From the editors Virtual Desk
What a busy week, it feels like the first completely full week that I have had since festivities started last year december. All of my customers were pretty much back at work in full force and I had a complete work week with no distractions at all. I feel very productive

The main feature for me this week was vCenter Operations 5.0 Advanced for my customers. Many of them have version 1.0 already or a similar solution such as Capacity IQ. With the release of vCenter Operations 5.0 my customers were keen to get stuck in and deploy the new system. I posted some gotcha’s last week but for those that are going to do this please be aware that an IP Pool is required as the new OVF is a vApp. The most critical part is the first run through and the parameters that are inserted into the solution such as the networking type (Fixed/Transient/DHCP) and other such parameters. I suggest that you read the blog post on this and then when you have deployed check the console of the UI or Analysis VM for any errors before you continue to setup the solution.

My current success with this is 100% once you know what to do and it is a very cool way of easily deploying and setting up an entire system. I really hope that this is the way forward and that the simplicity and easy to deploy nature of this system is continued through to all of our solutions and our partners look at doing the same. If you are deploying and require any assistance I suggest a quick call to your TAM should help you along the way.

Last week’s I wrote a blog posting on the TAM website which I encourage you to visit and have a read.

That’s it for this week, enjoy the newsletter. Don’t forget to check the KB articles at the end as always and discuss any issues or requirements with your TAM.

Warm Wishes
Neil Isserow (Newsletter Editor and VMware TAM Blog Custodian)
Queensland Technical Account Manager
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VMware vSphere: What's New [V5.0]
Start date:           5 March 2012
Location:              Brisbane
Length:                 2 days
Cost:                      AUD $1640 (excl GST) /person

VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.0]
Start date:           19 March 2012
Location:              Brisbane
Length:                 5 days
Cost:                      AUD $3850 (excl GST) /person

VMware vSphere: Design Workshop [V5.0]
Date:                     7 March
Location:              Brisbane
Length:                 3 days
Cost:                     AUD $2720

New Book - The Official VCP5 Certification Guide
This is the first and only official guide to VMware's new VCP510 (VCP 5) exam. Organized to follow VMware's newest exam blueprint, it's also designed from the ground up to be both engaging and enjoyable. Author Bill Ferguson acts like a "study buddy," encouraging virtualization professionals, anticipating their questions, and helping them gain both mastery and confidence.

VCP 5 Promo (Australia)
Be among the first to earn the newest VMware certification - VCP5
The launch of vSphere 5 comes with nearly 200 new and enhanced capabilities, and will continue to set the standard in virtualization and cloud computing, delivering better application performance and availability for all business-critical applications. Therefore it is important for you and your organization to be equipped with the latest knowledge and skills needed to operate your virtual environment.

Contact your TAM for more information.

Live Online Learning
VMware live online learning is the perfect solution for professionals who want to attend VMware training but would prefer not to travel. Through this delivery method, our expert instructors deliver the same high-quality courses and hands-on experiences as in our traditional classroom courses – minus the travel. Learn more.

VMware Beta Classes
Be among the first to take new courses designed and delivered by VMware Training by participating in our beta classes. They cost less, count for full credit and give you the chance to contribute to the final course content. Learn more.

vCO Team: VMware Virtual Customer Labs Automated with vCenter Orchestrator
The virtual Insanity blog has a good article describing the VMware virtual Customer Lab (vCL) consisting in a fully automated cloud solution where users can checkout VMware software solutions for 14 days of testing and training/education.
The article explains what is the vCL and how it works. A part of the solution involves a vCO powered request / approval portal. Read more about it here.

VMware vSphere Blog: Migrating RDMs, and a question for RDM Users.
On a number of occasions recently, I had to investigate what happened to a Raw Device Mapping (RDM) when:
The VM to which the RDM was attached was Storage vMotion'ed (VM Powered On)
The VM to which the RDM was attached was Cold Migrated (VM Powered Off)
Some of you may even have been following along the comments in some of my previous postings. Well, this is what I observed, testing with both pRDMs and vRDMs.

vSphere PowerCLI Blog: PowerCLI 5.0.1 vCloud Director – Stopping and starting vApps
In a previous video we showed you how to get started with PowerCLI 5.0.1 and specifically the vCloud Director (vCD) cmdlets, we show you how to gain a list of cmdlets which were added to PowerCLI 5.0.1 for managing vCD and how to use some of these cmdlets to gather data from your vCD infrastructure.

