Monthly Archives: November 2012

Upgrading vCenter Operations 5.x to 5.6

First off there are a few different ways to get vCenter Operations 5.6 up and rolling into your environment.  The way documented here is the upgrade path that it looks like VMware is recommending; by downloading and installing the pak file into your existing installation of vCenter Operations 5.x.  By going this route you are able to maintain all of your collected data metrics and don’t have the hassle of deploying a new vApp or instance of vCOps.

Once you have the pak file downloaded, log into your vCenter Operations Administration Portal.  The admin portal is probably not a screen that you are familiar with.  In the few years that I’ve been running vCOps I’ve probably been into these screens only a handful of times.  You can get to your admin portal by browsing to https://your_vc_ops_ip/admin/

Once in the admin portal select the ‘Update’ tab along the top navigational menu.  It’s here you will browse to your downloaded pak file and initiate the update – to do so, click ‘Browse’, select your pak file and then click ‘Update’ – Imagine that – a step that follows the logic of what you are thinking in your head 🙂
vCenter Operations Update Tab

vCOps Update Tab

 Once you have selected the EULA and confirmed the update the upgrade process will begin.  This process for me took approximately 15 minutes.  Once it’s done you should be redirected back to the admin portal login.  Have a look at that version underneath the the header – Congrats you did it!

So, go ahead and log back into the admin portal and click the ‘Status’ tab.  You should see a screen similar to below outlinng that your services are running and you are running the 5.6.0 version.

There you go you are now updated to the current version. Now you can go into vCenter and add the license as you normally would with other versions of vCenter Operations.  One note here, vCOps will need to restart in order to detect the new license so it’s a good idea to probably do a complete power cycle at this point and I also needed to clear my browser cache before things were displaying properly.   Honestly thoughI love this upgrade process.  It’s the first time tthat I have gone through an update of a virtual appliance via the pak file method – it was easy, relatively quick and ran flawelessly – Great work VMware 🙂

vCenter Operations 5.6 – Go Get IT!!!

Any follower of this blog knows that I am indeed a huge vCenter Operations fan!  I’ve done a couple presentations about the product both at my local Toronto VMUG as well as VMworld 2012 stressing this.  It’s not the uncanny ability to monitor the environment that excites me, it’s the ability for the software to learn the ‘normals’ of your environment and display all of that in a series of coherent, sharp looking dashboards that really drives the value of the product to me!

So, without further ado the VMworld announced vCenter Operations 5.6 is finally available for download so if you are a current VCOps customer you can go ahead and pull down your upgrade.  But wait, what if I’m not a VCOps customer?  Oh, no worries, with the release of 5.6 so long as you are licensed with vSphere you can go and pull down the Foundation edition for FREE!

Huh!?!?!  Foundations edition???  Let’s have a look!  With the introduction of the re-branding to the vCenter Operations Management Suite, the foundation edition came to life as well.  Having a quick look at the editions I would say that the foundation edition is pretty close to what the Standard edition used to be (minus the dynamic thresholds but still FREE), the standard edition now includes the capacity optimization features that the old advanced edition offered, the advanced edition now includes the physical infrastructure tie ins, with the enterprise edition giving you the whole shebang that the vCenter Operations Management Suite offers.  Again, these aren’t the only features included in each edition, you can get a full list here.  Some of the best in my opinion

  • Being able to intelligent group VMs and monitor your health, workload, capacity, stress, risk as a whole.
  • The integration within the vSphere Web Client,
  • Although I haven’t had the chance to play with the integration into Configuration Manager and Infrastructure Navigator I’m sure it’s pretty cool.

Check out the full product page here!

A slew of announcements from Starwind Software

November 15th was a pretty big day for the teams over at StarWind Software.  Three press releases came out from the company yesterday dealing not only with their iSCSI SAN solution but they are now a player in the backup space.  First off the recently released iSCSI SAN with High Availability is now available for the low low price of FREE!  There are some restrictions on the amount of data within the free edition however it’s still a great piece of technology to pull down and try!  Full press release is here.

Next up is the backup announcements.  A new version of their Storage Software and a Enhanced Backup for Windows Server Hyper-V is out now.  Again, another press release here.  Also last but certainly not least is the Backup Solution for VMware has now also been launched with full support for vSphere 5.1 – once more, press release here.

Big congrats to the teams over at StarWinds on a crazy launch day 🙂

More freebies from Veeam!

Just a quick update –  Veeam has announced that their program in which they dole out free NFR licenses to vExperts, VCP’s, VCI’s, MVP’s, MCP’s, and MCTS’s has been updated to now include the lastest release of Veeam Backup and Replication.  So if  you are in any of the following groups be sure to go and grab your 2-socket license and try it out!  For more information on the new features you can check out their promotional video here.


vExperts, VCP’s and VCI’s – click here for your copy

MVP’s, MCP’s and MCTS’s – click here for your copy

A little bit about my latest sponsor – Unitrends

So as you may have noticed Unitrends now has a little spot on the right hand side of my blog and I’m excited to have them there.  The thing that surprises me most about Unitrends is the shear amount of time they have been around – 20 years – that’s amazing.  Starting out by providing backup capabilities for Unix systems, then branching into Windows and finally now offering an application to protect both your physical and virtual applications I think you can safely say that they have ‘seen it all’ when it comes to backup.

So in terms of what readers of this blog might care about is their support now for both VMware and Hyper-V.   Unitrends comes in a virtual appliance format and is called Unitrends Enterprise Backup – a little bit more info about the product below…

  • Ability to protect both physical and virtual environments – very cool to have an ‘all in one’ solution.
  • Provides Instant Recover – Lower RTO’s by booting the VMs directly from the files they have been backed up to.
  • Archive capabilities – take those important time sensitive  frequently audited applications and be sure you have complied to all company policies by pealing off to SAN, NAS, tape or disk.
  • Flexible Deployment Options – Although I mentioned a virtual appliance above you do have ability to install a physical backup appliance as well for those who wish to keep their backup environments separated.
  • Provides File Level, Block Level and Application Level protection.
  • RDM support with an agent installed on guest.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this product and expect some more content once I get it in the lab to try out.  But for now let me leave you with this.  Like most companies Unitrends offers trail versions of their software for 30 days with the ability to simply apply a license into the Enterprise version, however the difference here is that they also offer a FREE edition.  Now this free edition isn’t chopped down either, It’s a fully functional, online supported backup appliance.  You are limited to only 4 VMs but mostly all functionality is included within the free edition.   A nice fit for those ROBO installs with a couple of VMs running.  So get on over to Unitrends site now and have a look for yourself, get the trial, get the free edition, try it out and let me know what you think.  Also for those VCP’s/vExperts out there they have NFR licenses available!

Toronto VMUG – November 6th Recap

Once again i was lucky enough to attend my local quarterly Toronto VMUG meeting at the convention center in Toronto   Since i missed the last one i was beginning to run short of my VMUG fix but this one certainly fulfilled that. All in all it was a fantastic day getting to talk to VMUG leader Angelo Luciani and fellow member ( and presenter for the day) Eric Wright (blog/twitter).  Below are my thoughts and comments from the presentations for the day.  As the slide decks come in i will be sure to add them to this post.

Angelo started off the day with a brief overview of what’s new and upcoming with the Toronto VMUG.  Honestly, the amount of work and time this guy puts into making each and every one of these days informative and a success  is amazing.  He is a great advocate for the VMware community as he seems to be in the know about almost everything that is happening within it.  The full day VMUG regional conference is coming up sometime in February and I can’t wait till that one, as they are always a huge benefit to anyone in any stage of virtualization.




Next up Mike from VMware Canada gave a brief presentation outlining some of the announcements and releases that came out of VMworld.  Included in this was a great explanation on how VMware is perceiving the vCloud Suite as the building blocks or the infrastructure behind the cloud and more specifically the software defined datracenter.  It’s too bad that these presentations don’t have audio because I found this slide deck very beneficial in my understanding of where VMware stands with these products as well the various pieces that are  included within them.




