You, Your Health and the Datacenter

Just yesterday I finally completed a marathon few of months in downsizing a live environment in one of our datacenter. This was a huge project with a very ambitious deadline that still required time spent in the office each day doing BAU. To put my workload into perspective, BAU contains customer support tickets that usually role into the next day and so on. In itself, just to keep on top of that is full time, now adding in a large datacenter consolidation with multiple parties involved more than doubles that workload.

Like any project, there are lessons that are learnt and usually incorporated into the next project. Some of the mistakes that we make are ones that are obvious and just plain common sense, but due to our own determination (or should we say, stubbiness!) we tend to make them without realising.

One of the biggest mistakes I made during this project was looking after my health. I pride myself for the fact that I don’t get sick (aside from the minor runny nose or cough) but the reality is, is that we are not invincible. A weeks back, we had a nasty virus go around the office,  I was just coming off a large stint of after hours work and being physically drained and surprise surprise, I got sick. I was so sick that I ended up taking days off which is a big deal for me. I then had a week where I took it steady and paced myself, then came the last couple of weeks and I went in guns blazing feeling on top of the world to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, I pushed myself hard, I did 60+ hours in 4 days, I started Sunday and finished Thursday morning. I would go to the datacenter, get a large amount of work done, then go home for an hours sleep, get up, get my daughter ready for the day and go to work. I would then go home and have dinner, put my daughter to bed and go back out to the datacenter, I started to make simple mistakes, but pushed on. Come Friday, I got sick again and over the next 4 days, I lost 4kgs and I only weighed 70kg to start with.

This week I spent several days in the Datacenter to complete the project, this time I put my BAU on hold so I could pace my days and get a good night sleep to limit the mistakes to almost none.

The project is now completed and the biggest lesson I have taken away from this is to look after yourself and know your limits. We all strive to be the best we can, we want to show our peers that we can do almost anything to get the job done, but the risk we take is dangerous. The percentage of mistakes we will make are greater the more tired we become, ranging from possible customer outages through to  causing physical injury to yourself or others.

So, from my recent experience, I have compiled a list of things that I think are vital to try and keep yourself happy, healthy and on top of your game.

  • Take regular breaks and keep water intake up:
    When working in a datacenter, you are in a dry environment where you are constantly moving between cold and hot aisles. Ensure you keep your fluids up, you don’t want to suddenly collapse from lack of hydration in the middle of the datacenter.
  • Ensure you get plenty of sleep and pace yourself:
    No project or job is ever worth your life. When you are tired you will make mistakes that can either impact the company or may cause an accident where yourself or someone may get injured.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
    If you find yourself running out of time, or being unable to complete all the tasks or just need a moment to take a breathe, Ask for help. There is no shame in needing assistance. We are all human.
  • Plan to spend time with the family:
    I cannot stress enough that spending time with family was a necessity to stay happy and to stop the mind focusing on the work that was ahead. Clearing the mind is essential for when you are back at the task and needing to focus.

If you can stick to these guidelines, you will not only succeed at your project, but you will be happier and healthier at the end of it. If you have a peer you are working with, take the time to remind them every few hours to take a quick 5 minutes break, it could be the difference between working on another project with them again or not.

VMUG UserCon Melbourne Wrap up – 2017

Melbourne VMUG UserCon Wrapup

This year I had the opportunity to fly down to Melbourne for the VMUG UserCon. This was an amazing time to meet some of the superstars from Vmware and NetApp/SolidFire as well as meet some hiighly skilled people that I have only ever met online in either forums or twitter. The day was filled with all highs and no lows. I had the oppportunity to see the event come together before the day via the slack channel and first off I would like to point out that it was a difficult process this year as there had been some changes at VMUGHQ that put the guys from Sydney VMUG and Melbourne VMUG under some intense pressure, but they did an amazing pulling the event together and making it a really great day. I think these guys deserve a huge thank you for their efforts and a congratulations on a great day.

