TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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VMworld Day 2 Recap

VMworld day 2 is always a good one for me personally as it’s the day you get the tech really spoken about and shown that has been announced at the show. If you missed my blog postings around some of the big announcements from day 1 then have a look below:

My day started with the keynote and again i watched it from the VMVillage in the bloggers area which I always enjoy as you can watch the keynote over the big screens but also sit with fellow vExpert bloggers. If you missed the keynote from either of the days then you can re-watch them here. One of the big announcements from the keynote was Pivotal Container Service, I was fortunate enough to be on a early access program where they went over the solution. It looks to be a really great solution and certainly has made me think I need to learn Kubernetes as I can see some amazing use cases for my customers.

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After the keynote I went and watched a bit of a vBrownbag session. The vBrownbag of which I am one of the team have been doing TechTalks all week and record the sessions as well as stream it live. I will certainly be watching these after the conference as there has been some amazing content and now that the sessions are in the content catalog we have been getting solid crowds all week with some being three people deep standing and watching due to all the seats being gone.

 

Next I attended VMware Cloud on AWS: An Architectural and Operational Deep Dive [LHC3174BU]-the session was really interesting although i was slightly disappointed that the session was more a walk through of how to build your SDDC rather than anything around architecture design which i found disappointing seeing as this was meant to be a deep dive.Also he stated he was engineer so there’s no demo it’s all screenshots. I took some notes from the session

  • Covered what AWSonVMC offers.
  • What organisations are and how these map across all VMware Cloud Services.
  • Covered the real requirement of ensuring you choose the correct CIDR block as this cannot be changed
  • vCenter permissions and the lock down required to ensure there were essentially a VMware owned Admin and a customer owned admin.

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  • Showed what the architecture is and what it uses from AWS to allow VMC
  • Hybrid linked mode explained

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  • Covered at a high level what provision management, remediation/troubleshooting, release coordination, auto-scaler, configuration management, telemetry and alerting service do

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  • Broke down the networking concepts – recommended watching/attending Ray Budavari’s session to learn much much more.
  • Walked through the flow of a failure of a host- covered all the players if what is required for VMware to fix the issues in an automated fashion.

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  • Covered how there is an SRE team to ensure the SaaS service works as it should (copy steps from picture)

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All these sessions make me feel you need to really learn AWS to a certain level so you understand what VPC’s are etc as a fair amount of people in the VMC sessions I’ve been to seem to struggle to understand the AWS side of the service.

Next I attended AWS Native Services Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS: Technical Deep Dive [LHC3376BUS]. – this sessions was really good and the live demo and technical depth was what i was hoping for from the previous session, Again I wrote down a bunch of notes from the session below and would highly recommend watching this session after the show

  • Nice to hear from the AWS side and what their side of the partnership is.
  • Integrations to things like S3, EC2, RDS, IAM,ACM,ELB, Route53, CloudFront,WAF, AWS Shield/Shield Advanced, Athena , QuickSight, Lambda, CodeDeploy
  • Covered the base topology

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  • Recommended reporting services like cloudwatch and cloudtrail, VMware are using these as well for part of their monitoring for you
  • Gave a use case and how to deliver the services for the fake company ACME distribution
  • Did a demo of building and running all the components required by ACME utilising VMC and AWS services.

After this I participated in a design studio UX session where we went through vRealize Lifecycle manager and gave feedback on what I liked and didn’t like and what i expected. I really enjoyed this as it was just me and the engineer and seeing as I’ve done vRA,vRO etc I was able to give some solid feedback from someone who knows the products and how to install them outside the usage of lifecycle manager. The engineer was very grateful which i always nice to be able to help.

Gregg

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VMworld Day 1 recap

VMworld kicked off formally today and there were whole bunch of announcements and some awesome sessions and demo’s I was able to attend and blog about but firstly I would like to recap Saturday and Sunday’s activities so if you just want to hear about today then skip the paragraphs below and go straight to the Monday/Today heading.

Saturday:

I purposely flew in on Friday fro the UK so that i could attend the VCDX workshop and then the VCDX Town hall afterwards. The VCDX workshop and town hall were hosted at the cosmopolitan hotel and the workshop started off early at 7:30 am with some breakfast/desert seeing as it was coffee and donuts. If you don;t know what the VCDX workshop is it is a workshop for those thinking of going for the VCDX soon and is aimed to give those aiming for it valuable information and advice around the whole process, what to do and not to do in your preparations and during the defence and also to clear up some possible misconceptions and ideally show that obtaining the VCDX is achievable with hard work and dedication. I’ve blogged about this achievability as well as my personal opinion of doing it for the “right” reasons here https://thesaffageek.co.uk/2017/02/17/why-do-you-want-the-vcdx-accreditation/ . It was really great to see that a very large amount of the people attending the workshop felt it was something they wanted to attempt and felt it was more of a realistic target after the workshop.

