April 2017 archive

Help send daddy’s little girl to space

My 12 year old daughter Sophia is facing a pretty difficult surgery to straighten her spine and I’d like to surprise her with a trip to NASA and Epcot before she has to endure surgery and a long recovery. Last year we were referred to Children’s Hospital to have her examined and x-rayed as her primary care physician said she has scoliosis. At that time she had about a 50 degree curve in her spine and just at the point where surgery is usually considered. Bracing to try and correct it isn’t an option once a curve is that high so we decided to monitor it to see how it progressed as I really didn’t want to put her through the surgery and all the potential complications that can come with it.

Recently we took her back for another evaluation and it has pretty rapidly progressed to over 90 degrees and surgery is highly recommended as it could start to impact her health. The surgery is long and difficult and involves inserting screws all down the spine and then threading a rod through them to bring the spine straighter and keep it from curving again. She’ll be in the hospital for about a week and then it takes about 2 months to recover from it and heal which will limit her and put a damper on most of her summer.  She has been brave about it and already endured a 2 hour MRI but I’m a nervous wreck as I pray for the best possible outcome but really fear the worst. One small comfort for me is knowing that the doctor who will be performing the surgery is considered one of the best pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the country.

Before she endures the difficult surgery and a painful recovery in early June I’d like to give her a trip that she’ll always remember and fulfill one of her passions which is outer space. Sophia is the sweetest and kindest little girl you’d ever meet and has always been a science geek and it’s her goal in life to one day work for NASA. She’s been talking about that for years and I’d love for her to be able to visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and then go to Epcot Center and explore and geek out. Unfortunately as this is a sudden and unexpected trip and due to some unexpected recent major expenses I find myself not able to cover this.

I really have never asked anyone for help before and I find myself in the uncomfortable position of reaching out to the community for assistance to help send my little girl to space and give her a week of fun before she has to endure the surgery. I’d also like to try and give her room a space themed makeover while she is in the hospital so she comes back to a geeky environment to recover in. It’s going to be hard for me to enjoy anything until this is over and I know she has made it through it OK but I know she would love it and it would be one small step to bring her closer to her dream of working at NASA someday. If you find it in your hearts to help out I would appreciate it more then you could know and more importantly I know Sophia would too.

You can donate at this GoFundMe page, thank you and god bless.

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Latest PowerCLI release now supports VVol replication test failover

The ability to do array based replication of VVols via SPBM was introduced in vSphere 6.5 but it came with a catch. That catch is while you can automate VVol replication with SPBM, there is no client side interface to perform any type of failover or failback operations like you have with SRM. To do those types of operations you have to manually script those actions using PowerCLI.

Back in November I wrote about the new PowerCLI cmdlets that support VVol replication operations, this provides a way to manage VVol replication until VMware provides a more elegant solution using vRealize Orchestrator/Automation or SRM. While the PowerCLI cmdlets provided the means to do all the basic operations that you might have to do with replication it was missing a very important function that is a must have for most, the ability to perform a test failover.

That missing function to do a test failover is now part of the recently released new version of PowerCLI (6.5.1 R2). So if you’re lucky enough to have a array that supports VVol replication, you should have everything you need now to use it effectively. With the recent HPE acquisition of Nimble Storage there really is only one vendor that supports VVol replication at the moment as 3PAR & Nimble are the only ones listed in the VVol HCL for array based replication.

The new PowerCLI cmdlets to support VVol replication only are listed below:

  • Start-SpbmReplicationPromote – This cmdlet promotes a target replication group from InTest to FailedOver state.
  • Start-SpbmReplicationTestFailover – This cmdlet performs a test failover of a target replication group. If the operation succeeds, the replication state of the replication group becomes InTest.
  • Stop-SpbmReplicationTestFailover – This cmdlet stops the test failover on the specified replication groups and tries to perform a cleanup on the target site. After successful completion the replication group state returns to Target.

So what actually happens when you do a VVol test failover? When VVols are replicated to another array, they remain hidden to vSphere on the target array. All the VVols of a VM (except the swap VVol) must be replicated to the target array this includes the config VVol, data VVols (disk and snapshots) and other metadata. When you perform a test failover you are not doing an actual failover, replication continues and the primary site VVols and secondary site VVols are not impacted.

