2011. . . An Epic Year

Over the past week, I have been reflecting on just how amazing 2011 was for me, with lots of help from the entire VMware community.  I won’t bore all my readers with EVERY detail, but what good is a blog if you can’t boast once in a while?

In 2011, after a couple of years of planning, evaluating, and trying to get funding, I started implementing VMware on a large scale at the company I work for.  We had used it in development, and for certain niche apps, but now it’s coming in wholesale.  Thanks to VMware, and their amazing development staff, I was able to create some MONSTER clusters without worrying about too many HA Primaries on each blade chassis. Thank you VMware!

Also in 2011, there was much deliberation and evaluation of many different storage arrays from several vendors.  I needed something to replace some old HP EVA’s.  Yes. . .I have been critical of EMC in the past, and honestly, they still deserve some criticism.  However, in the end, we bought VMAX’s.

One of the main reasons VMAX was the only one left standing was its support for mainframe.  Also, Chad’s army of vSpecialists shows EMC’s commitment to tightly integrating VMware into their products, which is comforting.  Was VMAX extraordinarily expensive?  Yes.  Has VMAX been a bit of a pain in the rear to get up and running right?  Indeed.  But as of the end of the year, the things are absolutely screaming, and I am very pleased with the performance, and the integration points.

All the work I have done this year to get this new environment up and running, and begin migrating environments over to the new VMware platform would not have been possible without the help of many people in the community.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs.  Also, reading both of Scott Lowe’s (Forbes & Maish too) 2011 books, Frank and Duncan’s second amazing ESXi Clustering book were extremely helpful.  I have Mike Laverick’s SRM book, as well as a few other recent ones on my desk for 2012 reading.  Never before have we had so much access to so much in-depth knowledge on every aspect of VMware.  This speaks very highly of VMware’s care and feeding of the community.

The most time saved this year for me has been via the use of William Lam’s scripts, and Luc Dekens et. al’s PowerCLI Reference.  These guys are amazing, and I urge you to both buy the book, and support Lam’s virtuallyGhetto site and script repository.

With the help of Jason Nash, and J Michel Metz, I got my 1000V nailed down, and FCoE smoking on the the rest of the Nexus stack.  As Metz says, if FCoE were a video game, he would be the boss fight at the end!  Thanks!

With the help of Simon Long’s SLOG, I passed VCP5 this year.  Chris Kusek’s blog helped me prepare for and pass the entry level EMC exam, which will enable me to take the Symmetrix cert next year.

I didn’t make it to VMworld this year with all the work going on here.  I did get to attend Backup Central Live with W. Curtis Preston.  What a super cool seminar.  Definitely not your typical one day BS event.  I came away with real knowledge that I could put to use right away.  Here’s my review of the event.

I was part of a VMware focus group for the portal redesign this year.  That was fun, but my NDA won’t allow me to mention details.  I think this was worthwhile, and I took many of your comments on Twitter to the guys doing the redesign.  We will see a much more efficient VMware site really soon that will save us all time!

The coolest thing I got to do in 2011 is join Gestalt IT, and attend Tech Field Day 7 in Austin.  That was an amazing experience.  I got to interact with amazingly smart, independent thinkers in the industry.  I also saw some cool new products and ideas from Dell, SolarWinds, Symantec, and Veeam.  I haven’t had much time to blog about these, but I do plan on evaluating a few of the products I saw, and posting my opinions as soon as time allows in 2012.  I’m definitely looking forward to my next TFD event!  I would encourage any of my readers who are not employed by a vendor to contact myself, or Stephen Foskett if you’d like to attend yourself!  Stephen and Matt Simmons work very hard to make these events quite valuable for both presenters, and participants.

I’m sure I forgot to thank plenty of folks.  Sorry.

Ohh yea. . . I nearly forgot one other thing.  I also got to enjoy the birth of my second son in 2011.  Amazing!

Happy New Year!


Renumbering a VEM on the Cisco 1000V

For a while, I’ve been looking for a way to pick which “slots” our VEM’s go into on the 1000V VSM.  It would make troubleshooting much easier, and it just makes more sense to the networking guys who are used to working with physical line cards and supervisors.

A network escalation engineer over at VMware came through with a process for renumbering the VEM’s.  It’s simple, but it never really occurred to me that it was this simple.

All you need to do is grab the host id of the VMware host from the VSM config, shut down the host to take the VEM offline, and then renumber it in the VSM config.

Here’s a screenshot @benperove sent over detailing the process.  I’m definitely doing this ASAP on my 1000V’s!  Thanks Ben!