The Lowercase w

My First VMworld Experience

Posted by Ben Liebowitz








So, VMworld US 2015 was my first time being able to experience VMworld first hand, and not by streaming keynotes and watching recorded sessions months later.  As a VMUG Leader, I’ve experienced VMUG Meetings and UserCons before (both as a leader and a member) but this was a whole different animal!

First off, I have to credit my brother, Matt, for helping to guide my VMworld experience, introduce me to different VMworld regulars, recommend places to go, things to do, etc. I also have to thank VMUG Headquarters for sending me!


I arrived on Sunday afternoon and went to my hotel.  My room wasn’t ready yet, but I was able to drop off my bag.  I met my brother for lunch nearby at Maetron.  He introduced me to his friend Tim, who he has hung out with at every VMworld he’s attended.  We had a quick bite to eat and headed over so I could register.  We decided to go to Moscone South to register (they had registration at both South and West) as the Solutions Exchange was there and would be opening up later on.  Only, we find out, that materials pickup was only at Moscone West.  So we took the quick walk over to West, and I was able to grab my backpack.  We split up and met back at Moscone South just before the Solutions Exchange opened.  The Solutions Exchange area was massive.  I’ve seen large ball rooms with vendors setup before, but this reminded me of the Javitz center in NYC!  The booths were massive, with giant signs hanging from the ceiling.  Some even had a 2nd level!  I wish I had thought to take pictures.  I grabbed a couple that I found online to give some perspective to the size of the Solutions Exchange and the amount of people in attendance!  Hell, I may be in one of these pictures!



Sunday evening, I had dinner with Matt, Tim and Matt's coworker and friend from back when we used to work at CompUSA together, Dave.  It was good to relax after a long trip and talk about technology, conferences, users, etc.


Monday morning, I went straight to the VMUG Lounge in Moscone West to pickup VMUG Virt!  Virt is the VMUG Mascot and I was designated his guardian for the day on Monday.  My task was to bring Virt around, take pictures of him doing different things, and post them on social media.  This is a picture of VMUG Virt!

My first stop on Monday morning, was the PernixData Breakfast for people awarded with PernixPro or PernixPrime.  This was at the Thirsty Bear pub just past Moscone South.  This was Virt’s first visit somewhere, so I had to grab a picture of him with the sign to mark the occasion!  There I met with PernixData Sales Reps & Engineers from all over the country, PernixData users, other VMUG Leaders, etc.  It was a great networking event, even if they did run out of food and had to run to the store for more! Smile  Here is a picture of VMUG Virt outside the Thirsty Bear!


Next up was the VMworld 2015 General Session.  This is held in the big hall in Moscone North.  However, many people go to the HangSpace in Moscone North to watch it on the big screens setup there.  While my brother says this used to be a well-kept secret to view the Keynote, it’s become a very popular one.  It was tough to do, but I managed to find a seat and meet up with my brother and some friends.  The keynote was interesting to watch live (somewhat).  The demo of performing a vMotion between datacenters was great, and the fact that you can now perform a vMotion between your on-premises datacenter and vCloud Air is just amazing!  VMUG Virt got to take a picture here also!


Also setup in the Hangspace, along with ping pong/pool tables, refreshments, the EVO: Rail challenge area, was the VMware Snaps photobooth.  Here, you could take a picture in front of a green screen and in the background they would add one of 8 slogans.  Here are the pictures taken of myself and VMUG Virt.  Being a bacon aficionado, I had to choose Bacon.  Virt had to be a SuperHero!



Although I had booked up my schedule full of sessions to take, I ended up skipping some of them to either walk the Solutions Exchange floor, take a break in the VMUG Lounge, or just take some time to decompress…  The first session I attended was Take Virtualization to the Next Level:  vSphere with Operations Management.  This was a good session from Martin Yip and Himanshu Singh.  As my company recently purchased VSOM licenses instead of normal Enterprise Plus Licenses, this was an informative session on things that we’ll be able to do with Operations Management.  Here’s a picture of VMUG Virt waiting for his (and my) first session to start!  You’ll notice that I went to the Registration desk and got Virt a blank VMworld 2015 Badge!


After this session ended, I met up with my brother over in the VMworld Speakers Lounge, where he and his co-presenter Deji were having issues connecting to their lab environment for some live demos.  Here’s VIRT Hanging in the Speaker’s Lounge


While they worked with the VMworld AV staff on what turned out to be an issue with the IP Confirmation on Deji's laptop, Virt got up on stage and pretended to be a guest speaker.


