Category Archives: vExpert

VMworld 2016: Top Session Picks

VMworld 2016 is just around the corner (10 days and counting) and the theme this year is be_Tomorrow …which looks to build on the Ready for Any and Brave IT messages from the last couple of VMworld events. It’s a continuation of VMware’s call to arms to get themselves and their partners and customers prepared for the shift in the IT of tomorrow. This will be my fourth VMworld and I am looking forward to spending time networking with industry peers, walking around the Solutions Exchange on the look out out for the next Rubrik or Platform9 and attending Technical Sessions.

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

The Content Catalog went live a few weeks ago and the Session Builder has also been live allowing attendees to lock in sessions. There are a total of 817 sessions this year, up from the 752 sessions last year. I’ve listed the main tracks with the numbers fairly similar to last year.

Cloud Native Applications (17)
End-User Computing (97)
Hybrid Cloud (63)
Partner Exchange @ VMworld (74)
Software-Defined Data Center (504)
Technology Deep Dives & Futures (22)

VMware’s core technology focus around VSAN and NSX again has the lions share of sessions this time year, with EUC still a very popular subject. It’s pleasing to see a lot of vCloud Air Network related sessions in the list (for a detailed look at the vCAN Sessions read my previous post) and there is a solid amount of Cloud Native Application content. Below are my top picks for this year:

  • Virtual SAN – Day 2 Operations [STO7534]
  • Advanced Network Services with NSX [NET7907]
  • A Day in the Life of a VSAN I/O [STO7875]
  • vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive [INF8430]
  • The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization [NET8193R]
  • Conducting a Successful Virtual SAN 6.2 Proof of Concept [STO7535]
  • How to design and implement VMware’s vCloud in production [SDDC9612-SPO]
  • PowerNSX and PyNSXv: Using PowerShell and Python for Automation and Management of VMware NSX for vSphere [NET7514]
  • Evolving the vSphere API for the Modern Era [INF8255]
  • Multisite Networking and Security with Cross-vCenter NSX: Part 2 [NET7861R]

My focus seems to have shifted back towards more vCloud Director and Network/Hybrid Cloud automation of late and it’s reflected in the choices above. Along side that I am also very interested to see how VMware position vCloud Air after the shambles of the past 12 months and I always I look forward to hearing from respected industry technical leads Frank Denneman, Chris Wahl and Duncan Epping as they give their perspective on storage and software defined datacenters and automation. This year I’m also looking at what the SABU Tech Marketing Team are up to around VSAN and VSAN futures.

As has also become tradition, there are a bunch of bloggers who put out their Top picks for VMworld…check out the links below for more insight into what’s going to be hot in Las Vegas this VMworld. Hope to catch up with as many community folk as possible while over so if you are interested in a chat, hit me up!

My top 15 VMworld sessions for 2016

Top 5 Log Insight VMworld Sessions

be_TOMORROW at VMworld 2016 – Key Storage and Availability Activities

 

My Top Session picks for VMworld 2016

http://www.mindthevirt.com/top-vmworld-sessions-category-1247

Beta Participation Matters! – vSphere Beta Program

Over the past week there have been a number of posts around the new vSphere Beta which is the first step in testing the next major release from VMware following vSphere 6. As has become custom there is a private beta form that can be accessed here and people that are interested can fill out the form and register their intent to participate.

With all the issues that VMware have experienced over the past 12-18 months it’s massively important (I feel) that this beta is well represented and as many people as possible download the bits and put to the test the new vSphere platform. There is no doubt that this next release will be VMware’s most important when you think about the 5.5 and 6.0 issues as well as the perceived pressure being heaped by Nutanix and…to a less extent Microsoft with Hyper-V.

VMware need to nail .NEXT!

I say this because the one thing that VMware need to combat AHV, Hyper-V and other hypervisors out their is a return to core platform stability and that can be further achieved if there are enough people testing and then reporting back to the VMware beta teams about their issues…the more diverse the beta base is the great the exposure to potential issues and bugs. This isn’t a guarantee that the perception of reduced stability and increased bugs won’t be totally eradicated but it goes some way to helping.

If selected to participate in the beta there are a set of expectations that people need to commit to.

