A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of joining Richard Campbell on RunAs Radio to talk VMware NSX and network virtualization. If you’d like to hear us get geeky about network virtualization and where it might take our industry, head over and listen to episode 346. I’d love to hear your feedback!
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Welcome to Technology Short Take #37, the latest in my irregularly-published series in which I share interesting articles from around the Internet, miscellaneous thoughts, and whatever else I feel like throwing in. Here’s hoping you find something useful!
- Ivan does a great job of describing the difference between the management, control, and data planes, as well as providing examples. Of course, the distinction between control plane protocols and data plane protocols isn’t always perfectly clear.
- You’ve heard me talk about snowflake servers before. In this post on why networking needs a Chaos Monkey, Mike Bushong applies to the terms to networks—a snowflake network is an intricately crafted network that is carefully tailored to utilize a custom subset of networking features unique to your environment. What is the fix—if one exists—to snowflake networks? Designing your network for resiliency and unleashing a Chaos Monkey on it is one way, as Mike points out. A fan of network virtualization might also say that decomposing today’s complex physical networks into multiple simple logical networks on top of a simpler physical transport network—similar to Mike’s suggestion of converging on a smaller set of reference architectures—might also help. (Of course, I am a fan of network virtualization, since I work with/on VMware NSX.)
- Martijn Smit has launched a series of articles on VMware NSX. Check out part 1 (general introduction) and part 2 (distributed services) for more information.
- The elephants and mice post at Network Heresy has sparked some discussion across the “blogosphere” about how to address this issue. (Note that my name is on the byline for that Network Heresy post, but I didn’t really contribute all that much.) Jason Edelman took up the idea of using OpenFlow to provide a dedicated core/spine for elephant flows, while Marten Terpstra at Plexxi talks about how Plexxi’s Affinities could be used to help address the problem of elephant flows. Peter Phaal speaks up in the comments to Marten’s article about how sFlow can be used to rapidly detect elephant flows, and points to a demo taking place during SC13 that shows sFlow tracking elephant flows on SCinet (the SC13 network).
- Want some additional information on layer 2 and layer 3 services in VMware NSX? Here’s a good source.
- This looks interesting, but I’m not entirely sure how I might go about using it. Any thoughts?
Nothing this time around, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for something to include next time!
I don’t have anything to share this time—feel free to suggest something to include next time.
Cloud Computing/Cloud Management
- Red Hat has a great breakdown of all the different components in a typical OpenStack environment using OVS and GRE tunnels. If you’re looking for more information on how all the various pieces fit together, I definitely recommend reading this—it’s worth your time.
- I found this post on getting the most out of HAProxy—in which Twilio walks through some of the configuration options they’re using and why—to be quite helpful. If you’re relatively new to HAProxy, as I am, then I’d recommend giving this post a look.
- This list is reasonably handy if you’re not a Terminal guru. While written for OS X, most of these tips apply to Linux or other Unix-like operating systems as well. I particularly liked tip #3, as I didn’t know about that particular shortcut.
- Mike Preston has a great series going on tuning Debian Linux running under vSphere. In part 1, he covered installation, primarily centered around LVM and file system mount options. In part 2, Mike discusses things like using the appropriate virtual hardware, the right kernel modules for VMXNET3, getting rid of unnecessary hardware (like the virtual floppy), and similar tips. Finally, in part 3, he talks about a hodgepodge of tips—things like blacklisting other unnecessary kernel drivers, time synchronization, and modifying the Linux I/O scheduler. All good stuff, thanks Mike!
- “Captain KVM,” aka Jon Benedict, takes on the discussion of enterprise storage vs. open source storage solutions in OpenStack environments. One good point that Jon makes is that solutions need to be evaluated on a variety of criteria. In other words, it’s not just about cost nor is it just about performance. You need to use the right solution for your particular needs. It’s nice to see Jon say that if your needs are properly met by an open source solution, then “by all means stick with Ceph, Gluster, or any of the other cool software storage solutions out there.” More vendors need to adopt this viewpoint, in my humble opinion. (By the way, if you’re thinking of using NetApp storage in an OpenStack environment, here’s a “how to” that Jon wrote.)
- Duncan Epping has a quick post about a VMware KB article update regarding EMC VPLEX and Storage DRS/Storage IO Control. The update is actually applicable to all vMSC configurations, so have a look at Duncan’s article if you’re using or considering the use of vMSC in your environment.
- Vladan Seget has a look at Microsoft ReFS.
- A relatively little-known change in vSphere 5.5 involves how ESXi handles device drivers. ESXi 5.5 introduces the idea of native device drivers, eliminating a driver compatibility layer (or shim) that existed in previous versions of ESXi. (William Lam has more information on the ESXi 5.5 native device driver architecture.) Unfortunately, it looks like this switch has had a small side effect: developing ESXi drivers is now limited to VMware Technology Alliance Partners, since the tools to develop drivers is no longer published under an open source license. Will this have a negative effect on the availability of ESXi device drivers?
- Andre Leibovici provides a round-up of VMware Horizon View 5.3 limits and maximums.
- Paul Meehan calls out some potential “marketing spin” in a recent post on comparing Hyper-V and vSphere. You might also find Paul’s follow-up an interesting read as well.
- As you may have heard, VMware recently released a set of VMware Tools for nested ESXi instances. Vladan Seget shows how to build a custom ISO with VMware Tools for nested ESXi to help simplify the process of bringing up nested instances. Good stuff!
- Wade Holmes gives the solution in case you find yourself, as he did, with three hosts and two VSAN datastores.
I’d better wrap it up here so this doesn’t get too long for folks. As always, your courteous comments and feedback are welcome, so feel free to start (or join) the discussion below.
In part 7 of the Learning NVP series, I mentioned that I was planning to transition this series from NVP to NSX through an upgrade. I had an existing NVP installation running (all virtually) inside an OpenStack cloud, and I would just upgrade that to NSX 4.0.0. Here’s a quick update on that plan and the NVP-to-NSX transition.
As I mentioned, I have an installation of NVP 3.1.1 running successfully in a nested (virtualized) environment. (Yes, it is possible to run all of NVP completely virtualized, though we don’t support that for production environments.) Starting with NVP 3.1.x, NVP offered an “Update Coordinator” that coordinated and orchestrated the upgrade of the various components within an NVP domain. Since I was running NVP 3.1.1, I could just use the Update Coordinator to upgrade my installation and walk you (the readers) through the process along the way.
Using the Update Coordinator (which is built into NVP Manager), an NVP upgrade would typically look something like this:
- You’d log into NVP Manager and go to the Update Coordinator screen.
- If you hadn’t already, you’d upload the update files (appliance update files and OVS update files) to NVP Manager.
- Once all the update files were uploaded, you’d select the version to which you’re upgrading and kick it off.
- NVP Manager itself is upgraded first.
- Next, the Update Coordinator pushes out the appliance update files (sometimes called NUB files because of their
.nubextension) out to all the appliances (service node, gateways, and controllers).
- Next, the non-hypervisor transport nodes are upgraded (this is the service nodes and gateways).
- Following that, the hypervisors need to be upgraded, though this isn’t handled by the Update Coordinator. (You could, of course, leverage a tool like Puppet or Chef or similar to help automate this process.)
- After you’ve verified that the hypervisors have been updated, then the Update Coordinator upgrades the controller nodes.
- Following the successful upgrade of the controller nodes, there is a cleanup phase and then you’re all set.
This is really high-level and I’m glossing over some details, naturally. Because an NVP upgrade is a pretty big deal—it could have an effect on the network connectivity of all the VMs and hypervisors within the NVP domain—it typically involves lots of planning, lots of testing, proper backups of all the components, and so on. However, since this was a lab environment and not a real production environment, just running through the Update Coordinator should have been fine.
As it turns out, though, I ran into a few problems—not problems with NVP, but problems with how I had deployed it. Basically, I didn’t do my due diligence and read the documentation.
When I first deployed the virtualized NVP appliances, I selected VMs that had a 10GB root disk. While this was enough to get NVP up and running, it turns out that it is not enough space to perform an upgrade. Specifically, it’s not enough space to do an upgrade on the controllers; the transport nodes upgraded successfully. After the installation of the controllers, I was left with only a couple gigabytes of free space remaining. A fair portion of that is taken up then by the appliance update file, and this did not leave enough to actually perform the controller software upgrade.
