Monday, March 28, 2011

Cloning an ESXi 4.1 VM

After fiddling around with a lot of bad advice I finally found one suggestion that worked for me to clone an ESXi VM. It's not elegant or quick....

so being relatively new to the vmware world and a somewhat reluctant participant since the test system i'm using won't support Hyper-V and only VMware, it's comforting to see that there's a Unix kernel lurking in it's background and that some of the old familiar shell commands work, like ls and df, etc. Unfortunately I don't see a man-pages facility which would help.

the long and short of this cloning thing was found here . Essentially you ssh into the esxi host and run a vmkfs -i command to clone the vm.

  1. If you hadn't activate SSH then do this as described here.
  2. Create a new VM with the same configuration as the machine you wish to clone.
  3. By creating the VM you also created its virtual disk (*.vmdk).
  4. Delete this disk (we will replace it with the clone) by using the “Datastore Browser” or SSH on ESXi.
  5. Connect to your ESXi by using SSH.
  6. type the following command (here “ubu-10.04-server” is the template).
vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ubu-10.04-server/ubu-10.04-server.vmdk /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/newmachine/newmachine.vmdk
Destination disk format: VMFS zeroedthick
Cloning disk '/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ubu-10.04-server/ubu-10.04-server.vmdk'...
Clone: 100% done.
  • boot your new machine and configure it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The next four years

The last few days I've spent hyper focused on work, which has been a welcome respite from the drama leading up to the election. Barack Obama is the President elect, Dick Durbin was re-elected to another term, as was Judy Biggert, my district's representative to the House.

I believe that President Clinton received too much credit for an Internet boom he had little to do with and too little blame for a global rise in hatred, intollerance and danger. I believe that President Bush has received too much blame for having to deal with the consequences of a world consumed with hatred, intollerance and danger and not enough blame for allowing the housing and credit markets to fall apart, then putting forth a hair brained rescue plan.

A Congress led by Pelosi and Reid worry me. The promises of entitlements that we may not be able to support in the long run trouble me. An America that grows increasingly dependent on its government for it's financial survival scares me. A President Obama has a lot of work to do. I did not vote for him, but I will pray for his success as his failure is not in any of our best interests.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obamahood and his merry congressmen

Take from the rich to give to the poor. Sound familiar? Who thought it would become a campaign strategy in the United States? Comparing our Democracy to dictatorships is extreme. Rather, Socialistic-minded democracies like Sweden or Spain where taxation rules the day in order to support public services. But no, our slide into Social warfare will be much more subtle. So much so that to argue against the Democratic party's initiatives will be viewed as greedy or even cruel to the poor, helpless people their programs would aid. We are about 12 hours away from knowing how difficult our fight for freedom has become.


It's the only true power we have left.

On the military... Should Barack Obama become President he has said he will remove troops from Iraq. Does anyone remember the Iran-Iraq war? I have no doubt should we remove our forces from Iraq that within 12 months Iran will take our place and the Iraqi situation will worsen bringing once again the security of the middle-east to the forefront. Furthermore, he has committed to increasing the ranks of troops in Afghanistan. Expect this to go poorly as well, although in some ways a more aggressive stance with Pakistan is probably needed. Afghanistan is bordered by Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, and Tajikistan. Russia spent a decade mired in this country leaving in a stale-mate at best and in failure for certain.

I fully expect that with a "dove" in the White House we will see his entire term dominated by foreign security issues as we witnessed with Carter and Clinton. Letting the Middle-east fall into chaos again is not acceptable until we are completely free from middle-eastern oil.

To those who don't think it can get worse than it is; it can.

Our economy was tanking by 1999. In spite of Y2K and 9/11 we were able to recover somewhat until last year. Economies run in cycles. Politicians have increasingly gotten in the way of free-market cycles through over legislating fixes to regulate these cycles. Unlike Karl Marx I don't believe in exploiting the upper class for the benefit of the labor class.

Remember how shitty things were with Nixon, Ford, and Carter? Hold on to your ass 'cause it's gonna be a rough ride.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain questioned

I’ve received some responses from friends who support Obama and I am giving their criticism thought. I’ll summarize and paraphrase some of the concerns I’ve heard.

McCain is a womanizer who cheated on and abandoned his disfigured first wife for a rich, pretty younger woman. This tells me all I need to know about this man who likes to promote his so-called ethics.

According to, McCain has publicly admitted to infidelities and said that he regrets the way he handled his first marriage. I don’t condone the manner in which he behaved and won’t make excuses for it, and from the sound of it he doesn’t either. Maybe it’s smart politics or maybe it’s some amount of maturity. Even someone I respect in Ross Perot, who helped Carol McCain after her accident, has spoken out against John McCain saying, “So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona”.

