Category Archives: Uncategorized

Best VMworld 2016 sessions?

If you can make VMworld at Barcelona this year, you might want to know what sessions are great. I didn’t go to Vegas (and won’t be going to Barcelona this year), but have seen quite a lot of content from this year’s sessions.

So, my five favourites so far:

NET7857R – Reference Design for SDDC with NSX and vSphere
This is actually a two-parter, but I am going to cheat and include it as one. An overview of the NSX components, deployment considerations, single vCenter or multi-vCenter, DC topologies, considerations around VTEPs and VDS uplinks, and edge design. Part two covers sizing and considerations for small, medium, large implementations. Also covers multi-tenancy and security design life-cycle, polices, service composer, and a real world example of micro-segmentation. A couple of great presentations.
NET8193R – The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization
The keynote talked about some great upcoming applications of network virtualization, and this presentation goes into them. It starts by discussing the current NSX implementation and the planes, then a bit about clustering and log availability, and the exciting bit, about control planes now, high-performance architecture, control planes in the future, and NSX for public clouds.
SDDC8472 – An IT Architect’s Guide to the Software-Defined Data Center
Looks at the goals of the SDDC, and the components that make it up. Discusses VMware Validated Designs, the objectives, and the design decisions that go into them. Overview of a couple of deployment topologies, and some good links to videos.
INF9947-S – Spotlight on vSphere- Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond
A good presentation about the areas of focus for the vSphere development team, progress around 3D graphics with vSphere and VDI, containers, and ESXi upgrades without reboots. Also the future of the vSphere client and the HTML5 client, and an overview of where they are going with automation. Then a bit about predictive operations.
NET8675r – The Practical Path to NSX
A bit more detail than the previous session, with detail around micro-segmentation, a little bit around VDI, and practical steps about getting started. Also covers the benefits of automation (and blueprints!), and a quick look at cross-datacentre and even cross-cloud connectivity. Some good steps to help you get on the path to network virtualisation.

A fairly heavy slant towards NSX, but there was a massive amount of NSX content, and it is pretty exciting!







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Migrating from Outlook Notes

Migrating from Outlook Notes

There are plenty of decent note solutions around such as Evernote and (even better) OneNote. If you have a lot of notes stored in Outlook though, you may struggle to get them to OneNote (or Evernote) without have them as an attachment. This code can be used to read the contents of the note and send it as a message. Since those note programs typically have an email address where notes can be sent to, this can be an easy way of getting your notes from Outlook into your new program of choice.

$email = ""

#Connect to Outlook
$Outlook = New-Object -ComObject Outlook.Application

#Connect to notes
$OutlookNotes = $Outlook.session.GetDefaultFolder(12)

foreach ($note in $outlooknotes.items)
$body = $note.body
$subject = $note.subject
$Mail = $Outlook.CreateItem(0)
$Mail.To = $email
$Mail.Subject = $subject
$Mail.Body =$body

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Server Core 2012 fundamentally broken?

Trying to add a GUI back to server core (in a lab environment) highlighted that some fundamental issues with update are still broken.

Basically a Core installation won’t copy the installation files locally like a GUI install (to save space). All well and good as you can get the source files from the installation media. Well, unless you have applied any updates, in which case, you are in for a world of pain as the media will be out of date.

The article below explains the issue and how to get around it, but basically, I would just install the full-fat version of Server and then remove the GUI.

A shame, and hopefully something that they fix in Windows Server 2016.

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Adding drivers to a Windows 8.1 install.wim file

I have a Windows 8.1 Enterprise image (32-bit) and wanted to install the vendor specific (Dell) drivers into it, so I can use the image on a new device without having to manually faff around loading them separately. I downloaded the driver cab (5830-win8.1-A00-9Y5Y5.CAB) and attempted to run it on a Windows 8 (8.0) PC without any luck. 

