I’ve had another article posted on Petri IT Knowledgebase! The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) is a free tool from Microsoft that can help administrators perform licensing and activation related tasks from a single viewpoint. VAMT is currently available in version 2.0, and supports the following products and operating systems: Read the rest of the article called License & Activation Management with Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) on petri.
Watchguard has recently retired their X series of firewalls and replaced them with their new lineup of XTM boxes. I took this opportunity to replace my X series firewalls with some from the new lineup, and found a neat way to migrate your existing configuration from old to new in a few very easy steps. Note: _Normally I would not recommend migrating your configuration in this manner. In my mind you should always rebuild rules when replacing your firewall, as it is the perfect time to review and do some QA.
Some times things just happen, and before you know it you’re sitting in your in-laws living room talking to an Englishman and an American via Skype. And to top it of; it’s all being recorded. And to make matters even worse, we decided to try and make it a regular thing. The recordings that is, not the «in your in-laws living room» thing, that was a one-off for sure. What I’m trying to say here is that yours truly, Ed Czerwin and Chris Dearden has decided that we want to be rock-stars and start our own little virtualization related podcast.
Is 2010 over already? I guess it’s true that time flies when your having fun! 2010 has been a great year for me, both personally and professionally. I won’t bore you to death with personal issues, but as far as professionally goes you’ll just have to bare with me. 2010 was the year I really feel that I got a lot of good work done, and some of that are really significant changes for my organization which is in a way better state IT wise now than in 2009.
In a previous post, Using the WANem WAN Emulator Virtual Appliance, I’ve talked about how I’ve successfully used WANem to emulate different WAN scenarios. Since I work for a shipping company, the ability to emulate VSAT conditions are especially useful for testing and proof-of-concept scenarios. You can use WANem a couple of different ways but my setup is pretty simple but does the job perfectly. Downloading WANem I have chose to use the WANem Virtual Appliance running in a virtual machine hosted by VMware Workstation.
Thanks to Maish Saidel-Keesing, vExpert 2010 and blogger over at Technodrone I have been made aware that VMware has used one of my posts here on vNinja in their internal presentation material. The material in question is vSphere 4.1 to 4.0 differences (page 44 and 45 in vSphere 4.1 Deep Dive - Part 1 - v6.pptx), where my post about Using USB Pass-through in vSphere 4.1 is quoted and my screenshots used.
When Rich Brambley posted «A Pirate Invented Server Virtualization» today, it reminded me of a little story from my own production environment. This story is a couple of years old, but sadly it’s still valid. A very specialized application that we run, requires a SQL Server Express instance, a proxy/licensing server and client installation with license files to work. This application isn’t very advanced, nor very resource intensive so by nature it’s prime for running in a virtualized environment.
A couple of days ago, while I was at VMworld Europe I got the following tweet from Asbjørn A. Mikkelsen (@neslekkim) (translated from norwegian): @h0bbel Do you know if I can script something against vCenter to duplicate (or create from template) VMs, and also start/stop them? My immediate response, was of course to suggest using PowerCLI. Asbjørn, who works as a full time developer, jumped at PowerCLI immediately and within a very short time frame came up with a PowerCLI script for the task at hand.
Now that the VMworld events are over for 2010, I’m still trying to digest a lot of the impressions I’ve had over the past few days. However, I do have a couple of suggestions I would like to voice: Add contact information to the attendee badge! Just like David Owen (@vMackem) suggested, adding Twitter ID and blog link to the attendee badge would make it easier to keep track of everyone you meet up with.
I’m back home again, after spending the better part of this week in Copenhagen, attending VMworld Europe 2010. Let me just say, straight off the bat, that attending VMworld is probably the best idea I’ve had in years. In reality, that’s not saying much, but the value of attending is immense. The way VMworld is organized, with lots of simultaneous sessions, labs and other activities is both a challenge and a blessing.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular «features» of VMworld 2010, both in the US and in EU, are the labs. These hands-on exercises in configuring and using various VMware products lets you play around without the need for lab equipment or licenses installed locally. What if VMware extended this to not only run during the VMworld conferences? Let us get our hands dirty all year round! It’s hard to have a full lab setup in the office, and if we could book time in the VMware Cloud Lane to play around with VMware vCloud™, VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager or even VMware ThinApp™ that would be great!
They found me! Well, not they, but Duco Jaspars (@vConsult) found me straight after the keynote and was promptly handed the Trainsignal VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol. 2. training kit. Duco Jaspars (@vConsult) Gerben Kloosterman has posted some pictures of the handover as well.
[VMworld Europe 2010 is close. Very close. In fact, lots of people are already in place in Copenhagen, personally I don’t get until tomorrow evening (the 11th). Since I get in pretty late, I really hope I’ll be able to get to my hotel quickly, and then find Custom House for the Tweetup/VMUG Party. Remember I have a little contest going, where you can win a copy of Trainsignal VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol.
Sometimes leaving the defaults in place might just come back and bite you, hard. That might also be the case with your vCenter 4.1 database, as I experienced back in July. All of a sudden my vCenter Server stopped working. The symptoms where pretty obvious, my client couldn’t connect to the vCenter server. Naturally I connected to the server, and noticed that the VMware VirtualCenter Server services had indeed stopped. No wonder the client couldn’t connect to it.
