Organising ideas and writing with MindNode and Ulysses

Professional and amateur writers have several tools and methods when working, and the idea that the content is more important than the tool is always valid. It is up to everyone finding the best workflow, and working on short texts such as blogs, minor essays, I’ve found that having a structure ahead of the content can help when developing.

Mind mapping

One of the many tools used for connecting ideas, developing project requirements and GTD (getting things done) list is mind mapping. They are similar to paper and white boarding and post-it likes but with the advantage of being able to quickly move ideas around, erase, insert, annotate, export and share.

I am describing a flow using MindNode for macOS and iOS because files can be stored in iCloud and I can switch from my desktop to iPad and iPhone and draw everywhere (and it is beautiful), however there are numerous tools around similar, for Windows and online for use directly within web browsers. The topic is extensive, mind mapping can do a lot and I recommend checking out tools and ideas. And again, the best tool fits your workflow and blends in!

Using MindNode you can describe ideas in topics, sub-topics to several levels, design lists and annotate general idea of the text you are going to write.

I made a very simple example with an introduction node, few topics and sub-topics. The annotation to the right helps remembering ideas you want to develop later.

Once you are done at least with main structure of the text topics, you can export it using the markdown format. On macOS, save it to a file first that you can open or drag into Ulysses later. When using iOS, use the share sheet to select export to markdown format followed by the send to app and copy to Ulysses.

Writing into Ulysses

Ulysses is another writing tool that helps in organising writing in sheets that can be moved around, grouped together, and exported to several formats such as PDF, HTML, ePub and Word. Just like MindNode, it is very versatile, works with iCloud and both macOS and iOS, so you can seamlessly write in all those platforms. Ulysses uses Markup-based editor, which means, it gets out of the way when writing so you don’t waste time and be distracted by fonts, colours, rules and tons of features. It is still very powerful but because you don’t see and need to use all features right away. Just check it out some demo videos on their web site.

Back to simple writing, once you have Ulysses opened into a group you want to use, just drag the .md file from MindNode into it and you should get something similar to this.

Once you are editing the sheet, you can see main idea name from MindNode is added as header level 1 with a ‘#’ followed by the topics as second level ones and “##”. Any annotation on a node will appear as simple text below the topic where you can develop the ideas.

The last node level is added in Ulysses as an unordered list because that’s how MindNode exports to Markdown, so subtopic 3.1 and 3.2 are lists. However, you can fix this manually or make a hierarchical list in MindNode to all levels needed to overcome this before exporting. Simply, just add a 3.1.0 sub-topic and both 3.1 and 3.2 should be as third level headers added as “###” in Ulysses.

Now with main ideas ready you can start developing them within Ulysses, move between platforms at any time and iCloud synch should take of it most of the time. Ulysses has some statistics over the written material and an idea of time needed to read it. So those are useful for the ones with goals set.

You can add few elements such as pictures, annotations, footnotes and get it more complex depending on the type of document.

Exporting your work

Once it is completed there are several ways to follow, having a Word document produced, maybe for layout changes, pictures and others. You can use text export as simple text, markup, PDF and HTML and ePub.

You can publish online to regular WordPress web site, selecting one of your accounts, into a custom WordPress site if you host one and into Medium platform if you integrated Ulysses with it.

This text was written in Ulysses and published both into Medium and WordPress as an example. Hope it helps with writing ideas and mostly with the content instead with the tool set behind!

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Tracking time in projects with Tyme 2

Tracking project time, personal or professional ones, expenses, transportation and reporting can be made easier with iOS and macOS app Tyme 2. Tyme 2 runs on both main Apple platforms making good use of iCloud synchronisation services which makes it practical to start some project on the road, make some quick entries or use stop-watch per project activity and update in more details back on the Mac or view project tasks information in a larger screen. Mac version is not required but is a good complement to iOS version. Newest iOS version also works with Apple Watch which I haven’t tried but could be useful on quick starting and ending some projects over stop-watch.

