My top picks for VMworld 2016.

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This years VMworld Content Catalog is now available!

I have gone through the whole content catalog and picked some of the sessions that I find relevant to myself and my customers. It was really hard this year. I have more customers considering hybrid cloud, NSX, DevOps and containers. The demand to stay up to date is really huge, so I am glad that VMware is hosting such an awesome conference with such a wide variety of sessions.

Software-Defined Data Center

My picks this year is mostly from an architect and design point-of-view. There are also many more product focused sessions on the various vRealize products worth checking out.

  • SDDC7808-S – An Introduction to VMware Validated Designs – Edward Dinel (VMware) and Joshua Lory (VMware)
  • SDDC8472 – An IT Architect’s Guide to the Software-Defined Data Center – Kyle Gleed (VMware)
  • SDDC8445 – Micro-Segmentation of Software-Defined Data Center Apps and Services with NSX in VMware Validated Designs – Ryan Johnson (VMware) and Ryan Shondell (VMware)

VMware NSX and Security:

NSX and networking is one of my focus areas this year. I believe NSX is a key piece for a customer to really utilize the hybrid cloud to it`s full potential. I also believe that micro-segmentation should be a requirement for most companies to protect their intellectual property.

  • NET9177 – A Real World Deployment of VMware NSX in the DMZ – Brian Hestehave (VMware)
  • NET8241 – Monitoring and Operationalizing NSX with Arkin – Robert Bauer (Optum Technology), Vyenkatesh Deshpande (VMware) and Sean O’Dell (Arkin)
  • SEC9450-SPO – Bridging the Gap between Infrastructure and Security Operations – Stephen Koch (University of Pittsburgh)
  • SEC9618-SPO – Deep Dive: Extending L4-L7 Security Controls for VMware NSX and VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) Environments with Fortinet Next Generation Security – Jason Bandouveres (Fortinet)
  • SEC9619-SPO – Scale and Segment the Agile Data Center with Software-Defined Security and NSX – Warren Wu (Fortinet)
  • NET8935 – NSX for Small Data Centers—Breaking Boundaries – Shahzad Ali (VMware)
  • NET8030 – NSX Performance Deep Dive – Samuel Kommu (VMware)
  • INF8850 – vSphere Platform Security Deep Dive – Michael Foley (VMware) and Salil Suri (VMware)
  • INF8631 VMware Certificate Management for Mere Mortals – Adam Eckerle (VMware) and Ryan Johnson (VMware)

DevOps and Containers:

I am often asked by fellow VMware administrators about DevOps and containers. These are some of my top picks, there are so many sessions to pick from surrounding these subject at this years VMworld.

  • CNA8897 – Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment for Containers: Confidently Promote Your Code into Production – Paul Gifford (VMware) and Adam Osterholt (VMware)
  • CNA8986 – Running Docker on Your Existing Infrastructure with vSphere Integrated Containers – Martijn Baecke (VMware) and Robbie Jerrom (VMware)
  • MGT8766 – How IT Can Enable DevOps and Development Teams to Rapidly Deliver and Iterate Robust Applications in a Multicloud Environment including VMware, AWS, Azure and Softlayer – Chanda Dani (VMware), Chandra Elango (VMware), Nikhil Girdhar (VMware), Deron Hull (TIAA) and Diane Webster (IHS)
  • DEVOP7674 – vRA, API, CI, Oh My! – Ryan Kelly (VMware) and Kris Thieler (VMware)
  • INF8396 – Winter Is Coming. Are You Dev/Ops Ready? Instant Clone Is! – Nakul Jamadagni (VMware)

Microsoft related:

There are many Microsoft related sessions at this years VMworld ranging from licensing to technical sessions surrounding Skype for Business, Active Directory, SQL server and Exchange.

