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Think IPM

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Microsoft’s PopFly Service! – Whack a Twitter Follower!

I stumbled across a great new site called Microsoft POPFLY.  At first I thought it was very similar to Yahoo Pipes which I use to aggregate RSS feeds into personal feeds like this Virtualization one I use in Firefox. (I love the Live Bookmarks)
It is much more powerful.  Not only can you Mashup RSS feed, but you can also mashup other things.  As an example, I created the Whack a Twitter Follower game below using PopFly.  Bear in mind that I have VERY little programming skills. :)

Like Pipes, you can reuse other people’s work – So feel free to improve the Whack a twitter Game! :)

*Originally for this post I was going to make a Whack a server (the whole Virtualization theme) using images pulled from Flickr but hitting twitter people seemed WAAAY more fun! :)
If you want to see your picture pop up for other people to Whack, be sure to follow me on Twitter.

And of course be sure to post your High Score in the Comments!  :)

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The requested operation is not implemented by the server.

imageBackdrop: So this error popped up at a client site recently when they were trying to connect their VI client to an ESX host directly. (VirtualCenter was down at the moment).   The client was logging in with ESX credentials and everything looked right.   We tried SSHing into the box with the same credentials and encountered no problems.  Only when trying to connect via the VI client.

Resolution: Turns out after a little bit of head scratching and testing from another VI client that the shortcut icon we were using to launch the VI client had the PassThroughAuth parameter set for Auto SignOn capabilities.  It is interesting that even after it fails and we  change the credentials and server, it still throws up this error.  We had to modify the shortcut to remove the extra parameters to connect directly to the ESX hosts.  Crisis averted! :)

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Check your DNS with DNSDataView

image DNS is critical to proper Virtual Infrastructure operations.  Whether its client to server or server to server communications, it is important that all parts involved are using the correct DNS settings and are also registered with the appropriate DNS servers.  Unlike Windows, ESX servers will not auto-register their IP addresses with the DNS servers.  (Windows machines will typically update the DNS servers in an Active Directory when you join them to the domain – Since ESX servers are not Windows servers, they are never joined to the domain).  You will have to manually add the ESX hosts to your DNS servers for proper resolution.  Without it, expect weird vMotion, DRS and HA issues.  Even simple things like adding the host to VirtualCenter or connecting to a virtual machine console will be problematic with screwy DNS.  

Updating your DNS servers is also another good way to make sure that the IP address is not already in use.  Many smaller shops (and some bigger ones too) do not have proper IP address management programs so DNS might be their last line of defense.  Be aware that some ESX hosts might have multiple IP addresses that don’t always ping back.  Adding these supporting IP addresses (vMotion, iSCSI) into DNS will at least show an administrator that they should double-check before using them.  I’ve been to countless clients where pinging an IP was the method to determine IP availability. :)

Finally, Aaron Silber sent me over a nice GUI alternative to NSLookup when dealing with DNS and IP address resolution.clip_image001

Check out the free download from NirSoft here.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays and Let’s have a great 2009!

I Heart VMware!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Hyper-V Certification [Microsoft Exam 70-652]

imageSo I took a nice trip up to Boston a couple of weeks ago for a 2 day partner training course on Hyper-V and SCVMM.  We have Hyper-V up and running in the Labs at IPM but I was looking forward to more in depth exposure to the product.  Unfortunately, Boston did not deliver.  I think the course material and software might just be too new and most of the experienced field engineers are ‘in the field’. :)  On a more positive note, Microsoft was extremely responsive when it came to my brutally honest evaluation form following up with conference calls in an effort to improve the course.  I have been told that the TS: Windows Server Virtualization course is being completely revamped.

Even though the class did little to further my Hyper-V knowledge, I forged ahead with the certification anyway.  Being VMware certified, passing the XenServer test and having ‘some’ hands on experience with Hyper-V should be enough right?

Luckily it was! :)  
You can see from the test results that my weakest area of exposure was the SCVMM section.  The class should have filled that hole but fell a little short.

