I think we need to take a few steps back and focus on vRA architecture and design. I’ve had many questions, requests, and discussions with some of my readers on this topic. Implementing vRA can lead to many rewarding outcomes, but as some have discovered it can also lead to aggravating outcomes if not designed properly upfront.
At first it can seem very straight forward. Create some endpoints, groups, reservations, and blueprints. Sprinkle in some integrations for custom hostname, IPAM, DNS and AD and you are on your way to fully automating your workload deployments, right? Not exactly. You can certainly do this and at first it will seem amazing, but as you mature and start to scale out your new catalog of services the lack of up front design and planning will quickly start to reveal itself.
It’s no secret that this is a feature that I’m very excited about. This feature although very useful on it’s own is going to open up the door for many new exciting capabilities with out VMware products in the future.
Resource contention is one of the most critical issues in any virtualized environment. When contention occurs, applications slow down and your users are affected. Up until now two different methodologies have been employed to mitigate the risk of contention, with varied results. But now I want to introduce you to the new “game changing” method available from VMware: Predictive DRS! But first a bit of a history lesson on the original two methods.
The first of these is the Reactive Method which focuses on resolving unexpected resource demand. The most widely used example of a reactive solution is VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler, or DRS. As the day progresses, workloads may need more resources, which can lead to contention on the host. The reactive method moves VMs around to ensure all workloads get the resources they need and applications remain healthy. Note this method needs only a minimal amount of VMs to be moved in order to be effective, which means minimal overhead. The reactive method only moves VMs when contention approaches, so it’s possible (however remote) for users to feel some effects of the contention before it’s resolved.
Learn more about the other methods available with predictive DRS in the original article on VMware Cloud Management blog site.
This is super exciting news. There are two features in particular that I am very excited to see in vSphere 6.5.
vSphere Integrated Containers – Run docker containers natively (well almost) on top of vSphere. VIC as it has been coined allows you to use the Docker API to spin up Docker containers inside a vSphere VM container. The vSphere VM container runs a super small version of PhotonOS that allows the container to run inside the VM container. This now allows you to run Docker containers with all the benefits of vSphere VM’s with the exception of NSX at the moment. However your containersa can take advantage of another new much anticipated feature.
vSphere Predictive DRS – Predictive DRS is a game-changing new technology that leverages self-learning and predictive analytics provided by vRealize Operations. It learns your environment and based on usage patterns, preemptively rebalances your workloads in advance of upcoming demands and spikes. This ensures your applications remain performant and your workloads get all the resources they need.
These aren’t the only exciting new features, but they are certainly two of my favorites. Among the other new features are:
Scale Enhancements – New configuration maximums to support even the largest app environments
VMware vCenter Server® Appliance – The single control center and core building block for vSphere
vCenter Server® High Availability – Native vCenter Server high availability solution
vCenter Server Backup and Restore – Native vCenter Server Backup and Restore
vCenter Server Appliance Tool – Single step migration and upgrade of existing vCenter Server to vCenter Server Appliance
REST APIs – Simple, modern developer-friendly APIs
vSphere Client – HTML5-based GUI that ensures fast performance and cross-platform compatibility
Security-at-Scale – Policy-driven security that makes securing infrastructure operationally simple
Encryption – VM-level encryption protects unauthorized data access both at-rest and in-motion
Audit-quality logging – Enhanced logging that provides forensic information about user actions
Secure Boot – Protection for both the hypervisor and guest operating system by ensuring images have not been tampered with and preventing loading of unauthorized components
Cross-Cloud vMotion® –Live migrate workloads between VMware based clouds ( Handy feature for the new Amazon and VMware partnership)
vSphere Replication is VMware’s proprietary hypervisor-based replication engine designed to protect running virtual machines from partial or complete site failures by replicating their VMDK disk files. It provides simple and cost-efficient replication to a distant failover site or between local hosts within a single site. Used standalone or in conjunction with Site Recovery Manager, it offers customers an alternative to traditional storage array-based replication technologies. vSphere Replication is also the engine powering the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery service and the vCloud Availability for vCloud Director offering targeted for vCAN Service Providers.
What’s New in this release:
5-minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO) support for additional data store types. This version of vSphere Replication extends support for the 5 minute RPO setting to the following new data stores: VMFS 5, VMFS 6, NFS 4.1, NFS 3, VVOL and VSAN 6.5. This allows customers to replicate virtual machine workloads with an RPO setting as low as 5-minutes between these various data store options.
Spanish locale for the product user interface and documentation. This version of vSphere Replication adds support for Spanish language localization of the UI and delivers product documentation in Spanish.
Integration with VMware Analytics Cloud (VAC). vSphere Replication is now participating in the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
VMware Site Recovery Manager is an industry-leading DR solution that enables application availability and mobility across sites for vSphere-based private cloud environments. Site Recovery Manager is an automation software that integrates with an underlying replication technology to provide automated orchestration of recovery plans and non-disruptive testing.
What’s New in this release?
Integration with vRealize Operations Manager through a new management pack – the vRealize Operations Management Pack for Site Recovery Manager 6.5.
Support for vSphere Virtual Volumes through vSphere Replication.
