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/

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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!


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.


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


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.  


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


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!

VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 – What’s New?

vRealize Automation 7.3 was just released and there is a lot to unpack.  I haven’t had the chance yet to play with the new version (hope to soon!), but I wanted to take a brief moment to call out some cool things I noticed.  Here are the release notes (link) if you want to check the whole thing out.

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vRealize Automation and UCS Director Interaction via REST API – Part 3

If you’ve been following along, whew!  Last post in this series and likely the easiest.  Let’s do a quick recap.

In our first post we basically went through the process of determining “how do I do what I want to do?”  In our case that was making a REST call to UCSD and kicking off a workflow.  We used the Postman utility to help accomplish this.

In the second post we went through the process of “how do I get vRealize Orchestrator to do what I want to do?”  Here we used some existing sample workflows and made some modifications to do what we wanted, how we wanted.

In this final post we need to expose that workflow to vRealize Automation so that it can be consumed in a catalog.

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vRealize Automation and UCS Director Interaction via REST API – Part 2

OK this is definitely the meatiest part of this series, but bear with me and we’ll get through it.  Before we get started, it is important to note there are a million different ways to skin this cat in vRO.  This is just one that I find to be fairly straightforward.

I will also fully disclose that this is not easy and at times very frustrating.  Some of the vRO stuff is well documented, but some of it is behind curtains and seems to be (on some level or another) different than some of the provided API documentation.  I say that just to say, if you are getting your angryface on while working through some of this, you are not alone.  Hopefully this series will help alleviate some of that frustration! Continue reading

vRealize Automation and UCS Director Interaction via REST API – Part 1

You might ask yourself, “self, why do I care so much about automation?  Why so much fuss over APIs?”  The truth is the world is changing – this is true everywhere, and especially true in IT.  Automation and APIs are changing the game, allowing you to answer the question, “what can we do?” with “pretty much anything.”

There are a lot of references to VMware vRealize Automation/Orchestration (vRA/vRO) and Cisco UCS Director (UCSD) REST APIs from the vendors, but I thought I would post some findings and methodologies around rolling your own integrated solution.  I’m specifically going to work through calling a UCSD workflow with a vRA XaaS (a.k.a. vRO workflow) blueprint, but you can use this methodology to add any REST functionality through vRA for most anything.  APIs allow us the opportunity for endlessly integrated solutions…as long as you’ve got the time and patience to develop them! Continue reading

Plan, Execute, THEN Drink the Beer!

This topic has been simmering in my mind for years now.  Everyone’s favorite thing to hate: planning.  I don’t have all the answers but I want to try to provide some guidance to someone specific.  Yes, you, the dude who recognizes the need for planning when nobody around does.  The dudette who is tired of having projects go awry Every. Single. Time.  Beers are great to celebrate a project victory, but a lot of you are using (abusing?) them throughout the project cycle to help numb the pain.  I get it; I’ve been there.

There are a lot of things that this post is not.  It is not a crash course in project management.  I don’t talk about cool buzzwords like agile or scrum.  I’m not going to talk about change management processes or anything like that.  It is simply a collection of my observations about the multitude of businesses I’ve worked in or with, and the multitude of projects I’ve seen succeed and fail.  But read on, I think you’ll still find it useful. Continue reading

The Amazingness That Will Be vSphere 6.5

In case you haven’t heard the news, VMware announced vSphere 6.5 at VMworld Europe this year.  As usual I wouldn’t recommend anyone jumps on the bandwagon at the .0 release (unless you have test environments).  Nobody wants to be that first gazelle across the river!

Make no mistake, there are a TON of new features and enhancements in this version, which you should be checking out on VMware’s press releases.  I don’t want to cover them all, as you’d need a gallon of coffee to make it through, but I did want to talk about a few of them that I’m personally excited about. Continue reading

Back to Basics – vSphere Maintenance Mode

I’ve noticed over the years that while VMware admins tend to really understand maintenance mode, a lot of others in adjacent spaces (storage, network, etc.) have a very murky perspective on it.  In fact, I’d bet that if you sat down a storage person at vCenter and told them to evacuate a host with MM, odds are they would be really confused when the task hung or failed.  I know I was the first time I tried it. Continue reading

vSphere Client Console Black Screen

Or, more accurate than the title, a black area on the border of the console window.

I got a new laptop running Windows 10 and when I brought up the console in my home lab, this is what I’d get.


It actually ended up being worse even than it looks as the mouse is pretty much unusable on the screen and a huge chunk of the screen (bottom and right side) is cut off.  It is virtually impossible to do anything with VMs including installations of operating systems.

I tried several fixes like compatibility mode, update drivers, etc. without success.  Then I stumbled upon this scaling setting which is mentioned on several sites dealing with mouse usage in the VDI space.

Browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\ and right click on VpxClient.exe and select Properties.


On this screen, select the Disable Display Scaling box indicated.  Then restart your client.

As a annoying side effect, now some of the text isn’t scaled right so some things in the client look wrong.  But it is still usable and the console is usable.

Weirdly, the vCenter console from the web client has no such issue that I noticed.  But if you are being pestered by this “feature” try this setting and see if it helps.