TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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All Things Virtual 19

Since my last All Things Virtual there has been a massive amount of news coming out of the virtualisation arena. One of the main sources of these were due to VMworld Europe happening from the 11th to the 14th of October. I was fortunate enough to attend and I was very pleased with the amount of views my All Things VMworld Europe Day1, Day 2 and Day 3 blog postings received.

The week prior to me attending VMworld I was able to attend a day arranged by VMware and Alan Renouf where some of the top VMware GURUs came to London and gave some exclusive presentations on VMware API’s, performance, PowerCLI and Onyx. The day was seriously in depth and really opened my eyes to the amount of data and things you can get and do with the VMware API’s and ESXTOP. Alan has posted the slide decks from each session ran on the day on his blog.The sessions are listed below with their links, these are something I am planning to get through in my preparations for the VCAP exams

Due to there being such a large amount of time between All Things Virtual 18 and All Things Virtual 19 (a month and a half) there are a few articles on my list that are a few weeks old but nevertheless still brilliant and so I kept them on here.

As I have said before I ,like a large number of other professionals in the virtualisation field am preparing and studying for the VCAP exams. For my own usage and because amazingly a few people sent me messages saying that my VCP4 Study Resources(Part 1, Part 2) proved very helpful with their preparations for their VCP4 exams and were asking if I planned to do the same for the VCAP exams. So I have created a dedicated page for all the resources I will be using in my preparations and will constantly try to update it with any new resources I find. The page has only been up for a month and a half and already over 1000 people have viewed it which is really great and hopefully it is helping people find out about great podcasts/blog postings/videos that will help them be prepared for the exams.

Duncan Epping of Yellow bricks fame posted a very small but very important posting all about Storage IO Control Best Practices. If you attended either of the VMworld conferences then I would recommend watching the session Duncan speaks of in his posting “Tech Preview: Storage DRS” and another session i watched all about SIOC “prioritizing Storage Resource Allocation in ESX Virtual Environments using Storage I/O Control”. Speaking of SIOC Luc Dekens has posted a brilliant posting on how to automate SIOC.

While at VMworld Europe Mike Laverick of RTFM.com fame went around and got himself a bag full of Swag and is raffling it all off in aid of UNICEF. The competition is open to anyone worldwide so go get yourself a ticket and donate to a very worthy cause at the same time.

Eric Sloof posted all about the availability of the the Technical White paper for Application HA. My knowledge of Application HA has only started growing very recently after attending VMworld this year and actually seeing some of providers stands and exhibitions of the technologies and their capabilities. I haven’t as yet read the white paper but like so many of these great resources it is on my technical reading list. Eric has also posted a video of the installation of Symantec Application HA.

Simon Seagrave of TechHead fame posted about some great free NTP Time Sources and the NTP Pool project. I’ve already been using the same source for my NTP synchronisation for my home lab and it works a charm Smile

During VMworld Europe David Davis of Trainsignal’s VMware vSphere Video Training fame was able to do a video interview with VCDX001 Mr John Arrasjid. The video is a brilliant one for anyone looking to take on the VCDX certification as John is one of the main people involved in the VCDX and gives great insight into the certification and how it is all done.Jason Boche was also interviewed by David at VMworld US all about the VCDX certification here. These are two really great resources and have been added to my VCDX study list .

Speaking of Jason Boche he posted a brilliant posting all about  the conversion of CPU ready to %RDY in ESXTOP. I am currently learning and strengthening my knowledge on ESXTOP and how to utilise it for my daily job and Jason’s posting is a great resource for learning all about how the %RDY value is calculated. I would recommend reading through a posting I did a while back about Understanding and using ESXTOP/RESXTOP as this will give a great base knowledge before going through Jason’s posting.

Steve Jin of DoubleCloud.org Fame posted all about using vSphere APIs to Collect vCentre and ESX Logs.After having attended the VMware vSphere: Manage and Design for Security Course last week I’ve gained an even keener interest in learning all about collecting logs for security reasons as well as troubleshooting reasons and Steve’s posting was right on time for my interest in learning more about it all. I would recommend everyone learns how to do this as it will be a life saver at some point for you.

Vladan Seget posted all about a whitepaper by VMware on the top ten most forgotten things when building your disaster recovery plan. The white paper is a really great resource and has some very good pointers and recommendations when you are building out your disaster recovery plan. If you have  a disaster recovery plan or are planning one then I would highly recommend reading the white paper.

The next is an unusual one but one that I experienced myself and therefore feel I should link to it here even though I have already added it to my Upgrading from ESX,VMware Update Manager and Virtual Centre 4.0 to Version 4.1 posting. VMware have put out a KB article on an error where after upgrading your Virtual Centre Server to version 4.1 the transaction log for the vCentre Server database grows excessively large. Thankfully someone posted the KB article on twitter and i noticed it and fixed the problem before it severely impacted my Virtual Centre server.

Bas Raayman posted some really nice installation tips for installing VMware vCloud Director. I am yet to install vCloud Director to my home lab and so the installation tips are now part of my build documentation to go through when i finally get round to installing it.

Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame posted one of the best articles of the year over a week ago now all about VMotion, the story and confessions. The post covers the initial idea and building of a VMotion(misspelling intended) prototype to a number of top bloggers confessions on how amazed they were when they first saw or heard about VMotion and how it has impacted their work life and for some their career paths.

Well that’s all the postings of the past few weeks that have gained my interest.

Gregg


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All Things VMworld Europe – Day 3

 

Sadly today was the last day of VMworld. It really has been personally an amazing experience and I hope I can come back for many years to come. My day started off early again as I wanted to get in at 8am to be able to do a lab or two before it got really busy. The lab I did was the VMware vCenter vShield lab which was recommended to me to do before I did the vCloud Director Networking lab. The lab was top class and was a really great follow on from the vCloud Director: Install and Configure I did yesterday. I’ll definitely be looking through all the documentation of vCloud Director and be deploying vShield in my home lab when I get back to the UK .

While leaving the labs I spotted the infamous Duncan Epping of Yellow Bricks fame. Who else is a better person to meet and chat to about your vCloud Director oriented lab than Duncan who was more than happy to chat with me about it and gave me some nice tips of how to get my head around all the vCloud technologies and features. Duncan and I then made our way to the bloggers lounge but due to it being empty still he made his way back to the labs and I sat around for a bit to quickly complete yesterdays All Things VMworld Europe – Day 2. Within half an hour I was surrounded by some of the top people in the industry such as Frank Denneman,Nick Weaver,Maish Saidel-Keesing ,Chris Dearden ,Duncan Epping(who made his way back),Vladan Seget and Scott Lowe to name but a few. I also nabbed myself a vWife shirt for the missus in the process from Scott via his wife’s Spousetivities. If you aren’t on twitter or the VMware Communities or blog have a look at this video from VMworldTV all about the social media side of VMworld and VMware. I gained so much this past week never mind over the months I’ve been using these resources and would highly recommend getting into it if you wish to gain knowledge from the top people in the industry.

After an amazing amount of knowledge transfer from so many VCDX’s in the bloggers lounge I went and did my second lab of the day VMware vCloud Director – Networking. As I stated this was the third bit to completing my vCloud Labs plan and the lab did just that. Even though it was very in depth and technically daunting the lab gave me loads of knowledge on how everything merges together and left me with a much stronger understanding of the technology.

From here I had some lunch and then went right back into the labs as I wanted to complete two more labs before the 4PM closing time. The lines were massive and at one point the waiting list to be seated was over 65 people. Once I got in I decided to do the VMware vSphere Performance & Tuning lab. The lab was very interesting and due to my only having upgraded my home lab to ESX 4.1 I hadn’t had any experience in SIOC and Memory Compression. The new features for resource management in vSphere 4.1 look to be really great and I’m looking forward to enabling SIOC in my work environment as soon as I have it upgraded.

Seeing as I had just enough time I quickly exited the labs and went straight back in for my last lab of the conference VMware View 4.5 – Install and Configure. I really wanted to do this lab as I haven’t had the opportunity to use VMware View very much at all and with the massive demand for VDI I felt it was something i needed to gain some knowledge in. the lab was good but obviously very simple and due to the large amount of people trying to get one last lab in like myself the installations of the instances need for View 4.5 meant that a large amount of my time was sadly used up waiting for each bit to install but I did gain a good base knowledge of the product.

At the end of the day I made my way back to the bloggers lounge and a whole bunch of us gave our feedback to John Troyer about what we enjoyed and what we hoped to see next year. The main talking point of the week and one of the big conversation we had in the bloggers lounge was enabling the ability for VMworld delegates to gain access to the labs. Early this morning I noticed a promising statement by the VMWorld twitter account “@vmworld: VMware is looking at how and when we could host labs in the cloud throughout the year. We have a team investigating options. #vmworld” i really hope this is true as it would be amazing to be able to do all the labs as they are such great resources.

Gregg


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All things virtual 13

 

Yes I decided to get rid of the roman numerals and go with the old trusty numbers from now on as I think it looks better and it’s more user friendly for the five people who read these posts :)

It’s been two weeks since the last All things virtual posting due to work constraints and my studying for my MCITP: Enterprise Administrator exam. Unfortunately the exam was cancelled unbeknownst to me so I’ve had to reschedule for a few weeks time (i know loads of people are going to think I just failed and don’t want to say it but I’d honestly say it if I had). Anyhow since it’s been two weeks since the last version there has been loads of really top class postings and information to have come up in the virtualisation arena.

Firstly as I said in my posting yesterday the second vBeers is happening TOMORROW,July the 1st. I was fortunate enough to have made it to the first one and it was awesome to meet and chat to loads of the guys I follow and chat to via twitter,their blogs(My blogroll holds my favourites) the VMware Community forums or in the VMware community roundtables. If you’re near the London area tomorrow evening I’d highly recommend going along.

Next is a brilliant posting by Duncan Epping of Yellow Bricks all about troubleshooting and recognising is a vm is swapping and if so how to work it out as it isn’t as simple as looking and seeing if the SWCUR value in esxtop is giving out values. As I stated in my blog posting a few weeks back I’m learning to use ESXTOP and better my skills in using this tool to manage my environments and be able to spot these kinds of things via this tool.

Eric Sloof blogged all about the release of the Maximum vSphere book. The book was written by Simon Seagrave of Techhead fame and Eric Siebert of vsphere-land.com fame. Simon wrote the chapters on ‘Performance in vSphere’ and ‘Building Your Own vSphere Lab’ and Eric wrote all the remaining chapters. John Troyer has also written the forward for the book. I haven’t personally read Eric’s VMware® VI3 Implementation and Administration book but these guys are top of the industry and their blogs are some of the best out there so you know the content is going to be amazing. Hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of this once it’s released.

As I blogged  almost a month ago now about the latest versions of vCentre and vSphere having been released, Update 2. Chad Sakac of Virtual Geek fame posted a brilliant write up all about the release also and has added some very helpful fixes to issues that may arise from updating to update 2. I’ve managed to update most of my home test environment to update 2 but unfortunately haven’t had the time to fully play with /break it yet. Talking of new versions William Lam of Virtually Ghetto fame has posted a very interesting posting all about the possible imminent release of vSphere 4.1. If rumours are true then this release will be the non COS release. Kind of crazy to put an update out then release a new version in my opinion especially for all of us that have to keep environments up to date whilst not breaking anything in the process. Jason Boche of Boche.net did a nice little posting all about how a simple Google search gives plenty of proof that the COS is going away.Duncan Epping also posted that DRS sub clusters are supposedly due tin the next version also.

A fair number of the guys and I’m friendly with and/or follow on twitter were fortunate enough to have been invited to take the VCAP-DCA beta exams over a week ago now . Jason Boche, William Lam and  Chris Dearden are a few that I noticed who blogged about it and from their comments and rants it sounds as if the exam is going to be a real test and that to pass this you are going to need to have used,played,configured and fully understand all the technologies and features that the vSphere family of products have to offer. Even though this means I’m probably going to end up spending innumerable hours playing around with my lab(which i kind of do out of nerdy fun already anyways) and also means that people can’t just learn answers to questions from cheat sites and post 500 out of 500 scores even though they misspell VMware and will hopefully also help me to increase my skills and knowledge which is what all exams/certifications should do for you.

One of the biggest banes of any VMware administrators life is the managing and controlling of snapshots especially if you allow them to be created by the users of the vm’s as i have to in our environment. I’ve posted before all about the great ways I use to ease the management and monitoring of VMware Snapshots. Last week Mike Bean posted a brilliant guest posting in the VMware communities blogs all about VMware snapshots and what they are meant for and what they are not meant for and how they are created and maintained. I’ve saved this one to my favourites as it’s got all the reasons you need to explain to a user in why they can’t have five snapshots on one vm and keep it for months on end.

Duncan Epping posted all about the new SIOC (Storage IO Control) feature due to released in most likely the next version of vSphere. I had seen this video before the posting as it was obviously all over twitter very quickly and I’m really excited and pleased that this feature is coming.

Last but not least a big congratulations to Simon Long in his announcement that he is joining VMware as a Senior Consultant. Wow if memory serves me right that takes him from being made redundant and looking for a role to being a VMware employee in 12 months!! Congrats Simon!

Gregg Robertson

 

 

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