NSX test drive course… excellent

So I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to attend the NSX test drive experience. It was very worthwhile. So what’s it all about?

Firstly, Dell/EMC/VMware looked after us very well. I certainly wasn’t expecting bacon and egg sarnies in the morning ;).  Anyhow… the course.

The class size was 16 (The maximum) and was delivered at EMC Manchester. Essentially it was quality as well as quantity 🙂

So it was described by several of the trainers as the ICM (Install, Configure & Manage)  without the fluff. To be sure, it truly is a techie course for techies. No marketing slides to be seen (Mr VMware, please don’t take that as a hint 😉 )

The whole point of the course is to help people understand NSX and the advantages it brings and how NSX works under the covers. There are too many advantages to list in this short shout out but the way the course was delivered it absolutely made sense.

Day one was how VXLAN works, how to install and configure NSX and the theory. It was almost identical to those courses that you beg management to send you on.

Day two delved even deeper into the whole security setup and how the whole security functionality in NSX works. It may seem simple on the surface but there is a huge hidden layer of complexity if you want to dive that deep.

Other items included touching on Orchestration and how to setup NSX in a multi-vcenter environment.

The layers that make up NSX

These courses are free. If you have a good account manager just ask. I went from knowing a little about NSX to understanding the vast majority of how a basic NSX setup works.

I found it provided an excellent opportunity to the question of “Where do I even start” with NSX.

For anyone that is interested in a course 101 tour of setting up NSX I will be be writing an article that will be appearing on SearchVMware  soon.

It would be remiss of me to not just say a big thanks to Mike, Phil and Kaela for making it happen. You guys rock!

Catch you all later,


Physical data loss in a virtual world, who ya gonna call ?

Every IT admin has disaster stories of data loss. Most people have seen the picture of the IBM array that fell through the upper floor of the DC.

Unfortunately not every admin has good backups though. Admittedly, it is not something admins like to think about too much. Speaking to KrollOntrack revealed an interesting story about virtual data loss.

Burn baby burn – Disaster can happen anyware. Original photo Gizmodo.com

Whilst everything about virtualisation gets quicker, automated and more densely packed the risk of data loss increases.  It only takes one bad action, intentional or otherwise and its a case of “Dude, where’s my VM farm gone.”

Speaking to Ernesto @ Ontrack it is a common occurrence. Reasons for data loss include many different scenarios… human error, power loss, malicious deletions, floods and natural disaster, physical array failure… The list goes on.

“We are not here to sell you anything” was a true reflection on the reactive service that you only need when something bad has already happened.

Hopefully I will be writing an interesting new  in-depth article on this for those that are interested in the how, the where and they why but for now, if you want to hear some interesting stories I recommend you drop by their booth @VMworld.

And as a parting thought, to put it into context, shipping an entire array to the clean room for recovery is quite a normal occurrence! Feel you inner nerd.


New VMware virtual toys… Desktops, HCX and other thoughts

The big message from this VMworld is as to be expected, hyper mobility at both the client end and the server/cloud end.

Any solution, any device anywhere is already very well known for end user computing but VMware have put their money where their mouth is and added support for Chrome devices for Workspace one. It now means that all the major players are supported.

This whole any device scenario gels with something I had noticed in general as I attend various events… more people than ever are utilising tablets and similar devices rather than classic laptops. Some misguided people even had the Ipad Pro *JK

Moving to the cloud side, it delivers HCX technology. The HCX technology allows the migration of workloads between on-premises, cloud or other other solution. We have all been there, where we have to do a migration and the downtime whilst a server is migrated. HCX solves that solution. It provides a way to do away with that downtime. It isn’t available yet, but it’s coming and it will make life very intesting. It is part of VMware’s play to be the glue that connects all the clouds together.

This change (which I assume includes parts of NSX) has vast ramifications. Think about it this way.. If you have one network that expands to cover all your environments where the VM sits is no longer important. It could be on-site, on cloud. No one cares (except the beancounters!)

This also has huge ramifications for DR.  Normally DR, even virtual DR means that failing over requires some manual or automated configuration (ie IP addreses, host names, firewalls, applications etc.)

Reconfiguring that virtual machine, under pressure of a real DR could be a real pain. That pain is about to go away. With the new VMware stack it means that in a DR scenario bringing up the DR instance becomes a much simpler scenario. No having to re-ip or rename virtual machines and then hope for the best.

Interesting times indeed.

VMware on AWS… What’s your scenario

Last year we got teased about VMWare on AWS but now it is time to show about it. We all know the VMWare / AWS is the future. How to get on to it? Depends on your scenario:

  1. Maintain and expand
  2. Consolidate and migratie
  3. Expand capacity

vSphere can help with all those scenarios. Build your vSphere stack in less than 2.5 hours !