After this was the VCDX town hall which is for current VCDX to speak with the VCDX certification team, have a chance to hear from Pat Gelsigner the CEO of VMware and three of the VMware CTO’s before some food and drinks. The town hall was really good and there were some very tough questions asked of the certification team around the direction of the program, how we could get the certification known more widely and aid those looking to obtain it. Chris Colotti wrote a really pointed but accurate posting around a fair few of the topics brought up by the existing VCDX as despite what many might think current VCDX do want more people to join the ranks. We then had the honour of Pat Gelsigner speaking to us and answering some of out questions. It was greatly appreciated that Pat would take time out of his very busy schedule to spend time with us and as always you could see his passion for technology shining through. Next was the CTO panel with Chris Wolf, Guido Appenzeller and Ray O’Farrell. The panel was brilliant and again the three CTO’s were extremely interested to hear for the VCDX crowd and be open and honest with their future plans. Lastly was the drinks and food where we got to socialise which was really nice to chat and joke with fellow VCDX and learn what they are up to and doing.

Sunday:

Sunday is customarily when Partner exchange happened and this year was no different. Even though I work for a partner in Dell EMC I decided to instead attend and support the VMunderground and vBrownbag opening acts. The opening acts are a community event where a number of panels are run discussing various topics by the community for the community. I was very honoured to have been asked to be part of the second of the three panels of the day around How Failing Made Me Better. The panel was very enjoyable to be on and the advice given from all of the people on the panel seemed to be well taken by the crowd. As always the opening acts allowed me to also chat with others from the community some who i have known for years and others i have only met recently. It certainly helped that it was hosted at the beerhaus.

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After opening acts I wandered off to the solutions exchange to talk to some vendors as well as grab some food and drinks that were on offer. The solutions exchange was buzzing as you would expect and I managed to get over to the Datrium booth and collect my vExpert gift of an arbuboy. I then made my way back to the new york new york hotel for the VMunderground party which was happening at the beerhaus where I got to chat to loads of the community and meet up with some old friends. The VMUnderground party is always one of my favourites due to it always being in a location where you can chat to people without it being too dark or too loud (yes i realise i sound like an old man). After VMUnderground i made my way back to my hotel due to my need to be on a work conference call this morning.

Monday/Today

The day started off with me ensuring all my scheduled blogs had posted as the NDA for a number of the announcements was 5am this morning. I then made my way to the convention centre and decided to watch the keynote from the VMVillage bloggers tables as I had a session straight after the keynote and I wanted to make sure I made it in adequate time. There were a number of announcements in the keynote but the ones that I feel were the best coincided with the ones i blogged about which were:

After the keynote I attended a VMware Design Studio UX design session around VMware Cloud on AWS. The feedback around the UX seemed to be really helpful to the team and one portion I found really great was the number of woman that were part of the various team from VMware which is brilliant and certainly inspiring for my daughters futures if they decide to pursue technology as a career.

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Next I attended a session on VMware Cloud on AWS: Storage Deep Dive which was highly informative and gave some great overviews of not just VMC’s usage of vSAN in the current offering but also some possible future plans around Disaster Recovery, usage of various storage providers technologies, options for backup via partners like Dell EMC and growth abilities of the solution both outwards and upwards. When the recordings of the sessions come out I highly recommend watching this one. I really like the way VMC is heading and I think it will be a brilliant offering and product.

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After this I attended an invite only demo of VMware Cloud on AWS. The demo was highly informative and again I was left feeling really excited and enthused by the direction the offering is taking and the possibilities of it. When the partnership was first announced i was very unsure of how it would work and fit but I can certainly see the use cases and potential and now with VMware Cloud Services having been announced it means that you will be able to mange not just VMC but also Google Cloud Platform, Azure and your traditional vSphere environment in VMware Cloud Foundation.

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The announcements have been really good and with today’s now released GA of Pivotal Container Service there are very exciting things coming from VMworld from VMware and their eco-system of partners.

