Goodbye Twenty Fifteen, Hello Twenty Sixteen.

In a wink of eyes and it is the last few minutes at the time when I am typing or publishing this blog entry before we welcome year twenty sixteen (2016)!

Indeed, in the last 365 days, there are way too many that I have learnt in life regardless of the sources. Let’s pin point to the highlights of the year!

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – PowerShell

On the 1st of April this year, I received an email from Microsoft that I am awarded my first Microsoft MVP award in the Windows PowerShell technical expertise and I am really thrill that my effort and work towards the community has been recognized by Microsoft.

Goodbye AirWatch by VMware

Today (31st December 2015) is my last day with VMware (AirWatch Division). I officially bid goodbye to VMware as I embarked into my next chapter of my life in 2016. Within the 13 months in VMware within the AirWatch division, I have learnt a lot as the Implementation Consultant covering the ASEAN region. I am also happy that I am part of the team that spearhead the whole regional implementation of the mobility solution to one of the biggest insurance company in the world!

It is certainly my lost that I no longer able to work with this whole bunch of folks but I am sure we will all be missed!

Microsoft MVP Summit

In November, I made my way to Seattle, Washington for my first ever Microsoft MVP Summit as a newbie MVP. In the 4 days spent in Microsoft campus, I get to meet up with fellow PowerShell MVPs and Product Group members. It is a whole new experience that is well deserve the 24 hours of flight from Singapore there.

One thing that I definitely missed is the time that I took to walk around the campus under the nice cold weather and different scenery that I enjoyed with my bare eyes! I really wish to be there in year 2016!

This kind of companionship and networking chance is something that one should not missed!

Well Deserved Break – West Coast of United States of America

At the end of November this year, I took a three weeks break and accompanied my family to tour the West Coast of United States of America (USA). So within these three weeks, we have tour the following states:

  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco

The weather is really nice in the states and I definitely missed those days when I do not sweat at all! *Grins* Looking at my size, obviously I hate warm weather!

First Ever PowerShell Conference in Asia – Singapore

In September, a few of us (Matt, Ben and Ravi) took the leap to our first ever PowerShell Conference in Asia where we host attendees and speakers from all over the world! We could not be more than happy with the results that we have yearned and through this first ever paid conference that we have organised, we have learnt all the Dos and Don’ts!

This is great lesson and we would definitely have those changes incorporated into the next one in year 2016!

Successfully Built Partners Network

In my career in VMware (AirWatch Division), I have successfully worked with various partners from different countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand) and have successfully foster strong bonds between them and our company. I am really thrilled that all my effort was recognised and been regarded as the trusted advisor to all of them.

So what’s new in Year 2016 that I am working on?

Over the last few weeks of the year, I have been trying to reflect on what I have done and what I should have done within this year. I do know that I definitely could not rewind back to the time but I would like to take this opportunity to pin down some goals that I must achieved within year 2016. Some of the goals is:

Knowledge – Becoming an avid reader

One of the most efficient way to gain knowledge is to be reading and this is one of my short-coming although I should have started being an avid reader years ago. So in year 2016, I would love to cultivate myself to read more! Other than purely reading, I would love to share what I have learnt through different avenues to people so that I could spread out those knowledge and hopefully be the one that influence others to start reading those good books that I have read!

Leadership – One step forward to become the better leader

In my over five years of career, I have worked with many leaders and managers. In the coming year, I would love to work towards the People’s Manager or People’s Leader. Someone that would gain respect from everyone in the organisation and even from Customers or Partners. I certainly know that being a leader is not just by saying but it is by the action! There are more things that I need to learn in order to be handed the authority to lead and excel!

Personality – Ditching the bad habits, cultivating the good habits

Personality is something that was either born with it or it has been cultivated over the years depending on the environment that one has gone through. In this year, I have learnt a lot about my personality and I would be more than happy and eager to have it changed!

There is one thing that I have finally learnt over the last few weeks is that, I have learnt to Forgive and Forget. What doesn’t kill you only will make you stronger!

Lastly, I would be investing a lot more time in DevOps and PowerShell so that I could continue advocating all these principles and knowledges to those people around me like what I have done this year! I believe this kind of knowledge is fruitful and I hope that one day, Windows PowerShell / Automation / DevOps is something that Asia-Pacific can adopt and have it under every IT Pro / Developer belt!

Cheers to all and Happy New Year! Let’s all work hard in year 2016!

Regards,
Milton Goh

Goodbye Twenty Fifteen, Hello Twenty Sixteen.

Why is my Virtual Machine loading so slow in VMware Fusion?

At work, I am assigned a MacBook Air to use it primarily and since it is running Mac OS, there will be times when I definitely will require a Windows image to do whatever I can’t do on a Mac. So there was this Windows 7 Enterprise virtual machine image that was provided by the IT team and have it loaded into VMware Fusion for use. There was this unbearable pain initially when using the image as it is simply crawling for me! When I meant, “Crawling” is that, each operation you made will take between 10-30 seconds to complete and sometimes it will hung there all the while!

I meddled around with the settings such as adjusting the amount of processor or memory that is allocated but to no avail. I was constantly monitoring the utilization on my Mac to make sure that I am not over-allocating too much to the Virtual Machine (VM).

I found this setting that once I toggle with it, the Virtual Machine went on speeding like crazily fast! (OK, just a little exaggerating here as it really makes a lot of difference!

Notice the portion that says “Hard disk buffering”. It is now set as “Disabled” as it works for me. Look at the other options that was available.

So initially when the Virtual Machine is being configured, it was set to “Automatic” and thus the crawling of the whole VM which totally made the performance degraded.

There are a lot of articles online that tells you that you should disable this if you encounter performance degradation.

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Why is my Virtual Machine loading so slow in VMware Fusion?

Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

While I was doing my usual surfing for mobile applications on my devices (iOS on iPad / Android on Samsung Galaxy Note 3), I happened to chance upon this application – vSphere Mobile Watchlist by VMware, Inc. Swipe through the available screen captures provided in PlayStore, I saw some exciting things that I can do with this application so I went ahead to down it.

The application looked like this in PlayStore.

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As what it is shown in the description, “Monitor the VMware vSphere VMs you care about and remediate any alerts remotely”. It is that simple right? Simplified the way System Administrator(s) work now!

Since I have a one-server vSphere environment at home, I quickly login to the environment to test out the application.

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Since my mobile phone and my lab server sits in the same network, I could easily access the vSphere instance without any issue. However, for other system administrators that are on the move most of the time or wish to work on a quick-fix or reboot a Virtual Machine (VM) in the movie theatre, then probably you will need to bypass security layer like connecting to the vSphere environment through VPN.

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After successful login, it just presented me with a very neat outlook (which is something that I like the most, don’t build unnecessary features that complicates things when we can do only this much in a small device like our mobile phone!).

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Clicking on the “+” (plus) sign on the screen will bring you to the list of Virtual Machine (VMs) available for selection. Initially, I have no idea what I should be doing! However, by a few knocks, I finally get to know how this works.

You will need to select the radio button shown on the left of each Virtual Machine listed and it will appear on the dashboard (or main page) of the mobile application.

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I selected a few and head back to the dashboard and you will see those selected are somehow the “highlights” that you may want to view instantly upon logging in using the mobile application.

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In the dashboard, there is two views (on the left which shows more details compared to the lesser details one on the right). It is rather useful if you really have lots of vSphere hosts loaded and you want your attention to be focus on selected VMs on every host. After all, you care for what is most important to you although all of them are equally important but in every environment, there will definitely be servers that has more weightage compared to the rest.

