VMworld 2017 EU Day 1 (part 1) #vexpert

September 12th, 2017

Had a super productive first day at VMworld!
The Partner day is typically a bit quieter than the rest of the week, and more sales-oriented in the breakout-sessions. But I only got 1 session in anyway, as the rest of the day was focused on, imo, more valuable private sessions with various VMware groups.

UX Design Session VMware on AWS

First up was the a VMware User Experience design session based around VMware on AWS.  We only had an hour and that barely touched on all feedback we could give. We ended up going only through the initial first setup wizzard and discussing a lot about how and where it integrates with Amazon AWS structures.  Extremely useful to also get a first impression of VMware on AWS, but I think I will go for the Hands-On Lab here at VMworld, to get a more general overview.

A User Experience design session can be a strange experience if you don’t know what to expect.  Its the session leaders responsibility t mostly listen and observe how people experience the product, strongly from a user-interface perspective.  They will ask you specific questions such as “what is the first thing on this screen your eyes are drawn to?”, “when I click on this button, what is your expectation of what will happen” , “Does this popup meet your expectations?”.  It was a surprising amount of fun.

 


Participation is rewarded with swag! You can expect some unique gifts for getting involved on the day. We don’t do it for the swag, but its of course appreciated 😉

GSS Leadership Session

At Redlogic, through our engagement with our main customer, we have enjoyed a very close working relationship with VMware GSS in Cork. We have weekly meetings to discuss open SR’s, and have even been toured around personally by the Director of GSS in Cork.  So every year at VMworld, its a pleasure to meet up with the GSS team in person and talk about the past year of support, the roadmap for our customer going forward, and any areas things can improve.  While previous years might have spent talking about issues about NSX, we where pleased to talk about all the stuff that has now been fixed and how stable the VMware software stack is overall. Even if you have nothing to complain about, its good to give feedback and to emphasize and celebrate success together.

NSX Product UI Feedback and Preview session

There are not many companies who have claimed to have worked with NSX for over 3 years. So our feedback is valued and this is noticeable. I gave detailed and deep feedback over aspects of the distributed firewall UI and about management of NSX Edge appliances, which we do a lot with.

Also got a preview of upcoming changes and ideas about the NSX UI, which was very cool.

The ability to give direct feedback, to talk one-on-one with product managers about the product and the roadmap, is in my opinion far more valuable that visiting breakout sessions (that you can watch later online anyway).  I take giving feedback seriously and enjoy it, and VMware has an absolutely healthy attitude about feedback.

 

Lego

😉

 

First world problems, too many events to attend at #VMworld2017 EU #vexpert

August 28th, 2017

This year is going to be an especially busy VMworld. Besides all the usual stuff you can sign up to, I have arranged for myself a crazy amount of additional events to go to.
I already knew I would be getting more out of my #vexpert status, and indeed it opens up a bunch of extra potential content.

My attitude is to sign up to as much as I can early, especially the breakout sessions.  However, most of the breakout sessions can be viewed later online, and this is certainly the case for the most interesting ones.
Its the other sessions that I may be personally expected at, and that I will get unique value from. Such include things like NDA sessions, or special GSS-related meetings. Or the Inner-Circle panel.
I have also secured an 2 hours focus session on VMware AppDefense (aka Goldilocks).  Any opportunity you have to talk one-on-one with VMware engineers is most likely to be more valuable than attending the big breakout sessions.

On top of all this, I have signed up for what many consider to be one of the most fun highlights of any VMworld: the Hackathon.  I have aligned myself with Team4, and our goal is to do something with Ansible, and the VMware modules for Ansible. 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kAjZD5Y8ayz6OT7idrymREc9Y4E3BZhE63mfUVCbuO8/

As for breakout sessions, The following ones hold my biggest interest and I have scheduled most, but I cannot attend them all alas:

As you can see from this list, lots of emphasis on cloud-native and AWS

 