The implication is that John McCain came home from Viet Nam to find his wife marred from the accident and left her, yet they remained married for seven years, albeit far from a happy or perfect marriage.

Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States result in divorce. If you haven’t been in an ugly divorce you likely know someone who has been. The fact that a large percentage of the population has shared this experience with the McCain’s doesn’t wash with the backlash of resentment toward him. This is especially puzzling when considering the controversy of President Clinton’s activities, nor the myriad of rumors of infidelity by past Presidents.

People get divorced for any number of reasons, reasonable or not. Relationships are complicated in the best of circumstances let alone separation over time, physical and emotional damage and strained reconciliations. So while the handling of his relationship with his first wife doesn’t inspire admiration, not even within himself, it doesn’t disqualify him for a leadership position. It may show that he can act like a jerk, and in that regard is human. It does put into question his judgment, but it doesn’t make him dangerous, and it doesn’t disqualify him for the office of President.

McCain is a hot head, warrior, war monger who loses his temper and flings around profanities.

It would seem that Senator McCain has had several years of heated interactions. One might argue that his passion for what he believes in leads him to his outbursts. You might also say that he lacks tact and diplomacy. It might not be the first time that we’ve had a hot tempered President. Is this what we need at this time in the world? Probably not. Would he fly off the handle and “launch nukes” at the drop of a hat? No. Would he be respected in the world community? I don’t know, just as much as I don’t know if Obama would be respected. I suspect their allegiances would be divided amongst very different camps. Could he unite the polarized parties and camps domestically and internationally? No, but neither can Obama.

As a side, we lived 8 years under a president that was slow to react to growing international threat and lost many innocent lives in the process. When he did react, it was random and erratic and under Clinton’s watch, Osama Bin Laden was able to grow his capabilities with the world watching. We can also place some blame on President Bush (G.H.) and even the great Ronald Reagan for not instituting long term plans that might have addressed the Islamic crisis in Afghanistan in the 1980’s when paths might have been altered before they had been travelled. This is not to trivialize the thousands of lives lost over the last 6 years, but we do not benefit by swinging from one extreme to the next in posture and attitude.

Understand this though; accountability applies to all people whether they are American or European politicians, Arab leaders or Islamic fundamentalists. Compounding wrongs do not equate to moral rights, and we cannot move forward while apologizing for the past. Neither a war monger or an apologist will succeed in uniting world factions. We have forces in the world at fundamental odds with each other. Progress may require patience and understanding, but it does not mandate compromise and acquiescence.

McCain has run nothing but a dirty, mud-slinging campaign full of lies and distortions.

This probably frustrates all of us as much as or more than anything else in political seasons. Every season starts with promises to change followed by nastier and dirtier campaigns. I wish the RNC would have remained focused on running on the issues rather than running against Barack Obama. That said, what I read and see is media sound bites. I hear both candidates running against each other rather than on the issues. The media could choose to play sound bites of the candidates discussing the issues, but instead, they choose to play those that excite and incite. A candidate, in particular McCain, could avoid this trap by simply staying away from running against Obama. Don’t even mention his name. Talk about the economy, international and national security, immigration, and political philosophy. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a candidate that refuses to denigrate his opponent or for that matter, how about not even acknowledging the opponent? Some businesses make sales by scaring customers about their completion. Other businesses ignore the fact that there is competition and sell their goods based on their features and benefits. I’ve always preferred the latter.

Neither candidate can acknowledge or get involved in the mudslinging that individuals do throughout the campaign. People have concerns. Some legitimate, some ridiculous.

Obama acknowledges McCain’s Senate contributions on one hand, but bundles him with Bush on the other. McCain has called Obama a good man, a family man on one hand and labeled him as the most liberal Senator in Congress on the other.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that we all get caught up in the dirt. For the most part, it’s the stuff that questions the candidate’s integrity, attributes, and qualifications. It’s actually a good thing and thank God we have the liberty and freedom of speech to question our leaders in this fashion. I would like to explore the paradigm of people asking these questions and not the candidates themselves though.

Analysis of some issues

I've begun to compare the issues between the two candidates. It's difficult to sift through the facts; actually it's difficult to find the facts, which is why I suppose the rhetoric gets boiled down to generalizations and mud slinging. For my purposes I've tried to stick with and the Brookings institute, understanding that these things are written by people with inherent bias, as my writings will also have.

