TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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All Things VMworld Europe Day 1

 

Day 1 started early for me as I wanted to get in early and make sure I got a full day out. So I arrived at the Bella Centre at 7:45 and got myself onto a hands on lab as it opened.

The lab I took was Deploying ESXi hosts via auto deploy (not the official name but it’s close). The lab was really informative and I would highly recommend it as it gives you a great overview of how the whole auto deploy feature with vSphere 5 works and all the things you will need to do in your own environment to enable this feature. The lab also gave me a whole load of things to think about and start preparing to allow me implement auto deploy in my own environments.

After the lab I made my way to the bloggers lounge to start writing up my All Things VMworld Day 0 posting and also chat to some of the vExpert bloggers. There’s nothing like sitting at the same table as Mike Laverick,Scott Lowe and Jason Boche to name but three and as I’ve said before, this for me is one of the biggest features of VMworld.

After posting up my blog posting and having talked shop with a number of the fellow bloggers I made my way to my first session of the day "#CIM2363 Building an Enterprise Hybrid Cloud for Dummies: 10 Steps (or Less)" the session was good but obviously when they said for dummies they weren’t kidding as it was the real basics of vCloud director and what it’s all made up of. If you have never used vCloud Director and want to get a great overview of all the necessary components then I would highly recommend the session.

Then it was lunch where I spotted the MonsterVM character wandering around and sat and chatted with the PowerCLI guru’s of Alan Renouf, Luc Dekens and Jonathan Medd over lunch. I then wandered back to the bloggers lounge and chatted to a few fellow bloggers about each of the sessions we’ve all been to and what we thought of them. I then went to Alan and Luc’s session "VMware vSphere PowerCLI Best Practices" The session was really good and the guys gave some really great tips on things to look out for and best practices. I hope they’ll upload their slidedeck as they had so many best practices (42 in total) that they couldn’t cover them all.

Next was the General session keynote by Stephen Herrod. The keynote was largely a repeat of the VMworld US one with even the same jokes being said. After about an hour and half of the keynote the first new announcement was announced with it being vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.0. Fellow vExpert and London based Saffa Julian Wood has done a really great posting about the suite and what it does here. The next announcement was vFabric Application Management Suite. As I’ve yet to play with it thereby be able to give you a good description of all it’s features etc. the best resource I’ve found is the VMworld TV video all about it

The last announcement of the day was the VMware IT Business Management Suite. So far there doesn’t seem to be a large amount of information out about it apart from the VMware product page about it here. All three suites look amazing and it looks like VMware is definitely aiming to take some of the management market away from people such as vKernel and Xangati to name but two. One of the topics that was covered again like Vegas was Horizon Mobile and it looks like the deals are already growing as VMware have now signed deals with Verizon in the US and Telefonica in Europe to give their users the ability to have Horizon Mobile on their phones.

After the keynote was the welcoming party with drinks and some snacks  in the Solutions Exchange to allow everyone to speak to the exhibitors. I spoke to a few exhibitors but the two that had some interesting products which I may try out in my lab are vKernel’s vOperations Suite and Embotics’ V-Commander tool which I’m hoping will be helpful for creating baselines and understanding how things were provisioned and if I can claw back some resources in certain areas.

I was then fortunate enough to attend the VMware vExpert 2011 meeting and meet loads of the European based (and a few Americans and Australians who also flew over) vExperts and talk about all the announcements and how we saw the market going and what it will mean for our roles. We then all made our ways to our respective parties and that was the end of Day 1 at VMworld Europe 2011.

Gregg


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vExperts 2010

Firstly a massive congratulations to all who were bestowed with this accolade. In particular a massive congratulations to Barry Coombs (@VirtualisedReal) ,Gabrie van Zanten (@gabvirtualworld) ,Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) ,Tom Howarth (@tom_howarth) ,Nick Weaver (@lynxbat) ,Eric Sloof (@esloof)  and Simon Long (@SimonLong_). Who have always been more than happy to answer any questions I have had via twitter, mail or even as recent as last night willing to power up their laptop to help with a problem we were having (Thanks again Gabrie, you’re a legend)

As I said in my last posting I didn’t have a massive amount of confidence in my being selected as a vExpert. This due to what I feel are very fair and understandable reasons and how I feel my continued efforts will hopefully help me have a much stronger case for next years. John Troyer who is the leader of the vExpert community has posted a brilliant article on the reasons some people didn’t receive it and has also given some really great pointers on how to better yourself for next years. Off of this here is some of the reasons I feel I understandably missed out and why I think I’m on the right track for next years:

