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.

My Favorite Posts of the Year

You might be a vDiva if…
Hope this one doesn’t get me in trouble at the new job.

iSCSI Connections on EqualLogic PS Series
This was fun to work on and it is a popular post.

The Mini ESXi 4 Portable Server
This was a great post to put together. This little server is a lot like my R2D2 now. That droid and I have been through a lot together. The box I carry it in from customer to customer is looking pretty worn. It has been an awesome time saver on the roll outs we do. I am going to miss this little machine so much I will probably build a new one soon.

 

Even better I met some really cool people this year between Partner Exchange in Las Vegas and VMworld in San Francisco and of course all the awesome customers I met during the year.

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.

The topics of this blog have always been driven by what I am working on and learning. I am certain in the next few months and years I will be learning lots of new topics. Soon I will be joining EMC as a Senior vSpecialist. I will still be based out of the Atlanta area and I am excited to see what will come in the future.

Additionally, I want to say something about VeriStor. The people at VeriStor became more than co-workers and bosses. They are like friends and family and it is very hard to leave them. Luckily they won’t be too far away. The work of implementing virtualization solutions is something I enjoy tremendously and I could be doing for many more years. My time at VeriStor opened up worlds of opportunity for my family and me. This opportunity at EMC though is a chance to move into a role that will challenge me in new and exciting ways.

Hopefully over the next few months I will share the journey of becoming a vSpecialist and all the new things it will bring.

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.

It worked great.

First I had to turn on Remote Desktop in Windows 7. I had to use the “less secure” option to make it work.

Next install the Wyse PocketCloud Assistant agent on the PC. The software can be found here. Once it is installed notice the new system tray icon.

 

After the application is signed in with Google sign in the same credentials from the Wyse App on the iPad.

 

Before I knew it I was into my personal Windows 7 desktop from my iPad. You can tell when I logged in I still had my Google Chrome browser open to the download for the Wyse PocketCloud Companion.

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.

Dell’s “trunk” mode worked fine. Any tagged VLAN would pass fine to the Cisco. Except that pesky native VLAN 1. We HAD to have VLAN 1 passed down to the ESX servers. So after kicking around wondering what I did wrong I decided to just work around the problem. I tagged vlan 1 on the Dell port and changed the native vlan on that specific trunk on the Cisco to another vlan (not being used on the Dell). BAM it worked.

Note: Dell was running their newest firmware on that day – 3.2.0.9 (they have since released 3.2.0.10)
Note 2: I am all about auto-negotiation at Gigabit but still like 100Mbps switch links to be hard coded.

Cisco 3560 (no G).

interface FastEthernet 0/24
speed 100
duplex Full
switchport trunk encapsulation dot1q
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,10,11
swtichport trunk native vlan 8
switchport mode trunk

Dell 6224

interface Ethernet 1/g24
no negotiation
speed 100
duplex full
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan add 1,10,11

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?

Example Situation
Imagine a scenario with a Virtual Infrastructure with multiple clusters. Cluster “Gold” has 8 hosts. Cluster “Bronze” has 8 hosts. Gold is going to require additionally resources on the last day of the month to process reports from a database (or something like that). In order to provide additional resources to Gold we will take an ESX host away from the Bronze cluster. This allows us to deploy additional Virtual Machines to crunch through the process or allow less contention for the existing machines.

You don’t have to be a powercli guru to figure out how to vMotion all the machines off of a ESX host and place it in maintenance mode. Once the host is in maintenance mode it can be moved to the new cluster, removed from maintenance mode and VM’s can be redistributed by DRS.

Sample Code more to prove the concept:
#Connect to the vCenter
Connect-VIServer [vcenterserver]
#indentify the host, you should pass the host or hosts you want to vacate into a variable
Get-Cluster Cluster-Bronze | get-vmhost

#Find the least loaded host(skipping for now)

#Vmotion the machines to somewhere else in that cluster
Get-VMHost lab1.domain.local | Get-VM| Move-VM -Destination [some other host in the bronze cluster]

#Move the host
Set-VMHost lab1.domain.local -State Maintenance
Move-VMHost lab1.domain.local -Destination Cluster-Gold
Set-VMHost lab1.domain.local -State Connected

#Rebalance VM's
Get-DrsRecommendation -Cluster Cluster-Gold | Apply-DrsRecommendation

I was able to manually make this happen in our lab. Maybe if this sparks any interest someone that is good with “the code” can make this awesome.