What happens when a test failover is initiated at the target site using the Start-SpbmReplicationTestFailover command is that virtual copies of the replicated VVols on the target array are created and vSphere performs a fix-up on them so they are in a usable state.The fix-up operation updates the VM config to reflect the new VVol IDs and storage container information. Those newly created copies are then exposed to vSphere so you can interact with them, power up VMs and test them to make sure the VMs are recoverable.

Once you are finished you run the Stop-SpbmReplicationTestFailover command which will tell the VASA Provider to stop the test and clean up all the VVols that were created as part of the test. The Start-SpbmReplicationPromote can also be used if for some reason you want to make the test permanent and have the VM’s at the target site be actually failed over and not just a test.

Now that the ability to perform a test failover is part of PowerCLI, VVol replication is much more usable as who would want to replicate data to another array and just hope things work without being able to actually verify it. I expect the support around these operations will continue to mature in vSphere and I wouldn’t be surprised if VMware added VVol replication support to SRM or vRealize Orchestrator/Automation at some point. You can read more about how to use these new PowerCLI cmdlets in the VMware documentation and look for a detailed white paper on using VVol replication coming from HPE very soon.

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Nominations for the 2017 Top vBlog voting categories are now open!

Just like prior years in addition to the traditional top 50 voting I’m opening it up to allow voting in specific categories as well to help distinguish certain types of blogs. To do this I have created a form to allow you to nominate your blog or website for one of the categories that I have defined if your blog fits one or more of the categories, if it does not then don’t nominate it as all blogs on the vLaunchPad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting.

This form is not the general voting poll for the top VMware/virtualization blogs, this form is only to nominate your blog for certain categories if it fits. Once the nominations are collected I will open the polls for voting for the top blogs where voters will be able to rate their top 10 blogs and also vote in each of the categories.

You should only nominate your own blog/website, these nominations will be used to populate the category choices when voting opens. If your blog doesn’t fit one of these categories then do not nominate it, all blogs on the vLaunchPad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting. If your blog is not currently listed on the vLaunchPad use this form to let me know.

The criteria for the categories to see if your blog qualifies for them are as follows:

  • Favorite New Blog – Blog must have been started in 2016
  • Favorite Storage Blog – Must have greater than 50% posts as storage related
  • Favorite Independent Blogger – Must not work for VMware or a Technology Partner (i.e. EMC, Dell, IBM, Unitrends, etc.), basically this means customers, resellers and integrators only.
  • Favorite Scripting/Automation Blog – Must have greater than 50% posts as scripting/automation related
  • Favorite Non-English Blog – Must be primarily published in a non-English language
  • Favorite Podcast – Easy one, you must have a podcast
  • Favorite Female Blogger – Special recognition for women in tech, must be a female blogger
  • Favorite News/Information Site – Any site that primarily publishes news and information and is not really a blog

Again, only nominate your own blog/website!

[ninja_form id=2]

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Don’t miss the big Boston I.T. party going on May 22nd-24th

Zerto is holding their 2nd annual ZertoCON event in Boston beginning on May 22nd and you’re invited. This 3 day event features keynotes, sessions, labs, networking and of course food and fun. If you remember from VMworld last year, Zerto knows how to throw a heck of a party as their ThunDRstruck party was a huge hit. Ironically their customer appreciation event for ZertoCon will also be held at the House of Blues, albeit the Boston location which should be epic fun.

You might be thinking to yourself, why should I go to ZertoCON? Well here’s a few good reasons why:

  • Focused Content: for CIOs, system admins, cloud strategists – anyone and everyone in IT looking for a simple, secure on-ramp to the cloud.
  • Thought Leadership: gain insight from Zerto’s leadership and industry experts on leveraging the cloud to help you build a more resilient IT infrastructure
  • Hands-on Learning: get up close and personal with Zerto’s revolutionary, award-winning product in labs, demos and Q&A sessions
  • Expanded Zerto Certifications: now including Zerto Professional Certification advanced-level, Azure, AWS, Cloud and Sales
  • Unparalleled Networking: meet, greet, and collaborate with the most advanced IT/Cloud audiences in the industry
  • Epic Zerto Parties: everyone knows there ain’t no party like a Zerto party — and this year’s will be one for the history books!

