Think IPM

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is my Server 64 Bit Compatible?

While doing some recent beta testing (shhh), I realized that my lab is NOT 64 bit compatible.  :( I will have to do some searching around to find a suitable 64 bit lab that will fit into my budget (both initial and Electricity!). 

A quick and dirty way to check if your current ESX setup is 64 bit compatible is to putty in and run ‘cat /procs/cpuinfo'.  Look for the LM flag to determine if you have 64 Bit extensions. (Long Mode)

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Example of 32 Bit architecture 

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Example of 64 Bit architecture.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

First Look : BlueBear’s Kodiak Virtual Machine Manager

imageI was recently sent a private Beta code for the new BlueBear Kodiak Manager.  Kodiak is an all in one Virtual Machine manager that currently supports VMware with plans to support XenServer and HyperV in the future.

The interface is very nice but I had a terrible time trying to get the certificate warnings to stop coming up.  I am running Vista for my client and did not test on a standard XP machine.  Your mileage may vary.

After launching the application, you are presented with the standard 1)Server Address 2)Username and 3) Password combos.

This kicks off some status message on the bottom of the screen while Kodiak gathers the appropriate data from your environment.
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This early version does not provide much in terms of feedback so occasionally, the manager looked as though it froze and I had to kill the process to get back.

The times it did respond, I was bombarded with Certificate Warnings.
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Each time it fetched different data, this warning came up and it became unBEARable (pardon the pun).  I am sure there is a way around this (I tried to import the certificates without luck).  It would be nice for the application to handle the certificate management on it’s own.

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Once in, you get a nice graphical map of your resources within the environment.  It’s an interesting way to view everything but I am not sure how it would look with 100s of VMs.  In any event, it is a nice way to view all of your resources without the use of VirtualCenter.  Kodiak allows you to add multiple hosts into the same view.  Each VM has dynamic arcs around them representing Memory and CPU usage.

All in all, this was a very good first beta and I am excited to see a more stable version of the product in the future.

I have 3 Beta invitations available to me if anyone wants them.  Just drop me a comment below if you want me to send you one.

UPDATE: 1/16/2009

I am all out of Invites but check here for more.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Citrix XenDesktop XML and STA services on DDC.

imageThis came through my inbox from my colleague David Paoleschi.

Its worth mentioning that both the XML Service and the STA (http://ddc-fqdn/scripts/ctxsta.dll) are both hosted on the DDC in XD 2.0. This is important when configuring AG/AGEE/SG for external access of XD and doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the documentation.

Thanks Dave!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Be there VIRTUALLY with TOKBOX!

imageWith many of us traveling to VMworld this week, I figured a quick write up on a great little video conferencing tool would be appropriate!  Check out the FREE service called TOKBOX.  

With just a camera (most laptops have them built right in these days), a browser and flash, You'll be broadcasting in a few moments.  The thing I REALLY like about this service is there is no software to install or configure.  You just set up an account which gives you a customized URL (www.tokbox.com/[username]) that you can IM or email to anyone you want to chat with.

Once the user clicks the URL, they are present with a clean web interface that gives them the option of calling you if you are online or leaving a Video Mail.  Very slick and easy. The visitor doesn't even need to sign up!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Network Beaconing for switch failure detection

If you are like me, you probably have had most of your networking setups with the typical and reliable Link Status for failure detection.

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Link status is normally great, however, it does not detect misconfigured ports or switching failures.

In comes Beacon Probing:
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Beacon Probing allows an ESX server to test links in a bond by sending a packet from one adapter to all of the other adapters within a Virtual Switch across the PHYSICAL LINKS.  If a port is misconfigured or down, the probe will fail and ESX will detect the failure.

This probing can be used during initial installations to verify all links are correctly trunked or configured.  In environments where you have your links going to multiple switches, this can also be useful to detect upstream failures in the path between physical NICs.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

First Look : vKernel SearchMyVM Appliance Beta 1.0

You may have heard about the new search based appliance by vKernel for your VI3 environment, but have you seen it?  I had a chance over the weekend to install it into my lab environment usingimage the nice OVF format.

After a brief setup screen on the appliance itself, you are ready to go. 

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Point your browser to the VM's IP address and you are presented with a nice Googlish splash screen for you to enter your searches.

The first thing you will need to do is click on Manage Connections and enter in your VirtualCenter credentials for it to index the environment.

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Once you have established a valid connection and your status says OK, you are free to begin searching your Virtual Infrastructure for things!

Here is an example output of a simple search for all VMs running Linux in my environment :
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imageThere is also a very powerful Query Builder that allows you to build your own queries by choosing Objects and then properties.  (Reminds me of PowerShell)

Unfortunately, for this Beta, you are unable to save your queries and there does not seem to be a way to pass the appliance search strings through the URL.  This would be a nice feature to custom create reports and bookmark them for handy quick reference.

All in all, for a free appliance, this can be a nice addition to an administrator's bag of tricks and really demonstrates the ease of adding Virtual Appliances to a virtualized environment.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

OVF - Open Virtualization Format

So what is an OVF and why is it neat? image

You can read the official scribe here, but basically the neatest part about it is the way developers can create URL paths to an OVF file that we (users) can plug into VirtualCenter and import configured Virtual Machines or Appliances.  This is very different from the past were we would have to download VMDKs, upload them to ESX hosts and then create the VMX files to properly set the CPU, Memory and disk locations.

The guys over at vKernel are the first I have seen use it and I LIKE IT!  After popping in a URL pointing to their new SearchMyVM appliance (Read about it here), VC knew exactly how to configure the machine (in this case 4 hard drives,mem, cpu etc..) and began importing the machine.

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For me, without OVF, this really would have been a pain in the neck to set up and I probably would have passed on the Search My VM appliance.

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