VMworld

Turning a ‘No’ to a ‘Yes, you can attend’ for VMworld 2018

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I’ve been lucky enough to make it to very VMworld since 2008 but it wasn’t always easy getting there. Being the former Phoenix VMUG leader and currently a 7-year VMware employee I’ve come across all types of VMworld tips. In this blog post I’ll share those tips to help turn your No into a Yes.

Setting your goals on VMworld — Okay, so you got the big No from your employer. Normal reasons for a denial are “costs too much”, “value”, or “we can’t afford to have you away”. Fair enough, but the real question should be – how prepared were you to support you ask? Imagine you are the manager and an employee somewhat casually asked you to spend $1000’s to go to an event you may never even heard of. What would your reaction be? Chances are you’d say no too. In this blog post I list out my tips to help enable you to be successful.

#1 Make VMworld your goal and your focus!

Set a goal to attend VMworld – Say it again “Set a GOAL to attend VMworld” Think about it this way — you know VMworld is going to happen, so why not add it to your yearly goals? Even if your company doesn’t have goal planning then start a personal list and think about how to achieve this goal. Next, don’t do this alone. Do you have someone who can help support your goal? Maybe it is a fellow employee, VMware account team, VMware TAM, VMUG leader / Users, and most importantly don’t forget about your partners that support the VMware community. Talk with them, tell them about your goals and the reasons why you want to achieve them, see how they can help support you. Finally, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Are other employees successful in going to training, conferences, or events? Clearly, they are successful with their requests, so why not work with them on your goals and find new ways to be successful.

Keep this in mind “We achieve what we focus on the most”. If getting to VMworld was easy for everyone then I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. If you are being turned down year after year, you might consider a change of focus. Your focus should be known but not annoying. In other words, let others know that VMware and getting to VMworld is what you are passionate about. Let them know how VMware technologies help innovate your company, how it reduces downtime, how it makes you all more secure, etc. etc. By letting others know and understand your passion you’ll go from the person asking to go, to your VMware thought leader and soon management will be coming to you telling you to go to VMworld vs. you asking to go.

Getting past the “Cost”

Having your employer pick of the tab can be a challenge. Your plan should include the total cost to attend, how you plan to fund it, and keep in mind this cost can be quite high for some companies on a tight budget. My suggestion is if you are getting the big ‘No’ due to costs then work with your company around the total costs. First find out why it’s a ‘No’ and look for opportunities to overcome this, then use my tips below to enhance your plan. In general, your fist challenges in subsidizing cost maybe your company’s policy around accepting gifts. Understand this policy well, don’t just take someone’s word as there maybe ways to accept gifts under specific circumstances. Read the current policy and ask the policy writers questions to better understand it. Explore your company – Talk with your travel department or even HR/Benefits around funding sources as there maybe programs to help employees with Education and events. Point is, ask and explore you never know what you will find and be able to achieve.

How do I get a free VMworld Pass aka the Golden Ticket?

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 do an annual giveaways contests — hit them early, often, and enter as many 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 all year long and then some
      • 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’ or ‘VMworld contest’, Look on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms
  • Get the word out
    • Tell your boss, workmates, vendors, partners, use 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, I cannot go, and need to give it to someone” This is pretty common just before the event and yes you can transfer a pass to someone.
      • New to Twitter, need contacts? It’s simple 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 sounds like work why do all this? Simple, distributed coverage model. The more people who 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 cannot give 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. See the current VMworld Pass features for more information but normally you can get into the larger Sessions and the Solutions Exchange
    • 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 attendees, 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 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 deal on the table with a vendor coming up, inquire if they can put passes in the deal.

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 but check the schedule
    • For dinner, find out where the nightly vendor events are as they usually have food
    • Talk with Vendors 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:
        • San Fran try the Best Western Carriage Inn and The Mosser
        • Las Vegas there are lots of options but try Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel (usually very quiet not a casino) or The Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa
    • 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
2012-2018 Employee Pass Employer Paid Employer Paid Employer Paid

Summing it up…

My take is, 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 these relationship as you never know if you’ll need help again, or you want to help someone else get there.

Best of luck and do reach out with suggestions, comments, or great stories around how you got there!

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

VMworld 2018 Call for Papers

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VMWORLD 2018 is right around the corner and its time for ‘call for papers’. Call for Papers opened on February 13 and ends on March 13. Proposals can be considered for VMworld US, Europe, or Both.

