• Category Archives VMware
  • VMware Log Insight 1.5 is now Generally Available (GA)

    VMware announced yesterday (Jan 7th) that Log Insight 1.5 is now GA. I blogged about Log Insight a while back here. You should read that for some detailed information. I have been using the product in my lab for some time and believe this could be a powerful product and the vendors and partners are building some great content packs for this product.


    VMware vCenter Log Insight delivers automated log management through
    aggregation, analytics and search, enabling operational intelligence and
    enterprise-wide visibility in dynamic hybrid cloud environments.


    VMware Product Page
    VMware vCenter Log Insight Community – Great resource
    VMware Blog on Release

    New Features in 1.5

    • Enterprise Readiness
      • Active Directory Support
      • Query Performance Optimization
      • Query Scheduling
      • Better support for vSphere & vC Ops
    • Analytics
      • Richer Visualizations
      • Scales to 1000s of fields
      • Field Auto-complete Query
      • Columnar Event View
      • Content Pack Framework
    • Platform & Usability Improvements
      • Improved Health Monitoring
      • Auto-sized Virtual Appliance
      • Simple Upgrades

    Content Packs – Extend your log analytics and monitoring to third party vendors. Currently there are 12 available content packs as of today with more more on the way.

    Content packs enable users to consume unstructured data from a wide variety of sources while providing insights to more precisely and accurately identify and troubleshoot issues in dynamic virtual and cloud environments.

    Available Content Packs (as of 01/08/2013)

    • VCE Vision Intelligent Operations
    • Netflow Logic
    • NetApp ONTAP
    • HyTrust Appliance
    • Puppet Enterprise
    • VMware Horizon View 
    • EMC VMAX
    • vCOPS
    • ExtraHop Wire Data
    • Cisco UCS 
    • EMC VNX
    • vSphere


  • 2014 Certifications Goals

    Many folks are doing their end of year predictions or reviewing the previous year. I haven’t done these in the past, this year I am going to put up a goal for myself and list out the certifications that I would like to obtain next year. Its a pretty aggresive list I believe but achievable. They are listed in no particular order and pretty heavy on the VMware side. I am looking at going for the VCDX in 2015.

    • VCAP-DCA
    • VCAP-DCD
    • VCAP-DTA
    • VCAP-DTD
    • Citrix Certtfied Professional – Networking
    • Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility
    • Microsoft Certification – work back toward MCSE

    That’s a pretty big list for a single year. I may only do the Datacenter Virtualization or the Desktop VCAPs… I havent decided which route to go there yet but ultimately it will depend on which VCDX route I wish to achieve first.

    2015  Certification list (tentative)

    • VCDX
    • CCNA
    • MCSE

  • UCS Platform Emulator Released 2.2(1bPE1) & Fusion Install Directions

    A long time ago on my blog I blogged about the UCS Emulator 2.0. Today a new release of the Platform Emulator has been released. Cisco is no longer an upstart in the blade market and is here to stay. 

    Have you always wanted to get your hands on Cisco UCS but you don’t want to buy your own, not everyone can have UCS at home or even work to test and play on. You have your chance here. I also walked through the installation on VMware Fusion on my Mac and documented below. 

    You can download the latest release on Cisco’s Communities Website here (Requires Cisco Login)

    New Hardware Features
    Cisco UCS Platform Emulator, Release 2.2(1bPE1), adds support for the following new hardware:

    • SD card – All supported Compute servers now have SD card in their slot.

    New Software Features
    Cisco UCS Platform Emulator, Release 2.2(1bPE1) includes the following new features:

    • Smartplay bundles with new bundle packs
    • Second-level boot order support for Blade and Rack servers
    • User-Space NIC (usNIC) support for Blade and Rack servers
    • Firmware download support from a local file system
    • Direct Connect Rack configuration feature in the Emulator GUI
    • SD card firmware upgrade support for supported Compute servers

    NOTE:  From UCS PE 2.2(1bPE1) onwards, UCS PE supports uploading the B-Series and C-Series server firmware bundles.  Because of the large file sizes of the firmware bundles, UCS PE only supports uploading of only the stripped-down versions (attached to this document), which includes only the firmware metadata but not the actual firmware itself in the binaries.  The stripped-down version of the firwmare bundles which contain metadata only of the B-series and C-series server firmware is reduced to approximately 50 kB in size.

