeks again, which means we have been busy doing VMware installs and that is a good thing. Next command in the order is esxcfg-nics. From the command line you can get some good information about the physical nics on your host. Additionally for troubleshooting purposes or configuration you can hard set physical nic speed and duplex.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-mpath

It has been almost 1 year since I started looking at the esxcfg-* commands. It initially came as a look at the first part of the Enterprise Administration Exam’s Blueprint very first bullet point. In that post I talked about using esxcfg-mpath to identify which luns are fiber, iSCSI, NFS or local.

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Renewing the Push

It isn't time to freak out. Yet.Well I passed the VCP 4 and my CCNA expired (can’t get around to renewing it). At work I did the VTSP as required by the partner program. Since I am in a test taking grove I think I need to push to passing the Enterprise Administration Exam. There was a series I started a while back on command line management of ESX. So like several others I will set my next goal at the Enterprise Administration Exam.

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VMworld Sunday and Monday - Monkeys Fly

This is the disjointed cliffs notes but too long for twitter version of my VMworld experience so far. Monkey comment is to distinguish this post from the other 11billion being posted already. Thanks.

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VMworld 2009 - In-n-Out Burger Run

After you run the 10k on Monday evening what else do you have to do in the evening at VMworld? I know many of you will be shining your shoes and getting your top hats ready putting on your Ball Gowns for some big vendor party. Before that though, on Tuesday or Wednesday at 5:30 or 6 pm I will try to lead an expedition to a California classic, In-n-Out burger. For those of us exiled from California it is common to make In-n-Out a destination when we visit. Sound like you are a native Californian and order something not on the menu. Like a “4x4 Animal Style” - 4 beef patties, 4 pieces of cheese and all the onions and whatnot grilled to perfection.

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A Brick Hit Me

During the VMware Communities Roundtable today. I learned that Lab Manager 4 only works with vCenter Server 4. Ah! So be sure to plan ahead because even though ESX 3.5 and 4 hosts are supported your vCenter 2.5 is not. So once you upgrade to vCenter 4 you will need to upgrade to Lab Manger 4.

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New Releases for VMware vCenter

Two new products and a new release for an older product will happen today. Applications aimed for those trying to scale their VMware environment and make it more strategic in their organization. These will be released in the vCenter family but may not actually run on you vCenter Server.

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A New Home and a shiny new wrapper.

I moved my site to new host and am now using a new blog engine for me. Seems to me I will get alot more control but really I like messing with stuff, so at some point I needed to something new with the blog. I still have a few ideas cooking up and hopefully soon they will be polished enough to be published.

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Rescan All Hba's Where are you?

So I was updating some of my blog posts on the esxcfg-* commands with any changes in ESX 4. I wrote earlier I did not know much about the esxcfg-advcfg command. Since writing that post at the end of 2008, I found Duncan Epping used esxcfg-advcfg in 3.5 to set the option rescan all the Hba’s. I thought this was a great shortcut and decided to try it out in vSphere but:

[root@esx4 ~]# esxcfg-advcfg -s 1 /Scsi/ScsiRescanAllHbas
Exception occured: Unable to find option ScsiRescanAllHbas

So I looked through vCenter 4 and did not find the option under Scsi I looked around some in the other Advanced Options and it is no where to be found.

Has this been removed or moved somewhere else? If you know hit me up on twitter @2vcps

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Write in Campaign! Vote Now! Top Five Blogs

Not that I think I am worthy of winning. There are so many better blogs relating to VMware out there. If though I can get someone besides my Mom, Dad, Wife and myself to vote for me I will be able to sleep tonight. :)

Vote for the best 5 VMware Blogs!

Who will be the elusive 5th 2Vcps and Truck vote? I am not beyond envoking sympathy, empathy and begging. So vote the common guy, a blog you can believe in! Write it in!

Woo woo!

These guys would vote for me.
Out.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-module

After the last two entries being somewhat boring and not useful at least in my opinion. I am glad this command has a little more to it.

[root@esx1 root]# esxcfg-module -h
Usage: esxcfg-module
-g–get-options Get the options for a given module and whether it is loaded on boot.
-s–set-options Set the options for a given module. WARNING this may be overwritten by per device options.
-e–enable Enable a given module, indicating it should be loaded on boot.
-d–disable Disable a given module, indicating it should not be loaded on boot.
-q–query Query enabled modules options.
-l–list List all modules and whether they are enabled.
-h–help Show this message.
[root@esx1 root]# esxcfg-module -l
Device Driver Modules
Module Enabled Loaded
vmklinux true true
cciss true true
tg3 true true
qla4022 true true
e1000 true true
qla2300_707_vmwtrue truel
vmdriver true true
vmfs3 true true
etherswitch true true
shaper true true
tcpip true true
cosShadow true true
migration true true
nfsclient true true
deltadisk true true
vmfs2 true true
iscsi_mod true true
[root@esx1 root]#

So a common use I have seen with this command is to turn off unused modules. Go ahead and free up some resources turn off vmfs2! You don’t use it.
Another use is to change HBA options.