Participant Expectations:

  • Online acceptance of the Master Software Beta Test Agreement will be required prior to visiting the Private Beta Community
  • Install beta software within 3 days of receiving access to the beta product
  • Provide feedback within the first 4 weeks of the beta program
  • Submit Support Requests for bugs, issues and feature requests
  • Complete surveys and beta test assignments
  • Participate in the private beta discussion forum and conference calls

I highlighted the dot point above relating to participants being active when part of a beta program. If you are just wanting to download the bits and install them for a quick look then you are probably not going to get anything substantial out of a beta program. One of the key reasons they exist is to generate feedback and testing on software thats not yet feature set and potentially has undiscovered bugs. Computer game companies have of recent times been putting out open betas (such as the recent one for the new Doom) to put their software through harsh testing at the hands of their potential customer base…this is no different to what betas such as the vSphere Beta.

When I participate in Beta’s I know that I am helping to shape the future of the product…people that know me know that I am a bit of a “beta whore” but that’s only because I understand the benfits of being involved in the programs and understand that it’s not only important for the vendor…but also important for the customer…after all you are getting a look at what’s next and essentially get to contribute in the final release.

vSphere 6 Beta Details:

This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information.

 

We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

So if you want to contribute to the future of vSphere…register for the BETA and be active in your participation!

References:

http://info.vmware.com/content/35853_VMware-vSphere-Beta_Interest

Melbourne VMUG UserCon – Best Virtualisation Event Outside of VMworld!

“Best Virtualisation Event Outside of VMworld!” …now there is a big statement if ever there was one! Without insulting every other VMUG UserCon around the world, what I didn’t add to the blog title was “…in the southern hemisphere”. This will be my third Mebourne VMUG UserCon and without disrespecting Sydney’s VMUG UserCon happening a couple of days earlier the Melbourne event is up there when it comes to quality content, quality presenters and community feel.

The last couple of years I have attended the event in Melbourne I have taken away a lot of great technical and non-technical knowledge back home with me and with keynote speakers the likes of no less than Scott Lowe and Keith Townsend together with industry superstar Chris Wahl and other great local presenters I expect the same for the 2016 edition.

The Agenda is jam packed with virtualisation goodness and it’s actually hard to attend everything of interest with schedule conflicts happening throughout the day…my recommended sessions are listed below:

If you do feel like skipping Chris Wahl’s session at 10:30am I’ll be presenting with Frank Fan from PernixData on Using Infrastructure Analytics to Modernize Storage Management where we will be talking about FVP and Architect and how it’s helped detect bottlenecks in the ZettaGrid Labs as well as help the normalization of production workload performance. 

So though I live in Perth and help run the Perth VMUG I believe Melbourne is the true spiritual home of virutalisation in Australia and this UserCon is not to be missed…so if you are in Melbourne next week try and get down to The Crown Casino to participate, learn and contribute and hopefully we can catch up for a drink.

Another vExpert Post – Listen Up! It’s about the Advocacy

Last Friday Cory Romero announced the first intake of the 2016 VMware vExperts. As a five time returning vExpert it would be easy for me to sit back enjoy a perceived sense of entitlement that comes with being a vExpert…but times have changed. The award has changed and the way people feel about the program has changed…when I first become a vExpert back in 2012 there was approximately 300 world wide…fast forward to 2016 and there are now 1360 give or take.

Over the past few years there are always comments and questions around the swelling of the numbers and how there should be a more stringent approval and acceptance structure. I myself shared those thoughts in previous posts…however my opinions around this have changed mainly because I have come to understand what the vExpert program (and other vendor programs) are all about and where myself, and VMware can achieve maximum value.

The vExpert program is designed to aid in your success and help amplify your internal and or external personal brands and channels. So whether you are a external evangelist or a internal champion we want to be sure you have the resources needed for the program so you can be more successful. Make no mistake that this program exists to help VMware push it’s products and services through the advocacy of the people in the group. The reward is given to those who in previous 12 months have shown themselves to be active in that advocacy. That doesn’t always mean that you need to be an active blogger or present at events, but it does mean that in your day to day role within the IT Industry you should be championing VMware as a company and break that down to champion VMware products that you use or sell.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in looking at and advocating other vendor technologies (I am a Veeam VanGaurd and PernixPro as an example) but as Corey mentioned in his email quoted above, the criteria used to have achieved the award implies that those activities need to be VMware focused.