Lets start from the beginning of the event, A couple of days before the event I thought I might try my luck and just put a universal invite on twitter for meeting up for breakfast before the event started. I hesitated on the “tweet” button unsure of the response, thinking that only one or two people would join. Alas! Almost immediately there was a reply from one of the VMUG steering committee members keen to come along depending on the time (obviously due to requiring to be at the event early). After a couple of more hours, there were replies and a time was agreed upon. I was In awe by the response from a number of people who were willing to join me (Who I had not interacted with before online) This showed me immediately the community spirit amoungst like-minded VMWare/VMUG attendees. I was joined by the likes of Brett Johnson, Manny Sidhu, Brett Sinclair, Jeff Wong, Rebecca Fitzhugh, Boris Jelic, and a couple more. All these guys are superstars and was amazing to be around a very smart group of people. The night before I thought I would take a leap (I will expand on this in a further section below) and thought I would take a chance and invite some superstar presenters, again I hesitated for a few minutes before clicking on “Direct Message,” button and reached out to Alan Renouf and almost immediately received a “Send me the location and time” reponse. The thing we keep forgetting is that all of these people are just human like you and me, and we are a communityfrom far and wide. It was a great start to what was going to be a great day. Awesome conversations and full of laughter. My take-away from this is to take that step and reach out to the community, you might be surprised at the people who may just come and have a coffee with you.

Starting otf the event was registration followed by the introduction and farewell of Craig Waters and Andrew Dauncey who have stepped down from their VMUG leader roll in Melbourne and passing the baton on to Mark Ukotic and Tyson Then. After a Vmware update the first keynote superstar, none other Cheif technologist – Duncan Epping stepped onto the stage to speak about VSAN Use Cases, current features and what will be coming out in time. To start with, Duncan talked about storage, mentioning that data growth between 2010 and 2020 will be 50x and that today’s storage doesn’t always meet today’s requirements. Duncan moved on to talk about use cases for VSAN and spoke about how there are SDDCs on oil wells and on trains and the require for a hyperconverged platform to make a compact SDDC. Other use cases are larger organisations using VSAN for their management cluster.
VSAN is really simple to deploy with a couple of tick boxes, however to make VSAN work efficiently and to get the most out of it, one of the most important things you can do is set up Storage Based Policy Management, this allows VSAN to best select the right way to manage the storage and performance of the virtual machine. Specifying Fault domains is a great way to set up redundancy, you can set it up by rack or shelf, so if a rack burns down, there is still a copy of the data in another fault domain. In VSAN 6.5, there is now softwar checksums and disk scrubbing to help prevent data corruption, direct connection for 2 x VSAN nodes and ALL FLASH is now licnsed under the standard VSAN license.

Right after Duncan’s presentation, Amy Lewis – NetApp Solidfire, broght up a panel onstage to discuss Getting ahead in your career and being active in the community and online Social Media. The discussion started off about “are you in the right places to hear the right things?” discussing the use of twitter, slack and other social media to hear about the items relevent to you. Amy made a great point about reaching out and it cemented in me that event though I hesitated twice regarding breakfast, the overwhelming response I had is exactly what can be achieved just be taking that leap and reaching out to the big names.
Talking blogs, there was a lot of discussin around, finding what to blog about, how to find something to blog about and finding the time to blog. This is a challenge I have found for myself, it is easy for me to write a blog post like this, but when it comes to something technical, it is hard to decide whether or not anyone will read it, or if has already been convered before, however the overall response is, “Blog it regardless, someone might need it one day.”
The last point that was asked by an audience member was “How do you seprate yourself from person and business accounts” This is a hot topic, when you are posting on twitter, sometimes you may get carried away and this can reflect on your company, but it is about finding the balance.
**The funny thing is, I want to make a sidenote, when I wrote this section, I was on the plane trip home, however, once I got back to Brisbane and in mobile data range, I was hitting up twitter to catch up and I replied to a post by Scott Lowe regarding his OS change over from OSX to Fedora, and as having changed to Fedora at the same time as Scott I made a comment about my experience. Later, I received a question from Scott asking if I would like to do a write for his series on my experience to which I replied that in the past I would have said I had nothing to contribute, but since hearing Amy Lewis yesterday, I reckon I could come up with something.
And that’s it, finding something to write about and doing it, writing even if you don’t think you have something to write about. That request topped off my trip to the Melbourne VMUG, all because I wrote something to a superstar and they responded.

The Amy Lewis GeekWhispers Panel

So Josh Atwell, what a presenter, apart from turning up a minute late, Josh was straight into it, telling everyone how it is, giving everyone to have a cry about IT. Now, DevOps is something I’ve been looking at getting into for a short while now and I thought I would give this session a go, and I was not disappointed. The way Josh presented was that even if you’re not in DevOps, you will be at the end of his presentation. Understanding what DevOps is.

