Monthly Archives: May 2015

Containers Everywhere…Are we really ready?

Depending on what you read, certain areas of the IT Industry are telling us that there is a freight train coming our way…and that train is bringing with it containers.

With the recent release of container platforms from Microsoft and VMware it seems as though those that control the vast majority of the x86 platforms around the world are taking notice of the containers movement. Docker is the poster child of the push towards 3rd Platform Applications with many others looking to cash in.While there is no doubt there is a lot of benefit in the basic premise of what containerized applications offer the biggest question for me is how seriously we take the push in the real world of IT.

What do I mean by the real world of IT?

Well this is a word where orginizations are only just now starting to accept Cloud based platforms to deliver Platform and Software as a Service. It takes time for trends to reach the top of enterprise, and this is what we are certainly seeing now when it comes to the uptake of those Cloud services.

In the real world of IT, organizations are still running legacy applications on what some people call legacy platforms. Depending on who you talk to that definition of legacy platforms differs…some even say that virtuatization is legacy even now. Being realistic about what is legacy or not…the way in which IT is consumed today is not going to suddenly switch on mass to a containerized model any time soon. IT is only just now working out ways of better consuming Cloud based services by way of maximizing APIs interfaces and using the middleware that harneses their power.

In reality the real shift to a wider adoption of 3rd Platforms is happening in a place that you may not think about too often…University Campuses and the students of today who will become the IT professionals of tomorrow.

My peripeteia moment in coming to the conclusion that it is important to start to learn and understand about containers and 3rd platform applications came when I asked a couple of local software developers (who are quiet accomplished) about Docker and if they had done any container development…to my surprise the response I got was…”What are Containers and what is Docker?

Now, before the conclusion is drawn that the devs in question where out of touch…consider this. When this particular generation of developers went through university they may have started coding in Pascal (as I did), but more likely started in Java or C++…they also didn’t have virutalization in their lives until the mid to late 2000’s…When they where writing code for projects it wasn’t being uploaded and run off AWS based instances or anything to do with Cloud.

We live in a “legacy” world today because the generation of coders that create and produce the applications we consume today know about how best to exploit the tools they learnt with…There will be a shift…and I believe a dramatic one to 3rd platform apps when the current generation of university students graduate and get out in to the world and start to develop and create applications based on what they know best.

So yes, lets be aware of containers and ensure we are ready to host and consume 3rd Platform apps…but lets not go nuts and say that the current way we consume IT services and applications is dead and will be going away anytime too soon…

NSX vCloud Retrofit: Overlapping Networks in vCD with NSX Virtual Wires

Part 4: vCloud Director Overlapping Networks:

vCloud Director has the ability to allow Overlapping Network segments configurable from the Administration Tab of the vCD UI. Traditionally for those using VLAN backed External Networks and Network Pools this would represent a potential risk to clients if admins where not careful provisioning network resources. If the same VLAN was mistakenly configured there could be the possibility for client networks to see each other meaning a really bad day for providers of multi-tenancy platforms.

Where this is required is when VXLAN is in play…The VXLAN Transport network is configured on the one VLAN which then carries all the Logical Switch Network Segments or VNI’s. Even though vCD is not aware of NSX you can still connect up Virtual Datacenter vApps and VMs to NSX Edge Gateways via VXLAN virtual wires. To achieve that you need to check the Allow Overlapping External Networks box as shown below.

If this isn’t Checked you will get the following error in the vCD UI

With Overlapping Networks in place your network pools are also able to be VXLAN backed and used in conjunction with retrofitted External Networks connected to NSX Edges for advanced Edge Gateway Services.

Bonus Tip: vCloud Director filters certain PortGroups based on their name of which NSX Created Virtual Wire Portgroups are one of those filtered. To have an NSX Virtual Wire appear in the vCD UI you need to rename the PortGroup similar to what’s shown below.

