Posts Tagged ‘Rant’

Maintenance tonight

December 9th, 2008

The blog, web, and Team Fortress 2 servers will be down briefly tonight for a little maintenance on the virtualized gateway router.  Duration should be about half an hour at the most.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

Speaking of maintenance, I doubled my hosting bandwidth over the weekend from 5Mbps down/512Kbps up to 10Mbps down/1Mbps up.  I performed a little bandwidth speed testing last night and initially I wasn’t overly pleased the results.  Depending on the remote host I tested speed against, I wasn’t seeing the numbers I should be on the download side.  Eventually I did find a remote host that proved I had a 10Mbps down pipe (I don’t have bursting AFAIK).  On the up side (which is what really counts for hosting performance and you readers), I wasn’t able to find any remote hosts that showed I had upstream bandwidth beyond 512Kbps.  I’ll be performing more tests and I will contact my service provider if I am not completely satisfied.  For what I’m paying for business class broadband, I insist that I be consistently getting the 80% of the promised speeds which I believe is the SLA with my provider.

Trust me, I could go really hysterical with regards to my provider but you readers deserve better so I’ll keep it bottled up for now.  Thank your lucky stars for whatever provider you have because chances are they are much better than what I have to work with.


Update: Bandwidth is looking good.  Explanation in comments below.

12-9-2008 9-45-07 PM

Virtualization rematch corrections and clarifications

December 4th, 2008

In the December 2008 issue of Windows IT Pro magazine, Michael Otey publishes part two of his VMware ESX/Microsoft Hyper-V comparison. From the VMware side of the world, I felt the article was well written, fair, and mostly accurate, however, there are a few things that I wanted to point out to minimize the confusion for those still trying to decide which hypervisor and feature set is best for them.

  • For most of the article, ESX is referred to as ESX Server. VMware dropped the word “Server” from their bare metal hypervisor a while back. ESX Server is merely ESX or ESXi and should not be confused with VMware’s free hosted product VMware Server.
  • Page 22 mentions the most noticeable missing feature from the Virtual Infrastructure Client is a native Windows Explorer-like file manager and direct connection from host to host. This is incorrect. From the VIC, you can either double click or right click on any datastore seen by the host and choose “Browse Datastore”. From the Datastore Browser, files and folders of the VMFS volume structure can be copied, cut, moved, renamed, created, deleted, and downloaded to the desktop. To address the host to host communication piece, the scp command can be used in the service console (COS) of an ESX host to copy files to or from another ESX host (ok, it’s not pretty, but it’s an option that does exist and I’ve used it many times).
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  • Michael goes on to say the VIC doesn’t provide the ability to copy or clone VMs. I grant Michael that in this example the VIC is not as intuitive as the other VMware hosted product management consoles which provide the user menu driven options to clone VMs, however, as I explained in the bullet above, the Datastore Browser will copy VMs which accomplishes one part of a manual cloning process. Another cloning step I will talk about in the next bullet.
  • Lastly, Michael explains he doesn’t get a graphical option to register VMs. Once again, using the Datastore Browser, we can right click on the VM’s *.vmx configuration file and choose “Add to Inventory” which registers the VM on the host (this is equivalent to the vmware-cmd -s register <config_file_path> command in the service console).
    12-4-2008 9-57-51 PM

This appears to be a simple case of Mr. Otey missing the Datastore Browser feature in the VIC which I’ve shown does exist and provides great utility and improvement over the MUI based file manager we had in the legacy ESX 2.x days. The Datastore Browser is a direct result of VMware listening to and responding to end user feedback stating we weren’t satisfied with using out of band 3rd party utilities like WinSCP for ESX host file management. Michael’s conclusion was a five-diamond rating for ESX over Hyper-V. He goes on to recommend ESX to midsized-to-large businesses looking for performance and manageability. With ESXi offered for free from VMware, I think he is missing the value of performance and manageability for small businesses as well.

Speaking of Windows IT Pro magazine, little known fact, I was the winner of the Reader Challenge in the April 2000 issue. Back then, the magazine was called Windows 2000 Magazine (and before that Windows NT Magazine). Back in the Windows NT days, the magazine was as thick as a 20,000 family telephone book. These days, the magazine still has some good articles like those written by Michael Otey, but sadly it has dwindled to 65 pages, the majority of which seem to be filled with ads and they still boast a $54.95 annual subscription cost. I’m not sure how they sleep at night.

