My Week in Geek – March 18, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

This kind of made my week :)

A girl from work that we helped get her home computer up and running got me this as a thank you.

  1. VMware vCenter Operations was released this week. Here is what VMware says about it “VMware vCenter Operations uses patented analytics and powerful visualizations to automate performance, capacity and configuration management. It collects and analyzes performance data, correlates abnormalities and identifies the root cause of building performance problems. vCenter Operations provides capacity management to optimize resource usage and policy-based configuration management to assure compliance and eliminate sprawl and configuration drift.” I have licenses for it so I will be installing it to take a look.
  2. Great article on balancing work and home and other responsibilities. I personally have problems juggling it all – work, family, school, hobbies – sometimes family and hobbies (me time) get overlooked a bit in the shuffle and I should do better. Family should always come first no matter what.
  3. Are you having a rational discussion with someone? Follow this flow chart to find out.
  4. The VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) appliance has been updated to support SSL. I installed this a bit ago just to have a look – eh, nothing special but it worked. I don’t use it.
  5. Jumped on the VCAP Brown Bag on Wednesday night. I was a few minutes late getting on the Webinar but got to see most of the Lab presentation. Lot of good discussion after the Lab presentation but I don’t have a microphone for my home PC so I missed out on that :( Some very interesting discussions, especially on iSCSI configuration. Looking forward to the next one.
  6. The first ever human built spacecraft to orbit Mercury! The Messenger spacecraft entered Mercury’s orbit on March 17.
  7. VMware Labs released a fling of the vSphere client packaged as a ThinApp. Great idea, poor execution. The client is the pre-update 1 client. Hopefully they will have a new ThinApp of the latest version soon. I think this would be a great way for them to deliver the client in the future – at least with the option of using the ThinApp or installing the full client.
  8. The City of Suffolk, Virginia Police Department launched their new web site this week. Nice.
  9. The vSphere Client for the iPad has been released. You can download the client for free from the iTunes store. I don’t have much of a desire to get an iPad. I may look into one of the original iPads (iPad 1???), I see there are a lot of them on the used market right now as people are replacing theirs with the new iPad 2.
  10. Nice How-to on enabling virtual machine logging using PowerCLI.
  11. While we are talking about logging here is another one on enabling verbose logging for data recovery. Awesome and very helpful!!!
  12. Anyone out there have any experience with vCloud Director??? Would like to know how you are using it and what you think about it.
  13. Here is a good article on Thin Provisioned disks and VMFS fragmentation. We have had several discussions about this in class and this article provides some great information.

Have a great weekend!

March 18, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | 1 Comment 

My Week in Geek – March 11, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

Been a pretty busy week so it is a short list today. Lot of stuff going on that is keeping me busy and that is a good thing, but I have been stationary long enough to compile a very extensive list of links this week.

  1. Here is a pretty good guide on installing and configuring the VMware vMA 4.1. If you are running the vMA 4.1 in VMware Workstation 7 you will have to make this change to the .vmx file to keep from getting a memory crash error.
  2. I added a new ESXi host to my environment a couple months back and of course I was not able to get processors to match the model of my older hosts so I had to enable the Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) support. EVC allows for vMotion between hosts with processors that are within the same family but are a different model. Lots of information on EVC can be found here and an excellent EVC article can be found here.
  3. If you are using your vMA for syslogging from your ESX/ESXi hosts and need to increase the size of /var/log on your vMA appliance here is a great step by step article.
  4. VMware put out a nice PowerCLI reference poster and I received my full size one in the mail the other day. The poster came with a PowerCLI fan pack that included a bumper sticker and a button. I don’t think they are shipping out hard copies anymore (at least for now) but you can download the VMware PowerCLI poster here.
  5. Want to turn on (or turn off) virtual machine logging with PowerCLI? Here is how
  6. The Apple iPad2 is available for sale today. Heard stories of folks getting in line for it as early as Monday.
  7. Check out the Issue number 1 of the e-magazine.
  8. Of course the other big VMware news of the week was the release of the iPad View Client. It is pretty cool that you can deliver a desktop to an iPad, i guess. I am just not into the iPad hype, but I do see the value of delivering a desktop to any device. Hey VMware how about a View client for the Nook?

