3 Reasons These VMware vTax & Licensing Rumors Are Great

“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.” – Mark Twain I have to say that, if they’re true, I’ve got three reasons to be happy about the VMware licensing rumors┬áthat CRN is leaking. First, you may remember from the vSphere 5 launch that I was one of the folks pointing out that due to the fact that you can pool your vRAM licensing it was likely to have little effect in the short term, and shouldn’t stop anybody from upgrading to vSphere 5. The pain would come in the medium-term for folks that practice the “fewer, bigger machines” approach to virtualization (a practice I promote). Thirteen months is definitely “medium-term” …

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vSphere 5 Update 1 and vCenter Agent Upgrades

We applied vCenter 5 Update 1 on Sunday in my environment, which is earlier than we often do because there’s some bugs we needed fixed (namely the issues with Fault Domain Manager/HA and SSL certificate replacement). We’ve been running Update 1 in our test environment since its release, and it looked solid. But as any experienced IT person will tell you, production isn’t test. Ever. After the upgrade none of the hosts were connected to vCenter, and there was a task for each cluster entitled “Upgrade vCenter agents on cluster hosts” that did not proceed, did not terminate, and was uncancellable. The hosts themselves had a warning message on the summary tab indicating that a manual upgrade of the agent …

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Dell PowerEdge 12G Is Here

Over the last week there’s been a number of different posts about the new Dell PowerEdge models, the 12th generation (12G) of their server line. I was briefed both by Dell technical staff and by Dell executive staff on the Rx20 lineup and I took a few notes. I was mainly briefed about the Dell PowerEdge R620, R720, R720xd, which will be in the first wave of refreshes. The higher-end models, like the R820 and R920, and the cloud & HPC focused C-series, will be part of another release soon after, and reach into the higher-end E7 CPU models (8 way, 10 cores) from Intel. The new mid-range hosts are built around the Intel Xeon E5 CPUs, also known as …

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Can't Change Virtual Disk Formats When Targeting a Datastore Cluster

As I work more and more with vSphere 5 I am finding a few anomalies. One of them appears to be a bug where you cannot switch a VM’s disk format during a storage vMotion, when you target a datastore cluster. To be more precise, it looks like you should be able to, but it doesn’t end up happening. The workaround is to disable Storage DRS for that VM, target a datastore directly, then edit the Storage DRS settings afterwards to re-enable DRS for that VM. This is what it looks like when I try. I select “thin provision” from the virtual disk format, choose a datastore cluster (in this case it’s my “Tier 2” cluster), and click next:   …

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Change the Default PSP in VMware vSphere 5

One thing I do to my VMware ESXi hosts is set the default Path Selection Policy (PSP) for certain Storage Array Type Plugins (SATPs) to do the right thing. This eliminates my need to reconfigure each datastore’s multipath settings on each host, and helps guarantee that a new LUN added by someone other than me will function correctly from the start. Consider it part of my “make it easy to do the right thing” sysadmin mantra. This has been covered by others at various points for older vSphere versions, but the vMA & esxcli changed some with version 5, so here are the commands I use. I have two different arrays, one that is active/active without a specific SATP (so …

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Use 'for' Loops with the vSphere Management Assistant

The VMware vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) claim to fame is that it has a UNIX shell and the vSphere CLI installed, making it handy for a lot of things, and makes cutting & pasting comands real easy when it’s paired with a decent SSH client. One of my favorite ways to use it is with ‘for’ loops in the shell, to make the same change to all of my ESXi hosts. Let’s say you have a list of servers you want to make a change to, like using esxcli to set the HBA queue depth. My list is a text file I create in nano or vi (see my post on installing nano on the vMA), one host per line: …

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Install the nano Editor on the VMware vMA 5

The VMware vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) is a handy appliance for interacting with your environment via the Linux command line. I use it a lot, and I’m starting to get more of my team to use it. The problem is that it only ships with the vi text editor, which, described politely, is sort of arcane. Being a UNIX guy I’m used to it, but for others that just want to edit a file it’s overkill. For those situations I like nano, a simple open source editor. To install it on the vMA issue the command: sudo zypper install nano If you’re prompted for a password use the one you set for vi-admin (or whoever you’re logged into the vMA …

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How to Install Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for VMware vCenter 5

My venerable post on installing MS SQL Server 2008 for vCenter 4 was getting old, so I thought I’d update it, if only because I have a new admin helping me and I’m going to stick him with doing a bunch of installs. Ha! I thank the VMware folks who have incorporated a lot of the tweaks from my original document into the defaults for vCenter 5. They were probably obvious, and not taken from my work, but it’s content I don’t need anymore. Awesome. While I don’t mean this page to become a general support site for vCenter SQL Server installations please leave a comment if something needs to be clarified or corrected, or if I’m doing something dumb …

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Yak Shaving

One of my favorite terms for my day-to-day work life is “yak shaving,” and I’m saddened that so many people have not heard of it when I say it. “What are you doing today?” I’m asked. “Shaving yaks,” I reply. Coined at MIT as part of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), it’s described well in Jeremy Brown’s archived email: You see, yak shaving is what you are doing when you’re doing some stupid, fiddly little task that bears no obvious relationship to what you’re supposed to be working on, but yet a chain of twelve causal relations links what you’re doing to the original meta-task. Similarly, the Jargon File has it as: Any seemingly pointless activity which …

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8 Things I Really Like About VMware Workstation 8

I’ve been using VMware Workstation 8 for a few days now. I really like it. A lot of posts have been made hitting some of the major highlights, but there are hundreds of small improvements that add up to be a big deal for me. Here are eight. 1. You can connect to a vSphere setup, and upload your VMs into the server environment. I’ve already used it to set up a new VM template locally, then upload it to my production environment. As I get more into vCloud Director I anticipate using this heavily to set up templates for new (or old) OSes. It’ll also be a great solution for dealing with virtual appliances that make assumptions, like DHCP. …

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