VMware vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 what’s new

vCloud Availability 2.0 is available for download today here. vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 delivers the following key enhancements:

    • vSphere 6.5 Support: Added support for vSphere 6.5 on the service provider side. This was missing in the previous release and many service providers were looking for it. The supported vSphere versions on the tenant side remain unchanged. For more interoperability and compatibility information about vCloud Availability for vCloud Director, see the Interoperability Pages for vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0. Here is a screenshot of what the interoperability matrix look like.

vCloud Availability for vCloud Director Interop Matrix

    • 5-minutes Recovery Point Objective (RPO): vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 2.0 delivers an enhanced RPO support of 5-minutes compared to the previously supported RPO of 15 minutes.
    • Enhancements to vCloud Availability for vCloud Director Service Manager Portal: The Service Manager Portal, introduced in the vCloud Availability for vCloud Director 1.0.1.2 release, allows service providers to monitor and manage their DR environments. The current release includes usability and performance enhancements to improve the response time on the Inventory page and a new Tenant Impersonation feature. The new feature allows service providers to act as tenant users. Using the Tenant Impersonation feature, service providers can filter tenant organizations and perform DR operations using a tenant role, the same way a tenant user would.
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vCloud Director 9.0 is Ready for Download

vCloud Director 9.0 has been announced at VMworld with some exciting enhancements. I am positive most of our VCPP (VMware Cloud Partner Program) partners will be looking forward to many of these features. Just in case you have missed it, VCPP (VMware Cloud Partner Program) is the new name for the VCAN(vCloud Air Network) Program. In this post, I will be covering few of the spotlight features of vCD 9.0.

Before I start, I want to highlight that’s while many vCD releases in the past few years were more progressive, this one is more on revolutionary side. I would highly recommend service providers to start evaluating vCD 9.0, as soon it released out not to be left being none competitive with those who upgrade. The difference this time is not hidden in the API, but include major changes in the UI interface as well. Read below for more details, and download the bits at vCloud Director 9.0 Download Link to start testing it out in your labs.

  • Modernized HTML5 interface. vCloud Director 9.0 comes with a new much slicker and smoother graphical interface for the tenant portal based on HTML5 which is an evolution from the previous Flex graphical interface. While this one might not be in parity with the Flex version in version 9.0, which is why the Flex version will still be available in parralel, it will include  the most frequently used functionality.
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vROPS Tenant App for VCD 1.0 is GA

The announcement of vROPS Tenant App for vCloud Director  1.0 is a great news to our vCloud Air Network Partners. vRealize Operations Tenant App for vCloud Director 1.0 is GA as of August 23, 2017! Now you can provide your customers with a better self-service monitoring solution that they were asking you for. This will provide a new monetizing opportunity for our vCAN Partners as well enhance their customers experience.

vRealize Operations Manager Tenant App for vCloud Director
It is a tenant facing application which provides a tenant administrator visibility to their vCloud Director environment. Service provider admin can enable access to the application to any tenant. It solves monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning use cases for a tenant. This is available only to service providers.

vRealize Operations management pack for vCloud Director

Highlights of what vROPS Tenant App for VCD 1.0 offers:

  • Extends vRealize Operations Manager to include vCloud Director constructs
  • Leverages vRealize Operations advanced analytics
  • Tenant specific monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning
  • Tenant Admin specific views to enable Operations Management solving monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity planning use cases
  • Provider Admin can pick and choose the tenants to whom access it to be provided. It can be provided as an extra addon.
  • Photon OS based Virtual appliance (OVA) for easier installation
  • H5 Client based on VMWare Clarity

 

Please note vROPS Tenant App for vCloud Director  1.0 has vRealize Operations Management Pack for vCloud Director as a pre-requisites.… Read More

vRealize Automation 7.3 what’s new?

vRealize Automation 7.3 has been released today with tons of new capabilities and features (>20 Spotlight Features). In this post, I will highlight several of these new enhancements to introduce you to what you can get by upgrading to vRA 7.3. I hope this will help you find out if the features you are looking for is a part of this release. I know many on my list and my customers lists have been addressed, but there is always room for more.

Below is few important links to check to learn more about vRealize Automation 7.3:

vRealize Automation 7.3 new features:

Parameterized Blueprints to Enhance Reusability and Reduce Sprawl​

  • Introduced component profiles for defining both size and image attributes, enabling “T-shirt sizing” as a request item
    • Component profiles provided for image and virtual machine size including CPU, memory, and storage size
  • Efficiently manage blueprints by leveraging abstracted component profiles
  • Increase reusability while significantly reducing blueprint sprawl
  • Trigger approval policies on size or image conditions
  • Import or export of component profiles using vRealize CloudClient
  • Automatically substitute component profile values

In the past, I have seen the request for VMs “t-shirt sizing” coming up often.… Read More

How to combat WannaCry Ransomware attack with VMware NSX

If you have not heard about the WannaCry Ransomware attacks lately, you need to get your head out of the sand for a bit longer. It sounds like this new Ransomware which take over the victom machine and encrypt their files and ask for a Bitcoin payment to give control back over their machine is taking the world by a storm. It is unbelievable how fast it has spread and how many machines it had took over in no time. It has even took over high profile organizations like Telefónica, Hitachi, Fedex,  National Health Service hospitals in England and Scotland, and many others.

ransomware wannacry compat with VMware NSX

While there has been  patches released by Microsoft to help mitigate the risk of this ransomware that uses a Windows vulnerability for Windows 7 and higher, there is currently no patches for earlier releases of Windows such as Windows XP.

While backup,  patching and keeping both your windows and security/antivirus software up to date is your first line of defense in such a situation, solutions such as VMware NSX can help you defend as well better contain such an attack. I have one of my colleagues “Angel Villar Garea (NSX Specialist SE in Spain)” has created a great video (see below), explaining how NSX can help to contain WannaCry in case a VM gets infected.… Read More

vRealize Automation 7 Property Dictionary Relationship

In the past I have documented how to do vCloud Automation 6.x Property Dictionay and Property Dictionary relationship in a post that was well recieved and got quite popular which can be found at: vCAC 6 Property Dictionary Relationship. I have meant to do the same for vRA 7 Property Dictionary Relationship for sometime as it has dramatically changed from it’s 6.x days, but I had pushed it forward several times and finally got the time to get around it.

In this post, I am going to show you how to populate a dropdown menu created in vRA property dictionary from a vRO workflow. Further, I will show you how to filter it based on another dropdown as well. This is get very useful when you have two related dropdown in your vRealize Automation Request forum and would like to filter one of them based on the other dropdown selection.  It help you ensure only valid values are showing in the second dropdown menu making your request form more user friendly. Further, this same process can be used to populate the dropdown list from an external source like MS SQL or so on.

Before you start with this exercise, I would highly recommend you go through my past post to get an understanding of the terms used in this post: vCAC Custom Properties – Build Profiles(Renamed Property Groups in vRA 7.0) – Property Dictionary

The two drop menus I am dealing with in this examples are:

  • Drop Down Name: Environment.  
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Host Profiles – Number of ipv4 routes did not match

As we have setup a new cluster of four ESXi 6.5 hosts, we have extracted a host profile from one of the hosts that we have setup to my customer corporate standards. After applying that host profiles to the other three hosts, we were able to quickly resolove all non-compliant issues except one where it keep complaining: “Number of ipv4 routes did not match”.

There is a good KB article on this which can be found at: https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2106112

We had two challenges with KB2106112 though, which I wanted to document to help others stumbling with the same issue as follow:

1- The KB state it is only covering up to vSphere 6.0, where our environment was vSphere 6.5 and the fix still apply

2- The KB only stated to look at the “defaultTcpipStack” Netstack Instance, where in our case it was more to do with the “VMotion” Netstack Instance. Exactly same resolution, but you need to apply it to the “VMotion” Netstack Instance.

As I have mentioned above, this can affect any of your Netstack Instances, so while I am demonstrating how to fix it for the “VMotion” Netstack Instance, you can follow exactly the same steps to fix it for other Netstack Instances include the “defaultcpipStack”.… Read More

Integrating VMware NSX 6.3 with vRealize Automation 7.2

There is many reasons why you would want to integrated your vRA with NSX including on demand networking and security. If you have found this page, you probably had already figured out your reason, so I am not going to spend much time on that. Let’s get to how to do it!

In order to be able to use NSX on demand capabilities in your vRA, you will need to integrated the two together. Today this happen in vRA using the NSX plugin for vRO. The below instruction will document the steps you need to integrate your vRA 7.2 environment with VMware NSX 6.3. These instructions should work with a very little modification for other versions of vRA 7.x and NSX 6.x.

Install the NSX Plugin for vRealize Orchestrator

1- Download the NSX Plugin for vRO (Latest at the time of this post is 1.0.4) from the following link: NSX Plugin for vRO 1.0.4

2- Go to your vRO Control Center by going to: https://vtvro01.vt.com:8283/vco-controlcenter/ and login using root and the password you supplied during installation.

3- From Under Plugins click on the Manage Plug-Ins icon.

4- Hit Browse and choose the downloaded NSX for vRO Plugin (Mine was called: o11nplugin-nsx-1.0.4.vmoapp)

5- Hit Install

6- Under Manager, hit the Startup Options

7- Hit Restart and wait for the service to load.… Read More

How to Configure vRealize Automation 7.x Management pack in vRealize Operations Manager

The installation of vRealize Operations Manager Management Pack for vRealize Automation is a popular ask due to the benefit of in depth monitoring of vRA offered by vROPs. The vRealize Automation Management Pack for vRealize Operations Manager is very quick to configure as long you know the steps and permissions required. In this post, I will show you how to easily start monitoring your vRA 7.x environment with vROPs. The steps below should get you setup in no time.

1- Download the vRealize Operations Manager Management Pack for vRealize Automation from VMware Solutions Exchange.

2- Log in to vRealize Operations Manager by using the administration console using the Admin user.

3- In the left pane of vRealize Operations Manager, click Administration and click Solutions.

vROPs Solution Tab before installing vRA Management Pack

4- Hit the Green Plus (Add management Pack button), then upload the downloaded management pack.

Installing vROPs management pack for vRealize Automation

5- Accept the EULA and hit next/install on the install screen, then wait for the plugin to complete installation.

6- When you have finished the installation of the vRA Management Pack for vROPs, the next step before you configure it, is to assign a service user proper permission to vRA to allow vROPs to connect/collect monitoring data from vRA. This user will need the following permissions: Tenant Administrator, IaaS Administrator,  Software Architect, and Fabric Group Admin.… Read More

Vote for the VMware CTO Ambassadors VMworld 2017 Submissions

As the VMware CTO Ambassadors program is made off just over 140 of the top VMware field talents, sessions submitted by this group are usually top notch and of great interest to our customers/partners. I wanted to collect all of these sessions in one spot to allows others in the community to recognize them and make sure my readers get a chance to review them and vote for them. Please take time to review them and vote for the ones you like!

Below is the list of the different sessions submitted by CTO Ambassadors ordered in the way received and not in anyway related to it’s greatness. There is a total of almost 50 sessions, so I am sure you will find at least few you like in the list below. Please be kind and vote for the ones you like.

Rate at least 5 of the below sessions, and leave your name in the comments area for a chance to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards sponsored by the VirtualizationTeam.com blog. Please note VMworld website now allow you to rate submissions and not just vote for it, so you can qualify by just rating submissions even if you don’t rate them highly, although I am sure you will find at least 5 sessions below that worth your 5 stars votes.… Read More

My VMworld 2017 VVD – NFV – SDN session

It’s that time of the year, where it is your chance to vote for the sessions you would like to see at VMworld. This year, I have submitted six VMworld Sessions focusing on VMware Validated Design (VVD), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Networking (SDN). I hope you find few you will like and vote for.

For those of you who are ready to rate the sessions, here is the list. If you like to ready the summary of all my sessions in one place, the you can read below. If you rate at least 3 of my sessions (high or low), please leave a comment below for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Two VCDXs Deep Dive into VVD Network Stack. [2269] (Breakout Session)
VMware Validated Design The Why? Who? What? Why? & How? [2258] (Breakout Session)
Addressing the Most Common VMware Validated Design Decisions Deviations [2232](Breakout Session)
VMware Validated Design Experts Panel [2062] (Panel Discussion)
Software Defined Networking (SDN) vs Network Function Virtualization (NFV) [2242] (Breakout Session)
Question the VVD Network Stack Decisions [2277] (Panel Discussion)

Below is a summary of my sessions and looking forward for your votes and support.

Two VCDXs Deep Dive into VVD Network Stack.

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vRA Installation Error: Another instance of the component is already installed on this server.

While I have been installing vRA lately as a part of a VMware Validated Design engagement using the Automated Deployment Tool, my vRA deployment tool failed as the DBA has not provided the right permissions on the SQL box required to install vRA. The error received at that moment was: “Error occurred while executing SQL file: User does not have permission to perform this action.”.  This error showed up in vCAC-Config.log file on the first IaaS web server.

The above error was pretty descriptive and easy to rectify by assigning a sysadmin role to my vRA user account used for the vRA installation as well provide it with a dbo role on the vRA database. I decided to go ahead and re-run my installation after I have resolved the permissions issue, and I started facing the following error, which I was not clear what’s going on initially: “Another instance of the component is already installed on this server.”

Here is what made this error initially confusing, it comes up as a part of SQL Database creation block. Below how the error looked as the installation was executing:

[root]  [INFO] ———————————————————————————————————————-
[root]  [INFO]         Installation of IaaS “db” component on host “vraweb01.vt.com” starts now
[root]  [INFO] ———————————————————————————————————————-
[root]  [INFO] Executing db Installation command:
[root]  /usr/sbin/vra-command execute –node 574C2057-4BEE-40E0-A163-AD86A1FTT32A install-db –SqlServer vtvrasql01.vt.com,1433 –DatabaseName vRA –DataPath  –LogPath  –UseWindowsAuthentication True –UseExistingDatabase True –UseEncryption False –SqlUser VT\svr_vra –SqlUserPassword *******
[root]  Parent command with id=’3bae80fe-02d2-4ea9-8290-8c2b634d1a5e’ was created.… Read More

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