After that, I went and walked the Solutions Exchange floor a bit.  I got to meet with several vendors, get contact info not only for myself but to bring new sponsors into my VMUG group!  Several vendor booths were always packed, like PernixData and Rubrik!  PernixData had a contest to give away a pretty nice Home Lab.  To win, you had to tweet a picture of yourself with the PernixData logo…  See my entry below.  Rubrik had a great idea to bring the Delorean from Back to the Future (complete with Mr. Fusion) and allow people to sit in it for photo ops!  See pictures of both VMUG Virt and myself going… BACK TO THE FUTURE!!




One of the next sessions I attended was at over in the Marriott…  vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) Best Practices & Tips/Tricks.  This was a great session by William Lam.  Although I’m not using the VCSA in any of my environments currently, it was good to see as I could see us using the Fling to migrate to it eventually.

After the sessions, I had 3 evening events on my calendar that I was going to attempt to make…  The first one was the VMUG Leader Reception, at the W Hotel.  This was a very nice gathering with some entertainment, a booth where you could take a 10 second video in front of a screen and they printed out a flip book out of it, drinks, food, etc.  It was really great to be able to network with fellow VMUG Leaders from all over the world!  VMUG Virt also got to take a picture here.



Then, we (Virt and I) went to the PernixData: The DataCenter Awakens Cantina party, about 2 blocks from the W Hotel at the Minna Gallery, and it was packed!  I managed to get to the back where they had people dressed as Star Wars characters and you got to pose for pictures with them.  It was too crowded for my liking so after taking some pictures with the characters, I headed out.  Here is me at Virt battling Darth Vader and other characters below!


The last event on my list was the vBrisket event over at SouthPaw BBQ & Southern Cooking.  However, this was a bit of a walk and my feet were already ready to fall off, I decided to just go back to my hotel and crash for the night.  VMUG Virt decided to watch some TV before bed.



On Tuesday morning, I met up with Greg, one of the leaders of the NYC VMUG group, in order to hand off VMUG Virt as Greg was his keeper for the day on Tuesday.  After meeting Greg in the lobby of the hotel, I went to grab breakfast over in Moscone West and then headed to the Hang Space to meet my brother to watch the Tuesday morning Keynote.  Thankfully, this time it was much less crowded and we were able to find a spot to sit and comfortably watch.  This was a good keynote, with a surprise speaker from Microsoft talking about Windows 10 and using tools like Airwatch to manage it. Pat Gelsinger is also a very good, powerful speaker.  You can tell he has worked in the Tech field a long time and still gets excited at new advancements.

Next up was my brother’s session over at the Marriott.  Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way.  The session was run by Deji Akomolafe and my brother, Matt Liebowitz.  This was a good session as my company is in the process of virtualizing the majority of our Domain Controllers will be virtual (where we have VMware Infrastructure that is).  They had some great suggestions about what to do with Time Sync, snapshots, etc.  Even though one of their demos failed, it was a very informative and humorous session.  As they say, you can’t always please the demo gods.  Next time, try sacrificing a small virtual animal (stuffed animal?)


After grabbing lunch and stopping by the VMUG Lounge for a while, I went to what ended up being one of my favorite sessions of the trip.  Becoming a vRealize Automagician: Why Automation isn’t Automatic.  This was a session led by Jad El-Zein.  He moderated a panel of 3 engineers from 3 different companies who talked about how they implemented vRA and how they used it, what issues they ran into in their journey, etc.  Being a VMUG Leader, I always like to see the customers talk about the products and how they use them and that’s exactly what Jad brought us here.  Great job guys!


After this session, I went back and wandered around the Solutions Exchange, again looking for info on new vendors I was not aware of, and potential VMUG sponsors for my local group in New Jersey.  VCE was giving away something, at this point I forget what, but to win you had to tweet yourself with your face in this stand-in…  the person in front of me used a stuffed animal in her picture, and the guy said I had to beat that… all I had in my bag that wasn’t something from another vendor was my bag of pretzels!  Needless to say, my pretzels didn’t win.


