Think IPM

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Take a trip in the WayBack machine!

imageFor me, New Years is a chance to look forward to the new year ahead (Goals, To-Do lists, Resolutions) and reflect a little on the ones that have past.  Inspired by a tweet I saw referencing the 1996 Citrix Web Page, I took a trip of my own to see the 1996 version of my employer’s Website (IPM) using the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine.  This was pretty much the time when I started working for them.  Good Times, Good Times. :)

Hoping you have a Happy Holiday Season and a Great 2010!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

XD 4.0 Support for U / L / T / X shaped monitor configurations

imageNice note from David Paoleschi regarding the new monitor enhancements in XenDesktop4

This should make those clients with multiple 30’’ monitors happy! :) 

Enhanced multi-monitor support: Historically, Terminal Services has not allowed the mapping of multiple display devices to a remote (e.g. ICA, RDP) session.  This presented a problem for ICA endpoints with more than one monitors.  The approach that was taken is to present a single display to Windows that overlaps ALL of the display devices on the client.  On the host, the Windows APIs that deal with multiple monitors are then hooked (the infamous MMHOOK) to "fake" the existence of different display devices where in reality there is only one.

The VDA 4.0 was changed such that it no longer uses MMHook for geometries and instead makes use of the native Windows commands (“True Multi-Monitor Support). The client will pass through monitor information which will be used on the VDA. L-shaped and U-shaped monitor configurations, different size and resolution; Basic multi-monitor support on desktop appliance and non-windows client; Advanced on Windows PC using connection bar.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drobo iSCSI SAN Discount courtesy of Tech Field Day

If you remember my trip to Tech Field Day, Data Robotics was one of the companies we went to see.  Data Robotics is the creator of the Drobo line of inexpensive ISCSI SAN devices which are also certified by VMware for ESX.  They are very comparable to EMC’s Iomega StorCenter with a few differences.

One major difference the Drobo features is BeyondRAID technology.  This proprietary storage technology allows the Drobo to manage, expand, reorder and Self heal while allowing the user to mix and match drive types and sizes.  Normally, drive sizes and types must be match very closely.  Drobo automagically works out the largest capacity RAID available with the disks it has and reconfigures the volume appropriately.  Very consumer friendly in my opinion.  This also allows you to purchase the Drobo chassis and continually fill and replace it with newer and larger drives without having to replace the whole unit.

imageDrobo has arranged a special sale just for Tech Field Day attendees to offer their readers!

The following discounts are available at the Drobo online store through the end of the month (December):

Drobo - $50 off (plus a $30 rebate)
Drobo S - $75 off
DroboPro - $150 off (plus a $60 rebate)
DroboElite - $350 off

Just enter COSTANZO in the Promotional Code field when placing your order at the Data Robotics Store.

 

They Make Good Christmas Gifts! :)  Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scratching the Surface with VMware Data Recovery (vDR)

Finally got a chance to play with the vDR appliance a little more in depth at my last engagement.  I have to say that I am pretty impressed. 

After the installation and configuration process were completed, I set up a quick job to back up all 20 or so VMs in the environment.  Most of the VMs were based off of a 25GB VMDK clone machine.  I had high hopes for the De-Dupe! :)  I set up the backup windows to happen over night and headed home. :)

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We had decided to create the De-Dupe store on a LaCie NAS device using a simple share. (10.10.10.10\Public).  vDR created a subfolder called VMDataRecovery and put all backups into this directory.  The resulting backup of all 20 or so machines took up only 55 GBs of space on the LaCie.  Very Impressive! 

One thing to note, Unlike Veeam or Vizioncore, vDR does not create individual packages for each backed up VM.  Rather it creates a type of backup catalog where it stores ALL backed up machines and restore points together.  Be sure to replicate or backup the entire store to tape. 

Some additional items to note about vDR.

    • You can’t really set up a schedule of when to backup Machines.  You basically create windows for the appliance to backup the machines.  You could create separate jobs for each VM and stagger very small windows but I think over the long haul it would become too tedious to maintain effectively.
    • There is an option to Backup Now that you can click to perform just in time backup requests.

VMware Data Recovery is included with vSphere for any customers running Advanced or higher.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you have any Unmanaged VMware tools?

I’m used to seeing OK, Not Running and even {GASP} Out of Date but after upgrading to vSphere and trying out the vDR appliance, I was surprised to see Unmanaged as a VMware Tools Status entry.

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After digging a little deeper, the Unmanaged tools status is designated for VMs where upgrading tools via vCenter is not recommended.  For example, the VMware Data Recovery Appliance.  If there is a need for an updated tool set on the vDR appliance, VMware will just release an updated version of the appliance.  No need to do the tools upgrade separately.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

VCB and PowerPath compatibility Matrix

Recently a customer asked if VMware Consolidated Backup worked with PowerPath.  After Googling around a bit, I came across this VMware KB article.
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1007479
It has a great matrix of VCB versions and PowerPath versions (other vendor software is represented as well):
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As long as you are using the later versions of PowerPath (32 bit only though) and the later versions of VCB, you will be leveraging the technology and features to the fullest.  I normally see VCB in use on fiber storage networks where clients can see real benefit by moving the storage traffic off the network and onto the storage fabric.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are you using Google Wave?

So I have been using Google Wave for about a month now and it’s not half bad.  One initial gripe I did have with it was figuring out how to integrate it with my normal workflow.  It really is another inbox that you must check on.  Without any native way to resolve this issue, the community at large has come up with some nifty solutions. 

Being a HUGE Firefox fan, I was glad to see a nice little add-on was created to check and notify me of any updated waves.  The discreet little icon in the lower bottom of my browser screen serves as both a notifier and jump point allowing me to go straight to a particular wave in my inbox.  Check it out here.

