More VMware iPad app goodness at VMworld Copenhagen 2010

Some people were hoping to hear that the VMware iPad app for vSphere Management would be released at VMworld Copenhagen but that was not the case. We did get another look at the applications and a glimpse at a new VMware product that works nicely with the iPad also.

In the first section of the video we get another peek at the VMware vSphere management iPad app. There are some improvements that were made since we first say it at VMworld San Francisco. In the video he mentions that they hope to release a Beta version in a few weeks and then the final version late 2010 as a VMware Labs Fling. We get to see how you can now power cycle or restart a VM, get a look at home much CPU and Memory it’s consuming and some other details.

The next part of the video shows us the VMware View Client for iPad. We see a demo of it logging into the View portal at VMware corporate and connecting to a Windows 7 VDI machine. He then showcases the virtual Touch Pad that we had heard about in the last video from San Fran. The improvements that were made to the virtual keyboard are pretty cool. I like how they have added the Windows function keys and other standard keys that will make using a Windows VDI on an Apple iPad easier. VMware is definitely stepping up the level for portable VDI with this application.

In the final part of the video we get to see the web interface for the newly announced vCloud Request Manager from the iPad. This allows for requests to be made inside of vCloud Director that will require a managers approval. You are able to view all of your prior requests and see what is pending, approved or denied. This looks really cool and will go a long way for improving the mobility for people working with VMware and vCloud.

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Don’t miss the Chicago VMUG meeting on October 20th

Hey Virtual people it’s VMUG time again in Chicago. We will be having the next Chicago VMUG on October 20th, 2010 at the Addison Dave and Busters. The main focus of the meeting is VDI with a recap of VMworld 2010 announcements and general networking with your peers. We had a hard time squeezing in everything that we wanted into this meeting so after the meeting everyone is welcome to hang around Dave & Busters afterward for some informal discussions around any VMware related topics.

Here is a break down of the meeting activities and Please register at the link below.

Register Here

Agenda
10:00 a.m. VMware Update: VMworld Announcements & View 4.5
10:45 a.m. Desktop Virtualization (Elias Khnaser)
11:30 a.m. Important Thin Client Decisions When Planning for VDI (Wyse)
12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:30 p.m. Desktop Transformation (RES Software)
01:00 p.m. VDI Q&A Panel
01:50 p.m. Raffle Prizes
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Initial setup for VMware vCloud Director and setting up provider vDC

Let me start off by saying this is a very long blog post, probably the longest I will ever create. I wanted to showcase the initial setup wizard for those of you new to setting of VMware vCloud Director. Once you have created and installed all of the Hosts, vCenter server, Database, vShield and the vCD cell you then need to setup vCD. There are several very good blog posts by other community members out there that step you through the process of setting up the base infrastructure. I will include some of the links at the end in case you need them.

I will be showing you step by step that the vCD setup wizard takes you through. This will show you how to created Virtual Datacenters, Organizations, Networks and Pools, Catalogs and Media. You will begin to get a good base understanding of how vCloud Director works. I will also point out some similarities with Lab Manger 4.0 for those of you that have used LM in the past.

Logging into vCloud Director

Before getting to this initial login screen you will need to supply a password for the admin account and enter the vCloud Serial number. You will not be able to test out vCloud Director in your lab unless you get a trial code or have an NFR license, unless you are lucky enough to have a valid license code to use.

vCloud Director first time setup Wizard

Now that you have logged in you can see below you are presented with the first screen of the vCD setup wizard. This process is broken up into 8 main parts that will step you through setting the bones of the configuration.

Read my full blog post after the jump for complete details.

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SSSU and You!

Now, in a previous posting, I mentioned that I would talk more about SSSU, especially in talking about how to export the information and then put it into a human readable format. SSSU can output xml format, but that requires some type of xml parsing tool. I did mention that Microsoft’s Log Parser tool could be used, but really I’m lazy, and it’s a bit cumbersome. And truth be told, I never got it to work just right.

So last night I sat down and did some old fashioned thinking about how I can get the information I need, but easier and with less effort. I started toying with powershell as it’s a good friend in the VMware space. I have to confess though that I have a Mac. Yes, I enjoy monotasking. Nothing wrong with that 😉 I then realized (as I sometimes forget) that I had a whole delicious CLI on my mac. This includes great tools like grep and diff! Well and a lot more, but I’ll stick to those for now. (Note that you can get grep and diff for Windows, via either the Windows versions of those tools, or using Cygwin). Fear not win32 folks, you are covered!