VMware vSphere Blog: Introduction to the vSphere API Part 1
In our previous article, we quickly looked at the differences between an API and an SDK. In this article, we will take a look at a high level summary of what makes up the vSphere API.
The vSphere API provides an interface for users to access the capabilities and features of the vSphere platform which includes the vCenter Server and ESX(i) hosts. Capabilities such as host management, virtual machine provisioning, monitoring, etc. are exposed as a Web Services API from both a vCenter Server and ESX(i) host. Depending on the feature, certain functionalities of the API will only be available at the vCenter Server (e.g. VM Cloning or Storage DRS).

VMware vSphere Blog: The vCloud Director Appliance
Evaluating software to make sure that it is fit for purpose in your environment can be a time consuming task.  One has to acquire the hardware, get the software, and configure the environment.  Only then can they get to the business of performing the evaluation.  Of course, virtualization helps here.  Just a quick look at the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace and you’ll see hundreds of pre-packaged solutions ready for you to download and play with.

VMware End User Computing: Antivirus Scanning in a VMware View Virtual Desktop Environment That Includes ThinApp Virtualized Applications
When you have ThinApp virtualized applications installed in a VMware View virtual desktop environment, what do you need to do to set up antivirus protection?
You may think that ThinApp virtualized applications protect the desktop from viruses and other malware during application use because of the “virtual bubble” created for user activity. Yes, the ThinApp “virtual bubble” can offer a layer of protection against runtime modifications to files and registry keys. But running ThinApp virtualized applications is similar to running native applications on the desktop: you need to protect the desktop.

VMTN Blog: Join the VMware Community Circle on Google+
You probably have heard about Google+, but most people haven't really checked out this new social network. Google+ has some of the good qualities of both Twitter and Facebook, and it could turn out to be quite a nice way for IT professionals interested in VMware, virtualization, cloud computing, and IT transformation to hang out.
Google+ has some of the nicer qualities of Twitter, in that you can follow your interest graph, not your social graph. If you're reading this blog, that means you can follow fellow IT professionals and talk about jumbo frames without Aunt Helga asking how you're going to attach them to the wall.

VMware vSphere Blog: DRS VM-Host Affinity "must-rules" remain active after disabling DRS
Frank Denneman, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
vSphere 4.1 and vSphere 5 offer the ability to create virtual machine to host affinity rules. A VM-Host affinity rule specifies an affinity relationship between a group of virtual machines and a group of hosts. There are 'mandatory' rules (designated by "must") and 'preferential' rules (designated by "should".)

Rethink IT: vCloud Integration Manager and more clouds in more countries
Today, VMware is announcing new software designed specifically for our service provider partners called vCloud Integration Manager. We developed Integration Manager to provide a simple and standardized way for service providers to provision vCloud Director, vShield and vSphere in order to more quickly get new customers up and running on a cloud service. Until now, service providers either had to do these tasks manually, or redirect valuable software development resources to writing undifferentiated "glue code" and/or automation scripts.

VMware for Small-Medium Business Blog: Introducing vCenter Protect (Shavlik Technologies acquisition)
VMware and Shavlik Technologies have been partners for years and decided to officially tie the knot in 2011. vCenter Protect (formerly Shavlik NetChk Protect) complements vSphere perfectly and helps medium and smaller organizations to manage the transition from physical to virtual.  With vCenter Protect, we are transforming IT solutions to enable IT generalists to take advantage of the efficiencies gained with the latest technologies, while using a simplified, easy-to-use IT Management solution at an affordable price.

Business Critical Applications: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for Organizations of All Sizes
Whether you’re a large enterprise or small to midsized business, VMware solutions enable you to reduce costs and simplify your plans for business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR).
For customer sites with up to 75 virtual machines: Save 40 percent off a 75-VM pack of VMware Site Recovery Manager™ Standard and vCenter Operations™ Enterprise.
For customer sites with more than 75 virtual machines: Introducing the Business Production Bundle, a 75-VM pack of Site Recovery Manager Enterprise, vCenter Operations Enterprise, and VMware vShield App. Purchase it now and receive 75 free Training Credits (value $7,500 USD). Training can be instructor-led or webbased and expires after one year.

