Category Archives: 6.2

New Dedicated VSAN Management Plugin For vROps Released

Some of you may have seen the tweets and the article from legendary Duncan Epping here about the release of the new VMware VSAN plugin for vROPS (vRealize Operations Management Pack for vSAN version 1.0)

If you’ve ever had the previous VSAN plugin for vROps deployed, you might know that it was not a dedicated plugin for VSAN alone, but was a vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices as a whole which included not just the visibility in to VSAN but also legacy storage stats such as FC, iSCSI and NFS for legacy storage units (that used to connect to Cisco DCNM or Brocade Fabric switches).

This vROps plugin for vSAN  however is the first dedicated plugin for VSAN (hence the version 1.0) on vROps. According to the documentation it has the following features

  • Discovers vSAN disk groups in a vSAN datastore.
  • Identifies the vSAN-enabled cluster compute resource, host system, and datastore objects in a vCenter Server system.
  • Automatically adds related vCenter Server components that are in the monitoring state.

How to Install / Upgrade from the previous MPSD plugin

  1. Download the management pack (.pak file)
    1. https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/vmware-vrealize-operations-management-pack-for-vsan
  2. Login to the vROps instance as the administrator / with administrative privileges and go to Administration -> Solutions
  3. Click add (plus sign) and select the .Pak file and select the 2 check boxes to replace if already installed and reset default content. Accept any warnings and click upload.
  4. Once the upload is complete and staged, verify the signature validity and click next to proceed               
  5. Click next and accept the EULA and proceed. The management plugin will start to install.
  6. Now select the newly installed management plugin for VSAN and click configure. Within this window, connect to the vCenter server (cannot use previously configured credentials for MPSD). When creating the credentials, you need to specify an admin account for the vCenter instance. Connection can be verified using the test button.  
  7. Once connected, wait for the data collection from VSAN cluster to complete and verify collection is showing
  8. Go to Home and verify that the VSAN dedicated dashboard items are now available on vROps               
  9. By Default there will be 3 VSAN specific dashboard available now as follows under default dashboards
    1. vSAN Environment Overview – This section provide some vital high level information on the vSAN cluster including its type, total capacity, used, any congestion if available, and average latency figures along with any active alerts on the VSAN cluster. As you can see I have a number of alerts due to using non-compliant hardware in my VSAN cluster.   
    2. vSAN Performance
      1. This default dashboard provide various performance related information / stats for the vSAN cluster rand datastores as well as the VM’s residing on it. You can also check performance such as VM latency and IOPS levels based on the VM’s you select on the tile view and the trend forecast which is think is going to be real handy.    
      2. Similarly, you can see performance at vSAN disk group level also which shows information such as Write buffer performance or Reach cache performance levels, current as well as future forecasted levels which are new and were not previously accessible easily.
      3. You can also view the performance at ESXi host level which shows the basic information such as current CPU utilisation as well as RAM including current and future (forecast) trend lines in true vROps style which are going to be really well received. Expect the content available on this ppage to be significantly extended in the future iterations of this mgmt. pack.  
    3. Optimize vSAN Deployments – This page provide a high level comparison of vSAN and non vSAN enviorments which would be especially handy if you have vSAN datastores alongside traditional iSCSI or NFS data stores to see how for example, IOPS and latency compares between VM’s on VSAN and an NFS datastore presented to the same ESXi server (I have both)    
  10. Under Environment -> vSAN and Storage Devices, additional vSAN hierarchy information such as vSAN enabled clusters, Fault domains (if relevant), Disk groups and Witness hosts (if applicable) are now visible for monitoring which is real handy.                                                                        
  11. In the inventory explorer, you can see the list of vSAN inventory items that the data are being collected for.   

All in all, this is a welcome addition and will only continue to be improved and new monitoring features added as we go up the versions. I realy like the dedicated plugin factor as well as the nice default dashboards included with this version which no doubt will help customers truly use vROps as a single pane of glass for all things monitoring on the SDDC including VSAN.

