Category Archives: VMware

vSphere 6.7 Update 1 – Top New Features and Platform Supportability

Last week VMware released vSphere 6.7 Update 1. While the buzz around this release was less than the previous release it still contains a ton of enhancements for vCenter, ESXi and vSAN. Like 6.7 before it, this is a lot more than a point release and represents a significant upgrade from vSphere 6.7.

Looking through the release notes, there appears to be less for service providers in this release though I still feel like it’s important to highlight the base hypervisor (ESXi) as well as the management platform (vCenter). vSAN has had another significant update and that will warrant a post on it’s on. I’ll also talk about current interoperability with vCloud Director and NSX as well as current Veeam supportability for vSphere 6.7 Update 1 as well as touch on Veeam’s current supportability.

  • New (almost 100%) Fully functional HTML5 client
  • Upgrade path from vSphere 6.5 U2 to vSphere 6.7 Update 1
  • Enhanced support for NVIDIA Quadro vDWS VMs and support for Intel FPGA
  • New vCenter Convergence Tool
  • Updated vSAN
  • Enhanced vSphere Content Library
Fully Functional HTML5 Client

Most functions have now been ported across to the HTML5 vSphere Client. This results in administrators not having to switch back and forth between the FLEX Web Client and the HTML5 client. Update 1 features:

  • vCenter High Availability (VCHA)
  • Auto Deploy
  • Host Profiles
  • vSphere Update Manager
  • Network Topology Diagrams
  • Performance Charts
  • Improved Searching
  • Dark Theme

Emad Younis has a detailed post here that goes through the new features.

Upgrade Path from vSphere 6.5 Update 2 to vSphere 6.7 Update 1

One of the issues with vSphere 6.7 was the fact that the vSphere 6.5 Update 2 release would not be able to be upgraded to vSphere 6.7.  With the release of vSphere 6.7 Update 1. vSphere 6.5 Update 2 to vSphere 6.7 Update 1 is now a fully supported.

Enhanced Content Library

New improvements to the content library in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 enables the importing of OVA templates from a HTTPS endpoint and also local storage.  Importing now verifies the certificate of the OVA bundle and also now natively supports VM templates (VMTX) and associated operations such as deploying a VM directly from Content Library.

vCenter Specific Enhancements

With vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1, you can move a vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller from one vSphere domain to another vSphere domain. Services such as tagging and licensing are retained and migrated to the new domain.

There is a new Burst Filter to manage event bursts and prevent the database of vCenter Server from flooding with identical events over a short period of time.

vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1 supports VMware vSphere vMotion between on-premises vCenter’s and VMware Cloud on AWS. You can use either the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client, or the API. Both sides need to be at 6.7 Update 1.

you can import Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) files in a Content Library. The OVA files are unzipped during the import, providing manifest and certificate validations, and create an OVF library item that enables deployment of virtual machines from a Content Library.

With vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1, you can use the Appliance Management User Interface to configure and edit the firewall settings of the vCenter Server Appliance.

ESXi Specific Enhancements

There are a few vendor/hardware related features and enhancements in Update 1 for ESXi 6.7. The release notes cover them in detail here. But as mentioned above, probably the biggest addition here is the ability to upgrade from ESXi 6.5 Update 2 which I know a few service providers where stuck on. In terms of known issues the release notes also contain a good list. There are some here that impact Service Providers so it’s worth reading through them.

vCD and NSX Supportability:

Shifting from new features and enhancements to an important subject to talk about when talking service provider platform…VMware product compatibility. For those VCPP Service Providers running a Hybrid Cloud you should be running a combination of vCloud Director SP or/and NSX-v of which the 6.4.3 and 6.4.2 versions are supported at release. Most providers should be on these releases so that’s good news.

Looking at vCloud Director, it looks like 9.5 is the only supported version at the moment

Veeam Backup & Replication Supportability: 

Veeam commits to supporting major version releases within 90 days or sooner of GA. There has been many discussions going round whether an Update is a major release these days…and general consensus now is that VMware is releasing these updates with enough changes to potentially impact backup supportability.

So with that, those Service Provider that are also VCSPs using Veeam to backup their infrastructure should not upgrade to vSphere 6.7 until Backup & Replication Update 4 is released. For those that are bleeding edge and have updated your only is to go with the workaround that is detailed here. It works…but again, it’s a work around.

