TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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All Things Virtual 27

 

Yep I’ve decided to start trying to build up my All Things Virtual postings so as to try help myself keep up to date on the latest news happening in the virtualisation arena and also help people like myself who don’t have the time during the day/work week to keep up to date on the latest blog postings,news and articles. I’ve only listed the past few week’s worth of blog postings that have caught my interest and for future All Things Virtual I’m planning on doing it fortnightly/monthly.

First on my list is a reminder to all that the “applications” for the VMware vExpert title are still open. there are now three paths for the title which I blogged about in my VMware vExpert 2012 nominations and applications are open blog posting. You can find the application form and all the information also on the vExpert communities page here

Next was the results of Eric Sieberts yearly Top Virtualisation Blog poll. I was very honoured to be included in the voting this year for the first time and came in at 103rd which I’m really pleased about Smile. A massively congratulations to all the top 10 and top 25 blogs and it’s amazing to see that 1 in 10 of the blogs in the votes were from the London VMware User Group #LonVMUG crew.

The mad rush for the VCP5 upgrade before the end of February cut off date is in full swing. Almost all my colleagues at Xtravirt have done theirs in the past week and almost every day loads and loads of the people I follow on twitter are posting about their passing of the exam. For those that have decided to bypass the cut off date due to possibly already having done the what’s new course or are happy to do the what’s new course there is a massive amount of top resources out there for you to use. I’ve tried to list them all on my VCP5 page. Cody Bunch’s VCP5 Brownbag series is now in full swing with videos of all the objectives listed by Cody in his VCP5 Brownbag Playlist posting.

Talking of certifications there were four new VCDX’s announced, so a massive and envious congratulations to Tom Arentsen @tomarentsen,Mike Brown @vmikebrown, Matthew Meyer @mattdmeyer and Hugo Phan @hugophan. Hugo did a very helpful blog posting all about his 5 simple steps to the VCDX certification . His steps do seem very manageable and are great for those people out there feeling up for the challenge. One of the people who has already thrown his hat in the ring is fellow vExpert and top blogger Christian Mohn who announced his intent in his blog posting here . Good luck Christian, maybe now that my new role with Xtravirt is gaining me some serious design exposure and experience I may join you in attempting the VCDX if i can find the time to do what I couldn’t do for VCAP4 and gain both my VCAP5-DCA and DCD. I’ll keep you all posted on my decision Smile

Next is a posting by Gabrie van Zanten all about the Auto Deploy GUI VMware fling. Gabrie does a great walkthrough of how to use the tool and how it makes your life much easier. I’m currently planning to use the tool in my testing of Auto Deploy in my home lab and hopefully it’s as good as he describes

As I’ve mentioned loads of times in my VCAP4,VCP5 and VCAP5 study resources pages, the trainsignal videos are an amazing learning resource in my opinion and are as good if not better than attending the respective courses. TrainSignal have recently released the VMware View 5 Essentials Training videos. The videos are described by Trainsignal as  “Virtualisation experts Brian Knudtson and Lane Leverett guide you from VDI basics, through app virtualization and more. Learn how to get your View environment up and running and reduce costs for your end-user desktops”. I’m currently started to use these videos in my attempt to strengthen my VDI skills and hopefully if all goes to plan try obtain my VCP5-DT.

Talking about VMware View and the VCP5-DT, the VMware View 5 Install Configure and Manage course was released in early January and Eric Sloof posted all about it in his posting here. The course looks really good and maybe if I am given the opportunity i may be able to attend it and give a good overview for anyone thinking about attending the course.

Lastly, a massive thanks to John Troyer and Alex Maier for the vExpert gift and Certificate. I’ve already started using my bag as my main bag and geekingly added my vExpert and blogger badges from the past two VMworld’s also (yep I’m sad)

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Gregg

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January 2012 London VMware User Group

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to not only attend the London VMware user Group but actually presentclip_image002. The day started pretty early and due to traffic I arrived half an hour late to the welcome and introduction from Alaric Davies so snuck into the back to not disturb and t allow me to have one or two last read through’s of my session at the end of the day.

