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Monthly Archives: June 2011

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Demo – DR IP Customizer Utility

This video provides a demonstration of how you can customize the IP properties for a group of virtual machines within VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager using the DR IP Customizer Utility. It lets you customize many machines at once, saving you a lot of work.

For further details on using this utility, download our VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Administration Guide.

Deleting a virtual machine in VMware Fusion

In this video we will look at deleting a virtual machine in VMware Fusion. You might want to do this if your virtual machine is failing and needs to be recreated, or if the Operating System needs to be reinstalled and data on the virtual machine does not need to be saved.

Warning: Deleting a virtual machine deletes all data saved on that machine. If data on a virtual machine needs to be saved, back up your data before proceeding with the instructions in this article.

For detailed, written instructions on how to do this, please read the related Knowledgebase article: Deleting a virtual machine in Fusion (1003420).

Toronto vForum 2011

by Rick Blythe

The Toronto vForum 2011 took place last Thursday and I can say from first hand experience that it was noticeably better attended than last year's event. The labs were very well attended and everyone was loaded up with swag (love the shirt Mozy!).

I was there to spread the word about VMware's social media presence on the support side of things. Online tools like Twitter and Facebook are particularly good at helping customers find the right information when they are in a bind.

For those to whom I did not speak, here is where you can reach me the next time you're looking for that elusive KB article, or when your support ticket is stalled.

Twitter:
@vmwarecares
@vmwarekb

Facebook:
VMwareCares
VMwareKB

Blogs:
Support Insider
KB Digest
KBTV

Here are some pictures from the event

Restarting a virtual machine’s interface in VMware Fusion

In this video we will look at restarting a virtual machine’s user interface in VMware Fusion. Even if a virtual machine appears to be frozen, it may actually still be running in the background. You can use this solution to resolve this issue.

For further information on this process, please read KB article: Restarting a virtual machine’s user interface in VMware Fusion (1014937).

Patch staging and remediation using Update Manager fails

Alert An issue has been identified wherein attempts to stage or remediate ESX or ESXi patches with VMware Update Manager fails.

The issue is occurring because the relative path to patches has changed. The current workaround involves forcing Update Manager to download new metadata files that contain the new patch path.

To learn more about the issue and the workaround, please read: Patch staging and remediation using Update Manager fails (2001631).

Forcing a virtual machine to power off in VMware Fusion

Today we have a KBTV video which demonstrates the process for forcing a virtual machine to power off in VMware Fusion.

This process maybe required if one of your virtual machines is not responding during the regular shut down process, if you are unable to power off a virtual machine which is running, or if you have a virtual machine which is not responding.

A word of warning: When you perform a hard power off, this has the same effect as switching off the power switch on a physical computer. Only do this if it is absolutely necessary as it may cause data loss or file system corruption

For further instructions on this, please consult our Knowledgebase article: Forcing a virtual machine to power off in VMware Fusion (1006215).

What if we gave you a different search experience?

We're trying something a little bit different, changing the way you can find articles from our Knowledge Base before you file a support request. But before we tell you what we're doing, let us explain why…

We Learn

We do everything we can to make your search experience a positive one, assessing all the different data points we can access. Here's some of what we have learned:

  • Most of you spend a lot of time searching for answers online before requesting help – upwards of an hour on Google, kb.vmware.com and the Communities.
  • About half of you call in rather than use our web-based self-service portal to report an issue.
  • On our existing File a Technical Service Request Page, ~85% of you don't use the embedded Search bar, but…
  • Of the ~15% of you who do, most of you find some kind of answer.
  • Most of the cases you do report (~60% to ~80%, depending on the product) we've solved before and captured it in an article.

We've therefore come to some assumptions:

  1. If you're not searching on this page, its because you already sought help elsewhere.
  2. Despite your exhaustive searching, you're not finding the article that you need.

We Adjust

What if we gave you a different search experience?

We've been tagging our articles following a fairly specific strategy to isolate the product, intent, result and/or problem (some would call it a hybrid folksonomy). Our Knowledge Champions have been populating these tags using Bookmarks in the Communities – you can browse all of the tags and bookmarks in the communities, and click on the 'kb' tag to see ours.

Using the Communities' inherent understanding of tags (not to mention all the great social features that get tied in on the Communities side), we've developed a way of guiding you through a search using tag-cloud-driven interface. The idea is that with a few selections, you can quickly isolate the section of our content most relevant to you.

