VMworld 2017 Must See Sessions

Hey Everyone!  Wow I cant believe we are already looking forward to VMworld 2017.  Its back again this year in Las Vegas and if you have never attended or haven’t registered yet, you definitely should!  Its a great opportunity to learn about emerging virtualization technology and meet and socialize with your peers. Its really a great time.  You can check out a recap of my VMworld 2016 right here.

Every year VMworld releases a few weeks prior to the schedule builder going live the content catalog.  Its always fun to search through all the great sessions and start to ear mark the ones I want to attend.  Often by the time the schedule builder goes live if you don’t choose your sessions a head of time many sessions will fill up quickly and you will be left out in the cold! (well its hot in Vegas, but you know what I mean). With that said, below is the list of some of the session that I feel are going to be awesome and I’m going to register for.  Here is the link for the VMware US Content Catalog – https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp

vRealize Operations Capacity Explained (MGT1599BU)
This is an absolute must see!  At VMworld 2016, I was fortunate enough to be involved in co-presenting this session and I would highly recommend it.  Hicham Mourad is an expert on capacity management and he always delivers a fast paced and interactive presentation.  Last year this session was a top 10 session for attendance and rating.  Hicham will take you through a deep understanding of the different capacity and efficiency badges and how they are calculated, and he will explain in depth the different capacity models.  Expect to see a demo also. As long as Hicham is doing this session, I will be in attendance.  Here is a pic of Hicham and I presenting!

vSphere APIs with Alan Renouf and Kyle Ruddy (SER3036GU)
Just look at the title – Alen Renouf and Kyle Ruddy  – are you kidding me!  Two giants in the field of APIs.  This is one I will register for.  I am looking forward to learn about vSphere APIs and how to use them.  This session will deliver some really great content.

The Top 10 Things to Know About vSAN (STO1264BU)
Duncan Epping and Cormac Hogan – BOOOOM!   This is the mother load of vSAN presentations. I really don’t need to type anything else, but just in case you need more……. Cormac and Duncan will go over starting from the design phase and benchmarking to the operational aspect of vSAN.  I cant image a more informative session on vSAN.  Make sure you favorite this session, it will fill up right away!  Im bringing my autograph book!

VMware Cloud on AWS – Getting Started Workshop (ELW18801U)
What to get some hands on with VMware Cloud interface to perform basic tasks and manage your public cloud capacity!!??  Hell yeah!

VMware Cloud on AWS: A Technical Deep Dive (LHC2384BU)
Frank Denneman and Ray Budavari are two of the most technical speakers around.  This session will take a closer look at key features of VMware Cloud on AWS, such as elastic cluster and NSX networking functionality.  I clicked the star on this one… don’t miss it!

NSX and VMware Cloud on AWS: Deep Dive (LHC2103BU)
This is another Ray Budavari presentation.  He is like the Papa Smurf of NSX, a true NSX OG! This session will take you through the connectivity models for VMware Cloud on AWS and how NSX provides consistent networking on security between on premises deployments and public cloud…plus a whole lot more!

So there you are, just a few of the amazing sessions coming up at VMworld US 2017, that I will be attending.  There are so many more to choose from, all the content looks good.  I know my schedule will be filled to the brim!  Don’t forget to allow a little time to do some Hands On Labs and check out the Solutions Exchange and Hang Space.   Also make sure to stop by the VMUG booth and if you are not a member register and get involved in the community!

See ya in Vegas, Baby!
Dan

 

 

VMware vExpert 2017

vExpert is a global recognition provided by VMware for having demonstrated significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share expertise with others. The vExpert group is responsible for much of the virtualization evangelism that is taking place in the world — both publicly in books, blogs, online forums, and VMUGs; and privately inside customers and VMware partners.

I am very honored for the second year in a row to be named VMware vExpert 2017.  You can check out the full announcement here – http://vexpert.me/YX

vmw-logo-vexpert-2017-k

Congratulations to my friends Tom Cronin @virtual_tom and Joe DePasquale @DePasqualeJoe for being awarded vExpert with me.

My New Journey – Into the Cloud

Happy New Year everyone! Over the last few years my work concentration has been, and still will be to a point, working to engineer solutions for my companies virtual infrastructure, and over the last couple years specializing in the vROPs suite of applications and now with the new year here, I have been assigned to work on what my companies direction and strategy will be for our cloud initiative. This doesn’t mean I am moving away from VMware, quite the opposite, I will be digging deeper into what VMware offers as a cloud platform and provider. I will also to some extent still have involvement in ESXi, vSphere, NSX and vROPs. My larger team still covers all of those products; however my focus will shift to private/public cloud. How cool is that right!? This is the industry trend and there is so much opportunity to be involved in engineering some awesome solutions and further grow the cloud footprint (cloudprint??) at work. Its not all going to be me, ill be part of a team, all of us working to provide real value. I’m very excited and feel privileged to be part of this movement.

So what does this all mean for this blog. Not much, except more cool and informative info as I work my way through this. Ill still focus on providing articles and write ups of solutions and information on how VMware deeply integrates with our cloud solutions, and the integration of VMware products. I betting you will still see some vROPs and capacity management stuff too as I transition. Over the last year the articles I have written here have been based around actual challenges or issue or decisions I have had to work through. Expect the same theme, just a focus change to cloud. I love sharing info with my VMUG/VMware community and I hope you will find the info I post will continue to interest you and maybe even help. 🙂

See ya in the clouds!
Dan @anothergeek

Considerations for Capacity Management with vROps

Navigating your way around capacity management is not and easy task, especially at a large company where it seems almost impossible to get your arms wrapped around it. HA – I picture a large tree and trying to hug it, not quite able to lock your fingers on the other side! It’s really kind of like that. You got most of it, but you are always reaching. At times you need to step back and re-evaluate your angle or approach. Over the last year or so I’ve been working with the capacity management team to choose exactly the right metrics to determine the best way to evaluate capacity. Last week one cluster, according to vROPs, was in desperate need of capacity, we were running into our buffers; however when we looked closely in our review meeting we noticed that the reason we were out of capacity was due to CPU Demand. This spun off a number of weekly meetings to re consider our approach or angle to see if we can get our fingers locked. In all honesty, this wasn’t an oversight, we have a pretty smart group of people and we meet regularly to review. Everyone on our team has the same goal and these types of discussions make sure we are staying on target; however we did realize that we needed a deeper understanding of the different types of capacity models and how to apply them as policies across the virtual infrastructure. So let’s start with a quick level set and go from there. All right, here we go!

Allocation Model
This model is capacity based on the configured amount of resources assigned to a VM or VMs in a cluster. The consensus is that this model should be used for production environments where you have important workloads, and you want to be able to keep resources for fail-over, and you want to make sure you don’t over commit by too much. You decide your over commitment ratio and set that in the policy. This is the most conservative capacity model.

Demand Model
The Demand model is often used in Test/Development environments where you don’t necessarily care about over allocation, and you really want to get as many guests as possible in the environment. If you are using this model you probably don’t care if the hosts are running hot. You will likely be way over allocated but again you don’t care because you want to run this for highest possible VM density.

Memory Consumed model
This model allows you to see the memory resources used just like you would in the vSphere client. It shows the active memory, plus shared memory pages, plus recently touched memory. All the memory overhead.

So which one do we choose? That’s an excellent question. In all likely hood, we are going to look at all these models and how they affect capacity. We have, and I’m guessing you do too, clusters with mixed workloads or due to licensing considerations clusters where you have to mix test/dev hosts with production hosts. So its not so easy to just pick one or the other and go with it, especially when you have to scale up the environment to meet the needs of the company. Our team decided to start to implement different policies specific to the cluster and workloads in those clusters. The polices will include different allocation over-commit ratios for CPU/Memory and Disk. Some policies will account for all three models others will just be one or a combination. What’s really great is vRealize Operations is so flexible its really easy to dial in capacity just the way you want it. One other decision we made that you might want to consider is that we will only rely on the data in vROPs for capacity management. We wont look at what vCenter is showing for cluster resources used to determine if we can “fit” more VMs in. Capacity management is not easy, it takes time to collect metric data, analyze it and then tweak it so you are sure you can make the best decisions. Sometimes those decisions can save (or cost) your company a significant amount of money. The good news is there is no magic going on there. If you put in the work and use a great tool like vRealize Operation Manager you will get to a point where real value will be realized with vROPs. Now that our team has determined to use a combination of models, we can then begin to adjust policies and review data that’s already been collected to make sure we are using metrics that meet our needs. I’d love to hear how others are using vROPs to determine capacity and some of the challenges and success you have encountered. If you read this and want to share, add a comment.

I’d like to thank Hicham Mourad for his help with some questions and his guidance along the way. He is a really smart guy, and Im thankful I can reach out to him when I need to. 🙂

VMware Announces General Availability – vSphere 6.5

Today VMware announced general availability for vSphere 6.5. Im really excited about this release, not only for vSphere 6.5, but I am also really looking forward to test out VSAN 6.5 and VROPs 6.4 along with Log Insight 4. All these products will go into my home lab first for me to play around with and try out new features, then Ill start to upgrade our Engineering Test lab at work, putting everthing through its paces, then onto test/dev/cert and into Prod.  I’m really interested in the new fully supported HTML-5 Web Client, and the predictive DRS features. I also want to check out the new appliance managemnt and update manager.

Happy testing! 🙂

Here is the link to the Official GA Announcement

Manually Increasing vSphere Web Client Heap Size

The other day when I was building a vSphere 6.0 environment up in my lab for testing I ran into an issue where performance was extremely slow in the web client and I was continually receiving an error that the VMware-dataservice-sca and vsphere-client status would change from green to yellow.  When I deployed the VCSA/PSC appliance I choose “Tiny” as the size option.  Even though my implementation is going to be under the 10 hosts and 100 VMs, I think this build was just not enough, and performance in the web client was just really lacking.  Searching the VMware KB I came across 2144950.  I found out this is a known issue affecting vCenter Server 6.0.  Here are the steps that I used to work around the error and gain performance back in the web client.

First I added additional RAM to the appliance.  Pretty straight forward, no magic there.  Then I used SSH to connect to the appliance and ran the follow command:

cloudvm-ram-size -C XXX vsphere-client

Replace the XXX with the size in MB that you want to increase the heap size.

If you are running a Windows  vCenter Server, find C:\ProgramFiles\VMware\vCenter Server\visl-integration\usr\sbin\cloudvm-ram-size.bat and run this command:

cloudvm-ram-size.bat -C XXX vspherewebclientsvc

Again swap out the XXX with the size in MB that you want to increase the heap size. Don’t forget to restart the vSphere client service.

Removing a PSC or vCenter Server in vSphere 6.x

The other day I’m bring up another vSphere 6.0 environment for our VDI team in our engineering test lab and for some reason im having all sorts of issues.  I’m installing a VCSA with embedded PSC and connecting it to and existing SSO domain.  I have no idea whats going on, its going horrible. One time the install will fail, then the next it will complete, but enhanced linked mode is just acting weird….Well unbeknownst to me the QIP team decided to cut over DNS to new appliances and that was reeking havoc across the environment.  So now that I’ve killed (I kid) the guy who was doing this I’m left with a mess to clean up.  Finally DNS is working properly so I’m going to re-deploy the PSC/VCSA again but before I do that, I have to clean up the one that I don’t want anymore. Lucky for us its a pretty easy job.

The first step I had to do was make sure that my appliance was powered down.  I knew that there was no other VCSA pointing to this PSC.  If you are unsure if any other vCenter is connected to the PSC you are removing, you can check by logging into the vSphere web client and go to the advanced vCenter server settings and look for a property called config.vpxd.sso.admin.url and the value of this setting is the PSC the vCenter server is using.  If you find any other vCenters VMware has KB 2113917 to help you re point your vCenter to a different PSC.

Once that is all sorted out, next we need to connect to another PSC is the same SSO domain via SSH and run the following command:

cmsso-util unregister --node-pnid Platform_Services_Controller_FQDN 
--username administrator@your_domain_name --passwd vCenter_Single_Sign_On_password

After that completes, delete the appliance from your inventory and check in Administration -> System Configration -> Nodes to make sure that its not listed there.

Removing a VCSA is just about the same as above just have to make one change in the command:

cmsso-util unregister --node-pnid vCenterServer_System_Name --username 
administrator@your_domain_name --passwd vCenter_Single_Sign_On_password

If you need some additional info on these steps, check out KB 2106736