Cheers

Chan

VVDs, Project Ice, vRNI & NSX – Summary Of My Breakout Sessions From Day 1 at VMworld 2016 US –

Capture

Quick post to summerise the sessions I’ve attended on day 1 at @VMworld 2016 and few interesting things I’ve noted. First up are the 3 sessions I had planned to attend + the additional session I managed to walk in to.

Breakout Session 1 – Software Defined Networking in VMware validated Designs

  • Session ID: SDDC7578R
  • Presenter: Mike Brown – SDDC Integration Architect (VMware)

This was a quick look at the VMware Validated Designs (VVD) in general and the NSX design elements within the SDDC stack design in the VVD. If you are new to VVD’s and are typically involved in designing any solutions using the VMware software stack, it is genuinely worth reading up on and should try to replicate the same design principles (within your solution design constraints) where possible. The diea being this will enable customers to deploy robust solutions that have been pre-validated by experts at VMware in order to ensure the ighest level of cross solution integrity for maximum availability and agility required for a private cloud deployment. Based on typical VMware PSO best practices, the design guide (Ref architecture doc) list out each design decision applicable to each of the solution components along with the justification for that decision (through an explanation) as well as the implication of that design decision. An example is given below

NSX VVD

I first found out about the VVDs during last VMworld in 2015 and mentioned in my VMworld 2015 blog post here. At the time, despite the annoucement of availability, not much content were actually avaialble as design documents but its now come a long way. The current set of VVD documents discuss every design, planning, deployment and operational aspect of the following VMware products & versions, integrated as a single solution stack based on VMware PSO best practises. It is based on a multi site (2 sites) production solution that customers can replicate in order to build similar private cloud solutions in their environments. These documentation set fill a great big hole that VMware have had for a long time in that, while their product documentation cover the design and deployment detail for individual products, no such documentaiton were available for when integrating multiple products and with VVD’s, they do now. In a way they are similar to CVD documents (Cisco Validated Designs) that have been in use for the likes of FlexPod for VMware…etc.

VVD Products -1

VVD Products -2

VVD’s generally cover the entire solution in the following 4 stages. Note that not all the content are fully available yet but the key design documents (Ref Architecture docs) are available now to download.

  1. Reference Architecture guide
    1. Architecture Overview
    2. Detailed Design
  2. Planning and preperation guide
  3. Deployment Guide
    1. Deployment guide for region A (primary site) is now available
  4. Operation Guide
    1. Monitoring and alerting guide
    2. backup and restore guide
    3. Operation verification guide

If you want to find out more about VVDs, I’d have a look at the following links. Just keep in mind that the current VVD documents are based on a fairly large, no cost barred type of design and for those of you who are looking at much smaller deployments, you will need to exercise caution and common sense to adopt some of the recommended design decisions to be within the appplicable cost constraints (for example, current NSX design include deploying 2 NSX managers, 1 integrated with the management cluster vCenter and the other with the compute cluster vCenter, meaning you need NSX licenses on the management clutser too. This may be an over kill for most as typically, for most deployments, you’d only deploy a single NSX manager integrated to the compute cluster)

As for the Vmworld session itself, the presenter went over all the NSX related design decisions and explained them which was a bit of a waste of time for me as most people would be able to read the document and understand most of those themselves. As a result I decided the leave the session early, but have downloaded the VVD documents in order to read throughly at leisure. 🙂

Breakout Session 2 – vRA, API, Ci Oh My!

  • Session ID: DEVOP7674
  • Presenters

vRA Jenkins Plugin

As I managd to leave the previous session early, I manage to just walk in to this session which had just started next door and both Kris and Ryan were talking about the DevOps best practises with vRealize Automation and vrealize Code Stream. they were focusing on how developpers who are using agile development that want to invoke infrastructure services can use these products and invoke their capabilities through code, rather than through the GUI. One of the key focus areas was the vRA plugin for Jenkins and if you were a DevOps person of a developper, this session content would be great value. if you can gain access to the slides or the session recordings after VMworld (or planning to attend VMworld 2016 Europe), i’d highly encourage you to watch this session.