/usr/sbin/esxcfg-module -s ql2xmaxqdepth=64 qla2300_707_vmw
Remember to follow it with:
/usr/sbin/esxcfg-boot -b

Check out VCDX Master Ninja/Jedi Duncan Epping using this command combo in a scripted install.

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Free Stuff from the Ghost of VMworld's Past

Why haven’t you looked into all of these free VMworld Sessions?
So greatly collected all in one place at the best one stop shop for all VMware related material on the web Eric Siebert’s vSphere-land.

This will be great distraction from me renewing my CCNA and getting MCITP in Exchange 2007. My best excuse for not studying is there is so many interesting topics out there!

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-linuxnet

The guide from VMware.com says

esxcfg-linuxnet
Converts vswif to eth when booting ESX Server into service-console-only mode rather than into ESX mode. This command is used for the bootstrap process and is intended for VMware Technical Support use only. You should not issue this command unless instructed to do so by a VMware Technical Support representative.
There is no VI Client equivalent for this command.

Wow I should have saved all these for one post called stuff you don’t use unless someone smart tells you to.

Don’t worry though I checked ahead esxcfg-module has more too it. I actually slightly looked at it when I covered esxcfg-boot.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-init

Wow, this was a good one eh?
check out the help.

[root@esx1 root]# esxcfg-init -h
Usage: esxcfg-init
This program is used to initialize device names and advanced configuration options for the VMkernel on system boot.It is NOT intended for use outside of initialization scripts.
[root@esx1 root]#

I decided to google the command to see if anyone had insight. Not much more than what I give here. The help command then nothing. So for real I might get 2 blog posts in one day since this is so short.

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vSphere-land's Top 20 and Looking for Performance

(This post should have gone out last week. Ooops!)
Check out the top 20!

I would like to be on this list someday. I couldn’t find one of these blogs that I would slide out to let me in. I know these people put a ton of time into creating their content. So congratulations to the top 20.

From 2vcps:
More short VCDX notes coming with concern to command line tips for ESX 3.5. I am also working on some Exchange 2007 on VMware posts. Eventually some upgrading to vSphere 4 posts will be on the way.

What I have been looking for is VMFS vs RDM vs Guest iSCSI performance stats. I found some good information on VMFS and RDM. Since using iSCSI inside of the guest is not supported I am not finding any stats on the performance. To the naked eye running Exchange it seems to be working fine. I would like to see some numbers though.

Just wondering if I can find some statistics or opinions to help form a standard operating procedure for deployments.

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Thin Disk on vSphere My First Glance

So today I got around to putting ESXi 4 on my spare box at home. I first deployed a new virtual server and decided to use the thin provisioning built into the new version. After getting everything all setup. I was suprised to still see this.

I was like DANG! that is some awesome thin provisioning. I was more thinking something had to be wrong. A 42 GB drive with Windows 2008 only using 2.28KB that is sweet! I thought for sure since I had not seen this screen on the information of the VM it had already refreshed. It was too good to be true though I clicked the Refresh Storage and it ended up like this. Which made alot more sense for a fresh and patched Windows install. So far this leads to my first question, why the manual refresh? Should this refresh automatically when the screen redraws?

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-info

This is a great command to give you a whole bunch of information. Sort of like trying to drink from a fire hose. Go ahead and type esxcfg-info as root from your console. Wasn’t that fun?
You can follow this article and redirect the output to a file to make it a little easier. If there is a specific area that you need information about you can check the help and use a handy switch t print just the info you need. Which in all honesty may still be more than you can handle.

[root@esxlab1 root]# esxcfg-info -h
Usage: esxcfg-info mode
-a, –all Print all information
-w, –hardware Print hardware information
-r, –resource Print resource information
-s, –storage Print storage information
-n, –network Print network information
-y, –system Print system information
-o, –advopt Print advanced options
-u, –hwuuid Print hardware uuid
-b, –bootuuid Print boot partition uuid
-e, –boottype Print boot type
-c, –cmdline Print vmkernel command line
-F, –format Print the information in the given format
Valid values are “xml” and “perl”
-h, –help Print this message.