Let me take a step back and cover the premise for wanting to gather information from SSSU. As we know, Command View is a web-based interface for communicating with the EVAs. While it does provide lots of information, it is troublesome to navigate around and get that information easily. One off kinds of things, certainly. But pulling in lots of info easily, I think not. One big flaw, in my mind, is that CV talks to the EVAs via the SAN, and not via IP. Why is this a flaw? Well, for instance, SSSU can’t talk directly to the EVAs themselves. Rather, it has to talk to the CV server (which is why it prompts you when you fire it up for a “manager”). This also means you can’t use SSSU to do anything if your CV server has bit the dust. But I digress.

From the arrays, I want to gather information on my vdisks, my controllers, snapshots, disks, and my disk groups. I want to gather some information once, some monthly, and some on a more regular basis.

For the vdisks, I run (via SSSU) this command: LS VDISK FULL > vdisk.txt (This will output the information into a text file in the directory where the sssu.exe is located) Then, I fire up my command line, and grep that sucker for some info:

grep “familyname|allocatedcapacity|redundancy|diskgroupname” textfile > date_vdisk.txt

This output will give me a file with the date that has the information I am specifically looking for

As stated before, I am quite lazy and so I could use (or you could use) awk (another great command line text processor) to generate the output in a better format. But instead, I keep it like this. Note that allocatedcapacity is the vdisk size in GB. Now, since I’m generating these files monthly, I can use the diff command to compare two months and see what has changed (disk grows, adds, deletes, etc).

diff -y date_vdisk1.txt date_vdisk2.txt | grep “familyname|allocatedcapacity”

Note the | in there. The older date is on the left, and the newer date is on the right. So it’s easy to see which has changed and by how much. Arguably you could make this even easier, but again, lazy. And this works for me, so your mileage may vary.

Since these are simple text files, it’s easy and pain free to keep them around. Overall, I use this information for vdisks to track growth, easy at a glance for what vdisk is what size/raid level, and you can also pull out info to find out what controller has what disks.

This leads me into talking about what information I grab from my controllers. Now, one thing to note: The EVA4400 series only has one listed Controller (in this case Controller 1). This is because of how it is designed: both controllers are in the same housing, sharing a back plane. We have three 8100 series, each having two physically separate controllers, listed as Controller 1 and Controller 2.

First, to find out ALL the info on your controllers, do LS CONTROLLER FULL in SSSU. The output will be big and full of interesting details. One other thing to note: SSSU denotes them as Controllers 1 and 2. Command View denotes them as Controllers A and B. Lame! For what I need, I don’t need to keep controller info like I do vdisk info. I will do an initial grab after an XCS code update to keep handy.

One pretty handy way to find out what snapshots you have on any given EVA for a point in time is to use LS SNAPSHOT. You can also do an LS SNAPSHOT FULL if you want the full info per snapshot (like the vdisk info). The key difference between a snapshot and a normal vdisk is the line item sharingrelationship. A normal vdisk will have none, but a snapshot will say snapshot

When it comes to gathering information on disks, I use this primarily to check firmware levels. If you are an EVA owner, you know that as part of the care and feeding of an EVA comes making sure all drives are at the most current level of firmware. Updates are also usually done and bundled with XCS updates. One thing to be aware is that with drive failures, replacements may not always come with the latest firmware. They should, but I have not always seen that. Thankfully firmware updates are non-invasive (for the most part). I will cover an XCS code upgrade in a future blog post (our EVA4400 is due).

So, if you do LS DISK FULL from SSSU, you will get all the info from each disk. You can then just grep for fun and profit!

grep “diskname|firmware” disks.txt

So you are saying hey that’s great, but I have multiple kinds of disks in my EVA. So, you need to know what model of drive so you can keep things sorted as to what firmware is for what drive. Easy way is to just sort by disk group. Since you built your EVA correctly, you know only to put drives of the same type and speed into the same group right? 😉

grep “diskname|diskgroupname|firmware” disks.txt

You can also grab the model number for the drives by tossing in modelnumber to the grep.

And finally, since you all are probably bored to tears now, I grab the size of the disk group to know what kind of overall growth or change occurs on each group. I can also use this information to plan out new server storage requests, and manage to 90% capacity. Easier to give management a shiny graph saying “Look, almost out of disk. Checkbook time!”

Okay, so that about wraps up what I use SSSU for. If I think about anything else neat that I do, I’ll be sure to blog about it. The next blog topic will be about WEBES, its use, the install, and the fact that it actually works pretty good. J

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HP SSSU Overview

So in my experience with the EVAs, I can say I have come across many challenges in finding good user experience documentation (outside of the normal pdf’s the HP machine churns out) and support. The HP forums have been somewhat helpful, but sifting through them, using their search or the googalizer, are less than user friendly. Good information at times to be had, but still overly difficult.

