It seems like just last year I posted that I had redone my website in Drupal and had gotten back into blogging, ok, gotten back into blogging somewhat. I am a pretty big fan of Drupal, I love their community driven method, the flexibility, the do it yourself of it all. As time went by though I found myself with less and less time available to deal with the community driven method of website development, lots of flexibility and the do it yourself of it all at the personal blog site level. Further I was especially stymied by the almost nonexistent support for blogging from mobile platforms. I tried various methods of dealing with this, but none of them felt as easy as anything on an iPad should feel and what was there seemed to rely on either hosting through Drupal Gardens or on running an outdated version of the Blog API module.
So for all those reasons and more this week I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve now ported this site over to essentially the anti-Drupal, WordPress. WordPress comes in both community and commercial flavors, but while I don’t think in 4 years of working with Drupal I saw a single paid module or theme that wasn’t custom work almost everyone I’ve found so far has at least some relationship with a commercial product in the same ecosphere. Even with that so far I’ve found it to be an economically viable option as long as free isn’t your ceiling. In this post I’m going to outline some of the things I’m finding helpful and some of the challenges and differences between the two I’ve had to work my way through.
I’ve recently been working on getting my environment upgraded from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5. Last week I replaced one vCenter server with a clean install and upgraded another, in process implementing home brewed certificates thanks in no small part to Derek Seaman’s excellent SSL toolkit and tutorials. With that done and nice and clean this week I turned towards getting the ESX hosts updated. Like all right thinking folks, I typically like to use vSphere Update Manager for this task in a vCenter supported environment.
The first host went very well and was up and patched without issue. After that the wheels fell off for the other two. I was continuously getting “Unsupported configuration” when I would try to scan the host, if I tried to push through and Remediate it would fail with “Software or system configuration of host <hostnamehere> is incompatible. Check scan results for details.” Nice error messages right? I tried a few things, reinstalling the management agents via VMware KB 1031919, rebooting the host, etc. After no luck there I logged a case with VMware where we began trying to find more information in the vua.log and verifying the correct fdm agent is installed via the esxcli software vib list | grep fdm command. In the end we were able to find my issue but I’ll be honest the documentation and logging in this scenario is pretty bad.
When Veeam Backup & Replication creates a vPowerNFS share, mounting your backup datastore as an addressable datastore to your host that is added in at least one way as a series of lines in the /etc/vmware/esx.conf file as shown below:
/nas/VeeamBackup_backupserver/readOnly = "false" /nas/VeeamBackup_backupserver/enabled = "true" /nas/VeeamBackup_backupserver/host = "backupserver.domain.local" /nas/VeeamBackup_backupserver/share = "/VeeamBackup_backupserver"
This is great except as I’ve moved from Veeam server to Veeam server with different names and I dismounted and removed the different datastores from the hosts the old lines of config weren’t removed from esx.conf. Further after finally seeing the “Error in ESX configuration file (esx.conf)” we got lead down the rabbit hole of the preprocessing of a VUM upgrade. Evidently one of the first steps (at the 12% mark of the remediate task in my case) is to run a variant of the esxcfg-info CLI command which in my case was producing this:
~ # esxcfg-info | grep 'System UUID' Error: Unable to resolve hostname 'backupserver.domain.local' ~ #
After seeing the command output I opened up the esx.conf file with vi, found the offending lines of configuration and removed them. After saving the file I was able to scan the host again and the scan reported the host as being non-compliant instead of incompatible, just what we were looking for. A remediation then was successful and I was back in business. One item of note if you find yourself wanting to try this yourself is make sure you take a backup of the esx.conf file as a miss step here could result in production datastore being unavailable. For those not too familar with Linux style commands you can do this easily with
cp /etc/vmware/esx.conf /tmp/esx.conf
In the end what I do know is that the act of adding a NFS datastore to an ESX host and then later removing it both from ESXi configuration as well as the underlying DNS zone is what caused the blocking of my upgrade. Now what I don’t know if this is due to it being programmatically added by Veeam and then manually removed at a later date or if this is a situation that is common to the use of NFS datastores in general. More importantly, it would be great if VMware would work on how it is reporting such configuration issues. Even taking me out of the equation, if it takes your own Support Engineer 1.5 hours to track it down it isn’t documented enough.