The first session was from Symantec all about their ApplicationHA offering and then a live demo of bringing down a SQL instance on a virtual machine and how Application HA would automatically restart the service. They next demoed the product by deleting the database and showed how ApplicationHA would utilise Backup Exec to restore the database back and get it working again. A very cool product and one I’m hoping to test out in my home lab although sadly I wasn’t able to get myself an NFR licence that they were offering from their stand so hopefully I can find it and play with it.(UPDATE: Symantec saw this posting and have got in contact with me and have given me an NFR licence =0) ) Below is a video of what was shown to us on Thursday

ApplicationHA and Backup Exec Auto Recovery Demo

Next was Chris Kranz and Alex Smith presenting a session titled “would you like fries with your VM?” the session was a really great one as the guys spoke about how the landscape for IT professionals is constantly changing and how a normal server administrator was replaced quite largely by virtualisation and advancements in automation and with every release of the vSphere suite of products more and more work is being taken away from storage admins and network admins and now with cloud picking up the virtualisation admins are having to adapt or lose their roles. A very chilling reminder that if you don’t adapt in IT sooner or later you’ll be out of a job.

There was then a break where I got to meet a soon to start recruitment for Xtravirt Sean Duffy and chat about South Africa a bit with him being a Saffa too clip_image004I also talked shop with Alan Renouf, Steve Chambers, Simon Davies, Ed Grigson, Jeremy Bowman and Harry Potter look alike Jonathan Medd.

The next session I attended was the VMware View session titled “End User Computing: Today & Tomorrow” by Clive Wenman from VMware. Sadly due to connection speeds he wasn’t able to do the demo he wanted but instead gave us a good overview of the new features in VMware View 5 and ThinApp 5. We then got talking about Horizon Manager and got a nice impromptu demo of the product and how it works which was highly interesting to me and looks to be a very good product once it’s released outside the US.

After lunch I attended the NimbleStorage presentation all about their offerings and the savings their products can bring you and how it all works. for me personally there was tiny bit too much comparison to competitors products but the product does look very interesting and I might actually be getting my hands on the product in my current role so hopefully I can write up and posting or two on my thought on the product once I’ve had a good play with it clip_image006

Next was Dave Hill and Aidan Dalgleish presenting largely what Dave and Chris Collotti presented at the VMworld last year titled “Private vCloud Architecture Deep Dive”. I found this highly interesting as it was something I had hoped to attend at VMworld Europe but unfortunately due to the times they did them I was unable to attend. The session was highly interesting and gave loads of reference architectures and all the varying network pool methods and what each will enable you to do. I think the main recommendation from Dave that I think everyone needs to remember is that you need to build your vSphere environment correctly or else you vCloud environment won’t work like it should.

Now was the time of reckoning, my session was due and a number of people I chat to on twitter had made sure they were in the front row to heckle me and ask me loads of questions too. I was due to co-host the session with Scott Vessey from Global knowledge and of vmwaretraining.blogspot.com fame. My presentation was half around my VCP5 study resources page and all the resources mentioned on there that I used in my preparations for the VCP5 exam and how they helped me pass the exam and then a whole bunch of sample questions from Global Knowledge’s VCP5 Exam Preparation Workshop. Even though I started off quite nervous I think it went well and once we got to the sample questions at the end there were loads of discussions around the answers with some of the questions getting people calling out all the answers as correct even though there was actually only one correct answer. Quite few people said they enjoyed it and I think I put the fear into a large portion of the people in the audience after the sample questions and those knowing that have 31 days until the waiver period for VCP4 holders not needing to do the What’s New course to pass expires.

Afterwards we made our way to vBeers where I got to talk to loads of people (including fellow Xtravirt new starter Darren Woollard)and got some very helpful pointers on how to improve my presentation skills in my aim to hopefully present at VMworld this year. The day was a huge success in my opinion and it was great that over half the attendees were first time attendees! Thanks to the VMUG panel for setting it all up and hopefully I can attend the next one on the 17th of May (work permitting of course)

Gregg


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January 2012 London VMware Users Group (LONVMUG) and I’m presenting

Just a very quick posting to remind anyone around the south of England or who is willing to come to the south of England for it that the next London VMware User Group (LonVMUG) and the first one of 2012 is happening on Thursday the 26th of January. Also I’ll be presenting at it, the first time I’ve ever done a session at a VMUG. Mine will be around my VCP 5 Study Resources, my exam experiences and a few surprises Smile

If you haven’t registered I would highly recommend you do so ASAP as these are more often than not fully booked a week or two before the event. You can register for the event here and hopefully I’ll get to meet you there.

