Logging is a critical component of a an IT infrastructure. Almost all products have logs that give you valuable data. I think logs and analytics of those logs are all too often an overlooked part of ongoing operations. The logs themselves are full of data but only useful if they are looked at analyzed.
Products like VMware Log Insight, Splunk and others can give you insight into this data and logs to isolate issues and find quick resolutions and consolidate information across multiple products.
I am a big fan of Synology NAS units, I have a small 2 bay Synology in my lab and have been working with Log Insight for a while now. Using Log Insight, I can have my logs from Synology DSM sent directly to my VMware Log Insight Appliance.
Let’s take a look at the setup. Its actually very easy to set up.
First we will add the content pack to Log Insight.
1. Navigate to the Log Insight Login page either via name or IP address. Log into Log Insight appliance.
2. In the upper right corner, click the menu button as shown in the screenshot. -> Click Content Packs
3. Click Marketplace on the Left Hand Menu Under Content Pack MarketPlace
4. Find Synology DSM Content Pack – You may have to scroll down, take a look through all of the available content packs as you may have other products that have content packs available. Click Synology DSM – A Pop Up will open in page
5. Click Install on the Synology DSM Content Pack as shown below.
6. You will get a notification that Synology DSM Content Pack has been installed.
Next you will need to set up your Synology to send logs to the VMware Log Insight Appliance.
7. Log into your Synology Web Manager GUI
8. Click the Synology Main Menu in the upper Right hand corner
9. Click the Log Center Icon
10. Click Log Sending on the left hand menu and enter the IP or name of your Log Insight appliance. I chose IP for my lab.
11. Your Synology should now be sending logs to your Log Insight appliance. It may take a few minutes to start seeing data in the Dashboards.
12. Log into Log Insight – Click on Dashboards. Using the drop down menu on the left as shown in the screenshot below, click Synology DSM under Content Pack Dashboards
I decided in order to show some data to throw some bad logins into my Synology. You can see those represented by the light blue, dark blue logins were a success.
I will dive more into this and other content packs as well as more advanced functions and features in a future post.
Another year, another great Varrow Madness event is now in the books. This is one of the big events I look forward to every year. This annual free conference is a juggernaut and showcases some of the best solutions and technologies in the industry and is a balanced approach of showing where things are heading in the market and more immediate trends and needs. This year was held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro North Carolina.
Varrow Madness is themed and centered around March Madness basketball tournament. North Carolina has a special connection with the tournament with the number and density of in state teams that make the sweet 16 year after year. IT folks can be very passionate about their technology but NC IT folks can also be very passionate about their basketball. When NC State won with the buzzer beater, there were some very happy people and some not so very happy people.
I am a VA Tech fan so take that for what it’s worth, Let’s go Hokies… We are not in it this year though… always next year.
After the video Varrow CEO and co-founder Jeremiah Cook took the stage to welcome everyone and provide a very touching keynote and kick off Varrow Madness to our Varrow family of customers, partners and all other attendees. It is always a treat to hear Jeremiah speak and reminds me every time on why I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
There were over 45 individual breakout sessions in one day with a fantastic lineup of Varrow and special guest speakers so it is really hard to choose what to attend. As it is a one day only event, none of the sessions are repeated. With topics from traditional datacenter, software defined networking from both NSX and ACI, Cloud technologies, Mobility, End User Computing (EUC), Security and DevOps we had it all. There really is something for everyone at this event.
So what did I do at Varrow Madness, glad you asked…
Breakout #1 EUC Layering – Comparing and Contrasting the Options by Varrow Architect Earl Gay
About Earl: (Give him a follow on twitter He will make you laugh and learn). Earl also delivers great information on his blog as well.
About the session: Layering technologies can help ease application management for both physical and virtual desktops. There are many different technologies that fall under the layering umbrella, even though many of them work in dramatically different ways. In this session, we will discuss the options available from different vendors.
This technical session was packed with great information around the current players delivering layering technologies in the market today.
