Monthly Archives: December 2016

Top Posts 2016

2016 is pretty much done and dusted and it’s been an good year for Virtualization is Life! There was a more modest 70% increase in site visits this year compared to 2015 and a 2600% increase in visits since I began blogging in 2012. In 2016 I managed to produce 124 posts (including this one) which was slightly up on the 110 I produced in 2015 and in doing so passed 300 total blogs since I started here. I was fairly consistent in getting out at least eight blogs per month with June being my most prolific month with sixteen blog posts published.

Looking back through the statistics generate via JetPack, I’ve listed the Top 10 Blog Posts from the last 12 months. This year the opinion pieces seemed to be of interest to my readers and there is still vCloud Director and NSX representation in the top ten with my Veeam articles doing well. Again it was interesting to see that two of the most generic (older posts) and certainly basic posts took out two of the top three spots. It shows that bloggers should not be afraid of blogging around simple topics as there is an audience that will appreciate the content and get value out of the post.

  1. NSX Edge vs vShield Edge: Part 1 – Feature and Performance Matrix
  2. Quick Post: E1000 vs VMXNET3
  3. vSphere 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance: Upgrading from 5.x
  4. ESXi Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  5. Nutanix Buying PernixData: My Critical Analysis
  6. New NSX License Tier Thoughts and Transformers
  7. CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  8. Veeam 9 Released: Top New Features
  9. Veeam’s Next Big Thing – Veeam has Arrived!
  10. vCloud Director 8: New Features And A New UI Addition…

I was honoured to have this blog voted #44 in the TopvBlog2016 and even with all the controversy around the voting I still hold that as a significant outcome of which I am very proud and I’d like to thank the readers and supporters of this blog for voting for me! And thanks must also go to my site sponsors who are all listed on the right hand side of this page.

With me moving across to vendor land it’s going to be interesting to see if I can keep up the variety of posts as I “narrow” down my core focus…however I fully intend to keep on pushing this blog by keeping it strong to it’s roots of vCloud Director and core VMware technologies like NSX and vSAN. I have the Home lab and the drive to continue to produce content around the things I am passionate about…and that includes all things hosting and cloud now with a touch of availability 🙂

Stay tuned for an even bigger 2017!

#LongLivevCD

Veeam Vault #3: Two New Product Releases Plus VeeamOn and Vanguard Updates

Welcome to the third edition of my Veeam Vault series. As most of you know I am now working at Veeam as a Technical Evangelist focusing on Veeam’s Service Provider products and working with VCSP’s to help enhance service offering around Veeam’s product portfolio. In this edition I am going to talk about a couple new products that where released since the last Veeam Vault and continue to talk little more around VeeamOn happenings. To finish off I’ll post a roundup of what the Veeam Vanguard team have posted recently on their blogs.

Veeam Agent for Linux:

When this was first announced at VeeamOn 2015 I thought it was an interesting addition to the Veeam product family and with it’s release just over twelve months later I know have a better understanding of the vision for the Veeam Agents and having the ability to backup physical and virtual Linux workloads in guest adds a greater amount of flexibility and options in making workloads on Linux system more available.

Agent for Linux comes in three editions and there will an always free version that has almost all the features of the Workstation and Server editions.

For VCSP’s Veeam Agent for Linux presents an opportunity for using the Veeam Backup & Replication console to now manage Linux backups for customers along with their other Veeam backups extending Veeam’s Backup as a Service capabilities for the entire environment!

For those interested, you can view the datasheet here and download the Free Edition Here:

Veeam Management Pack 8.0:

We also released Update 3 to the Veeam Management Pack for System Center v8. This is a product i’ve not used due to not too much exposure to System Center over the past eight years of my career however I’m told that its a valuable addition to System Center and is one of our most underestimated products…mainly due to it being outside of the core VBR focus. Of major interest to me is that this update adds support for vSphere 6.5 and also has some of the best vSAN health checks going around while also extends support for monitoring Scale out Backup Repositories.

Checkout the Release Notes here and you can download the Free Trial here.

VeeamOn 2016 News Update:

Super Early Bird pricing is still available until the 31st of December meaning that from the 1st of January the cost of a ticket goes from $549 to $699…which is still considered Early Bird pricing. There is also still four days left for you to win airfares and accomodation to attend VeeamOn in 2017 in our Holiday Giveaway…if you are still looking to secure your ticket to New Orleans, click here.

