Monthly Archives: March 2013

So you wanna be a vExpert?

vmw_logo_vmware-expertIf you do, between now and April 15th is the time to do so…well, actually all of 2012 is the time to do so, but you have until the 15th to apply…

The ringleader himself Mr. John Mark Troyer has opened the floodgates in a blog post released last week stating that vExpert 2013 applications are now open.  If you feel that you qualify then I would most certainly apply.  Last year was my first year as a vExpert and honestly it’s a great experience!  Sure you get some licenses and some beta opportunities, you get a private forum with the rest of the awesome vExpert minds, but really, the best part of it all is receiving a little credit and appreciation for all that you have done throughout the year.  Honestly, I would do it with or without the vExpert program, but it’s certainly nice to have that title.

Again this year there are three different paths you can take (listed below).

Evangelist Path
The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public or were in a language other than English.

Customer Path
The Customer Path is for leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have been internal champions in their organizations, or worked with VMware to build success stories, act as customer references, given public interviews, spoken at conferences, or were VMUG leaders. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path
The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning through accreditations and certifications and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements. A VMware employee reference is required for VPN Path candidates.

So if you feel that you qualify in any sort of way be sure to get your application in.  You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take 😉  Application form is here!!!

Why aren’t my VM’s sysprepping? Have you recently installed I.E. 10?

ieI ran into a situation recently where I noticed that one of my 2008 R2 SP1 templates would simply not complete or really even start it’s sysprep  after deploying.  Honestly, I spent a lot of time fiddling with my customization, ensuring I had the correct username’s and passwords, along with checking that I was using the actual fqdn.  None of this helped!  Also, I was very adamant about reviewing the sysprep logs – you know c:\Windows\Panther – the setupact and setuperr files, these really didn’t give me any indication of what was wrong.  However, the same files, located this time at c:\Windows\system32\sysprep\Panther did 🙂  Are you kidding me?!?!?

Either way, that didn’t matter – I just wanted to rant about having the same files located in two different spots for a bit.  After located the correct file I did find an error message about why sysprep was not completing.

“SysPRP LaunchDLL: Could not load DLL C:\Windows\SysWOW64\iesysprep.dll”

Ohhh, that’s why!!!  Aha moment – no, not really, I had to google this one – which pointed me to here – Huge props to whomever sgennadi is – I wish I could log into technet and give you points!!!

/Facepalm – Once again the update of a browser has failed me.  It appears that upon updating to IE 10 some registry changes occur that cause sysprep to, well, fall flat on its’ face.  I’m sure a wondrous Tuesday patch will come out to address this ( and break something else ) – but in the meantime, if you are strapped and need to get some work done, the following registry changes worked for me …

First off grant the local Administrators group Full Control over the following spots within the registry

[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Cleanup
[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Generalize
[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Specialize

And modify the following values…

[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Cleanup

Key - {EC9FE15D-99DD-4FB9-90D5-5B56E42A0F80}
Oldval - C:\Windows\SysWOW64\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Cleanup_IE
NewVal - C:\Windows\System32\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Cleanup_IE

[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Generalize

Key - {EC9FE15D-99DD-4FB9-90D5-CE53C91AB9A1}
OldVal - C:\Windows\SysWOW64\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Generalize_IE
NewVal - C:\Windows\System32\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Cleanup_IE

[HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Specialize

Key - {EC9FE15D-99DD-4FB9-90D5-676C338DC1DA}
OldVal - C:\Windows\SysWOW64\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Cleanup_IE
NewVal - C:\Windows\System32\iesysprep.dll,Sysprep_Cleanup_IE

Hopefully this finds it’s way into your browser if you are experiencing the same issues!  Ugh!  I loathe Internet Explorer 🙂

VMworld 2013 call for papers – Don’t be discouraged!

speakingThere have already been various posts from around the world announcing the opening of VMworld 2013 call for papers.  There has also been a number of posts with all of the tips and tricks on how to best submit your abstract in hopes of it being accepted.  This post isn’t really about either of those, it’s simply a little description of my experience with the call for papers.

Last year I submitted a session for VMworld in regards to vCenter Operations and how it’s not just applicable to large enterprises or cloud environments  how the SMB can certainly benefit from operations management as well.  Needless to say it didn’t get accepted…  Certainly I had hoped it would, I thought the information I had to share could be valuable to others and at the same time, help me with my speaking abilities 🙂  That being said I wasn’t that disappointed…  However, 2 weeks after it closed I got a message from one of the VMworld track organizers asking if I’d be interested in speaking on a customer panel in regards to vCOps.   Obviously I was thrilled and ended up speaking for the first time at VMworld!