New File SR page

If you decide to use the tag cloud, each selection (and subsequent selection) refines the cloud and the results.

Of course, you can always go the traditional route, and type in your query – our auto-complete will pipe up with suggestions.

The new page is at http://www.vmware.com/srfile/

We Listen

Although it will soon replace the page you already know well, we wanted to give you a sneak peek here, and get some of your feedback about it in our dedicated Communities space.

We want to hear from you, so please check out the new interface and let us know what you like or what you would change, what you hope we do more of, and what you hope we throw out! We can't claim we'll be able to implement all of your suggestions, but we will consider every one, and determine how well in fits into our development timeline.

Renaming virtual machines in VMware Fusion

See how easy and quick it is to rename your VMware Fusion virtual machine using the VMware Fusion user interface in this video. Why would you want to do this? Providing unique and meaningful names to your virtual machines will help you to manage and track your virtual machines more easily as you build a library of vms for instance.

For further details and itemized instructions, be sure to check out VMware Knowledge Base article 1015695

 

vSphere Licensing Mind Map

Today's mind map has articles for troubleshooting the licensing of VMware product (enterprise and desktop alike). It is slightly different from the others we've recently posted, in that most topics are single articles rather than actual Resolution Paths. This mind map lists important licensing components and articles related to licensing topics, such as support contracts and license keys. For example, the 'Product Licensing' topic has several sub-topics like ESX 3.x Licensing, vSphere Licensing, and Desktop Licensing. For each sub-topic, you will find a list of important articles related to that area.

Screen shot 2011-06-13 at 2.44.46 PM
Click here to get the downloadable pdf file.

This mind map does feature a Troubleshooting component, and it does list some resolution paths. We have articles for issues such as missing licenses and not being able to license some of the core VMware products. It'll all make sense when you see it.

What is a ThinApp “Clean Machine”?

We have a guest post today from Jason Bassford, VCP, a Senior Technical Support Engineer in our Burlington Ontario office, who asks: What's the definition of a ThinApp "clean machine"?

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First, a little bit of background on the process of capturing an application. You take a prescan, which records all of the files and registry settings of an operating system prior to installing the application. Then you install the application and take a postscan – which records all of this information again. The prescan is compared to the postscan and anything that is different is added into the project from which the virtual application is compiled.

If the application installs a set of files that are required for it to work, but the capture machine already has those files, the comparison of the prescan and postscan will pick up no change and those files will not be included in the project. When the virtual application is compiled, if it is then deployed to another computer that does not have those files, it will fail to work – because the files will not be found on either the deployment machine or in the compiled application itself. For this reason, it is always best practice to capture everything that the application needs to work. Don’t ever assume that something will always be present on every deployment OS.

When we say a "clean machine" we are saying a few different things. The simplest (and most often correct) answer is that the machine has a default installation of an operating system, a service pack, and ThinApp itself. Nothing else. In other words, it has the very least amount of software that’s possible to have installed but still function. In this way, there’s the greatest chance that everything that an applications needs to run will be captured during its installation. This definition accounts for about 95% of the problems we see with users where we are unable to reproduce their problem in-house: because we always work with a baseline image of a clean machine, and we find that often isn't the case with the support calls we get. Before contacting Support, first make sure that you're using a truly stock operating system.

However, there are some circumstances where this won’t be sufficient. For example, your deployment machines are in an environment where they have some type of software or operatings system patch installed that changes the way in which an application installs itself. During the application installation, it sees this in place and installs different files than if it were not in place. So – if you capture an application on a traditional clean machine, that does not have this software, it will fail to include the components in the installation that are required for it to work on the deployment machines that do have this software. In this scenario, we need to redefine "clean machine" to mean an operating system that also has this software component prior to the prescan.

A good rule of thumb for when you can use a non-stock OS as a capture machine (and only if a stock OS fails to produce a working virtual application) is if there is a corporate image of some type involved where everybody always gets the same set of software beyond the normal stock OS. We saw one where no matter what the user did he was unable to get a ThinApp package to function on a View desktop. Rather than troubleshoot what it was that was different between his capture machine and these desktops, we had him install ThinApp onto one of these desktops and then capture the application from there. That fixed his problem.

In short, always first try getting back to a stock OS for your capture machine – make sure that nothing else is installed. If, and only if, that fails then make the capture machine a baseline corporate image that everybody uses.