I am really looking forward to the event and Veeam have secured two quality keynote speakers in Mark Russinovich who is the CTO of Microsoft Azure and Sanjay Poonen who is now COO at VMware. Don’t forget if you are a Blogger you can Blog your way to VeeamOn…Once you have a blog written, submit the link here and from there wait to see if you are one of the five monthly winners being announced up to the 31st of March 2017.

Also a reminder that the Call for Presentations is still open to those looking to submit a session at the event. This is a great opportunity to share you insights and experiences that you have gained in and around Veeam software solutions and don’t forget that if selected, presenters will receive a complimentary VeeamOn registration pass along with travel and hotel accommodations. Head to the site below to submit an abstract before February 7, 2017.

https://www.veeam.com/veeamon/submit-your-abstract

Veeam Vanguard Blog Post Roundup:

Before the links to the posts, I want to wish all the existing Vanguards who renominated and those that nominated or where nominated for the 2017 Vanguard Program good luck…hopefully we will have some news towards the end of January on who has made the cut!

References:

https://www.veeam.com/pdf/datasheet/veeam_agent_linux_free_1_0_datasheet_en.pdf
https://www.veeam.com/pdf/datasheet/veeam_agent_linux_1_0_datasheet_en.pdf
https://www.veeam.com/pdf/release_notes/veeam_mp_8_0_release_notes_en.pdf

OVFTool: vCloud Director OVA Upload PowerShell Script

Earlier this year I put together a quick and nasty PowerShell Script that exports a vApp from vCloud Director using the OVFTool …for those that don’t know the OVFTool is a command line tool that has a powerful set of functions to import/export VMs and vApps from vCenter, ESXi and vCloud Director weather it be from a vCloud Air or a vCloud Air Network Provider.

You can Download and install the tool from here:

This week I needed to upload an Virtual Machine that was in OVA format and for those that have worked with vCloud Director you would know that the OVA format is not supported using the upload functionality in the current web interface. With that I thought it was a good time to round out the export using OVTTool post with an import using OVFTool post. Again, doing some research I found a bunch of posts relating to importing OVAs into vCloud Director and after working through the Admin Guide and some examples I was ready to build out a basic import command and start work on the PowerShell Script. On Windows you can run the tool from CMD but I would suggest using PowerShell/CLI as in the example below I go through building a variable.

What Info is Required:

  • vCloud URL
  • vCloud Username and Password
  • Org Name
  • vDC Name
  • vApp Name
  • Catalog Name
  • Path to OVA

Command Line Example:

Below is a basic example of how to construct the vCloud String and use it as a variable to execute the tool.

PowerShell Script:

Again, I’ve taken it a step further to make it easier for people to import OVAs into vCloud Director and put together another, slightly improved PowerShell Script that I have coded in to work with my old companies vCloud Zones…though this can be easily modified to use any vCloud Air Network vCD endpoint.

The output of the script can be seen below:

It’s a very basic script that gathers all the required components that make up the vCloud Source Connection String and then exports the OVA into the vCD vApp. I’ve even done a little more PowerShell improvements around password security and added a little colour.

Save the code snippet as a .ps1 into the OFVTool Windows Folder and execute the script from the same location. If there are any errors with the inputs provided the OVFTool will fail with an error, but apart from that it’s a very simple straight forward way to import OVAs into any vCloud Director enabled endpoint.

Additional Reading:

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/tag/ovftool

http://www.vmwarebits.com/content/import-and-export-virtual-machines-command-line-vmwares-ovf-tool 

vCloud Director SP 8.10.1 UI Additions – Boot Options

Last week VMware released vCloud Director SP 8.10.1 Build 4655197 and while it was mainly a patch release there was one new feature added which was a couple of additional UI settings under the General Tab of a Virtual Machine.

  • New boot customization options added to delay the boot time and to enter into the BIOS setup screen. You can use the vCloud Director Web console or the vCloud API to set Boot Delay and EnterBIOS mode options.

This might seem like a small and meaningless setting, but you would be surprised how many times I experienced customers frustrated at the fact they could not get into the BIOS easily via the VM Console or have a long enough boot delay to trigger a boot from alternative media option.

The previous General Tab looked like this:

The 8.10.1 General Tab looks like this:

You can see that you now have an check box to Enter BIOS Setup and set the Boot Delay. These settings follow the rules of vSphere meaning the Boot delay is in milliseconds and can only be modified if the Virtual Machine is powered off. I had this image open with the System Administrator account which explains why you see the a few more VM related bits of information telling you what Host and Datastore the VM is residing on and what the name of the VM is in vSphere.

