Saturday, July 25, 2015

HP BL460 Blade Servers G7 vs G8 vs G9 Evaluation

HP has a solid chassis lineup for their blade servers, but if you don't purchase 100 blades all at once, you may be stuck with various Generations "G"s of their blades.

G7 - the LOM was fixed based on the base part number you started with. Then you add mezzanine cards of various models. The SD Chip to boot, is right on the side of the blade.

G8 - So, now you can CHOOSe the LOM module you want and swap it out if you want. You can add mezzanine cards, but WOW, the G7s don't fit in the G8s. A big disappointment to me when I had 8 extra 10GbE FlexFabric adapters from the G7s at 3K each and couldn't put them in the new G8s.

More coming

Friday, July 24, 2015

NetApp E-Series

I'm going to get an E5660 to play with soon. I want to see what it will be like as a target for backup. Looks like a pretty good bulk storage unit, 10GbE interface with iSCSI, or if you want, you can do 16Gbit FC. I'm going to stick with the 10GbE, because I have a lot of ports on the Cisco Nexus 5596s and the HP Blade chassis is connected to that as well.

HP has their 3Par 4200 series, but it was a lot more expensive than the E-Series.

Waiting on the stuff to come in, then I'll post more.

Linux Virtualization

OK, so they tell me I need to make a bunch of Linux desktops availbel to some people that want to get access to some Linux desktops and then actually use them. SOOOoooo.

I venture into Linux VDI.

Spice-space.org is my final resting place for this. The add-on packages run on a RedHat Enterprise virtualization host, and it looks like Fedora or CentOS will work as well. So I'm going to try all of these and see what works the best.

First I'll get RHEV-M running on a machine and go from there. Spice looks like it needs it's own server, I'll make that a VM on this host.

Hardware. I've got an old HP DL380-G6 hanging around with 72GB RAM, should do nicely. Need to find some HDs. I'll start with just some 300GB SAS Drives, but we will eventually try swapping that out with a 3 drive array of SSD drives to see what that does for our performance.

More to come, stay tuned. Comment if you're watching, so I know to update more often.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Out of Topic - Captain Ed Freeman

Hi all,
I had to post this. I found about it from my dad. Thanks Dad. Made me happy to be an American.

You're a 19 year old kid. You are critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. It's November 11, 1967. LZ (landing zone) X-ray. Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in. You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out. Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day. Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter. You look up to see a Huey coming in. But.. It doesn't seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it. Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you. He's not MedEvac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway. Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway. And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors & nurses & safety. And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!! Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm. He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho

May God Bless and Rest His Soul.

I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we've sure seen a whole bunch about the thugs Michael Brown & Trayvon Martin.

Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Freeman
And here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/freeman.asp
And here: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/e/ed-freeman.htm#.VQHvsfzF8wo

Shame on you American Media!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dynamic RDP files for Thin Client sessions

This is horribly formatted. to be corrected later.

OVERVIEW

OK, So today's interesting task is to create multiple RDS conenction files based on a list stored on the server. We can then update this list as needed. Multiple conenctions will be created automagically on the thin client's public desktop at login.

PROBLEM
There are many different thin and thick clients that will connect.
We don't know the resolution of each.
Some have two monitors, some don't
Some users like FULL screen, others like it windowed so they can see the client task bar and switch between sessions.
Not all monitors are the same resolution.

I'm sure there are more problems but the rest are social problems and not addressed in this context.

START OF SOLUTION
-Research
OK, so I violently attacked the internet with a barrage of search terms. looking for the quick and easy answer. Some reusable code that could be modified and used for my task at hand.

So the NEXT choice....yea, the search didn't go well. I do have to give credit to a number of sites with some good information. These are helping me on my way to an ultimate solution. See the bottom for the links.

