Why 2020 is the Year of Kubernetes for Me

I must admit that I wasn’t on the Kubernetes bandwagon from beginning. However, I’ve seen it mature rapidly over the last 4 years with an expanding ecosystem and high rate of adoption that has given me confidence that there is a future with Kubernetes and now is the time to invest in learning it. Here are the 3 things I observed over the last 12-18 months to solidify that now is the time for me to focus on becoming a Kubernetes expert:

Cloud Native Landscape Explosion

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) began publishing the CNCF Cloud Native Landscape back in 2016 to illustrate the projects and enterprise software that are part of the cloud native ecosystem and community. The Cloud Native Landscape graphic originally contained three projects: Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Opentracing. Today, it includes over 48 (not including CNCF member/non-member products and projects)! Observing this type of growth signals heavy investment by organizations and individuals to improving core functionality of Kubernetes or filling gaps in the ecosystem.

CONTINUE READING

Valid VMware License Types in Cloud Foundation (VCF) API

When I first start working with an API, I aim for low-hanging fruit. REST APIs, by nature, should be very generic in how they’re interacted with; however, there’s usually small nuances to take into consideration. For example, I recently found out that the VMware Cloud on AWS API uses a csp-auth-token header for authentication and authorization.

While authorization and authentication to the VCF API was straightforward (SDDC Manager username and password), I struggled the first time with POSTing a new VMware license due the API requiring a specific format for productType.

Continue reading

Automating VMware Cloud Foundation with PowerVCF

In a recent post, I wrote about interacting with VCF using the API to add a new license key as a simple way to begin familiarizing myself with the API. As a huge proponent of PowerShell, I began looking for a module to talk to the API but came up empty handed. I began working on a module with vSphere admins in mind because I know the important role PowerShell plays in day-to-day operations. During a conversation with Jase McCarty, he told me about the PowerVCF project which does exactly that! The module was initially developed and is maintained by Brian O’Connell and has 50 cmdlets which covers ~70% of the API calls in VCF 3.9.0:

Continue reading

Where’s My VMware Cloud Foundation License?

A common question I receive from customers is why they don’t see a VMware Cloud Foundation license in the MyVMware portal. What appears instead is licenses for each individual product that make up the VCF edition you purchased. Which is typically:

  • vSphere & vCenter
  • vSAN
  • NSX
  • SDDC Manager
  • vRealize Operations, Automation, and Log Insight
  • Horizon (optional)
  • Enterprise PKS (optional)
Continue reading

Tracking Performance and Usability Enhancements to VMware vSAN Since 6.6.1

I’ve been at VMware for 12 weeks now and continuing to work towards being a vSAN expert. One of my many challenges facing that goal is not only learning the current state of vSAN’s features and capabilities (the latest being 6.7U3) but also learning how vSAN operated in previous versions to articulate to my customers why feature X in this release is relevant to them.

VMware has released updates to vSAN 75 times since the initial release in 2014 and 12 updates in 2019 alone. So where is the best place to start for having a foundational understanding of modern vSAN functionality?

Continue reading

Announcing VMware Cloud Foundation 3.8

VMware Cloud Foundation 3.8 was released in July 2019 and the biggest news in this release is the addition of public RESTful APIs for common tasks that are performed for workload domains and other day 2 operations. Managing Cloud Foundation in the SDDC manager is incredibly intuitive but customers have significant investment in existing IT and business systems such as vRA or ServiceNow. 

In large scale cloud foundation deployments like I work with in Global Accounts, this will be a heavily used feature because customers now have the ability to utilize existing provisioning workflows in vRA or create new workflows that allow ops teams to orchestrate even higher levels of automation. Some common operational tasks that are available in version 1 of the API are:

  • Commission and decommission hosts
  • Create and delete workload domains
  • Scale clusters
  • Manage network pools

Cloud Foundation 3.8 also adds capability for the SDDC manager to patch and upgrade all vRealize Suite components and NSX-T. In previous versions, SDDC manager could deploy vRealize Suite but initial config, patching, and upgrades were handled manually through each individual component. The Cloud Foundation engineering teams has been rapidly deploying enhancements and this version comes just 6 weeks since the last major release.

For further details such as release notes and planning and upgrade guides for Cloud Foundation 3.8, visit VMware Docs.

Level Up at the next VMUG Virtual Professional Development Event

Let’s be honest — if you’re a VMUG member, you get quite a few emails from VMUG and probably delete them without looking or quickly scan it and then delete it. I tend to do the latter but the one I received this morning caught my attention and quickly turned to excitement and I wanted to do my part to promote what I’m expecting to be a very beneficial event.

Lately I’ve spent a lot of after hours time working on my own professional development and specifically focusing on leadership as I feel that my future roles in technology will require that skill. But it’s also an important skill in my role as father raising 3 children.