Again, this is a simple but extremely useful addition but continues to show VMware’s commitment to improving the vCD platform even before the big UI enhancements start to filter through next year.

#LongLivevCD

Veeam 9.5 – What’s in it for Service Providers

Since Backup and Replication 7 Veeam have continued to develop new features in enhancements to support their Cloud and Service Provider community. This started with vCloud Director support…continued with Cloud Connect Backup in v8 and more recently with Cloud Connect Replication in the v9 release. Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5 was released a couple of weeks ago and with it came a bunch of new features and enhancements that VCSPs can take advantage of.

In my initial v9.5 What’s New post I covered off core features and enhancements and without question some of those I talked about will help VCSPs gain enhanced scalability and efficiency in their current availability offerings based on Veeam, weather that be general IaaS and VM backups or if they are offering Cloud Connect Backup and/or Replication. From that first post, I have listed in short some of those features and enhancements that VCSPs will benefit from:

  • Advanced Data Fetcher and Infrastructure Cache
  • Database Optimizations
  • Improved Instance VM recovery
  • Parallel Processing of Full VM Restores
  • Advanced ReFS Support
  • Parallel Processing of Per VM Backups
  • Proxy Affinity
  • Scale Out Repository Temporary Expansion
  • PowerShell and RESTful API Enhancements

Moving on from the core enhancements, without question my favourite new Cloud and Service Provider feature in 9.5 is the introductions of the vCloud Director Self Service Tenant Portal. I’ve blogged about that in preview here, and without going into too much detail in this post, Veeam saw the need to increase efficiency for VCSPs by empowering their vCloud Director tenants with a self service backup and restore portal based on Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager.

vCloud Director Self Service Tenant Portal:

  • Native vCloud Authentication and Integrated Access: Allows tenants to continue to use their existing vCloud Director credentials for the self service portal and restricts them from being able to backup and restore only the VMs belonging to their respective organizations.
  • Enhanced Backup Control: Self service backup allows tenants to maintain better control over their backups by controlling existing jobs and creating new ones. Job setup is simplified so tenants only need to select VMs to perform backups of, as well as select essential parameters such as guest credentials, retention and notifications. Tenants are blocked from accessing advanced settings, such as repository or backup mode selection, which are managed by service providers through job templates
  • Enhanced Restore: Self service restore allows tenants to perform a wide variety of restore options for VMs that Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager currently provides including application items, guest files, full VM and full vApp restores. These restores can now be easily performed in just a few clicks by tenants themselves, improving RTOs and reducing costs for service providers

Just as a reminder this feature required Enterprise Plus to access the vCloud Director self service portal and I will be writing a more in depth blog post on this over the next few weeks. With regards to Cloud Connect, 9.5 has added improvements for both the Cloud Service Providers and their tenants with the biggest enhancement again adding to the scalability of the service by adding parallel processing for both Backup and Replication jobs. We have also extended support for key v9 features such as Per-VM backup chains, Scale Out Backup Repositories and ReFS.

Cloud Connect – Service Provider:

  • Per-VM backup file chains: Cloud repositories can now be backed by backup repositories with the per-VM backup file chains setting enabled to improve scalability and better support for deduplicating storage appliances.
  • Scale-out Backup Repository: Cloud repositories can now be backed by scale-out backup repositories to simplify backup storage management and save costs for service providers.
  • Advanced ReFS Integration: Cloud repositories backed by backup repositories meeting the requirements for Advanced ReFS Integration fully support the corresponding functionality.
  • Improved Diagnostic Logging: Multiple improvements were made to specific areas of tenant job logging where it was possible to do so without exposing a tenant’s confidential information

 Cloud Connect – Tenant:

  • Parallel Processing: Tenants can now backup or replicate multiple VMs and disks in parallel, based on the concurrent task limit set by the service provider, thus improving job performance on fast links. Please note that parallel processing applies to direct transport mode only meaning that WAN accelerators are not supported.
  • Replication From Backup In A Cloud Repository. Tenants can now perform replication from a backup residing in a cloud repository, enabling a new DR option without generating additional network traffic or impacting production VMs.
  • Security enhancements: Veeam Cloud Connect service will now attempt to use more secure TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.1 authentication algorithms when establishing a connection to the service provider. Failover to SSL 3.0 has been disabled for all Veeam Cloud Connect components.
  • Configuration Backup To Cloud Repository: Added support for performing configuration backups to a cloud repository, except for those backed by a scale out repository.