I write this aboard about the coolest painted plane I’ve had the pleasure of flying on, en route to Las Vegas, NV to attend and speak at the inaugural VeeamON conference being held at the Cosmopolitan. The conference is being held by Veeam Software, one of the leaders in virtualization backup, known best for its Veeam Backup & Replication product. The conference itself represents a pretty big milestone for a global company who in my opinion has done a very solid job of getting social right from the corporate standpoint. It is also going to time well due to the pending version 8 release of Backup & Replication.
I have been working with Veeam’s Backup & Replication software for a little over four years now and find it to be both powerful as well as easy to use, a nice combination when talking about the product responsible for the safety of your data. I will be speaking about my experiences with this software package from the small government organization standpoint and how it helps us deal with some of the particular challenges that come from being in that segment. My session will be on Wednesday at 8:30 AM.
This will be my first time speaking in this type of setting so we’ll see how it goes, but there will be no shortage of seasoned veterans providing sessions. Others speaking include a great deal of the staff from Veeam including Anton Gostev, Doug Hazelman, Rick Vanover, & Ben Milligan and those are just the ones that I’m personally familiar with. Further the virtualization industry will also be well represented by the likes of Chris Wahl, Symon Perriman, and Joep Piscaer. Finally Alexis Ohanian of Reddit will serve as the celebrity speaker. All in all for a first time event they seem to have brought some very strong speakers to the event, we’ll see if I can hold up my part.
What To Look For
One of the things that I really like about this conference is the variety of options they are providing attendees to make the most of their time. Monday is Partner day, open only to their partners, but at the same time they will be having a variety of community driven Veeam User Group sessions for the rest of us attending. Also from the community side of things there will be a few vBrownbag sessions sprinkled through Tuesday and Wednesday. These are generally much shorter, 15-20 minutes and are great for people to share little tips and tricks of the industry. I myself will be providing a session on Physical Backup Strategies on Tuesday at 8:20 talking about how we use the open source software product Areca Backup to handle the role of backing up the few physical machines I have left in my environment.
One of the biggest draws and one that will be of great importance to both me and my employer is the ability to take the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) course while attending. This course, a prerequisite to being able to sit the VMCE exam, is typically $3000 US and last 5 days. At the conference they will be condensing it into 2.5 days and conference attendees are able to take the course for only $650.
Also going on as an aside to the sessions are the Lab Warz game and offsite tour of a Modern Datacenter. Registrants for Lab Warz will compete against each other to create the ultimate data protection scenario for cash and prizes. The offsite tour will take a group of attendees to the Cobalt Cheyenne datacenter to see how datacenter is done on the large scale.
Even f you are unable to attend yourself the Keynotes on both Tuesday and Wednesday will be streamed live. The big news most likely will be the announcement of the general release of version 8 of Veeam’s Availability Suite which includes the Backup & Replication product as well at the Veeam ONE virtualization infrastructure monitoring package. Both of these products have been in beta for the past few months and from my own personal experiences with them Veeam has done a very good job of making great software better. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t a few surprises announcements there as well. It’s not everyday you get to host your own inaugural global event, might as well take advantage
I’m going to go ahead and sign out here for now. Be sure to check back later as I plan to update frequently through the week with news and information.
Ok, so yes, it’s been more than a month since VMworld 2014 ended here in the US. I realize I’m a little late to the game in trying to get these thoughts down, but still necessary if for no other reason than for my own memory’s sake. In the mean time since getting back I’ve been a little busy; rolling out a whole new Veeam Backup infrastructure, completing my presentation for the inaugural VeeamON conference (more on that in a post later this week), and just this past weekend completing the rollout of 10 GbE for my lil’ datacenter. All in all September has been a very busy month, but back to the matter at hand.
There have been a bunch really great write ups about what happened at VMworld 2014 such as Dan Barber’s full series and Tom Hollingsworth’s post on why Moscone just might be outgrown (it is). Because of this I’m not going to completely go down the road of covering things, but with this being my first time attending I’m going to talk about some of my key takeaways about what interested me and my impressions of the conference.
