My ramblings about all things technical


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



1 Comment

How to ease the management and monitoring of VMware Snapshots


Recently I have been doing some cleaning up of old snapshots that users have created and forgotten to delete and have therefore been around for too long and are in danger of either using up all the space on the datastore they are on or corrupting once the snapshot is ”deleted”/applied to the vm. I came across an additional way I can make my management and monitoring snapshot tasks easier and so I though I would write up a quick post of all the tools I use that save me having to manually go through a crazy amount of machines. I have used a few of my fellow virtualisation friends scripts and tools to help me do this.

  • First and the one i use the most is the SnapReminder script by scripting guru Alan Renouf. Alan’s script is a fairly straight forward one (his words not mine as I’m not at the level yet to be able to write this). The script is simple yet so very effective as it automatically finds the snapshot that meets your time criteria,finds out who created it ,retrieves their mail address from AD and mails them reminding them that they have this snapshot and it is older than a number of days. It’s really great when you get a mail back from a user replying to one of these mails and saying they don’t need it anymore as you know it’s going to make your environment better while you barely had to do anything to remind and alert them to it.
  • Next is part of the vCheck daily report ,one I have spoken of before which is also created by Alan. The vCheck tool is a brilliant reporter for gathering all the information you need to know to make sure your environment isn’t having any problems and enables you to be proactive so as to stop problems before the arise. The snapshot part of this report is always helpful so i know if people have removed their snapshots after being pestered by the SnapReminder e-mails and gives me a good idea of my progress in minimising the amount of snapshots over the limit.
  • Last one is one I stumbled across this morning while researching some other things and is one i didn’t think of creating but is one that is a brilliant idea especially for automated monitoring. Sadly i can’t seem to find the name of the guy who wrote up the article and did the video as i like to give credit where i can but good work to them for doing a video of it. The article shows and details how to configure VMware vCenter Server to send alerts when virtual machines are running from snapshots and reach a certain size. I’ve always used the alerts for memory,cpu and hosts errors which are pretty much the standard ones you get with vSphere with the additional and tweaking of a few to customise it for our environment but I’ve never thought of it for alerting me about snapshots. 

 Hopefully these tips and tricks will help save you some time and heartache with the management and monitoring of your companies snapshots.

Gregg Robertson




As is my luck ,on the heels of me posting this Alan brings out his latest instalment of vCheck, version 5. This new one has some brilliant features and really is an improvement over the last one. I’ve already given it a run over a few of the environments I support and the webpage view it now allows you to view the report in is actually a bit overwhelming with all the data and reporting you get back and has flared up some warnings i didn’t even know were there which is brilliant!

Also a quick congrats to Alan who has now become the latest member of Chad Sakac’s vSpecialists. A brilliant hire there if I do say so myself and very exciting for an EMC employee like myself that someone like him is now part of the team.