Overall another great update for the VCSPs and their tenants alike and again, if you have Veeam 9 running do yourself a favour and go through the required change controls to upgrade to v9.5…your backups will thank you! 🙂

References:

https://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_whats_new_en_wn.pdf

Released: vCloud Director SP 8.10.1 Important Upgrade for Zerto Clients

This week VMware released vCloud Director SP 8.10.1 Build 4655197. This is the sister build for vCD SP 8.0.2 and like that release, while there a a number of minor bug fixes in this release there is one important fix that will make service providers who offer replication services built upon Zerto happy, as it resolves a bug that had stopped many service providers upgrading from vCD SP 5.6.x…however unlike the release notes in 8.0.2 it doesn’t mention the specific fix in the notes. By all acounts the hot-fix that was released prior to this offical build is in this build…if you still have issues after this build please let VMware know through GSS.

 Apart from the bug fixes, there is one new feature in this build and that is something that will be welcomed by a lot of vCD users and that is Enhanced Boot Options.

  • New boot customization options added to delay the boot time and to enter into the BIOS setup screen. You can use the vCloud Director Web console or the vCloud API to set Boot Delay and EnterBIOS mode options.

There is also official support for NSX-v 6.2.4 and that’s now covered by all the latest vCD SP versions as you can see below.

As usual I’ve gone through the Resolved Issues list and highlighted the ones I feel are most relevant…the ones in red are issues we had seen my old employers vCloud Zones and Zettagrid Labs.

  • Deployment of vApp template in My Cloud with Hardware Modification fails with null UI Error
    Attempts to deploy vApp in My Cloud from the vApp template with hardware modificat
  • After vCloud Director upgrade, the vCloud Director version does not change in vCenter Solutions Manager
    After successful upgrade of the vCloud Director from version 8.0.1 to 8.10.0, the vCloud Director version in vCenter Solutions Manager does not update and remains 8.0.1.
  • Uploading ISO media file does not consume quota that is set after the storage policy is configured to organization vDC
    When you configure the storage policy to organization virtual datacenter (vDC) and set a quota limit, the quota is not consumed while uploading the ISO media file.
  • vCloud Director database upgrade takes long time to complete when the audit_event table contains millions of records
    Database upgrade of vCloud Director from versions 5.5.x, 5.6.x to versions 8.0, 8.0.x, 8.10 might take up to 8 hours time to complete if the audit_event table contains millions of records. This issue is resolved in vCloud Director 8.10.1. The database upgrade might now take up to 20 minutes.
  • VMware vCloud Director (vmware-vcd) services do not start automatically upon a reboot
    The VMware vCloud Director (vmware-vcd) services do not start automatically after a reboot because of an issue in the systemd-219-19.el7 module of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 that includes the upgrade to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3.

This will more than likely be the last build of the current 8.0 and 8.10 releases with a closed BETA of the next vCD SP currently underway. This next major release of vCD SP promised to deliver on new UI enhancements (HTML5) and deep NSX-v integration.

References:

http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/vcd/8-10/rel_notes_vcloud_director_8-10-1.html

Veeam Vault #1 – VeeamOn CFP and Vanguard Nominations

As most of you know I am now working at Veeam as a Technical Evangelist focusing on Veeam’s Service Provider products and working with VCSP’s to help enhance service offering around Veeam’s product portfolio. Part of that role is creating offical content for online materials and presentations however I still intend to keep this blog pumping and continue to write about all things hosting and cloud…especially when related to the vCloud Air Network.

Today I am writing the first of my Veeam Vault series which I intend to use as my working title for all Veeam related news around anything Veeam related. To kick things off I am going to talk about the VeeamOn Call for Presentations and the 2017 Vanguard nominations.

VeeamOn CFP:

VeeamOn is being held next year in New Orleans during May and the Call for Presentations is now open to those looking to submit a session at the event. This is a great opportunity to share you insights and experiences that you have gained in and around Veeam software solutions. Below are the content area’s for submission of which you must head to the CFP site and submit an abstract.