VMware vSphere Blog: Using HP’s Online VIB Repository
I just learned about the online VIB repository that HP has made available at
This is a great resource and I thought I would give a quick overview on how you can access this repository to browse the contents and add the VIBs to your Image Profiles.

VMware vSphere Blog: The Importance of VM Size to NUMA Node Size
vSphere is pretty smart when it comes to managing physical memory and determining where best to place a virtual machine’s memory given how busy each NUMA node is in the physical server.  If a VM is running in a busy NUMA node, the ESXi kernel will automatically migrate the virtual machine to a less busy NUMA node in the server in order to get better performance.

VMware vSphere Blog: The vCloud Director Adapter
It’s amazing how quickly the resources in your IaaS implementation will get consumed.  Leveraging the vCloud Director catalog and vApp template features, users don’t have to deal with the tedious activities associated with standing up new environments.  This ease of use facilitates the consumption of resources.

vCenter Orchestrator Blog: Configuration Elements revisited
A configuration element is a list of attributes you can use to configure constants across a whole Orchestrator server deployment. That’s what the vCO documentation states. In other words, the configuration elements are the easiest way offered by vCO to organize and establish a set of constant values which will be accessible from any key element of vCO (workflows, policies and web views).

VMware vSphere Blog: Storage DRS affinity rules and alternate swapfile location
By default Storage DRS applies an Intra-VM affinity rule to each virtual machine. This default rule is commonly referred to as the VMDK affinity rule. The Intra-VM affinity rule keeps the files belonging to a virtual machine, such as the VMX file, Swap files and VMDK files together on the same datastore. If a virtual machine is migrated out of a datastore, all files will be migrated.


Cloud Foundry Now Supports the Rails Console
Ruby and Rails developers can now remotely access the popular rails console using the Cloud Foundry command line tool (VMC). This new feature enables inspection of the Cloud Foundry Runtime App environment, troubleshooting application issues in runtime, and even the ability to modify data “on the fly” for one-off admin tasks.  Using the new vmc rails-console command, developers can target any Cloud Foundry instance, including the upcoming release of Micro Cloud Foundry.
Getting Started
First, install or update your Cloud Foundry command line tool (‘VMC’) to the latest preview version using the following command:
gem install vmc --pre
You can verify that you got the right version using:
vmc -v
which should show the version to be 0.3.16.beta.3 or higher.
Next, push or update a Rails app using vmc push.
To access the console, run:
vmc rails-console appname
That’s all there is to it!  Read on for a more detailed example…

The Trouble with CA SSL Certificates and ESXi 5
For those of you that follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I’ve been having some fun this week with changing out the default VMware generated SSL certificates on a greenfields deployment of vSphere 5 that will be supporting a large public cloud. Changing certificates is nothing new, and in environments that are concerned with security it is common practice. However it has been my experience that changing certificates with ESX(i) and vCenter has always been a bit of a challenge (I have done it on vSphere 4.x before this).  It can be very time consuming and error prone, especially if you haven’t done it before. One of the things that makes it hard for people to get this right is that there is no one document or source of truth that explains in sufficient detail what the requirements and supported configurations are or how to implement CA signed ssl certificates in ESX(i) and vCenter Server. This has tripped up many organizations both large and small. I’m hoping that the information in this article will help and encourage more people to change out the default certs (to improve security), and make the process far more reliable and easier to achieve with vSphere 5. This article will focus on successfully changing the default VMware SSL certificates on ESXi 5 hosts with CA signed certificates using a Microsoft CA (it will also work with public and OpenSSL CAs, but I have not tested it yet).

How-to disable ssh for the host has been enabled message in ESXi 5
SSH for the host has been enabled – how to disable this message.
The other day when I updated my very old article on How to activate SSH on ESXi, I thought that I have posted already an article on the deactivation of the ssh for the host has been enabled warning message in vSphere 5. But I didn’t. You could already find it on VMware communities or VMware KB articles, but this is also for my own bookmarking …. -:).

