vExpert: So What the Fuss

vExpert

“So What the Fuss” is not just a Stevie Wonder song, it is also what many people are thinking about the vExpert announcement. This past Thursday, VMware announced the selected vExperts for 2015.

What is vExpert?

Let’s start with what is not. A lot of people think of it as the highest cert available from VMware, and confuse it with the VCDX certification. Well, it is not. Although some VCDXs are vExperts, not all vExperts are VCDXs. A vExpert is an individual that is passionate about his/her job and cares enough to share knowledge with others without compensation. People become a vExpert based on their quantitative and qualitative contribution to the community, not by taking a test; therefore, vExpert is not a certification.

What’s in it for me?

This program not only helps VMware get the word out about their products, but it also helps aspiring vExperts push the limits and dig down into the technology and capabilities. This not only benefits the individual’s knowledge base, but also his/her employer. For those of us that are customers, the employers win by having the best infrastructure they can have. For vendors/consultants, it makes their jobs easier. For start-ups, well, this should be required, IMHO.

So What the Fuss?

So, what is the big deal? Well, it is a big deal in my opinion. Individuals spent countless hours of their personal time, including nights, weekends, and being away from family in order to contribute to the community. So, to be recognized by VMware, is a nice pat on the back for those of us that make the sacrifice. VMware has a great community and a great program led by Corey Romero and his team, so thanks to them for the all the great work they do. I am humbled and honored to be named a vExpert once again.

vSphere 6 Web Client: Yes, Let’s go there…

Since the introduction of vSphere 5.1, VMware introduced the new Web Client. Yes, there was another web client out there, but it was not widely used. A lot of people questioned the change towards a web interface, so here are many reasons for the Web Client:

  • Access from any device with Web access
  • No need to install binaries in multiple locations to access the vSphere environment
  • Multi OS friendly
  • Scalable solution
  • API friendly

This first version was well received by many, but others noticed some slow response within the browsers. Well, I am happy to say that the new Web Client in vSphere is anything but slow. I know for a fact that the VMware team has spent countless hours working to get the slow response issue resolved. I was privileged to be part of a private customer Alpha test for vSphere x.y , and the difference made since the Alpha up until Beta 2 has been tremendous. I had the chance to voice concerns in many areas and obviously the Web Client was one of them, and let me tell you, VMware listens very well and does whatever needs to be done to make customers happy.

I will list some of the changes to the Web Client that I believe most customers will REALLY like.

  • Fast response times for Web Client interaction
    • Very noticeable
  • Faster log on process
  • Browser Friendly
    • Previous version had best results using Google Chrome
  • Recent Tasks (at bottom) is back
  • Drop down menu from home icon for easy, 1-click navigation
  • Core items added to left pane (Networking, Storage, VMs, Hosts)
  • vCenter Inventory Lists
  • 1-click task filtering

 

These are some of many improvements in the new vSphere release that will satisfy the requests of many customers. I was extremely impressed about the speed of the Web Client, but the additional features are icing on the cake.

As you may infer, the “fat client” will play a small to non-existent role moving forward. The C# client may still be used to access the individual hosts, as well as having read only capabilities for objects with virtual hardware version 9 and above, but vCenter tasks will be have to be done through the new an improved Web Client. Based on the huge improvements and new features, I don’t think many people will miss the old client.

Web_Client

DTv6

Not your next Internet protocol…

For those of us that like to test our knowledge with certifications, I got good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it). VMware has released a new End User Computing certification for VMware Horizon View. This certification will validate your skills and experience with Horizon View.

The previous version (VCP5-DT), has not been deprecated as of now.

More information on VCP6-DT as well as blueprint info can be found here.

VCP6-DT

vCOPS Upgrade 5.6 – 5.8.2

vCOPS upgrade 5.6 – 5.8.2

Today I decided to write about one of the tasks that I consider trivial. This task; however, threw me a few curve balls.

It’s been a while since I have looked into upgrading vCOPS. My setup consists of 1 vCOPS environment per data center and they are all running version 5.6.

The first thing I noticed when downloading the upgrade PAK was that there was an additional PAK file. The OS PAK states that an OS upgrade of SLES is required in order to run vCOPS 5.8.2.

