Archive for the ‘Virtualization’ category

VMware Extends Lab Manager 4.x Support 1 Year

June 25th, 2013

A few years ago, with the release of VMware vCloud Director 1.0, VMware announced the end of support date for Lab Manager 4.x (I wrote about that here).  That date had actually come and gone last month.  This morning I received a communication from VMware that Lab Manager 4.x support has been extended for another year with the new end of support date being May 21, 2014. It would appear VMware had more existing Lab Manager end users not willing to immediately migrate to vCloud Director than originally thought.

The text from the email can be found below:

June 2013

Dear VMware Valued Customers,

VMware is pleased to announce a 1-year extension to the support for VMware vCenter Lab Manager 4.x. As reference, the original end of support date for this product was May 1, 2013. The new official end of support date will be May 21, 2014. This new end of support date aligns with VMware vSphere 4.x (noted in the support lifecycle matrix below as VMware ESX/ESXi 4.x and vCenter Server 4.x) end of support. This new date also allows the vCenter Lab Manager customer base more time to both use the 4.x product and evaluate options for moving beyond vCenter Lab Manager in the near future.

Additional Support Materials:

vEXPERT 2013 Thoughts and Thanks

June 17th, 2013

Snagit CaptureThe ballots have been counted and the 2013 vEXPERTS were announced in a VMTN blog post by John Troyer.  I was fortunate enough to be awarded this honorable designation for a fifth consecutive year (I’m going to link that Five Timers club skit from SNL because I still get a laugh out of it).  What’s interesting about this journey for me is that for quite a while I had worked in and contributed towards Microsoft Windows, Active Directory, Networking, Design, and related communities striving for Microsoft MVP recognition.  That never happened.  Quite honestly I probably didn’t give it enough time and there are metric ton of brilliant Microsoft people already with their MVP status to compete against.  Once VMware came into my life, I quickly gained interest in the technology and its potential for businesses as well as end users world wide.  As a result, I shifted my career to focus solely on VMware and datacenter virtualization which did not stop short of leaving a great company I had been at for 11 years to make that change stick.  Although John Troyer at one time denied it and may still, I think the vEXPERT program is very much like Microsoft’s MVP program and the individuals who are awarded vEXPERT are very much like MVPs in terms of giving back and community involvement.  Although I appreciated the recognition and gifts going back to the first vEXPERT awards in February 2009, I think I took for granted what the award really meant for me as an individual.  With my virtualization blog already successful and my name pretty well known from spending a few years on the VMTN forums, an accolade here or there was quickly put in the trophy case and with the motor perpetually running, I moved on to the next thing.  In the back of my mind I knew what awards meant but I didn’t really take the time to stop and recognize that what I had tried to accomplish in the Microsoft programs and failed, I’ve now achieved many times over in the VMware community.  In the long run I think it has been a lot more beneficial for me and hopefully for the relatively new and growing virtualization community as well.  I’ve learned a lot, met a lot of people, made many good friends, have a great job, and I sincerely hope that I can continue making a positive community impact into the future.  My thanks to John Troyer, VMware, and the incredible community that I am a part of.  I’d also like to thank TrainSignal, Tintri, and Veeam for their generous gifts to vEXPERTs current and past.

Available Lab Gear

May 29th, 2013

Heads up to any locals looking for server grade vSphere hardware infrastructure.  I’ve been doing some lab spring cleaning the past few weeks and after some consolidation efforts, I’ve got some hardware available that’s not being put to good use any longer.  All of these are 64-bit and will run vSphere.  All have Ethernet and/or Fibre Channel options.

  • 2x HP DL385 (1x AMD DC Opteron, 4GB RAM, rails, RPS)
  • 2x HP DL385 G2 (2x AMD QC Opteron (Barcelona), 34GB RAM, rails, RPS)
  • 2x HP DL585 G2 (4x AMD DC Opteron, 64GB RAM, RPS, power cables)

If you have any questions not pertaining to power or heat, please ask.

You pick up – Lakeville, MN.

The price is right – email me if interested.

Publisher Error In Your Favor

May 20th, 2013

Snagit Capture

I’m not promoting this on Twitter – Let’s see who actually reads my blog on a Monday morning or at least still employs RSS technology.

A short while ago, I received on my doorstep a copy of Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5.  I’ve already got my own copy and I’d like to make sure this book ends up in the hands of someoneone who:

A) needs a copy

B) will read it and put the tremendous knowledge it contains to good use

C) won’t ask me for an electronioc handheld version

Respond in the comments section below on 1) your role and 2) your thoughts and/or opinions (good or bad) of VMware’s endeavors into both Software Defined Storage and Software Defined Networking.  The 5th response snags the copy which I will mail to you.  Good luck and thank you for your feedback.

Update 5/20/12:  Thank you for the responses.  It’s good to see so many people attentive on a Monday.

I expect anyone could argue that the first response from Andy wasn’t an actual opt-in response for the contest, nor did it conform to the contest rules.  This creates a problem because whether or not I include Andy’s comment means either Miguel or Kris are winners.  The easiest way to settle this is to declare you both winners.  Send me an email detailing your full mailing address and each of you will receive a copy of Mastering vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe.

Thank you,

Jas

vSphere 5.1 Update 1 Update Sequence

May 6th, 2013

Not so long ago, VMware product releases were staggered.  Major versions of vSphere would launch at or shortly after VMworld in the fall, and all other products such as SRM, View, vCloud Director, etc. would rev on some other random schedule.  This was extremely frustrating for a vEvangelist because we wanted to be on the latest and greatest platform but lack of compatibility with the remaining bolt-on products held us back.

While this was a wet blanket for eager lab rats, it was a major complexity for production environments.  VMware understood this issue and at or around the vSphere 5.0 launch (someone correct me if I’m wrong here), all the development teams in Palo Alto synchronized their watches & revd product in essence at the same time.  This was great and it added the much needed flexibility for production environment migrations.  However, in a way it masked an issue which didn’t really exist before by virtue of product release staggering – a clear and understandable order of product upgrades.  That is why in March of 2012, I looked at all the product compatibility matrices and sort of came up with my own “cheat sheet” of product compatibility which would lend itself to an easy to follow upgrade path, at least for the components I had in my lab environment.

vSphere 5.1 Update 1 launched on 4/25/13 and along with it a number of other products were revd for compatibility.  To guide us on the strategic planning and tactical deployment of the new software bundles, VMware issued KB Article 2037630 Update sequence for vSphere 5.1 Update 1 and its compatible VMware products.

Snagit Capture

Not only does VMware provide the update sequencing information, but there are also exists a complete set of links to specific product upgrade procedures and release notes which can be extremely useful for planning and troubleshooting.

The vCloud Suite continues to evolve providing agile and elastic infrastructure services for businesses around the globe in a way which makes IT easier and more practical for consumers but quite a bit more complex on the back end for those who must design, implement, and support it.  Visit the KB Article and give it 5 stars.  Let VMware know this is an extremely helpful type of collateral for those in the trenches.

QuickPrep and Sysprep

May 2nd, 2013

Those who manage VMware View currently or have used it in the past may be familiar with desktop customization which is required to provide a unique identity on the network for each View Composer VDI session in a pool.  If you’ve got a pretty good Microsoft background, you’re probably already familiar with Sysprep – Microsoft’s tool for customizing Windows server and desktop OS deployments.  VMware View Administrators have an alternative tool which can be used for desktop customization called QuickPrep.  For all intents and purposes, QuickPrep was designed to accomplish many of the same tasks Sysprep did, but the obvious advantage QuickPrep has is that the code and development belongs to VMware and as a result can be tightly integrated with products in VMware’s portfolio.

I was on a call this morning with VMware Senior Technical Trainer Linus Bourque (Twitter: @LinusBourque Blog: http://communities.vmware.com/blogs/lbourque Cigars: yes) when he pulled up a table slide which was the result of VMware KB Article 2003797 Differences between QuickPrep and Sysprep.  For those who are curious about the similarities and differences between the two (like me), look no further.

From the KB Article:

QuickPrep is a VMware system tool executed by View Composer during a linked-clone desktop deployment. QuickPrep personalizes each desktop created from the Master Image. Microsoft Sysprep is a tool to deploy the configured operating system installation from a base image. The desktop can then be customized based on an answer script. Sysprep can modify a larger number of configurable parameters than QuickPrep.
During the initial startup of each new desktop, QuickPrep:
  • Creates a new computer account in Active Directory for each desktop.
  • Gives the linked-clone desktop a new name.
  • Joins the desktop to the appropriate domain.
  • Optionally, mounts a new volume that contains the user profile information.
This table lists the main differences between QuickPrep and Sysprep:
Function QuickPrep Sysprep
Removing local accounts No Yes
Changing Security Identifiers (SID) No Yes
Removing parent from domain No Yes
Changing computer name Yes Yes
Joining the new instance to the domain Yes Yes
Generating new SID No Yes
Language, regional settings, date, and time customization No Yes
Number of reboots 0 1 (seal & mini-setup)
Requires configuration file and Sysprep No Yes
Note: A Guest Customization script is required in vCenter Server to use Sysprep. Sysprep is bundled in with Windows 7. For Windows XP, an appropriate Sysprep program needs to be installed on the vCenter Server.
For information on installing Sysprep tools, see Sysprep file locations and versions (1005593).
For more information on the use of Sysprep and the Guest Customisation wizard, see the Customizing Guest Operating Systems and Installing the Microsoft Sysprep Tools sections of the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide.

vMA 5.1 Patch 1 Released

April 5th, 2013

Expendable news item here only worthy of a Friday post.  For those who may have missed it, VMware has released an update to the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) 5.1 appliance formally referred to as Patch 1.  This release is documented in VMware KB 2044135 and the updated appliance bits can be downloaded here.  Log in, choose the VMware vSphere link, then the Drivers & Tools tab.

Patch 1 bundles with it the following enhancements:

  • The base operating system is updated to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 (12-Jan-2013).
  • JRE is updated to JRE 1.6.0_41, which includes several critical fixes.
  • VMware Tools is updated to 8.3.17 (build 870839).
  • A resxtop connection failure issue has been fixed.
    In vMA 5.1, resxtop SSL verification checks has been enabled. This might cause resxtop to fail when connecting to hosts and displays an exception message similar the following:
    HTTPS_CA_FILE or HTTPS_CA_DIR not set.
    This issue is fixed through this patch.