PROGRESS
So I started off by just editing the RDP files with notepad++ and changing the values. I got some great conenction files this way. Some variants were:
- RDP to an RDS Farm that uses load balancing, so you need to provide credentials first to that you only enter login info once.
- RDP to any server but go to the server FIRST so that you can authenticate at the server. Great for testing window settings and untimately for sysadmins who are too impatient to wait for the "securing remote conenction" to scroll for what seems like an eterninty.
- Windowed vs. full screen for each of these.

That was greeat. Boss loved it, should have stopped there taken the gold coin and moved on. nope.

I then found some code that created multiple RDS Connection files with powershell and a CSV File. I thought I was golden at that point. Now I could create these little gems and if later I wanted to add some, I could add it to the CSV File and BANG users would have new connections without having to reimage the stupid thin clients to add a single icon.

I got that working. Trimmed back on some features, added other features. Found out that some of the RDP options in the connection file have SPACES and others DO NOT. Very annoying.

So for my purposes I have three categories of settings in the file. 1) standard for all, 2) standard for this install, and 3) variable by conenction.

1) Standard for all
session bpp:i:32
compression:i:1
audiocapturemode:i:0
videoplaybackmode:i:1
connection type:i:2
disable wallpaper:i:1
allow font smoothing:i:0
allow desktop composition:i:0
disable full window drag:i:1
disable menu anims:i:1
disable themes:i:0
disable cursor setting:i:0
bitmapcachepersistenable:i:1
audiomode:i:0
redirectprinters:i:1
redirectcomports:i:0
redirectsmartcards:i:1
redirectclipboard:i:1
redirectposdevices:i:0
redirectdirectx:i:1
drivestoredirect:s:
autoreconnection enabled:i:1
authentication level:i:2
prompt for credentials:i:0
negotiate security layer:i:1
remoteapplicationmode:i:0
alternate shell:s:
shell working directory:s:
gatewayhostname:s:
gatewayusagemethod:i:4
gatewaycredentialssource:i:4
gatewayprofileusagemethod:i:0
promptcredentialonce:i:1
use redirection server name:i:0

2) Standard for this install
keyboardhook:i:1
displayconnectionbar:i:1
pinconnectionbar:i:0
NOTES: We wanted the connection bar to be available, but not pinned, and we wanted ALL Windows shortcut keys to go to the remote sessions. That way you could use ALT-TAB in a windowed session or a full screen session.

3) Variable by connection
screen mode id:i:2
desktopwidth:i:1680
desktopheight:i:1050
winposstr:s:0,3,0,0,800,600
enablecredsspsupport:i:1
full address:s:server-farm
username:s:DOMAIN\
NOTES: For these, the screen mode id HAS SPACES IN IT. Don't forget that it can be frustrating. and a 2 is full screen 1 is windowed.
Desktop height and width are the dimentions of the remote session, NOT the window that is created. More on that later.
WinPosStr is a funky option but can vary based on session.
full address - this hard codes the server into the conenction easy for users to click and connect.
username - so there is also a Domain option, but I couldn't get it to work. If you have a set of thin clients that are on a workgroup conecting to domain servers, you want to make it easy for the users to default the domain to the domain of the server you are conencting to. Just put the domain and the backslash in there and you are good to go. Since I'm using a csv file I put the backslash in in the code, not in teh CSV file.
enablecredsspsupport - 1 says "Get my credentials now.", 0 says "Connect me as fast as possible and I'll authenticate when I get there." 1 is good for RDS 2008/2012 farms with load balancing. 0 is great for sysadmins and impatient people.

so, most of these variables are easy to set. I created a CSV File that had:
Server, ServerName, Resolution, Login, Domain
server-farm, Accounting, Full, Farm, conteso-acct
server-farm, Accounting, Window, Farm, conteso-acct
DC-001, Domain Ctlr 1, Full, Single, conteso-admin
DC-002, Domain Ctlr 2, Full, Single, conteso-admin
, RDP Full, Full, Single,
, RDP Window, Window, Single,

the last two are for admins that don't know where they are going, but need some basic settings ready to go. They know the server and the domain they are connecting to and just want to choose windowed or full screen. The rest should be fairly obvious, feel free to comment if they aren't and I'll make some notes.

