Release: HP Virtualization Performance Viewer 1.0

Release: Solarwinds Virtualization Manager 5.1

December 7th, 2012

Solarwinds has released version 5.1 of its virtualization management product Virtualization Manager. This version is the follow-up of version 5.0 which was released in April this year. Virtualization Manager is…

The Pivotal Initiative by EMC and VMware

December 7th, 2012

EMC and VMware on December 4, announced the merge of their cloud application and big data offerings into a single virtual organization called the Pivotal Initiative.
Paul Martiz, former VMware…

Release: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1

December 6th, 2012

Red Hat has released version 3.1 of its Enterprise Virtualization product. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) is Red Hats virtualization platform based on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. Version…

Amazon adds Windows Applications to its Marketplace

December 6th, 2012

Amazon has announced that the AWS Marketplace now also contains applications which can run on top of Microsoft Windows. Amazon is launching with an initial set of applications and will…

Paper: HP Departmental Private Cloud Reference Architecture

December 6th, 2012

HP has released a paper titled: HP Departmental Private Cloud Reference Architecture, the paper which contains 88 pages defines a best practices reference architecture and detailed implementation guide for building…

Paper: HP VirtualSystem VS2 for Microsoft

December 5th, 2012

HP has released a paper titled: HP VirtualSystem VS2 for Microsoft. The paper which contains 23 pages details HPs reference architecture for the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track. The Cloud…

Release: Virsto for vSphere 2.0

December 5th, 2012

Virsto, the Californian company founded 2007, provider of storage hypervisor software for virtual machines announced yesterday December 4 the release the new version of Virsto for vSphere 2.0
The  virtual…

Release: PHD Virtual Backup 6.1

December 4th, 2012

PHD Virtual has released version 6.1 of its product Backup. This version is the follow-up of version 6.0 which was released in august this year. PHD Virtual Backup is a…

Paper: Deploying a Hypervisor using the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter in a Dell Active System Manager Environment

December 4th, 2012

Dell has released a paper titled: "Deploying a Hypervisor using the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter in a Dell Active System Manager Environment" The paper which contains 14 pages…

Paper: Microsoft Server 2012 for Dell Converged Blade Data Center: Reference Architecture

December 4th, 2012

Dell has released a paper titled: Microsoft Server 2012 for Dell Converged Blade Data Center: Reference Architecture. The paper which contains 25 pages details a reference architecture validated by Dell…

Paper: Dell DVS Reference Architecture for Windows Server 2012 v1.1

December 4th, 2012

Dell already a while ago released a paper titled: "Dell DVS Reference Architecture for Windows Server 2012 v1.1". The paper which contains 49 pages describes the Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions…

Paper: VMware vSphere VMFS Technical Overview and Best Practices

December 3rd, 2012

VMware has updated its VMFS Technical Overview paper for vSphere 5.1. The Paper titled VMware vSphere VMFS Technical Overview and Best Practices contains 17 pages and details how the VMware…

Paper: VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI)

December 3rd, 2012

VMware has released a paper titled: VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI), the paper which contains 19 pages details the current vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI)…

Citrix announces availability of Citrix NetScaler and CloudBridge AMIs on Amazon EC2

December 3rd, 2012

During the annual Amazon event AWS RE: Invent, Citrix announced that a Citrix NetScaler Amazon Machine Image (AMI) and a CloudBridge AMI are now available in the AWS Marketplace which…

 
Monthly Archive

Release: vCenter Operations Manager 5.6

VMware yesterday released version 5.6 of its performance, capacity and configuration analytics product vCenter Operations Manager. The product which was first released in March last year, combines several products acquired by VMware in the past and is part of the vCloud suite, which besides vCenter Operations Manager also includes vSphere, vCloud Connector, vCloud Director, vCloud Networking and Security, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vFabric Application Director, en vCloud Automation Center. vCloud Operation Manager functionality is partly available in the vCloud Advanced licensed suite and fully in the Enterprise version as detailed here.

vCenter Operations Manager provides performance, capacity and configuration analytics for management of highly virtual infrastructures and cloud infrastructures. It does so by analyzing and correlating data across the monitored IT infrastructure in a pretty unique way: for each tracked resource, it can identify the normal behavior of every metric (which implies a dynamic adjustment of thresholds) and then automatically recognize an anomaly. Capacity Management is provided to enable users to users to analyze, forecast, and plan the capacity needs of their virtual datacenter environment. Configuration and Compliance Management is provided by collecting, fixing, provisioning and managing configurations.

