vSphere 5.5 B Released

Don’t let the quiet times of the holiday’s fool you! vSphere 5.5 was released on 22-December 2013! vSphere 5.5 has seen the following release sequencing:

  • VMware ESXi 5.5 22-Sept Build 1331820
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.5 22-Sept Build 1312298
  • vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 22-Sept Build 1312297
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.5.0a 31-Oct Build 1378901
  • vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.0a 31-Oct Build 1398493
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.5.0b 22-Dec Build 1476387
  • vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.0b 22-Dec Build 1476389
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    (Click on image for Released Notes of 5.5.0b)

On Halloween we had vSphere 5.5 A come out. If you have not started your vSphere 5.5 upgrade, start with the B release; then do the hypervisor updates for ESXi.

VMware KB 2057795 has good upgrade information.

Install VMware Tools on Nested ESXi with ShortURL

One of the most useful VMware Flings of all time has just come out, VMware Tools for Nested ESXi. Nested ESXi is running ESXi within ESXi or another VMware hypervisor. Fusion, Workstation and maybe Player support nesting ESXi.

We all know these few facts:

  • VMware Tools makes VMs run better
  • Nested ESXi isn’t production-ready
  • Nested ESXi is a great lab/test technique

In the Fling page, it has option 2 listed to run the .VIB (an installable module on an ESXi host) from directly downloading it from VMware.com. This is “loosely” analogous to the whole OVA vs. OVF discussion, a pointer vs. full install locally.

With option 2, you can take the full command:

esxcli software vib install -v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxi_tools_for_guests/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.0-0.0.00000.i386.vib -f 

And condense it to a short URL:

esxcli software vib install -v http://vee.am/esxitools –f

Here is the command being entered on an ESXi 5.5 host nested on ESXi:

(I did enable SSH, this can also be done in the DCUI however)

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Before the command, the VM (nested ESXi) displayed this in the vSphere Client (Shhh… Not using Web Client yet):

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After the host is rebooted, VMware Tools are running as shown below on startup:

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Then in the vSphere Client, you are golden as well!

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The ShortURL will help when it comes to installing VMware Tools by hand on a host, much like Windows Firewall I’ve remembered: netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off.

So, save this command and keep it for the ages!

esxcli software vib install -v http://vee.am/esxitools –f

Enjoy! Thank you VMware Flings team, and William Lam!

Stella Artois: Chalice Can vs. Bottle review

Over time, I’ve come to fancy Stella Artois. Stella is a Belgian lager beer that really works for any situation. Recently in the states, I’ve seen the new Chalice can, a 440 cl container that I’m convinced is better than the bottle! Here is my first video comparing the chalice can with the bottle:

I’ve long thought that the chalice can outperforms the bottle in terms of smell, taste, head and drinkability. Watch this video to see the results:

Do you have the Stella Chalice can available in your market? I encourage you to check it out if so. Does the can outperform the bottle for you? Share your feedback below.

The business of airlines: Adapt or die

imageThose of you who know me well will find out eventually the three things that I know best. I only do one of them for my day job, so chances are you could guess one of them. But my three things I know best are:

  • Computers
  • Airplanes
  • Cooking

Oddly, a person I know quite well aligns in a very similar fashion: Jason Perlow. Jason is a great communicator, a frequent guest on the Veeam podcast with me, an excellent techie and WOW his food creations are amazing.

Anyways, Jason had two recent blog posts that caught my attention. The first was “Delta SkyClub: Hitting the bottom shelf” and “Delta, United engage in mileage shenanigans with American Express”.

I read all of Jason’s posts and see where he’s coming from. I disagree with his criticisms of both program changes. His accounts are right of the facts, loyalty programs and lounge access is effectively monetized.

I believe these actions by Delta and like programs are justified.

Let’s start with the club program. I’ve had access to the Delta Sky Club (formerly the Crown Room) since 2002 or so with my American Express credit card. I have noticed the new Luxury Bar service, and to an extent agree with Jason’s post. I would choose Blue Moon (I prefer unfiltered Belgian Wheat Ales) or Stella Artois as well, which are now part of the Luxury Bar service. I have purchased Stella Artois as it is served in the proper chalice. I only drink beer there; I’m not sure what my wife will do as she only drinks Bailey’s. She’ll probably settle for wine.

