Monday, 31 December 2012

Final Post 2012!

It’s been a busy year, with job changes, new experiences, and many things to learn and write about. This post will mark the 148th of 2012, averaging greater than 12 posts a month.

Monthly Statistics

2012 saw the 40’000+ pageviews a month barrier broken with November recording 41’113 pageviews. The popularity of the VCP510 Exam Cram Notes posted in October 2011 was surprising, and also responsible for a spike in pageviews lasting up to the end of February (when the free VCP 4 to 5 upgrade path ended) hitting 35’648 for February 2012, a mark that was not beaten until October 2012 with 38’774 pageviews.

The end of 2011 saw a maximum of 27’819 pageviews a month (largely due to the VCP510 Exam Cram Notes).
The end of 2010 saw a maximum of 2’910 pageviews a month.
24th March 2013 will mark the 3 year anniversary of

Image: Pageviews a month from 2010 to now
Future Statistics

The intention of this blog has always been to share information which will hopefully be helpful or informative to the reader – either original work, a new slant on things, or new way of presenting existing information – and not to pursue statistics. Statistics can be quite fun though, and it looks like the 500’000 pageviews mark will be breached early 2013, along with the 250’000 visitations mark. Potentially, 2013 could see the 1’000’000 pageviews mark breached and 500’000 visitations – we’ll see, it is not a goal though – changes to my work are likely to see me posting less, and there’s more to life than work and blogging!

Future Content

I’m hoping the New Year will bring lots of interesting projects, interesting problems to solve, and lots of cool ideas for new content; also there are a few certification paths I am keen to pursue, such as Brocade, VMware VCP-IaaS, and NetApp.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has read from this blog, posted comments here, pointed links in this direction, and clicked on adverts. Finally, all that’s left to say is …

Happy New Year!

Tech Round Up 31st December 2012

A set of links with some brief notes – and perhaps even images – of interesting tech things happened upon since the 23rd December Tech Round Up, which are well worth a look if you get the time! With stuff from: Condusiv, Dell, Microsoft, NetApp, Veeam, Vladan, VMware!

## Condusiv Technologies ##

25% Faster VMs or the Software is FREE!

## Dell ##

Configuring iSCSI Connectivity with VMware vSphere 5 and Dell EqualLogic PS Series Storage
*PDF download

## Microsoft ##

Microsoft Test Lab Guides

## NetApp ##

NetApp - A Look Back at 2012
- by Larry Freeman

"A Little Bit of Flash Goes a Long Way...": Bye-Bye Automated Storage Tiering
- by Cesaro

How to configure LIF failover destinations in Data ONTAP 8.0 Cluster-Mode

SnapManager for Exchange snapshots are unusually large
“The following are the possible causes:
- Misalignment would cause up to 2x larger snapshots, but not more than 2x.
- Automated maintenance schedule

Troubleshooting Workflow: SnapMirror Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is not met

How to find the volume fsid, directory ID, inode and file name from a packet trace on file handle

## Veeam ##

Patches released just before Christmas:

## Vladan ##

Top 10 on ESX Virtualization in 2012

## VMware ##

Technical Marketing Update 2012 – Week 50

Installing vCenter Server 5.1 best practices

Upgrading to vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.2 best practices

Commands to monitor snapshot deletion in ESX 2.5/3.x/4.x and ESXi 3.x.x/4.x.x/5.x

Issues known to occur after upgrading vSphere 5.0 Update 2 to vSphere 5.1

ESXCLI Basics: Setup SNMP on ESXi 5.x
Very easy to do:
esxcli system snmp set –t ip_or_fqdn@port/community
esxcli system snmp set –e yes

Business Speak: Talking the Talk to Get Dream Tech Projects Funded
- by Chris Westphal

“One way to think about it is to consider how the investment is going to help your company:
- Make money
- Save money
- Protect you from losing money
- Do something that they couldn’t do before”

“An executive summary can be a written document, but consider a short presentation. Slides that can be covered in 15–20 minutes will give you enough time to present your business case and leave time for Q&A in a 30-minute meeting. Here’s a sample outline of the information that you might consider including in your deck:
1. Problem — What is the issue we are trying to solve?
2. Current risk — What is the risk if we don’t put a solution in place?
3. Proposal — What is the proposed solution?
4. Total cost of ownership (TCO) — What is the cost of the solution including HW, SW, licensing, recurring, people, support, etc.?
5. Return on investment (ROI) — What is the expected result from implementing the proposed solution and when do you expect to realize it? (money saved, business protected, etc.)
6. Project risks — What are the dependencies? What are the things that you control and what are the things out of your control that may create a challenge for the project?
7. Next steps — What is the action that you’re asking the approver to take, and what are the recommended next steps for the project?”

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Cisco Validated Designs for FlexPod

The following is a listing of the excellent Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for FlexPod. There are links to HTML and PDF versions of the documentation where either/and/or exists, and dates of last updated (checked New Year’s Eve 2012 with the latest documents at the top of the sections).

These were found at:


VMware vSphere Built On FlexPod With IP-Based Storage
Last Updated: November 29, 2012

VMware vSphere 5.0 Built on FlexPod
Last Updated: November 1, 2012

FlexPod Validated with Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 2.0
Deployment Guide for FlexPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2and Microsoft System Center 2012
Last Updated: August 7, 2012

FlexPod Validated with Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 1.0
Reference Architecture and Deployment Guide for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center 2007
Last Updated: June 10, 2012

FlexPod Deployment Guide
Last Updated: February 23, 2012

VMware Built on FlexPod Deployment Guide
Last Updated: August 31, 2011

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Built on FlexPod Deployment Guide
Last Updated: August 31, 2011


Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 with VMware vSphere 5.0 on FlexPod
A Cisco Validated Design for 100,000 Microsoft Sharepoint Users on Cisco UCS B-Series Servers
Last Updated: April 25, 2012

FlexPod for SAP Applications
Last Updated: May 11, 2011

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware
Last Updated: April 18, 2011

Microsoft Exchange 2010 with VMware VSphere on Cisco Unified Computing System with NetApp Storage
Last Updated: February 7, 2011


Citrix XenDesktop with Hyper-V Built on FlexPod
Last Updated: August 7, 2011

VMware View 4.5 on FlexPod for VMware Design Guide
Last Updated: July 6, 2011

Citrix XenDesktop with Citrix XenServer Built on FlexPod
Last Updated: July, 2011

Citrix XenDesktop with VMware vSphere Built on FlexPod
Last Updated: July, 2011


Secure Separation Built on FlexPod Design Guide
Last Updated: October 20, 2011

Deploying Enhanced Secure Multi-Tenancy into Virtualized Data Centers
Last Updated: July 7, 2011

Enhanced Secure Multi-Tenancy Design Guide
Last Updated: October 8, 2010


Data Center Interconnect Design Guide for Virtualized Workload Mobility with Cisco, Netapp, and VMware
Last Updated: August 29, 2011

Data Center Interconnect, Implementation Guide for Virtualized Workload Mobility with Cisco, NetApp and VMware
Last Updated: August 31, 2011


Universal SAS and ACP Cabling Guide
June 2012

FlexPod Solutions Guide (TR-3884)
June 2012

NetApp Storage Best Practices for VMware vSphere (TR-3749)
December 2011

High-Availability Pair Controller Configuration Overview and Best Practices (TR-3450)
October 2011

Storage Subsystem Resiliency Guide (TR-3437)
September 2011

Storage Efficiency and Best Practices for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 (TR-3824)
April 2010

A Few Brief Notes

The following post contains a few brief notes compiled from a day at the start of the month. Whenever I have attended an event, completed a project... post-event and when time is permitting, I like to review the things I should have known, things I need to remember better, things I have learnt, and find answers to questions raised. Enough waffle – on with the notes!

Understanding the role of NVRAM with NetApp Controllers

Source – and Eugene Kashpureff
“In a single head environment all of NVRAM is utilized to log write operations. NVRAM is split into two pages - p0 and p1.
 In an HA Pair the NVRAM on each member is split, and all writes are logged on the local and partner NVRAM, for both p0 and p1.
NVRAM is good for about three days.”

“Data ONTAP uses NVRAM to log network transactions as a data integrity measure. In case of a system or power failure, Data ONTAP uses the contents of NVRAM to restore network data to disk.”

Understanding MetroCluster

“NetApp provides a "MetroCluster" option, that uses "SyncMirror" to provide a geo-cluster or active/active cluster between two sites up to 160 km apart (DOT 8.1.1 – previously 100km.)”