Tuesday night was the vExpert party at the Julie Morgan Ballroom, about a 20 min walk from my hotel.  I walked over to my brother’s hotel and we took a cab over together along with Tim.  As we pull up, we see someone in a VMware shirt at the curb next to a bunch of boxes.   He recognized our badges and asked if we were going to the vExpert event.  We were recruited to carry some boxes up, so we each grabbed a box, signed in at the front desk and up we went.  The boxes turned out to be VMware vExpert Polo Shirts sponsored by vCloudAir.  The party was fun and we got some good info about the vExpert program, how it’s growing, etc.  After grabbing dinner at a Japanese place we found near the vExpert party, I took a cab back to the hotel and crashed!

shirt1 shirt2


Wednesday morning, I grabbed breakfast and headed over to the session Instant Application Recovery and DevOps Infrastructure for VMware Environments – A Technical Deep Dive.  This was an in-depth look at Rubrik’s Converged Backup Appliance by Chris Wahl & Arvind "Nitro" Nithrakashyap.  I’m a big fan of Rubrik’s Converged Backup Platform and what they’re doing for the backup space.  At the beginning of the session, they handed out raffle tickets and at the end of the session, picked a winner for this awesome Star Wars Lego collection.  I WON!


2015-09-16 16_30_10-Chris Wahl (@ChrisWahl) _ Twitter


After the Rubrik session, was the VMUG Leader Luncheon at the Marriott.  This turned out to be a great event, as I got to meet a bunch of other leaders, talk to them about how they find sponsors, how/when/where they run their meetings, etc.  At the end, it turned into a roundtable discussion to go over issues we’re having as VMUG Leaders and how the other leaders or VMUG HQ could help!  I got some great suggestions out of this to bring back to my VMUG group!  Here a group shot with all the VMUG Leaders, with VIRT hidden in the middle!  I’m in the front row on the right side. Smile


After that, I headed over to the VMUG Lounge to relax before going back to my hotel to crash for a while before the VMworld Party at AT&T Park.  While at the lounge, I ran into Nigel Hickey, fellow VMUG Leader (Houston VMUG) & Author of the vExpert Spotlight blog series!  It was great to meet Nigel and learn he was originally from New Jersey! Below is the selfie Nigel took of us, as well as Steve Athanas with Virt shoved in his backpack!

VMware-Certification image

After texting back and forth with my brother about how I was thinking about bailing on the party, my brother convinced me to go and we met up outside of Moscone West to catch the buses to the event.  The event was billed as “Full Access to AT&T Park with headline entertainment by Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes.”  When we got there, what we found was amazing!  All the concession stands were open and FREE, as well as carnival booths setup down on the field where you could play games and each win won a prize!  All while the band(s) played on the stage. It was a great time and I’m glad I went!  I even managed to win a stuffed animal (a pig of course) to bring home for my son (18 months old at the time), Shane!  Thanks Matt for helping me to win and staying in line to play over and over and over again until one of us won! Smile

20150902_193350 20150902_194057


Thursday morning, I packed up my bags and headed over to Moscone West to drop off my luggage at the bag check and have breakfast.  I met my brother and we hung out in the lounge area on the 2nd floor instead of heading to the General Session.  I headed over to the VMUG Lounge to work the booth until it was time for my to head to the airport at 1pm.  While at the lounge, I got to hang with VMUG Virt for a bit again, I manned the VMUG Plinko board (which ended up being me doing squats for 2 and a half hours, which I paid for with sore leg muscles for a few days!)  On the Plinko board you could win a Pen, a Pin, a Patch, a VMUG USB Fan, or the grand prize (an entry into a contest for a $500 travel voucher).  It was fun and enabled me to meet a lot of the VMUG Members and other VMUG Leaders!  Before I left to head home, I got a group shot of VIRT with the VMUG HQ Staff!





Overall, I had a great trip, met a lot of people, learned a few things, and was able to network a bit for my local VMUG group in New Jersey.  I hope I'm able to return again next year at VMworld 2016 Las Vegas!


PowerCLI Script to list VMs not specifically set to Thick Eager Zeroed

Posted by Ben Liebowitz

First, I’ll start with a little back story.

We recently deployed an EMC XTremIO All-Flash storage appliance.   The recommendation we got from EMC, for the best deduplication ratios, was to use the Thick-Eager Zeroed disk format.  No matter how many times I tell my coworkers to make sure to use this format when deploying VMs to the xTremIO LUNs, once in a while, someone does forgets and deploys a THIN provisioined VM.

Also, we found that when performing P2Vs using the VMware Standalone Converter, when you choose the THICK disk format, it does the P2V and uses the Thick-Lazy Zeroed format.

To prepare for the script, I use folders in the Datastores & Datastore Clusters Inventory View.  I have a parent folder for each SAN, and may have sub folders for datastores dedicated to certain functions, say Microsoft Exchange, etc.  I also put all the LOCAL drives into a folder as well. 

You could very easily modify the script below to modify the script to show anything not THIN provisioned by changing “EagerZeroedThick” to “Thin”.

