There are various posts relating to issues with VMware Workstation and the use of SATA physical drives (i.e. passing a physical SATA drive through to the guest VM).

The first challenge is getting past the “Internal Error” error message. To do so, create a VM with a SATA virtual disk. Once you’ve done this, you can try and add a SATA physical drive to the guest. This needs to be as a SATA device, since adding the pass-through drive as a SCSI device works. You will receive the “Internal Error” error message. Note that the .vmdk file is created for the drive in the VM’s directory.

The next step is to edit the .vmx and replace the original SATA device (sata0:0.fileName= line) with the newly created .vmdk file. This will get the SATA pass-through device into the VM. However, I was not able to power on the VM at this stage and got another error message.

Looking in the VM’s log file it was apparent that VMware Workstation was unable to open the raw device,

The fix to this is to run VMware Workstation as administrator. So instead of double clicking as you normally would, you need to right click and select “Run as administrator”. This was the step that I did not see mentioned anywhere else.

By doing this, I was able to start the VM and it then worked as expected!

I’ve never done the VCAP5-DCA exam before so I don’t know what questions will be asked. That said, looking at the various topics in the blueprint I came up with some activities which I interpret to be within the scope of the exam. I intend to go through these (and other) activities during my study time.

  • Perform all the tasks below without an outage for a particular business critical VM. This VM must have no downtime during these maintenance operations.
  • A client calls you in and asks you to configure auto-deploy for stateless deployment of some 10 new hosts (DHCP has been configured for these hosts as through in an HA cluster called “DEV-TEST-clus” to match their existing three ESXi servers (which are installed to local drives). The 10 new hosts need a non-standard driver for a particular piece of hardware (one can use a driver update for this). The client uses a Windows based vCenter and does not currently have auto-deploy configured.
  • You have been asked to deploy a vMA by your boss to allow him to configure various tasks which he will setup to be run by cron against the vSphere estate. Deploy and configure the vMA so that sample commands can be run from the vMA command line against the vCenter server and the ESXi hosts in the environment.
  • You find that you often need a list of all the VMs, the hosts they are on and their powered up state for a report you write. Create a PowerCLI command/script to provide only this information.
  • Configure a central log host for the ESXi servers for your environment. Use vCLI to configure the hosts to log to this logging host. No more than 20MB of logs should be stored and no log file should be bigger than 2MB.
  • Deploy UMDS. Configure a baseline for ESXi 5.0 hosts for security updates only. Verify this and export the baseline using PowerCLI
  • You need to configure 20 identical hosts with a new vSwitch using two unsed vmnics. You need to create the following port groups: dmzWEB-v10 (VLAN10), dmzAPP-v20 (VLAN20) and dmzCRM-v30 (VLAN30). dmzWEB-v10 is to use load balancing based on originating portID, dmzAPP-v20 is to use source-MAC hash load balancing and dmzCRM-v30 needs to use explicit failover order. The higher number vmnic should be primary and the lower numbered one being standby and failback should be disabled. The dmzWEB-v10 port group needs promiscuous mode enabled due to the way the application works. The dmsAPP-v20 port group should have it’s traffic limited to an average and peak bandwidth of 2Mb/s with a burst size of 5000KB. A VMkernel port should be created on VLAN 50 to be used for FT traffic only (the IP addresses should be through A portgroup dmzFW should be created with default settings and configured for VGT.
  • Configure PVLANs on an existing dvSwitch, using a command line tool if possible, so that the exact commands can be put in the RFC. VLAN 101 is the promiscuous VLAN, VLAN 102 is the isolated VLAN and 103 and 104 are the community VLANs.
  • Create an HA/DRS cluster (only HA to be enabled and using the default configuration) called “FIN-CLUS1”. Add two hosts, “fin-host1” “fin-host2” to the cluster.
  • Collect IO stats for a VM for approximately 5 minutes from VM power on (to capture boot-up I/O statistics) and export them to a CSV stored on the vCenter server. Maybe boot up into the VM BIOS to ensure all the IOs involved in the bootup process are captured.
  • You notice that a LUN is missing from a host yet the storage admins have confirmed that the SAN and storage array is configured correctly and that the host can see other LUNs on the array. Other hosts can see the LUN. Explain what needs to be checked and then reconfigure the host to be able to use the LUN.
  • Once the LUN is correctly visible to the host, you notice that it is not flagged as an SSD capable LUN. Configure the LUN so that all hosts correctly identify the LUN as an SSD LUN.
  • Migrate the business critical VM mentioned above onto this new SSD LUN. Ensure that this LUN is a preferred LUN for datastore heartbeating.


Here is a link to a useful Runner’s World chart to assist in choosing your next running shoe.

Also, a review of some 2012 running shoes related to the above chart is available at,7124,s6-240-400–14221-0,00.html

Usual disclaimers apply, but it might give some insight into some shoes one may not normally consider.

I’ve recently been comparing a HTC Sensation with a BlackBerry 9780. There are plenty of reviews and comparisons on the web about the merits of various devices. I am going to list the pros and cons I have noticed of the above two devices:

BlackBerry 9780


  • More business oriented with associated security policies and features
  • Tight MS Exchange and Lotus Domino integration
  • Actual keyboard makes typing easier


  • Small screen and keyboard
  • Relies on centralised server model – BlackBerry and carrier infrastrcture

HTC Sensation


  • Larger screen and touch sensitive makes application usage easier
  • Larger application market place and hence more functionality on the go
  • Inbuilt IMAP / POP client


  • Large screen makes single-handed handling difficult
  • Touch screen results in error touches esp with using the camera
  • Poor battery life
  • No alarm functionality to wake phone when turned off (I’d like to be able to turn off to save battery overnight)
  • No “always on” or “auto-reconnect” VPN option. You need to re-authenticate to VPN server frequently
  • No task list / notes synchronisation with MS Exchange
  • Inbuilt IMAP client does not support the INBOX prefix option (work around possible)
  • Large market place results in many gimmicky apps
  • No sync of Exchange tasks or Exchange notes
  • Not possible to create repeating appointments with an end date


Overall I like the HTC. That said, it’s clearly not designed as a “phone and mobile Outlook” device with apps as second priority like the BlackBerry. The HTC (and most Android devices to be fair) are clearly about applications and “the cloud”*. The HTC Sensation is a little big for sticking in a pocket and the battery life is worrying – having to charge it every day with not much usage is a tough sell.

So for the moment I am sticking with the 9780 as my “main device” for phone etc but I am still evaluating the HTC 🙂


* I hate the term “The Cloud” – it’s just a new word for the Internet really….


Well this week hasn’t been good training-wise. Did not manage to get as much training done as planned – busy week in so many ways.  Basically the swim lesson on Monday was enjoyable and educational, did a run of about 35 minutes before work on Tuesday, a swim sesson on Wednesday, a weights session Thursday morning, two laps of my 5.1km Canary Wharf route (managing a negative split!!) and then Friday morning was a swim session before work. Saturday afternoon consisted of a 1h30 cycle session and a 15 min treadmill run during which my legs were not wanting to run….  gotta do more brick sessions!!!

 Today has been a lazy day so this coming week will have to be a full training load…

Well its nearly race day… weather forecast is looking good – sunny and 22 degrees forecast. Havent done another swim or session this week since Tuesday.  I figured I’d take a rest to “taper” and try to loose this cold.  Nose isnt runny now so hopefully managed to shake it before it developed into anything more nasty.

Fingers crossed, all goes well!