What’s announced at VMworld 2018

This blog post will be updated with the latest and greatest VMworld 2018 US announcements. At VMworld, VMware is celebrating there 20th anniversary! Congrats for this awesome journey! VMworld 2018 US (Las Vegas) is the biggest (over 21000 attendees) event of the year for VMware. In November there is a VMworld in Barcelona (Europe). But for now we focuses on the announcements made at VMworld 2018 US.

Besides announcements, links to the general and breakout sessions are listed below and some vendor updates.

Day 1, August 27, 2018

  • vSphere Platinum. vSphere Platinum is a new offering that includes VMware vSphere Enterprise plus and VMware AppDefense. VMware AppDefense is a data center endpoint security product that protects applications running in virtualized environments. This bundle comes with a own AppDefense vCenter plugin that is built for the Platinum version. More information can be found here link.

  • vSphere 6.7 Update 1. With this update it is possible to upgrade from vSphere 6.5 U2 to vSphere 6.7 U1. The General Availability is planned later this year! So what are they enhancements:
    • vMotion for NVIDIA Quadro vDWS and Intel FPGA Support. NVIDIA demonstrated this last year at VMworld. In vSphere 6.7 the suspend and resume options were introduced.With vSphere 6.7U1 it is possible to perform maintenance operations on the underlying GPU accelerated VDI or VMs with a vMotion. So no downtime is involved. I have a lot NVIDIA GPU customers who will be very happy with this. More information can be found here, link.
    • Fully Featured HTML5-based vSphere Client. The Sphere Client (HTML5) will include all administrative functions!  No more switching between the vSphere Web Client and vSphere Client. One fast client that does the job. Hooray!
    • vCenter Server Converge Tool. Allows you to migrate from an external Platform Services Controller (PSC) to an embedded PSC architecture.
    • Enhancements for HCI and vSAN. Includes workflow based configuration wizard called “Cluster Quickstart”. With “Cluster Quickstart” it’s possible to create a fully functional vSAN cluster in minutes. Another improvement is that vSphere Update Manager (VUM) can perform I/O controller firmware updates. This version will be called vSAN 6.7U1.
    • Enhanced Content Library. Importing of OVA templates from a HTTPS endpoint and local storage, as well as syncing content from OVA templates to other vCenter Servers.

More information can be found here link.

  • vSAN Private Beta. You can subscribe to the vSAN Private Beta by signing a NDA.  This beta will include Data Protection by using snapshots, file services and persistent storage for containers. Subscribe here link.
  • ESXi  on 64-bit Arm. Bring the power of ESXi  virtualization to 64-bit Arm devices. For example run ESXi on a Raspberry Pi (don’t know if VMware is supporting the PI). Great for IoT devices. ESXi on 64-bit ARM will be available as Tech Preview.

  • vRealize Operations (vROps) 7.0. More information can be found here link.
  • vRealize Automation 7.5. More information can be found here link.
  • VMware vCloud Director 9.5. More information can be found here link.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS (VMWonAWS). Today it’s the 1 year anniversary of the VMware Cloud on AWS  with the following enhancements:
    • New Regional Expansion.  With Australia and New Zealand. Below is an overview of available regions:

  • 50% lower entry-level price. A 3-host SDDC minimum is now possible as starting point (instead of the original 4-host). VMware is currently offering the 3-Host SDDC environment for the cost of a two-host configuration. In addition, for a limited time period, customer could take advantage of a new promotion that offers three hosts at the price of two. For the start, duration and terms and conditions of the promotion. More information about the costs can be found here link.
  • Custom CPU core counts: Customers can now configure their environments with the number of physical cores per host they want to be enable in a cluster. This is useful for applications that are licensed per physical core (for example Oracle).
  • VMware NSX with AWS Direct Connect integration. This integration eliminates the need for using separate VPN tunnels when using applications that needs to be migrate or operate in a hybrid manner.
  • VMware NSX Hybrid Connect.  Migrate VMs live without downtime using vMotion and vSphere replication technology. It’s now possible to perform bulk VM migrations.
  • Real-time log management.

More information can be found here link.

