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...

Or more specifically, how does server or desktop computer virtualisation work?

The purpose of virtualisation is to enable to be able to run more things on less hardware.  To allow you to run numerous virtual instances of a machine on a single computer.  But how do you do that? Continue reading →

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effort of upgrading your vCentre, and ESX’s without any service interruption, then are left with a load of VM’s with out-of-date Tools and little authority to take them down as part of the upgrade.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 →

I always found being able to copy and paste between your desktop machine and a VM through the VI Client a godsend.  In the good old days this was always enabled by default, so you could copy and paste text between your desktop and VM consoles to your heart’s content.

Since ESX 4.1, its been disabled by default in order to provide a more secure, locked down environment out of the box.  There are two main options if you enjoyed the old-skool benefits; use a different app, or just re-enable the old functionality… 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 →