AppVol: Capture Machine boots to AppStack VMDK instead of OS

Been running to issues when provisioning Application stacks that the capture machine boots to the the AppStack VMDK instead of the OS VMDK . It is an annoying issue but a very easy fix!

  1. Shutdown the capture machine and take a snapshot.
  2. Edit the settings of the capture machine, change the primary hard drive to SCSI (0:0) under the Virtual Device Node option.
  3. Select the VM options tab > boot options > Force Bios Setup
  4. During the bios setup navigate to boot and ensure the harddrive is first in the boot order.
  5. Restart your capture VM and try to mount the appStack for provisioning.

 

 

RHEL/CentOS7 xrdp auto disconnects when logging on

So I ran into an issue this week with XRDP disconnecting from my RHEL/CentOS7 RDP connection the moment the logon process is finished. Searching around for different answers to this solution there seems to be no one way of doing it. So I decided to tell you what I did to fix the issue and hopefully help you avoid a major headache in the future.

 

I will start with the installation of XRDP and go through the changes.

  1. Install xrdp tigervnc-server on your RHEL/CentOS7 box
user@computer:$ yum -y install xrdp tigervnc-server

2. Start xrdp service and enable at boot

user@computer:$ systemctl enable xrdp
user@computer:$ systemctl start xrdp

3. Allow 3389 through the firewall and reload firewall

user@computer:$ firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=public --add-port=3389/tcp
user@computer:$ firewall-cmd --reload

4. Configure SELinux ( I did not need to perform this step)

user@computer:$ chcon --type=bin_t /usr/bin/xrdp
user@computer:$ chcon --type=bin_t /usr/bin/xrdp-sesman

5. Edit the xrdp.ini file located at the /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini

user@computer:$ vi /etx/xrdp/xrdp.ini

6. Comment out the line that says “Channel_code=1” Here is a example of the .ini file after the change is made

user@computer:$
[globals]
bitmap_cache=yes
bitmap_compression=yes
port=3389
crypt_level=high
#channel_code=1
max_bpp=24
#black=000000
#grey=d6d3ce
#dark_grey=808080
#blue=08246b
#dark_blue=08246b
#white=ffffff
#red=ff0000
#green=00ff00
#background=626c72

[xrdp1]
name=sesman-Xvnc
lib=libvnc.so
username=ask
password=ask
ip=127.0.0.1

Just a FYI also some of these commands I did not come up with and where figured out from other blogs. Which when I get permission from the owners I will post here.

That being said this is my first post into some real enterprise level Linux! If you have any tip or tricks as i go down the RHEL CentOS path let me know!

Resources i used:

Install xrdp on CentOS 7 / RHEL 7

Knowing Stagnation Part 2

So in the last Post we uncovered some ways to find stagnation. In this post we will be covering a couple of ways to treat the stagnation after you discovered you are infected by it. This can force you into some seriously complicated situations and perhaps some very unconformable ones.

But how do we treat Stagnation before we decide its best to move on from your job?


Cut the fat out of your day

Cutting the spare time out of your day can help with treating stagnation, being able to fill your day with interesting tasks that may not have to do with your job description but enhance your career is a good first step.

You enjoy what interests you right? So if your current job doesn’t interest you perhaps there is some steps you can take to fill your day with interesting tasks while still completing your responsibilities. Simple things like putting VMware workstation on your work PC and standing up your first Linux box. Discovering new technologies is a great way to fill some time within your day. Leaning a new skill on your own will show your boss you are ready for a more advanced job and you have the ambition to do it. This is done by spending every minute at your work doing something productive and interesting.


Lean on your colleagues

Bother your colleagues and ask what they are doing. Show the ambition to proactively work with your team members, even if their job has nothing to do with yours. Sometimes they will say no. and that is fine move to the next person until you find someone who can teach you some new skills. When that colleague and yourself get more comfortable working together they will rely on you more for small tasks. and also provide a voice to your manager when it comes to taking on more advanced tasks and less minute tasks.