Is Lockdown Mode Really Locked Down?
I read a good blog article recently about a caveat with SSH keys and Lockdown Mode in ESXi 5 by William Lam at virtuallyGhetto. Now that SSH keys are fully supported in ESXi 5, and this will allow an authorized user to continue to log into the host even when Lockdown Mode is enabled, is Lockdown Mode really locked down enough?

Unofficial VMware View PCoIP Adapter for VCOps
VMware View adapter for vCenter Operations is close to GA date. That’s is fantastic; and it will give VMware View administrators the long waited insight on what’s happening with the virtual desktops and virtual desktop infrastructure.

VMware Goodies – Free Posters to download
vSphere ESXi 5 free poster
Two Free posters from VMware.
In case that you did not see the information elsewhere there is a great 2 PDF posters to download from VMware. There is a Power CLI 5.0 poster and also VMware ESXi 5 Reference poster. Both are delivered as a PDFs.

QUADStor delivers Storage Virtualization and VAAI - for free!
Are you a VMware ESXi small business (or even home) user and do you enviously look at Enterprise and high budget customers who can afford fancy high performance SAN boxes with storage virtualization features and VAAI support? Stop being envious and have a look at QUADstor's storage virtualization software. It is currently in beta and offered for free. And it has all the features that are normally

How cool and useful is Storage DRS?!
I was just playing around in my lab and created a whole bunch of VMs when I needed to deploy to large virtual machines. Both of them had 500GB disks. The first one deployed without a hassle, but the second one was impossible to deploy, well not impossible for Storage DRS. Just imagine you had to figure this out yourself! Frank wrote a great article about the logic behind this and there is no reason for me to repeat this, just head over to Frank’s blog if you want to know more..

Technical Whitepaper - VMware vSphere Distributed Switch Best Practices
This paper provides best practice guidelines for deploying the VMware vSphere® distributed switch (VDS) in a vSphere environment. The advanced capabilities of VDS provide network administrators with more control of and visibility into their virtual network infrastructure. This document covers the di!erent considerations that vSphere and network administrators must take into account when designing the network with VDS. It also discusses some standard best practices for configuring VDS features.

Technical Whitepaper - VMware vSphere VMFS-5 Upgrade Considerations
VMware vSphere 5.0 introduced a new version of the flagship vSphere Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) known as VMFS-5. VMFS-5 offers a variety of new features, including:
• Larger single extent volume (64TB)
• Larger Virtual Machine Disks (VMDKs): 2TB – 512 bytes with a new unified 1MB block size
• More and smaller sub-blocks (8KB) to reduce the amount of stranded/unused space
•  Improvements in performance and scalability via the implementation of the vSphere vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) primitive ATS (Atomic Test & Set) across all datastore operations.

Setting the default affinity rule for Storage DRS
On my blog article for yesterday “Rob M” commented that the default affinity rule for Storage DRS (SDRS), keep VM files together, did not make sense to him. One of the reasons this affinity rule is set is because customers indicated that from an operational perspective it would be easier if all files of a given VM (vmx / vmdk’s) would reside in the same folder. Especially troubleshooting was one of the main reasons, as this lowers complexity. I have to say that I fully agree with this, I’ve been in the situation where I needed to recover virtual machines and having them spread across multiple datastore really complicates things.

TCP and UDP ports used in VMware’s products
TCP and UDP ports which are used and should be modified for each product.
I found an interesting KB article, which shows you all ports required for all VMware Products. If you dealing with firewalls for local/remote sites, and using VMware Products, this KB might be helpfull since it groups all the products and different ports required to be opened.
The long list of products and especially the list of ports is quite impressive…

Technical Whitepaper - Scalable Cloud Network with Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches and VXLAN
Many customers are building private or public clouds. Intrinsic to cloud computing is having multiple tenants with numerous applications using the cloud infrastructure. Each of these tenants and applications needs to be logically isolated from each other, even at the networking level. For example, a three-tier application can have multiple virtual machines requiring logically isolated networks between the virtual machines.

Using a CNAME (DNS alias) to mount an NFS datastore
I was playing around in my lab with NFS datastores today. I wanted to fail-over a replicated NFS datastore without the need to re-register the virtual machines running on them. I had mounted the NFS datastore using the IP address and as that is used to create the UUID it was obvious that it wouldn’t work. I figured there should be a way around it but after a quick search on the internet I still hadn’t found anything yet.