For more information and submissions guidelines check out these links:

My TIPS:

  • Keep in mind you are NOT submitting a presentation, but you are submitting an abstract around what you want to present
  • Follow the guidelines EXACTLY – this is the number one reason why abstracts are rejected.
  • Give the review team a good reason to want to read and fully review your abstract – How? For starters use a catchy and effective Titles
  • Before you submit – Have your peers review your submission, gather their feedback and improve it.
    • The more eyes on your submission the better
    • It’ll help ensure accuracy and topic relevance
    • If you want I’d be glad to review your submission, just ask me nicely.

Good luck and I hope you are selected!

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

What new in vSphere 6.5

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Hey folks — This great video came my way today.  Watch Kevin Steil, (Southeast VMware Technical Account Manager (TAM) Team Lead) talk about HOL-1710-SDC-3 – vSphere with Operations Management: Product Deep Dive which introduces the cool, new features coming in vSphere 6.5.

Wiggle it just a little bit– Keeping your computer awake and avoiding timeouts

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We have been there so many times: You’re working on one PC, then suddenly, the screen dims on your other PC and you get locked out. Not to mention if you use IM programs it can show you away quite frequently. As an IT admin it’s hard enough trying to get multiple things done without having to log in an out or move the mouse every so often.

What could be the cause? The usual suspects are either due to a Domain policy or because Windows power-saving / screensaver settings kick in.

The up and downside — If you are lucky enough have non-domain client or a relaxed domain policy you could adjust Windows’ power and screen saver settings. The down side is you most likely want those settings if you’re running a laptop to keep battery life at a maximum. There is nothing worse than traveling with a dead battery, except maybe a flight delay. Additionally, if you are on a domain there might be a policy not allowing you to change these settings. If only you could have a monkey in your office to wiggle the mouse every now and then.

Possible Solution? If your domain policies allow then you might try a software solution like: Jiggler

Mouse Jiggler is just a tiny app and as needed will “wiggle” your mouse icon “just a little bit”. Okay, if you haven’t got the reference yet then you need to get up to speed on your early 90’s hip hop.

After the app starts you’ll notice your pointer start to, wiggle and jiggle just a little bit. If this movement keeps Windows active. If the movement isn’t pleasant then enable the Zen Jiggle option, which does the “jiggling” behind the scenes. I prefer to see it “wiggle it just a little bit” as a reminder that it’s active. Finally push the down arrow on the app to minimize the program.

It’s as simple as that, happy computing and if you’ve found other tools to help with this please post up!

vSphere 6.x licensing and feature product matrix

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Ever want to compare a full list of the vSphere features to the associated licensing level?

Well now you can… Check out >> https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2109507

For vSphere 5 >> https://vmexplorer.com/2014/02/27/vsphere-5-x-licensing-matrix-2/

Here is a quick snapshot of the matrix. Enjoy!

 

Supported features for VMware virtual machine compatibility

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Here is one of my most favorite VMware KB articles.

Supported features for virtual machine compatibility

Hardware

ESXi 6.0 and later

ESXi 5.5 and later

ESXi 5.1 and later

ESXi 5.0 and later

ESX/ESXi 4.x and later 

Hardware version

11

10

9

8

7

Maximum memory (GB)

4080

1011

1011

1011

255

Maximum number of logical
processors

128

64

64

32

8

Maximum number of cores (virtual CPUs) per socket

128

64

64

32

8

Maximum SCSI adapters

4

4

4

4

4

Bus Logic adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

LSI Logic adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

LSI-Logic SAS adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SATA adapters

Yes*

Yes*

No

No

No

VMware Paravirtual controllers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual SCSI disk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SCSI passthrough

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SCSI hot plug support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

IDE nodes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual IDE disk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual IDE CDROMs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

IDE hot plug support

No

No

No

No

No

Maximum NICs

10

10

10

10

10

PCNet32

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet2

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet3

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

E1000

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

E1000e

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

USB 1.x and 2.0

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

USB 3.0

Yes**

Yes**

Yes**

Yes**

No

Maximum video memory (MB)

512

512

512

128

128

SVGA displays

10

10

10

10

10

SVGA 3D hardware acceleration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

VMCI

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

PCI passthrough

16

6

6

6

6

PCI hot plug support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Nested HV support

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

vPMC support

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Serial ports

32

4

4

4

4

Parallel ports

3

3

3

3

3

Floppy devices

2

2

2

2

2

Guest OS support

91

91

91

91

78

Free vSphere 6 Webinar Series!

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VMware has a great webinar series coming up, see the chart below for dates and times.

These sessions would be a great primer before going to VMworld!

Date

Webcast Topic

vSphere Expert

Registration / Replay

June 2

vCenter ServerWhat’s new in vCenter Server including differences between Windows install and the virtual appliance.

Mohan Potheri

Replay

June 16

vSphere SecuritySecurity at the top of mind?  Learn about security in vSphere 6 including considerations for Platform Services Controller.