DevOps = Makes deploying code suck less.”

“DevOps exists for communication, collaboration and Integration”

The image on screen was a brick wall between Dev and Ops and a folder was being thrown over
With some images that pointed out the truth, Josh talked about “What is Ops good at?” He lists them as:

  • Problem Solvers
  • Great Researchers
  • Learn Quickly when motivated.


  • Process what it takes to deliver
  • Good in a Crisis
  • Duct Tape Engineering


Emad Younis has been travelling the world presenting the Migrate2VCSA tool, however this presentation goes into more detail than that. Emad not only talks about the prerequisits and running the tool, but he also dives into the new features in VCSA 6.5. There are several dot points that Emad touches on regarding why the VCSA is a much better option than the Windows vCenter:

  • Quick and Easy to Provision – Straight from the ISO to hypervisor via web interface
  • Licensing – Do not require windows license
  • No DB maintenance – PostgreSQL is pretuned
  • Unified patching – Running on photon and not SLES as previous – no 3rd party updates

When using the Migration tool, you need to remember that if you currently have an embedded platform services controller then you can not migrate to an external and vice versa. The migration assistant runs all the checks across the system, if you have a VUM server connected, it will be detected and will advise you to remove from your vCenter before migrating. Ensure that your NTP and DNS (Forward and Reverse) are configured correctly and make sure you know your topology – custom configured ports are not supported.
Emad went on to talking about 6.5, the VCSA is now able to be deployed from any OS and there is no longer a requirement for the Client Integration Tool. The deployment is also split into 2 stages so that you can come back later if required and finish configuring the vCenter server. 6.5 now supports High Availability natively utilising a passive and witness VCSAs deployed on separate hosts. VUM is now integrated into the appliance making it easier to control the entire vCenter environment from a single-pane of glass. There is also a built in backup and restore feature.

Closing keynote for the day was with two legends of VMware who strive to promote automation and why you should to. William Lam and Alan Renouf started off with talking about a first for UserCons, setting up a mini SDDC, fully-automated from an USB stick. This was originally achieved in Sydney using an Intel NUC, however it did take longer than expected and the after party drinks started while they waited for it to finish. Thanks to Tai Ratcliff for lending his supermicro box for the demonstration. There was a section discussing how the process works and how you can set up the process yourself by using the kick start script for ESXi and the VCSA CLI Installer that is part of the VCSA iso. During the wait for the process to run, Alan and William spoke about automation with VMware, Alan spoke started the main part with the line “If you do it more than once, Automate it!.” This is very true as I have done some repetitive tasks in the past I should have automated, even though there was months between each one.
The next was actually a question I asked Alan at breakfast, I told Alan I hack and slash other code as I don’t know how to start coding an automation process. Alan describe the process on stage, he said “Write down the manual steps, once you have this, script each line individually and then add them all together.” It actually is that easy.

Screenshot from 2017-03-26 22-52-15
“It’s not stealing, it’s Sharing”

One of the popular lines to come out from Sydney, which turned into it’s own hashtag was,

“Never tell someone you’ve automated it – Claim the hard work”

After some more information regarding PowerCLI, new SDKs, and PowerCLICore, the SDDC automation process was completed. Alan took the opportunity to introduce the new API Explorer in vCenter 6.5 where you are able to navigate through a series of APIs and get snippets of script. Alan also introduced the new DCLI and interactive mode which is a new CLI that is easier to use and manage. There were a couple of hiccups as the automated SDDC hadn’t finished starting some services, but this was minor and allowed Duncan Epping to walk up on stage as a waiter and deliver beer to Alan and William while they finished their presentation.

Overall, this was the best UserCon I have been to (2nd UserCon in fact) and it was full of great information from some of the best in the IT industry worldwide. There were people I have spoken to on forums, twitter, and other internet areas but I had never met in person before that I finally got to meet and sit down and have a god chat with. The information I brought back with me will be getting put to use in the coming months at work and I also have grown that little bit more in the way I think and process my actions. From having people join me for breakfast, to people meeting me at the event and encouraging my growth in virtualization and in IT, I can definitely say there is a great community within VMUG (Especially Melbourne) that is willing to support one another.

vExpert 2017

First off I would like to say a big welcome to all the new vExperts that have joined in 2017. The numbers look to be up by ~100 from last year, but we will wait for the stats to come out later on.