  • VIRT9009 – Licensing Oracle and SQL Server on vSphere – Scott Salyer (VMware) and David Welch (House of Brick Technologies)
  • VIRT7620 – Successfully Virtualize and Operate Your Microsoft Skype for Business Infrastructure on the VMware vSphere Platform – Adam Ball (Microsoft) and Rakesh Gajwani (VMware)
  • VIRT8278 – Snapshots and SQL Server Technical Deep Dive and Detailed Lab Findings – Rob Girard (Tintri) and Shawn Meyers (House of Brick Technologies)
  • VIRT7621 – Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way! – Deji Akomolafe (VMware) and Matt Liebowitz (EMC)
  • VAPP5598 – Advanced SQL Server on vSphere – Scott Salyer (VMware) and Wanda He (EMC)

Other sessions:

There so many other interesting sessions to choose. Some of my favorites has always been the “Ask the Experts” sessions.

  • INF7516 – Ask the Experts – Titans of Tech – Kit Colbert (VMware), Chad Sakac (VCE/EMC) and Rick Scherer (EMC)
  • INF8260 – Automated Deployment and Configuration of the vCenter Server Appliance – William Lam (VMware) and Alan Renouf (VMware)
  • INF8036 – Enforcing a vSphere Cluster Design with PowerCLI Automation – Duncan Epping (VMware) and Chris Wahl (Rubrik)
  • INF8108 – Extreme Performance Series: vCenter Performance Deep Dive – Priya Sethuraman (VMware) and Ravi Soundararajan (VMware)
  • MGT7685 – Insight into the World of Logs with VMware vRealize Log Insight – Karl Fultz (VMware) and Iwan Rahabok (VMware)
  • INF8914 – Mastering the VM Tools Lifecycle in your vSphere Data Center – Eric Gray (VMware) and Salil Suri (VMware)
  • CTO9471-SPO – New Capabilities in ONTAP 9 Optimized for All Flash Virtualized Workloads – Chris Gebhardt (NetApp)
  • HBC7602 – Build True Hybrid Clouds: See How Service Providers Can Use NSX to Extend Customer On-Premises Data Centers – Boskey Savla (VMware)
  • INF4528 – vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) Best Practices & Tips/Tricks – William Lam (VMware)

So these are my top picks. A wopping 31 different sessions! No doubt I would have to watch the recording of the sessions I don`t get to attend.

Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.2RC1 released!

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8.3.2 might not have as many new enhancements as 8.3.1 had when it came out, but this is a giant release because of the one feature that everyone was talking about at NetApp Insight 2015 EMEA: Copy-Free Transition.

So what is Copy-Free Transition?

Copy-free transition helps lower the cost of migrating from ONTAP 7-mode to Clustered Data ONTAP. You just disconnect the disk shelves from your -Mode HA pair and connect them to a HA pair in the target cluster. You then use the 7-Mode Transition Tool to convert the metadata to the cDOT format. Read the transition guide that I linked to in the end of this blog post to make sure you fit the requirements for this method.

The migration requires a short disruption to access. So it is recommended to use application based migration if you can.

If you want to migrate from a 3rd party vendor to cDOT NetApp introduced Foreing LUN Import on Clustered DATA ONTAP 8.3.1 that is worth checking out.

What else is new?
  • Support for inline deduplication on All Flash FAS and Flash Pool systems
  • Storage QoS is supported on clusters that have up to 24 nodes.
  • Cisco 9250i switches are supported in MetroCluster configurations
  • QLE2564 quad-port FC card (X1132A-EN-R6-C) with configurable ports is supported on 8020 systems in MetroCluster configurations
    • This allows a single slot to provide both FC-VI ports and FC initiator ports.