AWS is a full SDDC stack  (vSphere, vSAN, NSX) deployed on bare metal and vCenter as control plane. It  is that simple.

Hybrid link mode for single pane of glass, tick.  Everything just works as expected as it is just vSphere under the hood. As I alluded to recently in an interview about AWS and vSPhere, it is VMware cloud. Support, VMware, Billing. VMware. It is VMware (just to push the point home.)

AWS do get a look in too. AWS serfices such as RDS, S3, IAM can also be consumed by VMware on AWS cloud customers.

vSphere on AWS Nodes consist of:

  • Compute 72vcpups
  • 512 GB ram
  •  14 TB NVME storage, 10 usable.

Other new interesting features include elastic scale. There are also several consumption models including consumption based, ad hoc (credit cards, PO’s etc and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Hybrid Loyalty program.

Oh and lastly, VMware take care of your patching. More on this later as I am sure a lot of people are interested in that (for better or for worse).



So it came to be, VMworld Europe 2017

After a bit of travel I have arrived. I am expecting many new and interesting things this year, not least AWS and VMware, all the items they teased us with last year should all be unleashed upon us.

For those returning from last year, the whole VMworld layout is completely different so it may take some getting used to! The new badges are useful though because the password for the wifi is on the back of the rather large attendee pass (as well as a map of all the locations!)

Don’t make the same mistake I made 😉

Need to find an AWS person to talk to and get some VMware on AWS exposure…

VMware vCenter HA – How to

One of the major shortcomings of vCenter has been lack of HA for vCenter. HA has been around for a long time but it never supported dual CPU so therefore no use for vCenter.

With the latest version of vCenter VMware have addressed this issue and created a purpose built vCenter HA configuration with a separate heartbeat network. What’s even better is that it is really simple to implement, manage and test.

You can read the full how-to of implements vCenter HA here.


Lessons learnt for the next VMworld

Now that the party is over (literally) I thought it would be a great idea to create a post about lessons for attending

Liota - VMware powered robot on dislay.
VMware Liota IOT powered robot on dislay.

VMware (The more in-depth thoughts and articles will come via my usual outlets ;))

This was my first VMworld (Thanks vExpert, Corey and the team for making it happen). I probabily made what the veterans would consider newbie mistakes. I did however make some really good decisions too!

Lesson 1) Day one is partners day.

That’s the problem. If you are not a partner there is a limited amount of

things to do as it is focused on partners and TAMs (Large accounts essentially.)  You will not get into the partners booth. This is the day when all the partners are setting up their stands.

There are however a few things you can do to pass the time. Try the hands on labs. There are loads of them to do, they are free and they are all super fresh content. Taking your own laptop means you can bypass the queues for the most part (VMware can only provide so many desktops!)

My personal advice would be that if you are not a partner, travel on the first day and get registered (Registration booths are open late).

Lesson 2) Planning is key

Me being my normal self left installing the app until the last minute… Get the VMware session app setup before you attend. It makes managing your experience (and registering) much easier.

It is critical that you get your session selections picked as soon as they are available. The populuar courses fill up extremely quickly. If you leave it you will get almost zero sessions available.

Lesson 3) There are only so many sessions one person can take.

There are lots of sessions but I would recommend making sure you have plenty of breaks inbetween (Who knows, even talk to other people about VMware if you’re feeling brave.) I wouldn’t suggest more than two back to back.

Lesson 4) Relax…

At the end day it is all about learning about new VMware related trends, tools and have fun.

As an aside if you need somewhere reasonsablly good and fair inexpensive to stay I can recommend L’Hospitalet de Llobregat as a hotel. It is a travelodge hotel that is literally 2 – 3 minutes walk down a straight road from the hotel. Much cheaper and better location than a lot of the more expensive hotels.


The word from VMworld 2016

So the first day of business is over. It has been really interesting. If there is one thing that really stands out it is that “on prem” is also on life support. If any proof where needed of this the keynote underlined squarely the fact that the VMware is looking at everything in a cloud. Hardly a mention was made of anything not cloud.

Don’t get me wrong the products for those that wish to keep their own hardware will still exist but all the effort is going into cloud.

I forsee that in the near future VMware will have a very different role. That of the vendor agnostic cloud management and orchestration plane for virtualised workloads.

Yes Amazon is coming onboard with inbuilt out the box functionality next yeat but Amazon is one of many cloud providers (as noted on the keynote) other players include Amazon and OVH to name but a few. Even Azure is covered.

The management of the cloud is the next stop on the journey of VMware. As for those wondering what is happening with the fight with Microsoft, HyperV and where Microsoft fits in this new agnostic world, check back soon for my exclusive interview with David Zolnier.