Be Brave Young Admin- Pat Gelsinger opened up the conference by telling us all that we must be brave, unafraid to explore new worlds, to boldly go where no man has go… Sorry got derailed there. In short we as admins must not be afraid to branch out and try new things; stop thinking about ourselves as being the virtualization person or the network person or the storage person, etc. Instead we need to open up our tool box and be all these things in the new hyperconverged world. Now the cynic in me says we need to be brave so we won’t be afraid to buy VMware’s forays into the turf of traditionally other folks such as NSX and VSAN, but there’s a small vein of truth there. Once these technologies become more mature, and I don’t think they’re there yet, at a bare minimum we as admins are going to have to support them in some capacity.
In the Land of NSX the Network Turned vGuy Shall Be King– Last year when I went to CiscoLive I was absolutely awed by converged brain power there; not only in the networking fields but the breadth of knowledge of other technologies from virtualization to voice was amazing to me. At VMworld there were also a great deal of very, very smart people but what I found funny is almost all of them in the course of the discussion would have one portion or another of the virtualized world that was their self proclaimed weak spot (mine’s storage for those keeping track at home). Of these people it amazed me how many really didn’t have a good, fundamental knowledge of networking. In the course of one conversation with a few VCDX preppers there was a discussion of troubleshooting a particular issue in their design build out and they didn’t understand the concept of troubleshooting up the stack, something I consider day 1 type stuff.
Because of this, I continuously got the feeling the entire week that the person who came to virtualization via a networking background as opposed to a systems background is going to be a pretty desirable dude (or dudette). If nothing else I highly recommend those who come from the systems side either pick up a copy of the Chris Wahl & Steve Pantol’s Networking for VMware Administrators or check out some form of CCNA level training.
EVO:Rail Seems Neat But Constrains Itself– In my humble opinion the big announcement of VMworld 2014 was that of a new line of products called EVO and it’s first product, EVO:Rail. EVO:Rail is developed entirely by VMware to be the drop in hyperconverged system you need to get up and running and creating VMs quickly, in 15 minutes as the boasts go. Each system will have 13 TB of usable VSAN storage backed by 4 compute nodes each with dual Ivy Bridge CPUs, 192 GB of RAM and 2x10GbE NICs, all of which tucked nicely within a 2U package. This is visualized to the admin through a brand new, HTML5 interface backed by vSphere Enterprise Plus and Log Insight.
As it was being announce this very much so excited me; aside from the storage one of these could power all my core needs. My enthusiasm waned though when I realized that you would have to go outside of the nice and simple interface to be able to access any additional storage other than what’s in the box. The official answer is that if you run out of any of the above resources you just drop in another EVO:Rail unit. By all means though if you get a chance it is worth taking a look at. You can even play around in the interface via the EVO:Rail Hands On Lab.
I will say that I think one of the ways that VMware really go the idea right is that they aren’t trying to use this to get into the hardware business themselves, instead they create the spec and have already partnered with a handful of vendors, most notably Dell and SuperMicro, to actually build and sell the boxes.
Community Really Does Equal Good– Yes, I know I keep harping on this but one thing VMware REALLY gets right with their conference is creating an environment where community driven side events can not only happen, but flourish. Between providing a significant chunk of valuable real estate in the Hang Space for the vBrownBag crew to do a great deal of sessions throughout the week and things like the various tweetups or other networking events there is no shortage of things that are conference related but not necessarily created by VMware themselves. Heck they even have a sanctioned 5k race to go along with the event (29:04 finishing time for yours truly.) Frankly, one of the most valuable chunks of time I spent all week was in the VM Underground/vBrownBag Opening Acts, a series of 6 1 hour sessions that covered the gamut of career and social media to storage and networking. All of these sessions were recorded and I would highly recommend checking them out.
Conclusion– All in all I very much enjoyed and felt I learned a great deal at VMworld 2014. The sessions that I attended, which were plentiful, were top notch and led by many of the brightest minds in the industry. I currently have an active project going on selection of our next wave of storage for our virtualized infrastructure so it was great to be able to hit the show floor and do direct comparisons between those on my short list. From an organizational standpoint I still feel like VMware still doesn’t quite have its act all the way together. With my only points of reference being the extremely mature CiscoLive events and the inaugural VeeamON event it seemed to me that VMware event staff are in a perpetual situation of playing catchup, even more so than the others. The website didn’t get updated from the previous year’s edition until right before registration opened up, and even then up until a couple of weeks before the event there were still “Coming Soon” sections to be found. Maybe a better example is the case of the ever popular VMware party. It seemed evident from the lack of announcement until right before the event that VMware was trying to find a good location where you could hold everybody for the annual VMworld Party and wasn’t having much luck. AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants is the usual choice but the Giants had a homestand. Because of this they essentially cleared out the keynote and hangspace locations, crammed as many people as possible into the room to watch the Black Keys, and whoever couldn’t fit got to watch on a big screen out on the lawns of the Yerba Buena Gardens. In any event, I really hope they get it worked out and have a better plan for all of the above for next year.
This morning was the opening Keynote with Pat Gelsinger and the gang and while there were some announcements (more on that later) the key take away is that the time is upon us IT folk to be brave. It is a time to cast aside concerns about cloud and your job as it currently is done because your role will be automated and start giving all your money for VMWare. No need to concern yourself with hardware, that can all be white boxed, but only think about things such as networking and storage as just small components of the greater Hyper-Converged compute nodes regardless of location. I tended to look upon this with great skepticism as I don’t think we’re quite ready or should be ready to put the network guys out to pasture, replaced with new shiny Virtualization Admins who know what an IP address is and most of the time understand what a VLAN does for you.
But intermingled with the Mierda of Info Tech talk there were some new announcements, the biggest of which was that of a new product line, EVO, who purpose to be be the hyperconverged boxes you are looking for, putting Vmware into direct competition with the likes of Nutanix and what sounds like their own partnership VCE vBlock. In the case of the former the EVO:Rail is the ready for primetime product, with actual hardware available here to look and see through any of their partners on the product. The idea is that within a single 2U enclosure you have a series of mixed flash and spinning disks, 4 blades each containing 2 6 core CPUs, 192 GB of RAM, and 2 10 Gbps uplinks augmented by a 1 Gbps link for IPMI and remote management. All of this is powered by a vSphere Enterprise Plus level environment utilizing VSAN and distributed vSwitch masked out with a shiny new HTML5 based web client like interface. I have high hopes this means the end is near for the flash based vSphere Web Client.
The second announcement of the EVO line is EVO:Rack which is coming soon, but it is essentially a roll in rack based solution with everything you need to start up or exand your data center. If that sound familiar to you you’ve probably seen systems such as vBlock and FlexPod. In all the take away regarding the EVO product line is get your system up and running and start deploying VMs in an exceptionally small window of time. I will say was a bit disappointed when I actually met with the Dell folks regarding their version of the EVO:Rail product in that it provides an effective 13 TB of available datastore space and the system provides no ability to add external datastores at all.
Back into Vmware’s bread and butter in the software space there was a good deal of announcement of new versions and rebranding of their product line including vSphere 6 being in beta which we already knew, the the vCloud Hybrid product being rebranded as vCloud Air, and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) was renamed vRealize, both of which with a few noticable upgrades.
In the training space we now have a Vmware certification track for us network folks centered around the NSX product. These certifications include the now available VCP-NV and the soon to be released VCIX (Vmware Certified Internetworking Expert) and VCDX-NV. Interestingly they are providing horizontal opt outs for those of us already network certified by for a short period time allowing CCNAs and CCNPs to take the exam without a course requirements. If you are a current VCP you will also be able to take the exam without course requirements.
I arrived here at VMWorld 2014 in San Francisco yesterday (Saturday) and the conference doesn’t actually start until tomorrow (Monday) so for the sake of organization I’m going to refer to the events of the past couple of days as Day 0. Yesterday after arriving and getting checked into the hotel I found myself right on time for registration to open up so I walked down. One of the nice thing about the conference being here in SFO is that most hotels are within a 1/2 mile walk to the Moscone. I was very surprised when I got there in that I believed myself to be coming very early and found a pretty significant line. It seems everybody comes early for this one. After that Jet Lag for the most part won and the rest of the day was given to getting past that with the notable exceptions of checking out both the vBeers and Community Kickoff events. Neither of these were sponsored events but well worth the time for the conversation.
So today evidently started with a Bucket List for many that in true Jim form I slept through. At approximately 3:20 AM Sunday a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the Bay Area, the largest since 1989. I’m not sure if my sleeping through it is a measure of how tired I was or how comfy Marriott beds are, but nonetheless I missed it entirely and learned about it as friends back home started checking on me. Once up is when the schedule got crazy and I will use today to illustrate just how busy these things are.