Once you have the title it’s important to understand that there is a responsibility associated with it…it’s not just about the free gear though as I have stated before you should accept that as a perk of being part of the program and you shouldn’t feel like a “vendor whore” for accepting that shirt or coffee mug. Going back to responsibility, what I mean by that is that you should wear the badge proudly…understand that you have taken the time to apply/reapply for the award because you believed yourself worth of filling the selection criteria and use the award as a stepping stone to improve on the activities that got you there the year before.

Don’t rest on your laurels and expect the award to come to you every year…the vExpert team put a lot load of effort into keeping the program running and as a group we get significant exposure and opportunity from VMware and their partners…make it count and don’t waste it! Make sure you engage with others in the community through Twitter, LinkedIn or the Slack vExpert Channel or get down to your local VMUG or VMware event and engage directly.

vExpert On and Advocate!

Released: NSX Advanced Networking

Today is a great day for Zettagrid…we have officially released our NSX Advanced Networking feature that extends the networking functionality of our vCloud Based Virtual Datacenter product. The release is as significant as our initial vCloud Director offering which was the first in the ANZ market in offering a fully automated vCloud Power IaaS offering. What makes this release significant is that apart from us being one of the first…if not the first to offer NSX Advanced Edges to act as the gateway for client VMs and services hosted on VMware’s vCloud Director Platform. This first release milestone has further cemented Zettagrid’s status in the cloud market as leaders and innovators when it comes to taking great technology and doing great things with that technology.

While compute has long been the foundation for a strong cloud computing platform that underpins IaaS, networking has always been a bit of a poorer second cousin…not in terms of importance, but in terms of ease of functionality when it comes to automation. Nicira was conceived to overlay physical networks and allow for faster and more efficient setup and configuration driven by an API first mentality…with that it was no surprise that VMware decided to acquire the technology and talent and form the NSBU which has produced NSX for VMware (NSX-v)

Zettagrid saw huge potential in being able to automate the networking deployment, configuration and management of networking to do for networking what vCloud Director had done for compute. There are very specific pain points that this release has solved for Zettagrid customers who where after more functionality and features that where available in the Basic VSE Edge Gateways that come as default with the vCloud Director platform. The alternative prior to NSX Advanced Networking was to deploy a 3rd party Networking appliance and have that connected back to the clients Virtual Datacenter via mainly manual processes which did lead to longer lead times for requests to be completed.

With NSX Advanced Networking clients now have the ability to deploy three sizes of Edge Gateways that cater for all modern Hybrid Cloud requirements. In addition to that all Edges can be deployed with the option of High Availability which offers greater service continuity. Comparing the Basic Networking option to the NSX Advanced features you get a better performing routing and firewall engine along with a significantly improved Load Balancer services that rivals much more expensive options. You also have the ability to take advantage of dynamic routing protocols such as BGP and OSPF to enable more hybrid cloud options connecting vCloud Director Datacenters to on-premises or MPLS networks.

NSX Advanced Networking is deployed from the Zettagrid MyAccount Catalog when ordering a Virtual Datacenter. Within minutes you have access to the MyAccount Portal to start configuring your network and virtual machines. The Zettagrid team worked tirelessly to develop an interface between the NSX Rest APIs and our provisioning backend and then create the MyAccount NSX Advanced Networking UI. We have already begun work on further enhancing the features of the product and will be adding more features and functionality to the MyAccount Portal in future releases.

Networking is the cornerstone of the Hybrid Cloud and with VMware NSX technology, Zettagrid has been able to take a significant first step in making the consumption and management of networking in the cloud more efficient and powerful. Well done to the Zettagrid team on this release and we look forward to our customers taking advantage of the benefits offered by NSX Advanced Networking.

VMUG – The Power of Community… NIKE!

Yesterday at the long awaited reboot of the Perth VMUG here in Western Australia I chaired a vExpert/vChampion Panel that included Alex Barron, Luke Brown, Luke Dudney and Tim Williams. As a group we collectively felt the community aspect of the VMUGs was missing from the Perth meetings and we pushed hard to replicate other successful VMUGs around the world by having a Community Session as part of the VMUG Agenda.

