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 

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 21, 2011

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

  1. I started off the week receiving my VCP welcome package from VMware including my certificate. Very cool! Sorry to brag but I am pretty proud of this.
  2. A Compendium of Concerns About ESXi – about two weeks ago we migrated our environment from ESX 4.0 to ESXi 4.0. This is a great post that addresses most of the concerns/differences between the two hypervisor versions.
  3. Last Thursday night The Blinky Light (TBL) had their first AskHarley twitter Q&A. Harley Stagner is a VCDX that works for TBL and they had folks tweet (or email) questions for Harley to answer. I participated with a few questions about storage multipathing for a project I am working on. A transcript of the chat session can be found here. I thought this was a great idea and hopefully TBL will have more of these Q&A sessions in the future.
  4. Do you really need vMA? This is an interesting post asking about the need for the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) since most things can be done using PowerCLI. Though I do not use it that often I do use the vMA for troubleshooting and management. I have not really looked that deep into PowerCLI. Here is a great reply to the post from Duncan Epping @
  5. Check out Eric Sloof’s Online VMware Training Podcast which is now available on iTunes.
  6. Enabling Tech Support Mode on ESXi Nice step by step how-to on the different ways to enable Tech Support Mode (TSM) on ESXi.
  7. Depending on where you work the following video may not be safe if you have your sound turned up, but I don’t give a flying F*ck!
  8. Starbucks launched their Card Mobile App this week for iPhone and Blackberry. I have all my gift cards from Christmas loaded up in it. Handy since I am always forgetting to put the cards in my wallet, but I always have my phone. The only issue is you cannot use it at the drive thru (at least not at the Starbucks I stop at on the way to school), something about them not being able to touch the phone for liability reasons. HEY STARBUCKS – FIX THIS!!!
  9. vCenter and Memory Metrics is a great post that explains the different memory details that are reported in the vSphere Client.
  10. Since I am trying to gain some familiarity with the PowerCLI, I found this post about Post configuration of ESX with PowerCLI pretty interesting.
  11. CNN Money’s list of Top 100 Best Companies to Work For was released this week. Several tech companies on the list including Google, Microsoft, and NetApp. You can compare it to last year’s list here. If you work for any of these guys that is great, I don’t but I think where I work is a pretty great place (most days anyway).
  12. Using PowerShell? Make your PowerShell For Loops 4x Faster!

Hope you had a great week!

January 21, 2011 | Filed Under My Week in Geek | 1 Comment 

VMware Cookbook

I just picked this up today – VMware Cookbook – A Real-World Guide to Effective VMware Use

Most of the book was written while vSphere was still in beta so the book covers ESX/ESXi 3.5 and Virtual Center 2.5.

I have only thumbed through it so far but it looks like there is a lot of good information. There are some pretty good tables with the configuration differences between 3.5 and 4 in Chapter 1. The command line reference in Chapter 5 should be useful to both versions, as well as the Security stuff in Chapter 6.

Looking forward to reading the book cover to cover.


November 3, 2009 | Filed Under Virtualization | Comments Off 

Staging Patches in vSphere vCenter Update Manager

New feature in vCenter Update Manager allows you to stage vSphere updates before installing them.

Use the Stage wizard to download the patches before using remediation. This downloads and prepares the patches while the host is still online. This decrease the amount of time the host is off line (in maintenance mode) will applying patches.

Stage and Remediate in Upate Manager

Stage and Remediate in Upate Manager

You can stage at the cluster and Data Center level to prepare all hosts in the cluster for remediation.

Update Manager Stage Wizard

Update Manager Stage Wizard

Shortcuts in Home-Inventory-Hosts and Clusters

Stage and Remediate Host - Cluster and Data Center

Stage and Remediate Host - Cluster and Data Center

Just updated to ESX 4.0.0 build 175625. Staging took about 3 1/2 minutes total and remediation took about 12 minutes per host (this include Entering maintenance mode, VM migration, patch installation, reboot, exit maintenance mode). Three and a half minutes of savings may not seem like much, and across three hosts it really isn’t that big of a deal, but across 20 hosts that would make a huge difference.

Awesome new vSphere feature!

July 20, 2009 | Filed Under My Notes, Tools, Virtualization | Comments Off 

vSphere vNetwork Distributed Switch vDS Configuration

One of the new features of vSphere is the vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS). Basically vDS allows you to create, manage, and provision your virtual network across all of your vSphere hosts in vCenter. vDS is available under the Enterprise Plus license.

