OpenStack Client Tools OVA

I was looking for an OVA the other day that already had most of the common OpenStack API tools or packages already installed. I couldn’t find any so I created one myself.


Download the 1GB OVA (from Google Drive)


Details on the OVA below

Ubuntu 16.04
vmx-10 virtual hardware (5.5 Update 2)
2 vCPU

Username: openstack
Password: Netelligent1!

Networking: DHCP

Packages installed:
VMware Tools
OpenSSH server
pip package manager

OpenStack Clients:

How to build Thinstation thin client images and exploring config files – Part II

Part I – How to setup Thinstation 5.3 thin client for use with VMware Horizon View 5

Part II – How to build Thinstation images and exploring config files

Part III – How to add drivers to your Thinstation build

Part IV – How to configure Thinstation and Google Chrome for a true, thin client experience


So if you’ve been following since Part I, you now have a DevStation stood up.  You’re now ready to build images that your thin clients can boot from.  I didn’t mention it in the first post, but be sure you’ve configured a static IP address on your DevStation.  You can do this via the Network Manager GUI interface.  Just right-click the network icon in the system tray and select Edit Connections…


This is the IP address you’ll configure on your DHCP server as Option 66, the Boot Server Host Name.  My DHCP configuration is shown here.  It’s important to realize that Option 67, the Bootfile Name, is relative to the root of the TFTP directory.  In the case of the DevStation and PXE booting, it needs to be configured as shown here.  The root TFTP directory can be found as a symlink in /var/lib/tftpboot which points to /thinstation/build/boot-images/pxe


So the full path to pxelinux.0 is /thinstation/build/boot-images/pxe/boot/pxelinux/pxelinux.0

Here’s a final note about setup before we get going: make sure you have a DHCP scope configured for your thin clients.  Common sense, right? It took me longer than I care to admit because I had placed my thin client in a different subnet than the scopes I had configured.  Obviously, once I added a scope for this subnet, my thin client started pulling an IP address.

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How to setup Thinstation 5.3 thin client for use with VMware Horizon View 5 – Part I


Part I – How to setup Thinstation 5.3 thin client for use with VMware Horizon View 5

Part II – How to build Thinstation images and exploring config files

Part III – How to add drivers to your Thinstation build

Part IV – How to configure Thinstation and Google Chrome for a true, thin client experience

Towards the end of my studying for the VCP5-Desktop exam, I decided to look into using some old  laptops and PCs I had lying around as thin clients.  Searching the web, I ended up settling on and wresting with Thinstation for a couple days.  As one of the few, free, thin client options, Thinstation is probably the most stable and most up to date software available.  This post shares the efforts I put into getting it running in my home lab.

You can follow Thinstation documentation in the same way that one can simply walk into Mordor.”

– Mike Brown

My end state goal is to touch the thin client as little as possible before working from a View desktop.  So my vision, then, is to PXE boot the end point, let it download the thin client OS, and have it auto-launch a View desktop client.  From there, a user could enter credentials and log in.

What’s the idea?

There are a few ways to get Thinstation working in a PXE boot environment.  The overall idea, no matter how you go about it, is that you have to use a development station to build the thin client boot image that will be downloaded to your thin client hardware via a PXE boot infrastructure.  There are no good materials on the intertubes to follow in a step-by-step fashion for this setup, so here’s my attempt at the first such walkthrough, as far as I can tell.


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DR Options for SQL Server in a vSphere Environment

While SQL Server is not one of my core competencies, I have worked with clients to protect their business critical applications in a VMware environment that utilizes SRM for DR.  These options rely on either Native SQL protection schemes or VMware options like SRM or vSphere Replication.  There are, of course, many 3rd party options, as well, depending on the storage array in use, which I won’t go into here.  While there are usually good, better, and best options, the idea I’d like to get across here is that there are many ways to protect SQL Server.  They can all be used at the same time even.  I’ve had clients that had so many SQL Servers, this is essentially what they did – they had to pick and choose how to protect each based on their relative importance.

SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups

For the most critical SQL Servers, the image below shows the high-level view of what my clients have used with success.  For server failures at the Primary Data Center, there are multiple SQL Servers.  AAGs can use both an Active-Active model and an Active-Passive model with regard to where the active database resides.  Continuing with the Primary Site, Node 1 can host both an Active and a Passive database.  Node 2 can host an Active and Passive database, as well, working with Node 1 to perform synchronous replication.  Through asynchronous replication, both databases can be replicated to the DR site, where only Passive copies reside.  In the event Site A completely fails, Node 3 can be brought online.