So, be sure to get all your sessions submitted.  I know you all have a lot of valuable information to share and I want to hear it!  And even if you don’t get accepted during the first round of cuts, just remember, there’s always that chance…

My wishlist for the vSphere Web Client .Next

Genie-1First off I want to state that by no means do I have anything to do with VMware and/or the development of any of the following.  Also, VMware has nothing to do with me and to my knowledge are not working on any of the following items, but you never know 🙂

So with that out of the way lets get started.  I’ve had enough time to use the web client provided with vSphere 5.1 to know that it is most certainly a powerful tool.  As of late I’ve been experimenting with adding my own vCenter Orchestrator workflows and executing these from the Web Client – This is, along with some other features of the web client that I have blogged about (tagging and searching),  very cool and very nice to have.  That being said, I’m a geek, and I’m never satisfied, always wanting more – so here’s what I call a wishlist for the WebClient.Next.

vCOps / Capacity IQ overprosioned VMs identification.

vm-elephantAlthough in many environments almost every single VM may be over provisioned I think it would still be nice to be able to quickly identify those that are heavily over provisioned (maybe by a metric? that the user defines).  So maybe the elephant is a bit much, but to have the VM icon change, or an alarm raised directly within the web client may help to drive home the importance of right sizing your VMs.  It may expose this information to more people, more application owners that may have access to vCenter but not vCOPs.  But hey, why stop there?  Why not make some recommendations when editing the said VMs settings on where that “right-size” is.  Maybe another little row on the RAM selection to identify vCOps recommendations, or maybe a simple note in the CPU selection window.

vcopsram

More vCOps integration

vcopsreports2I’m not going to lie, it has been fabulous being able to view those vCOps badges from within the web client.  The less I need to go to another tab the better 🙂  That being said I want more!!!  It would be nice to have some of the vCOps reports available from within the web client and mapped to inventory items contextually….  Just as we can now start a vCenter Orchestrator workflow by right-clicking on a cluster it would be nice to generate a capacity report in a similar fashion.

 

More vendor plugins

plugObviously this one isn’t on VMware, I believe that the foundation is already there, but I’d love to see more and more vendors and partners take advantage of it and develop plugins for the web client.  For instance, those backup vendors that have had integration within the c# client, as well as those that haven’t had any integration at all.  I can certainly see advantages to right clicking a VM and being able to directly add it to a backup job.  I understand that vDP already has this, but there are a lot of people using third party solutions….

***UPDATE***

The longer I wait to publish this the more of my items are being delivered.  Veeam has just announced their support and integration into the vSphere Web Client in the next release of Backup and Replication.

Update Manager and Single Host Management

Yup, this is one that I’m positive is on the list for almost everyone I know.  We certainly need a way to perform those Update Manager scans and remediations from within the Web Client.  Having to switch back and forth between clients, well, how do I put it, kinda sucks!  Also the ability to manage a single host.  I’m sure we are not the only customer in the world that has those one-off hosts that are not connected to a vCenter – it would certainly be nice to be able to have the same interface available to manage these as well.  This one I would assume is a shoe in as there will be no more C# client next release.

Tags into PowerCLI

powerclilogoOK OK, this one really has nothing to do with the web client but still, something I wanted to stress.  The ability to assign tags to inventory items in vSphere 5.1 is one of the most useful and practical features of the release in my opinion.  It’s easier to sort through massive amounts of VMs, tag them by service, location, sla, however you really want.  Certainly granting the ability to tag and retrieve VMs by tag from PowerCLI can only complement that feature as there are a lot of scripts I find myself wanting to write, but being held back by the absence of and tag cmdlets.

 

Speaking of Tags and Update Manager

Wouldn’t it be nice to remediate hosts based on how they have been tagged?  Hmm, OK, well, maybe that isn’t that useful…BUT, what would be cool is having the ability to schedule certain VMware Tools/Compatibility updates based on  a virtual machine tag.  I’ve had countless times where I’ve needed to move certain VMs into a temporary folder in order to have them participate in a VMware tools upgrade that following night, then, move them back and try to remember where they were. By simply tagging these VMs and running my scheduled tasks against the tags would make this process a little easier.

I’m sure I had more, however over the weeks I’ve been compiling this list I’ve just forgotten to write some of them down…  With that said, is there anything you are looking for in vSphere.Next?  Comments, concerns, opinions, rants, all are welcome below….

Say What? Top 50!!!!

Thank-youSo the votes have been counted, tallied, and posted over on Eric Sieberts vSphere-Land and the results are in.  And this blog, to my surprise has ended up in the top 50, coming in at #39 overall!  Honestly, a huge thank you goes out to all that have voted.   Coming into this I never expected to rank anything close to that, last year I was at #125. Not once did I think I would move up 86 spots!!!!

