Sirius Madness Apps to build out your schedule for SIrius Madness

9 03 2017
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017
The Westin Charlotte
601 S. College St. • Charlotte, NC 28202
8:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
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First – we goofed! Our original calendar invite that was sent to you had the incorrect start time on it. There is NO WAY we could pack so much great information in a short day – we will start bright and early at 8:15 a.m. Click below to add a revised calendar invite to your personal calendar.

Add to my calendar

What is in the Sirius Madness App
Welcome
Agenda
Keynote speaker highlights
Breakout session lists
Map showing the locations of all sessions and vendor booths
Hotel and parking information

Login Credentials:
User name: your business email (Email is case sensitive, please use all lower case when login in)
Password: madness (case sensitive)
If you have just registered for the event, you will have access to the app within 24 hours of registering. If you have any issues gaining access to the Sirius Madness app, please email Jessica Carter at jessica.carter@siriuscom.com.
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PARKING:

Please park in the parking deck that is connected to the Westin. We will be handing out validations for that deck only.

Follow the THE MADNESS on Twitter #siriusmadness and @siriusnews
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Sirius Computer Solutions





6 03 2017

Pretty pump to be presenting at this year’s Sirius Madness event on March 16th, Westin downtown Charlotte NC. If you are in and around the Carolinas this is a must attend event, if you are not around the Carolinas we still would love to have you. For those that have never attended this is a Technical Event want to know what works, what doesn’t, what you should be focused on this is the event to be at. Heck come heckle me for my session, in the end we all can have some beers watch March madness. Sign up here and put me down as the reference.

http://madness.siriuscom.com/

#SiriusMadness





Varrow Madness 2015

17 03 2015

A lot of times people ask me what makes you love Varrow so much? My  answer is always the people! The people I work with and the people I work for (our customers). Although most Varrow people do not work hand in hand we are all usually out on different projects we do remain pretty close using social media both externally and internally. One other way we stay close is by Company Events. Whether that is a company yearly kickoff or Varrow Madness every March. Either way it is always cool getting a bunch of really brilliant and smart people in the same area magical things can happen.

So Varrow Madness what is it? For me to explain that I have to go back to the inception of Varrow Madness the brain child of Jessica Carter our Marketing Extraordinaire. She thought hey wouldn’t it be cool if we could have an event that coincides with March Madness and also is technology focused not marketing fluff. Voila Varrow Madness was born in 2011… I was here for that first one and it was awesome it was cool to see all the technical presentations. Then again in 2012… In 2013 I decided I should jump on the presentation bus and did a presentation on Avamar and did live demonstrations of Avamar. Anyone that has ever done demo’s knows you never do live demo’s anything can go wrong. For this particular event the thing that went wrong was using all the events bandwidth so I had to tether to my phone to do the demo. I presented with Tom Bouwman and it went really well. Each year we have Manufactures present their products and we have Varrow Employees present on a myriad of topics.

So what does this year look like? Well last year we were busting at the seams with attendance so we had to find a convention center we could fit everyone in. This year we went back to Greensboro NC and are having it in the Koury Convention Center. So some highlights for this year’s Varrow Madness.

Key Note Speakers this year are Varrow’s very own Jeremiah Cook he is an awesome speaker and always is inspiring and insightful. So we also have Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian he has also been a featured TED talker too. This is bound to be an awesome key note as well! So that is great and all but this is a technical event so let’s give you a sneak peek into what is happening on Thursday.

Get down and Dirty on these sessions….

· VMware: EVO:RAIL with Varrow’s own Kevin Tuffner

· VCE we are seeing a ton of activity around VCE for the Converged Infrastructure presented by Trey Layton, VCE

· Palo Alto did I mention security has been hot this year it’s like there has been multiple breaches or something… This isn’t your daddy’s firewall this is Next Generation presented by Jefri Hilton Palo Alto Networks

· EUC Layering is another hot topic and Varrow’s very on Earl Gay demystifies layering

· Cisco Next Generation Firewall and SourceFire Integration and ISE… A must see presentation!!

