Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Quarter in Review: Top 5’s of Q3/2009

October 2, 2009

SOLORI’s top blog posts of Q3/2009

  1. In-the-Lab: Full ESX Test Lab in a Box – 18%
    1. Part 1, Setup and Getting Started with ESXi
    2. Part 2, Selecting a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA)
    3. Part 3, Building and Provisioning the VSA
    4. Part 4, Creating the Cluster-in-a-Box
    5. Part 5, Deploying vCenter, Update Manager, et al
  2. Installing FreeNAS to USB Flash: Easy as 1, 2, 3 – 17%
  3. Preview: Installing vSphere ESXi to Flash – 11%
  4. Installing ESXi on the Tyan Transport GT28 – 4%
  5. In-the-Lab: vSphere DPM, Quirky but Functional – 3%

SOLORI’s top search engine keywords for Q3/2009

  1. USB flash install – 5.6%
  2. FreeNAS – 4.7%
  3. ESXi – 1.7%
  4. Virtual SAN – 0.6%
  5. AMD – 0.4%

Summary and Comments

With about 17K visits this quarter, FreeNAS and ESXi related posts are clearly the most popular. We’ve seen a great deal of traffic generated by the ESX-on-ESX series, but the popular FreeNAS project comes a close second. Judging by the search engine results, nearly 6% of our traffic find the SolutionOriented Blog trying to locate tips on installing FreeNAS or ESXi to USB flash. We’ll take that as a hint for next quarter to deliver more information on alternative and open storage solutions that fit virtualization use cases: stayed tuned.


Very Cool “Hologram”

April 28, 2009
Demo: Augmented Reality

Demo: Augmented Reality

If you have not seen this, it is a very cool demonstration of “augmented reality.” It takes a web camera, microphone, Internet access and black-and-white printer:

  1. Print the special target;
  2. Turn-on webcam, sound and microphone;
  3. Select the desired “reality”
  4. Point the target at the camera
  5. Play…

The “augmented reality” demonstration has a video (if you don’t want to print & interact) that walks through the experience. This is fun stuff, kids! Try it on your big screen today.


Search Term Review: February 2009

February 26, 2009

Looking at the “Top 3” search index  driving traffic to our blog, its obvious that ESXi and FreeNAS are getting a lot of attention.

Search Term #1: esxi network drivers

White box and DIY lab explorers are trying to push the envelope on network cards. Except for supported-but-PCI-id-does-not-match exceptions, it is not worthwhile to hack-in a “cheap” NIC for your hypervisor. Since NAS/SAN and application data traverses your “hacked NIC,” do you really want to risk it? For the exception, see the next search term.

Search Term #2: nvidia mcp55 sata controller esxi install

The number of MCP55-based motherboards out there is understandably large. However, not all MCP55 systems are “install” compatible. That’s where USB flash install makes your ESXi installation an easy – albeit two step – process. There are blog entries out there that will help you on your way to MCP55/ESX/ESXi nirvana.

The basic problem is your controller has a different revision – and PCI id – then the driver expects. Since this “compatible id list” was cooked into the ISO image, it is likely stale and your “version” of the hardware “may” work. This is common to MCP and ICH SATA controllers. If so, modifying the list of supported PCI ids and making the correct driver associations is the trick to success.

Here’s a good blog outlining the hard way for ESX.

Hers another on creating your own roll-up for ESXi. It includes a downloadable oem.tgz replacement with support for ICH10, ICH8, e1000e, 3Ware, igb and Dvorak support. The discussion give additional insight.

Search Term #3: freenas usb

This is an easy one. We have decent how-to here, and there are numerous others on-line. SOLORI has not explored the nightly build (AMD64) variant – yet. If you want to explore the “wild side” of FreeNAS, go here, the FreeNAS community is vibrant and informative.


ESXi Firmware Update

February 10, 2009


This release closes an unspecified vulnerability in ESX and ESXi 3.5 that created a host crash when snapshots of corrupt VMDKs were made. This was assigned CVE-2008-4914.

Problems with the following hardware were also addressed:

  • E1000 NICs
  • Broadcom HT-1000 SATA controllers
  • SATA CD/DVD drives
  • SanDisk SD-USB cards
  • 64-bit SLES9 SP3 virtual machines with e1000 drivers
  • Broadcom BCM5700 NICs
  • iSCSI Software Initiator

It also fixes a problem with FC-based N-port ID Virtualization (NPIV) targets used with RDM. The problem caused VM’s with NPIV-based RDM’s to fail (not power on) after removing the world wide name (WWN) assignment. After the patch, the VM powers on even in the absence of the WWN.

For ESXi-on-USB-flash fans, the patch fixes a problem with some SanDisk USB media by updating the usb-storage driver.

For details on the update, see VMware’s Knowledge Base article.


Virtualization Rant: Solid Networking Skills Required

January 24, 2009

<RANT>My local pastor recently completed a series on getting your life “from here to there,” and it made me think: what single administrative skill and knowledge base is necessary to make robust virtualization solutions work? Is that a simple question? Are there simple answers? Read the rest of this entry ?


Solution Oriented Engineering now Solution Oriented, LLC

December 16, 2008

Today we’ve made Solution Oriented, LLC a formal company to enable more consulting opportunities. Today, we’re focusing on the area of virtualization and surrounding technologies (networks, commodity computing, storage, etc.) In the future, we will try to attract more multi-disciplinary talent in the areas of VoIP and security to broaden our approach and increase our value proposition.