Discovering Vembu BDR Suite v3.6.0

Vembu has recently released v3.6.0 of their Vembu BDR Suite. I was provided an online demo of the product, as well a free trial to try it out in my home lab. Below I summarize my experience with the product and the features I like as well things I thought missing.

Installation Process:

Let’s start by reviewing my experience with the installation process. While Vembu can supply a Vembu BDR virtual appliance to their clients as a method to install their software upon request, the virtual appliance has limited features when compared to the installable version. Further it’s not a full fledge appliance, as would still have to be manage as a Linux machine rather than through a management interface.

For the previously mentioned reasons, I have decided to go with the installable version of Vembu over the appliance version although I usually prefer to use virtual appliances when offered. Most customers will be recommended to use the installable version, which is another reason to go this route. I am hoping this will change in the future, where the virtual appliance will be more mainstream.

While it’s not an appliance, the installation of Vembu BDR suite v3.6.0 was pretty easy to install.… Read More

F5 load balancer common misconfigurations for vRA 7 Distributed setup

Working with several customers to build vRealize Automation 7.x in production environment has exposed me to many vRA Distributed installs that involved the use of Load Balancers. There seems common mistakes that customers fall for when configuring load balancers for vRA 7.x distributed environments that cause the installation to fail or the setup not to function as intended. Here I wanted to highlight few of these. While I will be focusing on F5 in here, these mistakes can affect other load balancers as well.

vRealize Automation 7 F5 load balancer

1- Utilize the load balancer VIP for initial installation

Several customers try to use their load balancer VIP during vRA installation. While if setup perfectly this will work, a small mistake with the VIP configuration can make the installation and configuration of vRealize Automation feel impossible. For this I would recommend you create the VIP DNS record and just point it to your first nodes. Complete your vRA installation and configuration and only after confirming your setup is stable and fully installed to point your VIP DNS record to your actual VIP IP. This will make your installation go much smoother, and allow you a much easier path to troubleshooting if you made a mistake during load balancer configuration.… Read More

vRA 7.2 what’s new?

vRealize Automation 7.2 which was promised at VMworld to enhance ease of use with Out-of-The-Box support for ServiceNow, Azure, and Containers. has just been released today as promised in VMworld. You can download it at: vRealization Automation 7.2 download link. This article highlight few of the major improvements introduced with vRA 7.2.

Azure Endpoint

Microsoft Azure vRA Endpoint

While Amazon AWS, vCloud Air and vCloud Air Network endpoints have been out of the box in vRealize Automation for the longest time, Microsoft Azure has always required custom coding integration to work in vRealize Automation. Many customers showed interest in being able to deploy Microsoft Azure and were waiting patiently for vRA to offer it out of the box. This is coming your way out of the box in vRA 7.2. This will extend vRealize Automation Hybrid Cloud offering reach to Microsoft Azure customers.

The new Azure endpoint will allows customers to:

  • Configure Azure connections (endpoints) per tenant
  • Assign reservations and integrate with their governance model
  • Design blueprints creation with Azure resources, specify network and storage options
  • Supports Azure Networking (subnets, load balancers)
  • Deploy converged blueprints with Azure resources in them
  • vRealize Automation can automatically select the most appropriate subscriptions to deploy to
  • Perform state-aware resource actions on their Azure resources
  • Incorporate key vRA functionality, such as approvals, extensibility, and CBP
  • OTB Day2 lifecycle operations include start, stop, restart, delete

Note: Azure Endpoint is the first to be built on top of extensibility platform (XaaS vs .Net) levarging the new Azure vRO plugin (Included OOTB).… Read More

vRealize Automation 7.x F5 Load balancer Configuration

This week I had to work with a customer who used F5 to load balance their vRA Distributed environment, and it has proven that just a small change from recommended configuration can break your full setup. For this reason, I have decided to document the full F5 load balancer configuration on this page. This post can still be helpfull to get you started with other load balancers as well.

As medium distributed install seems to be the most common between customers, I will use it as the base of my post in here, but I will cover the differences in large distributed install as well. Let’s start at first with the list of our setup components. As you will notice in the below table that the manager service and Web are both sharing the same servers unlike large architecture installation where Web and Manager Service are separated into different servers. That has been said, you will still need to setup a different VIP one for Manager Service and one for Web in both medium and large distributed setups. The main difference is that in a medium setup both VIPs will point up to the same servers. You will need as well to setup another VIP for the vRA Appliances.… Read More

VMTurbo is now Turbonomic

Turbonomic is VMTurbo new name!VMTurbo has just re-branded themselves to Turbonomic. I have just received an e-mail few days back from VMTurbo stating the change of the company name to Turbonomic.