· VMAX3 is being presented by Brian Boyd aka: VMAXHUMPDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

· vSphere 6.0 presented by Varrow’s Jason Nash (2x VCDX) and Josh Coen (VCDX)

· PowerCLI God Alan Renouf talks about PowerCLI 6.0 a must see presentation

· iWAN what is it? Come see Cisco’s session regarding iWAN and learn how to leverage all your connections!

· Got a Netscaler even if you do or don’t come see Nelson Esteves from Citrix

These are just the highlights of the morning sessions sheez….

Here is the complete agenda here..

Don’t forget the Genius Bar staffed by Varrow Engineers come pick their brains. I really hope to see everyone there! If you do come out I would really love to hear your feedback good or bad!





Yes I gladly participate in FUD! it’s not what you think…

21 02 2015

So it has been quite a while since my last post. Since my last post I have switched roles from Operational Services Engineer to a Pre-Sales System Architect role here at Varrow. So far so good I am enjoying being out of the daily grind of break/fix and seeing how this side of the house works. Anyways, back to FUD and why I realized I gladly participate in FUD!

Yesterday while conference call with one of my customers we were discussing their infrastructure and I was delivering some tough information. Not something I like throwing across over the phone I prefer delivering this type of information in person. During the conversation I said something like this “Well I prefer to have my facts in order for me understand what all is happening so I can make an informed decision” note that was the sentiment may not have been the exact words I said. Then after I said that I said something like this “Well I hate FUD I do not like participating in Fear…. <long pause> {me realizing that I in fact DO participate in FUD}clears throat FUD”.

So when I say I participate in FUD I don’t mean Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

What I realized in that awkward pause was that aha moment that FUD to me was Facts Understand Decide! So fundamentally whatever you do in life I think we all try to gather the facts fully so we have a good understanding so we can make informed decisions.

 

 

  • Facts
  • Understand
  • Decide

 

 

 

 

 

So the next time someone ask you do you like FUD you can say YES I LOVE FUD!





You know iSCSI and VMware.. I bet not… Part 3

22 04 2014

Alright Part 1 we went over coming up with a plan for the networking, Part 2 we prepared our host to make sure it was ready for ESXi and had the latest firmware. So now it’s time for Part 3… Let’s get this party started. So here is what the host plans look like.

· 2 C-Series Servers with 6 network adapters each

o 2- NICs for Mgmt traffic

o 2-NICs for Prod traffic

o 2- NICs for iSCSI traffic

So keeping with Part 1 and the plan here is what I have set for IP Scheme’s and layout. Keep in mind that for iSCSI to work properly the recommended setup is if possible segment iSCSI traffic to its own switches. Also iSCSI traffic should not be routable. Finally with iSCSI each VMKernal Port for ISCSI needs its own unique subnet. For instance if you have 4 ports you wanted to assign to iSCSI then you will need to have four distinct subnets similar to this:

ISCSI 1- 192.168.11.10

ISCSI 2- 192.168.12.10

ISCSI 3- 192.168.13.10

ISCSI 4- 192.168.14.10

**Also note that while my lab I only have 10/100 switches in no way shape or form am I recommending to run this over a 10/100 switch. This should be ran over 1g or 10g connections period!**

Something special to note as well when even considering iSCSI “iSCSI should be considered a local-area technology, not a wide-area technology, because of latency issues and

security concerns. You should also segregate iSCSI traffic from general traffic. Layer-2 VLANs are a particularly good way to implement this segregation.” Best Practices for Running VMware vSphere®on iSCSI, Cormac Hogan “

Ok enough of that and let’s get back to business and feel free to reference Cormac Hogan’s white paper on the iSCSI Best Practices located here.