And now on to the sponsors, McAfee gave a great presentation on how they have aligned a number of recent acquisitions and products to the complete datacenter stack and how each and every component of the datacenter requires an effective level of security.  They spent a great deal of time displaying features and different configurations on how customers can deploy their MOVE AV solutions.  This looks like a pretty solid piece of technology and has an interesting take on providing security by white-listing safe applications to protect against zero day exploits.  As consolidation ratios continue to grow our perception on how to tackle antivirus will certainly have to change and I think McAfee has certainly taken a step in the right direction in providing customers with different options.  As always, any presentation revolving around security sparked a ton of conversation within the room, and McAfee did a fabulous job at fielding all the questions.




PureStorage was the next sponsor on stage…well kinda.  There was an unfortunate event (SANDY) which resulted in the presenter not being able to attend, however as always, Angelo did a great job at setting up a go to meeting with another presenter.  PureStorage did a great job at attempting to present offsite as well as field questions (a tricky combo).  They have a pretty niche product in their all flash array and have done a great job at keeping that price point down into an affordable range as well as providing some pretty nifty looking software management tools around it.  I thought that the go to functionality worked fine (well, till the end) and hope this can help to open up more doors for the Toronto VMUG.  Angelo’s already begun to envision the presenters and subject matter experts that we may be able to facilitate presenting in a web-ex fashion whom otherwise may not be able to.

And finally to cap off the day we had a great presentation titled BCP for VMware environments put on by community member and blogger Eric Wright.  Eric first talked to the audience about BCP in general and how he has tackled setting up various teiring levels to protect his critical VMs based on RTO, RPO, and SLA’s defined within his corporation.  He then went on to talk about how he has applied three separate products (Double Take, Veeam Free Edition, and vSphere Replication) to those different protection levels.  Eric is a great speaker and I’m glad he decided to share this with the group.  It’s always great to hear it from a community member as there are no sales or pitches included in the presentation, just what he has done, how he did it, what worked, what didn’t, etc…  Invaluable to other community members like myself.  If you don’t already I would recommend following Eric on Twitter and reading his blog.   Hats off to Eric, great presentation!




So as always I encourage everyone to get out and attend your local VMUGs (not sure if you have one, find out here) !  Every time I attend one of these I always come back with some great takeaways and benefits that I can immediately begin to implement or adjust in my current environment.  Big thanks once again to Angelo organizing this awesome day!  As always there are multiple ways to stay connected with the Toronto VMUG (and they are always updated and active)  including reading the blog, follow them on twitter, connect on LinkedIn  and circle them on Google +.  See you all in February!!!!

Friday Shorts – Baby 1000v, VNXe cmdlets, @herrod on #vBrownbag

Cisco Nexus 1000v Free

In early October Cisco announced a bit of a pricing change and deployment model to their Nexus 1000v virtual switch appliance.  And by a bit of a pricing change I mean FREE!  The new packaging model includes an advanced edition as well as the newly announced free essentials edition (blog post here).  In all cases I’ve read that it is free * – the asterisk meaning there is a nominal support fee (whatever that means).  All in all, support fee or not I think it’s a good move by Cisco to help get the 1000v some more exposure into the community and help generate some more buzz around the network giants flagship virtual swtich.

Import-Module ItsCrazyWhatACommunityCanDoTogether

All I can say about this is Wow!!!  David Muegge with some help from Henri Hamalainen has developed some awesome PowerShell cmdlets and packaged them into a nice little module you can download.  What does this module do?   Well, check out his blog post here but in a nutshell it queries a ton of stats and performance metrics on your EMC VNXe and presents them into some nice little graphs for you.  I can’t wait to give these a go!  Great work David and Henri!!!

