My VMworld 2016 Recap

One week a year geek enthusiasts get together to celebrate a passion that we all share. Administrators, Engineers, Bloggers, Executives and Employees converge on one city ready to learn about the latest in virtualization technology from VMware and its partners. All 23,000 of us. This year VMworld 2016 was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV.  Instead of writing about the news of the conference, Im going to recap my VMworld 2016. Hopefully you will get a different perspective than the normal Day 1, Day 2 summary.

This was my second VMworld.  The first one I attended was way back in 2007, and it was held in San Francisco, CA.  What a difference I experienced from almost ten years ago.  In 2007 I attended the conference by myself and I was with a smaller company.  This time up, the company I work for is a TAM (Technical Account Manager) customer, and is also a much larger company and that meant more vendor parties!  Yeah!  There was six of us going this year, two VMware Engineers, one VDI Engineer, one Network Engineer and two Ops folks, one of which is a VP. Most of us flew out on Saturday so we could check in at registration a day early and be able to attend the TAM Customer Day on Sunday.

TAM Customer Day

I had never been to a TAM Customer Day before, and I was really impressed. The day was filled with a morning Key note and a great discussion with Pat Gelsinger (CEO VMware) and Michael Dell (CEO of Dell Technologies).  The afternoon session was a really great CTO panel discussion with Paul Strong, Chris Wolf, Kit Colbert, Shawn Bass and Christos Karamanolis. We had a great lunch and then were able to meet and talk to a number of VMware experts on every technical topic you can imagine.

We also ate good!

YUM!! :)

YUM!! 🙂

Solutions Exchange

After TAM Customer Day we were able to check out the opening of the Solutions Exchange and the reception party.  The solutions exchange didn’t disappoint.  It was packed to the brim with many vendors and they were all looking to exchange your badge scan for some swag!  I scored a number of t-shirts and all sorts of items, like pens, headphones, battery chargers and a couple Google Cardboard VR.  There were a few vendors giving out some nice stuff for being a VMware vExpert.  Cohesity gave us a great Timbuk2 backpack filled with a Contigo water bottle, a battery charger, a USB drive and some connectors.  Datrium totally kicked it up a notch with a Raspberry Pi3 and awesome case. I also received a geek version of Cards Against Humanity from Solidfire and a medieval looking chalice from Catalogic and a nice baseball hat from Docker.


Sweet! Thanks Datrium!

We hit the Solutions Exchange a few times during the week to grab some extra stuff to bring back to our team.  Hey we like to share!

VMUG Member Party

Thee words.  OFF THE HOOK!  This was the fist year VMUG hosted a party for it’s members and it was awesome.  It was held at House Of Blues at Mandalay Bay.  The theme was an 80’s party. There was a live band that was totally kick’in.  It was great to catch up with some fellow VMUG members and enjoy some drinks (a lot of drinks) and food. It was an excellent start to the week. I had a really nice conversation with Paul Strong CTO for VMware, he even agreed to do a key note for a future UPState NY VMUG UserCon! 🙂

Session INF8097

On Tuesday I had my first presentation of the week with Tom Cronin (@Virtual_Tom) and our TAM Joe DePasquale (@DePasqualeJoe).  We spoke about meeting infrastructure high availability by deploying an out of band management cluster.  The session went very well.  I was a little nervous at the start, but once I got going, felt good.   I was happy I went through my slides with no issues.  Tom and Joe did a great job, we all did.

L to R - Joe, Me, Tom

L to R – Joe, Me, Tom

Tuesday night we hit up another vendor party at the House of Blues, which was not nearly as good as the VMUG party and then headed to Ri Ra Irish Pub for vBacon Vegas Style.  Hey it was beer and bacon, hell yeah it was fun!

Beer and Bacon Baby!!

Beer and Bacon Baby!!