 

This blog series extends my NSX Bytes Blog Posts to include a more detailed look at how to deploy NSX 6.1.x into an existing vCloud Director Environment. Initially we will be working with vCD 5.5.x which is the non SP Fork of vCD, but as soon as an upgrade path for 5.5.2 -> 5.6.x is released I’ll be including the NSX related improvements in that release.

VMware vCloud Director 8.0 Beta: #LongLivevCD

vCloud Air Network Service Providers take note…rumours of vCloud’s death where greatly exaggerated. Enterprise users…I still feel you are missing out on one of the best Cloud Management Platforms going around…however!

The Beta program for vCD 8.0 (seems we have skipped 6 and 7) will go live from June 1st. As you can see below there are some great enhancements coming to the platform and look to take advantage of vSphere 6.0 and NSX 6.x functionality. Looking though the initial list of enhancements below, it seems that my wish around fixing the current limitations of the vApp look to be a focus area…opening up the possibility of better integration with 3rd Platform Containerized Applications

The upcoming release for vCloud Director has several new enhancements that will enable service providers drive operational efficiency and offer new capabilities to their cloud customers. Some of the key highlights for this release are:

  • vSphere 6.0 and NSX 6.1 compatibility
  • Virtual Data Center (VDC) templates for self service enablement of OnDemand infrastructure
  • vApp enhancements for better usability
  • VM limits and throttling to drive better operation efficiency and minimize noisy neighbor issues in multi-tenant environments
  • OAuth suport in authentication providers
  • Better provisioning and automation support with a new vRealize Orchestrator Plugin

Beta software bits to be available on June 1st 2015

UPDATE: For Service Providers, there is a a webinar the 1st of June from 8 – 9:30 a.m. PST which is going to kickoff the vCloud Director 8.0 Beta. From the landing page it will present us with system requirements, compatibility matrix and more.

If you are a Service Provider and have access to vCloud Director SP click here to sign up for the beta. As the Beta is NDA, this is the only post I’ll be doing until the Confidentiality clauses are lifted closer to release…which I don’t expect to be until the end of the year…or into the new year.

#longlivevCD

http://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2015/05/save-date-learn-vcloud-director-8-0-61.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=save-date-learn-vcloud-director-8-0-61

VMworld 2015: Registration and Session ‘Liking’ Open

There are only 101 Days to go till VMworld 2015 with Registrations now Open and Session voting for this years event going live last week. Skimming through the 1400+ sessions listed on VMworld Site this years event promises to be filled with quality content and great discussion.

The voting process isn’t really voting as such because there is no limit to the number of sessions you can Like…the system as it stands asks for people to select sessions they would find most interesting to attend and this in turn has some bearing on the sessions chosen by the VMware Session Committee. Reality is, it’s extremely hard to get a speaking spot due to the number of submissions and the politics that plays a part in these sponsored events.

http://www.vmworld.com/voting.jspa

With that, This year I have partnered with some great VMware and PernixData folks to have four sessions up for consideration. Filter for Spiteri and you should see the sessions shown below.

I won’t go into too much detail here about the sessions but suffice to say I have teamed up with partners who have assisted myself and Zettagrid over the last 12 months in delivering solutions and products based on VMware and PernixData technologies.

4622: This is the only sessions I submitted by myself and is a cut down version of the talk I gave at the Melbourne VMUG Conference earlier this year…this is a short talk, not a full session.

4800: @pandom_ of the NSBU and myself will talk about how he helped Zettagrid understand and productize NSX and how we went about creating a custom GUI for the NSX Edges for our vCloud Datacenter Products through our automation and provisioning workflows.

4763: I will be joining Jeff and Bala from PernixData to talk about how FVP 2.x has delivered even more performance through its DTF Memory feature and how it changes the game when it comes to decoupling storage.

5378: @g_mulholland will lead a discussion around how Jeff wong from Foxtel and myself both took slightly different paths in choosing VMware VSAN for our respective service offerings.

One last thing to note is that I counted 8 sessions about vCloud Director which is up from the one session last year, so it’s good to see vCD make somewhat of a comeback…however compare that to the 83 that are on NSX and the 94 on vCloud Air you can see the focus has shifted.