Unfortunately, there was no easy workaround. Because the NVP controller cluster is scale out and highly available, I could have taken the controllers out (one at a time), rebuilt them with more disk space, and then re-joined the cluster—a rolling upgrade, if you will. However, because NVP 3.1.1 is a much older build of NVP, it wasn’t possible to rebuild the controllers with a matching software version (not easily, anyway).
So, long story short: instead of wasting cycles trying to fix a deployment issue that is completely my fault (and, by the way, completely documented—had I paid closer attention to the documentation I wouldn’t find myself in this position), I’m simply going to rebuild my lab environment from scratch using NSX 4.0.0. I had really hoped to be able to walk you through the upgrade process, but sadly it just doesn’t make sense to do so.
This will be the last post titled “Learning NVP”; moving forward, all future posts will be titled “Learning NSX.” The next post will discuss adding a gateway service to a logical network; this builds on information from part 5 (creating a logical network) and part 6 (adding a gateway appliance).
As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged, so feel free to speak up in the comments below.
Welcome to part 6 of the Learning NVP blog series. In this part, I’m going to show you how to add an NVP gateway appliance to your NVP environment. In future posts, you’ll use this NVP gateway to host either L2 or L3 gateway services (more on those in a moment). First, though, let’s take a quick recap of what’s transpired so far:
- In part 1, I provided a high-level overview of NVP and its core components.
- In part 2, I showed you how to build NVP controllers and configure them into a controller cluster.
- In part 3, you saw how to install and configure NVP Manager, a web-based GUI that you can use to configure certain aspects of NVP.
- In part 4, I walked you through the process of adding hypervisors to NVP.
- In part 5, I showed you how to create a logical network that could be used to connect VMs to each other independent of the underlying physical network topology.
In this part, I’m going to walk you through setting up an NVP gateway appliance. If you’ll recall from our introductory high-level architecture overview, the role of the gateway is to provide L2 (switched/bridged) and L3 (routed) connectivity between logical networks and physical networks. So, adding a gateway would then enable you to extend the logical network you created in part 4 to include either L2 or L3 connectivity to the outside world.
<aside>Many of you have probably seen some of the announcements from VMworld about NSX integrations from various networking suppliers (Arista, Brocade, Dell, and Juniper, for example). These announcements will allow NSX—which I’ve said before will leverage a great deal of NVP’s architecture—to use these hardware devices as L2 gateways, providing bridged/switched connectivity between logical networks and physical networks.</aside>
This post will focus only on getting the gateway appliance set up; in future posts, I’ll show you how to actually add the L2 or L3 connectivity to your logical network.
Building the NVP Gateway
The NVP gateway software is distributed as an ISO, like the NVP controller software. You’d typically install this software on a bare metal server, though with recent releases of NVP it is supported to install the gateway into a VM (refer to the latest NVP release notes for more details). As with the NVP controllers and NVP Manager, the gateway is built on Ubuntu 12.04, and the installer process is completely automated. Once you boot from the ISO, the installation will proceed automatically; when completed, you’ll be left at the login prompt.
Configuring the NVP Gateway
Once the NVP gateway software is installed, configuring the gateway is really straightforward. In fact, it feels a lot like configuring NVP controllers (I suspect this is by design). Here are the steps:
Set the password for the admin user (optional, but highly recommended).
Set the hostname for the gateway appliance (also optional, but strongly recommended).
Configure the network interfaces; you’ll need management, transport, and external connectivity. (I’ll explain those in more detail later.)
Configure DNS and NTP settings.
Let’s take a closer look at these steps. The first step is to set the password for the admin user, which you can accomplish with this command:
set user admin password
From here, you can proceed with setting the hostname for the gateway:
set hostname <hostname>
(So far, these commands should be pretty familiar. They are the same commands used when you set up the NVP controllers and NVP Manager.)
The next step is configure network connectivity; you’ll start by listing the available network interfaces with this command:
show network interfaces
As you’ve seen with the other NVP appliances, the NVP gateway software builds an Open vSwitch (OVS) bridge for each physical interface. In the case of a gateway, you’ll need at least three interfaces—a management interface, a transport network interface, and an external network interface. The diagram below provides a bit more context around how these interfaces are used:
Since these interfaces have very different responsibilities, it’s important that you properly configure them. Otherwise, things won’t work as expected. Take the time to identify which interface listed in the
show network interfaces output corrsponds to each function. You’ll first want to establish management connectivity, so that should be the first interface to configure. Assuming that breth1 (the bridge matching the physical eth2 interface) is your management interface, you’ll configure it using this command:
set network interface breth1 ip config static 192.168.1.12 255.255.255.0
You’ll want to repeat this command for the other interfaces in the gateway, assigning appropriate IP addresses to each of them.
