Feb 28

PowerCLI 11.2 Released, with more goodness for vSAN!

Jase McCarty posted February 28, 2019
PowerCLI 11.2 has now been released. The additions for vSAN include updates to some existing cmdlets.

Storage Updates

The cmdlets updated include: Get-VsanSpaceUsage, Get/Set-VsanClusterConfiguration, and Test-VsanNetworkPerformance. vSAN 6.7 Update 1 added the ability to estimate the amount of free capacity for a vSAN cluster using a selected Storage Policy in the UI: VSAN Capacity Overview

The Get-VsanSpaceUsage cmdlet can now accept a -StoragePolicy parameter and report what the estimated free capacity for a vSAN Cluster would be.

The Get/Set-VsanClusterConfiguration cmdlet adds some additional parameters that can be reported against and configured respectively these include:
  • CustomizedSwapObjectEnabled – This configures the VM swap file to inherit the VM’s Namespace policy
  • GuestTrimUnmap – Enables TRIM & UNMAP support for vSAN 6.7 U1
    More information can be found on vSAN Space Efficiency Technologies section.
  • LargeClusterSupported – Enable large cluster support (>32 hosts), which is now exposed in Cluster Quickstart in 6.7 U1 as well
  • ObjectRepairTimerMinutes – Configure the Object Repair Timer value for the cluster – Also in the vSphere Client in 6.7 U1 The Test-VsanNetworkPerformance cmdlet adds a -DurationInSecond parameter to adjust the duration of a vSAN Network Performance test. A few samples have been added to the PowerCLI Cookbook for vSAN (now v1.4)

More Information

While not necessarily related to Storage, those Administrators that are security conscious, PowerCLI also introduces some additional authentication options, including support for GovCloud.

More information can be found on the PowerCLI blog: https://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI/2019/02/powercli-11-2-0.html

Download

About author Jase McCarty

Rating: 5/5

Dec 14

VMware PKS Overview

This animation video gives an overview of VMware PKS. To learn more about VMware PKS, visit: VMware PKS

Rating: 5/5


Dec 11

VSAN Easy Install

First Published On: 04-11-2017
Last Updated On: 05-02-2018

An Introduction to Easy Install

Deploying VMware vSAN is not a difficult task. The vSAN Cluster Wizard is one of the workflows included in configuring a vSAN as a part of a vSphere Cluster. To use this wizard, some tasks had to accomplished beforehand as prerequisites of vSAN. These tasks were accomplished by vCenter:

    1. A Datacenter had to be created
    2. A Cluster had to be created
    3. Hosts had to be added to the cluster
    4. A VMkernel port had to be added to each host for vSAN communications
    5. A VMkernel port had to be added to each host for vMotion communications
    6. vSAN could then be enabled.To accomplish these tasks, vCenter had to already be installed somewhere.
In environments where vCenter (Windows or VCSA) already existed, it was not difficult. In “greenfield” deployments it was a bit more challenging. There were a couple methods for “bootstrapping” a VCSA to accomplish this task of getting vCenter running on top of the vSAN datastore it was managing.

Pre-Easy Install

Before Easy Install, there were a couple mechanisms to bootstrap the VCSA onto a vSAN installation.

Method 1 – Using a Temporary Datastore

Virtualization administrators familiar with Storage vMotion are aware that a virtual machine, or VCSA appliance in this case, can be Storage vMotioned to the vsanDatastore after being installed on a traditional VMFS volume. This process is traditionally called using a “Transfer datastore” or a “swing datastore.” The steps to use this method include:
  • Create a local VMFS datastore on the first host
  • Deploy the VCSA to the temporary datastore
  • Create a vSAN Cluster, including the first host
  • Add two or more additional ESXi hosts to the vSAN Cluster
  • Ensure vSAN networking is in place for all hosts and they are communicating properly
  • Storage vMotion the VCSA to the vSAN Datastore
  • Destroy the local VMFS datastore on the first host, ensuring no partitions remain on the device (vSAN doesn’t work with VMFS partitions)
  • Add a disk group on the first host
This process isn’t complicated, but is a bit transient. The transfer or swing datastore only serves the purpose of allowing the VCSA to be configured and then ultimately moved to the vSAN datastore. William Lam posted this method on virtuallyghetto.com in 2013.
http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/09/how-to-bootstrap-vcenter-server-onto.html

