Think IPM

Friday, July 31, 2009

VMworld 2009 Schedule Builder – No more ridiculous lines! (Hopefully)

VMworld 2009

If you are planning on attending VMworld 2009, the Schedule Builder will be online Monday, August 3rd.  This is a great way to plan out all of the Sessions you will want to visit during the 4 day Virtualization conference.  Be sure to use the Schedule Builder to secure your spots in the instructor-led LABs.  A very minor change that was mentioned on a recent VMware Communities Roundtable discussion might have a very BIG impact on the conference though. 

The Breakout sessions will not require advance registering.  In past VMworlds, attendees would have to register for sessions they wished to attend and would have priority over last minute ‘walk-ins’.  This seemed to create huge lines of people waiting to get into conference rooms while event coordinating staff furiously scanned badges to keep lines moving. 

In an effort to keep things running smoother this year, there will be no scanning badges or pre-registering requirements for the Breakout sessions.  VMware encourages you to still plan out your days activities using the Schedule Builder which will allow them to judge room capacity and demand and plan accordingly.

Personally, prior VMworlds have felt chaotic with the long lines and gave the sense to me that the planners were overwhelmed each year by the numbers of attendees.  I think this change will be welcomed by all attendees and event coordinators alike!

DO remember that all LABs must be pre-registered for though to reserve seating and resources.

ENJOY the VMworld Conference!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

vSphere (ESX4) and Citrix Provisioning Services

While testing Citrix Provisioning Services on vSphere I noticed a couple of interesting things :

  1. Thin Provisioned streamed targets seem pretty neat. ;) Originally a couple of kb, Used Space jumped to the 3GB pretty quickly after streaming began. image
  2. After upgrading the Virtual Hardware on the target VMs to Version 7, the streaming process broke.  Blue Screen Of Death followed up by a reboot.
    Had to roll back recreate Version 4 target VMs until I upgrade the vDisk.
  3. To push out Version 4 Virtual Machines in a vSphere environment, be sure to choose CUSTOM during the New Machine Wizard.image
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Did you know? MSCORSVW.EXE Tip

Written by Aaron Silber

Missing Puzzle PieceI just got finished installing the SQL 2005 tools and noticed that there was a process called mscorsvw.exe sucking up resources, around 90% of my CPU. My natural instinct would be to kill the process or reboot my machine which would probably deal with the issue, but I decided to give it a moment or two to see if it settled down. Anyway, eventually it did settle down, but it did remain in memory, so I did a little digging and found out the following information and found the following:

When mscorsvw.exe takes up resources, it is precompiling .NET assemblies in the background. Once it's done, it will go away. Typically, after you install the .NET Redist, it will be done with the high priority assemblies in 5 to 10 minutes and then will wait until your computer is idle to process the low priority assemblies. Once it does that it will shutdown and you won't see mscorsvw.exe. One important thing is that while you may see 100% CPU usage, the compilation happens in a process with low priority, so it tries not to steal the CPU for other stuff you are doing. Once everything is compiled, assemblies will now be able to share pages across different processes and warm start up will be typically much faster, so we're not throwing away your cycles.

This got me thinking that if it is still doing stuff in the background after I “finished” my install, then maybe my install really isn’t finished at all. I dug a little further and found that there is a way to force all of the remaining items to be compiled (or is that pre-compiled?) with a command called NGEN.exe. You can find this command in the C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 (probably based on .NET version) folder. Go to this folder and from a command prompt issue the following command:

NGEN executequeueditems

then stand back and watch it go! In my case it ran for around seven minutes before it was done. I can now feel comfortable that my install is truly finished!

You can also use this command at anytime to see if there is anything queued up waiting to be executed:

NGEN queue status

Aaron

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Clean up Unwanted TermService PerfMon EventLog entries

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Written by Aaron Silber:

I have seen this message in my event logs before, but being that it relates to PerfMon I never bothered to see what caused it. Anyway, I looked it up and it has to do (at least for Windows 2003) with applying Windows Service Pack 2. This information can be found in the Microsoft article located here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932813/

The solution is, to run the following command:

lodctr /T:TermService

This will update the system with the proper information and cause these EventLog messages to cease.

Aaron

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Official Microsoft Windows 7 Release Schedule

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For all those on the Bleeding Edge, Microsoft has released their Windows 7 release schedule and Chris Hahn forwarded it to me! :) 

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    1. August 6 – Available on TechNet / MSDN / Microsoft Connect
    2. August 7 – Volume licensing with SA
    3. September 1 – New Volume licensing purchases
    4. October 22 – Retail

Read more official news on the Windows 7 Team Blog.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It all Starts with Storage

imageWhile having a datacenter discussion with a client yesterday, I was reminded that ‘it all starts with storage’.  After thinking  a bit more about that statement, it began to really make a lot of sense.  Thinking back to various client planning sessions for various solutions, much of the requirements, bottlenecks, cost and sometimes mystery revolved around storage.  Computer processing, memory and networking are relatively easy to configure since most clients understand their importance as part of a quality solution. 

While most clients have readily adopted newer specs for servers in terms of multiple cores, bigger RAM chips and faster networking configurations, some of those same customers have been late to the shared Storage game.  It always surprises me to find clients running local storage for virtual environments.  In my opinion, any virtualization solution that does not have some shared storage underneath it is half baked.  No matter what the budget or skill level, there is a SAN for you.

It is probably equally important to match the SAN to the solution.  Under buying a quality SAN solution to use as the foundation for your virtualization strategy is probably going to result in a less than desirable experience.  vSphere, XenServer and Hyper-V will all require a decent SAN to sparkle in any environment.

Whether your architecting or evaluating a virtualization solution, don’t forget that it all starts with storage. :)

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quick Provisioning Services Tweak for Physical Servers and Targets.

Physical NIC settingsDisable Checksum Offloading on Network Adapter. Offload parameters, which are not compatible with the Provisioning Server network stack, could cause slow performance when enabled on the physical network adapter.

Citrix recommends disabling Checksum Offload on the network adapter of both the Provisioning Server as well as the target devices.

This setting is not applicable for Virtual Machines.

Thank David Paoleschi for this one!

Virtual NIC Settings

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Citrix XenDesktop ICA Optimizations and Tweaks

David Paoleschi sent over to me some quick tweaks when building a Citrix XenDesktop environment.  Many of these optimizations specifically target XD environments that operate over WAN connections where latency might be an issue.  Your Mileage may Vary. :)  

Many of the settings were snagged from this Citrix Support DOC.  I have also added some comments on the various settings when possible. 
A very good document explaining many of these settings can be found here.WAN Optimizations

Optimization for WAN ICA settings

Edit the default.ica located under ‘C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\<Site Directory>\conf’ with the following additions:

Under [WFClient] add the following:

· CPMAllowed=Off

Disables LPT Port redirection

· VSLAllowed=Off

Disabled the Printing Virtual Channel associated with LPT redirection

· UpdatesAllowed=Off

Disables Client update functionality

· OutBufCountHost=118

· OutBufCountHost2=118

This setting affects the max amount of server to client data that the connection will try and keep active at any point.

· OutBufCountClient=118

· OutBufCountClient2=118

This setting affects the max amount of client to server data that the connection will try and keep active at any point.

· OutBufLength=512

This setting aligns with the underlying packet size for wireless networks. Citrix testing has found this value to be the optimum value for most networks.

· PersistentCacheEnabled=On

Enabling the persistent cache decreases logon time and improves the performance of graphics operations during an ICA session

· MouseTimer=200

· KeyboardTimer=50

Enabling these parameters reduces the number of small mouse and keyboard packets sent to the server.

Intermediate mouse packets are discarded and a number of keystroke packets are coalesced into a single larger packet.

· ConnectionBar=0

Enables Full Screen only mode.

Under [Application] add the following:

· MaximumCompression=On

· Compress=On

Enables Maximum Data Compression

· ZLMouseMode=1

· ZLKeyBoardMode=1

These values enable SpeedScreen3 Latency reduction features.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

VMware Partner Central now ‘In the Cloud’.

