VMUG UserCon

VMUG Denmark is arranging the Nordic VMUG UserCon in Copenhagen December 1st 2015, and the agenda went live earlier today. I’m definitely going to be there, and as it turns out I even have my own session lined up:

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2c10159This is a guest post from Kristian Wæraas Senior Consultant Datacenter at Datametrix AS VMware VCP3/5, MCTS Hyper-V, Horizon View and Trend Micro Security Expert.


I am a curious by nature, and when my colleagues start talking frantic about some system that has crashed, I get curious and have to ask questions. Usually this ends up in me doing a lot of work.

- This, however, was not one of those times.

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As a few of you have noticed, I recently changed my title on LinkedIn from Chief Consultant to Cloud Architect in the newly formed EVRY Cloud Consulting division, but what does that mean and perhaps more importantly, why?

The closest description I have found to describe what my new role is this:

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During an upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5, I ran into a rather strange issue when trying to utilize VMware Update Manager to perform the ESXi upgrade.

During scanning, VUM reported the ESXi host as «Incompatible», without offering any other explanation. I spent ages looking through VUM logs, trying to find the culprit, suspecting it was an incompatible VIB. Without finding anything that gave me any indication on what the problem might be, I moved on to looking at the ESXi image I had imported into VUM.

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VMware ESXi Host Client 2015-08-26 18-42-24The ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling got an upgrade today, and in addition to new features it now works properly on ESXi 5.5. In addition to this, it’s also available as an offline bundle so you can distribute it with Update Manager.

Since I’ve spent most of my day in esxcli, here is a quick post on how to perform the upgrade from a local http repository hosting the .vib file.

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I was recently involved with consulting for a Norwegian shipping company who has quite a few remote vSphere installations, most of them with a couple of ESXi hosts, but no vCenter and hence no Update Manager. While looking at methods for managing these installations, in particular how to facilitate patching and upgrading scenarios, I remembered that way back in 2013, I posted Quick and Dirty HTTP-based Deployment which shows how to use the Python to run a simple http daemon, and serve files from it.

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This is a guest post from Shane Williford Sr. Systems Engineer, VCAP-DCA/EMCCAe/Pizza Connoisseur and vExpert.

Problem History

I work at a school district in the US (Kansas City area). After the school year ended, my Director decided he wanted to upgrade to vSphere6 from vSphere55U2 on a few Hosts we were using with XenApp. We are using XenApp to deliver apps to student labs that utilize an Autocad program. As such, our Hosts also have a graphics card in them – nVIDIA GRID K1. To give the students a bit more graphics power this upcoming school year, we added a 2nd nVIDIA card to each Host. The Hosts are HP Proliant DL380p Gen8 with Intel Xeon X5650 2.67GHz processors and about 296GB RAM. Since we added a 2nd nVIDIA card, we also needed to upgrade the Host power supplies to support the 2 cards’ power consumption (1200W support).

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I almost choked on my coffee this morning when I saw William Lam announcing a new VMware Fling called ESXi Embedded Host Client. Finally the day when we can get a local vSphere Web Client on a standalone host is here, and it’s not a moment too soon. This feature has been missing since ESX 3 and it’s VMware Infrastructure Web Access. For now, this is a Fling (which means unsupported and so on), but I really hope that this ends up being built-in to ESXi very soon – even on the free vSphere Hypervisor.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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The recent months, and weeks, has made me question the value of the «vCommunity». I’m even questioning if there really is such a thing at all any more. I believe there was such a thing at one point, but it seems to be fading fast into history, only to be replaced by hyperbole of egonormous proportions. Back in the old days, and this might just be me showing my greying of beards moment, the hyperbole wasn’t a strong a force as it seems to be today. As clickbait replaces journalism, hyperbole and FUD seems to be replacing what used to be based on technical merit.

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The new VMware Software Manager, which was released at the same time as vSphere 6, is a great way to get your download ducks in a row, and not manually download all the different vSphere pieces one by one.

But all these downloads sure eat up disk space, and if you, like me, chose the wrong download location while installing VMware Software Manager what do you do? There is no way in the web interface to change the download directory after installation, so how do you change it? There is a way through the GUI as well, but here is how to do it manually:

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top-vblog-2015-1-smaller-300x179As has become a yearly tradition, the vote is on. Pick your favorite VMware & virtualization blogs and give Eric Siebert loads of work.

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VMUGLast year, in November, the first ever meeting in VMUG Norway took place in my hometown of Bergen, and since then there has been meetings in Oslo, Trondheim and a second one in Bergen as well.

Getting the Norwegian VMUG up and running was a long process. I decided to have a go at it, and I spent a lot of time talking to people, thinking, planning and generally wondering how we could get it started and how to proceed. Some might say an inordinate amount of time, and they are right. I’m lucky to have talented and passionate people on board with me for this, this is not something I have done on my own. But, someone had to get the ball rolling.

