VMware vSphere community (free) health check options

I recently did a presentation at the South West VMUG on VMware vSphere community (free) health check options. In my presentation I covered some of the options available out there at the moment such as:

  • vCheck (vSphere plugins)
  • vGhetto health check script
  • Miscellaneous PowerCLI / PowerShell options
Starting off the session in style - Intro in mspaint, running under Windows 3.1
Starting off the session in style – Intro in mspaint, running under Windows 3.1


The second half of my presentation I dived into a live PowerCLI and PowerShell demo where I demonstrated some PowerCLI basics to get any kind of information out of your vSphere environment using some of the core cmdlets. I demonstrated use of the core PowerCLI cmdlets used for retrieving VM, Host and Datastore information, how to use the pipeline in PowerShell, and taking a look at all properties on any PS object using the Get-Member cmdlet on the pipeline.

After covering these basics, I took a blank vCheck plugin template, and showed how easy it is to create your own custom plugins for vCheck should you find that the existing plugins don’t cover everything you need.

I’ve got a link to download the slides for the presentation below, and hopefully I’ll be able to find a recording of the PowerCLI / PowerShell live demo I did to attach to this post as a follow up.


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If you’re based in the South West of the UK, be sure to check out and attend the next SW VMUG meeting!


UK VMUG, November 2012


The time is almost upon us – the UK VMUG is coming up this week. It will again be held at the National Motorcycle Museum in the West Midlands this Thursday, the 15th November.


There is an exciting line up, with lots of interesting sessions planned for the day. You can take a look at the official time table over here. I have still not decided on which sessions I will be attending, but the practical automation session with Alan Renouf and William Lam is right up my alley! Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman are also going to be hosting a deep-dive discussion group which I’m sure will provide for some interesting discussion. Having read two of their books (HA & DRS Technical deep-dive, and Clustering deep-dive), it would also be great to try and attend this session and see what is on the cards.


A work colleague of mine, Darren Woollard (@dawoo) is also running a side session on designing a highly available infrastructure. Having attended one of these myself, I can highly recommend it, as it is a great interactive session, with Darren getting everyone to participate in a mock ‘Whiteboard Design’ session! To find Darren, look out for his “VMW User Group” tshirt – resembling the VW logo.


There are also some great vendors and sponsors at this event. It will be interesting to get a more detailed look at some of the technologies I have not yet had the chance to see for myself. It will be a bit of a drive for myself getting from SW Greater London up to Coventry, but I’ll either be making a plan to find a hotel the night before, or to drive there and back on the same day. Any suggestions as to logistics / accommodation would be greatly appreciated!

I am looking forward to the event and hope to see many of the community members there this Thursday!


Blogs / websites of people mentioned in this blog post:

vMote (Darren Woollard)

Virtu-al.net (Alan Renouf)

virtuallyGhetto (William Lam)

frankdenneman.nl (Frank Denneman)

Yellow Bricks (Duncan Epping)



London VMUG Meet up – 26 January 2012


Welcome session attendance - Photo credit - Chris Kranz (@ckranz)


Today’s meetup was the first London VMUG that I have attended. In the past they have unfortunately landed up on days where work commitments took precedence. Running a few minutes late due to a long walk from Bank Underground Station to the venue, I arrived (to my luck) to find that the Introduction had also kicked off a few minutes late, setting most events forward fifteen minutes. I snuck in through a door near the back to listen to the welcome session.


First Sessions of the morning


Attendance was good from what I saw today – all the sessions were quite full and well attended. Symantec did an interesting presentation on ApplicationHA – a talk followed on by a live demo showcasing Application High Availability. The demo entailed bringing down the SQL Server Instance on a VM at first, allowing ApplicationHA to restart the service to sort it out again. This was followed on by another demo – deleting the entire Database and allowing ApplicationHA to pick up the problem and sort out SQL Server by leveraging Backup Exec to restore the Database. Symantec were also kind enough to offer up some NFR licenses for lab/testing use at the end of their presentation. Its a shame I didn’t get a chance to visit their stand during the break, as I was keen on taking a closer look at this in my own home lab environment.


Next up Chris Kranz and Alex Smith did an informative and interesting set of sessions entitled “Would you like fries with your VM?” and “DevOps & Service Management” respectively. They were interesting talks involving some interesting discussion around the traditional “IT Admin” role, compared with the “Virtual Admin” and “Cloud Admin”. Summing up – IT professionals should stay on top of their game and adapt to survive in this ever evolving industry! Alex also shared some interesting experiences and chatted about DevOps and Service Management along with a few other acronyms – determined to drill these into everyone’s head!


During the break I was able to meet up with Gregg Robertson and Jonathan Medd – there was some interesting chat in the short break, after which the next set of sessions began.


Midday Session


This was a set of sessions that conflicted for me – I was really keen on both. I have had a brief look at Auto Deploy before (whilst studying for VCP5), but I also really wanted to see the VMware View session (End User Computing : Today & Tomorrow – Simon Richardson). I ended up attending Alan Renouf and Max Daneri‘s “How to build 1000 hosts in 10 minutes with Auto Deploy” session – there were quite a few slides to go through, but a good overview of the PowerCLI cmdlets used for setting up Image Profiles (working with VIBs), Rule Sets and Auto Deploy in general was given. Max then handled a great demo showcasing Auto Deploy at work.


Post Lunch Sessions


I went to the “Stop the Virtualization Blame Game” session by Xangati (Ben Vaux) next. This was of interest to me, as a couple of weeks ago I deployed the free “one host” Xangati VI monitoring appliance in my lab at home. There were unfortunately a few issues with the projector in our room, but there was still a good talk about how the product works and some interesting questions were answered by the team. Xangati also had a demo set up in the main vendor / lunch area for live demos throughout the day. The product aims to give SysAdmin’s a “single pane of glass” view of the entire VI / VDI environment – where everything can be monitored and looked after. They monitor stats realtime and also offer a handy “record” feature which allows events / issues in environments to be captured, and replayed later on to see what went wrong. Interesting stuff, and I’ll definitely be playing with this product further in my home lab.


The next session I attended was the “Private vCloud Architecture Deep Dive” with Dave Hill and Aidan Dalgleish. This was an interesting and fairly in-depth session discussing the whole VMware ecosystem: vCloud Director 1.5, vShield, Chargeback etc etc. A “reference architecture” was presented on and discussed along with the three network pool methods and their various pros and cons (VLAN-backed, Port group-backed and vCloud Network Isolation Backed (VCNI)). I also wanted to attend Michael Poore’s session on Orchestration, however these two sessions conflicted and I unfortunately had to decide at the last minute as to which one to view!


The final session had me attending the Embotics lab – I had a quick try out of their V-Commander product to see what benefits it offered. I really wanted to see the Cisco UCS presentation so I did unfortunately miss this one. However I will definitely be catching up on this with the slides that will hopefully be made available soon. Gregg Robertson also did his VCP 5 Tips and Tricks presentation, which I hear went down well – I skipped this one as I was lucky enough to fit in an exam and get my VCP 5 done earlier on this month. Whilst on the topic of VCP’s Jonathan Medd surprised everyone as he casually snuck off during lunch to Global Knowledge to write his VCP 5 exam… and passed!


Ending off with vBeers just down the road, I managed to catch up and have some great conversation with a few other guys, including Gregg RobertsonJonathan MeddDarren Woollard, Jeremy Bowman, Michael Poore et-al (sorry to those whose names I omitted i.e. fogot!) All in all, a great day was had with some interesting content!


Edit – the slides are now up from the VMUG – they can be accessed here.