TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Blog Sponsor – Pluralsight

I am pleased to announce the second sponsor of my blog: Pluralsight . I am really excited by this sponsorship as I have been a massive fan and user of Pluralsight’s and previously Trainsignal’s videos and online courses for years and they  have helped me pass all of my certifications within the last 7 years so you can understand how fond of the courses I am.

Pluralsight

Pluralsight’s purchase of Trainsignal has enabled the videos to now be available via your tablet and gives you the ability to download videos to your tablet so you can watch them without needing Wi-Fi like on a train or plane. I honestly can’t recommend them enough and would highly recommend you give them a try and sign up for their no obligation 10-day free trial. They have videos ranging from VMware technologies, learning programming languages from scratch or advanced courses , Windows technologies,hacking, A+ N+ , leadership courses and Scrum fundamentals to name but a fraction of the courses. For some of the certifications I have recommended and personally used Pluralsight courses for and will be using again in the future have a look at the following study resources pages and blog posting:

http://thesaffageek.co.uk/vsphere-5-study-resources/vcp5/

http://thesaffageek.co.uk/vsphere-5-study-resources/vcap5-dca-dcd/

http://thesaffageek.co.uk/vsphere-5-x-cloud-study-resources/vcp5-iaas-and-vcp5-cloud/

http://thesaffageek.co.uk/vsphere-5-x-cloud-study-resources/vcap5-cia-and-cid/

http://thesaffageek.co.uk/2014/04/28/vcdx-prep-round-2/

 

Gregg

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Blog Sponsor – VMTurbo

I am pleased to announce the first sponsor of my blog: VMturbo. VMTurbo have been growing their solution year on year and won the  “Best of VMworld 2014” Award – Virtualization Management and with their soon to be released VMTurbo 5.0 they are  a major player in the virtualization management arena.

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For those interested in learning more you can try VMTurbo Operations Manager for free!

5 Reasons to Try Soon

  1. 40%+ Utilization Increase. VMTurbo safely drives an average 40% workload:core density increase, freeing up valuable hardware and reducing software licensing costs. Customers re-purpose their existing hardware for HA, DR, VDI deployments, Test/Dev labs, and organic growth.
  2. 90-Day ROI. On average, VMTurbo customers recoup their VMTurbo investment within 90 days.
  3. VMTurbo Operations Manager 5.0 is arriving in November. You’ll be upgraded for free.
  4. Avoid 2015 price hikes.
  5. Future-proof your organization. VMware CTO, Chris Wolf, said true automation is a necessity in tomorrow’s data centers. He also said VMTurbo is a vendor providing true automation today.

I am looking forward to trying out VMTurbo 5.0 in my lab and will be looking to review the solution also and give my honest opinion of it.

Gregg


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VMworld Day 2

VMworld EMEA day 2 kicked off with the keynote from Carl Echenbach, Ben Fathi and Raghu Raghuram. Unfortunately the keynote was again largely a repeat of the VMworld US day 2 one with all of the same jokes and mock up pictures also. Due to this I’m not going to break down the keynote but rather recommend you watch the keynote recording here.

After watching the keynote and writing up my VMworld Day 1 blog posting I helped the vBrownbag crew with preparations for the TechTalks for which the recordings are now available on the vBrownbag YouTube channel. I would highly recommend watching these as there were some really great presentations from some very big vendors and names within the industry. I then went to the hands on labs and did  HOL-SDC-1420 – OpenStack with VMware vSphere and NSX. The lab was really good and I plan to do the second part of it today.

Talking about containers VMware released a blog posting yesterday around Docker containers performance in VMware vSphere. some of the highlights from the article are that:

  • VMware find that for most of these micro-benchmarks and Redis tests, vSphere delivered near-native performance with generally less than 5% overhead.
  • Running an application in a Docker container in a vSphere VM has very similar overhead of running containers on a native OS (directly on a physical server).

To view the full blog post, you can visit :  http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2014/10/docker-containers-performance-vmware-vsphere.html

After the HOL I attended the Solutions exchange and spoke to some of the vendors whose solutions interest me such as Nutanix, Hitachi Data Systems, PernixData, Simplivity , SolidFire and Colt stalls. Some amazing solution from these guys as well as many others, it’s scary how much the virtualisation ecosystem is changing.

