Monthly Archives: January 2014

Removing failed replica disks from Veeam proxies.

There’s no doubt that I’ve been a big fan of Veeam Backup and Replication.  For the most part in my day job this has been a set and forget type of application that just works (and even through the use of SureBackup it let’s me know that it works!).  That said, there are times when my jobs will fail.  Usually due to causes such as vCenter disconnecting or other environmental concerns.  When this happens, a lot of times I find that Veeam will have hot added a replica disk to the proxy in order to do it’s thing, yet since the disruption it hasn’t removed it.  This will cause all subsequent backups to fail, normally with errors around opening vddk disks and/or invalid snapshot configurations. 

Easy way – just remove them – but where are they?

waldo No problem right – just right-click on our proxy VM and remove those stray replica disks – that’ll fix it.  This seems like an easy fix for maybe a couple of replica disks on a couple of Veeam proxies…but what if you are using Veeam at scale?  We by no means are huge when it comes to Veeam but honestly, even with 6 Veeam proxies and 200 VMs it can get a little hectic and almost feel like you are playing a game of Where’s Waldo when you are trying to determine which proxy has hot-added which failed replica.  And I find it monotonous with 6, for those larger the Where’s Waldo book could be a few hundred pages πŸ™‚

Enter PowerCLI Man!!!

PowerCLI-Man_HeadshotNow before I get into explaining how to do this with PowerCLI we need to go over a few assumptions.  A few things that I’m assuming about the environment that Veeam is installed in.

  1. You have used a standard naming convention for your VMs that contains at least a few characters that can uniquely identify your Veeam VMs from the ones you are backing up.
  2. You haven’t done any crazy with adding existing disks or renaming them at all.  Meaning you don’t have a VM called VM1 with a mounted disk called VM2.vmdk.  All disks attached to your proxies are consistent in their naming as the VM is.
  3. Veeam isn’t running any current jobs.  If Veeam is running this little command might just unmount a disk that Veeam is currently trying to replicate/backup.  Not good – so be sure your jobs are all stopped.

Phew!  Now that’s out of the way let’s have a look at a one-liner that will accomplish the task of removing all foreign disks from our Veeam proxies – essentially, this will mimic the person that has selfishly flipped through the book and circled all of the Waldos πŸ™‚

Get-VM | Where-Object {$_.Name –like “*VBR*”} | Get-HardDisk | Where-Object {$_.Filename –notlike “*VBR*”} | Remove-HardDisk

There you are, you can see the line will first grab all VMs that contain the string ‘VBR’ – a unique string inside of all my Veeam proxies.  Then, it retrieves all the disks mounted to those VMs that do not contain the ‘VBR’ string, meaning they are foreign or from my replicas.  It then, simply removes them – with a prompt πŸ™‚  To remove the prompt just add a –confirm:$false right at the end of the line.

With that let’s call this post done.  Although not a very technical post this is a simple one-liner that has saved me a ton of time over the years.  It also has given me a good excuse to post some pictures of Waldo and complain about that third-grader that always seemed to get those library books before me and circle Waldo on EVERY PAGE!  Thanks for the challenge Billy!!!!

My VCAP5-DCA Experience

Everyone does it right?  Spew out what they thought after writing the VCAP5-DCA exam.  Well, here I am again, being a follower :).

On December 19th, 2013 I made the 2.5 hour drive to Ottawa, Ontario to sit the VCAP5-DCA.  Honestly, the drive wasn't that bad!  We got a break in the snowfall and ice storm for a few days so I guess I scheduled it at the right time of year.  The only complaint I have is that I only passed a couple of Tim Horton's along the way, so the coffee intake was not the greatest – which is probably a saving grace in then end since there are no scheduled breaks during the exam to go to the bathroom.

I arrived at the Exam Centre roughly 45 minutes before my exam started.  I sat down in the food court of the building where the exam center was located, masked one more LUN and made my way up the elevator to sit my exam.  I walked into the Pearson testing Centre 30 minutes before my exam was scheduled to start, hoping to maybe get an early start.  That said, they cannot technically sit anyone any closer than 15 minutes from their start time, so I sat in a chair quietly staring at the floor for 15 minutes.

Ok, on to the exam itself.  Like everyone else has said the exam is fair.  Not once did I see it stray from the blueprint – which would be hard to do since the blueprint pretty much covers everything!  As far as the questions go all I can say is read them slowly.  I actually missed one task on the first question that I caught when I was reviewing a few things.  

I basically started at question 1 and worked my way straight through to the end.  Any question that I didn't finish or that I didn't feel like doing at that time I skipped and wrote down on my little magic erase board.  Let me tell you, when I got to question 26 I was a little worried as I had about 10 numbers written down on that board πŸ™‚  From there, I used the remaining time to go back through the questions and knock off the ones I skipped intentionally.  When they were done, I went on to the questions that I didn't quite understand that well and began working on them.  That's when my time ran out!!!  

