Category Archives: VMware

test-ESXi-Network

I was lucky enough to take delivery of some new ESXi hosts recently. After installing them in the datacentre, I wanted to test that the network had been patched correctly. This environment is going to have Distributed vSwitches configured, but I wanted to test the physical connectivity before joining them to vCenter- have the physical NICs been patched to the correct networks?

PowerCLI to the rescue! I put together some code which automates this process. Provided with a hostname and a list of NICs and targets which should respond, the code fires off a ping for each interface in turn and reports back with success/fail messages.

Code
For each NIC it creates a temporary switch, portgroup, and VMkernel interface:

#Create Virtual Switches
$Switch1=New-VirtualSwitch -Name "sw_Connectivity_Test" -Nic $Nic
#Create PortGroups
$Portgroup1=New-VirtualPortGroup -Name "pg_Connectivity_Test" -VirtualSwitch $Switch1
#Create VMK Adapter
$vmk1=New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -PortGroup $Portgroup1 -VirtualSwitch $Switch1 -IP $HostIP -SubnetMask $SubnetMask

Then the esxcli functionality is used to ping a given target address:

#Test the connection
$esxcli= get-esxcli -V2                              #Use the ESXCLI to run the ping from the host
$arguments = $esxcli.network.diag.ping.CreateArgs()
$arguments.host=$TargetIP                            #Set IP Address to Ping
$arguments.count="2"                                 #How Many Times to Ping
$arguments.interface=$vmk1                           #Use the configured VMKernel Interface
$Result=($esxcli.network.diag.ping.Invoke($arguments)).Summary.Recieved

Once the test is complete, the temporary virtual network components are removed.

#Tidy up- delete all the Networking Components created
Remove-VMHostNetworkAdapter $vmk1 -Confirm:$false
Remove-VirtualPortGroup $PortGroup1 -Confirm:$false
Remove-VirtualSwitch $Switch1 -Confirm:$false

The full code is available for download (and potential improvement) on GitHub.

 

 

London VMUG June 2017

Last month I was back in London for another VMware User Group meeting. There was a good mixture of familiar faces and first-time attendees all ready to lap up a day of learning. As usual I came away with pages of notes, so here’s a rundown of my experiences.

Nimble Storage

Peter Evans from Nimble Storage brought us the first of the sponsor sessions- “What can a storage vendor bring to your virtualisation platform?”. I’ve looked at Nimble before (including at this event) and their jewel-in-the-crown is still their Infosight analytics platform. This set the (possibly unintentional) theme for the sponsors today- plenty of analytics, machine learning, and predictive solutions.

90% of Nimble arrays are used with VMware infrastructures, and integration with SPBM and VASA features helps promote that. They’ve obviously worked hard to develop a reputation for reliability within that ecosystem. From their own figures they are reporting five-nines of uptime across all their customer estates partly helped by their cloud analytics which allow a problem at one customer to be proactively prevented at the others.

It will be interesting to see how the Nimble platform develops following the acquisition by HPE earlier this year. We were told at the VMUG that the analytics capabilities are expected to be integrated into the HPE storage platforms and we’re already seeing some product announcements.

#VMWonAWS

First announced last year, VMware on AWS is arriving this summer and Frank Denneman was here to update us on the latest developments as this approaches that GA date.

IMG_20170622_110509060With most organisations having at least a hybrid cloud strategy, and others are looking even further towards zero datacentres, Frank explained how this can cause issues with those legacy applications. He went on to talk about how cloud providers expect high availability to be implemented at an application level- VMware solved this in the datacentre with vSphere HA, but short of building a new app from the ground up it can be difficult in a regular cloud setting to emulate this ability.

We were told how VMware on AWS takes bare metal servers on the AWS global infrastructure and installs the vCenter/vSphere/vSAN/NSX stack- basically offering private cloud on a public cloud provider and consistency with the existing on-premises solutions.

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This gets even more interesting as we’re promised that more and more of the native AWS services will be made accessible to the hosted VMware environment- there’s definitely a buzz in the room when this is mentioned as people start thinking about the possibilities this opens up.

Serverless

In the last session of the morning Julian Wood asked us “Can I order some servers for my serverless please?”- an interesting session with an overview of the ideas behind serverless and how they fit in with our current technologies.
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Julian offered an interesting metaphor here which helps explain “serverless”- Serverless has servers in the same way that a wireless network has wires. The servers are still there, but the interaction is with the functions (FaaS) or the backend systems (BaaS) rather than the tin, hypervisor, operating system, or container.

The three main offerings of Amazon Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions were discussed, along with the differences between the FaaS and BaaS services- Functions are stateless, with logic whilst BaaS offers more data longevity (for example by writing to a database) but without any logic.

My impression is that this is a new technology finding it’s niche with a few successful use cases (training service A Cloud Guru was mentioned as one) and adds another potential architecture to the catalogue of any modern application developer.

Blue Medora

After lunch there were two sponsor tracks available, SIOS were presenting in Track B and I picked Track A where Alain Geenrits and Ian Wells from sponsors Blue Medora  were talking on “Predictive Analytics for IT Operations Using VMware vRealize”.