Method 2 – Manually Creating the vSAN Datastore

This method is a bit more complicated. An alternative to using a temporary datastore, is manually setting up a vSAN datastore on the first host as a target for the deployment of the VCSA. The process is as follows:
  • Install ESXi 6.x on physical hosts.
  • Because the vSAN default policy requires includes a Failure Tolerance Method of Mirroring and a Number of Failures to Tolerate of 1, the only way to deploy to a vSAN cluster with a single node, is to modify the default Storage Policy to allow for forced provisioning. The following command will need to be run on the first host: For virtual disks: esxcli vsan policy setdefault –c vdisk –p “((\”hostFailuresToTolerate\” i1) (\”forceProvisioning\” i1))” For the VM namespace: esxcli vsan policy setdefault –c vmnamespace –p “((\”hostFailuresToTolerate\” i1)(\”forceProvisioning\” i1))”
  • Now a vSAN cluster must be created. This is done from the ESXi console using the command: esxcli vsan cluster new
  • At least a single disk group must be created using the following command: esxcli vsan storage add -s SSD-DISK-ID -d HDD-DISK-ID Device ID’s can be listed using: esxcli storage core device list A disk group can be created with multiple capacity devices like this: esxcli vsan storage add –s SSD-DISK-ID –d HDD-DISK1-ID –d HDD-DISK2-ID –d HDD-DISK3-ID
  • The VCSA installer can be used to deploy the VCSA to the first host with the manually created vsanDatastore.
  • Once the VCSA has been deployed, a Datacenter has to be created, a Cluster (with vSAN enabled) and the first host added.
  • Additional hosts can then be added, as well as vSAN networking
As can be easily seen, the manual method it a bit more complex. William Lam posted this method on virtuallyghetto.com in 2013.
http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/09/how-to-bootstrap-vcenter-server-onto_9.html

Easy Install using the VCSA Installer for vSAN 6.6

Easy Install takes the effort out of installing the VCSA on a standalone host and enabling vSAN for a larger deployment.
With the introduction of vSAN 6.6, installation of the VCSA to a brand new, “greenfield” vSAN cluster is very simple using the Easy Install method.

The Easy Install method is only available when connecting the VCSA installer to an ESXi host that has vSAN 6.6 preinstalled. Hosts that have previous builds of ESXi will not be presented the option of creating a vSAN datastore.

When presented with the “Select datastore” wizard, “Install on a new vSAN cluster containing the target host” is an alternate option to installing on an existing datastore.

Download VSAN 6.6_Easy Install.

Rating: 5/5

Dec 10

VMware Architectural PKS Overview

VMware Product Manager Merlin Glynn provides an architectural overview of VMware PKS. PKS delivers enterprise grade Kubernetes with complete automation, backed by vSphere data center resources as well as public cloud services, to enable modern public cloud application development and delivery in the the Private Cloud. For more information, visit: VMware PKS – Deploy, run and manage Kubernetes for production.

Rating: 5/5


Dec 04

The Benefits of Containers

In this lightboard talk, Ben Corrie walks through the benefits of containers. For more information, please visit the VMware’s Cloud-Native Apps website: Cloud Native Apps.

Rating: 5/5


Dec 04

What is a Container?

In this lightboard talk, Massimo Re Ferre provides a high-level introduction to containers. To lear more, visite: vSphere Integrated Containers Engine.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

5 Quick tips for the vSphere Web Client

Senior Member of Technical Staff Melina McLarty presents some quick tips and tricks for being more productive with the vSphere Web Client.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

Security with VMware NSX

During this session, we will be challenging modern security practices; covering how data-centers are typically built and how security is often bolted-on afterwards. With this knowledge, we will investigate how VMware NSX is drastically changing the security landscape. By giving the proper context to our data-center elements, organizations can automatically re-act to modern threats.

NOTE: This video is roughly 50 minutes in length so it would be worth blocking out some time to watch it!

Rating: 5/5


Oct 16

What’s New in vSAN 6.7 Update 1

Jase McCarty posted October 16, 2018

VSAN Capacity Overview

VMware vSAN is the market leader in HCI. One of the many driving forces that has helped solidify this position, is the rapid and continuous pace of innovation. VMware has always given customers the power of choice, and this continues into the hybrid cloud era. VMware’s digital foundation gives customers the ability, and flexibility to build true hybrid cloud environments to best suite their use cases. VMware offers a full stack SDDC, and HCI is the starting point for those transitioning to a software-defined infrastructure.

