Monthly Archives: January 2013

Friday Shorts – SQL Server Editions and the NHL Unlocked

So it’s been a little while since I’ve put out a Friday Shorts – mainly because everything that I’ve been doing has been either so insignificant or requires a blog post all to itself, but without further ado, here’s my shorts…

Get the SQL Server Edition you are using

sqlserver_sql_server_2008_logoRan into a situation where I was a rebuilding an application for someone, this someone did not know whether initially they had deployed the application with the SQL Server Express edition that it came with, or installed a separate version locally on the machine.  Well, a quick SQL Query like the following will solve that issue and let you know exactly what you are currently running…

 

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘productlevel’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘edition’)

 OMG!  The Lockout is over!!!!

the-hockey-sweaterSo there is a book that I often read to my son before bed called “The Hockey Sweater”, a book that was often read to me as a child.  The first line of this book is as follows; “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating rink – but our real life was on the skating rink.”    This simple phrase could not be more true when it comes to my attitude towards hockey and the NHL.  The recent announcement of the NHL lockout ending brought along thousands of tweets and blog articles of “die-hard” fans stating that they will be boycotting the NHL.  They will not be attending games, with some people saying they will refuse to even view a game on TV.  Well, I could jump on this bandwagon as well, but I know that deep down inside, even though the owners and the players have most certainly hurt the fans, I will still follow my team religiously through out this shortened season and I will get just as excited as I did when I was 14 watching Les Glorieux hoist their 24th Stanley Cup around the Montreal Forum.   There is no way I could ever boycott that feeling, and IMO there are many many others that feel the same way and live by that same simple phrase from “The Hockey Sweater”  I know there is at least one person anyways, whoever designed our Five dollar bill printed those same words on it 🙂

5back5

 

P.S. – Get this Subban stuff sorted out!!!

Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 and SSO Database connection has failed.

VMware LogoSo this post isn’t so much as a how to upgrade to vSphere 5.1 post as it is a simple outline of some of the gotchya’s that I ran into. And not so much during the actual upgrade of vCenter, but with the introduction of the vCenter Single Sign On service. vCenter SSO was introduced in 5.1 in order to act as an authentication broker as well as a security token exchange provider enabling you to authenticate to the SSO service once and then pass those tokens to various other VMware solutions that utilize the SSO components such as Orchestrator.

Honestly, all of the information that you find here (aside from some of the SQL Server tasks) you can find within VMware’s documentation set. That being said I’m going to throw it out here anyways since sometimes I find it easier to follow a blog post rather than a 500 page pdf. Also, this post will really only apply if you are using the embedded SQL Express database for your current vCenter Server, you shouldn’t experience these issues if using an external db.

So first off even though I wanted to install all components on the same machine I opted to go with each individual install rather than the “Simple Install”. I think I’ve read somewhere to do this but can’t remember where, either way, that’s what I did.

tablespaces-filelocationsAnyways, SSO in itself requires a database, a separate database from your original vCenter database. Now VMware does provide you with the SQL scripts in order to create that database as well as the roles and users that go along with it. You can find these buried within the vCenter Server install media at “Single Sign On\DBScripts\SSOServer\Schema\mssql”. If you don’t have SQL Server Management Studio you might as well download and install that as well, as I”m not going to be touching on SQL command line at all. So, the first script you need to run is rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupTablespaces.sql – simply open this script up in SSMS, change the <CHANGE ME> to the directories you wish to store your mdf/ldf database files in. If you don’t know you can always right click on your vCenter database and have a look at where its’ files are located, with the default install of MSSQL Express it’s normally C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\DATA\ –

userscreate

Once you have changed these to your preferred locations simply execute the query, this should create the new SSO DB for you as well as some tables within it. As for the users, they are located in that same directory on the install media and is titled rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql. Again, load this script into SSMS, replace <CHANGE ME> with your desired passwords for these database users and execute.

Also in accordance with the VMware documentation you need to be sure your SQL server is running under mixed authentication, at the time mine was only running under Windows Authentication.  This can be done by right-clicking your server inside of management studio, selecting properties and modifying the Server authentication section under the Security tab.

So with all of these prerequisites met I went along my merry way of upgrading my vCenter Server.  Everything was fine until I got to the point in the installation which setup the vSphere SSO database.  I entered in my server name, the users that I had created earlier yet still ended up getting the following error “Database connection has failed.  You can refer to the vm-sso-javalib.log in the system temporary folder for more information.”

DatabaseConnectionError

After a frenzy of googling and reading I tracked down the issue to being that of the default of MS SQL Express utilizing dynamic ports.  You can read more about dynamic ports here, it’s certainly not my place to try and explain them, what I will try to explain though is how to get your SSO database connected.  So we need to change our SQL instance from using dynamic ports to a static port.  In the end it’s actually quite easy.  First off you need to start your MS SQL Server Instance Configuration (should be in your start menu).  configuration-portchangeFirst you need to go to the network configuration of the server, then double click on tcp/ip.  From here a second dialog box will appear.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom to the IPAll section.  Simply enter the port you wish to use in the TCP Port section.  I chose 1433 (the default SQL port and the one specified in the database connection screen during the SSO setup).  Really you could chose any port, so long as they match.  After changing this value and doing another quick restart on the SQL Service I was able to complete my installation of vSphere Single Sign-On.

Needless to say it took a lot of work to get the first prerequisite of vCenter Server 5.1 up and running, and honestly the rest of the installations (Inventory Service and vCenter Server itself) went flawless.  .  Either way I thought I would throw up the issues I ran into and how I resolved them in the case it might help someone else.  As always, comments are most certainly encouraged in the box below.

Happy New Sphere Winners Announcement!!!!

winnerannouncementFirst off I wanted to say a big huge Thank You to the sponsors for my Happy New Sphere contest this year; Trainsignal for the Designing VMware Infrastructure training and Angelo Luciani and the Toronto VMUG for the Administering VMware Site Recovery 5.0 book.  It’s companies and people like this that help me to help others by giving away some awesome knowledge and swag, so Thank You!!!!

So on to the draw and my overly complicated way of determining the winners

trainsignal winner excel

I took every tweet and comment and put them into a spreadsheet, then assigned a random number to them, then sorted from smallest to largest, then went and got two random numbers from random.org, the first, the Trainsignal winner, second, the book winner…So without further ado here are the winners….Rex Choi ended up securing himself a copy of Trainsignals Designing VMware Infrastructure by Scott Lowe (blog/twitter) and Mike Baranski got himself a copy of Mike Lavericks Administering VMware Site Recovery 5 – Congrats to both of you and thanks for all of the entries, comments, tweets and retweets from everyone….

Also, Mike Baranski, if you are reading this please send your shipping info over to me ( [email protected] )  I’ve yet to hear back from you 😉

Happy New Sphere everyone ( I know, it’s a cheesie tag line 🙂 )

Book Review – Manage Partitions with GParted How-to by Curtis Gedak

9823covI know I know, you are probably thinking to yourselves “Hey, isn’t this a virtualization blog, why are you writing about partitions and disk management”.  Well the truth of the matter is that I’ve been using GParted to do partitioning for quite a while now and to be honest have always had great successes with it (meaning it’s saved my bacon a few times 🙂 )  Well, over the holidays I had the chance to check out a new book by Curtis Gedak titled Manage Partitions with GParted How-to and I’m glad I did!!!!  Curtis Gedak has managed the GParted project for the past 4 years so you can safely assume that he has some pretty good knowledge on the topic at hand 🙂

So, on to the actual book.  It is broken down into a few key concepts (Must know, Should Know and Become an Expert).  Honestly, when I first started reading this I thought it might be something that I would need to sit down with a copy of GParted loaded up in front of me, but in the end I just ended up reading it from cover to cover without even touching a computer.   Each chapter is broken down into a few different sections; Getting Ready, How to do it, How it works, and There’s more.  This type of writing style and organization makes it very easy to also use this as a reference book when performing GParted actions.  The book takes you through every single action that can be performed within GParted; certainly check out the TOC here.

Throughout all my experiences with GParted I’ve been just sort of “using” the application, never really knowing what it is that is happening in the background.  This book gives you the deep dive that you need in order to fully understand how partitions are laid out on a disk as well as a step by step guide in order to create, modify, resize, move, and manage your partitions in order to give you the most effective and efficient disk use possible.

Honestly, don’t take my word for it either, check it out.  You can get a free chapter here where you can see for yourself the wealth of information and sharp illustrations.  However if you do want to take my word, my word would say if you use GParted on a regular basis, or if you plan on starting to use it, this book would be great for you.

My first shot at a whitepaper!

This past year I was approached by PHD Virtual with the opportunity to possible author a whitepaper.  Now I have never done anything like this before and honestly don’t consider myself to be the best writer in the world but I thought I’d give it a shot.  I compared it to my quest of trying to improve at my presentation and public speaking skills, meaning I’ll never improve if I don’t put myself in those uncomfortable positions right?  So armed with nothing I gave it a go and then end result is now published on their website.  You can find the completed result titled ‘5 Steps for improving Virtual Backup & Data Recovery in Large Enterprises’ over in the whitepapers section of PHD Virtuals’ resources page.

All in all it was a great experience and took a lot more work than I initially though it would.  Given then chance though, I’d most certainly do it again…Let me know what you think…but don’t be too harsh 🙂