VMworld 2013

This year VMworld will be unlike past VMworlds that I have attended. This will be an extended stay with a pre-VMworld bootcamp on VMware vCloud Automation Center. I am very excited for this deep dive on the product as I see many businesses looking to implement this product, but they do not know where to start. While it might seem simple to many out there, it is a daunting task for organizations to implement a product so powerful that it could change their operations for good. I look forward to learning this product to help organizations move towards a more automated operating environment.

I will be attending the VMunderground party this year (being a vExpert pays off sometimes to get early access to tickets for this event). Last year was the first time I attended this party and I met a lot of great people. I cannot wait to hang out with the rest of this enthusiastic community this year.

Today’s ramblings might get updated in the future. I just had a few thoughts I wanted to get out.

 

 

Shuttle SH67H3 Firmware Update

I was recently reviewing my home lab setup and wanted to see if there was new firmware for my Shuttle SH67H3 machines to demonstrate updating physical hardware within vSphere to a virtualization noob. In doing so I found that there have been a few releases since I last updated in May of 2012. While the past few updates do not have resolutions to anything effecting me, I still wanted to update to see how my hosts would work after the latest release was applied. Much to my delight the machines are still operating without issue on vSphere 5.1 and the firmware update process went without a hiccup (BIOS settings need reviewed and possibly changed as the system defaults are set). I upgraded from the 202 release to the 204 release. See below for the link to the firmware download site.

http://global.shuttle.com/news/productsDownload?productId=1477

 

VMware Horizon Announcements

Some big announcements about VMware Horizon have come out and I want to highlight a small piece that I am excited about. The VMware Horizon Mirage 4 piece has me excited because VMware is now integrating application layering. This piece begins to put the offering closer to Unidesk and will eventually make the puzzle fit together better. Anyone doing VDI today knows to separate the layers into Persona, Apps, and OS, so integrating the application layering into Mirage gets even closer to the dream scenario. Obviously Mirage is not just about VDI and almost an entirely different beast to tackle, but integrating Mirage for physical and virtual desktops will be a dream come true for administration. Now admins can get closer to a single corporate image for workstations.

Workstations are the key to the excitement I have today from the announcement as now VMware is officially supporting VMware Fusion Pro with Mirage so the Apple lovers can now have their corporate Windows image deployed locally on their beloved hardware. This is a key piece to integrating Apple hardware into some businesses as VDI was a stop gap. There was a gap due to offline use that has now been filled by supporting Fusion Pro and Mirage.

These are exciting times for end user computing and I look forward to working with customers on the End User Computing journey.

Shuttle SH67H3 version 2 motherboard upgrade

Many of the VMware administrators across the globe have researched machines to use at home for laboratory purposes. If you follow me and know that I love my Shuttle SH67H3 machines you may want to know the following information to upgrade your existing machine to the Version 2 motherboard. Below is information I found online to get this done through Shuttle.

If anyone is interested in getting the new Version 2 motherboard that supports the Ivy Bridge processors here is what Shuttle is doing:

Fee: upgrade fee will be $40.00 (shipping not included, customer has to handle sending in and ship out cost)

Procedure

  1. Customer has to call our tech support for a case# at 1-626-820-9000. Then customer has to apply for a RMA# on our website using the case# that they get from our tech support.  Link to RMA page.
  2. Our RMA department will issue a RMA# for customer to return V1 MB (MB must be returned in good condition, no physical damage will be accepted).
  3. After received customer’s return board, we’ll charge $40 + shipping then ship out V2 board to customer.

This info is for Shuttle in the United States.

Not a bad price for an Ivy Bridge motherboard, even with shipping costs both ways.
Only bad thing is you’ll be without your machine for a week or so.

To give credit where credit is due please let me link to my source of this information: CinLor Tech

Citrix VDI-In-a-Box 5.2

The Citrites of the world may have read all about this already so the share is really for those that do not follow Citrix’ every move. I thought VDI-In-A-Box was a fun POC and see great value for SMB customers that may want a “quick and dirty” POC of VDI. I like the notes from the blog about an easier export to keep from a future forklift upgrade (scary to some as it is a lot of work and hard on end users). I know there are VDI masters that can speak better to the scale of this product, but the ability to have a easier migration path seems like a great feature. The addition of the latest hypervisor support also shows how much more viable this product really can be. I look forward to another POC with this version. Who will that customer be?

http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/01/22/no-virtual-desktop-left-behind-with-vdi-in-a-box-5-2/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

HP will be saved by storage

Today HP made an announcement in regards to their storage products that made many across IT yawn a little bit. It sounds like the EVA line has been consolidated into the 3PAR products. The new product is the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000. HP claims a “guaranteed” 50% savings in efficiency using hardware enabled thin technology and autonomic tiering without performance tradeoffs. HP claims “effortless” administration without the need for a storage expert while reducing management time by 90%. Autonomic management utilizing self configuring, self optimizing, and self provisioning techniques are the terms used in the “effortless” administration of the new product. HP claims to eliminate inflexibilities and boundaries that block the changing business needs with the new “bulletproof” storage system.