Kubernetes Networking with NSX-T Deep Dive [NET1522BE]
vCenter Server 6.5 Deep Dive and Troubleshooting [SER2980BE]
vSAN 6.6: A Day in the Life of an I/O [STO1926BE]
vSAN Technical Deep Dive [STO2986BE]
Wringing Maximum Performance from vSphere for Extremely Demanding Workloads and Customers [FUT2020BE]
vSAN Troubleshooting Deep Dive [STO1315BE]
Kubernetes Networking with NSX-T Deep Dive [NET1522BE]
Virtual Volumes Unlock Your Data [VMTN6716E]
Introduction to NSX-T Architecture [NET1510BE]
NSX-T Advanced Architecture Concepts [NET1863BE]
VMware Cloud on AWS: An Architectural and Operational Deep Dive [LHC3174BE]
AWS Native Services Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS: Technical Deep Dive [LHC3376BES]
VMware Cloud on AWS: Storage Deep Dive [STO1890BE]
VMware Cloud on AWS: A Technical Deep Dive [LHC2384BE]
Container Networking with NSX-T Overview [NET1521GE]
Strategies, Design, and Best Practices for Delivering DevOps [DEV1518QE]
vCenter Performance Deep Dive [SER1504BE]
Basics of Kubernetes on BOSH: Run Production-grade Kubernetes on the SDDC [CNA2080BE]

 

My agenda without including all the scheduled Breakout sessions.

Lists of the social events in and around VMworld:

Official VMware list:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1klKROM_fABDDoIKOokdSvPPwT4uuqAwHDAgEwjoA57k/pubhtml?gid=1&single=true

Andreas Lesslhumer:

VMworld 2017 Barcelona – all parties, gatherings, events and activities

 

 

 

VMware Technical Support Summit 2017, Global Support Services, Cork

May 26th, 2017

 

Last week myself and Erwin had the opportunity to attend the VMware Technical Support Summit in Cork, Ireland.
This is a 2 day event hosted by GSS which is technically oriented. Many interesting sessions by some of the best GSS technical talent, and various breakout sessions to get near one-on-one time with engineers and product leaders.

 

As you can see by the schedule below, it was a wide array of product fields and the technical depth varied between good and amazing.

I was especially blown away by Valentin Bondzio’s talk about CPU accounting in the hypervisor. Technically extremely interesting!
He dove extremely deeply into CPU metrics and what ‘idle’ and ‘use’ really mean from an architecture point of view, and how hyperthreading changes the game.
This was especially gratifying as I have worked with him on a case for over a year that tackles exactly that aspect of hypervisor performance.

The team that support Airwatch gave a very interesting talk that was relevant to a project I am working on.  So afterwards I grabbed all 4 of them into a conference room at the hotel, to discuss our VDI and mobile management design ideas. Extremely valuable opportunity as I bet I will be talking to these guys more in the future!

They also very graciously dropped me and Erwin of at our Hotel afterwards, and then drove us to the city center, where VMware hosted drinks and dinner with live music, which was quite entertaining.

Another talk I was looking forward to was that of Cormac Hogan, and Mark Fitzgerald, senior director of support Cork, presented him with some gifts for just plan being around a long time 😉

 

I had gently badgered various VMware contacts about seeing if we could get a visit of the actual VMware campus, and eventually Mark Fitzgerald himself very graciously drove us over to the VMware office campus and gave us a a personal guided tour of all the GSS offices, which was a great great experience.

We got to meet every Cork GSS team and even visited the test lab including the folks who run that. It was great to put voices and names to faces and to get a real sense of the environment that these engineers work in. Sometimes support engineers are faceless and nameless, but VMware seems to breath a very human and supportive culture that was much in evidence throughout the campus.

 

 

I would much like to thank the entire VMware Cork team and all the GSS engineers for putting on a great summit. And a special thank you to Danka for showing up in the middle of her time-off, just to say hi. Much love to VMware’s best escalation manager!

 

 

Podcast Listen List May 2017

May 1st, 2017

The last 18 months I have started listening to podcasts again in a regular fashion. Way way back on this blog, I used to blog about them, and even participated in several,including the long-gone InTheTrenches sysadmin podcast.

The last year or so, my interests have also diversified into the cloud-native space, and my listening choice also reflects this.

Here is the list I currently enjoy, but I am adding more every few weeks.
When the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast is recorded, I am often there live on the chat.  Same goes the vBrownbag EMEA shows.

http://packetpushers.net/podcast/
Where Too Much Technology Would Be Barely Enough
A podcast network consisting of 6 shows mostly around networking.

http://www.thecloudcast.net/
Aaron Delp and Brian Gracely host this award-winning weekly podcast to discuss the technology and organizational changes that are driving the convergence of today’s Data Centers and Cloud Computing. Topics include Cloud Computing | AWS | Azure | GCP | Serverless | DevOps | AppDev | SaaS | IoT. Guests are industry thought-leaders and leaders of companies changing the IT industry.

https://changelog.com/
A weekly podcast that covers the technology and people of open source. It’s about the code, the people, and the community. This show features in-depth interviews with the best and brightest software engineers, hackers, leaders, and innovators. Hosts Adam Stacoviak and Jerod Santo face their imposter syndrome so you don’t have to.

