Tag Archives: Friday Shorts

Friday Shorts – VeeamON, Storage Protocols, REST, and Murica!

“If that puck would’ve crossed the line Gord, that would’ve been a goal!” – Pierre McGuire – A Mr Obvious, annoying hockey commentator that drives me absolutely insane! (Sorry, watching the Habs game as I put all this together :))

Jambalaya and Backups – Get there!

veeam_logoVeeam had some big announcements this year along with a slew of releases of new products, beta’s and big updates to existing products.  All that said we can only assume that VeeamON, the availability conference focussed on the green is going to be a big one!  This year it takes place May 16-18 in New Orleans – a nice break from the standard Vegas conferences!  I’ve been to both VeeamON conferences thus far and I can tell you that they are certainly worth it – all of Veeams engineers/support is there so if you have a question, yeah, it’ll get answered and then some!  So, if you can go, go!  If you can’t, if it’s a money thing – guess what???  Veeams raffling off 10, yes 10 fully paid (airfare, hotel, conference) trips over the holidays – so yeah, go sign up!

But we have a REST API?

apiAlthough this post by John Hidlebrand may be a month old I just read it this week and it sparked some of my own inner frustrations that simmer around deep inside me 🙂  John talks about how having a REST API is just not enough at times – and I completely agree!  I’m seeing more and more companies simply state, oh yeah, we have a REST API, we are our first customer!  That’s all said and great – but guess what, you wrote it and you know how to use it!  All to often companies are simply developing the API and releasing it, but without any documentation or code examples on how to consume it!  John brings up a good point about, hey, how’s about having some PowerShell cmdlets built around it?  How about having an SDK we can consume?  Building your application off of a REST API is a great start don’t get me wrong, but if you want people to automate around your product – help us out a little please 🙂

In through iSCSI, out through SMB, in through SWIFT, out through REST

isolonFellow Veeam Vanguard and TFD12 delegate Tim Smith has a post over on his blog describing a lot of the different storage protocols on the market today and how EMC, sorry, Dell-EMC Isilon is working to support them all without locking down specific data to a specific protocol. If you have some time I’d certainly check it out!

Happy Thanksgiving Murica!

I’ve always found it odd that Canadians and Americans not only celebrate thanksgiving on different days, but in different months as well!   Come to find out there are quite a few other differences as well.  You can see the two holidays compared on the diffen.com site.  It makes sense that we here in Canada celebrate a bit earlier – especially if our thanks revolves around the harvest.  I mean, no one wants to wait till November in Canada to harvest their gardens and crops – you’d be shoveling snow off of everything!  Either way – Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends – may your Turkey coma’s be long-lasting!

Friday Shorts – VMware, Veeam, Docker and Community

Dreams are important!  Otherwise, sleep is just 8 hours of nothing. – MacGyver

vSphere 6.5 is here!

VMware LogoNDA’s have been lifted and the flood gates have opened in terms of bloggers around the world talking about vSphere 6.5!  Now that the product has finally been declared GA we can all go ahead and download it today!  Certainly the new HTML5 client, the addition of a more functional vCenter Server Appliance and built-in disk level encryption are enough to make me want to make the jump…eventually 🙂  That said there is a lot that is new with vCenter and ESXi – you can check it all out here.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 is here!

veeamlogoAnd just as VMware releases it’s flagship hypervisor software to the masses Veeam follows behind one day later with the support and availability back it all up with their updated release of version 9.5 of Backup & Replication.  There is a lot that’s new within this release – check it all out here!  With Nimble support and a ton of integration with other Veeam products such as the Veeam Agents this release has a lot – but perhaps some of my favourite enhancements will be the ones that will probably not be written about the most and that’s all of the engine enhancements and things like the vSphere inventory cache.  As with most Veeam releases I’m sure this one will be well adopted!

Tech Field Day 12 – that’s a wrap!

tfd-logo-100x100I’ve just returned home from Tech Field Day 12 in beautiful San Jose!  I say beautiful but I was told it was cold by multiple people there – that said, I’m Canadian, and 18C in the middle of November is not my idea of cold 🙂  Either way I sat with 11 of my peers around the TFD table for a couple of days and got blasted by the fire hose.  There was some great presenting companies there; think Dell-EMC, DriveScale, Rubrik, Cohesity, StorageOS, Docker, and Igneous.  Expect more in this space about what these guys had to talk about but for now if you want to check out the videos you can do so – links are all over here.

Fancy some community recognition!

Ah, November – cooler air, the transition from Halloween to Christmas – and of course, a flurry of forms to fill out if you’d like to be included in any vendor/community recognition programs.  Most of these things require you to nominate yourself – so suck up any pride as you may have to get a little self absorbed while you try and brag yourself up.  Recognition programs are a funny thing – Some are great, some are so-so – I’m not going to go into the details of each.  If you want a great spot to see a list of them all Jim Jones has a great post outlining everything here.  And to get a glimpse into one of my favourties, the Veeam Vanguard program – check out Matt Crapes post here.  I’ve also been invited to the KEMP VIP program – which is new to me so expect to see more about that as well in the future.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Docker

docker-logo-300-71x60I feel like I can’t attend any presentation anymore without hearing the work Docker – honestly, containers and Docker is just popping up everywhere – with the oddest of technologies claiming they have support for Docker.  So, with all this my problem is, What the eff is Docker – I’ve never had a use-case to even start looking at containers within my day job – therefore, I don’t really have that much knowledge around the challenges and benefits of them.  After seeing them at TFD I can now say that I need to explore this further – and jump on this container bandwagon to learn what they are all about.  First stop, Mr Stephen Foskett’s blog where he tells us just “What the deal with containers are“.  If you are just learning, or just love containers – check it out!