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Initial thoughts: VMware vSphere 5.x Datacenter Design Cookbook

I was recentDatacenterDesignly given the privilege to review Packt Publishing’s recent book about vSphere design.  I was immediately pleased to see that recent VCDX (graduate? achiever?) Hersey Cartwright of #vBrownbag fame was the sole author.  I always appreciate knowing what I’m about to put in my brain came from a trustworthy source.  I see in his author bio, though, early in the book, that he’s “only” recognized as a VCAP, not a VCDX (VCAPs are all-stars to begin with, dont’ get me wrong).  So he must have at least started working on this before he achieved rock-star status.  I couldn’t help but think as I read on how much writing this book must have helped his VCDX attempt. 

I’ve read a lot, I mean a lot, of VMware books and articles and blog posts – just about everything I can get my hands on – and everything in this book I kept nodding along with. There were many times Hersey would broach a subject and I’d immediately look for him to cover those oh-so-important caveats.  Sure enough, he covered them.  I was very happy to see that we were on the same page.

So with respect to design books, this is essentially the 3rd of its kind I’ve read.  The first, of course, was the Sybex vSphere Design (both editions), then I was very pleased to read VMware Press’s Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments, which, while not strictly design-focused, hit on many design features nonetheless.  Each is excellent and I recommend them.  What makes Hersey’s different is that it’s short and to the point (vSphere Design is over 500 pages).  This book is under 250 pages but packs in the relevant information you need be a good architect or designer.  Most importantly, let me emphasize this

Hersey doesn’t give you a fish in this book.  He teaches you to fish.

What I mean by that is in each section, he’s not simply listing the answers you’re looking for to design a redundant virtual network or to build reliable storage – he couldn’t possibly.  What I feel he does throughout is explain the concepts and then teaches you to ask better questions that lead to a good design.  That’s not quite anything like what I’ve read in any other VMware book.  I don’t feel Hersey wastes a sentence.  An additional feature of this book, that also makes it unique from others I’ve read, is that it discusses how to build documentation to support a vSphere design.  It’s not coincidence that Hersey mentioned each type of document that is likely needed in a successful VCDX defense.  Congratulations, Hersey – you’ve made a one-of-a-kind book. Thanks for sharing.

Initial thoughts: VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials

VMware vCenter Operations Manager EssentialsI recently had the opportunity to review this title by the good folks at Packt Publishing.  They provided me with a free e-copy for this review.  It was good timing, too, because a new project of mine involves more in-depth work with vCOPs than I’ve had so far.

My experience with vCOPs has been a couple installations and initial configurations for clients.  I have not customized vCOPs greatly and have mainly used it’s default capabilities to glean health, performance, and capacity metrics for reporting purposes.  So far, the topics I’ve found most useful include the troubleshooting performance sections in Chapter 4.  This is where many people will find value in vCOPs.  In addition, Chapter 5, covering capacity planning, is another area in which I’ve spent most of my time.

For someone like me who has dabbled in vCOPs, I’ve found this book useful more as a reference than one I need to read cover to cover.  I imagine, though, for those new to the product, the chapters on installation and initial configuration will be worth your time.

I also encourage you to visit Lauren’s blog, check her out on the twitters, and support her book. 

Book: VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials


Twitter: @malhoit

An Open Thank You to Pluralsight

This post is almost a year overdue.  I apologize to Pluralsight and the company formerly known as Trainsignal (whom Pluralsight acquired last year – I’ll refer singly to Pluralsight for the remainder) for the lateness of this post.

Thank you.  For the second year in a row, Pluralsight continued its over-the-top generosity by supplying those recognized as 2014 VMware vExperts with a free, yearly subscription to their immense IT and development training courses.

Thank you.  For the second year in a row I was blessed to be recognized as a vExpert for my contributions to the vCommunity and I received Pluralsight’s complementary subscription.

Thank you.  Many of us in IT know that our currency, the value to ourselves, our career, our clients and companies, is knowledge.  We value knowledge to a high degree.  Our livelihoods and those for which we work, to a large degree, rely on how well we know our craft.  Pluralsight’s gift of a free year of their premium IT training is incredible.  I value it so much because of the usefulness and success I’ve found with it.  Training in IT is crucial if you want to stick around very long.  One has to make it a priority if they want to succeed.  Pluralsight’s gift is like handing an IT guy a link to success.  Here you go – do great things.

Thank you.  Pluralsight, I know you didn’t have to do this. It means a lot to me that you think highly enough of this group of evangelists to give freely of your time and efforts in producing the highest quality training.

Thank you.  From a very grateful IT guy.