So now I can read in a file, create the RDS Conenction files, and update it without reimaging the thin clients.

Code for this is here:

Now came the tough part. For the windowed sessions I have to maximize the area. RDP will not let you resize the session once you are connected, that's why you pay Citrix $300+ per user for XenDesktop. With that, you can resize on the fly. Yay for you. I'll go buy desktops instead, it's cheaper.

SIDENOTE: Have you seen the new Intel Nuc It's smaller than the Wyse Thin Clients and works great!!

So when I needed to dynamically size the windowed sessions, I needed to get the available size of the screen Minus the taskbar and any window borders. I found a site with some window size collection info. That got me on the WMI Win32 path. So I created this section.

$rdpW = 0
$rdpH = 3000
foreach ($desktop in $desktops) {
if ($rdpH -gt $desktop.ScreenHeight) { $rdpH = $desktop.ScreenHeight }
$rdpW += $desktop.ScreenWidth
}
[int]$rdpH *= .93
[int]$rdpW *= .98

I resized the window to be less than the width and height to fit without scroll bars.

winposstr:s:0,3,0,0,800,600 <<--- data-blogger-escaped-5000="" data-blogger-escaped-absolute="" data-blogger-escaped-and="" data-blogger-escaped-as="" data-blogger-escaped-bottom="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-can="" data-blogger-escaped-coordinates.="" data-blogger-escaped-far="" data-blogger-escaped-huge="" data-blogger-escaped-i="" data-blogger-escaped-if="" data-blogger-escaped-in="" data-blogger-escaped-left="" data-blogger-escaped-like="" data-blogger-escaped-of="" data-blogger-escaped-really="" data-blogger-escaped-right="" data-blogger-escaped-set="" data-blogger-escaped-so="" data-blogger-escaped-something="" data-blogger-escaped-tell="" data-blogger-escaped-the="" data-blogger-escaped-this="" data-blogger-escaped-to="" data-blogger-escaped-top="" data-blogger-escaped-window="" data-blogger-escaped-you="">
LINKS
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff393699(v=ws.10).aspx
http://windows7tips.com/environment-variables-windows-vista-7.html
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee791847(v=WS.10).aspx
http://powershell.com/cs/media/p/858.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff730964.aspx
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/665.how-to-set-the-monitor-for-a-remote-desktop-session-in-a-multi-monitor-setup.aspx
http://archive.everydaynerd.com/search?q=rdp
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2008/09/14/rdp-file-generation-use-of-here-strings.aspx
http://computerperformance.co.uk/powershell/powershell_wmi_classes.htm - mainly a rabit hole. I got distracted and started to learn too much about WMI calls.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

vCheck Powershell script - LOVE IT!!!

So I came across vCheck by Alan Renouf recently. It is a great utility. He has made it extensible by making plugins available. You can create custom monitoring scripts for any part of vSphere, or infact any other system that you can use Powershell with.

I'm working on adding performance graphs to the utility. I'd like to have both vCenter and NetApp graphs. vCenter Operations manager is nice, but it is a bit clumsy and slow. You can't set defaults, so you have to click through window after window to get where you want.

vCheck has a -config option where you can set the default values for each plugin and the global variables. You can set it up in a scheduled task and have it run at night and e-mail you a daily report.

I've been thinking about a plugin that will know the difference between a daily report and a weekly report and select different plugins for each.

Go check it out. The more we get involved in it, the more we can find other useful plugins for our unique equipment.

Monday, January 7, 2013

PowerCLI extremely slow startup


I found that when I open PowerShell ISE and try to run my PowerCLI scripts, there is a HUGE delay in getting the snapin loaded. I don't mean a long delay like a user would say "there's a long delay" I mean like an IT Professional says there is a log delay.