Regarding the spend requirement for loyalty programs, as it turns out; I am in good shape with that program with no changes. The Delta program shows you your performance, here’s mine below. The Medallion Qualification Dollars is estimated, I’m on-track for my status next year based on 2013 performance.

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In both situations, this sounds oddly familiar to what we have to do in computers. We have to change the process, or the business model from time to time. This may be necessary to survive.

The last 13 years have been absolutely brutal on the airlines. The inventory management practices that have been delivered from all of the web booking engines (AKA business intelligence around the sales process) have really made it tough for the airline. I think in 2000, Delta was profiting around 6-10 Million US Dollars per day.

The change in the industry has been remarkable. Sure, we’ve lost food service on flights. Sure, it is now harder to get to talk to someone when things go wrong. Sure, we have limited flight options from what we had a number of years ago. Sure, we also now pay fees for many things: good seats, bag checks, some foods and drinks.

But the business changed. In fact, it had to. Air fares have gone down. Operational costs, in particular fuel, have gone up. Something had to give.

This is the classic case of an industry, and Delta has been atypical in its financial performance leading it to success. This is also an industry that deals in single digit profits and margins, etc. When the losses come in, they come in bad. I remember hearing about quarterly losses in the middle part of the last decade being 2 Billion US Dollard (per quarter!). The June 2013 quarterly report stated this:

Delta’s net profit for the June 2013 quarter was $844 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, excluding special items1. This result is a record June quarter profit excluding special items and is a $258 million improvement year-over-year.

This doesn’t happen without some change.

I respect you, Jason Perlow, but disagree because the business has to change.

vCloud Automation Center: Time For a Closer Look

By no means am I a visionary, but occasionally I’ll latch on to something that I keep very close watch on. Way back in 2011 (which seems like forever ago), I wrote a piece outlining my first impressions of vCloud Director. At the time, I focused three key points:

  • On-premise is still an option
  • The networking will be different
  • There is metadata, and it’s important

What is interesting is that this is pretty much the same top three points today. I’ve been working a bit with vCloud Director recently and can formulate a good direction on this "level" of virtualization now. That being said, things have changed a bit since VMworld 2013 in San Francisco with vCloud Director.

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Click here to read the full post at Virtualization Review.

Don’t Delete the VM: Archive it!

How many times have you needed to clean up your virtual environment? If you are like me – plenty.

The hard part is what needs to stay and what needs to go. I came to the realization that we should really prioritize what needs to go. But we have to keep a copy of it in case we change our mind.

I’ve found myself leaving a number of powered off VMs around “just in case” – well – I should really take a different approach, and now I have. I’ve found that if I archive them via a backup  I can keep my VMware or Hyper-V environment clean by not littering a bunch of powered off VMs around.

The best part is, you can do this with Veeam Backup Free Edition – which will allow you to do ad-hoc backups for free.

Here’s a practical use case. One of my datastores is low on space. I have a few powered off  VMs on it. I don’t want to delete them right away, so the right thing to do is back them up to a different storage resource and then delete the VM. With Veeam, that’s easy.

If you are using the free edition of Veeam, simply right-click on the VM and select “VeeamZIP”. I’m using the non-free edition, and I’m selecting two VMs in the figure below:
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I did a bit of screen shot magic, but the takeaway is that you go into “Virtual Machines” view, and select the VMs you want then right-click and select “VeeamZIP”.

The free edition of Veeam allows you do to only one at a time, I’ve got a license, so I can do more than one.

Then you’re good. And just so you know, the free edition of Veeam uses the same processing engine to perform the backups as the paid editions – so don’t think you’re getting a half-baked backup.

Once that is done, I can then delete those two VMs and save my datastore space. It’s that easy!

Rickatron in Australia New Zealand!

For my Australia / New Zealand friends – please join me and Veeam in the region. We’re doing a four city tour in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland this July. You can have all of your Veeam questions answered – plus get swag and free coffee.

Sign up now at the page: http://go.veeam.com/event-exclusive-inside-look-at-veeam-v7.html

11th July – Sydney
15th July – Melbourne
16th July – Wellington
17th July – Auckland

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