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Version 5.6 provides the following new features:

  • Support for vCenter Server 5.1 and ESXi 5.1
  • Integration with vCenter Infrastructure Navigator providing application health monitoring and automatic application population in the Operations Manager interface
  • Integration with vCenter Configuration Manager, allowing machine groups created by vCenter Configuration Manager to be automatically populated in the vCenter Operations Manager interface.
  • Integration with vCenter vSphere Web Client
  • Custom Groups, allowing user-defined and pre-defined custom groups
  • Capacity Analysis enhancements
  • Stress detection and computation improvements
  • Context-sensitive explanations and next-step guidance for VM, host, datastore and cluster details.
  • Experimental Custom Reports support
  • User Interface enhancements

Information about installation and configuraiton of vCenter Operations Manager can be found here.

VMware vSphere Blog: Automating CA Self-Signed Certificates for ESXi 5.1 for use with resxtop

Last week I wrote an article about resxtop failing to connect to an ESXi 5.1 host due to SSL Certificate validation which has been implemented in resxtop and I provided a few workarounds that you can use until a fix is released for resxtop. As promised at the end of that article, I will show you how you can automate the creation proper certificates for environments using CA self-signed SSL Certificates so you can continue using resxtop with ESXi 5.1 until a fix is released.

Note: VMware definitely recommends as a best practice to replace the self-signed SSL Certificates that are automatically generated during an ESXi installation with proper CA signed SSL Certificates for additional security. For more details on SSL Certificate replacement, please refer to the following VMware KB.

Disclaimer: These script are provided for informational/educational purposes only. It should be thoroughly tested before attempting to use in a production environment.

Here is a high level overview before using the script:

  1. The script will generates a one time CA cert & key which will then be used to to sign the SSL Certificates that are generated for each ESXi 5.1 hosts all using the openssl utility.
  2. You will then need to upload the SSL Certificates (rui.crt & rui.key) generated for each of the respective ESXi 5.1 hosts under /etc/vmware/ssl directory
  3. You will then need restart the rhttpproxy service on each of the ESXi 5.1 hosts for the SSL Certificates to take effect
  4. OPTIONAL: If you are using vCenter Server to manage your ESXi hosts, there is an additional required step of re-connecting the ESXi hosts as they will automatically be disconnected from your vCenter Server. This is due to new SSL Certificates on the hosts and the thumbprint that vCenter Server knows about is no longer valid
  5. Set the two required environmental variables HTTPS_CA_DIR and HTTPS_CA_FILE to the CA Cert that was generated in step 1 which will allow us to connect to our ESXi hosts that have had their SSL Certificates replaced

Note: Steps 2-4 are currently manual as it depends on when you want the SSL Certificates to go live on the ESXi hosts which will also require a service restart for the changes to go into effect.

You can download the script called generateSSLSelfSignCert.sh which is a shell script that can be executed on any UNIX/Linux system. In the example below, I running the script using the vMA appliance.

The script accepts a single command-line argument which is a file that contain the hostnames (FQDN) of all the ESXi 5.1 hosts you wish to replace SSL Certificates for. In the example below, I created a file called hostlist which contains the following:

pod23-esx-01a.pml.local
pod23-esx-02a.pml.local

Make sure you set the execute permission on the script before running. Here is a screenshot of the script executing based on the input file that I have provided:

The first section which is highlighted in RED, is creating a temporarily directory called ssl-certs in the current working directory and generates a one time CA Cert & Key which will then be used to self-sign the SSL Certificates for each ESXi 5.1 hosts. Please note that you will need the cacert.pem file which is generated from this step to use resxtop to connect to an ESXi 5.1 host. If you delete or lose this file, you will need to re-generate all new SSL Certificates.

