VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange

I was amazed by the size of the solutions exchange, but surprised with the limited hours it was opened throughout the week. I wish I would have had more time to talk to additional companies. Fascinating to see what companies had to offer and what gimmick to get people to listen. A few companies had magicians. A lot of companies had a raffle at the end of a 10-15 minute presentation, which reoccurred often.

I thought it was amusing the lengths backup companies went with their booths. Rubrik and Cohesity both had two-story booths and sport related contests. Commvault had a therapy dog park between the Moscone buildings.

I wanted to share some photos of the most interesting areas of the solution exchange and also the square.

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side
VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange
VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side

VMworld2019_GS1

I went to VMworld for my first time and had a blast. The event was great, but not without its flaws. I tweeted during the event and I may start tweeting more often. Also, when I post a new article. However, I never got around to posting an article during the event.

Monday’s general session presentation fell flat for me. Project Pacific and Tanzu Mission Control were already announced earlier that day. Then the keynote felt too scripted. After looking past the superficial side, the content was huge. Project Pacific will have Kubernetes embedded in the hypervisor. This is a great move by VMware to work more closely where the industry has been heading. Their latest acquisitions definitely tell what they are up to; Pivotal and Carbon Black. Then Tanzu Mission Control will give central management for Kubernetes clusters on-prem and in the cloud.

Tuesday’s general session highlighted some of the prior day’s announcements and went into additional news. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is now available. It was previously announced at Dell’s conference, but this is the first time I heard about it. Dell will send an engineer to deploy a rack of hardware at a customer’s location and it shows up in a customer’s SDDC. Then Dell manages the hardware and ESXi stack. I really like this model. The best both worlds in my mind; a cloud-like architecture on-prem. NSX Intelligence was announced. VMware’s new CTO, Greg Lavender, was even announced on stage.

There was no shortage of sessions. I liked that VMware had each session labeled according to the technical level. My company has a TAM so I was able to attend additional sessions, which were under an NDA. I attended mostly them since they are not recorded. I am looking forward to watching many of the recorded sessions later on. Below are my favorite non-TAM sessions that I attended.

William Lam and Emad Younis hosted a great session on ‘The Next Generation of Lifecycle Management for vCenter Server’. Here are a couple nice additions to vSphere 6.7, which are currently available. Display the topology view of all vCenters and PSCs in an SSO domain (U2). This is under administration and system configuration. Now able to change the hostname and IP address of a vCenter Center (U3). Then they went into potential future additions in tech preview. A better summary page for vCenter, which includes; notification for vCenter updates, last updated, last backed up by the native file-based backup, summary totals at this level, and overall health status from the 5480 page. The screenshot below is from their presentation. They said there will be a permission to set to enable the update available notification so it can be easily hidden from a client or whoever. My favorite tech preview was the vCenter interoperability built into vCenter. No more going to the HCL for some components. Some potential new features are desired state for vCenter, improved host profiles, and easier NSX install. I am looking forward to all of this. Hopefully in the not too distant future.

vCenterTechPreview.PNG

I attended the Intro to Raspberry Pi and Run K8s on VMware. I figured both would be good since they were hands-on. I already have a Raspberry Pi running RetroPi. I figured this would help me get more motivated to do something else with my new Raspberry Pi I received in my vExpert bag. I definitely want to think of a home project for it. The Kubernetes session had a lab and was actually the first time I got to use Kubernetes. It served as a good intro. The lab was on VMC on AWS so it was legit.

I decided I will work a few more articles on VMworld. One of the solution exchange. Then the fun side of VMworld. The final will be on personal travel after VMworld. I stayed a few extra days to check out the city. I thought this may help others interested in doing the same since VMworld 2020 is back August 31st to September 3rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side
VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange
VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMware Cloud on AWS – Software Defined Data Center 2019 Badge

I recently passed the VMware Cloud on AWS Management Exam 2019 (5V0-31.19) with a score of 478. The exam is scored the same as every other VMware exam. There are actually no prerequisites to take the exam and the exam is taken online. I assume VMware has these two differences to appeal to a larger crowd that are not on the traditional VMware certification tracks. The exam is only 30 questions, but only 45 minutes to complete the exam. Definitely have to think quick and harder than I expected. The exam followed very close to the exam guide. I previously took the VMware Cloud on AWS: Deploy and Manage class, which I feel helped me prepare for the exam. However, the class only has lab simulations that are basically click through animations. I did have access to a real VMware Cloud on AWS account so that also greatly helped me to get ready for the exam.

vmware_Skill_AWS_SDDC_2019

 

vExpert 2019 and VMworld

I am proud to announce I was selected for the vExpert program for the second year. I was selected for my blog and contributions on the VMTN forums. My goal with this blog was to make an impact with issues I resolved. Can be frustrating to come across a problem that seems to be unsolvable. Perhaps, something I managed to figure out and wrote about will help out someone.