    Installing the OVA into VMware Fusion 6.0.2



    In VMware Fusion -> Click File -> New or Click Add in the top left window of the Virtual Machine Library
    Click More options…

    Import an existing virtual machine

     Click Choose File.. locate the .ovf file in the OVA .zip file that you downloaded

     Select the Cisco_UCS_Platform_Emulator_2.2.1bPE1.ovf file

     Select the Cisco_UCS_Platform_Emulator_2.2.1bPE1 -> Click Continue

     Choose the directory you would like to store you Virtual Machines -> Click Save

     Import will begin

    Once you start Finish the wizard. The virtual machine will start and complete an initialization sequence. Once this is complete you will have the Console Splash Page where you can either log in directly to the appliance or get the IP so you can manage it like you would a UCS Farm.

    Now that I have my UCS UI IP. I can load my browser and Launch UCS Manager

     

    I also received the following error when trying to open the UCS Manager Java Applet on my Mac (please stop using Java, its tantamount to abuse) . I was able to get around this error by applying the steps in this online blog. 

    Default username: config
    Default Password: config

    You end up with a single chassis with seven blades.

    Have fun.


  • vCenter Log Insight – New product for Enterprise Log Management

    VMware announces a new product today to help you manage your logs and from more than just the VMware vCenter and vSphere side, this is a powerful log analytics product that can help you better understand your environment. This product in conjunction with vCenter Operations should offer a complete solution to manage your VMware Cloud.

    A lot of customer’s out there from SMB to Enterprise can easily see the need for a solution such as vCenter Log Insight if they have ever had to dig through logs to find an issue, and that happens all too frequently and is very time consuming. The average vSphere Host will generate ~250 MB of logs per day and Microsoft Exchange can generate over 1 GB of logs each day.

    vCenter Log Insight is a new platform built from ground up for Log Analytics. This doesn’t feel like a 1.0 product and I looking forward to seeing this product develop and be implemented to help customers. I found the user experience to be simple to use, but still very powerful and responsive.

    vCenter Log Insight enables operational efficiency and SLAs

    • Extends Analytics to Log Data
    • Easy to Use and Accessible, simple pricing model
    • Best for VMware enviornment, built in VMware Knowledgebas

    Key Use Cases

    • Troubleshooting
    • Monitoring
    • RCA (root cause analysis)
    • Security
    • Compliance

    VMware Cloud Operations

    • vCenter Log Insight and vCenter Operations compliment each other
    • Tight integration enables seamless transition from monitoring to troubleshooting
    • Together Log Insight and VC OPs provide a complete solution for Cloud Operations Management

      

    Would you use vCenter Log Insight?


  • vCenter Certificate Automation Tool

    VMware announced a new tool on 4/4/2013 that aims to help with the certificate deployments in vSphere 5.1, you can read the notes on the product below and download the vCenter Certicate Automation Tool here.

    From the Installation Document:

    VMware is announcing the release of the vCenter Certificate Tool 1.0. This tool will help customers’ update the certificates needed for running vCenter Server and supporting components. This is mostly for customers who use custom certificates either generated internally from Corporate CAs or from public CA’s like VeriSign.

    Various components within vSphere and vCenter platform use certificates for identifying themselves as well as for secure communication with external software entities (browsers, API clients).  These can broadly be classified into the following categories:

    a)    STS Certificate – Certificate used by vCenter Single Sign On (SSO) for encryption the SAML 2.0 tokens
    b)   Solution User Certificates – Certificates used by each solution to identify themselves as users to SSO
    c)    SSL Certificates  – certificates needed for SSL communication for the UI and API layer
    d)   Host Certificates – These certificates are deployed in each ESXi host and used for secure vCenter to ESXi communication.

    The certificate tool automates the update of certificates in the management layer only (a, b, c above). This tool does NOT handle replacement of certificates in ESXi hosts.

    The vCenter Cert Tool aims to automate the process of uploading certificates and restarting the following components within the vCenter platform:

    1.     vCenter Server
    2.     vCenter Single Sign On
    3.     vCenter Inventory Service
    4.     vSphere Web Client
    5.     vCenter Log Browser
    6.     VMware Update Manager (VUM)
    7.     vCenter Orchestrator (VCO)

  • Varrow Madness Part 3: The Labs (behind the scenes)

    Varrow Madness had a heavy emphasis put on hands on labs this year. We Varrowites definitely like getting our hands dirty and we wanted to give you the chance to get your hands on the products as well. We wanted to give Madness attendees a taste of both VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop. and to see the technical pieces of the provisioning process required in order to deliver a virtual desktop to your users.

