Monthly Archives: June 2012

Expanding a Linux disk with gparted (and getting swap out of the way)

Over the past year or so there have been a few times where I've need to expand a disk attached to a Debian system.  Now this isn't a hard task by any means, and may not even warrant a blog post, but the matter of it is that I always seem to forget the steps I need to take to get that unallocated space that I've added next to my actual EXT3 partition since the swap partition is always in the way!  So, I thought I would just throw up how I've done it in the past in hopes to maybe help a few others that visit, but more-so for myself and my memory (or lack there of).  Now keep in mind I'm sure there are ways to perform this exact same thing without taking the VM online, or I'm sure there are other 'better' ways to achieve the same results, but this way has worked for me consistently so it's what I chose to do.  Any other suggestions are certainly welcome in the comment box below.

First off, you will need to expand your drive from within the vSphere Client, not rocket science here, pretty simple to do.  Next, get yourself a copy of gparted and mount the ISO to your VM and reboot booting into the gparted interface (accept all defaults for keymap, X, and resolutions, unless of course you like playing…).  So the first thing you will notice inside gparted is that the swap partition is right smack in the middle of your EXT3 partition and the unallocated space. Normally, you could just resize the EXT3 partition and consume the unallocated space, but with swap there you can't.  

So, the goal is to migrate the unallocated space to precede the swap partition.  This is done so using the following procedure..

First, resize your extended partition (not the one labeled linux-swap) to include the free space.  In my case this is done by selecting /dev/sda2 and then selecting the Resize/Move button.  In the popup, simply drag the arrow on the right side of the bar to include all of the free space available and again select Resize/Move.  

Just to note, we are not actually performing and moves or resizes at this point, we are simply just creating a chain of commands that gparted will follow once it is applied.  You can either apply at the end of each step, or wait till the bitter end and do it, its up to you.  Either way when you are done, you should see your unallocated space move into /dev/sda2 as shown below.

So, as you can see from the screen capture, the next thing we need to do is move that swap partition to the end of /dev/sda2.  This will allow us to proceed with the next few steps that we need to perform in order to accomplish our end goal of expanding /dev/sda1.  This time we will need to select the linux-swap partition (/dev/sda5) and select Resize/Move.  Inside the popup, this time click the actual white space inside the partition and drag the complete box over to the right (don't use the arrows).  This will move the swap partition to the end of /dev/sda2 for us which we will next resize.  Once your looking like the below images, again, click 'Resize/Move'.

Alright, now we are getting somewhere, you should be looking pretty similar to the shot below by now.  And yes you guessed it, now we need to move that unallocated space right outside of /dev/sda2 in order to make it available for the expansion of /dev/sda1.

So, once again select /dev/sda2 and select 'Resize/Move'.  This time we will use the arrows.  What we want is to move the left arrow this time to the right all the way over to edge of the yellow box (swap).  This will resize the complete /dev/sda2 to the same size as the swap it contains (/dev/sda5) and in turn, create that unallocated space in between the partitions.  Once done, click 'Resize/Move'.

Alright, almost there, you should be somewhat similar to the screenshot below.  Our unallocated space is now directly next to our EXT3 partition and no long a member of /dev/sda2.

At this point I usually apply the first three operations before the expansion.  I've noticed sometimes the process will error out if trying to do the following steps without applying first, so go ahead and apply those operations (Hit 'Apply')

So we are now able to simply extend /dev/sda1 into that unallocated space.  Similar to when we extended /dev/sda2, this time select /dev/sda1, click 'Resize/Move'.  In the popup as we did earlier, select the arrow at the right side of the partition, and drag it to the right to merge sda1 with the unallocated space, when done, select 'Resize/Move'.

So, there you have it!  We have moved that unallocated space into our EXT3 partition.  Go ahead and hit apply again to commit that final change and at the end of the process you should have a larger /dev/sda1.

Now, like I said at the beginning, I'm sure there are ways to do this while the VM is online, or I could be doing things completely wrong, but this way has consistently worked for me for both Linux and Windows guests.  That being said, I'm open to other suggestions, leave them your comments, concerns, thoughts, etc below in the comments … 🙂

Book Review – VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 Study Guide by Brian Atkinson

Over that past few weeks I've been lucky enough to be going over a reviewers copy of Brian Atkinson's (blog/twitter) new book VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 Study Guide.  During my VCP journey I have been through a lot, and I mean A LOT of study material (listed here) and let me say I wish I would have had this book during my studies.  

