Tag Archives: vExpert

Vendor Brief: Runecast

runecast3This evening I was amongst a group of vExperts attending a webinar briefing from Runecast. The company is relatively new on the scene at only a couple of years old, but the product has created a stir in the VMware community. In this briefing CEO Stanimir Markov gave an overview of the product before Senior Engineer Ivaylo Ivanov dived into a walkthrough of the vRealize Operations integration they have developed.

Runecast Analyzer is a platform which takes the VMware knowledge base,along with some expertise, best practises, and regulations (for example the DISA STIGs used by US Federal Agencies) and runs an analysis to determine which of these advisories or best practises apply to the target virtual infrastructure. This produces a report of findings – perhaps there’s a missing patch, or a configuration issue which has been flagged as a potential trouble-spot – which exposes existing issues and enables the admin to keep their infrastructure running smoother. Runecast also scour social media, blog articles, and online forums to pick up on potential issues sometimes before they have been officially recognised by VMware and made it into the Knowledge Base.

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The application is deployed as a virtual appliance and sits in the datacentre where it can talk to vCenter(s) and the ESXi hosts themselves (for example to receive host logs via syslog). The current version – Runecast Analyzer 1.6.2 – will support vSphere 5.x and 6.x versions. Although it usually requires an internet connection to download the latest updates, no data is sent back and in high security environments it’s even possible to run the system totally disconnected from the internet- providing updates on downloaded and tested ISO images.

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VMworld this year saw the launch of the vRealize Orchestrator plugin which was covered in the demo portion of this briefing. This integration allows the potential for more automated responses to issues. As an example,  if there’s a Knowledge Base article which states that a certain configuration may cause an error and suggests a fix or workaround, a vRO workflow could be put together to interrogate the Runecast Analyzer instance, spot affected objects in the environment and apply the fix.

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The Analyzer product is continually developing. vSAN and NSX support are on the roadmap along with integration with PCI-DSS compliance checks. If all this sounds interesting, check it out- there’s a free 14-day trial available through the Runecast.biz website.

 

Beginners Guide to….. Runecast Analyzer
What does it do?

imageMonitors your environment against a list of VMware KB articles, and other industry guidelines to proactively avoid problems ensure your virtual infrastructure is running to best practises.

What do I need to buy?

Runecast Analyzer deploys as a virtual appliance with licensing based on ESXi sockets. There is a free 14-day trial.

How do I use it?

Deploy the OVA to your environment and point it at vCenter. Management of the product is via an HTML5 web interface, the vSphere (or VRO) Client via a plugin, or a REST API.

Where can I find out more?

 

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales presentation rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment.


Advert:
VMware vExpert 2017

#vExpert 2017 Award

I’m honored to again be a member of VMware’s vExpert program following the 2017 award announcement yesterday evening.

[vExperts are] people who were particularly engaged with their community and who had developed a substantial personal platform of influence in those communities.

This idea of technical community is core to the award, and something that I believe VMware foster extremely well. The (separate but related) VMUG organisation is obviously a large part of this- I’m a regular at the London events – and between that and VMworld there’s the opportunity to meet fellow professionals in person. The vExpert Slack Channel is always busy but the wider VMware online community extends from Cloud Credibility, VMTN, VMware {code} and out into all the independent forums and blogs. Not forgetting Twitter of course.

So, much more to come from me through the next year and I look forward to continuing to be an active member of the vCommunity.

#vBeers – trying out a new gathering

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vBeers- “an opportunity for virtualization enthusiasts and professionals to meet and enjoy discussing all things virtualization and anything else in the world of tech”

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Over the past year or so I’ve bumped into a number of fellow virtualisation pro’s in the community who live in the commuter belt around London. We’ve often met up for a #vBeer or two in the capital, and I’ve floated the idea of a “vBeers in the Country”- i.e. evening meetups in a pub to talk tech but held outside of the M25. The suggestion was generally well received, so I set about putting something together. Here’s an insight into went on to organise this in case anyone finds it useful in putting on their own event.

Working out Availability

imageWhilst I could have gone with the option of “My local, two weeks on Wednesday”, I decided to try and find out when people were usually available and where they were likely to travel to for a meetup. That way we could organise something with potentially better attendance. I chose a selection of locations that I could get to by train (I thought it would be nice if I could go too 🙂 ) and put together a survey on Google Forms to find out what night the majority of respondents would be available, and where they would be interested in going to.

Picking a time and a place

We had a number of responses, and the results clearly pointed to a Thursday night in Guildford being the favoured option. Picking a particular Thursday was the next step. I was keen to avoid clashing with other tech events (local VMUGs, Cloud Camps, AWSome Days, etc.) that people might be interested in, and also avoiding January – paychecks are often stretched that month and some people join in with the “Dry January” events for charitable or health reasons which don’t necessarily play well with an evening in a pub.

Next up was picking a suitable venue. Guildford is lucky to have a number of nice public houses and many are close to the train station. Carefully navigating the calendars of the various hostelries I discovered that one of the nice riverside pubs, the Britannia, was open for food and drink and didn’t have a band or pub quiz happening on the evening in question. One twitter and email chat later and the nice staff there even reserved a table for us- and seemed happy with my “I’ve no idea how many people will turn up” position.

Getting the word out

imageThe vBeers.org website (“Where vGeeks Come To Meet”) was my first point of call following a suggestion from Jane Rimmer.  Once the page there was published I started getting the word out on the Twitters and via tech Slack groups I’m in. We also had a London VMUG event before the date and Simon Gallagher kindly plugged the event in his opening slides and it gave me the opportunity to tell people in person.