A MetroCluster consists of two controllers – one controller in Site A, the second controller in Site B.
Synchronous Replication introduces latency, see

Right Sizing

“Disk drives from different manufacturers may differ slightly in size even though they belong to the same size category. Right sizing ensures that disks are compatible regardless of manufacturer. Data ONTAP right sizes disks to compensate for different manufacturers producing different raw-sized disks."

Flash Pool

Flash Pool allows you to cache both random reads and random writes.

Controller Failover Considerations for NFS and CIFS

NFS if a stateless protocol
CIFS is a stateful protocol

“For clients or applications using stateless connection protocols, I/O requests are suspended during the takeover/giveback period, but can resume when the takeover/giveback process completes. For CIFS, sessions are lost, but the application may—and generally will—attempt to re-establish the session.”

DTA2800 Data Transport Appliance

The DTA2800 can be used for offline and online data migration over Fibre Channel and iSCSI, from legacy storage to NetApp storage.

Image: DTA2800 and NetApp Data Migration Service

Migrating CIFS Data

In a scenario where you want to consolidate many Windows Fileservers, many of which have the same share names, leverage NetApp MultiStore!

“MultiStore provides secure multi-tenancy capability to the NetApp Data ONTAP® operating system, allowing you to:
> Host multiple customers and/or departments on a single Data ONTAP storage system
> Consolidate many file servers, thus reducing cost and increasing staff productivity
> Perform simple and fast data migration
> Simplify your disaster recovery strategy”

Migrating Exchange Data

Typically migrating Exchange data is a case of enabling circular logging (so the transaction logs don’t balloon in size) and performing migrations. With NetApp you can leverage SnapManager for Exchange and take regular snapshots whilst migrating the Exchange data so as to keep the transaction logs down in size, whilst at the same time protecting the data being migrated, and not requiring store restarts to enable/disable circular logging.

Migrating Oracle Data (on Red Hat)

With Oracle Data on say Red Hat Enterprise Linux, an option for migration from legacy Fibre Channel storage is to migrate to NFS.

Synchronously Mirrored SANs with Faster than Light Communication

One of the problems with Synchronously Mirrored SANs (Multi-Site SAN, Syncrep, Metrocluster, you name it) is that they introduce an amount of write latency, and this latency increases the further away you separate nodes of the Sync-SAN.

Why does it increase latency?

Well, the whole point of a Sync-SAN, is that the data that exists on the SAN in Site B, is an exact copy of the data that exists on the SAN in Site A, and to have an exact copy it means any writes must be written to both SANs at the same time and acknowledgement of successful writes from both SANs returned before the server can submit any further writes.

A better explanation (from the Compellent Enterprise Manager 6.1 Administrator’s Guide):
“Synchronous replication makes sure that a write is successfully written to the remote system before returning a Successful Completion command to the server IO request. The Storage Center does not acknowledge completion of the write-back to the server until both the write IO to the local volume and the IO sent to the remote system are complete.”

What is a best case minimum latency?

This universe is pretty much governed by the rule that nothing can go faster than the speed of light (or at least accelerate through the speed of light barrier – no reason why things can’t travel faster than the speed of light – like Tachyons – but those things never slow down.)

The speed of light is 299’792’458 m/s, or ~= 299’792 km/s.

Say we have two sites separated by a distance of 100km, this gives a round trip of 200km, and a best case minimum latency of 0.7ms (0.7 milliseconds or 0.0007 s.) Now 0.7 ms is a pretty tiny interval and perfectly acceptable in an age where even the most demanding applications might ask for 2ms maximum latency; but the 0.7 ms is a best case and additional latency is added by the physical network infrastructure in between nodes of the Sync-SAN, and the physical hardware of the SAN and Server nodes themselves.

What is the maximum distance with a 2 ms maximum latency in a perfect world?

We can use a best case scenario to consider how far we can stretch our Sync-SAN in a perfect world where no latency is introduced by storage, server or networking.

Max. Distance in km = (0.002 seconds * speed_of_light_in_km/s) / 2
~= 300km

What if we had servers in a different site in between the SANs?

Theoretically, we could stretch the distance between SANs to 600km and still keep the 2ms maximum latency if we had a Site A with servers in, Site B 300km away from Site A with SAN Mirror A, and Site C 300km away from Site B with SAN Mirror B. Now, this would be a pretty bananas solution having servers in one site, and SANs in other sites, but theoretically since the servers need to wait for successful packet delivery and return acknowledgement to both SANs in a Sync-SAN, this is a valid idea.