Here is the script:

Connect-viserver VCENTER_NAME

get-folder -name SAN_NAME |
Get-VM |
Get-HardDisk |
where {$_.StorageFormat -ne "EagerZeroedThick"} |
select Parent,StorageFormat,Filename |
export-csv c:\VMware\diskformat.csv -notypeinformation -useculture

PowerCLI Script to change the DRS Slider

Posted by Ben Liebowitz

So, I have a cluster of hosts that makes up our QA Environment.  As with most QA environments, it’s tight on resources and very over-subscribed.  On a regular basis, I have to move our DRS Slider to be more aggressive, RUN DRS to refresh recommendations, and then move the slider back.  This allows DRS to rebalance the cluster.  Today, I decided to script it.

I made use of a script that @lucd22 posted ( to change the DRS Migration Threshold (slider value).

Here is the script:

# Set Variables
$clusName = CLUSTER_NAME

# Connect to your vCenter
Connect-VIServer $vCenter

# Change DRS Slider to Most Agressive
# Choose the value of the slider, 1 being most agressive, and 5 being most conservative
$rate = 1

write-host "Changing DRS Migration Threshold to most agressive"

$clus = Get-Cluster -Name $clusName | Get-View

$clusSpec = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterConfigSpecEx
$clusSpec.drsConfig = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterDrsConfigInfo
$clusSPec.drsConfig.vmotionRate = $rate
$clus.ReconfigureComputeResource_Task($clusSpec, $true)

# Run DRS to get new recommendations and apply them

write-host "Refreshing DRS Recommendations"
Get-DrsRecommendation -Cluster $clusName -Refresh

# Change DRS Slider back to normal

write-host "Changing DRS Migration Threshold back to Normal"

$rate = 2

$clus = Get-Cluster -Name $clusName | Get-View

$clusSpec = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterConfigSpecEx
$clusSpec.drsConfig = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterDrsConfigInfo
$clusSPec.drsConfig.vmotionRate = $rate
$clus.ReconfigureComputeResource_Task($clusSpec, $true)

- Ben Liebowitz
Twitter:  @ben_liebowitz


PowerCLI Script to migrate VMs from one vCenter to another

Posted by Ben Liebowitz

Hey everyone, this is another guest post from Ben Liebowitz, Matt’s brother.

Before I get into the script, I’ll give you some background…  We are working on migrating VMs off of our vSphere 4.1 environment to our new vSphere 5.5 environment.  The 4.1 environment is using the Nexus 1000v Virtual Switch while the 5.5 environment is using a vDS switch.

We found the easiest way to migrate the VMs was to remove them from inventory on the 4.1 side and then add them to inventory on the 5.5 side (as all the hosts in each environment saw the same storage).  Doing this manually for approx 250 VMs was painful, so I scripted the process.

I started with exporting the VM’s information regarding its name, datastore location, Network Portgroup(s), & folder location.  I found that by using the folder location in Get-VM, I was just getting it’s current folder name and not the full path.  Being I have folder name duplicates (one in an Internal Folder and the same structure in a DMZ folder) I needed a way to list the full path.  Thankfully, I found a Function written by Luc Dekens (@LucD22 / that he called #BlueFolderPath that solved my problem.

After that, I was able to connect to the 4.1 vCenter, export my list, shutdown the VM, remove it from inventory, then connect to my 5.5 vCenter, browse that same datastore, add the VM to inventory on the other side, move the VM to its original folder location, set the proper network portgroup, upgrade the virtual hardware, power the VM on, and finally upgrade the VMware tools.


# Define Variables
$vcenter41 = “your existing vcenter”
$vcenter55 = “your new vcenter”
$vsphere55host = “one of the vSphere 5.5 hosts to migrate to”
$datacenter = “datacenter name”
$csvfile = “path to csv”

#Build the BlueFolderPath function
New-VIProperty -Name 'FullPath' -ObjectType 'VirtualMachine' -Value {

$current = Get-View $vm.ExtensionData.Parent
$path = ""
do {
$parent = $current
if($parent.Name -ne "vm"){$path =  $parent.Name + "/" + $path}
$current = Get-View $current.Parent
} while ($current.Parent -ne $null)
} -Force | Out-Null

#Build the Get-folderbypath function
function Get-FolderByPath {
.SYNOPSIS  Retrieve folders by giving a path
.DESCRIPTION The function will retrieve a folder by it's
path. The path can contain any type of leave (folder or
.NOTES  Author:  Luc Dekens
The path to the folder.
This is a required parameter.
.PARAMETER Separator
The character that is used to separate the leaves in the
path. The default is '/'
PS> Get-FolderByPath -Path "Folder1/Datacenter/Folder2"
PS> Get-FolderByPath -Path "Folder1>Folder2" -Separator '>'