I am Looking forward to VMworld in San Francisco and hopefully one of the sessions above gets a look in…would be an honor and a privilege to deliver a talk to my community peers…lets see how it goes!

NSX vCloud Retrofit: vShield Edges Become Unmanageable – API Fix

If you are familiar with vCloud Director Edge Gateway Services you might have come across situations where Edges become unmanageable and you see the following options greyed out in the vCD UI. All Edge services remain functional, however no changes can be made.

In environments where NSX has been retrofitted with an in place upgrade over vCNS you may hit a bug with the NSX Manager to do with how it interprets vShield Edge Statuses. Basically vCloud Director talks to the NSX Manager to grab the status of deployed Edge Gateways. A situation can occur where the NSX Manager sends back the incorrect status resulting in the Edge becoming unmanageable from vCloud Director as shown above.

A Re-Deploy will work in resetting the status and making the Edge manageable again, however this will result in downtime for the services sitting behind the effected Edge device. During the course of an SR I raised with the NSX and vCloud VMware Engineering Teams a fix was created that uses the NSX Manager APIs to POST a new status that makes vCloud Director pick up the edge as manageable without having to Re-Deploy.

First step is to find out which Edges might be effected by this condition…apart from going through each Edge in the vCD UI I suggest looking at this post from @fojta in which he creates a PowerCLI Script to grab the current statuses of all edges. In addition to the Edge Name you will also need the EDGE-ID

Get the EDGE-ID by going into the vSphere Web Client’s Networking and Security Tab -> NSX Edges and Search to the Edge Name that matches the vCD UI

Using your favourite Rest Client, take the EDGE-ID and replace the identifier in the following API Call to get more details of the Edge.

https://NSX-MANAGER-IP/api/4.0/edges/edge-xxx

Next take the EDGE-ID and NAME (checking the DATACENTERID) from the response above and modify the Payload below increment the ID Number as you go along

Executing the following API POST

https://NSX-MANAGER-IP/api/2.0/systemevent 

You should see a 201 Created Status Returned after the POST…Refresh the list in vCloud Director and the edge should be manageable. Repeat the process for any effected Edges.

Thanks to the NSX and vCloud Engineering team for working through an elegant solution that means zero impact on client services…As I am discovering, there are lots of cool things that can be done with APIs!

Further Reading:

This blog series extends my NSX Bytes Blog Posts to include a more detailed look at how to deploy NSX 6.1.x into an existing vCloud Director Environment. Initially we will be working with vCD 5.5.x which is the non SP Fork of vCD, but as soon as an upgrade path for 5.5.2 -> 5.6.x is released I’ll be including the NSX related improvements in that release.

vCloud Air Network: Zettagrid Cloud Datacenter Signup and VM Provisioning

Earlier in the week I did up a post on the vCloud Air On Demand Signup Process. As I’ve blogged about in the past, VMware reaffirmed their commitment to their Service Provider Partners and created the vCloud Air Network Program with the idea that together with VMware’s own Public Cloud offering…partner Hosted Platforms based on vSphere and vCloud Director help to create a large ecosystem that can be used as a common platform that acts as a stepping stone for Hybrid based cloud solutions built with industry leading Virtualization technolgies.

Zettagrid is one of the most innovative vCloud Air Network Hybrid Cloud Providers in the world and leads the APAC region with our automation and provisioning technologies which help clients consume Virtual Datacenter resources quickly and efficiently. We are doing this by abstracting vCloud Director into our MyAccount Portal and by automating the consumption of Cloud Resources.

As I did with vCloud Air On Demand, the video below goes through a complete Zettagrid Cloud Datacenter purchase, account creation and resource provisioning and then goes through a deployment of a WordPress Appliance with the publishing of networking services to connect up to the site and VM to the outside world…all this in under 16 minutes. There is also a $250 Promo code on offer for eligible new customers.