VMware HCI, the Best Building Block for a Digital Foundation

Data centers powered by VMware vSAN offer scalability, flexibility, and manageability to meet nearly any demand, and is the cornerstone for customers looking to build private clouds and extend their multi-cloud capabilities. VMware vSAN is the only storage software natively integrated with the market-leading hypervisor, vSphere. This unique integration delivers optimal resource utilization for the most critical of applications. VMware vSAN provides industry-leading deployment flexibility with the largest HCI ecosystem. Over 15,000 private clouds, running on over 500+ ReadyNodes™, jointly certified servers, VxRail – a jointly engineered turnkey appliance, as well as two of the largest public cloud providers, Amazon and IBM. Run HCI on the hardware you prefer. VMware uniquely provides centralized management of all your HCI deployments from edge to core to cloud from the same tools you use today, vCenter and vRealize . These can optimize your operational efficiency with a single toolset across the hybrid cloud, without having to learn any new skills. All of these features are available today. Not tomorrow, not next quarter, not next year, today. Only VMware can deliver a true hybrid cloud to your data center now.

vSAN 6.7 U1 Makes it Easy to Adopt HCI

VMware vSAN 6.7 U1 makes it even easier to adopt HCI and build a Digital Foundation. Key areas where vSAN 6.7 U1 provides additional benefits include the simplification of day one and two operations, lowering the total cost of ownership with more efficient infrastructure, and even more rapid support and resolution with ReadyCare. First, we are simplifying operations day one and two operations by streamlining the deployment process, improving lifecycle management, reducing disruptions during maintenance operations, and improving capacity reporting. These updates help administrators more quickly and easily deploy and extend infrastructure while minimizing disruptions while keeping the environment up to date.

Simplified Operations – Cluster Quickstart

Speed to market and configuration consistency are paramount to reduce risk, maintain uniformity, and achieve better stability and efficiency. A new “Quickstart” guided cluster creation wizard gives administrators a streamlined mechanism for deploying vSAN, and non-vSAN, clusters. An easy to use, step-by-step configuration wizard makes creating a production-ready vSAN cluster effortless. Cluster Quickstart handles initial deployment, as well as the process of expanding the cluster as needs change.

VSAN Capacity Overview

The Cluster Quickstart wizard workflow includes these tasks and more to ease the deployment process:

  • Cluster services including vSphere HA, vSphere DRS, and vSAN
  • Adding hosts – Add multiple hosts simultaneously
  • vSAN deployment type
  • Network configuration including vSphere Distributed Switching
  • Disk Group configuration
  • Data Services like Deduplication & Compression / Encryption
The Cluster Quickstart wizard works great for configuring vSAN clusters added to an existing vCenter 6.7 U1 deployment, as well as a great next step after using vSAN Easy Install to bootstrap a new vCenter onto the first host in a new vSAN cluster. The Cluster Quickstart wizard can be seen in action on StorageHub.

Driver & Firmware Updates using Update Manager

Updated in vSAN 6.7 U1, all ESXi, driver, and firmware update functions previously handled by the Configuration Assist workflow have been moved to vSphere Update Manager.

VSAN Capacity Overview

Specific OEM builds can be supported in vSphere Update Manager for 6.7 U1 because it will support the use of OEM vendor ISOs. For those needing to update environments that do not have Internet connectivity, new workflows provide guidance for adding updates to the network isolated environment.

Decommissioning and Maintenance Mode Safeguards in vSAN 6.7 U1

Since each vSAN host in a cluster contributes to the cluster storage capacity, entering a host into maintenance mode takes on an additional set of tasks when compared to a traditional architecture. vSAN 6.7 U1 has improved the safeguards when performing maintenance and decommissioning activities on vSAN hosts. vSAN will now perform a full simulation of data movement to determine if the process of entering maintenance mode will succeed or fail before it even starts. This will prevent unnecessary data movement and provide a result more quickly to the administrator.

VSAN Capacity Overview

New warnings have been added to entering maintenance mode activities to ensure that there are no other hosts already in maintenance mode or resync activity current performing. For cases where an administrator needs to adjust the time vSAN waits before it begins to rebuild data to reestablish compliance with storage policies, a new “object repair timer delay” setting is now in the UI.

VSAN Capacity Overview

All of these improvements are added to enhance the overall experience and predictability of host decommissioning activities like entering a host into maintenance mode.

More vRealize Operations Intelligence

In vSAN 6.7, “vRealize Operations within vCenter” provided an easy way for customers to see basic vRealize intelligence with vCenter. New in vSAN 6.7 U1, vRealize Operations dashboards have the ability to differentiate between normal and stretched vSAN clusters, displaying appropriate intelligence for each. VSAN Capacity Overview

An incredible number of metrics are exposed to assist with monitoring and issue remediation. vRealize Operations makes it easier to correlate data from multiple sources to speed troubleshooting and root cause analysis.

Improved Capacity Reporting

vSAN 6.7 U1 enhances capacity reporting in a few different ways. Having a better understanding of past, present, and future capacity utilization is a top-of-mind concern for administrators.
In vSAN 6.7, Administrators can easily:

  • Estimate the amount of usable capacity based on a desired storage policy

    VSAN Capacity Overview

  • Determine the capacity required if deduplication & compression were disabled

    VSAN Capacity Overview

  • See the amount of capacity used historically in vSAN 6.7 U1, including changes in deduplication & compression ratios over time.

