My ramblings about all things technical

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 3 fully loaded ships.


In 2010, there were 56 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 65 posts. There were 64 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 26th with 150 views. The most popular post that day was VCAP-DCA & DCD.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for this computer is now hosting the specified directory instance, but active directory web services could not service it. active directory web services will retry this operation periodically. and vcap dcd.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


VCAP-DCA & DCD September 2010


Active Directory Web Services encountered an error while reading the settings for the specified Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services instance. Active Directory Web Services will retry this operation periodically. In the mean time, this instance will be ignored. July 2010


Host cannot download files from VMware vCenter Update Manager patch store. Check the network connectivity and firewall setup, and check esxupdate logs for details. April 2010
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VM’s can’t ping while on Distributed Virtual Switches VLAN’s March 2010


VCP4 Learning resources December 2009


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 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 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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All things virtual VII


There’s been a very good amount of news this week and I’ve really been able to grow my knowledge on things I wasn’t that strong on and better my knowledge on things I think my knowledge is fairly good on.

Firstly a big thanks to Nick Weaver for adding me to his blogroll. Nick is a fellow professional I look up to and to be added to his blogroll means so much to me. Thanks Nick hopefully my blogs make your decision the right one!!

This past week has been dominated by the news and release of veeam’s latest product Surebackup. The features and possibilities of the software have been covered so well by such top people I won’t even try detail it. First person I saw to get a blog posting out for it was Arnim Van Lieshout (@avlieshout) followed shortly by Lode Vermeiren (@lode) with his Veeam unveils SureBackup and there are so many other blogs out there but these two with the official page covered everything I needed to know about the product. I’m planning on testing the Veeam software soon to see if it fits our requirements here.

Eric Sloof let out that VMware are indeed going to be rolling out new certifications to bridge the gap between the VCP and the VCDX. After hearing that there are over 53,000 VCPs, of which over 15,000 are VCP4s (and this was said in early February so I’m sure there are a large amount more now) I’m strongly feeling the need to start trying to build myself up in preparation for the VCDX.

Talking of the VCDX, Eric and Duncan Epping both blogged this month about the release of the new VMware vSphere Design Workshop. Eric explained the course layouts and the dates he will be running the course himself. Whereas Duncan has gone into detail all about the course and what it entails. I’m hoping to get on the course really soon as unfortunately the current dates aren’t possible due to work constraints and planned work.

On twitter recently I noticed Kendrick Coleman planning to run Nested VM’s and hadn’t tried the process myself so I did some researching of it’s possibilities and the changes you need to make and found a great document on the VMware Communities about the changes that need to be done.While on Kendrick’s site I noticed he found the solution to the jumpy mouse problem in Windows 2008 R2. I tried the solution myself and it works perfectly!!! Just a warning though that even though it’s possible to do this for  non R2 2008 servers, once you apply the newer driver and reboot the machine your video won’t come back .Thankfully I did a snapshot in case this happened.

One of the consultants here asked me about mismatches between a clients vcentre memory utilisation and the virtual machines task manager values. So I knew a few ideas like checking that the latest vmtools are installed so that performance reading could be conveyed to the virtual centre server correctly but also I had come across a document a while back while having the same problem in my home lab by David Ball detailing a way of fixing the problem.

There has been some major virtualisation news coming out of Microsoft over the past few weeks. Mark Wilson (@markwilsonit) covered it so well that I would highly recommend reading his blog posting covering it. The part of “Rescue for VMware VDI” promotion really brought a smile to my face.

Mike Laverick of the chinwags fame has recently released a new book he has been working on called Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 4.0. Mike has set an amazing example and has given the book out for free in return of people making a donation to Unicef for the download of the book. So make sure you make your donations and get downloading/printing. I’ve already got my hard copy on the way. Also if you haven’t been listening to Mikes chinwags then i would firmly recommend them as they are great for a bit of news and banter from some of the top names in virtualisation. Virtumania is another weekly/fortnightly podcast that is growing exponentially in the industry for having the hottest topics and discussions. It’s hosted by Richard Brambley (@rbrambley) and is well worth the listen.