If one of your New Year’s goals is to get certified, I’d take a crack at MS Exam 70-652.  If you have a healthy working knowledge of virtualization and ‘some’ hands on with Hyper-V, you should be able to squeak by!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bandwidth, Bandwidth, Everywhere.

FIOS finally made it to Brooklyn and some of us in the office decided to compare results since most of us are on different ISPs.  It’s interesting on a very geeky level. :)   All speed tests  are courtesy of my favorite bandwidth tester SpeedTest.net.
clip_image002FIOS network test over hardwire connection.
clip_image002[4]Business class DSL with VOIP at an office over hardwire connection.
clip_image001Comcast residential cable speeds over a hardwire connection.
clip_image002[6]Business class Optimum Online cable over a Wireless B connection.
image Business class Optimum Online cable over a hardwire connection.

All in all, pretty great speeds to the houses and even more justification to work from Home! :) It was interesting to see the differences at my house between the Wireless connection and when I plugged right in to the switch.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

VI4 is gone before it even got here.

imageNothing really earth shattering but it looks like the news of the new name is out in the public domain.   No longer the hushed secret of the NDA crowd and VMware employees! :)  The next release of VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure 3, VI4 as it’s been unofficially referred to, will be officially called vSphere (had to just add *that* to my spell check dictionary!). 

I am personally not a big fan of the vSphere name since I thought that VI4 had a great ring to it and really emphasized how far ahead VMware was in relation to it’s first and second generation competitors.

Hopefully this will be a more successful rebranding than the Presentation Server / XenApp rebranding done by Citrix not too long ago.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

NY based Pre-Sales Solutions Architect needed

If you are based in the New York area and are in need of a change in positions, IPM is currently looking to fill a Pre-Sales consultant / Solutions Architect role.   The official job description is below :


If you feel this position might be right for you, please forward your resume and pertinent information to Carlo dot Costanzo at IPM dot COM.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Off Topic : For the FaceBook fans out there..

DISCLAIMER:- If you don’t like FaceBook or Outlook : Stop READING now.

Just had to quickly share this little application with everyone out there.  How to relate it to Virtualization though? .. Hmm .. Well, last year VMware promoted the whole twitter experience to compliment VMWorld 2008, so this year maybe FaceBook will be the hot thing…  In preparation, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. :)

Now for the Application : FoneBook image
You run this handy little application from your Windows desktop and it will match up any Outlook Contacts you have that are ALSO FaceBook friends.  When it finds a match, it will download the contact’s current picture (if they have one), their birthday and some other profile information and update Outlook.  Of course since most of us in Information Technology have a BlackBerry or Smartphone, the phone gets updated. 

Neato Result : When a FaceBook/Outlook contact calls you, their picture pops up! :) I think that’s neat.

Get it here.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Creating a LUN on an EMC NS20 Celerra Filer

Creating a LUN on an EMC NS20 Celerra Filer – Screen grabs by John Simon

To leverage enterprise features of VMware such as DRS, vMotion and HA, shared storage must be allocated to all ESX server on the network. The process of creating and allocating a LUN on an EMC NS20 Celerra is documented below.

First we create a new File system.



Create New Iscsi LUN


Be sure to give the LUN a unique number.


Creating a new Iscsi Target creates and association to the Data Mover.


The Network portal is used to create a group IP address. Once the Target is created, you can add initiators to it.


Choose LUN Mask and click New

LUN Masks can be thought of as Client Machines or initiators.


Add the initiator copied from the VMware Host.

Once the LUNs are provisioned, rescan the ESX host and the LUN should pop up.

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P2Ving an XP Desktop? Turn off Simple File Sharing

I was recently P2Ving a fresh installation of a desktop computer running XP Professional when I encountered this VMware converter error :

image image

Here's How to disable Simple File Sharing in XP.

    1. Open My Computer from the Start Menu or Windows XP Desktop. A new My Computer window will appear.
    2. Open the Tools menu and choose the "Folder Options..." option from this menu. A new Folder Options window will appear.
    3. Click on the View tab and locate the "Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended)" checkbox in the list of Advanced Settings.
    4. To disable Simple File Sharing, ensure this checkbox is not checked. Click inside the checkbox to alternately enable and disable the option.
    5. Click OK to close the Folder Options window. The settings for Simple File Sharing are now updated; no computer reboot is required.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Great VMware troubleshooting tip

imageRecently, I had the opportunity to call VMware technical support and received a fantastic tip to aid in troubleshooting networking issues.


After installing 4 ESX servers on 4 blades within a chassis, 1 ESX server was showing 1 NIC port disconnected (the red X on the NIC).  Since this was a blade chassis, we did our due diligence in swapping different parts, ports, blades and NICs.  Ultimately, the server team and network team were convinced it was an ESX issue.  Ports looked good, hardware was new and everything else was normal.  It seemed that the ESX server was at fault.

Troubleshooting issue:

After calling VMware tech support, they advised me to download a Linux LiveCD and boot to it on the ESX server.  If the newly booted operating system ALSO showed a disconnected NIC, we could reasonably assume the issue was external to the ESX configuration.  As a VMware consultant, I felt this was a great way to clear my ‘client’! :)

For my particular issue, the LiveCD also showed the disconnected port and we were able to get the hardware vendor to swap out the blade with a new one correcting the issue.

Using LiveCDs are a great way to isolate an external issue from an operating system without actually re-installing the operating system.

Kudos to VMware Support!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Citrix Print Detective

Printers seem to be the biggest problem with Citrix XenApp servers.  Here is a quick shot from Moshe Silber on Citrix’s Print Detective utility to help troubleshoot those issues.

Print Detective is an information-gathering utility that can be used for troubleshooting problems related to print drivers. It enumerates all drivers from the specified 32-bit Windows computer, including driver-specific information. It can also be used to delete specified print drivers. It also offers logging capabilities and provides a Command Line Interface (CLI).



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Monday, November 17, 2008

Citrix Edgesight 5.0 thoughts and impressions

Just received this great write up from David Paoleschi on his impressions of the new version of Citrix EdgeSight 5.0.


The biggest item is the security model implemented in ES 5.0 vs. prior versions. In previous versions of ES, pass-through credentials were used when connecting to Citrix servers to retrieve real-time data. In other words whatever credentials you used to log into the ES console were passed to the server when you requested a connection to the local DB to retrieve real-time data. As long as you were a member of an AD group that had local admin rights, you could connect to the server and run real-time reports.

In the new version of ES (5.0), the model has been changed to a NTLM challenge (CTX118478). Much like creating drive mappings to file shares on different hosts, you are now prompted to provide credentials to make a connection to each and every XenApp box. So, if you create a real-time dashboard with 60 XenApp servers, you will be prompted 60 times for credentials. Due to the nature of NTLM, and the hash created when you make a connection, you cannot (as far as I can tell) “cache” the credentials and use them for all the resources you need to access during a single ES session. Much like file shares, you can check “save my password” so you aren’t prompted repeatedly to re-authenticate to the same resource; however, I have found that even with checking that box, as you navigate around in ES real-time reports and tabs, you will be prompted repeatedly to connect to the same network resource. Citrix’s response was that this is not a bug, but the nature of NTLM and represents the security model of the product going forward. They suggested I try running the ES console from a XPSP3 or a box with a server OS to see if the NTLM prompts and “save” feature worked better.

Bottom line is that the new security model makes the product unusable (in my opinion) and forces you to set REMOTE_SECURITY=0 to essentially disabled ES security altogether.

Other issues encountered:

If you create multiple companies (not a best practice) and then try to delete one of the companies without removing all the login credentials associated with the company, you will orphan records in the SQL DB and have to manually clean them out (not documented by Citrix) before you can delete the company. Submitted to Citrix and got confirmation that this is a bug in the program.

When adding AD groups to ES to grant individuals the right to login to ES, the order in which you add the AD groups determines what rights they will have in ES. For example, if you are a member of two AD groups, ESAdmins and ESReporters, if you add ESReporters (ES report viewer only) and then add ESAdmins (full rights) you will get report viewer rights only. If you reverse the order of the AD groups, you will get full admin rights. Basically, ES is not “smart” enough to determine that you are in two AD groups and give you the least permissive of the two. Submitted to Citrix and got confirmation that this is a bug in the program.

Sporadic timeouts of the agents when invoking remote access (real-time, etc.) functions.  This includes dashboard, real-time reports, or queries to the local database behind the agents for viewing recent alarms, performance stats, sessions and application information, etc.  What seems apparent at this time is that:

First, the problem may be latency-dependent -- that is, the agent database connection is more prone to timeouts when accessing EdgeSight from a workstation across the WAN vs. from a management consoles or the ES host itself in the data center (that is, when the client browser accessing EdgeSight is running on the same local subnet as the Citrix server agent being hit).

Second, the access problems can be significantly reduced, but not eliminated, by upgrading to the latest version of the Flash control (10.x now I believe) on the client browsers.  The impact of this was most noticeable for the good in browsers launched in the data center, possibly because of the latency reduction I just discussed.

You can restore agent connectivity by disabling and re-enabling the unresponsive agent using the service control button on the agent's control panel applet.


Thanks for the great write up Dave!

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Vizioncore’s vFogLight Quick Installation

Ran through a quick installation of Vizioncore’s vFogLight monitoring software for VMware.  For this example, I installed it on a physical VirtualCenter server.


Run vFogLight 3.0.2.

Click Next to continue


Agree to the license Agreement

Click next to continue


Custom installation

Click next to continue


Default installation Folders are fine.

Click next to continue


Review the summary of your installation

Click install to continue


The default user name and password are foglight.

This can be changed to meet your company’s security requirements.

Choose embedded for the included mySQL database. Otherwise an ODBC DB is required.

Click Next to continue


This screen displays a list of default ports.

They can be changed to meet the company requirements.

Click Next to continue


Point the installation program to your license file.

Click Next to continue


Click done to complete the installation


Enter in VMware Administrator Credentials for the vFogLight Agent.

Click Save


Point your web browser to <server>:8080


The application is VERY BIG.  From the Website, you can pretty much monitor EVERYTHING.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Distributed Power Management Video

As blogged by Jason Boche, there has been confirmation that DPM will be fully supported in the next release of VMware VirtualCenter.  I am hoping to see rule bases similar to the DRS rules we have now.  Distributed Power Management with a nice rule set to configure it (rather than just turn it on) will be pretty useful in most environments.  The embedded video really shows the power (no pun intended) of a DPM environment.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nice to HaveWare : RVTools 2.1

image Just saw a post from Duncan about a new cool tool upgrade!  RVTools from Rob de Veij just got a little better.  This handy little utility gives you a nice clutter free way to view basic information about your Virtual Machines.  The most important for me is the SnapShot tab.  Point RVTools at your VirtualCenter and quickly see a nice little list of all VMs with snapshots.  Basic information such as date, description and power state are also included.  It would be nice to see the actual SIZE of the snapshots in future releases.

Thanks for a Great Utility Rob!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who took my Terminal Services? Don't worry it's been renamed Remote Desktop Services

imageRemote Desktop Services (RDS) is the new name for Terminal Services, and reflects the expanded role in Windows Server 2008 R2 so that you can run the desktop or applications in the datacenter while your users can be anywhere. RDS enables a full-fidelity desktop or application experience and efficiently connects remote workers from managed or unmanaged devices.  RDS helps keep critical intellectual property secure and simplify regulatory compliance by moving applications and data from the user’s access device to the data center.


Finally, Windows Server 2008 R2 also introduces a series of platform enhancements for remote desktop users – such as support for multiple physical monitors, redirection of multimedia and 3D content, including Vista Aero, and enhanced, bi-directional audio support.

Read the whole announcement here.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Easy Ways to create ISOs for use in VMware

I use ISOs all day long and am still surprised when I run into clients that aren’t as familiar.  With VMware, it is so easy and efficient to mount an ISO into a Virtual Machine.  When dealing with ESX and multiple Virtual machines, it becomes necessary to have ISO images of CDs accessible. This allows an administrator to assign the CD image to the Guest Virtual Machine rather than having to place an actual CD in the HOST’s drive.

There are various ways to create ISO images and link them to Virtual Machines.

Administrators can use Windows programs such as WINISO to create ISO files on their Windows workstations and then copy them to Administrative Network Shares.

From the ESX server console, you can insert the CDROM into the HOSTS CD drive and use the following command to create the ISO directly on the server.

cat /dev/cdrom > /tmp/NameofFile.iso


dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/tmp/NameofFile.iso

DD is a Linux copy command. if [input file] represents the device and of [Output file] represents the Output file.

Here are some links to Windows programs that can get you started with your ISO creation process.

WinISO - http://www.winiso.com/

Free ISO Creator - http://www.minidvdsoft.com/isocreator/index.html

You can also use my batch file method to create ISOs.

I also make it a practice to configure all Virtual Machines with CDrom and Floppies as Client Devices for ease of use and maximum machine portability.


What tools do you use to create ISOs and Floppy Images for VMware?

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Wanted: A few good Blogs!

If you are looking to expand your Virtualization Knowledge with expert opinions and insight – Check out Eric Siebert’s top 10 Blog list!

I am an avid read of almost all of them – Once your done with them – check out VMware-Land’s Launch Pad for one of the most complete collections (1,059 Links!) of Virtualization resources out there in the big shiny InterWeb.image

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Hypervisor Feature Comparison Chart by Citrix


Not sure what to make of it (Except that an ESX4 vs.. XenServer 5 chart will look DRAMATICALLY different).  I do also disagree with the ‘Shared image streaming to VM’s’ comparison.  Citrix’s Provision Server (great product) can stream to both XenServer, Hyper-V and VMware Virtual Machines.

In the spirit of democracy, how do you interpret this chart?
Let me know in the comments..

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Post P2V Batch file information to Automate Cleanups 2

image_thumb6Found another great little VBS script @ VMTN

  1. This little script by John Cerroni uses VBS and Application Names to find the uninstall string in the registry and uninstall the application.  This is EXTREMEMLY helpful for applications that have multiple versions with different GUIDs.  This is a great addition to my already productive Post P2V batch file.  I encourage everyone to make cobble their own together.

Thanks to Chris Hahn for sending this to me.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Suppressing the Citrix XenApp Tray Icon

Great tip from Sam Jacobs on hiding the XenApp tray icon. No Citrix!

By default, when seamless applications are launched, an icon is place in the system tray which can be opened to show sessions and servers.  [More things to confuse the Users! :)]

To suppress the icon from appearing, the following RegKey can be placed into each XenApp server’s registry:


Value Name: SeamlessFlags
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0x20

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HOWTO: Create a LUN on NetApp Filer for VMware

To leverage enterprise features of VMware such as DRS, vMotion and HA, shared storage must be allocated to all ESX server on the network. The process of creating and allocating a LUN on NETAPP is documented below.

Create Flexible Volume :


Match up name with VMware : I normally try to name the volume the same as my proposed VMFS name.  In almost all situations, the VMFS will be the only thing on the particular volume.




For VMFS Volumes, I don’t normally recommend array based snapshots.   It doesn’t seem practical to think that you would roll back an entire volume consisting of multiple Virtual Machines.

 Configure QTree :


Add New LUN :


Create Initiator Group : Initiator group will be used to permission hosts to LUNs on the Filer.


Map LUN to Initiator Group :


Select VMware initiator Group :



Be sure to create unique LUN numbers when assigning multiple LUNs to the VMware hosts.

Once you have created the LUNs and set permissions to the ESX hosts, go back and RESCAN the HBAs.  You should see your new LUN ready to be formatted.

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