Host 1

vSwtich0

MGMT IP- 10.1.32.46 VLAN 132

· VMNIC0- Infra switch 1 port 1 (Primary for Mgmt)

VMotion- 10.1.35.46- VLAN 135

· VMNIC1-Infra switch 2 port 1 (Primary for vMotion)

vSwitch1

Production- VLAN 136

· VMNIC2- Infra switch 1 port 2

· VMNIC3- Infra switch 2 port 2

vSwtich2

ISCSI 1

· VMNIC4- ISCSI switch 1 port 1

· 10.1.33.46 – VLAN 133

vSwitch3

ISCSI 2

· VMNIC 5- ISCSI switch 2 port 1

· 10.1.42.46 – VLAN 142

Host 2

vSwitch0

MGMT IP- 10.1.32.47 VLAN 132

· VMNIC0- Infra switch 1 port 25

VMotion- 10.1.35.47- VLAN 133

· VMNIC1-Infra switch 2 port 25

vSwitch1

Production- VLAN 136

· VMNIC2- Infra switch 1 port 26

· VMNIC3- Infra switch 2 port 26

vSwitch2

ISCSI 1

· VMNIC4- ISCSI switch 1 port 25

· 10.1.33.47 – VLAN 133

vSwtich3

ISCSI 2

· VMNIC 5- ISCSI switch 2 port 25

· 10.1.42.47 -VLAN 142

Above is our plan and layout made so next we need to load up ESXi then start our configuration. So since I am using two Cisco C200 M2’s I will go and download the latest Customized ISO from VMware’s website. Since I am loading 5.5 you can find the customized ISO here. For those of you asking what gives Customized ISO? Well the Customized ISO contains all the approved drivers from Cisco based on the correlated firmware for their host, other manufactures put theirs here too Dell keeps there on their own website. You can also do it the long way and load the standard version of ESXi on the host and then load up all the drivers manually. If you want to make your own customized ISO’s one of my co-workers Jeremy Waldrop did a great blog post on how to do that here.

Ok so I will not bore anyone with how to load ESXi pretty straight forward download the Customized ISO either burn it to CD or mount the ISO through the CIMC and install the OS on the local drive on the host. If you want to do iSCSI Boot from SAN well you’re on your own there. This blog is not going to cover it, maybe later but at this time just say no to iSCSI BSAN J. So here is what this looks like in the wild.

Host 1

vSwtich0

MGMT IP- 10.1.32.46 VLAN 132

· VMNIC0- Infra switch 1 port 1 (Primary for Mgmt) notice that I put VMNIC1 as standby this forces the management traffic across VMNIC0 until VMNIC0 become unavailable and then will use VMNIC1

VMotion- 10.1.35.46- VLAN 135

· VMNIC1-Infra switch 2 port 1 (Primary for vMotion) when you put VMNIC1 on standby and then you create the next VMkernal port it will automatically set VMNIC1 as the primary port and VMNIC0 as standby

vSwitch1

Production- VLAN 136

· VMNIC2- Infra switch 1 port 2

· VMNIC3- Infra switch 2 port 2

vSwtich2

ISCSI 1

· VMNIC4- ISCSI switch 1 port 1

· 10.1.33.46 – VLAN 133

vSwitch3

ISCSI 2

· VMNIC 5- ISCSI switch 2 port 1

· 10.1.42.46 – VLAN 142

So your first host would look something like this as a Base to start from.

Host 2

vSwitch0

MGMT IP- 10.1.32.47 VLAN 132

· VMNIC0- Infra switch 1 port 25 (Primary for Mgmt) notice that I put VMNIC1 as standby this forces the management traffic across VMNIC0 until VMNIC0 become unavailable and then will use VMNIC1

·

VMotion- 10.1.35.47- VLAN 133

· VMNIC1-Infra switch 2 port 25 (Primary for vMotion) when you put VMNIC1 on standby and then you create the next VMkernal port it will automatically set VMNIC1 as the primary port and VMNIC0 as standby

vSwitch1

Production- VLAN 136

· VMNIC2- Infra switch 1 port 26

· VMNIC3- Infra switch 2 port 26

vSwitch2

ISCSI 1

· VMNIC4- ISCSI switch 1 port 25

· 10.1.33.47 – VLAN 133

vSwtich3

ISCSI 2

· VMNIC 5- ISCSI switch 2 port 25

· 10.1.42.47 -VLAN 142

Ok so now we have our base config done now we need to enable the software adapter for each of the host so we can get multipathing working correctly for iSCSI. So let’s go to our first host and enable the software iSCSI adapater.