  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware makes it easy for you to set up, operate, and scale databases in on-premises and hybrid environments, and to migrate them to AWS. Supported database are for example Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL and MySQL.Are there coming more awesome AWS services available on-premises? RDS on VMware will be available as Tech Preview.
    • More information can be found here link.
    • For a Tech Preview register here link.
  • Project Magna. This Tech Preview is about the self-driving Data Center using machine learning.  Products that are used in Project Magna are for example: Wavefront, AppDefense and Workspace ONE Intelligence. Project Magna will make managing the data center infrastructure much easier.
  • Project Dimension. Project Dimension will extend VMware Cloud to deliver SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations. Because this is will be a service, it means that VMware can take care of managing the infrastructure, troubleshooting issues, and performing patching and maintenance. This in turn means customers can focus on differentiating their business building innovative applications rather than spending time on day-to-day infrastructure management.  So Project Dimension delivers VMware Cloud simplicity (such as VMware Cloud on AWS) to the data center and edge with:
    • VMware-Operated End-to-End
    • Hybrid Cloud Control Plane
    • VMware Cloud Foundation in a Hyper-Converged Appliance (DellEMC and Lenovo)

More information can be found here link.

  • Three new cloud services are announced:
    • Cloud Assembly. This is a multi cloud provisioning service. More information can be found here link.
    • Service Broker. Aggregate native content from multiple clouds and platforms into a single catalog with role-based policies. More information can be found here link.
    • Code Stream. Speed software delivery and streamline troubleshooting with release pipelines and analytics. More information can be found here link.
  • Intent to Acquire CloudHealth Technologies to provide Multi-Cloud Operations at Global Scale. More information can be found here link.

Day 2, August 28, 2018

  • Pulse IoT Center 2.0 announced.  Pulse IoT center offers infrastructure management for the device Edge. More information can be found here link.
  • VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 3.0. VMware Cloud Foundation brings together the different virtualization technologies – compute, storage, networking and management – to enable customers to build and operate a private or hybrid cloud as a single entity in an automated fashion. More information can be found here link.

  • WorkSpace ONE:
    • WorkSpace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) enhancements. More information can be found here link.
    • Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub. More information can be found here link.
  • Horizon announcements. The innovations are at the VDI management and cloud delivery level. More information can be found here link.

Streams  and breakout sessions overview

  • VMworld General Session “Technology Superpowers” day 1 replay, link.
  • VMworld General Session “Pioneers of the Possible” day 2 replay, link.
  • VMware VMworld YouTube videos, link.
  • Lamw VMworld 2018 breakout sessions Github, link.
  • vBrownBag Techtalks stream link.
  • VMworld 2018 US (breakout) session videos, link.
  • VMware Code Power sessions, link.
  • theCUBE VMworld 2018 Las Vegas talks, link.

Vendor updates

  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication version 8.  Today version 8 of NAKIVO Backup & Replication is Generally Available (GA). This version includes the Business Continuity and Site Recovery Orchestration Solution.  With v8 can automate and orchestrate the entire site recovery process. Perform scheduled non-disruptive disaster recovery testing, planned failover, emergency failover, failback, and datacenter migration.  More information can be found here link.
  • RuneCast Analyzer 2.0. I will dedicate a blog about version 2.0 soon. More information can be found here link.
  • Veeam Hyper-Availability Platform on Cisco HyperFlex. More information can be found here link.

 

Review NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 – Replication

In this part of the NAKIVO Backup & Replication review I highlight the replication feature. With the replication feature you can replicate VMs. The source VMs are copied, a VM replica is created of each and replicated to the target VMware environment (also known as the recovery site).

VM Replication protects for example against the following type of disasters:

  • Natural disasters  (earthquakes, floods, tornados etc.)
  • Data center  problems such as power losses, fire and water damage
  • Hardware problems such as host, network and storage failures
  • Human errors
  • VM failures caused by updates or patches, virus or manually removal

The replication feature can be used for business continuity as part of you’re disaster recovery plan. When a disaster occurs, the protected VM(s) can be quick failed over from the primary site to the recovery site.

When the primary site is restored the VM(s) can be failed back to the primary site.

Another use case it to use replication for migrating the VMs to a new VMware environment for example when moving from on-premises to a cloud provider.