The upcoming VMUG virtual event’s keynote speaker will be VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger, where he will share his “Five L’s of Leadership.” The event will also include 5 members of the VMUG community that will share their experience ranging from broad topics such as resume writing, networking, and public speaking as well as deeper topics to help you identify your brand and use it for your future success.  I’m looking forward to hearing each of the following speakers:

  • A Public Speakers Guide to Public Speaking, Chris McCain, Director of Technical Certifications @ VMware
  • Soft Skills, Resume Building and Networking are Some of the Toughest Areas to Master, Paul Nadeau, Sr. SD-WAN Systems Engineer @ VMware
  • Tips and Habits to Advance Your IT Career, Ariel Sanchez, Sr. Technical Account Manager @ VMware
  • Growing From VI Admin to SRE, Michael Roy, Product Line Marketing Manager @ VMware
  • Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career, Amanda Blevins, Sr. Director & Chief Technologist @ VMware

Over my 15 year career in IT, all of these skills have been extremely important to plot a course, go on a journey, and execute on those goals. The two latest journeys I’m taking are public speaking and building my brand. I’ve been fortunate to have found the VMware community through social media nearly 10 years ago and found industry experts to follow and learn from but I’m making an concerted effort now to raise my voice and share my ideas. 

I hope you’ll join me along the way. To join the VMUG virtual event on September 19 from 9 AM – 3 PM, register here: https://vmugvirtualseptevent.vfairs.com. Let your voice be heard too! Share what you learned at the event on social media and your plan to sharpen your skills.

VVols Readiness Checker for Pure Storage FlashArray

The SE organization at Pure has been hard at work promoting VMware VVols as it enables customers to take the next step in their virtualization journey: mobility. In an earlier post on the Pure Storage blog, Ray Mar wrote about the simplest VVols implementation in the industry. Getting up and running with VVols is effortless but there’s always those pesky minimum requirements to know about before you can begin implementing VVols.

While reviewing the VVols Quick Start Guide, there were quite a few things to be mindful of:

  • Minimum vSphere version
  • Minimum Purity version
  • NTP servers configured on ESXi, vCenter, and FlashArray
  • FlashArray management ports accessible on port 8084
  • Host and host groups are present on the FlashArray
  • If replicating, make sure all of these requirements are met on the remote side too!

As the sharp system admin you are, you can probably take a quick glance at the requirements and know you’re good to go. But, it’s a great idea to double check a setting such as NTP that is usually “set it and forget it.” On a small cluster it’s easy enough to click around on a few hosts and vCenter and make sure it’s set and turned on but that’s no bueno on a much larger cluster. Sounds like a great task to be automated! With that in mind, I created the VVols Readiness Checker to quickly validate these prerequisites with PowerShell using PowerCLI and the Pure Storage SDK.

The script can be run on your local machine or server and will download PowerCLI and the Pure Storage SDK if it’s not present. After entering your vCenter, FlashArray, and associated credentials you’ll quickly get a summary of your environment’s readiness to implement VVols.

Sample ESXi host summary
Sample FlashArray summary

Once you’re finished addressing any warnings, proceed with the Quick Start Guide to update the vSphere Web Client plugin, register the VASA provider, and create the VVols Datastore!

I highly recommend importing the FlashArray protection groups as VM storage policies as this gives you fine grain control and validation via compliance checks that ensures the VMs are always protected as required by the business.

Example FlashArray Protection Groups as VM Storage Policies

Be sure to check out Cody Hosterman’s VVol’s landing page for even more VVols details!

Update: Veeam Support for Volume Snapshots of a FlashArray Protection Group

In a previous post, I wrote about taking FlashArray snapshots with Veeam using a PowerShell script. At the time, there was a limitation that prevented Veeam from seeing protection group snapshots. The Pure Storage Plugin for Veeam version 1.1.40, was released on August 24, 2018 and support for volume snapshots created as part of a Pure Storage Protection Group are now available. Check out the KB article to download the update. Installation is a simple wizard that takes a minute or so to install.

No settings need to be changed on FlashArray or Veeam to see Protection Group snapshots. When selecting a volume on FlashArray, you can see snapshots from a protection group (highlighted) and those taken separately by Veeam as part of another protection policy.

veeam-ps-pg-updated

With multiple options for snapshot policies, what’s my recommendation for a best practice? Continue to leverage the volume or protection group snapshot policies on FlashArray. Veeam has visibility into volumes on the FlashArray but can’t manage Protection Groups. Having the ability to group volumes on FlashArray to snapshot and replicate and maintain one retention schedule is easier to administer.

What I would like to see in the next iteration of the plugin is the ability for Veeam to truly integrate with protection groups (consistency groups on other arrays). It looks like Veeam’s Universal Storage API for Integrated Systems will need additional functionality though. The API’s documentation doesn’t describe that functionality.