[parameter(Mandatory = $true)]
[char]${Separator} = '/'

if((Get-PowerCLIConfiguration).DefaultVIServerMode -eq "Multiple"){
$vcs = $defaultVIServers
$vcs = $defaultVIServers[0]

foreach($vc in $vcs){
foreach($strPath in $Path){
$root = Get-Folder -Name Datacenters -Server $vc
$strPath.TrimStart($Separator).Split($Separator) | %{
$root = Get-Inventory -Name $_ -Location $root -Server $vc -NoRecursion
if((Get-Inventory -Location $root -NoRecursion | Select -ExpandProperty Name) -contains "vm"){
$root = Get-Inventory -Name "vm" -Location $root -Server $vc -NoRecursion
$root | where {$_ -is [VMware.VimAutomation.ViCore.Impl.V1.Inventory.FolderImpl]}|%{
Get-Folder -Name $_.Name -Location $root.Parent -Server $vc

# Enable connections to multiple vCenters
Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -DefaultVIServerMode Multiple -Scope AllUsers -Confirm:$false

# Connect to 4.1 vCenter
connect-viserver vsphere41

# export list of VMs to Migrate to CSV
Get-Datacenter -name "datacenter" | Get-VM |
Select Name, @{N="Datastore";E={Get-Datastore -VM $_ | Select -ExpandProperty Name}},
@{N="Network";E={Get-VirtualPortgroup -VM $_ | Select -ExpandProperty Name}},
@{N="Parent";E={$_.FullPath}} |
Export-Csv "c:\migrate.csv" -NoTypeinformation -UseCulture

# Get VMs to Migrate
$migrate = Get-Datacenter -name "datacenter"

# Shutdown VMs (cleanly)
$migrate | Get-VM | Shutdown-VMGuest -Confirm:$false

# Wait for VMs to shutdown
start-sleep -s 60

# Remove VMs from Inventory
Get-datacenter -name "datacenter" | Get-Inventory | Remove-Inventory -Confirm:$false

# Connect to 5.5 vCenter
connect-viserver vsphere55

# Set a host in vcenter5.5 to add them to.
$esxhost = "vsphere01.domain.local"

## Add backto inventory & Change network for VMs
foreach ($row in (Import-Csv $csvfile)) {
$vmName = $row.Name
$vmxfile = "[$($row.Datastore)] $($vmName)/$($vmName).vmx"
$vmNewVM = New-VM -VMFilePath $vmxfile -VMhost $esxhost

# Move VM to existing folder locaiton
Move-VM -VM $row.Name -Destination (get-folderbypath $row.Parent)

# Change Network Portgroup
$vm = get-vm -Name $row.Name
Get-NetworkAdapter -VM $vm | Set-NetworkAdapter -NetworkName $row.Network -Confirm:$false

# Upgrade Virtual Hardware
Set-VM -VM $vmName -Version v10

# Poweron VMs
Start-VM -VM $row.Name -Confirm:$false | wait-tools
Get-VMQuestion -VM $vm | Set-VMQuestion –Option "I moved it" -confirm:$false

# Update VMware Tools
update-tools $vmName -Confirm:$false
start-sleep -s 300

} ## end foreach



Resolving .NET path issues when installing vRA App Services bootstrap

Posted by Matt Liebowitz


Much as I tried to get this to work with Windows Server 2012 R2, it won't.  You need to install .NET 2.0/3.0 on Windows Server 2012 R2 in order to get the bootstrap service to work.  It will install everything properly but I was unable to get the Windows service to actually start without .NET 2.0/3.0.

See screenshot to show the .NET version that is required.


As I continue on my vRealize Automation Application Services journey, I thought I’d share the solution to another issue I ran into.  While preparing a Windows guest to be used as a tempate for vRA Application Services, I ran into trouble installing the Application Services agent bootstrap.

With the agent bootstrap downloaded and extracted to c:\temp, I tried to follow the documentation and execute the install.bat with the appropriate parameters. Here is the output that I received:

  VMware vCloud Application Director agent services (vcd/vcac) installation script.
* Install vCAC VRM agent.
* Install Application Director agent bootstrap as a windows service.
* Create darwin user.

Look for InstallUtil.exe...
Attempting to use C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\InstallUtil.exe
for installing the bootstrap executable as a Windows service.
ERROR: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\InstallUtil.exe not found.