Project entry and classification

As you add new projects to Tyme, you can describe what they are, categorise them by type and choose different banner colours to highlight them. Projects can have a name and hourly rates and planned budgets, but not a long description. Once you have main projects listed and organised, you can add multiple tasks to the projects, add different bill rates and define time rounding and due date.

Sample iPhone project list

Entering tasks and activities information

Registering task usage can be done by the use of a stop-watch timer like feature or by manually entering information. Again, iCloud comes handy here as you can start the timer in a device and stop it on another and it is possible to run multiple timers if needed.

Sample timer

It is possible to create sub-tasks if it makes sense splitting them into more detail. Both tasks and sub-tasks support adding time entries which will help making the report later on. Once tasks are complete they can be marked as so and moved below in the list. The active tasks appear on the first rows. Once a project has all tasks complete, you can mark it as complete as well and projects can be archived as well moved away from the main project list.

Getting some reports

Once there are few project entries, around a week or month of time, a report can be generated in macOS or iOS devices showing time spent on each activity or task, total in projects and categories. Each entry can be marked as billed or as paid. The report can show either time incurred or revenue.

The reports on macOS can be customised to show revenue on graphics and breaks, less or more detail. Last you can review archived projects, unarchive them and delete them.

Besides reporting on iOS and macOS which are very helpful, all the information can be exported (on both platforms) in several formats, PDF, CSV, JSON, HTML, and database backup in case you need to move data to another profile or device, and several options about summaries, revenue, billed or not hours and notes. I find them very well organised for self-employed professionals bringing good-looking and honest reporting on activities.

Other features

I haven’t tested it but macOS version will integrate with third party plugins to transfer information to other apps such as Grand Central 4 which helps with more advanced invoicing.

Tyme 2 can also integrate with Mac and iPhone/iPad calendars showing a view of activities and display alarms for due tasks. It complements the Record view and it is optional as some people will prefer a cleaner calendar view. Personally I found it shows too much information in weekly and monthly once I had tracked too many activities, but still it can be useful in some workflows and with alarms.

Both macOS and iOS versions look very smooth and pleasant to work with, no slowness at all even in devices with 3 years old. I’ll continue to use Tyme to help me track project time for the weekly time-sheet reporting period and I hope might be useful for some of you.

Common aspects between veganism and sustainability

The veganism has some good common aspects with sustainability regarding conscious consume. Whilst most known idea to people regarding veganism is related with decreasing greenhouse gases emissions, methane mainly and deforestation for cattle, issue goes beyond reaching supply chain, world wide market and producers.

Vegans defend animals are conscious beings that understand what is around them, therefore, they feel fear and pain, and suffer on being used for human consumption and that all animals should have the right to live with minimal interference from us. Vegans by avoiding consuming any animal derived product contribute for a change in the supply chain causing decreasing demand for animal derived product. The most common examples are meat like red, pig, chicken or fish, eggs and dairy while no less important but not well known, leather, honey, silk and wool (still, some products like cosmetics and medicines can be made from animals and be hard to get to know disclosed information). By decreasing demand for those products e replacing them by others make animal-free safe, generally vegetables, supply chain and production are forced to review their offers and the economics start to change gradually.

Animal made products will still have for a while smaller cost given production and distribution scale, while vegan products are generally considered premium rate to pioneer consumers and more expensive initially, until production and consume ramp up and more offers are created. As those products get more popular and more producers join the market, price tends to decrease.

And what veganism has to do with sustainability?

When we speak of sustainability, more known issues are energy efficiency on lighting, heating and cooling on less energy demanding devices and through better design, and hydric efficiency, or water racional use in such modern fixtures, and water reuse for less noble purposes like irrigation and flushing. Green building programs like Acua, LEED or Referencial Casa handle those very well.

However, just like veganism, sustainability programs also take care of supply chain or fair markets issues, be through recommendations, be through certification policies or mandates. So, just like vegans lead the market to  alternative products from the common, green building programs stimulate certified sources by third party, audited and that make up less impact on their operations.

Less known public known examples are the use of certified wood, purchased from audited and accredited sources, certified by entities like the FSC and from safe certified materials by entities like the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Those are two program examples that help consumers or their procurement decision for construction and operation.