I noticed today that VMware has moved it’s Partner Central to the Cloud!  The new VMware Partner Central is now being provided by SALESFORCE.COM.  For those of you familiar with SalesForce, the new Partner Central comes complete with Dashboards and all of the familiar features you’ve grown accustomed to.  If you are a partner, Check it out! :)
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Monday, July 13, 2009

How to migrate an ESX 3.5 v4 VM to vSphere v7 VM

Now that VMware has released their first set of patches for vSphere, let the mass migrations begin! :) John Simon sent me over his EXTENSIVE notes from our conversion project.  We migrated Virtual Machines from a 3.5 ESX farm to a new vSphere farm.  The migration was done with parallel farms to minimize downtime.  The swing servers allow us to complete a rolling upgrade of the entire infrastructure with minimal downtime and risk.  The environment had shared storage between the 2 VI sets and as we cleared an ESX 3.5 server of VMs, we would upgrade the ESX server to ESX4.  We also built a new vCenter4 server to manage the new ESX4 servers and VMs as we brought them ‘over’.

Prerequisites and assumptions:

- The Admin has the vSphere version 4 client and is attached to both the old and new VCenter servers.

- The Admin has scheduled downtime with the business for 5-10 mins outage per VM server.

- You must know the local admin credentials for the server.

  1. The first step is to shut down the currently running server through the console on the 3.5 environment.
    Click on the server name and TAKE NOTE OF THE LUN the server is on. Then click on the Console tab:ShutDown the VM 
  2. Write down all IP information which you must reset after the conversion.
    To obtain the information run ipconfig/all from a command prompt:
     Grab the IP information
  3. Once you have saved all this information click Start and shutdown to initiate a normal shutdown process: 
     Shut That Puppy Down!
  4. Once the Machine is shut down completely, from the Infrastructure client, right click on the machine and select Remove from Inventory: Remove from Inventory  Confirm Remove
  5. Once the server is removed from the list switch to your vSphere Client.
    Click on one of the ESX servers in the new cluster where you would like to add the VM.
    Right click on the LUN where the server you are converting is located from Step 1 and select Browse Datastore: Browse the DataStore
  6. From the window browse to the folder for the server you are converting and click to highlight.
    From the right window pane, locate the *.VMX file and right click on that file and choose Add to Inventory:
    Add to Inventory from the DataStore Browser
  7. Select the Folder where you want the server to be added and the Display Name you want for the server and click Next
  8. Verify the new server is in the list and close the Datastore popup window:
  9. Left click to highlight the server you are converting and click the console tab. Then click the icon to power on the server: Power that Virtual MaChine Up
  10. Login to the server as an account with full administrator rights. Right click on the VM Tools icon by the clock and click Open: 
    Upgrade VMware Tools
  11. Form the tools window click on the button to Upgrade tools:
    Really Upgrade the VMware Tools
  12. Click on OK to approve the uninstall of the old tools and the install of the new ones:
    No turning back
  13. Click Next when prompted by the new tools install:
    Upgrading VMware Tools
  14. Click Next to accept the typical install and continue:
    Upgrading VMware Tools
  15. Click Install to begin the installation:
    Upgrading VMware Tools
  16. Verify the install was successful and click Finish:
    Successfully Upgrading VMware Tools
  17. Click YES to restart the system to finish the install:
    Restart Prompt
  18. Once the machine restarts, log back into the console as an account with full administrator rights.
    Initiate a shutdown by click on Start and Shutdown:
    ShutDown Prompts
  19. Once the machine is fully shut down, right click on the machine and select Upgrade Virtual Hardware:
    Upgrade VMware Virtual Machine
  20. Click Yes to confirm the Upgrade:
    Really Upgrade the Virtual Machine
  21. With the machine still powered off, click on Edit settings:
    Edit Settings
  22. From the main popup screen click on the Options tab at the top:
    Click Options
  23. Click on CPUID Mask from settings window and click on the Advanced button on the right:
    Clear the CPU ID Mask
  24. From the popup window, click on the Reset all to Default option which should clear out all the information from the table: This can Cause BIG issues with vMotion
  25. Verify the table is clear and click OK and OK again to exit all the way out of Edit Settings:
    Verify they are Clear
    Heading out of the CPU mask
    Blurry Verify
  26. Once that is complete, press the virtual button to POWER ON the server and click back on the Console tab:
  27. When the machine is powered on Log back into the machine as a user with full administrator rights:
  28. Wait for the System Settings Change to pop up and click YES to restart your computer now: Reboot and Done!
  29. Once the restart is completed, log back into the machine as a user with full administrator rights:
  30. Verify all information is the same as the information you save for IP addressing by opening command prompt and running “ipconfig /all”:
  31. Log off the console of the server:
  32. THIS COMPLETES THE VM’s CONVERSION!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting AMD Processor Issues – EdgeSight and GPOs.