Second, I would like to thank VMware for the opportunity to be selected as part f the vExpert group for 2017. This will be my fourth year. It is a great honour to be part of such a group filled with people from around the globe who support the virtualization community. This group is filled with such knowledgable people who spend a lot of their own time helping out the vCommunity and being very active.

So what is vExpert?
I’ve already mentioned a small part of this above, but the vExpert program is in recognition of those who go out and support the virtualization community, discussing, training, promoting virtualization. Even though this is a VMware award, it is not just based on VMware products. Anthony Spiteri (@anthonyspiteri) has a great post about the vExpert program: It’s about the Advocacy

Then there are the benefits, It has slowed down a little over the years,  however there are many more vendors offering up longer evaluations or free softare to vExperts to use and then write blogs posts about the product, this is a great way to get reviews of their software. There are also beta sessions that vExperts can elect to be part of to offer their expertise and insight into the product and provide feedback on the up and coming new program.

Again, I would like to thank the VMware community for giving me this opportunity.

VCP6 – Update #3

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update. The first week was a little bit different as I was unable to carry a book and thus I decided to start going through the vBrownBag VCP-Foundations series. This was a great option as it keeps things interesting and offers other examples and a different perspective on the subject.

The two videos I watched were the first two in the series. Both were very well presented and covered in great detail. Both episode were hosted by Emad Younis (@emad_younis) who asked some great questions and added some great value. The first video for the series started from the beginning of the blueprint with Section 1: Install and Configure vSphere 6 with Kyle Ruddy (@kmruddy). This was very in depth with a great demonstration.
The second video of the series was Section 2: Configure vSphere Networking with Brian Welch (@brianwelch) and covered the blueprint content well.

I have since moved on from Chapter 5: Creating and Configuring Virtual Networking and am now onto Chapter 6 Creating and Configuring Storage Devices.

In this chapter, so far I have covered:

Examining Shared Storage Fundamentals
In this chapter, we covered use casees for shared storage, breakdown of capacity and throughput and how to determine performance requirements for Online transaction Servers, Database servers and file servers.  

Comparing Local Storage with Shared Storage.
Local storage can be used from running ESXi through to running VMs, however it is limiting to the fact that VMs that are running on Local Storage are unable to be migrated to another host. Shared Storage combats this limitation and allows for the flexibility to build a highly available datacenter. VMs are able to run from shared storage keeping them in the same location when a VM is moved between hosts, providing that the Datastore is connected to the participating hosts. There are multiple protocols that can be used, from Fiber Channel, FCoE, iSCSI. 

Explaining RAID
With Dynamic Disk Pools, RAID isn’t as widely used anymore, however it is an underlying technology that should be known. First we cover off using RAID0 (stripe), aggregating all the disks together for performance and maximum capacity. Then we read upon the different RAID1 (Mirror) or 1+0 configurations, bringing in some redundancy and backup against failing drives. Following on from RAID1, we learn about parity and hot spares with RAID5 and RAID6.

Understanding Virtual SAN
Virtual SAN (VSAN) has been out since vSphere 5.5 and has recently reached 7000 customers around the world. VSAN brings together local storage using a Flash Drive and a spinning disk. There is a minimum requirement of 3 hosts par-taking in VSAN to provide redundancy of data. VSAN is part of the Software Defined Storage. VSAN does not have any limitations to vSphere features such as HA and DRS, these work between VSAN and regular SAN storage using FC, FCoE, or iSCSI.

So far, this has been my current reading progress and study, and I wish I could have done a lot more by now, but slowing it down, writing up notes and revision, adding videos and specific whitepapers to take it in does take time, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

VCP6 – update #2

This week has been fairly full on and I haven’t been able to carry my Mastering vSphere 6 book with me to work and back, so I have been doing little mini topic looks up on my phone and also listening to the VirtuallySpeaking Podcast  which is a storage focused podcast. This has given me some inspiration and catching me up with VVOLS and VSAN, etc.