The Brazilian program Referencial Casa also goes beyond usual and demands the construction workers are formally hired according to Brazilian labour laws, and suggests that capacitation programs for the community are brought in for those people to develop them with safer practices, recycling, read and writing skills as examples, not excluding others.

Those programs, by considering the impact on supply chain, production, transport of goods and on people’s life, make that consumers are more aware of from where they get their products, results of their life cycle on society and on the environment and bring changes on the market as a whole, just like vegan product consumption pattern that transforms meal market.

Both themes have in common the way the seek to reach moral and economics goals, seeking to push the market through changes in demand and as an outcome, production. This has a bigger transformation potencial than laws, although both are complementary.

What is the WELL Building Standard

O que é o Well Building Standard e por que foi criado
What is the WELL Building Standard and why it’s been created

O Well Building Standard or WELL has been designed by the International WELL Building Institute or IWBI, a Public Benefit Company (PBC) as a different approach and focus for sustainable buildings. WELL takes on health aspects and human comfort at the same time it complements LEED rating systems (more on future post). System has been created from wellness concepts and studies of buildings occupants, a way of improving social responsibility and fairness. WELL is the result of people following on the Clinton Global Initiative in improving people lives through social actions.

These sets of systems do not exist only as metrics for improvement per se, but as results of scientific studies of health professionals participating on the standard creation. A part of social aspects, the standard application has to make financial sense to be justified and adopted, so the highlight on the scientific studies behind the requirements and actions to be done. As people spend large parts of the day inside buildings, according to studies in the standard, a better care with factors that affect their health will bring financial and commercial benefit for the project owners. For companies or tenants this means less absenteeism reflecting in savings on lost or delayed work and employee replacement. For owners of commercial spaces, better rent value and selling prices as their offer a more attractive space to talents, feature that is seek by the market as they go over office renovations or relocations. For government it means less spending with public health system and early retirements as less people will be sick and won’t need to use the public health system as often.

Months ago IWBI disclosed a partnership with the Green Building Certification Institute or GBCI to work on spaces certification and accreditation, and although it does not use the same method or tools of LEED certification, a similar process and market recognition of GBCI will make the process flow better and more trustful.

How the certification works and why is is important

WELL defines features in 7 knowledge areas that are related themselves and impact on people health: Air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. For each area there is a set of requirements (pre-conditions) and recommendations (named optimizations) to the project. The requirements must be all attended in a project so it can be considered certified. Failing to meet a single requirement item prevents the project certification and demands a review. The optimizations are recommended design measures that sums up together to reach Gold or Platinum certification levels. Silver levels means the project has met all requirements or pre-conditions, while Gold means at least 40% of optimizations are met and Platinum 80% of them are met. This is valid for current project typologies, while for pilot projects, at least 20% of optimizations must be met to reach Silver certification level.

Project Typologies

Today there are three project classifications, named typologies:

— New and Existing Buildings: Although this might look like exterior focus (envelope), it is applicable to projects where the owner occupies at least 90% of the total floor area. This applies usually to companies offices (maybe retail stores) that own the building and control most of the construction and interior items and it varies a lot by region or country usual business way.

— New and Existing Interiors: Perhaps the most used typology, for interior offices (similar to commercial interiors). Will be used mostly to work wellness and health of office occupants rented by a tenant. Usually it will not include building core or technical areas, but can benefit from projects in compliance with the next typology where some of the requirements must be met.

— Core and Shell: Typology that assures projects where the owner will deliver facilities like electrical, hydraulic and air conditioning systems, but not the interior finishing, furnitures and other office items. It is complementary to the other typologies as it is in the early stage most of important decisions are taken, that later will affect window placement and daylight, thermal performance, location and others. In this case certification is named Compliance.

Available pilots: Multifamily Residential, Educational Facilities, Retail, Restaurant and Commercial Kitchens.

Future pilots: Communities, Exercise Facilities, Public Assembly and Healthcare. For example, Health project requirements can have variations for additional measures on asepsis, patients comfort for a quicker recovery.

WELL introduces a concept of primary and secondary space type that are applied in cases where one typology does not fit totally and on pilot projects. In those cases, both spaces must be worked according to their own typologies requirements and applicable optimizations, if a distinction is possible between spaces. This does not apply to the regular typologies already defined.

Certification

Project certification is worked over WELL Online tool and takes two phases: Documentation Review and Performance Review. Each item to be met as pre-conditions or optimizations may be assessed just by documentation (or evidences), by performance verification or both (the standard guide explains where each situation applies). The performance verifications are done by an WELL Assessor professional assigned to the project. The Certification Guide details this workflow. At the end of the process a report is presented about the project explaining each item assessed.

Project operations must send annually, performance data about some items in certification to the IWBI for latter studies and WELL improvements and each 3 years must perform a recertification. Project must have recertification process started before the end of the 3 year period, which will ensure 6 more months to run certification assessment. The process is very demanding and requires that after the first recertification, each new only must adhere to new items of the latest version of the standard available up to 12 months before the limit date of recertification. This makes sure the project will be updated with new technologies and methods at the same time it guarantees performance indicators have not fallen down since last (re)certification.

Critics

WELL looks like to be an excellent way to assess, standardize and develop better methods to accommodate people and take care of them, bringing social and financial benefits on long term. The standard is based on US centric norms, regulations and associations standards like EPA and ASHRAE. Because some of the requirements I’ve seem the following critics sometimes:

— An additional certification cost besides LEED plus consultant fees: It is a fact and maybe WELL certification is a short term investment where one does not know all variables and results as well in LEED or in other rating systems. However it can be a good selling point as certification gains traction and becomes more known on the market. Other certifications already educated the market so it is has a shorter path to market assimilation.

— Some of the pre-conditions are expensive or hard to achieve: There will be some requirements considered complex or expensive at the beginning, like light control, movable furniture/workstations for example, and this can be a factor in giving up certification. Ideally, the standard will amend the requirements at each review to improve the market, so there should not be any provision to those demanding requirements.

Opportunities

WELL has today lots of synergies between its requirements and optimizations with LEED ID+C projects for Commercial Interior and can benefit in common features. It is an advantage following Integrated Project processes so the common requirements can be considered and used early in the design meetings, so the process start better prepared with major stakeholders. Their opinions and input will make sure there are no barriers and rework needed as there is lots of integration between the knowledge areas.

How self regulating and consensus based industry standards and policies can make better world.

Usually there are lots of news covering how some business hurt an industry reputation and the environment around it. There are the amount of bad news over it, people forget sometimes to look for the good ones, the exception and innovative ones. It does not need to be this way, and we can have a mind change over this issue and list some quite positive things happening and how they are going.

Should we always expect regulation as the only way corporations respect consumers, their industry and the environment? 

I don’t believe so. Those are needed sometimes and this varies globally as cultural, economic, social and political scenario acts differently in several places. And what if markets start self-regulating with increasing standards and volunteered participation from industry? To develop better processes, materials and operating standards?

Well, this happens for some quite long time in building industry along with its supply chain. The green building movement has more than 20 years and is a good example of how certifications aligned with volunteer participation and a dose of market demand can make it last. The green building certification programs like LEED from USGBC most used in Americas, BREEAM in Europe, Green Globes from Canada among others, are set to make not only buildings themselves less demanding on natural resources but to transform sourcing providers and improve occupants life and productivity.

Most known program, LEED, is consensus based and its participation is optional. Member companies and steering committees will design and envolve standards together to make better use of resources. Not only direct people involved in building design and construction are affected but the whole supply chain. Customers are asking more about the environmental and social impact of the products they buy. Companies are listening to them and working on bringing more products and solutions. For green building business this means supply chain can today not only offer better energy and water systems but also building, finishing and furniture materials. New projects seeking certification will need to need to focus more on materials starting with LEED v4. Also, indoor environmental quality which is closed related with materials and quality of work environment will be used more over next few years as companies design newer office spaces. So, few changes I am seeing right now.