You may also need to configure the routing for the gateway. Check the routing table(s) with this command:
show network routes
If there is no default route, you can set one using this command:
add network route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 <Default gateway IP address>
Once the appropriate network connectivity has been established, then you can proceed with the next step: adding DNS and NTP servers. Here are the commands for this step:
add network dns-server <DNS server IP address>
add network ntp-server <NTP server IP address>
If you accidentally fat-finger an IP address or hostname along the way, use the
remove network dns-server or
remove network ntp-server command to remove the incorrect entry, then re-add it correctly with the commands above.
Congrats! The NVP gateway appliance is now up and running. You’re ready to add it to NVP. Once it’s added to NVP, you’ll be able to use the gateway appliance to add gateway services to your logical networks.
Adding the Gateway to NVP
To add the new gateway appliance to NVP, you’ll use NVP Manager (I showed you how to set up NVP Manager in part 3 of the series). Once you’ve opened a web browser, navigated to the NVP Manager web UI, and logged in, then you can start the process of adding the gateway to NVP.
Once you’re logged into NVP Manager, click on the Dashboard link across the top. (If you’re already at the Dashboard, you can skip this step.)
In the Summary of Transport Components box, click the Connect & Add Transport Node button. This will open the Connect to Transport Node dialog box.
Supply the management IP address of the gateway appliance, along with the appropriate username and password, then click Connect.
After a moment, the Connect to Transport Node dialog box will show details of the gateway appliance, such as the interfaces, the bridges, the NIC bonds (if any), and the gateway’s SSL certificate. Click Configure at the bottom of the dialog box to continue.
Supply a display name (something like nvp-gw–01) and, optionally, one or more tags. Click Next.
Unless you know you need to select any of the options on the next screen (I’ll try to cover them in a later blog post), just click Next.
On the final screen, you’ll need to establish connectivity to a transport zone. You’ll want to select the appropriate interface (in my example environment, it was breth2) and the appropriate encapsulation protocol (STT is generally recommended for connectivity back to hypervisors). Then select the appropriate transport zone from the drop-down list. In the end, you’ll have a screen that looks something like this (note that your interfaces, IP addresses, and transport zone information will likely be different):
Click Save to finish the process. The number of gateways listed in the Summary of Transport Components box should increment by 1 in the Registered column. However, the Active column will remain unchanged—that’s because there’s one more step needed.
Back on the gateway appliance itself, run this command (you can use the IP address of any controller in the NVP controller cluster):
- Back in NVP Manager, refresh the Summary of Transport Components box (there’s a small refresh icon in the corner), and you’ll see the Active column update to show the gateway appliance is now registered and active in NVP.
set switch manager-cluster <NVP controller IP address>
That’s it—you’re all done adding a gateway appliance to NVP. In future posts, you’ll leverage the gateway appliance to add L2 (bridged) and L3 (routed) connectivity in and out of logical networks. First, though, I’ll need to address the transition from NVP to NSX, so look for that coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to post any questions, thoughts, or suggestions in the comments below. I welcome all courteous comments (even if you disagree with something I’ve said!).
Welcome to Technology Short Take #36. In this episode, I’ll share a variety of links from around the web, along with some random thoughts and ideas along the way. I try to keep things related to the key technology areas you’ll see in today’s data centers, though I do stray from time to time. In any case, enough with the introduction—bring on the content! I hope you find something useful.
- This post is a bit older, but still useful in the event if you’re interested in learning more about OpenFlow and OpenFlow controllers. Nick Buraglio has put together a basic reference OpenFlow controller VM—this is a KVM guest with CentOS 6.3 with the Floodlight open source controller.