Wrapping Up:

Rounding off this post, in the Known Issues section there is a fair bit to be aware of for 6.7 Update 1. it’s worth reading through all the known issues just in case there are any specific issues that might impact you.

Happy upgrading!

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/rn/vsphere-vcenter-server-671-release-notes.html

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/rn/vsphere-esxi-671-release-notes.html

Quick Fix – VCSA 6.7.0.10000 Can’t Update via URL from Management Interface

I had an issue with my VCSA today trying to upgrade to vCenter 6.7 Update 1 whereby the Management Interface Upgrade option was not detecting the update to upgrade the appliance to 6.7 Update 1. It was a similar issue to this VMwareKB, however the URL that is mentioned in that instance was already in the VCSA Settings.

My first instinct was to check the disk space and see if there where any pressures in that area. I did find that the /dev/sda3 partition was low on space, so I expanded the disk following advice given by Mark Ukotic. After a reboot and resize I had plenty of storage left, but still couldn’t trigger an update from the URL. At this point I did download the Update patch ISO from the VMware Patch center and loaded it up manually…however the issue of it not popping up automatically was annoying me.

As mentioned, the settings of the VCSA Update window has the following URL listed:

https://vapp-updates.vmware.com/vai-catalog/valm/vmw/8d167796-34d5-4899-be0a-6daade4005a3/6.7.0.10000.latest/

Having asked around a little the quick fix was provided by Matt Allford who provided me with the URL that was present in his VCSA after he upgraded successfully via the CLI.

https://vapp-updates.vmware.com/vai-catalog/valm/vmw/8d167796-34d5-4899-be0a-6daade4005a3/6.7.0.20000.latest/

I added that as a custom repository as shown below…

I was then able to rescan and choose from the list of updates for the VCSA.

And perform the upgrade from the Management Interface as first desired.

Interestingly enough, after the upgrade the default Update Repository was set to the one Matt provided for me.

This is the first time i’ve seen this behavior from the VCSA but I had reports of people being able to upgrade without issue. I’m wondering if it might be the particular build I was on, though that in it’s self was not picking up any patches to update to either. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment below.

Quick Fix: Terraform Plan Fails on Guest Customizations and VMware Tools

Last week I was looking to add the deployment of a local CentOS virtual machine to the Deploy Veeam SDDC Toolkit project so that it included the option to deploy and configure a local Linux Repository. This could then can be added to the Backup & Replication server. As part of the deployment I call the Terraform vSphere Provider to clone and configure the virtual machine from a pre loaded CentOS template.

As shown below, I am using the Terraform customization commands to configure VM name, domain details as well as network configuration.

In configuring the CentOS template i did my usual install of Open VM Tools. When the Terraform plan executes we applied the VM was cloned without issue, but it failed at the Guest Customizations part.

The error is pretty clear and to test the error and fix, I tried applying the plan without any VMware Tools installed. In fact without VMware Tools the VM will not finish the initial deployment after the clone and be deleted by Terraform. I next installed open-vm-tools but ended up with the same scenario of the plan failing and the VM not being deployed. For some reason it does not like this version of the package being deployed.

Next test was to deploy the open-vm-tools-deploypkg as described in this VMwareKB. Now the Terraform plan executed to the point of cloning the VM and setting up the desired VM hardware and virtual network port group settings but still failed on the custom IP and hostname components of the customisation. This time with a slightly different error.

The final requirement is to pre-install the perl package onto the template. This allows for the in guest customizations to take place together with VMware Tools. Once I added that to the template the Terraform Plan succeeded without issue.

References:

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2075048

 

 

Released: vCloud Director 9.5 – Full HTML5 Tenant UI, NSX-T Thoughts and More!

Last week VMware released vCloud Director 9.5 (build 10266189) which builds on the 9.1 release that came out earlier this year. This continues to deliver on VMware’s promise to release major vCD updates every six months or so. This update completes the HTML5 Tenant Portal port as well as continuing to enhance the usability of the HTML5 interface by extending the Provider UI to be more functional. Under the hood there are a number of networking enhancements as well as the initial introduction of a vCD Cell Appliance.

New Features and Enhancements:

  • Fully Functional HTML5 Tenant Portal
  • Cross-OrgVDC and Multi-Site Cross-VDC Networking
  • Initial Support for NSX-T
  • Enhanced Role Base Access Control (RBAC)
  • vCloud Director Appliance
  • IPv6 Support for Guest VMs
  • Updated Plugin for vRealize Orchestrator
  • API and SDK Enhancements
  • Container Service Extension (CSE) 1.2

In this post, I am going to focus more on the HTML5 Tenant and Provider Portal as well as touch on some of the important changes to supportability this release brings. As you can see from the list above, there are a number of major features to talk about, and i’ll try to put together a few more posts over the next few weeks digging into them specifically.

Tenant UI Reaches Feature Parity:

Starting from this release the reliance on the old Flex based portal is no more. All tenant tasks have been ported over to the HTML5 portal along with a lot of additional enhancements. If I think back a couple years ago when vCloud Director was at a cross roads in terms of how VMware continued to develop it, it’s amazing to see this new UI fully complete.

Everything that Tenant’s could see in the Flex UI is present in the HTML5 UI. Some of the additions include a recent tasks pane, support for independent disks is not only an API only feature now and can be accessed via the UI as well as Affinity Rules being configurable from the HTML portal.

Provider UI Improvements:

Heading over to /provider will get you into the HTML5 Provider UI. This now lists all vCD Organizations and you can create a new Org and then click through to the Tenant UI as Administrator to perform configuration tasks

You can also manage Catalogs and as with vCD 9.1 you can manage the Content Library through the provider UI. What else is new in 9.5 is the ability to allow the management of users, groups, roles, global roles.

Depreciated APIs and Functionality:

vCD 9.5 brings with it the end of support for Oracle Database which brings full circle the requirement for Oracle. Many of you who started on vCD when it was in Beta or v1 remember that it needed an Oracle database and didn’t support MSSQL. With the support of PostgreSQL it’s now ironcially MSSQL’s days that are numbered with 9.5 being the last release to support MSSQL as the vCD Database. 

For those that use vCloud Network Isolation (VCDNI), that is now also no longer supported as well as a continued end of support for Older API Versions with version 19.0 and earlier no longer supported.

From a networking point of view vCD 9.5 is the last release to support the creation edge devices in the non-advanced mode which is effectively the old vShield mode. Only edge devices that have been created or converted to advanced will be supported by the HTML5 UI.

Compatibility with Veeam, vSphere 6.5, 6.7, NSX-v 6.4.x and NSX-T 2.2 Support:

On the NSX-T front…from the release notes:

vCloud Director 9.5 is the first version to support NSX-T, which can be combined with the existing support for NSX-V in the same vCloud Director installation. You can add a NSX-T Manager and the corresponding vCenter(s) as a resource in vCD (via API) and create a Provider VDC (PVDC) that is backed by NSX-T. All the vCenters in this PVDC should be backed the same NSX-T manager. All the hosts in these vCenters then will be installed with the DPDK switch. A VLAN backed network pool for each OrgVDC can be created,
from this the network configuration on tenant side is the same as with NSX-V.

NSX-T is something that VMware is pushing very hard now, and i’ll be honest in saying that i’ve not had a chance to tinker with it. I’m still very much in tune with NSX-v however it’s clear from the push of NSX-T into VMware Cloud on AWS and now into vCD that it is the network virtualization platform of choice moving forward…though I must check on the progress of the Edge devices. These are critical to tenant edge services that front a vDC and there is a lot of power in the current NSX-v edges.

Current NSX Platform? Future Direction?

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vCloud Director 9.5 is compatible with the latest vSphere 6.7, 6.5 Update 2 (but not 6.5 GA) and NSX-v 6.4.3 and supports full interoperability with other versions as shown in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix. Interestingly enough, 9.5 has more supportability for NSX-v and obviously with NSX-T having initial limited support.

With regards to Veeam support, I am sure that our QA department will be testing the 9.5 release against our integration pieces at the first opportunity they get, but as of now, there is no ETA on offical support.

There are only two resolved issues in this build and there are a number of known issues that can be found here.

Conclusion:

Overall this is again, a very strong release and it’s clear to now see that vCD is 100% supported and backed by VMware. You can start to see a shift of the platform away from just being an abstraction layer to becoming what could be a brokerage engine expanding on the extensibility thats being built into the product under the hood. vCloud Director 9.5 continues to fulfil the promise of enabling SDDC functionality to VMware service providers.

