“I’m not grilling you a cheese!”

This wouldn’t be Frank’s Tech Support and Pretty Good Sandwiches without the occasional sangwidge, and since my boss was nagging me to fill this gaping hole in my blog, today I present to you a new twist on an old favorite.  I call it the Inside-Out Grilled Cheese.

When I was growing up, my mom always made the regular kind of grilled cheese.  You know, two slices of white bread and a couple of slices of Processed American Cheese-Like Substitute And Floor Tiling.  I’ll be honest with you, served with a mug of tomato soup, it’s still comfort food and I’ll still make it from time to time.  But we’re adults now and sometimes we want more out of our sangwidges.  We want them to be Pretty Good, right?  They don’t have to be great. I mean, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  Do I look like Guy Fieri?  No. I do not.  You’ll just have to take my word on that.  So let’s grill a pretty good cheese.

Continue reading

Back up your ESXi host configurations with PowerCLI and vCLI

I hate PowerCLI.  There.  I said it.  I’m not a programmer.  I can barely script.  My upcoming VCAP exam pretty much requires some proficiency in PowerCLI.  Perhaps you see my dilemma.  Since I have to know it, I figured I’d better learn it.  I decided to get started with something relatively simpe:  Backing up my host configs.  I’m going to show you how and I’m going to explain the commands.

Continue reading

Implementing LLDP and CDP in vSphere 5

In one of our data silos, we’ve been using a lot of spreadsheets and manual tracking to manage physical-to-virtual cross-connects between our physical switches and our ESXi hosts.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The first is that up until recently, the silo was using non-Cisco switches and the second is that the licensing on our hosts don’t allow for LLDP, only CDP.  We only have Standard licensing and Enterprise is required for distributed switches.  Only distributed switches can do LLDP, so we were stuck with a protocol that we couldn’t use with our physical switches.  Now that we’re in the process of migrating the silo to some newer hardware, I’m preparing to do a small redesign of our environment.

Continue reading

Performance testing a Synology NAS using Iometer

In my last post, I discussed building a lightweight VMware infrastructure for a customer using a Synology RS2414RP+ NAS.  Today, I wanted to do some performance testing and baselining to get an idea of the kind of load it would support.  To do this, I used a VMware Fling called VMware I/O Analyzer.  A Fling is an ad-hoc tool built by VMware engineers or the community as one-off side projects.

Continue reading

How to set up VMware ESXi, a Synology iSCSI NAS, and Active/Active MPIO

Update:  Looking for NFS instead of iSCSI?  Check out this post: How to set up VMware ESXi, a Synology NFS NAS, and Failover Storage Networking

This week, I’ve been working on a lightweight virtualization infrastructure for a customer and I thought you’d like to see a little of how I put it together. The customer wasn’t really interested in paying for a full SAN solution that would include chassis redundancy and high performance.  They opted instead for a 12-bay Synology RS2414 RP+, a couple of HP servers for ESXi hosts, and a Cisco 2960 Layer 2 Gigabit storage switch all tied together with VMware vSphere Essentials Plus.

While not exactly a powerhouse in terms of speed and reliability, this entry-level virtualization platform should serve to introduce them into the world of virtual servers, drastically reduce rackspace and power consumption, provide the flexibility they need to recover quickly from server hardware outages, and allow them to more easily migrate off of their aging server hardware and operating systems all without breaking the bank.  Today, I’m going to show you how I set up Active/Active MPIO using redundant links on both the ESXi hosts and the Synology NAS, allowing for multipath failover and full utilization of all network links.

Continue reading

Importing a Foreign VMDK

One of my users asked me for a VM last week to test out some demo software.  I created the VM and handed it off.  Later, he told me that something was wrong with the server because he couldn’t get his demo to run.  It turns out that the demo was provided as a zipped-up collection of virtual machine files.  The software vendor had instructed him to install VMWare Player, load up the files, and run it that way.  Of course, the VM I provided him wasn’t set up to run a nested player, so I told him to give me the files and I would load them up as a native (and un-nested) virtual machine.

Continue reading

Enabling SNMP on your VMware host

If you’re like me, you like to have monitoring running against, well, pretty much everything.  vSphere vCenter has pretty good alerting but I also have an SNMP monitor that I can use.  Today, I’m going to show you how to enable SNMP on your ESXi hosts.

Continue reading