A sample from doing esxcfg-info -r (this is just a snippet of output)

==+Host Memory Stats :
|—-Managed…………………………………………..707.97 MB
|—-Kernel……………………………………………94.43 MB
|—-Free……………………………………………..612.89 MB
|—-Minimum Free………………………………………42.47 MB
|—-Excess……………………………………………570.43 MB
|—-Reserved………………………………………….47.95 MB
|—-Available…………………………………………565.60 MB
|—-State…………………………………………….High
|—-Total Swap Read……………………………………0 KB
|—-Total Swap Written…………………………………0 KB
|—-Total Overhead…………………………………….0 KB
|—-Total Size………………………………………..1.59 MB
|—-Total COW…………………………………………1.28 MB
|—-Total Zero………………………………………..0 KB
|—-Total Shared………………………………………0 KB
|—-Total Balloon……………………………………..0 KB
|—-Total Swapped……………………………………..0 KB
|—-Total Touched……………………………………..1.59 MB
|—-Total Allocated……………………………………5.48 MB
|—-Total Target………………………………………5.48 MB
|—-Total Swap Target………………………………….0 KB
|—-Total Balloon Target……………………………….0 KB

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Catching Up on the Last Two Weeks

On the big VMware Announcement this week:

I am excited for the release of vSphere. Hopefully soon (very very soon) I will get some more knowledge on the topic so I can then relay my knowledge to the all of you. Although, I really won’t be able to say anything new from what is already being written until I can play with the software for a while.

I need a Notepad by the Shower

I am working on another blog post and the other day in the shower I had a perfect point to make in the post. Well you can tell from the subheading the idea is gone. I hope if I force myself to work on it the idea will spring back to my mind.

I have a job!
Some may know via twitter and facebook, but I will rejoin the ranks of the employed next week.

I am excited to be going to a great place where I will learn a ton about Virtualization and Storage in the Datacenter.

So if you are in the Atlanta area make sure you find me. The family and I hope to be there by the end of May.

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I love Maps

When I was a kid I just looked at the map and the globe. It was fun for me to see where places are and what cities and roads go through those places.

So that is why I love google analytics so much. I get some sweet maps.
I don’t get near the number of hits of some (which is just fine with me.) Here is my World and US maps for March 2009.


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ESX Commands - esxcfg-hwiscsi

Next in the order of commands is esxcfg-hwiscsi. This command according to the iSCSI SAN configuration guide will let you set certain settings as required by your SAN on your hardware iSCSI HBA.

esxcfg-hwiscsi -h - this is the help. Not a ton there but enough.

esxcfg-hwiscsi -l - lists the current settings.

esxcfg-hwiscsi -a - allow arp redirection on the HW iSCSI HBA. This is used be some sans to move traffic between ports.

esxcfg-hwiscsi -j - Will enable a jumbo frame (MTU 9000 bytes) when it is disabled the frame is 1500 bytes.

I will bet if these settings are required you till be directed to use them be the SAN vendor or HBA vendor. IF something bizarre is happening on your iSCSI SAN with hardware HBA’s one of these might not match the SAN.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-firewall

I have really forgot to keep up on my VCDX study path. So today a quick tidbit on the esxcfg-firewall command.
Many of us today will use the vCenter Client to change firewall ports on the ESX. One instance where I exclusively mess with the firewall from the command line using esxcfg-firewall is when I install Dell OpenManage. I am already in the console to install the agents so I might as well open the firewall from the console too.
This really applies to any kind of agent or software you add to your ESX installation. So if you find yourself already in the console why not save a step and do it from the cli?

Lets look at the command

esxcfg-firewall -o 1311,tcp,in,OpenManageRequest

First is the command, esxcfg-firewall, -o is for openport, the 1311 is the port number, tcp is protocol, in is the direction and the final part is the name of the service.

Now if you want to see all of your esxcfg-firewall settings try:
esxcfg-firewall -q

Show if specifig service is enabled.
esxcfg-firewall -q [service name]

Of course typing esxcfg-firewall -h gives lots of good help.

Some links: (You can google and find a ton more)

ESX Guide
VMware Land
Yellow Bricks
Vritualization Admin

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The Philosophy of Cloud

With several great posts recently about the cloud and its definitions I decided to jump in from maybe a new perspective.
So check out these links:
The Cloud is Kicking my Butt - Mike DiPetrillo

Is Virtualization Required for the Cloud to Work? - Mike DiPetrillo

Cloud Butt Kicking - Jason Boche

So to relate Cloud Computing to Philosophy. I have to define the previous way of computing would be the Modern way of thought. It fit with the very way most Engineers thought. It is linear. A + B = C computing design made sense. Faster CPU’s means faster programs. More memory meant bigger programs running faster. More Storage means we could store more and more data. Faster Networks let us move that data faster and faster.
Cloud computing redefines our existing way of thought but only does so be erasing our previous definitions. Cloud computing is POST-modern. It is the next step in the philosophy of computing. Postmodern philosophy is defined by being undefinable. The more you try to label and categorize the more it wiggles away. I have read a lot about the Cloud abstracting computing away from our traditional way of defining data center, computing, or information systems. So some thoughts on what this actually means to me.

  1. It is ok that Cloud can mean 1000 different things to 1000 different people. That is what makes it “cloud”. What matters is what you experience from the cloud. Virtual Desktops? ok. Distributed Computing or Software as a Service? ok. Online backups? sure. Virtual Firewalls?. You bet! Going on and on…

  2. Claiming to be the sole provider of what is really “cloud” will make you seem very “un-cloud”. Cloud computing will be such that when we hold it tighter the more we don’t understand it.