There is a White Paper where you can find more details about what’s contained in the 9.5 release. Tom Fojta and Daniel Paluszek from VMware have a what’s new blog posts as well.

#LongLivevCD

References:

https://cloudsolutions.vmware.com/assets/blt4e4a9fe9b7954100/What’s%20New%20with%20vCloud%20Director%209.5.pdf

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vCloud-Director-for-Service-Providers/9.5/rn/vmware-vcloud-director-for-service-providers-95-release-notes.html

Automated Configuration of Backup & Replication with PowerShel

As part of the Veeam Automation and Orchestration for vSphere project myself and Michael Cade worked on for VMworld 2018, we combined a number of seperate projects to showcase an end to end PowerShell script that called a number of individual modules. Split into three parts, we had a Chef/Terraform module that deployed a server with Veeam Backup & Replication installed. A Terraform module that deployed and configured an AWS VPC to host a Linux Repository with a Veeam PN Sitegateway. And finally a Powershell module that configured the Veeam server with a number of configuration items ready for first use.

The goal of the project was to release a PowerShell script that fully deployed and configured a Veeam platform on vSphere with backup repositories, vCenter server and default policy based jobs automatically configured and ready for use. This could then be adapted for customer installs, used on SDDC platforms such as VMware Cloud on AWS, or for POCs or lab use.

While we are close to releasing the final code on GitHub for the project, I thought I would branch out the last section of the code and release it separately. As I was creating this script, it became apparent to me that it would be useful for others to use as is or as an example from which to simplify manual and repetitive tasks that go along with configuring Backup & Replication after installation.

Script Overview:

The PowerShell script (found here on GitHub) performs a number of configuration actions against any Veeam Backup & Replication Server as per the included functions.

All of the variables are configured in a config.json file meaning nothing is required to be modified in the main PowerShell script. There are a number of parameters that can be called to trigger or exclude certain functions.

There are some pre-requisites that need to be in place before the script can be executed…most importantly the PowerShell needs to be executed on a system where the Backup & Replication Console is installed to allow access to the Veeam PowerShell Snap-in. From there you just need a new Veeam Backup & Replication server and a vCenter server plus their login credentials. If you want to add a Cloud Connect Provider offering Cloud Connect Backup or/and Replication you enter in all the details in the config.json file as well. Finally, if you want to add a Linux Repository you will need the details of that plus have it configured for key based authentication.

You can combine any of the parameters listed above. An example is shown above where -ClearVBRConfig has been used to reverse the -RunVBRConfigure parameter that was executed first to do an end to end configure. For Cloud Connect Replication, if you want to configure and deploy an NEA there is a specific parameter for that. If you didn’t want to configure Cloud Connect or the Linux Repository the parameters can be used individually, or together. If those two parameters are used, the Default Backup Repository will be used for the jobs that are created.

Automating Policy Based Backup Jobs:

Part of the automation that we where keen to include was the automatic creation of default backup jobs based on vSphere Tags. The idea was to have everything in place to ensure that once the script had been run, VMs could be backed up dependant on them being added to vSphere Tags. Once done the backup jobs would protect those VMs based on the policies set in the config.json.

The corresponding jobs are all using the vSphere Tags. From here the jobs don’t need to be modified when VMs are added…VMs assigned those Tags will be included in the job.

Conclusion:

Once the script has been run you are left with a fully configured Backup & Replication server that’s connected to vCenter and if desired (by default) has local and Cloud Connect repositories added with a set of default policy based jobs ready to go using vSphere Tags.

There are a number of improvements that I want to implement and I am looking out for Contributors on GitHub to help develop this further. At its base it is functional…but not perfect. However it highlights the power of the automation that is possible with Veeam’s PowerShell Snap-In and PowerCLI. One of the use-cases for this was for repeatable deployments of Veeam Backup & Replication into POCs or labs and for those looking to standup those environments, this is a perfect companion.

Look out for the full Veeam SDDC Deploy Toolkit being released to GitHub shortly.

