TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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The names of the new VMware exams have been released

Just a quick posting about the recent news detailing the now released names of the new VMware exams to bridge the gap between the VCP and the VCDX as well as the VCDX4 official announcement.

Scott Vessey’s (@vmtraining) blog details the names of the exams and the criteria for them and what he feels are good courses to prepare you for the exams. I won’t take anything away from his blog posting about it so read it here.

I’m keeping a very keen eye on these as the gap between the VCP and the VCDX is a very large one and for someone like me who hasn’t gained the experience and expertise required to be able to defend my designs just yet it will enable me to grow my knowledge and also hopefully set me apart from the other 53,000 VCPs, of which over 15,000 are VCP4s and this was a figure from early February.

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

VMW_09Q3_LGO_VMwareCertifiedProfessional_K

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Host cannot download files from VMware vCenter Update Manager patch store. Check the network connectivity and firewall setup, and check esxupdate logs for details.

 

This error has been haunting me for quite some time now. When I tried to setup and get VMware update manager working late last year I came across the above problem. I did some fixes but none seemed to work and due to there being a very large amount of work happening I put it on the back burner. Now if you have read my blog posting about the distributed virtual switches you would have seen the need to keep your servers up to date on the latest patches as well as the obvious reasons of security and bug fixes.

So early March this year I decided I was going to get VMware Update Manager working so I didn’t have to use esxupdate to patch my vm’s. My previous problem I believed were down to me using an older version of VUM and possibly because I had it installed on a highly utilised Virtual Centre Server I decided to build a dedicated server for VUM and do it all to the exact specifications VMware tell you to and install the latest version.

Seeing as I have spent some time trying to get this problem fixed I have found some brilliant blog postings and tips for fixing this problem as well as others that stem from this error.

  • Jason Nash’s (@nash_j) blog posting was probably my first port of call when I tried to fix the problems I was having last year and I still checked the DNS settings this time to make sure everything was as it should be.
  • The next one was from a VMware communities posting someone had put up with problems sounding very close to the problem I was having. One of the replies recommended checking that the update manager port is open on the esx hosts firewall which is a very important part to check as by default this isn’t open and so can cause you problems with Update manager.
  • Next is the one I kept coming across and is the one I felt was causing my problems when I installed it previously. This is the problem where the port information in the vci-integrity.xml file is incorrect. For me this wasn’t the problem as it has now been fixed in Update Manager 4.0 Update 1 but if you are using the previous versions of update manager this is more than likely your problem and the steps should fix your problem. Personally I installed Update Manager 4.0 update 1 Patch 1 to make sure all the bugs I could possibly avoid I would.

There are also so many great resources of how to setup and manage VUM I decided it would be helpful  to list the links I used to to set it all up  as VMware have done some brilliant videos detailing the processes.

  • First set of steps I used was the video demo by VMware of  how to install vCenter Update Manager 4 Update1. (Warning these are videos that need to be downloaded and you will need Adobe Flash player to view them). I would also recommend using the VUM sizing estimator to make sure you allocate the correct amount of space for the database and patches repository. The first bit I had to/chose to do differently was inserting the ip address of the Update Manager server in the server name filed in the installation to make sure that if there are any problems with DNS the server is obviously still accessible. The next bit was for the creation of the ODBC DSN when creating the SQL server instance for the update manager database. Due to me installing it on a x64 machine I had to create the ODBC via the odbcad32.exe application as in the ESX and vCenter Server Installation Guide  , on page 72 it is tells you this which I noticed when installing my Virtual Centre server on a x64 server and this “fix” also applies to the database setup for Update Manager even though it doesn’t seem to be included in the latest documentation :

Even though vCenter Server is supported on 64-bit operating systems, the vCenter Server system must have a 32-bit DSN. This requirement applies to all supported databases. By default, any DSN created on a 64-bit system is 64 bit.

Thankfully now it’s all working correctly and I can finally use Update Manager.

Gregg Robertson

VMW_09Q3_LGO_VMwareCertifiedProfessional_K

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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

VMW_09Q3_LGO_VMwareCertifiedProfessional_K

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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

VMW_09Q3_LGO_VMwareCertifiedProfessional_K

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***UPDATE****

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.


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All things virtual VI

It’s definitely been a very hectic past few weeks for me and due to this it’s taken me quite a while  to get this posting to a post able standard. There has been some brilliant articles and news in the virtualisation arena and some resources that are currently and will in the future help me to make my daily job a lot easier.