More responsible supply chain 

Expect to see more FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood requests from building constructors, Green-E providers for RECs and carbon offsets purchases (both from companies and their suppliers as they are required to reduce impact on their operations) and other office materials like carpets, painting, furniture and furnishing to be audited and checked for their impacts on extraction, processing, shipping and reuse, recycling or taking back. Products extracted from questionable sources such as polluting ones, based on slavery or exploration of poor communities will suffer social media exposition and so the manufactures that buy raw or processed material from them. Those who can change early will have a better positioning and experience doing their part and auditing sources or looking for third party certification entities. I believe this shift slowly to more consensual practice than something mandated from law.

Products will be analyzed for their life cycle impact not only on extraction and logistics but on health impact over installation. US Health Product Declaration and European REACH codes for chemicals will help choosing less damage causing substances. If at first some of those replacement cost more, eventually they be sought by public even if not on legislation because corporations cannot hide it from public and many are truly changing their culture for the better. Another good outcome is that new business on the third-party certification will growth to help manufactures safer with their products and increase their reputation and sales value.

More engagement from the public

We can expect more participation from the public in their desires to see a better and less impacts on world resources. People working for corporations all sizes will see some examples such as location of their offices, specially in green buildings, how their furniture is responsible produced and reused or discarded. New markets will be created and we will see positive shift on the world labor market. There will always be things and process to improve which is opportunity for entrepreneurs in small and larger corporations.

In the end, corporations can and are shifting to a self-regulating standards (there are quite some old guilds around the world) which will help with reputation and marketability. While we cannot say tight legislation is a thing of the past, a better balance over it and industry value standards seem to be getting clear ahead.

Sustentabilidade e rentabilidade

Não faz muito tempo John Elkington, autor de inúmeros livros sobre ecologia, economia sustentável e comportamento social, baseado numa ideia anterior, lançou Cannibal With Forks tornando popular o conceito chamado de Triple Bottom Line que relaciona desenvolvimento econômico, com uso racional de recursos do planeta e que promovam justiça social. Conceito também conhecido como 3 Ps, para People, Planet e Profit. A ideia por trás disso é que o desenvolvimento econômico considere as relações e influencias às pessoas e ao meio ambiente, o que tradicionalmente parece ser conflitante. Saindo da ideia tradicional de maximizar lucros aos acionistas (shareholders), vai-se para entender como são afetados todas pessoas afetadas pelas decisões (os stakeholders).

Criado no começo da década de 90 o U.S. Green Building Council ou USGBC, cuja missão é “Transformar a maneira como edifícios e comunidades são desenhados, construídos e operados permitindo um ambiente que seja responsável, saudável e próspero melhorando a qualidade de vida“, promove o desenvolvimento de construções que sejam menos impactantes ao mesmo tempo que façam sentido economicamente. Para isso, o USGBC promove advocacia de formas melhores de construção, exposições e desenvolvimento de novos produtos. O programa LEED de certificação de prédios sustentáveis dispõe de ações que contribuem em 7 categorias de impacto por ordem de prioridade:

  • Reverter contribuição para as mudanças climáticas globais
  • Melhorar saúde e bem estar individual
  • Proteger e restaurar os recursos hídricos
  • Proteger, melhorar e restaurar ecossistema e biodiversidade
  • Promover ciclo de materiais sustentáveis e regenerativos
  • Construir uma economia verde
  • Melhorar equidade social, justiça ambiental e qualidade de vida das comunidades

Através destas categorias de impacto são definidos, para diversos tipos de construções, itens a serem explorados na construção que ajudarão a melhorar os itens do Triple Bottom line. Cada construção certificada aumenta o seu valor de venda ou locação devido à procura no mercado, seja por intenção contribuir para um mundo melhor, seja para atrair mais consumidores ou seja por benefícios operacionais. Ao se considerar custo de ciclo de vida (life cycle cost), os prédios certificados mostram economia de uso de água e energia (com isso, menor gasto direto em operações), além aumento de produtividade com redução de absenteísmo por doenças respiratórias, melhor ergonomia, ventilação e iluminação que trarão conforto adicional. Outro foco do programa além da economia em operações, é estimular o uso de transporte alternativo, redução de materiais extraídos, reuso e reciclagem nesta ordem de importância, transporte alternativo, integração com a comunidade e economias locais e saúde pessoal. Para saber mais sobre o programa LEED acesse a página principal do programa no USGBC. Em estudos recentes nos EUA, encontrou-se:

