Today in history: August 19, 1945 - The August Revolution launched by the Vietnamese Communist Party against French colonial rule in Vietnam. 

Demonstrations and uprisings organized against French rule in cities and towns throughout Vietnam, with the Việt Minh seizing Hanoi on this day. Hồ Chí Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. But in early 1946, the French army returned to northern Vietnam and reestablished its authority. The Vietnamese then launched the French Resistance War, winning victory after 10 years. They then resisted U.S. imperialist invasion until finally driving the U.S. out in 1975, winning national liberation and unifying Vietnam as a socialist country.

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

Daily Thoughts - VCP and Me

The good news is that I took the exam to become a VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 and I totally passed.  456 out of 500, 300 being a passing score.  That sounds pretty good, and I am glad b/c my job will pay for the exam as long as I pass.  I already had my certification on vSphere 4, so the exam did not hold much mystery for me in terms of preparation and format.  But, although I passed the exam I don’t feel like it measured my actual skill with vSphere in any meaningful way.

I work with VMware everyday, and while my knowledge may not be encyclopedic; it is deep in its breadth and scope.  In theory, I should be able to waltz into the exam room (1,2,3,4…1,2,3,4) and pass with flying colors.  This is not the actual case.  Instead I spent the last two weeks going over exam prep questions collected from,, and  This is cheating, straight up.  No moral obfuscation here.  Someone else has purloined the question pool for the exam and posted them online for me to review and memorize.  I feel conflicted about this.  Overall I try to be an upstanding moral person, I’m even trying to pay for music these days.  The idea of memorizing actual questions from the exam in order to pass it debases the value of the exam and by extension the certificate.  But is it necessary?

The questions that VMware puts on its exam are by turns esoteric and easily answered by a Google search.  There is no logical reason that I need to know how much space logging needs to handle 100 VMs and 10 hosts.  VMware provides a calculator to tell you on their site.  That should not be a test question.  In the same vein is a question regarding the space for the /var/log partition, the maximum number of VMs a host can have, and the max number of virtual disks per host.  This is important information, which is why it is well documented on VMware’s site, free of charge.  Honestly, if you are an IT professional and still haven’t figured out how to use “the Google box”, then it’s time to look at another field.

What is the point of a certification and what does it signal to future employers and your supervisor?  I thought the point of the certification was to show that you have a deep understanding of the core concepts and operation of a technology.  You are able to effectively administer the system and troubleshoot problems.  Having a certification should say to prospective employers, “Yes I know this technology well, and will be able to perform its related functions at a high level.”  To your supervisor it says, “I have taken the time to thoroughly learn this topic and you can trust me to execute operations correctly and effectively.  I am a resource in this field for you and others.”

What does the certificate actually say?  "I spent two weeks memorizing questions and various arcane errata that will be only marginally relevant in a production environment.“ 

That sucks.  But it’s the reality, and may people do not realize it.  It sort of feels like VMware, Cisco, Microsoft, et al. know it and they have made their peace with it.  Although the test prep websites I mentioned are either very cheap or free, there is a separate test prep industry that makes millions off certification preparation.  And for those in upper management and HR that aren’t in the know, they continue to place a high value on having certificates and may even make hiring decisions based on their presence or absence.

It would be awesome if a cetificate exam actually proved the things I mentioned above.  And it could.  There are exams that involve a lab environment, where you have to prove your knowledge by accomplishing a set of goals.  This is expensive and harder to grade than a multiple choice exam, and Microsoft and Cisco have rolled this out to limited success.  Since VMware is all about virtualization, shouldn’t they be able to provide me with a virtual lab?  One would think so, unless they have a bunch of VCPs running their exam department.

I am both bothered by this on an intellectual level, and at the same time I am aware from a pragmatic standpoint that certifications are necessary in my field.  So while I grumble and grouse, in the end I still get in line.

Now you must excuse me.  I have to start "studying” for the MCITP exams.

VCP5 - Short Study Notes - Monitoring

Monitor ESXi, vCenter, and Virtual Machines

Alarms can monitor Virtual Machines, Hosts, Clusters, Datacenters, Datastores, Networks, vSphere Distributed Switches, Distributed Port Groups, and vCenter Server.

Two types of alarms:

  • Condition Based
  • Event Based

Valid Alarm Responses for Alarms created in vCenter

  • Run a Command
  • Send an Email
  • Send an SNMP Trap

SMTP and SNMP settings are configured in the vCenter Server Settings.

Sender account and SMTP server name (or IP address) must be configure to allow vCenter to send email responses to alarms.

SNMP Community Name, SNMP server name (or IP address), and SNMP port must be configured to send an SNMP response to alarms.

There are 4 vCenter statistics collection levels (1-4).  The default statistics level for vCenter 5 is 1.

  • Level 1 includes basic metrics - Average usage for CPU, memory, disk, and network.  Statistics for devices are not included at this level.
  • Level 2 includes all metrics (average, summation, and latest rollups types). Statistics for devices are not included at this level.
  • Level 3 - includes all metrics, including devices, for all counter groups.
  • Level 4 - All metrics supported by vCenter Server.

vCenter can keep statistics in intervals of 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours, and 1 day.

The Database Size tool can be used to estimated the size of the vCenter database. Enter the expected number of Physical Hosts and number of Virtual Machines in inventory and an estimated space requirement will be generated based on the statistics intervals and levels selected.

None, Error, Warnings, Information, Verbose, and Trivia are all vCenter logging options. The Trivia logging options captures the most data.

Logging and Statistics are configured in vCenter Server Settings.

System Logs can be exported from Home -> System Logs -> Export System Logs or from the Administration menu -> Export System Logs or File -> Export -> Export System Logs

ESXi Dump Collector can be configured to dump a host’s kernel core to a network server when a system failure occurs.

resxtop can be run from the vMA to remotely monitor ESXi performance Metrics

A few R/ESXTOP Metric Definitions

  • %SYS - Time spent running system services
  • %RUN - Percentage of total scheduled time
  • %RDY - Time a world is ready to run
  • %MLMTD - Time a world is ready to run but cannot due to CPU limit
  • %WAIT - Time a world spends waiting for resources.
  • %IDLE - Time a vCPU is in idle loop.
  • %SWPWT - Time a world is waiting for VMkernel to swap memory.
  • %USED - Physical CPU time accounted to a world.

The CPU Ready performance counter identifies the time a virtual machine is ready to use CPU but cannot because CPU resources could not be allocated.

Kernel Command Latency (usually 2-3 ms) data counter monitors the average time spent in the VMkernel per SCSI command.

Physical Device Command Latency (15-20ms) counter displays the average time the physical device takes to complete a SCSI command.

Device Latency (DAVG/cmds) + Kernel Latency (KAVG/cmds) = Guest Latency (GAVG/cmds)
High latency results in lower throughput.

Performance reports can be exported from File -> Report -> Performance

Performance report Chart Options: Line graph, Stacked Graph, or Stacked Graph (Per VM) - Size: Small, Medium, and Large

New research model to aid search for degenerative disease cures

Efforts to treat disorders like Lou Gehrig’s disease, Paget’s disease, inclusion body myopathy and dementiawill receive a considerable boost from a new research model created by UC Irvine scientists.

The team, led by pediatrician Dr. Virginia Kimonis, has developed a genetically modified mouse that exhibits many of the clinical features of human diseases largely triggered by mutations in the valosin-containing protein.

The mouse model will let researchers study how these now-incurable, degenerative disorders progress in vivo and will provide a platform for translational studies that could lead to lifesaving treatments.

“Currently, there are no effective therapies for VCP-associated diseases and related neurodegenerative disorders,” said Kimonis, a professor of pediatrics who specializes in genetics and metabolism. “This model will significantly spark new approaches to research directed toward the creation of novel treatment strategies.”

She and her team reported their discovery Sept. 28 online in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal.

The UCI researchers – from pediatrics, neurology, pathology and radiological sciences – specifically bred the first-ever “knock-in” mouse in which the normal VCP gene was substituted with one containing the common R155H mutation seen in humans with VCP-linked diseases. Subsequently, these mice exhibited the same muscle, brain and spinal cord pathology and bone abnormalities as these patients.

VCP is part of a system that maintains cell health by breaking down and clearing away old and damaged proteins that are no longer necessary. Mutations in the VCP gene disrupt the demolition process, and, as a result, excess and abnormal proteins may build up in muscle, bone and brain cells. These proteins form clumps that interfere with the cells’ normal functions and can lead to a range of disorders.

Another study carried out by members of this group – and published in August in the journal Cell Death & Disease – made use of these genetically altered mice to examine the development of Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. The researchers, led by Dr. Hong Yin and Dr. John Weiss in UCI’s Department of Neurology, documented slow, extensive pathological changes in the spinal cord remarkably similar to changes observed in other animal models of ALS as well as in human patients. ALS research is currently limited by a paucity of animal models in which disease processes can be studied.

Genetically modified mice have become important research models in the effort to cure human ailments. Mice bred to exhibit the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, have dramatically sped up the race to advance new treatments – one such model was developed at UCI. And many cancer therapies were created and tested using genetically altered mice.


The Great Prize Fight for $2,000 between Bradley & Rankin (Philadelphia, 1857). Songsheet. Song commemorating a 152 round boxing match.