Wednesday, 13 July 2011

vinternals is Dead, Long Live vinternals!

Alas people, it's been an unbelievable ride but I'm afraid it has come to an end :'(.

For a little while now, I have been building something. It's not finished yet, but I have had to learn (and re-learn) so much, that my focus on VMware technologies just isn't as laserlike as it used to be. And while that doesn't mean I know less about the VMware stack now than i did a year ago, it means I'll likely be focusing solely on the hypervisor itself and less on everything else until I don't need to point the majority of my focus at these other things. But given those things are *nix internals, JavaScript, MongoDB, and a lot of web technologies surrounding these, don't hold your breath :).

Soon all the content from this site will move to (the content on will remain where it is today). Now you know why I put 'search vinternals' on the back of my novelty business cards - I guess subconsciously I have known for a while that this day would come.

The other thing I am going to do is start writing under my real name. This is something that I have been a little hesitant about for a while, despite advocates of real identity like my good mate Mark Pollard making persuasive arguments to do so.

So if you're interested in a plate of everything that comes with large infrastructure (which of course includes some virtualisation) and web technologies (plus a side of philosophy), I encourage you to follow my new Twitter account, @sturadnidge. Absolutely no offense taken if you choose not to. And yes, I'll be writing at a new address in the very near future (but you'll have to follow @sturadnidge to find out when).

Thanks to all of you for tuning in over the years, I'm flattered that you thought I was (and hopefully still am) worth listening to, and I hope you learned something along the way - I know did.

Friday, 13 May 2011

London VMUG Session

Wow, can't believe there is some new content up here? Neither can I :). In all seriousness though, I've been working something I think is pretty cool (and has nothing to do with virtualisation) which has been chewing up a lot of my time. Although it has nothing to do with virtualisation, I'm hoping it will be something a lot of you will find useful. More on that in the near future ;).

Yesterday the London VMUG team put on a full day event, with labs, different content tracks in the afternoon and even food! It was a great day, even without the usual motley crew of regulars like Alan Renouf, Mike Laverick, Tom Howarth, Stevie Chambers, Dan Eason and Simon Long. I hope everyone who attended (more than double the regular number of attendees I would guess) had a good day too.

I was lucky enough to have a spot in the afternoon, right before the great Massimo Referre. The room was pretty full, I'm guessing people wanted to get in early to see Mass as our sessions were in the same room :D. But seriously, thanks to everyone who came along - I was stoked at the turnout and hopefully I didn't fuck up the message I wanted to deliver too much.

Friday, 1 April 2011

New Year, New Job!

It is with great relief that I can finally tell you all the real reason things have been so quiet around here of late, and why you haven't seen much action on the @vinternals Twitter account either - I've been buried in documentation and labs in preparation for my new role, which I am starting today!

Many of the big vendors, especially EMC, have been snapping up people from the blogging community over the past year or so, and I always said to myself that I wouldn't tie myself to a single vendor but sometimes opportunities come along that are just too good to pass up. And earlier this year, one of those opportunities came my way, and I grabbed it with both hands. So starting today, I will be the new Cloud Technical Evangelist (EMEA) for... Microsoft!

Yes I know it's hard to believe, but Hyper-V has been making great advancements over the past few years, and when you dig deeper into the technology it clearly is superior - Microsoft's main problem has been a complete lack of evangelists on the level of Epping, Denneman, Gray or Laverick and so the level of technical detail in the public domain has been admittedly a little light. I mean try searching for information about the Windows scheduler on the level of something like this from Denneman - it's just not there. The funny thing is, as I was not an employee until today I too didn't have access to any internal Microsoft documentation, but I just _know_ that the deep technical information is there somewhere, to finally prove that Microsoft products absolutely kick the shit out of anything VMware could ever produce. My job will be primarily to spread that technical information, and show how innovative features like Dynamic Memory, Live Migration,... well I'm sure there are others, oh yeh just Cloud in general like I have seen on all those TV ads... well my job is to really show them off to the world and win customers over from VMware platforms. I mean no one is really happy paying the VMware tax, are they! Consolidating tax down to a single company makes great business sense, and in any case Hyper-V is FREE!!!

So I hope you all continue to read my blog and follow me on Twitter, these are going to be interesting times!

UPDATE: I've been wanting to do this April Fools post for years, finally I remembered :). Hope you all got a laugh!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Understanding the Problem

One of the reasons a lot of us work in this industry is because we like to solve problems. We sure aren't in it for the money and fame ;). But how often do you see things suggested or even implemented that indicate a lack of understanding of the real problem?

For example, take the new scalability limits in vSphere 4.1. You can have up to 10,000 VM's managed by a single vCenter - WOW! By why do people actually ask for this? I highly doubt the people who asked for such scalability have licensing concerns - they're likely on a licensing tier that doesn't cost them anymore if they have 1 or 100 vCenter servers. Similarly, removing the need to deploy more hardware is probably a minimal concern - I'm sure a lot of those same people don't even run vCenter on physical hardware anymore. I'm willing to bet the number one reason people asked for higher limits in vCenter was operationally / support driven. But what problem does a single massive vCenter actually address, and what problems does it introduce?

Having a single vCenter means you have a single place to go for provisioning, inventory and monitoring. And that's good, because you don't have to think about it when you need to do one of those things, right? But should you really be hitting vCenter directly for any of those things? I would say not. Your provisioning process should be automated, using some kind of placement engine to determine which vCenter / vDC / Cluster / Datastore / vNetwork to put that next VM on. Your inventory data should be in a CMDB. You should be using some kind of aggregator or at the very least push notifications for monitoring (as opposed to a human "poll").

The problems of a single massive vCenter are obvious - a huge single point of failure, a beefy database, and a nightmare if you ever need to troll through some logs.

So while increasing the scalability of vCenter was the easiest thing VMware could do for customers, it's not really the best thing that customers can do for themselves. Give me multiple small vCenters and decoupled operational tools any day!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Install Postgres 8.4 on a RHEL 5.5 Derivative

Continuing with the series of 'basics' type posts, I'll cover getting Postgres up and running on Scientific Linux. A little something on the motivation for these posts... it's not because I've found something unique or amazing, it's more a reminder for myself on how to do some things. Which allows me to replace all this info in my memory with a simple pointer to the info :). The other motivation is to consolidate information... I ran into a few self-inflicted issues when doing this first time around, and found there were many guides out there for specific pieces but not an overall one that covered everything I wanted to do. So read on if you're interested!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Not Just Another Fucking 2011 Prediction Post

In fact, it's not a prediction post at all - it's just a list of things I would like to see happen or at least start happening this year. I'm not making any guesses as to whether they will or not, you can decide for yourselves what the likelihood of each is.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Adding Disks via LVM

In my last post, I mentioned that I like to use a 4GB disk for my root volume on any Linux VM's... this is mainly for local / dev environments, where you want to cram as many VM's as possible into a small space. But sometimes you need more space, in which case you can add another disk. This isn't as straight forward with lvm as it is without, so here's a nice easy step by step to help you get there after you have added a new disk to the VM. In this case, we are adding a new 2GB disk that will be configured as a new logical volume (you could of course just add to an existing volume if you wanted). We'll then format it with ext3 and mount it at /usr/local/pgsql/data.