Friday Shorts – #vDM30in30, AWS, Reading, Writing, AWS and more…

Would it kill you not to be so funny all the time? That’s all I’m askin’. This woman thinks I’m very funny and now you’re gonna be funny, so what am I gonna be? I’m gonna be a short bald guy with glasses who suddenly doesn’t seem so funny. – George Costanza

VMworld is over – vSphere 6.5 is near

VMware LogoWith VMworld EMEA sweeping up the remains of the solutions exchange the dawn of vSphere 6.5 is here!  And with that comes a multitude – and I mean a crap load of multitudes of blogs talking about all of their favourite features of the release to come!  With that said I can’t possible link to all of them that I have read – but what I will link to is to the linkmaster himself Eric Siebert!  He’s got a great roundup post here of all of the features within vSphere 6.5.  Now this post doesn’t have links, just quickly lists the features – but if you want to go deeper on a certain feature be sure to check out his ‘vSphere 6.5 Link-O-Rama’ page as well!

Renting vSphere on AWS

vmware_awsVMware and AWS announced a partnership – one which would allow vSphere to run on the Amazon cloud!  What this means for customers is that they will get the familiarity of vSphere and all it has to offer, but on a cloud-like scale, running on bare-metal within Amazon’s datacenters.  What’s in it for VMware – well, they get that global cloud they have been looking for, without having to actually build the datacenters behind it!  And Amazon – well, who knows where they will take it but I can’t see them complaining too much about being able to pitch certain services and products to those who chose to run VMware on AWS!  Anyways, Frank Denneman has a great article here taking a deeper look into everything – as well, a little bit of a preview on how the new service enables one pretty cool new feature – Elastic DRS.

Alastair teaches us to read!

Although this post is a couple months old I’m just getting around to sharing it now!  I wanted to be sure as I’m always interested in how everyone in this community stays current with so much going on all the time!  The amount of content getting created for and by the tech community is huge, and keeping track of it all is certainly becoming a skill!  I read a lot, a lot of blogs so any way of figuring out ways to streamline my content consumption always sparks my interest!  Alastair has already taken us through is process of creating content, but with this post he takes us through his process of consuming content!  This is a great post with excellent tips on how to stay current!

More than simply writing a file

There’s a guest blog post on Michael White’s blog written by Michael Cade outlining the various backup methods used within Veeam Backup & Replication and how each one of them affects the capacity and performance on your backup repositories.   If you are using VBR and you haven’t had an in-depth look at these backup methods I would suggest starting with this post – it does a great job at outlining just how each backup method works, what is actually contained within each VBR backup file type.  It’s not just simply copying data here 🙂

#VDM30in30 30 posts, 30 days!

Think you have what it takes to pump out 30 posts in 30 days – I can say that I certainly thought I did at one point in time, but quickly realized after just a few days that I most certainly did not!  But hey, kudos for trying right – and even though I have a lot going on this November I will most likely try again!  Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about – well, the folks from the Virtual Design Master competition are once again challenging the blogging community to crank out 30 posts in 30 days throughout the month of November!  Have a look at Eric Wright’s blog for a great description of what this is like!  Now I know some people may think that the quality of posts may not be there, or that the content won’t be relevant, but honestly, my blogging isn’t about perfecting every single thing I do (I’m sure that’s apparent).  It’s about sharing things I do, problems I run into, opinions I have – sometimes it may be relevant, sometimes it won’t – sometimes you may agree, sometimes you won’t – sometimes you may just not even understand why a post ends up on this blog!   To me writing is about passion, and whether that passion be virtualization, technology, canadian folk music, maple syrup, hunting, whatever, it doesn’t matter!   The point here is that when I write, I think –  and when I think I learn – and nobody can argue that learning is invaluable!  So heads up, you might see some odd posts here come this November!

Friday Shorts – #vDM, New Web Client, Linux Cleanup, Betas and more…

Is it flowing? I like flowing, cascading hair. Thick lustrous hair is very important to me. Let me ask you this. If you stick your hand in the hair is it easy to get it out?

George Costanza – Seinfeld

Virtual Design Master 4 looking for sponsors

vdmlogoIf you have never checked out the Virtual Design Master challenge I suggest you stop reading this and head over to their site and peruse the last 3 season, then com back here of course…. Anyways, the online, reality based challenge is back for Season 4 and they are looking for sponsors to help provide prizes, swag, infrastructure, etc for the upcoming season!  So if you work for a vendor and want to get your brand attached to VDM4, follow this link to indicate your interest!  They are looking to get everything firmed up to have a July/August competition.

New HTML5 vSphere Web Client!

VMware LogoWhy VMware feels the need to change how the lightening fast, crazy responsive, highly reliable vSphere Web Client that is currently out there is beyond me, but they are…  I hope you can detect the sarcasm in that last sentence.  Anyways, they have been hard at work (re)developing the vSphere Web Client, removing it’s reliance on flash and flex and providing the same functionality through code based on HTML5.  I’ve not yet had a chance to check this out, but from the reactions on the blogosphere and Twitter I’d say that they are on the right track!  They are releasing the vSphere Web Client 6.5 as a Fling, allowing the product to get out into everyone’s hands before it’s integrated into a vSphere version.  If you have a chance go and check it out – it’s simply a virtual appliance that integrates with your current environment.