Yes, time once again took it's toll on a VCAP test taker!  The 3.5 hours that they give you felt like 10 minutes to me.  I was working so hard and fast that I couldn't believe my eyes when the 5 minute warning came up.

As far as latency goes I only had one period of about 5 minutes where things were very slow to respond.  It didn't really play a factor in my not finishing the exam.  There were some other anomalies with my exam but I'll leave them to VMware's education support to look at!

I walked out of the room with an eery feeling – I knew I did well on most of the questions I finished, but I did leave a lot on the table.  I figured it could go either way!  And then, on January 3rd (which I thought was an impressive turn around for the holiday season) I got the email stating that I had passed with a score of 396!  Needless to say I was stoked!

So, as for tips there is nothing new that I can write down that isn't already written in the many VCAP experiences that are out there.  I'll outline a few that I thought were the most useful

  • Do the stuff that you know how to do first.  If you need to skip a question just scribble down the number and move on.  Time is of the essence, so don't sit around thinking about one given task too long.  Get done what you can!
  • Use the Adobe advanced find for the documents.  This will allow you to search all the documents at once!  Great time saver if you are looking for an advanced setting and you aren't sure what piece of documentation it is in.
  • Use the vSphere Client located on your FIRST screen!  DO NOT try and RDP into vCenter and use the client there – I did this for one question and it is deadly slow.
  • If you need to use a putty window and/or an RDP window just use it and leave it open.  Don't close it, you will just waste time trying to re-open it later.
  • Ugh, try and remember the administrator/root password.  They are all the same but given it's a new password it can be hard to type in multiple times!
  • The best tip I can give you is to know your stuff.  The more you know the easier this exam is.  The more you have done these things in a lab or in your day job it gets even easier.  You can use my 8 weeks of VCAP page (Big thanks to Tom Verhaeg for his help) to brush up on what I have done in the last 8 weeks.  The holy grail for the blueprint however, has to be Josh Coen and Jason Langers Unofficial VCAP5-DCA Study Guide!  Get it and print it and practice it!

That's about it for me with this one!  What's next?  Maybe DCD, but certainly a little family / down time is next in line!

#HappyNewSphere is back – bigger than ever!!!!

Ever since I've had this blog I've tried to grab up some sponsors to run a New Years contest!  This year I've been lucky enough to get a couple of great sponsors with more prizes than ever!  So, if I'm lucky, that means your lucky as you could be the winner of some of the awesome vSphere material below.  

First up is VMware Press – partnered with Pearson they are the official publisher of VMware books and training material!  If you are a reader of this blog you no doubt are familiar with VMware Press.  They have a great library of material written by some of the smartest virtualization rockstar minds there is!  If you have some time definitely go check out their line up as it is fantastic!

And back again is TrainSignal, however this time in the form of Pluralsight!  I've used a ton of Pluralsight's material to prepare for my certifications, to prepare better for my day job, as well as just learn more in regards to VMware and vSphere.  But Pluralsight doesn't stop there – if it exists in technology then they more than likely have a course for it!  Again, go and check out their library for yourself.

Ok, enough enough – time for the prizes.  If one of your new years resolutions was to get certified or to simply just learn more about virtualization then you are reading the right blog post!  This year I've got more prizes than ever so I can really spread the joy around the community.  

Prize Pack 1 – The mother of all certification books

officialvcp5certguide officialvcp5dt officialvcpcloud officalvcapdcd
The Official VCP5 Certification Guide The Official VCP5-DT Certification Guide The Offical VCP-Cloud Certification Guide The Offical VCAP5-DCD Certification Guide

Thats right!  You could get your hands on the official VCP5 DCV, VCP5-DT, VCP-Cloud and VCAP-DCD certification guides!  A wack of material for anyone looking to expand their certification resume!

Prize Pack 2 – The mother of all vSphere Administration books

manageandoptimize vspheredatacentre businesscritical vsphere5dvd
Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments vSphere 5 – building a virtual datacenter Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere 5 VMware vSphere 5 Jumpstart (Video Training) (DVD)

Anyone that looks after a vSphere environment can definitely benefit from this group of prizes!  From building your virtualized datacenter, to optimizing it for performance and virtualizing those business critical applications – VMware Press has you covered!

Prize Pack 3 – The mother of all video training.

pluralsightIf you haven't had the opportunity to check out Pluralsights line-up of courses you can do so by signing up for a free 10 day trial on their website!  Well, I can do you one better!  I've got a total of 8 one month trial keys to hand out to the community compliments of Pluralsight!  That's 30 full days to experience the magic that is Pluralsight video training!

Entry is pretty simple – just leave a comment below to enter.  For extra ballots simply send out the tweet!  Again, I've decided to use Punchtab to run this so be sure to follow the instructions in the widget below!  This contest will close at 11 pm EST on Wednesday, January 15th –  Good luck and #HappyNewSphere 


VMware Press has graciously generated a promo code that will get all #HappyNewSphere entrants 35% off at checkout on – So I guess everybody wins!!!  Watch your emails for the code sometime after the contest has ended!!!