Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vista SP1 Cleanup tool

For those of you that are running Vista, but haven't deployed SP1 yet: do it!
Sure, the installation will take you 2 hours, not including the download, but the performance gain is considerable.

If you still have to install SP1, make sure you comply to the prerequisites before continuing with the installation of SP1. For laptops: make sure the AC power is plugged-in and don't remove it during the installation of SP1. If the laptop can't restart successfully during the No boot window you are f***ed ... During this fase, the critical drivers and components are updated.
For more information, check this guide: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Deployment Guide

OK, now that your SP1 is installed, the PC perfoms a lot better, but as you noticed, your hard disk has less free space available.

Now with the Vista SP1 cleanup tool you can reclaim about 2 GB. The VSP1CLN.exe tool will remove Vista RTM files that have been superseded by SP1 files. And it will also remove backups, which means that uninstalling the SP1 is no longer an option! (not that you will want to do that)

Where can I download this tool? You can't, if you have SP1 installed, you have the cleanup tool as well ... It is located in the %windir%\system32 folder so you can directly run it in a command screen:

The uninstallation can take some time. With me about 10 - 15 minutes, but afterwards no further action is required:


Windows 2008 Core (WS08 Core): Core Configurator

When the first versions of Windows 2008 Core came out, I've posted some articles on how you can create user accounts, promote the server to a DC, change screen resolution, ... on the Core server itself.
Once your WS08 Core is setup, you can administer it remotely, as I'm sure you will all already know.

But now, a freeware tool has been created by Guy Teverovsky, a MVP. With this tool, you have a basic GUI that can:
- Change computer name
- Change and configure IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS address
- Change firewall settings
- Join a domain
- Configure remote desktop
- Add or remove roles and features
- Upgrade the server to be a Domain Controller
- Change system time, regional settings
- Configure the paging file
- Activate the server or enter the product ID
- ...

Just download the tool from his blog: CoreConfigurator, install the msi on your WS08 Core server and run the CoreConfigurator.exe file.

The rest after that is point & click. Very cool!

Monday, March 03, 2008

VMworld Europe in Cannes: day 2

On the second day, the keynotes were presented by Doctor Mendel Rosenblum from VMware.

Together with the Break-out sessions, a few more interesting features were mentioned:

1. VCB enhancements
As you already know, VCB had to be run on a physical W2K3 server and have a HBA adapter to access the SAN storage in order for it to function. Now, VCB can be run on a VM and access not only SAN storage, but also iSCSI, NAS and local storage!

2. Platform enhancements
The VM's running on ESX hosts can be made aware that they are virtual machines and that the hardware they see it actually not really there. This gives as benifits that calls to the memory and processor can be encapsulated differently, resulting in better performance.

3. VMsafe
One of the biggest points on the second day. VMsafe is the new technology that will keep virtual systems more secure than physical systems. It will use host- and network based protection that cannot be compromised by malware (literally the best of both worlds). With this technology it is actually possible to have secure Vm's while your physical server is compromised.
Also very cool is that VMware does not try to do everything themselves, but provides API's that the security vendors can use to build their products on.
McAfee will ship its first VMsafe enabled products within 2 months!

4. SRM: Site Recovery Manager
This feature is very cool! When an entire datacenter goes down, a second, stand-by datacenter can be configured that will automatically restart the VM's with all it's functionalities. For this to work, you will have to have a backup environment of course, together with the required licenses, but hey: what's the price for a day of downtime? ;)
When SRM is configured, the VM's are automatically duplicated in the backup site but without HD's. In case of a disaster, the files on the datastores are unlocked and moved to the backup site. The HD is connected to the already existing VM and the VM is powered on. All within 10 - 15 minutes!

5. Vservices
Last new features I noticed while I was over there. But very cool none the less. vServices contain multiple VM's that work together, for example CRM, Sharepoint, ... Idea is that a specialist in that matter can create a complete package that you only have to download and drop it in your environment. During the demo from Dr. Rosenblum CRM was installed under a minute that way! :)

That's about it for me, I guess. And how about the last day? Well, those were troubleshooting sessions, labs or technical deep dives. I'll try to post some of the most interesting points, when I find the time.

VMworld Europe in Cannes: day 1

Last week I had the priviledge of going to VMworld in beautiful Cannes.

Lots of interesting new features were introduced in the new VI 3.5 or are going to be implemented in future updates.

I've created a short overview of the most important new features I noticed at VMworld at Day 1:

1. ESX server 3i
Several types of Siemens, HP and Dell servers are going to be shipped with ESX 3i. With this, ESX is already installed and during the first power up of the server a few configuration options have to be chosen and your new ESX server is automatically added to your existing ESX environment. So basically, extra CPU power and Memory can be added to your cluster within minutes.
In ESX 3i, no Service console is included anymore and only a 32 MB hypervisor. For command line instructions, a remote console can be downloaded.

2. Update Manager
The Update Manager can patch your ESX servers as well as your Windows and Linux VM's, even if those VM's are turned off. Also, a snapshot is automatically created which can be used for rollback functionality in case the patching went astray.

3. DPM: Distributed Power Management
Everything is in light of the "green" environment. So trying to reduce energy levels are high on the priority list of managers. An excellent sales point for VMware. Not only does virtualizing 10 VM's on 1 physical server has it's obvious benefits, now they also have DPM. DPM will monitor your power supplies and activate and deactivate them as needed, thus saving on power (and air conditioning) costs.

4. Storage VMotion
As you already know, we can easily move running VM's from one host to another. Now, with Storage VM, we can relocate a running VM's virtual disk from one datastore to another. Although now it is still command line based, several people have developped a GUI.

5. HA enhancements
HA is now enable to restart individual failed VM's. That's cool, and expected, but what is coming next is even better. VMware is working on HA being enable to VMotion running VM's to another host if the original host has failed! So, VM's can be moved to a new host even after a host running the VM's has failed. A feature I thought that will be called Distributed Playback. But I'm not sure of the naming. Since it is still being developped VMware mentioned it only very quickly once. I'm sure we'll hear about it in the future.

6. Template broadcast
VM templates that are created can now be used across multiple datacenters.

More of the second day in the next post.