- Paul Fries takes on defining SDN, breaking it down into two “flavors”: host dominant and network dominant. This is a reasonable way of grouping the various approaches to SDN (using SDN in the very loose industry sense, not the original control plane-data plane separation sense). I’d like to add to Paul’s analysis that it’s important to understand that, in reality, host dominant and network dominant systems can coexist. It’s not at all unreasonable to think that you might have a fabric controller that is responsible for managing/optimizing traffic flows across the physical transport network/fabric, and an overlay controller—like VMware NSX—that integrates tightly with the hypervisor(s) and workloads running on those hypervisors to create and manage logical connectivity and logical network services.
- This is an older post from April 2013, but still useful, I think. In his article titled “OpenFlow Test Deployment Options“, Brent Salisbury—a rock star new breed network engineer emerging in the new world of SDN—discusses some practical deployment strategies for deploying OpenFlow into an existing network topology. One key statement that I really liked from this article was this one: “SDN does not represent the end of networking as we know it. More than ever, talented operators, engineers and architects will be required to shape the future of networking.” New technologies don’t make talented folks who embrace change obsolete; if anything, these new technologies make them more valuable.
- Great post by Ivan (is there a post by Ivan that isn’t great?) on flow table explosion with OpenFlow. He does a great job of explaining how OpenFlow works and why OpenFlow 1.3 is needed in order to see broader adoption of OpenFlow.
- Intel announced the E5 2600 v2 series of CPUs back at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2013 (you can follow my IDF 2013 coverage by looking at posts with the IDF2013 tag). Kevin Houston followed up on that announcement with a useful post on vSphere compatibility with the E5 2600 v2. You can also get more details on the E5 2600 v2 itself in this related post by Kevin as well. (Although I’m just now catching Kevin’s posts, they were published almost immediately after the Intel announcements—thanks for the promptness, Kevin!)
Nothing this time around, but I’ll keep my eyes posted for content to share with you in future posts.
Cloud Computing/Cloud Management
- There’s a great post by John Allspaw over at Kitchen Soap titled Learning from Failure at Etsy. In my humble opinion, this is well worth reading. The idea of Blameless Post-Mortems and a Just Culture sound like things that lots of organizations could (and probably should) put into place.
- I’m sure it’s like this with other tools, but I’m kind of awed by the tremendous flexibility of Puppet. Using this Augeas-based providers module on Puppet Forge, you can actually manage individual settings within the SSH configuration file (such as PermitRoot or AllowUsers), individual settings for syslog/rsyslog, and even sysctl parameters. Nice! Puppet code examples are available here.
- Kenneth Hui—with whom I have the privilege of co-presenting at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong in less than a month—has a comprehensive write-up on using Vagrant and Chef to build an HA OpenStack installation on your laptop. (That’s assuming your laptop is beefy enough, of course.)
- Here’s another awesome post by Cody Bunch, this time showing how to use Vagrant, Hiera, and Puppet to turn up OpenStack.
- What makes up a hybrid cloud? Read some of Chris Colotti’s thoughts on the matter.
- I found this refresher on some of the most useful apt-get/apt-cache commands to be helpful. I don’t use some of them on a regular basis, and so it’s hard to remember the specific command and/or syntax when you do need one of these commands.
- I wouldn’t have initially considered comparing Docker and Chef, but considering that I’m not an expert in either technology it could just be my limited understanding. However, this post on why Docker and why not Chef does a good job of looking at ways that Docker could potentially replace certain uses for Chef. Personally, I tend to lean toward the author’s final conclusions that it is entirely possible that we’ll see Docker and Chef being used together. However, as I stated, I’m not an expert in either technology, so my view may be incorrect. (I reserve the right to revise my view in the future.)
- Using Dell EqualLogic with VMFS? Better read this heads-up from Cormac Hogan and take the recommended action right away.
- Erwin van Londen proposes some ideas for enhancing FC error detection and notification with the idea of making hosts more aware of path errors and able to “route” around them. It’s interesting stuff; as Erwin points out, though, even if the T11 accepted the proposal it would be a while before this capability showed up in actual products.
- Libguestfs is an interesting project, and in the 1.24 release they added a tool called virt-builder that helps quickly and easily deploy VM images.
- Andre Leibovici is well-known for his insightful and informative coverage of Horizon View and related products/technologies, and rightfully so. As proof of that, I recently came across two articles by Andre, one on why CBRC is so important for Horizon View and VSAN, and a second on how VSAN helps Horizon View. Both of these are definitely worth reading if you want a bit more detail on how one of VMware’s newest technologies, VSAN, is going to impact the end-user computing (EUC) space.