To do this click on Storage Adapters and then click on Add

You only get this option when you click add just click OK

The next thing that pops up is an acknowledgement click OK

Once the install completes you will see ISCSI Software Adapter show up like this

***You will need to do this for all your host that you will be running ISCSI on.****

Once you get all the ISCSI Software Adapters installed on your host then we need to configure a few things on these ISCSI Software Adapters. Before we go into that lets just have a quick talk about Jumbo Frames. Depending on the manufacture of your array you are connecting to they will give you their recommended best practices for Jumbo Frames. I know for EMC they tell you to use Jumbo Frames only if you are doing large block IO or if you are doing 10 G ISCSI. I have worked with Dell a fair amount and their stance is Jumbo Frames end to end for their arrays regardless of I/O. If you are asking my personal stance on Jumbo Frames I say the increase is minimal in 1 G solutions so my personal opinion is unless the workload dictates that you enable Jumbo Frames then don’t make this any harder on yourself.

Prudent use of the KISS principle advised…. Keep It Simple Stupid J

Ok so let’s setup this ISCSI software adapter. Click on the Adapter and then go to Properties

First from this screen lets click the Advance Tab and disable Delayed Ack globally for this iSCSI Software Adapter

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the Advanced menu and remove this check mark

So should be like this J

Click OK

Personally to make things a bit more user friendly I would recommend going into Configure and providing an Alias on IQN so you know what belongs to what host similar to this.

Then this pops up.

Put an Alias that makes sense. For me since this is Host 1 I will just call this MS1-ISCSI-VMHBA35

Next we will click on The Network Configuration Tab.

Then Click Add. This will present you with the ports that are eligible candidates for doing this Port Binding.

Click the first one in the list and hit OK. Then you will see this.

Next we need to add the second path to this port binding. So we click Add

We select our second ISCSI port and click OK.

We now have our two ISCSI vSwitches using the Port Bindings so now we have failover setup correctly from the host perspective. When you click Close on the above screen you will be presented with this screen.

If this is a new setup and nothing has been configured to run on this host then go ahead and click Yes. If you are doing this on a production host that has running VM’s on it then click No and make sure you are in maintenance mode before you do a rescan using this ISCSI software adapter.

So at this point we have the Software adapter configured for mulitpathing you will need to do this on all host that you are going to be running ISCSI on your environment. One thing to note is that I recommend a reboot after enabling ISCSI Software Adapter and Delayed Ack to ensure all the settings stay. You may also be asking about CHAP and whether to use or not this really depends on your environment and what your requirements dictate. I will say this if you have CHAP setup and if for some reason you do not have your ISCSI network isolated CHAP is an extra layer of security to keep someone from erroneously attaching a LUN to the wrong server or worse wiping out a LUN without realizing what is in on the LUN.

Whewww that was a lot to go over for Part 3 so let’s take a breather and take that in and prepare for Part 4. So stay tuned for the upcoming post as we go over setting up our storage array and configuring the discovery targets on each of our host to discover the ISCSI LUNS presented to each host.





You know iSCSI and VMware.. I bet not… Part 2

19 04 2014

Alright so if you reviewed Part 1 and you got that down then let’s keep going. Before we go any further I want to stress how much Firmware and Drivers can play a key role in a successful roll out and environment setup. Often times I am asked by customers how often should they update X. My typical response is if there is some sort of security issue ie: Heart Bleed, feature fix or bug fix then address those immediately. Otherwise, establish at least a quarterly patching cycle for your environment. It also helps to have a good Partner/VAR that can advise you on any particular issues or bugs in upgrading. Ok with that being said part 2 may not seem like it helps you in any way shape or form of doing ISCSI successfully but I assure you this is a very important part of getting this right.

