Think IPM

Friday, February 27, 2009

vExpert 2009 and the New Facebook Group

image VMware announced their inaugural class of vExperts for 2009 this week and I’m thrilled to say I made the list.  Thanks to VMware for making the effort to recognize and foster the growth of it’s enthusiastic community.  I know everyone involved appreciates the acknowledgement.

For those that don’t know, the VMware vExperts program is loosely modeled after the Microsoft MVP program.  VMware vExperts have been recognized by VMware for their contributions to the community of VMware and virtualization users.   For 2009, VMware announced about 300 worldwide.

If you happen to be a recipient of the vExpert award and are also on Facebook, be sure to join our newly created group.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

NetApp Battle Raps EMC and DataDomain Parody.

Pretty funny (from a tech point of view) 8 mile parody

Check out the lyrics posted at VMwareTips.com

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Off Topic : Geek Shirts @ ConchTees.com

Geek shirts are always fun for us to wear and my friends over at ConchTees.com are dipping their toes in the water with the design below.  I’ve been trying to get them to come up with a witty VMware / Virtualization type shirt but haven’t come up with any good ideas.  They make some pretty edgy/funny shirts and hoodies so if you think you have a good one that you wish you could wear for VMworld San Fran, drop it in the comments.  I am pretty sure they already came up with ‘My VMware HyperVisor can kick your Xen’s ass.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

EdgeSight Email Alert Error.

Here’s another quick EdgeSight tip …This one from Sam Jacobs.

 

EdgeSight alert emails are incompatible with the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

Suggested workaround is to uninstall .NET 3.5, then re-register .NET 2.0, with:

%systemroot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis.exe -i

For more information, you can check out the following forum post:

http://forums.citrix.com/thread.jspa?threadID=241942

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick Tip : Citrix EdgeSight Agent – Basic and Advanced Modes.

imageDavid Paoleschi sent me this quick Citrix EdgeSight tip.

The EdgeSight for Presentation Server Agent has two modes of operation, Basic and Advanced:

When a version 5.0 EdgeSight for Presentation Server Agent is installed on a Presentation Server, the agent mode enabled by default depends on the version and edition of the Presentation Server. The following table shows the default agent mode by Presentation Server version and edition. The table also shows whether the Mode tab is displayed on the Citrix System Monitoring Agent control panel applet.

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• Basic agents provide the Resource Management capability that is included in XenApp-Enterprise Edition and require only that you have a XenApp Enterprise license available on your Citrix Licensing Server.

• Advanced agents provide the fully featured version of EdgeSight for XenApp and require that you have either a XenApp-Platinum Edition license or an EdgeSight for XenApp license available on your Citrix Licensing Server.

In other words you can install EdgeSight for a XenApp Enterprise client and it will function in basic mode (collects less data). This would be a great way to do an ES POC without having to go out and buy any ES licenses.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Duplicate SIDs, Big Deal! Why you might not need to care.

Recently, I have been having some great conversations about the benefits of using golden images of servers and desktops to rapidly deploy using either templates or streaming image technologies.  Out of these conversations, an interesting piece of information was gleaned.  The SID or Security Identifier might not need to be unique in an Active Directory environment since the Domain will give the machine a Unique Domain Based SID and pretty much ignore the local SID anyway.

Before we all get nuts, let’s take a quick step back – I have always taken special measure when cloning or deploying templates to make sure to run either SysPrep or NewSID to ensure that the newly created machine would have a unique SID in the environment.  I have always been under the impression that horrible, terrible, unspeakable things would happen if there were duplicate SIDs in the environment.  Recently, a colleague of mine showed me a TechNet article that kind of implies that it’s not really a big deal (Technically) if there are duplicate SIDs in an Active Directory environment. (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897418.aspx)

Duplicate SIDs aren't an issue in a Domain-based environment since domain accounts have SID's based on the Domain SID. But, according to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q162001, "Do Not Disk Duplicate Installed Versions of Windows NT", in a Workgroup environment security is based on local account SIDs. Thus, if two computers have users with the same SID, the Workgroup will not be able to distinguish between the users. All resources, including files and Registry keys, that one user has access to, the other will as well.

Another instance where duplicate SIDs can cause problems is where there is removable media formatted with NTFS, and local account security attributes are applied to files and directories. If such a media is moved to a different computer that has the same SID, then local accounts that otherwise would not be able to access the files might be able to if their account IDs happened to match those in the security attributes. This is not be possible if computers have different SIDs.

So basically, as far as I can tell, the only real issue is security (and if all the Local Administrator Accounts have the same password, it’s a non issue).  As an Consultant, all of my accounts and clients are in Domain environments so in theory, duplicate SIDs should not be an issue to any of them.  I am not sure about the support implications but right now I am primarily concerned with proving or dispelling the technical merit of unique SIDs.

Now it is still pretty easy to run NewSid or SysPrep when kicking out new machines via VirtualCenter, Ghost or whatever your method may be but I am curious about the answer to this question in a VDI or streaming situation.  With Citrix Provision server, for example, you can stream a single image to multiple machines that will all contain the same SID.   The same might happen in a VDI environment where linked clones or some other sort of image sharing technique is employed where it would be an additional challenge to guarantee the uniqueness of the SID on various machines.

Even with my research and reading, I am not sure I am ready to give up my NewSid habit just yet but am curious what everyone else thinks about the subject.  Please post your thoughts in the comments.  Thanks!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quick Citrix XenApp Tip : Logons and Logoff messages in the EventLog.

imageHere is a nice tip provided by Frederic Serriere (Escalation Engineer, Citrix) on Doctor-Citrix.com :
To Log ICA Logons and Logoffs in the Server's EventLog,  add the following registry value:
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Citrix
Value: wsxicaEvent

Data: DWORD:0x1

Note: EventID 2 for Logon and 3 for Logoff.

Aaron Silber (who sent this tip to me) also added a quick and dirty little script to grab the number of logons within a date range.  Requires PSLogList.

@ECHO Off
Echo This tool will tell you the number of logons from the date you specify
Echo.
Echo.
SET /p ICALogonDate="Please enter a starting date using the syntax of mm/dd/yy:”
For /f %%i in ('@psloglist -a %ICALogonDate% -o wsxica -i 2 application^|Find /i "ICA Client Logon" /c') Do CLS & ECHO. & Echo Total Number of Logons since %ICALogonDate%: %%i

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Drop any enhancements in the Comments. :)

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Dusting off PlateSpin’s PowerConvert aka Migrate

imageI recently had the opportunity to dust off and use PlateSpin’s PowerConvert from my P2V bag of tricks.  Since VMware released it’s new VMware Convertor 3, it has been my tool of choice for converting physical to virtual machines for customers in the field.  I’ve developed a good routine for P2Ving the machines, cleaning them up post conversation with some scripts and cutting them over from the physical.  This usually involved leaving some transient data behind during hot conversions or scheduling some downtime during cold conversations.

Enter my client’s monstrous file server candidate.  Topping the scales at 600+ GBs, our dry runs gave us an estimate of about 18 - 20 hours of downtime to perform the cold conversion and capture all the data.  Rather than spend my weekend in the office, we opted to purchase a single migration license from Novell for the PlateSpin Migration product (formerly PowerConvert).  Migrate has the ability to initiate the P2V process while the system is up and running and servicing clients while tracking all changes and sending them along until it can cut the machine over with minimal downtime (less than 30 minutes).  The downtime occurs while Migrate powers down the source machine, modifies the new VM’s networking properties and reboots it for final cutover.

So $200 bucks vs. Free : Here are some of the things that make you want to spend the money.

  1. For large conversions, downtime is minutes rather than HOURS.
  2. Ability to create the RIGHT VM with the right hardware associated.
  3. Practically no post clean up is necessary.  Hidden Devices are removed, IPs are all correct and generally the VM is good to go.

One thing I wish Migrate had was the ability to schedule the cutover window. (Track changes until 6pm and then do the cutover).  This would allow me to properly schedule the outage window and BE THERE. :)

It will be interesting to see how many of these features will end up in the free VMware Convertor 4 and how Migrate will continue to provide unique features for customers to justify its purchase.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Citrix Xen Based Client Hypervisor Previews (Project Independence)

Here are some nice little videos of the newly announced Citrix Xen Based Client Hypervisor.  As someone who switches laptops every so often, I love the idea of a local Virtual Machine that I can just move from laptop to laptop without losing any functionality.  I am curious how power management (Hibernation, resuming, etc) will be handled and what type of things I will be giving up in terms of multimedia experiences (which according to the videos shouldn’t be any).

This video shows launching a VM from VM. (Neat!)

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Big should I make the Paging File in Windows?

Here is a repost of an article sent to me by Aaron Silber.

Can’t get much of a better source than Mark. He wrote an article on pushing the limits of Windows, in the article he goes  through many things including memory and this very heated topic. Finally there is an easy way to figure out exactly how to set the pagefile.

In a nutshell, the recipe is as follows: start up all of your applications that you think will be run (or wait a decent amount of time until the system has had good usage), then launch Process Explorer and go to the view menu and select System Info look at the Commit Charge | Peak, set the paging file to be this number minus the amount of ram in your system. That’s it!

Have a look at the whole article, well worth the read here: http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2008/11/17/3155406.aspx

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

EMC extends partnership with Microsoft in the Virtualization world.

Interesting news from Microsoft and EMC.  In short, Microsoft and EMC will partner to provide solutions where Hyper-V and EMC make more sense for customers than the current VMware/EMC solutions.  You can read more about it here.

Big happenings in NYC yesterday as SteveB and EMC's CEO Joe Tucci met with a room-full of IT execs to talk about an extended 3-year alliance. The full announcement is here. In short, the companies are going to work more closely together in the areas of data loss prevention, collaboration and virtualization.

What's that you say? EMC - 80% owner of VMware - working more closely with Microsoft around virtualization? Here's an excerpt from the joint announcement:

Microsoft offers one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter, including the ability to manage both physical and virtual environments from a centralized management console. EMC’s technology solutions enable storage, protection and management of information in Microsoft virtualized environments including Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft System Center, and jointly supported mission-critical workloads such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server. EMC Consulting’s Application Practice, a thousand-person strong team with deep Microsoft knowledge, provides expertise in assessing, planning and implementing Microsoft’s technologies in a wide array of virtualization solutions.

That's all well and good - 1,000 EMC consultants trained on WS08 Hyper-V, System Center and key Microsoft applications that will be virtualized. But can those 1,000 consultants really look past VMware?

At first glance, I really didn’t get why this ‘alliance’ would make sense to either company but as I read the interview and thought of my own company, it started to make sense.  Working for an integration partner who deals with Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, it is interesting to hear EMC position Microsoft as a solution for when VMware is not.  I think there are a lot of integrators evaluating the same situations where a potential customer is sold on one vendor’s virtualization strategy over another.  We try to educate the customer on all possible solutions and their strengths and weaknesses but ultimately, we should be well positioned to help implement whichever solution the customer decides on.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Enable VT and EVC in the Dell BIOS.

To enable 64-Bit support for Virtual Machines in VMware ESX, you must Enable Virtualization Technology and to configure the ESX host for Enhanced vMotion Compatibility, you must Enable Execute Disable. These settings can be found under the CPU info section of the Dell BIOS. (F2 to enter Dell Bios on the PowerEdge)

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