Microsoft updates Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 Beta

This tool continues to interest me for one main reason, the ability to patch offline virtual machines. That feature is something that has come up in a couple of projects recently. I look forward to this technology evolving into a final product. The latest Beta version of VMST is out and available here.

If you’ve used version 2.1, you know that it offers free, tested guidance and automated tools that let you safely service offline virtual machines in your SCVMM library. VMST 3.0 builds on this functionality, adding powerful new features designed to streamline the process of keeping your offline virtual machines, templates and VHDs up-to-date with the latest operating system and application updates, without introducing vulnerabilities into your IT infrastructure.  VMST 3.0 helps you effectively manage the workflow of updating your offline virtual machines according to their individual needs. One feature that will not be included in this beta refresh is the servicing of Hyper-V host failover clusters.

Using new features in VMST 3.0, customers can now service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

VMST 3.0 works seamlessly with other Microsoft technologies.

VMST 3.0 is designed to work with Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 or SCVMM 2008 R2, and with the following technologies:

  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 SP1 or WSUS 3.0 SP2.
  • System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 SP1, SCCM 2007 R2, or SCCM 2007 SP2.
  • VMST 3.0 also provides the option to manually copy updates to service offline VHDs.
  • The tool works with Windows Task Scheduler to enable scheduling the servicing job.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Review of VMware: Virtualizing MS Apps seminar

Today I had the opportunity to attend the VMware seminar on virtualizing MS SQL and Exchange held in downtown Milwaukee at the Pfister Hotel.  The topics covered an overview of some of what’s new in 4.1 (not really relevant, seemed a bit like filler?), then an overview of best practices for the esx(i) hosts in preparation for virtualizing Tier 1 MS apps (SQL and Exchange).  This was then wrapped up by best practices and gotchas for SQL and Exchange.

Overall, and perhaps due to the time available, it felt like the presentation was a bit light in material.  It did have some good insight into certain aspects of best practices for virtualization of each app, and did point us to the white papers / resource materials for further study.  But it really was more like what you could get in a 2-3 page pdf attached to an email.  When I asked a question regarding using two adapters and should they both be pvscsi (if the hosts supported such) or is there a specific use case for such, I was told “oh, yeah, use two adapters”.  I felt like there was no interest in hearing my question, let alone even answering my question.  Overall though the pdfs I pulled down are pretty useful and should be helpful as my company seems to understand that “it’s okay to virtualize when we move to Exchange 2010”.  SQL is another battle entirely, but they’ll come around.  The art of the food bribe is an essential part of my utility belt :-)

After the VMware presentation, Netapp (who was sponsoring this meeting) had an engineer or three onhand to give a general feature overview.  It felt alot like the Compellent talk that was given at the recent Chicago VMUG.  Brian and I were talking about this:  we don’t really need a marketing effort by itself.  Bring along a customer or two, one who will give both good and bad feedback regarding their product.

Bit of a side story:  my company is allowing me to help guide them to purchasing a new dedicated VMware storage platform to get us off the icky EVAs.  I’m eager as it’s basically going to be between Netapp and EMC.  In fact we are being flown down by our VAR PDS to Netapp HQ for a meet and greet, plus executive briefing August 16-18.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and meet Vaughn and get an autograph *laughs*

I’ll also be attending the VMware Support Day August 19th hosted by the Wisconsin VMUG.  Looking forward to good conversation and copious amounts of pasta!

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VKernel announces Chargeback 2.0 for vSphere and Hyper-V shops

The team at VKernel have announced the release of Chargeback 2.0. The new release extends chargeback support to both Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and VMware ESX environments. While I don’t know of many mixed environment shops yet, but I know that people will continue to move this direction. It’s nice to see vendors begin to update tools to support multiple vendors. I have not had a chance to look at this product yet but plan to test it in the future and will write up something about my experience. You can read more at their site http://www.vkernel.com/products/chargeback
Some text from their press release

The release also adds support for mixed chargeback models. VKernel Chargeback 2.0 now supports both allocated and actual resource consumption models. By reporting on both measures, infrastructure teams can chargeback for actual resource consumption, allocated resources, or simply show application teams the difference in real dollars between their allocated capacity and actual usage. This cost visibility is critical to capacity management, reducing VM spral and supporting private cloud initiatives.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Remote Desktop Connection Manager updated from Microsoft

I’ve used the previous version in small amounts in the past. But this new version I think will get used more, especially in my home lab. The update allows you to create groups of servers that you can view thumbnails of what is happening on the server from the group view. So if you were running updates, migrating data or something else that required multiple connections. It will remember your logon credentials or allow you to connect with a different ID. You can connect or disconnect from an entire group with one click.  Now if I could find something like this for putty would be cool.

Get it free here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4603c621-6de7-4ccb-9f51-d53dc7e48047&displaylang=en

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to view Cisco CDP information from a Windows server

By now most of you should be familiar with how to view CDP details from your VMware ESX server. This can be very helpful when working with your network team to identify what port and VLAN you are connected to. I use this commonly when setting up new ports or troubleshooting a possible network issue. It saves the time of going into the datacenter and trying to trace back the cables.

So this is a pretty easy thing to do on Windows also. You will need to download and install WinPcap and Windump tools. Both of these tools are free and small installs. There are many other uses for these tools, today I will just be covering how to user for CDP captures. One last note before starting is that if CDP is turned off on your Cisco switches you will not get any information when trying this.

The first thing you want to do is to install WinPcap and Windump is just a .exe and requires no install. Not to get a list of all network interfaces in your machine use the following command. You can use this information to choose a certain interface to capture details for. I typically like to capture the information for all interfaces so I do them one by one.

windump -D

Next we can run the actual command to capture the details. Use the command string listed below with the only bit that you will need to change is the -i part. This will allow you to select the different network interfaces that you listed in the previous command.

windump -i 1 -nn -v -s 1500 -c 1 ether[20:2] == 0x2000

Once you run the command above you should see an output similar to image below. I have highlighted the important sections that show the Address of the switches mgmt port, Port ID is the port your connected to and VLAN ID shows you the current VLAN setting for the port.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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