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



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vBeers – July 1st


To spread the word and hopefully get as many people as possible I’m reposting Simon Seagrave’s posting about the second vBeers to be happening. I unfortunately can’t make this one due to already attending a VMware partner Exchange. Firstly a definition of vBeers:

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.


The following is quoted from Simon’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 lovely ole English pub, ‘The Cittie of Yorke’.  Details and directions below:

vBeers - Cittie of York
When & Where

The London vBeers is held on the first Thursday of every month starting at 6pm in ‘The Cittie of Yorke’ pub which is placed centrally to both London’s West End and The City. This venue serves a fine of selection of English beers along with soft drinks and bar snacks.

Location: The ‘Cittie of Yorke’, London

Address:  22 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6BS

Nearest Tube:  Chancery Lane

Date: First Thursday of every month

Time: 6:00pm

Ye Olde Map: (click to enlarge)


Gregg Robertson


London VMUG

For only the second time I made it to the London VMware User Group (VMUG) yesterday. The day was very interesting and the most exciting part for me was I got to meet some of the top VMware people i follow and chat to on twitter.

The day started off nicely with my colleague Simon Phillips and I attending the optional early presentation by Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) . His session was all about the VESI and how he has used it to create a whole load of scripts he uses in his daily life. He also announced that his “ PowerPack” has now been re-launched as the VMware Community PowerPack to allow anyone to add their scripts to the powerpack he had built up and it already has contributors from the likes of Jonathan Medd (@jonathanmedd), Armin Van Liesenhout (@avlieshout) and Luc Dekens (@lucd22) to name but a few. The VESI application is one I unfortunately haven’t had a very large amount of time to play with but it is now higher on my list of things to learn and play with and hopefully I can contribute a script or two to it once I have honed my PowerCLI skills. A very funny point of his presentation was his slide with a hypnotising pattern on it saying VMware works better on EMC products.

We then had a lunch break and then the “real” VMUG started. Alaric Davies welcomed everyone and detailed the itinerary and then we got right into the first presentation by the sponsors RES Software.The product they spoke of and demoed was a was highly interesting one called PowerFuse. To not say the wrong facts etc I would highly recommend downloading the introduction guide from here and reading through it yourself.

Next was a presentation by Colin Styles from Prudential all about his experiences of migrating his servers from ESX 3.5 to ESXi 4 while also migrating to a new HP blade system. His experiences were very interesting and it’s always invaluable to hear some of the problems he came across as if VMware do actually follow through with removing the COS in version 4.1 then the migrations to ESXi will be inevitable. One thing I’m glad about was that I don’t have an HP blade setup as hearing Colin and many of the other attendees numerous problems they have had with them it’s pretty scary especially seeing as how much of the market they dominate.

Then Peter Polkinghorne of Brunel University spoke all about his environment and the challenges and lessons he has learnt and why he chose specific VMware technologies to storage technologies. The discussions that came off of his presentation were very interesting especially the discussions around SNMP monitoring and how he battled once he migrated from 3.5 to 4.

We then had a very quick refreshment break as we were already 40 minutes overtime and then Simon Gallagher (@vinf_net) spoke all about Virtualising Terminal Server workloads and his experiences in doing it. I was quite impressed with the results he noticed from doing this and the idea is one I’ve never thought of doing before but is a perfect example of the capabilities of VMware and that even tier 1 applications are perfectly safe to be virtualised and even made more productive.

Then Dave Burgess from VMware spoke about VMsafe and the features it is due to bring. I’ve personally never used VMsafe before but was very impressed by what Dave said it could bring to your environment. I had only briefly read about VMsafe before so the session was very interesting. I won’t try cover what was said as I’m sure I’ll explain it wrong so check out the page for it here

Simon Townsend  also from VMware then presented and discussed VMforce as it seems not many people watched the webcast from last week all about it. I won’t embarrass myself by trying to cover everything he said as there are some brilliant blogs and nice demo of it’s capabilities and feature.

  • Parker Harris posted a blog posting all about VMforce here.
  • Rod Johnson of Springsource also posted a brilliant posting all about it
  • Then there’s the video demo which is a bit cheesy but shows all the features really well

We then started the interactive panel discussion. Mike laverick and Stevie chambers discussed the “egg’s in one basket” theories and how the real thing in the end is no one really notices the difference of a highly utilised host but everyone knows when a host goes down. Stevie then invited us all to come see the Cisco UCS environment which is a very exciting idea as it would be amazing to see it all in action and see it’s capabilities.

We then finished due to us having overrun and those of us who could make it went down to The Pavilion end pub for vBeers. I hung around a lot longer than I planned to as I ended up chatting with Simon Long (@simonlong_) of The SLOG fame , daniel eason (@daniel_eason) ,Doug Hazelman (@vmdoug) from Veeam software, Simon Seagrave (@kiwi_si) the recent joiner to the EMC vSpecialist team , Matt Roblin (@mattroblin) ,Steve Chambers (@ Stevie_Chambers) from Cisco and Ricky Alqasem (@rickyelqasem) also from Veeam. It was really great to put faces to names and chat to them all. I’m really glad I got to go to it and hopefully I’ll make it to the next one on the !5th of July.

Gregg Robertson



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vBeers – May 6th

Just to spread the word and hopefully get as many people as possible I’m reposting Simon Longs posting about the vBeers. I plan to attend both the VMUG beers and the vBeers after the London VMUG . The following is quoted from Simon’s Website:

Definition of vBeers

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.


When? Where?

So now you know what it is, it’s time for me to let you know the when and the where.The first vBeers evening will be held on:

May 6th6pm till late at The Pavillion End, Watling Street – MAP

This is straight after the London VMUG. For those of you who regularly attend the VMUG, vBeers will be help at the same pub as the usual after-VMUG beers.

The next vBeers evening

June 3rd6pm till late at The Cittie Of Yorke, Holborn – MAP

Gregg Robertson