Sometimes I just need Linux

I confess… Sometimes I just need Linux. I’ve tried everything from live disks to running an “Administrative” VM.  The main problem with all of them is the break. What would take 5 min if I could do it from within windows, takes 30min and destroys my thought process along the way.   There are tools that I can run from within windows.  Unfortunately most of them either suck or cost too much.  I don’t have room for another PC/thin client at my desk, and I’m NOT giving up my Vista rig… What to do?

Enter DSL (Damn Small Linux) I stumbled upon this little treat on accident a couple weeks back. They have many versions available and I’ve played with several, but the QEMU VM is simply brilliant.

Not only is It easily configured, but the dang thing just works.  Now when I need to modify a config file on a NetApp, or fix a VMX. I fire up DSL, it launches as a windowed app (on my vista x64 rig!).  90 seconds later I’m logged in and continue working, NO break in work flow!

Couple disclaimers: I still hate it, and think it is beyond legacy, but there is no fighting it anymore. Some form of UNIX will always be in the data center.  So for now I’m using DSL to fill that gap…  Got a better solution?


Powershell OnTAP

It just keeps getting better!  I have personally mentioned the need for a PowerShell SDK to NetApp several times.  The funny thing is both their engineers, and professional services guys never understood why I would want such a thing.  This is a weird paradox with POSIX guys.  They seem to think that connecting via ssh and writing bash scripts is all that is needed.  Sometimes Perl is invoked to provide a higher level of abstraction.  I guess their view is only Linux/Unix guys are going to want to automate this stuff.  It’s the classic windows stereotype; Windows guys only know how to drive the GUI. 

We’ll adweigert saw things differently, and has started converting the Perl SDK into a PowerShell SDK.  At this point it is still very early, but he has already added quite a bit of functionality.  The SDK is currently in the form of a single ps1 script.  Which is actual rather cool, because while I’m not a dev.  I am an OnTAP Administrator, and PowerShell scripter. I can actually contribute to this!

I’m very excited to get to work Monday and give this baby a whirl!  Check it out


VI admins are diggin’ PowerShell

Short of walking around the Venetian shouting “anyone else like PowerShell”.  I did everything i could to evangelize the product, and find likeminded individuals.  The giant posh sticker on my laptop didn’t hurt in that regard.  The one thing I did find when talking to these guys is they are starved for content.  Sadly most of them knew only of the vmware community forums.  Don’t get me wrong Lucd is amazing, but that is just a small piece of the community.  I was very disappointed that neither Carter nor Dimitri Dmitry mentioned any of the resources out there for people. 

I was however blown away by VMware and their commitment to the product.  Quest manned a booth in VMware’s exhibit.  For three days I never saw that booth empty.  They were also handing out copies of powergui, some stickers, and a card… Hal you’ll be pleased to know that I saw many handed out, but not one on the floor.  After the PowerShell session I was talking to a couple VI admins, and one of them recommended your book to me!


(Update:  Don’t read into my post that I didn’t enjoy/value Carters presentation.  I thought it was easily top five for me, and he made the case why VI admins need to learn PowerShell.  My point was that once they start that journey.  The more tools you provide the likeier they are to succeed!  Oh yeah and sorry I mispelled your name Dmitry!)



VMworld is over and all I have to say is Amazing!  I’m still decoding my notes, and writing my post trip report for work.  Earlier when I declared to post updates during the show… I had no idea how busy I would be.  I brought my laptop the first two days, and never even booted the thing.  I filled a 200 page notebook, and my live scribe ran out of room on the last day.  All and all great trip, and should be able to provide enough value that my boss will send me back (please!)

On to the good stuff… Andrew and I went through the solutions exchange only a handful of times.  In that small time frame (maybe 6 hours) we amassed a rather impressive pile of swag.


  • 93 Pens
  • 6 golf balls
  • 7 stress balls
  • 15 1GB thumb drives
  • 4 water bottles
  • 2 USB speakers
  • 3 hats
  • 10 notebooks
  • 4 Laptop bags
  • 4 stuffed animals
  • 15 t-shirts
  • 2 laser pointers
  • 5 flashlights
  • 1 Mac book Air
  • 1 Mac super drive

On the last day of the conference after all of our sessions were done.  We did one last lap through the solutions exchange.  One particular vendor ‘vmSight’ had all these bobble head comic book figures.  I stopped to see if I could talk them out of one.  As is the tradition at these events, stopping meant getting scanned.  Mark from vmSight told me no to the toy, but did explain their product.  (Sounds very cool, I especially like being able to put hard performance numbers on a VDI implementation.) Back to the point, getting scanned entered us in a contest, and while we there Andrew won a Mac book air!  Which he is currently trying to free from osX.  Anyone know a way to boot Linux off a Mac book without boot camp?

VMworld 2008

Sunday, Andrew and I depart for five days of geekin it up goodness.  We will try and post updates through the conference.  I figure we’re going to take notes anyways what’s the difference?  If you want to follow us on twitter we’re, and

I plan on spending most of my time talking to fellow admins.  I need to gauge what we’re doing in respect to the industry… After the small talk, you’ll probably find me in anything that has the words; PowerShell, Tech Preview, NetApp, Cisco, Exchange, or Active Directory… oh and Beer!

My schedule:


10:00 -11:00 — EA2372   —  Virtualizing Big Applications” – Performance Considerations” 
11:00 -12:00 — KN Cisco —  Designing the Next Generation Data Center – Cisco and VMware
13:00 -14:00 — AD2764  — Managing VMware with PowerShell
14:30 -15:30 — TA1402   —  Introduction to Storage VMotion
16:00 -17:00 — TA2421  —  DRS Technical Overview and Best Practices


09:30 -11:30 — Lab05    —  VMware Infrastructure  – Security Hardening & Best Practices(VMware VirtualCenter ” VMware ESX & VMware ESXi”)
11:30 -12:30 — PO1861  — VMTN Community Experts
13:00 -14:00 — TA1405  — VMotion Technical Deep Dive
15:00 -16:00 — TA2275  — Tech Preview:  VMware Infrastructure Virtual Networking Future Directions
16:00 -17:00 — TA2377  — Performance Roundtable hosted by the Chief Performance Architect


09:30 -11:30 — Lab09    —  Scripting VMware Infrastructure: Automating, Integrating, and Extending VI
13:00 -14:00 — TA2213 — VMware Infrastructure 3 Storage:  iSCSI Implementation and Best Practices
14:00 -15:00 — VD2345 — Going Deep on Capturing Applications using ThinApp