vCloud PowerCLI ExtensionData UpdateServerData Limit

Part of my cleanup from the vCloud Suite 5.1 upgrade is migrating everything off of the *Any storage profile. A piece of this is setting the DefaultStorageProfile property for templates, which by default is blank (meaning the *Any profile). I’ve written a function that I’m using to update these in mass:

function set-templateVmDefaultSP($templates,$sPName)
    foreach ($template in $templates){
        write-host "Changeing defaultStoragePofile for VMs in $template"
        $vms = $template.extensiondata.children.vm
        foreach ($vm in $vms){
            $vm.defaultstorageprofile = "$sPName"

This passes a list of templates and a storage profile name, iterates through the template’s VMs, changes/sets the DefaultStorageProfile and sends an XML update back to vCloud with the changes.

This was working all well and good until I ran into this error:

PowerCLI C:\scripts\vcloud> $template.extensiondata.updateserverdata()
Exception calling “UpdateServerData” with “0” argument(s): “The provided XML has too many elements: 3340. The maximum is 2,048.”
At line:1 char:41
+ $template.extensiondata.updateserverdata <<<< ()
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [], MethodInvocationException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : DotNetMethodException

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Interop 2012 – HP Networking Innovations on Display

This is post is a long time coming, but starting a new job will do that :)

I’ve long wanted to attend the Interop tech conference and was able to attend the Las Vegas installation this year by invite from HP/Ivy Worldwide. I was really hoping to make the Mumbai show, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget. It’s primarily a networking focused conference, but with datacenter virtualization technologies converging (you may have heard the term Converged Infrastructure), virtualization admins cannot afford to pass off more complex networking infrastructures to a ‘networking guy’.

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HP Gen8 – smarter hardware

One of greatest things about the evolution of the server industry is the (attempt at) engineering out mistakes. You can only go so far to remove the human element in systems administration, but HP’s doing a really good job with the latest release of their Gen8 server line.

The three features I like the most are the CPU Smart Socket Guide, the Do Not Remove light, and the iPDU system (Intelligent power distribution unit – iPDU).

The CPU Smart Socket guide was co-developed with Intel to remove the too common mishap of bending pins on the motherboard when installing a CPU. Here’s a picture of the CPU in the cradle.


The Do Not Remove light comes into effect when disks in a RAID set fail and removing the wrong drive from the server (as you can have many RAID sets) will result in data loss. You can see the indicator in all of it’s glorious action below.

The iPDU kit works best as a combination of 3 pieces – the special power supply in the server, the special iPDU and Insight Control. The whole system working together accurately measures power utilization, maps servers (Gen8 w/ Platinum power supplies) to PDU ports and verifies redundancy. No more outages because you accidentally plugged both power supplies into the same PDU.

Removing human error from the datacenter, especially the large datacenter, will cut down on outages, data loss, unnecessary parts replacements and hair loss. Well, maybe not hair loss (but we can hope).

The old saying is that ‘you can’t fix stupid’. Well, HP hasn’t exactly done that, but they’ve certainly put up bigger warning signs so you’d have to be stupid on purpose.


HP Tech Day – Gen8 Blogger Event

HP and Intel are hosting bloggers today at their Houston campus to do a deep dive on their new Gen8 server platform. You can watch the live stream at and follow along on twitter with the tags #HPTechday and #Gen8.

The blogroll is:

Frank Owen III

Michael Letschin

Bob Stein

Hector Russo

Phillip Jaenke

Jeffrey Powers

Scott Lowe

Hans Vredevoort

Brian Knudtson

Google Adds Docs Integration to Google+ Hangouts


Google just announced a feature that was previously available only in the ‘Extras’ version of Hangouts: full Google Docs/Google+ hangout integration.



