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Think IPM

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Creating a local disk VMFS manually:

If the VMFS creation on the local disk fails through the GUI, we can create it via command line as a workaround.

Putty into your server : putty Carlo-ESXclip_image002[1]

Type : fdisk /dev/sda


Type n for new partition :

Select [Enter] for cylinder questions until you receive a success message.

Type t for partition type :

Enter in the last number for the partition.

Enter in fb for the partition type.

Type w to write the new configuration.

Type reboot to restart the ESX Host.

Once the server has restarted, putty back in.


vmkfstools -C vmfs3 /vmfs/devices/disks/vmhba0:0:0:#"

Where # is will be the number you used for the partition. (typically the last number)

You may now go to the GUI to rename you VMFS.

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Next Generation of Citrix Certifications

Great – More test to take.  This was sent to me by Aaron Silber.

Introducing the Next Generation of Citrix Certificationsimage

posted in Citrix Education by Keira Pack

Citrix Education just announced the rollout of its redesigned certification program. The new certification structure, developed in collaboration with Citrix customers, offers candidates more choices such as certification tracks by role and specialization, as well as streamlined update paths that make it easier for IT professionals to stay current. The certification changes support IT professionals' need to demonstrate specialized knowledge in key server, desktop and application virtualization technologies.

The next generation of Citrix certifications deliver:

1. Certification by job level
Three levels of IT professional certification are offered, which allow candidates to match their certification path to their job role:

§ Administrator Series - Consists of the Citrix Certified Administrator(CCA), which has been expanded to include tracks supporting Platinum product editions. Also offered is the new Citrix Certified Advanced Administrator(CCAA) certification, which takes the CCA one step further with in-depth product specialization.

§ Engineer Series - Consists of the new Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer(CCEE), which offers seasoned IT professionals the opportunity to validate their ability to combine the coordination of operational planning efforts with 'tactical design' expertise and integration know-how.

§ Architect Series - Consists of a re-vamped Citrix Certified Integration Architect(CCIA) certification, which allows IT professionals to hone real world skills with a range of technologies to design strategic approaches to application and workload delivery.

2. Certification by solution
Various paths, including Application Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, Server Virtualization and Application Networking, are available, so that IT professionals can align their certifications to the technology solutions most relevant to their job role.

3. Certification by product specialization
IT professionals can achieve specific designations for the latest Citrix products, such as Citrix XenApp™, Citrix® NetScaler®, Citrix XenDesktop™, Citrix XenServer™, and others, to prove their competency and skills on the latest enterprise products.

4. Simplified Certification update paths
With the release of the next generation certification programs, update paths to the newest CCEE and CCIA certifications will be available for current advanced certification holders. These update paths will significantly reduce requirements by focusing on the domains, features and technologies that are most required to advance to the next generation CCEE and CCIA certifications.

For more information on the next generation certification structure, visit www.citrixeducation.com > Certifications. Be sure to access the new certification marketing materials for a detailed overview.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nice Uptime!

Here’s something you don’t see everyday! 455 days of continuous UPTIME!  Ran across this server at a client today running ESX 2.5.2.  Unfortunately I am about to break the streak with my upgrade to 3.5 but I think it speaks volumes about the stability of a properly installed VMware ESX server.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

Time for a new Server? I’ll take TWO!

When crafting VMware solutions for clients, I always stress the importance of buying HOST servers in at least pairs.  This guarantees that every server will have a vMotion partner in the farm.  When clients buy servers that are not vMotion compatible with another server, the VMs they place on it are at risk.  Since vMotion and DRS are relying on compatible processors to function,  I routinely see trapped Virtual Machines running on ESX software that falls behind in the patch cycles due to lack of a maintenance window.   The DRS pairs, on the other hand, are upgraded more regularly since no downtime is incurred on the Virtual Machines. 

Here are some links to some matrixes provided from hardware vendors to try to mix and match compatibility but they aren’t updated nearly enough.

HP - ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/products/servers/vmware/vmotion.pdf
Dell - http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/solutions/vmotion_compatiblity_matix.pdf

IBM - http://vmetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ibm-vmotion-comp-guide-070107.pdf

For additional information, see the following Articles –

VMotion CPU Compatibility Requirements for AMD Processors


VMotion CPU Compatibility Requirements for Intel Processors


Rich at VM/ETC posted a good article @ http://vmetc.com/2008/06/19/matrix-to-determine-vmotion-compatibility-by-processor/

VMwareWolf also wrote some good stuff @ http://www.vmwarewolf.com/are-your-servers-vmotion-capable/trackback/

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Setting Full Hardware Acceleration with VBS in a POST P2V script.