The idea of the Panel was to try and get the crowd thinking about their own community involvement and the benefits that it can lead to both from a work and personal point of view. We each introduced ourselves, talked about what we did at our day jobs and then talked a little about our experiences on how being part of the VMware community has benefited us since deciding to become more engaged in community activities by embracing programs such as the vExpert and vChampion Programs…Collectively we each acknowledged that we are better off in our careers due to our involvement.

Apart from the technical benefits in being able to bounce ideas and problems off other technically minded people within the community the biggest takeaway I thought was that the people where able to understand that there is more out there than just the four walls of their offices. Sometimes I feel that IT people are stuck in the late 90s or early 2000s when social media was either non existent or prevalent and there was a “lets keep things close to our chest” mentality. The single biggest thing I love about the VMware Community is that there is more often than not a “share first” mentality…I’m not sure why this is so strong in the VMware community but it’s because of this mentality that there is so much content being created and so much online collaboration happening.

With the help of some prompting by @cswaters1 the audience got into the swing of things and began to participate in the panel asking questions around how we got involved with the community among other things…the discussion around blogging was particularly interesting and even a tongue in cheek comment as to my blogging frequency (and the fact I was concocting this very post in my head during the panel) didn’t detract from a key message around blogging.

In a recent vExpert Spotlight interview I did with @vCenterNerd I talked about how to get involved in community and gave this response:

What advice would you give to others involved in the VMware community who are looking at becoming a vExpert?

 

For me it’s all about contributing in a positive way towards this great community. If you haven’t started a blog but feel you have something to say then start one. Don’t worry about weather or not you feel your content is worthy of being out in the public, chances are someone, somewhere will find it interesting.

Finding time to tinker in your own home lab or wherever you have access to hardware and software is of massive benefit. Content tends to generate naturally and without effort the more you tinker and play with cool technologies.

 

 

#CreateShareContibute

The Create, Share and Contribute message was what we finished up on and after the panel was done the five of us all got great feedback on the sessions and we felt an increased sense of purpose with those who we talked to during the networking food and drinks after the meeting had finished…we even committed to starting a local Perth VMUG Slack Group to help member collaborate.

There are a number of examples where people have used community as a launching pad for their career and used it to change direction and career trajectories…and while that’s another great benefit of getting involved you might find that along the way you may develop some great friendships and become mates with a great bunch of people. So even though I am probably preaching to the converted here…retweet/repost this article and lets try and use community it’s self to get the message across!

Community? …Just to it!

vExpert VMworld Reception and Program Thoughts

Last week at VMworld we had the annual vExpert Reception…this year the party was held at the very swanky Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange building. From looking around the room I counted at least a couple hundred vExperts which is a fantastic turnout given the spread of the 1300 vExperts around the world.

The agenda was split into four presentations including Cory Romero with an update on the program and also some futures on where VMware want to take the program…we also had updated from VMware’s Digital Marketing lead, NSX Certification Program Manger Chris McCain, a VCDX Program Update (did you know all VCDX’s are automatically vExperts now) and the night was capped off with a very personable presentation from Pat Gelsinger.

Pat didn’t talk vision as he did in the Tuesday Keynote…he kept the talk very casual and talked about his experiences around getting excited about hearing about the first vMotion while working at Intel and the potential use cases around that. For him, it’s all about the technology and he expressed in no uncertain terms that as people who work in and around the IT world…

We all get turned on by cool tech!

And while that got a truthfully embarrassing reaction from the crowd it speaks volumes as to a big part of why programs like the vExpert Program exist. No one should be part of a program like this if they don’t get off on technology. Passion translates to action…and VMware (and other vendors that run similar programs) understands that there is huge power in bringing together like minded people to help push and champion their products.

Interestingly, after I posted this to Twitter during the presentations I had a number of replies from Michael Stump (sidenote: Michael has a great Blog here) echoing his previous thoughts that the vExpert program is a marketing tool for VMware which he couldn’t partake in anymore…and while I respect his choice I completely disagree with his rational. There is no confusion in my head (and in others I have spoken to or that have commented) that being part of these vendor programs means we need to “whore” ourselves off a little…for the most we graciously receive the free gifts from vExpert Vendor Partners and we troll the Solutions Exchange looking for our free battery packs, speakers and apparel.

We should not feel guilty about receiving these gifts but we must also understand that they do come with a small price…However the fact that we are passionate and all get off on technology means that in accepting these gifts we are doing exactly what the program is designed for…that is to help promote VMware and their partners…and in turn great tech!

