Posts Tagged ‘vmworld’

VMworld 2017 EU Day 1 (part 1) #vexpert

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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

 

 

 

New HA and DRS features in vSphere 6.5 #vmworld2016

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Among all the great new features and improvements made to vSphere 6.5, some of the ones I am most exited about are the improvements to DRS and HA. So lets zoom into those briefly.

This information comes mostly from VMware pre-sales marketing material and should be considered preliminary. I hope to try out some of these features in our lab once the bits become available.

vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) now supports a HA mode + Witness.

This appears to be similar in some respects to the NSX Edge HA function. But with one seriously important addition: a witness.
In any High-Availability, clustering or other kind of continuous-uptime solution, where data integrity or ‘state’ is important, you need a witness or ‘quorum’ function to determine which of the 2 HA ‘sides’ becomes the master of the function, and thus may make authoritative writes to data or configuration. This is important if you encounter the scenario of a ‘split’ in your vSphere environment, where both the HA members could become isolated from each other. The witness helps decide which of the 2 members must ‘yield’ to the other. I expect the loser turns its function off. The introduction of a witness also helps the metro-cluster design. In case of a metro-cluster network split, the witness now makes sure you cannot get a split-brain vcenter.

The HA function uses its own private network with dedicated adapter, that is added during configuration. There is a basic config and an advanced option to configure. I assume the latter lets you twiggle the nobs a bit more.

There are some caveats. At release this feature only works if you are using an external Platform Services Controller. So assume this will not work if you run all the vSphere functions inside 1 appliance. At least not at GA.

It should be noted that the new integrated vSphere Update Manager for the VCSA, will also failover as part of this HA feature.It should also be noted that this feature is only available in Enterprise+

 

Simplified HA Admission Control

vSphere 6.5 sees some improvements to HA admission control. As with many of the vSphere 6.5 enhancements, the aim here is to simplify or streamline the configuration process.
The various options have now been hidden under a general pulldown menu, and combine with the Host Failures Cluster Tolerates number, which now acts as input to whatever mode you select.  In some ways this is now more like the VSAN Failures To Tolerate setting. You can of course, still twiggle the knobs if you so wish.
Additionally to this, the HA config will give you a heads up if it expects your chosen reservation with potentially impact performance while doing HA restarts. You are now also able to guard against this by reserving a resource percentage that HA must guarantee during HA restarts. These options give you a lot more flexibility.
Admission control now also listens to the new levels of HA Restart priority, where it might not restart the lowest levels if they would violate the constraints. These 2 options together give you great new flexibility in controller the HA restart and the resources it takes (or would take).

 

vShere HA Restart Priorities

At long last, vSphere now supports more than 3 priority-levels. This adds a lot more flexibility to your HA design. In our own designs, we already assigned infrastructure components to the previous ‘high’ level, customer production workloads to ‘medium’ and everything else to ‘low’.  What I was missing at the time was differentiate between the Infra components. For example, I would want Active Directory to start -before- many other Infra services that rely on AD authentication. Syslogging is another service you want to get back up as soon as possible. And of course vCenter should ideally come back before many other VMware products that rely on it.  Also allows  you to make some smart sequencing decisions in regard to NSX components. I would restart NSX controllers and the Edge DLR and Edge tenant routers first, for example.  I am sure you can think of your own favorite examples.
As mentioned previously, these new expanded restart levels go hand-in-hand with the new admission control options.

 

vSphere HA Orchestrated Restart

This is another option that I have wanted to see for a very long time. I have seen many HA failover in my time, and always the most time is spent afterwards by the application owners, putting the pieces back together again cause things came up in the wrong order.

vSphere Orchestrated Restart allows you to create VM dependency rules, that will allow a HA Failover to restart the VMs in the order that best serves the application. This is similar to the rule sets we know from SRM.

 

Naturally you will need to engage your application teams to determine these rules. I do wonder about the limits here. In some of the environments we manage, there could potentially be hundreds of these kinds of rules. But you don’t want to make it too hard for HA to calculate all this, right?

 

Proactive HA

This is a ‘new’ feature, in so far that that this is a new deeper level of integration natively to vCenter, and can leverage the new ‘quarantine mode’ for ESX hosts. Similar behavior has already for years been a feature of the Dell Management Plug-in for vCenter, for example; where ‘maintenance mode’ action was triggered as script action from a vCenter alert. By leveraging ‘quarantine mode’ , new modes of conduct are enabled in dealing with partially failed hosts, for example pro-actively migrating off VMs, but based on specific failure rules, instead of an all-or-nothing approach.

 

Quarantine Mode

For years we have only ever had 2 possible host states: Maintenance and.. well, not in maintenance 🙂

Quarantine Mode is is the new middle ground. It can be leverages tightly with the new proactive HA feature mentioned above and integrates with DRS, but is above all just a useful mode to employ operationally.

The most important thing to bare in mind, is that Quarantine mode does not by default guarantee that VMs cannot or will not land on this host. An ESH host in quarantine can and will still be used to satisfy VM demand where needed. Think of reservations and HA failover. DRS, however, will try to avoid placing VMs on this host if possible.
Operationally, this is very similar to what we would already do in many ‘soft’ failure scenarios for hosts: – we will put DRS to semi-auto, and slowly start to evacuate the host, usually ending up putting it in maintenance at the end of the day.

 

DRS Policy Enhancements

Again more streamlining. For us vSphere admins with a case of OCD, the new ‘even distribution’ model is quite relaxing. VMware describes this, endearingly, as the ‘peanut butter’ model. Personally I will refer to it as the Nutella model, because Nutella is delicious!

This of course refers to the ‘even spread’ of VMs across all hosts in your cluster.
This, and the other options added to DRS, are interesting from both a performance and a risk point-of view. You avoid the ‘all your eggs in one basket’ issue, for example. Naturally the CPU over-commitment setting is especially interesting in VDI environments, or any other deployment that would benefit from good continuous CPU response.

 

Network-aware DRS

DRS will now attempt to balance load based also on the network saturation level of host, besides only looking at CPU and RAM. However it will prioritize CPU and RAM above all else. This is on a best-effort basis so no guarantees.