Session MGT7924

Wednesday was a pretty big day.  My second presentation was with Hicham Mourad from VMware.  We were presenting on vRealize Operations Capacity Management.  The session had over 400 pre-registered attendees and ended up with over 300 showing up.  This time I wasn’t nervous at all.  I felt so comfortable on stage even though it was a much bigger room, stage and more people.  I did the welcome and opening introductions then handed it off to Hicham to go into a technical review of capacity terms, badges and a demo, then back to me to share some specific slides on how we do capacity management at the bank.  All during Hicham’s sections, I would interject with customer insight, and it worked really well.  I had about 15 minutes of material to present at the end, and Hicham gave me about 8 minutes! lol. So I had to condense my info.  Hicham and I killed it. We really did. We had a Top 10 presentation for Wednesday. Woo-Hoo!  After the presentation because my time was short, I had a number of people come up to me with questions, and handed out my card for follow up.  They were very interested in my experience with vROps at work.  It was awesome, what a rush. It was like something clicked, I really enjoyed speaking in front of so many people and presenting to them my slides and information.  It was such a thrill, I would do that full time!  You can check out my session here. Top 10 Sessions at VMworld 2016 for Wednesday  Look for vRealize Operations Capacity Explained.

That's me, killing it on stage with Hicham.

That’s me, killing it on stage with Hicham.

Wednesday was also the VMUG Leader Lunch.  They served us a nice meal, unfortunately I had to leave early for my presentation and didn’t get to stay for the speakers. Hopefully next year I wont have a conflict.  One highlight is that I had a chance to meet VIRT. (@vmug_virt).

Me and @vmug_virt

Me and @vmug_virt

VMworld 2016 Party

Wednesday night was the VMworld party at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  It was a super hot night, like 103 at the time of the party.  That was the first time I experienced elbow sweat!  The party was a lot of fun, food was good, lots of entertainment and I had a ride around the track in a car.  Capital Cities opened for Fall out Boy.  Both bands were great, but Capital Cities really was awesome.  I always feel like I don’t have enough time to experience everything the party has to offer, but its always fun and its great that VMworld provides rides to and from the event.

Last day of VMworld 2016

The conference wrapped up on Thursday September 1st.  I had a couple of sessions scheduled in the morning and MGT7770 was my favorite session of the week.  It was VSAN Management using vROps plus the Management Pack for Storage Devices (MPSD) with 100% live demos on a multi-cloud private\public VMware cloud foundation infrastructure.  The speakers were Jeff Godfrey and Rawlinson Rivera.  I really enjoyed this session.  After that session I went back to the VMvillage one last time before I headed out.  The end of VMworld is bitter/sweet.  The environment and experiences are so much fun.  Seeing friends and meeting new people and attending great sessions are some of the best parts of the week and this year speaking in two presentations was by far the highlight for me; however I’m really ready to get back home to my family and return to normal life.  Vegas was great, and a huge shout out to the blue shirts and event staff for really making the week great.  They were so helpful and welcoming, always smiling; who dosent miss the box lunches, am I right?!  All in all it was a really educational and fun week.  I’m definitely looking forward to next year back in Las Vegas! Who knows you might even see me back up on stage! 😉

Hear are some additional photos from my trip.




vRealize Operations Manager 6.3 – What’s New!

Today VMware has released vRealize Operations Manager 6.3. vROps will maximize capacity utilization and enable optimum performance and availability of applications and infrastructures across vSphere, Hyper-V, Amazon, and physical hardware.  Streamline key IT processes with out-of-the-box and customizable policies, guided remediation and automated standards enforcement. Optimize performance, capacity and compliance while retaining full control of IT operations.

After I get back from VMworld I will be testing all the new features.  I’m looking forward to the DRS Dashbords!  Until then check out below all the new features.

What’s New in vROps 6.3

vRealize Operations Manager 6.3 is a release update that enhances product stability, performance, and usability.

