Tag Archives: vSphere

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

Friday Shorts – .net AJAX Autocomplete with no webservices, youcanthavethisforapassword, Education VMUGS and more

Alright, here we go, week 2 of this series of posts…enjoy 🙂

Using the AJAX Autocomplete in .net without engaging web services

I’ve found a new appreciation for the autocomplete functionality that languages such as ColdFusion provide out of the box. In a .net project I have been working on I simply wanted to have a textbox where the end user could begin typing in a students name and have the application make suggestions based on what they were typing and what was stored in one of my database tables. Easy enough right? No! You see, most of my googling resulted in setting up webservices to serve the data to the textbox. All in all it seemed pretty ugly. In the end I figured out how to avoid the webservices call altogether following a great article on aspsnippets.com. Obviously you need to tweek to get the results you want, but it all works in the end…trust me!

Seriouisly Microsoft – Only 16 character passwords

I seen a tweet from John Troyer this week which eventually lead me to this article. Now it seems kind of ridiculous to me! What’s the logic in only letting people have a 16 character password? Now my password is a lot less than that and I probably wouldn’t have one any bigger than that but still…It just doesn’t make sense why they would limit a password length – why lessen your security? And what have they done with those users that are already over 16 characters. The section on whether or not they have only hashed the first 16 characters of your password is interesting and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the way they went. Either way, it’s a great article, have a read and see if you are as dumbfounded as me…

Vertical based VMUGS

In an effort to share knowledge, learn from our peers and just plain ol’ get together we are now, along with a handful of other public school districts are getting together to share ideas, fixes, scripts, etc with each other. So this is planned for a few times a year and based on certain common types of technologies that we all work with, VMware being one of them. That got me to thinking. I love the structure of the VMUGs and I find them extremely valuable on a personal and a business level. However, implementing something into an educational environment vs almost any other environment is a completely different type of beast! There’s a slew of requirements and constraints associated with education. I’d love to see a series of VMUGs or learning sessions or whatever they could be called be held based on business vertical. Off the top of my head you could have Education, Healthcare, Government, etc…. Not saying we need one per quarter, but a couple per year would be cool…ah well, a man can dream…

Skewed Usage Reports in VCops 5 – No problem!

A couple of years ago I downloaded and installed a trial of CapacityIQ.  It wasn't necessarily the capacity planning for the future capabilities that I was looking for, but more for the under/over sized VM reporting that it included.  Honestly, I didn't get a lot of time to evaluate it and all I really did was run a few reports and determine that we were heavily oversizing our VMs.  Although I found it useful, I couldn't justify a recommendation to gain budget for just the functionality that CapacityIQ provided.

Fast forward to last year.  I now find myself participating in a beta for VCops 1.0. I was extremely excited about this product the first time I seen it at our local Toronto VMUG.  Ever since then I've been using VCops on almost a daily basis to monitor and keep track of events and changes within our environment.  

And now here we are today with the recent release of VCops 5.  This release, now including CapacityIQ reporting and metrics has taken me back in time to those days I was evaluating CapacityIQ by itself.  And so I find myself once again looking at those under/over sized VM reports (with a little more time and focus this time around) and kind of scratching my head a bit.  A lot of the recommendations it was making around over provisioning vCPU's were correct, however I do have some VMs containing 2 vCPU's that it was recommending to drop to 1.  Now I know these VMs need 2 vCPU's as we have ran them with a single vCPU before and the performance just wasn't there.  So why is it recommending 2?  Well, by default VCops collects usage data of the VMs 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, so when you think about, in this case, these VMs basically do nothing at all during the night and on weekends, but still, there usage data for those off times was being used in the overall calculations, thus, bringing the total average down.  Thankfully there is an option to change this, follow the steps below to do so…

Log into VCops and click the 'Configuration' link in the top right hand side of the screen.  From there you will be presented with all the configurable options for VCops.  Under Planning & Reports click the 'Usage Calculation' link.  By default 'All hours on all days' will be selected, meaning VMs usage data is being used 24/7.  To change this, simply select 'Specific Hours and Days' (as shown below) and select  your desired days and hours…easy!.

 

 

There you have it!  Your VMs usage outside of the hours and days that you define here will now be excluded in your report calculations.  Keep in mind that this is a global setting and will apply to all VMs.  There isn't a way to do this on a per-VM basis that I can find, but would probably be beneficial in some cases.  These settings are not only useful when trying to exclude idle time, but you can also use them to exclude times when they might be busier than normal (A backup or maintenance window)  As always, any comments, questions, concerns, suggestions are more than welcome in the comment box below.

vCenter Operations 5 – First Impressions

Following the Twitter feed from VMworld Copenhagen this year there seemed to be a common theme coming out of all the buzz – operations and management.  Product wise it was  AppBlast and Horizon that really took center stage in Vegas, but it was vCenter Operations 5 that stole the show in Europe.

i have been a VCops user since the beginning (well, since VMware purchased Integrien) beta and have been completely sold on the product ever since. Although the production environment i look after is relatively small in the eyes of VMware (150 VMs or so) that doesn't mean that the day to day operations and performance of those VMs isn't just as important as the larger environments. To be completely honest, VCops filled a huge gap between the standard vCenter alarms and performance graphs and our traditional monitoring software.