AMD Processors LogoJust cleaning out my inbox and noticed 2 separate threads on AMD Processor issues. 

From David Paoleschi : FYI – Dual-Core AMD issue to be aware of.

This issue arose during an EdgeSight install at a client. This issue manifested itself as corrupted reports within ES, and inconsistent report generation time when querying Reporting Services. Turns out the issue was on the 64 bit SQL server (with Reporting Services).

 

"An internal error occurred on the report server.  See the error log for more details. (rsInternalError)".  While checking online, the error message refers to the Microsoft.ReportingServices under SQL server as seen within these links:  

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sqlreportingservices/thread/60228c86-e6f2-4f5b-91fb-5634676a1cc6/

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/895980

 

Applied AMD's Dual-core Optimizer Utility and now all summary reports and subscriptions within EdgeSight show no errors or slowness 

http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871_13118,00.html 

From Jacques Bensimon and Aaron Silber : FYI - GPO / AMD processor drift

This issue arose during a XenApp installation where GPOs were being processed incorrectly and sometimes not at all.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938448

“ A Windows Server 2003-based server may experience time-stamp counter drift if the server uses dual-core AMD Opteron processors or multiprocessor AMD Opteron processors. When this problem occurs, operations that rely on the time-stamp counter may not function correctly. These operations include network communications and performance monitoring. ”

You'll notice that even under SP2 the boot.ini modification has to be done in cases where Windows is unable to properly test whether the processor can support this or that timer mechanism (possibly due to missing BIOS support). Since they don't offer a way to find out whether Windows is in fact able to test, I guess the safe bet is to make the boot.ini entry.

 

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

IPM Utility : Path Manager

Introducing the latest IPM utility by Jacques Bensimon. (Be sure to drop by his Restaurant and try the risotto when in the NYC area!)

IPM Path Manager ScreenShot

Path Manager is a simple utility that lets administrators graphically edit the system PATH environment variable, as read from the Registry.  Easily identify duplicate entries or invalid entries.  Edit and remove entries with the click of a mouse.

Download the package here : IPMPathMgr.rar
*May Require "Wingdings 3" font.

Freeware disclaimer: The author of this freeware accepts no responsibility for damages resulting from the use of this product and makes no warranty or representation, either express or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This software is provided "AS IS", and you, its user, assume all risks when using it.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quick Tips for Troubleshooting vDR (VMware Data Recovery)

After working a couple of weeks with vDR, John Simon sent me over some of his favorite quick commands for troubleshooting and working with the appliance driven backup product.  Seems as though he ran into the snapshot issue blogged about on Scott’s Blog here.  Scott has a great explanation of the Whys and Hows but if you are just looking for some concise commands, check out John’s notes below. :)

- FINDS ALL FILES WITH ddb.deletable set to false!

find /vmfs/volumes/ -name '*.vmdk' -size '-2k' -exec grep '-H' 'ddb.deletable = "false"' '{}' ';'

 

- FINDS ALL FILES WITH ddb.deletable set to false and displays the change it would need to make (TEST RUN)  

find /vmfs/volumes/ -name '*.vmdk' -size '-2k' -exec sed 's/ddb.deletable = "false"/ddb.deletable = "true"/' '{}' ';'

 

- To commit and run the change:

find /vmfs/volumes/ -name '*.vmdk' -size '-2k' -exec sed '-i' 's/ddb.deletable = "false"/ddb.deletable = "true"/' '{}' ';'

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Road Warrior : Bluetooth Tethering with the AT&T Blackberry Bold

Wireless Internet Baby!A little off topic today but I was very excited to get my Blackberry Bold wirelessly tethered to my Windows 7 laptop!  Makes the commute home much more productive.  The speeds are great and I am able to run all my apps through the CAG without issue.  The vSphere client works great rolling down the highway on the bus. :)  

I spent some time searching for the right mix of settings to get the BT working and found this great post by Philip Fuesser.  
I was missing some INIT strings for the modem which instantly made the connection begin functioning correctly.

Check it out for all the settings and information to make your commute more productive. :)
BT Tethering in Windows 7 RC

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