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Diving into the individual Virtual Machine gives you more details of the selected VM. On the glance, it just provides you with information that you want to care most. For example, if you received an alert from your monitoring tool telling you that one of your server are hitting the threshold of 80% in CPU utilization or the available storage is less than 10%. You probably want to validate that piece of information immediately upon login to your vSphere environment. Notice that there is 4 nodes at the bottom, it just means that there are more information if you swipe to the left.

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Page 2 shows you the console view while Page 3 gives you a list of commands that is available similar to what you see on the VMware console used for administering VMware Virtual Machines.

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Page 4 is one of the important one where it shows you all the Tasks & Events pertaining to the Virtual Machine. This will be really useful for troubleshooting purposes.

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Very comprehensive filtering features built in so that the Administrator could filter accordingly to what is the level of details he/she wants to view.

VMware is really good with graphical representation of the information that is gathered which I really really appreciate the team who developed all these. Some of the breakdown of the graphs that you will find.

CPU & Memory

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Disk

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Network

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Want to quickly send the current state of the individual Virtual Machine to your team mates to review or escalate to the next support level? Well, you could easily gather the information and email it over through your mobile!

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Remoting / Accessing the Virtual Machine

If you are at your weep-ends where you really need to login to the server to check out what is happening within the server, then the mobile application has built in something that is as similar to the experience you get during a Teamviewer session.

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Using the on-screen keyboard, it takes a bit of effort though (I am not a fan of working with small screen unless I really have to). It will definitely be more soothing to your eyes when the screen is rotated.

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That’s all for the Virtual Machine section. Now, let’s move on to the Host.

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Similar to the Virtual Machine view, it gives you a holistic view of the utilization of the Host.

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This view gives you all the Virtual Machine that is hosted within the vSphere host and the list of datastore visible to the vSphere host.

The statistical portion of the Host is exactly the same as the Virtual Machine so I will be omitting the screen shot to save some of your bandwidth. 🙂

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Much lesser functionality compared to Virtual Machine but is definitely aligned to the what it has in the VMware console. The Tasks & Events is the same as the Virtual Machine ones and filtering possesses the same as Virtual Machine too.

One very last feature that is useful for System Administrator when administering a farm of vSphere host and Virtual Machine is that, sometime you would want to group certain Virtual Machine and Host into different view as the different group may signify usage for different projects or team. Take a look at the feature “WatchList” where you are available to create new “WatchList” and pull in respective Virtual Machine you would like in this view.

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Select the Virtual Machine or Host that you want and then shift it into the WatchList.

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Do you find this application useful for System Administrator? Is there any features that are lacking from this? Share with me in the comment fields and let’s discuss!

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

Create Virtual Machine Template in System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager

In today video podcast, it will be all about creating virtual machine template using an existing virtual machine that is hosted within the perimeter of Virtual Machine Manager 2012. With the newly created template, a new Virtual Machine is being created on the spot to ensure that there is no error and also to prove that the whole process is seamless, easy and organized.

Some pointers to take note for this whole exercise is that,-

  • Make sure the virtual machine that you intend to use for creating virtual machine template is sysprep with generalized first.
  • Ensure that the virtual machine you are intending to use for creating virtual machine template is not any of the production virtual machine and do make sure you clone it to ensure things doesn’t goes wrong.

It’s always better to be on the safe side. 😉

Some information about Virtual Machine Manager 2012 can be found here. – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg610610.aspx

Create Virtual Machine Template in System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager

Leaving the comfort zone: From VMWare Workstation to Hyper-V

Ever since Windows 8 was on the Release Candidate (RC) phase, I have been trying to see if Hyper-V on Windows 8 could be a substitute my day-to-day operations and usage versus Windows 7 Professional with VMware Workstation. Some of the things that I need in my day-to-day would be…

  • Virtualization – I run a couple of Virtual Machine from time to time for the sake of development, testing or proof-of-concept (POC).
  • Office tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Access.
  • Internet browsers (I used a mixture of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but put more focused on the first two for a long time already)

So let’s drill down to the need for a Virtualization software, the client that power my needs, simple one though. What I always use, what I always need from VMware Workstation?

  1. Flexibility of running multiple virtual machines
  2. Resource hungry-ness.
  3. Speed
  4. Snapshots

When I first tried Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008, I always felt that the features aren’t rich enough. The only reason that I can probably cook up for the reason why VMware Workstation has such a fancy look is that since we are paying a premium for it (yes, it’s a premium for a piece of software but well, on the other hand it may not be since we now do pay a hefty amount for the OS in order to get the Hyper-V feature. After all, we are looking at OS + Feature versus Feature only).

I am not going to do a feature comparison post comparing Hyper-V and VMware Workstation as you can find tons of them online just by Binging it.

So what really stopped me in the past but now I have move on, out of the comfort zone that every single tiny winy feature that I enjoyed? Let’s drill down on some of them and see how I have overcome it…

Internet Connectivity for Virtual Machines in Hyper-V

What used to be as easy as create additional NAT adapter is missing out in the Hyper-V and making it difficult for my virtual machines running on Hyper-V to go without connection to the internet. Once I installed Windows 8, I do a search on the internet and I came across this article by Karsten Bott where he wrote “Share Internet Connection with Hyper-V Guests (NAT) on Windows 8“. The article can be found here.

If you follow the instructions in the article by Karsten Bott, you will definitely be able to setup internet connection for your guests easily.  With my above setup, my intention is as followed…

External Link – Will get an IP from the DHCP Server and get access to the internet.

Internal Link – Purely for my virtual machines that doesn’t require internet connection (Example, Active Directory, SQL Server)

Internet Link – Sharing – This is the one that I used to tap on the internet connection that are bridge via my Wireless Adapter.

 

Viewing of Virtual Machine within the Virtualization Client Software

One major thing that is missing in the Hyper-V is that since the whole intention is for Server usage and therefore may have neglected the user-experience that users receives. So the biggest drawback between the two is that I am losing the ability to do “Fit Screen Size” / “Full Screen Mode” and it will automatically change the screen resolution accordingly. Since I am a simple person and I wouldn’t mind losing that feature… So I know that the only way to achieve the comfortable level of viewing is to use Remote Desktop Connection via the Remote Desktop Protocol to connect to the virtual machine. This is obviously treating every single virtual machine as a physical machine.

For this, I would recommend getting Remote Desktop Manager which can be found here.

With this, the interface is almost similar to how VMware Workstation presented where the Virtual Machine library is on the left, while the session is spanning from the center to the right. Each virtual machine can be opened in full-screen mode or tabbed mode.

So how do I setup this and made my user-experience almost seamlessly integrated?

–> This shows all the available virtual machine on my workstation that I brought to work everyday. 

–> This is he left hand corner that I was referring to as the “Library”.

–> This is just one connection settings to the virtual machine loaded on the local drive. Take note of the IP that was used. This IP is used in conjunction with the adapter (Internal Link).

–> This shows all the network adapters (Physical + Virtual) that I have added.

–> This is to show that since I want to control all the virtual machine that uses all “Internal Link” connection, therefore on the host machine, that master adapter must hold a IP address and also the same gateway as those virtual machine instances.

 

Last Point (The most important one) – Speed

One thing that many couldn’t deny if they are the user of VMware Workstation is the speed. It’s really slow when you try to put your running virtual machine to hibernate mode where you pause the virtual machine. This would then write the current state down. The only thing is that the time it take to put the virtual machine to sleep and also resume it is super slow and super time consuming.

On the other side, virtual machine that are paused in Hyper-V resumes within seconds. (Gosh, I am serious, seconds!)

That’s about it for my sharing post, if you think you could make Hyper-V more user-friendly, please share with me by dropping an email to me at Milton@nerdytwo.com or post a comment here.

Cheers!
MG

Leaving the comfort zone: From VMWare Workstation to Hyper-V