  3. As we abstract our data away from the linear thought of the PC in front of me uploads and downloads data to various servers through various network devices sitting in various data centers in certain cities. We will work on relationships and experiences. As a consultant my goal would be to show how your information will “relate” to others and how you interact with the information.

What does all this mean for privacy, security and identity?
Our technical devices will be “connection points” to what is happening in the cloud.

This is getting rambling now so I will stop.

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Change Service Console IP

Want to change the Service Console IP address from the command line real quick like?

esxcfg-vswif -i [new IP] -n [netmask] [vswif]
example (as root)
esxcfg-vswif -i 172.25.100.92 -n 255.255.255.0 vswif0

Q: How do I know what is my vswif?
A: esxcfg-vswif -l
output

you can also use esxcfg-vswif -l to verify the ip of your service console.

A good reference is also available here.

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Have VCP will Travel or Move!

As are the times, my employer has decided to move their focus in another direction. It was never firmly on the Virtualization industry, so I guess I could see it coming when things were getting tight.

So I write today to inform the world I am considering all offers. I have a passport so I am not against going international. I enjoyed my trips to the UK and Dubai, I have lived in Southern California and “The South” (Memphis). So I can fit in just about anywhere.

Now I don’t think having a VCP uniquely qualifies me for any job. I just thought it would be a clever title, and it does mean something, I guess. I have almost 13 years experience in the IT field. Started as a help desk associate at USC in September 1996. I had the fun time of supporting PC’s, Apples, and Unix for the entire University user community. I then moved to Memphis and started on the help desk for an investment firm here in town. Worked my way up to a Citrix Administrator role then left to become the Network Administrator for another company here in town. All of my experience led me to a position with my last company doing pre-sales, Design, implementation and management of VMware, Cisco and SAN products. I don’t know everything, but I can immediately help any organization.

I am looking now for a position Promoting, Designing, Implementing VMware in Enterprise environments. I would love to live near family in Southern California or Memphis Tennessee, but that is not a requirement.

The other idea is to take 2Vcps to it full potential. I just need some support until it gets off the ground.

So for the time being I am sending this to let the word get out. Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I know this is going to become a greater opportunity then I can imagine.

Contact me at jowings@2vcps.com if you want more information.

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The watch command in the Service Console

UPDATE: Eric Siebert wrote an almost identical article here for techtarget. Since I don’t want people to think I just lift ideas from other blogs I would like to credit this article at the top. Although I have been using this procedure for nearly 2 years for snapshots. I would like to say I didn’t see his article before I posted mine. Next time I will do more googling. I try to keep this blog from regurgitating ideas that can be found elsewhere.

Do you ever have to commit gigantic snapshots that the vCenter client times out before it is finished. After the initial panic a while ago I learned the snapshots continue to delete even if the client times out. So how do you know what they are finished?
Answer ssh in the service console and look.

A ‘ls’ of a normal virtual machine:

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The Forging of the new Network/VMware/Storage Professional

When I first started out in College I needed a work study job. Since I liked to help people with their computer problems I applied and was hired for a position doing phone and in person support for the University. One of the best things about starting out at a school they don’t mind teaching. Our trainer said that in previous years new employees would be slotted into being Windows or Mac or UNIX support. He said we would be Wunder-Cons (our title was consultant instead of help desk dude). We had the privilege of having to support all of it. This thrust me into the world IT no matter what the piece of paper from USC said I was a Bachelor of.

I believe a new kind of Wunder-Consultant/Engineer is being made. With the announcement of the Nexus 1000v last fall the line between Network Engineer and Datacenter/Server Engineer is getting blurred. The SAN and Server Engineers have had this tension for a while now. Virtualization is a fun technology to learn but who gets the responsibility? I have seen where the SAN team owns the ESX’s and the Server team operates the VM’s like they are physical. The Network team not trusting or understanding why they want a bunch of 1GigE trunk ports. Across larger organizations it would look different but the struggle may be just the same. Who is in control of the VM’s? Are they secure? Who gets called at 1am when something dies? This is internal to the IT department and does not consider that Sales doesn’t want to share memory with accounting.

I can see these technologies pushing engineers into being jacks of all trades. To be a truly Architect level in VMware today you must be awesome with storage and servers. You have to be able to SSH into an ESX, choose the right storage for an application, and setup templates of Windows 2003. That is an easy day. You already will have to troubleshoot IO (because all problems get blamed on the virtualization first).

With the Nexus 1000v I picture the Virtualization Admins learning the skills to configure and troubleshoot route/switch inside and outside the Virtual Infrastructure. Add to that Cisco’s push this year with 10GigE and FCoE and their own embedded virtualization products. The lines between job duties are getting blown away.