Getting Linux ready for a vSphere Template!

tuxcloudFellow VFD4 delegate Larry Smith recently posted in regards to cleaning up your Ubuntu templates!  It’s a great post that covers off a lot of things than you can do to ensure you have a clean, prepped instance of Ubuntu to use a template within your vSphere environment.  That said, he takes it one step further, scripting out the complete cleanup in bash – and in Ansible.  If you deal with Linux/Ubuntu templates I would definitly recommend heading over to Larry’s blog and applying some of this scripty goodness.

vSphere.next – Beta Time!

VMware has announced that the next version of vSphere will enter a (limited) public beta. If you feel like you have the time and are ready to provide the effort in providing feedback, submitting bugs, etc to VMware in regards to the next release of vSphere then you can head here and indicate your interest in being a part of the beta.  As far as I know not everyone will be accepted – careful consideration will be taken on who is chosen to participate as they want to ensure they are getting valuable feedback and discovering any gotchya’s in the product before releasing it to the masses!

ZertoCon – The Premier Business Continuity Conference

ZertoCON_Ads_125x125Zerto has been a long time sponsor of this blog so I thought I’d place a shoutout to them and what they have in the works this spring!  You can join Zerto and many others from May 23-25 in beautiful Boston for ZertoCon.  Lately we have seen a lot of these smaller vendors opting to have their own conferences – and honestly if you use their products they are a must for you to go!  The VM/EMC Worlds are a great venue, but honestly, these smaller, laser focused conferences are absolutely fabulous if you are looking to gain more knowledge around certain vendors and their ecosystems!  I encourage you to check it out and sign up if you have the chance to go!

How the Friday Shorts posts come to be

I’m always looking for a way to automate things – whether it be in my work life, personal life, home life, or even my blog life – when I first started to do Friday Shorts, an initiative for me to share out some blogs and articles that sparked my interest it was a manual process.  There was a lot of “Who wrote that article again?, What site was that again?, Where’s that link I emailed?” going on in my head and even though it was only a handful of links it was still a lot of work.   Now I had already automated my sharing of links out to Twitter (needs an update BTW, oauth1 depreciated in Google Script now – another post) and for the most part I’ve found that the articles I chose for Friday Shorts are the same as the ones I share out.   So with all that said I set out to automate a process that would at the very least get a draft of a Friday Shorts article into this blog – and this is what I’ve come up with.

So in order to do this I’ve utilized four different services; Google Drive/Scripts, IFTTT, Delicious, and WordPress – each playing a key role in the automation.  So the process goes as follows

  • While perusing all the great blogs out there if I find one I feel needs to be included, I quickly use the Delicious toolbar button to create a public bookmark with the ‘FridayShorts’ tag.  Also, while using my RSS reader of choice (Digg) – if I ‘Digg’ a post, IFTTT runs a recipe to automatically create bookmarks of the post with the proper tag.
  • Another IFTTT recipe takes all of my Delicious ‘FridayShorts’ tagged bookmarks, and appends them to a Google Spreadsheet within my Drive account.
  • From there I have a WordPress plugin I’ve developed which essentially connects to a Google Script which parses a spreadsheet – allowing me to select which articles I’d like to include and finally creating a draft WordPress post (Friday Shorts) following a specific template.  The articles which I select are then updated (through the Google Script calls) in order to ensure they aren’t displayed the next time I go through the process.
  • I clean up the post, add some pictures, descriptions, links and whatever and publish it…

So with all that said let’s have a quick look at how each of the components are setup and configured.

IFTTT

If this then that is a great tool for automating almost anything within your life.  For the purposes of creating a Friday Shorts post I have two main recipes which are utilized…  In all honesty recipes on IFTTT are fairly simple to setup so I’ll simply just show the screenshots outlining what they do.

Digg to Delicious
Delicious to Google
DiggToDeliciousIFTTT DelciousToGoogleIFTTT

See – pretty simple to setup – at then end of it all we should be left with a spreadsheet similar to the following…

FridayShortsSpreadsheet

Google Script

Now we have the information that we want sitting inside a Google Spreadsheet – but before we get into the WordPress Plugin we first need to create a Google Script (script.google.com) containing all of the functions and methods which will actually do the work we request from WordPress.  To do so, go to script.google.com and select File-New Project.  This should open up a blank script for you to run with.

Sometimes it’s easier just to see the whole thing first so let’s just lay it out there for you – we can go through some specifics at the end of the script.

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// open up the spreadsheet and set the active sheet.
var files = DriveApp.getFilesByName('FridayShortsLinkCollector');
var file;
while (files.hasNext()) 
{
file = files.next();
Logger.log(file.getName());
}
 
var ss = SpreadsheetApp.open(file);
var sheet = ss.getSheets()[0];
 
// return specific link
function getLink(articleid)
{
var values = sheet.getDataRange().getValues();
var articles = [];
for(var i=0, iLen=values.length; i<iLen; i++) 
{
if(values[i][6] == articleid) 
{
var article = [];
article.push(values[i][6].toString());
article.push(values[i][1].toString());
article.push(values[i][4].toString());
article.push(values[i][0].toString());
article.push(values[i][5].toString());
articles.push(article);
}
}
return articles;
}
 
// return all unprocessed links
function getAllLinks2()
{
var values = sheet.getDataRange().getValues();
var articles = [];
for(var i=0, iLen=values.length; i<iLen; i++) 
{
if(values[i][5] == "0") 
{
var article = [];
article.push(values[i][6].toString());
article.push(values[i][1].toString());
article.push(values[i][4].toString());
article.push(values[i][0].toString());
article.push(values[i][5].toString());
articles.push(article);
}
}
return articles;
}
 
// mark specific link as processed
function markArticleProcessed(articleid)
{
values = sheet.getDataRange().getValues();
 
for(var i=0, iLen=values.length; i<iLen; i++) 
{
if (values[i][6] == articleid)
{
values[i][5] = "1";
}
}
sheet.getDataRange().setValues(values);
}

So, if you are having trouble with my great comments throughout the code (I know, one-line here and there :)) let me try and explain a few things.  First of all, Lines 1 through 11 simply find the Spreadsheet within my Google Drive containing the links, then set the active sheet to the first one.

