Modify HTML5 vSphere Client Idle Timeout

Before I go any further, just to make it clear, we’re talking about the new HTML5 client in vSphere 6.5 (GA Build 4602587).  Not the older Flash based vSphere Web Client in vCenter 5 and 6.  So lets call it the vSphere vCenter HTML5 UI Web Client.  Clear now?  Ok, just refer to the pic below.

Below are the steps I used on the vCenter Server Appliance.

Just like the old Web Client I know of no way to change the idle timeout from within the UI today.  So we have to revert to connecting to the console and making the changes through the shell.  We do this by opening up a console window to the VM or using SSH and login with root (remember to enable SSH first).

At the Command prompt of the VCSA type the following to enable Shell access.  You may received a Shell is disabled message.  If you do, enable with shell.set.

Command> shell
Shell is disabled.
Command> shell.set --enabled true
Command> shell
vc01:~ #

Now at the Shell type the following below and locate session.timeout.

cat /etc/vmware/vsphere-ui/webclient.properties

You should find something similar to session.timeout = 120 as this is the default value in minutes.

Make a backup copy of webclient.properties.

cp /etc/vmware/vsphere-ui/webclient.properties /etc/vmware/vsphere-ui/webclient.properties.bak

If you’re comfortable using an editor like VI go ahead and use that to increase or decrease the value in minutes.  Probably for the best, it doesn’t appear that you can set this value to never timeout.  I tried 0 and -1 and both caused the vSphere Client to timeout instantly on login.  The timeout value, though, can quickly and easily be modified using the sed command.

The sed command below locates the specific string session.timeout = 120 and replaces it with session.timeout = 720, which is 12 hours (or in other words my standard work day).  Change 720 to however many idle minutes you want.  If sed doesn’t find the specific string, don’t worry, it won’t modify anything.

sed -i “s/session.timeout = 120/session.timeout = 720/g” /etc/vmware/vsphere-ui/webclient.properties

Run the cat command again and check that the session.timeout value has changed.

cat /etc/vmware/vsphere-ui/webclient.properties

If the session.timeout value has been modified correctly we now have to stop and restart the vsphere-ui service by running the following commands below.  I covered stopping and starting all services on a VCSA in a previous post HERE.

service-control --stop vsphere-ui
service-control --start vsphere-ui

Wait a few minutes for the service to start up fully and open a new browser windows to the vSphere Client.  It should now be running with a new idle timeout.

 

vCenter In VR (Is This VCSA 7?)

The last few months have been extremely fun for me.  I purchased a HTC Vive and have been enjoying every minute with it.  I’m not a huge gamer but I absolutely love the immersion factor.  I’ve lost count of the times I have got lost in games like Onward for hours on end.  The realism and social aspect of coordinating with your team mates on how to take the objective.  The absolute fear of crouching behind a wall while the enemy next to you discusses where you are.  An experience that’s hard to convey.

Games aside though, VR also has the ability to mirror your desktop and applications too.  Nothing like Minority Report or that awesomely realistic movie Hackers.  But think more a VR room with a computer screen in front of you that you can enlarge or shrink to suit your view.

So that got me thinking.  There are a few different VR apps that let you mirror your desktop in VR.  I decided to try out Bigscreen, mainly because it’s free!  And hell, because this is a virtualization blog, I obviously had to try out the vSphere Client to see if I could practically manage my vCenter Homelab environment.

It took a few attempts to find the best viewing mode and way to manage vCenter with the vSphere Client.  I first tried the large projector view on the wall in the VR room.  This turned out to be an absolute joke.  Imagine the worst, lowest, quality projector, and then try reading small text from the other side of a room.  Then think of something worse.  Okay… it wasn’t that bad but still.


Failing to use vCenter in the large projector mode view

The best mode I found was literally just sitting down in a chair.  Switching to the floating screen mode and enlarging the screen to encompass my field of view.  Then placing a small curve to the screen to rap a little around me.