Who is poised to become the experts in this realm? The network, server or storage admins? In this economy it may be good to know how to do all three jobs. I am sure corporations would love to pay just one salary to perform these tasks.

Randomly I though how would this relate to SOX? Could it pose any problems with compliance? I will save that for next time.

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Virtualizing Exchange Mixed Messages from Microsoft, VMware

The release of this article at You had me at EHLO (aka Exchange blog team) and the previous links from VMware’s Virtualized Exchange discussions. Seems to be almost too coincidental that Microsoft’s Exchange blog published an article about virtualizing Exchange on Hyper-V a few days after VMware mades posts and hosted a discussion concerning Exchange. Microsoft’s conclusion is also completely contradictory from VMware’s findings. One says only do this in small environments, the other says we just virtualized 16,000 mailboxes and it is great. First thought is someone is misleading the reading public.

Then my profound (at least in my own mind) thought was no this makes total sense. Microsoft admits that Hyper-V is unable to run Exchange 2007 at an Enterprise level, but it is fine for small offices. VMware (and many storage partners) has proven Exchange can run just fine for large environments in ESX.

So the conclusion for today is this:

  1. Hyper-V is not ready. (I am not the first person to say this.) Not just because they can not live migrate a VM. Hyper-V will have to live in the lab for a while longer.

  2. VMware ESX is able to live in production environments for the big and small. It would seem VMware is still years ahead of the big guns at MS. So 2009 might not be the year for VMware to watch out for Microsoft. Maybe 2011.

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Virtual Twits Powershell Script

I know, about 9 other people already posted Alan Renouf’s list of virtualization people to follow in twitter. The really cool thing is the powershell script to add everyone. I promise I was going to mention it even before I was added to the list. Now that @2vcps made the list it just seems like shameless self promotion. Oh well.

Great work Alan with help from MindofRoot and thanks for making the list.

*Alan, thanks for pointing out my error…

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Being a VMware vExpert would be vAwesome

The VMware vExpert program was announced today. I could think of many people in the vCommunity (you know the name is coming) that would easily get this award (at least in my opinion). I will admit I do not know everything and from this website it is easy to discern that very fact.

When I have a problem with anything virtual, it is very rare to not find an answer in the forums or one the many blogs. So much good information out there. So I would like to say thank you and keep being awesome.

Photo from BeAwesomeInstead

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Tale of Two Datacenters

I wish I had my camera so I could share with you the difference between the last two server rooms I was in.

I will try to describe. The first was an organizational dream. Color coordinated patch cables, wire management actually used. You could actually see the port numbers on the Cisco 4507. Even more the configs were labeled. So when you were logged into the switch you knew what was going on. Just a brief picture but the rest of the room was the same, the blades, SAN and everthing else was how I wish everyone would be.

In contrast, the next day, I was trying to upgrade some ESX servers. The cables had no rhyme or reason. The switches had no labels and the trunks and access ports were done in the most backward way I could think of. It would be too hard to describe. I vMotioned all the vm’s to another host. Shutdown the host to upgrade to 32GB of Memory. After unplugging everything and trying to slide the Dell 2950 out of the rack I discover the fibre to the server above it is running through the “handle” on the back of the 2950. So the server will only slide about 1 foot. Great, so I hook everything back up and vMotion everything off of the host above. Move the troublesome fibre, and decide to upgrade that server. I start to slide it out for the memory upgrade. The server on top of it is not on rails and starts to slide with the 2950. So I now need to get downtime (that is a physical server) to take that server down so I can upgrade the memory of the ESX servers then upgrade them to ESX 3.5 update 2.

So I would guess one of the quickest ways to eat all of my billable hours is to spend hours fighting poor datacenter work and eventually not get anything done.

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Virtualization Security Roundtable

Would like to help spread the word about the Virtualization Security Roundtable it will take place this Thursday January 15 at 230 EST.
Security topics are outlined in the linked article. I would have to say this is a topic that I really want to master.
We consult with many financial institutions and being quicker on this subject would help me answer some of the objections to VMware. Not only to have the right answer but also be able to solve common problems.

Like always I will not be available for the call this week, but I will put in on my calendar so I can go ahead and listen to it every other week.

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Education and Virtualization - Oh, the Possibilities

Saw this article the other day. Really good to see the Alma Mater take a plunge into Virtualization. I spent four and half years starting my IT career at USC working while I was studying.
I think amazing things could be done in education with virtualization. That isn’t just Virtual Desktops for computer labs, although that is a good one. Imagine being able to learn programming in a windows environment you could build up and tear down and build up again in an hour?
I remember getting warnings from root for leaving a process running (on accident) on the Unix system for a couple days. Separate virtual machines running linux would be awesome for this.
It has been almost 10 years since I finished at the University. I wonder what ways virtualization is making learning easier. I bet students are coming out now knowing almost all of what it took me the last few years to squire on the job.