Note: You also have the ability to run the script for additional hosts afterwards and if the cacerts.pem already exists, then it will not re-regenerate a new one and just use the existing one to sign new SSL Certificates.

The next section that is highlighted in BLUE is creation of the SSL Certificates (rui.crt & rui.key) for each of the ESXi hosts which is stored in their own directory based on the hostname.

Once all the SSL Certificates have been generated, you will now need to copy the rui.crt and rui.key files to each of the respective ESXi hosts under the /etc/vmware/ssl directory as noted in the GREEN highlighted section and then restart the rhttpproxy service for the SSL Certificate to go live on the ESXi host.

You can either use SCP which relies on SSH being enabled on the ESXi host or you can leverage the vifs utility which is part of the vCLI to upload your SSL Certificates. Take a look at this article for more details. In this example, I am using SCP and here is the command that I am using:

scp ssl-certs/pod23-esx-01a/rui.* root@pod23-esx-01a:/etc/vmware/ssl
scp ssl-certs/pod23-esx-02a/rui.* root@pod23-esx-02a:/etc/vmware/ssl

Here is a screenshot of SCPing the SSL Certificates to the ESXi host:

Once you have uploaded the SSL Certificates to each of the ESXi hosts, we then need to restart the rhttpproxy service. To do so, you will need to login into the ESXi Shell and running /etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart or restart the management service via the DCUI. In this example, I will be SSHing into the host and restarting the service using the following command:

ssh root@pod23-esx-01a.pml.local “/etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart”
ssh root@pod23-esx-02a.pml.local “/etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart”

Here is a screenshot of restarting the rhttpproxy for both ESXi hosts:

Note: If the ESXi hosts are being managed by vCenter Server, after the restart of the rhttpproxy or management service, the hosts will disconnect from vCenter Server. This is due to a change in the SSL Thumbprint that vCenter Server had recorded about the ESXi host when added to vCenter. You will need to re-connect each host back into vCenter Server.

The final step which is highlighted in ORANGE is to set the two required environmental variables HTTPS_CA_DIR and HTTPS_CA_FILE to specify the location of the CA Cert that was generated earlier before using resxtop. To set the two variables, run the following command:

export HTTPS_CA_DIR=/home/vi-admin/ssl-certs
export HTTPS_CA_FILE=/home/vi-admin/ssl-certs/cacert.pem

Here is a screenshot of exporting the two environmental variables and running resxtop to connect to one of the ESXi 5.1 hosts:

Note: The exact path will be automatically displayed for you in the script output, you just need to copy and run the command. Once you have finished, you can then connect to any of your ESXi 5.1 hosts using resxtop and you no longer will get an error connecting to your ESXi 5.1 host. Please note that it is important you keep the cacert.pem safe, do not lost it or accidentally delete it, else you will need to re-generate new SSL Certificates.

What I have shown here is an example on how you can easily automate the creation of your own CA self-signed SSL Certificates for your ESXi 5.1 hosts (especially after hostname or IP Address has changed on the host and the default VMware self-sign SSL Certificates no longer match). Though there are a few places where it requires some manual intervention, these can all be automated but will depend on how you want to integrate this within your build process. The example above shows a post-install/replacement of SSL Certificates, but you can also generate these certificates in advanced and copy them into your ESXi hosts as part of the actual deployment.

Get notification of new blog postings and more by following VMware Automation on Twitter:  @VMWAutomation

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Free e-learning course – vSphere Data Protection and Recovery Fundamentals [V5.1]

The vSphere Data Protection and Recovery course provides information about vSphere Storage APIs and the Data Recovery backup and recovery solution for virtual machines and describes the technologies used by Data Recovery. The course consists of the following self-paced modules: 
  • VMware Data Recovery Overview: This module provides information about vSphere Storage APIs and the Data Recovery backup and recovery solution for virtual machines. In addition, the module explains the components of the Data Recovery tool and their installation and configuration. 
  • Working with VMware Data Recovery: This module describes the technologies used by Data Recovery. In addition, the module explains the steps to create backup and restore jobs, as well as the requirements and guidelines for using Data Recovery.