Agent bootstrap installation aborted. Please address errors and run this installation again.

I bolded the error to make it obvious.  Since I’m using a Windows Server 2012 R2 template, it comes preinstalled with a newer version of the .NET Framework (4.5.1) than what it is expecting (2.0).  The folder it’s looking for (C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727) is present on Windows Server 2012 R2, but the InstallUtil.exe file is not there.  If this were Windows Server 2008 R2 then this script would work as is but it doesn’t work with Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2.

To fix it, I simply modified the install.bat file and modified the following line to point it to the right folder (see bolded piece):

REM Util for installing the bootstrap executable as a Windows service.
set installutilexe=%SystemDrive%\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\InstallUtil.exe

..and changed it to read the following:

REM Util for installing the bootstrap executable as a Windows service.
set installutilexe=%SystemDrive%\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\InstallUtil.exe

Once I did this, I was able to get the bootstrap installation script to run without an issue.  I couldn’t find anything in VMware’s documentation or other blogs that told me to do this so I figured I’d blog about it.  If you have other workarounds or can point me to where this is documented, leave me a comment.

Hope this helps someone out there!


Find the right JRE filename when installing vRA Application Services Agent

Posted by Matt Liebowitz

As I said in a previous post, these days I’m more focused on cloud automation and orchestration than virtualizing business critical apps like I have been in the past.  However, combining those two worlds is of interest to me so I’ve been playing with vRealize Automation Application Services.

I was recently preparing a Windows Server 2012 R2 template to be used as a template for vRA/Application Services and so I was following VMware’s documentation on how to install the required agents.  Unfortunately, VMware’s documentation needs to be updated to reflect the changes that come with each new version of Application Services.

One of the required components to prepare a Windows VM for Application Services is the proper Java SE 7 Runtime Environment from the vRA Application Services appliance. The VMware documentation for the version of vRA Application Services that I’m running, 6.2, indicates that I should go to the following URL to download the right JRE version:

Download and install the supported Java SE 7 Runtime Environment from http://Application_Director_IP/agent/

The bolded piece is the important part.  When I tried to go to that URL on my vRA Application Services appliance, I got a 404 error.  The challenge here is that the version of JRE changes with each update but the documentation unfortunately has not.  In order to find the proper JRE version, you can simply SSH to the vRA Application Services appliance and look.

Thanks to @grantorchard for the tip here!

1) SSH into the appliance as darwin_user, and then su to root.

2) Run  ls -l /home/darwin/tcserver/darwin/webapps/darwin/agent/

3) Find the appropriate JRE version.  As you can see in the screenshot below, in vRA 6.2.0 the appropriate filename is for the Windows agent and not as the documentation states.


Hope this quick tip saves you some headaches when trying to install the vRA Application Services agent!


The one where TiVo taught my wife about hybrid cloud

Posted by Matt Liebowitz

There’s a famous quote that says, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” That statement is true. But I’m sure many of us have examples of where we’re challenged to explain something we know very well in a simple manner. Take the example of working in technology and explaining what you do to family or friends who are in completely different fields. Can you easily explain virtualization, for example, to your car mechanic? What about explaining the concepts of hybrid cloud to an airline pilot (who has an altogether different view of clouds)?

Usually, the easiest way to explain a complex subject to someone who has never been exposed to it is to put it into terms of examples that they already understand. And so it was that I found myself talking with my wife about the benefits of hybrid cloud in terms of our TiVo DVR.

For years we’ve used TiVo to record shows for ourselves and our kids. TiVo has had a feature called Season Pass that automatically records all episodes of a TV show when they air on a particular channel. Recently, TiVo upgraded the Season Pass into a new feature called OnePass that brings together content on your TiVo with content available via streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

We were recently at a party where someone recommended we watch a show we had never heard of. When we got home we decided to record it, and we got to see how the OnePass feature worked with this new show. The feature would allow us to record all new episodes of the show directly on our TiVo while also allowing us to use streaming services to catch up on the previous season that we haven’t seen. It does this all from the same familiar interface, grouping the newly recorded episodes and those episodes available from streaming services together into the same view.

You can see an example of what this looks like using my son’s favorite show Chuggington. From the same view, I can choose to stream episodes from multiple sources (in this case Amazon and Netflix, as shown in the lower right) indicated by the three little blue lines next to the name of the show. Or I can watch episodes I already recorded on my TiVo as indicated by the green dot next to each episode. It works great—I get all of the content that I want in one interface that I’m already familiar with.