    Our overall vision for how the labs would run at Madness this year were built around our experiences with the hands on labs available at the major vendor conferences, such as VMworld, PEX as well as Citrix Synergy. Comparing our labs to these vendors set the bar pretty high and i think we achieved a very well developed lab. The Varrow Hosted labs for the EUC practice were not the only labs available at Varrow Madness either, attendees also had access to the full VMware Hands on Lab list hosted in the Cloud, the same revered labs that were available at VMware PEX to partners.

    Varrow Labs Behind the Scenes
     
    Dave Lawrence, Director of End User Computing at Varrow volunteered me to assist with putting the labs together several weeks before Madness. I was pretty excited about tackling this opportunity so I jumped at the chance.

    I wanted to provide details on the hardware and software setup that we used to accomplish delivering twenty plus isolated environments. Maybe this will inspire you on a way that you could use vCloud Director in your environment to enable your users, maybe spinning up multiple isolated or fenced vApps for your developers, testing a new product or a temporary project, the use cases are only limited to what you can imagine 🙂

    Lab Hardware 

    Compute

    • (2) – 6120XP FI
    • (2) – 2104XP IO Modules
    • UCS5108 Chassis
      • Blade 1 – B200 M1
        • (2) X5570 – 2.933GHz
        • 32GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AC0002 – Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card – Network adapter – 10 Gigabit LAN, FCoE – 10GBase-KR
      • Blade 2 – B200 M1
        • (2) X5570 – 2.933GHz
        • 32GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AC0002 – Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card – Network adapter – 10 Gigabit LAN, FCoE – 10GBase-KR
      • Blade 3 – B200 M2
        • (2) E5649 – 2.533GHz
        • 48GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AC0002 – Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card – Network adapter – 10 Gigabit LAN, FCoE – 10GBase-KR
      • Blade 4 – B200 M1
        • (2) X5570 – 2.933GHz
        • 24GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AQ0002 – Cisco UCS M71KR-E Emulex Converged Network Adapter (LIMITED TO TWO 10GB NICS)
    • UCS5108 Chassis
      • Blade 1 – B200 M1
        • (2) X5570 – 2.933GHz
        • 24GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AC0002 – Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card – Network adapter – 10 Gigabit LAN, FCoE – 10GBase-KR
      • Blade 2 – B200 M2
        • (2) E5649 – 2.533GHz
        • 48GB 1333MHz RAM
        • N20-AC0002 – Cisco UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card – Network adapter – 10 Gigabit LAN, FCoE – 10GBase-KR
      •  Blade 3 -B200 M3
        • (2) E5-2630 12 Core CPUs
        • 96GB 1600Mhz
        • MLOM VIC 
      •  Blade 4 -B200 M3
        • (2) E5-2630 12 Core CPUs
        • 96GB 1600Mhz
        • MLOM VIC

     Storage

    • VNX5300
      • (16) – 2TB 7.2K NL SAS Drives
      • (5) – 100GB SSD – Configured as Fast Cache
      • (25) – 600GB 10K SAS 2.5″ 

    Networking

    • N7K-M148GS-11L – 48 Port Gigabit Ethernet Module (SFP)
    • N7K-M108X2-12L – 8 Port 10 Gigabit Ethernet Module with XL Option
    • N7K-M132XP-12L – 32 Port 10GbE with XL Option, 80G Fabric
    • N7K-M132XP-12L – 32 Port 10GbE with XL Option, 80G Fabric
    • N7K-SUP1 – Supervisor Module
    • N7K-SUP1 – Supervisor Module
    • N7K-M108X2-12L – 8 Port 10 Gigabit Ethernet Module with XL Option
    • SG300-28 – GigE Managed Small Business Switch
    • DS-C9124-K9 – MDS 9124 Fabric Switch
    • DS-C9148-16p-K9 – MDS 9148 Fabric Switch
    • Nexus 5010
    • w/ N5K-M1008 – 4GB FC Expansion Module
    • Nexus 2148T Fabric Extender
    • Connected to 5010

    Thin Clients
    Cisco provided the thin clients that were used in the labs. The thin clients were capable of RDP, ICA as well as PCoIP connections. Each thin client station connected via Remote Desktop to a NAT IP into their assigned vCenter. The thin clients were Power over ethernet drawing very little power and may be representative in what you would deploy if you were planning a thin client deployment.

