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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