Also don’t fret if you couldn’t make Varrow Madness. Earl will giving the EUC Layering Smackdown at Briforum Denver this July 20th – 22nd, don’t miss it.
Breakout #2 Automate your life with PowerCLI 6.0 by Alan Renouf
About Alan: Alan Renouf is a Product Manager at VMware focusing on Automation Frameworks and CLI, he is responsible for providing the architects and operators of the cloud infrastructure with the toolkits/frameworks and command-line interfaces they require to build a fully automated software-defined datacenter. Alan is a frequent blogger at http://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI and has a personal blog at http://virtu-al.net. You can follow Alan on twitter as @alanrenouf.
Attend this session to find out why PowerCLI 6.0 is the best way to automate your life, remove those common unwanted tasks, manage your environment from vSphere to vCloud and even improve your love life! Find out how PowerCLI can automate the latest vSphere 6.0 features and make you a superhero.
This was a great session packed with information, PowerCLI 6.0 is a great release with a ton of new enhancements, enhancements that enable other products like VSAN, vCloud Air, module based approach that could enable faster development of PowerCLI enhancements in the future.
For a full rundown of PowerCLI 6.0 Check out the announcement post here. I am a big fan of PowerCLI and Alan, Alan has done a lot for the community including his well known vCheck Script.
If you haven’t started with Powershell or PowerCLI, anyone can learn and use powershell and make their lives easier. Alan has also written several books about PowerCLI as well that would be excellent resources for getting started with PowerCLI. Keynote #2 Alexis Ohanian – Co-founder of Reddit and and has been involved in a number of other startups such as Hipmunk and more…
Alexis Ohanian is an American internet entrepreneur, activist and investor based in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, best known for co-founding the social news website Reddit, helping launch travel … Wikipedia
I wish i had video I could share of this keynote, but what I can share is this was a great engaging keynote, he capture the audience with his colorful keynote.. He also made me want to go eat Waffles at Waffle House, go on a binge watching Smooth McGroove videos and look at pictures of grumpy cat… I also had to go play a game of Scorched Earth for old times sake.
This is not the actual video from our event but a TED Talk
After the keynote, I got to meet Alexis for a few minutes. This guy is awesome, I am now a fan. On Slack we were talking about how much Alexis reminded us of one of our own Varrowites, AJ Kuftic. In fact they were talking together, I even think there is even a resemblance between the two…
If you are not using Slack for internal communications, you should be. Slack was also given a big shout-out during the DevOps Toolkit session I attended next.
BreakOut #3 The DevOps Toolkit – Jonas Rosland, EMC – aka @virtualswede
Jonas works for EMC Code – perhaps a lesser known division within EMC that focuses on Open source tools and development to help the community and EMC. Check out their Github page.
“CODE OPEN, DEPLOY EVERYWHERE” – EMC believes in open source. CODE is here to share and collaborate with developers worldwide.
Business opportunities change all the time, and every business opportunity is now an IT project. In this session, you’ll learn about the toolkit that IT needs to understand to better survive in this more rapid and fluid world of IT/Business intersection. Learn about Automation, Continuous Deployments, working with Public Clouds and other tools/techniques to deal with projects that need to move at the speed of business.
This was another fabulous session and really got me thinking about DevOps, this is something that has crossed my mind from time to time. As someone who has dabbled in development of things from scripts and automation, this session hit a spark for me to really start digging further in DevOps and how this can help enable business and IT, both internally and more importantly for our customers.
BreakOut #4 and final session for me. Last but not least and saving the best for last.
The last session of the day for me was the “Mobility Panel”
The panel consisted of an all star team of Varrow engineers and the scary thing is this just a bit of the depth that Varrow has in this technology.
Jim Ryland – Just about every Citrix certification you can imagine – extremely smart and talented
And me… let’s move along
This is an open Q&A session with Varrow Mobility’s best and brightest. Are you considering VDI? Wondering how to reign in those mobile devices? Curious what your peers are doing in the end user computing space? Bring your questions and get a chance to ask Varrow’s Mobility experts.