With this move along with screen sharing, Google is making it harder and harder to ignore Google+ as not just a social media platform, but a full fledged, honest to goodness business productivity tool. But what I think is really happening is that Google+ Hangouts are slowly but surely becoming what they wanted Google Wave to be. I think that Wave came too soon and was too different. Google is letting people get used to an expected feature set, letting it become normal and expanding.

Will this new feature, along with screen sharing draw in more business use? Will it eventually be Wave 2.0?



SolarWinds Announces Server & Application Monitor v. 5.0

SolarWinds today announced their release of Server and Application Monitor v5.0 as well as reviewed a few of their recent acquisitions  as well as new in house platforms and how they fit into their current portfolio.

Acquired in December, 2011. With a current user base of over 100,000, they felt it was a appropriate place to jump into the single sysadmin remote support tool space. v8 will be coming out ‘soon’ and add features such as chat and capture screenshots to the already fairly extensive feature set. I’m an heavy DameWare user and am glad to see their dedication to development of this product.

Acquired in Feb 2012. EminentWare WSUS Extension Pack will become SolarWinds Patch Manager. The base product will include a limited set of 3rd party applications as maintenance on the platform – Mozilla, Apple, Java, Adobe, etc. Their goal is to get the price down to “couple bucks” a node to make it affordable to any size shop.

Synthetic End User Monitor
This suite monitors web applications in which you perform quick recording of sequence of web page walk throughs and the application will run through steps, giving alerts if any steps are slow or don’t work. New to the feature set is their Cloud Player Portal which can be deployed into an Amazon EC2 instance directly from the product itself. This gives admins the ability to monitor sites from all over world and is priced per transaction, which has a pretty encompassing definition (can be a login to site, complete action = 1 transaction, etc.). With Amazon’s recent drastic price reduction, this could be a pretty affordable, flexible and valuable option.

The big news, though, is their release of Server & Application Monitor (SAM) v 5.0, formerly Application Performance Monitor (press release below). The new name is to reflect the more extensive reach of the application and what its capabilities are focused on – from just application monitoring to now including real-time hardware health, operating system and application health and performance.

Dell Launch Event – 12G and more

This is a repost of a writeup that I orriginally did for

This past Monday (2/27/2012), I had the opportunity to attend Dell’s San Francisco event, led by CEO Michael Dell, VPs Praveen Asanth and Forrest Norrod along with Sr. VP David Johnson, at which they unveiled several new offerings across their enterprise product line. While you can read all about the wonderful sales figures that Dell shared on other financially focused corners of the webosphere, I want to spend a few posts focusing on the event and products themselves and what stood out to me.

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Dell Acquires AppAssure

Dell announced their acquisition of AppAssure today, a software based enterprise backup solution for physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. They feature both local (DAS, SAN, remote disk) and cloud based backup, replication and recovery.

This further supplants the idea of Dell as being a hardware company and continues them on their path to a more solutions and services focus. As some colleagues in the field and I were just talking (@plankers, @tscalzott) that hardware (especially storage/server/network) are becoming ubiquitous, the real value will be in features and software innovations.

Here’s the press release from Dell:

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Downgrade firmware on an Dell ESXi host

An issue has come up on one of my Dell PowerEdge R610 ESXi hosts that I wanted to attempt a downgrade of the firmware on my Broadcom BCM5709 network adapters for troubleshooting, but was not finding any easy way between the Server Update Utlities, OpenManage Essentials, etc.

This didn’t fix my issue, but it was a PITA to figure out the best/fastes/easiest way to get this done, that I thought it worthwile to share.

My first thought was to attempt to use the Firmware Upgrade wizard built into the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter because it offers an option to select an update executable from a CIFS share, but that, unfortunately, just threw me an error even though I was using a valid DUP file.

Failed sending update file: (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) to iDRAC – Details: The update package (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) is not supported via 1×1 update feature. Use the repository method to update this device. This error can also be seen if package is not named according to Dell naming standards.

So I decided to build my own repository and point the Plug-in to that, and here’s that process:

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