- Speaking of VSAN, William Lam has a very useful article on the additional steps that are required to completely disable VSAN on an ESXi host. I indicate that this is useful because I anticipate many folks will want to try out VSAN in their lab first. Since you will likely then want to take it out of the lab and move it into production after the appropriate amount of testing and validation for your environment, this post is quite helpful.
- It’s kind of funny: I was doing a bit of reading on ZeroVM, a new open source lightweight hypervisor, trying to understand where it fits in the overall virtualization space. The very next day, I see the announcement that ZeroVM is being acquired by Rackspace. Anyone want to take guesses on when we’ll see ZeroVM support in OpenStack?
- Nice write-up by Gabrie Van Zanten on a potential connection issue with the VCSA in vSphere 5.5.
- See this post by Ben Armstrong on faster live migration in Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 R2 (which is now generally available).
That’s it for this time around, but feel free to continue to conversation in the comments below. If you have any additional information to share regarding any of the topics I’ve mentioned, please take the time to add that information in the comments. Courteous comments are always welcome!
As most of you probably know, I visit quite a few VMUG User Conferences around the United States and around the world. I’d probably do even more if my calendar allowed, because it’s truly an honor for me to have the opportunity to help educate the VMware user community. I know I’m not alone in that regard; there are numerous VMware “rock stars” (not that I consider myself a “rock star”) out there who also work tirelessly to support the VMware community. One need not look very far to see some examples of these types of individuals: Mike Laverick, William Lam, Duncan Epping, Josh Atwell, Nick Weaver, Alan Renouf, Chris Colotti, Cody Bunch, or Cormac Hogan are all great examples. (And I’m sure there are many, many more I’ve forgotten!)
However, one thing that has consistently been a topic of discussion among those of us who frequent VMUGs has been this question: “How do we get users more engaged in VMUG?” VMUG is, after all, the VMware User Group. And while all of us are more than happy to help support VMUG (at least, I know I am), we’d also like to see more user engagement—more customers speaking about their use cases, their challenges, the things they’ve learned, and the things they want to learn. We want to see users get connected with other users, to share information and build a community-based body of knowledge. So how can we do that?
As I see it, there is a variety of reasons why users don’t volunteer to speak:
- They might be afraid of public speaking, or aren’t sure how good they’ll be.
- They feel like the information they could share won’t be helpful or useful to others.
- They aren’t sure how to structure their presentation to make it informative yet engaging.
We (meaning a group of us that support a lot of these events) have tossed around a few ideas, but nothing has ever really materialized. Today I hope to change all that. Today, I’m announcing that I will personally help mentor 5 different VMware users who are willing to step up and volunteer to speak for the first time at a local VMUG meeting in the near future.
So what does this mean?
- I will help you select a topic on which to speak (in coordination with your local VMUG leader).
- I will provide guidance and feedback on gathering your content.
- I will review and provide feedback and suggestions for improving your presentation.
- If desired, I will provide tips and tricks for public speaking.
And I’m calling on others within the VMUG community who are frequent speakers to do the same. I think that Mike Laverick might have already done something like this; perhaps the others have as well. If so, that’s awesome. If not, I challenge you, as someone viewed in a technical leadership role within the VMware and VMUG communities, to use that leadership role in a way that I hope will reinvigorate and renew user involvement and participation in the VMware/VMUG community.
If you’re one of the 5 people who’s willing to take me up on this offer, the first step is contact me and your local VMUG leader and express your interest. Don’t have my e-mail address? Here’s your first challenge: it’s somewhere on this site.
If you’re already a frequent speaker at VMUGs and you, too, want to help mentor other speakers, you can either post a comment here to that effect (and provide people with a way of getting in touch with you), or—if you have your own blog—I encourage you to make the same offer via your own site. Where possible, I’ll try to update this (or you can use trackbacks) so that readers have a good idea of who out there is willing to provide assistance to help them become the next VMUG “rock star” presenter.
Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you!
UPDATE: A few folks have noted that all the names I listed above are VMware employees, so I’ve added a couple others who are not. Don’t read too much into that; it was all VMware employees because I work at VMware, too, and they’re the ones I communicate with frequently. There are lots of passionate and dedicated VMUG supporters out there—you know who you are!