Steve Herrod rocks a #vBrownbag

All I can say is wow!  Ive been attending the vBrownbags for quite sometime now and seen a fair share of rockstars drop quite a bit of knowledge on them but having Steve Herrod, CTO of VMware present certainly takes the cake.  Steve came on to speak briefly about certification and what it means to VMware, the software defined datacentre, and how technologies such as vSphere 5.1 provide the building blocks for the infrastructure that powers it.   Although he did have an agenda he left quite a bit of time for open topics which resulted in great conversation around Nicira, Openstack, hands on labs platforms, VMworld locations, Horizon Suite, and more and more and more.  The vbrownbag audience certainly took advantage of having someone with some answers in the goto presenter role.    First off big thanks to Steve fore taking the time to come on, its amazing to see how VMware as a company, even c level execs care about the community that has formed around them.  Secondly, big big thanks to the vBrownbag crew (Cody Bunch, Josh Atwell, Damian Karlson, Alistair Cook, Nick Marshall) for putting out soooo much great content week after week.  If you have yet to check out the vBrownbag make sure you do, there is awesome certification series on there and a slew of VCDX presenters coming up

setfacl – Quit changing Linux permissions and allow access to more than just root!

As much as I love working inside of the vSphere client and focusing solely on VMware and virtualization I’m also tasked with a lot of web programming, database development and general server administration.  I look after a few Debian servers which provide an external presence and the web developers working on them often require access to upload and change files and folders within the webroot.  Now being security minded I don’t want to just hand out our root password all the time so having them connect as root is out of the question as it’s disabled.

Historically the process has involved changing the various folders owner to the webadmin account, thus allowing them to connect and do what they need to do as webadmin.  This has always worked great but poses some challenges especially when using certain CMS applications such as WordPress and Joomla.  When installing new plugins and modules these applications tend to create their new folder structures and set the owner to www-data – kind of a pain in the @$$ as now the webadmin account has just lost access to write to the directory.  Again, this usually resulted in myself or someone being summoned upon to change the owner again!  So the solution, a little bit of ACL awesomeness…  getfacl and setfacl in a nutshell allow you to specify multiple types of access to more than just owner and group on Linux files and folders – perfect for my scenario as now I can leave root as the owner for security purposes, www-data as the group in order to actually let the internet display the sites, and add an acl to webadmin in order to allow them read/write access to do their job.  Below is a pretty short example on how to get started.

First off you need to have support in your kernel, which honestly you probably do but incase you feel like checking just do the following on your boot config.

cat /boot/config-kernelversion | grep _ACL

This should generate something along the lines of a CONFIG_EXT3_FS_POSIX_ACL=y

As with any Debian package installation it’s pretty easy..

apt-get install acl

Almost there, we know have acl installed and know it’s supported, we just need to be sure we mount the file system in which we want to provide acl’s on is mounted with acl support.  To do this you can simple add ‘,acl’ to your /etc/fstab file as shown below….

/dev/sdb1 /var/www/webroot  ext3 defaults,acl,errors=remount-ro 0 1

You may need to either reboot here or issue a remount command on your targeted drive in order to get things working.  After doing so adding an ACL is pretty simple.  You can check out the man pages for more in-depth documentation but to get myself up and running the following was sufficient…

setfacl -Rm u:webadmin:rwx /var/www/webroot

Voila!  Done!  Again this is a VERY introductory post dealing with Linux acl’s and permissions…and there are a lot more posts out there which go deeper into details but if you are looking to get up and running quickly this should do the trick!  Comments, Questions, Concerns – throw them in the comments box below…

Introduction to the new search functionality in the vSphere Web Client

Alright, here is my second attempt at putting together a short video outlining some of the cool new features of vSphere 5.1, more specifically the new Web Client.  In my last video I fumbled through trying to show you a little bit about the new tagging features and this time I decided to have a look at some of the cool search functionality.  Honestly, by combining these two features i think it will really help those large enterprises (and the small ones too) find what they are looking for and find it much faster.  Anyhow, enough of my randomness, check out the video below….