From there things are a bit more simple – the getLink() function returns an array of one specific article, taking in the articleID (auto genereated number in the spreadsheet) as a paramater.  The getAllLinks2() function returns an array of all of the articles within the spreadsheet (so long as their 5th cell (or processed as I call it) contains a value of 0.  The markArticleProcessed() function takes in a specific articleID as a parameter, and simply changes it’s 5th cell to a 1 – meaning it has been processed by a Friday Shorts article.

GoogleDeployAPIThat’s it for Google code but there are a few other things that you will need to do in order to make your script available for use by the WordPress plugin.  First off, select ‘Publish->Deploy as API executable”  Be sure to select “New” under the version (you will need to do this upon making any changes to the code) and make note of the API ID – we will need this for the PHP calls in WordPress.  Go ahead and click ‘Update’ when ready!

Secondly we need to open up some API’s within Google in order to allow the script to access your Google Drive content.  This is done in the developers console.  The easiest way I’ve found to get to the place we need to be is by selecting Resources->Developer Console Project.  If you haven’t already you will have to give your project a name and save it.  Once that is done simply click the link shown to go the scripts associated project.

DevelopersConsoleLink

The two APIs that we will need to open up for this project are the Drive API and the Google Apps Script Execution API (as shown below).  From the Dashboard select ‘Enable APIs and get credentials like keys”.  From there you should immidiately see the Drive API, but may have to search for the Script Execution API.  Either way, in the end you need to have them enabled as shown below…

APIsEnabled

From here move down to the Credentials section.  We need to create credentials to allow WordPress to access our Google content.  To do so select ‘New Credentials’ and then ‘Oauth Client ID’ as the type.  When presented with the application type chose ‘Web Application’, give it a name, and set the proper redirect URLs.  This can get tricky and will certainly change given your setup but my working setup is shown below.

redirectURIs

As you can see I’ve entered quite a few redirect URIs – not sure if I need them all but it works this way.  Also, make note of your Client ID and Secret – put it in the same place as your Script/API Id as we will need all of this for the WordPress Plugin.  For now, we are done with Google 🙂

The WordPress Plugin

I don’t want to go too deep into the specifics of how to create WordPress Plugins – partly because there is a lot too cover – too much for a this post, oh, and partly because I have no idea about 99% of it.  I simply fiddled until I got what I needed to work.  Again, let me simply just lay out some code and explain what it does – I’ll leave the fine details of the structure of WordPress Plugins to someone else.

folderstructure

As for my plugin there are really only 5 components to it..

  • The Google PHP SDK – download it here
  • fridayshorts.php – this is the main plugin page
  • fridayshorts-functions.php – this is a page containing all of the function calls to the Google Script
  • options.php – this page contains a means to setup the options for the plugin (the Script ID, Client ID and Client Secret)
  • js – some Javascript for checking boxes and stuff 🙂

Due to the fact that there is probably a few hundred lines of code within the plugin itself I’m not going to throw it all out there – instead I’ll just put up a few examples of how I call the Script Execution API from within the PHP code.

First up we need to import the PHP SDK for Google declare some variables – I’ve stored my client id and secret (from the Google section above) in a wordpress option – so to recall these we simply just need to do the following…

require_once 'Google/autoload.php';
 
$client_id = get_option('fsGoogleClientID');
$client_secret = get_option('fsGoogleClientSecret');
$redirect_uri = get_option('fsGoogleRedirectURI');

Now that we have this information we can start setting up the objects we need to interact with our Google script as shown below, storing everything we need in the client object.  As you can see I’ve also specified the scopes in which the API requests will fall under.

$scriptId = get_option('fsGoogleScriptID');
$client = new Google_Client();
$client->setApplicationName("Process Friday Shorts");
$client->setClientId($client_id);
$client->setClientSecret($client_secret);
$client->setRedirectUri($redirect_uri);
$client->setScopes(array('https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive','https://spreadsheets.google.com/feeds','https://www.googleapis.com/auth/spreadsheets'));
$client->setAccessType('offline'); // Gets us our refreshtoken

As far as processing one of the functions in the Google script that can be done as shown below.  I’ve also shown the code I use to display data on my plugin pages so you can sort of visualize what is happening.  The function getAllLinks is passwed through the setFunction function (alot of function in there :)) and you can see how I go about parsing the response back from the API call to build out an HTML table containing data from my spreadsheet.

function getAllLinks()
{
global $client,$scriptId;
$client->setAccessToken($_SESSION[‘token’]);
$service = new Google_Service_Script($client);
$request = new Google_Service_Script_ExecutionRequest();
$request->setFunction(‘getAllLinks’);
$response = $service->scripts->run($scriptId, $request);
$resp = $response->getResponse();
$articles = $resp[‘result’];

//build html table and return
$content = ‘<table width=”98%” bgcolor=”white”><TR><TD><input type=”checkbox” onchange=”fridayshorts_links_checkall(this)” name=”checkAll” value=”all”></TD><TD><B>Title</B></TD></TR>’;
foreach ($articles as $article)
{
$content .= ‘<TR><TD><input type=”checkbox” name=”art[]” value=”‘.$article.'”></TD><TD>’.$article.'</TD></TR>’;
}
$content .= ‘</TABLE>’;
return $content;

}

Anyways, enough with the php code – if you are in dire need of it just let me know and I’ll send it to you – way to boring to go through it all line by line.  In the end though I’m left with nice little GUI that allows me to select which items I’d like to include in my Friday Shorts post as shown below…

fridayshortsplugin

Once I’ve selected which posts I’d like to include within my new Friday Shorts post I can go ahead and click Create Draft.  What happens then is a new draft is created within WordPress in a format that I specified for my Friday Shorts posts.  The code to do so is as follows

$my_post = array(
'post_content' => $content,
'post_title' => "Friday Shorts",
'post_status' => 'draft',
'tags_input' => 'Friday Shorts'
);
$post_id = wp_insert_post( $my_post, true );

Additionaly, remember that markArticleProcessed function within our Google Script – it’s called as well, passing the parameter of each link as it loops over them and sending that id back to the Google Script using the setParameters function on the request object – as follows…

function markArticleProcessed($articleid)
{
global $client,$scriptId;
$client->setAccessToken($_SESSION['token']);
$service = new Google_Service_Script($client);
$request = new Google_Service_Script_ExecutionRequest();
$request->setFunction('markArticleProcessed');
$request->setParameters($articleid);
$response = $service->scripts->run($scriptId, $request);
$resp = $response->getResponse();
$article = $resp['result'];
 
return;
 
}

So now you know just how far I will go in order to maintain my comfort level of laziness – honestly, automation is key in my life and anything I can automate means more time for creativity!  Again, I’m sorry I couldn’t go deeper into the PHP/Wordpress plugin development – it would just be one heaping pile of code on a page that makes no sense – but if you are interested definitely get in touch with me and I will send it along!  Anyways, thanks for reading thus far and I hope this post helps you in some way automate something of your own!

Friday Shorts – #TOVMUG, Ravello, Veeam Vanguard, vExpert and more…

Doughnuts!  I told you I don’t like ethnic food! – Mr Burns, The Simpsons

This edition of Friday Shorts isn’t really going to be that short at all – It’s been a while since I’ve done one and there is a ton of content out there that I wanted to re-share for people so buckle up, here it is!

2016 Toronto VMUG UserCon !

tovmugThursday, February 25th marked the date for the 2016 Toronto VMUG Full Day UserCon and I couldn’t be happier as to how it turned out!  Honestly, as a leader I was interested the whole day about how many attendees we had and as it turned out we had our best year ever with 800+ registrations and 605 brains that walked through the doors!  Last year we had 601 and I’m sure it would have been more for this year but you know, Canadian winters eh!  We had Nick Marshall do the morning keynote and his talk was awesome – I heard nothing but good things from the attendees in regards to the content Nick had to talk about (BTW it was dubbed Building your IT Career)  If you get a chance to have Nick out for your VMUG do so!  He’s awesome!  For our lunchtime keynote we had a VCDX panel – Tim Antonowitz, James Wirth, Joe Silvagi and Eiad Al-Aqqad graciously volunteered to sit up on stage as we had some great discussion with the attendees at the conference from everything dealing with certification through to NSX integration!  All in all it was a great day and if you were there I hope you enjoyed it – if you weren’t, come next year!

What does Docker, vExpert, Ravello and Netflix have in common?

@h0bbel that’s what!  More explanation – well, Christian is a vExpert, vExperts get some free CPU hours on Ravello Systems (Ravello is awesome BTW – be nice Oracle!), and he has a great post on his blog on how to setup Dockerflix within Ravello on Photon in order to test (get around) those geo-blocking Netflix firewall “you can’t watch this” setups!   So if you are say a vExpert blogger that lives in Canada that really fancies yourself a couple of hours of Legally Blonde I suggest you set the Maple Syrup ladle down and head over to Christians post!.

Speaking of Ravello – How’s about some community cmdlets?

PowerShell-LogoAnd when you think of community in the sense of this blurb just think of Luc Dekens being a one-man community!  If you are Ravello user and fancy yourself some PowerShell cmdlets Luc has an updated module on his blog available for download.  Luc has certainly put a lot of effort into this module which contains hooks into almost every single API Ravello offers!  I certainly find this module very useful for my work with Ravello and just want to give Luc a big Thank You for this!

Running commands on the VCSA without SSH

commandlineIf I was being shipped off to a deserted island and could only take with me the RSS feed of one virtualization blog I have to think that as of today that blog would be William Lams virtuallyGhetto!  William just seems really good at figuring things out – is that a line that can go on a resume?  I don’t know, either way, his recent post on how to run commands on the VCSA remotely without enabling ssh is pretty awesome!   He utilizes the Guest Operations API through a vSphere SDK to do so!  Just go read it, it’s gold Jerry, it’s gold!  goes here it is

 #ChrisWahlFacts – He doesn’t mess around when it comes to dropping knowledge about PowerShell and REST APIs

apiOver yonder at WahlNetwork.com Chris Wahl has a great series going on dubbed Automation for Operations – Honestly the whole series is great but its the last 4 parts that have really helped me out…a lot!  Chris has done a great job at explaining a bunch of concepts around utilizing PowerShell to connect to RESTful API’s, including Authentication, Processing GET Requests, Sending data with POST/PUT/PATCH, and his latest, creating hashtables for JSON payloads!

Veeam Vanguard nominations are open!

veeam_vanguard-700x224Ever wake up and think “Hey, Why isn’t so and so a Veeam Vanguard?”  or “Why am I not a Veeam Vanguard?”  Well, so long as you wake up wondering about that before March 30th you have a chance to throw your name or someone whom you think is worthy into the mix!  You can check out the official Veeam post here.

vExpert stuff!

vmware-vexpert-2013We all know that being a vExpert isn’t about what you get, but more about what you give – buuuuutttt, the fact of the matter is you do get stuff, sometimes lots of stuff, and it’s hard to keep track of it all!  Thankfully for the vExpert community Andrea Mauro is doing a great job at keeping track of it all for you!  Without posts like this there is no way I’d be able to keep track of it!  So, Thanks Andrea!

Friday Shorts – JSON, Veeam, Embedded Host Client and more…

I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up. – Buddy the Elf

JSON will be the death of me

I don’t do a lot of JSON parsing but when I do I tend to get just a little frustrated.  Honestly I almost always try and retrieve API responses as XML if the option is there, but sometimes it isn’t and sorting through JSON is the only alternative!  I’m a newbie to this stuff and still am learning quite a deal about interacting with APIs using various methods – one of the many reason I follow Scott Lowe’s blog regularly.  In a post this week he introduced us to a lightweight command line tool called jq, which looks like it could most definitely help me with my JSON woes – next time I find myself staring down at a page full of squigglies (not sure of the official term for  {}) I’ll give it a go… Thanks Scott!

Embedded Host Client is awesome x 5

I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with the Embedded Host Client fling – a replacement that will allow us to do away with the giant c# installable that we have all grown to love for individual host management.  I did get to use the EHC early on, and it was not the greatest experience – but as time went on and it was released via VMware Flings it is now a lot better, in fact people are loving it!  Here’s a great article outlining 5 reasons why the Embedded Host Client is awesome!

VVOLs 4 DBs!

VVOLs is still a little unknown when it comes to adoption – I haven’t seen a lot of blogs or information out there about widespread adoption!  I do know that there is general excitement out there and definitely benefits to be had by utilizing them, however they are still a little “ripe” in IT years!  That said there’s an interesting series on the VMware blogs going on right now outlining the benefits they can provide to databases – you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you like…

The Expert Guide to VMware Disaster Recovery and Data Protection

Shameless plug for myself on this one – A few months ago I began work on a guide for Veeam centering around how to provide Data Protection within a VMware environment – and the result is finally live!  Note – you are going to hit a reg-wall when trying to view this – it’s the nature of the world we live in, but if you do end up checking it out I’d love to know what you think – good or bad, but mostly good!

Friday Shorts – #VDM30in30 , Post Power On SRM commands, vExpert and more

Here we go, my latest addition of Friday Shorts – a collection of blogs and news that I’ve found interesting over the last few weeks!  In true Canadian fashion I apologize for the list being so short this week 🙂

#VDM30in30

2151-1-virtual-design-master-150x150I’m not sure how well known it is but there is a fun little challenge happening right now coming from the Virtual Design Master folks.  It’s called #VDM30in30.  The concept is simple – 30 blogs in 30 days throughout the month of November.  Just write and syndicate out to Twitter with the #VDM30in30 hashtag.  I watched last year and it actually generated a lot of great content – content that stretched beyond peoples main focus – blogs about career challenges, office setups, etc.. It’s nice to see another side of some of the great bloggers that are participating.  Speaking of participating I asked Eric Wright (@discoposse) if it was too late to join – his answer, it’s never too late 🙂  So, let’s consider this Post #1 in my list!  Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to hit 30 blogs – I’d be scraping the bottom of the barrel for topics and would end up with some kind of crazy Carpal Tunnel – but I’ll do my best to get as many as I can out – #VDM5in30 ???

Using PowerCLI to Automate SRM

I don’t (I mean never) have used SRM but when it comes to automation, be it through API’s or PowerShell I’m always interested.  Conrad Ramos (@vnoob) has a great article about how to automate some post power on commands within SRM using PowerShell and PowerCLI.  And let’s face it, if you are ever in a situation where your have implemented a fail over within SRM you probably want to utilize all of the automation you can since you will most likely have a number of crazed employees standing behind you panicking 🙂

Oooh Top vBlogs is coming soon!

Every year Eric Siebert spends a tireless amount of time putting together his Top vBlog voting!  Although in the end wherever I end up in the standings really doesn’t affect my writing or post frequency it’s still a fun little way of placing a number on this blog, as well as ranking my favorite bloggers, writers, and podcasters out there.  It appears he has already begun the plannings for the 2016 challenge so all I ask is as you are perusing around through your feed readers, syndication, and google results just take note of who’s blog that is – their name may very well be on the list – Give them a little love when you hit the polls!

vExpert 2016 applications are open!

For those who haven’t heard the applications for vExpert 2016 are now open!  Current vExperts are able to quickly apply by fillling out a fast-track application and those that are looking to apply for the first time will need to fill out an application that is slightly longer!  So, if you have started writing, blogging, or evangelizing in any way I encourage you to apply!  It won’t take long and hey, who knows, you might get in.  The vExperts are a humble bunch and always shrug off the benefits but in all honesty there are some nice perks that come along with the designation, lisenses, PluralSight subscriptions and a lot of great swag provided by a lot of vendors.  Just apply – it can’t hurt!

 

Friday Shorts – Veeam Endpoint Multi-boot, Community Awards, New Pernix UI and more…

It became very clear to me sitting out there today that every decision I’ve made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat – it’s all been wrong. – George Costanza

Multibooting Veeam Endpoint USB

veeam_logoVeeam has a pretty nifty little product in their Endpoint Backup solution.  Honestly just the other day I was wondering if it was still installed on my laptop as I haven’t even noticed it at all – sure enough there it was, quietly doing its’ thing.  Anyways, Vladan Seget has a great article on his blog in regards to creating a multi-boot USB stick w/ the Veeam Endpoint Backup recovery ISO’s on it in order to support various different hardware and laptop flavors!  Something to definitely check out if you manage multiple different hardware platforms and want to use VEB to protect them all!

2016 Vendor Community Awards

There are a ton of community award/recognition programs being run by vendors these days.  It seems like almost everyone is trying to recognized the hard work that community leaders, bloggers, and evangalists alike are putting in to help spread the word about everything tech.  That said, after seeing Andrea Mauro’s post about the programs upcoming for 2016 I realized I didn’t even know about all of them.  If you are interested in applying for a program, or just want to know more about them head over to Andrea’s blog and check it out!

Automate the answering of questions!

There is nothing more enraging than writing a great big long automation script only to find the vSphere client sitting at a prompt waiting for you to answer some kind of stupid question!  I’ve never been able to find a way to work around some of these issues but after seeing Luc Deken’s post in regards to answering the infamous CDROM unmount question I might have a push in the right direction!  Anyone dealing with automation and PowerCLI should really be following Luc and certainly check out his blog!

Testing JSON Syntax!

When dealing with a lot of API calls, especially when trying to form your own body for one it can sometimes be a little monotenous trying to find an error or test certain JSON syntax that you may have created.  Jonathan Medd has a great blog dealing with all that is PowerShell and his latest Quick Tip, Testing JSON Syntax walks us through a quick and easy way to make sure that none of our JSON is malformed – and if it is how to quickly find out where the problem lies!

While we are talking about automation!

Sometimes I wish I had more time to spend within the VMware Hands on Labs environment – there is a ton of cool technology up there available to play with absolutely free of charge!  I’ve done a dozen or so labs in my time, mostly centering around newly released products or things that spark my interest.  What I didn’t know of is that there are labs there centered around VMware’s development tools and their respective SDK’s.   I really need to set aside a few hours to have a look at these as it’s something I struggle through everytime I attempt to utilize them!

PernixData and their new UI

PernixData_Logo_ColorI have always been a fan of products with a clean, crisp, usable UI.  I like whitespace and I like intuition and when attending Tech Field Day presentations it’s always the first thing I see and really sets the stage for the whole presentation!  I saw Pernix at VFD5 along with their newly redesigned UI and it did not dissapoint!  Pete Koehler (@vmpete) has a great post on his blog covering almost everything there is to know about the new PernixData UI – why they went there, what it involves, and what are some of the goodies to really focus on!  If you are a fan of Pernix, or simply a fan of creating beautiful interfaces check out Pete’s post!

Embedded to External, External to Embbeded – It’s all possible now!

VMware LogoFor those that made the jump to vSphere 6 before Update 1 was released you may have noticed some odd and annoying limitations during the upgrade – the first being their was no “supported” way to upgrade directly from 5.5 embedded SSO to a 6.0 external PSC.  You had to first break out your 5.5 SSO to another box and then proceed with the upgrade – it was just a big PIA to tell you the truth.  Along with Update 1 came some tools that allow us to simply repoint and reconfigure our vCenter Servers to new PSC’s, which essentially allow us to perform the embedded upgrade and then repoint to a newly installed external PSC – a welcome addition!  If you want to learn more there is a great post by Ryan Johnson on the vSphere blog outlining all of the scenarios and commands you need to run to repoint and reconfig!

Disclose all the things!

allthethingsThere are few things in this world that amuse me to the level that Justin Warren’s disclosure posts do and his latest in regards to VMworld 2015 does the trick just the same!  Justin is a great writer and I follow his blog religiously – he has lots of excellent posts is a very smart man with an interesting take on everything – including disclosures!  Justin spares no attention to detail in these types of posts with disclosures of food (” Some nice roast chicken and vegetables from somewhere local paired with Diet Coke. There was pie, but I had a cookie instead”) and schwag (“EVO:RAIL threw a cap at me, and I grabbed some stickers, one of which is on my laptop. The cap will go into the cap drawer because my wife says I’m not allowed to wear baseball caps.”) alike!!!  Aside from these being incredibly amusing it does have an impact on you – just think of all the small, little things that you receive during a conference and how they may influence you!

Friday Shorts – #VMUG, nmcli, All flash VSAN, Altaro and more…

Why hello there – it’s been a while – It’s been a busy couple of months with work, conferences and home life and blogging has been put on the back burner for a bit.  I mean hey, I live in Canada and I need to get ready for the winter eh!  It’s a “Game of Thrones” winter around here!  Fear not over the past couple of months I’ve been doing some awesome things with Ravello, with a vSphere 6 upgrade, and some other awesome automation and orchestration stuff so I have a lot of posts filed under the idea category – so there is no lack of content to be written!  All that said for now let’s just have a look at some great community posts.

More advantage to the VMUG advantage

vmugVMUG Advantage has many benefits including free NFR software evals, discounted training, certification, and conference fees, discount codes for software and labs and more – but now we can add one more item to that list.  As of now VMUG is offering $600 of service credit with vCloud Air OnDemand.  I’ve reviewed vCloud Air OnDemand and can say that $600 is more than enough to get you in there and playing around for the year!  This is yet another great benefit to the VMUG Advantage program so if you haven’t bought it – do it!

Unexpected Signal: 11

VMware LogoDid you jump to get vSphere 5.5 Update 3 installed and running in your environment?  If so you might want to check out this VMware KB which outlines that the snapshot consolidation process may cause your VMs to fail with the above, well descripted, error message Smile  Sorry, nothing funny about if you are running any backup solution that may utilizing the VADP to free up disks for processing!   Anyways, downgrade, power off VMs and consolidate, or redeploy 5.5 are your resolution options for now!

Linux Networking through vRO

vmware-vcenter-orchestrator-vco-logo-150x150If you love vRO and automation and you don’t follow the vCOTeam blog then you should, do that first before continuing any further.  There, now that that’s out of the way have a look at this very detailed post in regards to configuring networking with Linux using nmcli, or better yet doing the whole thing through a vRO workflow – Awesome stuff!

All Flash VSAN in the homelab

tier-whatJason Langer (@jaslanger) has a great article about spinning (err flashing) up an All Flash VSAN setup in his homelab – showing you both the hard and the easy way this is a great guide for those looking to test out AF VSAN in their spare time (you know, when you aren’t building lego and what not Smile)

Rubrik and vRealize Orchestrator

rubrik_press_bg1Well, if you are a Rubrik customer and you are a vRO lover then I suggest you head over to Eric Shanks’ blog as he (and Nick Colyer) has a slew of blog posts related to vRO and Rubrik and how to do just about anything utilizing the API’s that Rubrik provides.

Speaking of backup – Altaro is now on the scene

altaro-vm-backup-500x257There’s a new player in the backup space when looking at protecting VMware virtual machines!  I had a chance to sit on the beta for the Altaro VMware backup and albeit I didn’t have a lot of time to check it all out I did get it installed and configured some backups and liked what I saw!  There have been a lot of community reviews of their software and first impressions are very positive – anyways, all the data protection junkies can check them out here.

What does VMTurbo, Starwind, Unitrends and the Habs have in common? Friday shorts that’s what!

And another installment of Friday Shorts – a spot for me to share some awesomeness I’ve found on the interwebs, upcoming events and info from some awesome blog sponsors, and just random thoughts around events and news that might not quite fit within the niche of this blog – basically a mashup of my brain!

First up – free passes to VMworld

VMTurboLogoSmVMworld is sneaking up faster than you think!  Have you got your conference pass yet?  If not why not help ease the pain on your company by letting VMTurbo pick up the conference pass for you?  Along with ensuring performance and maximizing efficiency in your data center the folks at VMTurbo are doing their best put a full VMworld US conference pass in the hands of three people – you can sign up here and the drawings for the three passes take place on May 29th, June 19th, and July 10th!  Good luck!

More freebies from Unitrends

unitrendsSo VMTurbo has you covered for the conference pass how’s about getting a little money to help cover the travel costs from Unitrends (trust me you will need it – the prices of hotels are crazy this year in San Fran).  Just this week Unitrends released Unitrends Free – a completely free, full featured backup solution for up to 1TB of data – I reviewed it here if you missed it!  Anyways, asides from putting a completely free backup product into your lab or data center Unitrends has a gig going right now where you can win a $1500 Visa Giftcard, just for downloading and registering FREE software.  You have till the end of June on this one so best get signed up!

Upcoming Starwind webinar

starwind_softwareStarwind Software, a long time mwpreston.net sponsor and creator of Starwind Virtual SAN have a webinar coming up on May 20 titled Snapshots vs Replication – chosing the right data protection strategy, presented by Chris Evans. If your interested I definitely recommend checking it out as making the choice between snapshots and replication and/or both are key in developing a fool proof data protection strategy!  Also, if you haven’t checked out Starwind Virtual SAN I would take a look at it as well.  I’ve used their free version in the lab numerous times for different projects!

EMC virtual VNX

EMC-LogoConference season is among us and with that comes a slew of releases and announcements.  One that caught my attention coming out of EMCworld was the release of a community edition of the VNXe software.  Shipped as an OVA you can simply load it into your environment and get the functionality and software stack of a VNXe, but without the dedicated storage hardware and controllers.  I love messing around with all different types of storage and VSA’s in the lab so I’ll for sure be looking at this a little closer!

Au reviour les habitants

priceAnd last but not least, and certainly the saddest news of the week is the second round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs for my beloved habs!  Honestly the bleu, blanc, et rouge had a great season, picking up 110 points and finishing 2nd overall in the eastern conference.  Their goalie, Carey Price had a career year – picking up nominations for both the Hart (League MVP) and Vezina (Best Goalie), and more than likely will take both these trophies home this summer.  That said expectations around hockey in Montreal are high and a second round exit overshadows all the success that they had!  Anyways we know Carey probably doesn’t care about those two trophies and is now out of the running for the only one he wanted.  All that said the Habs have a great core, and they are young – so hopefully we see improvements for years to come – they will need to pick up another top 6 forward though if they want to go anywhere in the post season!  At the end, they are now on the links and hopefully that means a little more time for me to work on this blog 🙂  Au revoir! Ole!