RobertVerdam.nl https://robertverdam.nl Virtualization | Storage | Networking Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:43:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 https://robertverdam.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cropped-FAVICON-1-32x32.png RobertVerdam.nl https://robertverdam.nl 32 32 78044478 Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure https://robertverdam.nl/2017/09/21/ravello-oracle-cloud-infrastructure/ https://robertverdam.nl/2017/09/21/ravello-oracle-cloud-infrastructure/#comments Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:00:05 +0000 https://robertverdam.nl/?p=3433 Previously I blogged about the Ravello platform and how it allows you to move an VMware workload (app) to the cloud (AWS / GCE) as-is, hence it is as easy as exporting the application from your VMware-environment and importing it into Ravello (here). Recently I was invited to join the beta of the new Ravello […]

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Previously I blogged about the Ravello platform and how it allows you to move an VMware workload (app) to the cloud (AWS / GCE) as-is, hence it is as easy as exporting the application from your VMware-environment and importing it into Ravello (here).

Recently I was invited to join the beta of the new Ravello platform which also allows to run these Ravello workloads on Oracle’s own cloud (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) and test how the new additional modes of running Ravello increases performance for the workloads.

DVDStore v3 Benchmark

I decided to do a DVDStore3 performance benchmark first by running it in each ravello mode.  For more information about the different Ravello modes scroll down to the next paragraph.

So first I spun it up on the West Europe 1 and US East 2 region, which uses the ‘tradional’ Ravello mode of software assisted nested virtualization (by binary translation).

DVDStore3 Application defined on Ravello

After this I spun up the same DVDStore3 application on the US East 5 region (which is the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure region). This allows us to see the performance benefits of running the workload with Hardware Assisted Nested Virtualization instead of Software assisted virtualization.

Doing the tests on the different regions was as easy as creating a blueprint from the application, create an application from the blueprint and then republishing it to the dedicated region for this beta test (US East 5). So a few clicks and I had the application runnning on another region & cloud. This is also what I find to be a enormous benefit of Ravello.

Finally I ran the same application on bare-metal (which is the Ravello HVX-hypervisor running directly on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure), by modifying the PreferPhysicalHost=true parameter of the app-VM and restarting it.

PreferPhysicalHost setting on VM

I ran the tests for an hour in each mode and noted the results, which are the total amount of orders processed in an hour.

DVDstore3 test running

Although i’ve used a simple test setup, because of the fact test setups are identical (vCPU, RAM, etc.) the test in my opinion gives a fair representation of the different modes Ravello can run in and which relative performance improvement you can get from running your workloads with Ravello running on Oracle’s own cloud infrastructure instead of on AWS / GCE with binary translation.

Ravello Modes

As promised some more clarification on the 3 modes Ravello can run your unmodified VMware workload in, depending on the cloud the application is published to:

  • Software assisted nested virtualization by binary Translation
    Ravello running on AWS, GCE and OPC:
    Used when the underlying clouds where the hardware virtualization extensions are not available, HVX uses a software based nested virtualization technology called binary translation with direct execution to run the VMware VMs. This technology offers good performance that is acceptable for a wide variety of the workloads.
  • Hardware Assisted Nested Virtualization
    Ravello running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:
    Oracle Cloud Infrastructure runs on the next generation of blazing fast hardware that supports virtualization extensions. These extensions allow multiple guest operating systems to share the same underlying hardware in safe and efficient manner. HVX utilizes these hardware assist CPU instruction sets to perform its nested virtualization directly on the underlying cloud hardware and offers significant performance improvements over the previous generation of HVX. Typically, the cloud providers do not expose the hardware assisted virtualization extensions to the guest VMs, which limits the performance that customers can realize when operating in a nested virtualization mode. However, with Ravello running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, we now have complete access to these hardware assist virtualization extensions, and can make performance boosts a reality.
  • Bare-Metal
    Ravello running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, directly on HVX:
    HVX also supports the ability to run directly on top of bare metal servers. By eliminating a layer Hardware assisted nested virtualization –  of hypervisor in the middle, HVX is able to provide near native performance.

A graphical representation of the explanation above:

3 Ravello modesDVDStore

So what is this DVDStore you’re running these tests with?

I couldn’t come up with a better explanation of what is then quoting what the author says that it is:
DVDStore 3.0 ( Source: Github )

DVD Store 3 (DS3) is an open source test / benchmark tool that simultaes an online store that sells DVDs. Customers can login, browse DVDs, browse reviews of DVDs, create new reviews, rate reviews, become premium members, and purchase DVDs. Everything needed to create, load, and stress this online store is included in the DVD Store project.

I set-up a simple Ravello application which consists out of a DB/App/Webserver-VM (DB) on which a driver-VM (MGMT) simulates the OLTP-workload. I used DVDStore with a medium-sized database (10GB) and used the following settings for the web-driver running the workload on.

target=DB
n_threads=100
ramp_rate=1000
run_time=60
db_size=10GB
warmup_time=5
think_time=0
pct_newcustomers=20
n_searches=3
search_batch_size=5
n_line_items=5
virt_dir=ds3
page_type=php
windows_perf_host=
linux_perf_host=
detailed_view=Y
out_filename=results.txt

DVDStore performance benchmark results

The following (interactive) graph show the results which were obtained from the benchmarks described previously and show the performance for the different Ravello modes and especially the performance improvement running the workloads on Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, which show it to be twice as fast (for this DVDStore3-application):

Print  CSV  Excel  Copy  

Running ESXi on ‘bare-metal’ Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Besides the above performance benchmark testing, I also have a ‘full’ ESXi 6.5/NSX lab running on Ravello, which I dediced to spin up on the new ‘bare-metal’ option (with HVX running on bare-metal) with ESXi on top.