Here is how I set up my vDS. I basically used the 3 host configuration example in What’s New in VMware vSphere 4: Virtual Networking white paper as a guide.

First I created a new vNetwork Distributed Switch in Inventory->Networking.

I configured it for 8 dvUplink ports. Why 8? Well I have 8 NICs in each of my host, and I would like to be able to use and manage all eight of them across one vDS.

I added each of my host to the vDS but did not add any physical adapters yet.

After the new vDS is created I created my port groups. One port group for the Service Console, one for vmotion, and one for each of my production VLANs.


When creating these port groups I just used the defaults except for changing the VLANs where needed.

Now that I have my vDS set up, time to migrate the host networks to the new switch. In Inventory->Hosts and Clusters select the host Configuration tab then Networking and the Distributed Virtual Switch button.


First i migrated the Virtual Machine networks to the new vDS. I took one NIC out of the port channel on the physical switch and added that physical NICs to the vDS. I did this for each of my hosts.

Then I use the Migrate Virtual Machine Networking wizard to move all of my VMs from the vSwitch port groups to the new vDS.


After this is done I add the rest of the physical NICs associated with my VM network to the vDS and recreate the port channel on the physical switch.

Now on to the vmkernel ports. I used the Manage Virtual Adapters wizard to migrate my VMotion VMKernel adapter to the new vDS.


I then did the same to my service console. Before I started making changes to the Service Console I put the host in maintenance mode. I created a new service console with a new IP address on the same subnet on my management port group and made sure I had connectivitiy (OK I did not do this the first time, messed up and lost the Service Console connectivity to my host – had to go CLI to fix it, but that is a completely different multi-page post in itself – very thankful for the spare NIC I have in each host).

Since my vMotion vmkernel port and Service Console are now on the vDS I attached their physical NICs to the new vDS and then added them to the port channel on the physical switch.

vNetwork Distributed Switch Screenshot

vNetwork Distributed Switch Screenshot

The only issue I had was with the iSCSI vmkernel ports. I was not able to get them to work on the vDS so they are still configured on a vSwitch on each hosts.


Not sure why I could not get it to work, but I will tackle that another day.

After I verified everything works, I deleted the old Virtual Switches from each host.

Just a quick overview of how I set up my vDS. Hope you find it helpful.



July 17, 2009 | Filed Under My Notes, Networking | Comments Off 

VMware vSphere Evaluators Guide

VMware vSphere Evaluators Guide

Awesome resource for anyone looking into deploying or upgrading to vSphere 4.0

May 27, 2009 | Filed Under Virtualization | Comments Off 

vSphere Upgrades – vCenter and ESXi

We upgraded our vCenter server on Tuesday AM and all is well so far. Our production ESX servers are still on 3.5 Update 4 and vCenter is managing them fine. We have tested the storage vmotion and converting vmdks from thick to thin – so far so good. The management interface is a little different but I like it. The new inventory views of Networking and Datastores are very handy.

We upgraded our test ESXi server this AM to ESXi 4.0 using the vSphere Host Update Utility. The upgrade went very well. The only real problem we ran into was with an older NIC that was not supported. No problems other than that.

Our test ESX server is a HP DL380 G4 with 2 3.6GHz Xeon CPUs (Single Core) and 4 GB RAM. This is managed as a stand alone server, it is not managed by vCenter.

If all goes well we will probably upgrade production ESX host this Sunday night.

Hope to have at least an overview of what I did at EMC World posted in the next day or so, just too busy right now.

May 27, 2009 | Filed Under Virtualization | 4 Comments 

Every vSphere Link You Need to Get Started at vSphere-land

At least that’s what the post says…

Every link or not, there are a bunch of great resources for vSphere 4.

I am just back from EMC World and I have a lot information I will be posting soon about the conference but right now I am going to enjoy the holiday weekend. Have a great one!

May 22, 2009 | Filed Under Virtualization | 1 Comment 

Migrating to vSphere 4

Details on the migration from VI 3 to vSphere 4.

vSphere Update Center

Check out the step-by-step vSphere migration videos.

April 21, 2009 | Filed Under My Notes, Virtualization | 1 Comment 


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