Friday, March 13, 2015

VMware Licencing - that was annoying

I'm going through a process of scoping hardware for a new project which is sized a little larger than usual for us. We are still relatively new to virtualization both in inclination but also in respect of vendor willingness to support it, but have used VMWare Essentials to get ourselves started. With this project I expected a step up but that Essentials Plus or at least vSphere Standard+vCenter might be as far as was needed.

First I discovered that "full vCenter" cannot manage Essentials hosts which is grating. Then in reading around editions I discovered the presence of a vCPU (Virtual SMP) limit on guests, but we need to provision one at 24 vCores, which would put it at Enterprise for 5.1. I pinged our hardware vendor who also acts as our VMware vendor and said "figure it out for me" and the initial answer I got was Enterprise Plus, but after pressing the matter the rep said "I'll double check"

Fortunately, while waiting for the reply, I found VMware KB 2001113 which showed that yes, there was an 8-vCPU limit on editions through Standard in 5.1, but there's a "See note" under 5.5. The "note" is KB 2064117 which says in respect of "all paid editions":
There are no restrictions on the number of vCPUs per virtual machine. You can configure up to the maximum number of vCPUs per virtual machine as specified in the vSphere 5.5 Configuration Maximums Guide.
The free hypervisor remains limited to 8 vCPU per guest (but the 32Gb/host limit is gone).

So if you don't have a reason you need to stick at 5.1, even Essentials is sufficient to run even what is for us a ridiculously large 24 vCPU guest. Now I wish I hadn't spent so much time on an SCVMM/HyperV plan B...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Broken images on Outlook Web Access logon screen after Exchange Rollup installed

We don't normally use OWA but every so often a situation calls for it. Since our last Exchange 2007 Rollup Update, the OWA logon theme on our CAS host has been borked with broken images. It turns out that there's a known and long standing issue and a script which can be run manually to fix it. Best four seconds I spent today :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HP LaserJet printers duplex when they aren't supposed to

Came across an issue today where, after a firmware update, a HP LaserJet P4015 decided to send paper from the Letterhead tray through the duplexer. I knew I had seen it before but couldn't recall how it was resolved, but eventually I stumbled across discussions of the same issue. Most refer to the use of an "All_ALM_types_OFF.prn" file which when sent through the printer resolved the issue. It turned out I had a copy of said file lurking in my "I must organise this one of these days" folder. Here's how the PRN file looks in Notepad++, since Notepad and web forums don't render the escape codes correctly:

However, this can also be dealt with from the printer's web console.

If you want to read about what Alternative Letterhead Mode does when it's on, try this HP page. If you want to know why, years after this issue was first flagged, HP are still shipping firmware which can trip this setting on various models then I have no wisdom for you :)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Find the Bluetooth MAC address on a Blackberry 7 device

This is a short one but apparently in the variety of awful Bluetooth support that car manufacturers provide, at least one requires the MAC address to be entered for successful connection. This is reasonably easy to find for wifi but you have to dig a bit for Bluetooth. Blackberry's convention appears to be that they are the same except for the last hex digit.

  • Click the Options icon.
  • Click Networks and Connections.
  • Click Bluetooth Connections.

The screen should now say:

            Bluetooth ON
            Discoverable NO
            Paired Devices

At this point, click the Menu button (to the left of the touchpad) and select Options. You will see:

            Device Name
            Allow Outgoing Calls
            Contacts Transfer
            LED Connection Indicator
            Connect On Power Up
            Device Address << this is what you’re looking for.

Hope this helps someone out there. I find helping people with car/BT issues frustrating as you can neither see the device or the car UI and are dependent on what you are being told is happening.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Migrating a print server from Windows 2003 or 2008 to a Windows 2008 R2 server? A possible pitfall

I was having some trouble migrating one of my print servers (Windows 2008) to a stable 2008R2 file server. I intended to use the DNS name of the existing server as a CNAME alias on the new server, and didn't think it would cause much difficulty because the SMB shares are already advertised via a similarly migrated CNAME and the print queues worked fine when referenced by the server A record. Not so.

It turns out the print spooler service needs to be allowed access the network in such circumstances, and failure to do so results in a 0x00000709 error. The situation is detailed here at TechNet Blogs. Even though it refers to a non-Microsoft DNS server I encountered the issue with a Windows 2003 R2 DNS instance. There is further reference to DNSonewire in this Knowledge Base article. Implementing the suggested reg key and restarting the spooler service resulted in a working connection to a CNAME referenced queue. Now I have to find the next cutover window...