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Random Thoughts on IT Automation

January 6th, 2012 5 comments

IT automation is key to IT efficiency, agility and control. Here are some of my recent thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to share yours.

People and Automation

  • All automations ultimately start from people, not the other way around.
  • Although automation has a role, it never takes the place of a good system administrator.
  • Not everything can be automated, and not everything is worth being automated.
Categories: Cloud Computing Tags: ,

Top 5 Predictions on Cloud Computing for 2012

December 31st, 2011 4 comments

After finishing up my reflection of 2011 predictions , it’s time to make my predictions for 2012 as today is the last day of 2011. :-)

1. Virtualization war will be heated between VMware and Microsoft. The trigger will be the Hyper-V 3.0 which is expected to ship in the middle of 2012 with the Windows 8 server. According to many people, the 3.0 release will bring it on par or better than latest VMware hypervisor.

Reflection on My Predictions on Cloud Computing for 2011

December 27th, 2011 No comments

Last December I made top 5 predictions on cloud computing for 2011. When the year ends soon, it’s time to review them. I won’t rate their accuracy myself because I am indeed biased. You are welcome to do so in the comments though.

“1. The focus of cloud computing will gradually shift from IaaS to PaaS which becomes key differentiator in competition. Developer enablement becomes more important than ever in ecosystem evangelism, full software lifecycle integration, IDE support, API and framework, and etc.”

BusyBox on Windows

December 21st, 2011 2 comments

Even if you haven’t heard about BusyBox, you may have used it. It runs in every ESXi, which doesn’t have a full OS as console like classic ESX. Still, you need an easy way to interact the hypervisor directly. So the ESXi includes a tiny console that uses BusyBox (reduced version) due to its small size.

The BusyBox has been ported to Windows as well. You can download the 600+K executable here. It’s really a simple exe file and you can place it anywhere.

Categories: Virtualization Tags: , , ,

Running DSL on VMware Player

December 20th, 2011 No comments

DSL is an overloaded acronym standing for many different things. I first knew it as Digital Subscriber Line for Internet connection, and then Domain Specific Language. Recently I learnt a new one: Damn Small Linux. As you see the word small, you may think it’s for embedded system. It’s not.

Categories: Virtualization Tags: , ,

Setting Up IIS for ASP.Net Web Applications On Windows 7

December 16th, 2011 1 comment

This week I spent some time deploying a Web application I developed using Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2010 Express (it’s free). For that, I installed Microsoft Internet Information Service (IIS) on my Windows 7 enterprise edition. This turned out pretty straight-forward: Control Panel – Programs – Turn Windows Features on or off. In the Windows Features dialog box, just locate the Internet Information Service and check on it. After a click on the OK button, the IIS (version/build is IIS 7.5.7600.16385) was installed.

Categories: Software Development Tags: ,

Why Social Networks Are Monopolistic By Nature?

December 12th, 2011 No comments

Social networking has been the hottest area after the dot.com burst. User base is still a critical factor and far more sticky than before. It’s the connections among these users that differentiate social networking from other types of Internet services.

A connection is formed from one user to another. They cannot be on two different web sites, even though theoretically they can. Technically we can define protocols to link users, even groups, together from different sites. But it is not efficient and may not be fast enough to sync up states and discover new connections. Even more issues on business side, not to mention privacy policies.

Categories: Others Tags: , ,

Hacking VMware Tools ISO from vSphere

December 9th, 2011 10 comments

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.

Categories: Virtualization Tags: , ,

Book: The Art of Scalability

December 5th, 2011 5 comments

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.”

Categories: Cloud Computing Tags: , ,

What Roles Does A User Have in vSphere?

November 30th, 2011 8 comments

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.

Categories: vSphere API Tags: ,

Discontinuous Response Stream from vSphere

November 28th, 2011 6 comments

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.”

Lessons Learned From Troubleshooting My New PC

November 23rd, 2011 1 comment

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.

Categories: Others Tags: , ,

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Management APIs

November 21st, 2011 No comments

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.

Cisco UCS Management APIs

November 14th, 2011 3 comments

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.

Cisco UCS Emulator

November 11th, 2011 5 comments

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.

Categories: Virtualization Tags: ,

Eclipse: 10 Years of Excellence

November 8th, 2011 No comments

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:

New Book: Enterprise Java Applications Architecture on VMware

November 4th, 2011 5 comments

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.:-)

We Are Hiring

November 4th, 2011 No comments

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).

Maven Again

November 4th, 2011 3 comments

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.

Best Practices for Best Practices

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

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.