TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


Leave a comment

VCAP6-CMA Design Objective 1.3 – Differentiate Requirements, Risks, Constraints and Assumptions

Due to my decision to aim for my VCDX6-CMA this year and thereby to get it in in time for the only VCDX-CMA defence of the year (so far) I have signed up for the VCAP6-CMA Design beta exam. I’ve been working on a very large-scale vRA 6.2 project for the past 14 months and so I hope this experience of designing and building it as well as my preparations via these objectives breakdown (plus my study resources) and using some of my VCDX5-DCV knowledge will help me. So I thought I would slowly post up each objective for my own benefit but also hopefully help other people looking to pass the VCAP6-CMA Design exam (beta or GA).I will be consolidating all the objectives on my blog page here

Knowledge

Differentiate between the concepts of risks, requirements, constraints, and assumptions.

  • Firstly I’ll take it you know the definitions of Risks, Constraints, Assumptions and Requirements. If not I would recommend looking them up and there is great overview in the VMware recommended study resource around CAD’s.
  • We covered what requirements are, how you would collect them and how they needed to be concise and be mapped to the infrastructure qualities of AMPRS in objective 1.2. During the workshops and interviews you have done with the customer you will also have picked up that a number of their requirements will have been around using certain technologies or certain methods for the project.
  • A constraint is where the customer has asked you to use a certain vendors storage for example or that you have to use their existing network infrastructure. These are almost always non-functional requirements and your biggest challenge around this is understanding how the technology they have asked for you to use will impact the solution in a holistic manner. There are always constraints in a project and it is your job as the architect to record these and understand them and then determine if these are not going to meet what the customer requires from the solution (using a 1GbE network can be a severe one on a vRA design) , is a risk to the project (the existing storage you have to use for the project is end of life in 18 months’ time and the migration to new storage is currently undefined from the vendor for example) or it actually meets the requirements of the solution and is just a constraint.
  • Risks as I mentioned above are a fair portion from the constraints but also external risks such as the project is being done the arab emirates and there are seasonal sandstorms that affect the communications to the data centre or it can be down to personnel where the people from the customer due to maintain the project once you leave have never touched VMware technology before. I like to have a risk register where I record all of these, rate them on their severity (Low,Medium,High and Critical) and also the risk mitigation or if there is no mitigation then that the project sponsor or someone high up has accepted this risk. So to use my example of customers IT team having no VMware knowledge or experience they could mitigate the risk by sending people on the required training and that there is dedicated time allocated to them outside BAU work to work with the consultants building the solution to gain knowledge and experience as well as knowledge transfer workshops at the end of the project.
  • Assumptions are where you can’t get a definitive answer on something that the project relies on and so you have to assume that it will be in place for the success of the project. Assumptions in real life designs should be as minimal as possible as it is your job as the architect to try get clarification on any assumptions but sometimes you have to have assumptions for example that the storage solution purchased from vendor XYZ will be built and configured in a resilient manner to a production level standard seeing as you aren’t the one doing this portion of the design.

Analyze impact of VMware best practices to identified risks, constraints, and assumptions.

  • “Best practices” are a double edged sword but for the exam these are the gospel and knowing the VMware way of designing it is a must (which is what it was like in the VCAP4-DCD and VCAP5-DCD I sat) . This is fairly straight forward if you understand my points in the section above. VMware best practices are covered largely in the vRealize Automation Reference Architecture document and the vCloud Architecture Toolkit (vCAT) documents.

Given a statement, determine whether it is a risk, requirement, constraint, or an assumption.

  • Very much the same as above in that if you understand what assumptions, risks and constraints are then you can amp them no problem. I think they only let you choose one quality per statement so my personal rule of thumb was that if it was between a risk and a constraints I chose it as a risk. Referring back to what I said earlier where not all constraints are risks is where you can have this difference in the exam.

VMware Recommended Tools

The VMware recommended study tools for this objective are:

If you disagree with anything I’ve said above then please let me know and if I agree (I’m always open to learning) then I will update the posting. Now onto objective 1.4.

Gregg


1 Comment

VCP6-CMA track on the EMEA #vBrownbag

Now that my VCDX defence is over and hopefully I’ve done enough to be awarded an illustrious number I can pick up my old responsibilities for the EMEA vBrownbag of which I am one of the hosts and decided that the VCP6-CMA track would be a great one to do.

african children dancing - Lets learn Some vRA goodness

We are going to be going through the blueprint in order so that it is easy to follow and watch as well if you are subscribed to the iTunes feed. So starting next week Tuesday at 7pm GMT (Clocks have changed in Europe so this is GMT not BST) we will be doing objective 1 and it is being covered by one of the co-hosts of the vBrownbag, Frank Buechsel. You can register for the series and future vBrownbag EMEA sessions via the following link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8540909933274906113 and can also subscribe to the vBrownbag YouTube channel.

 

If you are interested in covering an objective on the vBrownbag then please get touch as we are always looking for presenters.

 

Gregg


2 Comments

vRA Enterprise Level Distributed Installation

Recently I was fortunate enough to design and build an enterprise level distributed installation of the vRealize Automation suite of products and integrate it into an enterprise environment. I’ve done several vRA/vCAC deployments before but each time I do a new deployment I like to collate information, read all the latest articles and make sure what worked in the past for me hasn’t changed or more likely has been enhanced so I can provide an even better deployment.

For those unsure of what an enterprise distributed deployment comprises of I have added a logical diagram below (click on the picture to expand it as it is fairly large)

 

vRA Logical

 

For my current deployment it was based on vRealize Automation 6.1 due to it being part of an EMC Hybrid Cloud deployment but the architecture and layout are exactly the same for 6.2. (note this is defined after collecting customer requirements based on amount of workloads, NSX load balancing and the requirement of application services so make sure you have reasons for design decisions)

Resources

For the resources I used, some are ones I used in the past to learn how to do an enterprise deployment and some are ones I re-read prior to this deployment. I have listed them below to save me looking for them again but also to maybe help other people:

 NB: Make sure when importing the certificate into the appliances remember to remove the bag attributes at the beginning of the PEM file and start from —BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– until ——–END CERTIFICATE————-

NOTE: VMware no longer recommend using an external postgres database. The 6.2 documentation has been updated to reflect this.

Troubleshooting

Along the way I hit a few errors and spent a fair bit of time with VMware support also on a few of them. The main ones are listed below:

If you are unsure about any of the portions mentioned or want to know more, you can ask VMware Professional Services for whom I did this design and deployment or Xtravirt who are a VMware partner, to come in and help you with the design/configuration of your environment.

Also let me know if you think I missed something or if it helped you.

Gregg


1 Comment

Firewall Ports For Distributed vRealize Automation Deployment

On the current project I am working on for a major bank, the bank requested a list of all the firewalls ports required between all of the vRealize Automation components even if the components are part of the same VLAN and did not require any firewall rules. I looked through the  vRealize Automation Reference Architecture document but this had far less than what I had hoped for but was certainly a good starting point. I spoke to a few fellow VMware PSO and systems engineering people I know (current project I working on is as VMware PSO) and it seems there was a clear definitive list of these readily available. So I created one with the help of the consulting architect on my project Arnim van Lieshout, fellow VMware PSO consultants Greg Davis and Phil Monk and vRealize guru Grant Orchard. The solution has additional components such as IPAM,Puppet,SCOM and SCCM which I left the entries in for but are obviously not applicable to every environment.

The list is contained below in pdf format due to tables and my blog theme not liking each other and have broken them down into vRealize Automation Suite headings:

vRealize Orchestrator

TheSaffaGeek vRO Firewall ports

vRealize Automation

TheSaffaGeek vRA Firewall ports

vRealize Business

TheSaffaGeek vRB Firewall ports

I hope these help people looking to implement these solutions and if you need any professional services help then please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Gregg


2 Comments

vRealize Automation 6.x Resources

Seeing as my vCAC 6.0 Resources page gained quite a fair amount of traffic and after several requests from people for me to update that list to include 6.1 resources I thought I would create a new posting to cover the new naming and for future releases.

Product Landing Page:

Release Notes and Product Documentation:

Compatibility Matrix:

Installation and configuration blogs:

Jonathan Frappier has done a brilliant series all about the installation in a sixteen part series

Grant Orchard is just a guru around all things vRA, there are too many blog postings to mention so I have opted to rather just point to his own sections.

Reference Architecture Guide:

Distributed Installation

Sam McGeown has done a series around the distributed installation of vCAC 6.0. The method is exactly the same for version 6.1

Preetam Zare has also done postings based on a distributed installation in a two part series.

VMware have also created a deployment guide for VMware vCenter SSO 5.5 with vRealize 6.1

VMware have also created a installation guide for configuring vRealize 6.1 with an F5 load balancer for high availability

Training

Automation of the Installation

Day 2 Automation

Jonathan Medd as created a brilliant series of postings around vCAC tenant creation

Top orchestration blogs

vRealize extensibility is heavily reliant on the usage of vRealize Orchestrator so the below blogs are great sources on how to learn and use vRO to enable this extensibility.

Orchestrator Videos

VMware Hands On Labs

Videos:

VMwareTV have posted 30 videos covering vRealize features http://www.youtube.com/user/vmwaretv?feature=watch


9 Comments

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

image

image

image

image

image

CloudClient

image

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.


1 Comment

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.