The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution

Bertrand Russell

Welcome to vBlog, a personal record of my techy tinkerings and particular ponderings.

I tend to focus on VMware virtualisation, and the interaction/automation of it using PowerCLI (VMware's PowerShell Snapin), but anything that I happen to stumble across that seems like it might be of use at a later date, may well get recorded here.

I also maintain vWiki, which was a predecessor to this blog. Wiki's are great for quickly recording snippets of info, but tend not to look that great; Blog's are better looking things, but seem to require more effort so that the posts/articles are accessible in their own right. As a result I tend to update both interchangeably as available time, and depth of thought, permit.

If you happen to find anything of use, or in need of correction please leave a comment. Knowing that my ramblings are of some use is a great reward; and similarly I'd hate to waste anybody's time by feeding them duff info.

See these pages for me info about me, and my vBlog, and below for my recent posts...

Upgrading VMTools always seems like such an afterthought.  You get through the effort of upgrading your vCentre, and ESX’s without any service interruption, then are left with a load of VM’s with out-of-date Tools and little authority to take them down as part of the upgrade.  Plus if you’re faced with the drudgery of having to speak to all sorts of different people and departments, its the kind of task that is only ever on the back-burner.

I tend to try to upgrade machines during ad-hoc reboots, which isn’t always sensible (during an service incident for example), and requires you to remember (not always possible if you’ve been up most of the night due to young kids / over exuberant drinkage).

There is an often overlooked option that lets you automatically update VM’s during a bounce, the only problem is – how to set on all your VM’s and retain full use of your mouse wielding arm and eyes…? Continue reading →

Recently I had to migrate a collection of virtual machines from one vCentre to another.  They didn’t have to change datastore, so there was no need to whip VMware Converter out and cause a mass movement of data.  Just a case of unregistering from one vCentre and registering with another.  However, there were over 20 machines, in various datastores hosting some VM’s with duplicate VM names, meaning it would be quite a laborious process, and manual error prone.

So, in order to make the process nice and reliable and avoid any machines getting lost on the way, I wrote a quick script to do the hard work… Continue reading →

vApps can be wonderful things.  Essentially resource pools on steroids, I never really used resource pools that much (unless I was revising for a VCP exam), but I find the ability to control a bunch of VM’s as one entity, controlling their start-up and shut-down order very useful.  However, controlling that start-up and shut-down functionality is a pain.  The default options are (for me) wrong, and its a laborious task to go through them all and update.

As soon as I feel the potential for RSI in my mouse arm, is when I feel the need for a bit of PowerCLI script-o-magic… Continue reading →

The ability to snapshot a VM is wondrous thing; the ability for a snapshot to be forgotten, eat up all all your storage or grow so large that you can’t remove it without causing impact is not so wondrous.

How you manage snapshots is up to, but unless you routinely tidy them up (especially if you use some thing that utilises snapshots like vRanger, which can occasionally leave them behind), they will cause you a problem at some point.  And sod’s law dictates that the problem occurs to important VM, when you haven’t the time to spare. Continue reading →

A while back I came across an intermittent storage problem, whereby paths were occasionally going down and coming back up for a period of time.  In order to be able to tally the timings of the events up with other goings on (eg when looking at SAN logs etc) I needed to create a an export of when the events were occurring.

Note that Get-VIEvent is limited to 1000 results, which will typically get 1 – 2 days worth depending on your infrastructure. To get a longer history would require multiple calls to Get-VIEvent using the -Start and -Finish parameters Continue reading →

Its bizarrely difficult to be able to map VMware presented datastore names to the underlying LUN’s in the PowerCLI, despite the fact that its readily available via the VI Client.  It’s even more difficult if you have to worry about both VI3 and VI4 vSphere installations as they handle storage in differing ways, hence the two different approaches below. The ESX3 method attacks the problem by starting its search at an ESX, whereas for ESX4 we start the attack at the cluster…

Continue reading →