Projetos certificados apresentam em média 25% de economia com gastos de fornecimento de energia elétrica. Estes projetos tem um custo de operações cerca de 19% menor que a média nacional. Também mostram 36% de redução de emissões de CO2 e 27% de aumento em satisfação dos usuários, o que se traduz em melhor capacidade de atrair e reter talentos.

Indo além dos programas de construções, companhias de qualquer tamanho contribuem através de ações em comunidades locais. Exemplos mais interessantes são empresas que reciclam ou reutilizam materiais de forma inteligente como a Interface que consegue reciclar placas de carpete em redes de pesca reduzindo descarte e lixo ambiental enquanto auxilia economia local.

Quick vMotion lab setup instructions for home lab using VMWare Fusion and ESXi 5.

This is short recipe guide to test VMWare vMotion at home lab with not too costly equipment. I used a Macbook Pro 2012 with 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM, 2.7GHz Core i7 processor and VMWare Fusion but similar setup will run on VMWare Workstation in Linux and Windows with some adaptations.

This lab basically has an NSF exported folder as a shared datastore for two VMWare ESXi hosts, which is a requirement for vMotion, plus two ESXi 5.0.0 virtual machines inside VMWare Fusion which in turn can migrate a Linux or Cisco UCS emulator between them. The OS X server component servers as DNS service to the environment. The Macbook needs to keep a fixed IP address and it supports Airport wireless interface without issues. The ESXi virtual hosts would be physical hosts, blade servers, instances in some platforms, that would generally connected into a SAN (Storage Area Network) sharing their data stores so vMotion could occur.

This requires some previous experience with standalone VMWare ESXi, VMWare Fusion, Windows Server 2003 and licenses for vCenter as well. This will not describe whole Windows Server and vCenter installation process. Scott Lowe excellent book shows all about ESXi and vCenter installation, plus full vMotion explanation as well whole ESXi features > http://amzn.com/1118661141

Here what you will need:

– VMWare Fusion 7 and OS X Yosemite with Server App ($30 in app store).
– A share created in /Users/Volume for NFS sharing.
– Two ESXi standard licenses, one per virtual ESXi hosts and vCenter.
– VMWare vCenter and a Windows Server 2003 R2 64-bit installation disk.
– VMware ESXi 5.0.0 ISO files. Minor versions like 5.1 and 5.5 should work as well.
– A Linux distribution or any other light operation system to test.
– Core i7 with 512SSD and 16GB RAM machine running OS X 10.8 and VMWare 5 and above. In this setup I am running latest versions OS X 10.10 and Fusion 7 Professional but it does not seem required.

So, how is this setup?

VMWare vCenter will control an entity Data Center named Macbook and inside it, a cluster (cluster 1) that has the two virtual ESXi servers as members. By having both ESXi virtual hosts sharing a local NFS exported folder, and a secondary network adapter in a vSwitch for vMotion, vCenter will enable a live migration with little interruption.
This is not the only way to set up a vMotion and variations can be tried for real data center application simulation.

vMotion requires: Both hosts (ESXi) be on compatible versions, compatible hardware at some conditions (for example, moving a virtual machine from AMD processor to Intel might not be possible if virtual machine was allowed to use processor specific functions). Also, the hosts must belong to a cluster and have share storage known as data store in VMWare, plus a dedicated network interface reachable between the hosts (those usually are on a vMotion vlan).

Once all is set up and running, you can right initiate a live migration from one host to another. With this setup, you should lose one echo packet before the machine is reachable and responding again. In large virtual machines and environments, this can be slower, but usually a data center would be designed to minimize this to no loss at all.

