VMworld 2017 – PKS: Pivotal Container Services

The big announcement during the 2nd general session at VMworld was around Pivotal Container Services, or PKS, which is an on-prem, managed kubernetes offering.  PKS is targeted at customers who want a private kubernetes environment, operated at scale, and enterprise grade (meaning manageable, upgradeable, etc.).

I wanted to provide some context around several things that I think a lot of people aren’t aware of.  I’m going to try to define all the acronyms as well, as this gets confusing fast.  Give it a couple of reads if you have to! Continue reading

VMworld 2017 Day 2 – VMware Cloud on AWS

The hits just keep on coming here at VMworld 2017.  Lots of big announcements and great sessions today.  VMware Cloud on AWS is a big focus this year and you can expect to see continued integration points between VMware and Amazon (as well as other cloud providers). Continue reading

VMworld 2017 Day 1 – VMware Cloud Management Platform

My first session at VMworld 2017 was “What’s New and What’s Next for VMware Cloud Management Platform.”  There are a ton of great sessions and overlap at this conference, but I thought this would be a good one to attend (and blog on) as they touched on a lot of things VMware is doing outside of itself.

A big issue in the tech field today is that the world is moving “open.”  Open source, open APIs, commodity hardware, etc.  Customers are very wary of vendor lock-in that prevents them from either using new solutions or moving to other solutions later.

VMware has clearly recognized this, as a primary focus of late is cloud and product interoperability.  This is huge for a massive company like VMware who has TONS of proprietary stuff. Continue reading

Exploring Docker Networking – Ports and Forwarding

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If you’ve followed along in my other network posts about bridge and the rest of the default networks, you may have noticed that I keep spinning up CentOS containers.  This is well and good for demos and instructional purposes but you might have also noticed that they don’t really do anything.  I mean they exist, but that isn’t why you run things in your environment.  You don’t have a bunch of server OSes spun up doing nothing, right?  RIGHT?

Well, we hope not anyway.  Ideally your server actually does something like hosts an app, database, or webserver.  In this post we are going to explore some aspects of bridge networking and get a little more into the underpinnings of Docker.  And in order do that, hey we need a container that actually does something! Continue reading

Exploring Docker Networking – Host, None, and MACVLAN

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As with our previous post on bridge, the intent here is to explore the remaining standard (mostly non-swarm) network configurations.  Those configurations are host, none, and the newer MACVLAN.

Unlike bridge these are non-default configurations which means you must manually specify the network somewhere.  In our case we are just going to explicitly list the network when we run the container.  We will also explore the configuration elements that we looked at earlier.   Continue reading

Exploring Docker Networking – Bridge

Exploring Docker Networking – Bridge

If you have been under a rock (like I was for a while!), Docker is a container technology and containers are very cool.  Containers sparked my interest in the same way that virtualization did the first time I saw it.  I really regret not getting into it sooner but better late than never.  Seriously if you haven’t played with containers at all try it on a local system, VM, or use this really nifty site http://training.play-with-docker.com/

Continue reading

VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 – Upgrade and Health Check

VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 – Upgrade and Health Check

As you may be aware, vRealize Automation 7.3 just released a few days ago.  I took some time to upgrade my lab and thought I would share my experience as well as a look at the new embedded health service.

First it goes without saying that this is a lab, not a production instance.  Obviously you should take care before any upgrade with standard checks like ensuring compatibility with any extras you have, ensuring you have good functional backups, etc.

Also my lab is a simple deployment, not a distributed one.  Again, do your homework to ensure that you are prepared for the entire upgrade scenario.

Ok let’s get to it!

Upgrade

You have the option of doing the upgrade by using an online repository.  I am never a fan of doing a major upgrade this way.  It is one thing to download minor patches but I would rather download the file and do my own checksum validation before applying it myself.

First, you will need to download the upgrade ISO from the VMware download site.  It is the same location where you get the vRA OVA, just a different download.  After the download completes, validate the checksum against the provided one to ensure that your download is good.

After it is downloaded, I uploaded it to a datastore I have for ISOs and then attached it to the vRA CDROM.  Make sure you actually connect it!  This still trips people up, including yours truly.

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Next, login to the vRA VAMI (default :5480) as root.  Under Update > Settings, select Use CDROM Updates and save.

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Back on the Status page, hit Check Updates which should show the 7.3 update.  If you don’t see it, you probably don’t have the CDROM connected.  Then just hit Install Updates.  Note that I’m actually jumping two versions here, 7.1 to 7.3.  This is OK but if you have an older one than 7.1 you’ll need to check the release notes on how to get to 7.3.  

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You will see this message below for a while during the appliance update, but fear not – let it go and it will finish.

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My only complaint about this process is I hate messages like this with no “update progress” messages (or even worse, progress bars that just constantly scroll and don’t actually indicate progress) but it is a minor fault.  The IAAS updates actually do provide some good progress indicators.

Once it completes it will let you know and you can reboot the appliance.

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After the appliance reboot you can check the update screen again as the IAAS server components get upgraded next.

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Once the IAAS updates finish, you are good to go.  Overall a very painless experience, so kudos to the vRA team for ensuring easier installs and upgrades!

Health Check

Next after I logged into my tenant and took a quick look around to make sure nothing looked awry, I gave the new health check feature a whirl.  As IAAS Admin, you’ll find the Health option under Administration.  Note that you can also see this as Tenant Admin but you can only view results, not configure or run tests!

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Click New Configuration to create a new test.  Configuring the test is pretty straight forward aside from the fact that you will need to input vRA info as if the system doesn’t understand itself.  This is because you are not limited to monitoring the vRA instance you are logged into…as long as you can reach it and have credentials you can do a health check.

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The only thing that caught me up was the naming for my tenant admin who is a domain user.  After trying domain\user in several iterations and failing miserably, I simply used user@domain and it worked like a charm.  So be careful if you are using domain accounts here.

After the test is configured, simply run it.

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Test results are all green, and green is good!  If you click on the icon you’ll get a more detailed view of what tests were run and the results.

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When I had the wrong user and some of the tests failed to run (the output was decidedly more yellowy-reddy than above), the detailed output actually did notify me of the problem and sometimes it will offer fixes as well.  As far as I was able to determine from the guide and my poking around, you can’t configure notifications for the health check which is kind of a bummer.  It would be great to be able to SMTP/SNMP if a health check issue arose.  Hopefully this can be added in the future unless I’m just missing it.

Look for more on vRA 7.3 over the coming weeks!