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Think IPM

Monday, August 21, 2017

PSA: vSphere Patch can break working NVIDIA GRiD set ups. (And don’t look directly at the sun #SolarEclipse2017)

I was working with a client today and going nuts trying to figure out why the NVIDIA VIB was not loading correctly in the vSphere 6.0 environment.  We pushed the VIB via Update Manager like I have done in the past. (See Note Here) Yet the XORG service was refusing to start.  XORG is needed for shared vGPUs.  If you do 1 to 1 pass-through, you can get away with out it.


No errors in the Xorg.log but you can see the issue when trying to restart it manually.   Unknown command or namespace graphics host refresh.  Not terribly useful but unique enough that a little Google-Fu lead me to this KB article. 

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2150498 - After upgrading ESXi hosts to ESXi600-201706001 Hardware 3D graphics functioning fails

As of today, there is no resolution for this fix so be very careful when upgrading any ESXi hosts with NVIDIA GRiD cards in them.


So at this point, our only option is to rebuild the hosts using an older version of ESX that does not have the patch installed.  Since the patch was released on June 6, 2017, I would advise using the 6.0U3 ISO released on February 24, 2017 and then carefully patching it up to a newer build version being sure to NOT apply patch ESXi600-201706103-SG.

If all goes well, the vGPUs should be available again for the Virtual Machines to use.

Oh and Next eclipse : April 8th 2024.

Image result for solar eclipse 2017 

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

DIY Outdoor Smart Home LED strips


Inspired by Ben’s awesome video on LED lights on his house, I decided to something similar.   My approach is more off the shelf than his and I give up the ability to individually address each LED but in my implementation, that was ok since I just wanted to accent the house ridge lines.

Parts list for this weekend project are as follows:

1 x LED RGB Wifi Controller

1 x LED Light Strip Kit

1 x Power Supply

1 x Outdoor Housing

2 x Aluminum LED Diffuser housing

3 x Hue colored lights.

3 x E27 to E12 socket adapter


Setting up these lights from a Home Assistant perspective is SUPER easy.  The RGB Controller linked above is supported OUT OF THE BOX by Home Assistant using the Flux_LED component.

They use standard IP so if your WIFI coverage reaches outdoor places, controlling these LED strips is pretty easy.  I have the good fortune of having AC outlets in my eaves so this, plus the WIFI, made the install super easy.   The only real challenge I had was making sure the controller was sort of waterproof.  Under the eaves gave it pretty good coverage already so adding them into a standard AC box was the perfect solution to protect them from the elements.


A little double-sided tape to keep the controller in place was all I needed.  From there, one opening was used for the Power and the other for the LED strips themselves. 


The diffusers were a luxury item.  Since the LED strips themselves are waterproof already, the diffusers weren’t needed for protection but they really change the way the light is bounced off the house.  Since the LEDs are made up of RGB lights, using a diffuser gives it a much softer light on the house.  You can see the difference pretty dramatically when making the lights white or yellow.  I feel like the diffusers also made it MUCH easier to attach to the house.  They are rigid and much easier to nail into house.   For my install, I used the wood edging under the eaves to point the LEDs AT the house so you would see the soft reflective light from the street.   I think the effect came out great personally. Smile 


In addition to LED lights, I also added in 3 HUE lights to my outdoor sconces.  The scones were set up with 3 candelabra type lights so I need to purchase adapters to put the standard Hue E27 lights in there.  Since I was replacing 3 higher wattage bulbs with the single lower wattage bulb (per sconce), I felt good about this swap.  They have been working this way for about a year without issue.


The final set up allows me to pretty easily change the look of the house using just 7 addressable light elements (4 HUE bulbs – 1 foyer, 3 Sconces & 3 LED strips). 

I have written a pretty easy YAML script to change the colors of the house for all of the major holidays and a few of the lesser known ones.  All of this happens automatically based on the script so you can add in your own favorites.

The script Monthly Colors changes the smart home’s look depending on the day.  Holiday colors or a standard Gold/Yellow for all of the other days.


Since these are all addressable, we also have some automations that for instance, turn ALL the lights to a bright white when certain events happen.  Examples include movement in front of the house at night or any of the garage doors opening.   For movement, I am currently using my SkyBell HD to detect the movement and for Garage door detection, we have Garadget.

I feel like this easy weekend project gave the house a pretty cool look and lots of flexibility to change it when we want to.  Adding in some smarts (Sunset/Sunrise detection) and replacing out all those hungry incandescent lights also had a pretty good side effect on my electric bill. 


Be sure to check out the rest of my #IOT posts by clicking the hashtag link.

If you end up doing this project, be sure to post some picture in the comments below.  I would love to see them!



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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Project Update : Visualization of the Home using Fire Tablets and Home Assistant [Final Mount]

So last month, I put out a project that demonstrated how I used a few Fire Tablets and Home Assistant to really give life to a new interface in the house to control my Smart Home.  This post is just a quick update to that original post since a few things changed once I started rolling it out.

The big change was the use of Wall Panel.  Unfortunately, this software presented too many issues related to the Fire Tablet locking and then not being able to unlock on motion.  Switching to ‘Fully Kiosk Browser’ solved this issue.  Fully Kiosk Browser allows the fire Tablet to just DIM the brightness level down to 0 and then when motion is detected by the camera, it brightens back up.  The result is perfect and exactly what I wanted for the panel.  After 60 seconds of no motion, it will dim back down.  Check out the short video below for a demonstration.

The magnetic cable has worked out GREAT though!  I can easily slide out the Fire Tablet and then leave the cable end attached to the corner metal bead under the sheetrock.  That was unexpected but works great!


image2 image1

The USB outlet also worked out great.  It was easy to install and provided the necessary voltage to provide full power to the Fire Tablet.  



The only thing left now for me is to paint around the outlet box.   All in all, I consider this a successful weekend project.

The part list used was as follows:

1 x FireOS tablet

1 x Wall Mount clips

1 x Recessed Outlet box

1 x USB Charging Outlet

1 x Magnetic tipped Micro USB cables 

Read all my Home Automation Posts here! #IOT

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Monday, August 7, 2017

VMware SRM–After failover, LUNs still have ‘snap-xxxxxxx’ in the name

Image result for PENCIL ERASERVMware’s Site Recovery Manager is a great product!  Allowing companies to protect and failover in the event of a disaster is amazing.  The ability to test these plans in a bubble is what really sets it apart for me though.  For my clients, we do bubble tests quite often to make sure our runbooks are good and we are protecting everything we need in the event of a disaster.  Even with all this planning, every so often we need to run a full failover to make sure our planning and testing are complete and valid.

A noticable difference in bubble testing and full failover is the preservation of LUNs during a full failover.  When we do bubble tests, once the testing and validations are complete, we toss the LUNs in the DR and are ready to go again in Production.  For Full Failovers though, we must go through the reprotect process and actually do the failback. 

At a client, I ran into an interesting issue where during the failback (and failover), the LUNs that were failed over were prefixed with snap-xxxxx-[DATASTORE-NAME].  No other functional difference in the LUN or virtual machines but not what the admins expect to see in the vCenter screen.  If the failback is successful, you can just rename the LUN back to it’s original name.  No downtime or mess.

If you would like SRM to rename the LUN to avoid this in the future, there are 2 relevant settings in the advance section :


Sites –> [Primary Site] –> Manage –> Advanced Settings –> Storage Provider –> EDIT

From there, you can find the following section and modify appropriately


Once this setting is set to enabled, SRM will automatically rename the LUNs after a successful failover.

-Happy Testing!


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