HP claims to have Tier 1 features now in economy size allowing businesses to double their VM capacity without doubling their storage capacity. The virtually limitless scale makes the new product future proof by providing the ability to upgrade pieces of technology within the product at any time. Where the announcement becomes interesting is the claim by HP that this eliminates the distinction between mid-range and Tier 1 class storage. The new product can be delivered for less than $40,000 at a Tier 1 level. Now HP has a single architecture that can deliver common Tier 1 data services from the redefined mid-range of $25,000 to the high end and newly named HP 3PAR StoreServ 10800. HP has essentially eliminated class distinction between mid-range and Tier 1 storage by delivering common services across the board.

I will watch the announcements and look for further information in the future to write about. While this announcement isn’t ground breaking, it is a great move by HP to allow customers to grow as their storage needs increase. I think the HP online import for EVA is one of the best pieces of the announcement allowing customers to “easily” migrate EVA data to their new 3PAR storage.

Microsoft Surface is confusing and it helps Apple to hurt CIOS.

Last week I spent time with vendors telling stories about Microsoft Windows 8 and tablets. They told stories about how CIOs do NOT want Apple iPads in their business and that the CIOs are excited to finally get rid of iPads and install tablets running Windows for various reasons. Their reasoning included security and feature set, noting that iPads do not have features included like a stylus. Those that know me know that biting my tongue hurts because I must do it very hard when hearing comments like this. I know about two people that enjoy stylus input on mobile devices and personally cannot think anyone really wants that type of input for mobile devices. There are some people that enjoy taking notes on a tablet and believe that the stylus is the way to do this as it gives the user a more pen like feel to input.

My belief is that that the manufacturers of tablets, now including Microsoft, are going to implement this very badly at first and hurt their companies further. In my opinion the path to tablets in the business has been forged by Apple and being embraced by Citrix the best through their Receiver application . Delivering applications, desktops, and the ability to use GoToMeeting on the iPad is huge. Citrix is making the best play here so far and I am sure their will be a similar application for Windows 8 that will play well with the “Surface” like devices. I say Citrix is making the best play because I think VDI through tablets is not a great user experience. I believe Citrix can provide the best end user experience through XenApp published applications and through XenDesktop. Obvious to techies that publishing applications to the XenDesktop machines users will also have access to here is the best approach. I believe VMware to be far behind the curve of end user accessibility through tablets, but don’t count them out as many new projects are on the Horizon.

Those that know me know that I am an Apple “fanboy,” but am not being a “fanboy” here. I think that Microsoft could have a great product in Windows 8, but think that the manufacturing of devices to compete with the iPad by adding hardware isn’t the answer. The answer lies in simply copying what Apple has done (hopefully without lawsuits) and working hard with partners to give end users the best user experience.

Frustrated with fast booting hardware?

The title seems very odd to be frustrated with fast booting hardware, but today I had that frustration.  Today I was trying to setup VMware ESXi on HP DL380 G7s in a remote location. Personnel at the remote location perform the hardware setup, and once configured using documentation they hand the hardware off to our team to do the host OS installation. I wanted to perform verifications of the hardware setup, but the hosts were booting too fast to view the HP Smart Array setup. I decided that I should just trust their work, install ESXi and then find a way to verify the setup. Once this was all done I viewed the Hardware Status tab and found the RAID configuration to be correct under Storage using the following diagram:

I have never even looked at the storage piece of the Hardware Status tab before, but will use this for all future verification. I hope this helps someone.

Winners Announced for the VMware vCenter Operations “Tell Your Story” Contest

I am scared and happy to announce that I won the “Tell Your Story” contest that VMware held for the opportunity to tell the story of implementing VMware vCenter Operations Manager at my largest client (contest). It will be fun to tell the story of how implementing this product has helped …. you will have to be at VMworld for the session (CIM1775) 🙂

VMware vCenter Operations Manager Authentication Error

This week I came across an error while trying to upgrade VMware vCenter Operations manager to the latest version (5.0.2). After downloading the .pak upgrade file I tried to login to the appliance at https://URL2vCops/admin/. I used the User Name and Password that I setup the appliance with and could not authenticate. I then went out to KeePass to verify that I remembered the password correctly and I was correct. I tried again to authenticate and could not. At this point I decided to get on the console of the UI VM and see if I could authenticate using the root account. After authenticating with root I tried su admin to log the admin user onto the console. I had to enter su admin twice and was able to authenticate with the documented password. Pretty annoyed right now as I again tried to login to the admin portal and failed to do so using a username and password that are working on the console. I used my Google Ninja Search skills to find this KB  from VMware regarding resetting user accounts including the admin account. I downloaded the script and followed the directions and received an error that the password could not be changed. I followed the included link regarding automatic lockout (KB) and was not experiencing the issues it described.

I then thought back to a day when there were issues logging into the UI to view data. That day it was discovered through trials and tribulations that the vAPP had run out of space. The application could not be used because the vAPP was out of diskspace, but did not indicate this to be the issue anywhere. After powering the vAPP off and adding an additional .vmdk file I powered the vApp back on and magically could use the vAPP. I thought that while the issues were very similar that quite possibly the would be unrelated and was wrong. After powering the vAPP off and adding an additional .vmdk I powered it back on. I could again authenticate.

This has been very frustrating to deal with as the vAPP does not give indication that while I cannot authenticate it is only due to the fact that the vAPP is now out of usable diskspace. I hope that VMware does create KBs soon for this.