This talk covered some of their range of vRealize Operations plugins which allow dashboards in vROps to present a wider view of the applications and infrastructure stack. These other components include storage from vendors such as Dell, databases such as MySQL and SQL Server, and then additional bits of infrastructure monitored through Nagios or SCOM.

Their system detects the relationship between these components, creating an inventory tree and helping explain to the admins and operators how the pieces of the infrastructure are interconnected.

Diving Deep

in the last session of the day Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort gave an insight into some of the topics covered in their new book- “VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive”. “Deep Dive” is a bit of an understatement here- and you’ll have to buy the book to get the details- but there’s some really good nuggets of information that everyone can use.

For example (and check out page 224-228 of the book for the full details)- are you aware of the impact on performance that can be created by filling memory slots in a server? The performance of all the memory can be severely reduced (by as much as 25%) by the controller to prevent signals overloading the bus when using 3 DIMMs per channel. To quote their words:

“DIMM population guidelines create a challenge whether the capacity can be solved using higher capacity DIMMs or taking the throughput hit as more capacity is only obtainable by populating all DIMM sockets.”


Overall there was a good story behind the sessions at this event- from the core VMware hypervisor in the Host Deep Dive, through the surrounding ecosystem in the sponsor sessions and then out of the datacentre and “into the cloud” with talks on VMware on AWS and Serverless technologies. All of this was wrapped up by the community of attendees, speakers, and of course the VMUG Leaders who without the event wouldn’t happen.

#vBeers

As in previous years the London VMUG team upped their game for the social after the summer event and Dave Simpson once again proved he could organise a booze up in a brewery.  Thanks are also due to Nutanix for sponsoring this part of the event.

IMG_20170622_185029673_HDR

So after the close of the event most of the attendees decamped to the FourPure brewery down the road in Bermondsey for a bit of drink, food, and talking shop. As always this was a great end to the day and a real opportunity to discuss the day’s revelations alongside what we’ve all been up to back in the office. This really brings the community together and is, in my opinion, one of the major selling points of the user group experience.

Future Dates

The UK VMUG “UserCon” is back in Birmingham on 16th November 2017, and the next London date is 18 January 2018. Both events are always on the lookout for new speakers too- particularly from the community. Details and a sign-up form can be found here- tinyurl.com/VMUG-CFP.

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Let’s talk about SexiGraf

I was introduced to SexiGraf by Eric Bussink during a roundtable at the April London VMUG meeting. The room was divided into those who said “Oh yeah, SexiGraf, it’s awesome” and those, like me, who hadn’t yet discovered it.

2017-06-20

SexiGraf is a free community tool that creates some great (you might even say sexy) graphs based on vCenter statistics. Whilst it might not have all the bells and whistles of the big commercial monitoring solutions it does provide a neat, easy to use, web-based interface to get at those important headline figures and how they’ve changed over time.

Screenshot_20170620-092020The small footprint  (2vCPU, 2GB) makes it ideal for the homelab, but there’s also scope for keying into larger production environments to get a quick look at the state of your environment, event from a mobile device when you’re at the airport or in a meeting.

Installation is straightforward and well documented- SexiGraf deploys via an OVF template to the Virtual Infrastructure and connection to vCenter just requires a read-only vSphere credential to be provided. Updates are quick and easy too as a simple patch package can be uploaded via the web admin interface and the server patched in minutes without any loss of history.

Having run this myself for just a couple of months I can already see the benefits both from a capacity planning point of view but also when troubleshooting- “is this host using resources differently to others?” or “is the cluster usage different to normal?”.

As well as the vSphere statistics, SexiGraf is continually expanding it’s range. VMware vSAN, Windows, and FreeNAS connectivity is all offered and HP C7000 and S.M.A.R.T counters are under development.

If you haven’t yet discovered it, I’d recommend having a look. Downloads and full details are here- http://www.sexigraf.fr/

vHighlights #005

Some highlights from VMware ecosystem and Virtualisation in general from the past 7 days. Announcements, discoveries, and useful bits-and-bobs found on  the internet. Week ending 9th April 2017.

  • VMworld 2017 registration is now open. Following the date change on the European event into September, tickets for both the US and EU events were launched at the same time this year. Early-Bird pricing lasts into June. C8kM2rJWAAALv6c
  • OVH Announces Intent to Acquire VMware vCloud Air Business. It’s not a huge surprise that the running-a-datacentre part of the vCloud Air business is leaving the roost at VMware. VMware’s direction over the past couple of years has led to the Cloud Foundation platform and the potential ability to move a vSphere workload from on-premises to cloud to cloud with VMware-owned hosting no longer holding the limelight as the preferred solution. The cross-cloud architecture and the vCloud Air Network (vCAN) should mean that the vCloud Air model continues, but just as another independent vSphere cloud in the sky.
  • vSAN 6.6 will be launched in the next few days. Some good features are being added in this release- including encryption for data at rest, this should work not only with VM loads, but also the iSCSI connectivity that was introduced in 6.5 last year.
  • At the London VMUG meeting this week, VCDX Sam McGeown gave a talk about automating his home lab with the Amazon Alexa. Whilst I’m not convinced that we’ll all be dropping our keyboards and mice to manage infrastructures by voice- it does give a good example of interfacing, APIs and vRealize Orchestrator. And it’s very cool.