Gregg


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PowerEdge 6950 shows 112GB of RAM even though 128GB is installed

 

For the past few days we’ve had the above problem where we upgraded one of our PowerEdge 6950 server to 128Gb of RAM but once we booted it it only showed 112GB of RAM. My colleague James Voll and I tested to try work out which RAM bank may have been causing the issue and found one where if we removed the two RAM sticks it still only showed 112GB so we contacted Dell and got an engineer out who replaced the motherboard for us but still after the replacement it wasn’t showing the full amount. in actual fact due to the motherboard coming with the basic BIOS update it only showed 12GB!! So we updated the BIOS to the latest revision and it was still showing 112GB. I logged into the BIOS and went to the memory settings for the server and noticed “Server Memory Test” was enabled so decided to disable it and reboot the server to see if possibly it would change something and remarkably it seems it did as now the server showed 128GB of RAM and booted twenty times faster through the post screen. I’m not if it’s a bug or because the 6950’s don’t normally have that amount of RAM in them but disabling the Server Memory Test feature seems to have given back our missing 16GB of RAM Smile

Hope this saves someone the time and effort it took for us to work it out

Gregg


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“Warning: The current memory configuration is not optimal.”

 

Today I had the problem where after adding new memory to one of our Dell 6950 servers even though we followed the correct steps of putting the new 8GB memory cards in as pairs after booting the server the server showed 82GB instead of the installed 96GB.

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We had 4GB cards in already and if I checked under Hardware Status via Virtual Centre (due this machine being an ESX host) it showed all the DIMMs correctly and added up correctly. I searched all over the web for an answer but only when I rebooted the server did it give me an error that helped me source the answer to my problem. The following error showed “ Warning: The current memory configuration is not optimal.”  and told me to see the owners manual as shown below.

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I searched for this and came across Steve Jenkins’ posting on the exact error and the response he got from Dan Coulter, an Enterprise Expert Center Server Support Analyst at Dell. So as to direct traffic accordingly to Steve’s posting rather than posting the answer here I’ve pasted the link to his posting below

http://stevejenkins.com/blog/2009/12/dell-warning-the-current-memory-configuration-is-not-optimal/

Seeing as we have more memory arriving soon to match the newly added 8GB cards I’ll just wait for the new cards to fix the problem but a big thanks to Steve and Dan for the answer to the problem.

Gregg


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Dell Openmanage Installation

 

A few weeks ago I had to install OpenManage on some of my newer dell server machines and since some of the settings have changed since I last used it I thought I would write up a list of the steps required for our teams wiki site and write up a blog posting of the the steps for anyone who hasn’t done it before.So belatedly here are the steps and cool new tricks some of my friends on twitter showed me.

Firstly the standard steps:

  1. Download the tar file from the ftp site or the support site 
  2. Copy the file using winscp(this is what i use at least) to /tmp/openmanage on the server
  3. Log into the box either via winscp /via putty or onto the console directly and type in:

    cd /tmp/openmanage
    tar -zxvf OM_X.X.0_ManNode_A01.tar.gz (OM_6.2.0_ManNode_A00.tar currently)

  4. Once the files have unpacked type in:
    cd linux/supportscripts/
    ./srvadmin-install.sh -x
      (-x is for express install and installs everything but if you only want to install specific features the commands you can also use are -d -w -r –s )

    -d = Dell Agent
    -w = web interface
    -r = DRAC services
    -s = storage management

     
  5. Once the files have unpacked and installed type:
    srvadmin-services.sh start
  6. When the various component services have finished starting type in: 
    cd /tmp
    rm -rf Openmanage
  7. To allow the Openmanage agent to function the following firewall commands need to be run, these open the firewall ports required: 
    esxcfg-firewall -o 1311,tcp,in,OpenManageRequest

 

While asking a few friends on twitter if the latest Openmanage worked well in their environments Arne Fokkema @afokkema of ict-freak-nl fame pointed to the automated scripting way of doing it written up by Scott Hanson @dellservergeek . As you may know if you’ve read some of my previous blog posting I’m trying to learn how to script more and more of my daily tasks to firstly build my powershell and scripting knowledge and skills as well as making my daily job easier. The script is really simple and is one I’m planning to test in my lab environment very soon. At the bottom of the script though was a comment by one of my powershell idols in Alan Renouf @alanrenouf. He had changed a few of the snmpd commands and so I got a hold of him via twitter and classic him he mailed me the script he spoke of. Only after this did I notice he wrote up a blog post about it,which is exactly what he sent me.

Thanks to all who replied to my twitter messages and hopefully I can get Alan/Scott’s scripts into my automated server deployments in the very near future.

Gregg Robertson

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