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2
Apr

System Center 2012 Released

For all those early adopters, Microsoft has now published System Center 2012 RTM to their volume licensing download site and is available for download.  The System Center 2012 Datacenter product contains downloads for all System Center 2012 Products (SCOM, SCCM, SCSM, etc.).  As of now, it is not yet on technet/msdn as far as I can see.  Microsoft also has not yet updated any websites and blogs stating the release.

21
Feb

SAN Winner: HP 3PAR V400

At the end of the day, it wasn’t the minor technological differences that made the decision for us. Sure, we believed that EMC’s VMAXe was the truly enterprise-class array. The ace, though, was product positioning.

We have two SANs. We have a CLARiiON CX3-40 from EMC, which is legacy and as the market sometimes calls it, monolithic. It needs to go. We also have a 3PAR T400, which is as flexible as the day we bought it and has plenty of life left in it, due to its architecture (even though we acquired it in 2008). Thus, when the cards were on the table, only HP had the ability to offer a “free” upgrade to our T400 as well as the new V400.

The upgrade turns our T-series into a multi-tier array with SSD, FC, and NL, and the V-series replaces our aging CLARiiON. EMC tried to compete, but all they could offer was a “deal” less appealing than the original single-array proposition.

Honestly, I felt bad for them, because there was nothing they could do unless they literally took a deep loss (no funny money about it). HP’s solution was the equivalent of two new, good, flexible, low-maintenance SANs. EMC just learned how to be flexible and match 3PAR, so their older arrays (one of which was part of their attempt at competition) just didn’t equate.

It’s going to be another hard sell in 2-3 years when we open the next RFP, because HP/3PAR will now have a monopoly on the floor. Who knows, though? Maybe HP will stumble with their new golden egg, or maybe EMC will figure out how to undercut HP with price while not sacrificing features. For now, the trophy goes to HP. Congrats.

——————————————————

By Chris Gurley, MCSE, CCNA
Last updated: February 21, 2012

14
Feb

SQL Server: Create Login (Case Sensitive) Issue

I discovered an issue the other day when trying to add logins to a SQL Server with the collation of Latin1_General_BIN.

The T-SQL Command used was:
CREATE LOGIN [DOMAIN\username] FROM WINDOWS

The error I was receiving was:
Windows NT user or group ‘DOMAIN\username’ not found. Check the name again.

However, the username was very much valid.  What I then found if I changed the format to DOMAIN\Username (capital U) it began to work.  However, on other servers (with same collation), it rejected the capital U and wanted a lowercase U.  After doing some digging, it appears that at least with the Latin1_General_BIN collation (not sure about other collations, I would expect other case-sensitive collations would inhibit similar results) that Master remembers logins how they are created the first time for a specific server and must continue to be entered using the same case going forward.  This appears to be true even if you delete the login and try to re-create it, it still wants the original case (Master appears to cache is indefinitely).

When working with logins on a Latin1_General_BIN SQL Server make sure to be consistent when typing the case for logins.  If you can’t figure out what the correct case is supposed to be, it appears if you add the login with the GUI, it will auto change it to be the format that master remembers.

6
Jan

SANs: EMC VMAXe and HP 3PAR V400

If you’re in the market for a new enterprise-class storage array, both EMC and HP/3PAR have good options for you. Toward the end of 2011, we began evaluating solutions from these two vendors with whom we have history and solid relationships. On the EMC side, we’ve grown up through a CX300 in 2006 and into two CX3-40’s in 2008. At the end of 2008, we deployed a 3PAR T400 at our production site and brought back that CX3-40 to consolidate it with the one at our HQ. It’s been three years hence, and our needs call for new tech.

As is the nature of technology, storage has made leaps and bounds since 2008. What once was unique and elevating to 3PAR–wide striping and simplified provisioning from one big pool of disks–has become common place in arrays of all classes. We used to liken it to replacing the carpet in a room with furniture. It’s a real chore when you have to painstakingly push all the chairs and tables into a corner (or out of the room altogether!) when you want to improve or replace the carpet. With disk abstraction and data-shifting features, though, changes and optimizations can be made without the headaches.