From the solutions exchange I attended session STO2997-SPO The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA which was really good fun and filled by really smart guys on the stage. I watched the recording of the one from the US a few weeks ago and it too was very informative and is a session I would recommend watching from both VMworld’s.

I then made my way back to the solutions exchange for the hall crawl where Hitachi were serving up sake and sushi at their stand which is two of my favourite things so I had to make sure I got myself some and they even gave us nice sake cups which I will personally use for a double espresso cup. A big thanks to Paul Meehan too for chatting us through their solution.

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I stuck around in the solutions exchange until the VMworld party as the party is in the convention centre. The party seemed smaller this year although there was a big roller rink in the middle last year so possibly this was the reason. It was good to chat to very vNerds and even some ex-colleagues whilst waiting for Simple Minds to come on. I’m only 31 so I only knew two or three of their songs but they were hands down better than Taio Cruz last year and most of the crowd seemed to really enjoy it and they even did an encore. From the party I met up with some of my Xtravirt colleagues for a night cap.


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VMworld Day 1

Tuesday is the real start of VMworld where both partners and customers of VMware come to attend sessions, do hands on labs, talk to vendors in the solutions exchange and attend the keynote/general session.

The day kicked off with the general session, I opted to not go into the general session hall but instead go into the hang space across from the hall where the keynote was being shown on big screens. This enabled me  to sit at the bloggers table to ensure my scheduled blog postings around a number of announcements could go out smoothly and in San Francisco the keynote overran into the first sessions and I had one booked at 11am. The blog postings I posted which the ones I had to make sure the scheduling worked for are:

I was planning to mention quite a bit about the keynote but it was 98% exactly the same as the VMworld US one with even the same jokes. If you missed the keynote you can watch it again here. The big announcements from the keynote for me was the announcement that there is now a vCloud Air datacentre in Germany allowing the selection of this datacentre as the location of your data. For those who aren’t from Europe, many countries in Europe have strict regulations about information leaving their countries and Germany is one of the strictest so giving the ability to have customers data in Germany makes things a lot simpler. The second big announcement for me was that HP and Hitachi Data Systems are  have joined the VMware EVO:RAIL program.

Just like in VMworld US, the keynote ran overtime so I started walking to my first session which was MGT1969 vCloud Automation Center and NSX Integration Technical Deep Dive . The session was really informative and the two speakers gave some great insight into the integration and capabilities of the two products as well as doing a live demo at the end. I always appreciate a good demo so i would highly recommend watching the session once the recordings are available.

I had a quick lunch as most of the 11am sessions were delayed due to the keynote and then went up to the solutions exchange to talk to some vendors I wanted to hear more things about. The solutions exchange certainly doesnt seem to have as many vendors as last year and it was also very interesting to see how some vendors stalls have doubled in size whereas a few others have got a lot smaller and moved to the outer edges.

I then went to the hang space to watch a few vBrownbag Techtalks which were really good and also to chat to some fellow vExperts. for me one of the best parts about VMworld is being able to chat to your peers about technology and also make good connections professionally with partners companies. whilst i was in the hang space I also attempted my paper airplane challenge for project Destination Give Back which allows you to create a paper airplane and then depending on how far you throw of if you land on one of the circles you “win” money for a charity cause of your choice. Yet again I threw mine too hard Smile but it’s a quick and easy way to give back to good causes and I applaud VMware for doing it. giveback

My next session to attend was TEX1991 vCenter Orchestrator – What’s Next? which was a good session giving insight into you guessed it, what’s new in vCO. it was a good session and there really are some great things coming out in vCO that will help both SMB and enterprise customers.

I again did a walk around the solutions exchange after this as it was then the hall crawl where drinks and snacks are supplied before making my way to the vExpert/VCDX party where I managed to chat to loads of people about my previous VCDX attempt and my plans for my next one and lastly I attended the Cisco vJamon party. Both parties were really good and I must be getting old as I quite liked that there was good food and no thumping music so that I could chat to people with ease.

If you spot me at the conference please do come say hi. I will be wearing a vBrownbag shirt with my name on the front and back.


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What’s New in vRealize Automation 6.2

Today at VMworld Europe, VMware are going to announce vRealize Automation 6.2 which is the renamed vCloud Automation Center solution but obviously the next version which is due to be available in Q4 this year. It does seem like there is a new version every six months of the solution as vCAC 6.1 was only GA 6 weeks ago which added a whole host of new features.