Alerting
This was certainly an item that came out of the version 1 beta. The metrics that VCops collects is crazy and the analytics behind determining health and workload scores is insane. But the issue with v1 was that i never knew if my VM or host was experiencing a low health score unless I actually logged into the application. This was addressed in v5 with the system now sending out email alerts. Now beware when just simply enabling all alerts, you may end up with an astronomical amount of emails. This is certainly a feature that you will need to tune in order to only receive those alerts you want to act upon.  We all know what happens when you start to receive too many alerts…filters get created and alerts end up being ignored.  So be sure to fine tune your alerts to meet the needs of your business.

 

 

CapacityIQ
A few years ago i pulled down a trial copy of CapacityIQ and gave it a whirl. Mainly i wanted to check out some of its over and under provisioned VM reports. I thought the reports were great but at the time couldn't justify the cost of the application for what it was providing. Well now I'm happy to see that it has been simply ported into VCops. Honestly its a great fit for this product as now you can gain visibility into not only health and workload, but capacity, utilization, efficiency and risk.

 

 

New Dashboards
Here is where VCops really shines. I have never seen so much information collected and analyzed be presented in such a simple interface. I've solved issues with our environment using VCops in basically, minutes. I mean, a host is red, click it. It drills down and shows you the VMs. You can see if its just one VM causing the issue or if all VMs are experiencing issues. You can see sibling hosts and VMs. VMs on the same datastore to determine if it might be a storage problem. This is all done within less than a minute from logging in.

 

 

Honestly these are only a few of the new features that are included in VCops 5. There is a slew of other features including Chargeback, Configuration Manager, Application Dependencies to name some.  For a full list check out the official VCops VMware page here as well as a launch anouncement on the Management Blog here.  As well the product is now branded as vCenter Operations Suite now including not just VCops but vCenter Infrastructure Manager as well.  I haven't had a whole lot of time to explore everything it has to offer yet but will definitely do an update when I have.  For now, go and pull down the trial for yourself

Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5 – A Review

Throughout the holidays I had a little downtime and what better way to fill it but with some new learning.  I've had a copy of Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5 laying around for a few weeks and with my intents to start ramping up my VCP 5 studies I thought I would would dive right into it.

Now, I've never had the opportunity to read Scotts precursor 'Mastering VMware vSphere 4' bur from the reviews that I have read it was a smashing success.  I can honestly say that Mastering VMware vSphere 5 is the same.  A whopping 768 pages covers everything vSphere 5 has to offer and is laid out in such a fashion that it is understandable to the newbie to virtualization, yet still dives technically into subjects to provide that level of interest to an expert.  By that I mean Scott not only covers off the basics of virtualization, the basics of vSphere technology and the initial setup of common components, but he takes you deeper into the products by explaining many advanced features and how to configure them (using not only the vSphere Client but the vMA command line as well).  To top it off he does this in a fashion that is understandable and applicable to me as a vSphere Admin (If you have ever seen any of Scotts' presentations you will know what I mean).

Mastering VMware vSphere 5 covers everything you need to know to install, configure and manage a solid vSphere 5 environment covering off every aspect of the journey.  The chapter layout says it all…

  • Introducing VMware vSphere 5
  • Securing VMware vSphere
  • Planning and Installing VMware ESXi
  • Creating and Managing Virtual Machines
  • Installing and Configuring vCenter Server
  • Using Templates and vApps
  • Installing and Configuring vSphere Update Manager
  • Managing Resource Allocation
  • Creating and Configuring Virtual Networks
  • Balancing Resource Utilization
  • Creating and Configuring Storage Devices
  • Monitoring VMware vSphere Performance
  • Ensuring High Availability and Business Continuity
  • Automating VMware vSphere

For anyone looking to achieve VCP 5 status (like myself), each and every chapter contains a section at the end titled 'The Bottom Line'.  The Bottom Line contains key takeaways from the chapter and then asks you questions under a Master It heading.  To me this is a huge selling point of this book as it triggers you to think back on what you have just read, answer questions, and apply it to certain scenarios that you are presented with.  A great way to help you retain and apply knowledge!