Possibilities:

  1. Virtual Desktops
  2. Dedicated VM’s to learn server OS
  3. Research into Malware/Spyware and other Security issues
  4. Computer Engineering
  5. Application Development and Testing
  6. Ease deployment of Apps for teaching.

I am not a huge visionary, I bet there is tons of other ways… Any thoughts?

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Fibre or Ethernet Saturation - Which comes First?

I was thinking about how far I can scale a VI3 Enviroment yesterday. I started to think, and that can be dangerous.
What will saturate first? The Fibre network or the Ethernet network?
So in my envisioned setup it would have dual quad core processors so if I can still do math that is 8 cores. If I might fit 4 x 1vCPU virtuals per core, I could theorize 32 VM’s per host? Now lets say I bought 2 of those quad port NICs for each host, so to be simple there is 8 network ports per host. Finally, lets say I have 2 single port HBA’s connecting to the fibre and I am lucking enough for it to be 4gb all the way to the SAN.
We have 2 Cisco 48 port 3560 GigE switches for the ESX hosts to access and 2 24 port Brocade Fibre Switches. So I scale my ESX hosts to fill the Cisco switches and it tops out at 11. I will use 11 ports on each Brocade, the Storage Processors use 4 more ports.
So what fills up first?

  • Fibre
  • Ethernet
  • Disk IO

Practically my bet would be on Memory, but lets say memory can go as high as we need.

Another snag is CPU resources, to generate enough network traffic to kill that many GigE Nics I would think the CPU’s would pin out first?

I really wish I had a good lab with lots of vendor equipment I could test and try to break. That would be fun for me.

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GNS3- Graphical Network Simulator - New Release

GNS3 is a excellent tool that uses dynamips to simulate routers running real Cisco IOS. You must have rights on your CCO account to download the IOS. It also includes the PIX emulator so you can check out your PIX/ASA configs.

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Veeam Monitor Free

I love Free Stuff

I thought I would at least make a mention of this newly free product from Veeam. I use FastSCP all the time, and recommend it to people whenever I can. So this will hopefully be just as awesome.
At first the download was super slow. Now I am getting 1.11 MB/s. Much better.

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Can't Beta Test

No hardware so I can’t beta test VMware. The dream is to build a lab at the house. Just need a NAS (or a SAN) and a couple of Dell 1950’s, Then the power to run it all. Oh, and space to keep it would be nice. I bet my attic is too hot in the summer and my garage is too wet all year around. The rest of the house is stacked to the ceiling with kids toys.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-boot

What in the world does this command do?

esxcfg-boot
esxcfg-boot _
_-h –help _
_-q –query bootvmkmod _
_-p –update-pci _
_-b –update-boot _
_-d –rootdev UUID= _
_-a –kernelappend _
_-r –refresh-initrd _
_-g –regenerate-grub
Queries cannot be combined with each other or other options. Passing -p or -d enables -b even if it is not passed explicitly. -b implies -g plus a new initrd creation. -b and -r are incompatible, but -g and -r can be combined.

Here is some output from my lab:
[root@esxlab2 root]# esxcfg-boot -q boot
272 0:*; UUID=96c048d7-ee1d-4455-b6a5-801bfbaabbdc /vmlinuz-2.4.21-7.ELvmnix /initrd-2.4.21-57.ELvmnix.img

[root@esxlab2 root]# esxcfg-boot -q vmkmod vmklinuxmptscsi_2xx.oe1000.olvmdrivervmfs3etherswitchshapertcpipcosShadow.omigrationnfsclientdeltadiskvmfs2

I am picturing these commands to be much like kernel options, modprobe and bootloader settings you would set up when you compile your kernel in Linux. Most hardcore linux guys would let you know you are a real man when you recompile your own kernel. In VMware, I would be hesitant to mess with any of this unless I broke something. Then again, with all of my VM’s on the SAN, if I bombed out an ESX host this bad, I would take 20 minutes to rebuild it.

Then I noticed from the B2V Guide that I would make use of this when I changed my queue depth on my hba’s. Which I have done before. I followed this note on the forums.

What other device driver options beside the hba will you every change?
Here is some things I found:
More HBA problems
And even more queue depth fun
And this list could be longer, just searching VMware Community.
I would guess that the reason we don’t jack with the drivers with ESX and the hardware is becuase of the very good compatibility list. You don’t just run ESX 3.5 on anything (at least not for production).

