vBeers: July 1st 2010

vbeersHi guys, just a quick post to remind you that the next vBeers will be help this Thursday, July 1st.

When & Where

The London vBeers is held on the first Thursday of every month starting at 6pm in ‘The Cittie of Yorke’ pub which is placed centrally to both London’s West End and The City. This venue serves a fine of selection of English beers along with soft drinks and bar snacks.

  • Location: The ‘Cittie of Yorke’, London
  • Address:  22 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6BS
  • Nearest Tube:  Chancery Lane
  • Time: 6:00pm
  • Ye Olde Map: MAP

What are vBeers?

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I Must Have Done Something Right In A Previous Life

vexpert

What an amazing past two weeks it's been…….

vExpert

About two weeks ago I received an email from John Troyer from VMware notifying me that I have been awarded the vExpert award. This was one of my targets for the year, so I have to say that I am very happy to recieve this award. For those of you who don't know what the vExpert award is, here is a little quote from the vExpert landing page.

The VMware vExpert Award is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. vExperts are book authors, bloggers, VMUG leaders, tool builders, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others.

It's quite an honor when you see the list of others who have also been the vExpert title. For a comprehesive list have a look at Armin Van Lieshout's vExpert Directory.

Hitachi Data Systems, Blogger Day

I had the pleasure of spending most of last week over in California attending the Hitachi Data Systems Bloggers Day. This was another great experience. I caught up with some old friends and have made some great new friends. I'm not going to go into too much depth about my visit as I plan to write a post which will give you a little more detail into what I got up to at HDS.

As you can see, things have been pretty good for me. But it doesn't stop there, I'm pleased to tell you all, I have landed my dream job!!! 

NEW JOB!!!

In August 2010 I will be joining VMware as a Senior Consultant. I CANNOT wait! I will be working in a team consisting of some of best Virtualisation Consultants in the world, Including Frank Denneman, Hany Michael, Kenneth Van Ditmarsch. This for me is the icing on the cake. This is a job I have wanted since I first started working with ESX 3 back in 2007. 

Hitachi Data Systems’ Bloggers Day #HDSday

Hitachi Data Systems

It's 6am here in San Jose, as you can tell I have a little jetlag. If you regularly follow me on Twitter, you'll probably know that I am over here in the US for the Hitachi Data Systems' Bloggers day which takes place tomorrow and Wednesday.

I'll be joined today by a small list of other bloggers, some of wish I've met before at the Gestalt IT Tech Field Days. So I'm really looking forward to catching up with them and meeting the other guys who I have only chatted to on twitter. Here is a list of the attendees for you to follow.

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VMware ESXi 4 Log Files

Like most VI Admins, I've been using VMware ESXi quite a lot more lately and I'm slowly coming across things that are different to how they are in ESX. Log files being one of these differences.

With the absence of the Service Console, ESXi presents a slightly different architecture. If you haven't yet read The Architecture of VMware ESXi, I would recommend having a good read through.

Differences between ESX and ESXi logs

Here is the common log file structure in ESX (Source)

  • /var/log/vmware/hostd.log – ESX Service Log
  • var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log – vSphere Client Agent Logs
  • /var/log/vmware/aam – VMware HA Logs
  • /var/logvmkernel – VMKernel Messages
  • /var/log/vmkwarning – VMKernel Warnings
  • /var/log/messages – Service Console Log

Here is the common log file structure in ESXi

  • /var/log/vmware/hostd.log – ESXi Service Log
  • var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log – vCenter Agent Logs
  • /var/log/messages – Syslog Log (Combines vmkernel & hostd)

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Using vMA As Your ESXi Syslog Server

This is something I did a while ago, but it came to my attention that people didn't; a) Know that it's recommended to use a syslog server with ESXi b) You could use an application built in to vMA called vilogger.

Although it is stated in The Architecture of VMware ESXi…..

Because the in-memory file system does not persist when the power is shut down, log files do not survive a reboot. ESXi has the ability to configure a remote syslog server, enabling you to save all log information on an external system. 

…..it is not a well known fact. So that is partly the reason for writing the post. The other reason is to introduce you to vilogger, which is part of the vMA. Of course you can use which ever syslog server you wish,  if you plan to use your own, be sure to checkout Managing VMware ESXi page #68 to view the configuration steps.

I'm not going to take you through the steps of installing vMA, nor am I going to tell you all about what the vMA (vSphere Manage Assistant) does. If you want to read more about that please find the relevant links in the Sources section at the bottom of the page. But I am going to take you through the steps I took to use vMA as my ESXi syslog server.

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VMware Certified Advanced Professional – VCAP

Today VMware finally officially announced their new Exam set named;  VMware Certified Advanced Professional – VCAP

The VCAP Certification will sit in between VCP and VCDX

The VCAP comprises of two Exams:

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vSphere 4 – System Resource Allocation/Reservation

resource reservationsThis is more of a discussion point than a informational Post. I've been trying to find out about what is the best practice for an ESX Hosts System Resource Reservation (Not Resource Pools). What values to use? And should I dive deeper and apply/remove reservations from System Resource Pools (See Screenshot).

I've been reading through these two VMware documents but nothing obvious seems to jump out at me.

It mostly just explains about how Shares/Reservations/Limits and standard Resource Pooling, which I think I already understand well.

Before I moved over to ESXi, it was part of my build document to Reserve 800MB of RAM for the COS. Do I need to reserve anything now? What do you do?

  1. Do you just set a simple CPU and Memory System Resource Reservation? If so what values and why?
  2. Do you dive deeper into the Advanced System Resource Pool Reservations? If so, Why?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Note: I am not talking about Resource Pools. I'm talking about The System Resource Allocation section on the Config tab of an ESX Host. (As seen below)

 

Resource Allocation

 

Global Knowledge – Going The Xtra Mile

VMware Xtra

A few weeks back, Global Knowledge announced a new service called VMware Xtra. VMware Xtra is the brainchild of awarding winning Instructor Scott Vessey. Having already met Scott and regularly chatting with him I had a feeling that this will be good.

VMware Xtra is a selection of online resources to help you get the most from your VMware training courses. The online repository allows users access to support tools such as technical papers, industry experts and video tutorials.

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PowerCLI: A Simple VM Backup Script

Just lately I've been doing a lot of work in a Lab environment. Some of the work I'm doing is quite important to me so I decided to workout a way I can backup my VM's onto a backup device. To my surprise this was pretty simple to do.

Here is how I decided the script should function:

  1. Send myself an email telling me that the backup process has started
  2. Import the name of the VM to be backed up and the destination datastore from a CSV file
  3. Create a Snapshot of the VM I want to backup
  4. Create a Clone'd VM from the Snapshot
    • Place the backup onto my Backup Datastore
    • Name the backup <master VM name>-<date stamp>
    • Thin provision the backup
  5. Remove the Snapshot from the master VM
  6. Send myself an email telling me that the backup process has completed

So that's what I wanted to do, this is what I ended up with.

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Bedtime Reading – EMC’s ISM Book

ISMbookIf you're a virtualisation enthusiast like myself, you'll understand that we don't only need to know about virtualisation. We also need to know about all of the other IT areas that are incorporated into our virtual environment. Storage is a massive part of this. Whether your using iSCSI, FC SAN, NFS or even local storage, it's crucial to make sure you have your storage set up correctly to get the best performance, reliability and availability for your data. Storage isn't one of my strengths. Even though I know the basics, I feel, and have also been told that this can hold me back in becoming a better virtualisation specialist.

Fortunately whilst visiting EMC at the GestalIT TechFieldDay earlier in April, each of the delegates, including myself were given a copy of EMC's book; Information, Storage And Management.

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