All of Us Can Benefit From TechFieldDay

Where would you go to hear more or find out about a new product or a new company? The Web? Blogs? the company’s website? Probably all of the above are true. But sometimes that information is
just… not… enough……..

I would like to share with you a resource that I find is of great value to me, and not well known (if you ask me).

I was looking to find out some more about Nutanix. They have a different look on the way you should virtualize your datacenter. Combine your storage and compute in one piece of hardware – provide a large amount of performance in one box, make it highly available and scalable – you have an Enterprise solution. I must admit – I am over-simplifying this a bit (a lot actually) but I encourage you to investigate this product more on your own.Nutanix

I went to their site to try and find our more about them. There are some whitepapers, some nice short videos, and resources, but I could not find the in-depth information that I was looking for.

How exactly does the product work? What is inside – what is the business strategy? So of course I could contact their sales department – and they would get back to me – then give me a sales pitch, and then back and forward until I would finally get in touch with someone technical that could answer my questions.

In comes TechfieldDay.

Stephen Foskett from GestaltIT has an amazing program where he brings together emerging companies some with new technologies (other established companies as well) and independent bloggers, to a two-day event full of presentations and discussions. These are highly beneficial both to the presenting companies and to the bloggers themselves. I had the privelege of participating in TechfieldDay #5 last year.

I remembered that Nutanix presented at a recently at Techfielday #8. Here is the link to the 2 hour presentation they gave.

I just sent an email to Stephen to thank him. I learned more about the company and their product from the two hour presentation that he recorded and posted – than I had learned from any of the the information on their site or anywhere else on the web. The reason being, the level of presentation delivered at TechfieldDay is not a marketing presentation (and if it is - the presenters will get their head chewed off). The questions asked are ones I would ask myself, technical, detailed and sometimes mind boggling. This is the stuff that interests me.

The fact that these sessions are recorded – and I can watch/download later - actually saves me and immense amount of time. True I spent 2 hours watching to a presentation (not in one stretch though) – but I am sure it will save me a lot more – getting the information I want about a company and their product and not the information their marketing would like me to hear.

I would advise you all - if you would like an in-depth explanation about a product - TechfieldDay is a great place to look. It is not only virtualization-centric, but also storage, backup, network – practically anything technology related can be found there.


Set-VirtualSwitch and a Misunderstanding

I was doing some installations yesterday – and I wanted to add a second NIC to a vSwitch on a set of newly installed servers. Of course there were 10 of them, and I did not want to do this manually.

Easiest way to do it (besides installing them with a script correctly in the first place) was with PowerCLI.

From the Set-VirtualSwitch help:

--------------  Example 3 --------------

C:\PS>Get-VMHost *.128 | Get-VirtualSwitch | Select-Object -First 1 | Set-VirtualSwitch -Nic vmnic5

Add a physical network adapter named 'vmnic5' to the first switch of the host. Note that the 'vmnic5' adapter must not be assigned to
other virtual switches.

What I understand from that – you add an additional NIC to the vSwitch – it leaves the current assignment alone, it just adds another.

And this is how I started out.


So I set out to add vmnic1 to the vSwitch

Get-VirtualSwitch -Name vSwitch0 | Set-VirtualSwitch -Nic vmnic1

The command completed successfully – but look what happened:


Now this is weird part. In the DCUI – I had no NIC’s selected for the management network.

The case I had yesterday was that the transition on the switches was not fast enough – and I lost connection to the host. ILO was needed to fix it.

But back to this morning. I tried this on a workstation vESX and it produced to different results.

After running this command I was presented in the DCUI with the screen shot above but strangely enough I still had connection to the host.

ESXi Shell showed this:

Only vmnic1

Which was weird if you ask me.

I restarted the management Network through the DCUI and still had the same screen as before but I had now lost connection to the network

Lost Connection

I then added vmnic0 back into the vSwitch through the DCUI

Add vmnic0

I got my connection back..

Ping works

But strangely enough in the vSphere client I saw this.

vSphere Client

Which struck me as strange. I had this in the ESXi Shell


And now I finally understood what was happening.. The uplink was added to vSwitch0 – but not to the management network Portgroup, which personally I find strange.