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Setup of VMWare Fusion, DNS server, Share and ESXi hosts.

Quick recipe:

  • Set the IP address of the Mac interface to 192.168.1.100/24 with gateway 192.168.1.1.
  • Install VMWare Fusion > http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/features.html
  • Install the Server App
  • Open the Server app, enable DNS and create a domain lab.inc, with hosts macbook.lab.inc as 192.168.1.100. Create hosts ESXi-Host1.lab.inc and ESXi-Host2.lab.inc with IP addresses 192.168.1.61 and 192.168.1.62. Create a vCenter server host as vcenter.lab.inc with IP address 192.168.1.111.

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  • Open the Terminal command prompt using <Command-Space> and type terminal followed by <Return>
  • Move into the /Users/Shared/ folder by typing ‘cd /Users/Shared
  • Create the shared folder as NFS using command ‘sudo mkdir nfs’ and type OS X administrator account password.

Macbook:~ Rodrigo$ cd /Users/Shared
Macbook:Shared Rodrigo$ sudo mkdir NSFNEW
Password:
Macbook:Shared Rodrigo$ ls -la
total 1459104
drwxrwxrwt@ 20 root wheel 680 26 Jan 15:35 .
drwxr-xr-x 7 root admin 238 22 Jan 12:07 ..
-rw-r–r–@ 1 Rodrigo wheel 10244 24 Jan 14:42 .DS_Store
-rw-r–r– 1 root wheel 0 9 Set 19:16 .localized
drwxrwxr-x+ 2 root wheel 68 23 Jan 10:49 nfs

Would should have a new nfs folder. Now, let’s export it so it can be accessed by NFS clients. Go to folder /private/etc/ using command ‘cd /private/etc’ and edit the exports file to add the folder nfs to be exported in NFS server.

Type ‘sudo pico exports’ to edit and create the file if it does not exist. Would should have the text editor like this.
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  • Start a new line if needed, add the /Users/Shared/nfs -maproot=root:wheel line to enable sharing of nfs folder with root rights. A warning here. This is not the most secure way to do this and in fact would should have a non-privileged account for a non-lab environment for this (where a Mac server or any other Unix or NFS server could be a server to a specific deployment but I won’t get into details on how to do it, but keep in mind you should have quote and access control for it, possible auditing). Type <Control-X> and <Y> to save it.
  • Make sure you test NFS export is working.

Macbook:etc Rodrigo$ nfsstat -e
Exported Directory Info:
Requests Read Bytes Write Bytes
0 0 0 /Users/Shared/nfs
Macbook:etc Rodrigo$

If not, you might want to restart the nfsd (daemon) with command ‘sudo nsfd restart’.

Now you should have a proper server to host the 3 virtual machines and a shared data store.

Create two ESXi Hosts on Fusion

This time we are going to create two very similar virtual machines for ESXi host. So, open the VMWare Fusion virtual machine library, click on the Plus signal to create a new virtual machine choosing:

  1. Virtual machine type as VMWare ESXi v5.
  2. Two network adapters set as auto detect
  3. Two core processor cores and 2048MB of RAM (2GB) and Enable hypervisor applications in this virtual machine check box.
  4. Make a virtual disk of 40GB, and uncheck Split into multiple files and Pre-Allocate disk space checkboxes. We are not going to use anything like that disk space.
  5. Set up CD/DVD to the ESXi v5 ISO image.

Save the virtual machine and start it up with ISO mounted to start ESXi installation. In a regular process, you should end up with new ESXi host and name it ESXi-Host1.lab.inc using IPv4 address of 192.168.1.61/24 and a root administration end user and password written down. Please, repeat the virtual machine creating process for the second host ESXi-Host2 using IPv4 address 192.168.1.62/24. Overtime you power up those virtual machines, OS X will ask you for the password of an administrator end user to enable the network interfaces to monitor the system, for each interface, so twice per virtual machine, even if your end user is an administrator one.