References:

https://github.com/anthonyspiteri/powershell/tree/master/BR-Configure-Veeam

Quick Fix – Backing up vCenter Content Library Content with Veeam

A question came up in the Veeam Forums this week about how you would backup the contents of a Content Library. As a refresher, content libraries are container objects for VM templates, vApp templates, and other types of files. Administrators can use the templates in the library to deploy virtual machines and vApps via vCenter. Using Content libraries results in consistency, compliance, efficiency, and automation when deploying workloads at scale.

Content Libraries are created and managed from a single vCenter, but can be shared to other vCenter Server instances. VM templates and vApps templates are stored as OVF file formats in the content library. You can also upload other file types, such as ISO images, text files, and so on, in a content library. It’s possible to create content libraries that are 3rd party hosted, such as the example here by William Lam looking at how to create and manage an AWS S3 based content library.

For those looking to store them locally on an ESXi datastore there is a way to backup the contents of the content library with a Veeam Backup & Replication File Copy job. This is a basic solution to the question posed in the Veeam Forums however it does work. With the File Copy, you can choose any file or folder contained in any connected infrastructure in Backup & Replication. For a Content Library stored on an ESXi datastore you just need to browse to the location as shown below.

The one caveat is that the destination can’t be a Veeam Repository. There is no versioning or incremental copy so every time the job is executed a full backup of the files is performed.   

One way to work around this is to set the destination to a location that is being backed up in a Veeam Job or an Agent Job. However if the intention is to just protect the immediate contents of the library than have a full once off backup shouldn’t be an issue.

You can also create/add to a File Copy job from the Files view as shown above.

In terms of recovery, The File Copy job is doing a basic file copy and doesn’t know about the fact the files are part of a Content Library and as you can see, the folder structure that vCenter creates uses UIDs for identification. Because of this, if there was a situation where a whole Content Library was lost, it would have to be recreated in vCenter and then the imported back in directly from the File Copy Job destination folder location.

Again, this is a quick and nasty solution and it would be a nice feature addition to have this backed up natively…naming and structure in place. For the moment, this is a great way of utilizing a cool feature of Veeam Backup & Replication to achieve the goal.

Veeam on the VMware Cloud Marketplace Protecting VMware Cloud on AWS Workloads

At VMworld 2018, myself and Michael Cade gave a session on automating and orchestrating Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. The premise of the session was to showcase the art of the possible with Veeam and VMware that resulted in a fully deployed and configured Veeam platform. We chose VMware Cloud on AWS for the demo to showcase the power of the Software Defined Datacenter with Veeam, however our solution can be deployed onto any vSphere platform.

Why Veeam with VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’ve have spent a lot of time over the past couple of months looking into VMware Cloud on AWS and working out just where Veeam fits in terms of a backup and recovery solution for it. I’ve also spent time talking to VMware sales people as well as solution providers looking to wrap managed services around VMC and the question of data protection is often raised as a key concern. There is a good article here that talks about the need for backup and how application HA or stretched clustering is not a suitable alternative.

Without prejudice, I truly believe that Veeam is the best solution for the backup and recovery of workloads hosted on VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. Not only do we offer a solution that’s 100% software defines it’s self, but we can extend protection of all workloads from on-premises, through to the SDDC and also natively in AWS covering both backup, replication as well as offering the ability to use Cloud Connect to backup out to a Veeam Cloud and Service Provider. I’ll go into this in greater detail in a future post.

Veeam on the VMware Cloud on AWS Marketplace:

At the same time as our session on the Monday there was another session that introduced the VMware Cloud Marketplace that was announced in Technical Preview. As part of that launch, Veeam was announced as an initial software partner. This allows for the automated deployment and configuration of a Veeam Backup & Replication instance directly into a deployed SDDC and also configures an AWS EC2 EBS backed instance to be used as a Veeam Repository.

The VMware Cloud Marketplace will offer the ability to browse and filter validated third-party products and solutions, view technical and operational details, facilitate Bring Your Own License (BYOL) deployments, support commercial transactions, and deliver unified invoices. We plan to open Cloud Marketplace to a limited Beta audience following VMworld and are working on additional features and capabilities for future releases. We envision the Cloud Marketplace will quickly expand, introducing new third-party vendors and products over time and becoming the de-facto source for customers to extend the capabilities of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Provider Partner environments.