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In my work as a consultant I often have many small tasks to perform for customers, all while completing a bigger project. I have found that an easy way to keep track of all the little and big changes, is to create a ChangeLog. Normally ChangeLog’s are referenced in development projects, but it also sense to use it to track of your own, or your team members, changes to an infrastructure environment.

As for just about everything else, I use Markdown to make it easy to format and edit.

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The VMware Certified Design Expert: VCDX. THE certification of certifications, especially if you work with VMware based solutions. It’s often regarded as the holy grail of certifications, and rightfully so.

But why is this the case, and why does «everyone» want to become one?

The reasons for it being such a highly coveted title, are pretty obvious:

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Have you ever wondered what happens if you give 10.000 people access to an open-beta that is supposed to be under NDA?

Firstly, the NDA is no-go from the get-go. There is no way you can claim that you actually expect 10.000 people to not talk about something they know about. VMware vSpere 6.0 was the worst kept secret ever, for a reason. It might have been planned that way all along for all I know, but if that was the case, the NDA should never have been in place to begin with.

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New Update:

Alex Jauch, VAIO Product Manager has provided an update on why there there has been so little information available, and when to expect that to change.

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So, the cat formerly known as vSphere.next is finally out of it’s rather big bag, and vSphere 6.0 has been officially announced and will be available some time in Q1 (no date has been announced yet). There is enough of posts going into details on what is new and what has been announced, so I won’t be going over that right now. If you want to hear me talk about vSphere 6.0 and related news, you can always attend VMUG Norway on the 19th of february.

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I recently set up a new Veeam Backup & Replication v8 demo lab, and my intial small job that consisted of two different Linux VMs and one Windows Server 2012 R2 Domain Controller was chugging along nicely. I had one minor from the start though, and that was that file indexing consistently failed for the Windows VM. No big deal, but I thought it was strange at the time.

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Inspired by Scott Lowe’s Looking Ahead: My 2015 Projects, I’ve decided to do something similar.

Since I didn’t post anything like this in 2014, I can’t really go back and see how my plans turned out, or provide any assessement of it. I can say this though, 2014 was pretty awesome. I got a promotion, my vExpert status was renewed, vNinja was voted in the top 50 of the 2014 top VMware & virtualization vote, I published a book and finally got the Norwegian VMUG up and running. My VCAP-DCA 550 should be on this list as well, and so should my failure in achieving VCAP-DCD certification status. 2014 was also the busiest year in vNinja.net’s history, with close to a doubling of traffic generated through the year. The same goes for vSoup, some of the episodes we recorded in 2014 had some rather insane listening numbers…

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Obviously I’m a bit late to the party here, but I guess late is better than never. It recently dawned on me that mucking about with lots of different file formats, interfaces and ways of doing things is rather counterproductive.

A lot of my work these days are related to generating content, be it a simple blog post like this or writing customer proposals and documentation. In the end, the deliverables are often quite different, but at the core they are strangely enough very similar. After all, the main thing is content, right? The file format itself, or how it is generated, doesn’t really have a bearing on the content at all, it’s just a delivery method. Lipstick on a pig, if you will.

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I’m playing around a bit with vCloud Air and Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand, and in order to set up the vCloud Hybrid Service plugin in the vSphere Web Client you need to import the vCloud Air SSL certificate into vCenter. If the certificate isn’t present in the vCSA keystore when you try to authenticate with vCloud Air, you get a «Server Certificate not Verified» error, and you will be unsuccessful in configuring the plugin.

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A while back I declared Evernote bankruptcy, even if I managed to misspell it while doing so:

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Howard Marks has published a post I’ve been meaning do myself, but to be honest, I’m glad Howard put it out there. His is way more researched and comprehensive than mine would ever have been.

In his The True Cost Of Hyperconvergence article, Howard compares buying a new EVO:RAIL system, with building your own. Complete with the required hardware, licenses and support contracts. The result might come as a surprise to some…

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Last year I was lucky enough to get to travel to Copenhagen and visit the Nordic VMUG conference. Sadly it doesn’t seem like I’ll be able to make it this year, but don’t let that stop you! While we in Norway are still trying to get our local VMUG up and running, more news on that in a very short while, the danish VMUG is really the driving force and the leading star for the rest of us in the nordics.

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VMware Studio 2.6 was released way back in March 2012,  and surprisingly there seems to be no new update in sight. While VMware Studio technically still works, even with newer versions of ESXi and vCenter, the supported operating systems for the appliances it can build is somewhat outdated:

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First off, this is not meant to be a post negating the value of current hyperconverged solutions available in the market. I think hyperconverged has it’s place, and for many use cases it makes perfect sense to go down that route. But the idea that everyone should go hyperconverged and all data should be placed on local drives, even if made redundant inside the chassis and even between chassis, is to be blunt, a bit silly.

Parts of this post is inspired by a recent discussion on Twitter:

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One of the more popular posts, currently in third place, on vNinja.net is my list of vSphere Client direct download links posted back in March 2012.

Thankfully William Lam had the same idea, and got a new Knowledgebase Article published: Download URLs for VMware vSphere Client (2089791). Please use that article as the official download link documentation from now on.

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