Tech Stand UP Ep 4 Secrets Exposed
March 10th, 2017 by NerdBlurt

Secrets everyone has them, and this week’s guests are no different. I am joined by three guests this week; Rebecca Fitzhugh, Mike Burkhart & Herb.

This is the fourth and final recorded live at the VTUG Winter Warmer event podcast, and it is a fitting one to say the least.

Tech Stand UP Ep 4 Secrets ExposedMy original plan was to talk with Rebecca on becoming a newly minted female VCDX, for those that are unaware the VCDX is a tedious process to obtain filled with multiple certification exams followed up with an architecture design and defended against by a live panel. It is a huge accomplished in the VMware space, while to me personally I don’t see gender , however woman do have to go against unbiased or sometimes biased views in the world. So, seeing a smart lady not caring and continuing to go for what she wants and be a role model for other women is inspiring. I have two daughters, I want them to be inspired by other females to do great things.

Well, the recording went different, as Mike and Herb joined and the four of us had some awesome banter. That is why I record these to capture different conversations from all areas and view points.

Notice past the banter is the underlying story of how these three guests became friends; helping each other through some tough times, just laughing. It makes you think of how relationships are formed, relating back to episode one of Tech Stand UP.

It also is a testament to the virtualization community pulling together, the VCDX program has a great community support  system. Both were undeterred by failing the panel defense.

Many  do not like talking about is failing; while we all know people fail , many choose to not say anything. We focus so much on success despite there having been many failed attempts.

So give it a listen, and what secrets are you holding?


Show Notes


Community pulling together

VCDX Groupies

Did you know that Rebecca was a female?

How not giving up and to keep trying

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February 9th, 2017 by NerdBlurt

One of the most dreaded things for me is dealing with budget, more so when I do not have visibility into the budget. So many times have I requested something and been told “it’s not in the budget”. Has this ever happened to you? What if your job is the budget? Are you using a bunch of tools to keep track or a custom excel sheet?

IT Budget TemplateYou are a small IT shop or small business, and IT budgeting is new to you, where do you start?  Have I got good news for you, the folks over at turbonomic have created a FREE IT budget template. I personally love starting with templates as they give me a starting point and save me time.

This IT budget template was developed between turbonomic and some of it’s customers, meaning the real world value is there. I have seen other templates before and I have to say this one is a great starting point.

Download the Template 

As a small business or even figuring out finances for a home lab setup here are some things to keep in mind.

Things to Consider

Software Licenses – Software is the pinnacle of IT spend, There are some with yearly support costs, initial buy pricing, yearly renewals. Keeping track of this will help you maintain and plan your spending. More importantly you may find that you are over spending on licenses that you are paying for and could result in a savings.

Infrastructure – The cost of buying servers and storage is definitely something you want to plan for in your budget. Not only do you have to account for the cost of the infrastructure, you have to plan for the support contracts on that.

Training – The most important part of your finance to plan for and most over looked. The best way for your company to get the most out of both your software and infrastructure investments is deeper understanding on how to utilize it to it’s full potential.

Download the IT Budget Template 

Nerd’s Blurt

Staying on track of your budget is vital, I wanted to share this free template from turbonomic with you all, as it can help you. Did I mention it was free? I love that part and yes I downloaded it myself and will say it is done very well. Simple to understand, if you are a beginner or just want a better way give it a look.

Download the Template 

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

Up until now I went through a basic ViPR SRM installation, getting a basic single VM environment setup. What I want to show in this post is my favorite ViPR SRM feature – topology maps. To understand why these are useful, lets step back and give some scenarios:

You are the personal responsible for supporting the storage within your environment, you may support other things but ultimately when there is a storage related problem your name is called. An application own comes to you and says their application is slow, and that the network team said everything on their end is fine so its probably the storage. Great – now what?

  1. You come into a new organization – whether as an internal IT person or a var and you’ve inherited an environment cabled by 3 monkeys and a cat with no documentation – now what?

This is where topology maps can be very useful. The topology maps is that end-to-end visualization and monitoring component I mentioned in previous posts. I see from my virtual machine or even some applications such as SQL Server all the way through to the underlying storage, and drill down on each component. Let me shows you some examples.

To access the topology maps, click on Explore >> Hosts – small aside here – host could be any physical or virtual server in the environment discovered by ViPR SRM, not just ESXi hosts. So this could be an ESXi host, a virtual machine, or a physical host running its own OS.


From this report, you can see a list of all the hosts in the environment, which for some could be a very extensive list. I should mention that the filter field is not a search field, so you cannot type the end of a machine name; for example maybe all your VM names end in OS type or some other identifier, you couldn’t just type W2K8 to find a server name myserver-w2k8, you would have to start with myserver, but would then see a list of all servers starting with that string. You can filter on any column that has the funnel icon, so for example I could filter on just physical hosts, or virtual machines by clicking the funnel icon in the host type column;


Using the example above, let’s say an application owner has complained about performance and you need to investigate to see if storage could be the problem. Filter on the host name, in this case I will pick on mhmbd078-W2K8, as you can see below I start typing that name and can select it from a the list or type it in full and hit enter to filter on that one host



Now I just see that specific host, in this case a virtual machine as you can see here with 16GB of memory and 4 vCPU:


This much information is available in just a few clicks, now there are many places you could get this information but as I continue to drill deeper, you will start to see just how much information we have at hand. With just what is available so far, you might be able to say to the application owner who issued the complain that there is not enough memory, for example maybe you know that this particular application needs 32GB of memory, so disk I/O could be a problem if the application and OS are constantly swapping to disk. But, maybe so far everything checks out, if I click on any of the text here, it will take me into the detail of that virtual machine.

Now, this is where it gets interesting; what you see below is the topology map for mbmbd078-w2k8, we can see the host, the datastore it is on, the host it is on, the VSANs it is connected to and the arrays connected to those VSANs. Also, notice to the right we have different reports related to the host, we can see attributes about the host which is show by default, you can also see:

  • Capacity information about the hosts local disks, in this case VMDKs and since it is a virtual machine, the datastore
  • Path details for the disks attached to the host
  • Related storage performance
  • Events related to the host


You can click on any element in the map to see details specific to that item, for example if you click on the datastore – DS_Bootcamp_D you can see reports about the datastore, or on the host – you guessed it, reports about the host. You may have also noticed the + icon next to some of the elements, this is because there are additional components, using VSAN0040 as an example, we can click on the + sign to see switches in that VSAN


Now I see two switches, each with their own + icon, I can keep drilling down and see ports on that switch as well. I can expand different elements and hover over different components to see how they are connected. For example I have expanded my host to see my HBAs, I can see that the particular HBA I am interested in is connected to VSAN mptb023 so I have expanded that as well and drilled down to see the switch ports. While I have some limited lab resolution available, you can see here that when I hover over the HBA from the host it highlights the path to the port on the switch – in this case fc1/6 (as shown by the blue highlighted line)


This is just one specific report, and I have only skimmed the surface of the data available in this report. Imagine being able to show this to an application owner as you troubleshoot each component, and explain how/why any particular piece of the infrastructure supporting the application is, or isn’t doing what it is supposed to. For those folks who worked in a silo’d type group, I’d urge you not use this information to punt back over your wall to someone else, but rather be the person to start poking some pinholes in the silo, call up a virtualization, OS, or network person depending on what you might think the problem is and work with them, sharing knowledge and help the application owner be a happy customer. After all, even if you are “internal” IT – you are still providing a service to the business – they are you customers, treat them like it. Silos will only fall if someone starts poking holes, no reason it can’t be you.

If you haven’t done so, chat with your EMC rep (they can likey get you in touch with an SE who can help if you have any setup questions) and head over to to sign up for an account and download ViPR SRM which comes with a 30 day license.

ViPR SRM Explore Reports and Topology Maps

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

There were two software related announcements at EMC World this week which I found very exciting. Building on the free for no production use of RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines from VMworld 2014, EMC announced the same for ScaleIO. ScaleIO allows you build your own Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution (HCI). This is the same software used in the new VxRack from VCE which was also announced at EMC World.

CoprHDIn addition to ScaleIO, EMC also announced CoprHD which is an open source version of EMC ViPR (@coprhd). ViPR (which is also free for non production use) is a solution that allows you to manage multiple arrays and present those as virtual volumes to hosts. In addition to managing the arrays, it also provides a self-service and automation at the storage layer. EMC ViPR also supports ScaleIO, assuming this carries over to CoprHD you could deploy a fully managed, and automated storage solution on commodity hardware for test/dev or QA (I hope they publish more specific guidelines on just what they mean by “non-production”).

Last, but not least, the community version of the VNXe which you can use to provide full block and file servers on commodity hardware. The vVNX will later come in a supported ROBO and cloud edition.

My hope is that CoprHD, ScaleIO, and the community edition of the vVNX will lead to more solutions being open sourced and offered in a free to use model. CoprHD should be available on GitHub by June, ScaleIO by the end of May, whereas the vVNX is available now for download.


New free software from EMC to build your own SDS solution

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April 23rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

*Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

In my last ViPR SRM post, I introduced you to some of the features if you were not already aware of them. In this post, I will look at installing ViPR SRM 6.5.2. I downloaded ViPR SRM from; while I am an EMC employee, I logged into the support site with my personal email account to download the files. Once logged in, search for ViPR SRM and click on the downloads menu, as I mentioned I will be going with the vApp option versus a binary installation.


Once downloaded, extract the content of the zip file – you’ll have 2 OVF’s. One is the 4 VM vApp I mentioned in my last post, the other, a 1VM vApp useful for lab and evaluation purposes. Given I have limited resources in my home lab, I will be deploying the 1 VM vApp.


Important note here, you will need to deploy the OVF to vCenter, not a stand-alone ESXi host as some of the OVF properties will not be exposed properly, causing the deployment to fail.

Follow the OVF deployment wizard, when prompted select the All-In-One configuration:


By default, the VM deploys with 4 vCPU – adjust according to your lab, I have set mine to 2, 16GB RAM and removed the reservation (performance here would not be ideal obviously, but this is for lab purposes only). Once the OVF has been deployed, you should be able to log into http://:58080/APG. Login as admin/change me to access ViPR SRM.



By default, you are in the “User” interface, if you click on “Administration” in the upper right corner, you will go to the administration screen. Go ahead and click on Administration >> Centralized Management (on the left nav menu) >> License Management (also on the left nav menu). As you can see you have a 30 day trial license to test out ViPR SRM.


Close the license window/tab. Notice where the “Administration” menu was, you now see a “User Interface” menu, this will (like the administration link did) take you to the User interface (where you initially landed when you logged in.

In the next post, I will look at connecting ViPR SRM to vCenter and, in my case, XtremIO.

Installing ViPR SRM

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