Gregg Robertson




MCSE upgrade to MCITP Server Administrator

This morning on twitter i saw Scott Lowe(@scott_lowe) and Jason Boche(@jasonboche) talking about the upgrading of their MCSE credentials to MCITP and though i would repost the blog postings I wrote on my Corporate blog and thought i would repost them here for people who are interested.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist(MCTS) 2008 (posted 05 August 2008)

As I’ve said in previous blog postings before, I have a bit of a problem, I love doing Microsoft exams. So feeding my addiction I was very happy to hear of the new windows 2008 exams that were coming out which I spoke of fairly extensively in a previous posting. My aim is still to get my mcitp credentials and along this path I needed to upgrade my MCSE 2003 to Server 2008 and this entailed me needing to write the exam 70-649 : Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist. So last Friday after many nights of studying, weekends spent inside going over material and the massive book the Conchango training department kindly got for me to use called The Real MCTS/MCITP Exam 70-649 Prep Kit: Independent and Complete Self-Paced Solutions which I would highly highly recommend ,I wrote the exam.

I did the upgrade exams from MCSE 2000 to MCSE 2003 so was very weary of this exam as like many other people I know and have spoken to who have done or attempted the 2000 to 2003 exams the two exams were a nightmare and a true challenge of your knowledge. But I have to admit that this exam thankfully wasn’t as insane as those previous upgrade exams and was fairly straight forward in the answering. Now obviously I am not going to divulge any information of the exam as I don’t need Microsoft bringing a lawsuit on me for breaking the rules of the exams, but as I said earlier the book I used was spot on in covering absolutely every bit of information I needed to prepare me for the exam and my test score of 962 is definitely as testament to that(especially because I know the question I got wrong that denied me my full number of points).

So now I am a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in three different fields after passing my exam which definitely makes my Transcript look pretty mean if I do say so myself with the new four credentials being:

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory: Configuration

Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure: Configuration

Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure: Configuration

Now I jusAt need to do my 70-646 for my MCITP:server administrator credential

MCITP Server Administrator (posted 02 April 2009)

On the 19th of march i finally got myself into gear and wrote my second mcse upgrade exam to server 2008 exam 070-646. With the passing of this exam i also acquired the new certification MCITP Server Administrator.

As stated in previous blog postings i  did the upgrade exams for the upgrading of my MCSE 2000 to 2003 and the exams were very challenging, so much so i actually failed one at my first attempt. Sadly both of the upgrade exams for server 2008 were much much easier in comparison. I can possibly attribute some of that to my using of the technology far more than i did for 2003 when i wrote the upgrade exam but they were definitely made a lot easier and most of the answers i felt could have been guessed by someone just based on the answer being the new technology in 2008.

So now i am now an MCITP: Server Administrator


I’m still a bit puzzled why they took away the well known MCSE certification but they claim these new certifications prove your skills more effectively on specific technologies. I still feel the MCSE covered a much broader base which proved your skills much better whereas this new way waters down the exams and doesn’t prove a candidates skills as well. Mark Wilson explains this in a lot more and better detail in one of his blog postings.

I waited to post this blog till my confirmation finally came through and showed in my transcript which happened last night as now i have the MCITP exam at the top of my transcript(which has extended quite nicely with the mcts credentials i obtained from my 70-649 exam)

If anyone is planning to write this exam wants a good book to study for the exam i would firmly recommend the MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-646): Windows Server Administration It covered all the topics very well and is a third off so well worth the buy.

Good luck to anyone writing this exam and hope the above rambling helps you in some way. Now i need to decide if i do my Hyper-V exam or do the exam for me to acquire the MCITP: Enterprise administrator credential.(Funnily enough i did neither and still haven’t. I started my VMware path but I plan to write and blog about my upgrading to MCITP Enterprise Administrator later this year)

Gregg Robertson