2015-03-25 09.55.37

Lest you think this is just a blog post advertising TiVo, let me bring it back to hybrid cloud. Those of you already familiar with the EMC’s Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud probably already see the connection here. What TiVo has done with the OnePass feature is provide choice, allowing us to record shows directly on our TiVo (on-premises infrastructure) while also letting us consume content from streaming services (off-premises cloud) all from the same interface. We could make the decision to use paid services like Netflix to catch up on old episodes, or simply record them directly on the TiVo (at no extra cost above our normal cable bill) when they air again.

The hybrid cloud provides that same type of functionality. You can choose to deploy workloads or services on-prem or use public clouds like VMware vCloud Air all from the same interface. Consumers of cloud services usually don’t care where the workload runs, they just want the ability to consume it based on criteria like cost, data protection, recovery levels, or performance just to name a few. At EMC we talk a lot about how the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud provides choice, and this is an easy to understand example of how we provide that choice.

And so I bring it back to where I started. Hybrid cloud can be a complex topic, but I was able to explain it to my wife in terms she is familiar with and she instantly understood the benefits. On that night everybody won—I got to explain the benefits of hybrid cloud in a new way that gave me the idea for this blog post, and we ended up with a new show to watch. Now if she’d ever give me the remote control, I might actually be able to watch it.


VMware Certified Professional Delta Exam

Posted by Matt Liebowitz

This weekend I had the opportunity to take the VMware Certified Professional Delta exam (VCP550D) to renew my VCP5-DCV certification for another two years.  I wanted to share my thoughts on this exam specifically as well as the future of online exams.

I’ll echo what I’ve read from other folks regarding this exam in that you need to know more than just what has changed between vSphere 5.x and 5.5.  Be prepared to answer questions about vCOPs and VSAN and possibly others too.  The exam still feels like a regular VCP exam so if you’ve taken those already you should be familiar with the format, but expect that some questions may fall outside of vSphere specifically.

There are 65 questions in 75 minutes so you don’t have a lot of time to give each of the questions a lot of thought.  You’ll need to go in with a good working knowledge of vSphere to have a shot at passing this.  Luckily only people with a current VCP can take this exam so most will already have good experience.

My advice if you haven’t already taken the exam

  • VMware has a 7 day retake policy so make sure you take the exam at least 7 days prior to March 10th, 2015.  That gives you a shot at taking it again in case things don’t go well.
  • Make sure to read the exam blueprint (opens a PDF) to see what might be asked of you.
  • Take the practice exam on VMware’s website to get you in the right mindset but make sure you get at least one wrong on purpose.  Once you get 100% it will never let you take it again.  Side note: this is why I can still take the VCP3 (VI3) practice exam.

Online exam

The other obviously different aspect of this exam is that you can take it online from the comfort of your web browser.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from that but once the exam started it felt very much like I was sitting in a testing center (look and feel), except that the performance was significantly better.  Most of the testing centers I’ve used have very old computers and it can take a little while moving between questions.  The performance was great it was really comfortable taking the exam like this.

You might ask the obvious question – doesn’t this make it easier to cheat?  Can’t you just keep another browser window open and search Google for the answers? My thought on that: I dare you to try.  My exam had 65 questions in 75 minutes, barely giving you more than 1 minute per question.  If the questions were simply “What is the maximum number of virtual machines per ESXi host” type questions then you might be able to do that but that wasn’t what the exam looked like.  What you end up with are scenario type questions that take time just to read the question, which would make it all but impossible to try to search the Internet for the answers.  If you tried that you would very likely run out of time.

That brings me to my thoughts on taking exams like this in general.  I ‘d love to see this become the standard of how tests are delivered in the future.  I think it should be easy enough to make it too hard for people to cheat by using scenario type questions, though I admit it would be difficult to prevent a bunch of people from sitting around a computer and taking the test together.  For that I think we need to rely on people being honest, which sadly is why I doubt we’ll see this actually end up as the future of the way certification exams are delivered.


The good news (for me) is that I passed the exam so my VCP is now good until 2017.  I thought overall the exam was similar to other VCP exams I’ve taken in the past, and delivering it online made it much more convenient for me to take it.  Proof of that is I was able to take the exam on a Saturday afternoon instead of having to lose hours during the work day to drive to a testing center.

Good luck to anyone who is still planning on taking the exam!


Virtualizing Microsoft Lync 2013

Posted by Matt Liebowitz

It seems there is a bit of an uproar about a document Microsoft recently released called Planning a Lync Server 2013 Deployment on Virtual Servers. In that document, Microsoft makes some odd recommendations when virtualizing Lync, sync has disabling NUMA on physical servers and not using hyperthreading.