Create the vCenter server on Fusion

This is a part where it takes some time and Windows knowledge to deploy vCenter server. Again, a new virtual machine needs to be created with 2 processors, 2GB of RAM, Windows Server 2003 64 Enterprise Edition and 400GB of disk. Again, the disk is thin provisioned so the space used will be much less than that. Remember to point the server to use 192.168.1.100 as DNS server and have a secondary public address to reach updates for it.

Install Windows Server 2003, service packs and updates (assuming they won’t brake vCenter later here). Once stable, have the vCenter ISO and install it using a internal SQL database. Remember, for larger deployments it could and should probably be external server to handle data center size. Here, vCenter installation is not complicated but some previous knowledge helps on issues, which are rare by the way.

Create data center and cluster on vCenter.

Once vCenter is running, connect to it using the vSphere client directly on Windows Server you installed vCenter and create a data center by going on the Inventory > Hosts and Clusters menu. Named it Macbook and inside this data center, create a cluster named Cluster1 with not HA option enabled.

By now you can add both virtual ESXi hosts to this cluster. Select cluster1 before adding the hosts and you should be able to add them by their FQDN ‘esxi-host1.lab.inc’. At this time you will be asked to confirm or enter VMWare license for this vCenter server.

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Now, we can add a new shared data store to them. Click on the first host, followed by the Configuration tab and select Storage on the left panel. You should see the first datastore in the 40GB disk we created for this ESXi host. Click o Add Storage command on the right upper side of the screen.

  1. Select Network File System Type.
  2. On the server enter macbook.lab.inc and on the folder line enter /Users/Shared/nfs/ which is the folder we share before.
  3. Name the data store as NFS (capital letters).
  4. Click on Finish and make sure you have a new data store listed for this virtual machine. If any errors occur is because nfs export is not working or there is some access right issues. You might want to grant your OS X end user rights to the NFS folder using the Finder and retry.
  5. Repeat this process to the second virtual machine hosting ESXi-Host2.

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It is normal a warning about Store I/O Control for this lab, but you should be able to see free space and use it.

It is time to add a vMotion interface to both ESXi hosts. This is a requirement for vMotion to work, so click on Networking option on the left panel to bring up the network interfaces and virtual switches.

  1. Click on Add Networking and on VMKernel type and on <Next>
  2. Select a new virtual switch that will be used with this vMotion network interface.
  3. On the next screen, name the network label as vMotion and click on Enable this port group for vMotion.
  4. Enter the IP address of another network and by now choose only to use IPv4 (by the way. Mac runs natively with IPv6 very well, so vCenter under Windows Server 2003 and ESXi v5 and you enhance this lab later to us IPv6 only on vMotion if you want to try it with address auto configuration and local link addresses).
  5. Before clicking on Finish, make sure you had the second network interface attached to the new vSwitch. And you should have similar to this:

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I used 10.0.0.1/8 IP for this which is unusual but fits the lab. Please, repeat the process on the second ESXi host using 10.0.0.2/8 address.

We should be all set to test a live VM migration.

Well, go ahead and create a small VM in ESXi-Host1 using the shared data store to hold the virtual machine and disk(s) and power it on. In a previous version of this lab I have used a Slackware 14 64-bit version with 16GB of disk (1 for swap partition and rest for the root file system and volume). This video shows a live migration and you should have similar results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU7wbugGjjo

I know this setup can go wrong a few times and being far from VMWare experienced, there are still unknowns here. Be aware of shared datastore creation might not work and you might end up with two of them. Also, remember to have both ESXi hosts in a single cluster in a data center for the migration to list the server to where you want to move the virtual machine.

Fire up the virtual machine inside the virtual hypervisors (how’s cool that?) and once it is started up and quiet, proceed with right clicking it and choosing Migrate. Select the Change Host option and under cluster1 view, the second host (you should have a validation succeed message as well before going on). Click on <Next> , select High Priority, <Next>, check the summary screen and click on <Finish>. You should see the migration going on live like screen below. (using Cisco UCS Platform Emulator at this time). Hope this is useful to get you started on vMotion. There is much more to explore on > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQfTuAdLfYw

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