JumpSquares.net was launched a few weeks ago and I'm very happy at the success and attention it has received. Almost 300 JumpSquares have been configured so far! 2 weeks ago I introduced a brand new functionality allowing you to access the server hosting the application via RDP, SSH, or VNC (read more at JumpSquares v1.1 - RDP, VNC, and SSH added to Server). With that new addition, I wanted to showcase it with a brand new video AND make the video 60% shorter than the original. Some new greatness, now only taking up 3 minutes and 43 seconds of your time. Head on over to the JumpSquares.net homepage to check it out and get registered, or view it below.
I know many of you are home lab junkies, and many of you out there replicated my home lab (VMware vSphere Home Lab - "The Green Machines"). This past week I made a dumb mistake. I completely jacked up my Active Directory server, and like a bad admin, I never took a backup and didn't even take a snapshot... Oh well, time to upgrade. Since everything was based on AD authentication, I came across many hiccups with security tokens and said 'screw it, start over'.
I took this as an opportunity to do a few things:
Upgrade the lab to vSphere 5.5
Upgrade Synology to DSM 4.3
Since I really jacked it up, I deleted almost every VM and began by building Active Directory on Windows 2012 R2.
I deleted my vCenter and SQL VMs and decided to make the plunge using the vCenter Virtual Appliance
I added a 120GB Kingston HyperX SSD drive to both of my Shuttle hosts
Rebuild VMware View with Horizon 5.3
So if you are wondering if stuff is working, I'm happy to say YES! 5.5 is fully working on my lab hosts. Thanks to Erik Bussink's article Adding Realtek R8168 Driver to ESXi 5.5.0 ISO I was able to get the on-board Realtek NIC to be seen which is helpful when migrating over to the distributed switch.
VCE Vision Online Simulator Goes Public For Developers
As a n00bie developer myself, it was pretty cool to see this in my mail this morning. The development team at VCE has created a public instance so developers don't have to roll their own appliance or use a production instance of Vision. Picture this, VMware creates an online version of vCenter so you can interact with the API without ever having to deploy something. That's exactly what we did but with VCE Vision. If you don't know what VCE Vision is...read here.
It's always something that we must account for, yet, we hardly act on it. It's a burden of time, money, and energy, yet, it's an absolute necessity. You know exactly what I'm talking about... Disaster Recovery.
During the phases of executing on your DR strategy, there are two very important metrics that you must determine
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - What's the amount of data loss that can be sustained?
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - How long will it take you to get those systems back up from your RPO?
The RPO phase is determined by business factors. The RTO is determined on the technical capability. In the past, the only real way to test your RTO was to actually execute it in a sandbox environment. Some of you may have VMware SRM which allows you to run a test. However, that test doesn't take into account tertiary VMs that aren't protected by SRM. What if you don't have SRM, how can you get a good baseline?
Today, PHDVirtual launched a new FREE tool called Recovery Time Actual calculator. It does exactly what you think it does, it will see how long it would take for all your virtual machines to spin up.
The Free RTA Calculator:
Eliminates manual disaster recovery testing
Produces the actual recovery time for a VM, or group of VMs, on VMware with minimal impact on your production environment
Provides a fast and convenient way to estimate Recovery Time Objectives for Backup plans, Disaster Recovery plans, and SLA plans
Enables periodic comparison of Recovery Time Actuals to Recovery Time Objectives
Allows you to adjust your RTOs and SLAs over time as your environment grows and changes
Can be run as often as required and under different production conditions, with any group of VMs to be estimated
How does it work? Very Simple actually:
Register and download the tool on to a Windows machine. No installation is necessary since it's just a simple executable
My Uncle learned I had a blog and begins to read...
just a quick funny short for this Monday AM. My Uncle Joe (UJ) came to town to visit my daughter and my parents started talking to him about this thing I do, which you are reading. For about 15 minutes he's going through and reading everything so I decided to capture a quick 30 second snippet while he wasn't paying attention. Can you imaging 15 minutes of this? Pretty funny stuff.
After a few feature requests, I added some new functionality to allow RDP, VNC, and SSH connection to the "server" string. This new version is 1.1.
While configuring a JumpSquare, there are going to be two unique strings that are going to be configured. First is the Jump Location. The Jump Location is the web address you want the JumpSquare to re-direct to. In this case, I'm redirecting it to my vSphere Web Client login page. The next line is where I enter the server or location where this application is installed. For my purpose, my vCenter server is kcvcenter.kendrickcoleman.c0m (please only use the server name that can be resolved via DNS or you can use the IP address). After that I have the choice of selecting None, RDP, SSH, or VNC. Choosing one of these options will give me the ability to connect to kcvcenter.kendrickcoleman.c0m through that option. Since this is a Windows machine, I selected RDP.