Breakout Session 3 – vRealize, Secure and extend your data center to the cloud suing NSX: A perspective for service providers and end users

  • Session ID: HBC7830
  • Presenters
    • Thomas Hobika – Director, America’s Service Provider solutions engineering & Field enablement, vCAN, vCloud Proviuder Software business unit (VMware)
    • John White – Vice president of product strategy (Expedient)

Hosted Firewall Failover

This session was about using NSX and other products (i.e. Zerto) to enable push button Disaster Recovery for VMware solutions presented by Thomas, and John was supposed to talk about their involvement in designing this solution.  I didn’t find this session content that relevent to the listed topic to be honest so left failrly early to go to the blogger desks and write up my earlier blog posts from the day which I thought was of better use of my time. If you would like more information on the content covered within this sesstion, I’d look here.

 

Breakout Session 4 – Practical NSX Distributed Firewall Policy Creation

  • Session ID: SEC7568
  • Presenters
    • Ron Fuller – Staff Systems Engineer (VMware)
    • Joseph Luboimirski – Lead virtualisation administrator (University of Michigan)

Fairly useful session focusing about NSX distributed firewall capability and how to effectively create a zero trust security policy on ditributed firewall using vairous tools. Ron was talking about various different options vailablle including manual modelling based on existing firewall rules and why that could potentially be inefficient and would not allow customers to benefit from the versatality available through the NSX platform. He then mentioned other approaches such as analysing traffic through the use of vRealize Network Insight (Arkin solution) that uses automated collection of IPFIX & NetFlow information from thre virtual Distributed Switches to capture traffic and how that capture data could potentialy be exported out and be manipulated to form the basis for the new firewall rules. He also mentioned the use of vRealize Infrastructure Navigator (vIN) to map out process and port utilisation as well as using the Flow monitor capability to capture exisitng communication channels to design the basis of the distributed firewall. The session also covered how to use vRealize Log Insight to capture syslogs as well.

All in all, a good session that was worth attending and I would keep an eye out, especially if you are using / thinking about using NSx for advanced security (using DFW) in your organisation network. vRealize Network Insight really caught my eye as I think the additional monitoring and analytics available through this platform as well as the graphical visualisation of the network activities appear to be truely remarkeble (explains why VMware integrated this to the Cross Cloud Services SaS platform as per this morning’s announcement) and I cannot wait to get my hands on this tool to get to the nitty gritty’s.

If you are considering large or complex deployment of NSX, I would seriously encourage you to explore the additional features and capabilities that this vRNI solution offers, though it’s important to note that it is licensed separately form NSX at present.

vNI         vNI 02

 

Outside of these breakout sessions I attended and the bloggin time in between, I’ve managed to walk around the VM Village to see whats out there and was really interested in the Internet Of Things area where VMware was showcasing their IOT related solutions currently in R&D. VMware are currently actively developing an heterogeneous IOT platform monitoring soluton (internal code name: project Ice). The current version of the project is about partnering up with relevent IOT device vendors to develop a common monitoring platform to monitor and manage the various IOT devices being manufacured by various vendors in various areas. If you have a customer looking at IOT projects, there are opportunities available now within project Ice to sign up with VMware as a beta tester and co-develop and co-test Ice platform to perform monitoring of these devices.

An example of this is what VMware has been doing with Coca Cola to monitor various IOT sensors deployed in drinks vending machines and a demo was available in the booth for eall to see

IOT - Coke

Below is a screenshot of Project Ice monitoring screen that was monitoring the IOT sensors of this vending machine.   IOT -

The solution relies on an Open-Source, vendor neutral SDK called LIOTA (Little IOT Agent) to develop a vendor neutral agent to monitor each IOT sensor / device and relay the information back to the Ice monitoring platform. I would keep and eye out on this as the use cases of such a solution is endless and can be applied on many fronts (Auto mobiles, ships, trucks, Air planes as well as general consumer devices). One can argue that the IOT sensor vendors themselves should be respornsible for developping these mo nitoring agents and platforms but most of these device vendors do not have the knowledge or the resources to build such intelligent back end platforms which is where VMware can fill that gap through a partship.