Image: Stretching a Sync-SAN to 600km and keeping 2 ms maximum latency for server writes

What about going beyond 600km and keeping 2ms maximum latency?

Here’s where this post goes even more bananas (more like stark raving bonkers – but hey it’s the holiday season so I can allow the indulgence) and delves into the realms of science-fiction.

Now, suppose we could create a wormhole in between the Sync-SANs, then there would be no real-world distance limitations. We could fire the write packets down the wormhole, have some kind of delay mechanism on the other end (because the packets would have travelled backwards in time), deliver the packet to the Sync-SAN replication node at the correct time, then fire the acknowledgement packet back down the wormhole, delay it (because it would again have gone back in time), and deliver it to the server with minimal to no latency. The packet would never have travelled faster than the speed of light through the wormhole, but – when measured between points outside the wormhole – it would indeed have exceeded the speed of light.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

XenServer – The Network Contains Active VIFs and Cannot Be Deleted


The error below occurs on a XenServer 6.0.2 Pool, when trying to remove a Bond network after a failed Bond Create which meant having to run the Emergency Network Reset on the Master and then all Slaves in the Pool.

Figure: The network contains active VIFs and cannot be deleted

On checking all the Virtual Machines, none are using ‘Bond 1+3’


Via the local command shell on the pool master we run the following commands:

# xe network-list
From the output obtain the UUID for the problem network.

# xe network-destroy uuid=3d9b58fb-f5d5-2487-db0f-17f7417b48c7
From the output obtain the VIF UUID of the problem VIF that is preventing the network destroy.

# xe vif-destroy uuid=b5205450-4a07-2a65-b9c2-ba9b5be4b4b4
The VIF is now destroyed allowing the network to be destroyed.

# xe network-destroy uuid=3d9b58fb-f5d5-2487-db0f-17f7417b48c7

All done!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How to Upgrade XenServer 5.6 to XenServer 6.0.2 Using Rolling Pool Upgrade


Starting with XenCenter 5.6, Citrix introduced the ‘Rolling Pool Upgrade…’ functionality into XenCenter, and we shall leverage this here to upgrade an existing XenServer 5.6 pool to 6.0.2.
Note: It is not possible to upgrade pools or servers running XenServer version 5.5 or earlier using this wizard!

Fig. 1: XenCenter > Tools > Rolling Pool Upgrade…

Fig. 2: XenCenter > Pool A > with two hosts – xenhost01 & 02

Fig. 3: XenCenter > Tools > License Manager… and versions

Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Part 1: Backup Existing Pool State
1.1) Use PuTTY to connect to the pool master and run the following command
# xe pool-dump-database file-name=pooldump
1.2) Use WinSCP to connect to the host and extract the pooldump file

Part 2: Rolling Pool Upgrade… (Option 1 – Automatic Mode)
2.1) Click XenCenter > Tools > Rolling Pool Upgrade…
2.2) Read the ‘Before You Start’ and take note of the warning, and Next >
2.3) Select Pool and Next >

Fig. 4: Rolling Pool Upgrade – Selecting Pool

2.4) Choose the upgrade mode: Automatic Mode, click ‘Run Prechecks’

Fig. 5:  Rolling Pool Upgrade - Modes

2.5) In this lab example, the ‘Run Prechecks’ indicates missing hotfixes, and we will apply these then click ‘Check again’ and Next >

Fig. 6: Rolling Pool Upgrade – Prechecks failed with Missing Hotfixes

2.6) Locate the network install files (Automatic Mode)

Here, if there is no available HTTP, NFS, or FTP server, an excellent option is to use HFS.EXE (HTTP File Share) which is written by and provided for free by Massimo Regetto – see

With the XenServer 6.0.2.iso files extracted to a folder on our HTTP File Server – as below – all that is left to do is…

Fig. 7: HFS file server sharing the XenServer 6.0.2 iso files

Input the location of network install files, click Test, and then click ‘Start Upgrade’

Fig. 8: Rolling Pool Upgrade Wizard – Network Install Files Test Success!

And wait!

2.7) All done, click Finish

Fig. 9: Rolling Pool Upgrade Complete

Part 3: Rolling Pool Upgrade… (Option 2 – Manual Mode)
3.1) Click XenCenter > Tools > Rolling Pool Upgrade…
3.2) Read the ‘Before You Start’ and take note of the warning, and Next >
3.3) Select Pool and Next >
3.4) Choose the upgrade mode: Manual Mode, click ‘Run Prechecks’
3.5) Run Prechecks – if all is okay click Next >
3.6) Perform the rolling pool upgrade (Manual Mode) click ‘Start Upgrade’

Fig. 10: Perform the rolling pool upgrade (Manual Mode) – Start Upgrade

3.7) Follow the prompts to complete the upgrade (which is a pretty much just like sticking a physical CD in the drive and following the console prompts)!

Fig. 11: Manual Upgrade – Insert installation CD and Reboot Now

Note 1: If you get the following error “Upgrade failed. The (XenServer) has rebooted with the same version” when using the Manual Upgrade, then the boot order in BIOS will need setting to boot from CD.

Fig. 12: Upgrade failed … rebooted with the same version

Note 2: The Automatic Upgrade does flag up missing hotfixes which the Manual Upgrade does not seem to do, suggesting it may well be worth running the Automatic Upgrade as far as the pre-checks, applying any missing hotfixes, then skipping back and re-selecting Manual Upgrade.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Notes on a vSphere 4.0 to vSphere 5.0 Upgrade and Interoperability with Symantec NetBackup 7.5.1

A quick post for if you have a vSphere 4.0 Environment currently being backed up by Symantec NetBackup VMware Snapshot Based backups, and are wondering what impact upgrading to vSphere 5.0 will have on the NetBackup. The good news is hardly any!

Note: Symantec do not yet support vSphere 5.1 - ETA for support is first quarter 2013!

In a recent project, I had a vCenter 4.0U4 running on Windows Server 2003 32-bit with a remote SQL database on SQL2005 32-bit. The VMware environment was happily being backed up by NetBackup 7.5.1 VMware Snapshot based policies. Now, my main concern with the upgrade was for these backups to continue to function.

The process of the upgrading the vCenter was pretty much as followed in these previous posts (except this was to vCenter 5.0U1a)

After vCenter upgrade and reconnecting the old hosts back in, the NetBackup VMware Snapshot backups continued to function without any problem – all good!

Next step was to upgrade the hosts and this was done by importing an ESXi Image into Update Manager, creating an upgrade baseline, then attaching the baseline and running the remediation.

Image: Update Manager – Import ESXi Image…

After upgrading hosts, again the NetBackup VMware Snapshot backups continued to function without any problem – all good!

Finally, the VMware tools and Virtual Machine Hardware upgrades were performed, and again NetBackup VMware Snapshot backups were unaffected.

One other part of the project was to storage migrate the Virtual Machines from a legacy fibre channel SAN (Pillar Axiom) to an iSCSI SAN (EqualLogic) with Site-to-Site replication setup for Site Recovery Manager, and it was only here that the VMware Snapshot based backups experienced any failures, this being because the Symantec NetBackup server was configured with direct access to the FC SAN and VMFS volumes. Interestingly though, after recreating VMware Snapshot Policies, the backups (including full) actually ran quicker from the EqualLogic.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Citrix XenServer Health Check and Best Practices

These notes were compiled prior to a Health Check engagement on a multi-node XenServer environment with a view to planning and then undertaking the upgrade to XenServer 6.0.2 (which is the latest stable version.)

Note: XenServer 6.1 is the current latest version of XenServer, alas there are some issues with the XenServer 6.1 version of the XenServer Tools which is why Citrix are currently recommending –
We advise customers to remain on XenServer 6.0.2 (or earlier) until Citrix releases a hotfix to XenServer 6.1 that addresses the known issues in the XenServer Tools. This will prevent you needing to upgrade the Tools in your VMs twice (once for base XenServer 6.1, and again when the hotfix is released).” – Source XenServer Tools Workarounds for XenServer 6.1.0 (CTX135099) (Update Dec 21, 2012)
Hotfix XS61E005 is due in early January 2013 to fix this (


Citrix AutoSupport (XenServer 5.6 and above)
- Can we extract AutoSupport information?

Host Server
- What make are model are the hosts servers?
- What specification (RAM, CPU, local disk, number of NICs)?
- What version(s) of XenServer are in use, and Hotfixes installed?
- Are the hosts pooled or standalone?
- What guests are running on the hosts?
- Does the current pool utilization allow one host to be taken offline for purposes of upgrade?
- Is the environment being used for VDI?
- Is the environment being used with Citrix Provisioning Services?
- How is the environment being backed up?
- How is the environment monitored?
- Power cabling (Best practice - dual power feeds from separate circuits)?
- Where are the host servers (and - if in a datacenter - do we have remote access via iDRAC/ iLO/ etc.)?

Note on versions:
The Citrix XenServer Dell Edition exists only from 5.0 to 5.6!

Host Server Networking
- How many NICs and in use and for what purpose?
Example (Best Practice Minimum):
2 for XenServer Management and XenMotion Traffic
2 for Virtual Machine Traffic
2 for iSCSI Storage Traffic

Figure: XenServer Networking
- Are NICs bonded (best practice including for iSCSI)?
- Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) in use?
- Are separate physical switches being used for iSCSI?
- Jumbo Frames, Flow Control, Unicast Storm Control disabled, VLAN Segmentation, PortFast, Hard-coded Duplex and Port Speed settings, etc. (specifically for iSCSI)?

- How are the current XenServer hosts licensed, and what edition (Free XenServer licensing or via a license server)?
 - What version is the current license server, and where is this installed (Installed on Windows guest or licensing appliance – latest VPX 11.1)?
- Is licensing available for an upgrade?

- What storage arrays are in use?
- How many storage arrays?
- What firmware/software version are the arrays on?
- What type of Storage Repositories are used (local EXT3, local LVM, NFS, Hardware HBA, Software iSCSI, Citrix StorageLink)?
- If using NetApp/EqualLogic, is the Advanced Citrix StorageLink type SR in use?
- Any report issues for SAN/Storage (e.g. latency issues)?
- Can we have SAN diagnostic outputs?
- If NetApp, can we have a full AutoSupport output?
- If EqualLogic, can we have a full SAN HQ output?

Figure: Dell EqualLogic SAN HeadQuarters – Export All Group Data
Note 1: There are no specific EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for XenServer.
Note 2: See for the NetApp VSC for XenServer 6

- Are the any issues with the current environment?

Further Reading

XenServer – Resources and Support

XenServer Proddocs – Versions 5.0 to 6.1.0

Citrix Software for Dell PowerEdge Servers Blog Experience on Setting up EqualLogic with XenServer 6.0

CCA Citrix XenServer 6.0 Administration Exam Cram Notes

Tech Round Up 23rd December 2012

A set of links with some brief notes – and perhaps even images – of interesting tech things happened upon since the 26th November Tech Round Up! With stuff from: Cisco, CommVault, Dell, HP, KEMP, Microsoft, NetApp, PHD Virtual, StorageReview, Symantec, Veeam, VKernel, VMware, Walken (Christopher), Windows Phone!

## Cisco ##

Cisco Nexus 7000 NX-OS/IOS Comparison Tech Notes

## CommVault ##

## Dell ##

Excellent resource for preparing and configuring Networking, Arrays, and Hosts with EqualLogic; and monitoring and validating the solution!

## HP ##

“Welcome to the Single Point of Connectivity Knowledge (SPOCK) website.”
Cracking resource!

“The primary announcement being the introduction of the 7000 series of 3PAR entry and mid-level arrays”

“It’s a lightweight tool that provides real-time performance analysis reporting for to help diagnose and triage performance problems. It’s a Linux based utility and can be installed natively on any VM/PC running Linux or it can be deployed as a virtual appliance. It supports both VMware vSphere & Microsoft Hyper-V environments…”

“HP Cluster Extension (CLX) software is an integrated solution that provides protection against system downtime with automatic failover of application services and read/write enabling of remotely mirrored storage.”
Receive for Free for 60 days!

## KEMP Technologies ##

Nice YouTube video (10 minutes.)

Installation walkthrough of KEMP’s virtual loadbalancer VLM100!

## Microsoft ##

A: Yes – “with Windows 8, the Never notify setting does NOT disable UAC but instead removes any prompts to the user…”

## NetApp ##

Datacenter Dude Blog with Karl Rautenstrauch (a Solutions Architect with NetApp, focusing on Clustered ONTAP.)

“System Setup for fast and easy setup of your FAS2200 system, about 3x faster than previously. Download the latest version from NetApp Support today.”

filer81> options licensed_feature.multistore.enable on

Nice article on MultiMode VIFS and Static MultiMode VIF, plus explanation on load balancing.

“To operate correctly, Data ONTAP-v based storage systems (like the Data ONTAP Edge product) must manage the virtual machine power settings”

NetApp Products:
> NetApp FAS6210 clustered storage systems
> Clustered Data ONTAP 8.1
> OnCommand Unified Manager
> Snapshot and SnapRestore technologies
> SnapMirror
> SnapVault
> FlexClone
> Virtual Storage Tier
> Flash Cache
> Deduplication
> Fibre Channel

(CLI Highlight) Generate a new AutoSupport:
filer> options autosupport.doit now (from both the source and destination filers,for all in the cascade).

Additional links from the above article:
- Troubleshooting Guides
- Best Practices Guides (PDF)

## PHD Virtual ##

Backup for VMware vSphere 4.x & 5.x and Citrix XenServer 6.x

## StorageReview ##

“… a glimpse into the heart of the StorageReview Enterprise Test Lab …”

## Symantec ##

“Veritas Storage Foundation from Symantec maximizes your storage efficiency, availability and performance across operating systems, virtualization technologies, and storage hardware to build resilient private clouds.”
Receive for Free – Trialware available!

## Veeam ##

“Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots Gives Midsized Organizations Powerful and Easy-to-use Recovery of Virtual Machines”

## VKernel ##

Top Free VMware vSphere Tool of 2012!

Free white paper

## VMware ##

New VMware releases in time for Christmas!
> VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.0.2 and 5.1.01 released
> VMware vSphere 5.0 Update 2 (ESXi 5.0 Update 2 and vCenter 5.0 Update 2) released
> VMware ESXi 5.1 Build 914609 released
> VMware vCenter 5.1.0b released

VMware Cloud Management Solution Enhancements – Now Available

VMware vCloud Services Homepage – Evaluate vCloud
VMware vCloud Service Evaluation BETA

VMware View 5.1 Reference Architecture on NetApp Storage (NFS)

Best Practices for VMware vSphere 5.1 Single-Sign-On (SSO) articles.

VMware Hands-On Lab (HOL) Blog

Nice walkthrough using vFabric Application Director to quickly deploy a complex Oracle WebLogic Cluster (as an example.)

Click on the first link to download the excellent PDF presentation.

As a part of the release of vCenter Operations Manager 5.6 (a.k.a. vCOPS) a new Foundation edition has been made available to all vSphere owners.

A nice walkthrough for how to setup load balancing using Edge

… Powered-on Virtual Machines = 10’000 …

It has been updated for vSphere 5.x & VMFS5.

On August 15, 2013

## Walken, Christopher ##

Okay, nothing to do with IT!
A couple of quotes from the interview:
“People often ask me about choices. I don't make choices; I just take the next good thing that comes along.”
… any regrets? "No. Things have worked out better than I expected, perhaps because I didn't expect things to be good….”

## Windows Phone ##

“Use your camera to translate printed text, voice recognition to translate spoken text, or the keyboard to enter text that you want to translate.” A pretty nice app if you’ve got a Windows Phone!

Friday, 7 December 2012

How to Migrate from vCenter 4.0 on 32-bit Windows to vCenter 5.1a on 64-bit Windows – Part 1/3

This article is split into the following 3 parts:
1/3 The Journey to SQL 2008 R2
2/3 Installing vCenter SSO and Inventory Service
3/3 Installing vCenter 5.1 and Database Upgrade

Setting the Scenario

We have a vCenter 4 running on Windows Server 2003 32-bit and with the “vCenter Server” database sitting on a remote Microsoft SQL Server 2005 32-bit instance. We want to migrate to the latest version of VMware’s vCenter – vCenter 5.1a – which requires a 64-bit O/S. At the same time we want to move the database from the old SQL Server 2005 to a new SQL Server 2008R2. Additionally we want to keep the vCenter name and IP Address.

Image: start of the scenario with 32-bit vCenter and SQL server

Image: end of the scenario with 64-bit vCenter and SQL server

Checking on the Checking on the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes – the vSphere 4.0 U1 to 5.1 has a supported upgrade path.

Image: Supported Upgrade Paths from vCenter 4.0 and 4.0 U1 to 5.1

A minor detail and not important as part of this scenario – we will be using a local administrator and domain user account – vcservice – to install vCenter and for Windows services. The SQL servers were similarly installed with a local administrator and domain user account – sqlservice.

What we have in the Beginning

We start off with:
- vCenter 4.0 32-bit server
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 32-bit
- Built Windows Server 2008R2 machine
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008R2

The vCenter version we currently have is 4.0u1 (the only reason why it is U1 is because I happened to have a copy in my ISO library.) In our lab we have 3 running VMs which will remain running throughout the upgrade.

Image: VCENTER.test.priv – 4.0.0, 208111

1) Decommissioning the vCenter 4.0.0

1.1) Copy the contents of the folder –
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware Virtual Center\SSL\
– from the Windows Server 2003 vCenter to a folder –
C:\Programdata\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL
– on the Windows Server 2008R2 box intended as the vCenter 5 server (you will have to create the folder)

If the above is not done, then you will get the error below regards “setup (has not) located … the companion SSL certificates” when you come to install vCenter Server 5.0 or above

Image: vCenter Server error regards no companion SSL certificates

1.2) Shutdown the old vCenter 4.0
1.3) Reset the computer account in Active Directory

Image: VCENTER – Reset Account

2) Preparing the new vCenter 5.1 Server

2.1) Name the Windows 2008R2 Server that has been prepared as “VCENTER”
2.2) Give the new “VCENTER” the same IP as the old one
2.3) Join “VCENTER” to the domain
2.4) Install the ‘.NET Framework 3.5.1’ feature

Image: Adding .NET Framework 3.5.1 (be sure to leave WCF Activation unchecked)

2.5) Install the SQL Server 2008R2 Native Client – sqlncli_amd64.msi

Image: SQL Server 2008 R2 Native Client MSI

3) Migrating the Database

3.1) On SQL 2005 Server, open up SQL Server Management Studio
3.2) Right-click the VCDB and select detach (uncheck ‘

Image: Detaching the VCDB database

Uncheck ‘Keep Full Text Catalogs’ and click OK

Image: Database detach options

3.3) Copy the VCDB.mdf and VCDB_log.ldf to the SQL 2008R2 Server

Image: VCDB Database files

3.4) On SQL 2008R2 Server, open up SQL Server Management Studio
3.5) Right-click Databases and choose ‘Attach…’

Image: SQL Server Attach…

Click ‘Add…’ and point to the location of the VCDB.mdf, then click OK
Just click OK is you get the warning about full-text catalogs!

4) Preparing SQL 2008R2 for vCenter and SSO

4.1) Mount the vCenter Server 5.1a ISO to the SQL 2008R2 server
4.2) Browse to the folder:
E:\Single Sign On\DBScripts\SSOServer\schema\mssql
4.3) With SQL Server Management Studio still open, double-click on the –
– this will open the following script in the Query pane:


    FILENAME='C:\CHANGE ME\translog.ldf',
    FILEGROWTH=10% )

EXEC SP_DBOPTION 'RSA', 'autoshrink', true
EXEC SP_DBOPTION 'RSA', 'trunc. log on chkpt.', true


4.4) Change the RSA name in the ‘CREATE DATABASE RSA‘ line and two ‘EXEC SP_DBOPTION‘ lines, and the three ’CHANGE ME‘ lines as per requirements. In this instance, the lines were changed as follows:
EXEC SP_DBOPTION 'VMware_SSO', 'autoshrink', true
EXEC SP_DBOPTION 'VMware_SSO', 'trunc. log on chkpt.', true

4.5) Once you’ve made the required changes to the script, hit the “! Execute” button and you should be greeted with a “Command(s) completed successfully” message and – after refreshing the Databases folder – see the VMware_SSO Database created.

Image: VMware SSO DB created

4.6) Create 3 SQL Server authentication logins by right-clicking the ‘Security’ folder and choosing New Login…

Login name: vmware with default database = VCDB
Login name: SSO_User with default database = VMware_SSO
Login name: SSO_DBA with default database = VMWare_SSO

Be sure to uncheck the ‘Enforce password expiration’!

Image: SQL Server Management Studio – New Login

4.7) By expanding the specific database tree, right-click Security and New > User…, give the accounts the following permissions:

vmware user – VCDB: Schema db_owner
vmware user – VCDB: Database role db_owner
vmware user – msdb: Database role db_owner
SSO_User – VMware_SSO: Database role db_owner
SSO_DBA – VMware_SSO: Schema db_owner
SSO_DBA – VMware_SSO: Database role db_owner

Image: SQL Server Management Studio – Adding User Permissions