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10Gbe NAS Home Lab: Part 8 Interconnecting MikroTik Switches

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It’s been a long wait for Part 8 but I was able to release it today! If you are interested on how to network performance test your storage environment this session might help. The purpose of this session is to show how to interconnect two MikroTik switches and ensure their performance is optimal when compared to a single switch. The two NAS devices in this session have different physical capabilities and by no means is this a comparison of their performance. The results are merely data points. Users should work with their vendor of choice to ensure best performance and optimization.

VMware vExpert Session: Home Labs A Definitive Guide June-2022

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I have presented my HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE to various groups. However, in this session I present it to my fellow vExperts. During these sessions I go into detail around VMware Home lab design considerations, which is something we usually don’t think of when building a home lab.

If you are looking for the links in the video simply download the slides via this link:

HOME LAB: Guide / Info

I do hope you find this information very useful. Please feel free to ask any questions or post comments…

Thanks — Enjoy!

 

Home Lab Generation 7: Migration to ALL Flash vSAN

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In this video I review and show how I migrated my vSAN Hybrid deployment to All Flash vSAN.

Video Highlights:

  • I cover some of my goals and reasons why I have made this investment
  • Review the changes required
  • Talk about how I Backed Up and Migration of my current data using the LOCKERSTOR 10 and Synology 1621+
  • The way I decommission vSAN with only 3-nodes
  • I then build a new vSAN Cluster and migrated the data.
  • Wrapping it up I review Parts List and show how I built the new vSAN Cluster.

NOTE: This is a non-production and non-supported home lab. Products used in this environment are in no way intended for production systems.

See helpful links and additional photos below.

Helpful Links:

Photos not in the video:

Pre-Migration Host

Post Migration Host (Much cleaner)

Home Lab Generation 7: VM Migrate Greyed out KB 1029926

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In this quick video I show how to enable VM Migration after a failed or incomplete Synology Active Backup.

Links in this Video:
Migration options for a virtual machine are greyed out though vMotion is licensed (1029926) https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1029926

Storage vMotion migration fails with the error: The method is disabled by ‘SYMC-INCR dd-mm-yyyy hh:mm’ (2008957) https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2008957

How I passed VCAP-DCV Deploy 2022 – Notes and thoughts

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This past weekend I passed my VCAP-DCV Deploy 2022 test.  For me the VCAP-DCV Deploy 2022 test was the third test I took in 2022.  By completing it, the VCP-DCV 2022 and the VCAP-DCV Design 2022 I’ve now earned the badge of VCIX-DCV 2022.  This now qualifies me to apply for the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX)  In this blog post I’m going to review some my tips around my testing process.

**Update – Further below, I’ve added a video commentary**

Cloud Management and Automation Design 2022

What is the VCAP-DCV Deploy 2022 test?

  • Advanced Deploy VMware vSphere 7.x (3V0-22.21N) is a 205 minute live lab with 17 Questions and costs $450 USD.
  • The live lab is very similar to the way VMware HOL labs work.
  • Currently, you can take the VCAP Deploy online via a remote proctored exam or in person at a test facility.
  • More information about this exam check out this URL

Test Taking Tips:

  1. Online Proctor Tips
    • The process to take a remote proctored test was pretty simple and convenient.  Even before COVID I’ve been taking remote proctored tests with great success.
    • After I registered for the exam, I got an email from OnVue with 2 key links.  One tested my environment to make sure I met certain standards (Audio, video, and microphone) and the other was the link for the day of the exam.
    • Be familiar with the OnVue Online proctoring technical requirements. They can be a bit strict about this, so make sure you are ready to go.
    • Only one monitor is permitted.  All other monitors will need to be disconnected.  If using a laptop with remote monitor the laptop lid will need to be all the way down.  I’d recommend using a monitor you are most familiar with and meets the requirements.
    • One requirement is to have a very clean desktop.  I have a large desk with many things to move.  The requirement is, desktop items need to be at a arms distance away.  So I only clear my desk to that requirement.  Reminding the proctor of this arms length requirement might be necessary. However, don’t argue too much as you may they may find you system doesn’t meet requirements and reschedule your exam.
  2. Be VERY familiar with VMware HOL
    • Make sure you have a good idea on how to resize the Windows display screen and the change the zoom in your browser to a level that is easy for you to read.  I had a hard time seeing the lab text, and after resizing I found where I made errors.  This may seem like basic tasks, but the HOL visibility is a bit different. Going into this test with an idea of what settings work best for you can prove to be helpful.
    • Knowing how to properly COPY, CUT, and PASTE content within the Lab OS and from the Manual into the Lab OS is key – Practice this in HOL.  Mastery of this skill is vital as it will save you time and typos.
  3. The Exam Lab Environment
    • Before I got into the exam lab environment I was presented with a Welcome Screen.  It had information around the exam, lab, passwords, and the lab layout.  I read it all and made sure I understood before I started the lab.  This did not count against my time to complete.
    • Next, I was presented with a ‘Starting the lab’ screen, as soon as I clicked next the clock started and my lab started to deploy.  Almost instantly the manual was made available on the right as the lab started to “spin up”.  The manual explained the various lab details and items at my disposal.  I took time to read and understand this. It was very similar to VMware HOL.
    • Very soon after, my exam lab OS was deployed and ready.  The lab OS was based on Windows.
    • The Windows OS had pre-installed programs and tools.  Additionally, there is a Student folder that is created.  Inside it contained locally readable and select vSphere documentation, KB’s, and important files.  As I went through my exam, I used most of them to complete tasks.
      • NOTE: The exam doesn’t give you internet access so use the tools and documents they provide to you.  Not every document or written procedure you need will be in this folder.  Some tasks you just have to know how to do it.  Don’t forget about time management, if you find yourself deeply reading the documentation it may be a waste of time if you don’t complete the question. You may want to come back to these questions if you have enough time at the end.
    • Next I moved on to the questions and completed my lab
  4. Multi-Tasked Questions:
    • A better way to describe the exam questions would be calling them multi-tasked.  I say multi-tasked as each succinct question could include multiple tasks.
    • For each question, some of the tasks go together and some of them are have no bearing on the others
    • Some questions are very short and some are very long.
    • Some take a lot of time to complete and some do not.
    • Questions or Tasks do not tell you how to do something, they simply state the task(s) it wants you to complete.
    • In reading the welcome screen, it stated something like – “the questions are mostly independent of one another” and I don’t recall any that were dependent on the exam.
    • As I progressed through the exam, I took time to read those questions/tasks closely. If you are only reading part of the question OR didn’t read it thoroughly you might easily miss something.
    • The entire question/task can task you to do something, don’t expect it to be specifically listed out in a list.  Any part of the question is fair game, read it all.
    • You don’t have to wait for a task to complete, let it run and come back to it.
    • Track the status of your questions. Since questions are multi-tasked you might start tasks but have to move on.  By the time you come back to it, you might have completed or started several other tasks.  It’s really easy to miss something when you are multi-tasking. My tip — Use the built-in white board or notepad to track your progress.  Before I started the test, I opened the white board, listed out the 17 numbers.  As I progressed through the test I marked each one complete, needs work, or a quick note.  This way when I return to the question or am doing a final review, I know exactly where I left off.  The PIC below is an example of my list, it was not actually from my test.
    • Don’t waste time — If you don’t know the answer to the question/task, mark it in your list, move on, and if time permits come back to it.  Just try to get as many questions/tasks completed as possible.

Study TIPS:

  1. ANY vSphere concept is fair game, even items that have been around since the beginning.
  2. READ the exam guide. Review all its links, content, and come up with a study plan.
  3. Search for labs, documents, or videos labeled something like, “What’s New in…”, take it, read it, practice it, and know it well.  Chances are if you don’t understand or know some of the latest and greatest concepts you’ll need to practice them thoroughly.
  4. Take all the VMware HOL Odyssey Labs.  They are free training or test simulation resource that will task you and keep you under a clock.
  5. For me, having a Home lab to practice on was instrumental in passing this test.

Video Commentary:

Wrap up:

I really enjoyed taking the Deploy exam.  It was interesting and challenged me technically.  Some of those questions really worked the brain cells and others I knew right away.  If  a person wants to pass this test, then I suggest study hard and lots of practice plus experience should help align them for success.  Best of luck on your certification journey!

Quick NAS Topics: Create your own iperf3 Docker Container

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In this Quick NAS Topic video and the steps further below, I use docker to create a ubuntu container with Linux tools and iperf3.

This video is a supplement for the 10Gbe Home NAS Lab Part 7. In Part 7 I show how to use these containers to network performance test the 3 NAS devices I have.  

Notes:

Docker Ubuntu/iperf3 Basic Steps:  Items in-between [ ] and the brackets should be removed

  • On the NAS:
    • Ensure devices can access the inet OR not covered in this blog, you’ll need to manually import and export images, etc. 
    • Ensure Docker-ce and if needed Shell-in-a-box and portainer are installed and basic configuration is done.  The Synology didn’t need shell in a box or portainter
    • Test Docker Install
      • docker -v << Shows the version
      • docker images << Show the images that are available
      • docker ps  << Shows the running containers
    • Elevate local privileges to run docker commands
      • It may be necessary to use ‘sudo’ in front of docker commands to get them to execute, followed by the admin/root password.  Example:  sudo docker ps
    • Download and run Ubuntu
      • docker pull ubuntu   << Image is located here https://hub.docker.com/_/ubuntu
      • docker run -it ubuntu bash  << Creates an instance of this image for us to modify and opens up the terminal
    • Update the Ubuntu running container
      • apt-get -y update
      • apt-get install iproute2
      • apt-get install net-tools
      • apt-get install iputils
      • apt-get install iputils-ping
      • apt-get install -y iperf3
      • Test with ping and iperf3 -v
      • Do not exit
    • Commit and push the new image
      • docker ps -l  << Check for the latest running container, and note the Container ID of the container that was just updated with these steps
      • docker commit  [Container ID]  [repository name]/[insert-container-name] 
      • docker images  << will validate that the image is now there
      • docker push [repository name]/[Container you want to push] 
  • Testing Steps
    • Check basic ping between all devices
    • Put one device in server mode iperf3 -s
    • On the other device start the test iperf3 -c [Target IP]

Hats off to Chicago Firehouse #13!

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While recently visiting Chicago for a VMware technical summit I strolled out of my hotel to pick up a few supplies. As I was walking to the store I noticed Chicago Firehouse #13 and a memorial out front. On my way back from the store I stopped in to learn more about this memorial. The house welcomed me with open arms and gave me a tour. On the back wall of the engine house was a plaque in honor of this fallen hero, Walter Watroba. Additionally there were newspaper articles from the event and several write ups around other fallen heroes. If you’re curious around the memorial and why November 22, 1976 is important to Firehouse #13 then see the URL at the bottom of my post.

I spent quite some time with a firefighter they affectionately call ‘The Saint’. He took the time to tell me the story of Walter Watroba and shared with me many great stories of his time as a firefighter. One story was about a firefighter who retired and handed off a piece of his equipment to ‘The Saint’. He explained this was a firefighter’s old school way of showing respect for others and how rare an event like this is. As he was standing there it gave him goose bumps just telling the story. I really enjoyed my short time at Firehouse #13. I’ll stop by again if I’m in the area and I’d recommend you do as well.

 

https://www.fsi.illinois.edu/content/library/IFLODD/search/Image.cfm?ID=364&ff_id=128

Turning a ‘No you cannot attend’ to a ‘Yes’ for VMworld

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I’ve been lucky enough to make it to every VMworld since 2008 and 2014 will be my 7th. time in a row. In this blog post I wanted to share with you a breakdown of some of the tips and tricks I’ve used to get to these events. Being the former Phoenix VMUG leader I’ve shared these tips with fellow VMUG users and now I’m sharing them with all of you. Users would tell me cost is the number one reason why they don’t go – “My Company sees value in this event but will not pay for it”. This breaks down to Food, Hotel, Travel, and the infamous golden ticket, aka the VMworld pass. So how do users overcome the cost to attend? This is what this blog post is all about…

Working with your employer –

Having your employer pick up the tab not only benefits them as a company but yourself too. As you know VMworld is full of great content and the socialization aspects are second to none. Chances are you’ll be asked to put together a total cost to attend and this cost can be quite high for some companies on a tight budget. My suggestion is if you are getting the big ‘No’ then work with your boss around the total costs. First find out why it’s a ‘No’ and look for opportunities to overcome this. Maybe your company will pay for some of the items. Example – They might be able to cover airfare, but the rest is on you. Don’t forget if your company has a VMware TAM (Technical Account Manager) reach out them. Even if you are not directly working with the TAM they are your best resource not only for VMware Technology but also for getting you to VMworld. They don’t have passes but they usually know the community very well and can assist.