If you are in to IOT solutions, this is defo a one to keep your eyes on for further developments & product releases. This solution is not publicly available as of yet though having spoken to the product manager (Avanti Kenjalkar), they are expecting a big annoucement within 2 months time which is totally exciting.

Some additional details can be found in the links below

Cheers

Chan

#vRNI #vIN #VVD # DevOps #Push Button DR # Arkin Project Ice # IOT #LIOTA

VMware VSAN 6.2 Performance & Storage savings

Just a quick post to share some very interesting performance stats observed on my home lab VSAN cluster (Build details here). The VSAN datastore is in addition to a few NFS datastores also mounted on the same hosts using an external Synology SAN.

I had to build a number of Test VMs, a combination of Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter and 2016 TP4 Datacenter VMs on this cluster and I placed all of them on the VSAN datastore to test the performance. See below the storage performance stats during the provisioning (cloning from template) time. Within the Red square are the SSD drive performance stats (where the new VM’s being created) Vs Synology’s NFS mount’s performance  stats (where templates resides) in the Yellow box.

Provisioning Performance

Pretty impressive from all Flash VSAN running on a bunch of white box servers with consumer grade SSD drives (officially unsupported of course but works!), especially relative to the performance of the Synology NFS mounts (RAID1/0 setup for high performance), right??

Imagine what the performance would have been if this was on enterprise grade hardware in your datacentre?

Also caught my eye was the actual inline deduplication and compression savings immediately available on the VSAN datastore after the VM’s were provisioned.

Dedupe & Compression Savings

As you can see, to store 437GB of raw data, with a FTT=1 (where VSAN keeping redundant copies of each vmdk file), its only consuming 156GB of actual storage on the VSAN cluster, saving me 281GB of precious SSD storage capacity. Note that this is WITHOUT Erasure Coding RAID 5 or RAID 6 that’s also available with VSAN 6.2 which, had that been enabled, would have further reduced the actual consumed space more.

The point of this all is the performance and the storage savings available in VSAN, especially all flash VSAN is epic and I’ve seen this in my own environment. In an enterprise datacenter, All Flash VSAN can drastically improve your storage performance but at the same time, significantly cut down on your infrastructure costs for all of your vSphere storage environments. I personally know a number of clients who have achieved such savings in their production environments and each and every day, there seem to be more and more demand from customers for VSAN as their preferred storage / Hyper-Converged technology of choice for all their vSphere use cases.

I would strongly encourage you to have a look at this wonderful technology and realise these technical and business benefits (summary available here) for yourself.

Share your thoughts via comments below or feel free to reach out to discuss what you think via email or social media

Thanks

Chan

New VMware Product Availabilities – Now available to download

Update

VMware have just made a number of new product versions (mostly maintenance releases on few different products, including that of the much hyped VSAN 6.2) so a quick post to summarise the content that was released last night (15.03.2016)

  • VMware VSAN 6.2 – VMware VSAN 6.2 was officially announced in early February with a number of cool new features such as Erasure coding but unless you were a techie trying to download the software, you may have not known that it was not available for download despite being announced. That was until yesterday and the product is now available to download for every customer.

 

  • VMware vRealize Automation 7.0.1 now released and available for download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • VMware vRealize Orchestrator 7.0.1 is released and available to download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vRealize Business for Cloud (Old ITBMS offering) is also released and available for grabs now
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vRealize Log Insight 3.3.1 is released and available to download
    • Release notes here
    • Product binaries here
    • Documentation here

 

  • vCloud Suite 7.0 is also released and available to download (here) – This includes all of the above new versions of products plus the exiting versions for vSphere Replication 6.1 + vSphere Data Protection 6.1.2 + vROPS 6.2.0a + vRealize Infrastructure Navigator 5.8.5

New VMware Hybrid Cloud Announcements – Summary

Cover Photo

As you may already know by now, VMware have just announced a number of new product versions along with few changes to their Cloud Management product positioning during the online event that took place on the 10th of Feb 2016 (If you missed the announcements, you can watch the recordings here). The announcements were made for products that fall under 2 tracks (Digital workspace & Cloud Management which effective means EUC &  Datacenter track respectively).

