About Marc Crawford

Big geek who loves technology

VMware vSphere Design Workshop V5

This week I had to the opportunity to attend the VMware vSphere Design Workshop V5.  I don’t get the opportunity to attend training very often, so I was grateful for the opportunity. There is usually no travel budget when training is offered, so I had to take this class online.



The instructor for the class was Brett Guarino.  Besides being a VCI he is also a consultant.  Having an instructor with current operational experience is very helpful.  This was his first time teaching the class online.  I thought he did a good job of presenting the material and answering questions.  I felt he even went above and beyond and helped students fix audio & microphone issues they were having with Adobe connect.  Brett had taken and passed the VCAP5-DCD, so he was able to give us some good insight into the exam.  It is always a crap shoot on what instructor you are going to get, but I would have no problem taking a class again with Brett as an instructor.


Online Classroom Environment

The online class uses Adobe Connect to present the class to everyone.  If you have never seen or used Adobe Connect before, there is a good demo on YouTube.  I feel it is a good online collaboration tool for online class presentation and group discussion.  Days before you attend the class you are sent an email so you can connect the environment and make sure your audio & speakers are working.  For some reason many students still were not ready the first day and some students could never get their microphone working.  I wondered if they were intimidated and used that as an excuse.



The class is 5.x so it is supposed to cover all versions of vSphere 5, but I felt there was some material that could have been updated.  Most of the information in the class is a few years old, but most of the concepts are still relevant.  Everything that is talked about in the class is pre 5.5.  Nothing has been updated with 5.5 material.

In each lab after we presented our designs and discussed them, we would go over the VMware answer.  In some cases it was unclear and ambiguous why VMware chose the design/answer they did.  There were no requirements that justified the design/answer they chose.

I felt there was too much discussion about features and should have been more discussion about how features should be used in a design.  I also wished there was more discussion on design scenarios.


Final Thoughts

If I had to pay for this class on my own, I would have been a little disappointed.  I really thought some of the material could have been updated with new more relevant material.

When the instructor puts you into groups to work on a labs, there was not as much discussion going on as I thought there should be.  Usually 1 or two people talked the most and did most of the design work.  I wish the instructor would have asked us to complete the labs on our own and then everyone could present their own design.  I think this would have fueled more discussion.

Not sure it if would have been the same in a physical class room, but it would be easier too see what there body language is.  I feel that it would be easier to collaborate and generate more discussion than the online class.

One objective for this class was to validate many things I learned while studying for the VCAP5-DCD.  I think I accomplished that goal, but I am not sure if I can say that I am a lot more ready to take the exam after taking this class.

I would wait for this class to be updated or wait for V6 if you are thinking about taking this class.



Week 2 VMUG Challange

I am participating in the VMUG 5 week challange – http://www.vmug.com/sharevmug

Week 2 VMUG Challange is to explain how VMware Education/Certifications have helped you advance your career.

A few years ago I had to opportunity to take the VMware vSphere 4.1 Install, Configure and Manage Class.  After taking the class I passed the VCP for exam.  Passing the exam gave me the confidence to apply for a Systems Engineer position that was focused on virtualization.

After being in that position a few months I was able to take the vSphere 4 Advanced Fast track.  This gave me the knowledge and confidence to pass the VCAP5-DCA exam.

Every time I take a class and pass and exam I feel more comfortable and confident in the work that I perform.  I am constantly striving to learn more and studying for VCAP5-DCD.


VMworld Schedule Builder Tips

This is the default view that everyone sees when they log into schedule builder.  It is very difficult to build your schedule in this view


A much easier way to build your schedule is to click the little drop down arrow on the site menu on the bar on the left.  After clicking on the arrow and window will drop down.  Then select schedule.


This will bring up your schedule in a calendar format view.  From here you can export, print, add personal time and edit your schedule.  To edit your schedule, just click on the edit button.


In this view it is much easier to see and edit your schedule by day.


If you highlight a session on the left it will show you how it fits into your schedule and if it conflicts with any other sessions you have scheduled.


Have fun building your VMworld Schedule!

Patch released for vSphere 5.5 U1 NFS APD problem!

Back in April VMware identified an issue when running ESXi 5.5 Update 1, the ESXi host intermittently loses connectivity to NFS storage and an All Paths Down (APD) condition to NFS volumes is observed.

You can read more details about the problem at http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2076392

VMware announced today (11 June 2014) that the issue has been resolved.  Download and details are at : http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2076392

VMware free training library series launches with VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting Workshop [v5.5]


Vmware has added a free training library to the new webinar series.  They are connecting you directly with VMware’s own expert training team, making it easier for you to take full advantage of VMware® products, from data center virtualization and hybrid cloud to software-defined data center.

The series launches with VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting Workshop [v5.5]. Listen and learn how to increase your skill and competency using the VMware vSphere Command-Line Interface (vCLI) to analyze problems. The webinar discusses best practices using products VMware® ESXi™ 5.5, VMware® vCenter Server™ 5.5, and vCloud Director. You’ll gain knowledge on specific troubleshooting issue techniques for:

  • SSL certificates
  • Networking
  • Storage
  • VMware vCenter™ Single Sign-On™
  • VMware vCenter Server
  • VMware ESXi host
  • VMware vSphere Cluster
  • VMware vSphere® vMotion®
  • Virtual Machine

Click here to register

vSphere 5.5 Update 1 released

With the announcement of VSAN GA announcement last week, everyone knew that vSphere 5.5 update 1 would be available soon because it is required for VSAN.

