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20Oct/14Off

VMworld 2014: Day Three and wrap-up

Posted by Sam McGeown

Posts in this series
  1. VMWorld 2014: Day One
  2. VMworld 2014: VCP NV Exam Experience
  3. VMworld 2014: Day Two
  4. VMworld 2014: Day Three and wrap-up

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*This post was meant to be published on Friday, VMworld Sleep Deprivation meant I didn't click the button!*

This is the last post and a bit of a wrap up on my VMworld 2014 series!

There isn't a keynote on day three, and there's definitely a "winding down" feel as people tend to arrive later (if at all) and many are…feeling the effects of the previous night shall we say! That said, every session I wanted to attend was still fully booked and it was a case of queuing for the spare seats.

I managed to get into the #SDDC1337 Techincal Deep Dive on EVO:RAIL really to get a good view on what the EVO:RAIL offering is. The session was presented very well and told the story of EVO:RAIL from inception to birth. There was a lot of information about the technologies involved in getting EVO:RAIL to a fully functional product. I was impressed with the 8 month timescale and the team's focus on doing the core things right rather than feature creep which VMware can be guilty of.

I think the fact that the hardware is partner based means that it's much more accessible for environments that are single-vendor (e.g. HP, EMC, DELL, HDS or Fujitsu shops) because they can purchase under existing agreements etc without needing to get new suppliers approved, and there's already familiarity and eco-systems in place.

With VSAN still really a tier-2 storage solution, I'd expect these to go into remote office environments for large enterprises. I haven't seen the pricing for EVO:RAIL, but I suspect all that packaged goodness will have a price - probably not one SMB's will like. An interesting idea discussed with Michael Poore (@michaelpoore) was the idea of having EVO:RAIL clusters as vCloud endpoints.

That was the last technical session I was able to attend as I had to catch my flight home! It's hard to summarise in a blog posting the value that you get from attending VMworld - as a vExpert I have access to a lot of VMworld sessions online after the event, but VMworld is a lot more than just the sessions. It's a crazy mix of sessions, networking, meeting old and new friends, vendor parties, sleep deprivation, walking (lots of walking), exams, the solutions exchange and generally being immersed in all things VMware for the duration of the conference.

I would definitely encourage anyone who can get to VMworld and who loves the technology and community around VMware to go next year. It's much more than the sum of it's parts!

Filed under: VMware, VMworld, VSAN Comments Off
25Jun/14Off

vCAC 6.0 build-out to distributed model – Part 3.1: Configure Load Balancing with vCNS

Posted by Sam McGeown

This is the first part of the 3rd article in a series about how to build-out a simple vCAC 6 installation to a distributed model.

By the end of this part, we will not have modified the vCAC deployment in any way, we’ll just have 3 configured load balanced URLs

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vCAC simple configuration with vPostgres and Load Balancers prepared

An overview of the steps required are below:

  • Issue and install certificates
  • Deploy an external vPostgres appliance and migrate the vCAC database
  • Configure load balancing
  • Deploy a second vCAC appliance and configure clustering
  • Install and configure additional IaaS server
  • Deploy vCenter Orchestrator Appliance cluster
23Jun/14Off

VCAC 6.0 build-out to distributed model – Part 1: Certificates

Posted by Sam McGeown

This is the first article in a series about how to build-out a simple vCAC 6 installation to a distributed model.

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Simple vCAC deployment

In a simple installation you have the Identity Appliance, the vCAC appliance (which includes a vPostgres DB and vCenter Orchestrator instance) and an IaaS server. The distributed model still has a single Identity Appliance but clusters 2 or more vCAC appliances behind a load balancer, backed by a separate vPostgres database appliance. The IaaS components are installed on 2 or more IaaS Windows servers and are load balanced, backed by an external MSSQL database. Additionally, the vCenter Orchestrator appliance is used in a failover cluster, backed by the external vPostgres database appliance.

The distributed model can improve availability, redundancy, disaster recovery and performance, however it is more complex to install and manage, and there are still single points of failure – e.g. the vPostgres database is not highly available and although protected by vSphere HA could be the cause of an outage. Clustering the database would provide an improved level of availability but may not be supported by VMware. Similarly the Identity Appliance is currently a single point of failure, although there are also options for high availability there too.

An overview of the steps required is below:

  • Issue and install certificates
  • Deploy an external vPostgres appliance and migrate the vCAC database
  • Configure load balancing
  • Deploy a second vCAC appliance and configure clustering
  • Install and configure additional IaaS server
  • Deploy vCenter Orchestrator Appliance cluster
4Apr/14Off

Book review: Networking for VMware Administrators

Posted by Sam McGeown

NetworkingForVMwareAdministratorsI recently got my hands on a copy* of Chris Wahl and Steve Pantol’s Networking for VMware Administrators and was very keen to read it – especially given the reputation of the authors. I came to the book as someone who is at CCNA level (although now expired) and someone who regularly designs complex VMware networks using standard and distributed switches. I would class myself as having a fairly decent understanding of networking, though not a networking specialist.

The book starts out at from a really basic level explaining OSI, what a protocol is etc. and builds on the foundation set out as it progresses. Part I of the book gives are really good explanation of not only the basics of networking, but a lot of the “why” as well. If you’ve done CCNA level networking exams then you will know most of this stuff – but it’s always good to refresh, and maybe cover any gaps.

Part II of the book translates the foundations set out in Part I into the virtual world and takes you through the similarities and differences with between virtual and physical. It gives a good overview of the vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) and vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) and even has a chapter on the Cisco 1000v. One of the really useful parts of the book are the lab examples and designs, which takes you though the design process and considerations to get to the solution.

1Apr/14Off

Definit authors awarded vExpert 2014

Posted by Simon Eady

vExpertIt was with great honor both Sam and I were awarded vExpert 2014 (my first and Sam's second award!) we are both proud to be listed alongside so many others in the vExpert programme.

You can view the announcement and the full list here - http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2014/04/vexpert-2014-announcement.html

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