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BriForum London kicked off yesterday taking place near St Paul’s Cathedral at the ETC Venues conference facility. Once I stopped trying to follow google maps to get there (Which was trying to take me somewhere about a mile away) I joined the registration queue and quickly headed into the opening keynote by Brian Madden. The first part of the keynote was a review of what was said last year during the keynote, with the end concentrating on the improvements that have happened since, that are starting to make VDI a more cost effective and viable solution from where we were in the past. These included hardware offloaded graphics processing and single instance block storage.

Brian was keen to push that VDI only works in persistent mode, as users want to customise their desktop and install their own apps as they always have done amongst other reasons. I don’t agree fully with this sentiment, whilst having a persistent desktop is certainly an easier option to get you VDI project off the ground we won’t be making full use of the benefits of a VDI solution and moving forward when we are looking to allow the user to become decoupled from one device (or desktop source) the movement of data, apps and customisations will be increasingly important. Admittedly if you are a power user and need to be installing your own applications that aren’t part of an enterprise app store like Horizon Workspace a persistent desktop maybe your best and only option unless you are going to look into solution like Liquidware Labs Flex Apps, but most task and knowledge workers in companies from my experience are not concerned by not being able to install applications (or potentially have ever been able too) or only being able to select from the enterprise catalogue. With the wide variety of persona management solutions around there is no reason why user customisations shouldn’t be persistent between non persistent desktops. By having a non-persistent desktop configured correctly with persona management and application layering technologies we are able to refresh the base image for security and consistency on a regular basis without issue and the desktop itself becomes worthless meaning there is no requirement to back it up, unlike a persistent desktop which presumably is persistent because it has some worth to an individual or the business.

After the keynote we were given the opportunity to engage with the vendors attending the conference, I was very disappointed to not see VMware and Citrix attending this year, this event is a great showcase for these companies especially when there is so much focus on end user computing from VMware at the moment. I really enjoyed chatting with a number of vendor’s especially, AppSense regarding their DataNow and MobileNow products, Atlantis ILIO, nVidia with their GRID GPUs, Nutanix with their block based compute and storage platform and Xangati with their Virtualisation monitoring product. The vendor hall in my opinion could be 2 or 3 times the size for this event, what better opportunity is there for End User Computing focused vendors to have a dedicated audience of End User Computing professionals to talk too and wow with their wares, where are the likes of Dell Wyse, DevonIT, Liquidware Labs amongst others?

A key part of any BriForum is the breakout sessions, where industry experts share their knowledge, in the morning I joined Jack Madden’s session regarding Enterprise Device Management (EDM) this is a relatively new subject area for me so I was pleased to learn more as Jack walked us through his new book that will be out shortly. My next sessions was AppSense’s Bring Your Own Dad (Device, Application, Data) session. I was keen to attend AppSense’s session after enjoying theirs so much last year, they seem to know how to engage the audience and mix knowledge with live demonstrations, a lot of vendors need to learn from these guys, as when talking to a technical audience the sales pitch won’t cut it. My remaining technical sessions of the day were regarding RDS 2012 and Storage improvements in vSphere 5.1 which I really enjoyed and I am hoping to catch up with presenter Jim Moyle today to discuss further how Atlantis ILIO assists in VDI solution as Jim works for Atlantis. I also attended the vendor session by Nutantix and Streamcore, I’m not sure what went wrong in this session as it appeared to finish 45 minutes early and I would have loved to have seen a live demo by Rob Tribe during the Nutanix presentation as his passion for the product and technology always comes across really well. The StreamCore presentation was just that “a number of slides” and unfortunately wasn’t very engaging.

Overall I had a good first day and even managed to pop into the new Giant bike shop downstairs during a break, I know Brian is a cycling fan (after discussing over beers at the last BriForum) and would recommend he pops down! Today I will be looking forward to attending Ruben Sprujit’s from PQR’s sessions as they were amongst my favourites last year.

It’s that time of year again for the annual vote for your top virtualisation blogs over at Eric Sieberts vSphere Land site.

You are asked to vote for your favourite blogs of the year and also your favourite blog in a number of categories such as top podcast and independent blogger. I hope those of you that have enjoyed my blog this year including my coverage of many events will take your time to pop over to the site and vote for me J

Read about the vote and cast you’re here >> http://vmware-land.com/

Amongst others I will be voting for Simon Longs blog which has contained some fantastic information regarding VMware View and VDI, Frank Denneman and Duncan Eppings blogs which have as ever offered a technical deepdive into the inner working of vSphere and Alan Renouf’s blog who is always the goto blog for PowerCLI.

Happy voting and good luck!

 

I have recently had a number of issues with SSO in my lab environment, to help me troubleshoot this I have had to get familiar with the SSO command line options.

First start a command prompt from “C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\utils”

To list your SSO identity sources fun the following command

manage-identity-sources -a list

This will display your identity sources as below

image

To delete a identity source run the following command

manage-identity-sources -a delete

This will ask you for the ID to delete, the ID can be found in the list output above

image

To create a new SSO identity source you are able to use the following command

manage-identity-sources -a create

 image

Please note you can either use ldaps which utilises 3269 or ldap which uses 389. I have recently had an issue where my installation has previously worked, now has issues utilising ldaps even though I don’t have a PKI server or root CA on my domain and all of a sudden it now doesn’t work. I’m assuming this is an issue on my domain that I will look into further.