Full ESXi lab on Ravello

I noticed significant performance improvements for the nested VM’s running within my nested ESXi environment, as previously with binary translation it made it almost unpossible to use by the many layers of nested vitualization made it very slow using these VM’s.

Increased VM size

Good to mention is that the max number of vCPUs that you can assign to a VM running on Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, has also been increased from 8 to 32 and the vRAM-size has gone up from 64GB to 200GB. So potentially it would be possible to run the benchmark with more power and squeeze out some more performance.

Besides that it allows to run quite a decent homelab :).

Nice specifications for a homelab

Conclusion

Running the DVDStore3-benchmark on Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure shows significant performance improvement and doubles the orders processed in an hour for the DVDStore3-application. The performance running the benchmark on bare-metal HVX was even better.

Running my ESXi-lab on Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure sure gives additional performance and makes it very usable as a replacement for my homelab.

Thanks again to Oracle for providing us vExperts with this free service again this year. Would be fantastic if we could keep on using the new Ravello Modes for homelab usage next year!

More information

Interested in trying Ravello on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure?
Free trial is available if you follow this link or you can drop them a line on ravellosales_ww_grp@oracle.com

If you have any questions on Ravello and / or running it on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, please feel free to contact me!

 

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VMCE-ADOv1 (exam) experience https://robertverdam.nl/2017/07/19/vmce-adov1-exam-experience/ https://robertverdam.nl/2017/07/19/vmce-adov1-exam-experience/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:00:30 +0000 https://robertverdam.nl/?p=3393 As I wanted to take the next step in certification on the Veeam Backup & Replication solution after achieving the VMCE-certification last year, I decided to take the (mandatory) VMCE-ADOv1-course and subsequently have a go at the exam to become Veeam Certified Architect. For more information about these certifications please have a look at this […]

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As I wanted to take the next step in certification on the Veeam Backup & Replication solution after achieving the VMCE-certification last year, I decided to take the (mandatory) VMCE-ADOv1-course and subsequently have a go at the exam to become Veeam Certified Architect.

For more information about these certifications please have a look at this page dedicated to the certifications currently available.

Veeam Certified Architect

I’m proud to have passed the exam and now am an Veeam Certified Architect!

VMCE-ADOv1 Course

Really enjoyed the 2-day course delivered by Bart Pellegrino (via Copaco / @Academy), as it was a good mix between theory, interactions between teacher/students and students/students and whiteboarding. The whiteboarding sections consisted out of 2 design scenario’s, in which the focus was on how us students figured out a way to fulfill the requirements of the client in our designs. It was not about what the solution finally turned out to be, but the thinking process behind getting to the designs.

The training really was an interactive experience and no one-way traffic from teacher to students. Wish every training could be like this!

The interactions where really insightful as they contained lots of practical examples, about how to design a Veeam-solutions in real life and what pitfalls to watch out for and lots of alternative solutions to problems. The training really strengthened my understanding of the Veeam Availibility Suite and gave me tools to design & optimize the environments even more in the future.

To give you an idea of the topics covered during the Veeam Certified Engineer Advanced : Design & Optimization training, I provided a short overview of the contents of the training below.:

Training Day 1

  • Design and Sizing
  • Infrastructure assessment
  • Security
  • Design Scenario: Part 1

Training Day 2

  • Optimizations
  • Design Scenario: Part 2
  • Automation
  • Audit and Compliance
  • Troubleshooting

Veeam Certified Engineer - ADO

Exam Day

I decided to do the exam just for I go on holiday, just to be sure the training material from the course was still fresh in memory. Because the exam of course is under NDA, there is not much I can say  about the contents.

I think the (multiple choice / Select 2/3) questions on the exam are fair, but it’s very helpful to have practical experience with designing, optimizing and troubleshooting real Veeam environments, as some questions just dig deep into your insights into how Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One work.

Overall this was one of the more challenging exams I have taken recently, so I’m very happy I PASSED the exam with a whopping score of 86%.

Training Materials

Preparing for the exam I used the following training materials (in order of importance to me):

The exam simulator (practice exam) on Bart Pelligrino’s site provides a good insight in the way the questions on the exam are asked, so please give it a go. It also gives a good idea on which area you need to focus more after attending the course.

After day 1 of the training I already scored 63% on the practice test and after day 2 and some studying of the training-material already 83%. The exam itself I passed with 86%, so to me this proves the exam simulator gives a good representation of where you stand in the process of being able to pass the exam.

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Quick review: NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.2 https://robertverdam.nl/2016/12/20/quick-review-nakivo-backup-replication-6-2/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/12/20/quick-review-nakivo-backup-replication-6-2/#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:07:45 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3191 We are proud to welcome yet another sponsor to our blog: NAKIVO! Thanks for supporting Cloudfix! The least we can do is write a introductory  blog about their backup & replication solution for VMware. So this is not a full review of all the features of the product, but I hope it gives you a […]

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We are proud to welcome yet another sponsor to our blog: NAKIVO!

Thanks for supporting Cloudfix! The least we can do is write a introductory  blog about their backup & replication solution for VMware. So this is not a full review of all the features of the product, but I hope it gives you a good glimpse of the product and I get’s you interested to do some further investigation into their products.

Besides a backup solution for VMware environments, NAKIVO is also offering a solution for backing up AWS-instances, so if you’re looking for a solution for backing up and recovering your company’s EC2 instances, please give their website www.nakivo.com a visit.

naviko-backup-replication-boxshot

Deployment

NAKIVO Backup & Replication for VMware  can be deployed in a couple of ways:

  • Virtual Appliance (OVF)
  • NAS
  • AWS Amazon Machine Image
  • Linux-/Windows installer

In my CloudFix lab I used a standard script to deploy the OVA to my lab-infrastructure via PowerCLI, which can be found below. I decided to put the DATA-vmdk (which NAKIVO uses for it’s repository) on a seperate (USB) datastore, so the backup data is seperated from the production data :).