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1
Sep

SCOM Workgroup Monitoring – Disable AD Integration

Because workgroup computers can’t read Active Directory, AD Integration should to be disabled on these systems.  For some reason, the SCOM interactive agent setup will not allow the option “Use Management Group Information from Active Directory” to be disabled (it is grayed out).  However, this  setting can be disabled by installing the agent from the command line, or editing a registry key on an existing agent.

To disable during setup:
Install the SCOM agent with the following command line: MOMAgent.msi USE_SETTINGS_FROM_AD=0 MANAGEMENT_GROUP=<Management Group Here>” MANAGEMENT_SERVER_DNS=<FQDN of management server here> /qb

To disable in the registry:
Open registry editor and nagivate to: SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HealthService\Parameters\ConnectorManager“.
Set the EnableADIntegration in the registry to 0′
Restart the HealthService (System Center Management)

If one of the above steps is not completed, you will see the following entry in your Operations Manager event log:

Log Name:      Operations Manager
Source:        HealthService
Date:          <Date/Time>
Event ID:      2010
Task Category: Health Service
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      <FQDN>
Description:
The Health Service cannot connect to Active Directory to retrieve management group policy.  The error is Unspecified error (0x80004005)

31
Aug

VMworld: VMware View Performance & Best Practices (EUC3163)

PCoIP server offload card for improved graphical performance & consolidation

View 5
– WAN bandwidth optimizations: ~75% reduction
– CPU optimizations: idle VMs, algorithms, libraries
– Better session resilience: session recovery during loss of network of up to 30 seconds
– PCoIP performance counters
– Provisioning: faster and more parallelism

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31
Aug

VMworld: vSphere PowerCLI Best Practice (VSP1883)

Speakers: Luc Dekens (Eurocontrol), Alan Renouf (VMware)

Luc – blog: http://lucd.info
Alan – blog: http://www.virtu-al.net

BP1: Get-View returns full copy of the server-side object
– otherwise the get- commands only return a subset of the properties

BP2: Finding Properties
– what you see is not what is there
– – can edit the .ps1xml files to change returned properties
– use Get-Member to return all of the properties
– ex. Get-VMHost | Get-Member
– complex (nested) objects
– – Select-Object -ExpandProperties
– – Get-Member in a loop
– – Format-Custom Depth

BP3: Make Your Own Properties
– use the New-VIProperty cmdlet
– adds a CodeProperty to the object
– valid until Remove-VIProperty or end of session

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31
Aug

VMworld: vSphere Stretched Clusters, DR & Mobility (BCO2479)

Speaker: Lee Dilworth (VMware), Chad Sakac (EMC)

Premise:
– lots of confusion between disaster recovery (DR) and disaster avoidance (DA)

Part 1: Disaster Avoidance vs. Disaster Recovery

Disaster Avoidance
– you know a host will go down
– Host: vMotion
– Site: vMotion

Disaster Recovery
– unplanned host outage
– Host: VMware HA
– Site: SRM

*** More content forthcoming (to fill in the blanks) ***

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31
Aug

VMworld: SRM 5.0 & vSphere Replication (BCO1562)

Speakers: Lee Dilworth, Clive Wenman (VMware)

Understanding the Use Cases and Implementation Options

Prior to SRM 5, relied on array-based replication
– requires same versions of vCenter and SRM but ESX versions can vary
SRM 5 now supports vSphere Replication (in addition to array-based)
– vSphere Replication requires parity of all versions of vSphere

SRM: Site Recovery Manager
SRA: Storage Replication Adapter

SRM 5 UI allows seeing both sites from one interface

vSphere Replication offers a cost-effective choice/alternative to array-based
– does not replace array-based for the foreseeable future

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31
Aug

VMworld: Enhancements in vStorage VMFS 5 (VSP2376)

Speaker: Mostafa Khalil (VMware)

Agenda:
– VMFS3 Limitations
– VMFS5 Enhancements
– LVM Changes
– VMFS5 Changes

# Excellent presentation and deep-dive on VMFS5 and it’s benefits in vSphere 5

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