WordPress Here We Come!

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on an iPad should feel and what was there seemed to rely on either hosting through Drupal Gardens or on running an outdated version of the Blog API module.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.

Unsupported Configuration when using VUM for a Major Upgrade

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:

 

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VeeamON 2014: Conference Season Veeam Style

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 Go Read More

VMworld 2014 Rollup

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.

20140825_174802000_iOSBe 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 … Go Read More

VMworld 2014, Day 1

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.

large_imageBut 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 … Go Read More

VMWorld 2014, Day 0

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.

VMWorld 2014 Expectations

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.

Costs

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 … Go Read More

Thoughts on the vSphere 6 Open Beta

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.

Wish List

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.

Updating the Code of a ipbase Licensed Cisco Catalyst 3750X Switch Stack

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

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.

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.

Increase Max Attachment Size in Outlook 2007 SP2 and Above

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:

maxattachAfter 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.