Below is an overview of what is being added in the vRealize Automation 6.2 product, fortunately there isn’t a change to the architecture so for those who have recently deployed vCAC 6.1 to customer like I have recently you don’t have to stress about doing the upgrade like it was between previous versions.

Upgrade and Migrate to vCAC 6.1

Release 6.0.1.1 to release 6.1

  • 6.0 must first be upgraded to 6.0.1.1
  • In-place upgrade from 6.0.1.1 to 6.1
  • Application Services (AppD) requires side-by side migration

Release 5.2.1 to release 6.1

  • Older versions must be first upgrade to 5.2.1
  • 6.1 will be installed side by side with 5.2.1
  • A migration utility will move data from 5.2.1 to new 6.1 deployment
  • Will require some system down time
  • Does not include AppD

vRealize Automation 6.2 Summary

Enhanced integration between vRealize Operations and Automation

  • Health status displays
  • Reclaims inactive VMs

Admin Friendly CLI

  • Simplify scripting of vRealize Automation commands

Enhanced Endpoint Support

  • vSphere 6 (Q1-15)
  • XenDesktop 7
  • Enhancements to vCloud Air

Proxy Support

  • Pay as you go support (Q1-2015)
  • OpenStack (Havana)

vRealize Automation 6.2 In-Depth

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CloudClient

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CloudClient Overview

  • Command-line utility that provides verb-based access with a unified interface across the vCAC APIs (including IaaS, Applications, vCO)
  • Focused on providing an easy-to-use command-line interface for the IT administrator where scripting and CLI use is more feasible than direct API calls
  • Stable interface while underlying APIs may change over time
  • Provides common security; exception handling; JSON, CSV and tabular formatting; file export; auto login for scripting (password and keyfiles); and auto-generated documentation.
  • Available as a separate Download in Early Q4 (supports 6.1)

Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.


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What’s New In vCloud Automation Center 6.1

Not long after VMworld Europe vCAC 6.1 was released. For the past year I have been very fortunate to have been on some very large vCAC projects as an extension of VMware PSO and have seen the product change dramatically. there have certainly been some challenges but I’m super excited about vCAC 6.1 and from the experience I have gained of it so far it is looking very solid and now can work seemlessly with vCO along with a number of other great new feaures. So below is an overview of what is new in vCAC  6.1.

vCAC Extension

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Interested in Developing a VCO Plugin?
Free Access to the vCO Plug-in SDK

  • The SDK has samples and documentation to facilitate development
  • http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/developer/forums/orchestrator
  • Additional Resources

    Distribution on VMware Solutions Exchange
    – Contact: Meenakshi Nagarajan
    mnagarajan@vmware.com for additional info

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    Automating Application and Infrastructure Services

    Simplifying the deployment and management of single machines and complex multi-tired applications.

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    User Experience

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    vRealize Operations 6.0

    Today at VMworld EU there are going to be a number of announcements and as has become the norm for VMworld Europe, VMware are making a number of announcements around their new management solutions. One of these announcements is vRealize Operations 6.0.

    If you are wondering what I mean with the vRealize name then below is a very quick summary:

    vRealize Suite

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    VMware vRealize is changing the name of the management solutions into simpler packaging and suites and as announced at VMworld US, vRealize Air Operations,Automation and Business will be available soon to provide a new SaaS solution for VMware customers via the renamed vCloud Air offering.

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    vRealize Operations 6

    There are a number of new features and enhancements in vRealize Operations 6.0 one of these is the new scale-out architecture allowing high resiliency and availability as well as self monitoring to ensure that if an instance/slice is lost, it is reported and brought back seamlessly.

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    vRealize Operations 6.0 is now providing a public set of RESTful API’s to allow customers and partners to extend as well as get information in and out with ease so that it can be used for custom reporting or in the case of a project i have been on recently will allow monitoring of vCAC DEM’s and automatic provisioning of more if required.

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    The management dashboard of vRealize Operations 6.0 has maintained the same three panels on health Risk and Efficiency to  provide viewing and reporting of immediate and future problems as well as opportunities to optimise. With vRealize Operations 6.0 you now have a new section below each of the three panels there are now problem alerts which give you correlation of problems and the ability to click the alerts to see the details as shown below.

