Author Archives: Steve Jin

Hacking VMware Tools ISO from vSphere

In a recent experiment, I needed to get the VMware Tools installer. Somehow after searching many different places, I couldn’t find it. While writing this article, I found a link to all the installers organized per ESX versions and CPU architectures. The installers are single files, different from an installable CD which I hacked.

Posted in Virtualization | Tagged , , | 10 Responses

Book: The Art of Scalability

Just finished reading the book The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise by Martin Abbott, Michael Fisher. The book draws on authors’ experiences working at PayPal/eBay and other Internet companies, and covers many aspects of scalability including people, organization, process, and technology. According to Yishan Wong, who used to work under the authors and is now an engineering director at Facebook, “the opportunity to directly absorb the lessons and experiences presented in this book is invaluable to me now working at Facebook.”

Posted in Cloud Computing | Tagged , , | 5 Responses

What Roles Does A User Have in vSphere?

If you have read my previous article on vSphere security model, you know how it works. Still, you may wonder what roles a particular user may have, as asked in a recent email from one of my former VMware colleagues.

In an operating system, a user is assigned to a group or multiple groups therefore granted a certain permissions. In vSphere, a role is simply a set of privileges and that is it. It’s natural to think of a role as a group sometimes, but it’s really not.

Posted in vSphere API | Tagged , | 8 Responses

Discontinuous Response Stream from vSphere

Last month a question was raised in our open source vSphere Java API forum regarding an exception during HostSystem.getSummary() method call. As you can see from the stack trace, the actual exception was “org.dom4j.DocumentException.”

Posted in vSphere API | Tagged , | 6 Responses

Lessons Learned From Troubleshooting My New PC

Recently I upgraded my computer and got into all sorts of issues. I first ordered an Intel Core i7 based desktop and a 24’ monitor from Costco website. I know desktop is not the most popular one these days, but for me it’s still the most effective one for programming, writing. For one thing, the tablet even laptop screen is way too small to be productive for coding and blogging. Tweeting may be a different story. But then why would you need a tablet if you can use a smart phone for tweeting? Anyway that is a different topic that doesn’t belong here.

Posted in Others | Tagged , , | 1 Response

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Management APIs

While checking out the exhibitions at CloudExpo weeks ago, I learned about the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.0. Due to my interest in virtualization APIs, I started to look into its management APIs. With no surprise these days, it’s a REST API.

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Cisco UCS Management APIs

After installing the UCS emulator, I started to read and try UCS management APIs. I found the following two documents very helpful: Cisco UCS Manager API Management Information Model, and Cisco UCS Manager XML API Programmer’s Guide.

Key Concepts

The key concepts of the APIs are pretty similar to VMware vSphere API. For example, it has managed objects which represent UCS resources like chassis, blades, fabric interconnects, etc. They contain administrative states and operational state.

Posted in Software Development, Virtualization | Tagged , , | 4 Responses

Cisco UCS Emulator

Recently I started to learn Cisco UCS because VCE uses it in Vblock. I thought I would need a real server like Vblock, but to my surprise Cisco has a pretty nice emulator there, meaning anyone can play with it without a real physical server in place.

Here is the download link for the emulator. You will be asked for Cisco.com user id. Just fill an online form if you don’t have it yet. It’s fairly straightforward and quick, and I got mine within one minute.

Posted in Virtualization | Tagged , | 8 Responses

Eclipse: 10 Years of Excellence

This month Eclipse turns 10 years old. Ten years ago, IBM donated the initial Eclipse Java IDE, which was then estimated $40M, to Eclipse Foundation. It has since grown to 273 open source projects and $800M portfolio today. Quite an achievement by any standard!

This news release summarizes some of the key accomplishments:

Posted in News & Events, Software Development | Tagged , , | 1 Response

New Book: Enterprise Java Applications Architecture on VMware

My former colleague Emad Benjamin at VMware has just published a new book on running Java on vSphere. When I was still there, I had the opportunity to review the Chapter 5 of his book.

As many of you know, Emad is a well-known expert on this subject who has spoken at various events like VMworld and helped numerous customers. You can buy his book at Amazon or from publisher directly. Remember to bring it to next year’s VMworld for his autograph.:-)

Posted in Cloud Computing, Software Development, Virtualization | Tagged , , | 5 Responses

We Are Hiring

I think it’s going to be the longest single post I have ever done because we have quite a few openings in our VCE team. We are building our software capability for what I called turnkey software stack for cloud computing on Vblock.

The following are just three openings we want to fill immediately: Sr. GUI Engineer, Sr. Build/Automation Engineer, and Sr. Software Development Manager (update: Principal Solutions Engineer). We also have more software engineer and QA positions whose descriptions are not listed here. If you are interested in any position, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@vce.com).

Posted in Software Development, Virtualization | Tagged , | 1 Response

Maven Again

Because my new team at VCE uses Maven, I just picked it up again. Last time I used it was when I helped to port the CloudTools to vSphere for the CloudFoundry demo for VMworld 2009 keynotes. Because the project founder Chris Richardson had chosen Maven, I just followed his footsteps forward. After that, I didn’t use Maven.

Posted in Software Development | Tagged , , | 3 Responses

Best Practices for Best Practices

Like many other industries, IT industry has all sort of best practices, from how to use a product to how to design software. I have personally contributed top 10 best practices on how to use VMware vSphere APIs (part 1, part 2).

Given the complexity of IT systems, it makes sense to capture the expert knowledge in the format of best practices. I think there are just too many of them and not all of them are of high qualities, thus I have a mixed feeling about best practices these days.

Posted in Cloud Computing, Software Development | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Learning Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud

Yesterday I went to Microsoft Azure DevCamp in its Silicon Valley office. Like other developer events organized by Microsoft, it featured awesome presentations with nice overviews and demos by top evangelists like James Conard, Wade Wegner, Nick Harris, etc.

As you’ve probably known, Microsoft has been betting heavily on cloud computing. Anyone who is interested in cloud computing simply cannot ignore its Windows Azure, which is a comprehensive platform for developing cloud applications. Note that, the focus is applications, not virtual machines as offered by Amazon and other IaaS providers.

Posted in Cloud Computing, News & Events | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

The Future of VI Java API and How You can Help

Upon hearing about my leaving VMware, quite a few members in the community sent me emails or tweets asking about the future of the API. Most of them have built products or automation scripts using the API, therefore would like to see the continuous success of the open source project. I am sure there will be more inquiries coming without this post.

Posted in vSphere API | Tagged | 12 Responses

My Next Adventure

After leaving VMware and taking a short break at home last week, I am excited to be part of VCE solution engineering team as an architect at its Santa Clara office. For those who are not familiar VCE, it’s a joint venture of EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel. My formal title is consultant software engineer which, according to my recruiter, is the top engineer rank in the company.

Posted in News & Events | Tagged , , | 6 Responses

Moving on

Today is my last day at VMware.

Looking back, it’s been almost four and half years since I joined VMware in June 2007. At that time, VMware was still part of EMC, and two months later it went IPO (to be exact, spin off). Together with many of my colleagues I watched the historical moment for the company on a very early summer morning. I still remember there were quite a few sleeping tents inside the new offices.

Posted in News & Events | Tagged , | 27 Responses

VI Java API 5.0 GA Released

It’s been one plus month since I pushed out the beta code which has since been downloaded more than 700 times. As promised, I am happy to announce the GA of VI Java API 5.0 today. This is the fourth major release after 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1 which are all shipped on time. Predictability is important for commercial products, even so for open source projects like this. I think we’ve demonstrated it in the past three and half years since the first release in May 2008.

Posted in vSphere API | Tagged | 4 Responses

One More Secret About Session Management in vSphere

Session management is a very important part of vSphere management, especially when scalability is involved. I’ve blogged about this in my previous posts (1, 2). If you haven’t read them yet, it’s high time to do so.

In this article, I am going to share with you a new finding while helping a development team. By default, an idle session is terminated by vSphere server after 30 minutes. The team found that it’s not totally true. They use several types of sessions for different purposes. Two of the sessions remain live even after the 30 minute default while others are gone.

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Escaping Characters for SOAP XML: Late But Here

It’s a known bug in VI Java API that it did not escape strings to be included within a XML tag. The potential risk, although very very rare, is that it can blow the de-serialization of a request on the server side. I did get one or two reports on failing on login, which turned out to be caused by special characters like < or > in passwords. As a quick fix, an escaping logic has been added to escape the special characters in passwords.

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    My company has created products like vSearch ("Super vCenter"), vijavaNG APIs, EAM APIs, ICE tool. We also help clients with virtualization and cloud computing on customized development, training. Should you, or someone you know, need these products and services, please feel free to contact me: steve __AT__ doublecloud.org.

    Me: Steve Jin, VMware vExpert who authored the VMware VI and vSphere SDK by Prentice Hall, and created the de factor open source vSphere Java API while working at VMware engineering. Companies like Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP, Dell, VMware, are among the users of the API and other tools I developed for their products, internal IT orchestration, and test automation.