Mike Foley

Register

June 30

Business Continuity
Business continuity equals business productivity.  Learn how vSphere 6 minimizes downtime for applications and maximizes productivity for businesses.  Availability and data protection aspects of vSphere 6 will be covered.

Matt Meyer

Register

July 7

PowerCLIIncrease data center efficiency through automation.  Learn what’s new with PowerCLI including some tips and tricks that may surprise you.

Brian Graf

Register

July 14

vSphere Web ClientThe Web Client is one of the most improved areas of vSphere 6.  Streamlined design, improved responsiveness, and better overall usability are just a sampling of what makes the Web Client cool.  Learn what else the vSphere 6 Web Client has to offer.

Dennis Lu

Register

July 21

vSphere 6 PerformanceLearn about all the new performance improvements that vSphere 6 has to offer.  With the time you save, you may have time for an additional coffee break.

Mark Achtemichuk

Register

July 28

Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy-Based ManagementvSphere 6 has transformed storage for virtual machines.  Learn how Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy-Based Management redefines how you should think about storage.

Rawlinson Rivera

Register

August 11

vCenter Server AvailabilityFor some vCenter Server has become mission critical.  Learn how to provide high availability for vCenter Server.  Also covered with be Platform Services Controller.

Johnny Ferguson

Register

 

More information here — http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2015/05/vsphere-6-webcast-series.html

 

Quick ways to check disk alignment with ESXi and Windows VM’s

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There are two simple checks a virtual infrastructure (VI) admin should be doing to ensure ESXi Datastores and the Windows VM’s are properly aligned. If either are misaligned then performance issues will follow. Though I’m not going to get into the whys and how’s of alignment issues I will show you how to quickly check.

1 – ESXi Datastores (DS)

By default if the VI admin formats the DS with vCenter Server or directly connected to a host via the VI Client the starting sector will be 2048. A starting sector of 2048 will satisfy nearly all of the storage vendors out there, however 2048 starting sector should be validated with your storage vendor.

If the VI Admin chose to format the DS via a script then they should choose a starting sector of 2048 or what the storage vendor recommends

Example — partedUtil setptbl \$disk gpt “1 2048…..” More info here on partedUtil

Here is a simple command to check your “Start Sector”.   SSH or Direct console into a host that has DSs you want to check and run this command.

~ # esxcli storage core device partition list

esxistartingsector

 

Some note about this –

RED Box – Is the local boot disk, so its starting sector will be 64, this is okay it’s just a ESXi Boot disk

Yellow, Green, and Blue – Are all VSAN Disks and all have a starting sector of 2048   << This is what I’m looking for, I want to make sure all DS disks start at 2048, if not they could experience performance issues.

 

2 – Windows VM Check

Windows checks are pretty easy too, the starting sector offset should be 2048. Note the screenshot below shows the Partition starting offset of 1,048,576, also note it’s in labeled in bytes not sectors. To find the starting sector just divide the Partition Starting Offset by the Bytes per Sector.   Simple math tells us its right — 1048576/512 = 2048 Sector. If your Partition Starting offset is anything other than 1,048,576 Bytes or 2048 Sectors then the VM is not aligned and will need adjusted.

From a Command Prompt, type in ‘msinfo32.exe’ to bring up this screen, navigate as shown below, and note your Partition Starting Offset.

windowsstartingsector

 


Cannot install vCenter Server Appliance 6 Error “No apps are installed to open this type of link”

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A requirement for the installation of VCSA 6.0 is installing the Client Integration Plug-in. Normally, this can be done during the time you install the VCSA.   However, during a recent installation, I got the error “No apps are installed to open this type of link”

My first thought was there was a browser compatibility issue with IE11 and the installer, so I tried Firefox and Chome but I got the same results.  Next was a quick reboot, still same error.

Finally, I tried installing  “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” manually and then running the VCSA installer.  What do you know it installed without issue.

Simple fix on this one — Manually, install the “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” first and then run the VCSA installer.

 

You can find the “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” in the ‘vcsa’ folder in the VCSA ISO.

 

 

Single Source Information for Affected Products of VMware Security Advisories

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Ever wish there was a better way to track VMware Security Advisory’s? Tired of tracing through email threads, RSS, Twitter feeds, etc.

Well there isn’t an APP for that but there is a “Spreadsheet for that”. That’s right a good old spreadsheet.

See this link for more information >> http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2078735

How could one use this sheet? Simply put this spreadsheet is updated when advisors are released or updated. This allows users to sort by all types of fields to get the latest information they are looking for in one place.

Here are some ways I have used it….

Sort by specific Vulnerability title, in this case ‘Bash’

 

Here’s a view filtered by ESXi 5.5…