Morality (Abortion, Stem Cell research) - Winner: McCain

I actually believe this is a state rights issue and generally dislike federal legislation on moral issues. Intellectually I believe that life begins at conception and therefore believe that abortion is taking that life. I concede that others disagree with this stance. I have friends and relatives who have had abortions, so I am sensitive to their points of view. However, with this point of view, embryonic stem cell research is a mute point for me.

Housing - Tie

The "Emergency rescue" law already has a provision for the Treasury Department to help prevent foreclosures. A credit card bill of rights is interesting and should be explained in more detail, however, the answer for the consumer credit industry should probably be better directed at regulation that works in addition to transparency. My pre-teen kids were getting Capital One credit card offers! It was out of control. Both candidates positions are relatively the same given the circumstance of pre-existing legislation with the exception of Obama’s tax credits.

Immigration - Tie

I guess they’re in agreement on immigration. A 700-mile fence though? I like the idea of shoring up existing legislation. I dislike the idea that legislators believe they always need to create new legislation rather than improve existing laws. I agree that we need better border security. Of course, we could always annex Mexico and then levee taxes.

Economy (Taxes) – McCain

I think they both have bone headed ideas and I’ve been clear on my opposition of the currently constituted “bail-out”, which they both supported and neither made a concerted effort to make better. I oppose the idea of more “stimulus” (Obama) in that it’s good money chasing bad. Seriously, does anyone really understand what is being proposed by either candidate, specifically? Even the Brookings Institute says that neither candidate has addressed the tax issue seriously. The generalizations made by both Obama and McCain appear to be relatively accurate however as expected, exaggerated.

Under McCain’s plan the highest earners would get the largest cut, however it needs to be stressed that the highest earners are already the highest taxed. We live in a progressive tax system that progressively taxes earners based upon their income. McCain’s philosophy is that free cash will flow back into the economy in the form of business growth which will stimulate production.

Obama’s plan favors low-income earners and small business. The philosophy is that free cash in the hands of small business and low-income earners will stimulate the economy in the form of consumption. The top line difference is about 5% for high income individuals and 10% for corporations. This is significant by anyone’s standard.

I don’t think anyone truly believes that the average “Joe the plumber” earns over $250,000 annually. That said, there are many small business owners incorporated as S-corps whose personal income is, for better or worse, reflected as their share of their corporation’s income. Many of these small business owners will most assuredly make over $250,000 on their tax form, yet take home significantly less.

I generally believe that production stimulates the economy; however it seems that neither candidate has put a responsible plan together.

Obama’s plan seems more baked, but I oppose the level of entitlement programs and tax credits that are proposed. I'm not opposed to all entitlement, but I am opposed to indiscriminate spending. I think there has to be budget redistribution possible, which has been discussed very little in either campaign (and I do remember the scalpel versus axe comments)

McCain’s plan’s philosophy is more capitalistic and more to my taste, however it’s problematic in that it severely reduces tax revenue which would require spending control not demonstrated by previous administrations or Congresses. I think the idea of an across the board spending freeze is irresponsible and ad-hoc.

I am ok with the concept of giving smaller tax breaks to lower earners. The spread is dramatic. Under McCain, the lowest percentile will pay a mere 4.5% while the highest earners will pay 28.3%

Under Obama, the lowest percentile will receive a 0.4% credit (that is a tax rate of -0.4%) while the highest earners will pay a whopping rate of 39%.

Perhaps what needs to be examined is the ethics and regulatory abuses by those who are earning billions of dollars per year. It would be nice to have people earn large sums of money in an honest and ethical fashion rather than simply take more of their filthy money from them. Part of the problem with the Obama plan is that its ceiling is too low. Dual income homes will make more than $250,000 and still be living comfortably, but little better than hand to mouth. The ceiling needs to be raised by several orders of magnitude for this to make any amount of sense.

I've commented previously that the tax codes are too complex and complexity breeds corruption and manipulation. We need simplification.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Election weeks not even here yet and I'm burned out on politics already. I had been avoiding the news coverage for most of the year intentionally but got sucked in by the bank failures and so-called "bailout". I've listened to the arguments made by both candidates, watched the debates, and while I haven't read either candidate's entire platform I've read some amount of them. Neither man would be my first choice, so once again I'm left with voting against someone rather than voting for someone. I've even tried to think of who I'd want if I could choose anyone, but I've failed to identify one person. So, let me think "out loud" for a moment...

What qualifications should the President have? (I'm using "he" out of convenience, as I don't have a bias against a female executive)

1. Executive experience.

The President is the ultimate CEO. He must surround itself with the most talented people available representing the various interests to be managed by the office. He must be able to absorb the multitude of opinions and interests and act on what he fundamentally believes to be best for the country, in spite of public and private opinion. He must also be able to act against what he personally wants to this end, and in this sense, exercise executive "judgement".