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-auth

Following my alphabetical method of learning.

esxcfg-auth
usage: esxcfg-auth [options]

options:
–enablemd5 Enable MD5 password storage
–disablemd5 Disable MD5 password storage
–enableshadow Enable Shadow password storage
–disableshadow Disable Shadow password storage
–enablenis Enable NIS Authentication
–disablenis Disable NIS Authentication
–nisdomain=domain Set the NIS domain
–nisserver=server Set the NIS server
–enableldap Enable LDAP User Management
–disableldap Disable LDAP User Management
–enableldapauth Enable LDAP Authentication
–disableldapauth Disable LDAP Authentication
–ldapserver=server Set the LDAP Server
–ldapbasedn=basedn Set the base DN for the LDAP server
–enableldaptls Enable TLS connections for LDAP
–disableldaptls Disable TLS connections for LDAP
–enablekrb5 Enable Kererbos Authentication
–disablekrb5 Disable Kererbos Authentication
–krb5realm=domain Set the Kerberos Realm
–krb5kdc=server Set the Kebreros Key Distribution Center
–krb5adminserver=server
Set the Kerberos Admin Server
–enablead Enable Active Directory Authentication
–disablead Disable Active Directory Authentication
–addomain=domain Set the Active Directory Domain
–addc=server Set the Active Directory Domain Controller
–usepamqc=values Enable the pam_passwdqc module
–usecrack=values Enable the pam_cracklib module
–enablecache Enables caching of login credentials
–disablecache Disables caching of login credentials
–passmaxdays=days Set the maximum number of days a password remains valid.
–passmindays=days Set the minimum number of days a password remains valid.
–passwarnage=days Set the number of days a warning is given before a
password expires.
–maxfailedlogins=count
Sets the maximum number of login failures before the
account is locked out, setting to 0 will disable this
-p, –probe Print the settings to the console
-v, –verbose Enable verbose logging
-h, –help show this help message and exit

For more actual usage I would defer to one of the most useful vm blogs around from Scott Lowe. The common usage for most of us daily users would be to enable active directory authentication on the ESX. So your team of admins can get in and do work in certain situations. Now when your team is one (still looking for that other VCP, hopefully he passes the test this week) or two this is not a huge requirement.
Additional authentication requirements can be set here depending on your environments reqs. I would generally let clients know this is available but have not had anyone demand to have the maxfailedlogsin set to 5 or something.

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ESX Commands - esxcfg-advcfg


Everything I find out in the VM Blogosphere about studying for the VCDX says to know your esxcfg- commands. Ok. So here I go.
The first command as I start out was the one on the top: esxcfg-advcfg.

[root@esxlab1 root]# esxcfg-advcfg
Usage: esxcfg-advcfg []
-g|–get Get the value of the config option
-s|–set Set the value of the config option
-d|–default Reset Config option to default
-q|–quiet Suppress output
-k|–set-kernel Set a VMkernel load time option value.
-j|–get-kernel Get a VMkernel load time option value.
-m|–set-message Set DCUI welcome message.
-u|–uuid Ensure the Vmkernel system UUID is set and print it.
-h|–help Show this message.
-r|–restore Restore all advanced options from the configuration
file. (FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY).

A great wealth of info about this command (and all esxcfg- commands) from b2vGuide2vmware3. So not wanting to repeat anything written on the site. I would ask what is the common usage situation for this command?
We can see how to use the command but exactly why would I do those changes?
I guess from the looks of things this command might be the hardest one to explain.
Anyone out there able to fully explain this?

Maybe alphabetical was the wrong way to start.

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Don't Delete anything. Ever!

Ok, so after a stressful morning I am writing mainly to tell myself never delete anything, ever again.

Anyone else, if you don’t know vmware very well, don’t try to manipulate your vmdk files. Probably should not perform this combo of commands:

  1. snapshot
  2. snapshot
  3. revert to here.
  4. extend disk
  5. extend disk
  6. extend disk
  7. Call consultant and say you don’t know what happened it just isn’t working.

Extending a vmdk is not instant, and requires additional steps in Windows to actually see it work. Please please please start using VCB to backup your vmdk’s. Plus Backup Exec needs to do a SQL backup if you want your databse to work again.

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SRM in a box - part 0

Several people have posted about SRM in Workstation. I decided to try it out. I do not have access to any NetApp storage device so I am trying to use the EMC Celerra Simulator. Wow, pretty intensive. I am moving it all to my laptop that has more ram. Hopefully I can get all teh VM’s to boot. Then we will see what happens.

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DPM Video

Great stuff. I would be willing to put this in place for a test/dev setup. Still feel uneasy that machines might not come out of standby cleanly. I am performing Capacity Planning lately and it is amazing how much money VMware can save you when it comes to power alone.

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VCDX - Nugget -- Identify iSCSI, Fibre Channel

Storage – Create and Administer VMFS Datastores using advanced Techniques

Describe how to identify iSCSI, Fibre Channel, SATA and NFS configurations using CLI commands and log entries.

First, there are several commands relating to storage. Two of which I have discovered give me very useful information.