In my readings I have covered off Section 1 and Section 2 of the blueprint, there is much more to go, including watching the vBrownBag and Pluralsight videos. The topics I have covered off in  Section 2 are: DvS, VSS, Migrating port groups, Security (Forge transmits, MAC Changes, Promiscuous Mode), Maximums, Multicast, LACP, VLANs/PVLANS, TCP/IP Stacks, NIC Teaming and 3rd Party Switches (Cisco 1000v, IBM 5000v)

Below is my current notes I have typed up. There are many more that will soon make an appearance.

Section 2.  vSphere Networking.

Objective 2.1 Configure vSphere Standard switch

+ Explain vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) Capabilities

A vSS is the default vSwitch that connects your vSphere environment to your network. When you set up ESXi out of the box, this vSwitch sets up a VMkernel port group and a VM port group. The first  difference between the two groups of ports is that the VMkernel port group requires an IP address assigned to it (DHCP or Static) where as the VM Port group just passes through the IP addressing from the guest OS.

After ESXi has been installed, the IP address will be displayed on the DCUI, if this is set to DHCP and you want to specify a static address, you can do this by pressing F2 and configuring the mangemant IP. You can only configure Mangement port and no others from the DCUI.

The vSS VMkernel port groups is used for a set of network services

Fault Tolerance logging
Virtual SAN
vSphere Replication Traffic
vSphere Replication NFC Traffic
Provisioning Traffic


To setup iSCSI networking, when creating your VMkernel port group, there is no tick box for this, you will need to ensure all options are unticked and continue. ISCSI is used to connect to SAN (Storage Area Network). To enable iSCSI you will need to go to Storage Adapters and add the iSCSI adapter.

By default, management is already configured. If you need to make setting changes or set up management redundancy theny you can do that there.

When you have vCenter installed and your hosts added to a cluster, you will then have the ability to utilise vMotion. This is used to migrate live Vms between hosts. It is recommended to have a minimum of 1Gbps dedicated to vMotion

Fault Tollerence logging
This is required for replicating between VMs that have been configured for Fault Tolerence. As this will continue to replicate the current state of the primary VM to the secondary, there is a requirement of a minimum 1Gbps and even better to have a dedicated network adapter

VSAN VMkernel is a dedicated link to transfer and replicated information/data between hosts. This is recommended to be a dedicated 10Gig link. There must be a minimum 3 hosts participating to create a VSAN array over the network.

vSphere Replication Traffic
The vSphere Replication Traffic VMkernel isolates the traffic sending from the source host to the vSphere Replication (VR) server.

vSphere Replication NFC Traffic
The VR NFC (Network File Copy) Traffic VMkernel isolates the data incoming to the destination replication host.

Each of the VR replication links require a minimum of 1Gbps, when setting up the isolation traffic, a separate vmnic is recommended to keep the traffic secure. This will require 3 vmnics on the vSphere Replication Server. The first will be the mangement nic, followed by the vSphere Replication Traffic and the 3rd for NFC. This will ensure replication traffic is routed securely.

Provisioning Traffic.
The Provisioning Traffic VMkernel allows the separation of traffic created from cold migrations, snapshot creation and VM cloning.



Now that I have covered Networking, it is time to start moving over to Storage for the next week or so and spend some time reading, watching and Labbing.

Thank you for reading, if you have any suggestions please leave a message in the comments.


VCP-DCV Study – Post #1

To kick things off with my series of study notes and progress, I thought I would write a quick post on the resources that I am using and a brief overview of the exams. Back in February 2015 I wrote a post on the changes that were made to the VCP certification track. This included details about the additional pre-requisite exam VCP-Foundations which covers the underlying technology that supports each track.

In the VCP Datacenter Virtualizaation track, the foundations are similar, as networking, storage and compute are presented in the same way. This makes it a little easier to learn as I can focus on similar resources for this. Once I have taken the online foundations exam, I will then be able to take the DCV test.

My first resource is a blog post I refer to often when studying by our local VCDX Travis Wood (@vTravWood) – 7 Tips to Prepare Pass VMware Exams – This has some fantastic suggestions, such as creating a scorecard to rank your knowledge. I was impressed with this blog that I printed it out and laminated it. I now try and stick to it as a guide.

The below resources are what I will be using throughout this process, I am definitely open for more suggestions. As I mentioned in my previous post, I want to go right back to basics and fully understand the finer details.