VMware released vSphere  5.5 update 1 today (11 March 2014).

You can download all the components here .

What’s new for vCenter 5.5 Update 1

  • vCloud® Hybrid Service™ vSphere® Client Plug-in, is now available in vSphere Web Client.
  • vCenter Server is now supported on Windows Server 2012 R2.

What’s new for vSphere 5.5 Update 1

  • VMware Virtual SAN

You can check out all the details in the vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1 Release Notes & VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 1 Release Notes

According to the vSphere 5.5 Update 1 release notes there is NOT a supported upgrade of the VSAN Beta –

Test Releases of Virtual SAN 
Upgrade of Virtual SAN cluster from Virtual SAN Beta to Virtual SAN 5.5 is not supported.
Disable Virtual SAN Beta, and perform fresh installation of Virtual SAN 5.5 for ESXi 5.5 Update 1 hosts. If you were testing Beta versions of Virtual SAN, VMware recommends that you recreate data that you want to preserve from those setups on vSphere 5.5 Update 1. For more information see Retaining virtual machines of Virtual SAN Beta cluster when upgrading to vSphere 5.5 Update 1 (KB 2074147).

VSAN GA Announcement


On March 6th  VMware annouce the the  general availability of Virtual SAN 1.0 through a webinar. In case your missed the webinar, you can go to www.vmware.com/now and watch it.

The VSAN Beta was running for 6 months and had 10,000 people sign up.  VMware is offering customers using the beta an exclusive 20% discount

At VMworld 2013 VMware announced that VSAN would support an 8 node cluster.  At PEX 2014 VMware announce that VSAN would support a 16 Node cluster.

The big announcement about VSAN 1.0 is that it will support a 32 node cluster.


Some more technical specs about VSAN 1.0

  • Benchmarks have reached 2 Million IOPS (32 node Cluster)
  • VSAN can scale up to 4.4 PB (35 disks x 32 hosts)

One of the things that I love about VSAN is how easy it is to setup.  One click and it is installed.


VMware will announce pricing of VSAN 1.0 the week of March 10th.

VMware released a new VSAN Design and Sizing Guide which can be downloaded here.

There is a  free VSAN Hands-on Lab (HOL) available for you to run through setting it up and getting familiar with the interface.  This is great if you don’t have the physical hardware to setup VSAN in your lab.

Duncan Epping has written a lot of great articles on VSAN

He is writting a book with Cormac Hogan – VMware Virtual SAN launch and book pre-announcement!

Join me at the up coming St Louis VMUG User Conference


Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Attend the St. Louis VMUG User Conference

7.    David Hill of VMware will deliver the afternoon keynote session on Hybrid Cloud
6.    VMware will be presenting on Networking, Virtual SAN, Operations Management,
vCenter 5.5, vSphere 5.5, vCAC, Data Protection, Software Defined Data Center and more!
5.    Learn about the latest products from 30 VMware partners
4.    Enjoy longer, more in-depth VMware sessions with an updated agenda for 2014
3.    VMUG Giveaways will be provided for ALL attendees
2.    Have a beer at the reception following the event – sponsored by Veeam Software
1.    It’s FREE! (And so is breakfast and lunch)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Sheraton Westport Hotel
191 Westport Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63146

Register now and see more details.

Follow @STLVMUG and  #STLVMUG on Twitter for the latest event information and updates.

RV Tools 3.6 Released

RVTools is a windows .NET 2.0 application which uses the VI SDK to display information about your virtual machines and ESX hosts.

Interacting with all versions of VirtualCenter and ESX Server RVTools is able to list information about VMs, CPU, Memory, Disks, Partitions, Network, Floppy drives, CD drives, Snapshots, VMware tools, Resource pools, Clusters, ESX hosts, HBAs, Nics, Switches, Ports, Distributed Switches, Distributed Ports, Service consoles, VM Kernels, Datastores, Multipath info and health checks.

What’s new in Version 3.6 (Feburary 2014)

  • New tabpage with cluster information
  • New tabpage with multipath information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields HA Isolation response and HA restart priority
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields Cluster affinity rule information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields connection state and suspend time
  • On vInfo tabpage new field The vSphere HA protection state for a virtual machine (DAS Protection)
  • On vInfo tabpage new field quest state
  • On vCPU tabpage new fields Hot Add and Hot Remove information
  • On vCPU tabpage cpu/socket/cores information adapted
  • On vHost tabpage new fields VMotion support and storage VMotion support
  • On vMemory tabpage new field Hot Add
  • On vNetwork tabpage new field VM folder.
  • On vSC_VMK tabpage new field MTU
  • RVToolsSendMail: you can now also set the mail subject
  • Fixed a datastore bug for ESX version 3.5
  • Fixed a vmFolder bug when started from the commandline
  • Improved documentation for the commandline options

Below is an example of the new cluster tab.


Below is an example of the new Multpath tab.


It has been almost a year since the last version was released, but that is ok because this tool is FREE and is works great.  Sure I could write a powercli script to get a lot of this information, but it’s nice to get all of this information in a single click.  It also gets all of this information very fast because it uses the VI SDK.

I have been using this tool for a few years and it is one of my favorite documentation collection / troubleshooting tools.

Download your free version of RVTools 3.6