First is esxcfg-vmhbadevs

_[root@esxvdi01 log]# esxcfg-vmhbadevs -h
esxcfg-vmhbadevs
Print the mappings between vmhba names and /dev names
-m–vmfs Print mappings for VMFS volumes to their Service Console partitions and vmhba names.
-f–vfat Print mappings for VFAT volumes to their Service Console partitions and vmhba names.
-q–query Print mapping in 2.5 compatibility mode to mimic vmkpcidivy -q vmhba_devs.
-a–all Print all devices, regardless of whether they have console device or not.
-h–help Show this message.
_
The useful switch is the –m, this will also print the VMFS id for easy identification of the HBA, Service Console device path and the VMFS volume.

[root@esxvdi01 log]# esxcfg-vmhbadevs -m
**vmhba0:0:0:3 /dev/cciss/c0d0p3 48c64d26-b496c344-0a0f-001cc4be79c0
vmhba0:1:0:1 /dev/cciss/c0d1p1 48c64f2c-f4eb2f06-df8b-001cc4be79c0
** 

Next is the command esxcfg-mpath
[root@SCG-PRESX3 root]# esxcfg-mpath -l
Disk vmhba1:0:1 /dev/sdc (1342249MB) has 2 paths and policy of Most Recently Used
FC 13:0.0 2100001b320b1e1f<->5006016030230c0d vmhba1:0:1 On active preferred
FC 15:0.0 2100001b320b6b31<->5006016830230c0d vmhba2:0:1 Standby

Disk vmhba1:0:2 /dev/sdd (2072576MB) has 2 paths and policy of Fixed
FC 13:0.0 2100001b320b1e1f<->5006016030230c0d vmhba1:0:2 Standby
FC 15:0.0 2100001b320b6b31<->5006016830230c0d vmhba2:0:2 On active preferred

Disk vmhba1:0:0 /dev/sdb (2072576MB) has 2 paths and policy of Fixed
FC 13:0.0 2100001b320b1e1f<->5006016030230c0d vmhba1:0:0 Standby
FC 15:0.0 2100001b320b6b31<->5006016830230c0d vmhba2:0:0 On active preferred

Disk vmhba0:0:0 /dev/sda (69376MB) has 1 paths and policy of Fixed
Local 1:0.0 vmhba0:0:0 On active preferred

This command is intended to supply multi-pathing information for the VMFS volumes. It additionally tells you the type of disk the service console device path the HBA identifier. I can see local, iSCSI, NFS, and Fibre Channel disk information from this command.

Any other commands to get this information? Let me know. As I (slowly) make my way into studying for the VCDX I hope to compile a big list

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A Mention from VMTN Blog

It is nice to find out someone actually found this website. When I started the site my goal was to share the bits I know about VMware and other technology.

With the flood of Virtualization related blogs out there it is increasingly difficult to share something that I would find valuable and unique. I am not a great writer, so my challenge is to tell what I know and make the content compelling enough to overcome my poor sentence structure.

Thanks again, to John Troyer at VMTN for linking to my little blog I hope I can provide something of value so that people would return to read again.

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My Bluebear Kodiak Beta

Here is my Bluebear Kodiak 0.02 beta screenshot. I used Ubuntu because of Windows having problems with the certificates. The UI is very slick. I am going to test various applications and tasks and see how it goes. I just thought I would post something now so I can be cool.

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The Missing VMDK

This week I had a weird thing happen. A already problematic VM in the OS and never really a problem in ESX. The machine shutdown because it is convinced there is another Windows 2003 SBS server on the domain, which there is not. This time it turned off and could not be powered back on. The VMDK file for the C drive was missing! I didn’t panic, much. The -flat.vmdk file was still there. I was able to track down a way to fix it:

  1. Create a new vmdk the same size.
  2. Copy and rename the .vmdk file to the needed location.
  3. Edit the .vmdk to point to the -flat.vmdk.
  4. Add the virtual disk to the VM.

Everything was ok. I still don’t know how the file could up and dissapear.
Any thoughts?

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So Google says...

Looking at the analytics a few people reach my site because I simply posted a link to a VMware video showing the comparison of installing Hyper-v and ESXi.

Funny to me is my link to the video shows up higher than the VMware version.

All good. Maybe someday people will start to check my own stuff out?

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Hyper-V vs ESXi

Great video

I would even argue that the installation of ESX 3.5 can be done nearly as easy. ESX setup puts any Microsoft product to shame. Now don’t get me wrong, I benefit from the fact that most people find all IT operations confusing. It keeps me working everyday.

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Virtual Switch Script

So I wanted to put a new script up every week. Hopefully I can be more persistent.

I wanted a quick way to deploy network settings to a number of ESX hosts I would build for a client.

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The First Post: The Origin of 2VCP's and a Truck

Two VCP’s and a Truck was a joke that I used with a co-worker one day for a non-existing Virtualization Consulting Company that played off the name for the moving company 2 Men and a Truck. Since I do not like the thought of being fired, my family has got used to living in a house and eating food. I want to make it clear this is just a blog about Virtualization and related technologies.

For my wife and parents:
VCP = VMware Certified Professional

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