    vCloud Director
    Each UCS blade had ESXi installed all managed by a virtualized VMware vCenter 5.1. We used vCloud Director appliance to build the vApp for each lab and created Catalogs for each lab environment that we could check out for each workstation. We also had vCenter Operations Manager deployed so that we could monitor the lab environment.

    vApp Design 
    Each vApp or Pod in both the XenDesktop and the VMware View environment consisted of four virtual machines at the beginning. Each Pod or vApp was fenced off from the other to give each user their own isolated EUC environment. The networks on the vDistributed Switch for each vApp were dynamically built as each vApp was powered on.

    VMware View

    • Domain Controller
    • VirtualCenter – SQL, VC 5.1 – users remote to this workstation via a NAT IP to run through the lab
    • View Connection Server – View Composer
    • ESXi Server – hosting desktops – Virtualized ESXi

    Citrix XenDesktop

    • Domain Controller
    • VirtualCenter – SQL, VC 5.1 – users remote to this workstation via a NAT IP to run through the lab
    • Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller, Citrix Provisioning Server
    • ESXi Server – hosting desktops – Virtualized ESXi 

    The general script for both platforms would be to..

    1. Connect to vCenter from thin client via RDP
    2. Provision multiple desktops via product specific technology (View Composer for View and Provisioning Server for XenDesktop)
    3. Connect to provisioned Desktops

    And the Madness Begins

    We shipped and set up the server rack containing all the lab equipment as well as the workstations to the event the day before Madness. Getting a full rack shipped and powered at a site not built for it can have its challenges, luckily we have some really talented and knowledgeable people at Varrow that can navigate these issues. Madness was also the first chance we had to stress test the labs with a full user load. Later that evening we pulled all hands on deck and sent them all through the labs, there were a mix of technical and non technical Varrowites in the room pounding away at the labs. We were seeing workloads in excess of 10-15000 IOPs and thing were running pretty smooth….until I decided to start making changes by checking out the Citrix lab vApp from the vCloud catalog to make some necessary changes….

     This graph on the right should illustrate what happened when I kicked off the Add to Cloud task and when it ended, it crushed the storage kicking the latency to ludicrious levels. So the most important thing when running a lab was to keep Phillip away from the keyboard. You can thank Jason Nash for that screenshot and the attached commentary.

    The labs were a huge team effort, special shout out to everyone who helped us before, during and after the event, Dave Lawrence, Jason Nash, Bill Gurling, Art Harris, Tracy Wetherington, Thomas Brown, Jason Girard, Jeremy Gillow and everyone else at Varrow that helped out with the labs.

    A lot of work goes into putting together the labs and all of the labs, both Varrow Hosted EUC labs as well as the VMware hosted labs were well received and attended at Madness. I hope to be a part of the lab team next year, we were already talking about ways to expand the labs next year and how to expand the products we demonstrate and more. Can’t wait until next year, see you then at Varrow Madness 2014.


  • VMware vExpert Nominations for 2013 are Open

    Nominations are open for the VMware vExpert program for 2013. There are three paths to becoming a vExpert for 2013. Deadlines for application are by Midnight on April 15th 2013. I was extremely proud to be included in the 2012 group. The VMware community is one of the most open and active technical groups out there in many formats including twitter, blogging and community events such as the vBeers VMUGs.

    Evangelist Path
    The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public or were in a language other than English.

    Customer Path
    The Customer Path is for leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have been internal champions in their organizations, or worked with VMware to build success stories, act as customer references, given public interviews, spoken at conferences, or were VMUG leaders. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public.

    VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path
    The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning through accreditations and certifications and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements. A VMware employee reference is required for VPN Path candidates.

    Recommend that someone apply for vExpert 2013: http://bit.ly/vExpert2013recommend 
    Apply for vExpert 2013: http://bit.ly/vExpert2013application The deadline for applications is April 15, 2013 at midnight PDT.
    The existing VMware vExpert 2012 directory is at http://communities.vmware.com/vexpert.jspa.
    For questions about the application process or the vExpert Program, use the comments below or email vexpert@vmware.com.