Have a great weekend!

March 11, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | Comments Off 

My Week in Geek – March 4, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

No “My Week in Geek” last week since we were down in Titusville, FL for the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery and it was an incredible experience. A post about the adventure and a bunch of pictures I took can be found here.

Been spending a lot of time this week trying to get caught up. Here are a few links from my Week in Geek.

  1. Since Sandy and I did make the trip to see the final launch of Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-133 I am going to start there – Four Astronomers Meet Shuttle Discovery a great article by the @NoisyAstronomer about her adventure. Ever wonder how they get those great shuttle launch photos?’s Discovery Launch Gallery and even more great shots here. Discovery is still up there working at the ISS and you can follow the mission status and watch live videos of the Discovery crew working in space here.
  2. Of course the big buzz of the week was the launch of the new iPad 2 that will be available for sale on March 11. Here is an Engadget article on the new features and of course what Apple has to say about it. Pretty neat and if someone gave me one I would definitely take it, but to me it still seems like an over sized iPhone that you cannot make calls on. I am holding out for more competition in the tablet market and for a NoteSlate.
  3. Starting to do some research in telecommuting at work. We have one worker at home now on a temporary basis and we are finding he is able to do most tasks necessary. We did however have an issue with VoIP calls to branch office that also connect using a VPN that terminates on the same interface on the ASA as our remote user VPN. Here is the post that helped fix it – still working on the rules to tighten security but we are getting there.
  4. What if Star Wars were a western?
  5. How many floppy disk would it take to equal 1 GB? The post has the numbers wrong but it still makes you think about how far these things have come over the years.
  6. Congrats out to vNoob! Passed his VCP this week and he is sharing his VMware knowledge on his blog, so stop by and check it out.
  7. Other than the launch of iPad 2 the other big news of the week has been Charlie Sheen. So there had to be a Charlie Sheen post here – Live the Sheen Dream!
  8. If you receive a kernel panic when trying to run vMA 4.1 on Workstation. Here is the fix for it.
  9. Here is an interesting post on a VCDX experience where the author did not pass the defense. Congrats on passing your VCAP-DCA and thanks for sharing your VCDX experience.
  10. If anyone is looking to get me something, just because here is an idea – 1/100 Saturn V Kit :)
  11. I am currently taking the VMware vSphere Manage for Performance course at TCC as part of the Virtualization Career Studies program offered by the college (and to prep for VCAP-DCA). So far it has been a pretty good course and here is a great document from VMware on Troubleshooting Performance Related Problems in vSphere 4.1 Environments.
  12. My VMware vSphere Design book by Forbes Guthrie, Scott Lowe, and Maish Saidel-Keesing arrived this week. I only have only had time to read the first chapter. Very good so far, like that it is more about the what and why than the how. Looking forward to digging into this one will post a full review when I am done.

TGIF!!! Have a great weekend!!!

March 4, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | Comments Off 

My Week in Geek – February 18, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

It has just been one long week. TGIF and we have a long weekend. I have a lot of stuff to do on the school lab but I am hoping to be able to take advantage of the Monday holiday and do absolutely nothing.

Hope your week was better than mine. Enjoy the links.

  1. Had an issue with X on an Ubuntu 10 VM after the VMware tools upgrade. Should have disabled the graphical log in anyway since we don’t really use it. If you need to disable the graphical log in here is a link that will help.
  2. I don’t mind coming to work, but this eight hour wait to go home is just bullshit. Told you it has been one of those weeks.
  3. Here is a really nice Visio Template/Layout for a high level overview of your virtual Datacenter Layout. Nice.
  4. How to configure OpenFiler iSCSI storage for use with VMware ESX. Great storage solution for a home VMware lab. I use this for both iSCSI and NFS storage in my home lab.
  5. This week I downloaded the UBER Celerra VSA but I have not had time to mess with it yet. When I do get around to it here is the How to UBER: New Celerra UBER VSA Guide.
  6. We are looking into an online/live help option for our web site. I have checked out several online services and I think we have settled on using an open source solution called Crafty Syntax. Has anyone had any experience with this. We do not expect very heavy traffic and it looks like this should meet most of our needs, if anyone has any thoughts on it one way or another I would appreciate hearing them.
  7. Here is another VCAP-DCA Prep video from Eric Sloof on How to Configure SNMP on ESX/ESXi
  8. VMware released the first update to 4.1 this week. The release notes for vSphere 4.1 Update 1 can be found here. Going to be a few weeks before I get to updating our environment.
  9. The VMware Performance Trouble shooting guide has been updated to 4.1 – The wew Troubleshooting Performance Related Problems in vSphere 4.1 Environments guide can be found here.
  10. Next week on February 24, 2011 we are headed down to Titusville, FL to (hopefully) watch the liftoff of the Space Shuttle Discovery for mission STS-133. I will take LOTS of pictures.

Have a great weekend! If you get to take advantage of the Monday holiday have a great day off.

February 18, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | Comments Off 

VMware PowerCLI Function to Modify Virtual Machine Configuration Options

I was looking for a powershell script to set a few virtual machine security options for a school lab. The configuration keys I need to set are isolation.device.connectable.disable, isolation.device.edit.disable, and RemoteDisplay.maxConnections.

I found a function used to set RemoteDisplay.maxConnections here. By changing the RemoteDisplay.maxConnections it could be used to also change the other options so I modified the function to accept another parameter for the setting you want to add or change.

Here is the function:

Function Set-ExtraOptions{
    $vmConfigSpec = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpec

    $extra = New-Object VMware.Vim.optionvalue
    $vmConfigSpec.extraconfig += $extra

        $vm = Get-VM $vmName | Get-View

And here is how you call it:

Set-ExtraOptions -vmName VM_NAME -KeyName KEY_NAME -KeyValue KEY_VALUE

To set isolation.device.connectable.disable to FALSE for LabVM-A just call the function like this:

Set-ExtraOptions -vmName “LabVM-A” -KeyName isolation.device.connectable.disable -KeyValue FALSE

February 10, 2011 | Filed Under Virtual Lab Project, Virtualization | Comments Off 

ESXi 4.0 to ESXi 4.1 upgrade using VUM

My ESXi upgrades from 4.0 to 4.1 using vCenter Update Manager went without issue.

The process is pretty simple and detailed instructions can be found in the VMware KB here which includes this video:

I am not going to walk through the steps, the video does a great job of that. The video shows updating from 3.5 to 4.1, the only difference in the 4.0 to 4.1 upgrade process is the upgrade bundle that is used.

I had originally planned to do half my hosts on one morning and the second half the next but the upgrade was quick, it did not take more than 10 minutes for each host, so I went ahead and updated all of them.

February 8, 2011 | Filed Under Virtualization | Comments Off 

My Week in Geek – February 4, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

  1. A new book VMware vSphere Design by Forbes Guthrie, Scott Lowe and Maish Saidel-Keesing is set for release on February 28, 2011 March 2011. You can pre-order a copy from Amazon here – I did. The books website is here – wonder if there are any plans to make the web site a resource for the book.???
  2. A Multivendor Post on Using iSCSI with VMware vSphere. Excellent post on configuring iSCSI and storage multipathing. Speaking of iSCSI attached storage, here is a great post/script that shows How to Manage iSCSI targets with CLI part 1, part 2 can be found here. Staying with storage theme here – this is another nice powershell script to collect and process vscsistats – I looked over the docs but haven’t tried it out yet.
  3. After updating to vCenter Server 4.1 on Monday morning (which went without a hitch btw) I noticed my vNetwork Distributed Switches had an upgrade note on them. I did not notice this until I was outside of the maintenance window so I did some searching around for information on upgrading this. I found this post in the VMware communities on it and this video on features of the 4.1 vDS and here is a step-by-step post for the vDS upgrade. All of your ESXi host have to be version 4.1 before you can upgrade the vDS to 4.1, the upgrade wizard will not allow you to upgrade if any of your host connected to the switch are not compatible. My hosts are still on 4.0 and I plan to upgrade them next week.
  4. PowerCLI script for finding orphaned files. The script will enumerate all orphaned vmdk files on all datastores configured in your environment.
  5. SSL Certificates and ESXi – I am currently taking the VMware vSphere: Manage and Design for Security [V4.x] course offered at TCC. We covered this in class and I thought this post was a great reference.
  6. Late last week I posted about DropBox, a cool service that allows you to store, share, and sync files. I downloaded the FREE DropBox iPhone app earlier this week and it is AWESOME! I am able to access those same files anywhere from my phone.
  7. With VMware releasing the VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD exams there has been a lot of information out there. Here is an interesting post entitled How long does it take to become a VCDX with some very valuable information on the path to and the process of VMware certifications. The author of the post has also put together an EXCELLENT set of study notes for the VCAP-DCA exam AND a bunch of mock labs AND here is another great list of resources at I think the VCAP-DCA is going to be my next goal so I am sure I will be visiting these resources often. If you are interested the latest blueprint for the VCAP-DCA exam is here.
  8. We are migrating our AD from Windows 2003 to 2008 (I know it’s only 2011). Here is a technet blog post – Tool for migrating IAS configuration settings to NPS is now available! that we found helpful.
  9. Have run into this a couple of time now – WinScan Malware/Spyware. Win Scan is a rogue malicious pain in the ass false system tool that pretends to be a part of Windows operating system and reports erroneous errors with the hard disk and RAM. We have found this on several personal PCs that folks have dropped off for us to look at (if you work in the IT department of a small company you know how this works). Several malware removal tools will take care of this but here is a decent set of instructions to manually remove the malicious WinScan application. People that create these kind of things should be shot!
  10. Next week I will be upgrading my ESXi 4.0 hosts to ESXi 4.1. Good times!

Have a great weekend!

February 4, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | Comments Off 

Super Bowl XLV Technology

I can’t say that I care too much about the teams in the “big” game, or the “big” game itself (except for maybe the commercials), I don’t generally care too much about football but this is some seriously cool geek Stuff!

Check out the video tour of the IT infrastructure that supports Cowboys Stadium.

A couple few cool facts from the article.

…there are 884 Cisco wireless access points (AP) scattered around, and more than 70 different wiring closets containing more than 40,000 wired ports.

There is more than 8 million feet of Ethernet cabling, and 260 miles of fiber to support all the connections, and more than 100T-bytes of data storage too.

…enough cellular horsepower to support a hundred thousand individual phone conversations and video uploads concurrently.

The old data center had more than 600 aging physical servers, which were converted to 127 virtual machines running on 16 different HP blade servers using VMware.

Read the whole article here…

February 3, 2011 | Filed Under Cool Stuff | 1 Comment 

Migration from vCenter 4.0 to 4.1 – One Geeks Journey…

When we first deployed VMware back in early 2008 vCenter was not yet supported running as a VM (at least I do not think it was). Since we were new to the technology as a whole I don’t think I would have run vCenter as a VM until we were able prove the stability of it in our production environment. Over the past few years I think VMware has proven itself as being robust and impressively stable so much so that we have virtualized every thing that is not nailed down tied to specific hardware – Exchange, Microsoft SQL, AD, web servers, application servers, etc. Since we need/want to upgrade to vCenter 4.1, it also seems like as good a time as any to go ahead and run vCenter as a guest VM.

Currently our vCenter is on a separate physical box running Windows 2003 with 4 GB RAM and a single 2.66 Ghz dual core processor. The vCenter database is on Microsoft SQL 2005 also running on the same physical box. The hardware we have in place would support running vCenter 4.1 but since 4.1 requires a 64 bit OS, and ours is currently running on 32bit, I am going to upgrade/migrate vCenter to a new guest VM running Windows 2008 R2 64. I am also going move the vCenter database to the new VM (I know it is not necessarily best practice to run the DB on the same box as vCenter but my environment is small and it should work out ok – if not I will move the database to another server at a later date) which is running Microsoft SQL 2005 x64.

Read more

January 31, 2011 | Filed Under My Notes, Virtualization | Comments Off 

My Week in Geek – January 28, 2011

A weekly post (hopefully!?) of blogs, articles, sites, gadgets, issues, and other stuff I have found that is of interest to me (and I remembered to bookmark).

My Week in Geek for the week ending Friday, January 28, 2011

  1. I have been doing a lot of reading on setting up and using Private VLANs (PVLANs) primarily to isolate our testing/lab environment. Found a bunch of great articles including a Concept Overview of PVLAN on vNetwork Distributed Switch in the VMware KB, a VMware KB article on configuring PVLANs on a vNetwork Distributed Switch, a vimeo video by Eric Sloof on Configuring Private VLAN ids, and a configuration reference for PVLANs and a Cisco Nexus 5000 (even though this one is tailored to the Nexus 5000 it can be applied to any Cisco switch with and IOS that supports PVLANs). Lot of good info!
  2. I am into amateur astronomy and astrophotography and here is a great little online eyepiece comparator tool. Just choose your scope and eyepiece and it does all the FOV, magnification, eye relief, and other calculations for you.
  3. VMware just recently released two new advanced certifications, the VCAP-DCD and VCAP-DCA. Here is a nice list of study and preparation resources for folks interested in taking the one of these new exams.
  4. The console to a Windows 2008 Server R2 (64 bit) is very sluggish. I have had this problem in my production environment and in the school lab environment. Console access to 2003 servers (32 bit) and XP (also 32 bit) desktops using the vSphere client is fine but on VMs running Server 2008 R2 (64 bit) the mouse is jumpy and it is almost unusable (connecting directly to the VM via RDP works fine). I found this VMware Community post and then this more up-to-date post on the issue. I updated the VMs’ mouse drivers, increased the video RAM, and updated to the WDDM video adapter driver – all of this did improve things considerably but the console is still a bit jumpy and sluggish compared to other (32 bit) VMs. Good to know I am not the only one that has had this issue – see here and here.
  5. Over the last couple of weeks there has been some buzz on twitter, in the VMware Community forums, and in blogs about migrating from ESX to ESXi. With the release of vSphere 4.1 last summer VMware announced that 4.1 would be the last release of ESX, future releases would include only ESXi. We recently migrated our environment from ESX to ESXi without issue, and we have not had any issues with managing the environment. Here is another article on convincing your boss that the move to ESXi is a good idea. The letter provides some great talking points on the advantages of migrating to ESXi. What’s the difference between the two? Here is a VMware KB article that compares ESX and ESXi 4.1.
  6. Here is an article on creating snapshots from ESXi Tech Support mode. With VMA, PowerCLI, and/or the vSphere client I am not sure why you would need to do this from TSM mode but I guess it is good to know it can be done.
  7. Is NFS A Viable Protocol For Converged Networking? I currently use NFS to store VM templates, ISOs, and such but not production VMs. I have used it for test VMs in the past and it does seem to work fine but I did not do any real benchmarking. I also read a great article this week on the performance advantages (and disadvantages) of enabling Jumbo Frames for storage and vMotion but I forgot to bookmark it and have not been able to find it again here it is – Jumbo Frames Comparison Testing with IP Storage and vMotion.
  8. VMware has released a draft of the vSphere 4.1 Security Hardening Guide last week. The draft will be available till approximately the end of February 2011 and VMware is looking for comments. The official document will be available after the draft period. Here is a post by virtuallyGhetto that list the changes between the 4.0 and the 4.1 guide and VMware has a comparison here.
  9. iPhone Replacing Your Wallet! Very cool and like the author of the post I am also ALL IN! After a couple of glitches and some employees that were not quite sure of what was going on I was finally able to use the new Starbucks Mobile Card app. I think it would be awesome if my phone replaced my Visa and/or my check card.
  10. Looking for some storage options for your lab? Check out these post on Installing and Running the Celerra Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) in your vSphere Lab Part 1 and Part 2 are available with parts 3 through 7 of the series promised to follow soon. I currently use Openfiler to provide iSCSI and NFS storage for my home lab but I am going to give the Celerra VSA a look.
  11. YouTube Video of Bubba Blackwell’s World Record Jump of 40 EMC Symmetrix VMAX – “Big Iron Jumping Big Iron” – Love it! This was part of the EMC Record Breaking Event a couple weeks ago. Cheesy – yes – but it is so worth watching again (and again).

Have a great weekend!

January 28, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | Comments Off 


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