VMware product name changes

December 3rd, 2008

Quick update on a news item you may have already heard about. Remember those VMware product/component decoder rings you might have started working on after the VMworld 2008 announcements? It’s time for an update. VMware announced a handful of product name changes on Monday:

  1. VMware VirtualCenter is now VMware vCenter Server
  2. VMware vCenter is the family name for all management products
  3. VMware Lab Manager is now VMware vCenter Lab Manager (since it is in the management products family)
  4. The VMware vCenter prefix applies to the other products in the management products family as well
  5. VMware View is the family name for all VDI/VDM products
  6. VMware VDI is now VMware View
  7. VMware VDM is now VMware View Manager

I’m not real fond of name changes unless there is a good reason behind it. I’ll give VMware the benefit of the doubt that there was good reason to make these changes, although not knowing myself 100% what is up VMware’s sleeve, the timing is somewhat debatable. Couldn’t they have waited until the next generation of Virtual Infrastructure to align the products and components? Citrix did this with Presentation Server when they instantly re-branded it to XenApp. It confused a lot of people, especially the newcomers. I hope confusion among VMware customers is minimized. It’s going to take a little while for these new names to become second nature for me.

What do you think of the name changes? Feedback is always welcomed here.

What’s up with the broken Windows Search?!

November 15th, 2008

Can someone please explain to me why the search function in Windows hasn’t worked reliably since about Windows 2000 or Windows 98? It got exponentially worse with the release of Microsoft’s “Desktop Search”.

See below. I’m looking for the location of a file called wuauclt.exe. The “Desktop Search” feature, which when installed, replaces the default built in Windows Search, can’t find the file:


I have to resort to the old faithful command prompt search to find what I’m looking for:


This is beyond stupid.

VMware Communities using Hyper-V Quick Migration during business hours?

November 12th, 2008

The VMware Communities are down this morning for what I’m hoping is unplanned maintenance. Hopefully they get all of the kinks worked out.

If it was planned maintenance (the outage message does mention “system upgrade”), VMware, please – not during business hours.


Will our children know what DAS stood for?

November 6th, 2008

Duncan Epping of the highly talented VMware employee pool and Yellow Bricks stardom has released for us a great VMware High Availability (HA) Implementation Notes document. In it, you will find some advanced configuration options for VMware HA – real good stuff that is sure to put your significant other to sleep.

Throughout the document, “das.” appears. What is das and what does it have to do with high availability? For the sake of my kids (whom I hope grow up to be virtualization evangelists and successors to my blog), I’ll explain. Back in the days of the VI3 beta, DAS was an acronym for Distributed Availability Service. But it was not to see the light of day, for VMware often becomes discontent with technology names and acronyms, usually after the labels have already been permanently etched in documentation, books, hundreds or thousands of lines of code, and our brains.

  • .dsk files became .vmdk files
  • DAS became HA
  • ESX Server became ESX
  • Most recently, Continuous Availability became FT (Fault Tolerance)

7-30-2010 9-53-34 AM

So as seen in the examples above, DAS is nothing more than the “old” name for HA. Apparently, there is more to updating code than using “find and replace” so VMware opted to leave das. configuration instances in the HA product that exists today.

It’s hard to second guess the creative minds at VMware.  Maybe they thought DAS would be confused with DRS which was releasing at the exact same time.  They would have been right.  There are still people walking around today that explain DRS as “Dynamic Resource Scheduler” which is incorrect and drives me up the wall.  Distributed.  Distributed.

VI4 beta program and my VMware wish list

November 1st, 2008

I’m happy to say that I have been accepted into the VMware Virtual Infrastructure 4 beta program (shout out to my friend John Troyer over at VMware for helping with this). Unfortunately due to the Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) I am bound by, I will not be able to discuss VI4 details at all with the public or with other VI4 beta participants outside of the VMware VMTN Community VI4 beta forums.

I’m quite certain a lot of great features await my discovery, some of which I saw at VMworld 2008. One of the difficulties of beta testing is seeing the new features, but not being able to put them to practical use in production datacenters until the (suspected) 2009 release. It’s like being a kid, Christmas shopping in June with your parents and they throw something in the cart for you that you really like, but you can’t have it until Christmas day.

I’ve had some pet peeves posted in VMware’s Product and Feature Suggestions forums for a long time and hopefully these will be addressed in VI4 or sooner (most of these IMO should require little effort to resolve, but then again I’m not a developer):