Compared to what Michael and I showcased in our session, this is a more targeted vanilla deployment of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 with Update 3a into the SDDC. At the end of the process, you will be able to access the Veeam Console, have it connected to the VMC vSphere endpoint and have the EC2 Veeam repository added.

This is done via CloudFormation templates and a little bit of PowerShell embedded into the Windows Image.

Being embedded directly into the VMware Cloud Marketplace is advantageous for customers looking to get started quick with their data protection for workloads running on VMware Cloud o AWs. Look out for more collateral from myself, Veeam and VMware on protecting VMC with Veeam as well as a deeper look at our VMworld session which digs into the automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS using Chef, Terraform, PowerShell and PowerCLI.

References:

Introducing VMware Cloud Marketplace

https://cloud.vmware.com/cloud-marketplace

https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/veeam-availability-suite-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-9-5?ref=search#summary

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 2 – Community and Veeam Recap

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. For me, the dynamic of what it is to be at a VMworld has changed. The week is not just about the event, the announcements or the sessions…but more about what myself and my team are able to achieve. While we are participants of VMworld we are also working and need to be adding value on all fronts.

This year I left Las Vegas with a sense of achievement and the belief that the week was extremely successful both personally and from a Veeam Product Strategy point of view. In this post (which is Part 2 of my VMworld 2018 recap) I am going to go over what went down with the VMware community during the event and close off with a quick Veeam roundup.

Community:

I felt like the community spirit was in full effect again at VMworld. Between all the sessions, parties and events my overall feeling was that there was a lot of community activity going on. Twitter it’s self came to life and everyones timelines where filling up with #VMworld media. The grass roots community still fuels a lot of VMware’s success and you can’t underestimate the value of influence and advocacy at this level. Certainly, Veeam and other vendors understand this and cater to supporting community events while looking after members with vendor branded swag.

One important thing I would like to highlight is the power of the local community and how something small can turn into something huge. My good friend from Australia, Tim Carman had an idea last year to create an As Built PowerShell Documentation script. He first presented it at his local VMUG…then a few months later he presented it at the Melbourne VMUG UserCon and last week, he presented it with Matt Allford in front of 500 plus people at VMworld. Not only that, but the session was voted into the daily top ten and is currently the second most downloaded via the online session download page!

Hackathon:

Another amazing thing that happened at VMworld was the team that I was lucky enough to be a member of took out the Hackathon. Aussie vMafia 2.0, lead by Mark Ukotic took out the main prize on the back of an idea to put a terminal in the (H5) Client and running commands. Again, what I was most pleased about with Mark, Tim and Matt’s success was exposure from the sessions and Hackathon win. They are great guys and well deserving of it. It goes down as one of my best VMworld highlights of all time!

Veeam Highlights and Sessions:

Finally to wrap things up, it was a great VMworld for Veeam. I spoke to a lot of customers and partners and it’s clear that our Availability Platform that’s driven through our strong ecosystem alliances is still very much resonating and seen to be leading the industry. Being hardware agnostic and software only carries massive weight and it was pleasing to have that validated by talking to customer and partners during the course of the event.

In terms of our sessions, we had two different breakouts. One covering some of the brilliant new features in Update 4 of Backup & Replication 9.5 presented by Danny Allan and Rick Vanover.

And myself and Michael Cade presented on automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. Michael talks about the session here, but in a nutshell we came up with a workflow that orchestrates the deployment of a Veeam Backup & Replication Server with Proxies onto a vSphere environment (VMC used in this case to highlight the power of the SDDC) and then deploys and configures a Veeam Linux Repository in AWS, hooks that into a VeeamPN extended network and then configures the Veeam Server ready to backup VMs.

Finally…it wouldn’t be VMworld without a Veeam party, and this year didn’t fail to live up to expectation. Held at the Omnia nightclub on Tuesday night it was well received and we managed to fill the club without the need to pull in a headline act. And as I tweeted out…

Wrap Up:

Overall, VMworld ticked a lot of boxes and was well received by everyone that I came across. IT’s been a good run of three VMworld’s in a row in Vegas, however it’s time to move back to where it all started for me in 2012 in San Fransisco. It’s going to be interesting going back to the Mascone Center and a city that hasn’t got the best reputation at the present moment due to social issues and the cost of accomodation is astronomical compared to Vegas. However, location is one thing…it’s what VMware and it’s ecosystem partners bring to the event. This year it worked! Hopefully next year will be just as successful.