First is one that i think is a common mistake among many people when they plan/build their VMware virtual environments.Craig Risinger has posted a guest posting on Duncan Epping’s yellow bricks website all about resource pools and how people need to keep an eye on the amount of resources allocated to a resource pool compared to the amount of machines that are in the resource pool. It does seem a very obvious thing to monitor but I even had to run an eye over the ones in my environment as with the amount of migrations and builds that happen it’s something you forget to check or amend.

Next is a great article I found when trying to explain blocks sizes to a fellow IT friend and about alignments and what both are and what you need to think about in your decision of aligning your data or not. Steve Chambers (@stevie_chambers) wrote the article and is one that I learnt some more from as well as helped me to refresh some of the knowledge i knew but due to not having used it for ages had forgotten some of.

Another posting is stumbled across these past few weeks that caught my interest was a posting by Ian Koenig all about IO DRS. This is a fairly new idea to me as I’ve obviously always done cpu and memory DRS as it’s standard to monitor and make changes dependent on vSphere’s DRS clusters settings but Ian has done a very intriguing and exciting posting all about IO DRS and how it could come very soon to allow you to monitor and make changes dependent on IOPS and details how it would all work. I then did a bit more research on the topic and it seems I’m not alone in my interest and excitement about this feature. Rich Brambley (@rbrambley) wrote a blog posting all about it and detailed some of the things that were mentioned about it at this years VMware Partner Exchange.

Fellow Saffa , Rynardt Spies’(@rynardtspies) has written up a very detailed and thought provoking posting all about VMware vCentre 4 Design Considerations and has given all the pro’s and cons he took when deciding  32bit or 64 bit, physical or Virtual and placement of the vCentre database as well as the Update Manager Server and database.

Simon Seagrave (@kiwi_si) has done a very clever and interesting 5 minute video reviewing vkernel capacity view and how it works and looks.  An application I haven’t tried myself but a it’s nice to be able to get a quick run through of what it is and does.

The infamous Eric Sloof (@esloof) posted up his vmClient last week. the tool looks amazing is something everyone needs to have a try out of as it has helped me tremendously by allowing me to quickly jump between virtual machines while trying to do loads of things at once. He’s also done a great video run through of how it looks and works

While listening to the VMware Communities podcast about ESXi last week I was reminded of the latest release by trainsignal the VMware Pro Series Training Vol1. As i mentioned in my posting about the resources i used for my vcp4 exam, the trainsignal videos are priceless in your studying and preparing for the exam as well as a very helpful tool if you need to refresh your knowledge on things you may have become rusty on. I’m planning on getting my hands on this latest instalment but if Kendrick Coleman’s(@kendrickcoleman) twitter and blog posting about it are anything to go by it should be brilliant.

Vladan Seget has posted a great little posting on how to add a second service console via cli. This caught my attention firstly because I’m personally trying to do more and more via vma and cli to prepare myself for ESXi as well as very good troubleshooting step by step.

David Convery has done a very interesting posting all about the problems he encountered with his vshield zones and the ways he got around them. I’ve been planning to implement vshield zones into my home lab for a while but haven’t got around to doing it yet, so David’s posting is now one of the pointers and steps I’ve added in my implementation of it.

Over the past week there has been a major buzz all about the release of simdk. Andrew Kutz(@sakutz) is the man behind this creation and what a little creation it is. Andrew has managed to create a VMware vSphere4 simulator which provides vSphere4 API-compatibility. I’m seriously excited to get it implemented and deployed in my lab environment as it should allow me to get so much more of my testing done and hopefully will save me some money in my VCDX lab deployment. I’m also keeping my eye on the official site of the product for any news and update.

Lastly one from my daily troubleshooting. While migrating machines to new hosts we noticed that certain machines network cards were unticking the connected radio box in the vm’s settings

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Even if we ticked connected and applied the changes it kept on reverting back to being unticked. My colleague Simon Phillips noticed the solution, that we had created the vSwitches with the standard 24 ports and therefore once we had reached that number of ports used there were obviously no more spare ports and so the machines couldn’t be connected. There were no errors telling us this was the problem but it’s a very good example that early simple planning and configuration would have fixed.

Gregg Robertson

VMW_09Q3_LGO_VMwareCertifiedProfessional_K

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All things Virtual V

 

The past few weeks have been very busy both personally and in the virtualisation arena. My previous posting on the DNS issues I came across and my still unanswered problem with Virtual Distributed Switching VLAN connectivity(which I will post a blog about when I find a solution better than the long winded work around I detailed in my discussion) while deploying a large number of projects both here in the UK as well as in the US has kept me very busy. As for the virtualisation side there has been a large amount of interesting articles,more employment movements by some of the top people in virtualisation and a very nice bit of coverage of this blog.