VMware for Small-Medium Business Blog: VMware’s Cyber Week Specials – A New Discount Every Day

For the first time since 2008, when VMware first introduced Cyber Monday promotions on our online store, we will be having a week long sale instead of our standard 1 to 2 day sale. Not only will we have discounts on our usual suspects, but there will also be discounts on some other key products, including offerings for the small and midsize business.  Be on the lookout for your daily savings and check back each day to discover the new deal!

Visit VMware’s Cyber Monday Sales page now!

Monday 11/26:

  • 40% off Fusion 5 Professional when you Buy or Upgrade
  • 30% off Workstation 9 when you Buy or Upgrade
  • 20% off Fusion 5 when you Buy

Tuesday 11/27:

  • 10% off VMware vSphere Standard with Operations Management
  • 10% off VMware vSphere Standard

Wednesday 11/28:

  • 30% Off Zimbra Collaboration Suite Network Standard Edition 250 Mailbox Pack
  • 30% Off Zimbra Collaboration Suite Network Standard Edition 25 Mailbox Pack

Thursday 11/29:

  • 20% off Go Pro Service for 3 Years
  • 20% off Go Pro Service for 2 Years
  • 20% off Go Pro Service for 1 Year

Friday 11/30:

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VMware vSphere Blog: Manage the vCloud Suite vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 from the vSphere Web Client

With the vSphere Web Client being the current and future client user interface for vCenter Server managed objects and resources, I thought it would be a good idea to show folks how to enable the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 Manager plug-in to the new vSphere Web Client. In most cases I see that VSA customers tend to manage their VSA based infrastructures from the C# based vSphere Client (Thick Client). With the new capabilities of the vSphere Web Client, the use of the vSphere C# client to manage the VSA based infrastructures is no longer a requirement.

This vSphere Web Client becomes very appealing in scenarios where remote or local offices can’t provide accessible Windows based systems where the vSphere C# Client can be installed because of security or budgetary reasons. The vSphere Web Client is a compelling and convenient solution for ROBO scenarios as long as there is connectivity to the management environment where the vCenter Server and VSA Manager system resides.

Having the capability to administer and manage any VSA based infrastructures from any operating system (Windows, Linux, Apple) with a browser that supports Flash can be powerful and cost effective.

The process for getting the VSA Manager plug-in enabled in the vSphere Web Client is not as simple as some of the other vCloud Suite components, but this is something that could be address for future release. This solution is currently supported only under Windows based vCenter Server deployments and not with vCenter Server Appliances. Follow the steps and examples below in order to successfully enable the VSA 5.1 plug-in for the vSphere Web Client.

vCenter Server Required Configurations

Before installing of the VSA Manager the vCenter Service Web Management Service has to be modified in order to allow connectivity to the VSA Manager plug-in framework. To do this a file called webclient.properties needs to be located and modified. The location of the file is different based on the Windows operating system version in use. The current versions of Windows operating systems supported for VSA based deployments are Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The path and examples to the webclient.properties file is illustrated below is based on the deployment using Windows Server 2008:

  • Windows Server 2008 file location - %ALLUSERPROFILE%Application DataVMwarevSphere Web Client
  • Windows Server 2003 file location – %ALLUSERPROFILE%VMwarevSphere Web Client

Edit the webclient.properties file with a text editor and add the following line at the botton the file: scriptPlugin.enabled=true. I added the #VSA Manager Plug-in line it out in order to keep everything organized and well defined in the file but it is not required.

Save the file in its current location and restart the VMware vSphere Web Client service in windows. You can achieve this via the Windows Services snap-in (services.msc)

At this point the VSA Manager software can be installed if it hasn’t been done yet, or if it has, proceed and open a web browser and enter the URL for the vSphere Web Client. The vSphere Web Client default address is normally based on these parameters https://<hostname>:port/vsphere-client.