The Results

Well, after a nervous 15 minutes sat in the pub wondering if I’d be spending the evening on my own with a beer (hey, even failure has it’s benefits!) Dave and Andy, both friends and fellow vExperts from the London VMUG, were the first to arrive and the evening got going. In amongst some excellent food and drink we discussed all manner of things technical- from the new VMware releases to our latest war stories and (as Andy was bribed with points to come along) the current batch of CloudCred tasks.

What Next?

Whilst the number of attendees wasn’t massive I think we all had a good time, so I’d like to carry on the idea and see if it grows. I’ll be thinking about organising another event later in the year, possibly moving the location around- if anyone knows of a nice country pub with good food, good beer, and a garden which is close to a station let me know and we might go there in the summer. Cheers!

VMworld Europe 2016 Social, Community, and vPeople

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be_Connected – The people-networking side of VMworld is vital

VMworld is not all about announcements and sessions, some of the most valuable content is found in the social and community side of the event. It brings together over ten thousand people in the IT industry and there’s always lots to talk about and plenty to learn outside of the scheduled keynotes and breakouts. The social side isn’t just about popping out for a few vBeers courtesy of a sponsor- it’s the opportunity to meet your fellow professionals, hear what their up to, what they’ve seen at the show, what problems they are facing back at the datacentre or office, and possibly what solutions they can offer for your own issues. It makes for a week of long days, but it’s definitely worth it.

The community side of VMworld started for me even before leaving for Barcelona, as I had an impromptu meetup at London Gatwick with a couple of other vExperts (great to meet you Mark and Giuliano) who were waiting for the same flight.

vRockstar2Upon touchdown at El-Prat there was just time to check-in to the hotel and change before heading off for the opening social gatherings organised by the awesome events team that is Patrick Redknap and Marco Broeken– the Cohesity “Pre-Beer Party” at the Obama English Pub and then the annual vRockstar party held at the Hard Rock Cafe. Thanks to the vRockstar sponsorsRubrik, Nutanix, Veeam, VMUG, Hytrust, EMC Elect, Zerto, and Exelerys. These events were a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones before the conference officially started the next day.

 

WP_20161017_11_29_36_Pro_LIMonday morning saw my first opportunity to get into the Gran Fira venue, register, and get down to the VMVillage for my first taste of the Hands-On Labs. There were prizes to be won, and I finally met Noell Grier when collecting a SocialLabs T-shirt from the Cloud Credibility booth. This area was also the scene of a “Team London VMUG” photo opportunity later that morning.

 

For me, Monday evening started with a walk down the beach to the Dell EMC reception at W Barcelona, right up the tower at the Eclipse bar. This featured VMworld themed cocktails such as the “vMojito” and an “All-Flash Martini” and stunning views across the city as the sun set. Later on in the evening I got a taxi across town to the Nutanix event at Cafe Ocana. Again, there were some regular faces and I met a whole host of new people, including Stephen Foskett of TechFieldDay fame.

WP_20161020_14_01_54_Pro_LIAs I mentioned in my session write up of the Tuesday, the day kicked off with the Keynote and as I was lucky enough to have a bloggers pass (thanks again Corey Romero and the team) I managed to get a reserved seat right down at the front. Tuesday morning was also the first opportunity to get into the Solutions Exchange. Here there’s the opportunity not only to pick up some vendor SWAG but, more importantly, find out what the latest product developments in the VMware ecosystem are.

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OpenTechCast podcasters Gareth and Amit interviewing (or being photobombed by) Dave Simpson

Tuesday evening was the vExpert Reception held at L’eggs with a brief appearance by Pat Gelsinger himself. Also present were the OpenTechCast team conducting interviews.

After that drew to a close a small group of us took a trip to a local pub with London VMUG’s man on the ground, Alaric. Whilst the idea of a late-night party in a beach-front club is all well and good, the opportunity to have a chat with friends without having to shout was much appreciated.

Between sessions, much of my Wednesday was spent in the Hang Space and Bloggers area in the VMvillage including some last minute preparation for by vBrownbag presentation and some time to catch up on both my own blog posts and what others had been writing.

 



WP_20161019_18_53_26_Pro_LIFinishing up Wednesday was the VMworld Party. held in the keynote hall. This year the headline band was Australian outfit “Empire of the Sun”. Again the networking continued, the hall is large enough that even with the band or DJ in full flow at the front there is space at the other end of the arena for meet-ups and conversations.

Thursday is generally a quieter day at VMworld, and it offered the chance to do one last trawl through the Solutions Exchange- looking up those products and services that people had mentioned were worth a look at. The VMvillage got quieter and quieter as the afternoon went on as people left for the airport. An ideal time to take stock of the week’s happenings and finally get a go on that circular pool table!

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Circular Pool Table in the Hang Space

vExpert 2016

I’ve worn my thesaurus out looking for synonyms of “astounded”, “honoured”, and “proud” for this post, but let’s just say I’m “very happy” find myself amongst the latest 123 individuals to have been awarded the VMware vExpert title following the announcement at the end of last week. Thank you to the VMware community team for this recognition.

What is it?

vExpert

If you’re new to the VMware community, vExpert is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program and the award is given for “significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share .. expertise with others” rather than being a traditional technical certification like the VCA/ VCP/ VCAP/ VCDX etc. Announcements are made twice annually and the award is valid for one year.

What next?

From me, expect more of the same- but hopefully bigger. One of the advantages of the vExpert program is it plugs recipients into non-production software licensing deals, betas, and new sources of information- both from VMware themselves but also through the surrounding partner ecosystem. I’m hoping to make best use of all of those resources to continue to learn and thus improve this blog, my tweets, and hopefully produce some more videos and in-person talks in the community.