While it sounded interesting to change the name of the company out of a sudden, it all came to make sense reading their explanation on their website. As they shift their products from being only Virtual Machines focused to cover containers and public cloud, they wanted their name to reflect that.

 

 

Below is how Turbonomic (previously VMTurbo) explain the reason for the name change:

“Our company was founded on the vision of managing any workload, on any infrastructure, anywhere, at anytime. Over the past few years, we’ve delivered a platform that empowers over 1500 customers to deliver better application performance, agility, and efficiency.

Today, our customers are moving beyond VMs to leverage containers and public clouds as they transition from monolithic to cloud-native applications.

We are thrilled to enable this journey for our customers while continuing to stay true to the core vision of the company. Given this transformation, we know there is an opportunity to capture this movement and take customers anywhere they want to go.”

 … Read More

Migrating Nexus 1000v to vDS in vRA environment

As VMware Distributed Switch has come a long way since it was first introduced in VMware vSphere 4.0. In vSphere 6.0, the Distributed Switch has became as rich on features and functionality as the Nexus 1000v at much lower complexity. While Nexus 1000v requires you to install/maintain an extra appliance(s) and VIB to use it’s features, vSphere Distributed Switch comes out of the box loaded with functionalities and ready to use. Not to mention the delay in upgrade to newer versions of vSphere you can encounter till Nexus 1000v is testing is completed.

The latest vSphere Distributed Switch has not left much to be desired from the Nexus 1000v to justify the extra complexity involved with the Nexus 1000v. All this has driven many customers to start migrating from Nexus 1000v to vDS lately, especially customers who is considering VMware SDDC/Cloud Solutions.  I have been involved with few of these migrations lately, and here will  share the migration process at a high level for the benefit of others going through the same process.

Below are the Nexus 1000v to vDS Migration steps at a high level:

1. Backup the Environment

a. Backup up vRA, vCD and any other management/Cloud platform that is consuming the environment.  … Read More

vRealize Automation Order of Precedence for Custom Properties.

If you have just started working with vRealize Automation, you will notice that you can apply custom properties to many elements. While this is great and add a lot of flexibility to the product and make it easier to customize the product to do things differently in the way you desire. It can get confusing which property will precede/over write the other one, if a duplicate property with a different value was assigned at a different element/level. In this post, I wanted to highlight the order of Precedenc for Custom Properties in vRA, so you can predict your results.

vRA Custom Properties Order

The full order of precedence for custom properties is that any property value specified in a source later in the list overrides values for the same property specified in sources earlier in the list. The order is shown in the following list:

Order of applying Custom Properties, later one over write earlier one:

  1. Build Profile
  2. Blueprint
  3. Business Group
  4. Compute resource
  5. Reservation
  6. Endpoint
  7. Runtime

Note: Please note only Build Profile, Blueprint, and Business Group custom properties are assigned at the request time, while most other custom properties (Comput resources, reservation, & Endpoint) are assigned during provisioning, as they are not being assigned till the provisioning process has been started.… Read More

vCloud Air DR to Cloud with vRealize Automation

Traditionally organizations have reserved their Disaster Recovery capabilities to their most critical workload leaving some important workloads without proper disaster recovery due to the high cost of disaster recovery.

Imagine if you went shopping to buy a car with a friend. When you hit the dealership, your friend tell you that you should buy two cars. The first one will be the one you will be using, where the second one is only for you to use if your first car break? Do you find that as an odd advice or at least too costy one? Was not that exactly what you are doing when building your Disaster Recovery Datacenter? You build a full datacenter and fully pay for it and its compute, storage, cooling, space, and operation 24/7.  Luckily, you did not have a disaster this year, but does not that mean you just paid tons of cash for compute, etc that you never used?

What if you can get the same protection, but almost at the cost of only your storage? That’s what DR to Cloud allow you to do. In fact, vCloud Air DR to Cloud offering is great at that, as the cost you are normally paying for storage covers the cost of protecting your VMs in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery.… Read More

Replacing Certificates in vRealize Automation 7

If you worked with vRA 6.x and earlier, you will definetly know that replacing certs was a very involving process. The great news is that vRA 7 has eliminated most of the work required to do so and automated a good part of the process. Unfortunately, this is not clearly documented in vRA 7 documentation, although in my opinion this is one of the major improvements in vRA 7.0. As I have discovered those improvement the hard way through going through engineering and support, I thought It’s worth sharing as it can save you tons of time.

Let’s start by the scenario where you have setup the vRealize Automation 7.x system up and running, and you want to replace your certificates. Let’s assume you have already generated the certs for the different services, but if you did not and need help with that keep reading as I will give you guidance on that later on in this article. Below is how to replace the certs of each of the services making up your vRA 7.0.

– SSO/Identity Appliance: As vRA 7.0 does not make use of vCenter SSO any more and it moved to embeded vIDM, you will not have to worry about the certs of this any more.… Read More

vRealize Automation 7 Bootstrap Installation

vRealize Automation 7 converged blueprint is now offering you the capabilities to go beyond VMs deployment to being able to design/deploy a full application stack. In order to enable application deployment in vRA, you will need to install vRA 7 bootstrap in your VM template. In this post, I will cover how to install vRA 7.0 bootstrap into your Windows & Linux VM templates.

vRA 7 converged blueprint

Note: vRA 7.0 enterprise license is required to use the software deployment capabilities of vRA 7.0. If you have a license that does not include this, you will need to depend solely on the Gugent to run your scripts in similar fashion to what was done in previous versions of vRA, which I have document previously at: vCAC Guest Agent Installation

Note: In vRealize Automation 7.1 and higher the download link of the Guest Agent, Bootstrap Agent and so on has changed from the links used in the below article to https://vRealize_VA_Hostname_fqdn/software/index.html. 

vRA 7 bootstrap installation in Windows:

(Certs)

  1. Make sure your root cert is trusted by your template.
  2. Make sure your Manager Service cert is trusted by your template as well.

(Gugent)

  1. Download the Gugent installer from https://vRealize_VA_Hostname_fqdn:5480/installer/GuestAgentInstaller_x64.exe. The download link has changed to https://vRealize_VA_Hostname_fqdn/software/index.html in vRealize Automation 7.1 and higher.
Read More

VMware Hybrid Cloud Manager vs vCloud Connector

While some readers might be surprised of me comparing Hybrid Cloud Manager and vCloud Connector as many might assume that Hybrid Cloud Manager is replacing vCloud Connector, so why compare them. While this might be true in the long term, its still not the case today. While Hybrid Cloud Manager Excel at some of the features vCloud Connector used to deliver and add few that vCloud connector did not have, it still lack some of the features vCloud Connector had that you might still need. I have put this post to help you decided which one fit your need better or do you need both. Yes, there will be cases where you will need both products to co-exist.

Let’s compare Hybrid Cloud Manager and vCloud Connector on their merits in the different use cases:

Hybrid Cloud Manager vs vCloud Connector

Target Cloud it support:

  • Hybrid Cloud Manager is only meant to support VMware vCloud Air (Previously known by VMware Hybrid Cloud Service) Dedicated Cloud at the momement, where it will expand to the other vCloud Air offering in the near future. This might even expand to VMware vCloud Air Network providers in the future, but its not there yet.
  • vCloud Connector is currently supported with VMware vCloud Air, vCloud Director, and most VMware vCloud Air Network providers.
Read More

Get your PBX Cloud Ready with 3CX VoIP Phone System V14

Is your PBX system cloud ready? Does your PBX system support virtualization? Have you considered running your PBX system in the Cloud? Have you considered the benefits of any of these for your business? If any of this sounds interesting, you might want to check out 3CX Phone System. It is not only virtualizable, it is not only Cloud ready, but they even offer it as a hosted service in the Cloud. It is a PBX system that’s Cloud ERA ready.

3cx Phone SystemIf you have not got to read my previous review of 3CX VoIP Phone System, I would highly recommend you check it out at: http://www.virtualizationteam.com/various/pbx-in-the-cloud.html. In my previous post, I have covered how straight forward the installation was and how I got things running in my lab in no time, and the vast amount of features this simple PBX is offering. Now, as they have released V14 of their VoIP Phone System, 3CX has added tons of valuable features highlighted below:

  • Integrated Virtual PBX Server option
  • Completely redesigned Android client, it is a much slicker and seemed to be snappier on my Samsung Galaxy S5.
  • New iPhone client with integrated tunnel, I could not verify this as I don’t have an iPhone, but I am sure it will be appreciated by the Apple fans.
Read More

How to Pass Encrypted Custom Properties to vRealize Automation Guest Agent

Have you ever needed to pass an encrypted custom property to your vRealize Automation (previously known as vCloud Automation Center) gugent? I have been asked for this frequently by customers and below are just two of the most common use cases for this.

1- The customer wanted the Gugent to run a script that map a share drive to the deployed VM using the Net Use command where they need a different user credential to login to the map drive.

This is easy to do by letting the Gugent run a command similar to: “net use s: \\tower\movies /user HTG Pa$$word”. The challenge here is who wants to pass his password in clear text or store it in clear text in a script? Yop, I have deployed vRA for banks and government customers and none of them can accept that.

2- The customer want to be able to join the VM to one of many domains. They wants to achieve this without having to create tons of Custom Specifications in each vCenter they have as that will be a management nightmare in the long run.

This as well can be easily achievable by having a script as the following:

==================================

REM JoinDomain.bat script start here

If %1==firstdomain netdom join %%computername%% /domain:firstdomain.COM /userd:%2 /passwordd:%3
If %1==2nddomain netdom join %%computername%% /domain:2nddomain.COM /userd:%4 /passwordd:%5
If %1==3rdomain netdom join %%computername%% /domain:3rddomain.COM /userd:%6 /passwordd:%7

REM JoinDomain.bat script End here

==================================

You will then run the above script from vRA using a command like: JoinDomain.bat {domainname} {firstdomainUser} {firstdomainPassword} {2nddomainUser} {2nddomainPassword} {3rddomainUser} {3rddomainPassword}

Again the above resolve the problem, but you will need to pass the password in clear text.… Read More

VMware Cross-Cloud vMotion is another major milestone on VMware Seemless Hybrid Cloud Vision

If you are like me or many of VMware customers who has been following the VMware Hybrid Cloud Story closely for a while, you have probably asked yourself or your sales rep when will you be able to move your Virtual Machines back and forth between On Premise (Private Cloud) to vCloud Air (VMware Public Cloud) without encountering downtime. Many of us are used to the concept of VMotion and being able to move our VMs across hosts within a site and in vSphere 6 we had the capability to move VMs across sites and vCenters.

The next logical step in that vMotion evolution is being able to vMotion VMs to the Cloud and back, and that is just what VMware has announced at VMworld today. In fact, a live demonstration of what is called Cross-Cloud vMotion was shown during today VMworld General session. This exciting news has been a part of  Technology Preview of Project SkyScraper, a new set of hybrid cloud capabilities for VMware vSphere that will enable customers to confidently extend their data center to the public cloud and vice-a-versa by seamlessly operating across boundaries while providing enterprise-level security and business continuity.

VMware Hybrid Network Cross Cloud VMotion

Below is the two features of Project SkyScraper that was shared today at VMworld:

  • Cross-Cloud vMotion is a new technology based on vSphere vMotion that allows customers to seamlessly migrate running virtual machines between their on-premises environments and vCloud Air.
Read More

Serve NFS and CIFS from your VMware Virtual SAN

I have seen the question of being able to serve NFS and CIFS storage from VMware Virtual SAN comes up often lately, as customers want to be able to serve files storage to their VMs for different reasons, below is couples of reasons I have heard often:

  • My applications requires file sharing via NFS or CIFS/SMB protocol.
  • I want to store my users documents in a centralized location in the data-center while still controlling access using AD permissions.

There is more reasons behind this, the idea is that this is being requested by different corporate for a reason or another. Unfortunately, the canned answer for this question is that VMware Virtual SAN does not offer this out of the box. While that statement is 100% accurate, I don’t think the answer should stop there, as there is many ways around this, that allows you to consume VMware Virtual SAN Storage as a file level storage using NFS and CIFS/SMB protocols. Let’s discover few of these.

Three different ways to Serve NFS and CIFS/SMB using VMware Virtual SAN:

1. Using NFS on a Linux Box and CIFS on a Windows Box  

While this is the least elegant way of the three, it is the most obvious route for many as they own these operating system licenses and they can just create a VM that is running on top of Virtual SAN and then mount enough storage from Virtual SAN to the VM which in turn you will configure the VM OS to serve CIFS or NFS.… Read More

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