My ramblings about all things technical


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 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 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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