After the VMUG the standard vBeers will take place. If you’ve somehow never heard of vBeers before the below is just for you Smile.

vBeers

Is an informal get together of virtualisation enthusiasts and professionals to meet and discuss all things IT. It’s a great opportunity to network, learn and meet like minded people.

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The following is part quoted from Simon Seagrave’s Website :

Enjoy Talking Virtualization? Come & Socialise at vBeers!

vBeers[7]Fancy meeting up every month with other IT virtualization enthusiasts to socialise and chat over a cold beer, wine or soft-drink? If so, then vBeers is for you! This is a great opportunity to meet with other virtualization enthusiasts and professionals and enjoy discussing all things virtualization, and in fact anything else that comes up in conversation…

vBeers is open to everyone so whether you are a VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer user/fan or none of the above it really doesn’t matter as “it’s all about the virtualization”.

The London vBeers meet-up is held at the Pavilion End Pub . Details and directions below:

When & Where

The London vBeers are held on the first Thursday of every month or after a VMUG meeting starting at 6pm in the ‘pavilion end pub

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Location: The ‘pavilion end pub’, London

Address: 23 Watling Street Moorgate EC4M 9BR

Date: First Thursday of every month and after VMUG meetings

Time: 6:00pm

Map:

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Gregg


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All Things VMworld Europe 2011 Day 3

 

Yet again (I’m not sure why I keep doing this) I decided to get up early and into the conference so i could get my Day 2 blog posting out and be awake enough for Paul Maritz’s keynote. A number of my fellow LonVMUG colleagues also made their way in early and we ended up watching the keynote from the food hall on the big screen. I decided against trying to cover the keynote and give my opinions as seeing as a large portion of it was customers talking about their experiences with VMware technology and then Paul’s chat was exactly what was said at VMworld US. Therefore, i would recommend watching the keynote here and if you missed Steve Herrod’s or Raghu Raghuram’s from Tuesday and Wednesday respectively then you can watch them.

After this, i made my way to my first and only session of the day (due to the time my flight left i only had enough time for the 11am slot unfortunately) which was VSP1708 VCDX Panel Defence Preparation. The session was everything i had hoped it would be and a little more. One of my future aims is to obtain my VCDX (looking like VCDX 5 due to time constraints now) and so I really wanted to attend the session to get a good idea of the process and what happens on the day and what the panelists are expecting and looking for. If you are going to watch one VMworld session video and are thinking of doing the VCDX one day then this has to be it as it scared me a little but also gave me an amazing idea of what i need to do and aim for now to be ready to build, defend and obtain my VCDX. The biggest tip I got out of it that john Arrasjid said was “start building your design now as the people who rush to build their designs are normally the people who fail and don’t fully understand their designs”

After the session, i had some lunch and hung out at the bloggers lounge and even almost got onto one of the vSoup videos but instead decided to watch from a far and was mentioned by the guys on it here. I still say if they don’t announce the band, it is only right to make wild speculations of who the band will beclip_image001.

After chatting to a number of the bloggers and vExpert’s I made my way to the airport and after my flight being delayed by two hours and the pilot having to abort our landing at the last second i made it back to the UK after a very successful and tiring VMworld Europe 2011.

Gregg


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All Things VMworld US 2011 Day 3

 

Well that’s VMworld coming to an end. It seems to have gone by so quickly but it also means that now we can start talking about VMworld in Copenhagen and I don’t have to keep hearing about the killers playing the VMworld closing party (I’m not jealous at all Winking smile ) . Day 3 is normally the day where everyone hits the solutions exchange, the sessions and the hands on labs. For me day 3 is great for all the videos that are put out as now they can show us all the new products and announcements mentioned in the keynote by Steve Herrod on VMworldTV and even an interviews with Steve himself detailing all the announcements he made.