Note: The vSphere Web Client is not part of the default installation of vCenter Server and it needs to be installed separately. If the vSphere Web Client wasn’t installed during the  installation of the vCenter Server it needs to be done in order for any of this to work. The vSphere Web Client requires connectivity to the vCenter Single Sign On which also needs to be installed before installing the vSphere Web Client.

vSphere Web Client Prerequisites

Once the VSA Manager software has been installed and registered with the vCenter Server, the vSphere Web Client should be able to detect the registration of the VSA Manager and able to retrieve the necessary configuration information.

vSphere Web Client Required Configurations

After successfully accessing the vSphere Web Client the VSA Manager plug-in should be enable. Based on the way the VSA Manager works within the C# client, the VSA Manager  interface becomes accessible in a separate tab when a vCenter datacenter object is selected.

The process to gain access to the VSA Manager interface in the vSphere Web Client is similar to the C# client with a few different steps. After successfully accessing the vSphere infrastructure with the vSphere Web Client, select the vCenter from the home list, > then Datacenters, > and the select the datacenter of choice. If the interface doesn’t display a new tab called Classic Solutions the VSA Plug-in is not working and it needs to be enable within the vSphere Web Client.

Enabling the VSA Manager plug-in can be different depending on the configuration of the vSphere Infrastructure. If the implementation of the vCenter Server included the integration of a directory service (LDAP or Active Directory) login into the vSphere Web Client with an administrative account should be able to access all of the administrative components of the vSphere Web Client.

If that is not the case, and the vCenter Server and vCenter Single Sign On were not integrated with LDAP or Active directory and neither Administrative Roles or Accounts have been configured use the vCenter Single Sign On administrative account (admin@System-Domain) to add the necessary configuration settings.

In the Home page of the vSphere Web Client click the Administration link and select   Plug-in Management in the Solutions section. Here you should be able to see all the     Plug-ins related information, and status. If the plug-in is disabled simply right click on the Plug-in state and enable it.

Once the Plug-in is enabled, logout of the vSphere Web Client as the vCenter Single Sign On administrative user (admin@System-Domain) and use an account with adequate privileges to the vCenter Server and follow previously defined steps to get the VSA Manager user interface. A new tab called “Classic Solutions” should now be available with the VSA Installer wizard or management interface depending on whether there is an existing VSA Cluster to manage or a new one to be deployed.

This enables centralized management capabilities of any VSA 5.1 based infrastructure from anywhere and any operating system platform with a simple set of requirements of a Web browser that supports flash.

Get notification of these blogs postings and more VMware Storage information by following my Twitter account:@PunchingClouds

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Mit dem Nachtwächter per pedes durch Innsbrucks Altstadt

Lassen Sie sich bei einer abendlichen Per pedes-Stadtführung von einem Nachtwärter "heimleuchten".

Ausfahren

Wissen Sie, wie der Ausdruck “Schlitzohr“ entstand? Was einem Bäcker zu Kaiser Maximilians Zeiten wiederfuhr, wenn der Brotlaib einmal zu klein ausfiel? Oder warum vier Tiere am Vierviecherplatz „hausen“?

Letzten Sonntag sind meine Familie und ich dem Nachtwächter durch Innsbrucks Gassen gefolgt und haben viel Neues über die Zeit erfahren, als der Stadtrichter noch über die Stadt wachte. Ausgestattet mit einer Hellebarde und Laterne zog der Nachtwächter damals Abend für Abend durch die Innenstadt und sorgte für Ruhe und Ordnung.

“Nachtwächterin” Sonja von Per Pedes erzählte uns in der einstündigen Stadtführung lustige Anekdoten aus dem Alltagsleben der damaligen Zeit und führte uns in die verstecktesten Winkel von Innsbrucks Altstadt. Kennen Sie etwa den Flüsterbogen in der Hofgasse? Nach Ende unserer “anstrengenden Nachtschicht” wurden wir mit einem Tiroler Schnapserl verwöhnt – in einer dunklen Gasse natürlich, schließlich durfte uns der Stadtrichter nicht erwischen.

Übrigens: Unehrliche Bäcker wurden damals kopfüber in die sogenannten Ritschen getunkt. Die tiefen Rinnen zogen sich quer durch die Altstadt und enthielten neben Unrat auch andere – wie Sie sich vielleicht vorstellen können –  nicht gerade wohlriechende Sachen.