For those of you who are attending VMworld EMEA in Barcelna next week be sure to grab a copy of the program guide which contains all the info you could wish to know

Download Program Guide

image

Also be sure to save the VMworld mobile site http://www.vmworld.com/mobile for the latest updates

I have recently been lucky enough to have access to TrainSignal’s latest SRM training, the training is hosted by fellow vExpert Sean Clark. I have been fortunate to have work with SRM quite a bit over the years with the current and previous versions, but my main interest in the training was the sections on vSphere Replication. When I have installed for customers we have always used supported SANs with their SRA’s, so I have never configured the new vSphere Replication that was introduced in SRM 5 in anger.

SRM5

The course is split in 14 lessons as follows

Lesson 1 – Getting Started with SRM 5Lesson 2 – Course ScenarioLesson 3 – Lab SetupLesson 4 – Installing SRM for vSphere ReplicationLesson 5 – vSphere Replication ConfigurationLesson 6 – Protecting VMs with vSphere ReplicationLesson 7 – Recovering VMs with vSphere ReplicationLesson 8 – Evaluating vSphere ReplicationLesson 9 – SRM 5 and Array Replication Part 1Lesson 10 – SRM 5 and Array Replication Part 2Lesson 11 – SRM 5 and Array Replication Part 3Lesson 12 – Custom Recovery PlansLesson 13 – SRM OperationsLesson 14 – Next Steps

What I like most about the TrainSignal training and these videos is the ability to follow at your own pace and the fact that the training is based around real world scenarios, which helps considerably when wanting to understand concepts and use cases.

I highly recommend their training if you are new to SRM or would like to have a better understanding, for more information check out their website here >> http://www.trainsignal.com/VMware-Site-Recovery-Manager-5.aspx

 

I recently had an issue when trying to remove a VMkernel from an iSCSI initiator bind on a vSphere 4.1 host. When trying to run

esxcli swisics nic remove –n vmk3 –d vmhba43

We received the following error

Errors: Failed to Remove NIC

A quick search found that a couple of people had seen this error and a reboot had resolved the problem, http://communities.vmware.com/thread/257240

Vmware vsphere troubleshooting

 

I have recently been working my way through the Trainsignal troubleshooting training videos, as I have previously mentioned on this blog, the way Trainsignal does their training really suits the way I learn. If I am able to follow along with visual demonstrations I will pick something up much quicker than reading a book. In this latest training vExpert David Davis covers all the key areas to assist you with troubleshooting a vSphere environment, including storage, networking and VMware features such as HA and DRS. This training would be a great help if you are looking to take the VCAP-DCA exams.

Trainsignal troubleshooting

As usual the training is available instantly online when purchased through the http://www.trainsignal.com site, the training also works directly from the site on your iPad for ease of access. I am finding the CLI sections of particular use as often if you are trying to troubleshoot a significant problem you find jumping to the CLI is the quickest way to get your answers.

On Friday I received an email explaining I had been designated for vExpert 2011, making it my second vExpert award after receiving it last year. It is ones again a great honour to be included in a list of such knowledgeable and friendly individuals. I was pleased to see a number of new vExpert’s joining the list this year including a number from the London VMUG that I attend regularly. I enjoy contributing to the VMware community immensely and hope that I can continue to create content that is of some help and or interest to my readers, listeners and viewers etc. I have a number of plans for the remainder of 2011 so as well as the usual blog posts and the HandsonVirtualization.com podcast I hope to be creating more how to videos and contributing to some interesting projects.

I need to say a particular thank you to John Troyer and his team who run the program and selected the vExperts and for their continued support of the VMware community and allow us vExperts to do what we do.

Arnim van Lieshout has started compiling a list of all the 2011 vExperts here >> http://www.van-lieshout.com/vexpert/

There will also be an official directory appearing in the future

 

I’ve recently started watching my way through TrainSignal’s latest VMware vSphere training, this time they are tackling troubleshooting vSphere. This is a subject I have always been keen to learn as much as possible on. It’s always good to know what to look for when your trying to tackle a problem. I am currently about 1/3 of the way through the 13+ hours of training and have picked up a number of helpful pointers. I am looking forward to the remainder when we will start looking into more specifics of network and performance (CPU, Memory, Disk etc) troubleshooting.

Certified Instructor David Davis

The training is presented by TrainSignal’s own David Davis, VCAP-DCA, VCP and vExpert and as always the training is very clear, well presented and easy to follow. The favourite aspect for me is the ability to watch the training on my iPad or stream straight from the internet to allow me to watch what I can on the go.

 

I would highly recommended this latest edition as well as the previous volumes, as a VMware administrator it really does help to know what to be looking for when you have to start troubleshooting a problem.

To check out the training for yourself visit their website here or to get a sample of some of their free videos check here.

 

VMware vSphere Troubleshooting Training

I have always been a fan of the Quick Reference guides a number of the VMware communities members have made, the PowerCLI one that Alan Renouf made is always close to hand http://virtu-al.net/Downloads/PowerCLIQuickReference.pdf. Taking inspiration from these I have decided to start putting together one for the new Equallogic Powershell toolkit released with the 3.5 hit kit.

I have attached version 1 for you to download as a PDF below, I plan on adding more information and examples to this as well as improving the design. Please let me know any feedback.

Dell Equallogic Powershell QuickReference V1

Updated: The replication section had quite aptly appeared twice, I have replaced this with a few examples now.