Mastering vSphere 6 (Purchase here)
This by far, is my favourite series and book. I have been reading them since Mastering vSphere 5 and use it as a resource for production. The amount of content and the presentation of the content is phenomenal. There have been a lot of stories I’ve heard where people have passed the VCP exam from labbing and using just this book. Nick Marshall (@nickmarshall9) has done a terrific job following on from Scott Lowe.

vSphere Official Documentation (Blueprint)
The official documentation lays out the bare metal details, there are documents that are 200 pages on a particular technology (vSwitches, Storage, etc). These are also linked in the Blueprint available on the VMware Certification page. I highly recommend this documentation, even just for further clarification on a particular topic.

VMware vSphere Design (Purchase Here)
For further detail, use case and design information, this book has been a great read, I have read it a couple of times already and enjoy the way it breaks down different scenarios for components. This is an older book that was written back in the 5.x days, however a lot is still relevant. Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe) and Forbes Guthrie (@forbesguthrie) have done a great job.

vBrownBag (@vBrownBag – Podcast VCP-DCV series)
This is a series of Podcasts by members of the vCommunity running through the VCP blueprint over a number of weeks. These are some great videos as they are all deep dives. I’ve found a lot of information and learnt a lot just from watching tutorials. I highly recommend checking out the series.

Pluralsight (vSphere 6 DCV – vSphere 6 Foundations)
There are a number of series on Pluralsight that are dedicated to both the Foundations exam and the DCV. both David Davis (@davidmdavis) and Greg Shields (@concentratdgreg) have put together some great course with excellent content that dives into the blueprint and real world use cases. I highly recommend Pluralsight videos for more than just vSphere certifications.

vSphere HA Deepdive (HA DeepDive – Gitbooks)
This is a dynamic online book hosted on Gitbooks written by Duncan Epping (@duncanyb). The level of detail that Duncan dives into and explores really gets the deep understanding of how HA in vSphere 6.x works.

This is just an outline of what I am and plan to use. At present I am watching vBrownBag videos and reading Mastering vSphere 6 on the bus to and from work, as well as on my lunch break. I am currently finishing off vSphere distributed Switches and will hopefully have my completed Section 2.0 review notes completed for posting within the week.

Please feel free to leave any comments below or suggestions.

Thank you.


2017 – New Year and the outlook

First off, Happy New Year everyone. Thank you to all those I had the pleasure of meeting or working with in 2016. What a year it was, aside from a busy work schedule with some busy projects, I also welcomed my first child. This has obviously added to what i felt was already a busy schedule, but all I can say is that I am very grateful to have her in my life and things have certainly changed and will continue to change.

That being said, I realise I was not very active on my blog in 2016, however it does not reflect the amount of articles I wrote that I didn’t publish because it is not 100% completed or because I just didn’t like feel comfortable it was ready. Most of what I wrote was merely notes for myself or just jotting down sentences and paragraphs to ensure I was reciting what i knew. In 2016, I started to explore new horizons for myself. I started using Nutanix CE on Ravello to understand all the hub-bub around. I decided that I would make the switch from using Windows 10 to Linux Mint and then on to Ubuntu on my main computer, this created some challenges from an administrative perspective, but I feel as though I have increased my brain power just that little more. I managed to add to my lab increasing it over 3 times my previous lab. I have started testing Linux and other OSes in my lab to get a better understanding and broader knowledge. Each one of these things and a ton of other little bits and pieces I have changed or picked up are going to make 2017 a much better year for my IT future.

This brings me to my outlook for 2017 and what I plan to be a good year full of learning. This year I am hoping to finally knuckle down and get my VCP out of the way and hopefully complete a VCAP or two. When I look back, I realise how unfocused I was and how much my ego stood in front of me when I studied and then going in for the exams – going back and re-reading/re-learning how to install ESXi or how to vMotion a VM does not show weakness but shows strength knowing the very fine detail and understanding. I have now changed the way I study and now add more time and extra steps to ensure I fully understand before moving on. There are some smaller exams I would like to also get and also looking at CCNA and having more foundations covered.

For 2017, I plan to write and publish as much of my study log and notes I can, and hope that someone might find them useful for their own studies. This will hopefully be joined by many more blog posts to help make my blog active again.