Den Rest verrate ich Ihnen nicht, lassen Sie sich selbst vom Nachtwächter “heimleuchten”. Entweder Sie buchen eine Privatführung oder nehmen am 1. oder 15. Dezember 2012  an einer öffentlichen Führung teil. Treffpunkt ist jeweils um 19 Uhr vor dem Stadtturm, schließlich haust dort der strenge Stadtrichter und entsendet seine Nachtwächter zum Dienst.

Alle Infos zur Stadtführung und Per Pedes: www.perpedes-tirol.at

Tirol isch lei oans, isch a Landl a kloans. Isch a schians, isch a feins, und des Landl isch meins. Muss ich noch mehr sagen?

Using EncFS with Dropbox and BoxCryptor

Lots of folks like using Dropbox, the ubiquitous store-and-sync cloud storage service; I am among them. However, concerns over the privacy and security of my data have kept me from using Dropbox for some projects. To help address that, I looked around to find an open, interoperable way of adding an extra layer of encryption onto my data. What I found is described in this post, and it involves using the open source EncFS and OSXFUSE projects along with an application from BoxCryptor to provide real-time, client-side AES-256 encryption.

Background

First, some background why I went down this path. Of all the various cloud-based services out there, I’m not sure there is a service that I rely upon more than Dropbox. The Dropbox team has done a great job of creating an almost seamlessly integrated product that makes it much easier to keep your files accessible across locations and devices.

Of course, Dropbox is not without its flaws, and security and privacy are considered among the prime concerns. Dropbox states they use server-side encryption to protect your data on the Amazon S3 infrastructure, but Dropbox also controls those server-side encryption keys. Many individuals, myself among them, would prefer client-side encryption with control over our own encryption keys.

So, a fair number of companies have sprung up offering ways to help fix this. One of these is BoxCryptor, who offers an application for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android that performs client-side encryption. From the Mac OS X perspective, BoxCryptor’s solution is, as far as I know, built on top of some fundamental building blocks:

  • The open source OSXFUSE project, which is a port of FUSE for Mac OS X
  • A Mac port of the open source EncFS FUSE filesystem

I would imagine that ports of these components for other operating systems are used in their other platforms, but I don’t know this for certain. Regardless, it’s possible to use BoxCryptor’s application to get client-side encryption across a variety of platforms. For those who want a quick, easy, simple solution, my recommendation is to use BoxCryptor. However, if you want a bit more flexibility, then using the individual components can give you the same effect. I chose to use the individual components, more for my own understanding than anything else, and that’s what is described in this post.

What You’ll Need

This post was written from the perspective of getting this solution running on Mac OS X; if you’re using a different operating system, the specifics will quite naturally be different (although the broad concepts are still applicable).

There are four main components you’ll need:

  • OSXFUSE: This is a port of FUSE to OS X, and is one of a couple of successors to the now-defunct MacFUSE project. OSXFUSE is available to download here.
  • Macfusion: Macfusion is a GUI to help simplify and automate the mounting of filesystems. While it’s not strictly necessary, it does make things a lot easier. Macfusion can be downloaded here.
  • EncFS: You’ll need a version of EncFS for Mac OS X. There are a variety of ways to get it; I used an installer actually made available by BoxCryptor here.
  • EncFS plugin for Macfusion: This is what enables Macfusion to mount or unmount EncFS filesystems, and is actually included in the EncFS installer above. You can also download the plugin here.

Setting Things Up

Once you have all the components you need, then you’re ready to start installing.

  1. First, install OSXFUSE. When installing OSXFUSE, be sure to select to install the MacFUSE Compatibility Layer. The OSXFUSE installer recommends rebooting after the installation, but I waited until I’d finished installing all the components.

  2. Once OSXFUSE is installed, install Macfusion. Macfusion is distributed as a ZIP file; simply unzip the file and move it to the location of your choice. I installed it to /Applications.

  3. Next, run the EncFS installer. During the installation, select to install only EncFS and the EncFS plugin for Macfusion. Do not install any of the other components. I rebooted here.