- 7:30-9:45 – Catch shuttle from Moscone West to the VMWorld Fun Run 5k at the beautiful Crissy Field, literally in the shadows of the Golden Gate Bridge. Included in the time is the shuttle back and forth in addition to actually running the race (29:04 was my time for those keeping track).
- 10:00-12:00 – I had a few months back scheduled both the run and my VCP5-DCV at 11 AM without thinking about the time constraints. So I found myself going in and taking my exam, successfully (yay!), stinky and still in my running clothes.
- 12:00-1:00 PM – Clean up quickly from the morning’s activities and grab some food. Both days so far I haven’t been able to make it past this food truck right on the route to Moscone called Señor Sisig, great food and I highly recommend it to any of my fellow attendees
- 1:00-4:00 PM – As I mentioned in my last post VMWorld seems to do a great job of facilitating the community to interact. New this year to VMWorld the guys from vBrownBag and vmUnderground came together to create Opening Acts, a series of 6 panel discussions with some of the brightest minds in the fields including Social Media & your career, Storage, Networking, Cloud, Automation, and Infrastructure. I have to say I learned a great deal from these sessions and when the videos get posted I highly recommend them.
- 4:00-6:30 PM – The welcome reception of in the vendor area for any conference as best I can tell is when the swag free for all is in full force. Vmware’s is no different. I tend to take the conservative approach of only hitting booths that a) I’m already a customer of or b) have a legitimate interest in the products so I won’t mind hearing from them. Even with that my backpack was heaping.
- 7:00-8:00 – Writing this and getting cleaned up again. 🙂
- 8:00-? – The evidently legendary VMUnderground party is tonight in the same space as Opening Acts today. I’ll be attending hoping to blow off some steam and reach out and meet some new people in our industry.
With all that said, it looks to be time to go and I’ll try to update with some pictures tomorrow.
A little over one week from now I will be hopping a flight to San Francisco for VMWare’s VMworld Conference, my first, held at the ever popular Moscone Center. Last year I had the privilege of attending Cisco Systems’ Cisco Live but from everything I’ve seen, read and heard as well as my experience in getting even to this point VMWorld seems to be a bit of a different animal. In this post I’ll cover some of my impressions so far and things I’m looking forward to as well as a list of the sessions that I’m (at least at this point) scheduled to attend.
In terms of the price of the conference and directly related matters (outside educational events, community shindigs) VMWorld is pretty reasonable with a standard cost of $1995 knocked down to $1695 if you register early. There also a variety of ways to even get discounts under that. In my case I was supposed to be eligible for another $100 off either because I am a VCP or from my VMUG Advantage subscription, but because of a computer system flub on their part they showed me as an Alumni of VMWorld giving me another $100, making the final $1495. I offered it up as a mistake and they said to let it go. Further I opted for the $55 5k fun run Sunday morning which isn’t bad as well as the vBrownBag/ VMUnderground Opening Acts panel educational series Sunday afternoon at the great value of free. I highly recommend these as the line up looks great, filled with a who’s who of the virtualization social world riffing on a variety of topics.
Past that the costs get a little nuts when compared to my experience last year for Cisco in Orlando, FL. You really couldn’t even get in the door of the conference hotels for less than $270 a night and even then many of the available options filled up within the first two weeks of registration being open. Compare that to the $139 a night I paid for the Courtyard 2 blocks from the venue in Orlando. Further I’ve been told to expect higher than normal costs for food (the conference food is evidently atrocious and I shouldn’t really consider that an option) as well as flight cost for going across country and it really starts to add up.
Community Focus/ Party Party Party
To truly condense what I think I know about VMWorld in comparing to CLUS so far is while there is a healthy dose of outside get togethers available at CLUS VMWorld vendors seem to take the sponsored events to a whole other level. Every single night, including Saturday when I get in there is multiple vendor or community sponsored events going on, almost all of which start with a “v,” vBreakfast, vStogies, vBeers, vFlipCup vOdgeball, etc. They even go so far as to provide a iCalendar with nothing but theSocial Events. Further one of the nice things that I’m not personally going to be able to utilize this year is a regular’s wife organizes a variety of sponsored activities for the spouses who decide to travel as well called, aptly, Spousetivities.
All of this lends itself to the basic idea that one of the things that VMWare has fostered very well is the sense of community; that while the conference itself provides a trove of education through its sessions and such the true value of the conference is the uniting of a community that is already integrated through social media. Last year I dutifully attended a large number of sessions at CiscoLive where I truly learned a great deal, but it was the time just casually discussing things in the Social Media Hub where I truly felt enriched by the experience. VMWare seems to understand this as well.
Where in the World is Jim
As I sat down to write this and dumped the list of sessions which I’ve scheduled to do so I realized that I’ve scheduled more than I thought I had. Another thing that I learned last year is that sessions that seemed like a great idea before hand don’t seem that great when you are in the middle of a conversation regarding a topic you are very much so interested in with people you consider far smarter than yourself. I had this thought a number of times with people such as Chris Wahl, Jody Lemoine, Amy Arnold, and Jake Snyder. So for that reason I don’t think I’m going to find myself shy this year to hop on the VMWorld app and dump myself out of sessions if the timing isn’t right. The beauty of these major conferences is that all the sessions are recorded and later access is included in the cost of attendance.
Anyway, for now this is what I’m looking forward to seeing:
- NET1214 — NSX Certification – the Next Step in Your Networking Career
- OPT3021-SPO — Size Does Matter: Performance, Uptime, Growth and You
- INF1469 — Extreme Performance Series: Monster VM Performance
- INF1212 — Best Practices in Virtualizing Remote Offices and Branch Offices with VMware
- SDDC1600 — Art of IT Infrastructure Design: The Way of the VCDX – Panel
- STO3162 — Software Defined Storage: Satisfy the Requirements of Your Application at the Granularity of a Virtual Disk with Virtual Volumes (VVols)
- STO2754-SPO — New Kids on the Storage Block, File and Share: Lessons in Storage and Virtualization
- STO2496 — vSphere Storage Best Practices: Next-Gen Storage Technologies
- INF1192 — Ask the Experts : Design Advice for Small and Midsize Business
- INF2336 — Separating Fact from Fiction – ESXi Hypervisor Security
- NET2745 — vSphere Distributed Switch: Technical Deep Dive
- INF2427 — DRS : Advanced Concepts, Best Practices and Future Directions
- BCO2701 — vSphere HA Best Practices and FT Tech Preview
- SDDC1176 — Ask the Expert vBloggers
- EUC2621 — Storage Overload: How to Make Sense of Storage Choices in a VDI.next World
- INF1601 — Taking Reporting and Command Line Automation to the Next Level with PowerCLI
- STO3247 — VMware VVOL Technical Preview with Dell Storage
As you can tell my focus this year is really on storage, something I know I’m a bit weak on but also a topic that is currently my employer’s greatest need at this time. Other than that I’m really looking forward to a lot of the panel discussions with many of the names I’ve come to know in the community.
First Impressions Are Important
While I am very much so excited for the trip for all of the reasons listed above, I really do feel like I need to put the bad out there with the good. Keep in mind that the only thing I have to compare VMWorld’s setup against is CiscoLive, a conference that when you include it’s earlier versions has been going on for 25 years, so when I talk about how the lead up to the conference experience has gone for me I really do feel like I am comparing against the gold standard. With that disclaimer made, from a organization standpoint I feel like the conference is a bit of a mess. With Cisco’s annual get together before you leave the conference floor for the last time registration is already open for the next year, VMWorld didn’t even have an updated website until about 3 months before the event begins. Even with that up until a couple of weeks ago there were still portions of the site labeled “coming soon.”
I could really go on and on with things that have irked me a bit, but my take on it is that the organization of VMWare’s conference really doesn’t seem to ramp up on the same time frame as Cisco, I feel like Cisco at any point in time is working at least a year or two in advance on all facets of the get together, where the feeling for me with VMworld is about 6 months out somebody went “oh crap, we forgot to plan the conference!” It might be completely off base but that’s where I’m at.
All in all though I am very much so looking forward to the event. Truthfully I’ve never been further west than Minnesota so the idea of California is appealing in and of itself, but the opportunity to get together with some of the brightest minds in virtualization today as well as seeing what next both from VMWare as well as their related vendors is appealing to say the least.
If you’re going I hope to see you there and if you want to get together feel free to reach me @k00laidIT.
Ahead of its annual Vmworld conference (which I will be attending this year, yay!) VMware has announced the version 6.0 of its vSphere line of products including ESXi, vCenter and just about every other VMware related topic I’ve written about here. The company has chosen to mix it up a little bit this year in that they have made the beta program itself public, but in joining the actual program you are required to sign a NDA keeping anything you learn private. To me I take this to mean that while the wire structure is there this is still very much a work in progress, with the community at large having the opportunity to greatly influence what we are going to be seeing in the final product.
As I cannot directly talk about anything I’m learning from the beta itself I highly recommend anybody with a little space to lab go sign up for the beta, start providing feedback and try it out for yourself. Instead what I’m going to discuss here is my wish list for things to be included when 6.0 finally hits gold as well as the basics of the long discussed Virtual Volumes product that was released into beta along with vSphere.
As I mentioned above, the beta for vSphere 6 requires a non-disclosure agreement, even if it is open to the public. To learn what is actually coming in vSphere 6 I urge you to go join the beta for yourself as there is a great deal of information in there for those who wish to really learn and understand the product(s). Below is a list of things that generically myself and a great many others very much so wish to see as this release comes to be.
- Bye Bye VI- Consider this your warning, the desktop Virtual Infrastructure client should be no more this time around. We’ve been warned for a couple of years ago that when the next major release of vSphere comes the Web Client will be the only option. While it’s a great idea and vendor integration to it seems to be becoming very handy it does make me wish for…
- HTML 5 based web client- Seriously VMware, 2005 called and wants its website back. The current iteration of the web client is based on Adobe Flash which means proprietary code, security bug and no iPads. In a day and time when you have available open standards to allow for similar functionality, why aren’t you using it?
- A full featured vCenter Appliance- with vSphere 5 we began to start to see the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) presented as a viable option to the application running on top of a Windows Server. That said it’s got some major drawbacks that in my opinion are deal breakers in terms of replacing my Windows vCenter boxes. These include
- Update Manager support
- Linked Mode
- Greater database support (at a bare minimum MS-SQL)
- Fix SSO/ Directly utilize AD/LDAP for an identity source- SSO got better with vSphere 5.5 as compared to 5.0 and 5.1, but I am still flummoxed by the idea that Vmware feels that they need to reinvent the authentication wheel. I would guess that the implementations they are in where there isn’t already some form of available authentication source such as Active Directory or Kerberos are few. Please leverage those system and cut out the middle man.
- Virtual Volumes- see below but this is a pretty good bet to be there
- Greater IPv6- IPv6 support has been around for a while but if utilized in vSphere 5 it will break some things and still requires you to at least have a IPv4 loopback configured.
- Marvin related things- VMware has been hinting at this all summer, the super-secret “Project Marvin.” There is a little real information and a lot of speculation going on around the internet. Essentially it is described as “the first hyperconverged infrastructure appliance” leading many to think that either VMware is about to get into the hardware game or is partnering with somebody to do the same.
Virtual Volumes is storage centric feature that has been discussed and released to the public as a technical preview since at least 2012 and is a spin off idea from the original concept of VAAI. Typically when creating a new VM a VMware Admin needs to either contact the Storage Admin carve out a LUN each time, do so themselves, or what many, myself included do, create impossibly large LUNs and then have multiple VMs within which is actually pretty wasteful and negatively impacts system performance. The goal of VVOLs is to make storage VM-centric rather than LUN-centric by leveraging that vSphere API for Array Integration (VAAI) to make the deployment of storage just a component of deploying a VM in whatever manner you choose to do so. Put as simply as possible…
VVOLs is the storage of VM files directly on the storage system without a LUN middle man.
If you think about all the different ways you utilize storage with your virtualization strategy this makes even more sense. You can take snapshots and create at both the VM and LUN level, what if they are one and the same?
Of course this is not going to be possible without some support from vendor ecosphere and that apparently is coming in droves. As VVOLS enters into the beta program alongside vSphere 6 we are seeing demonstrations of support from a variety of storage providers including Dell, NetApp, EMC, HP, Nimble Storage, Solid Fire, Tintri and open beta programs from HP, NetApp, IBM and Dell.
To really take the deep dive into what VVOLs is and how to implement I recommend reading these posts from Cormac Hogan and Duncan Epping as well as enrolling in the beta for yourself if you have some supported hardware.
Here in the office the Access Layer of our switching infrastructure is handled completely with a 7 unit stack of Cisco 3750X switches. There is no need for these to do any routing other than intervlan so when purchased 3 years ago we just ordered the IP Base licensing level. Well from what I can tell there is a universal code base and a licensed feature level of each code revision. The universal naming convention looks like c3750e-universalk9-mz.122-55.SE1 while the ipbase looks like c3750e-ipbasek9-mz.150-2.SE6. What I found is that I do not have the ability to download the universal code of later releases due to my licensing level and possibly the lack of SmartNet I keep on these, but I do have access to the ipbase code. When attempting to update the code on this stack I was presented with the error
Error: The image in the archive which would be used to upgrade Error: system number 1 does not support the same feature set.
After some searching I found reference to others trying to go from IP Base to Advanced IP Services code having to put the /allow-feature-upgrade switch on the archive download-sw code in order to allow the upgrade as well as it seems a downgrade. Evidently this feature came about with IOS version 12.2(35). Now the upgrade progressed and I have happy little upgrades switches.
switch#archive download-sw /overwrite /allow-feature-upgrade tftp://172.16.3.40/c3750e-ipbasek9-tar.150-2.SE6.tar Loading c3750e-ipbasek9-tar.150-2.SE6.tar from 172.16.3.40 (via Vlan3): !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [OK - 25671680 bytes] Loading c3750e-ipbasek9-tar.150-2.SE6.tar from 172.16.3.40 (via Vlan3): !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! examining image... extracting info (106 bytes) extracting c3750e-ipbasek9-mz.150-2.SE6/info (522 bytes) extracting info (106 bytes) Stacking Version Number: 1.49 System Type: 0x00000002 Ios Image File Size: 0x0137E200 Total Image File Size: 0x0187BA00 Minimum Dram required: 0x08000000 Image Suffix: ipbasek9-150-2.SE6 Image Directory: c3750e-ipbasek9-mz.150-2.SE6 Image Name: c3750e-ipbasek9-mz.150-2.SE6.bin Image Feature: IP|LAYER_3|SSH|3DES|MIN_DRAM_MEG=128 .... All software images installed.
Another note about this upgrade I found in the official release notes is any upgrade from 15.0(2)SE to later will result in a microcode upgrade which when unmitigated will lead to an exceptionally long restart of the switch. You can mitigate this either by using the /force-ucode-reload parameter when downloading the code to the devices or by using the archive download-sw /upgrade-ucode privileged EXEC mode command afterwards.
Let me start by saying I feel very dirty for even writing this. My basic rule in life is if the file is bigger than 2 MB, it isn’t to be sent as an attachment to an e-mail. That said, many do not share my opinion on that and here at the office we recently had an occasion where a 200 MB file absolutely had to be e-mailed, it could be sent no other way. A couple of years ago I wrote a post on 4sysops about how to change this in Exchange, so I thought that was an easy fix. Instead the user continued to see this:
After some Googling I found a forum post saying that not only was a hard limit of 50 MB a feature of Outlook 2010 and above, but that this feature had been added to Outlook 2007 with Service Pack 2. The good news/ bad news is that this feature can be over ridden by registry hack. Below is the code that you can copy into a .reg file and execute to insert the required registry key. Know that this is version specific the “12.0” portion below corresponds to Office 2007, you will need to be changed based on your version of Microsoft Office. For reference 2010 will be 14.0 and 2013 is 15.0.
[reghack]Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Preferences] “MaximumAttachmentSize”=dword:00300000[/reghack]
Hi there and welcome to koolaid.info! My name is Jim Jones, a Geek of Many Hats living in West Virginia.
This site was created for the purpose of being a locker full of all the handy things I’ve learned over the years, know I’m going to need again and know I’ll forget. It’s morphed a bit over the years as all things do but still that’s the main purpose. If you’d like to know more about me check out any of the social links at the top left of the site, I’m pretty much an open book.
If you’ve found this page I hope you find it’s contents helpful. Finally, anything written here are solely my views and do not reflect those of my employer.