This session was great, lots of questions about End User Computing and mobility trends with everything from Desktops as a Service (DaaS) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Enterprise Mobility Management questions that cover products like Airwatch, XenMobile, application management technologies like layering and much much more. We could have easily went another hour with questions. What I did not get to do: I missed a number of great breakout sessions from a lot of great guest speakers like Scott Lowe (VMware), Chris Colotti (VMware, VCDX), Brian Gracely (ECM Code), Sean Cummins (EMC VMAX), Andy Gossett (Varrow CCIE), Rawlingson Rivera (VMware, aka Captain VSAN), Mike Foley (VMware Security), Nelson Estevez (Citrix Netscaler), Geremy Meyers (Citrix) Art Harris (Varrow Citrix), Sarath Velagaleti (Varrow Citrix), Josh Coen (Varrow VCDX), & Jason Nash (Varrow CTO, Dual VCDX-NV & DCV) & Many more
I do wish the sessions were recorded, maybe one day.
Event Closing The event ended with a ton of prize give sways and a Thank you to all attendees of the event. After all the many prizes were handed out, there was one last piece of business to attend to and that would be the St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour.
Invitation for Next Year. Next year Varrow Madness will be held in Charlotte North Carolina at the Westin – Stay Tuned as we get closer to the event. Come join us next year, you won’t be disappointed.
I drive… a lot and one of my favorite things to do when driving is listen to training and podcasts. There are a lot of good podcasts out there and I decided to post some of them that I listen to and ask what podcasts you listen to…
I am only going to list the ones that are technology related for me, mostly focused on VMware, Citrix and end user computing (EUC). I have broken them up into groups below. I also encourage you to join live when you can, sometimes the best moments are after the recordings stop 🙂
Size Matters is a podcast focused on enabling small business IT pro’s. Topics range from technology deep dives to more business focused topics to help IT people not only become more proficient with technology, but in support the organization.
Ted Talks – Lots of great things to listen to – not specifically a Tech related but a wealth of great topics to listen to
EUC – End User Computing
The End User Computing Podcast (www.eucpodcast.com) is a community driven podcast for IT Professionals. The content covered on the EUC Podcast is primarily geared toward community support and enablement for application, desktop, and server virtualization technologies
Eric gets a lot of emails from his blog visitors and customers of his training. Many of the questions are being repeated time after time. So, Eric decided to dedicate an entire podcast show to answering your questions instead! Each episode is only 5-8 minutes
I have long been a fan of IRC and in particular the channel CitrixIRC. CitrixIRC is a community driven real time support channel which exists on the Freenode IRC server. YES… IRC is still around, and not just used for world domination! Freenode is actually the home of hundreds of technical IT channels. Wither it’s technical question, shooting the breeze, or just looking for some career advice CitrixIRC is the place to be. From Netscaler, Cloudbridge, XenMobile to XenApp & XenDesktop this group has you covered.
On Monday March 9th 2015 at 11:00 AM CitrixIRC will be hosting the first of hopefully many webinars by CitrixIRC participants who range the gamut from customers supporting small and large environments, consultants, service providers, Citrix employees as well as even a handful of Citrix CTPs. I have seen many many issues resolved live over the chat channel faster than support will even answer the phone. IRC is not dead so come join the channel with us and get help and give back to the community.
From the blog post on the first webinar
Webinars topics will consist of debates, How To’s, tips from the field, and open discussions to name a few. The goal with the community driven focus is to have these conversations open up to the community, allowing everyone to learn from each others experiences. Panelists and presenters will consist of various industry professionals from the community and will constantly be switched up to always ensure new and exciting content. Real time chat options during the webinar will be either audio, or chat using the CitrixIRC WebChat client . This is a first run, if we get some good feedback we’ll look to host these on a regular basis. We forward to your feedback and contributions!
I recently received the results of the Project VRC survey which surveys the current state of VDI/SBC environments to answer many questions.
You can find out more about the Project VRC and its objectives here.
I am allowed to publish two results from the Survey and I think some insights can be found based on the data that it gathers.
And the Survey says…
1. Persistent vs Non Persistent This is a topic that never seems to go away and has always been a debate. Many people see it as black and white where all should be either persistent or non persistent and that only one answer or method is correct. I won’t get into that debate (today) but here were the results of the survey as seen below.
2. The next topic is something near and dear to my heart and that is image management solutions like PVS, MCS, Linked clones etc.
I wish I could share more but alas that is all for now. Keep an eye out for the full report to be released soon. Project VRC is a great initiative and as the amount of participants grow the data will only get richer so support it and fill out the survey every year and get others to do the same.
It is that time again,time to participate in the Project VRC “State of the VDI and SBC union 2015” survey. This has become an annual tradition for me and I always look forward to the results which give insights into where things are, where they are trending and how things have changed.
About and who is VRC
The independent R&D project ‘Virtual Reality Check’ (VRC) (www.projectvrc.com) was started in early 2009 by Ruben Spruijt (@rspruijt) and Jeroen van de Kamp (@thejeroen) and focuses on research in the desktop and application virtualization market. Several white papers with Login VSI (www.loginvsi.com) test results were published about the performance and best practices of different hypervisors, Microsoft Office versions, application virtualization solutions, Windows Operating Systems in server hosted desktop solutions and the impact of antivirus.
History of the ‘State of the VDI and SBC Union’
In 2013 and early 2014, Project VRC released the annual ‘State of the VDI and SBC union’ community survey (download for free at www.projectvrc.com/white-papers). Over 1300 people participated. The results of this independent and truly unique survey have provided many new insights into the usage of desktop virtualization around the world.
This year’s “State of the VDI and SBC union 2015” survey
This year Project VRC would like to repeat this survey to see how our industry has changed and to take a look at the future of Virtual Desktop Infrastructures and Server Based Computing in 2015. To do this they need your help again. Everyone who is involved in building or maintaining VDI or SBC environments is invited to participate in this survey. Also if you participated in the previous two editions. The questions of this survey are both functional and technical and range from “What are the most important design goals set for this environment”, to “Which storage is used”, to “How are the VM’s configured”. The 2015 VRC survey will only take 10 minutes of your time. The success of the survey will be determined by the amount of the responses, but also by the quality of these responses. This led Project VRC to the conclusion that they should stay away from giving away iPads or other price draws for survey participants. Instead, they opted for the following strategy: only survey participants will receive the exclusive overview report with all results immediately after the survey closes. The survey will be closed February 15th this year. I really hope you want to participate and enjoy the official Project VRC “State of the VDI and SBC union 2015” survey!
And now for the survey, your thoughts matter. These surveys are viewed by many industry professionals and the insights can impact thoughts and decisions. I encourage everyone to participate.
I am not saying this is a requirement today for every use case or workload but I think in some ways it will be standard. Recently a conversation on twitter from a few folks I highly respect instigated this thought exercise. Today vGPU isn’t even a capability with vSphere (though it is coming) though vSphere does have vDGA and vSGA for graphics acceleration. XenServer has had vGPU since 2013 where it was announced as a tech preview with 6.2 but let’s take it back a step on what vGPU is first, and then I will present my irrational thoughts on the matter.
First off lets start at the beginning…
So what is vGPU – From NVIDIA’s web page
NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ brings the full benefit of NVIDIA hardware-accelerated graphics to virtualized solutions. This technology provides exceptional graphics performance for virtual desktops equivalent to local PCs when sharing a GPU among multiple users.
GRID vGPU is the industry’s most advanced technology for sharing true GPU hardware acceleration between multiple virtual desktops—without compromising the graphics experience. Application features and compatibility are exactly the same as they would be at the desk.