  4. You’ll need both a mount point as well as a directory to store the raw, encrypted data. Since the raw, encrypted data is intended to be synchronized via Dropbox, you’ll want to create the encrypted directory in the Dropbox hierarchy. I chose to use ~/Dropbox/Secure. For the mount point, I chose to use ~/.Secure. You can obviously modify both of these directories to better suit your own needs or preferences.

  5. Once you have all the components installed and the mount point and encrypted directories created, you’re ready to actually create the encrypted filesystem. Run the command encfs ~/Dropbox/Secure ~/.Secure. The encfs program will run through some questions; select “x” for Expert mode and configure it according to the guidelines described in this support article. When prompted for a passphrase, be sure to enter an appropriately complex passphrase—and make sure you remember it (you’ll need it later).

  6. When encfs finishes running, it will mount an encrypted volume on your desktop. It will have an odd name, but you won’t be able to change it. Go ahead and eject (unmount) this volume; we’ll remount it again shortly using Macfusion. Note that you might see some Dropbox activity here.

  7. Launch Macfusion, then re-add the encrypted filesystem created in step 5; you’ll need to supply the same passphrase you entered earlier. Here in Macfusion you’ll be able to specify a name for the encrypted filesystem and supply a custom icon as well. Mount the encrypted filesystem to be sure that everything is working as expected.

That’s it—any files you now copy into the encrypted filesystem—which is represented by an external drive on your Desktop—will be encrypted using AES-256 and then synchronized to Dropbox. Cool, huh?

Adding Another Computer

I have two Macs in my office (my 13? MacBook Pro and my Mac Pro), so I had to repeat the process on the second Mac so that it could read the encrypted files. If you have more than one computer, you’ll need to do the same. Simply go through steps 1 through 5. In step 5, though, it will only prompt for the passphrase. You can even skip steps 5 and 6 to go straight to 7. As long as you have the passphrase for the encrypted filesystem, adding access for additional Dropbox-linked computers should be a piece of cake.

Adding Access from iOS

This is where BoxCryptor comes back into play again. Install the BoxCryptor app onto you device, then link it to your Dropbox account and select the directory within Dropbox where the raw, encrypted data is found. As long as you followed the configuration guidelines here, BoxCryptor should be able to decrypt the encrypted filesystem created with EncFS.

Following these instructions, you’ll gain a way to add AES-256 encryption to your Dropbox files (or a subset of your Dropbox files) while still maintaining access to those files from just about any location across a variety of devices.

If anyone has any questions or clarifications about what I’ve posted here, please speak up in the comments below. All courteous comments are welcome!

VMware Hands On Labs Blog: Taking the Hands on Labs Online Portal for a Test Drive……..

Folks,

We are very excited about bringing online our Hands on Labs Portal and wanted to give our early users a quick tour and some helpful tips to make your experience much easier and most of all fun for you….

A little bit about the Hands on Lab Portal…

The Hands on Lab Portal is using the Project Nee Application developed by Mike D. and Curtis P. who have been part of the VMworld Hands on Labs Program for over 4 years. The Application is built for the web (HTML 5) and can run its workload from any vCloud resource (all you need to do is connect to a vCloud API and you are set) What I really like about the design in the portal is that it can serve many different use cases (think SalesForce model) – the first of which were the Education Environment and our VMware Hands on Labs. And if you are wondering about the name NEE – it is exactly what you think it is,,,

Our stack is built using the newly released vCloud Suite and runs out of our North America Data Center operated and hosted by VMware.

The front-end portal is all based on HTML 5 – highly customizable and ready for the web.

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About the Labs….
We will be hosting all of the VMworld 2012 Labs over time but decided to start with a few just to get our feet wet. We are still integrating out lab manuals but you can take a look at the complete list on our Community Site http://vmware.com/go/hol See Resources

Some Helpful Tips….

Notification:
You will get a notification from our admin team notifying you that your account has been created. Make sure you change your password and verify your account using the link provided in the email. The email will be from our projectnee domain – its us so you might want to remove it from your spam filter.