    VSAN Capacity Overview

    Efficient Infrastructure

    Next, vSAN is an even more efficient infrastructure choice. More efficient infrastructure helps in lowering the total cost of ownership. Space reclamation, enhanced networking support for some architectures, as well as better sizing tools lead to even more efficiencies with vSAN.

    TRIM/UNMAP Support

    Popular workloads can use less storage through the process of automatic space reclamation. The addition of TRIM/UNMAP support can automatically reclaim capacity that is no longer used, reduces the capacity needed for popular workloads without administrator interaction.

    Trim Unmap

    TRIM/UNMAP will be supported in a variety of Guest Operating Systems, virtual hardware configurations, and virtual machine configurations.

    Mixed MTU Support for 2 Node and Stretched Clusters

    In a stretched cluster environment, the ability to isolate witness traffic using dedicated uplinks was a powerful enhancement made to vSAN 6.7. vSAN 6.7 U1 introduces additional levels of flexibility to this feature with the support of mixed MTU sizes configured for witness traffic, and the Inter-site link used for vSAN data traffic.

    Mix MTU

    This allows for a user to configure vSAN to use perhaps larger frame sizes on the vSAN data network while keeping the witness uplinks going to the more affordable witness site to a more common standard MTU size. This enhancement will give additional flexibility in accommodating a wider variety of customer topology conditions and reduce potential network issues.

    Updated Sizing Tools

    We’re also introducing new capabilities that simplify planning to help customers size the most efficient deployment for their environment.

    Intro

    Sizer

    Updates to the HCI Assessment and vSAN Sizer tools work even better together to provide a more streamlined and flexible sizing and infrastructure selection process to ensure the most efficient configuration for new deployments.

    Rapid Support Resolution

    Faster resolution, quicker diagnosis, and simplified self-help make vSAN Supportability even better. vSAN ReadyCare has simplified the support process by reducing requirements of customers, and speeding time to resolution through faster insight and integrated self-help in vSAN.

    Improved Health Check Guidance

    The health check feature of vSAN continues to play a prominent role in its ability to ensure that an environment meets hardware and software configuration requirements.vSAN 6.7 U1 extends this feature even more, with a more robust way of handling multiple approved firmware levels for storage controllers. Health Check

    A new Unicast network performance health check and test ensures that proper continuity is achieved between vSAN hosts and will report network bandwidth results for the tests.vSAN 6.7 U1 also introduces functionality that is now accessible in the UI. Health checks can be silenced granularly, directly in the UI, as well as being able to purge inaccessible swap objects that are no longer needed.These improvements improve the effectiveness of vSAN’s ability to not only recognize issues but remediate them more quickly.

    Enhanced Support Diagnostics

    vSAN 6.6.1 introduced “vSAN Support Insight,” VMware’s method of automatically collecting vital infrastructure telemetry data about an environment for the VMware technical support engineers in our global support services group.
    vSAN 6.7 U1 continues with these improvements, introducing fine-grained, deep level performance graphs for the explicit purpose of issue resolution. GSS engineers will have new tools for capturing critical network diagnostic data. These advances help reduce the need to request log support bundles from the hosts, and when they are absolutely necessary, will contain even more critical data for better root cause analysis.

    Support Diag

    Native health checks, more self-help tools, better reactive support with vSAN Support Insight, and participation in the VMware Customer Experience Improvement program, provide for an overall enhanced support experience. VMware can rapidly understand a customer’s environment, perform root cause analysis to identify the cause of the problem, and deliver proactive support based on trends and analytics.

    Summary

    VMware vSAN continues to innovate at a rapid pace, making it even easier to adopt HCI and build a Digital Foundation. Simplified operations, a lower cost of ownership, and even more rapid support and resolution are just a few of the key areas that help make VMware HCI with vSAN the industry-leading HCI provider. Whether on-premises or in the cloud, only VMware can deliver a true hybrid cloud to your data center now.

    About Author

    Jase McCarty has a diverse career in technology over the past 25 years. As an IT pro, he has worked in academics, health insurance, & financials in positions ranging from administration, architecture, web development, curriculum development, to training. Before coming to VMware, he was a vSpecialist at EMC, supporting the Federal Government. He is a retired USAF MSgt, where he spent most of his military career in Communications. He is Co-Author of two virtualization books, is regularly designated as a vExpert, and is active on Twitter as @jasemccarty.

    Rating: 5/5

Sep 18

Network Automation with VMware NSX

This short demonstration shows how VMware NSX, in coordination with an Orchestration Solution, can help drive network provisioning and automation for a multi-tier application without any dependencies on the underlying physical network infrastructure.

NOTE: This video is roughly 12 minutes in length.

Rating: 5/5