 

Important links for you that have NetApp support accounts:

Clustered Data ONTAP® 8.3.2 RC1 Release Notes
Clustered Data ONTAP® 8.3 Upgrade and Revert/Downgrade Guide (Not updated for 8.3.2 yet, but I don’t believe it will change to much. Upgrade Advisor is up to date and I always recommend everyone to use it every time they do an upgrade.)
Copy-Free Transition Guide

I also recommend listening to the Tech ONTAP Podcast:

EMC vVNX released

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EMC World is in full swing over in Las Vegas. One of the cool small bits to come out of there is the virtual VNX

Virtual VNX (vVNX) is a software stack that provides many VNX features. It allows VNXe software to be available as a downloadable virtual storage appliance (VSA) for use with a VMware ESX or ESXi hypervisor. Reliable block storage is provided via a RAID card associated with the hypervisor.

vVNX supports up to 4TB spread on 16 virtual drives. This means you can have different tiering and after registering your vVNX you get about the same functionality as a VNXe3200.

Differences to VNXe3200:

  • MCx – Multicore Cache on the vVNX is for read cache only. Multicore FAST Cache is not supported by the vVNX and Multicore RAID is not applicable as redundancy is provided via the backend storage.
  • FAST Suite – The FAST Suite is not available with the vVNX.
  • Replication – RecoverPoint integration is not supported by the vVNX.
  • Unisphere CLI – Some commands, such as those related to disks and storage pools, will be different in syntax for the vVNX than the VNXe3200. Features that are not available on the vVNX will not be accessible via Unisphere CLI.
  • High Availability – Because the vVNX is a single instance implementation, it does not have the high availability features seen on the VNXe3200.
  • Software Upgrades – System upgrades on a vVNX will force a reboot, taking the system offline in order to complete the upgrade.
  • Fibre Channel Protocol Support – The vVNX does not support Fibre Channel.

You can download the vVNX directly from EMC. I also recommend reading the FAQ and introduction to the vVNX

Here is a strange requirement from the installation guide: “You can install only one vVNX VM per ESX/ESXi hypervisor and the vVNX VM must be the only VM on the hypervisor.” I can not see why this is a requirement. It only supports 2 vCPU for the 1 Storage Processor and there is no support for DirectPath I/O from what I read so far. Besides from that it needs from 12 GB virtual memory and 5 virtual network adapters (2 ports for I/O, 1 for Unisphere and 2 for system use). Virtual disks have to be from 10 GB to 2 TB and as mentioned earlier it supports up to 16 virtual disks.

A short introduction from Chad Sakac:

My Home Lab

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With the recent addition of a HP Microserver N54L I feel that I can say my home lab has reached v1.0.

Here is a list of the current hardware I consider part of my lab. The reason my workstation is in this list is because I sometimes run ESXi in VMware Workstation.

  • HP Microserver N54L (ESXi 5.1)
    • INTEL PRO/1000 PT DUAL PORT SERVER ADAPTER PCI-E
    • KINGSTON 16GB 1333MHZ DDR3 ECC CL9 (2X8GB)
    • INTEL 330 SERIES 2.5″ 60GB SSD SATA/600 MLC 25NM
    • TRANSCEND JETFLASH 700 USB 3.0 32GB
  • My workstation (Windows 8)
    • Intel Core i7-3820 @ 3.60GHz
    • CORSAIR 32GB DDR3 XMS3 VENGEANCE PC3-12800 1600MHZ CL9 (8X4GB)
  • Synology DS213+
    • RAID 1: 2x3TB
  • DELL PowerConnect 2716
    • 16-Port Gigabit with IEEE 802.1Q support.

At the moment I am working on VMware View following the book VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop. The goal is to get VCP5-DT certification as soon as possible.

Quick schedule for hourly snapmirrors

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Have you ever had to set up Snapmirror schedule for alot of volumes on a new NetApp filer? We all know this can be a tedious task if we do it through SSH CLI or Web GUI.

Here is an example on how to set up a hourly snapmirror schedule randomly spread out.

Foreach ($sm in Get-NaSnapMirror) {
  Set-NaSnapmirrorschedule -Destination $sm.destination -Source $sm.source `
    -Minutes (Get-Random -minimum 0 -maximum 59) -hours * -daysofmonth * -daysofweek *
}

Always remember to double check the schedule. You might want to run the script again or make minor adjustments manually.