Today I finally got word that I will indeed be going to VMworld Europe 2010 in Copenhagen! I’ve done the registration process, so all that remains is to book the flight and hotel and I’m ready to go. To celebrate this, I’ve decided to announce a little contest; Where is Christian aka h0bbel? The first person to find me, as in the physical me, in the Bella Center during VMworld Europe 2010, (I’ll be there Tuesday - Thursday) will receive a free copy of the Trainsignal VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol.
We all know, and love, the fact that vSphere Hypervisor is free of charge. The free version doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the fully licensed product, but it’s still very usable in many scenarios. Recently I’ve been investigating the possibilities of running vSphere Hypervisor on a number of floating branch offices, also known as vessels. I’m not going into details about the proposed setup, and how we intend to roll it and so on, but one of the things I really wanted to get out of this was to have all my off-site vSphere Hypervisor installs appear in my vCenter Client.
Some topics seem to pop up at random intervals, one of them being virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controller servers. The question is often either «Should I virtualize my Domain Controllers, and if so should I virtualize all of them?» or «Should I do a P2V (Physical 2 Virtual) conversion of my existing Domain Controllers, or create new ones?« In this post, I’ll be talking about the second question. While there is a lot to be said about the first one as well, I’ll leave that for future post.
In fresh blog post, called «Resource pools and simultaneous vMotions» by Frank Denneman prompted a quick Twitter discussion regarding the vCenter client (and perhaps even vCenter itself). A simple Why are there no folders under Host and Clusters view ? from Maish Saidel-Keesing got the ball rolling. Could it be that the design of the client itself helps perpetuate the myth the resource pools is an organizational unit, one that should be used as a way of grouping VMs?
When HP announced their new ProLiant MicroServer, I really hoped that it would be the perfect answer to a specific use case I’ve been looking at lately. Basically, what I’m looking for is a small chassis, low noise branch office server that would be used to host a single virtual machine, offering Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) and Distributed File System (DFS) file-shares. Initially it looked to fit the bill perfectly:
During preparation and preliminary information gathering for a new internal project, I had a need to emulate various networking conditions and scenarios. More specifically I’m looking at the possibility of running the vCenter Client over high latency satellite links, with varying bandwidth availability and even packet loss scenarios. Obviously the best way of testing this, in a controlled environment, is to use some kind of WAN emulator that lets you control the various networking characteristics.
SolarWinds has released a new free vSphere tool called SolarWinds VM Console. Free VM Console Highlights: Bounce (shutdown & restart) VMs without logging into vCenter or vSphere Get end-to-end visibility into your VMware environment—from vCenter through ESX hosts to VM guests Track the real-time up/down status of your VMs from your desktop — without logging into VMware apps Additional VM Monitoring Features: Take a snapshot of your VM prior to shutdown
Dwayne Lessner who runs IT Blood Pressure, has written a guest post on GestaltIT called Is My Favourite VSphere Tool Is Going Away? In his article, Dwayne talks about vCenter Update Manager 4.1, and the fact that it seems to be the last version of the tools that will allow you to patch your Windows and Linux guests: VMware vCenter Update Manager Features. vCenter Update Manager 4.1 and its subesquent update releases are the last releases to support scanning and remediation of patches for Windows and Linux guest operating systems and applications running inside a virtual machine.
VMware has published a new whitepaper called VMware vCenter Server Performance and Best Practices. This is a must read if you manage a vCenter 4.1 installation, or are currently planning your upgrade. The whitepaper highlights the performance improvements in the latest version, sizing guidelines, best practices and some really good real world information from several case studies. One simple, but probably often overlooked tip, is that the amount of vCenter Clients connected to your vCenter Server has an impact on it’s performance.
Over at PlanetVM Wil van Antwerpen posted The Future of VMware Server back in May 2010. Wil makes the argument that it seems like VMware is indeed abandoning VMware Server as a product, leaving us with VMware Workstation and VMware Player as the two Windows installable virtualization solutions from the company. This has caused some reactions, including my own comment, where I question the smartness of abandoning what might just be one of the best virtualization «gateway drugs» VMware has to offer.
Finally USB pass-through is possible on ESX hosts with the new vSphere 4.1 release! This feature ha been available in VMware Workstation/Fusion and Player for quite a while. The freshly added feature in vSphere 4.1 even works if you vMotion the guest from one host to another, which is in itself pretty amazing functionality! In this post, I’ll show how to setup and use the new USB pass-through feature in vSphere 4.
If you run your vCenter on SQL Server Express 2005, you are missing the ability to set up scheduled backup jobs with SQL Maintenance Plans, a feature available in the full version of SQL Server. This might not be a problem if your backup software has SQL Server agents that you use to backup your vCenter databaser, but in smaller environments or even in your lab, you might not have that kind of backup scheme available to you, so what do you do?
As you may or may not know, the new vCenter 4.1 requires that the host it runs on is 64 bit. As 4.0 and previous versions weren’t supported on 64 bit at all, this probably means that when you upgrade you will need to move your existing database to a new host. There are several ways of doing the migration, but one way is to backup your existing database, and restore it on a new host and point the new vCenter 4.
Welcome to my new playground. I used to post quite a lot over at my old site, h0bbel.p0ggel.org but given it’s weird domain name and it’s long history I’ve decided to start fresh. This new site will be dedicated to all things virtualization, PowerShell, Windows Server management and possibly even some Citrix products thrown in here and there. I might even go on about APP-V, but that remains to be seen.