Now, if vExperts choose to take the gifts and run that’s totally up to the individual…but this program gives back as much as you put in…the true value of the community isn’t the gifts and awesomely good food at the reception party…it’s the community aspect that it breeds. For me I have made many new friends and contacts in the industry that I wouldn’t have thought possible without the program..in that I have been able to extend my technical knowledge and it has also served as a distribution point for the content I create and in that I believe that I can give back to the vExpert Community.

Embrace the program as it continues to grow! It won’t be around forever!

Follow-Up: vCloud Director SP: The Need for UI Improvement!

Its been a couple of weeks since I wrote this post on the need for improvement with the vCloud Director UI and the response I’ve had to the article through the comments section, on LinkedIn and Twitter and also in the vCloud Director SP v8.0 Beta Discussion forums has been positive and supportive. With VMworld fast approaching it’s going to be interesting to see if there are any announcements around the future vCD SP and if there are indeed any movements on the need to have some form of improved UI…as shown below the Poll I conducted on that blog post reflects the reality that there are only a small percentage of vCloud Air Network Partners capable of using the new features in the vCD SP Editions.

Poll Results:

As a vCloud Powered SP, do you have in house capability to develop against the vCD API to produce a Custom Portal.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

I’ve put this together from 100’s of meetings with VMware both EBCs, World, SP Councils etc. Some of it is supposition and VMware wouldn’t confirm for me… so it may not be 100% accurate but here goes. Also I’m not sure how much I can say given I’ve spoken to some pretty senior people at VMware plus I’ve been privileged to sit on their Service Provider Advisory board where there are a few things discussed that they put under NDA. So I’ll try to make a best judgement around anything that follows and I’ll try to put it in a timeline perspective…

0) vCloud was created because internally, VMware couldn’t modify vCenter fast enough to add features for cloud like adoption. So the decision was to spin out a dev team, let them go as quickly as possible and use the vCenter APIs to develop something that would allow SPs and the Enterprise (that was the real goal) to have a private cloud and stop the noise of AWS/Cloud that was humming in the market….BUT:

1) It was pretty much doomed from the start when they first released v1. It was terrible and that’s being nice. Poor vSphere integration, lacked features vCenter had. So any internal sysadmin didn’t want to go near it…remember it used to use GUIDs to identify VMs so you had to look for mappings? You couldn’t back it up or restore it… and the effort you had to (and arguably still) do to integrate it and make it work well didn’t justify the return… poor start team. Why add another 100 hours to the build of your VMware environment to get something that limits you? most decision makers saw this…it had promise… BUT:

2) They wrote it in the wrong language – Flash. They picked flash because it was quick/easy/looked nice but almost as soon as VCD 1.1/2 was released, (from my hazy memory), Adobe announced they were stopping investment. The world turned almost overnight to HTML5 and that meant a big re-write for them. Flash is horrible, zero mobile support (remember Steve Jobs), Flash is terrible, we all know it, just accept it. But they couldn’t justify the rewrite cost (and time delay) because…

3) Most customers weren’t deploying it. Sure there are some big installations around the world, mostly larger customers that had internal development shops and multiple business units, but the trouble was the only real adoption they were getting was with the service providers and they were getting it for free through the VSPP. At this time, VMware was trying to match up the SP’s and Solution providers and they needed the SP’s to have a standard platform with APIs etc… They were also backing a number of Telcos (remember vCloud Data Center partners) to try and lift them up to the emerging AWS, MS, (looming Google) threat of public cloud. So giving it away for free was a good adoption strategy. But unfortunately the vCloud Data Center program failed… I cannot go into why… Also for enterprises, Dev shops weren’t adopting it even though Lab Manager was dead because VCD didn’t have all the features of Lab Manager…

4) It was/is still a complex interface – it didn’t flow well and ultimately that’s why VMware themselves, when they launched their ‘VMware Hybrid Cloud’ trial platform in the US, didn’t use their own interface! They realised it was too clumsy and complex so they wrote something simpler for the masses. One insider told me it was at that point the interface was doomed well before it was announced… so its demise has been on the cards for years.

5) So now at this point VMware have a flash (dead) interface, very small enterprise adoption and mostly it doesn’t have the enterprise features, they aren’t even using it themselves and SPs are really the only ones using it but there’s no revenue to fund the unit because they gave it away in the VSPP. So the decision is, buy another company that has a portal (vCAC/vRealise) and shift VCD to the SP division because if we kill it all together we might lose the SPs totally, particularly the big ones that integrated it to their own portals (see next point). But at the same time, VMware realised that they could not viably get the SPs to compete with AWS/Azure so they had to do something themselves, hence vCloud Air was born. (just go look at the timing…think late 2012/early 2013)

6) So in 2013, most of the SPs using the VCD interface are those that cannot afford to develop their own or buy something – but that’s the trick, those that can afford to develop/buy, make up a significant % of the VSPP revenue. So say the top 20% of VSPP SPs represent 80% of the revenue (I don’t know the exact numbers) and of the top 20%, 80% of those SP’s have their own portal because they are telcos etc that have merged VCD APIs with existing portals or written their own. So for the VMware SP business unit that own owns a non-revenue generating platform, facing a full rewrite to shift away from flash and make it more usable again doesn’t justify the return. Also those top revenue SPs are the ones that get a voice at the highest levels in VMware and influence the strategy, not the 1000’s of SPs on 3600 plans or less commenting in forums unfortunately. So those that have the most influence, don’t need an interface (i’m generalizing a bit)… and even if they used VCD extensively, they can probably afford to license something and replace it because VDC isn’t their main line of business (telco lines, outsourcing etc is)…

7) So in 2014? VMware turn to the partners (ISVs) and suggest to the smaller SPs, go talk to some of our partners and buy their product. Flip the strategy and push it as an API layer to provide some standards to the SP community, keep very close tabs on the midlevel VSPP subscriptions and if you feel they are faltering, make sure you position vCloud Air to migrate, because if they use the vCloud APIs and connector, it should be pretty easy to get them into vCloud Air… pretty simple really…

So I’d be surprised if they resurrect it – and if they do it shows that their strategy is all over the show. Its alive, its dead, its alive etc… Just remember, SP revenue makes up less than 10% of VMware’s… so it’s a pretty small voice. As I said in my tweet last night (and I’ve made a few calls internally to VMware contacts in the last six months) there is sure to be an announcement this VMworld, but no one will say which way… they are being very tight lipped about it.

I asked Rob if I could repost this and he agreed because we share the same passion for VMware and vCloud Director and we both work for SPs with significant investments in the platform… The question has been asked of me since the original post went up about the possibility of an enhanced UI taking away the advantage SPs like Zettagrid, Datacom or iLand have by being able to develop against the vCD SP APIs but in reality a better UI that all vCloud Air Network Partners can use can only serve to strengthen the Network…and in turn that helps VMware compete against the likes of AWS, Azure and other IaaS Providers.

There is a strong group of vCD Supporters who hope the news coming out of VMworld next week is positive…time will tell!

#LongLivevCD

VMware Labs: Top 5 Flings

For those that are not aware, VMware has had their Lab Flings going for a number of years now and on the back of the latest release (ESXi Embedded Host Client) I spent some time looking through all the flings and I thought it be useful to produce a list of my Top 5 Flings. The list below represents the Flings i’ve found most useful since I was first introduced to them…they reflect my love of NestedESXi and operations around vCloud…however there are a lot more that others will find useful.

Before the list…What are VMware Flings?

Our engineers work on tons of pet projects in their spare time, and are always looking to get feedback on their projects (or “flings”). Why flings? A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one. Likewise, the tools that are offered here are intended to be played with and explored. None of them are guaranteed to become part of any future product offering and there is no support for them. They are, however, totally free for you to download and play around with them!

There are 57 Flings available for download at the time of writing this post and they range across most of VMware’s Product stack…most of them have been created out of some requirement or function that was/is lacking in the current toolset for their respective products. Most of them solve usability issues or look to resolve performance bottlenecks and look to optimize product experience…some of them end up being productised themselves.

Fling Number 5 – Storage Profile Updater

This Fling is a simple tool that enables the migration of vCloud Director virtual machines and templates from the default any storage profile to a specific storage profile. The tool can be run from the command-line with the help of a configuration file, and it allows you to change storage profiles in a batch style of processing.