  • First is the preview of Horizon mobile by Samsung and LG who are the two mobile phone providers working with VMware to bring out Horizon Mobile
Horizon Mobile
  • The next video is done by @the_anykey and is the interview with VMware CTO Steve Herrod. This is a must watch as it gives you a brilliant idea of the announcements he made and what they will mean for peoples daily lives (Horizon mobile for one)
Steve Herrod
  • Next is the VMworldTV video all about Project Octopus. As I said in my Day 2 posting I think this is the best announcement so far and will be changing a lot of peoples way of working in the near future.
Project Octopus
  • Next is an interview with Scott Davis, VMware’s CTO of end user computing and is all about AppBlast with a really awesome demo of it too! I’m really looking forward to this technology being released.
AppBlast
  • The next has to be my favourite, probably because of the highly amusing appearance of “PowerCLI man” and my knowing of Alan due to him being a fellow London VMUG attendee and former EMC vSpecialist. Alan gives a great overview of all the new features in PowerCLI 5 and even mentions one of my firm favourites the vCheck script. Also as said there’s even an appearance by PowerCLI man Smile
PowerCLI
  • Another twitter and Fellow vExpert friend of mine Kendrick Coleman was also interviewed by VMworldTV all about the free tools available out there for people to use. Kendrick and David M Davis of Trainsignal fame are doing their Top 10 free tools sessions again and from this Kendrick mentions a few of them in the video and even mentions a few that have been developed by people all by themselves like Ricky El Qasem’s vSphere Plugin Wizard which is mentioned by Kendrick. It’s very sad to hear that the session Kendrick and David have done in VMworld Us has been cut from VMworld Europe. Hopefully they get one of the slots for most popular session again
Kendrick Coleman Free Tools
  • Last but not least is the Day summaries of the Past three days at VMworld. As mentioned in my Day 2 posting these are a great way to find out what’s been announced and is happening if you don’t have a lot of time to read up on what’s come out.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Well that’s everything for Day 3 of VMworld US 2011.

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 24

 

Just a very quick All Things Virtual as I haven’t been able to read as many blogs as I had wanted due to work commitments and the studying for my VCAP-DCA taking up a large portion of my time.

 

First is the delay to the vExpert results. The results were said to be released on the 6th of May yet were delayed by two weeks and then last week the guys from the vSoup podcasts spoke to John Troyer at the Boston Gestalt IT Tech Field Day and he explained that due to a number of the VMware employees who were selected to give their opinions on the candidates still not having replied it has been delayed for another two weeks (John said two weeks last week Friday but I have a feeling it will need another week above that). It is a shame this has been delayed so much and is a let down for the people who give so much of their spare time to the VMware community, for VMware to then take an extra month and a half to give the results of the vExpert nominations. John did however promise they would be out before VMworld Smile

Talking of VMworld the Session catalogues for VMworld US and VMworld Europe have been posted. There’s a number of very exciting sessions happening and it’s great to personally see so many people I know form the London VMUG and via twitter whose sessions have made it after the public voting. If you’ve never heard of VMworld or have never been before I blogged about each of the days happenings when i went to my first one last year if you’re interested in getting any idea of what an average day at the conference is like All Things VMworld Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

The next London VMware User Group has been announced for the 14th of July. Unfortunately I will be away on holiday over this time but as I’ve stated many times in a number of blog postings on this blog the VMUG’s are an awesome day out and the amount you learn from the sessions and from fellow attendees is well worth your time. I was able to attend the last one on the 12th of May and wrote up a blog posting about the day if you want to get an idea of what happens during the day. If you are likely to be around the London area on the 14th of July I would highly recommend registering on the VMUG site and attending.

I’ve been trying to fill my slightly ADHD mind with all things VMware in preparation for my sitting of the VCAP-DCA exam and as mentioned in my VCAP-DCA and DCD Resources Page I’m a massive admirer of David Davis’s Trainsignal videos as they allow me to spend as long or short on each topic as I want and allow me to watch them via my iPad or laptop whenever i have a chance. David has recently released his VMware vSphere Performance Monitoring Training. I’ve only briskly looked at the video’s in the set as I’m trying to complete his VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training set of videos first before starting the new ones but the videos look as amazing as ever and as sad as it is I’m actually excited to watch them. If you haven’t used David’s videos before I would HIGHLY recommend them especially if you are looking to do your VCP4 or your VCAP-DCA

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 23

 

There has been a very large amount of top news and product releases in the virtualisation community in the last month since my last All Things Virtual posting. The public voting for the VMworld sessions has opened and closed in the last month and the entries for vExpert have closed with the nominees due to be released in next two weeks ( Good luck to all who submitted and hopefully loads of the people I’m friendly with in the VMware community and London VMware User Group are selected).