And plus misery  loves company. Maybe your colleagues feel the same way about the company, and working in two’s is a lot better than working alone. At that point you can be an effective voice for change when there are two of you with the same concerns. So when you talk to your manager they will know its not just one engineer that has a issue this makes a huge difference


Got a manager?

This is the hardest part of trying to treat stagnation and that is talking to your manager about your current roles and responsibilities. depending on the kind of relationship you have with your manager this can go one of two ways.

First way is good.

You sit down to have an honest and polite discussion with your manager about where you see yourself in 5-10 years career wise. Tell them what you want to learn and how they can potentially help. This conversation is the easiest and will usually be the conversation that will be had. This shows that your manager cares about his employee’s and wants to provide them with the opportunity to learn and thrive in their current work environment.  If your manager is anything close to a good manager this conversation will end with some proactive steps you guys can take together to work on your career path and what you expect to gain from working at that company.

Having this plan is nice but it only works when you and your manager put your 100% commitment into it.  If you both have the end goal in mind and your manager is halfway decent you will come out on top and at least for a short time your stagnation will be lifted.

But then there is the second way….

Do you have a manager? Does your manager only care about his paycheck? Does your manager not care about his employee’s because he is retiring in 5 year? well for three easy payments of mental stability we can fix your problems.

Having a conversation with a manager who just does give a rats ass is a hard spot to be in and honestly working for someone like that just plain sucks ass.

So what do we do about said manager?

  • Do we just don’t even bother and leave?
  • Do we go to his boss?
  • Do we just learn on our own and hope we don’t get caught?

There is one of two ways that work with these kinds of managers. The first is to have a Polite but frank discussion with them. Kind of like the first way. At this point that will do one of two things. it will either

  • A. Put a fire under their ass even if just for a short while.
  • B. They will get aggravated and hold a grudge and it will be very awkward
  • C. They will find any excuse to fire you.
  • D. Nothing changes

Those choices don’t sound to bad right? Well I have been in the situations where my “managers” have been out to get me. Just for showing them their flaws in managing. So when i say a Polite but frank discussion that is exactly what it needs to be. Tell them what you want to learn and tell them how you want to learn it. Tell them everything that could be better about the company or the team. Now don’t get me wrong this could cause some issues so do this AT YOUR OWN RISK. But it is worth a try even for the managers that don’t seem to give a rats ass.  Have the discussion about your career, it is important to you so it should be important to your manager. If it isn’t then leave that job immediately. It is not worth you being miserable and stagnant in your job because some crappy manager has had enough of this world.  Find greener pastures and embrace the change.


Like this article? Do you hate it? Let me know below in the comments or on twitter!

Knowing Stagnation Part 1

When you start at a new company you can tell pretty quickly who is taking a deep investment in their career and future versus who is just riding the creek of stagnation waiting for that gust of wind to get them to pay-day. The signs are clear from the outside looking in, But when you are the one who is stagnant do you know?

One of the biggest mistakes an IT lady/gentleman can make is not knowing when they are stagnant. We all got into IT for the love of learning and the constant challenge,  stagnation is usually looked over and not addressed when it should be. Which can really harm your career and performance at any company. No one is immune to stagnation. The best IT people i know have had a few lulls in their career from time to time. But the question is do they notice it and re mediate?

So how do we find/treat/cure stagnation? Well it’s not easy but we can certainly give it a go.


So how do we know the signs of stagnation?

Don’t want to go to work?

Dreading work is not only caused by stagnation but also by an unhealthy work environment. If you wake up in the morning and would rather take a 2 hour shower and cry. Chances are you are in an extremely unhealthy work environment. This can be caused by a bad manager or a shitty employee maybe you been changing out printer ink for 5 years and want to move up in the world and aren’t getting that opportunity, either way this is a sign you need to leave that job and fast.

Einstein made a pretty simple equation back when he was making up science things, take heed.

UHWE x LIIJ=DICAM

In case you didn’t learn that in high school physics full read out is below.

(Unhealthy work environment x Lack of interest in job = disaster in career and mind)


Need more energy?