Here is another useful bit of code script that I came across surfing the big bad internet. 

Dim RegValueData
Set objReg=GetObject("winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\.\root\default:StdRegProv")
objReg.GetStringValue &H80000002,"HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\VIDEO","\Device\Video0",RegValueData
objReg.SetDWORDValue &H80000002,Right(RegValueData, 82),"Acceleration.Level",0


This will set the Virtual Machine’s hardware acceleration to FULL.  I have added this little gem to my postP2V scripts.  Works very nicely with cscript //nologo SetAccel.vbs

 I also incorporated the nircmd utility to set my screen resolution to 800x600x32 for all my newly created virtual machines.

Have fun P2V’ing! :)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Using ISOs to transfer files to Virtual Machines. [The EASY way!]

I love being able to use ISOs with my Virtual Machines.  In addition to that, I love using LOCALLY stored ISOs from my laptop with Virtual Machines at client sites.  This can be done with the ‘Client Device’ setting in 3.x Virtual Machine hardware.

image    image

I have always used ISOs to build new Operating Systems and install applications but recently I have been using them to ‘transport’ files to Virtual Machines that either have no network connectivity or are inaccessible for some other reason.  The process involved using Nero to burn an ISO image with whatever files I wanted to transport up.  Effective but a little cumbersome.   I searched around and figured out a pretty easy way to create these ISO images from the command line using the same program that BartPE uses.

Basically I have a folder on my Laptop called C:\CD and a batch file on my desktop called MAKECD.CMD.  The cmd file contains the following line :

mkisofs.exe -iso-level 4 -volid "MY_CD" -o "C:\temp\TransferCD.iso" C:\CD

When I need to transfer something up to a VM via ISO, I just copy the files into C:\CD, double click MakeCD.cmd and then connect TransferCD.iso to the VM via the VI client.

The batch file basically directs mkisofs to create a TransferCD.iso with all the files in the C:\CD directory.

For me, it has been a remarkably effective way to use ISOs as a file transfer mechanism.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Extending the BARTPE Fix-VMSCSI some more!

More updates to extend the FIX-VMSCSI plug-in.  This new collection supports :

  • IBM ServeRAID 4Mx/4Lx/5i/6M/6i/7k Windows 2003
  • IBM ServeRAID 8K/8i/8s Windows 2003

  • image 
    Download the latest package of files here.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Post P2V Batch file information to Automate Cleanups


I’ve been busy doing A LOT of P2V conversions lately and decided to look into automating some of it!  Found these great links to scripting techniques to automate a lot of the clean up tasks.  It is important to clean up after your P2Vs.  Read Garbage In, Garbage out to see the manual way of cleaning up the Device Manager.

My favorite new improved automated way can be found at VMTN Communities by Snapper.   Additional scripting information can also be found at RTFM-ED.

Armed with this newly acquired knowledge and premade scripts, I went to work customizing them to my needs.  Some additions I added were:

  1. Customized DEVCON statements to remove software components in Device Manager that were not needed in the Virtual Machines.
  2. Try to Uninstall VMware Converter Agent and some other Programs
    i.e. MsiExec.exe /x{5573C8A0-AEE4-46AA-81E7-FE803C56AE6C} /quiet
  3. File manager Cleanup i.e. RMDIR “C:\Legacy Crap Software Directories”/Q /S
  4. Disabling and Deleting unnecessary services using SC such as Wireless & Link Tracking
  5. Setting Hardware Acceleration to FULL via VBS

Once all the scripts were written, I just burned the bunch of them into an ISO and attached the ISO to my newly P2V’d machines.  Eventually I will probably write an AutoPlay to just have them kick right off! :)

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Annoying Security Warnings – Importing certificates in Vista

So you have connected to your VirtualCenter server or ESX host and got a big fat annoying Security Warning.  Once or twice is fine but after a while you will go NUTS!  You can ignore the warning but wouldn't it be great to actually install and use the certificate?!  It’s pretty straight forward with XP but Vista needs some care and attention.  See below:  image

Click View Certificate then Install Certificate and then step through the wizard.


For Vista, Be sure to choose Place all certificates in the following store and then Trusted Root Certification Authorities.


After successfully importing the certificate, you will see a dialog box to accept the server’s fingerprint.

Good luck ridding yourself of these annoyances.. :)

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Joining the Social Networking Revolution/Bandwagon!

image Intrigued by VMware’s very helpful VMworld 2008 twitter feed and inspired by the likes of Aaron Delp and Duncan Epping, I’ll toss my entries out there for anyone to follow.

Aaron pointed out a great site called FriendFeed that kind of wraps EVERYTHING up in one nice feed so I’ll start with that one!  :)

http://friendfeed.com/ccostan – This consists of my Blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn activity and Delicious bookmarks.  Probably my blog, bookmarks and LinkedIn activity will generate the most activity but you never know! :)

Eventually, all of this information will land on a static page on the website.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

New ESX4 is 64 bit Only!

image Looks like I will have to upgrade my Lab machines if I want to run the latest greatest piece of virtualization software!  VMware’s new ESX4 will be 64 bit  only.  My current setup is 32 bit so I will have to upgrade.  VirtualCenter will not require 64 bit Windows though.

I don’t think this will be an issue for most enterprises since most of the host servers I run across are already 64 bit capable.  Lab environments on the other hand will be a different story.  Since VI4 is still in beta, I haven’t really found much in terms of whitebox configurations that will work ( and since it is still beta, things are subject to change – so I wouldn’t want to plunk my ever deflating dollars on hardware that won’t work with the GA).

If anyone finds any good 64 bit lab machines (workstations - preferably for their low electricity requirements), let me know in the comments!

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Need a new Job?

This little advertisement managed to escape my SPAM filter.  I guess with every vendor in the world jumping into the Virtualization game and every company in the world at least testing the Virtualization waters, a dedicated Virtualization Job Board might be able to make it.

VM People image
The Virtualization and Cloud Computing Job Board
VM People is the only Virtualization and Cloud Computing Job Board in the world.

Job seekers come to us for the latest jobs and news from industry innovators whilst employers and agencies of all sizes rely on us to help them find the best talent in the market.


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More P2Ps – Extending BartPE Fix-VMSCSI Plugin

Chris Hahn has sent me an updated version of the Fix-VMSCSI plugin to support servers with the QLogic 40xx iscsi HBA based on my post to extend the FIX-VMSCSI plugin.

Download the package of files here.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quick overview of a XenDesktop installation

Here are some screenshots compiled by Chris Hahn for a typical no nonsense installation of XenDesktop 2.1.

Desktop Delivery Controller prerequisites:

MS XML 6.0, Visual J# 2.0, .Net Framework 3.5 ,Internet Information Services (IIS)

Desktop Delivery Controller 2.1 Setup

Accept License agreementclip_image004

Install all components for POC.clip_image006

Create new farm. image

Install XenDesktop Advanced.clip_image010

XenDesktop can us a local IMA datastore or a remote SQL server.clip_image012

Prerequisites will be installed if needed.clip_image014

If prerequisite componenets were not installed previously, a reboot is required. Reboot computer and restart setup to continue installation if needed.


Continue setup after reboot.


Active Directory Configuration

Launch Active Directory configuration wizard.clip_image020

Specify XenDesktop OU.image


XenDesktop Agent Installation (XP Desktop)

If prompted, install .Net framework 3.5. clip_image028







Use default port for DDC communication - 8080clip_image036

Select farm.image

Complete installation.clip_image040

Reboot when prompted.


Desktop Group Setup


Initial configuration will be pooled desktops. clip_image046

XenDesktop Hosting infrastructure allows for power control of virtual machines (to power them off at off peak hours, start up additional machine when load increases, etc)clip_image048

Select a computer or computers with the XD Agent installed.image

Configure user access t o Desktops.image

Configure Display name for published Desktops.clip_image054

Specify icon for published desktop.clip_image056

Select configure advanced settings. clip_image058

Allow all types of connections.clip_image060

Set colors and encryption for session.clip_image062



The Citrix Web Interface is installed by default with the DDC install, but the MMC management snapins are not. Just run ASC_WebInterface.msi from the Desktop Delivery Controller DVD for Web interface management.

Policy Management is available via the CMC, which is also not installed on the DDC server by default. Install CMC.msi from the DDC DVD for CMC policy management.

There are currently 3 CMC policies enabled for optimal performance:

  1. Turn off Desktop Wallpaper
  2. Turn off Menu Animations
  3. Turn off Windows Contents while dragging
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