First off, when you purchase this book you get way more than just a book.  In addition to the 753 pages, yes, 753 pages of exam oriented material you get the following…

  • Tear card to help you align exam objectives with page numbers in the book.
  • Practice questions at the end of every chapter (key for evaluating and knowing where you stand in certain areas)
  • ONLINE ACCESS – Wow, you get an assessment test, all the chapter questions from the book, flash cards and a searchable glossary!

Honestly, the name of this book could be a little lacking…sure it's a great Study Guide for the VCP 5 certification, but in my opinion it can be used for way more than that.  As a day to day VMware Administration you can (and I have) use this book as a point of reference to flip through and learn how to perform certain tasks, functions, features, etc…

The book is jam packed full of information and real-world scenarios and it is organzied in such a way that aligns with the VCP 5 blueprint.  Aside from just information, there are a ton of exercises or labs that you can go through in order to gain that hands on experience, as well, each chapter ends with a summary, a section outlining the exam essentials for that chapter, and a set of questions to help you assess what you have just read.  This layout makes it very easy for you to be sure that you have accomplished everything that the blueprint requires and helps you prepare for almost anything the VCP 5 exam can throw at you.

Brian Atkinson, the author of this book has been a vExpert since 2009, and is very well known from within the community.  In my opinion he has hit a homerun with this publication and I would recommend anyone looking to begin studying for the VCP to grab yourself a copy of VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 5 Study Guide.  You won't regret it…  You can check it out officially from the publisher here or also over on amazon.  Also check out Brian's blog over on the VMware communities site.   Good luck on your exam!

More StarWind News – and more free lisenses!!!!

Are you a VMware vExpert, VMware Certified Instructor (VCI), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) or a Citrix Certified Instructor (CCI)?  If so you are in luck!!!  StarWind Software, the makers of the innovative iSCSI SAN software announced that they are now giving away NFR license keys of their High Availability SAN solutions to the groups listed above.  No way you say, yes way, you can head on over to this form to claim your copy of the StarWind iSCSI SAN, StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V as well as the new VM Backup solution that they have.

It's great to see companies like this recognize the time that individuals from those communities put into 'spreading the word' and make it easier for all of us to gain access to the technologies that we need access to.  It makes everything so much easier when you arn't dealing with multiple trial licenses and expirey dates.  You can check out the official press release here.

One note, you only have until the end of September to get over there and get your keys, so go sign up, and if the form is too tricky for you simply send a message over to Roman Shovkun [email protected] (CSO of StarWind).

VMware View – Reset, Refresh, Rebalance, Recompose, Rehuh?

For the past few months I've been playing around a little bit with VMware View, seeing what it is all about, what it has to offer and trying to find a place for it.  One of the great features that I love about View is the linked-clone functionality where I can spawn multiple desktops off of one parent virtual machine and do this in a very fast amount of time.  After playing around with some of my desktops I found that there was still quite a few tweaks and applications that I wanted to install on the parent VM, so I went ahead and updated the parent, took my snapshot, and went to the the View Manager to find out how to update the rest of the "linked" desktops.  This is where I ran into the option to Reset, Refresh, Rebalance, or Recompose.  So which one was it?  Well it's actually recompose that I need to perform, but for the record, this is what each option does….


  • Pretty self explanatory really, a reset within View is the same as a reset within vSphere.  Basically does a hard power off on the VM and brings it back up.  This functionality can actually be performed (if you allow it) by the end user.


  • When refreshing a desktop or a pool of desktops, you are basically bringing that VMs delta disk back into sync with the parents currently selected snapshot.  Meaning, if you have went to the parent made changes and created a new snapshot that you wanted to deploy (which is what I had done) and then perform a refresh it will not apply those changes.  It doesn't change which snapshot you are using, only refreshes the desktops back to the currently selected one.


  • Similar to a refresh, however this is the function that allows you to chose a new snapshot within the parent VM, or a completely new parent VM for that matter.  This will peal through and provision that new replica VM and update all of your pooled desktops to reflect the changes made within the parent.


  • This option is quite a simple one.  Basically it just has a look at your configured datastores and desktops and moves them around on different datastores in order to best utilize the space allocated.

So, hopefully this helps anyone who stumbles across this article looking to find the differences between these options.  If anything it will help me remember them by writing this….Again, I'm new to View, so I certainly could be wrong on this, but from what I've read I think I'm ok.  As always, comments, concerns, questions, answers, words of wisdom…put'em in the boxes below…

StarWind Software Solution Receives U.S. Army Certificate of Networthiness (CoN)

Now I've never worked for the army/military and I really have no experience with them, but I'm sure that it takes a lot for them to give their stamp of approval on a product or solution.  Also, there must be strict security, compliance, and sustainability requirements that vendors and solutions must meet in order to receive such an honour.  Well, I'm proud to say that one of my sponsors, StarWind Software has met just that and recieved the Certificate of Netwothiness from the US Army.  You can check out the full press release here and while your there you might better go and grab yourself a copy of their free iSCSI SAN.  That's right, you can get the same security, comparability, and sustainability in your organization knowing that the US Army has put their support behind it, and you can get it for free.  Congrats StarWind.

Free Course – VMware vCenter Operations Manager Fundamentals

For those that may be interested there is a new course on the mylearn portal called vCenter Operations Manager Fundamentals.  I went though this course over the last few weeks and it is pretty awesome…  It takes you through the installation and configuration of vCOps and explains the major/minor badges, describes how to use all the tabs effectively and also walks you though setting up Smart Alerts and reporting.

So, if you get some spare time go and check it out.  It's an eLearning course so you can come and go as you please picking up right where you left off, or simply skip to the areas that are of interest to you…  And, it's free, so why not?  Head on over the and login and get yourself enrolled…

Below is the course outline…

Course Description

This e-learning course covers how to install and configure vCenter Operations Manager as well as how to use its many robust features. The course consists of five modules:
  • Technical Overview of vCenter Operations Manager covers the vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 vApp architecture and resource requirements, the vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 vApp installation considerations, and introduces you to the major and minor badges.
  • Installing and Configuring vCenter Operations Manager discusses how to install and configure vCenter Operations Manager.
  • Using the Dashboards and Badges explains the main function of the major and minor badges, how to interpret the badge results, and how to configure thresholds and notifications.
  • Operations and Planning describes how to use the Operations tab and the Planning tab.
  • Working with Smart Alerts and Reports covers how to configure and use smart alerts, how heat maps are used, and how to work with reports.

Something Awesome From #Veeam – Backup and Replication 6.1 is here (and it’s free!!!)


That's right, for the past couple of weeks the countdown clock to 'Something Awesome for Virtualization Lovers' has been ticking away on the Veeam site and now it's finally hit zero revealing that Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1 is here in all its' glory.  So, for paid customers there is a slew of new features and enhancements packed into a .1's worth of code updates which you can review all of them in the 'What's New' document, some of which I will touch on below…and for non Veeam customers, there's something in it for you as well…  Veeam has announced that they will now ship a free edition of their flagship Backup and Replication starting at 6.1 moving forward.  Yup, you read that right, it's free.


Wow!  What's the deal?  A free edition!?!?!


All other Veeam products have shipped with a free edition and now Backup and Replication does as well.  In essence what it does is take the now depreciated Veeam FastSCP name, and bundle that technology in with some backup/restore/migration capabilities and slap a new user interface on top of it.  Kudos to Veeam for continuing with their great community contributions…One of the biggest new features is called VeeamZip

Huh!  VeeamZip?

Yup, it's like WinZip but for your VM's.  The new VeeamZip function let's you quickly select a VM and perform a full backup on that VM.  This leaves you with a .vbk file, fully encapsulating all of that VM's settings and configuration, fully compressed and deduplicated.  It completely maintains the integrity of the VM, the disk types (thin, thick) that you have chosen and can be performed on a powered on VM.  A very handy tool that will allow you to quickly take a backup of the VM for testing, development, or archiving purposes.  Hey, you could even install the free edition on to your workstation to allow you to pull a backup of a VM onto an external USB drive.  Very Cool!  Also, what good is a backup if it can't be restored?   Well, you can use the free edition to also restore the entire VM, VM files (.vmdk, .vmx), or individual guest OS files as well.  Also, if you have a licensed version of Veeam, simply import this VeeamZip into your licensed environment to perform all the crazy Veeam functionality you normally would such as vPower, etc.

Speaking of vPower, it's here for Hyper-V

Hyper-V users can now take advantage of all that vPower has to offer such as Instant VM recovery.  You can now run your Hyper-V VMs directly from their compressed deduplicated backup file.  An awesome feature which really cuts down on the time it takes you to restore and get back up and running if a loss occurs. All changes are replicated to a separate snapshot file. thus leaving your backup file in a consistent state. Oh, once your happy with everything, you can easily migrate that VM back into your production environment.

So, what next, well, get on over to and get your hands on Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1 and give it a try for yourself!  Again, It's free!!!  Also, be sure to check out the What's New document as there are a lot more enhancements, fixes, and features that I haven't touched on here.  I quickly browsed through it and seen a lot of enhancements around the intelligent load balancing, disabling inline deduplication, hot add enhancements, etc…