With GRID vGPU technology, the graphics commands of each virtual machine are passed directly to the GPU, without translation by the hypervisor. This allows the GPU hardware to be time-sliced to deliver the ultimate in shared virtualized graphics performance
So to break that down…
NVIDIA came up with some really cool graphics cards that you could split up the graphical ability of the card to multiple virtual machines directly which greatly improves the performance. The NVIDIA Grid K1 and K2 cards designed for just this purpose.
Example of what vGPU can do..
Gunnar Berger (CTO of @Citrix Desktops and Applications Group did a great video on Youtube when he was an analyst with Gartner on comparing vSGA and vGPU. I highly recommend checking out other videos he has posted as well on this and other subjects.
So back to the original topic at hand..
Oone only needs to sit and reflect on the history and evolution of desktop PCs and see that times are changing. Browsers, Microsoft Office and other programs all benefit and are accelerated by GPUs. This is not solely relegated to the likes of those working with digital images, AUTOCAD, Solidworks, MATLAB, GIS programs etc. Sure vGPU is designed to be able to handle these workloads. One might call these graphic intensive programs the last mile of desktop virtualization, i.e. workloads that were bad fits for VDI. But in my mind this is just the beginning as almost every program out there begins to take advantage of the almighty GPU.
As the desktop progresses and adds capability so must VDI to be able to even keep up. Many people strive for equal or better than desktop performance but even today’s cheapest laptops and desktops come with HD video card chipsets and share the ever increasing on board RAM. I just purchased a PC for one my many children to build him a gaming machine, he is using the on-board card for now and running games like Skyrim, Minecraft (uses more GPU than you think, go look at these FPS charts based on the video cards). Sure your typical office worker may not be playing games or maybe they are…
Software developers are NOT designing their programs to look simple any more whether it be a web app or good old installable based application. They are designing them to run fast and look great and using all of the resources at their disposal including hardware GPUs. They are not trying to design programs that only run in a virtual desktop.
How can we deliver even equal performance to the desktop they have today without giving these capabilities when even the core applications like Microsoft Office and your Browser (which many apps are now rendered in) are using hardware acceleration via your GPU. Look at products like HP Moonshot that give dedicated quad core CPU / 8 GB of RAM and an integrated Radeon GPU. The writing is on the walls, GPU in VDI is here to stay. Were just at the beginning of the curve.
So I submit that GPU is a requirement, please feel free to share your thoughts on this.
If you have been in the SBC or VDI space for any amount of time, you have heard or seen Login VSI whether in a whitepaper, reference architecture, blog, or something. If you have not heard about Login VSI you have been hiding under a rock and should start here. Login VSI is the most prevalent load testing software around for testing scalability and performance at scale.
Today Login VSI steps into the world of monitoring and alerting announcing today Login PI (formerly Login VUM). There are many different monitoring products, but rather than looking at systems-level performance or CPU, Login PI focuses on what end users actually experience, such as logon times and application start times. This product reminds me a lot of Citrix EdgeSight Active Application Monitoring but more advanced, I am not aware of another product like this today and this could compliment your existing monitoring focusing on more user centric criteria and enabling you
How it works Login PI will launch a virtual user similar to how you would use Login VSI to launch sessions to simulate workloads. Instead of launching a massive amount of sessions and giving you statistics related to that. It will launch specific sessions, and track “User Experience” metrics that you can configure alerts for if thresholds are reached. You can also run reports and watch trends to look for system degradation over time. Out of the box, Login PI measures log-on times and application launch times for Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and Adobe Reader. The workload can be customized to include other line of business apps for startup performance measurement. Alerts Alerts can be configured to do the following.
SNMP Trap to a 3rd party Network Management Tool such as another monitoring solution
Execute a command.
Log a Windows Event
A key goal of Login PI is to provide connectors to communicate with commonly management and monitoring tools, so it’s not another console to monitor. PI notifications can be pushed to the consoles already in use in IT today. – I really like this, as you can integrate with the tool you already use and not have to add another console to manage for day to day operations.
This is your canary in the coal mine protecting your miners before they start having issues…
Varrow just announced their release of its hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud environment they are showcasing at the Carolina Panthers game on Oct 30th. I got to see a live demo and it was impressive to say the least and I don’t impress easily. A lot of work obviously went into it led by Josh Coen and Chris Horn of Varrow.
This demo was exciting to see and it showed what these solutions can do when combined and set up properly. I have seen a lot of demos and several companies talk about setting up a true hybrid cloud envionrment but this was one of the first time I saw all of the puzzle peices put together.
From the release regarding the goals of the lab.
In the design of its hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud, Varrow set out to build a hybrid cloud environment where both public and private cloud resources could be monitored and managed from one point of control, where workloads could easily be moved to and from public and private clouds, and where normally complex and time-consuming tasks are automated and reduced to a few mouse clicks.
Cloud has always been a bit of hype and buzzwords but this is the closest I have seen to the “vision”
Automation is something I find near and dear to my heart and can be a complex undertaking but is well worth the effort and was one of the highlights for me. It is one of the lynchpins of a true Hybrid Cloud in my opinion. There is a lot that goes into this solution from a technology standpoint.
The infrastructure platform for Varrow’s hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud is built upon industry leading solutions from VMware, Cisco and EMC. The VMware software stack is built around VMware’s vCloud vRealize suite and includes integration of VMware’s vCAC, vCO, LogInsight, and vCOPS with Cisco UCS compute and Nexus 9000 switches, providing full 40Gb connectivity and a solid foundation for software-defined networking (SDN). EMC storage infrastructure includes Isilon, XtremeIO, VPlex, VNX, VNXe and VMAX; all storage platforms are abstracted and managed via EMC’s software defined storage platform, EMC ViPR. The Varrow Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is currently federated with Peak 10, Amazon AWS, Azure, and vCloud Air, allowing for the seamless migration of workloads from the Private to Public Cloud.
From what I saw in the demo I think they nailed it and it was very compelling. This was not just another cloud presentation or bullet in a product brief talking about product capabilities. This was not vaporware. They actually pulled together all of the pieces you would imagine in a real hybrid cloud scenario and showed it from an Administrator’s view and how people at various levels of the business could see and interact with it.
The Netscaler VPX Express is a great tool to test and play with Netscalers at no cost to you. Great for home labs and even testing various things. It is pretty well featured. You can find out more about the Netscaler VPX Express here in a previous blog post where I touch on benefits and limitations. I have been asked several times for a How-to on deploying the Netscaler VPX Express, I will do further posts on basic Netscaler setup and features in future posts.
Here are the basic steps for getting the Netscaler VPX Express up and running.
Download the NetScaler VPX virtual appliance package using the link below. Packages are available for both XenServer and VMware.
Import NetScaler VPX Express onto the virtualized server of your choice.
If you don’t currently have XenServer, download a free version of XenServer.
If you don’t currently have VMware ESX, evaluation versions can be downloaded from vmware.com.
Get and activate your free NetScaler VPX Express license via the get license link below.
Please note you will need to get your license after you deploy the VPX to get information from the virtual machine to license it properly.
Want more than one license? just click get license again.
Toward the bottom of the page is a License section -> Expand selection by clicking + sign and click Get License
Click “Yes I accept” to accept the End-User License Agreement
Click the green link under Serial Number in the area I have blacked out in the screenshot below.
Click continue on Host Name Warning
Click in the field Host ID and enter the MAC address of the VPX. You can find this in VMware in the network adapter properties in the Edit Settings option of the VM.
Click Continue and you should go to the Next step.
Click OK to go the license download page.
Click Download to download the license.
Return to your browser window with the Netscaler VPX – On the licensing selection, select Upload license file from the local computer
Browse and locate the license file downloaded from MyCitrix
If applied successfully, you should see the below screen. Reboot the appliance
Log back into the Netscaler and verify the licenses in the Licensing section. It should appear as below (I have seen this take two reboots). If it does not come back successfully and shows all Xs, please check to make sure the MAC matches the Host ID you entered earlier.
Congratulations you have successfully completed deploying the VPX Express.