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VMUG Wiki Update: Distributed Switches

Last week I got on a bit of roll updating my old vSphere 5.5 content on the VMUG Wiki to be vSphere 6.0 Update 1 content. I’ve had some time away from doing this bit of community work – a combination of family commitments and prioritising my own interests have had to come first. Hey, this is a Gap Year remember!

So there new chapter on Distributed Switches for vSphere 6.0 U1 is here:

http://wiki.vmug.com/index.php/Configuring_Distributed_Switches_in_vCenter_6

As with Standard Switches you’ll see there’s a couple of new options when creating vmkernel ports on a a DvS:

Once again I found enabling the Health Check feature helped me ID some tagging issues on VLANs on my ‘new’ pSwitch. I recently pulled the Cisco Nexus gear I had out of my lab – because I had to be returned to VMware when I went on my sabbatical – that meant bring in a new/old switch that had been gathering dust under the spare bed. There were a couple of VLANs I’d setup up where I had bodged the VLAN configuration. What can I say I’m bad network admin who does network admin every couple of years….

Some of the stuff in this chapter hasn’t changed – because it hadn’t changed. Some of it I could update because my physical infrastructure didn’t support some of the pre-reqs required. So if anyone spots anything that seems to be incorrect let me know – and provide a screengrab to swap out….

 

 

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in VMUG Wiki

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VMUG Wiki Update: Configuring Standard Switches

Today I completed updating the original vSphere 5.5 content on Standard Switches to make sure it chimed with the vSphere 6.0 U1 release. You can see the new chapter over here:

http://wiki.vmug.com/index.php/Configuring_Standard_Switches_in_vCenter_6

As you might suspect there really isn’t much to write home about in vSphere 6.0 U1 when it comes to Standard Switches – consider the functionality and configuration of this type of networking hasn’t really altered significantly from one generation of vSphere to another. For the most part I saw no earthly point in retaking graphics of videos where nowt has changed.

However. There was just one area which I noticed what I felt was a change worthy of note – the list of “Available Services” that can be enabled is slightly different from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.0. Let me show you where in the UI…

Before: vSphere 5.5

After: vSphere 6.0

As you can see there are now options for vSphere Replication Traffic/vSphere NFC Traffic as well as this thing called “Provisioning” Traffic. A quick click of the ? in the top hand corner of the box will take you to the online documentation – and some further clicking a bit – will (eventually) tell you what these Provisioning Traffic is all about:

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.networking.doc/GUID-8244BA51-BD0F-424E-A00E-DDEC21CF280A.html

Supports the traffic for virtual machine cold migration, cloning, and snapshot creation. You can use the provisioning TPC/IP stack to handle NFC (network file copy) traffic during long-distance vMotion. NFC provides a file-type aware FTP service for vSphere, ESXi uses NFC for copying and moving data between datastores. VMkernel adapters configured with the provisioning TCP/IP stack handle the traffic from cloning the virtual disks of the migrated virtual machines in long-distance vMotion. By using the provisioning TCP/IP stack, you can isolate the traffic from the cloning operations on a separate gateway. After you configure a VMkernel adapter with the provisioning TCP/IP stack, all adapters on the default TCP/IP stack are disabled for the Provisioning traffic.

I think its worth saying the a lof the time this might not happen. If you provisioning tasks happen within the SAME array then ideally VAAI will use its awareness of SCSI primatives to offload any IOPS so it happens inside the array (at blistering speed). However, there are some cases where this logically can’t happen – such as a move between two different storage arrays (you decommisioning one and emptying of VMs) or your unfortunate enough to be using local storage and moving a VM from one ESXi host to another (if you doing this you should be really thinking about VSAN my friend). Clearly, if the ethernet network must be used – this traffic can chew up the available bandwidth on you default management network – so dedicating a physical NIC and associating a portgroup with that type of traffic mitigates against that traffic. It’s akin to having dedicated NIC for VMotion because by default VMotion just gobbles up all the available network traffic to move the VM as fast as possible. Of course there other ways of limiting the impact these bandwith heavy process with traffic shapping for example.

