Amazon Kindle DX Price Cut – Great for VMware Technical Document Reading!

I just saw that the Amazon Kindle DX 9.7" eReader (Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7" E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally) got a pretty deep price cut, down to $269.  The eReader doesn't have the full-blown color screen or Android experience of the Kindle Fire, but I've found that it is awesome for reading technical documentation.  The large, no glare, black & white screen is distraction free, helping me to focus on the (let's be honest, sometimes boring) technical documentation and publications I'm reading.  I carry my DX in my backpack, loaded with technical books, formal documentation, and the … [Read more...]

Using KMS for VMware View Windows Activation

When deploying or recomposing a pool of Windows 7 (or Windows Vista) virtual desktops on VMware View, you may receive an error message stating: “composer agent initialization error (16): Failed to activate software license (waited 0 seconds).”  This error occurs when you use a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) to activate the parent VM.  View Composer QuickPrep, by default, uses Microsoft Key Management Services (KMS).  VMware KB Article 1026556 provides workarounds for activating MAK clients, or bypassing activation by QuickPrep so you can use a trial key.  The workarounds are appropriate for … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part V: Controllers, Cache and Coalescing

My Storage Basics series has been neglected for some time (sick kids, snow storms, VMware Upgrades, SAN implementations and some Cisco switch upgrades took all my free time), so let's jump right in to Part V - Cache, Controllers, and Coalescing.   Between the alliteration and fancy words, it might seem like I am about to tell a tale of international espionage.  Unfortunately, my introductory treatment of these aspects of a storage system will probably not keep you on the edge of your seat - but I'll try to keep it interesting. Throughout this series, we've been working our way from the … [Read more...]

Right-sizing Your Power and Cooling

We all know that virtualization allows us to do more with less.  Fewer servers and space-saving storage (talk about an oxymoron) help us put some green in the datacenter and back in the budget.  But with tight budgets demanding greater efficiency, virtualization pushing per-U-space utilization higher, and increasingly rack-dense equipment, proper planning of your physical plant remains an essential part of IT.  I argue that right-sizing your power, cooling, and floor-space is more critical now than it has ever been, and is a knowing how to do it is a darn good skill for a virtualization … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part II: IOPS

In Part I of this series, I discussed the important of storage performance in a virtual environment (really any environment, virtual or not, where you want acceptable performance), and introduced some of the basic measures of a storage environment.  In Part II, we will look more closely at what may be the most important storage design consideration in a VMware server-consolidation enviornments, many SQL environments, and VDI environments to name a few: IOPS. If we stick with a single-disk-centric approach as we did in Part I, IOPS is quite simply a measure of how many read and write … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part I: An Introduction

I am increasingly finding that both my SMB and Enterprise customers are uneducated on the fundamentals of storage sizing and performance.  As a result, storage is often overlooked as a performance bottleneck despite it being a vital component to consider in a virtualization implementation.  Storage will only increase in importance as hosts are getting bigger, data volumes increase, and more workloads are virtualized.  For some reason, most people can grasp the importance of CPU and memory performance constraints but storage performance is often overlooked and can be hard to explain to business … [Read more...]

Virtualization Bookmarks for August 28th

Here are some bookmarks for resources that I have recently referenced: vCenter 4 and ESX 4 Now Use 10 Year Default SSL Certificate | VM /ETC - Rich Brambly has some guidance on installing a new SSL certificate on vCenter, with very useful links in his post to official VMware documentation and KB's on the subject. VMware vSphere Client on Microsoft Windows 7! | Virtual Lifestyle - Heiko Verlande has found a way to run the VMware vSphere Client on Windows 7. Virtu-Al » PowerCLI: Daily Report V2 - Version two of a handy PowerShell based VMware Environment Daily Report from VMware vExpert … [Read more...]

Joining a Mac to a Windows Active Directory

We picked up a few new 17" MacBook Pro's at work. We're a Microsoft shop, so Mac's aren't part of the basic knowledge for our IT staff, myself included. I don't want to be the Windows guy who says "I don't do Macs" - part of being a technologist is serving the user base where they are at with the technologies they require to do their job (but please, included me in determining your requirements and technological solutions - a Mac might be really cool, but might not fit with the organizations needs or your IT group's ability to support your solution). Really, that's what Web 2.0 is all about - … [Read more...]

VI Toolkit for Windows v1.5 Released Today

VMware released version 1.5 of the VI Toolkit for Windows - the PowerShell management and reporting tool of choice for many VMware administrators. The new version carries build number 142961. You can download v1.5 here: http://blogs.vmware.com/vipowershell/. The update includes some 32 new cmdlets, including ones for getting/setting NTP settings on ESX, getting/setting Advanced configuration options on ESX, getting/setting ESX Firewall settings, and the ability to modify DRS rules using PowerShell. Existing cmdlets have also been updated with new parameters, and several fixes have been … [Read more...]

Securing Your Virtual Infrastructure

Between budget cuts and New Year's resolutions, improving your security posture is probably near the top of your to-do list.  Much has been made of security concerns in a virtual environment, but it is always good to re-visit your configurations and make sure they are still on par with recommended best practices.  I began re-reviewing VI security best practices after reading at post by Bob Plankers at The Lone SysAdmin (Bob has been on my reading list for years - he has a great style and always brings fresh insights) on why you would want a second super-user account on your ESX servers. We … [Read more...]