Sometimes I hear “My employer will not allow me to accept gifts”. True your company may have a policy around the type of gifts you can receive and by all means follow this policy. However, keep in mind you may be able to take vacation time and represent yourself at this event not your employer. Then there is a possibility gifts could be accepted but on the premises you don’t represent your company. Some companies are okay with this but just make sure they are. If you are able to do this I would suggest you represent it as ‘personal development’.

How do I get a free VMworld Pass?

This can be your biggest challenge. However here are some ways to get your hands on one.

  • Give-a-ways
    • I can’t tell you how many vendors have giveaways contests right now — hit them early and enter as many contests as you can find
    • Tips-
      • When you enter, find out who your local vendor contact is and let them know you entered. Then stay in contact with them.
      • Keep in mind not all contests are the same, some are based on random drawing and others are not. This is why I say keep in contact with the vendor.
      • How do I find give-a-ways >> Google ‘VMworld getting there for free’
  • Get the word out
    • Tell your boss, workmates, vendors, and partners.  Post on Twitter, Linked-In, etc. and Repeat again and again. By doing this you let others know about your strong interest in getting there, in turn they might get a lead for you.
    • Most importantly, reach out to your local VMUG leader and ask them for tips in your area. They are usually well connected and might have a lead for you as well.
    • Follow Twitter and Linked-In – You never know who is going to post up “I have a pass and need to give it to someone”. Yes that is right, before the event you can transfer a pass to someone.
      • New to Twitter, need contacts? It’s a pretty simple to get started.  Simply find the #VMworld hastag, see who is posting to it and start following them. Then look at all their contacts and follow them too, soon you’ll have a gaggle of folks.
    • This sound like work.  Why do all this? Simple, distributed coverage model. The more people know the more likely they are to help and in turn the more likely you’ll succeed
  • Don’t forgo an Expo-Only or Solutions Exchange Pass
    • If you get offered this pass take it. I can’t tell you how many vendors have these passes and have trouble giving them away, seriously this is gold but folks don’t know how to leverage them.
    • First off this pass has great value, there is a TON of value here.
    • Second this pass can get you on to the Solutions Exchange floor where all the vendors and partners are.
      • Once there start talking to all the vendors, fellow attendee, all those folks you meet on Twitter, etc. as you never know who has a full pass they couldn’t get rid of, take it and upgrade yours.
    • Third, while you are there with an Expo Pass use Twitter and the VMworld hash tags to let folks know you’re here and you are looking for a full pass.
    • Stop by the VMUG booth on the Expo floor, you never know who will be there and you never know if users there might be able to help you.
  • Vendors and Partners
    • Find out who is sponsoring VMworld this year, and then…
      • Start calling the ones you know well, ask them for support getting there.
      • Don’t forget to call the ones you don’t know so well too.
      • If you have an upcoming deal on the table with a vendor, inquire if they will throw in passes, travel, etc.

What about Food, Hotel, and Travel Costs?

  • Food
    • There will be free food everywhere, in-fact feel free to give some to the homeless I usually do.
    • If you get a pass then lunch and usually breakfast are included.
    • For dinner, find out where the nightly events are as they usually have food.
    • Talk with Vendors as they might take you out, you never know.
  • Hotel
    • Ask a Vendor to pay for just the room or ask them to gift hotel points to you.
    • Room Share with someone at the event << Think about it, you won’t be in the room that often and chances are from 7AM till 10PM you’ll be out of your room.
    • Use travel sites to cut down the cost.
      • Secret Hotels: Best Western Carriage Inn and The Mosser. Good if you’re on a budget but chances are they are full this year (2014).
    • Use your hotel or other travel points to book the hotel for free.
    • Get a low cost hotel away from the event, but watch your travel costs.
  • Travel
    • Airfare
      • Ask a vendor to pay for just the airfare, or maybe they have points they can gift you.
      • Use your own travel points to pay for this.
    • Rideshare to the event
      • See if one of your connections are driving to the event, offer to split fuel costs.
      • You drive someone to the event, and they pick up the hotel or vise versa.
    • Local Travel
      • Use the following –
        • VMworld Shuttle
        • Bus
        • Uber
        • BART
      • Once again hit up those vendors, they might have a way to get you around for free

Finally here is a breakdown of how I got to so many events and how/who paid for it….

Year Pass Travel Food Hotel
2008 VMworld Vendor Sponsor – Full Pass Employer Paid Vendor / Event Employer Paid
2009 VMworld VMUG Sponsored – Full Pass Vendor paid for Airfare with Miles Vendor / Event Employer Paid
2010 VMworld VMUG Sponsored – Full Pass Vendor paid for Airfare with Miles Vendor / Event Vendor Sponsored
2011 VMworld Vendor Sponsor – Expo Pass but I got an upgrade to Full by asking others I drove two others and I paid for the fuel Vendor / Event Travel Companion paid for room
2012 VMworld Employee Labs Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid
2013 VMworld Employee TAM Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid
2014 VMworld Employee TAM Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid

Summing it up…

My take is this, if you REALLY want to go you’ll get there but sometimes it takes effort to do so and if you do it right it might not cost you a thing. Don’t let anything stop you and find your way there.

Finally, after you’ve been to the event don’t forget about the folks who got you there and say ‘Thank you’. Then over the next year continue to build this relationship, as you never know if you’ll need help again, or you want to help someone else get there.

Geeks.com – Time to Say goodbye for now

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I was a bit shell shocked when I went to one of my favorite online stores, geeks.com, only to find out they had closed.

They had been open for 17 years and they were one of the first sites I trusted to buy quality products from new or used.

They had a lot of common items but every now and then they had something different or unique. It was one of the reasons why I kept coming back.

I had recommended geeks.com many times and everyone I sent there always let me know what excellent service and product they had.

Well Geeks.com – I salute you – you had a good run, I’m sorry to see you go, and I hope one day you return!

Just a quick note, if you liked geeks.com then check out http://www.pacificgeek.com/ they were very similar in product and layout.

My Commodore 64 Never lets me down…

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I got a call today from 000-000-0000, a person with a strong accent says “Hello Sir, I am from Technical support. Our servers have alerted us that there is a virus on your computer”

 

Matt: “Oh, my really? A Virus what should I do?” < Said in my best non-technical dorky voice, which by the way was easy for me

Strong Accent(SA): “You must on your keyboard press Window Key R”

Matt: “So I press Windows Key R… Where is the windows key?”

SA: “Windows key is next to the Control key on your right side of your keyboard”

Matt: “Okay, Control, Control, Control Key, where are you…”

SA: “Did you Press it?”

Matt: “I don’t see a Windows Key… I do see a key that look like a C with an = sign, is that the one?”

SA: “No, its next to the CTRL key…”

Matt: “OH, CTRL, there it is… Okay Pressing C= and R… Okay a Blue screen open… it says LOAD”*”,8,1… Now what do I do?”

SA: “Did you press Windows R… you need to press CTRL and R”

Matt: “OH, CTRL and R… Okay… Pressing… Okay… Blue screen appears… Its says LOAD”*”,8,1…

SA: “Are you sure you pushed CTRL?:

Matt: “Yes, I did… the blue screen says… Commodore 64, 38911 Bytes Free…”

SA: “Are you on a Windows Box?”

Matt: “did you think I was using a windows PC, No I’m on a Commodore 64, its not prone to those Windows Viruses”

SA: “Oh, what is a Commodore 64?”

Matt: “it’s this really great system, that can’t divide by zero”

SA: “Oh….. Long pause… ”

Matt: “You should try one…”

SA: Hangs up…

 

Next time you call trying to scam a technical professional… Make sure they didn’t grow up with a Commodore computer!