In closing, I hope that you all have a very happy and safe 2017 and I look forward to meeting new people, creating friendships and working with many of you through the large list of communities.

vSphere 6.5 GA

vSphere 6.5 has now been released. This is a very exciting release for many as it brings a load of new features and some very long-awaited advances. There are many new features around DRS, HTML5 Client, VSAN 6.5 and even VCSA high availability. The biggest one that has got so many people excited is the long-awaited VCSA embedded vSphere Update Manager. With this brings the advantage of keeping vCenter and Update Manage all part of the one appliance.

there are many blog posts regarding the release and all the features that have come along with it.

You can check out What’s New in vSphere 6.5 and also check out the below blogs to help get started.

Set up Nutanix CE on Ravello Systems

Being a vExpert is a great acknowledgement of community contributions not just around VMware, but virtualization in general. As part of the award and recognition, many companies step up and also recognise the contributions the vExperts make. As part of this, Ravello Systems (recently acquired by Oracle) offers vExperts 1000 CPU hrs a month for Free. This is really great, and allows for the use of cloud resources for labbing and testing.

Ravello Systems is a cloud provider hosting on both Amazon and Google Cloud. The way Ravello is designed is that you create a blueprint of your servers and then fire them up and operate as required. There are some pre-made blueprints with images already loaded and there is also the ability to upload your own ISO/image to use the build of OS you require.

Today I am going to talk through setting up the Nutanix Community Edition blueprint that is readily available on Ravello.   (You can sign up and get your copy of Nutanix CE here for your home lab.) The Nutanix Community Edition is as it is called, the Community Edition. This is a free version of their Acropolis Hypervisor and Prism interface for use on your home lab.
Setting up a pre-set blueprint is simple.

  1. Select the Applications Tab on the right and click on the bright orange “Create Application.” This will then open up a dialog box asking for the Name and Description of your new application. Tick “From Blueprint” and select “Nutanix Community Edition” 1_Create Application 2_Create Application
  2. Once created, you will see the VM sitting on the blueprint of your application. 3_Blueprint
  3. Select the Nutanix VM as this will bring up the resources tabs on the right hand side. This is where you can set your Compute, Storage and Network (including public IPs) – I will take your through these tabs, but it’s best to leave as default for this blueprint.
    The summary tab gives you a brief overview.
  4. Select the General Tab, this is where you can rename the VM and give it a hostname before publishing. You can also set up a security key. 4_Genreal Tab
  5. The third tab is the System Tab, where you can adjust the compute for your VM. I have tried setting up with more memory, however I continue to receive errors on the blueprint – just leave as is.  Make sure you leave the “Allow Nested Virtualization” selected, otherwise you will not be able to run VMs on the Nutanix platform.5_System Tab
  6.  Coming up fourth is the Disks Tab, this is where you can configure your disks. Nutanix uses HDD and SSD, so this are already pre-configure with heaps of room. 6_Disk Tab
  7. The Network Tab allows you to set up networking. 7_Network Tab
  8. The last tab is the Services Tab, this is where you can open ports for your public IP through to your system. The main port for Nutanix is 9440 which is where your will connect through to Prism interface to manage your Nutanix Acropolis HV. There are also the SSH and sftp ports available as well as many others. 8_Services
  9. Once you are happy with any changes you may have made, you can select the “Publish” button at the top of the screen.
  10. You will then receive another box that will ask for where you would like to host your application. The two choices are Amazon and Google Cloud, there are cost benefits between the two providers and also speed benefits depending on where you are (Play around with different providers until you find one that suits – however you will need to recreate the applications). You can also set how long you would like your application to stay on for if you only need it for a certain length of time. Once you are happy  select “Publish”. This will then set up your VM in your blueprint and assign a public IP and DNS entry so you can then access the Prism interface over the internet.10_Publish Application
  11. During the application creation, there will be an hourglass displayed on your VM as it builds. This will then turn to a play button once it is on.
  12. Once the VM is ready to be accessed, you will have both public IPs and DNS hostnames available on the right hand side under the Summary Tab. Select either DNS or IP and paste into your web browser (There are two, so you may need to try the other one).13_Published_App
  13. If everything is up and running then you will be presented with the Prism logon screen. The default log in is admin/admin14_PrismWeb

That’s it. Really simple to set up Nutanix CE on Ravello Systems. Make sure that you have set up a .next account with Nutanix CE as this will be required to continue past the prism log in. As I am in Australia, I do find Ravello slow, but with a little patience it really does help, especially if you do not have a lab at home.

Thank you again for reading, I really appreciate any comments you have about this post or any others.