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Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: useful

Free EMC Celerra for your Home/Lab

 

Virtualgeek has an interesting post here about a freely downloadable VM version of their Celerra product, including an HA version. This is an excellent idea for testing and lab setups, and a powerful tool in your VM Lab arsenal alongside other offerings like Xtravirt Virtual SAN and OpenFiler.

I’ve been saying for a while that companies that make embedded h/w devices and appliances should try to offer versions of the software running their devices as VM’s so people can get them into lab/test environments quickly, most tech folk would rather download and play with something now, rather than have to book and take delivery of an eval with sales drones (apologies to any readers who work in sales) and pre-sales professional services, evaluation criteria etc. if your product is good it’s going to get recommended, no smoke and mirrors required.

As such VM appliances are an excellent pre-sales/eval tool, rather than stopping people buying products. Heck, they could even licence the VM versions directly for production use (as Zeus do with their ZXTM products); this is a very flexible approach and something that is important if you get into clouds as an internal or external service provider – the more you standardise on commodity hardware with a clever software layer the more you can recycle, reuse and redeploy without being tied into specific vendor hardware etc.

Most “appliances” in-use today are actually low-end PC motherboards with some clever software in a sealed box – for example I really like the Juniper SA range of SSL VPN appliances, I recently helped out with a problem on one which was caused by a failed HDD – if  you hook up the console interface its a commodity PC motherboard in a sealed case running a proprietary secure OS – as it’s all intel based, no reason it couldn’t also run as a VM (SLL accelerator h/w can be turned off in the software so there can’t be any hard dependency on any SSL accelerator cards inside the sealed box) – adopting VM’s for these appliances provides the same (maybe even better) level of standard {virtual} hardware that appliance vendors need to make their devices reliable/serviceable.

Another example, the firmware that is embedded in the HP Virtual Connect modules I wrote about a while back runs under VMWare Workstation, HP have an internal use version for engineers to do some development and testing against, sadly they won’t redistribute it as far as I am aware.

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Deleting a Virtual Machine from Virtual Center and Disk

 

If you deploy your VM’s from a master image using Virtual Center’s Deploy from template functionality (below).

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When you try and delete a virtual machine you’ve created from disk

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You get the following prompt

Are you sure you want to delete this VM and it’s associated base disk?

Please note if other VMs are sharing this base disk, they will no longer have access to this disk.

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This does not refer to the master VM image you deployed from; in other words if you delete the VM it does not break all other VMs deployed from the initial template.

One other point to note, when you perform “Deploy virtual machine from template” operation, the target field (below) is actually the name of the base image you are cloning, rather than the name of the eventual VM you are creating from it – odd, but that’s how it is (below)

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Lifecycle Manager, Site Recovery Manager and Stage Manager Released

 

Linkage here.

VMWare are shaping up to have a really good set of management tools – lab and site recovery manager are of particular interest to me for several projects I’m working on.

Opening a URL in Internet Explorer when Firefox is your default Web Browser

 

I use Firefox for 99% of my Internet activities, however there are still some web sites and applications that won’t work fully (or at all) within Firefox.

Normally I use the IETab extension to render particular tabs within Firefox using the IE render engine.. this allows all my browsing to stay within one tabbed Window and is easy to use.

However we have an SSL based VPN for corporate access and I occasionally directly access some HP iLO’s Neither work well with Firefox; I like to spawn them both in a separate IE window to keep them separate from my normal browsing.

If I create a shortcut to these URLs from the desktop etc the default URL handler is Firefox.

So a quick cheat is to create a shortcut to IE then adjust the shortcut properties (right click, properties) and append the URL you want to open in IE under the ‘target’ entry.

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How to Monitor VMWare ESX Servers from Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM)

 

Jonathan has a really good post and link to a .PDF file here he’s done some great work to pull together a document on how to monitor your ESX hosts from SCOM.

Thanks Jonathan – will definitely be looking at this in more detail in the next couple of weeks!

How to Overlay Multiple Calendars in Outlook 2007

 

This is a really useful feature; I didn’t realise you could do this (until I had a need to do so, thanks Google!); makes it much easier to look and manage multiple calendars (or people’s shared calendars).

Linky here

Shame the UI for this isn’t particularly obvious, or at least maybe I’m blind but the button is quite small 🙂

Performance Expectations on a Shared Virtual Platform

 

Some interesting discussion linked-to within this article on Storagezilla. people using Amazon’s EC2 platform are complaining because they feel they are getting less performance than they should.

Always an interesting point to bear in mind and useful in expectation setting for developers. You may want a dedicated CPU/core – but do you really need all of that CPU all of the time? in most cases I would guess not; and if you do need that level of performance – shouldn’t you be considering a physical platform rather than a virtual one?

Information on BGP For The Rest Of Us

 

Useful (if starting from an unrelated point) blog post on how companies deploy BGP – for people who don’t normally need to know this kind of stuff – I see a fair few organisations use it for providing network/carrier resilience at the network edge.

Detailed networking isn’t my field but you always need to know enough to get by and bring in the experts when you are out of your depth or doing something complicated.