& 'C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\PowerCLI\Scripts\Initialize-PowerCLIEnvironment.ps1'
 # Defines the used credentials to connect to the vCenter
 $Deploy_Username_VC = 'administrator@vsphere.local'
 $Deploy_Password_VC = 'VMware1!'

# Defines the datastore to which to deploy the VM
 $Deploy_To_Datastore_VM = 'NAS-VM'

# Defines the datastore to move the data-VMDK to
 $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data = 'NAS-USB-02'

# Defines the VM-name to use for this NAKIVO B&R Appliance
 $Deploy_To_Name = 'TH-NAKIVO-02'

# Defines the Port-Group to connect the VM to
 $Deploy_To_PG = 'RV-Prod'

try{

$ViServer = Connect-VIServer -Server $Deploy_To_VC -User $Deploy_Username_VC -Password $Deploy_Password_VC
 $OVF_Config = Get-OvfConfiguration -Ovf $Naviko_OVF_Location

# Set network to deploy to this network
 $ovf_config.NetworkMapping.VM_Network.Value = $Deploy_To_PG

# Import OVF
 Import-VApp -OvfConfiguration $OVF_Config -Source $Naviko_OVF_Location -VMHost $Deploy_To_Host -Datastore $Deploy_To_Datastore_VM -DiskStorageFormat Thin -Name $Deploy_To_Name

# Move Data disk to other datastore if needed
 if ($Deploy_To_Datastore_VM -ne $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data)
 {
 Get-HardDisk -VM $Deploy_To_Name -Name "Hard disk 2" | Move-HardDisk -Datastore $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data -Confirm:$false
 }

# Start VM
 $vm = Start-VM -VM $Deploy_To_Name

# Wait for guest heartbeat
 while ( (get-vm -Name $Deploy_To_Name | Get-View).GuestHeartbeatStatus -ine 'green')
 {
 Write-Host "Waiting for VM to respond to heartbeat"
 Start-Sleep -Seconds 5
 }
 }
 finally
 {
 Disconnect-VIServer -Force
 }

VMware Backup

NAKIVO runs all backup jobs in a incremental-forever fashion to a backup repository. This backup repository can be located on a storage local to the assigned transporter (which moves the data to the backup repository), a remote CIFS / NFS share or Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage) via a transporter deployed as Amazon EC2 instance.  The inital transporter is included with the installation of the virtual appliance.

These backup repositories can be setup to :

  • Compression
  • Global (data)-deduplication
  • Encryption for the data at-rest.

 

naviko-backup-replication-backup-01

The VM data can be accessed by the transporters in three ways:

  • Direct SAN mode
    The SAN mode leverages VMware VDDK library to mount the LUN’s directly to the transporter). This allows you to directly read the VM data from the source-LUN via the FC / iSCSI storage network.
  • Hot-Add
    When using the virtual appliance as a transporter, hot-add mode can be leveraged to attach the (snapshotted) vmdk directly to the transporter and reading directly from the VM’s VMDK.
  • LAN
    If the methods above are not available, data can be read via NBT (Network Block Device Transport), reading the data via the LAN (VMkernel interface which is assigned for NFC (Network File Copy).

The primary backup jobs can be setup to use GFS rotation scheme directly (so no backup copy jobs needed to set this up).

naviko-backup-replication-backup-02

Backup copy jobs can then be used to create a additional copy of the backup data (for example for offsite storage).

Recovery Options

NAKIVO Backup & Replication offers the following options to recover data using the VMware VM Backups:

naviko-backup-replication-backup-03

  • Flash VM Boot
    Flash VM boot allows to spin-up the VM directly from the backup repository by letting the transporter expose the VM via iSCSI to a vSphere-environment. When you start a job you select the datastore to which the VM writes the changes of the active VM. This feature can also be leveraged to do backup verification or as a lab-environment for testing application patches. Also it’s possible to Storage vMotion the VM back to it’s original location while it’s being run from the backup repository while using iSCSI. When discarding the VM (when ending the Flash VM Boot session it will only remove the snapshot it created when starting the VM from the backup repository).
  • Instant File Recovery
    Using a web-based file recovery wizard files can be recovered by forwarding it via email / downloading it (as a zip-file) from the web browser and recovering it manual to it’s original location or whatever you want to do with the files.
  • Instant Active Directory / Exchange Objects Recovery
    For supported application databases (AD via ntds.dit and Exchange) application-item level recovery can be done. For Active Directory these objects can be forwarded via email or downloaded as a zip file (which then contains a ldif, which can be imported into the AD to recover the selected products). Unfortunately I have to Exchange environment currently in my lab-environment, but my guess is the restore works the same way. So selecting the objects you want to recover and them forward them by mail or download to then manually recover them on the specific application.

For both the instant file recovery and the instant application-item level recovery I would to love to be able to restore it directly back to the VM (using guest credentials if needed) and to be able to search through multiple restore points for specific files and versions of these files.

Replication

NAKIVO Backup & Replication also support replication of VM’s and even allows you to keep 30 restore points to revert your replica to and apply GFS (GrandFather – Father – Son) logic to it. So these replicas can also be used as an additional source for recovery of backup data. These replication jobs can also leverage VMware features like CBT and VMware Tools quiescing, just like the backup jobs. Ofcourse these replicas can be used for DR-purposes (with Failover and Failback capabilities built into the product). Also basic verification can be set up (just as for the other jobs) which sends you a screenshot of the booted VM (with network detached from the VM).

naviko-backup-replication-backup-04

Also the replica’s can be pre-seeded using removable media and resume the replication with incremental replication afterwards.