  1. I only started this blog at the end of November last year so due to the award being given for the activities you did in 2009 means I did extremely little and therefore rightly so was no where near being in contention. Since then though I have made a concerted effort to post more and try bring new ideas to the community. With this blog having had almost 3000 individual views so far , 2435 of that being between January to May this year and by the views increasing by at least 200 views every month it gives me hope that I’ll be a much stronger contender for next years if I keep it up.
  2. I only started interacting with the virtualisation community late last year via twitter and was only able to attend my first VMUG end of November last year so I still need to make a name for myself and surpassing 300 followers on twitter last week of which over 98% are technical people gives me confidence that I am building a good reputation for myself among my peers and that the opinions and information I post is of interest to people in the IT field.
  3. I need to strengthen my blog postings. I’m the first to admit that my blog postings aren’t the best for a few reasons but after having read through my postings even from a few months back I can see that with each posting I feel I’ve become a lot better at it and have learnt from each one.The increased readership I feel is partly due to this refining of my skills.
  4. Plain and simple I’m either too busy or just lazy some times and due to this I haven’t been able to give back as much to the VMware communities pages and been able to join the live roundtables as much as I would like to. I plan to change this and hopefully via this be inspired to write more postings ,as one of the reasons I only post every week or so is due to the lack of good material/ideas and therefore I would rather not post up anything rather than some drivel for the sake of posting.
  5. My lack of knowledge on the many things VMware does and the technologies that are available and how they work. I only became a VCP in VI3 in September last year due to only being able to attend the pre-requisite course a few weeks before and since then I have also obtained the VCP4 accreditation within a month of it becoming available late last year and with a very nice score if i do say so myself. With this ,my knowledge on all the subjects is increasing each day and thereby my blogs can be more knowledgeable and I will have the confidence in my knowledge to write up more postings on certain subjects as the worry of any blogger is that your information is wrong and you have made a fool of yourself by giving out the wrong facts.

So if you enjoyed any of my blog postings please link the information to your friends and colleagues and even better if you link to my blog postings via your own blogs if they have helped you this is obviously a brilliant way of getting more traffic to my site and more so bringing my solutions higher in search results so that more people can be helped by them.

Congratulations to all the vExperts again and hopefully I’ll be one of you next year.

Gregg Robertson


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All things virtual VIII

 

It’s been a very busy but also a very rewarding productive few weeks for me. Even though it came down to a relatively simple solution the working of my VMware Update Manager was a massive weight off my shoulders and a lot of lessons learnt from it which is always something valuable.

On the virtualisation news side it’s been a very interesting couple of weeks with some brilliantly written blogs and articles.

  • Vladan Seget (@vladan) did a very good posting on setting a static MAC address in VMware. This is something you learn when you’re studying for your VCP but is something that personally I’ve forgotten really easily but is a very helpful feature especially if you have a vm with software on it that requires a licence to be attached to the vm’s MAC address but you still want to be able to migrate the vm around for either HA or DRS capabilities.
  • Next is the VMware Support Toolbar by Rick Blythe (@rickblythe) aka VMwareWolf. The toolbar is a very clever idea and the only reason I’ve linked Vladan’s posting on it is that he details all the features it has and how to set it up etc and seeing as Rick linked to it at the top of his posting about the toolbar it seems he’s happy with the posting being used for his toolbar. I’ve only partly played around with the toolbar but it’s a great example of how professionals are thinking of new ways for a VMware administrator to be able to keep up to date and easily search for VMware knowledge base items.
  • Cody Bunch (@cody_bunch) of http://professionalvmware.com has been doing some really great VCDX brown bag sessions on all the things you should know for you VCDX and obviously as the name alludes to they are discussions amongst fellow professionals about the topics you will need to know to do your defence. A “study group” is another way of describing it. Cody was nice enough to reply to me on twitter when I enquired about the ability to watch/listen to the previous brown bag sessions and I was pleased to find out they have been recorded and the second brown bag session is already up. I’ve always found discussions amongst fellow professionals about a common technology highly beneficial as sometimes i really need someone to explain something in laymen’s terms to me for me to understand it. I’d recommend registering for the next one and to keep an eye out for the future sessions. He’s also done a few VCP brown bag sessions and theses have also been recorded so if you’re looking to write your VCP soon or even like me keep your knowledge fresh then these are perfect for this.
  • Duncan Epping of Yellow Bricks fame did a very informative posting all about aligning your VMs virtual hard disks. I spoke partly of this in one of my blog postings a few weeks back and Duncan has added some great information to this discussion and is one i learnt quite a few things from so is well worth the read. Duncan also did a very helpful posting on where to find pre-windows 2008 sysprep packages for those who are battling to find them.
  • Eric Sloof (@esloof) posted two great articles these past few weeks. The first one was a very interesting interview with one of the attendee’s of his VMware vSphere Design Workshop course and his opinions of how the course went and how good it was. After watching it it’s made me even more keen to attend the course and gain the knowledge they you can gain from it especially from fellow VMware professionals. The other is his announcing of the upcoming vSphere 4 Automation course. It shows the growing need and trend of VMware professionals to have the knowledge and ability to automate some of the tasks performed in their VMware environment as well as a great course for gaining the knowledge you will require for managing your environment in ESXi.
  • Talking of ESXi and the push by VMware for people to migrate from ESX to ESXi, Eric Siebert (@ericsiebert) of http://vmware-land.com/ posted a very very good blog posting all about how VMware’s desire for people to adopt ESXi isn’t going as well as they may have hoped and how VMware are going to need to fix a number of issues that ESXi has that ESX doesn’t before the change over and how their motivators for the switch aren’t as strong as they make out. The article is brilliant and is especially so to me as I agree wholeheartedly with many of the points in it and myself don’t see nor agree with the whole idea of them moving over to ESXi and scrapping ESX.
  • There has always been the discussion of scale up versus scale out when you are creating a Virtual environment and over the past few weeks there have been a few great postings from some of the top virtualisations bloggers about this discussion. It seems the whole thing kicked off from a blog posting Duncan Epping did about scaling up due to the release of the new Intel 5600 series that has six cores. Which set off a blog posting by Ian Koenig at http://itsjustanotherlayer.com/ titled scale up or scale out in which he brings up some brilliant check points every VMware administrator should ask when determining whether to scale up or scale out. Scott Lowe then commented on Ian’s posting  in his Virtualization Short Take #37 and gave his opinion on the discussion which in turn made Steve Chambers (@Stevie_chambers) write an article about how he feels UCS is the solution to the worry about having “all your eggs in one basket”. His blog posting is also very informative about the features UCS has and how it allows you to have all your machines on one big server. This in turn brought Scott to write a posting describing his opinions in full and how he feels as is always said for anything in IT “it depends”  on a number of factors and one model or decision is never the same for every company/environment/situation. Lastly a great blog posting by a twitter friend of mine and top VMware professional Daniel Eason(@Daniel_Eason) about High Density Virtual Hosts gives a great insight into more of the factors you need to consider when building a “Super ESX Host(my own words)”. All of these articles are brilliantly informative and as with any great article they encourage discussion. You make your own decisions and I encourage you to read all the comments below each of the articles as these are as good if not maybe a little bit better than the articles.
  • This past week the applications for the VMware vExpert award have been opened. The vExpert for anyone that doesn’t know it is “a way for VMware to acknowledge and help those who ‘go the extra mile’ and give back to the VMware user community by sharing their expertise and time. vExperts are bloggers, book authors, VMUG leaders, event organizers, speakers, tool builders, forum leaders, and others who share their virtualization expertise.” As you can imagine there has been a very large amount of chat in twitterverse about the applications and who may be honoured by the awarding of it. Personally I’d love to become one and hope that with my continued efforts to give back to the community and grow my contributions to the field I’ll one day soon be awarded the title. If you know of anyone that deserves this award then get an application in for them. But be warned that multiple nominations don’t count extra so applying for yourself 100 times and asking loads of people to apply for you won’t help you to win this.
  • In my Distributed Virtual Switches blog posting i detailed the process of upgrading your virtual machines hardware version to version 7 but Sander Daems (@sanderdaems) posted a very helpful posting on how to downgrade your vm hardware level from 7 to 4 if it is needed to fix an issue you may be having. It always makes me smile when a blog posting like this is posted as I’m always so focused on the newest things and the latest versions of software that i forget that sometimes the need for rolling back to an older possibly more stable version is the option.
  • Even though this next posting is old it’s one I feel is very important and useful in the growth of anyone’s scripting knowledge. Alan Renouf created a very helpful Quick Reference Guide for the VI toolkit which you can print off and obviously reference whenever you need it.
  • VMware have recently posted a new white paper detailing performance results of tests conducted of a vSphere 4.0 environment using Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The white paper can be downloaded here.
  • Rich Brambley (@rbrambley) posted all about the reasoning and some fixes/solutions you can make as to why cloning a vm from a template can take such a long time. Rick’s posting has some great links for IOPS and gives some very in depth solutions and reasons as to why the problem might happen. The posting is very helpful and sheds light on points some people may miss in their aim of making their virtual environment run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  • Arnim van Lieshout (@avlieshout) did a great blog posting about how to setup and get running The VESI (Virtualization EcoShell Initiative). If you’ve never heard of The VESI before then i would recommend reading the FAQ before reading and then implementing the solution into your environment. Arnim has detailed every step and installation needed in getting it working and is a massive help for someone trying to get it setup.
  • Last by definitely not least was a posting by Devang Panchigar (@storagenerve) with the video of the VBlocks presentation at the GestaltIT Tech Field Day 2010 in Boston Massachusetts this past week. The presentation was highly informative and a great insight into the solution and is well worth the watch.

As I’ve said before I’m always happy for people to leave a comment below or add me on twitter at @greggrobertson5. If you feel I’ve missed something or not given credit or wrongly described yours or someone else’s posting as this is the last thing i mean to do, please tell me an I’ll change it.

Gregg Robertson

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