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Friday, October 5, 2018

Welcome to Blogtober 2018

Well it is hard to believe it has been a whole year already since blogtober last year! For those not familiar with this, it was an initiative started by a friend of mine named Matt Heldstab.

Inside jokes aside, Matt is very active in VMUG and the community and he has been a great mentor! He encouraged me to sign up last year and I am honored to once again be a part of it this year. It is an awesome way to help the community through blog articles and to show each other what we are up to in terms of projects, problem solving and general helpful things for our environments, be it production or home labs. I always find it encouraging to hear from folks that have read my blog and it has helped them in some form.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Post VMworld 2018

This was a very exciting VMworld for me this year. I had so many things lined up before I headed out to Las Vegas. As always it was great to meet so many of you that I have only known online through twitter, as well as reconnecting with friends made at past VMworld and VMUG events throughout the country. This truly is a vCommunity like no other!

I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Tech Field Day Delegate this year and spent time in the suite at the Delano hotel for meetings with 3 different vendors as they presented their solutions to the delegate panel. This was my first experience and it was a lot of fun. I will be making a separate post on this event. We met with StorageCraft, Netapp and Dell/EMC and they presented various solutions. The event was streamed live on but you can go back and watch on the Tech Field Day YouTube channel here to catch the recordings. Huge shout out to Stephen Foskett for inviting me and his hospitality while at the event. It was great to get to know other past delegates as well.

I did a guest spot on the Virtually speaking podcast with Pete Flecha and John Nicholson. This was a lot of fun as well. We talked vSAN, and community involvement so look for this segment in a future episode. Pete and John do a great job on this podcast and its been a great show to listen to over the years so it was very exciting to be a guest on the show! I appreciate it guys!

My buddy Britton Johnson had told me he couldn't go to VMworld this year, but he showed up and surprised me on Sunday night. He was selected as this years VMware NSX roving reporter and I was interviewed by him for a short segment that you can view on the NSX YouTube Channel here. Britton and I also did short video review segments of the conference on our YouTube channel here. We tried to recap the days events quickly while they were still fresh in our minds. We also recorded a recap video on my flight home.

This year I met so many people. Thanks to all those that came up and said hello! It was a very busy conference, but a lot of fun as well. I was able to see my fellow Wisconsin VMUG leaders at many different points during the conference. I was able to participate in a Home lab Panel at the VMUG booth with several other great folks such as Valdecir Carvalho, Mark Brookfield, Craig Herring, and Alastair Cooke. We gave tips from our home lab expereinces and answered questions from the audience and I hope it helps get some of you out in the community interested in building your own lab or helps you improve your current one.

Very much enjoyed hanging out with my buddy Jase McCarty at the vSAN party and many others at the VMware Code hackathon Monday evening was a great time hanging out with friends and geeking out. Tuesday night was the vExpert Party at the Pinball Museum, and Veeam party and that was pretty cool as well. I ended up skipping the VMworld Fest party and just hung out with my friends Joe Houghes, Ken Nalbone and Chad Roth at a VMworld LAN party. We played some games and had a great time chatting.

I attended some great sessions on vSAN. One with Pete Koehler and John Nicholson on The vSAN I/O Path Deconstructed Deep Dive that had some very interesting points getting down into the nuts and bolts of how vSAN works. That was very cool to also understand why some of the design decisions were made the way they were.

I also really enjoyed Christian Dickmann's session on future looking vSAN releases and features.

There is some very exciting stuff coming down the road for that, including major improvements to the vSAN Capacity management screen with usage projection. Another very cool feature they are looking at adding in is VUM based firmware updates, having just gone through a lot of firmware upgrades in my production vSAN this would come in quite handy!

I will leave you with a few photos from the event and the great folks I got to hang out with! Until next year in San Francisco I look forward to seeing you all at VMUG's and saying Hi on Twitter! Looking forward to the Cinci VMUG Usercon and meeting folks next week! Cheers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

vSAN 6.7 is here!

Today marks the release of vSAN version 6.7 along with vCenter and vSphere 6.7. The versions line up now across those three products which will make things a lot less confusing, so we are already off to a great start. There are many significant improvements to this version, and I was fortunate enough to be part of the blogger early access program to get a sneak peak at this release from the marketing team. I will go over a few things that they shared with us in this post.

HTML5 client integration for vSAN is almost at feature parity with the flex web client. vSAN workflows have been optimized for less clicks and a more efficient user experience. Support will still continue for the Flex web client, but new features going forward will only be available through the new HTML5 interface. This will be much nicer to have an interface free of the flash player, and it is very fast in comparison!