If we use an additional transporter for these jobs we can also apply network encryption and network acceleration to the data while in transit.

Conclusion

I like the ease of deployment of this product and the clean interface it has, which allows you to have the product setup and running in no time.

I would really encourage you to give NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.2 a go, if you’re looking for a easy to implement solution for your (small to medium-sized) VMware environments.  You can sign up at https://www.nakivo.com/vmware/vmware-backup-trial.html for a free trial and give it a go yourself to see if the feature-set is sufficient for your backup and replication needs.

Hope you liked this quick review.

Happy holidays!

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VMworld EMEA Announcements: VMware Cloud on AWS https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/19/vmworld-emea-announcements-vmware-cloud-on-aws/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/19/vmworld-emea-announcements-vmware-cloud-on-aws/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:40:19 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3176 WOW! I think we just witnessed one of the biggest VMware-announcements we will remember for a long time this year at VMworld 2016. VMware is going to run a full vSphere SDDC-stack (vSphere / VSAN / NSX) bare-metal on AWS. Let me emphasize on this: It’s running BARE-METAL, so NO nested hypervisor. AWS will be […]

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WOW! I think we just witnessed one of the biggest VMware-announcements we will remember for a long time this year at VMworld 2016. VMware is going to run a full vSphere SDDC-stack (vSphere / VSAN / NSX) bare-metal on AWS. Let me emphasize on this: It’s running BARE-METAL, so NO nested hypervisor. AWS will be running your workloads on the same vSphere-bits with the same feature sets, you learned to love on purpose-made, dedicated hardware available from all of their AZ’s (Availability Zones).

On-Premises DC expanded to AWS

It gives you a easy way to extend your private on-premises DC to the AWS cloud and have uniform central management plane, leveraging vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode across all your (public & private) vCenter-servers. One of the coolest things which we witnessed was now really moving a VM from your on-premises and totally moving it to AWS with XvMotion-technologies

  x-vMotion to AWSGetting started

Deploying your VMC is as easy as following these steps:

  1. Logging in to VMware-Cloud portal (TBD determined: vmc.vmware.com)
  2. Selecting your (initial) virtual datacenter size
  3. Enter your Payment details (CC / VMware-account)
  4. You’re good to go!

Elastic DRS

VMware Cloud on AWS gives us a new capability which gives us a solution for a couple of problems we are facing in a vSphere environment. It adds elasticity to DRS, which allows DRS to auto-scale the amount of hosts you are running for your vSphere-cloud running (with set minimum and maximum amount of hosts it’s allowed to spin-up in your VMC). So if DRS detects the cluster being imbalanced it automatically spins up a new ESXi-host, add it to your cluster, move workloads to this new host and get the cluster balanced again within no time. This works scaling the cluster up, but also for scaling the cluster down. So no more waiting 6 weeks for getting a new server ordered and racked up and then finally adding it to the cluster. By then your cluster already overloaded or the load is already gone. Just get the resources you need at any time. Obviously the VSAN-datastore is also extended with every host that’s added to the VMC-cluster. So if you need more capacity on the storage component you just add another host to the cluster.

Elastic DRS

This reduces the capacity planning you have to do for your vSphere-environment hugely.

Auto Remediation

Besides capacity management, HA will be leveraged for auto remediation. When a failure occurs on a host within a cluster it will automatically be evacuated (vSphere maintenance mode and VSAN entering maintenance mode and evacuating from the cluster), a new host started and the workloads restarted on this host. If VSAN FTT (Faults-to-Tolerate) is violated another host is added to fix this automatically.

Improved Uptime and Performance

VMware will take care of patching the ESXi-hosts in your VMC cluster and will guarantee you’re having the amount of resources you’re paying for. Cluster size is not affected during these rolling updates / upgrades. VMware will have you on the latest and greatest (stable) version which is available. So no more patch management for your vSphere-environment.

Timeline

VMC for AWS will be entering the beta phase in the beginning of next year. Can’t wait to do some beta testing. GA will be somewhere mid-2017. Will it be announced GA at VMworld Las Vegas?!

More information

If you’re looking on more information on VMware Cloud on AWS check the following sources:

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VMworld EMEA Announcements : VSAN 6.5 https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/18/vmworld-emea-announcements-vsan-6-5/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/18/vmworld-emea-announcements-vsan-6-5/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:17:06 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3159 Besides bumping their virtualization-platform to version 6.5, VMware also added some new features to the SDS-solution in the new version of VSAN it announced. This quick article talks about the main new features which stood out according to us. VSAN Version History To give a idea what the main new features were in the previous […]

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Besides bumping their virtualization-platform to version 6.5, VMware also added some new features to the SDS-solution in the new version of VSAN it announced. This quick article talks about the main new features which stood out according to us.

VSAN Version History

To give a idea what the main new features were in the previous releases of VSAN here, a short overview:

Version Timeframe Added features
VSAN (1.0) 5.5 March 2014 Inital Version
VSAN 6.0 March 2015 All-flash
64 Node cluster
2x Hybrid Speed
VSAN 6.1 September 2015 Stretched Cluster
Replication RPO of 5 minutes
2-node ROBO
VSAN 6.2 March 2016 Deduplication
Compression
QoS

We really enjoy the pace in which this product is being developed and in such a incredible pace. Keep it going guys!

The main new features for this 6.5 release which is announced during VMworld EMEA 2016 (Oktober 2016) according to us among others are:

  • iSCSI-Access
  • Direct Connect for ROBO

iSCSI-access

VSAN target service makes it possible to use a VSAN as a iSCSI-target (what’s in a name!) and allows these targets to be presented to external (non-virtual) workloads (i.e. MSCS clusters or physical workloads). So no more need for additional storage boxes to tie to your (legacy) physical workloads, you can now also use VSAN for these workloads.

