Veeam Vanguard 2015

veeam_vanguard_logoVeeam has been “silently” working on their own global influencer program, and the inaugural list of Veeam Vanguards was published today. I am thrilled to be selected amongst the first 31 people awarded this title, it’s quite an exclusive list!

So what’s up with the name? Well, here is one of the definitions of vanguard I found:

vanguard
 ˈvanɡɑːd/
 noun
 a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas.

Sounds rather fitting if you ask me, at least if that’s the rationale behind it. One other definition I found was the “the foremost part of an advancing army or naval force”, which does sound kind of scary. Anyhow, I’m glad to be considered and even more happy that I was selected among the first batch.

For more details, read Veeam’s announcement, or have a look at the Veeam Vanguard Program profile page (Warning, link does contain pictures).

Let's Be Blunt: It’s Time to End the Add on Insanity

For the third time in a week, researchers have discovered a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe’s Flash Player browser plugin. Like the previous two discoveries, this one came to light only after hackers dumped online huge troves of documents stolen from Hacking Team — an Italian security firm that sells software exploits to governments around the world.

This quote is from Brian Krebs, who very rightfully goes on to advise that everyone “please consider removing or at least hobbling this program.” Now, that is fine for the most part. I mean, who really needs Adobe Flash these days? Don’t most services we use have other methods of handing us the content we need want? The Apple iPhone doesn’t have Adobe Flash, so why do we need it on our laptops?

The fact is, that most end users probably don’t need to have Adobe Flash installed any more, but a lot of us sysadmins do. Why? Well, in my world one major culprit is the VMware vSphere Web Client. The Web Client has gotten it’s fair share of ill-repute over the last few years, but the latest edition in vSphere 6 is pretty responsive and quite pleasant to use. That’s until you contemplate that it still needs Adobe Flash installed on the client. The same goes for any other admin interface that requires Adobe Flash, or even Java for that matter.

Any administrative interface that requires a browser add on to work, should be bagged, kidnapped and flung in the back of a van and driven off somewhere never to be seen again. Sure, I understand that it’s no easy task to rework all of these interfaces, and it takes real effort by skilled people. But please, please make it happen as soon as possible, and retrofit it it into your existing systems – don’t keep those stuck on older releases hanging, and only provide a solution for the latest and greatest version.

While we as admins and consultants are used to having to patch our systems, and keep current, please help us limiting our own attack surface by removing requirements for add ons and “special juice” just to be able to administer the solutions we depend upon to keep our businesses running. That can’t be too much to ask, can it?

Ravello Offers Free Lab Service for all 2015 vExperts

Ravelloravello_logo-2 Systems has announced free lab service for all 2015 vExperts, which offers 1,000 free CPU hours per month for personal or home lab use.

I was lucky enough to be one of the early VMware on AWS VIP Pass users, and I’ve been working on several setups the last few weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to make those available as blueprints in the new Ravello Repo, once they are ready for publishing.

My experience with Ravello Systems so far can be summed up with one word: Awesome. The ability to quickly fire up a test environment, especially with nested ESXi hosts, is fantastic. In fact, a lot of the things I’ve been using my home lab for, has been transitioned over and run on demand on Ravello instead. The CPU and RAM requirements for a home lab has increased dramatically over the last few years, and the investment needed in hardware makes it difficult to keep it up to date. Now, my existing home lab can work for some workloads and scenarios, others run on AWS via Ravello when I need them.

It’s the best of both worlds, just the way I like it.