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 1 – Major Announcement Breakdown!

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. In this post I wanted to break down what I saw as the major announcements at the 2018 event and highlight some of the cool stuff VMware is bringing out for their customers, partners and technology partners.

VMware have kept up the momentum from last years VMworld and have continued on their pivot from a hyper-visor company to one that truly spans a multi-platform ecosystem of partners and other technologies. This post again is all about VMware at VMworld…i’ll focus on the Veeam happenings and my community experiences at VMworld in part 2.

VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’m a believer! I am personally excited with what VMware have delivered here. The focus of my session on Automating and Orchestrating Veeam was around VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) utilising a Single Node SDDC for our live demo. Having presented at VeeamON with Emad Younis on VMC and Veeam I have since had my head deeply in the offering. VMware seem to be addressing the pricing concerns myself and others have and are now allowing smaller host deployments (from three to two later down the track) along with more flexible licensing.

The M5 release will feature NSX-T which offers a lot more hard core networking capabilities which will directly connect to AWS Direct Connect. The announcement of high-capacity storage option built into the vSAN cluster using Amazon EBS is an interesting one and an example of the mushing together of VMware and AWS technologies.

With all that said, I’m still not sure where this offering sits when compared to VCPP hosted IaaS and how it has the potential to impact that side of VMware’s business. That maybe a topic for a dedicated blog post…but not now.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware:

This came as a surprise, but is in itself an interesting announcement. Having the ability to run RDS on-premises with the ability to migrate/move the workloads to and from AWS opens up a number of possabilities. With support Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB databases it’s covering a lot of existing use cases. No doubt this is a mechanism for complete cloud transition, but the choice to run this on-premises or in a hybrid setup is genius.

vCloud Provider Announcements:

Having been on the beta program for the next version of vCloud Director I knew what was coming, but I didn’t think it would be announced at VMworld. Suffice to say the next version of vCD will be another significant one. Version 9.5 continues to build on the momentum of the 9.x releases and continues to enhance the platform as the flagship Cloud Management Platform for Service Providers.

New innovations include cross-site networking improvements powered by deeper integration with NSX and Initial integration with NSX-T. A full transition to an HTML5 UI for the cloud tenant with improvements to role-based access control. There is also going to be a virtual appliance option. I’m looking forward to this dropping later in the year and continuing to #LongLivevCD!

One thing to touch on as well is the native integrated data protection capabilities using Avamar. This is directly integrated into the vCD HTML5 UI via the extensibility plugin. I’ve had a lot of requests from service providers who use Veeam as their trusted availability platform for vCD if we will release similar functionality. At this stage, we can’t make any promises but it’s something getting face time at the top levels of our R&D and Product Management and Strategy teams.

There was also a new VMware Cloud Foundation version announced. Details here.

vSphere and vSAN:

vSAN continues to evolve and improve and there is also a lot to look forward to in the vSphere 6.7 Update 1. There is a new quickstart wizard that walks you through the setup of a cluster that includes a number of tasks that where previously not hard to install…but not as well thought out in terms of ease of use. Operationally, dealing with vSAN Firmware and driver updates has always been painful, but again this update looks to streamline that process by moving the functionality into the HTML5 vSphere Update Manager.

There has also been enhancements to maintenance mode activities, improved health checking and diagnostics as well as TRIM/UNMAP support that uses less storage through the process of automatic space reclamation. This can automatically reclaim capacity that is no longer used, reduces the capacity needed for workloads without administrator interaction.

In terms of vSphere, all administrative functions have been completed for the vSphere Client so in theory there should be no more switching between the old Flex and HTML5 clients. vSphere Platinum is a new edition of vSphere that combines vSphere Enterprise Plus along with AppDefense which is their SaaS based  security product built to alert and remediate against anything that looks out of the norm. It seems like most vendors are releasing SaaS based offerings with Machine Learning behind them in this space as security tools…I do wonder if the market is flooded?

Other Notables:

Project Dimension looked interesting, but as with any VMware project I tend to wait for more concrete announcements closer to release. And it seems as though Edge computing is here to stay as a term. Remote offices are now the Edge!