So it is with that preface that I arrive at discussing the SSSU: HP’s Storage Scripting System Utility. The premise of this utility is to allow command line access to an EVA. The idea is, at least from HP’s perspective, to use it for repetitious activities that would be otherwise tiresome in Command View. Additionally, you can also issue interactive commands like restarting a controller or changing mastership for disks between controllers manually. HP bundles the SSSU installer with Command View’s installer package. It carries the same versioning as Command View (so in my case, 9.1.0).

SSSU seems like a really great idea. I love the command line (being very partial to a bash shell :-D), but SSSU isn’t a real CLI in that sense. The first round of trouble is in the output: SSSU generates XML based output that a human can’t simply open up and read. This throws out a simple way to grab information that would otherwise take a lot of time via CV. This posting is an overview of SSSU, and I will write a follow up post that goes more into depth on what you can do with the output to make it actually usable in conjunction with Microsoft’s Logparser tool. Sad I know. You can pony up big $ to get actual tools but hey, in tight times, stretching the imagination is better than stretching the wallet. I’ll also put up some of the scripts I use to gather data on disks and such (ex: easy way to track disk size and growth).

At this point, let’s get SSSU fired up and play around a bit. To launch, log into your CV server and run that fancy icon on the desktop. One quick gripe: no way for me to install this on my own laptop to just run and connect with. To get around that, I copy over from the CV install to my local machine the SSSU.exe file. It runs great and it’s just that less than 2 meg file. Upon launching it, you get to login.

You get three parts to a login:

You can login with a domain account without any issue, so you don’t have to create a whole separate user account list. One thing to note is that although you can fire up multiple SSSU windows to one array, you can only execute commands to it one at a time (serial baby!), so when one command is running in one window, your other windows would hang if you tried to execute a command).

After logging in, you are sitting at a default path, so to speak. That being that you have not selected your array.

Hitting ? and enter will list off all the commands available. This can also be used to find out what options each command has available.

Object names are case sensitive and are organized in a root tree system. Commands and objects with spaces in their names require double quotes. The first thing to do is select an EVA to work with, using the term select system.

You can flip around using the select system command. At this time there isn’t a way to issue group commands (outside of scripting, and even then it’s not a group command, in that sense).

Root Structure of Objects:

Hosts

“Disk Groups”

“Virtual Disks”

Hardware

Note that you can create objects (like folders) under all but Hardware. Objects created are purely for human organization. The EVA doesn’t care if you have them or not (though if you do create them you need to be aware of the “path” to them.

A complete listing of the commands can be found in the SSSU reference doc, found here:

http://bizsupport1.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c02493404/c02493404.pdf

This link is for the latest (I believe rolled into Command View 9.3) as of this date (9.23.2010).

My advice would be to look through the command reference to understand what the commands do. Listing them all out here in a blog post would be silly. And a lot of work, and I’m lazy, so….

As promised before, I will follow up this post with a more in-depth guide for where SSSU is handy and probably some more complaints on how it’s irritating. J

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VMware vCloud Director install errors and setup problems

I’ve been getting my feet wet with VMware vCloud Director over the last week testing the different install methods. There are several good tutorials that other bloggers have created already. I will put up some links at the end of this article. What I will cover in this post is the issues that I came across while installing vCD.I will continue to add issue that I come across in my own Lab work and what I hear from others. So far I would say that this process has a long way to go before it can be considered a smooth process. The install with the current requirements is very unforgiving and if one small piece is not right you must do clean up and start all over.

I had issue with using the ID that you create manually to allow vCD to connect to your Oracle DB. It seemed to work better using the system ID. Now I did not waste time looking into the issue but it did happen multiple times. I did follow the instructions that others had described as working.

Another issue that I had was once the Database connection issues were worked out and the vCloud Director configuration script was running it complained about the DB having an error and stopped the install. Now you are suppose to be able to restart the config script for vCD from the following directory (/opt/vmware/cloud-director/config). But since the install stopped mid stream it did not create that file. So my only option was to look up the vCloud Director RPM file and uninstall it. (vmware-cloud-director-1.0.0-285979)  Then I was able to re-attempt the install.

You can see my new post on vCloud Director install wizard

Some great vCloud Director install guides

Hypervizor by Hany Michael (Great post with videos)

Yellow Bricks by Dunncan Eping (Great post on a single laptop setup)

Virtually Ghetto by William Lam (Nice automated script install)

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The difference of the Virtual Machine power and reset buttons

This is something that I did not pay much attention to but it’s one of those wacky things that you will notice at 4 AM while working a Disaster Recovery Drill. Anyways it struck me weird that the power controls and reset buttons available in the VM console are different than the ones available by right click the VM in the inventory list. The ones from the VM console require VMware tools to be installed and the ones from the tree list do not.

I really came to this conclusion while working on a DR drill this week for a client and we are using vSphere 4.1 for the drill. I had never ran into this with previous versions of vCenter server so I’ll have to take another look and see if this is something new to 4.1.

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