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 in the US – virtualization.

Virtualisation enables you to reduce the number of computers and other equipment that you might have, whilst still getting done what you need to.

There are many different types of virtualisation, but desktop computer virtualisation and server virtualisation are the most common. They work by enabling a single computer to do the job of many computers. The single computer will have to work harder. But modern computer hardware has been developed over the decades to be more and more powerful, and so is up to the job. Continue reading →

15 Nov 2012


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Whilst I’ve worked on VMware products (predominantly ESX and VI/vSphere) for many years now (since 2006-ish). I’ve only been a member of the UK VM User Group (VMUG) for a few months. And today I ventured to the VMware User Group Conference.

I was apprehensive at going for two reasons… Continue reading →

4 Oct 2012


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I’ve recently upgraded my Zimbra FOSS installations to the latest version 8. The upgrade process itself is easy enough, launch the install script, answer a few basic questions like Is this an upgrade? and you let it run.

My test/DR server took about an hour (actual service downtime was around 30 mins), my live server was more troublesome… 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…

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I’ve been using Zimbra’s Collaboration Server (ZCS) as mail server/calendar/document store for about a year.  I chose it because I wanted a professional standard email server, and didn’t want to pay the £500 plus to do it (and do it legally).  You can spend £400 getting Zimbra Network Edition (price has probably changed since when I was looking), but the FOSS version has done me fine.  The email client is great, though the desktop client is only just getting there.

Since Zimbra was purchased by VMware, they’ve obviously wanted to make it more virtualisation friendly (the first FOSS version I used needed a fair bit of tweaking to keep its memory and CPU reasonable), and the epitome of that is the virtual appliance.  And for me the carrot on the stick to tempt me to move to that from the comfort of my existing server is the fact that I can get ActiveSync (aka Zimbra Mobile) functionality for free (for a 10 account license, previously it was a component of the premium Network Edition).

Anyway, this is how I’ve got the Zimbra Collaboration Appliance (ZCA) running (v7, which I used to create this post, is currently beta, and there are a few workarounds included here, hopefully they won’t be required in the production release).

Once you’ve got it running see my follow on post covering Migrating to Zimbra Collaboration Appliance

Continue reading →

This post covers installing an Ubuntu Server VM, software RAID’ed across two VMDK’s (for reasons that will hopefully become apparent), with basic set-up of DNS, NTP and so on…

Continue reading →

VMware’s support of PowerShell is laudable, personally I’ve tried (and failed) to become au-fait with Perl too many times to recall, so being able to script for your virtual infrastructure in PowerShell has been a god send for me.  If you know nothing of PowerShell, don’t let that put you off, nor did I before I started PowerCLI scripting.  There are a wealth of support pages out there to help, and here is my attempt to get you on your way…

Continue reading →

All servers have one purpose, to serve.

To facilitate this, one or more applications or services need to run, and it is these applications or services, that provide the server’s function to its clients. These are utterly dependant on physical resources in order to be able deliver, but its the applications/services and their configuration or data, that distinguish one server from another. Continue reading →