  • Veeam product usage
  • Availability
  • Virtualization
  • Cloud and storage
  • Enterprise and business topics related to the above areas

Abstract must be 200 to 250 words, complete with title and supporting bullet points. The huge news is that if selected, presenters will receive a complimentary VeeamOn registration pass along with travel and hotel accommodations. If that’s not a great reason to submit a session then I don’t know what is! Head to the site below to submit an abstract before February 7, 2017.

https://www.veeam.com/veeamon/submit-your-abstract

As an added extra, if you have a session you want to co-present with myself on anything Veeam Cloud Connect related, let me know and we can work on a joint submission.

Veeam Vanguard 2017 Nominations:

As a former Vanguard it’s exciting to now be on the other side of the nomination process and I would encourage anyone who has a passion for Veeam and has demonstrated that passion through community engagement and content creation to nominate for the 2017 intake. As I have mentioned before, this is one of the greatest advocacy programs in our industry and there is no doubting the positive impact being part of the Vanguard program brings to members of the group…both on a professional and personal level.

Vanguards receive a number of exclusive program benefits — honestly, too many to list — but among these extensive benefits are a private forum site, elevated access to Veeam Product Management, and private webinars and briefings. We’re continually adapting the program based on feedback from the Vanguards, as well as catering program benefits to innovate the program for this elite group. Additionally, we are planning a great experience for Vanguards at VeeamON 2017, so this will be a great year to participate.

Nominate yourself or someone you know for the Veeam Vanguard award here:

https://go.veeam.com/survey-vanguard-nomination.html

Please note that nominations will be accepted up until Friday the 9th of December 2016 so hurry and nominate yourself or someone you believe is worthy of joining the Vanguard program.

Veeam Vanguard nominations are now open for 2017!

 

Veeam Vault #2: VeeamOn Early Bird plus Blog Competition and Backup for Office 365 GA

As most of you know I am now working at Veeam as a Technical Evangelist focusing on Veeam’s Service Provider products and working with VCSP’s to help enhance service offering around Veeam’s product portfolio. This is the second of my Veeam Vault (renamed thanks to my colleague Michael Cade) series which I intend to use as my working title for all Veeam related news. Today I am going to talk a little more around VeeamOn happenings, our Backup for Office365 GA release and I’ll finish off with a roundup of what the Veeam Vanguard team have posted recently on their blogs.

VeeamOn 2017 Early Bird Discount and Certifications:

VeeamOn is still over six months away but preparations are in full swing within Veeam and during the month of December you have the chance to Register for the event with a Super Early Bird price of $549 that is $150 cheaper than the next Early Bird period in January, and $300 cheaper than the standard conference pass price of $849. In addition to that we are offering a deeply discounted rate of $1699 for the VCME course that will be talking place at the event.

The biggest advantage of attending the official VMCE course at VeeamON 2017 is that it comes at the lowest possible rate. You can purchase conference registration including VMCE training for only $1,699. This certification will fast track you to the necessary level of expertise to correctly deploy, configure and administer Veeam Availability Suite. Even experienced administrators and consultants will find there are many areas of the product that they can further explore and use in their daily operations.

If you know that you are likely to head to VeeamOn, you might as well lock it in early and save some money on registrations…in addition to that, if not already Veeam Certified, think about taking the VCME course at the event.

VeeamOn 2017 Blogger Pass:

If you are a Blogger you can Blog your way to VeeamOn by writing a post about the event that links back to veeamon.com. Once you have a blog written, submit the link here and from there wait to see if you are one of the five monthly winners being announced up to the 31st of March 2017. Submitted blog posts also automatically enters you in the race for the Most Valuable Blogger Award, which gets you a full pass and FREE accommodations at the event.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Released:

This week we released Backup for Office 365, which offers customers the ability to backup Office 365 Exchange mail objects for added recoverability and empowers staff to take control of their email while reducing time and effort to restore email data and protect against possible failures within the Office 365 platform that do happen from time to time. It can also be used as a migration tool between Office 365 and on-premises Exchange systems.

It connects to your Office 365 subscription utilizing the Exchange Web Services (EWS) API. This allows you, as a tenant of Office 365, the ability to store your Exchange mailbox items to an offline repository that utilizes the Jet Blue database format. By utilizing Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange, these backups are able to restore individual items — mailboxes, folders, messages, tasks and contacts — providing flexible recovery options for your end users.

For a deeper look at Veeam Backup for Office 365 head to the Veeam Blog and read Clint Wyckoff‘s post here.

Veeam Vanguard Blog Post Roundup: