Archive for 30th May 2013

VMware vExpert 2013


I’ve had a blog / homepage on and off for years, but from pretty much day one I treated it a bit like an old suit; out of date, only brought out once in a while, given a quick clean and tidy up, then put back in the cupboard for another year or so.

Last January, I started studying for my VCP5 and VCAP-DCD4 exam. The latter was actually the most studying I have done for any exam I’ve ever sat (including my degree exams, by quite some way if I’m honest!). Along the way I realised just how many different sources of information I was using. Having used some amazing resources from guys such as Gregg Robertson, Simon Long and Paul McSharry, I thought it might be worth publishing the list I had compiled to save others time in scrabbling about for resources on Google etc.

As time went on, the blog just kind of grew almost by itself and I found myself posting as often as my studying, my new job role and my family life allow! (Not as often as I’d like though… I have quite a few half written / researched posts which need some time to finish up and get out there, even as I write!)

Just 18 months later, I have been very fortunate enough to be named among this year’s VMware vExpert awardees. To say I was chuffed would be an understatement, and I can’t thank John Troyer and the team enough!

As if the title was not reward enough in and of itself, vExperts get access to a host of additional resources and opportunities. These can only help to increase my knowledge and spur me on to create and publish more (hopefully) useful content over the coming months. In the mean time I will be digging straight into the amazing free training from Trainsignal, while waiting patiently for my vExpert polo courtesy of the very kind folks at Tintri, which I look forward to wearing to my next London VMUG along with the other 20+ #LonVMUG vExperts!

If you’re thinking about becoming a blogger, I say just give it a go and see where it takes you. In my case I’ve learned loads, met a tonne of great people in the virtualisation community and beyond, and maybe even helped my career into the bargain!

Thanks again to VMware, all the great vendors who support the VMware and vExpert communities, and most importantly to all the other vExperts who spend their free time producing superb content for the rest of us to consume! 🙂

Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces Missing Disks

HP Microserver N36L

This is just an annoying quick bug I came across today while messing with Windows 2012 Storage Spaces. The bug apparently affects a significant number of RAID controllers, including the embedded AMD SATA controller in the HP Microserver N36L which is what I am currently in the process of configuring as a remote personal backup server.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the main symptom is that it effectively causes the storage spaces UI not to show all of the available disks in the primordial storage pool. There are actually 3 1TB physical drives in the server below, however only a single drive appears (which can be any one of the three drives in slot 2/3/4 when I refresh the view):

Primordial storage space only showing a single physical drive

Primordial storage space only showing a single physical drive

This is caused by the RAID controller presenting all disks with the same UniqueID. You can list your UniqueIDs by typing the following command into a PowerShell window:

Get-PhysicalDisk | ft FriendlyName, UniqueId, ObjectId, BusType –auto


The result looks something like this:

3 identical UniqueIDs

3 identical UniqueIDs

This is an annoying bug, but a simple workaround is available for Microserver users, and I’m sure a similar approach could be taken on other platforms. Simply load up the AMD RAIDXpert UI (or boot into the BIOS) and configure each individual drive as a single RAID Ready device as follows:

Use RAIDXpert to create individual RAID Ready drives

Use AMD RAIDXpert to create individual RAID Ready drives

Complete RAID Ready Drive List

Complete RAID Ready Drive List

This causes the RAID controller to present an individual UniqueID for each drive through to the OS:

Actually unique UniqueIDs!

Actually unique UniqueIDs!

You can then go ahead and create your storage space as normal from the primordial pool:

Primordial Storage Space now shows all 3 unique drives

Primordial Storage Space now shows all 3 physical drives

Hope this helps a few people as it drove me potty before I worked out what was going on!

Bonus Tip: Another wee tip I read recently is that storage spaces are NOT supported inside a virtual machine. I know you would need a quite specific (read: odd) use case to even consider doing this, just don’t! 🙂