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If you are more of an IE or Chrome users, there is also a desktop Notifier available on SourceForge.

On my Windows 7 setup, it slides a notification window over the tool tray when there are new waves to read.

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If you need/want an invite, be sure to drop a comment below and I’ll fire one out to you.  I have about 15 left at this point.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Citrix XenApp v6 - Windows 2008 R2

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The Tech Preview for Windows 2008 R2 is now available for download. Looks like this version is going to be called v6.

Get it from here: http://www.citrix.com/English/mycitrix/resources.asp?contentID=1860995

If you are going to install it make sure to read the ReadMe as there seems to be quite a few pre-requisites:  http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp?topic=/xenapp6-w2k8-tp/xenapp6-tp-readme.html

-Aaron Silber

 

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

vCenter Hardware Status Error – You do not have permission for this command. ; Broken Search

Ran into a Web Services error this week at a client that seems to be caused by the update to vCenter 4.  After resolving the issue with Tech Support, it has to do with a newer version of a tomcat sub component (XHives) that is not updated with the vCenter 4.0 upgrade. 
Symptoms:

When using the Search functionality within the VI4 client, you receive an ‘Unable to connect to web services to execute query.’ error.   Also the Hardware Status tabs throw back an error. ‘Do not have permission for this command.’ 
 vSphere Error 1 vSphere Error 2
Both of these errors have to do with vCenter’s Web Services (TomCat Webserver). 
Resolution:
During the update from 3.5 to 4.0, the XHives sub component does not get updated to the latest version causing the Web Services to not function correctly.  
To resolve the issue :
  1. Stopping the VMware VirtualCenter Management WebServices service
  2. Replace the C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\tomcat\webapps\vws\data\ directory with this folder : Data.zip
  3. Restart the VMware VirtualCenter Management WebServices service
  4. Restart the VI Client.
This worked for me.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ESX 4.0 Agent Upgrade Check Overview

Due to a bug in the upgrade process for ESX4, (http://www.vmwareinfo.com/2009/11/alert-esx-40-to-40-update-1-can-cause.html), it is a good practice to verify if you have any 3rd party agents running in the Service Console.  vCenter 4.0 update 1 has a nifty program to assist in this check.  Here’s a quick dry run I did at a client to see what it did.. :)

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Job Opportunity : Senior VMware/Citrix Engineer : 120k Base + 18% - 20% Bonus : NYC Area.

If the coming New Year is signaling a time for a new change and you're in the NYC area, you might want to check out this position.

This is a hands-on, senior engineering role that will represent the Global Infrastructure team. The position will be based in Midtown and report to the Director of Corporate Infrastructure.  Here are the particulars :

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Please forward all resumes and job inquiries to
Harvey Weissman [HWeissman AT ForumGrp DOT Com] or (212) 687-4050 x355

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Security is no Laughing Matter!

image During a recent password audit at a large company, it was discovered that one user was using the password:

MickeyMinnieHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofyPlutoSacramento

When asked why such a long password, the user responded that they were told that the password had to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital. :)

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dell ExtPart.exe ; Extend Volumes Easily.

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There are literally half a dozen different ways to extend a volume and here is one more. :)

This Dell utility will expand boot drives on WindowsXP/2000/2003 without downtime. 

Its was written for Dell arrays but it works on any volume (Physical or Virtual, System, Boot or Data).

Quick download and no installation which I like.

Grab it here : Dell ExtPart

Fast, Clean, Free and Simple to use.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why we recommend Enterprise Storage Solutions

EMC - Built Jeep Tough! I love people who are passionate about what they do and I love Technologists that are passionate about the technologies they work with.  Although I am not a storage guy by any stretch of the imagination, I do enjoy eavesdropping on the threads that float around the office related to storage (It is such a critical part to a successful Virtualization strategy).  Last week, there was a blog post that was passed around about a company that had chosen EqualLogic as their storage solution and some of the limitations the architect had run into over the course of 3 years.. 
You can read the full text here (
Three Years of EqualLogic).

A colleague of mine, Joel Ramirez, on the storage side responded with a great summary to the basic question of ‘Why do we recommend Enterprise Storage Solutions?’ that I wanted to share. 

The great thing about being consultant-centric is that we use the breadth of our experience to present solutions to fulfill our clients’ business requirements.  As enabling as our partnership with EMC is from the storage end, I know it can appear counter-intuitive to that approach.  Of course, we are not limited to EMC product to solve storage problems, but I’ll tell you why I believe in their solutions. 

I think of EMC as a Jeep.  It does everything.  Some things it does inherently well, some involve some manual intervention, but the thing runs.  It’s technology that you can bet your business on.  And when you need to do more and varied things, you know that you won’t have to go buy a different vehicle.  You can add to what you have and know it will work.  I say this all the time, but it bears repeating.  Once you empower a business with storage technology, they will leverage it.  At year three (or when they turn on an advertised feature of the array), you don’t want a client with a paperweight.  

You can see from the blog that the storage admin is not unhappy with EqualLogic, but he does have to prioritize his business.  He has himself a Honda Accord at a rally event.  It’s just not made for that.  And the vendor has no desire to make it do more than what they sold it for.  This is common in the storage sector.  We don’t have to pitch Clariion CX4-480’s all of the time, but we do have to recognize that even small shops need to be able to use mature and efficient snapshotting, for example.  Innovation happens nearly every quarter at EMC.  Since I’ve been working here, they’ve developed solid state technology into higher capacities while driving cost down, developed VM visualization all the way to disk, and made free de-dupe a checkbox among several other key innovations.  This is just in the CX4 platform.  We are not even talking about backup and replication technologies. 

There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, EMC just makes it as straightforward as anyone available to us. 

Joel

 
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