"vSphere 5.1 was the first vSphere release to provide support for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics—virtualgraphics processing unit (vGPU)—inside of a virtual machine. That support was limited to only NVIDIA-based GPUs. With vSphere 5.5, vGPU support has been expanded to include both Intel- and AMD-based GPUs. Virtual machines with graphic-intensive workloads or applications that typically have required hardware-based GPUs can now take advantage of additional vGPU vendors, makes and models. See the VMware Compatibility Guide for details on supported GPU adapters."
Upon reviewing the Compatibility Guide, only NVIDIA is supported on vSphere 5.1. Nothing has yet to be updated for vSphere 5.5
I've been working on this project for about 1.5 months and I'm very happy that I can finally share it.
So... what is a JumpSquare? Let's start off with Why...
We've all been there before:
You start a new job and have no idea where anything is located
A contractor comes on site and you have to point them to every application
You are constantly sending emails asking where an application has been installed because you never bookmarked it
You have a very large datacenter environment and can't remember all the virtualization, storage, and network addresses
There may be 100+ different applications in your environment and you want to keep track of what's out there.
Maintaining excel documents or sharepoint sites suck
Browser bookmarks can be messy if you have a lot of them
The idea spawned because I had trouble keeping track of 6 VMware environments in our lab. Within those 6 environments, there were 100+ applications consisting of multiple vSphere Web Clients, vCOPs, vClouds, physical assets like switches and arrays. Bookmarks would have been messy and I got tired of sending emails trying to figure out what servers hosted which applications. I got a non-persistent desktop to access the lab environment so bookmarks didn't stick (don't ask why they can't figure that out), plus those bookmarks are only personalized for me. So if someone goes and installs vCOPs for POD3, I have to go to the web client, open it up, search for the IP address, then try and guess to see if i can remember the port or slew of /'s to find the login page. There had to be a better way.
Awesome, right? So how do I enter. Just enter your email address on the promotion page. You do not need to be a facebook fan to enter (but of course I strongly encourage it, but then again I'm biased). Contest ends on Sunday October 28th. It may end later if our baby is born soon.
2 bonus entries if you send a tweet from the page after entering
5 bonus entries if you share on facebook and one of your friends registers for the giveaway
Introducing the MonsterRemote for the MonsterShield
I'm pretty excited to release this and make one long blog post out of it. This is not my usual blog posting topic, but this is a good place to keep it so I can maintain it. I'm a pretty big halloween nut, like really big. check out some pictures from 2012 Halloween.
Last year, I caught wind of the MonsterShield prop controller. For about $200, you can have a prop controller that can control 16 relays, have 15 different animations, with MP3 cd quality audio, that also has an API. I was completely sold. Over some talk with Jason (the creator of the MonsterShield), I wanted to build something that I could use to trigger the animations that I want. I run a yard haunt, and with over 10,000+ people that come around to see the Halloween decorations on the street, I can't use traditional triggers. Motion detectors means they would be going off constantly. And having it timed means I won't have the correct animations set off for specific parts of the yard depending upon where people are standing. I could use multiple prop controllers, but I like centralization. With 16 relays, I can control everything in my yard from a single spot, so I had to figure out the best possible way to trigger the animations I want to see. This way my wife and I can sit on the porch, drink a beer, and set off the electric chair when people aren't ready for it.
I started learning Ruby on Rails earlier this year but didn't have a project, so this became my first go at Ruby on Rails. And thanks to Steven Bryen for lending his ruby expertise from time to time. The great thing about RoR is that you can easily build responsive websites that can be viewed on mobile phones, tablets, as well as desktops. So there is my goal. Using a Raspberry Pi as the Ruby on Rails server, it will send commands to the Arduino to trigger anything I want.
Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce the MonsterRemote. The MonsterRemote is aimed at being a remote control for the MonsterShield prop controller that you can use from any mobile device. Utilizing a smartphone with web browsing capabilities, you can trigger any configured animation on the MonsterShield prop controller. This is a free and open source project with no liability or support.
Dynamic Home Screen that will only display the animations/slots that have been enabled on the MonsterShield
Change the generic names ("0. Scene 00") to any name of your choosing like "0. Ambient Mix" or "0. Scary Jumping Flying Thing"
Enable/Disable Animations in the settings page that will Enable/Disable the slot on the MonsterShield and reflect a new or deleted button on the home screen
Interrupt and stop a triggered animation after selecting yes on a dialogue box
Remotely Shutdown your Raspberry Pi to preserve file integrity of the linux system files
Toggle Ambient settings to be On or Off
Toggle the Animation mode to be Sequential (0,1,2,3..), Random (5,A,9,1..), or Single after selecting your animation(1,1,1,1..)