To address these concerns, VMware has published a really nice blog post that addresses the unusual guidance in the document.  You can read the blog post by clicking here. The author of the blog post was my co-presenter at VMworld as year and was a technical advisor on my book on virtualizing Microsoft apps, so he has very good credibility in this space.  I highly recommend reading it.

I agree with everything Deji says in his blog post but I wanted to add some additional thoughts.


I agree with Deji that we should always size virtual machines based on a host's physical cores, not logical cores (despite how hyperthreaded cores are represented within vSphere).  That is true for business critical apps like Lync and basic workloads too.  A logical core is not the same as a physical core and we shouldn't treat it that way.  And don't forget that even if we don't assign the logical cores to virtual machines, ESXi can still use them when managing its own processes. That can help overall system performance for Lync and all other workloads on the server.


I can't think of a single reason to disable NUMA.  Even if the workload doesn't support it, ESXi does and will place VMs within NUMA nodes to increase performance.  I almost think the author of the document was confused and meant to say to disable node interleaving, which is how NUMA is referred to in many BIOS settings.  Disabling node interleaving = enabling NUMA.  A good example of this is Microsoft Exchange, which is not NUMA aware (unlike SQL Server which is).  You wouldn't disable NUMA on the ESXi host system or a physical server running Exchange just because the application doesn't support NUMA since Windows itself and ESXi can take advantage of it.

Resource Over-committment

The author makes a good point about over-committing resources (especially CPU) on Lync servers and the impact to performance.  On that I completely agree, though CPU reservations can alleviate that issue.  This is true with Lync just like it is true with Exchange Server and the requirement not to exceed 2:1 vCPU:pCPU.  It's possible the author is loosely referring to processor affinity or what is sometimes called "CPU pinning."  I agree that you shouldn’t mess with processor affinity for Lync, but CPU reservations can be used to guarantee access to CPU resources.

Hopefully between my thoughts and the blog post from VMware you’ll see that there is nothing to worry about when virtualizing Lync.  It’s fully supported and you don’t need to change your standard practices in order to make it work.


Thoughts on EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud

Posted by Matt Liebowitz

I’ve never been a prolific blogger like others in the virtualization community, but this year was especially bad.  One of the reasons is that I’m in a new role with EMC which has changed my focus a bit.  Still focused on virtualization, but less so on the business critical apps that I used to write more frequently about and more on hybrid cloud. 

The other major change is my involvement with something called EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, or what we refer to as EHC.  EHC is more than just marketing – it’s a powerful combination of hardware and software from EMC, software from VMware, and services from EMC to implement the solution.  It’s a fully engineered solution that includes more than just out of the box functionality of the products.  EMC has created custom workflows and automation to add value to the solution, including things like Backup as a Service integration with Avamar and storage provisioning and integration with EMC ViPR.

My new role at EMC has me focused on helping to make sure that our Professional Services teams have the skills, training, and experience they need to be successful in delivering projects and EHC has become a big part of that.  After all, one of the reasons why EHC is resonating with customers is that it’s a complete solution that includes our services to implement it quickly.  How quickly?  We can go from nothing to a fully functional cloud environment providing Infrastructure as a Service in just 28 days.  Customers tell us a project like that often takes them months or longer and they’re often not as successful as they’d like.

Having a focus on Professional Services and not on specific EMC products, my view of the EMC world may be somewhat skewed.  With that said, I think the PS portion of EHC is one of the most important parts of the solution.  The value of bringing in an experienced PS team is especially evident here, as EHC is a complex solution that involves numerous technologies.  I’ve been personally involved in developing the training paths and enablement plans for all EMC PS resources that deliver EHC solutions and can say the caliber of people we’ve put through is quite high.  I’m proud to be a part of the EMC PS team.

I’ll share some links below to give you some more information about EHC if you’re interested.  You’ll notice that much of it will focus on the technology and capabilities of the EHC solution and you’ll see very little about EMC’s services to go with this.  In my mind the PS portion is just as important as the technology itself, and is one of the key things that makes EHC different from similar solutions from other organizations.

Here’s to hoping I get to blog more next year!  Hope everyone has a great new year and a prosperous 2015!

Here are some links for more info:

EHC Solution Overview (opens a PDF):

First in my 3 part series introducing EHC:

EHC was recently updated to 2.5.1 and this post by Jim Sanzone does a nice job explaining what’s new:

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