Project Dimension will extend VMware Cloud to deliver SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations.  Because this is will be a  service, it means that VMware can take care of managing the infrastructure, troubleshooting issues, and performing patching and maintenance.  This in turn means customers can focus on differentiating their business building innovative applications rather than spending time on day-to-day infrastructure management.

Speaking of the Edge, I did like the sound of the announcement around ESXi on 64bit ARM. VMware demonstrated ESXi on 64bit ARM running on a windmill farm at the Edge. VMware sees an opportunity to work with selected embedded OEMs to scope and explore opportunities for focused, ARM-enabled offering at the edge. This is the current 64bit ARM CPU architecture used on Apple TV 4 so we could have ESXi on AppleTVs in the near future!

References:

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/AWS-and-VMware-Announce-Amazon-Relational-Database-Service-on-VMware/default.aspx

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/08/27/whats-new-in-vsan-6-7-update-1/

https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2018/08/vmware-vcloud-director-9-5.html

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/VMware-Previews-Technology-Innovations-at-VMworld-2018/default.aspx

http://vmblog.com/archive/2018/08/27/aws-and-vmware-announce-amazon-relational-database-service-on-vmware.aspx

Released – NSX-v 6.4.2 – What’s in it for Service Providers (Networking Enhancements)

The week before VMworld, VMware released version 6.4.2 (Build 9643711) of NSX-v. There is a lot of enhancements that Service Providers can take advantage of in this release. The focus seems to be on edge and distributed network services which translates to more power for service providers to create features upon while also meaning they can take advantage of the same enhancements to improve performance and efficiencies within their our virtualised network.

In terms of interoperability, for the moment the latest vSphere 6.7 and 6.5 U2 releases are supported, however vCloud Director is not support at all. Interestingly, only 6.4.0 is supported through the main vCloud Director installs presently installed on service provider platforms.

Networking and Edge Services:

  • Multicast Support: Adds ability to configure L3 IPv4 multicast on Distributed Logical Router and Edge Service Gateway through support of IGMPv2 and PIM Sparse Mode
  • Default Limit of MAC identifiers: Increases from 2048 to 4096
  • Hardware VTEP: Added multi PTEP cluster capability to facilitate environments with multiple vCenters

Security Services:

  • Context-Aware Firewall: Additional Layer 7 Application Context Support (EPIC, MSSQL, BLAST AppIDs)
  • Firewall Rule Hit Count: Monitor rule usage and easily identify unused rules for clean-up
  • Firewall Section Locking: Enables multiple security administrators to work concurrently on the firewall
  • NSX Application Rule Manager: Improved scale to 100 vNICs per session, further simplifying the process of creating security groups and whitelisting firewall rules for existing applications.

Operations and Troubleshooting:

  • Authentication & Authorization: Introduces 2 new roles (Network Engineer and Security Engineer). Adds ability to enable/disable basic authentication.
  • NSX Scale Dashboard: Provides visibility into 25 new metrics. Adds ability to edit usage warning thresholds and filter for objects exceeding limits.
  • NSX Controller Cluster Settings: Specify common settings (DNS, NTP, Syslog) to apply to NSX Controller Cluster
  • Support for VM Hardware version 11 for NSX components: For new installs of NSX 6.4.2, NSX appliances (Manager, Controller, Edge, Guest Introspection) are installed with VM HW version 11.

Also as promised, the improvements to the HTML5 NSX user interface continues. TraceFlow, User Domains, Audit Logs, Events & Tasks have been added to the HTML5 vSphere Client. The other pleasing thing to see is that comparatively speaking the number of resolved issues is much lower than previous releases. This points to the 6.4.x code being a lot more stable and bug free than previous iterations…which is pleasing to see.

There are some changes to consider as well in the 6.4.2 release. Starting with version 6.4.2, when you install NSX on hosts that have physical NICs with ixgbe drivers, Receive Side Scaling (RSS) is not enabled on the ixgbe drivers by default. You must enable RSS manually on the hosts before installing NSX. There is also a change to the API call to set Syslog against the controller. That said, it’s still worth looking through the Known Issues section in the release notes.

Those with the correct entitlements can download NSX-v 6.4.2 here.

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-NSX-for-vSphere/6.4/rn/releasenotes_nsx_vsphere_642.html

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