While I’m not going to cover what was discussed under the Digital Enterprise section (mostly EUC focused, around Horizon Suite and Workspace 1), I’m going to summarize some of the key points mentioned under the Hybrid Cloud track below and the related product positioning changes.

Hybrid Cloud related new Product updates – Summary

One Cloud (Hybrid Cloud with private, hosted and public cloud), Any application, Any device seems to be the new mantra going forward and is fully underpinned by VMware’s software Defined Datacentre (SDDC). VMware are seeing the Hybrid Cloud is playing a major part in the interim future in the industry (I know many customers agree too) and they appear to be seeing user owned kit (housed in an on-premise DC or an off premise hosted DC like Equinix) along with various different public cloud platforms all playing a part of a typical customer datacentre going forward. Each public cloud provider is almost seen as a new Silo in the customers new Hybrid Cloud Datacentre and VMware are focusing on providing a unified management platform across all these Silo’s. To be frank, this is not so much news, as their focus and the subsequent messaging has been the same for a while. But their have now added compatibility with almost all key Public cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, Google, IBM SoftLayer) and stressing the “any cloud” message through this announcement.

Here’s the summary of the related new products announced

  • VMware VSAN 6.2 Updates

    • VSAN 6.2 is announced
      • For key 6.2 (new) technical features – Refer to the 2 articles below
        • Duncan Epping’s legendary Yellow-Bricks here
        • Comac Hogan’s blog here
    • VSAN (together with vSphere) is a Hyper-Converged Software Solution (finally…!!)           HCS
    • All flash VSAN is key and most new features are available on all flash VSAN only – also inline with storage industry trends.
    • 2 new VSAN ready node options from Supermicro, Hitachi and Fujitsu (different to legacy VSAN ready nodes) VSAN - Ready Nodes
      • Customers can choose to factory install the VMware hyper-converged software (HCS), namely vSphere and Virtual SAN.
      • Customers can use their existing vSphere and VSAN licenses, or  buy new licenses from the OEM vendor. All OEMs offer the flexibility of perpetual licenses that are node-transferrable, while some OEMs may also offer embedded licenses, which are fundamentally tied to the hardware system
      • Customers can continue to purchase support from VMware, or leverage a single-vendor model by getting support for both hardware and software from their OEM of choice
    • VSAN is also available for VMware Photon – DevOps & CNA friendly                    VSAN for Photon

 

  • vRealize Suite Updates

    • vRA Version 7.0 (announced in December 2015)
      • More cloud endpoint supported: now supports Google, IBM SoftLayer, as well as AWS, Azure & vCloud Air
    • vRealize Business 7.0 announced
    • vROPS remain the same as version 6.2
    • vRealize Log Insight 3.3
  • NSX Updates
    • NSX is the common networking layer across private and public cloud platforms (including AWS & Azure)

 

Product Positioning & Packaging Changes – Summary

Number of VMware Product Suite / Packages have been changed to reflect 3 different use cases VMware trying to address with their product portfolio, going forward. These key use cases are as follows,

  1. Intelligent Operations: Basic, virtualised datacentre use case
  2. Automated to IaaS: Have advanced virtualisation with additional requirements such as some automation and orchestration and IaaS capability
  3. DevOps-Ready: True Hybrid Cloud requirement

Use Cases

And the content of these product suites have also changed. A quick summary of the key changes are explained below.

  • Core Platform – “Naked” vSphere                                               vSphere versions

    • Previous: Standard, Enterprise, Enterprise plus (for both the vSphere and vSOM bundles)
    • New: Standard & Enterprise plus only – No more vSphere Enterprise!
      • For existing vSphere ENT customers, there are 2 choices
        • Upgrade to vSphere ENT+ with 50% discount (available till 25th of June 2016) OR
        • Stay on vSphere ENT till product end of support
    • vCenter list price increased, but now include 25 OSI license for vRealize Log Insight (restricted to do log analysis for vSphere hosts, vCenter & VMware content packs only) in return.
  • vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM)

    • Previous: vSOM Standard, Enterprise & Enterprise plus
    • New: Enterprise plus only – No more vSOM STD or vSOM ENT!
      • For existing vSOM STD & ENT customers, there are 2 choices
        • Upgrade to vSphere ENT+ with 50% discount (available till 25th of June 2016) OR
        • Stay on current till product end of support
  • vRealize Suite (vRS) 7.0

     vrealize-suite-lineup

    • Previous: N/A
    • New: STD, ADV, ENT
      • Standard: vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced
      • Advanced (with IaaS capabilities): vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced, vRealize Automation Advanced (now cheaper since vRealize Configurations Manager is now excluded)
      • Enterprise (with DevOps capabilities): vRealize Business for Cloud STD, Log Insight, vROPS Advanced, vRealize Automation Enterprise with Application Automation, vROPS App monitoring. (cheaper now as vROPS ENT  & vCM removed from the suite now)
      • vRS licenses are now portable (between private & public cloud) – Applies to the Suite licenses only (standalone components don’t qualify)
        • On-Premise = per CPU socket
        • Public Cloud (vCloud Air,, AWS, Azure) = 15 OSI’s per license unit (portable license unit = 1 cpu socket license)
        • 3rd party On-Prem (Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM) = 15 OSI’s per license unit (portable license unit = 1 cpu socket license)PLU update
  • vCloud Suite (vCS) 7 – New Packaging & Licensing

    • Previous: version 6.0  in STD, ADV, ENT
    • New: version 7.0 also in STD, ADV, ENT. See comparison below.          vCS Comparison
      • All vCS editions now include vRealize Suite & vSphere ENT+
      • SRM & vCM both now removed from vCS 7 ENT
      • New licensing available from 1st of March (Existing vCloud Suite EOA by 1st of June FY16)
      • (Only) vRS Licenses are portable (between private & public cloud)
  • VSAN

    • Previous Categories (5.5 & 6.x): Standard & Advanced
    • New categories (from version 6.2 onwards): Standard, Advanced, Enterprise   VSAN 6.2 Editions

Additional info regarding packaging changes and price changes can be found on the following links

Re-Cap and My thoughts

  • There appear to be less and less focus on core products such as vSphere and VMware’s focus is somewhat shifting to other management and enablement areas. This makes sense as the hypervisor is increasingly becoming a commodity and the value-add now is in the Cloud Management Software suite that manage the Hypervisor as well as various other Public Cloud platforms.
  • In general, cost of basic vSphere will go up for many customers due to the removal of Enterprise edition and most medium to large corporate and enterprise customers will now be forced to buy ENT+ edition, which also just happened to cost a little more than it did before, at the same time.
  • New products like VSAN & NSX-v however will increase the sticky-ness of the vSphere customers (both needs vSphere) within the customer’s datacentre still so vSphere is not yet fully done with (for the foreseeable future anyway)
  • While all the new VSAN features are really awesome and great, do bear in mind that most of them if not all are going to cost you slightly more as,
    • They are only available with more expensive Enterprise edition of VSAN
    • They are only available for on all flash VSAN’s. Meaning more expensive SSD drives for capacity too so more expensive hardware.
  • All flash VSAN should still be cheaper overall though for the customer compared to having to buy the same servers (without disks) + a separate all flash SAN
  • So all in all, except for VSAN 6.2 announcement, not a whole lot of exciting new features. This is not a major announcement but more of a minor change of product positioning, along with a re-pricing exercise, however I do like the direction VMware is heading with their product portfolio.

 

Note: Slide credit goes to VMware. Note that the NDA on some of these contents have now elapsed (after the general announcement on the 10th of Feb) so I shouldn’t get in to trouble for sharing 🙂

Cheers

Chan