July 12, 2011 9am-Noon Pacific Time: Join this online event, and get all the details on «the next generation of cloud infrastructure»! VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will be presenting on the next generation of cloud infrastructure. Join us and experience how the virtualization journey is helping transform IT and ushering in the era of Cloud Computing. 9:00-9:45 Paul and Steve present - live online streaming 10:00-12:00 three tracks of deep dive breakout sessions 10:00-12:00 live Q&A with VMware cloud and virtualization experts Register for the event now!

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Automating ESXi installs was made much easier after the release of vSphere 4.1 where the Scripted Install feature was added, and by using VMware Auto Deploy from VMware Labs. VMware Auto Deploy requires that you have vCenter and Host Profiles in your environment, and that again requires that you have Enterprise Plus licenses in your environment. It is, however, possible to deploy ESXi in an automated fashion completely without vCenter and Host Profiles!

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Let me start this post out with a little story. I am normally a hardcore virtualization and storage guy. Sometimes my career in this sector brings me into working with stuff I haven’t worked with before because virtualization encompasses so much. As I continue to work with other teams I learn more and more about what they do everyday. I usually find myself involved in every performance troubleshooting session and every new project these days.

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The last day of Tech Field Day #6 myself and all the other delegates were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at stealth startup ‘Zerto’. We weren’t allowed to talk about it until the 22nd and I know I am a little slow on the punch but I currently haven’t seen a lot of coverage. Just for an initial disclosure statement my trip to Tech Field Day 6 was paid for by the vendors we visited, however, I am in no way obligated to write about them or publicize them in any manner.

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Now there is a catchy title if I ever saw one. Only «problem» is that it’s a whitepaper that I have written for Veeam. In reality this is the first published article I have ever written, that I didn’t publish on my own. I’m excited about it, yet strangely nervous about how it will be received by the people who download it. If you happen to do so, make sure to let me know how you found it, all comments and criticism will be most appreciated.

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In a previous post, vCenter Integration Mantra, I made the point that vSphere vAdmins wants the 3rd party modules to integrate into the vCenter client and show their delicious addon-value there, and not in their own management interface. Give the vAdmins the info they need, where they do most, if not all their work. Open up the admin client and let us get all that juicy and fruity information we need.

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During Tech Field Day #6 in Boston one particular general feature request has become increasingly prominent; Can we have it inside the vCenter client? In short, what we want is for all those great third party vendors like VKernel, Solarwinds and others to be able to put their feature addons directly into the vCenter client. Currently most third party apps «integrate» by offering a new tab where you can access it, but I would love to see that being expanded even further.

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Yesterday I arrived at Logan International for Tech Field Day #6 in the greater Boston area. Christopher Wells had already arrived earlier in the day, and I was lucky enough to be picked up by Stephen Foskett at the airport and chauffeured to the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference center. The travel itself was pretty uneventful, the only trouble I had was that when I landed at Schipol for transfer to the US flight, my boarding pass was nowhere to be found, and I don’t think I even received it when I checked in at Bergen Airport Flesland.

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vSoup Episode #10 is finally released, this time with Stuart Radnidge (blog) as our guest. This episode is a bit unusual, as we didn’t really have a set agenda before starting the recording, so we jump around all of the place covering a pretty wide area of topics. Be sure to check it out! Tech Field Day #6 is approaching really fast, in fact it’s only a week away now! I will leave for Boston on Tuesday, June 7, for what looks to be a very, very busy but fun couple of days.

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A while ago I got a surprising email, stating the following: You could consider this a sincere compliment from the Gestalt IT community as your name was suggested and we think you are the kind of person we all would love to have as part of our community. This means you're independent-minded, technology-focused, community-oriented, and a thought leader in the area of IT infrastructure. Of course, this is pretty much hogwash, but nevertheless I’m extremely honored to be invited as a delegate for Tech Field Day #6 in Boston, Mass.

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VMware has opened the public voting for the VMworld 2011 sessions. Personally I haven’t submitted anything, but I do see a lot of familiar names in the voting application. The voting is available to anyone who has a vmworld.com account, and the voting period is from May 9th to May 18th. The voting is global, which means a vote for a session counts as a vote for both VMworld US and VMworld EMEA as 80% of the selected sessions will occur at both events.

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Way back in August 24 2010 I wrote a post called vCenter Update Manager to lose it’s fat. I’m still very happy that VMware has decided to drop OS patching from the product, and I still mean that can only be a good thing. In fact, that article prompted Beth Pariseau Senior News Writer for searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com to call me when researching her VMware users eye changes to Update Manager article.

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The first version of the new VMware Compliance Checker for vSphere tool is now available for download. VMware Compliance Checker for vSphere lets you scan your ESX and ESXi hosts for compliance with the VMware vSphere hardening guidelines to make sure your hosts are properly configured. It also lets you save and print your assessment results, so you can track your compliance level over time, or use them as documentation for internal audits.

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I’m happy to announce that my fellow vSoup Podcast co-host Ed Czerwin is on board as blogger here on vNinja.net! This means that from now on you won’t just have to put up with the content of one virtualization admin, but two! As all good vAdmins know, two is better than one, and it’ so much easier to build HA solutions around! Welcome aboard Ed, glad to have you on!

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Yesterday I attended VMware Forum 2011 in Oslo (Norwegian). The venue and location at DogA - the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture was very nice, but sadly I must ask VMware who the intended audience for the VMware Forum event is? According to the invitation the audience target is: People that will benefit from attending VMware Forum 2011 include: CIO, CFO and General Managers Infrastructure and Datacenter Managers IT Managers and Directors Security Managers Systems Administrators Desktop, SOE Managers Application Managers, Application Administrators Application Developers IT Procurement Mangers Sadly I fail to see how the VMware Forum 2011 in Oslo would be very beneficial for existing VMware customers, at least not at a technical level.

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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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