Honestly I sat and read this book from cover to cover which I rarely do with technical books.  But that's not to say that it isn't referencable in any way.  In the few short days I've had it on my desk at work it is already peppered with post-it notes, bookmarks, and torn pieces of paper with chicken scratch and design ideas scribbled all over. This book provided me with a great resource to help with the install/upgrade and management of my vSphere environment and an excellent piece of study material to help complement all of the documentation on the VCP 5 exam blueprint, and a great technical overview of some of the functions of vSphere that I haven't had the chance to explore myself.  So, if you are looking for any or all of those things I would most certainly recommend picking up a copy of Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5.  The book is available directly from the publisher both in e-pub format as well as paperback.  You can also find it on iTunes, Barne's and Noble, and Amazon.  Also Scott has a fantastic blog where you can read more of his words, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter.

VMware vSphere Troubleshooting and VMware vSphere Performance Monitoring Training by TrainSignal

AND LESS WE FORGET A NICE LITTLE GIVE-AWAY AT THE BOTTOM….

Being an active member of the virtualization community I have been fortunate enough to have won a couple of Trainsignal VMware  training DVDs (Performance and Troubleshooting).  I thought I would do up this post in order to help people understand how these  dvd's have helped me, and maybe help people make a decision about picking up some TrainSignal training if they are on the fence. 

First off I want to mention the enthusiasm and energy from the presenter David Davis really makes these videos top notch.  I've  watched video training before that tends to put you to sleep and eventually results in you not even completing the courses, but the  excitement in David Davis' voice coupled with the technical quality of the content he covers really keeps you engaged in the  videos.  You can really tell that David is passionate about what he does and really takes pride in the quality of the end result.

As for the content, the Troubleshooting Training takes you through 30 lessons each broken up into a handful of subsections.  David  starts at how to setup your own lab and ends with a video outlining where to go to solve some of the most common situations  quickly.  The meat and bones of the course is in between these lessons.  David takes you through complete scenarios around  troubleshooting networking, storage (FC, NFS, and iSCSI), vCenter, ESX and ESXi, vMotion, SVMotion, DRS, HA, and VM Power On  Failures.

The Performance training is divided up into a whopping 40 lessons that again start with a lab setup and include everything and  anything you need to know about tuning and optimizing your vSphere environment to get the best possible performance out of it.  Again, every possible performance related subject is covered including Memory, CPU, Storage, and DRS.  You will not find a better performance monitoring resource out there anywhere.  This training not only touches on using VMware's monitoring products such as AppSpeed, vCenter Operations, Capacity IQ, esxtop, ESXPlot, and IO Blazer but it also covers a wide range of third party applications like Veeam Monitor, vKernel vOperations Suite, Xangati, and XtraVirt.

To be honest both of these training courses by TrainSignal are a must have for any VI Admin or anyone looking to obtain their VCAP certifications.  Both the troubleshooting and the performance monitoring along with the vSphere Security and vSphere PowerCli Training are combined in a VCAP package on TrainSignal.com.   They are jam packed full of quality content that can be viewed directly off the DVD's, on your IPAD, or even on TrainSignals Training Portal online.  They are laid out in a way where you can either sit through them from start to finish, or skip directly to your desired location.  I would recommend these to anyone looking to expand their knowledge in regards to vSphere.

AND ON WITH THE GIVE-AWAY!! YOU COULD WIN A COPY OF TRAINSIGNAL'S VMWARE VSPHERE 5 TRAINING!!!

No Way!!!

Yes Way!  Get  your hands on a copy of TrainSignal's VMware vSphere 5 Training by David Davis and Elias Khnaser.  Nearly 17 hours of jam-packed vSphere 5 training on to 3 DVDs.  This is the perfect training for anyone looking to prepare for the VCP 5 certification or even if you are just looking to expand your knowlege around what's new with vSphere 5!

How do I get my hands on this?  

Hey that's the easy part!  Simply comment in the form below and let the world know what your favorite new feature of vSphere 5 is!  To be honest you could just comment on whatever you want but I was just trying to make it interesting…!  Be sure to put your twitter handle the comment somewhere if you want that extra entry!

What!?!?  Extra entries!! OMG!

Sure, why not.  Simply follow me on twitter and send out the tweet below and I'll throw an extra ballot in for you!  If you can't see the tweet box below it is because you are just on the main page, you might need to click directly into this article…or just tweet this.. I just entered the @mwpreston @trainsignal #happynewsphere contest via http://blog.mwpreston.net/

 

 

So how do I know if I won?

On January 16th or so I'll do some sort of random number generation compared to excel spreadsheet magic hat operation and pick a winner!  From there I'll get in touch with the winner whether it be through email, twitter, facebook, telephone, telegram, etc and let them know…after I have confirmation I'll post an update here!  If for some reason I don't hear back from the winner or they don't want the prize or whatever, I'll do it all again!

Good Luck!!!