Before that let me give you a little back story on this and why it is so important. So just in the past two weeks I was assisting with a iSCSI performance issue and I was a new set of eyes to the problem. My first step is always talk with the customer and engineer to get a back story of what they are seeing and what they have tried and experienced with their troubleshooting. We reviewed the setup and there were some configuration issues that needed to be addressed but what I honed in on was the fact that the Firmware for the host was Circa 2012, I also saw it was using Broadcom NIC’s 5709’s and I had just ran down a rabbit hole a couple of weeks previously on a similar issue that ended up being fixed by updating the NIC firmware and applying the latest ENIC drivers for VMware for the host. So after addressing the configuration issue this was my next thing to address and we upgraded the firmware on the Host (BIOS, NIC, SAS Controller etc..) once upgraded we upgrade the ENIC drivers too. So using IOMETER we did testing before the firmware update and driver update and were getting about 400 Mb/s after the upgrade we were getting 420 Mb/s so it was a noticeable jump in throughput. This just further cements to me that keeping things up to date will only help you in the long run. So with that being said I have already ensured that the switches I am using are on the latest code but I noticed that my host firmware need to be updated and I will be updating the VNXe too and a later post.

First, I am going to walk you through how I updated our Cisco C200 M2’s in the lab. One is running 1.4(3v) and 1.4(3h) firmware we are going to go up to the latest for these C200 which right now is 1.4(3V). Every manufacture does a really great job of giving you a central repository for firmware and drivers some are easier than others to do and navigate. Cisco has their HUU (host update utility), Dell has their Lifecyle Controller or if you have never updated it combo of SBUU and SUU may be called for. Main thing is consult your manufacture for their recommended firmware and drivers for each specific OS.

Step one in this endeavor is for me to download the HUU from Cisco’s website which for my C200 M2 is found here. Once I have the HUU ISO downloaded then I need to login to the CIMC of the Server and mount the ISO.

 

After hitting Power On the Server will go through it’s POST. You will see where you can hit F6 to go into the Boot Menu, hit F6. Then you will be presented with the Boot Menu if you have mounted the ISO via CIMC then select Virtual CDROM at the Boot Menu and it will begin mounting the HUU. When the HUU mounts it will inventory the server and present you with this screen. Hit Y to continue

Next it will show you the available items that can be updated by the HUU. Select Option 8 to have it update all the applicable items.

It will then start the upgrade process…. First up the CIMC

Once CIMC is done then it will do the BIOS

Once the BIOS is done it will attempt to do the LOM and you may receive the prompt below. Just hit Y.

Then after the LOM’s are done then the Controller is updated

Then the Quad Port adapter is updated next

Once this is done it will bring you back to this menu and show you the status of the updates. If all of them were a Success then you should be able to go ahead and type in option 10

When you hit option 10 it will then reboot the host and finish applying the updates

During this portion of the process it will terminate your connection to the CIMC and then you will have to launch another session to the CIMC to be able to interact with the server. This can take a minute or two so be patient during the upgrade process. After the upgrade is complete you can log back into the CIMC and see that this update is complete.

Before                                                                                              

Before 

After

 

 After

This entire process is really straight forward and easy but just takes time to do. In doing this, prior to setting up your iSCSI you ensure that the ground work has been laid from the host perspective to set you up for success. If you already have your host setup for iSCSI then you can still do this process and update your server. Stay tuned for Part 3 we will start the configuration portion of iSCSI.





Annoying repeat scrolling on Android

9 04 2014

Well I know a lot of people in the world use Android while others use Apple and then there are others.  So at work we use a number of  social media applications and sometimes there are things that just make you go hmmm…  The other week my Yammer application updated on my phone and I did not think anything of it.  Until I went to scroll through the post and  I kept seeing the same 4-5 post over and over.  I just figured it was my antiquated Razr Maxx being a pain.

Then I see a post from a co-worker venting their frustration with the same thing.  In true fashion it becomes a Apple vs Android debate…  Anyhow, this morning I was scrolling through twitter, yammer and the dreaded scrolling finally got on my last nerve.  My first reaction was like most uninstall and reinstall.  But before I did that I just went into System Settings > Apps> Yammer then clicked Clear cache.  Then opened Yammer back up and voila easy peasy life is all good again.  I have had to do this on different apps over the years so not sure why I did not try this earlier but now all is right on planet earth again.