vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive

Over the last 6-9 months, I have been reviewing the vast majority of a new book just released to print by Frank Denneman ↗ and Niels Hagoort ↗ - The vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive ↗. This book is, without a doubt, the most in-depth look at host design I have ever read, we are not talking about standard best practices here, though those are in there too....

June 21, 2017 · Myles Gray

My home datacenter.

I have been meaning to write this for a very long time, finally inspired by seeing Russell Pope’s absolutely insane lab in the vExpert Slack ↗ and Mark Brookfield ↗’s homelab post ↗ it started when my lab was a single Dell R710 with 96GB RAM and 2x X5670 procs. The home lab has stopped being a lab and become a datacenter in that time and it’s about time I put it down on paper....

September 13, 2016 · Myles Gray

Replicating SAN on openSUSE with VAAI

Preamble This article was written a few years back, but never published - it was some work I was doing in my lab to try and get to grips around the work involved in creating a SAN with synchronous replication built in from scratch. It in no way should be used for production, but rather as a learning exercise - as previously stated the instructions are a few years old and version specific, so openSUSE may well now support some of the modules I had to compile and create repos for manually, also DRBD9 has been released and should obviously be used in place of DRBD8 as I have below....

August 27, 2016 · Myles Gray

LSI3108 based controllers now VSAN 6.2 Certified

After a long an arduous certification and regression testing process following many problems with LSI 3108 based controllers that I have been using for VSAN they are finally VSAN 6.2 certified. Having seen and opened multiple tickets about strange controller behaviors (hot add controller do VMware have released a FW/HW and Software combo that, according to a highly regarded VMware internal storage resource: Its certainly the most tested combination of a firmware/driver/controller ever at this point […] My understanding is the reason this took so long is they didn’t just fix the big issue, but also minor ones too, and any minor regressions...

April 29, 2016 · Myles Gray

In need of a multi-OS, bootable USB? Use an Android phone.

I found myself in the position recently whereby I had two hosts I bought off eBay (as one does for labs), they arrived, I had great plans… But no iDRAC Enterprise :( While the iDRAC Ent cards were on their way to me I couldn’t help but want to install ESXi on these things so they were ready to go (old Dell R610s are seriously good value now). One slight problem....

April 7, 2016 · Myles Gray

Deploying Dell OpenManage on ESXi and vCenter 6

If you’ve been reading my other posts of late, you will have gathered I’ve been building a new lab. I say “new”, the last one was a single R710 with a ReadyNas Ultra 6 attached. So essentially, this is my first REAL lab. It’s mostly based on Dell hardware; it’s cheap on eBay, I like their management tools and in the past i’ve only really had good experiences with them, granted it’s no Cisco UCS, HP Bladesystem or Dell M1000e - I think with the addition of OpenManage, and in particular OMIVV it makes it almost as manageable as those environments when you get the foundations laid down nice and solid....

July 26, 2015 · Myles Gray

Flashing over OEM-R BIOS/Firmware on Dell hardware

I have recently been rebuilding my home lab from scratch (a series of posts on that coming soon), so naturally my first port of call for server hardware was eBay, what self-respecting techie would pay full price for anything… I found an incredible deal on some used Dell R710 servers, so I bought two to bring my collection of these beasts up to 3 so I can run VSAN, NSX, vCloud Director and some other SDDC ↗ tastiness (VMware VIO ↗ anyone?...

July 1, 2015 · Myles Gray

Upgrading a legacy ReadyNAS from RAIDiator 4.2.x to 6.x

My old ReadyNAS was in need of an update and figured i’d look back into upgrading to OS 6.2.x again, this used to be quite an involved manual process requiring you to access the VGA header on the motherboard ↗. As it turns out Netgear have realised people would get round this anyway and have provided an (unsupported) upgrade path. This will allow us to use a number of features not available on our current firmware (for me I have a ReadyNAS Ultra 6):...

June 25, 2015 · Myles Gray

Check action progress on Dell MD3000i array

One of the things that the Dell MD Storage Manager is a progress indicator for rebuild operations or any actions at all really, it’s fairly simple to do, but you have to use the command line tool SMcli.exe that comes with MD Storage Manager. First navigate to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\MD Storage Software\MD Storage Manager\client Then execute: SMcli.exe {your.san.ip.address} -p {password} -c "show virtualDisk [\"name-of-vdisk\"] actionProgress;" Obviously replace the curly braces with appropriate values - as well as the "name-of-vdisk" the square brackets are part of the syntax....

July 18, 2014 · Myles Gray

Setting Up Multi-NIC vMotion in vSphere 5.5

Multi-NIC vMotion is a no-brainer configuration for performance ↗: Faster maintenance mode operations Better DRS load balance operations Overall reduction in lead time of a manual vMotion process. It was introduced in vSphere 5.0 ↗ and has improved in v5.5 - so let’s get into how to configure it (we’ll be using the vSphere Web Client because that’s what VMWare wants us to do nowadays…). I don’t have an Enterprise Plus license so no Distributed Switches for me - however, if you do have Distributed Switching licenses you should be able to extrapolate from my Standard Switching how to config yours...

June 7, 2014 · Myles Gray