All posts by Alan

Alan Renouf has a role of Automation Frameworks Product Manager at VMware responsible for providing the architects and operators of the cloud infrastructure with the toolkits/frameworks and command-line interfaces they require to build a fully automated software-defined datacenter. Alan is a frequent blogger at and has a personal blog at You can follow Alan on twitter as @alanrenouf.

Rumors of IBM or Cisco buying Citrix?

The markets are buzzing today on the rumor (here and here, for example), that either IBM or Cisco might try to buy Citrix. Of course the world is full of rumors, but there’s at least anecdotal evidence that people are listening to this one as Citrix’s stock moved up about 7% today, which is the biggest single-day move they’ve had in a while. (Although half-way through the day the stock has dropped about half that new value.)

Read more….

Virtualisation Congress, the leading virtualisation news and analysis site since 2003 has announced the launch of Virtualization Congress (, the world’s first vendor independent virtualisation event, bringing together the industry’s biggest selection of virtualisation players, from the recognized leaders to the newest start-ups.

The conference, to be held at London’s ExCel, 14th-16th October, 2008, presents an ideal opportunity for current and prospective users of virtualisation technologies to hear directly from the companies at the cutting edge of their development; at the same time, in the same place for the first time ever.

Nice Features: VMware Workstation 6.5 BETA

VMware Workstation 6.5 BETA:

  • Unity mode
  • Accelerated 3-D graphics on Windows XP guests
  • Enhanced VMware ACE authoring
  • More powerful record/replay of VM execution behavior
  • Link state propagation for mobile users
  • Support for smart cards in virtual machines
  • Integration with VMware Converter 3.0.3
  • Easy Install option for Windows guest operating systems
  • Virtual Network Editor for Linux hosts
  • New virtual hardware version
  • New features for VMware Player
  • Updated VIX 1.5 API
  • (Experimental) VAssert API for inserting replay-only code to debug applications
  • VProbes tool for investigating guest behavior

Thanks MB

MSCS (Microsoft Cluster Server) now supported in VMware 3.5 Update 1

Microsoft Cluster Server is supported with VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1. Support is similar to ESX 3.0.1 with the following additions:

  • Both 64 bit and 32 bit Windows 2003 guests are supported with MSCS.
  • Boot from SAN for VMs using MSCS is now supported.
  • Majority Node Set clusters with application-level replication (for example, Microsoft Exchange 2007 Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR)) is now supported.

For details regarding MSCS support, including a number of important restrictions, please see the document “Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service.” For information concerning supported storage arrays, refer to the Storage/SAN Compatibility Guide for ESX Server 3.5 and ESX Server 3i.

Whats a virtual server worth ?!

How to Implement Chargeback in a Virtualized Datacenter Using the Resource Consumption Model

(Source: VKernel) Most IT Professionals recognize the need for Chargeback, but are not sure how to implement a fair model. VKernel’s approach to doing Chargeback enables you to simply charge your customers for the resources (CPU, Memory, Storage and Network) they actually use. In this white paper, Vkernel will show you how to calculate exactly how much you should charge for 1Ghz of CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 1 GB of storage in your VMware ESX environment.

Thanks to MB


On the back of some of the work i’ve done implementing Exchange 2007 recently, here are some vaguely useful powershell scripts!..

Change All mailbox Database settings
Having to apply new limits to databases etc can be a bit painful through the GUI. use this script to apply mailbox limits etc
80mb warning limit
100mb send prevention
35 day deleted item retendion
35day deleted mailbox retention

Get-MailboxDatabase -Server set-mailboxdatabase -IssueWarningQuota 80MB -ProhibitSendQuota 100MB -Prohibit SendReceiveQuota unlimited -DeletedItemRetention 35.00:00:00 -MailboxRetention 35.00:00:00 -RetainDeletedItemsUntilBackup:$true

Testing a server

These built in commands test the functionality of Exchange 2007, SCOM uses these for part of the manegement pack i think!

is a wrapper for ExBPA through the command shell, a good first point for call for testing

tests MAPI access to all mailbox databases on the server

tests OWA access to a Client Acces Server, either run on a CAS server or specify in the syntax, you may also need to run new-testcasconnectivityuser.ps1 script to create the test account i.e
get-mailboxserver new-testcasconnectivityuser.ps1

tests mailflow to and from a system mailbox on the server specified

A fast way to check the status of Exchange related services

Public Folder replication
There are a number of “builtin” scripts with Exchange 2007 that live in the \scripts folder in the exchange root
some useful ones

adds a server to a list of public folders and to its subfolders, I had some problems with this one, initially getting to to add a whole IPM_SUBTREE seemed a bit impossible. The script requires a top level folder parameter, but wouldn’t accept the root. which is a pain in organisations where they create all folders under the root. You can add folders explicitly, but this is painful if there are a lot!
if you specify “\” as the top level folder it appears to work…
Its a way of saving some effort, but I did find folders where replicas hadn’t been added and no errors reported so I added them manually…

get the list of public folders replicated to the server and theirs stats, useful to see if the list is approximately what it should be!

Public Folders in Exchange 14…

Looks like Ms has done a slight u-turn over public folders,
ever since I’ve known they have been planning to “remove” or “de-emphasise” public folders in the next version of Exchange, they attempted this in Exchange 2007, but demand (and development timescales) meant they reintroduced a lot of the management tools via SP1.
Now via a statement made in passing it looks like they are still planning support!

Public Folders and E14 – The Next Version of Exchange
Just like a certain segment of the blogosphere is concerned about Windows versions and gets excited every time a notice about “Windows 7” (the succeeding product to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008) comes out of Redmond, I follow, instead the segment that gets excited about E14 – the next release of Exchange Server.
At this point, I would say that we probably know less about E14 than we do about Windows 7!
One of the MAJOR issues that came out of E12 (Exchange Server 2007) was that Microsoft chose to de-emphasize Public Folders. What this means is that they said they would support public folders for E12, but would not guarantee that they would be supported in releases after E12, nor would additional feature content be added to Public Folders.
Microsoft’s stated direction for public folders is the SharePoint product suite. Which, while it does a GREAT job at some things (document libraries come to mind) does poorly at other things (threaded conversations) and does not do some things at all (replication of content to many sites).
Well, in a conversation today it came out that Microsoft will support public folders in E14. Many of us were shocked, surprised, and very happy! The Microsofties in the conversation were surprised that we were surprised – they said that they had told us this ‘way back in 2006! They pointed to
this blog post by Scott Schnoll from June of 2006.
Well, now we know! I’m sure we’ll hear more about this Real Soon Now ™. 🙂