    Thanks to everyone who has participated in the program over the years,
    John Troyer & the vExpert Program Team


  • Varrow Madness Part 1: General Thoughts on Awesomeness

    Varrow Madness is an annual conference put together for our customers and greater community centered around March Madness, focused on sharing ideas and knowledge, and its a free event. This was my first Madness and and I have now been with Varrow close to nine months and still loving it.  I’m amazed and stunned by this event my compatriots put together at Varrow along with the help of their partners. A lot of work goes into these conferences, more than I even imagined as a consumer of these events in the past. it really makes me appreciate the work that goes into the other events done out there, big and small, and especially the people that put them together.

    Varrow Madness is quite a show and if you get the chance next year, it’s an absolute must attend.

    I was going to write a short post following Madness but I have decided that Varrow Madness is just way too big and awesome to be contained in a single post so I will break it up into three posts.

    • Varrow Madness Part 1: General Thoughts on Awesomeness
    • Varrow Madness Part 2: Citrix Provisioning Server Implementation + Best Practices
    • Varrow Madness Part 3: Varrow Hosted EUC Labs

    Madness kicked off with Jeremiah Cook, our CEO and co-founder as well as a cultural leader at Varrow as well as our resident leader rapper. Jeremiah welcomed everyone to Varrow Madness followed by a great video about BYOB, Bring your own Bots inspired in order to introduce a great performance from iLuminate, the same group that has done performances on America‘s got Talent and other venues. I also learned that Jason Nash has Android devices and loves to look up funny cat pictures on the internet.

    Dan Weiss our Chief Operations Officer and co-founder joined Jeremiah and stage and talked about the sheer volume of events we had planned for the day and his rad dance movies. We also announced the winner of the Varrow Innovation Contest 2012, the winner recieved a free pass to the Vendor Conference of their choice. There were many submissions and I am sure it was exteremly hard to choose the finalist much less the actual winner, all of the submissions were fantastic.

    Check out each of the submissions below and congratulations to Alamance Regional Medical Center for winning the contest this year.

    Alamance Regional Medical Center

    Alamance Regional Medical Center participated in the Varrow Innovation contest and submitted their custom built Single-Sign-On solution that allows badge tap-n-go access for Citrix Xenapp. Alamance Regional was the grand prize winner of the Varrow Innovation Contest at Varrow Madness 2013. 

    American National Bank

    Varrow Customer Testimonial – American National Bank
    Finalist in 2013 Varrow Innovation Contest for their great work in running Active Active Datacenters with EMC Recoverpoint and VMware Site Recovery Manager

    Northern Hospital Surry County

    Varrow Customer Testimonial – Northern Hospital Surry County
    Finalist in 2013 Varrow Innovation Contest for their great work in running Active Active Datacenters with EMC VNX and VPLEX and Vmware vSphere

    Jesse Lipson, Citrix Sharefile VP and GM did the morning keynote. After the keynote, the day was packed with technical sessions from some of the industries greatest minds and I was there too. I believe there were 46 sessions for people to choose from broken up over four sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. You can still find the agenda on our Varrow Madness microsite.

    I missed most of the afternoon keynote due to my work on the Varrow labs. The afternoon session kicked off with another performance from iLuminate and a keynote from VCE, President of VCE. I heard it was a great speech and plan to back and watch the recording when I have a free opportunity.

    Next year i hope we can record all sessions and provide those online as a learning tool. I know that I wanted to attend many sessions and was unable due to my other duties at the conference. One thing i heard from several folks (and I think its a good problem to have) is the difficulty in picking which session to pick.

    I spent most of the day in the Varrow Hosted Labs. The labs for both VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop were well received and attended, I will talk more about that in my upcoming Lab Post.

    In the next few posts, i will talk about my session on Citrix Provisioning Server and the Varrow Hosted labs. As always I welcome any comments that you may have and any questions.


  • Fling: VMware tools:Lctree

    VMware Labs presents its latest Fling Lctree .

    Lctree is a tool designed for the visualization of linked clone VM trees created by VMware vCloud Director. Linked clone is a feature available in vSphere that creates a clone of a VM from a snapshot point. The new VM’s disks are not full copies of the source disks, but instead, are delta disks which point back to the snapshot’s disks. This feature is widely used in vCloud Director.

    Features

    • Tree generation is fast compared to solutions using data fetched from vCenter/ESX server
    • Hierarchical tree view
    • Node properties & separate disk chain view
    • Refresh & Search option
    • Traditional tree view in separate tabs
    • Relocate order of virtual machines in a tree

    Download the Lctree Fling!
    Thank you,
    VMware Labs Team