More coffee! Do you find yourself needing 4 or more coffee’s a day? Are you single and don’t have kids? Didn’t go out partying last night with the guy/girls? Just a normal working day? Chances are you are stagnant… or at least getting there. That doesn’t make sense Frank you must be crazy?!? Well when was the last time you needed to drink a coffee before you go to an amusement park or had a party? Not very often. It tends to be the more excited you are about a particular task the less artificial energy you need.

If you don’t get genuinely excited about changing printer ink or building a new ESXi host then you will need a little push to get up and do it. That is a sign of stagnation. Not really getting excited about the challenges that you are presented with. Regardless of how minute or honestly how uninteresting they may be shows that you are looking for a bigger more interesting challenge, and only you can find that new challenge and exploit it.


Practice makes a perfect stagnate environment

Repetition is the path to stagnation. Would you take a job for $120,000 a year sharpening pencils all day? Probably at first you would, hell I would too how hard can it be right? Well physically not very hard, But mentally I am sure it is torture. Waking up at the same time every day, making the same commute every day, doing the same task every day can get tiring really fast. Repetition is nice for learning code and such but what happens if you are not a coder? or what happens when you need to expand your mind beyond that handful of task’s? Don’t stand for a company that wants you to do one task all day. Your career is worth more than creating distribution lists all day.


More to come on this topic in the next couple of days!

VMworld 2017 interview: Loom Systems

Loom is an awesome analytics product. The specialize in making log’s simple and predicting problems before they happen. Using their advanced algorithms and analytics they can predict problems before they happen and assist in remediation of said problems. Really cutting down the potential downtime and troubleshooting time expense.

Follow them on twitter @Loom_systems and visit there website for a trial

Check out the video below for a quick overview from there fast talking co-founder!


VMworld 2017: The Post Mortem

What an awesome year at VMworld 2017!

As most of you already know VMworld 2017 was at Las Vegas and Barcelona this year. i had the privilege to be selected as a featured blogger this year for the Vegas conference. The Conference was huge, the booze was expensive and the memories where plentiful!

vCommunity!


The Community presence this year was truly off the hook. You can feel that the conference while still being technology driven *Obviously* was alot more community driven. You had a big difference this year in the layout of the floor. last year the VM village ( The hang space ) was located on the second floor, Where it was really out of sight out of mind.  This year it was in the same space as the Solution exchange, This led way to massive amounts of people not only participating in the community area of VMworld but also attending the fantastic community sessions at the VbrownBag Techtalk community.

That being said i also had the great privilege of being selected to speak at the VbrownBag Techtalks! If you want to check that out it is on YouTube below.

 

The Solutions Exchange


The solutions exchange  was pretty standard this year. with a couple of great exceptions. First off the elephants in the room, Most of the well-known vendors came out in force, you had the Dell/EMC booth’s and the IBM of the world, but the real bread and butter for me was the new innovator booths. There was a lot of great small vendors this year accompanied with some really awesome tech.

Most of the smaller vendors i managed to get video interviews with that i am currently still working on and should have up within the week.

The Entertainers


As always there was some fantastic Entertainers this year at the booth. Being in Las Vegas you have a lot of magicians and most of these guys are pro’s they are funny and truly amazing at what they do.

My personal favorite is Rob Strong @RobertStrong from the Lenovo booth. The guy is funny as hell and his tricks no matter how many times you see them really are top-notch and hard to catch onto.  If you haven’t seen him go on twitter and give him a follow he is great.

And then probably the most surprising performer i saw this year was at the NetApp booth, they had an amazing violinist that was doing some crazy synth while drawing in huge crowds. I didn’t have the chance to catch her name but i did get a video of her performing Not a very good one but a video none the less.

 

The Keynotes


The day  one keynote was pretty good there was a couple of huge announcements made some we expected but confirmed.  But first there was a crazy cello rock duo and a VR street painter fellow that did a pretty cool intro.

First off VMware on AWS was probably the biggest announcement of the Las Vegas show IMHO. I think it is just another way VMware is adapting to stay relevant. Working with AWS will ensure that VMware is relevant in the next era tech. It is a smart move on their part. But that was just one announcement.

There was also an announcement about App-Defense a cool feature that allows the hyper-visor Layer to look into the guest VM and establish a pattern of behavior for the guest applications. https://appdefense.vmware.com/

They were really pushing hard the NSX agenda VMware has been working hard on. which they should, IMHO if you do not run NSX you are behind on networking.

The Parties


I attended three parties this year.

The VMUG party was pretty cool they had Michael Dell come out on stage and address the crowd which was cool for him to show his community love. I go to the VMUG party to put the faces to the names i see on twitter and touch base with some awesome networking opportunity.

The Zerto Party was off the hook they had a band called Voyage (A journey cover band) Which if i was a little more drunk i probably would have thought was actually Journey, that was an awesome party it was hosted at the house of blues at The Mandalay bay. I will try to get the video posted tonight or tomorrow.

This was my first Year as a VExpert and i had the opportunity to go to the VExpert party. It was by far my favorite party. Not only did i get to meet the titans of the VExpert community but it was a good time to just sit there and have a real chat with some true innovators and real community warriors.  It was at the Pinball museum in Vegas which was awesome. they had over 100 different pinball machines from vintage to new. and also some very creepy dancing clown and Zoltar Machine.  All in all the best party this year hands down.

 

In Conclusion thanks for an awesome VMworld this year. Hope to see everyone there again next year in Las Vegas.

 

5 Traits that make someone a badass systems engineer

And once again my humble disclaimer

This post is in NO WAY insinuating I am a great engineer. I believe that no matter how much you know or think you know, there is always room for improvement and development. That being said these are some things I believe makes a system engineer truly a bad ass.


Knowledge is power

This is a no brainer…. well not really

Knowledge is power. The more you know the more you can help and explore the areas of technology. A great system engineer can learn from their failure (See above) and learn from others. Getting knowledge from different perspectives is invaluable. People do things different ways, doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but having 3 or 4 different perspectives for one task can really open your eyes on the underlying technology, and maybe even make you question your own perspective.

Learn! Learn from home labs! Learn from books! Learn from other people! Learn from VbrownBag! Learn from anywhere and everywhere! Always ask why!

  • Learn different perspectives.
  • Learn all the time.
  • Ask why.

We have a problem

Who would have thought technology would have consistent problems? Troubleshooting is why we all have jobs. and lets face it, we all love it. Finding the right solution and presenting it to the tech is a great feeling. But not everyone knows how to properly troubleshoot and dissect a situation.

Google is your friend, your friends are your friends, and KB articles are your friends, and the support line is your life boat on the titanic. I have a hard time putting down the problem and passing it off to VMware or EMC support, it kills a little bit of my pride. But it is a must when troubleshooting has hit a wall.

A great engineer knows the resources they can use to find an answer pretty quickly. They know how to look through logs and run esxtop.

  • Knowing the resources and exploiting them
  • Knowing the Tech
  • Knowing when to call support and when to keep chugging away

Owning the failure

Failures suck, they make you feel like a novice, and sometimes if they are really big failures sometimes they make you feel like you picked the wrong field. No one in history has experienced a failure, and not felt something.

But the trick is to take the failures like an uppercut, blame yourself for not blocking the punch and learn how to dodge.

Failure is where we learn in the tech field, it’s better than any classroom or any book. Living through the pain and the mental anguish really brings you down to earth.

So how do we learn from a failure?

  • Figured out what failed.
  • Do a solid and honest post-mortem
  • Look for advice
  • Find the solution

Honesty and Confidence

We have all been on those calls with someone from a vendor or MSP and they think so highly of themselves they blow smoke the whole time.  There is nothing more brutal and spine shivering when they get called out and don’t talk for the rest of the meeting.

But on the other hand, having a engineer on the call that knows the answer with pinpoint accuracy and tells the truth when he/she knows or doesn’t know a particular question is pure beauty.

Honesty might not be the easiest option in the middle of a meeting or issue but it is vital.

Confidence shows, you know when someone is a good engineer by there mixture of confidence and honest.

  • Knowing your skill level (Like really knowing your skill level)
  • It is OK not to know something, regardless of the outcome
  • Be confident about your ability