For those that upgraded vCloud Director from 1.5 to 5.x you would know about the Any profile issue…this fling allows you to migrate all VMs from that default storage policy to any new one you might have configured in your Provider vDC.

Fling Number 4 – vCMA

VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) is a fully configured and ready to run virtual appliance that is required to manage your datacenter from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (iPad). Using either a mobile browser or the native iPad application, administrators can now perform various troubleshooting and remediation activities in their VMware environments from anywhere in the world.

Back before the Web Client was introduced in vSphere 5.0 this was one of the best ways to access your vCenter Hosts and VMs to perform actions remotely from you mobile phone or device. It is was an easy install and did the job…this evolved into the current vSphere Mobile Watchlist.

Fling Number 3 – PowerCLI Extensions

VMware PowerCLI is one of the most successful command line tools for managing your VMware products. With the many existing cmdlets designed for the system administrator or vSphere Admin, PowerCLI is the easiest and most powerful tool for managing your environment.

PowerCLI Extensions gives PowerCLI users access to early access functionality by extending the core PowerCLI cmdlets to include new experimental features and gives PowerCLI customers the ability to provide early feedback.

For anyone using PowerCLI to manage and automate their vSphere environments the PowerCLI Extensions have been a valuable tool to have at your disposal. Over the last couple of weeks the Fling has become even cooler by allowing access to the VMFork Instant Clone Technology APIs which up to this point have been hidden from general consumption in vSphere/ESXi 6.0

Fling Number 2 – VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

This VIB package provides a VMware Tools service (vmtoolsd) for running inside a nested ESXi virtual machine. The following capabilities are exposed through VMware Tools:

Provides guest OS information of the nested ESXi Hypervisor (eg. IP address, configured hostname, etc.).
Allows the nested ESXi VM to be cleanly shut down or restarted when performing power operations with the vSphere Web/C# Client or vSphere APIs.
Executes scripts that help automate ESXi guest OS operations when the guest’s power state changes.
Supports the Guest Operations API (formally known as the VIX API).

The release of this Fling was met with a lot of thankyou’s from those who had battled with NestedESXi Hosts not having VMTools available. If anything, the ability to cleanly shutdown or restart the ESXi Guest was welcomed. With the release of ESXi 6.0 the Tools are included in the OS by default…but for those running 5.x Nested Hosts its a must have.

Fling Number 1 – ESXi Mac Learning dvFilter

MAC learning functionality solves performance problems for use cases like nested ESX.  This ESX extension adds functionality to ESX to support MAC-learning on vswitch ports. For most ESX use cases, MAC learning is not required as ESX knows exactly which MAC address will be used by a VM. However, for applications like running nested ESX, i.e. ESX as a guest-VM on ESX, the situation is different. As an ESX VM may emit packets for a multitude of different MAC addresses, it currently requires the vswitch port to be put in “promiscuous mode”. That however will lead to too many packets delivered into the ESX VM, as it leads to all packets on the vswitch being seen by all ESX VMs. When running several ESX VMs, this can lead to very significant CPU overhead and noticeable degradation in network throughput. Combining MAC learning with “promiscuous mode” solves this problem.

This Fling is close to my heart as I learnt at VMworld 2014 that it was born out of a blog post I did on Promiscuous Mode that triggered William Lam to approach Christian Dickmann with the issues and look for a way to solve the issue. As you can see from my followup post it works as designed and is the single must have Fling for those who run Nested ESXi labs.

For a full list of the Flings available for download, head to this link

https://labs.vmware.com/flings/page/4?cat=1&orderby=comment_count 

 

VMUG User Conference 2015 – Melbourne Community Session

The Australian legs of the VMUG User Conferences are happening next week in Sydney and Melbourne…This year the event is even bigger than last years and if you are into all things VMware and can get to Sydney or Melbourne next week do your self a favour and register. The agenda is full of VMWorld level goodness and the keynote speakers are some of the best going round the VMware Community.

Check out the Agenda here and if you are going, download the VMUG Mobile App and plan out your sessions for the day. If you are coming to the Melbourne leg, i’ll be there and presenting a Community Session around NSX and my experiences around working with NSX at ZettaGrid.

Get down and say hello and take advantage of this is awesome free event that provides an excellent opportunity to network and learn from some of the best local and international guys in the community. Melbourne is the Vitualization Capital of Australia and spiritual home of the aussievMafia!

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