How to get VMware View Desktop Login Count
I was reading tweets today and someone asked for a way to retrieve how often desktops are used – how many times users log into virtual desktops. I am not sure the reason behind the request but this is possible via the VMware View PowerCLI command Get-EventReport.
Get-EventReport -viewName user_events | Where {$_.eventtype -eq "AGENT_CONNECTED"} | Group-Object machineid | Format-Table *
The problem with Get-EventReport is that the output is the machineid property, not allowing administrator to identify the virtual desktops.

Distributed vSwitches and vCenter outage, what’s the deal?
Recently my colleague Venky Deshpande released  a whitepaper around VDS Best Practices. This white paper describes various architectural options when adopting a VDS only strategy. A strategy of which I can see the benefits. On Facebook multiple people made comments around why this would be a bad practice instead of a best practice, here are some of the comments:

vCheck 6.0 released
One of the most popular scripts on my site with 26,966 downloads of v5 has been the vCheck script, for those of you who haven’t seen this yet here is a quick summary of this script:
vCheck is a vCenter checking script, the script is designed to run as a scheduled task before you get into the office to present you with key information via an email directly to your inbox in a nice easily readable format.

How-to determine the number of vCPU’s to allocate to virtual machines
How many vCPU’s to allocate to virtual machines?
When creating new VM, one of the first questions is “how many vCPU’s to allocate to virtual machine”…. When you start an assistant in VMware vSphere and start to create a new VM, it will pick up the “right” elements depending on the template which you’ll choose from the drop down box. The correct hdd controler, network card type, etc etc… But the values about the vCPU are the not always the best to fit your environment.

Reminder: Keep an eye on your vCenter SQL DB
Past two months I’ve received three calls from customers who’s vCenter suddenly stopped working because their SQL database had stopped because the logs had filled up. Turns out few people regularly check the status of their SQL database. VMware has written some very good KB articles on what to do when your SQL DB fills up and stops. So this blog post is only a wake-up call for you to check on your database.

Fling: Auto Deploy GUI
Many of you probably know the PXE Manager fling which Max Daneri created… Max has been working on something really cool, a brand new fling: Auto Deploy GUI! I had the pleasure of test driving the GUI and providing early feedback to Max when he had just started working on it and since then it has come a long way! It is a great and useful tool which I hope will at some point be part of vCenter. Once again, great work Max! I suggest that all of you check out this excellent fling and provide Max with feedback so that he can continue to develop and improve it.

Stratus vCenter Uptime Appliance
I noticed the term “Stratus vCenter Uptime Appliance” a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t find any details on it. It appears that Stratus has now officially announced their vCenter Uptime Appliance. The appliance is built on the company’s fault-tolerant, Intel® processor-based ftServer architecture. In short, these systems are kept in lockstep and if one fails the other one will take over.

vSphere Web Client SSL Cert not updated after vCenter SSL Cert Changed
I’ve had a few people ask me over the last couple of days why their vSphere Web Client SSL certificates are not being updated when they change the vCenter SSL Certificate as per my articleThe Trouble with CA SSL Certificates and vCenter 5.  The normal reason for this is that the vSphere Web Client, when installed on the vCenter Server, stores it’s SSL certificates in a completely different location to that of vCenter Server. I’ve also since found out since publishing my other articles that this is true for the Inventory Service also. Why both of these services when installed on the vCenter Server don’t leverage the same SSL certificate location I’m not sure. My previous article has now been updated to include the replacement of the SSL cert for the Inventory Service, and also mentions the vSphere Web Client when installed on the same system as vCenter.

VMware Certified Advanced Professional on vSphere 4 – Datacenter Design
The VCAP-DCD is directed toward IT Architects and Consulting Architects who are capable of designing VMware solutions in a multi-site, large enterprise environment.  They have a deep understanding both of VMware core components and their relation to storage and networking, and also of datacenter design methodologies. They also possess knowledge of applications and physical infrastructure, as well as their relationship to the virtual infrastructure.

VMware vSphere: Design Workshop [V5.x]

DRBC Design - Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Fundamentals

Please Check for the latest articles as they were not available at the time of writing.