Archive for March, 2010

Last night I attended the second in the “brown bag” series of study workshops , set up by Cody Bunch of fame. For those who might be a bit confused , a brownbag workshop comes form a US term of having a “lunch and learn” session , where people would do some study or learn about a given technology over a lunch ( presumably for those with a packed lunch in a brown bag – bringing in a bottle of JD in a brown paper bag seems frowned up in most US offices… )  It was great to have a chat with people who have passed their VCDX and people like myself who aspire to that certification. WE talked around storage configurations from the command line and even though there was a bit of Demo fail , saw the kinds of steps you’d need to go through.

With just under a fortnight to go before the next one , I thought I’d try and do another pre workshop post with some topics to cover – so putting a quick question out to readers , what would you like to cover ? I hope to be able to go away , do some focussed study and a bit of work in my sandbox , and come up with a blog post that might make a handy failback incase of demo equipment failure..

so feel free to pick some topics from the blueprint at

if not , I’ll pick some myself :)

I’ve recently had to put some documentation together on bringing our patching of ESX hosts into line with patching procedures for other inventory items in our estate. While the actual patching is straight forward, getting data out of the process to show the compliance level of the hosts is not so straight forward.

Yet again , powerCLI to the rescue , with its champion Alan Renouf has discovered that an additional download to the powerCLI package allows us to interrogate VUM , as well as scan and remediate hosts. Hopefully with bribary of a number of beers an external report that I can pass to our security teams with baseline compliance for any number of hosts may well appear on his site soon….

Just been playing around with a VDR appliance on one of my sandbox machines. Its really quite neat , and while its not a complete backup solution for a large vmware environment, I’ve thought of a way it can still add value to and become a useful appliance in a VMware Admin’s tool kit.

From my own experience and those of some fellow community members on twitter , long running snapshots can be a significant thorn in the side of an otherwise happily running environment. when I’ve questioned shapshot requesters to their reasons for needing these long running snapshots , and it is commonly for something like a code deployment.

We already have a running backup infrastructure within the VM’s  but currently we dont use a backup system that takes complete vm level backups. However, even if we did , then an out of schedule backup might not always be easy. This is where VDR comes in handy.

Ad-Hoc backups of VM’s as an alternative to snapshots. These are not too common , and rarely for the larger VM’s in the environment , so the limitations on the size of datastore you can attach to the VDR appliance are not really a problem.

I’m going to start offering a VDR backup to application teams in place of those snapshot requests and see how they take it. fingers crossed I’ll eliminate those snapshot problems for good !