Sign Up Here

  • Amount: $250 AUS in service credits
  • Term: 30 days from sign up to use the value

More Info on ZettaGrid Cloud Datacenter

Installing and Configuring Cassandra and KairosDB on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Earlier this year I put together a post on installing and configuring a Cassandra Cluster in order to meet the requirements for vCloud SP 5.6.x Metric Reporting. In that post I went through the deployment of a Cassandra Cluster and promised a follow up on installing KairosDB. In my labs we are currently working with the vCD Metric APIs and I needed a quick way to stand up the Cassandra/KairosDB environment the vCD Metrics requires. Given the availability and sizing requirements in the lab are not representative of Production I decided to create a Single Node instance.

I also streamlined the Cassandra install by adding the Debian repositories for easier install and management. Watch the video below (suggest 2x speed) and check out the key commands listed after the video.

One of the Key settings to configure thats not shown above is changing the KairosDB datastore location from the default In Memory H2 Module to the local Cassandra location. After KairosDB has been started you are ready to point vCloud Director at the endpoint to start exporting VM Metrics to…the post showing that is still to come.

vCloud Air On Demand: Initial Sign Up and $500 Promo Code

Signing up with the promo code below gives you $500 of initial service credits and you are also in the draw for $500 in additional service credits for vCloud Air On Demand…there will be a winner drawn every week until the end of June by the VMware VCA Team with winners notified by email.

As seen in the first video you will need to use a new MyVMware account to get the $500 service credits…existing accounts are not eligible for the start up credits.

Sign Up Here

  • Amount: $500 USD in service credits
  • Expires: 6/30
  • Term: 90 days from sign up to use the value

vCloud Air On Demand has been available for a while now and extends the VMware vCloud Air Network to include locations run and operated by VMware…together with their Air Network Partners the platform can be extended to offer a perfect use case for Dev and Test, as well as Extending Existing Applications beyond on-premises or currently hosted deployments.

The videos below go through the sign up process, a walk through of how the service appears in the MyAccount Portal and finally the initial login into the VCA Portal.

Signing up with the promo code below gives you $500 of initial service credits and you are also in the draw for $500 in additional service credits for vCloud Air On Demand…there will be a winner drawn every week until the end of June by the VMware VCA Team with winners notified by email.

As seen in the first video you will need to use a new MyVMware account to get the $500 service credits…existing accounts are not eligible for the start up credits.

Sign Up Here

  • Amount: $500 USD in service credits
  • Expires: 6/30
  • Term: 90 days from sign up to use the value

More Info on vCloud Air On Demand

VMTurbo: VMWorld Ticket Up For Grabs

It’s that time of year again! VMWorld 2015 will creep up upon us and before you know it we will all be scrambling for tickets and last minute flights and accommodation!

VMTurbo are giving away Two Free Tickets to VMWorld 2015 in San Francisco. There are three separate Prize Draws…winners will need to make their own way there and source accommodation, but getting a ticket is a great start!

Click here to enter.

* VMTurbo are a sponsor of anthonyspiteri.net …and they have a pretty decent product for VM Analytics and Monitoring across a number of platforms.

Quick Post: One Stop Shop for ESXi Driver Downloads

Today I needed to update an Emulex NIC Driver for an new host that I installed using the VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 2 base image. I needed to chase up the latest OEM update bundle for the elxnet drivers… Generally sourcing these driver bundles can be a bit of a pain but I remembered a conversation I had last week with @dmanconi where he gave me a hot tip on a location “hidden in plain sight” where you have access to all the latest driver bundle updates for what appears to be the most common network and storage adapters for ESXi.

This is located under the Horizon View 5.x Download Page on the MyVMware Website under the Drivers & Tools Tab.

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_horizon_view/5_3#drivers_tools

As you can see above, the release dates for the drivers are as recent as a couple of days ago and the list is extensive. As usual the recommendation where possible is that you use specific Vendor release drivers for your production systems, but otherwise…they are all here at your fingertips!

Enjoy.

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