Now being in the top 50 wasn’t really my goal when I started this blog but hey, I’ll take it!  I’m just happy that the community is finding some usefulness in some of the content that I’m writing.  I’ve certainly consumed my fair share of information over the years so I’m thrilled to simply just give back.  It’s truly an honor to share the same stage with all of the great virtualization bloggers out there.  A big thanks goes out to Eric Siebert as well, not only for taking the endless hours to compile the voting survey, the lists of bloggers, feeds, twitter IDs and whatnot, but for also giving me a little push to start this blog ( I attended a vMeetup at VMworld 2011 w/ Eric and John Troyer where I got some great info on how to start a virtualization blog).

So with that I’ll just end this post with again another Thank You to my readers!  Please continue to leave all the comments and feedback you want, as it helps me to improve on both my knowledge and my writing.  #39 is certainly a great achievement for myself, but the fact that my ramblings and solutions are helping some of you solve your issues is the real payback for me!  Plus, I’m glad some of you enjoy because I’m not stopping 🙂

SHARE ALL THE THINGS!!!!

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Friday Shorts – Stompin’ Tom Connors Eh

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world. – A quote from a message Tom Connors left to his fans on www.stompintom.com/

Stompin’ Tom Connors dies at 77

stomSomething that I’ve realized over my lifetime is that Canadians tend to hold their homegrown music very close to their hearts.  I grew up w/ great Canadian bands like The Tragically Hip, I Mother Earth, Big Sugar, oh, there are so many more great Canadian bands that I’m missing.  Bands that seemed to be somewhat unknown as soon as you step outside the confines of our country, yet while inside the borders, they are blockbusters, selling out shows and just about as famous as you can get.  That’s why when I heard of the death of Stompin’ Tom Connors Wednesday night it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks.

For those that don’t know of Stompin’ Toms music let me fill you in.  A country and folk singer with a huge library (over 300 songs, almost 48 albums)  focusing solely on the people he met and things he has done while travelling across this great country of ours.  Songs like Big Joe Mufferaw (a french Canadian logging legend),  Sudbury Saturday Night (the mining industry in Sudbury), Bud the Spud (about hauling potatoes from Prince Edward Island to Toronto), Tillsonburg (about working in the tobacco fields of the town), and of course The Hockey Song (self explained) are just a handful of his most famous songs that you can still hear being played daily throughout arenas, bars, and wedding venues across Canada.

canada-stompin-tom-live-530There’s no other artist that I can think of that can even come close to exhuberating the patriotism, character and spirit that Tom Connors did. He made you excited about your country and truly proud to be a Canadian  He’s certainly touched the lives of many by taking the everyday life of someone or something and translating that into words (sometimes humorous  and slapping a guitar behind them.  I can’t even begin to think about the number of shows he has performed, since he never discriminated – one night he’d be in front of 20 000 people, the next he’s playing at a bar with 10.  I had the privilege of catching one of them and let me tell you there is nothing more thrilling than watching this man walk up on stage, thrown down his peice of plywood (his stomping board 🙂 ) and dazzle the crowd for an hour with his stories and songs.  At the end of the night he’d have almost wore a hole through a piece of 3/4 inch board.

So a final goodbye to a man that has left his mark on our country, 300 songs that will continue the inspiration and patriotism just they did while he was here.  May you rest in peace, eh?





New Orleans or Madrid? Veeam says take your pick…

techedFeel like a trip to New Orleans or Madrid?  Fancy yourself some TechEd craziness?  How’s about saving yourself a little bit of money and having Veeam purchase your ticket?  The guys in green are at it again with their monthly drawings and have placed a full conference pass to TechEd 2013 into the March slot.  So no excuse, get on over and enter the drawing now!  And the best part is, they don’t really slam you with email too bad after the fact either so no reason not to!  The winner will be announced March 18 so time is running out!

A friendly reminder to get out to the vPolls today!

voteforpedroJust a reminder that today is the last day that you are able to vote for your favorite virtualization blogs!  Now I’m not saying get over there and vote for me, but, well, yes I am!  Actually no, try and place your vote based on the suggestions that Mr. Eric Siebert has given below.  There are now over 200 blogs on the voters ballot – craziness, that’s a lot of information being shared, so go have a look and be sure to get your picks in.  You can follow the link here to see Eric’s post on the voting process, and as well, while you are there be sure to check out Eric’s blog, in particular his vLaunchpad – a complete listing of all the blogs out there..  Awesome stuff!  I know that this takes a ton of work to put together, categorize blogs, tally votes, find RSS feeds and whatnot so hats off to Eric.

As promised here is the criteria in which to base your votes on!

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.