Back in February 2011 I was invited, along with my IT Manager, to do a presentation at Digital Ship Scandinavia 2011. Digital Ship magazine has now published an article based on what we presented at the live event. As far as I can gather, based on the feedback both at the event and afterwards, the presentation was a success and now the Digital Ship Magazine for April 2011 includes a two page article based on the entire presentation.

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vSoup Episode #7 «Everything is better with Bacon» is now available for your listening «pleasure». With Sean Clark as our guest, we get into quite a few topics like storage and SQL virtualization. Be sure to check it out! In related news, VMware has created a Virtualization Podcast directory over on the VMware Communities portal. Way to go John, hopefully the other podcasts will follow suite so we can have one common directory for all of us!

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Thanks to the generosity of Todd Wright vNinja.net is now also available via vNinja.com. Todd came out of nowhere and offered to redirect his vNinja.com domain to vNinja.net, since he didn’t have time to do anything with it himself. I’m very grateful that Todd wanted to do this, and thanks to some quick Apache trickery .com now redirects to .net to make sure Google doesn’t find and penalize any double content.

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VMware vCenter Operations was released to the general public a week or so ago and is available for download right now. As usual you can download a 60 day trial, and get started immediately. Like other recent management utilities from VMware, vCenter Operations comes in the form of a .OVF template (like vCMA/vMA). Installing VMware vCenter Operations Download VMware vCenter Operations and import by starting vCenter Client, navigate to the “File” menu and select “Deploy OVF template…”

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Like everyone else in the vUniverse, I’ve had a play with the very recently released free vSphere Client for iPad. Since everyone, and their mother, has already blogged and reviewed it I don’t see much value in me doing the same. What I can say though, is that the first impression is pretty great. It looks good, works well and might be one of the apps that finally gives me an actual use case for the iPad.

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In the last couple of weeks I’ve been using Microsoft Word 2010 a lot more than I’ve previously done, and at the same time I’ve been switching computers a lot making it somewhat of an annoyance that a lot of the words I use in my documents are not recognized and marked with a wiggly red line underneath it. If only there was a way to keep the custom dictionary synchronized between computers.

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I recently posted Using vMA as a local vSphere Patch Repository, where I outlined how you can use your vMA instances as local file repositories for updates. This post is a continuation of that concept, but this time I’ll take it a step further and utilize rsync to make sure my vMA instances all contain the same set of patches. Rsync is great for this, as it handles fast incremental file transfers, which is a real time and bandwidth saver in my particular scenario.

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I like using http as the transport protocol when patching my vSphere hosts. It’s easy to use and in most cases immediately available over most networks. Since I want to use http as the transport, we need to make vMA work as a http server. Starting Apache inside vMA Luckily, the Apache http daemon is installed, by default, in vMA and to utilize it all you have to do is to start it!

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The vMA is a Virtual Appliance that you can download from VMware. It’s primary function is to enable command line based management of your ESX/ESXi systems. Basically this is a pre-packaged virtual machine that includes vCLI and the vSphere SDK for Perl, which means that you don’t have to build your own management VM or install these tools locally on a management station. vMA is in many regards seen as a replacement for the ESX Service Console which no longer is present in ESXi.

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Bob Plankers, akaThe Lone Sysadmin, has posted a series of posts on «the blame game» in modern IT organizations (Blame, Understanding Blame and Preventing Blame). Bob’s posts are most excellent, and well worth a thorough read. Feel free to head on over and read them now, this post will be waiting right here when you come back. Are you back yet? In fact, Bob’s excellent rants has inspired me to write my own!

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The fourth edition (Big Fat Pipes with Bob) of the vSoup podcast is now available. This time we had the honor of having Bob Plankers as a guest. Bob runs The Lone Sysadmin, where his recent post «Blame» really resonated well with me personally. The fact of the matter is that in many cases Bob is right, virtualization admins ends up being blamed for everything. No matter who’s fault it actually is, though, I’m the one-stop shop now for blame.

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The third episode of vSoup has been spotted in the wild. Head on over to vSoup.net to grab it while it’s still warm. Or, you can frantically refresh your iTunes feed until it pops up there. Either way, it’s alive!

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Remote Desktop Connection Manager is a great tool from Microsoft which enables you to keep track of all your RDP sessions and targets in a nice GUI. One of the things it’s lacking though, is some sort of Active Directory connection that allows you to import all your server objects directly, and not manually add/remove the serves as your infrastructure changes over time. In an attempt to bridge that gap, I’ve made a very small PowerShell script that queries your Active Directory for server objects and dumps their names into a text file that you can import into RDCMan.

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Jan Egil Ring over at blog.powershell.no has created a great PowerShell script that lets you run the Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer on remote Windows Server 2008 R2 machines. In short, Invoke-BPAModeling.ps1 queries your Active Directory for any machines that run Windows Server 2008 R2, runs BPA on them (if Windows PowerShell Remoting is enabled) and emails you the report. Great tool that should be in every Windows Server admins tool-belt, and probably also set as a scheduled job to make sure you stay up to date on your servers status.

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The second episode of vSoup is now available. Head on over to vSoup.net to get your fix. Chris, Ed and myself keeps rambling about, this time about blogger recruitment, high availability, security and the HP Proliant MicroServer. Enjoy!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Extending VMworld Labs

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!

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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.

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View slideshow with larger photos

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[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.

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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.

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