Unfortunately even though I work for one of the major VMware partners I wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to the VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas last week. Sadly I didn’t see a large amount of new and interesting news coming out of this either,but the blogs I found very interesting and which covered the events was blogs Duncan Epping(@duncanyb) of Yellow Bricks fame’s blog on the event detailed. From these blogs the points that really interested me were:

  • VMware’s recently acquired company Zimbra. I would firmly recommend reading up on what Zimbra is and what it does as I have a very strong feeling we’ll be hearing plenty about it in the coming weeks and months.A very interesting acquisition which I’m sure is one they have done to increase their clout in the Cloud Computing arena.
  • The news and painful lack of definite news on the decommissioning of the service console was of upmost interest to me obviously as we have a large array of esx machines here in my environment that are all using the service console. I’ve still not read any really good reasons for this happening apart from someone at VMware thinking it would be fun to make VMware Systems Administrators have cold sweats at the the threat of it coming in soon and the work that will need to be done as well as the skills that will need to be learnt for this to happen.  From chatting to a few fellow virtualisation sys admin’s there is a lot of dissatisfaction with this decision and the reasoning of “minimize the possible attack surface”. This is complete rubbish to me as the trade off of ease of configuration and management compared to the possibility of your systems being attacked is massively painful as with correct security procedures there shouldn’t be any real chance of this happening so why take it away and make my job that much more difficult and complex. Hopefully someone will be able to answer this with better reasoning.Scott Lowe’s first session’s blog comments have detailed part of this and is where my disappointment in the still lack of news is detailed by a few people.
  • The next part that i did find interesting due to my plans to utilise the software for my works own environment was the talk about VMware Chargeback. Scott Lowe’s blog about this session was the one i got the most out of on the topic and is one I’m currently using as a resource for my roll out of the appliance. Hopefully if all goes well I can post my findings and opinions of what it does and how it has or hasn’t helped me.
  • If you want a really good overview of the day Chad Sakac of virtual geek fame has posted a very in depth and detailed posting on the event and is a blog i would recommend if you have the time to read(I’m currently still making my way through it)

This week Monday Nicholas Weaver (@lynxbat) posted his latest update to the much tweeted about and highly spoke of vSphere Mini Monitor. I have personally installed the tool and am busy configuring it to suit my needs. It’s a brilliant tool for anyone wishing to monitor their virtual environment in new practical ways(twitter feed especially). Also a big welcome to Nick on his joining EMC. Seems the tide of top virtualisation people joining EMC is carrying on. Nick’s posting on his leaving and his reasons for leaving are something I can relate to as is his desire to constantly learn and push himself and is what I did when I left my then gf,parents,lifestyle and comfy job back in South Africa to move over to the UK just so that I could push myself and become better and hopefully end up working with some of the industry leaders(which I’m very proud to say I am now that I work at EMC and previously Conchango)

After much waiting (almost three months) my VCP4 certificate finally arrived this past week and with it my workstation 7 licence key. The licence is very helpful as I use workstation 7 for a lot of my home testing/workshop testing and work. Eric Sloof(@esloof) posted about the kits being sent out and as well as the new vcp logo which I have now attached to my signature at the bottom to keep in accordance.

In the past two weeks one of my team members and I have now been tasked with the backing up of our virtual machines and so i needed to brush up my knowledge on vcb backups. While asking an open question on this David Convery(@dconvery) pointed me to a blog posting he did detailing a document he wrote all about vcb and how it works and how to deploy it. It’s a brilliant document and one I have saved and have been using to manage our vcb backup environment.

As I have detailed in previous blog postings my aim this year to try better my skills in Powershell so that I can make my life easier in managing my companies virtualised environment. One of the leaders in this field in using powershell for VMware tasks is Alan Renouf(@alanrenouf). Last Monday he posted a brilliant article detailing automated vm provisioning. I have yet to try these scripts out but if these do what they say they can do and are anything like his vcheck tool then I can’t wait to get them to make my daily job easier.

Simon Seagrave from techhead.co.uk posted about the ability to Pre-register now to be notified when you will be able to register for VMworld2010 (i had to read that twice myself to make sure it made sense) I’m planning on going to the European one this year, which I’m extremely excited for for so many obvious reasons!!

While busy working this past week I decided to catch up on all the VMTN podcasts I hadn’t listened to yet as I like to keep up to date on everything happening and unfortunately with the amount of new and information coming out all the time the only time I can listen to these things is while I’m at work. The last one had Mike Laverick of RTFM-ED fame and Stevie Chambers from the UCS team and of viewyonder.com fame. The podcast was extremely interesting to me and I found myself sitting still at points to concentrate on the things the podcast was covering. The podcasts are very informative and I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn and keep up to date with everything happening and due to happen in the virtualisation field.