Native vROps dashboards for vSAN are now available in the vSphere Client. Quickly see the basics like health and more, or click to move to the vROps console for the full vSAN dashboard.

VMware Releases vSphere and vCenter 6.7

I was fortunate to be part of a blogger vExpert early access program and got to see the new product version before the launch. Having taken part in the vSphere beta for the past few years, I have been very much looking forward to this release. I was under embargo but can now share some of these things with you as that has been lifted as of today.


The Clarity UI is used for the installation. This is a nice new look for the installation and upgrade processes. One of the main benefits now is a browser and platform agnostic approach to the install.

Here are the supported upgrade paths, note that the path from 6.5U2 to 6.7 support is not live yet, but will be in the future. If you are currently on vSphere 5.5 you will need to upgrade to 6.0 to be able to get to 6.7. Another side note vSphere 5.5 support ends on September 19th so if you haven't already considered this now is the time! **NOTE** This is the last release for Windows based vCenter

vCenter improvements

vCSA migration now supports your current custom ports for services during the migration process if you have changed any of the default ports on your install these settings will be preserved on the new vCSA.

New and improved vCenter Appliance Management Interface (VAMI)

There is a new Monitoring screen, this screen will give much more detail

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Resync Improvements in vSAN 6.6

Having seen some of the resync times in the past on vSAN 6.0 it was welcome news to hear about vSAN 6.6's ability to weigh which route was more expensive (in terms of rebuild time/data to sync) if a host was out and came back into a cluster, but I had never seen it for myself, until today. I am in the middle of working on a vSAN upgrade and I have to update the HBA firmware for my controllers. I switched to the N2215 HBA for my vSAN and need them on the VMware VCG supported firmware. The current firmware level is and the VMware recommended versions in the vSAN Health Hardware Check, shows either or are supported.

I knew this upgrade was going to take a while with various firmware versions on the host needing to be upgraded. Firmware upgrades are notoriously slow due to the critical nature of the components. Many safety checks are in place to make sure things are working. In addition to the HBA firmware I also had UEFI firmware, DSA, IMM which is IBM/Lenovo speak for an out of band server management card. vSAN resync times were top of mind as I approached this update. To remedy this I knew that I wanted to increase the default vSAN resync time, which is 60 minutes when a host is absent from the cluster. There are a few ways this can be done, either GUI or CLI and I will show both methods here. In the web client you can go to the host level and choose Advanced System Settings and edit the value for VSAN.ClomRepairDelay,

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

vExpert 2018

Hi everyone, This is just a quick post to say I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted back in the VMware vExpert program for 2018.

This is VMware's program for community and advocacy for technologists. This has been a great opportunity for me and has created a lot of new friendships with people out in the community. It has opened up speaking at events for me and has been a really awesome experience. It shows you are dedicated to the community and it really means a lot. There is special swag at events for vExperts and the coolest thing is the licensing for VMware products for the home lab. Again I am really honored to be accepted back in for my second year this year and look forward to getting out there and meeting some of you at a VMware or VMUG event near you! Cheers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Home Lab Series Part 2

Welcome back to my home lab series, it has been a while since I have gotten a chance to write a blog post. I have had a lot of exciting things keeping me busy in my professional and personal life. I was very fortunate to be selected as part of a home lab presentation series on vbrownbag. It came about as a discussion on twitter shortly before Cody Dearkland was a guest on our podcast the vGigacast. We had some discussions on home labs and Cody ended up reaching out to Jonathan Frappier and we were put on the schedule for the month of February. It was a very exciting opportunity and for those that would like to see it I will post it here.

Now lets get back to the home lab series. When we first left off we had discussed a lot of the various types of gear I had gone through over the last several years.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Home Lab Series Part 1

My home lab has gone through so many different variations through the years, as my needs at work have grown and changed my home lab has changed with it. I have constantly tried out new products just because I am a tinkerer and love playing around with new software and love the hunt for new parts as well. I have spent countless hours on eBay, forums and websites researching that next item I need or that next product I want to try. This series will attempt to take you through the various iterations of my lab as it has changed over the years. I will focus on what worked, what didn't, troubles I have had, other blogs, websites that have helped me over the years and it might not be 100% technical either. There may be some reminiscing as well as I try to recall the various configurations it has gone through. I hope you enjoy this series and come along with me as I discuss the home lab.

First, a little background, I have been building my own computers since 2001 when a friend encouraged me to give it a try. I had always been interested in computers and had been using them for quite a while at that point, the better part of a decade in 2001. While in High School I took every computer course I could, but I had never thought of building my own. This was to be my start tinkering with computer hardware. As my career grew, starting out on a help desk for a small ISP back in 2005, I was always intrigued by