Monthly Archives: February 2012

VCP5 – done and dusted!

The VCP5 exam is;

A. Remarkably easy, a bunch of monkeys typing randomly would probably pass.

B. Unreasonably hard, even a team of VCDX’s working together would be lucky to scrape a pass.

C. A fair test of real world knowledge. If you’ve worked with vSphere for a while and v5 in particular you’ll be fine.

D. all about Veuve Clicqout Ponsardin, a premium brand of champagne.

Choose one.

Hint – one answer is related, but not correct!

Adding a custom PowerCLI brush for syntax highlighting on WordPress

After moving my blog to a new hosting provider last month I was reviewing the WordPress plugins I use and I found myself wondering if Alex Gorbatchev’s SyntaxHighlighter supported PowerCLI. The WordPress plugin I use (courtesy of Alex Bond) had a Powershell plugin but no PowerCLI. Time to create! I’m by no means the first person to extend this plugin and I quickly realised there were two options;

  • upload a new ‘brush’ file to overwrite the existing Powershell brush. That change would be lost however if you upgraded the WordPress plugin and with the imminent release of Powershell v3 it could also be lost if the original Powershell brush was updated.
  • write an extra plugin which includes the new language. I felt this was a bit more work, but generally the better solution (plus I was half doing this to learn more about WordPress and the plugin structure). With clear guidance on how to create new languages the hard work was already done.

The result is my WordPress plugin for PowerCLI syntax highlighting which includes;

Continue reading Adding a custom PowerCLI brush for syntax highlighting on WordPress

vExpert 2012 – the mutual benefit of the 1%

Firstly, this is not about the 1% associated with the Occupy WallSt campaign! As widely reported on Twitter and the blogosphere the 2012 vExpert program is up and running – I won’t go into the changes this year as there is plenty of coverage for that. In VMware’s own words;

The annual VMware vExpert title is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. The title is awarded to individuals (not employers) for their commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion for VMware technology above and beyond their job requirements.

Sounds great, let’s fill in that application form right? Before you apply have you ever paused to consider what is it you’re actually doing, and for whom? In an interesting article about ‘going social’ posted just a few weeks ago Dr Michael Hu talked about six myths companies believe are associated with a social strategy, one of which is the need to reach every customer to be effective. He refutes this, stating;

Instead, you need to discover the small number of “superfans” who want deeper engagement and then harness their enthusiasm to manage and strengthen other customer relationships on behalf of the brand. That’s the real power of community – you tend to the 1% who tend the other 99%.

That describes the vExpert in a nutshell – you are the 1%!

You could see this through cynical eyes as VMware using the community for their own benefit but like many of my peers I’ve been working in IT for well over a decade and virtualisation is the first time I’ve found a community that really benefits everyone involved. Maybe it’s the advent of social networking, maybe it’s the convergence of the various technologies or maybe it’s the time and effort expended by VMware (and geek herder extraordinaire @jtroyer)  but for some reason it works where it never did before. I enjoy being part of the VMware community and I  know it adds value for me (and therefore my employer) and many other people. While the 1% add great value on VMware’s behalf they also benefit greatly from the experience themselves. Just bear in mind that much as we’d all like VMware’s recognition, VMware need us too!

I’m already vExperienced and I’d love to be a vExpert. Fingers crossed!

ps. Apologies to Alex Maier who now runs the vExpert program – I’d already made up my ‘poster’ before I knew!

Space: the final frontier (gotcha upgrading to vSphere5 with NFS)

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UPDATE March 2012 – VMware have just confirmed that the fix will be released as part of vSphere5 U2. Interesting because as of today (March 15th) update 1 hasn’t even been released – how much longer will that be I wonder? I’m also still waiting for a KB article but it’s taking it’s time…

UPDATE May 2012 – VMware have just released article KB2013844 which acknowledges the problem – the fix (until update 2 arrives) is to rename your datastores. Gee, useful…  🙂

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For the last few weeks we’ve been struggling with our vSphere5 upgrade. What I assumed would be a simple VUM orchestrated upgrade turned into a major pain, but I guess that’s why they say ‘never assume’!

Summary: there’s a bug in the upgrade process whereby NFS mounts are lost during the upgrade from vSphere4 to vSphere5;

  • if you have NFS datastores with a space in the name
  • and you’re using ESX classic (ESXi is not affected)

Our issue was that after the upgrade completed, the host would start back up but the NFS mounts would be missing. As we use NFS almost exclusively for our storage this was a showstopper. We quickly found that we could simply remount the NFS with no changes or reboots required so there was no obvious reason why the upgrade process didn’t remount them. With over fifty hosts to upgrade however the required manual intervention meant we couldn’ t automate the whole process (OK, PowerCLI would have done the trick but I didn’t feel inspired to code a solution) and we aren’t licenced for Host Profiles which would also have made life easier. Thus started the process of reproducing and narrowing down the problem.

  • We tried both G6 and G7 blades as well as G6 rack mount servers (DL380s)
  • We used interactive installs using a DVD of the VMware ESXi v5 image
  • We used VUM to upgrade hosts using both the VMware ESXi v5 image and the HP ESXi v5 image
  • We upgraded from ESXv4.0u1 to ESX 4.1 and then onto ESXiv5
  • We used storage arrays with both Netapp ONTAP v7 and ONTAP v8 (to minimise the possibility of the storage array firmware being at fault)
  • We upgraded hosts both joined to and isolated from from vCentre

Every scenario we tried produced the same issue. We also logged a call with VMware (SR 11130325012) and yesterday they finally reproduced and identified the issue as a space in the datastore name. As a workaround you can simply rename your datastores to remove the spaces, perform the upgrade, and then rename them back. Not ideal for us (we have over fifty NFS datastores on each host) but better than a kick in the teeth!

There will be a KB article released shortly so until then treat the above information with caution – no doubt VMware will confirm the technical details more accurately than I have done here. I’m amazed that no-one else has run into this six months after the general availability of vSphere5 – maybe NFS isn’t taking over the world as much as I’d hoped!  I’ll update this article when the KB is posted but in the meantime NFS users beware.

Sad I know, but it’s kinda nice to have discovered my own KB article. Who’d have thought that having too much space in my datastores would ever cause a problem? 🙂