PAK_Files

Procedure:

  • Download PAK files
  • Upgrade vCOPS to 5.8.2
  • Upgrade vApp VMs to SLES 11 SP2
  • Reboot
  • Verify

To upgrade to 5.8.2, log on to vCOPS/admin and attach/upload the PAK file and click update.

vCOPS_Bundle

You will get a little pop-up message stating that you cannot revert back to previous versions. (Exchange admins should be familiar with this…).

vCOPS_confirm

After accepting the EULA… I mean reading and accepting, the status showed as failed. Looking further at the status, it was evident that there was not enough free space on the UI VM. When more space is needed for vCOPS, all you need to do is add a drive to either or both VMs within the vAPP, and vCOPS will mount the new drive and format it into the same logical drive where all the data is being stored. The normal procedure applies to adding disks. VM>Edit Settings>New Device:New Hard Disk> Assign a size and modify advanced features if needed. VMware recommends that you add Eager Zero thick drives whenever possible for better performance.

vCOPS_vApp

vCOPS_Drive2 vCOPS_Drive_Result

 

While vCOPS is updating, you can log back in and check the status.

vCOPS_status        vCOPS_status_after

The next step is to upgrade the OS.

In order to upgrade the OS, you will need to copy the PAK file (VMware-vcops-SP2-1381807.pak) to the data drive of the UI server. You can use SCP or WinSCP (If you are a GUI person) and copy the file. Initiate the SLES 11 SP2 upgrade by running the command below. The nice thing is that this command upgrades both UI and analytics servers in the vApp. Reboot the vApp after the upgrade and check to make sure everything looks good afterwards.

/usr/lib/vmware-vcops/user/conf/upgrade/va_sles11_sp2_init.sh /data/VMware-vcops-SP2-1381807.pak

vCOPS_sles_1 vCOPS_sles_2

vCOPS_sles_Completed

 

Once done, reboot the vApp and enjoy.

publickey,password error

IF… you did not check your root password before the OS upgrade and it is expired, you will need to change it. To check your password use the command: chage -l root. If you do have to change your password before/after the reboots you may run into a potential issue where you will have a key mismatch. You can ssh to/from each server to make the servers exchange keys by running these commands:

From UI VM: ssh secondvm-internal

From Analytics VM: ssh firstvm-internal

Also make sure the correct permissions are in place. Run this commands on both VMs.

usermod -G vami,wheel root

usermod -G root,wheel admin

echo “ALL : ALL : ALLOW” >> /etc/hosts.allow service sshd restart

Then follow the instructions from KB2032750

rsa

 

VMworld 2014 – Day 3

Today started with the usual carb loaded breakfast at the conference, so I tried to stick with fruit. There were many great sessions today and little time to attend them all.

After breakfast I took the NetApp/VVOL/VASA Hands on Lab. Really cool to get to play with this before it is available, it helps to understand better how everything works. Because the lab only shows the VMware side, which is pretty straight forward, I had to go and talk to the NetApp engineers so I could put the two together. Turns out, the NetApp side it’s even easier. In order to create VVOLs, we need containers on the SAN. In the NetApp case, it is nothing more than creating Volumes. The cool part is that there is no need for Qtrees or permissions to connect the NetApp Volumes to the vSphere hosts, the VASA provider (requirement for VVOLs) takes care of everything. How cool is that?!?!

Afterwards, I stopped at the Riverbed HQ building for a one-to-one meeting to discuss Steel Fusion. You should check it out, this is some really cool stuff. Rushed back to make it to the VSAN Architecture Deep Dive. This was a really good session, it covered some of the things I have already talked about VSAN in my previous blogs such as 10GB networking for the storage, disk groups, etc. This was session STO1279.

Went back to Moscone to have the yummy (not really) boxed lunch and then went to the solutions exchange to learn more about other products. Talked to nice VMware people at the AirWatch booth since this is something that I need to look into it more for my day job. Also sat down at the Atlantis demo, really neat stuff. Also stopped and talked to EVO:RAIL folks. This is some ground breaking technology, it not only uses VSAN as the underlying architecture but it also includes Log Insight out of the box. Provisioning is almost automatic, meaning that there is little manual configuration from the user side.

Lastly, went to see the EMC session INF3037SPO with Tyler Britten and Rich Scherer. The session talked about how to build and deploy a well run Hybrid Cloud. Great session, lots of info and great tips. Check it out when the recordings are available.

The VMware party is tonight, so I’m heading there to see Pat do the Ice Bucket challenge.