https://twit.tv/shows/this-week-in-enterprise-tech
This Week in Enterprise Tech explores the complex, cutting edge world of enterprise technology. Hosted by Father Robert Ballecer, TWiET features IT professionals explaining the ins and outs of enterprise solutions.

http://www.vmwarevideos.com/vchat
Covering Virtualization and Cloud Computing News, How-To, Events, and Interviews
Our new vChat is a video webcast/podcast and a joint effort between three vExperts – Simon Seagrave of TechHead.co.uk, Eric Siebert of vSphere-Land.com, and David Davis of VMwareVideos.com. The vChat is sponsored by Train Signal – the leader in VMware video training.

The Virtually Speaking Podcast (official VMware podcast)
iTunes and Soundcloud.
The Virtually Speaking Podcast is a weekly technical podcast dedicated to discussing VMware topics related to storage and availability. Each week Pete Flecha (@vPedroArrow) and John Nicholson (@Lost_Signal) bring in various subject matter experts from VMware and within the industry to discuss their respective areas of expertise. If you’re new to the Virtually Speaking Podcast check out all episodes on vSpeakingPodcast.com. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Vmware Communities Roundtable
http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=19367
VMware experts talk about virtualization live every Wednesday at noon CA time. Virtualization news and tech mixed with a “Late Night at VMworld” informality. Join us!

https://vbrownbag.com/
https://vbrownbag.com/vbrownbag-episodes/
Our topics range from certification, emerging tech, and business process. These series provide our listeners with information needed to help them not only pass exams, but learn how to implement new technologies to advance their careers.

https://blog.docker.com/tag/dockercast/

Dockercast is the official Docker Podcast which covers a wide range of topics including products, projects and contributions from active community members and partners with our host, Docker’s very own – John Willis. John Willis (@botchagalupe) is the Director of Ecosystem development for Docker

http://www.spreaker.com/show/explorevm-podcast
Join host Paul Woodward Jr (ExploreVM) as he explores technologies around data centers, cloud computing, automation, networking, and all things nerdy!

http://www.opentechcast.com/
A new technology podcast covering industry news, product reviews, education, certification and homelab advice and discussion

https://intechwetrustpodcast.com/
Five of your favourite community members like calling each other on a weekly base and record their rants on Datacenter News. Although we all are already quite opinionated people, we still love to hear your voice as well through our LinkedIN discussions or enlarge the rant on our Facebook Page.

 

vCenter rights needed for Docker-Machine vSphere Driver

April 30th, 2017

There are many ways to quickly provision docker hosts to cloud infrastructures. Dockers own native way is to use docker-machine. Being a vSphere admin I was of course interested in the VMware vSphere driver for docker-machine.

The starting resources for this are:

https://docs.docker.com/machine/drivers/vsphere/

https://blogs.vmware.com/cloudnative/how-to-use-docker-machine-in-conjunction-with-vsphere-driver/

While I got this working, one of the issues I struggled with was vCenter rights. The driver wants to do a bit more than just create a new VM. For instance it needs to upload an ISO to the datastore to role the VM, and it needs to be able to manage the VM in different ways. And remove it.

I created a custom vcenter role for this purpose, but as the exact permissions where not listed anywhere, it was process of trail and error.

The debug switch -d is very useful during a ‘docker-machine create’ to identify which steps its going through exactly.

Replicating the steps in the vSphere flex client also helps, as that UI will usually give you a good indication what rights you are missing, either via a warning text, or a grayed option.  (remember log out and back in every time)

The vpxd log on the vcenter might help you see what is being tried, but I find it only partially helpful.

One issue that really killed me for a while, is that the account used by the docker-machine driver, requires not just ‘browse datastore’ and ‘allocate space’ permissions, but also ‘low level file operations’

This is needed in order to upload (and delete) the boot2docker.iso

But it is not enough to apply these permissions only to the datastore, they must be applied to the entire vCenter scope, as per KB027743 , which frankly, is ridiculous. But that is an issue with vCenter rights model, not with the driver perse.

This takes are of vcenter rights overall. At least its better than applying full admin rights to the account you are using.

Down at resource level, in my case a specific cluster of 2 esx hosts, but it might also be a resource pool, I have applied full admin rights for the account.  This may be overkill, but it as far as I have gotten right now. I will update this post if I discover more nuance, or find some way to exactly inventory what rights its actually using the manage the VMs it spawns.