As for vSphere Replication Traffic/vSphere NFC Traffic – as ever the phrasology in the vSphere product is rather letting the side down here. vSphere Replication Traffic source replication traffic and vSphere NFC Traffic is destination replication traffic. There’s probably a good reason for the ‘funny’ names used here – most likely because vSphere NFC Traffic is just used for replication but for other background process – NFC comms has been used for a man of communications not just replication – for instance it has been used in the past (and present?) for moving data around for backup purposes (to be honest, I don’t know if it still is…)

 

Posted by on April 27, 2016 in VMUG Wiki

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VMUG Wiki Update: VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 Update 1 (VCSA)

This chapter of the VMUG Wiki has been up for a while on the public site, and just haven’t got round to making folks aware of its existence. The new chapter is over here:

http://wiki.vmug.com/index.php/Deploying_VMware_vCenter_Server_Appliance_6_(VCSA)

There’s a couple of things new about the VCSA that caught my eye. Firstly, the setup/installations/import/configuration (take your pick about the appropriate word to use for getting the appliance ready for use) has been radically overhauled from previous releases. Previously, there was convoluted process of downloading, importing and then running thru a configuration process (the manual process was better the automated method) – that involved ‘toggling’ between different UI. That’s all changed – now you mount .ISO to your workstation with visibility to an ESXi host – and ‘setup’ wizard runs though the entire process. This is MUCH better than the previous approach, and I think it will help improve adoption of the “linux version” of vCenter.

As ever care must be taken over the FQDNs/IP address used – ensuring that DNS is up, accessible and is resolving. If you don’t you find the installer process will crash and burn… In this case I asked for the VCSA to have FQDN of vcwdc.corp.com, and that wasn’t resolvable to the IP I’d assigned.

Secondly, The ye olde 5480 VMware Studio portal still exists but the look, feel and functionality has changed significantly.You shouldn’t really need to touch this unless you need to re-configure the networking (for example) of the VCSA…

Thirdly, the VCSA Console is much more like the ESXi DCUI interface. I quite like this tidying up process – standardising on the console look and feel, makes the VCSA and ESXi feel more like the double act they really are. There isn’t a huge amount you can do here admittedly – just to say that you can do things like enable SSH to PuTTy into….

 

Posted by on March 11, 2016 in VMUG Wiki, vSphere

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VMUG Wiki Update: VMware vCenter 6.0 Update 1 (Windows)

As promised I’ve been chipping away at the VMUG Wiki. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks updating the vCenter chapter based on the Windows edition. I say weeks, in truth I spend a couple of hours each week on the Wiki, just fitting it in around my other interests that are focus of my gap year. I’ve been toying with recording the “sets” that I’m “touring” (more grand term, than it really implies) around various acoustic sessions in my local area. The other week someone said I should go to Sheffield and put myself up on stage all mic’d up and plugged in. Not sure I’m quite ‘seasoned’ enough for that yet! But perhaps I might record each monthly set and put it up on SoundCloud for those who are interested.

ANYWAY. Digression. This post is supposed to be about the VMUG Wiki. So the main “news” is the chapter on the Windows vCenter setup is completed and live – you can find it here:

Install VMware vCenter (Windows)

To any old hands here. There’s isn’t much to report in the “What’s New” stakes – but there were a couple of notable changes which I thought I’d bring to people attention.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Posted by on February 23, 2016 in VMUG Wiki, vSphere

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VMUG Wiki Update: VMware ESXi 6.0 Update 1

Well, a few weeks have gone by since I made my little announcement. I’m happy to say things are going well on the creative front, and I’ve been toying with the idea of recording some songs and putting them on her for your delight and delectation. This post is about my computer life. As promised I’ve started contributing to the VMUG Wiki project. I must admit the first couple of attempts were disaster. I had technical problems as my home lab has been down for months, and the process of updating the vSphere5 content to vSphere6 content is actually – sorry to say this – tedious.