  • I was able to attend the latest London VMware User Group this past month and blogged about the day and the things covered in my blog posting aptly named London VMUG . As I’ve said before if you aren’t a part of your local VMware User Group I would highly recommend it and if there isn’t one near you why not start one yourself  Smile
  • Next is the release of VMware labs latest fling ,Inventory Snapshot. Due to my lack of having time to fully play around and try the tool I would recommend  (like I will be when I have some spare time) to go to the fling site ,download the tool and rate it for yourself http://labs.vmware.com/flings/inventorysnapshot .The guide for the product is here.
  • EMC World ran from the 9th to the 12th of May and just like VMworld there was a load of vLabs available to attendees to allow them to learn and experience new products and technologies . A number of the top guys in the VMware community who are EMC vSpecialists were a part of the planning,building and managing of this environment.Chris Horn has guest posted on Chad Sakac’s blog all about it and has given a great insight into building such a large environment and the technologies they used. Well worth the read if you have some spare time.
  • One of the many people who helped with the EMC World labs was Simon Seagrave of TechHead fame and as mentioned in Chris’ blog posting Simon somehow found the time to do the latest instalment of the vChat series with David Davis of Trainsignal’s VMware vSphere Video Training fame   and Eric Siebert of vSphere-Land fame. The chat covers everything from VMworld submissions,the latest virtualisation news and bits about EMC world. If you haven’t watched any of these vChat’s before I would highly recommend them as the guys cover all the latest and greatest things coming out.
  • If you enjoy the vChat’s then I would recommend Mike Lavericks Chinwag’s video’s (the latest with guest Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame (@DuncanYB) which I found very interesting for the Ephemeral Port Groups & vCloud Director parts) and the vSoup podcasts by Chris Dearden of JFVI fame, Christian Mohn of vninja.net fame and Ed Czerwin(@eczerwin) who guest blogs on vninja.net fame. The vSoups are always entertaining and all three of the guys are amazingly passionate about the technologies and from personal experience really great guys also.
  • Speaking of Simon Seagrave and David Davis, Simon has launched a competition on his blog to win one of David’s Trainsignal videos. I’ve already got the videos myself but if you haven’t got them as yet why not apply as you’ll stand a very good chance of winning as remarkably not many people actually apply for great competitions like this.
  • I mentioned in my last All Things Virtual the release of the VMware View App for iPad . Jason Boche has very kindly opened up a test environment for people to connect to and trial the software and app through. I’ve not yet had a chance to try his offering myself but for anyone who doesn’t have access to a VMware View environment this will be a great learning  and demo tool. Jason has also co-written with Dawn Theirl (@KokopeIIi) a great posting all about the usage of Cisco Discovery Protocol in your VMware environment and goes into great depth of how it works. This posting has been extremely helpful in my understanding of the technology for my VCAP studies. Really worth a read for anyone using or thinking of using the feature with their Cisco switches.
  • Last year at VMworld US and Europe David Davis and Kendrick Coleman did a session titled  Top 10 Free Tools for vSphere Management. I was able to attend the session at VMworld Europe and it was a real eye opener to all the software available for free that can make your daily job so much easier. Kendrick has now updated his list with new tools and software in preparation for David and himself doing the session again at this years VMworld conferences if they are selected. If you haven’t seen this list, this will save you so much time trying to find the tools you need without having to beg for financial approval
  • Lately my studying for the sitting of the VCAP-DCA exam has intensified and part of one of the main objectives is HA and DRS. Both Vladan Seget and Alan Renouf have done two great postings on these technologies recently. Alan has created an HA and DRS audit script which checks that your VMware environment meets best practices as laid out in Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman’s HA and DRS book . Vladan has posted about HA Slot Sizes and how they are calculated. This posting really helped me better understand HA and how the slot sizes impact how your HA reacts and reports. As mentioned in Vladan’s posting Duncan Epping has done a brilliant HA Deepdive posting which I would recommend reading first before reading Vladan’s posting
  • Last but not least is a warning to all VMware Administrators to make sure you read what is on your screen when you are doing certain tasks and if you aren’t sure of what your doing rather research it before doing something that may cause you to lose your job. Chris Dearden alerted a number of people on twitter to the VMware communities posting and blogged about the need to read the install screens as this poor guy obviously didn’t.

Well that’s it for another fortnight/month.I hope some of the postings will help people and or those writing their VCAP exams in the coming month good luck.

Gregg