Enhanced Workload Placement and vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) Integration:

  • Recommended Actions on landing page
  • Configure DRS from vRealize Operations Manager with Cluster/DRS Dashboard
  • Data Collection Notification toolbar
  • Perform Actions from Workload Utilization Dashboard

Improved Log Insight Integration:

  • Management Pack for Log Insight included in product
  • Improved Log Insight and vRealize Operations Manager alerting

Enhanced vSphere Monitoring:

  • Support vSphere 6.0 Hardening Guide
  • vRealize Operations Manager Compliance for vSphere 6.0 Objects
  • vRealize Operations Manager and vCenter Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Health Dashboards

General improvements:

  • New API Programming Guide
  • New licensing plan for vRealize Operations Manager Standard and Advanced Editions
  • Filtered SNMP Trap Alert Notifications
  • Enhanced SuperMetric capabilities
  • Reduction in default metrics collected

Source – vROps 6.3 release notes

Removing a Solution from vRealize Operations Manager 6.x

The great thing about having a lab environment is I get to test out a number of solutions for vROps.  One that I have been evaluating is the Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps.   We started with a beta version for vROps 5.x then updated the pack for vROps 6.1 and now I wanted to install the newest version of the pack for 6.2.  One problem, the old solutions are just kinda stuck in there.  They don’t update and when you think you are removing the solution, you are really just deleting the adapter settings.  In this article ill go through the steps on how to remove the old management packs and get everything clean and ready for the new version.

***Caution!*** – we are going to be editing some sensitive files so you really should open up a service request with VMware support if you are doing this in production.  I’m working in my lab environment  so if things went FUBAR, its not a big deal.   I will have to eventually do this in production, (well not me, the operations team) and so far I haven’t had any issues going through this, but ya never know.  Open up an SR before touching your production vROps.  This way in an event of an issue or a mistake VMware support can help guide you through fixing it. Okay, enough of that.

The fist step is to log into the vROps node that has the incompatible solution. In my lab I only have one node, so that’s pretty straight forward.

navigate to /storage/db/pakRepoLocal/  to determine which solution you want to uninstall.  I have a couple different UCS solutions installed.

Run this command to determine the actual adapter name and take note of the “Name” field.
cat /storage/db/pakRepoLocal/Adapter_Folder/manifest.txt

The next step to uninstall the solution pack is to change to /usr/lib/vmwarevcops/tools/opscli/   and run the with the uninstall option
./ solution uninstall “Name_of_the_pak”

Once the process has completed you will see a return that states the uninstall has been successful. Like in the example below.

After the above step is complete, run this for some additional clean up.
$VMWARE_PYTHON_BIN $ALIVE_BASE/../vmwarevcopssuite/utilities/pakManager/bin/ –action
cleanup –remove_pak –pak Name_of_Pak     (replace Name_of_Pak with the name from above)

Next you will have to remove the solutions .pak file from the .pak files directory.
Go to $STORAGE/db/casa/pak/dist_pak_files/VA_LINUX  and rm the pack file name.

Now open /storage/db/pakRepoLocal/vcopsPakManagerCommonHistory.json in a text editor and delete all entries related to the removed solution from { to }   Don’t forget to save it!

Lastly go back to the /storage/db/pakRepoLocal/  directory and remove the sub directories, files and parent directory for the solution you removed.  Use the rm and rmdir commands.   You may also have to delete any dashboards that were installed with the solutions pack from dashboards in the vRealize Operations Manager UI.  Also note that in order for the changes to take effect, you will need to log out and back into the UI.

Take your time running through the steps and you will see its not all that difficult.  I’ve also used this process when a solution doesn’t install successfully before I try and reinstall it and remember to take caution when doing this in a production environment.

VMUG Member Party at VMworld

**UPDATE 7/30/16 ** – The VMUG Member Part is at full capacity.  I hope you registered and Im looking forward to seeing everyone there!

VMUG (VMware Users Group) is an organization that is led by VMware customers. I’ve been a member for a while now and the last few years I have been a co-leader for my local Buffalo, NY group. Its very rewarding for me to help expose different technology to our members and the best part is connecting with other VMUG members and learning about all the different ways they are improving their environment through VMware virtualization. If you are not a member, sign up. Its free.

This year VMUG is hosting a party at VMworld. Its the first one they have done, and it looks like its going to be a great opportunity to network with other VMUG members and leaders from around the world. I’m looking forward to learning what other leaders are doing to increase awareness of VMUG in their area. The Party is at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay Sunday August 28th. For more info and to get your free ticket go to I hope to see you there!

Reclaiming CPU and Memory in vROPs 6.2

Hi there everyone, where I work we’re pretty lucky to have a really nice test lab. This is an environment that is for the most part isolated from production, development and certification. Its an Engineering only sandbox for proof of concept and testing; however its still a fully functioning data center and there are a number of infrastructure systems that are relied on to keep the lab running smoothly and even though we have a budget for adding virtual infrastructure capacity there comes times when we start to run hot on CPU and more so memory in our VMware environment. The cool thing is we can use the Reclaimable Capacity section in vROps to identify which resources are being consumed and which guests are the trouble makers and by configuring the vCenter Python Action Adapter we can modify objects in vCenter right from vRealize Operations Manager… how awesome is that!

I wanted to write up a nice walk through on how to configure the Python Adapter and use the Reclaimable Capacity section in vRealize Operations Manager to figure out which guests and how much capacity you can recover; however when I was doing some research on the subject I came across Jason Gaudreau’s blog where he expertly explains in detail everything I would of shared with you all. Jason and I have spoke on the phone a few times as he has helped me work out a couple things or given me direction. He’s really an expert so check out his post Right-Sizing with vRealize Operations 6.0

Come See Me at VMworld 2016 – Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Hi Everyone! If you have never been to VMworld, you really should. There are a number of great sessions to attend as well as the solutions exchange and the always awesome VMworld party! I’m very honored to announce that I will be speaking at two sessions at VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas. Check out the session info below, and don’t forget to register for VMworld 2016. Shout out to my colleague and vExpert Tom Cronin who will be speaking with me. Tom will also be part of a panel session on VSAN. You can follow Tom on Twitter @Virtual_Tom. Thank you to Joe DePasquale ( @DePasqualeJoe) our VMware TAM for helping us submit our session abstracts and build our presentations. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter too! 🙂 @anothergeek

vRealize Operations – Resource Interaction XML File

Hey everybody, so a few months ago I wanted to give our Operations team a quick and dirty dashboard to quickly view some very basic metrics to determine at a glance what’s happening to a guest. I knew I wanted an Object List, Top Alerts, Workload and a Metric Chart, the problem I was having is that the default view on the metric chart widget didn’t gave me the metrics I wanted to display. The good news is that you can create a custom XML file that you can choose in the Metric Configuration drop down menu when configuring the widget.

First off we need to make sure that to use the metric configuration dashboard and widget, configurations must be set up so the Widget Interactions are configured so that another widget provides objects to the target widget, like an Object List and the widget Self Provider is set to off. The custom XML file that we will choose from the drop down when configuring the Metric Chart widget needs to be imported into the global storage using the import command. Ill show you how to do that in the next couple steps.

Next we create our custom XML file with the metrics we want. vROPs offers so many metrics to choose from, so pick ones that make sense to you. I decided to use CPU Usage (%), Memory Usage (%), and Virtual Disk Aggregate of all Instances Total Latency. Below is the XML code I used.

After you have created your XML file, the next process is to save the XML file to your vROPs server and import it into the global storage. Depending if you are using a vApp/Linux server or Windows server the location will be different. Im running the linux appliance.
vApp or Linux – /usr/lib/vmware-vcops/tools/opscli
Windows – C:\vmware\vcenter-operations\vmware-vcops\tools\opscli

Now its time to import the file, pretty simple. run the following: (from the directory)
vApp or Linux – $VMWARE_PYTHON_BIN ./ file import reskndmetric YourCustomFilename.xml
Windows – file import reskndmetric YourCustomFilename.xml

Lastly, when you create your dashboard and edit your Metric Chart widget, in the Metric Configuration drop down you can now select your custom XML file to display the metrics you want to see.

If you would like to use my XML file or dashboard, download it here: