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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)
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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. :)
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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! :)  
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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 :

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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.

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Create New Iscsi LUN

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Be sure to give the LUN a unique number.

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

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

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Choose LUN Mask and click New

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

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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 :

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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.

Backdrop:

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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