I have another announcement. I am going to VMworld for the first time. VMworld in San Francisco is only a few weeks away and I am very excited to go. I was able to register for most of the sessions I wanted and double booked for most nights.

vExpert2019

Inaccurate Statistic in vSphere Flash Client

I mostly use the vSphere Flash client and was monitoring my vSAN performance with it. I noticed TCP inbound loss rate was ranging from 1-10% on the vSAN host TCP packet retransmission and loss rate graph. My VMs did not seem to be impacted. Also, there is bound to be some loss with TCP. However, this number seemed high to me.

I had a case open with VMware GSS and they could not figure out what was the underlining issue. They blamed my Cisco UCS servers. Cisco didn’t have any ideas. Nothing seemed wrong with my physical switches.

Then one day I used the HTML5 client and looked at the same graph. The numbers were much lower. I went back to the Flash client and the numbers were high. I followed the graphs over multiple time periods, on every host, and noticed the numbers were always off by a factor of ten. See the two screenshots below. You can see the flow of the line graph is the same, but with the y axis on a different scale. Also, every exact time I hover over is always off by a factor of ten.

I have a cluster on VMware Cloud on AWS. That of course is using vSAN so I decided to check it out. Same exact problem! Therefore, it has nothing to do with my on-prem configuration or version. I reported the issue to VMware and didn’t seem like they will do anything about it. After all, the Flash client will be deprecated in the next major release of vSphere. Though, still frustrating that I chased what I thought was a problem for a while and it turned out to be a bug with the graph. I hope no one else falls for this too.

Flash Client (Flex)
Flash_vSAN_TCP

HTML5 Client
HTML5_vSAN_TCP

AWS Public Sector Summit 2019

AWSsummit2019_keynote

I attended the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC last week. This was actually the first conference I have been to since the 2017 Summit. The event has grown quite a bit. Mentioned at the keynote that there was 18,000 people registered. Would be interesting to see how many people actually attended. The event has grown a lot with only about 7,500 attendees on the first day of the event in 2017.

AWSsummit2017c_SilentFail

The silent disco for presentations has to be one of the worst ideas ever for a tech conference. Though, I think it’s a neat idea for a dancing party. The ballroom for the silent disco could be partitioned into three rooms and there were plenty of other event space to be used. I am not sure why Amazon chose to do a silent disco. The audience might as well have been at home since no one could even ask questions during the presentations. Some speakers were naturally loud so I could hear them when I was sitting at the adjacent stage’s audience. Then the sound was often crackling and the staff running the silent disco could not fix it. I still thought the content of the presentations were great.

AWSsummit2017_DeepRacer

There was a lot of great companies on the vendor floor. AWS had a DeepRacer track and a huge prize for the person with the best time; an all paid expense trip to re:Invent. The AWS certification lounge was a nice touch. They made it easy to verify a certification and get back in. The lounge had some extra snacks, swag, an open bar, and entertainment. I was very lucky and won an Amazon Echo Show from Dynatrace.

I enjoyed the event overall. Though, I hope the silent disco style of presentations does not catch on to other conferences. Next year may be even bigger considering what Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, said during his fireside chat on the second day. He said he thinks the public sector adaption of the cloud is still in the early days.

Integration between vRealize products and vCenter Server

There is very useful integration between vRealize Operations, Log Insight, and vCenter Server. The products can be tied to each other to make them more seamless and easier to navigate. A few roles are required to be created to restrict permissions. I have the broad steps and links to the VMware articles below that detail the specific permissions and documentation. Go through the steps and then you will be able to launch in context.

As defined by VMware; launch in context is a feature in vROps that lets you launch an external application via URL in a specific context. The context is defined by the active UI element and object selection. Launch in context lets the Log Insight adapter add menu items to a number of different views within the Custom user interface and the vSphere user interface of Operations Manager.

vROps_LI_Intergration

vSAN Deployment Issues with Cluster Quickstart

I ran into some gotchas when deploying a vSAN 6.7 U1 cluster. The cluster quickstart should save time when deploying a vSAN cluster. However, there are a couple steps to take to avoid issues.

Do not use the vSphere Flash client for any step on the deployment. Only use the vSphere HTML5 client. There are odd issues that can occur. For example, I created the cluster in the Flash client. I then wanted to run quickstart in the HTML5 client. However, the options were grayed out under cluster basics so I could not select anything or go to add hosts. I deleted the cluster and created it in the HTML5 client. Then quickstart worked fine. I later had another new deployment. I tried out the same scenario and had the same problem.

quickstart1

Quickstart has the option of creating a vDS. The vDS will be created at version 6.5. There is no option to select a specific version of the vDS when deployed through quickstart. This is fine depending on the other versions of vDSs in your environment and if maintaining vMotion compatibility is a requirement.  For example, if another cluster has a vDS on version 6.0, then VMs in that cluster cannot be live migrated to the vSAN cluster on vDS version 6.5 since different vDS versions. Only option is to power off the VM to allow it to be migrated. To get around this, create a vDS on version 6.0 before starting quickstart. Then select the option to ‘USE EXISTING’ on the distributed switches section of quickstart.

quickstart2

Quickstart is definitely very useful and can save a lot of time if not hitting these gotchas. The ability to auto-fill sequential IP addresses for management and vMotion, and ESXi root login credentials are convenient. Hopefully, fault tolerance will eventually be added to quickstart. Also, having a guided workflow makes the vSAN deployment relativity easy.