vExpert 2016 Awards Announced

The vExpert 2016 Awards have been announced. Both Mark Coney  and I were chosen as first-time vExperts. As co-VMUG leaders of the Gainesville VMUG we are excited to get this recognition and hope to live up to the designation of vExpert.
To see the entire list of 2016 vExperts please look at https://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2016/02/vexpert-2016-award-announcement.html .

vexpert_logo

Don’t forget that the next Gainesville VMUG meeting is slated for February 25th.  For more details go to https://www.vmug.com/p/cm/ld/fid=13003 and don’t forget to register.

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VCS to VCSA Fling Experience

We’ve been discussing using the VCS to VCVA fling converter appliance.  We spent a few days installing the lab and re-installing due to not reading all the requirements for the VMware Migration Fling. I built the test vCenter server with Windows 2012 Server which has specifically been shown to be buggy and does not work.  I shouldn’t have done that anyway since our production vCenter servers are Windows 2008 R2.

After spending time re-reading all the caveats and known issues with the fling at William Lam’s virtuallyGhetto it was time to test and get comfortable with how the fling works. We scheduled some conference room time and went through the deployment of the migration appliance and just followed the instructions.

Troubleshooting

The only issue that we experienced is that the converter appliance would not accept my domain credentials to access the existing vCenter server. Our default administrator account on all of our Windows servers is renamed in our domain.  It appeared that the converter appliance would only try the vCenter local account called Administrator. After several tries with domain\username, username, localusername, etc. we created a local account on the vCenter server called Administrator. Once that was done the conversion continued on smoothly.  After looking around I didn’t see anyone else having this issue but I thought I’d mention it in case someone else experiences this issue as well.

We were very happy with the result in the lab and will be scheduling the conversion of one of our production vCenter servers to the VCSA soon.

Killing SSLv3 Tip

This week brought another unusual problem. We have a multi-domain environment that includes 2 different active directory forests with a trust. Like most of the world we have disabled SSLv3 on desktops as well as servers to prevent SSLv3 connections but this was only done completely in our main active directory domain. Everything has been working fine until this week.   Over the weekend a new change was introduced to the environment in the form of a new sha2 certificate for domain controllers in the other active directory domain. Once this change was implemented user accounts from the other domain would no longer authenticate for our Horizon View vCenter.

Settings were checked and the LDAPs identity source was identical on both our vCenters in our main domain but one did not work. Certificate stores were checked and they both had the relevant certificates.  After digging further there was one difference between the 2 vcenter servers concerning SSL.

Look under vCenter Server Settings.

SSLv3-SS1

There is a setting located under Advanced Settings called SSL.Version.

SSLv3-SS2

Choose TLSv1 to completely stop vCenter from trying to communicate over SSLv3.

SSLv3-SS3

 

 

 

Do Work Politics and VMware Ignorance Rule Your Datacenter?

ServerDiagnosis  Do you ever find that as a VMware admin that you have to defend your choices when it comes to virtual machine sizing? We’ve all been there when our customers (i.e. internal I.T. analysts) or even your co-workers on your team question why you didn’t give their vm as much cpu or memory as originally requested.
How do you deal with it? Often it is easy to just declare I am the VMware admin and I obviously know more than you so just accept what I am saying. Besides, you are just an ignorant newb when it comes to VMware. The other response is to elevate the conversation and educate the ignorati.
I like to think that I choose the latter but I sometimes fantasize about the former.
In that vein I choose to highlight some basic troubleshooting methods that VMware recommends to determine if indeed that vm is worthy of a bump in cpu, memory, or even diagnose storage or network issues. A great knowledge base article to start with is Troubleshooting ESX/ESXi virtual machine performance issues (2001003) .

Hopefully this is a good start in troubleshooting ESXI performance issues and hopefully your political and ignorance issues are few and far between.  I’d love to hear from you about your experiences!

 

Tech Support Is Not a Dirty Word

Sooner or later you will have an occasion to call VMware tech support in your career as a VMware admin. If you’re anything like me you want to figure things out for yourself but not take too long. You don’t want to admit you don’t know the answer but logically how can you know all the answers all of the time. Over the past 6 months my co-worker and I have been in this very situation more than a few times with our VMware environment. What I have learned is to be more humble and maybe a little quicker in making that support call. In every case I have learned so much from support that I feel like I received free VMware training. As much as you can learn from reading a technical book and researching a knowledge base article it just pales in the face of real world experience. Don’t be afraid to quickly assess your ability solve a technical problem in a timely manner versus calling support. You will gain experience by working with those more experienced than you that tackle these problems on a daily basis.

Top 13 Free VMware Training Resources

For those of us who have to constantly keep our VMware skills updated training is never far out of our thoughts.  IT Training is often quite expensive and VMware training can be even more expensive.  Training on a budget is always a difficult proposition but it can be done if you have enough resources at your disposal. These resources consist of websites, videos, online labs, and podcasts.

I have scoured the internet and come up with my Top 10 Free VMware Training Resources:

  1. VMware Education Top Free Courses
  2. VMware HOL Online (Hands On Labs)
  3. VMware TV Intro to Virtualization Video Training Course
  4. VMwareVideos
  5. Backup Academy VMware Training Videos
  6. VMsources Virtualization
  7. VCP5 Practice Exams
  8. Paul Braren YouTube Channel
  9. Online VMware Training Podcast
  10. VMware KBTV
  11. Free VMware Training Videos
  12. VMware TechPubs
  13. VMware Technical Papers

The resources above should be a good start.  They definitely will supplement official VMware training for those seeking certifications.

Deleting Orphaned Virtual Desktops In VMware View

If you’ve ever managed a VMware View vdi environment for a period of time sooner or later you will have to manually delete orphaned virtual desktops.  Although VMware provides KB 1008658 that explains this procedure.  It is lacking in clarity especially for first time VMware View admins.

As we all know our friend Google provides if you only ask.  I have found 3 other blogs that do very good job of taking KB 1008658 and parsing it down to a more concise version.  My intention was to do this myself but why reinvent the wheel when you can just pay homage to it.

Here are the 3 blog post links:

http://terenceluk.blogspot.com/2013/02/manually-deleting-orphaned-andor-stale.html

http://marcdrinkwater.com/2013/06/13/removing-missing-desktops-from-vmware-view/

http://luckyblogshere.blogspot.com/2011/06/removing-vms-from-adam-database.html

 

The summarized steps for deleting an orphaned virtual desktop in VMware View is:

  1. Stop provisioning on the offending vdi pool (optional but my experience is that it is essential especially with very busy non-persistent pools with)
  2. Remove orphaned virtual desktop from ADAM database
  3. Remove all relevant entries for the orphaned vdi in the SQL Composer database
  4. Delete corresponding computer object out of Active Directory
  5. Enable provisioning once again on the pool

Please see the other blog posts for exact details.

Hopefully seeing more than one example really helps in understanding the necessary steps.