As I said in my previous All Things Virtual posting the London/South England VMUG is happening next week Thursday. Sadly I’m not able to attend as I stated in the posting which was made even more painful this week when I heard it’s fully booked before my co-workers had registered so now none of us are going and that so many of the top british virtualisation industry leaders are attending. I’ll definitely be glued to twitter during the day and Simon Long of SLOG fame has promised me a detailed blog about the days proceedings.

Gregg Robertson

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All Things Virtual II

Seeing as so many people read my previous blog posting I thought I would continue with my keeping people up to date with all the things virtual and linked to virtual that i have been doing/working with/learning/reading up on this week so far.

I think the first one should definitely be about the release of esx(i)4 Update 1 a. Duncan Epping(@duncanyb) was the first person I saw talk about it and has done a very detailed blog posting about the update

Recently I had to explain to some people what Distributed V switches were and how they worked. Not wanting to make a fool of myself I went back to an article I used to strengthen my knowledge on the topic before my VCP4 exam and clarified what I was telling the people was correct (which it was thankfully) .It’s a great posting from Barry Coombs(@virtualisedreal) for anyone unsure or confused on what distributed switches are and what they do/are used for.

When I started in IT I always dreamed of working for a big company that was on the forefront of technology. This dream was one of the reasons I moved over to the UK and recently this dream was partly clarified by EMC being in the Fortune 500 list of companies. It’s a small thing in reality as you don’t have to be in the fortune 500 to be at the forefront of technology but 19 year old Gregg would have been impressed I think if I could tell him where he would be working 7 years later

As I’ve said in previous blog postings, I’m trying to grow my knowledge in powershell scripting as I feel this will only help make my daily job easier but it will also enable me to do it better in the future. Jonathan Medd directed me to a great podcast covering the topic called Get Scripting Podcast. I’ve unfortunately only been able to listen to a few of them but my aim is to get through them all before January next year. They are great for anyone wanting to learn ways of making their daily jobs easier and also to learn all the latest going’s on.

EMC recently announced their new storage technology called FAST. I’ve heard it called the DRS of storage technologies and was obviously interested to see what it was(as my knowledge on storage technologies has only started to grow in the past few months so is quite minimal at the moment) and how it worked. Two great pieces of information that came out this week that cleared some it up was Chad Sakac’s blog on the topic in which he goes into amazing detail on the topic and a great YouTube video Steve Chambers(@Stevie_chambers) tweeted a few days back showing Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) on a Symmetrix V-Max

If you’ve read my blog postings on my preparing for the vcp4 exam you would know I used Scott Lowe’s (@scott_lowe) mastering VMware vSphere book. Now he has a new reference guide out called: VMware vSphere 4 Administration Instant Reference. It looks like another great reference guide for anybody in the VMware field and is another book I have added to my ever increasing Amazon wish list.

Last but not least a big congratulations to Jonathan Medd(@jonatanmedd) ,Matt Roblin(@mattroblin) , and Maish Saidel-Keesing(@maishsk) on the passing of their vcp4 exams this past week .

Gregg Robertson

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All Things Virtual

I planned to get this post out last week but unfortunately time ran out before I had a chance. I thought I would put a quick post up of all the things virtual and linked to virtual that i have been doing/working with/learning/reading up on in the past week and a bit.

If you’ve been reading any of my previous postings you would know I have been fiddling fairly extensively and trying to grow my knowledge of powershell,powercli and all the things that can be done with these tools. A professional i follow on twitter who is a guru at all things powershell is Luc Dekens(@lucd22). He has many great scripts and tools for anyone interested and put up a very helpful script of how to search for all VMX files in all datastores and register them into VC.

Scott Lowe(@scott_lowe) did a great write up of  the book vSphere 4.0 Quick Start Guide.The book was written by many people Duncan Epping(@duncanyb) and Alan Renouf being two of them. It’s a book I’m planning to get myself in the new year and a great book for someone wanting to increase their knowledge in a short space of time as well as a brilliant reference book for people who have been in the industry for ages. The book has just been made available for those of us in Europe wishing to buy it.

For all my powershell and PowerCLI scripting and learning I have been using a brilliant tool called PowerGUI. Dmitry Sotnikov posted last week the new addition of the software and detailed all the new features. This tool is awesome and I would recommend it to anyone planning to use and currently using powershell scripting.

Simon Seagrave(@kiwi_si) wrote a very useful posting all about some great virtualization fundamentals videos from VMware. These are brilliant if you’re trying to learn about virtualisation and are even better for those of you who need to show the benefits of virtualisation to management to maybe get them to agree to converting to VMware.

Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) has created an absolute life saver reference guide for all things PowerCLI. I printed this off straight away and will be using it extensively in my daily job and my continued learning of PowerCLI. Alan has been a MASSIVE help in my learning of PowerCLI. If you want to learn PowerCLI, his blog posting on PowerCLI where do i start is a great place to start and is the place I’ve recently started at. Also I would recommend keeping an eye on the PowerCLI page of the VMware communities as there are some very informative and interesting discussions on the topic.

Scott Lowe has put up two great posts explaining the differences and similarities of npiv and npv as well as what sr iov is in another posting. I love these kinds of posts as for someone like me who needs things explained in laymen terms to understand it fully it really helps and Scott does this in a great way in these two posts. For those out there who somehow don’t know Scott has a brilliant book called Mastering VMware VSphere 4. If you haven’t got this book already I would highly recommend it for the studying for your vcp4 exam and even more so as a brilliant reference book.

Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame has recently put up two great posts announcing ESX 3.5’s update 5 release and detailing what’s contained in it. As well as a posting of how to do the infamous kill –9 command of ESX in ESXi. If you haven’t had to restart your mgmt-VMware service before due to it hanging or had to use the kill –9 command as the service won’t stop/restart then either you have an environment all VMware admins dream of or you’ve been very very lucky so far. Simon Long (@simonlong_) has posted a great blog posting recently with videos from VMware  showing how to do these service restarts if you’ve never done them before.

Lastly is my blog roll on the right hand side of the page. All of these blogs are my favourites and are blogs I highly recommend to anyone wishing to learn and stay informed of everything happening in the virtual world. These are some of the best and the best in the industry so try take some time to get through them all and add rss feeds for the ones you find the most interesting.

Feel free to follow or even message me on twitter  on @greggrobertson5 and I would recommend following the people I have detailed above and in my previous blog postings.

Gregg Robertson

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VMware Certified Professional vSphere passed

Below is my posting about my passing of the VMware Certified Professional vSphere exam that i passed almost a month ago now on  my company blog site http://consultingblogs.emc.com/greggrobertson/.

For anyone that has read my previous blog postings or is a follower of my random ramblings on twitter you would know i have been preparing for my VCP4 exam for the past couple of weeks/months. I wrote it last Friday being filled with an unbelievable amount of nerves due to a lot of people saying this exam was much harder than the vcp3 exam which i found very challenging.

Obviously by the title of this post i passed the exam and with an unexpectedly high score of 444 with the required pass mark being 300 (I’m more shocked by this score than anyone else as for a couple of the really hard three answer questions i had to make educated guesses ,which obviously i seem to have got right ) . I didn’t feel the exam was harder than the vcp3 exam but i did study a large amount more for this exam, had a much stronger base of knowledge this time due to my working with the technology for quite a while now, having built almost a dozen vSphere esx servers, several large environments ,having studied for and done my vcp3 recently as well as having attended the “what’s new” course for vSphere .  So the exam may be much harder for people.

As I’ve detailed in my past two blogs on the VCP subject I used and tried to cover a very large amount of resources in my studying which definitely kept me very busy in trying to get it all done/covered and understood before the exam.The reasons I took on such a large amount is firstly I obviously wanted to pass the exam but also I wanted to make sure of my knowledge so that I can do my job effectively, really make sure I understand everything I was learning and got experience in the certain things I haven’t had to use before which therefore I didn’t fully understand how they worked.

Many people have spoken and detailed the layout etc of the exam so i don’t see any point in repeating what they have said already in that respect.

I do agree though with the people saying this exam definitely tests you more on things you only really know about/how to do if you have worked with/played around with all the technologies in the vSphere suite of products which i think is a much better thing as i think it proves you haven’t just regurgitated information and also keep the accreditations status quite high.

A massive thank you has to go out to all the people i follow and chat with on twitter. They were more than happy to answer any questions i might have on things i couldn’t get my head around and also were a great help in giving examples from their real world experience of using the products. I would definitely recommend following the list created by @ericsiebert of the top 100 virtualisation people to follow on twitter. Sadly I’m not on it , but my aim is to keep working and learning so as to prove my inclusion on the list soon.

Good luck to anyone writing the exam, hopefully if you have to make educated guesses for some questions ,they will work out as well for you as they did for me.

Gregg Robertson

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