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    There is also the ability to dig deeper into the problems by using vRealize Log Insight which can send alerts into vRealize Operations 6.0 if certain problems arise and allow custom reporting and alerting for partners and bigger customers who are looking for custom reporting and deep analysis.

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    Below is a summary of all the new features and solutions in vRealize Operations 6.0 allowing reporting of public and private architecture as well as simplistic single pane of glass management.

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    One of the biggest abilities of vRealize Operations 6.0 that I really like and i think will make all the customers I see as a consultant very happy is the support for new SDDC and hybrid cloud platforms meaning you can now monitor and report on networking,storage, OpenStack and vCloud Air. This will truly allow you to manage and report on your whole SDDC environment.

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    vRealize Operations 6.0 NSX Management Pack

    With vRealize Operations 6.o as shown above is the ability to monitor and report on SDN solution NSX. With vRealize Operations 6.0 there is a new management pack for NSX.In the image below, you can see the heat map showing the transport layer. The transport layer is effectively all of the transport nodes (NSX term for hypervisors). These boxes are the ESX hosts registered with NSX, grouped by a particular transport zone. Transport zone is a group of hypervisors that share the same transport behaviour. On the bottom, the widget shows the top talkers. If there is a lot of traffic, this widget can help us figure out which VMs are responsible for the most network traffic.

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    There are three NSX dashboards: NSX main dashboard, NSX logical topology and NSX Edge services.

    The current view is from the NSX main dashboard. Currently, we are a seeing information for a particular NSX Manager instance. The control plane widget is all the objects corresponding to the NSX Manager (API and connection to the vCenter Server for configuration), Controllers (responsible for configuring switches), Edge (VMs that deploy certain logical network services like DHCP, Load balancer etc. ), Logical Routers (Distributed routers responsible for configuring the routing software on each individual host).

    All the alerts related to NSX are captured in Open Alerts widgets. This is based on hard threshold violations. We can see a number of High Availability violations. We have 40-50 alerts that are configured out of the box. We have detailed documentation on each of these metrics and what the alerts mean.

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    vRealize Operations Management Pack for OpenStack

    OpenStack is emerging as the leading cloud platform for enterprises and some SPs. VMware are going to provide a management pack to support OpenStack providers. It will mostly be sold to existing vSphere customers who have OpenStack deployments currently.

    Based on vRealize Operations 6.0image

    • Unified UI for vSphere, NSX, OpenStack and other resources
    • Health, Risk and Efficiency badges for OpenStack objects
    • Sub-badges for OpenStack objects (workload, faults etc.) and capacity model
    • Problem detection and remediation for OpenStack infrastructure and tenants
    • Reporting templates for activity, capacity and issue frequency

    OpenStack Compute, Storage & Network Infrastructure Analytics

    • Inventory, availability and capacity of ESX and non-ESX hosts, NSX and vSphere data stores registered with OpenStack
    • Integration with vSphere and NSX Multi Hypervisor Management Packs

    OpenStack Controller Services Dashboard

    • Correlation of OpenStack Controllers to vSphere VMs
    • Services availability monitoring

    Availability

    • Target GA date is Dec 2014

    vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Air

    ’Hybrid Cloud ‘Analytics

    • Provides utilization for cloud resources and deep VM performance data
    • Supports shared and dedicated/private Cloud
    • Includes 40 VM metrics related to CPU/memory/disk/network
    • Collects change events and resource topology from vCloud Air

    Comprehensive vSphere like Out-of-box Dashboards

    • One operations console across private and public clouds
    • Out-of-the-box dashboards enable isolation and quick resolution of performance issue

    Multiple Resources Supported

    • vCHS Cloud, vCHS Region, vCHS vApp, VDC ,VM, Cloud Type

    All Form Factors Supported

    • vApp, Standalone – Windows and Linux

    What’s Coming Next

    • Storage and networking service resource details or metrics

    Summary

    vRealize Operations 6.0 is going to enable both SMB and Enterprise customers who have either or both on premise and off premise workloads in their private or public clouds to monitor, report and make more efficient their environments.  I am looking forward to working with vRealize Operations 6.0 and seeing all the capabilities especially through the RESTful API availability to enable my customers both large and small to get all the reporting and management they require integrated into their existing solutions.Make sure you  watch the live VMworld keynote to learn more.

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