Want to see what you are missing out on if you don’t go, check out the highlights from last year’s ZertoCON. And as a special incentive you can get 30% off the list price of tickets by using registration code ZBLOG17. Be sure and put vSphere-land.com in the “How did you hear about ZertoCON?” field when registering. So go register and get ready for a great 3 days of learning, networking and fun!

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Last call for blogs before Top vBlog 2017 begins

My vLaunchPad site which is the source for blog voting is completely up to date with all the latest edits and additions. If your blog isn’t listed there this is your last chance to get it added by filling out this form. In a few days I’ll open up a special form for category nominations so you can nominate your blog for special categories which are listed below.

  • Favorite Storage Blog
  • Favorite Independent Blogger
  • Favorite Podcast
  • Favorite Female Blogger
  • Favorite Non-English Blog
  • Favorite New Blog
  • Favorite Scripting/Automation Blog
  • Favorite News/Information Site
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NAKIVO releases Backup & Replication v7 with support for vSphere 6.5

NAKIVO recently released a new version of their Backup & Replication product, v7 which adds support for vSphere 6.5 as well as some welcome new features which are listed below:

  • Hyper-V Backup – support for Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 and 2012. , v7 provides image-based, application-aware, and forever-incremental Hyper-V backup.
  • Hyper-V Replication – v7 can create and maintain identical copies of Hyper-V VMs on a target server. The copies (called VM replicas) remain in the powered off state and do not consume any resources, yet you can power them on at any moment for near-instant disaster recovery. Just as Hyper-V backups, the replicas are image-based, application-aware, and forever-incremental.
  • vSphere 6.5 – v7 supports the new VMware vSphere v6.5 features, including new VM attributes, encrypted VMs, etc.
  • Skip Swap Files and Partitions – v7 automatically skips the swap file in VMware and Hyper-V VMs, which speeds up data transfer and saves storage space in a backup repository.
  • Active Directory Integration – v7 provides integration Microsoft Active Directory! You can now easily map Active Directory groups to NAKIVO Backup & Replication user roles, which will allow domain users to log in to NAKIVO Backup & Replication with their domain credentials.
  • Activity Management – v7 improves backup manageability by introducing the Activities tab – a single place that displays activities occurring in the product, such as running jobs, file and object recovery sessions, repository maintenance, and so on.
  • Bulk Backup Delete – v7 provides an easy way to delete backups that you no longer need. For example, you can filter out backups that do not belong to any backup job or backups that are older than one year and delete them in a single click.

Check out everything that is new with v7 and download a free trial here.

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Register for the Denver VMUG UserCon on April 27th

If you are in the Denver area the annual VMUG UserCon event is a bit earlier this year and will be held on April 27th. I wish I could say my company was sponsoring it like we had in prior years but I wasn’t able to convince them to fund UserCon’s this year. None the less I will still be there and you might see some other local’s like Scott Lowe as well. Eric Wright from Turbonomic will be there and doing the afternoon keynote, the morning keynote will be about NSX and delivered by Brad Christian from VMware. The event is being held at the same location as last year at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver. Hope to see you there!

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About public voting for VMworld sessions

Each year VMware saves a small chunk of VMworld session slots that can make it through what they call Customer Choice which can be voted on by anyone through the public voting process which is going on right now through tomorrow.

You may have noticed that the public voting process has changed this year. In prior years you could vote for a session much like you would do in an election, you would click a star next to a session to vote for it. In this manner you could only positively impact a session’s chances of being approved if it garnered enough votes. This year they have changed it and you can now rate a session from 1-5 stars, more in line like you would rate a movie with 1 star being you hated it and 5 stars being you loved it. With this change anyone can now either positively or negatively influence session approval.

I’m not sure I like this change that much as it opens up the opportunity for abuse of the system, were anyone that has a grudge, who doesn’t like someone/company or just wants to screw around can shoot down a session chances of making it. Because of this change VMware yanked most of the partner sessions from the public voting a few days after the voting opened as partners could and probably did cast negative votes against their competitor sessions. Apparently VMware pulled them as a direct response to complaints from partners about this very issue.

Now sessions are all scored and judged both internally by VMware and by a hand picked content committee, the public voting part is just merely another component that can influence session approval or denial. I’d really like to see it go back to the old way, let people just give a thumbs up for sessions they like and keep the negative influence out of it. Hopefully after they see the impact of this change they reconsider and go back to that. If you haven’t voted yet, please consider doing so, the voting closes at the end of the day tomorrow.

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