I did the following:

  1. Open Powershell with Administrator rights.
  2. Made a folder called c:\image
  3. Made a folder called c:\drivers and copied the contents of the CAB to that location
  4. Ran “mount-windowsimage -path c:\image -imagepath e:\sources\install.wim -index 1”
  5. Ran “add-windowsdriver -path c:\image -driver .\drivers”


At that point it falls over with errors like the following:

add-windowsdriver : DismOpenSession failed. Error code = 0xc0000135

At line:1 char:1
+ add-windowsdriver -path c:\images -driver c:\drivers -logpath c:\log\drivers …
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:)[Add-WindowsDriver], COMException

+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.Dism.Commands.AddWindowsDriverCommand


The solution? ou need a Windows 8.1 machine to modify the image (not 8.0), and instead of the CAB file, I used the extracted contents of the .EXE files:


Of course, I will need to wait until I actually get the tablet to test, but at least the Windows image appears to incorporate the drivers correctly.

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Spain and the Falklands

I haven’t posted anything political before as everyone has their own opinion, however, I thought I would about the Falkland Islands.

In a nutshell, Argentina claim that the Falklands are theirs because they inherited Spain’s historical claim. There is slightly more too it, but that is where the main part of their claim comes from.

Unfortunately, Spain didn’t agree to give their claim on the Falklands to Argentina. You could in fact say that they gave up their claim in 1811 when the left the islands, and they formally recognised British ownership in …, In fact when Argentina came into existence, no major power at the time recognised Argentina’s claims to the islands.

Going back further though to Spain’s claim (which form the basis of Argentina’s claim). The islands were settled by the French in 1764, and then the British in 1765 (who settled on another part of the Falklands not knowing about the existing French settlement). Where do Spain come in? Spain were not happy about settlements in that part of the world, so under pressure from Spain, France handed over the islands for a reimbursement of costs of the settlement. Spain claimed the islands from France because of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht recognised the limits of Spain’s possessions in the South Atlantic. Here is the problem though, the 1713 treaty can’t give possession of the islands to Spain because the islands were not discovered then. Furthermore, the treaty, signed by Spain, Britain and France includes the following right in Article I:

“and that the same be so sincerely preserved and cultivated, that neither party do, under any colour whatever, endeavour to attempt any thing to the destruction or detriment of the other, or yield any aid, by what name soever it be called, to there who attempt the same, or who endeavour to do any damage, neither may or ought they to help them by any means. On the contrary, their Royal Majesties shall be obliged the one to promote the advantage, honour, and interest of the other, and to direct their councils to that end with all care, that by mutual proof of friendship, the peace which is now made may daily receive new additions of strength.”

So right from the beginning, the Treaty of Utrecht doesn’t supports Spain’s claim, it nullifies it. In it, Spain agreed to do nothing to harm or hinder the interests of Britain or France, yet by getting involved, Spain did just that.

 Of course the rest of complicated with Argentina claiming that they settled the Falklands (they didn’t), and that the British expelled them (that didn’t happen either), but right from the 1713 Treat of Utrecht, Spain’s claims, from which Argentina base theirs, are invalid.

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Editing extensionattribute15 on a user with Powershell

We used to run Exchange (2003) internally, but no longer do. However we wanted to add a value to a user, where the user, and the value, were included in a CSV file. So if you want to add/modify a users extensionattribute with Powershell, this is how you can do it!

#Variables - edit as required
$server = ""
$csvfile = "emea to groupid.csv"

$userstrings = Import-Csv $csvfile

Foreach ($userstring in $userstrings) {
	$Username = $userstring.Username
	$Value = $userstring.ValuetoAdd

	$DN = (Get-adUser $username -Server $server).DistinguishedName
 	$User = [ADSI]"LDAP://$DN"
 	$User.Put("extensionAttribute15", $value)

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Loft conversion by Acorn Lofts of Rushden

I have just had a loft conversion done by Acorn Lofts of Rushden Northamptonshire.Image





Acorn Lofts finished the process in approximately 11 weeks, including changes to the 2nd floor.



I might post a review later.


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