Configuration

The configuration of the replication job can be done by using  a 7 step wizard:

1. VMs. Select the VM(s) that will be replicated.

2. Destination. Select the destination host(s) and datastores the VM(s) will be replicated to.

3. Networks. If the VM on the primary site has another network than on the recovery site you can make a mapping between them. In my test environment I have an stretched L2 network so the source and target network are the same.

4. Re-IP. With this option the replicated VMs will be mapped to a new IP address. In my test environment I have an stretched L2 network so the IP address will not change.

5. Schedule.Select the scheduling for the replication job. The VM replication will be executed at the schedules. So note that the VM(s) in primary site are not synchronous replicated.

6. Retention. Set the retention for the replicated VMs. Per VM you can have up to 30 recovery points.

7. Options. Set the options for the job.

Click on Finish & Run to start the first replication job. The VM will be replicated to the recovery site in a powered off state in the vSphere client.

Perform a VM Failover.

If a disaster occurs at the primary site or something happen with one or more protected VMs you can perform a failover from the primary to the recovery site. To perform a VM failover follow these steps using the following wizard:

In the recover menu select VM failover to replica.

1. Source. Select the VM and recovery point to use.

2. Networks. If the VM on the primary site has another network than on the recovery site you can make a mapping between them. In my test environment I have an stretched L2 network so the source and target network are the same.

3. Re-IP. With this option the replicated VMs will be mapped to a new IP address. In my test environment I have an stretched L2 network so the IP address will not change.

4. Options. In the options section enter the job name. I checked the “Power off source VMs” box to prevent IP conflicts.

Click on the “Finish & Run” button to start the recovery job. The VM in the primary site is powered off and the replica VM is powered on in the recovery site. In the vSphere client, the replica VM is running after the failover.

VM Failback.

After the disaster, the protected VMs are at the recovery site. When the infrastructure at the primary is restored you may want to return these VMs back. With the replication feature these VMs can be transferred back to the primary site. Transferring the VMs back involves performing some manual steps such as deleting the recovery job (with the keep recovered VMs option) and create a new replication job.

In a next release of NAKIVO Backup & Replication a new feature called “site recovery” will be introduced. Site recovery will enhance the replication feature with for example automated testing and workflow options. With these options you can test for example if the disaster recovery plan works as expected in a isolated environment.

Update: August 27, 2018. NAKIVO announced today version 8 with Site Recovery feature. This powerful new feature allows you to:

  • Build automated recovery workflows
  • Run one-click failover, failback, and datacenter migration
  • Perform non-disruptive recovery testing
    Make sure you meet your RTOs

More information about the Site Recovery feature can be found here link.

In the next NAKIVO Backup & Replication review I will highlight the editions, licensing and conclusion of my four reviews.

vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) automated/unattended deployment

Installing the vCenter Server Aplliance (vCSA) automatically using an unattended scripted deployment can be done by command line (CLI) in combination with a JSON config file.  In this example an embedded vCenter Server Appliance with the Platform Service Controller (PSC) and vCenter Server role will be deployed.

Prerequisites:

  • This example is based on a Windows Operating System. Using a Linux or MAC OS is also possible but not highlighted in this blog.
  • Make sure the FQDN of the vCSA is resolvable by a DNS server and check if reverse lookup works.

Steps to perform:

  • Download the vCenter Server Appiance (VCSA) ISO (version 6.5 or 6.7)
  • Mount the ISO
  • The CLI installer for Windows requires a Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable version 14.0. This requirement can be checked with the following command:
\vcsa-cli-installer\win32\check_windows_vc_redist.bat
  • Navigate to the JSON templates. The vCSA ISO contains template JSON files that can be used for deploying the vCSA. The templates can be found on the ISO in the following map:
 \vcsa-cli-installer\templates\install

The types of templates are avalable:

           embedded_vCSA_on_*.json: Platform Services Controller (PSC) and vCSA
                                     together on one system
            PSC_on_*.json:           Only a PSC
            vCSA_on_*.json:          Only a vCSA
            *_on_ESXi.json:          Install onto the ESXi host specified in the JSON
                                     file
            *_on_VC.json:            Install onto a host managed by the vCenter
                                     instance specified in the JSON file
  • Edit a template “embedded_vCSA_on_ESXi.json or use the example below with you’re favorite editor (I use Notepad ++) and save it to a writable location (in the CLI syntax you need to point to this modified JSON file). The template contains the minimal parameters needed to deploy the embedded vCSA. The vCSA will deployed as tiny (2 vCPU, 10 GB memory, 300 GB storage). An overview of all parameters that can be used are found here, link.