VSAN 6.5 as a iSCSI-target

Also allows for SPBM (Storage Policy Based Management) for these targets, so you can set dedup / compression / raid-level (1,5 or 6) and applies them respectively to these iSCSI-objects in your VSAN-datastore.

Direct Connect for ROBO

VSAN 6.5, allows for directly connecting to VSAN-nodes together in a ROBO-situation with a couple of crossover-cables which lifts the need for 10Gb network switching connecting the nodes.You can now suffice with only 1Gb-switching for management and witness traffic. So it simplifies the set-up and decreases the cost for setting up VSAN 6.5 for remote offices.

VSAN 6.5 direct connect robo

Further improvements

A short list of other enhancements / changes in the VSAN 6.5-product:

  • All-Flash now available in VSAN STD license (Compression en Dedup still needs ADV/ENT-licensing) and new VSAN ADV for ROBO offering.
  • Containers support. VSAN allows as a source of persistent storage for VIC (vSphere Integrated Containers)
  • Updated REST API and extended PowerCLI module for VSAN
  • Enhanced hardware support

More information

For more information on the new Virtual SAN 6.5, have a look at the following links:
http://www.vmware.com/products/whats-new-virtual-san.html

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VMworld EMEA Announcements : vSphere 6.5 https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/18/vmworld-emea-announcements-vsphere-6-5/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/10/18/vmworld-emea-announcements-vsphere-6-5/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:25:17 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3131 Today VMware announced it’s latest version of the vSphere and vCenter platform, version 6.5.  This article talks about some of the latest features VMware added to their virtualisation-platform. vCenter Server (Appliance) 6.5 VMware is dramatically simplifying the experience using the vSphere-platform which is primarily based on the announcement of vCenter Server Applicance 6.5 and it’s […]

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Today VMware announced it’s latest version of the vSphere and vCenter platform, version 6.5.  This article talks about some of the latest features VMware added to their virtualisation-platform.

vCenter Server (Appliance) 6.5

VMware is dramatically simplifying the experience using the vSphere-platform which is primarily based on the announcement of vCenter Server Applicance 6.5 and it’s new capabilities which are exclusive to the vCenter Server Appliance.

VCSA 6.5 only features

The VCSA-only features which are new to 6.5 are:

  • Native High Availability
    Active/Passive HA solution with a witness for resolving split-brain situations. The setup requires 2 separate networks (Private vs. Public). The private network is used for HA (routed)-traffic between the both VSCA which consists of (sync) DB and (async) file-replication. This gives us a easy way to set-up a high available vCenter server.
  • (Integrated) VMware Update Manager
    VMware Update Manager is now finally integral part of VCSA, so no more managing a seperate Windows VM for using VMware Update Manager.
  • Improved Appliance Management
    Increased insight into how the appliance is doing CPU-, Memory-, Network- and databasewise. This reduces having to rely on the CLI for simple monitoring task on the VCSA and allows do this via the UI (VAMI). A thingy called vMon enhances the watchdog functionality which is also used for determing which host is active and which is passive when using VCSA in a HA-setup.
  • Native Backup & Restore
    Native file-based backup & restore capabilities built-in to the VCSA, which allows backing up via HTTP(s)/FTP(s)/SCP protocols and restoring the state of a VCSA to a (fresh) appliance.  All this happens from within the VAMI (Virtual Appliance Management Interface). It evens allows for restoring the configuration when installing the VCSA via ISO.

The new VCSA-installer gives us an additional set of options for setting up VCSA. Besides Installing and upgrading a VCSA, it now also adds the options to migrate to VCSA from a current embedded/external windows-based vCenter Server (5.5 or 6) setup. The VCSA assumes the old personality (i.e. UUID, IP, Name and certificates) of the windows-based setup and the databases are migrated to Postgres. Serveral options are included for which further data (Configuration, Events and Tasks and/or performance metrics) is migrated. Futhermore is the installer not only supported on Windows, but also on Linux and Mac and runs on top of Photon OS.

vSphere Client (HTML 5 Web Client)

VMware is using a new standard framework for UI/UX (Clarity UI) which it’s converting all it’s products to. The first product being published which is based on this new framework is the new vSphere HTML 5 based client which is now integrated into vSphere 6.5. The new HTML5-based web client started out as a fling VMware has developed earlier in their labs. So no more browser plugins needed and a great user experience awaits. VMware still really appreciates your feedback, so if you care to share some feedback with VMware, please hit the nice little smiley-face in the upper-right corner to make this product even better!

vSphere 6.5 Client

Enhanced Lifecycle Management

VMware also added some little nifty enhancements to their products which make the life of us Virt-Admins a little easier. Amongst others (a lot of enhancements were announced) these are the features that stood out to me:

  • Default cluster remediation options (Update Manager)
    Possible to now save cluster remediation options as a default, so you don’t have to set them again and again when doing a rolling cluster upgrade. But now you can just fire away with the settings you used previously.
    Default Cluster Remediation Options
  • Filtering settings in Host profiles
    VMware added a search box which makes it very easy to look for certain settings within your host profile. This saves you a a lot of time clicking through the tree to find the right setting for setting the location where your VMware-tools depot is located, which you always forget (like me) where it was exactly located.Host Profiles Search Box
  • Bulk modification of host profile customizations
    For management at scale purposes you’re now able to bulk export alle the host profile customizations as a CSV, edit them and reimport them and voila you’ve got your host profile customization set-up in bulk!
    Bulk modification of host profile customizations
  • Detailed compliance reporting and proposed changes for host profiles
    It will now become very easy to see what settings will be changed on a certain host when remediating those hosts. No more guessing or searching for wat settings will get changed, but vSphere will tell you up front when you are scanning or remediating the hosts.Remedating host with host profile

Hopes this gives you an idea of what kind of enhancements VMware has made in their vCenter product. If any more nifty features pop-up during VMworld or any sessions we attend we’ll keep you updated ofcourse!

Check the following link for VMware official blogs about the newly released solutions:  http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.VMware-Advances-Cross-Cloud-Architecture-with-New-Releases-of-vSphere,-Virtual-SAN-and-vRealize-Solutions-to-Drive-IT-and-Developer-Productivity.2104600.html

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Interview Series: Daniel Zuthof https://robertverdam.nl/2016/09/22/interview-series-daniel-zuthof/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/09/22/interview-series-daniel-zuthof/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:48:23 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3106 Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!! Full Name: Daniel Zuthof Company: Equinix  Certifications:  VCAP5-DCA/DCD, VCP3,4,5-DCV, VCP-Cloud, MCSE NT4,2000,2003, MCITP EA 2008, MCSA 2012, MCTS Exchange 2007, MCTS SQL Server 2000,2005, Brocade BCNE, NetApp NCDA 7-mode,cDot Novell CNE 3,4,5,6, Oracle 11g OCA, ITIL, Prince2 Twitter: @DanielZuthof LinkedIn: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/daniël-zuthof-0b9ab5110/en […]

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Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!


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Full Name: Daniel Zuthof
Company: Equinix
 Certifications:  VCAP5-DCA/DCD, VCP3,4,5-DCV, VCP-Cloud, MCSE NT4,2000,2003, MCITP EA 2008, MCSA 2012, MCTS Exchange 2007, MCTS SQL Server 2000,2005, Brocade BCNE, NetApp NCDA 7-mode,cDot Novell CNE 3,4,5,6, Oracle 11g OCA, ITIL, Prince2
Twitter: @DanielZuthof
LinkedIn: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/daniël-zuthof-0b9ab5110/en

Questions

Who is Daniel Zuthof?

I am an IT enthusiast living in Enschede with my wife and 2 young kids. In my spare time I love to spend time with my family, friends, ride my motorcycle and road bike as often as possible.

After finishing school at age 20 I started working at several employers of which all are in IT. The first was at a local IT firm in the city I lived in at the time. Afterwards I worked at several larger businesses in the Arnhem and Utrecht area. Before starting at Equinix, I worked in the IT department of the hospital in Enschede as senior systems engineer.


Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

I work at the Managed Services department at Equinix. Equinix is the world largest suppliers of carrier neutral datacenters and operates 145+ datacenters across 5 continents in 40 metro areas. In The Netherlands, Equinix operates 10 datacenters of which 1 is currently being build.

The main business consists of housing, inter rack connections, inter metro area connections, inter country connections, direct public cloud connections (Equinix Cloud Exchange) and internet connections.

The Managed Services department designs, builds, operates and supports IaaS and PaaS platforms for customers inside our own datacenters. Besides building dedicated platforms according to customers specifications we also operate our own Equinix Business Cloud (EBC) IaaS platform, which is located in 3 datacenters across The Netherlands. Other products we sell are security & storage solutions and back-up &  replication services.

Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

We operate IaaS and PaaS platform of every scale. One of them is the Equinix Business Cloud (EBC). Without going in too much detail the EBC platform is operational in our Enschede, Zwolle and Amsterdam datacenters. The 3 sites are well connected in a redundant way. In each of the sites a VMware based independent IaaS platform is operated which is managed by using a common management layer. If required by a customer, complete site redundancy solutions can be offered.


What is the main purpose for this IT platform?

The EBC platform is primarily designed for customers who do not want to operate their private (on-premises) cloud platform. They want to extend their existing platform without investing in new hardware and find it important to know where their information is stored.

The storage layer is based upon a multi-tenant scale out design. This makes it easy to add additional capacity and it can deliver specific tiers up to a guaranteed 10K IOPS level. The EBC platform makes it possible for our customers to connect to the EBC network and consume compute and storage independently from each other in all 3 sites.


If you had the chance to design and build this environment all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?

As a matter of fact, the EBC platform is just rebuild using the latest 100GbE networking technology using overlay networks and multi-tenant scale out storage. This makes it possible to scale the platform to the next level while lowering operational efforts.

The next focus will be on cloud scale automation and further implementing the network overlay techniques into the platform.


What are new developments or solutions which caught your eye and why?

I’m interested in a lot of great techniques. A quick summary would be cloud native apps, storage, cloud management products, network virtualization and automation.

 

What are your thoughts on applying these on your own environment?

To be able to serve our customer at the levels they deserve now and in the future, network virtualization and automation products are key to the infrastructure. Network virtualization is important for hypervisor based routing and firewalling. Also the micro segmentation and hybrid cloud possibilities are important for us as a service provider.

For the automation part, the operability with the virtualization solution is important since these two work closely together. Automation lowers the operational costs and implementation time while quality is increased.


How do you see IT change in the next 5 years?

Cloud native apps will be a greater part of the IT landscape. More companies will move towards the DevOps style of managing their environment, which aligns to the agile framework where more and more companies move to.


How do you think this will translate to your current working environment?

Equinix will embrace the changes to be able to serve our customers the best way possible.

 

What’s the greatest tech disruption you’ve seen in your career?

I would say cloud computing in general. This manner of looking to IT provided services changed everything in the last decade. Combined with virtualization on the compute, storage and network layers, the possibilities are endless for those who are open for it.

 

What would you do for a living if you had not ended up in IT?

Probably I would be cook or electrician is some way. Those two appealed to me in my teenage years, besides computer technology. When looking back with my current knowledge, I would not choose another type of job. Working in IT is one of the most challenging in any aspect if you are open to it. The industry is so innovative and new product and techniques are released often which requires you to rethink designs and solution regularly.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!!

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Quick review : Runecast Analyzer https://robertverdam.nl/2016/09/12/quick-review-runecast/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/09/12/quick-review-runecast/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:30:41 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=3076 Recently we came into contact with a company called Runecast to review their product called Runecast Analyzer. We quickly decided to do a quick review of the product and keep you updated how this product develops even further! We will also be paying them a visit on VMworld Barcelona to get some more details from […]

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Recently we came into contact with a company called Runecast to review their product called Runecast Analyzer. We quickly decided to do a quick review of the product and keep you updated how this product develops even further! We will also be paying them a visit on VMworld Barcelona to get some more details from the guys/girls themselves. So we will keep you updated!

Runecast Custom Logo

Features

VMware KB Scan

Runecast analyzer is able to scan your vSphere environment for known issues described in KB articles from the VMware knowledgebase (kb.vmware.com), displays them in a table (sorted by severity) and allows you to copy this information or export this information easily for use in custom reports you might want to build from this information (note: in the version i’m using the PDF-export is showing a cut off PDF, but i’m sure this will be fixed in a feature release). The table allows you to dive deeper into the details of the KB and on which objects (vSphere Server, ESXi-host or VM) are affected by this issue.

Runecast VMware KB Scan

Runecast can collect information for this VMware KB Scan in two ways:

  1. Configuration Analysis (Manual / Scheduled)
  2. Continuous log collection and analysis from ESXi-hosts and VM-logs. Runecast allows you to automatically configure the host syslog settings ( you could also manually configure Syslog.global.logHost or  use a host profile to point all your ESXi hosts to the) and VM log settings (  vmx.log.destination = syslog-and-disk ) to point at the Runecast virtual appliance. Runecast uses this information to even find more issues which might be occurring in your environment by doing log analysis on the logs it receives.

Runecast Log Collection

Compliance checks / Security hardening

Besides pointing you at possible (severe) issues that might happen in your environment, like PSOD’s, VM’s losing connection or VM’s going down, Runecast also checks your environment against Best Practices (which are selected and put together by a team of their. virtualization experts and security guidelines (which VMware publishes in their vSphere Security Hardening Guides). Of course not all best practises and security guidelines are applicable to every organization, so Runecast allows you to modify the list of compliance checks which are applicable to your organization.

Runecast Issuelist

Findings

Up and running in no time

If you know how to deploy an .OVA in a vSphere environment you will also be able to deploy and configure Runecast in your environment. Installing and configuring Runecast is a question of minutes. Deploy the .OVA, connect to your vCenter-server and you can start scanning your environment and within minutes time get a good view of possible issues in your environment (missing patches, settings which could wreak havoc on your environment and so on). Also like automatically setting up the log collection for the ESXi-hosts and VM logging all at once from Runecast automatically (But will not always be applicable, because there can already be a syslog-host set-up which the host is logging to and in that case you might like a custom configuration for your syslog settings).

Easy to use and looks great

I must say the analyzer is looking pretty clean and the information you need is easy to find and especially the main dashboard which shows you in one view how much could be improved in your environment is a very good starting point to start clicking deeper into the different area’s of the product.

Runecast Dashboard

Improvements

Applying settings / fixes automatically

What I would like to see in this product (or in an add-on product or something like that) is the possibility to auto-heal some settings. example put them in a host profile or VUM baseline so they can be applied to groups of machines or applied directly to the affected hosts/VM’s. This will give you a quick way to resolve the issues in an automated way.

Connect to Multiple vCenters

Currently you can only connect Runecast to one vCenter server, but I think it would be nice to be able to connect Runecast to multiple vCenter Servers.

Runecast vCenter Connections Settings

Support for other virtualization platforms

As I’m currently working on a project in a big Hyper-V environment and would like a quick overview of possible issues in this environment. To see this kind of product for Microsoft Hyper-V or other hypervisors (XenServer, AHV) would be great!

Conclusion

This product gives VMware Admins a great tool to monitor their environment for possible issues, best practices they could apply and ways to get their security standards up without looking through tons of pages of documentation and would have liked to have this product in my toolkit when I was a starting VMware consultant. This product makes sure you don’t have to hire a VMware-specialist for doing a full health check on your environment but you only have to hire him for very special problems (things which make him feel fantastic when he fixes them 🙂 ).

A free 30-day full functional trial is available so there is no excuse to not give it a go!

More information

More information can be found at:

Website: www.runecast.biz
Runecast Analyzer User Guide: www.runecast.biz/RunecastUserGuide1.0.pdf

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My VMCE v9 experience https://robertverdam.nl/2016/06/13/my-vmce-v9-experience/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/06/13/my-vmce-v9-experience/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2016 17:57:06 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=2994 As I am currently working on an Veeam implementation in a large Hyper-V environment, I decided to update my knowledge by following the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) Certification v9 training (Link) and subsequently take the exam to become certified. I also hoped to especially learn more about Veeam on Hyper-V, because my experience with that […]

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As I am currently working on an Veeam implementation in a large Hyper-V environment, I decided to update my knowledge by following the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) Certification v9 training (Link) and subsequently take the exam to become certified. I also hoped to especially learn more about Veeam on Hyper-V, because my experience with that is very little in comparison with Veeam on VMware.

vmce_logo

This short article gives a short overview of my VMCE experience, some tips on great information to pass the exam and some ramblings about what I think could be improved.

Study Material

The VMCE training is a required prerequisite for becoming a VMCE, so it doesn’t suffice to take only the exam. I think the training is a good way to get started with the Veeam products, but if you’re already used to working with Veeam I think it’s a bit basic.

The training provides you with 3 booklets:

  • Textbook
  • Practice Labs
  • Hand-out of the presentation

I would really suggest everybody who is planning to take the exam to especially read the textbook from back to back, because it contains almost all the information to score sufficient points to pass the exam. Also reading the user guides on the Veeam website (which I think are really fantastic!) is very beneficial.

Besides that I found the practice exams which Rasmus Haslund provides on his website (Link) provide a good overview of the kind of questions that the exam contains and have a good resemblance on the way questions are stated on the exam itself (some questions I would like to discuss if I had the possibility, because I think they could have been stated more correctly/precisely.

Also the study materials Rasmus states in his VMCE 9 guide (Link) are very useful for scoring some easy points (like taking a good look at the closely reading the what’s new in v9 PDF :).

Scoring

To pass the exam you have to score 70% in 50 questions.

VMCE Scorecard PASS!

I’m proud to have passed the exam with a 86% score, but I’m left wondering which questions I screwed up in my worst section (Initial Configuration) for which I scored only 46%.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Rasmus again for his great information on the VMCE certification, because it made this exam feel like a walk in the park.

Conclusion

To be honest I can’t wait for the VMCE advanced training to become generally available. The Beta of the advanced training is currently being tested on the Veeam Vanguard guru’s, so I hope with their feedback it will become amazing. I’d like to learn more about the inner (technical) workings and details on the moving parts of the Veeam products and for example about the Veeam Management Pack for System Center, which isn’t treated in the training at all.

Also I think there should be more attention to running Veeam for Hyper-V environments (Veeam currently doesn’t have a best practices document for Hyper-V, which it does for VMware).

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Interview Series: Rutger Vossebeld https://robertverdam.nl/2016/05/13/interview-series-rutger-vossebeld/ https://robertverdam.nl/2016/05/13/interview-series-rutger-vossebeld/#respond Fri, 13 May 2016 09:51:06 +0000 https://www.robertverdam.nl/?p=2972 Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!! Full Name: Rutger Vossebeld Company: Sioux-CCM Twitter: @rutgervossebeld LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rutgervossebeld     Questions Who is Rutger Vossebeld? I have started my IT career in 1995 configuring and building Novell 2.x, 3.x and 4.x networks, for a company in Boxtel with customers […]

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Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!


rutgervossebeld

Full Name: Rutger Vossebeld
Company: Sioux-CCM
Twitter: @rutgervossebeld
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rutgervossebeld

 

 


Questions

Who is Rutger Vossebeld?

I have started my IT career in 1995 configuring and building Novell 2.x, 3.x and 4.x networks, for a company in Boxtel with customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. After 2 years I decided to switch jobs and started at Sioux-CCM in Nuenen with a project to migrate the Novel 3.12 servers to a Windows NT4 environment.

Between 1997 and 2015 I have implemented several Microsoft server applications, VMware, Citrix, Juniper and Checkpoint solutions in our network infrastructure. In addition to server side applications I manage a PDM application Team center that maintains CAD data for the Siemens NX application which is used in at Sioux-CCM.


Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

CCM is a company founded in 1969 by Professor Alexandre Horowitz, and specialized in developing high tech mechatronic products and production systems for our customers. We are facilitated to complete an entire project, including design, realization and integration. This is done with about 100 employees in a village called Nuenen nearby Eindhoven.

CCM is since 2014 part of the Sioux Group.

Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

We use HP Proliant DL380 servers for our VMware virtualization platform, connected to a HP 3PAR 7200 FC SAN. In 2015 we have started a project to virtualize our CAD workstations into a CAD-VDI environment to collaborate with customers and other development companies. Instead of using VMware Horizon we decided to choose the Citrix solution that already could take advantage of the nVidia K2 grid vGPU benefits which at the time were not possible with VMware. The core and edge switching are EX devices from Juniper. At the moment we are implementing a new Aerohive Wifi network based on the AC standard.

The client hardware is a mixed workstation and laptop environment. 60% of the workstations are high end CAD workstations. Al systems are configured with SSD’s to get the most out of these systems.


What is the main purpose for this IT platform?

Creating a high available platform, with information systems and tooling available for Sioux-CCM employees, partners and developers within the case of common projects.


What was the main requirement on which you designed this environment and how did you comply to it?

In 2009 we have redesigned the complete IT network infrastructure and introduced better and more secure network segmentation and build virtualization platform based on VMware. The main requirements were availability, manageability and scalability.

In the last 7 years we did not make significant changes to the network infrastructure instead of introducing client virtualization based on Citrix technology and SAN backup.


If you had the chance to design and build this environment all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?

Our network infrastructure still meets our demands. The only aspect needing attention is bandwidth usage on the backend of the network. The (client) virtualization and backup demands more bandwidth than currently available.

Within Veeam we are using the SAN back-up over Fiber Channel instead of the traditional network infrastructure. That helps a bit…


What are new developments or solutions which caught your eye and why?

Availability, manageability, scalability and security have been keywords the last 8 years.

Cloud computing promises to be the solution for these keywords. So in an increasingly more demanding IT environment this is probably the way to go…


What are your thoughts on applying these on your own environment?

Security is the keyword for cloud computing. Cloud providers promise a safe environment. I think you should check carefully law and regulation and customer demands!


How do you see IT change in the next 5 years?

In the coming years more companies are going to use one of more cloud applications or solutions. In our case I think that we are going to create a hybrid solution with one or more cloud solution providers.

Some services will only be available in the cloud. Take for example Adobe with the Adobe Creative Cloud!


How do you think this will translate to your current working environment?

Using cloud solutions makes the job less technical and more focused on tailoring the information systems/environment to the end user. This could be a business opportunity!

Do you leverage knowledge from IT communities or events in your daily work? If so, what are sources you use often?

I use blogger sites, twitter and other internet sources to gain knowledge and ideas. Events are more a networking opportunity than knowledge source!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!!

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