Think IPM

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Access Mailboxes that you have hidden from the GAL.

Hidden MailboxHere’s a quick and dirty tip that I grabbed from Jacques Bensimon.  If you have ever tried to create a MAPI connection to mailbox user that is hidden from the Global Address List, you might have been rejected using the normal alias since Outlook cannot properly find the mailbox.  Next time, try the fully distinguished name : /o=IPM/ou=NY/cn=Recipients/cn=ccostanzo for example.  This will allow you make the connection. 

If you are not sure what the DN could be, check your own profile @

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Outlook\13dbb0c8aa05101a9bb000aa002fc45a

From that key location, you should be able to see the syntax for your own environment and hack it together for the mailbox you are trying to access.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to create a Custom ICA connection to a XenApp Server Console 0

Similar to an RDP connection with the /console switch enabled, you can create an ICA connection to a server console through the ICA Client.

1) Create a new custom ICA Connection

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2) Add in your Server Name or IP in the Server Field.

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3) Disable Session Reliability and Choose your encryption level.

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4) Add your Username and Domain.

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5) For the Application, add ##SERVERNAME_ConsoleDesktop replacing SERVERNAME with your server’s Name.

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6) Finish!
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Be sure to Enable Console 0 sessions for the Farm in the CMC

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Monday, April 27, 2009

More new stuff in vSphere.

Unless you have been stuck under a rock, you know that VMware made their vSphere announcement last week.  There are plenty of blogs to read to get the latest on the new release.  Chris Hahn attended one of the many events and wrote up some of the parts that he thought were interesting in the new flagship product.image

He attended a vSphere training.  Below are a highlights of some of the new features in vSphere (VI 4.0). 

Service Console

Its fully 64bit.  This means no support for 32bit only hardware.  If your servers are more than 3 years old, or still running ESX 2.5, they probably won’t run vSphere.  Dell 6600s for example will not run vSphere.  The service console is also now encapsulated into a VMDK file, like other VMs.

Storage Enhancements

Storage plugins like EMC PowerPath are now supported.  They have also rewritten the iSCSI initiator with a number of performance enhancements.  It no longer needs a service console connection and it also supports jumbo frames and multipathing.  Virtual Disks are now thin provisioned by default, and there is an option in the GUI to “inflate” or “deflate” the VMDK.  This should save a lot of storage space. They also now support growing a VMFS volume, so you no longer need to add extents.

Networking enhancements

They now support third party managed virtual switches.  Cisco will be the first vendor to support this.  While the APIs will be available at the vSphere launch the Cisco virtual switch will not be available until later this year.  This feature is only in “enterprise plus”.

sVmotion (Storage vMotion)

This is now fully supported in the VI client.  No third party plugins or command line are needed.

VMware Fault Tolerance (FT)

When you enable this on a VM, a duplicate VM is made on another host, and ESX keeps the two workloads in sync.  The primary copy fails, the secondary takes over and a new secondary is created. 

VMsafe

This is a new security API for protecting VMs.  A security VM appliance can intercept storage I/O without installing an agent on each VM.

vShield Zones

Virtual Appliance that lets you monitor and restrict traffic between VMs.

Virtual Machine Enhancements

You can now hot add CPU, memory, and other PCI devices on supported guests (Windows 2008, some newer linux).  New Para virtualized network and storage drivers are now available.  There is also now IDE disk support in ESX. This should allow VMs with IDE disks that only previously worked on VMware Workstation to run in ESX.

Host Profiles

Set a host template configuration (storage, networking configuration, etc), and it gets applied automatically to new hosts joining the cluster.

Licensing

They have scrapped FlexLM and the license server, and switched back to license codes.

vCenter (VirtualCenter)

vCenter now supports Windows 2008 and SQL 2008.  There are also  a lot of enhancements to the alerting functionality.   You can now setup alerts on VMFS disk usage, storage disconnections, snapshot usage, etc.  It looks much better than the basic alerts available in earlier versions.

-Chris

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

EMC’s Low Cost SAN Starter for VMware (Iomega)

Stephen Foskett gave us a teaser last night at the VMware Community Roundtables about an announcement of a low cost SAN solution for VMware labs or small environments.  Everyone on the call would have to wait until he posted about it on his blog that night to find out what the details were.  Originally I thought it might be another software based SAN solution but today I am excited to find out it is IOMEGA’s new StorCenter Pro ix4-200r NAS Rackmount.  For about $1700, you can get a 2TB shared storage solution that supports iSCSI AND is VMware Certified!  IOMEGA is an EMC owned company.

Normally I don’t get so excited about hardware but I still have numerous clients that, although embracing Virtualization and running ESX in their environments, are still rocking their VMs on local direct attached storage.  They love VMware and the benefits of virtualization yet haven’t had the game changing experience of vMotion, DRS and HA! (You know who you are!)  Typically, pricing of the SAN has been the hurdle they haven’t been able to get over.  I’d like to think that this new offering from EMC will be something that no client will be able to pass up if previously price has been holding them back.

Once you get a taste of the benefits that shared storage can bring to a Virtual Environment, the training wheels will come off and you’ll never look back. :)

Read all about the ix4-200r on Stephen’s Blog.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Testing Virtual Machines on Hyper-V

Recently I was asked how a client could convert a bunch of their ESX Virtual Machines to Hyper-V Virtual Machines for bake-off purposes.  Here’s a quick rundown of the options that, after some research, I came up with.

Pay Options :

PlateSpin’s PowerConvert offers a simple turnkey solution for converting batches of machines to Hyper-V.  Their licensing model is per conversion but if you have to convert A LOT of machines, this will definitely speed things along.  Their GUI interface allows you to literally drag and drop Physical machines and VMware VMs over to a Hyper-V host and let the software do the rest.  image

Vizioncore’s vConverter is another solid option for converting both Physical Machines or VMs to Hyper-V machines.  Although free alternatives exist, paying for a solution like this offers support in the event of an issue and scalability if you are planning to do massive conversions under tight deadlines. 

Alternatives :

If you already have a functional System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) implementation, Microsoft offers P2V functionality in the product.

Free Alternatives :

If you are preparing a test lab and funds are short, you might want to explore some of these more manual cost effective procedures.

BARTPE CD is a free utility that allows you to ‘inject’ drivers into images that are experiencing BSODs due to incorrect Mass Storage Devices.  After dumping a ghost or Acronis image onto the Hyper-V guest, you can use the BartPE Method to inject the appropriate drivers to allow the machine to properly boot to the new Hyper-V hardware. 

For this particular client’s Bake-Off purposes, I think VMDK2VHD will fit the bill nicely.  This simple utility allows you to convert an existing VMware VMDK to a compatible Microsoft Hyper-V VHD file.  This utility will not help you if you are trying to P2V physical machines, but in that case, you can utilize VMware’s free VMware Convertor to first create a VMware Virtual Machine and then convert it to Hyper-V using VMDK2VHD.

Although your mileage may vary with these free solutions and you may be forced to leverage different options at different times, it is good to know that when push comes to shove, you have ways to create the test labs for the different hypervisors without having to recreate all the VMs manually.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Cloud Computing in Plain English @ MikeDiPetrillo.com

clip_image001Mike DiPetrillo posted a great 5 minute video he found on rPath explaining Cloud Computing that is both entertaining and informative.  The video talks about Virtualization, Infrastructure and the clouds.  I was firmly in the ‘what is a cloud’ camp and this video helped me inch closer to the ‘I kinda understand cloud computing’ crowd.  If you are a member of either club, be sure to check out the video @ Mike’s site.  It’ll be worth the clicks!

http://www.mikedipetrillo.com/mikedvirtualization/2009/04/cloud-computing-in-plain-english.html

Thanks Mike!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Great XenServer Cheat Sheet (Poster Size) from UK’s 360 Information Security (360IS)

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If you are running XenServer in your environment, this is a MUST HAVE on your Cubicle Wall!

Everything you ever wanted to know about XenServer but were too embarrassed to ask. :)

All kidding aside, this is a nicely organized, informative piece of Marketing work.  I’d love to see them produce a VMware and Hyper-V one as well! 

It comes in PDF format for your printing pleasure and includes topics like essential commands, requirements and more.

Check it out on their site @ 360is.

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