Support for silent installation, upgrade, and uninstallation.
Introducing enhancements to Site Recovery Manager 6.5 Public API.
Support for the vCenter Server HA feature. Site Recovery Manager works normally in the event that vCenter Server HA fails over to another vCenter Server node.
Support for migration of a vCenter Server installation on Windows to a vCenter Server Appliance installation during upgrade.
Support for the Virtual Machine Encryption feature with Storage Policy Protection Groups (SPPGs).
Support for Test Recovery operation when the protected and recovery sites are disconnected.
Integration with VMware Analytics Cloud (VAC). Site Recovery Manager is now participating in the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
I’m sure you have all heard the news about the VMware and Amazon partnership. I’ve been getting loads of questions from people and it seems that their are misconceptions on what exactly this means short term. Here is some of what I have heard and some clarification as to what it really is.
The offering will be VMware’s hypervisor running nested on top of AWS. – False
The offering is actually the vSphere hypervisor running on bear metal running inside Amazon’s data center.
I want AWS features, not just vSphere in another datacenter. I don’t see any AWS value or features with this offering – False
The machines running on vSphere in the AWS datacenter can take advantage of lots of AWS offerings such as storage, database offerings, security, analytics, and from what I understand 70 other services. While it’s not the ability to use the AWS API to provision workloads this is still huge. This of projects you may have that utilize AWS services interacting with workloads running in your own physical data center and the what you have to do you secure those interactions. Now you have the ability to run the workloads inside the same data center as those services greatly reducing the complexities of securing those communications.
It’s great but what about NSX?
In the offering vSphere, NSX, and vSAN are all available. I can’t speak to how the cost and licensing works with regards to these, but they are all available.
When will this be generally available?
It is expected to be available sometime late H2 2017.
As more and more info becomes available it will become even more apparent how much value this will add to the enterprise datacenter. Most organizations today have a disconnect when it comes to their on-prem and off-prem workloads. Having a standardizes infrastructure, standardized process, and standardized integrations can only lead to less complex and more manageable infrastructure. As more information becomes available that can be shared I will certainly be focusing more on this area and once possible I will certainly be providing some insight and sneak peaks into this great new partnership.
Many of you are at VMworld 2016 and had the opportunity to be at the Keynote Live this morning. However there are those of us that are not at VMworld this year so I decided to put together some highlights from this mornings keynote.
The big theme for the keynote this year was the announcement of VMware Cloud Foundation and Cross Cloud Services. Although I say too much about Cloud Foundation beyond what what was discussed in this mornings keynote I think the below slide really helps shed some light. Although you will hear Cloud Foundation compared to Nutanix, I see it as more than just converged infrastructure. I see it more as a converged cloud. If you look at the let side of the below image you can see that VMware Cloud Foundation includes, Private Cloud as well as VMware vCloud air, and the IBM cloud. The benefit here is all of these environments are built on top of VMware technology. To the right you see the Non-VMware-Based Clouds which includes Amazon, Azure, and Google CP. These would be what’s part of the VMware Cross Cloud Services.
If your vCenter server 6 has ever crashed or maybe after you performed an upgrade you are presented with a screen telling you that you need to run an fsck on the file system. Now logically you run fsck against /dev/sda3 which is the root partition. If you find that there are no errors on /dev/sda3 you might find yourself scratching your head and wondering what now. You could go and try to check /dev/sda1 & /dev/sda2. With no luck there the head scratching may become a bit more intense. I found myself in this situation recently as well as a few other folks with no answer how to get this resolved.
In vCenter 6 you will notice there are now a number of LVM partitions and these are most likely the cause to your pain. Below are the steps you can take to resolve the issue and get your vCenter back up and running.
First you need to get access to the filesystem. I like to do this by changing the grub boot parameters, I have better success this way.
When the grub boot loader is up press space to stop the auto boot.
The press “p” and enter your password if you didn’t set one it’s “vmware”.
Next on the 2nd entry in the list press “e” for edit.
Then on the 2nd entry again press “e” again to edit the line and add “init=/bin/bash” to the end of the line and press “enter”.
Now press “b” to boot single user mode
Once the console is up and running you need to mount your / partition in Read/Write mode. You can do this by issuing the following command mount -n -o remount,rw /
Now issue the following two commands:
lvm vgchange -ay
Once you have run these two commands you can now run fsck against your lvm volumes. As an example let’s say the volume with errors is log_vg-log. You would issue the command fsck -y /dev/mapper/log_vg-log
Once you have repaired all the effected partitions reboot and you should be good to go.
That’s it, you should now have a working vCenter server again.
You have read all the announcements about vSphere 6.0 Update 2 being released and now you want to upgrade. Maybe you haven’t tried out the embedded web ui and are tired on needing to use the thick client when your VC goes down. Whatever the reason applying the update is pretty easy and straight forward.
Updating vCenter Appliance
First things first we need to upgrade vCenter to Update 2. To do this manually you will first need to download the vSphere patch iso VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-188.8.131.5200-3634791-patch-FP.iso from myvmware. Once you have downloaded the iso simply follow these steps to apply the update: