Month: August 2012

First Impressions of PHD Virtual Backup 6 @ VMworld

Wow!  As always VMworld is crazy, nuts, busy, sleep deprived and full of great information.  Throughout the crazy hustle I had a chance to stop by the PHD Virtual booth and have a look at the new release of their flagship product and award winning PHD Virtual Backup.  6.0 marks this release of their software and let me tell you it looks pretty sweet! First off let me say that this is truly a feature release.  They have added a ton of new functionality, some of my favorites are highlighted below.but for a full list be sure to check out the release notes. PHD Instant Recovery Probably the biggest feature in the bundle if you ask me.  When disaster occurs or a failure happens the most important factor in your recovery is time.  PHD has certainly addressed this with Instant Recovery.  No more lengthy restore process, no more restoring individual virtual disks, just simply power on your VM directly from the backup storage/files.  That’s right, it runs directly from the compressed and encrypted (i’ll get to that later) files located on your backup storage for an immediate recovery.  Once up and going you can simply use VMware’s Storage vMotion to move this VM back to your production or whatever storage you would like to for that matter.  No storage vMotion licensing, no worries!  PHD has also included a technology...

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Generating a Remote Console URL in vSphere 5

I’ve ran into a “real-world” situation where I actually needed to grant one person access to one VM within our organization.  This normally wouldn’t be a big deal right, just let them RDP into the app and do what they need to do, however in this case the applications that were being tested had a major impact on the network.  That being said, the VM was not connected to any production network at all, so right off the hop the RDP solutions is a no go.  So then I thought about providing this user access via View, but it only supports a ‘desktop’ operating system.  Then I remembered the Remote Console URL  Now normally prior to vSphere 5 you could just go and click the  ‘Generate Remote Console URL’ option that was available within the vSphere client.   I’ve actually posted a how-to here.  That being said, with the introduction of vSphere 5 that option has completely disappeared.  Why?  I have no idea!  Maybe with the introduction of the Web Client they expect users to go that route instead – Either way, I hit the googles to see what was available… Enter Mr. William Lam (blog/twitter)!  Honestly every time I hit the web looking for a script or an answer to something virtuallyGhetto seems to be one of the firsts hits in the results; just as it was this time.  William has a pretty...

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PXE booting a scripted ESXi 5.x Install

As of late I’ve been working on an automated deployment solution for ESXi.  Seeing as I will be deploying 50 + identical installations in the near future one thing I don’t want to have to do is follow documentation and screenshots telling me where and when to click.  So, enter the scripted install…and hey, why not throw PXE into the mix as well. The official VMware documentation does have section dealing with PXE booting a scripted install, but it seems to assume that the VMware installation is going to be the only application included in your PXE boot and TFTP directories.  Now I don’t know about you, but the VMware installation is not the only thing that I want to boot from my PXE server.  Most people will have a menu built with various installation and utilities….so this is a few things I’ve learned over the past week that are not in the documentation… So first off is the actual menu item in the the pxelinux config file.  Below is the actual KERNEL and APPEND items from the VMware documentation (which won’t work unless you have extracted everything into the root of your TFTP server.  As you can see there is no path preceding mboot, thus assuming it’s in the root. LABEL install KERNEL mboot.c32 APPEND -c location of boot.cfg MENU LABEL ESXi-5.0.0-XXXXXX-full ^Installer Since we are placing our...

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Practise makes perfect! More PowerCLI APC Powerchute Network Shutdown Goodness (Now with Power On!)

Picture this, a quaint little city in Eastern Ontario. It’s been at least a couple of months since we have really had any rain. My tomato plants are dying, my lawn is completely brown, but the datacentre, it’s chugging along nicely…Then it hits us, the first rainfall (of any real value) of the summer. Finally maybe things will start to grow again. Chatter around the office turns to the weather yet again, people are smiling, happy, can’t wait to get home see if maybe there was a chance that their grass might have turned a slight shade of green…and then, nothing but darkness and the faint sound of our neighbouring businesses generator kicking on…! Are you kidding me? It rains once this summer and it knocks the power out? Wow! No big deal though right? We have our Powerchute Network Shutdown all configured to peel through and shut-down all of our physical hardware, and a while back I wrote this nifty little script to shutdown the virtual infrastructure, no problem! And thus the title for this blog post – Practise makes Perfect! Turns out that I could have been a little more efficient in my script. Initially I was looping through hosts one by one shutting off VMs, then waiting, then checking, then going through for another pass, and then moving on to the next host… Well, with 10 minutes left on battery...

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