What I actually should have done was this.

Get-VirtualSwitch -Name vSwitch0 | Set-VirtualSwitch -Nic vmnic0,vmnic1

This would add the second vmnic to the first – and would not have caused me all this trouble, and produced this:


vSphere Client


So what can I (and perhaps you) learn from this whole episode?

  1. As always.. Test!! Test!! Test!!!
  2. The help could be more accurate (ahem… PowerCLI people…)
  3. Investigating a problem in depth – gives you a better understanding of what is going on.

Now if someone could possibly explain why the host behaved exactly the way it did, I would be grateful. Also why the default behavior of the PowerCLI command did what it did – would be also appreciated..

Hope you enjoyed the ride…


Quest to Acquire VKernel – Say What?

That was an utter surprise to me. Seriously.

I don’t actually know really, what to think about this though. Quest and VKernel are direct competitors.

Quest acquired Vizioncore back in January 2008. It took 2 years until they discontinued the brand completely. So these words are something that still will need to be proven:

VKernel, a leading provider of capacity management products for virtualized data centers and cloud environments, will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Quest.

I find it hard to understand – why Quest would continue the product – vFoglight and VKernel are more or less the same, so to keep on development of two parallel products – does not make much business sense to me.

It seems the market is becoming more aggressive, and only the strong will survive.

This will be an interesting one to see how this rides out. And also to see if we will see any other acquisitions from other similar companies as well.


Welcome to Our New Sponsor – Embotics

I would like to give a shout out and a warm welcome to Embotics for joining on as a new sponsor for the blog.

What does Embotics do?embotics

Embotics provides easy-to-use, virtualization management and private cloud automation solutions with the fastest time-to-value in the industry

Welcome aboard.


Many ways to skin a cat (or write a script)

I wanted to share with you another small example of how there are many ways to do things in PowerCLI. I wrote a post a while back about How to Speed Up Your PowerCLI Queries and there I came to the conclusion that not always is using Get-View faster

I came across a case that a customer had a snapshot that was taken (never mind the reason) on all the VM's and this snapshot is removed with a script thereafter.

They wanted to track the number of commitments left to complete.

So one way was

$a = get-vm | Get-Snapshot -Name "Thursday Backup" 
Write-Host ""
Write-Host "$(Get-Date -Format hh:mm) - There are still $($a.count) Snapshots left"
Write-Host ""

and that to complete this gave this result

[12:17:42 PM] ~> measure-command {$a = get-vm | Get-Snapshot –Name
"Thursday Backup" ; Write-Host "";
Write-Host "$(Get-Date -Format HH:mm) - There are still $($a.count) Snapshots left"; Write-Host ""}

12:21 - There are still x Snapshots left

Days              : 0
Hours             : 0
Minutes           : 3
Seconds           : 41
Milliseconds      : 410
Ticks             : 2214108194
TotalDays         : 0.00256262522453704
TotalHours        : 0.0615030053888889
TotalMinutes      : 3.69018032333333
TotalSeconds      : 221.4108194
TotalMilliseconds : 221410.8194

But there is a quicker way to do this.

Function Get-Snapsleft  {
$a = Get-View -ViewType Virtualmachine -Property Snapshot | % {
	$_.Snapshot | % {
$b = $a | ? {$_.Name -eq "Thursday Backup" }
Write-Host ""
Write-Host "$(Get-Date -Format HH:mm) - There are still $($b.count) Snapshots left"
Write-Host ""
And how long did this take?

[12:21:57 PM] ~> Measure-Command {Get-Snapsleft}

12:26 - There are still x Snapshots left

Days              : 0
Hours             : 0
Minutes           : 0
Seconds           : 2
Milliseconds      : 359
Ticks             : 23590940
TotalDays         : 2.73043287037037E-05
TotalHours        : 0.000655303888888889
TotalMinutes      : 0.0393182333333333
TotalSeconds      : 2.359094
TotalMilliseconds : 2359.094

That is one heck of a difference….

The technique to speed this up I took from mattboren over here..

Check your scripts, see if you can improve them – sometimes you might be surprised as to what you can achieve.