Example JSON file to deploy an embedded vCenter Server Appliance with the PSC and vCenter components:

{
    "__version": "2.13.0",
    "__comments": "Sample template to deploy a vCenter Server Appliance with an embedded Platform Services Controller on an ESXi host.",
    "new_vcsa": {
        "esxi": {
            "hostname": "192.168.11.10",
            "username": "root",
            "password": "VMwaaare01!",
            "deployment_network": "vlan13-srv",
            "datastore": "SSD-M2-01"
        },
        "appliance": {
            "__comments": [
                "You must provide the 'deployment_option' key with a value, which will affect the VCSA's configuration parameters, such as the VCSA's number of vCPUs, the memory size, the storage size, and the maximum numbers of ESXi hosts and VMs which can be managed. For a list of acceptable values, run the supported deployment sizes help, i.e. vcsa-deploy --supported-deployment-sizes"
            ],
            "thin_disk_mode": true,
            "deployment_option": "tiny",
            "name": "vcsa03.lab.local"
        },
        "network": {
            "ip_family": "ipv4",
            "mode": "static",
            "ip": "192.168.13.13",
            "dns_servers": [
                "192.168.13.101"
            ],
            "prefix": "24",
            "gateway": "192.168.13.254",
            "system_name": "vcsa03.lab.local"
        },
        "os": {
            "password": "VMware01!",
            "ntp_servers": "pool.ntp.org",
            "ssh_enable": true
        },
        "sso": {
            "password": "VMware01!",
            "domain_name": "vsphere.local"
        }
    },
    "ceip": {
        "description": {
            "__comments": [
                "++++VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)++++",
                "VMware's Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) ",
                "provides VMware with information that enables VMware to ",
                "improve its products and services, to fix problems, ",
                "and to advise you on how best to deploy and use our ",
                "products. As part of CEIP, VMware collects technical ",
                "information about your organization's use of VMware ",
                "products and services on a regular basis in association ",
                "with your organization's VMware license key(s). This ",
                "information does not personally identify any individual. ",
                "",
                "Additional information regarding the data collected ",
                "through CEIP and the purposes for which it is used by ",
                "VMware is set forth in the Trust & Assurance Center at ",
                "http://www.vmware.com/trustvmware/ceip.html . If you ",
                "prefer not to participate in VMware's CEIP for this ",
                "product, you should disable CEIP by setting ",
                "'ceip_enabled': false. You may join or leave VMware's ",
                "CEIP for this product at any time. Please confirm your ",
                "acknowledgement by passing in the parameter ",
                "--acknowledge-ceip in the command line.",
                "++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++"
            ]
        },
        "settings": {
            "ceip_enabled": true
        }
    }
}

The first deployments failed when using the FQDN ESXi hostname in the JSON file, with the following error:

OVF Tool: Transfer Failed

OVF Tool: Error: Failed to send http data

Deployment failed. OVF Tool return error code: 1

I checked the logs but didn’t find any clue. The FQDN of the ESXi host was revolvable by DNS but after changing the ESXi FQDN to the IP address of the ESXi  host in the JSON file the deployment finished without errors.

  • Perform a template JSON verification without installing:
vcsa-deploy install --accept-eula --verify-template-only <JSON file path>
  • Perform the actually deployment
vcsa-deploy.exe install --accept-eula --acknowledge-ceip --terse --no-ssl-certificate-verification <JSON file path>

When the unattended deployment finished, an embedded vCenter Server Appliance with the Platform Service Controller (PSC) and vCenter Server role is ready to rumble.

I created a GitHub repository for the deployment and parameters, link.

VMware documentation about the CLI deployment can be found here, link.