2. Leadership.

As with a successful CEO, the President must be able to garner support from those he leads, and in this case it's everyone; at least everyone in the United States. He must be able to rally support for initiatives and ideas, and even convince those who would disagree to act in the interest of the country. His sphere of influence includes his cabinet, all political parties, special interests, industry leaders, foreign leaders and the public at large.

3. Ethics.

Given the stakes, the moral foundation of the President must be based on Universal truths regarding decency and humanity. It's hard to know that this has been the case throughout history as much as I want to believe it to be, but this is what I expect out of this position. Perhaps this is what makes it such a difficult office to fill. Those who would have this quality may well not desire to test their metal in such a weighty manner.

4. Knowledge.

The leader of the free world should have a fundamental understanding of the forces that keep it operating including domestic and global economic policy, foreign and domestic politics, military history, world history, world religion, and philosophy. I don't expect any single person to master each discipline, however in order to make informed and independent decisions I expect the President to have a solid comprehension of these forces even given the amount of expert advice which assuredly would be given.

5. Courage and a calm demeanor.

The president must be able to stand up under the most trying circumstances. He will inevitably be tested and will need to present calm and clear leadership as well as an ability to synthesize what's required versus what's not in making decisions. He must be able to determine when immediate action is required versus when patience is the best alternative.

6. Professionalism.

The President must always conduct himself in a manner that represents the status of the office. While I understand that even Presidents are human, all great leaders are called upon to rise above their flaws, if only for the short time they must. It is plainly unacceptable for leaders of nations to behave in ways that do not represent the best of who they lead. We have been sadly, and greatly let down in this regard for far too long. We have seen this at all levels of leadership over the past 20 years and it's time we insist on better.

Considering these six factors, how would you rate your choices?

Here is my analysis.

Executive Experience

Obama: Has never served in an executive position. In fairness, both men have run Senate offices, but have had managers to direct their day-to-day business.

McCain: Led a Navy squadron, but never held a business or non-military executive position. In fairness, both men have run Senate offices, but have had managers to direct their day-to-day business.

Winner: Tie – Neither have an adequate amount of executive experience. Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Obama, McCain and Biden combined, but she’s not running for President.


Obama: Has been very convincing in a leadership role in every position he’s held. In fact, I would say Obama’s leadership skills outweigh everything else about him being able to sell those around him on his ability and nearly instantly begin work on his next step up at every level.

He serves as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

McCain: Led an Navy squadron. Sponsored 38 pieces of legislation. While he has been more outspoken in Congress than most, he’s never truly led the House or Senate. Ranking member on Armed Services Committee (tenure?). Serves on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Indian Affairs committees.

Winner: Obama – While McCain has unquestionably led as a Senator, he has not demonstrated the same level of “leadership” as Obama. That said, it should be pointed out that many leaders are not viewed by history as forces for good in the world. These leaders were able to lead even when there was no rational support for their advance.

Ethics (voting records and stands on issues not considered)

Obama: Has some questionable associations including Tony Rezko, ACORN, William Ayers, Emil Jones Jr., Rashid Khaladi, Rev. Michael Pfleger specifically. Obama’s campaign contributions have raised the question of ethical misconduct, or at the very least, ethical contradictions. Experimented with drugs as a youth.

On the positive side, Obama has worked in the interest of the economically disadvantaged as a community activist.

McCain: McCain was implicated in the Keating 5 scandal, but cleared and chastised later. There are some rumors about McCain related to adultery and gambling, however these have not made it very far in terms of media scrutiny.

In his favor, his prison camp story is compelling, and he made the right choice in remaining versus being released, a point he doesn’t seem to let pass anyone by.

Winner: McCain, but narrowly. Obama’s association with such a multitude of questionable actors over a course of time shows a continual lack of judgment regardless of whether he actually did anything untoward.



Education: Harvard Law School; BA Political Science, Columbia University

Economy: Political experience; Relies on advisors

Domestic politics: State and federal senator for 12 years. Education, teaching, and activism.

International politics: Congressional experience, including foreign affairs committee.

Military history: Relies on advisors

World History: Cannot judge

World Religion: Obama Christian, Father raised Muslim turned atheist, mother Christian, lived in Indonesia, Pakistan

Philosophy: Cannot judge


Education: US Naval Academy

Economy: More political experience; Relies on advisors

Domestic politics: US Navy liason to Congress (5), Congressman (26) for 31 years.

International Politics: Military and Congressional experience including Armed services committee.