S
omething’s red in my vCenter environment

I first tried managing vCenter with the HTC Vive controllers.  The controllers basically act as laser pointers.  You can pull up a virtual keyboard and laser zap the keys with the controllers as well as move the laser point around on the screen like a mouse cursor.  Using projector mode this was okay but up close it was really awkward.  Ultimately using the physical mouse and keyboard was most practical.  And it was practical.  As long as you can position your hands in the right spot and touch type there was no issues.  You just have to adjust to what feels like a 100 inch screen in your face.

Bigscreen has what they call Mutliplayer rooms.  This is where you can join and create a new room where people can share you screen experience.  I did jump into some of these rooms where movies were playing and had a little chat to the other guests.  I wasn’t game enough to create a room and share my vCenter screen though.  I just felt that the VR community wouldn’t have the same appreciation for my vSphere Homelab environment 😛


J
umping into someones VR cinema room

You can imagine how this multi-user room experience could be interesting though.  Inviting a friend / service desk into your private VR room to help you out on an issue in your environment.  Actually being able to point on the screen and talk through resolving an issue.  Waving your hands in frustration when the service desk can’t fix your issue.  It reminds me of the book Ready Player One.  A dystopian future where lives are lived out in a VR world and virtual chat rooms.

So alright, all of this was a big gimmick.  An excuse to talk about my HTC Vive and somehow justify it on my virtualization blog with vCenter.  It was fun, though, I’m not holding my breath for vCenter 7 VR.  But maybe a fling 🙂

 

Melbourne VMUG 2016 – The Year That Was

So before I head back to work tomorrow to wrap up my year.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect back on the year that was with the Melbourne VMware User Group.  It was a big year for me with the Melbourne VMUG.  After years of just turning up to events I finally became a member of the committee team.  It’s been an awesome experience where I’ve met some great friends I might not have otherwise meet.

Melbourne VMUG kicked off its year, as with previous years, with its annual User Con in February.  For the first time in five years we had a venue change to the Crown Promenade.  It was a risky move but paid off. Hey, if VMworld can get away with having it in a casino so should we.  Support from the community on the venue change was overwhelmingly positive.  With ~350 attendees it was one of our biggest User Cons to date.  We had some great international guests with Chris Wahl and Keith Townsend.  The day rapped up with an after-drinks / vBeers party a short walk along the Yarra River across at the The Boatbuilders Yard.

We continued the year with three more quarterly meetings.  Each of them held at the Telstra Convention Centre and venue sponsored by Telstra themselves.  Having Telstra provide the venue facilities has been an absolute coup for VMUG.  The facilities are located in the heart of Melbourne CBD with easy access in and out for our community members.

The facilities provide us with two meeting rooms allowing us to run two side by side tracks during the quarterlys.  This has been another one of those surprisingly successful moves.  By running two tracks we have been able to provide more content to our community then we normally would otherwise.  At the end of each of the quarterlys we held vBeers paid for by the meeting’s sponsors at Trokia Bar, a small bar just across the road from the venue.

In between the User Con and the Quarterly meetings with also held separate vBeers events.  These were all held at Beer Deluxe at Federation Square in Melbourne CBD.  Unlike the Quarterly meeting vBeers these ones aren’t usually sponsored.  The settings for these vBeers have always been to provide a smaller more intimate environment to network with peers.

By using left over sponsor funds from the year Melbourne VMUG was able to sponsor the final vBeers of the year at Beer Deluxe.  This turned out to be one of the bigger vBeers MVMUG has held for some time.  It was also well supported by VMware with a number of their local SEs coming out to show support.  We even managed to get a few Sydneysiders to come out and show them how it’s done in Melbourne.

The Melbourne VMUG committee also got out and help sponsor VMUG at the Synology 2017 Conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre a few months back.  This was an invite request from Synology.  We pulled out the banners, and spruiked VMUG with flyers, pens, and t-shirts.  A great experience promoting our user group to a slightly different demographic of small business and storage enthusiasts.

We, the Melbourne VMUG committee, now switch to 2017 User Con planning with VMUG HQ.  We’ve already had a few meetings in and things are looking really good so far.   The same venue has been book at the Crown Promenade for the 23rd of March.  We’ve secured two keynote guests, which i think I can now safely say will be Duncan Epping and Amy Lewis, and we’re working towards a few more international guest to make this our best User Con to date.

Finally a big shout out to Melbourne VMUG committee this year.  The leaders Craig Waters, Andrew Dauncey, and Tyson Then, these guys have been the rock for MVUG throughout 2016.  They have also been great to lean on throughout the year for me.  Also not forgetting Justin Warren, Damien Calvert, and fellow 2016 committee newcomer Brett Johnson.  Not to mention VMware liaisons Ramon Valery, who has now moved over to Nimble storage, and his replacements Mo Jamal and Kev Gorman.  It’s been a massive year and look forward to working with you all next year.

Hope you all have a great New Year and look forward to seeing you at our User Con in 2017!

Sydney vForum 2016

For those of us not lucky enough to attend VMworld (yep, me).  The smaller vForum has to be the next best thing, particular for those of us in the ANZ region of the world.  vForum is seen as almost a mini VMworld in OZ spread out over two days and getting somewhere around 3 to 4 thousand people throughout the event.  I must have been scanned about a 100 times walking into the main pavilion so hopefully that gets taken into account 🙂  Having barely recovered from an intense three days at PAX AUS the weekend before.  I was still psyched and ready to go.

Day 0 – VMDownUnderGround (Tuesday)

My Tuesday before vForum started with a Work From Home half day.  I was able to put in a solid morning of work before heading to Melbourne Airport.  One of the benefits of where I live is the short 15-minute drive to the airport.  Boarding my flight, I literally bumped into Chew from VMware while trying to fight my way to my seat (Sorry again Chew).

We landed in Sydney at 3:30 PM, disembarked, and I followed the signs to the domestic terminal train station.  I purchased an Opal card and boarded a train that took me to Central Station.  This was my first Sydney Airport to City train trip and I must say I was really impressed with what Sydney have done. I can’t believe Melbourne haven’t done the same yet!

I checked in at the Cambridge Hotel which was a short walk from Central.  I took a few minutes to rest the feet then made my way into the city.  I still had a few hours before VMDownUnderGround at 6 PM, so I took a little stroll up to Circular Quay.

VMDownUnderGround, organised by Sydney VMUG and sponsored by Veeam, was held at King Street Brewhouse.  A microbrew pub overlooking Darling Harbour.  The turnout was a little smaller than I expected but still a great turnout of people, from Queensland to Tassie to New Zealand.  I had the opportunity to meet a number of VMware staff from the Sydney office.  Finally met in person some Brisbane and Sydney VMUG guys.  There was Brett and Alistair representing vBrownBag plus many more.  I could have chatted all night with everyone but us final few called it a night around 10:30 PM in preparation for vForum the next day.

Day 1 – vForum Techday (Wednesday)

My day began with a call from the boss!  He had taken the train to central station and swung past my hotel so we could walk down together to The Royal Hall of Industries @ Moore Park.  On entry, I instantly regretted bring my backpack as VMware provided one to All Access Pass guests.  Being the Techday I spent much of the day focusing on going to sessions.  NSX, DevOps, Containers, just to name a few.  While there were many people I wanted to catch-up with, I decided to leave that till Thursday’s General Access day.  Between sessions I ran into a few fellow Optus co-workers where we decided to focus our efforts together on visiting vendors and of course collecting awesome swag.  Moving between vendor stalls I found myself constantly bumping into people I knew.

That evening I caught up with a few more fellow work colleagues for dinner.  I particularly wanted to catch up with a recently departed team mate.  We made our way into the CBD and found a nice little Thai restaurant just off George Street, where I succumbed to peer pressure and ordered way toooo spicy food.

Day 2 – vForum General Access (Thursday)

Once again my day started with meeting up with my boss outside my hotel and walking down to Moore Park.  This time even before walking into the hall I ran into many more Sydney co-workers.  Many whom I was meeting in person for the first time.

I only had two sessions that I really wanted to attend on Thursday.  The Keynote at 10 AM with Pat Gelsinger and the Technical Keynote at 1:30 PM with Kit Colbert.  Outside those two keynote sessions I spent the day visiting the remaining vendors I had not spoken to yet and catching up with fellow colleagues and friends.   As well as heading over and saying hello to the vBrownBag and the VMUG guys.

A fellow team mate introduced me to former work colleague and friend Frank Yoo now working at Rubrik.  While at the Rubrik stand, I entered their raffle draw.  Now if you know me, you know that I’m one of the unluckiest people when it comes to competitions.  So it was a complete surprise punch in the face, when I won the coffee maker prize.  Thanks heaps, Frank and Rubrik.  The Rubrik branding on the actually coffee maker was a nice touch!

20161113_102013

The day ended with the vForum After Party featuring the band Rouge Traders.  I’ve been a huge fan of them for years so I was pretty excited to have them here playing.  The band played in the main pavilion where the keynotes were held.  But before we were allowed in they herded us into the small foyer for 45 minute or so.  Presumably they needed more time to setup either the band or the food and drinks in the pavilion.  So while it was a little uncomfortably cramped to begin with, once the doors opened and we got inside all was forgiven.

20161110_183428

Before calling it a night and making the solo trip back to my hotel I had one last catch-up with Ryan McBride from the Sydney VMUG crew.  Ryan’s an awesomely funny guy who I’m looking forward to catching up with next week back in Melbourne.

Day 3 – The Day after vForum Summary

While many people flew out and went back to work for Friday.  I decided to mix it up a little and spend a day in Sydney.  I couldn’t come to Sydney and not spend at least a day doing all the touristy things.

20161111_111119

I had an awesome time during vForum.  VMware have as always put on an excellent event.  VMDownUnderGround was also a great opener to vForum.  While I would have preferred more deep-dive sessions.  I did manage to take away a little from each session I went to which I see as a success.  And yes, I’m constantly told not to focus on sessions but rather use the time building networking connections.  But I felt that there was room to achieve both during vForum which I think I achieved.

PowerCLI Core

When Microsoft and Jeffrey Snover released PowerShell on Linux a few months back we knew PowerCLI running on Linux wasn’t too far away.  Well, an awesome demo from Alan Renouf running PowerCLI in a Docker container was probably a giveaway 🙂

Well since then we’ve been patiently waiting, and hearing rumors of a Fling, for the release.  Earlier this week VMware finally released that Fling.  And that haven’t disappointed.  VMware have provided a number of different methods to run PowerCLI Core --OS X, Linux, and Docker.  Skimming through the Instructions PDF on the Flings site by far the easiest method has to be the Docker image from Docker Hub (assuming you already have docker installed).

I decided to try out this docker image and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.  Boy, I miss the old days of Linux where I had to compile and install everything, then troubleshoot, and repeat.  Using an Ubuntu 14.04 build it’s as simple as running two commands.

First pull down the docker image from Docker Hub.

docker pull vmware/powerclicore

Then run the container!

docker run --rm -it --entrypoint=’/usr/bin/powershell’ vmware/powerclicore

And that’s really it, kind of.  There is one more command you’ll have to run to actually connect to a vCenter or ESXi host.  Without it you’ll receive an Invalid Certificate error which will prevent you from connecting.

Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -InvalidCertificateAction Ignore -Confirm:$false

After that you should be able to connect as normal to a vCenter.

ubuntu01-vmware-workstation-000303

As the doco states not all the modules are available yet.  Currently just the Core and VDS cmdlets.  A quick check shows we have 315 available to us.  Which, to be honest, is a huge amount.

PS /powershell> (get-command -Module powercli*).count
315

I haven’t done too much with it yet.  Though I have already noticed a few odd issues and errors.  It’s hard to say if it’s PowerCLI Core related or PowerShell.  One notable issue is when pipping a PowerCLI cmdlet multiple times on the command line it would intermittently fail.

The important thing to note here is this is a Fling, which as I’ve mentioned before, is unsupported and comes with no guarantees.  Not only that but it’s build upon an Alpha build of PowerShell 6.  Put it together and sure you’ll probably get unexpected results sometimes.

Never the less this is another get testament to VMware’s commitment to PowerCLI and PowerShell.  I’m excited to see PowerShell and PowerCLI continue to further develop and mature on Linux and open the door to a whole new slew of developers.

References

PowerCLI Core Fling
VMware PowerCLI Blog Announcement

SCP to a vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)

For some this may be a rare situation but from time to time I find that I’m needing to copy files to and from a vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).  I had one of these situations recently on vCenter 6.  I needed to move some log files off a VCSA box.

I’ve found the easiest way to do this is via SCP -- Secure Copy, which uses the SSH protocol.  It’s a relatively simple process to enable the VCSA to accept SCP connections.  It’s a two step process which first requires enabling SSH on the VCSA and then switching the default Shell.

Step 1, involves enabling SSH  

I’ve written a previous post on how to enable SSH on a VCSA here.  Since that post VMware have re-released the VAMI on vCenter Server Appliance V6 U2.  So I thought I might show this new method to enable SSH.  Only if using VCSA 6 U2 or greater else use my previous post steps.

Connect to the VAMI URL of your vCenter on port 5480 using HTTPS.  In my case it was https://vc.ukoticland.local:5480/login.html

vami-000298

Login with your VCSA root account and password.  Then navigate to Access and click Edit on the far right.  Select Enable ssh login and to make life a little easier also Enable bash shell and click OK.  The timeout refers to how long the Bash shell will stay enabled.  The default is fine.

vami-000299

Step 2, changing the default shell

Even though we enabled the bash shell above the default shell is still the VMware appliance shell which prevents us from connecting to the VCSA via SCP.  So we need to SSH to the VCSA and change the default Shell from the Appliance Shell to Bash.

In my case I used Putty.  Logged in with my root account and type shell.

putty-000300

Now i can change the default shell for the root user to bash using the below command.

chsh -s /bin/bash root

putty-000301

We’re now ready to SCP to our VCSA with the ability to transfer files to and from the VCSA.  I use the simple Windows app, WinSCP.  I change the File Protocol to SCP.  I enter in my vCenter as my host and my root credentials.

winscp-000302

When you’re complete just reverse the changes you made.   In the SSH Putty session type the below to permanently switch the Bash shell back to the default Appliance Shell.  Then log back into the VAMI as above.  In Access deselect SSH and Bash.

chsh -s /bin/appliancesh root

References

Toggling the vCenter Server Appliance 6.x default shell (2100508)

PowerShell on Linux

The big news out of Microsoft last month making headlines is the open sourcing of PowerShell.  Along with this comes the ability to now run PowerShell not just in Windows but also Linux and Mac OS X.  For people close to the PowerShell community this wasn’t unexpected, but make no mistake this is huge news.

I’m really liking this new Microsoft.  They are really embracing this open source stuff.  On first thought it’s not obvious how Microsoft will make money with PowerShell going open source.  But Microsoft isn’t stupid, this is no doubt part of a larger master plan.  With PowerShell so tightly linked to their products they are opening the door to a whole new demographic of users.  I can see PowerShell going open source being a key to getting a new mix of Linux Developers working in Azure.  Something close to my heart is VMware have also announced plans to port over PowerCLI to work with PowerShell for Linux.  As a PowerCLI tragic myself I’ve seen first hand how frustrated Mac users have been that they can’t manage their VMware infrastructure using PowerShell / PowerCLI directly from a Mac.

Microsoft have made it clear this is very early stages of an Alpha release on GitHub.  They are looking for community help to further develop and refine using PowerShell on Linux.  There’s a large number of bug fixes, growing by the day, that they need to work through before we get anywhere close to a production release.

I decided to try it out myself and i’m impressed, the future looks awesome.  Apart from Windows currently the open source version is limited to Ubuntu 14.04 /16.04, CentOS 7, and Mac OS X 10.11.

I had an Ubuntu 14.04 Linux VM that I used testing.  The first thing is to download the appropriate package over at GitHub. https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell

Once downloaded and depending on what OS you’re running you may need to install a few additional libraries first.  In my case it was libnuwind8 and libicu52 using apt-get. After which i was able to install the PowerShell Debian package. 

mukotic@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ sudo apt-get install libunwind8 libicu52
mukotic@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ sudo dpkg -i powershell_6.0.0-alpha.9-1ubuntu1.14.04.1_amd64.deb

Believe it or not that’s all that is required.  Whatever your Shell of choice is just type ‘powershell

mukotic@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ powershell
PowerShell 
Copyright (C) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> 

So what can we do.  Well, it’s still early days.  The first thing i did was just check the version.  I can see we’re running the .Net Core release of PowerShell which comes with Nano Server.

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> $psversiontable 

Name Value 
---- ----- 
PSVersion 6.0.0-alpha 
PSEdition Core 
PSCompatibleVersions {1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0...} 
BuildVersion 3.0.0.0 
GitCommitId v6.0.0-alpha.9 
CLRVersion 
WSManStackVersion 3.0 
PSRemotingProtocolVersion 2.3 
SerializationVersion 1.1.0.1

Looking at what’s available to us it’s still limited to a handful of modules.

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> Get-Module -ListAvailable 


 Directory: /opt/microsoft/powershell/6.0.0-alpha.9/Modules


ModuleType Version Name ExportedCommands 
---------- ------- ---- ---------------- 
Manifest 1.0.1.0 Microsoft.PowerShell.Archive {Compress-Archive, Expand-Archive} 
Manifest 3.0.0.0 Microsoft.PowerShell.Host {Start-Transcript, Stop-Transcript} 
Manifest 3.1.0.0 Microsoft.PowerShell.Management {Add-Content, Clear-Content, Clear-ItemProperty, Join-Path...} 
Manifest 3.0.0.0 Microsoft.PowerShell.Security {Get-Credential, Get-ExecutionPolicy, Set-ExecutionPolicy, ConvertFrom-SecureString...
Manifest 3.1.0.0 Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility {Format-List, Format-Custom, Format-Table, Format-Wide...} 
Binary 1.0.0.1 PackageManagement {Find-Package, Get-Package, Get-PackageProvider, Get-PackageSource...} 
Script 3.3.9 Pester {Describe, Context, It, Should...} 
Script 1.0.0.1 PowerShellGet {Install-Module, Find-Module, Save-Module, Update-Module...} 
Script 0.0 PSDesiredStateConfiguration {StrongConnect, IsHiddenResource, Write-MetaConfigFile, Get-InnerMostErrorRecord...} 
Script 1.2 PSReadLine {Get-PSReadlineKeyHandler, Set-PSReadlineKeyHandler, Remove-PSReadlineKeyHandler, G...

So those traditional Windows cmdlets will now work against the local Linux box.  Things like Get-Process will return the local running Linux processes.

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> Get-Process


Handles NPM(K) PM(K) WS(K) CPU(s) Id SI ProcessName 
------- ------ ----- ----- ------ -- -- ----------- 
 0 0 0 0 0.400 1331 549 accounts-daemon 
 0 0 0 0 0.350 1111 111 acpid 
 0 0 0 0 0.000 2248 205 at-spi-bus-laun 
 0 0 0 0 0.040 2264 205 at-spi2-registr 
 0 0 0 0 0.000 147 0 ata_sff

Another thing that’s also worth checking out is Visual Studio Code.  This is another great open source project Microsoft has going.  If you’ve used PowerShell ISE in Windows, think of a stream lined version of that, just more powerful leveraging extensions.  Head over to https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/setup/linux and download the package.

Installation was also super simple.

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> sudo dpkg -i code_1.4.0-1470329130_amd64.deb.deb

Then run by typing ‘code’

PS /home/mukotic/Downloads> code

Ubuntu 14.04 - VMware Workstation-000296

I recommend getting the PowerShell extension right off the bat.  Click the Extensions icon on the left, search for PowerShell, and click Install

Ubuntu 14.04 - VMware Workstation-000297

Now we have all the wonders of Intellisense that we are use to in the Windows PowerShell ISE.  I really see Visual Studio Code becoming a future replacement for the Windows PowerShell ISE, which while still in development, has been quite stagnated in recent years.

So there you have it.  Jeffrey Snover, a Technical Fellow, in the Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Group has a great post and video discussing PowerShell going open source that should be checked out.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/powershell-is-open-sourced-and-is-available-on-linux/

The next thing I’m hanging out for is PowerCLI on Linux.  A demo is shown in a video in the above link running inside a Docker container.  Expect to soon see a VMware Fling release for us to try out.

Meetups, PowerShell, Expanding My Horizons

20160714_184947

I’m not sure what it’s like in other major cities around the world.  But currently Melbourne is going through an IT meetup boom.  On any given week you can find at least one if not multiple meetups going on somewhere in Melbourne.  A big change of years past where we would have only a couple major conferences a year to look forward to.  It’s really quite an exciting period for meetups we’re going through.

So what is going on with all these meetups  —Meetup being the new buzz word we’re seeing slowly replacing the traditional User Group we’re all probably use to.  I think it’s in small part to do with the website meetup.com.  Sure, many of these User Groups have existed well before meetup.com became a thing.  But to find them you had to be part of the right Facebook group, follow the right twitter user, or just learn of it through some word of mouth.  I lost count before meetup.com on how many User Group meetings I missed by learning about it the next day.

We now have a common place we can visit to find all these User Groups and meetups.  Type in DevOps, PowerShell, VMware and dozens of meetups pop up in your local area.  RSVP and see all the other local users also going, not sure what the meetup is about, post a quick question and receive an answer right back.  There’s an update to a meeting, receive an email notification immediately.  I see it as a symbiotic relationship between a globally accepted meetup site and the user group.  We at the Melbourne VMware User Group have even started using it in conjunction with the traditional VMUG website to extend our community base.

CnUF-fZUsAEfGWd

This is how I found out about the recent PowerShell meetup I attended in Melbourne.  With all the scripting I’ve recently been doing in PowerCLI and PowerShell I wanted to expand my horizons a little further and find out how the wider PowerShell community works.  The group has only existed since the start of the year and this was their fourth meetup held in the seek.com.au offices.  The setting for the meetup was very casual and devoid of any advertising or marketing.  That is if you can overlook the office seek logos all over the place.  But considering the worst seek can actually do is find me a new job I’m more than happy to tolerate this 🙂   Of course there was the obligatory Beer and Pizzas which we all know elevates a good meetup to an awesome meetup.

sccm2012A found the format and atmosphere of this PowerShell meetup very appealing.  Heavy on practical content & demos and light on PowerPoint slides.  The setting around a large boardroom table with beer and pizza in hand also lead to a more comfortable environment to engage with community and presenters.  The meetup tended to have a slant towards DevOps practices using PowerShell rather than using PowerShell.  So less about how to connect to this server or use that cmdlet and more around processes and integration.  I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of the book, Learn System Center Configuration Manager in a Month of Lunches, from its author James Bannan.

Due to work commitments of the organiser, the PowerShell meetup was pushed out a day which turned out conflicted with an Azure meetup on the same night.  With so many IT meetup groups current listed and running in Melbourne.  There’s bound to be a small culling, a kind of survival of the fittest, happen.  So whether this PowerShell meetup group succeeds or not only time will tell.  I certainly hope it does and they continue to find that DevOps centric content it aims for.

Until the next meetup…

Melbourne VMUG Meetup Group

VCP 6, My Last VCP

VMW-LGO-CERT-PRO-6-DATA-CTR-VIRT

Ok, so I say this every time but this time I mean it… well, at least I think I do.  This is my last VCP exam.  I took the VCP 5.5 Delta a few years back now.  Before that were a few VCP 5s.  There might have even been a VCP 4 thrown in there somewhere.  I’ve taken this exam more times than I want to think about.

Last week I took the VCP6-DCV Delta.  I could have held off a few more months before my VCP 5 expired but i had some spare capacity to study so I committed to retake the exam.  Work was kind enough to give me two dedicated study days to prepare.  I used them as well as I could have.  I had also hoped to get in some solid study in the weeks leading up to the exam but unforeseen personal issues got in the way which wrote that off.  So I really wasn’t feeling confident going into this exam.  To my surprise, though, I actually passed with a decent mark.

The VCP is a real solid exam for its type, it always has been.  Personally I think one of the harder ones out there too.  Of course exams like the VCAP are on a different level but as for the standard multiple choice exam it’s right up there.  VCP exams really require that you have solid experience with the technology, especially the VCP-DCV focusing on vCenter, along with vSphere Replication, a little vCloud Air thrown in, vSAN features, and the new PSC.  it has really become quite broad.

The Delta I took was comprised of 65 questions over 75 minutes, 20 questions less then the full VCP exam thankfully.  As a guide I usually work out how many questions 70% is and treat that as what’s required to pass.  It’s usually treated me well as a format for passing.  So when I scribbled down 15 questions I was uncertain with at the end of the exam I felt it could have gone either way.  I was quite worried.  So seeing that I passed in the high 400’s out of a possible 500 was quite pleasing.

I think the community has finally gotten over and accepted this 2 year expiration with VMware certifications.  I’ve never really had an issue with it.  I’ve known this is where the industry has been heading with certifications for a while now.  It doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though.  Which is why I’m hoping I won’t have to do another one again.  Now it’s not to say that I won’t do another VMware cert.  I just have to be a little smarter and play the game a little better by upgrading to the new VCIX cert.

In any case, it’s done, it’s out the way.  I get to use the new little logo.  And, well, that’s about it 😛

Get-View | Show-Object

I was recent watching a PowerShell presentation where they mentioned a cool module called PowerShellCookbook and in particular discussed a cmdlet in it called Show-Object by Lee Homes.  I instantly knew how perfect and powerful it would be with VMware’s PowerCLI Get-View.

Bare with me for a minute while I lay the ground work with Get-View.  If you’ve ever used Get-View in PowerCLI you’ll know that it brings back a ridiculous wealth of information.  When you run a cmdlet like Get-VMHost it’s really only bringing back a small subset of information back on that object.  Sometimes this is fine but sometimes we need that little bit extra to reach our objective.

For example you can run Get-VMHost esxi01.ukoticland.local

Windows PowerShell ISE-000282

What you get is a default formatted table view displaying only a few key values.  A trick some of us do is then pipe this out to a list.  Get-VMHost esxi01.ukoticland.local | Format-List

Windows PowerShell ISE-000283

Heaps more information right, but it’s still not the full picture.  There’s still a lot of information on this object that we’re missing.  Take the original cmdlet we ran above and this time let’s pipe it to Get-View.  Let’s also store it in a variable called $myHost, just so we can work with it.

$myHost = Get-VMHost esxi01.ukoticland.local | Get-View

Windows PowerShell ISE-000284

Okay, on first glance it doesn’t look like much.  But all those values that start with VMware.Vim are properties that can be drill down into.  For example $myHost.Config and $myHost.Config.Capabilities

Windows PowerShell ISE-000288

So it’s pretty cool right.  We can now start retrieving a huge amount of new information that wasn’t available to use before.  But this is like finding a needle in a haystack.  I know I’ve wasted so much time typing $something dot something dot something in the hopes of finding a value I can work with.

Well finally this brings us to Show-Object.  This is an awesome cmdlet that will let you display the object retrieved with Get-View in a grid view window that you can navigate through similar to a directory in File Explorer.  Using it is as simply as piping our variable to Show-Object.

$myHost | Show-Object

Windows PowerShell ISE-000287

Now we can explore and click around at everything available to us.  As you navigate the object in the top pane for results you’ll get member data in the bottom pane.  I see this becoming a great reference tool to help find what you’re looking for.  Not only that but it will give you the syntax to retrieve the information selected in the view pane.

So how do you get Show-Object?  Well, it’s not in PowerShell by default but can easily be obtained from the PowerShell Gallery, which, if new to you, is basically a public repository for PowerShell content.  If you’re using Windows 10 you’re half way there.  If not go get yourself the Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5. This will give you the latest version of the PowerShellGet module.  Then it’s just a matter of typing Install-Module -Name PowerShellCookbook.

Once the module is installed from the PowerShell Gallery, Show-Object is now available to use.  It’s worth noting that PowerShellCookbook comes with a huge array of extra cmdlets also worth exploring.

Finally if you do try out Show-Object and like it, there’s a “jacked up” version of it over at PoshCode by Justin Rich