Anyway, last week and the week before – I got over my technical problems and started to find an approach for updating the content that feels quicker, and therefore less tedious. What floats my boat is writing new content about something that has changed significantly, rather than playing a ‘spot the difference” game with software that if you blinked you’d miss any changes. Anyway, someone had to do this job, and as I have time on my hands now, it might as well be me.

So I’m pleased to report we have a new chapter on the VMUG Wiki (probably the first in months!) called thrillingly “Installing VMware ESX 6“. ย Yes, I know there’s a broken image in the content. I’m working to resolve that – we have a more serious problem with images in Wiki generally – as MediaWiki sometimes fails to create “thumbnails” correctly. I’m working with the VMUG folks to try and resolve that.

For those like me who have been in this game for a while – there are no surprises here. Indeed some of the content is so similar I haven’t bother to swap graphics around when the only difference in the UI is the bloody build number! However, there were one or two new things that caught my eye.

Firstly, “Lockdown Mode” (that highly popular feature of ESX ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) has a new option or mode called “strict”. I understand this prohibs the use of the DCUI to turn it off. So the only way to turn off “Lockdown Mode” is if the host is manageable via vCenter. That makes vCenter the only method by which the host can be managed. I guess this removes a ‘backdoor’ method caused by the root account being compromised. In my experience customers (except govt/military types) rarely use this feature – in fact many people lower security by enabling SSH which is normally disabled.

Secondly, the other thing I noticed is if you attach two vmnic to vSwitch0 they marked as being Active/Active. Previously, ESX marked one as being Active (vmnic0) and the other being Passive (vmnic1 for example). I consider this an ‘improvement’ but I imagine most experience VMware shops pretty much have the network setup nailed down by now and automated – and never use this method anyway.

Thirdly, I notice the TCP configuration has changed slightly for DNS (this might have changed a while ago, and I hadn’t noticed). You can now set a IPv6 DNS address (whoopee!), But the ‘odd’ thing is the option to set a secondary DNS for IPv4 seems to have disappeared. I assumed you could use comma separated values in the box – but it doesn’t seem to accept that. I dunno if that’s “by design” or bug…. If someone in the ESX team is reading this and knows their onions I’d be interest to know what the rationale is behind this… so I can feel less stupid and educate the community.

Finally, I am working on Chapter 2: Installing vCenter. That’s proved to be a bit more interesting given that there’s the new “Platform Service Controller” (great sexy name there!) and new Postgres support for the Windows version of vCenter. I increasingly find setting up the Windows vCenter a total ball-ache. That’s not because of VMware, but because of the bloody Windows dependencies that must met first. I mean why does anyone bother with the Windows vCenter for new deployments (lights touch paper and walks away!

 

Posted by on February 7, 2016 in VMUG Wiki, vSphere

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VMUG Wiki Update and Thank You

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This blogpost is really one long thank you to individual who helped me get the VMUG Wiki of the ground. His name is Jack Collins and I met him via friend of mine in the town where I live. Jack’s been very helpful to me and the VMUG Wiki project by painstakingly converting the many books and blogposts that have contributed to the seeding of the VMUG Wiki prior to the launch. I pretty much realised I wouldn’t be able to convert my EUC and SRM books on my own, plus my commitments to VMware as part of my day job would prevent me from completing that process on time.

Anyway, I managed to secure from those very friendly and helpful “VMware Press” people a collection of books all about VMware Technologies as a thank you. Jack is very much at the beginning of his IT career and keen to learn more about our technologies. So I see him as the next-generation of people who are going to move our industry forward.

It’s really thanks to Jack we have an (almost) completed vSphere 5.5 Wiki; Site Recovery Wiki and VMware View Wiki.

Thank you once again, Jack! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in VMUG, VMUG Wiki

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