Military history: US Navy, Annapolis, Armed Services Committee

World History: Cannot judge

World Religion: Christian

Philosophy: Cannot judge

Winner: Obama, but narrowly. McCain rates higher with regard to International politics and Military history. Obama wins in education, domestic politics, and world religion.

Courage and demeanor


Demeanor: Calm and cool exterior. Has appeared to get rattled during debates, but nominally.

Courage: Cannot judge


Demeanor: Generally calm and cool. Has demonstrated agitation during debates, but nominally.

Courage: Has shown courage as a prisoner of war. Otherwise, cannot judge.

Winner: McCain - I rate them a tie in demeanor but McCain wins in courage.


Obama: Aside from the aforementioned ethics questions, nothing has surfaced that indicts Obama’s professionalism.

McCain: While there have been sparse reports of breaches of personal ethics, nothing has been publicly substantiated. Otherwise, nothing has surfaced that questions McCain’s professionalism.

Winner: Tie. Neither are exceptionally professional nor unprofessional.

For me, rating the men against the qualifications for the position results in a lackluster tie. I rate Obama higher in leadership and knowledge, but McCain higher in ethics and courage, but neither win in a convincing manner in their respective categories.

So now I have to consider their position on issues. On the surface my tendencies are conservative since I'm a state's rights advocate (a.k.a. federalist), Catholic and free-market advocate. I can't remember when we have had a true fiscal conservative in control of the government. I suspect my analysis of the issues will produce yet another non-choice situation for me; where I'm voting against someone and not for someone.

Stay tuned...

Friday, October 10, 2008

What are you doing? Is this a time of crisis or an opportunity?

I'm curious to know how you view the current economic situation. Do you see the market, now trading at a level around 40% off it's high of last year as an opportunity or do you believe it's too risky, implying that there are no companies worth owning at this point? Are you worried about keeping your job? Have you tried to get a loan and been denied?

For myself, I put a little money in the market last week, and of course it went down. I did not sell into the downfall. Last November and again in January I talked to my broker about selling since I started to feel uncomfortable with being in the market. He talked me out of selling and I paid no further attention to it.

I'm fortunate that I don't need the cash right now and as such, I just left it in. I put a little more from my last paycheck into the same funds last week feeling that I would start putting a little more in every paycheck. If it keeps going down I'll just continue to buy all the way down. Hell, I'm buying at levels I haven't been able to buy at in 10 years. I only wish I had more cash. In my opinion there are a number of good companies selling at once in a lifetime levels. And they may get cheaper!

The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve are at their wits end having pulled the trigger on a number of spending initiatives, loans, and rate cuts. Where were they in July when rate cuts might have kept the flow of credit open?

I'm not particularly worried about the business... yet. Many companies are continuing spending in essential initiatives. However, we're seeing all good companies begin to cut non essential spending including projects and headcount. It's not a good time to be a corporate ornament, a.k.a. dead weight. We're also seeing an increase in sales and marketing efforts. It will be interesting to see when marketing budgets get wiped out. I fully expect to continue to see massive layoffs through the remainder of the year in large and publicly traded companies. Small business usually don't operate with the same level of overhead, but we will all be taking haircuts.

I don't personally know anyone who's been foreclosed, but given the statistics I expect that many of you do. My aunt emailed me the other day saying that one of the kids had gotten a mortgage that was more than they could afford then complicated things by running up their credit cards. Before anyone could help them they had dug their hole too deep and they got foreclosed. It's unfortunate, but probably a lesson they needed to learn.

I do acknowledge that there are going to now be a lot of people swept up in this debacle who took on debt that they could afford when they assumed it but will have either lost their job or suffered setbacks in their income forcing them into situations where their debt burden is unsustainable. It's really all of our fear to be caught in this situation. Normally, financial institutions will work with their customers to keep from assuming the financed assets. It will be interesting to see how well this works in this new economy.

Today I heard of a physician friend who was having some difficulty acquiring a mortgage for a home, saying that the amount of down payment was 80%. I suspect he was exaggerating, but I believe that the money required for a down payment is much greater than it used to be.

I have 2 car payments and a home mortgage at the moment. Happily I've paid off my credit cards over the year and have minimal debt in that regard. My cars were financed at 0% and 3.9% respectively and I had a 30 year fixed mortgage at 5.65% as I never trusted adjustable rates or brokers and banks that were unknown to me. I don't have nearly enough cash should something happen to my business or job, so that concerns me and I have to remain optimistic but guarded that we will continue to prosper through the turmoil. As a result, I am focusing efforts on increasing sales on essential items and those that reduce cost or increase sales for our customers.

I'd love to hear your perspectives; what you're seeing; what you're experiencing at home and at work.