Is the real future for VMware in one of its quietest releases?

VMworld 2018 once again proved to be one of the biggest technology events of the year, yes you can point out Dreamforce and OracleWorld and Microsoft Ignite as potentially larger but VMworld is still a ~20K person conference and ranks as one fo the larger ones around.  Its also no surprise that VMware takes the time to make major product announcements during the show to make it exciting and get the user base hyped for another year.  This year I heard alot about how the release of Amazon RDS Services natively in a private datacenter and connected as a custom region in AWS was the biggest news.  While I I do believe this is a great thing for many enterprises and specifically cloud first companies, I don’t think it will be the release that has the largest impact on the future of VMware.

Welcome vSphere on ARM! Yes ARM, that little processor you hear about for cell phones and IoT devices.  This was touched on in one of the keynotes and I think alot of people just thought it was a gimmick and since there is no firm release date, thats reasonable but lets for a moment take a look at a few places that vSphere on ARM could have a huge impact.

Continue reading “Is the real future for VMware in one of its quietest releases?”

Refresh your test and lab VMs without using snapshots

I am often building out machines that I want to change configurations on but would like a quick way to revert them back to an original state quickly.  I could do this with snapshots but often I dont want to mess with the snapshots getting large or forgetting I took a snapshot, this is where the “Independent disk” comes into play.  Cormac Hogan did a nice job summarizing an Independent disk on his blog but I found a slightly different example, his really focuses on the backup scenario.  Mine is in a lab and I dont care about the backups.  I want a lab system than no matter what a user does I can simply put it back to the way I set it up with little to no effort, possibly even for multiple machines with a script.  I want the user to be able to make changes however and even reboot the system from within the OS or using VMtools integrated reboots.  Heres how I did it…

Step 1.

Build the VM with all the virtual disk you would like and install an OS.  Keep the defaults as you add disks.  If you add additional disks before powering on, make sure they are at the default as shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.13.04 PM

Step 2.

Make any configuration changes you need within the core OS.  If you want things on secondary disks to be static when reset, make those changes now also.

Step 3.

Power Off the VM and Edit Settings.  You will now go to all the virtual disks and change the disks to “Independent – Nonpersistent”

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.16.34 PM

Step 4.

Power on the VM.

You can not make any changes you want to the VM, even allowing users to make changes involving multiple disks.  To reset the VM to the clean state that you built, simply go to vCenter and power cycle the VM.

Enjoy…

 

Note: If youhave any snapshots you can not change the disk style.  You will need to delete all snapshots and consolidate if you want to set this.

The Meteoric Rise and Slow Fall of a Community

Over better part of the last ten years, I have been involved and benefited from one of the largest business communities that I have ever seen.  Revolving primarily around the VMware ecosystem, this community has provided me with access to some of the smartest minds in systems administration, business leaders and I have made numerous friends, but alas I think it is all about to fall.

To even start to explain where I am coming from lets first take a step back and explain some history.  I started working with VMware based products somewhere around 2004 or 2005 with GSX Server. As time progressed I worked more and more with virtualization and was even offered a job after and early VMware User Group(VMUG) meeting.  That turned into a stepping stone that began to escalate my career path.  I moved from a standard admin to management and then shifted over into being a sales engineer.  During my first role as a sales engineer for a regional reseller I began to participate heavily in the Community Roundtable Podcast, a very early weekly podcast hosted by John Troyer.  Combined with the VMware community forums I had access to tons of resources and people.  Things we progressing great and I moved into more VMware centric roles and eventually moved over to the vendor side.  This move was all because of relationships I had built with this VMware community.  The community had grown and so had my involvement, 5 years ago I started hosting a daily podcast at VMworld with some of these community member that I still do today.

It was during one of these podcasts this year in San Francisco that I had a few other guys confirm feelings that I have been having for the past year, that the VMware Community has gone too commercial and lost the camaraderie and independence that made it so special.  Vendors used to spend small amounts of money to help get people together with the knowledge that their name would be shared and these influential bloggers and social media activists would in turn support them (if their product was worthwhile).  Events were created by individuals and anyone could show up and be welcomed regardless if they worked for a vendor.  If you were active with a certain group it did not matter if you filled out a form on a website to give the sponsoring company a fresh lead, you were welcomed into events with open arms.

Times have changed and while I still have many great friends and contacts I dont think the community as I knew it exists anymore.  We have groups of people recognized for their participation in the community, vExperts, that many even with the group have become too entitled and it is no longer a group that provides feedback but rather just wants free swag.  We have events that were once only ran by the community and were open for anyone that are ran by corporate marketing teams and are no different than if a customer appreciation party.  There are very few new blogs or known technical talents that are being publicly lauded for their work and those that remain are often now so entrenched in their circle of friends that it is nearly impossible for a regular customer to make a connection with them enough to feel like they are becoming part of something.

There are still a few events that are driven for the community and managed in a way that any sponsored money and invitation goes back into the event but the feel and the vibe is slowly dying.  This VMworld I was lucky to be involved with VMUnderground which while much bigger than the founders or any of us involved ever expected still goes back to making sure people meet each other and see sponsors logos and hopefully is mutually beneficial.  Community packages were built for sponsors around participation in the vBrownbags, a series of hopefully no FUD short talks, Spousetivities, the definition of work-life balance and of course VMUnderground and vRockStar and the sponsors seemed to feel they are getting good value by participating.  I also got to see a much smaller event like The Gathering with only about 35 people be very well attended and produce great value for all involved.  Something that allowed community members and sponsors intertwine and even allowed community members that had not meet were able to.

I am not going to list off any of the events that I heard were not as accommodating or as focused on the attendees as I only hope they already received that feedback.  What I will say is that I hope as we move towards VMworld EMEA in a short 5 weeks everyone involved in the community finds a way to meet someone new, find a vendors they think is amazing and support them, and welcome that new talent that has allowed our industry to grow.  The community is not about a number of leads but rather about a network of people helping people.  Lets not let that fail!

How to emulate 10 Gbps NIC in a VMware Fusion VM

I am working on deploying some new VMs to demo some of the latest Nexenta products but I found one issue instantly.  The deployment requires 10 Gbps networking and since it is all internal to my macbook I assumed this would be easy.  Unfortunately VMware Fusion 7 does not have a graphical way that I can find to change the type NIC.  Turns out this is very easy and I thought I would share the process so here goes..

  1. Build the VM with whatever number of NICs you need.
  2. Power off the VM
  3. Quit VMware Fusion
  4. Go to the location of the virtual machines
  5. Right-click on the VM you want to edit
  6. Select “Show Package Contents”
  7. Right-click on the .vmx file and open with TextEdit
    • Make sure you open Preferences and uncheck “Smart Quotes” if you dont it adds stuff into the VMX fileText Edit Preference
  8. By default all the NIC will show as e1000, you need to change them to vmxnet3.  Find this line: ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000” and change the e1000 to vmxnet3Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 12.12.24 PM
  9. Save the file
  10. Open Fusion and Start the VM

Thats it!

Charlotte VMware User Summit and a little restaurant review

I was fortunate to spend the last couple days at the Charlotte VMware User Summit.  For those of you not familar, the User Summits or Conferences are larger regional and all day conferences for the VMware Users Group.  I happen to be one of the leaders for the Washington DC group, and have been heavily involved in the Potomac Regional VMware User Conference that is coming up next week.  If you are in the area and have not registered, then you should using this link http://www.vmug.com/p/cm/ld/fid=1742.  These summits are a great way to interact both professionally and often socially with some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the virtualization community.   Continue reading “Charlotte VMware User Summit and a little restaurant review”

My Old School Nintendo Setup to demo VDI at VMware PEX

Those of you that got to make it out to the VMware Partner Exchange probably got to see the demo in the Nexenta Booth.

Alot of the common social media geeks around virtualization got to swing by.  Chris Wahl from WahlNetworks included.  This was not an overly complex demo, but I wanted something fun to show off VDI sessions.  Using the real time performance metrics that are shown in NexentaVSA for View, we can actually see the systems running.

The install was rather easy, with one caveat.  VMware View does not recognize the Classic USB NES Controller for PC that we picked up from Amazon.

The great part is on the Lenovo Thinkpad I was using as a client I can make just a quick registry change and View will recognize.  This process is detailed here, very similar to restricting access, this allows you to add unknown USB devices to share to your View session.

The hardware was not very intense for the servers.  A couple Dell 1950 running ESX5.1 and using a Supermicro server with Nexenta installed as shared storage presenting 1 TB of NFS storage.  For the VDI hosts I put in 2 Cisco UCS C200 M2.  By adding in a single STEC ZeusIOP and a single spinning disk to house the desktops, and 96 GB of RAM we are able to build a rather robust VDI setup.  Allowing for about 100 desktops all being deployed with NexentaVSA for View..

By adding in the JNes Nintendo Emulator to the Windows 7 base images and VMware View Linked Clones, we have our own mini arcade.

 

Finally talking out my side project. vCloud and VDI in a Box

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a side project with one of the Nexenta partners to prepare for the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco this week. The partner Cirracore based in Atlanta works with Equinix and Telx pretty heavily and offers a few managed private and public cloud solutions. One of these solutions is based on the Intel Modular Server Chassis(IMS). If you have not checked out this chassis, it is probably one of the most engineered but least publicized piece of hardware I have seen in years. First to give you an Idea of what the chassis is made of, then two solutions we release this week, vCloud in a Box and VDI/SMB in a Box. Continue reading “Finally talking out my side project. vCloud and VDI in a Box”

Testing the MyVMware iOS App

VMware has released a mobile client for their newly released MyVMware page.  For years one fo the biggest issues with VMware has been the confusing licensing and user management.  With the release of MyVMware, many of these issues have been resolved.  One thing I will enjoy is the ability to grab a license key directly from my phone when I need it.  After working for a reseller and now a vendor, both big VMware partners, I often need to test software that it can be a pain to go grab a license key from the portal only to not be able to use cut and paste and have to type the key in.  Now I can open my app, grab a key and still type it in, but it is much quicker.  I took a few screenshots of the app and listed them below so you can get an idea what the app can do.

1. Start by logging in:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. You then have to approve the EULA (Surprise!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. You will then see your profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. You now have to pick your folders (whatever ones you have created on the MyVMware website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Once you go into the folder you can see the products under it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The select the product and click next (you have to do that each time, that is kind of annoying) and you will see the license keys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the power icon on the top to logout, or the gear to set your refresh and timeout time

 

 

You are a vWhat? Oh a vExpert….

This weekend I got the great news that I was selected again as a VMware vExpert for 2012.  Sounds impressive right?  To some people in the VMware community and IT as a whole it does, but many people have no idea what the vExpert designation means.  As a second year vExpert, I have been lucky in that I got to be part of a rather exclusive group.  For 2012 there have been 382 vExperts announce globally.  I wanted to break that down a little more and found that of those 149 are first time vExperts.  216 are returning from being a vExpert in 2011 and only 74 have been vExperts since the first year in 2009.

This is a group not made of technical experts, although many if not all of the vExperts are very knowledgable about VMware and the related products, but rather more of an ambassador program.  One that is leading the charge to further virtualization in all industries.  Many of these vExperts have been the consultants that pushed virtual machines out of R&D and into the mainstream.  Others have been internal staffers that “saw the light” and helped their companies move to the cutting edge.  Regardless of what the vExperts do for work, they all go above and beyond when it comes to their outreach.  Many are very active in the social media space.  You can look up the announced 2012 vExperts on Maish Saidel-Keesing‘s twitter list. (https://twitter.com/?category=people#!/maishsk/vmware-vexpert-2012).  Others have led VMware User Groups for years and you can find them on the newly created user workspaces on myVMUG.org or organized and ran local vBeer events.  Others have written books or maintained podcasts, some have even spent countless hours helping others on the message boards as users and moderators.

It goes without saying that I am humbled to be included in a fantastic group.  And for those of you who are not yet vExperts, know that while technical knowledge is always very important, there is a reward for being outgoing, helpful and social.  The vExperts have been able to be ambassadors and often trend setters by gaining access to previews and betas thanks to the great support team at VMware.  Alex Maier has taken charge of this motley group and given direction and guidance and the godfather of the group John Troyer has given many days and nights evangelizing the cause.  Thank you to them for their help and I hope I can continue and be able to announce a 2013 vExpert designation as well.

 

My Journey from VCP4 to VCP5

Last week I took and passed the VMware Certified Professional 5 exam at the local Pearson Vue testing center in DC. As most of you know I have spent the last few years as a solutions engineer, pre-sales engineer, or architect depending on what you want to to call the positions. Since most of my time was spent in pre-sales and design work I was rather apprehensive about taking the VCP test. The test seems to be more geared towards the everyday admin than those of us who have been working with VMware since the GSX days. The great thing is there are lots of study guides and things designed to help people pass the exam. There are some great new things about this test. The biggest I believe is there was nothing on my exam and from talking to others it seems consistent that the minimums and maximums are no longer part of the test. I always thought that was a part that was not really needed. If I need to know the maximum number of virtual machines per LUN and host, I can just look them up. The test is much more situation based. If you want to get an idea of the question style, take a look at either of the question links below. Be forewarned though that unlike previous VMware exams, the braindumps are just for a gauge of questions. There was probably only 10-12 questions on my exam I recognized and there are 85 questions and I think all of those were from the official mock exam. I used a few great resources for studying and hopefully it will help a few of you out before the February 29th deadline to take the class again, or for those of you taking it the first time.

Study Guides

Questions

  • Official VCP5 Mock Exam – MyLearn.vmware.com – This is a really good one to do over and over. Just make sure to always get 1 question wrong or you wont be able to take it again
  • aiotestking.com – This is a braindump style site. It changes on a consistent basis and the newest dumps are the highest numbers.  These are not actually on the exam (in my experience)

The study guides are all great but make sure you really spend sometime in a lab working on the actual product. You can do just about everything on VMware Workstation with demo licenses.  If you are trying to cram I would spend the most time on the blueprints.  If you understand it then you should have a good chance with that and the time you spend working on a lab.

Good Luck to you all and I hope it helps…