Log into the Portal – Please make sure you use the correct URL otherwise you will get very strange errors – the correct URL:

https://www.projectnee.com/HOL/

Labs Loading:
If you find yourself waiting for a lab to load longer than 5 minutes you might want to try to grab a beer / glass of wine and enjoy the moment. Once you have taken your first sip hit the refresh button this sometimes will clear up the connection and get you going again (this is bad practice but it is all we have for the moment) The guys are building a progress bar but this will not be in place for a while so for now all we ask is that you are patient with our Beta.

Advanced User Settings:
At the moment these are not enabled but shortly you will be able to set your language preferences for your browser.

Lab Manuals:
We plan to integrate all lab manuals shortly at the moment this is not the case. If you are interested in a Lab and the manual is not available use the lab manual on the website. http://hol-cme.cloudfoundry.com/index.html

Strange Behavior:
You might encounter some strange behavior while logging in from time to time – we find that if you clear your cache/refresh your browser the problem will go away and be fine. If this does not do it check our twitter, or blog posts for messages regarding out down times and user notifications.

Wacky Wednesday:
As our Beta is still in development we will need to have a day in the week when we will need to bounce the application to apply changes and do some general maintenance. As our engineers hardly sleep and work weekends we kind of agreed on using our Wed as a day to expect things to be down or bounce around a few times. So you have been warned – if things are a little crazy with our portal check the date on the calendar.

The famous CTRL + ALT + DELETE button:
I am a new MAC BOOK Pro user and this really stumped me when I logged in…. if you are like me take a deep breath and scroll down to the left hand side … here you will see the little button that will send the signal to the screen. BTW the passwords are in the bottom of the screen or posted on the manuals. These buttons take some getting use to and after a while they will work just fine (remember what I said about hitting the refresh button)

Browser Support
Well the guys have gotten latest versions of Safari, Chrome and FireFox to work, the Portal has a detecting mechanism to check to see if your browser will run – notice I left one out – we have not gotten the websockets to work with IE yet so for now its off the list and still working on it but it might be a good idea to get the latest version of the browsers mentioned.

Where to get help…

We created a VMTN community dedicated to the Hands on Labs and look forward to having you participate. Here you will find links to documentation, links to labs for you to comment. Our community is monitored by VMware R&D, and various Product Teams – join us http://vmware.com/go/hol

Help us improve our portal experience…

Please keep the feedback coming – we have built this portal for our community and need your feedback to help make it better…

Follow us on @VMwareHOL

Thanks for your support

Pablo Roesch -

Virtualize Business Critical Applications Blog: Update on Virtualizing Sharepoint

Because SharePoint encourages rapid growth and “viral” proliferation, user goals may conflict with the ability of the IT staff to deliver the desired services when needed within budgetary and manpower constraints. Flexibility is extremely valuable during this early period. If rapid growth and evolution can be supported at realistic costs, SharePoint can become an important tool to rapidly increase everyday productivity. vSphere facilitates this capability, allowing organizations to leverage the benefits of SharePoint on a pay-as-you-go basis. Because high availability features are inherent to the vSphere platform, these can be leveraged on demand. By virtualizing SharePoint, the common problems of deploying a complex, high-growth IT service are alleviated, allowing resources to be spent on maximizing the value of the tool in routine business practice.

Unlike some applications that have consistent workload patterns on a per user basis (for example, Exchange or SAP), SharePoint workloads can vary greatly depending on how the application is used within the organization. SharePoint services can be deployed in a wide variety of combinations to accommodate very specific application use cases. Even within a specific application use case, usage patterns can vary greatly depending on frequency of user access, time of day, document reads/writes, and document sizes.

Out of the box, vSphere offers several capabilities that enable you to quickly respond to changing usage patterns. Allocation of processor and memory resources to virtual machines can be easily changed to suit the most current business requirements and, in the case of Hot-Add, without any interruption to the operating system or application. You can use vMotion to migrate heavily used SharePoint virtual machines to another host to alleviate physical resource bottlenecks. Finally, template-based provisioning allows the rapid deployment of new SharePoint virtual machines to satisfy increased load.

Here is an updated support statement for running Sharepoint on vSphere.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

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