Also, be sure to check the comments; a number of folks are volunteering to also mentor new speakers.
Welcome to Technology Short Take #35, another in my irregular series of posts that collect various articles, links and thoughts regarding data center technologies. I hope that something in here is useful to you.
- Art Fewell takes a deeper look at the increasingly important role of the virtual switch.
- A discussion of “statefulness” brought me again to Ivan’s post on the spectrum of firewall statefulness. It’s so easy sometimes just to revert to “it’s stateful” or “it’s not stateful,” but the reality is that it’s not quite so black-and-white.
- Speaking of state, I like this piece by Ivan as well.
- I tend not to link to TechTarget posts any more than I have to, because invariably the articles end up going behind a login requirement just to read them. Even so, this Q&A session with Martin Casado on managing physical and virtual worlds in parallel might be worth going through the hassle.
- This looks interesting.
- VMware introduced VMware NSX recently at VMworld 2013. Cisco shared some thoughts on what they termed a “software-only” approach; naturally, they have a different vision for data center networking (and that’s OK). I was a bit surprised by some of the responses to Cisco’s piece (see here and here). In the end, though, I like Greg Ferro’s statement: “It is perfectly reasonable that both companies will ‘win’.” There’s room for a myriad of views on how to solve today’s networking challenges, and each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.
Nothing this time around, but I’ll watch for items to include in future editions. Feel free to send me links you think would be useful to include in the future!
- I found this write-up on using OVS port mirroring with Security Onion for intrusion detection and network security monitoring.
Cloud Computing/Cloud Management
- Prasenjit Sarkar, who works in VMware R&D, and runs the Stretch Cloud site, has a write-up on using Data Center Extension (DCE) to VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). It’s a pretty detailed write-up, with step-by-step instructions and lots of screenshots. His follow-up article on disaster recovery of DCE VM with vCHS is also pretty good. If you’re considering how you might be able to use vCHS for your organization, these articles might really be worth your time.
- Chris Colotti has also been tackling some vCHS stuff. Relative to using DCE, Chris’ post on what’s required for vSphere Stretch Deploy to work with vCHS is quite useful. Also be sure to check out his two-part series on using Stretch Deploy with vCHS (part 1 and part 2). Finally, Chris’ post on migrating VMs to vCHS (the so-called “V2C” migration) is also a good article.
- I liked this write-up on the combination of Puppet, Hiera, OpenStack, and Vagrant.
- Kenneth Hui, formerly of VCE and now with Rackspace, does a great job of explaining how VMware vSphere fits into the OpenStack Nova architecture in this blog post. He also has a series of blog posts running on his own site on OpenStack compute for vSphere admins (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5). Very good stuff!
- In past presentations I’ve referenced the terms “snowflake servers” and “phoenix servers,” which I borrowed from Martin Fowler. (I don’t know if Martin coined the terms or not, but you can get more information here and here.) Recently among some of Martin’s material I saw reference to yet another term: the immutable server. It’s an interesting construct: rather than managing the configuration of servers, you simply spin up new instances when you need a new configuration; existing configurations are never changed. More information on the use of the immutable server construct is also available here. I’d be interested to hear readers’ thoughts on this idea.
- Chris Evans takes a took at ScaleIO, recently acquired by EMC, and speculates on where ScaleIO fits into the EMC family of products relative to the evolution of storage in the data center.
- While I was at VMworld 2013, I had the opportunity to talk with SanDisk’s FlashSoft division about their flash caching product. It was quite an interesting discussion, so stay tuned for that update (it’s almost written; expect it in the next couple of days).
- The rise of new converged (or, as some vendors like to call it, “hyperconverged”) architectures means that we have to consider the impact of these new architectures when designing vSphere environments that will leverage them. I found a few articles by fellow VCDX Josh Odgers that discuss the impact of Nutanix’s converged architecture on vSphere designs. If you’re considering the use of Nutanix, have a look at some of these articles (see here, here, and here).
- Jonathan Medd shows how to clone a VM from a snapshot using PowerCLI. Also be sure to check out this post on the vSphere CloneVM API, which Jonathan references in his own article.
- Andre Leibovici shares an unofficial way to disable the use of the SESparse disk format and revert to VMFS Sparse.
- Forgot the root password to your ESXi 5.x host? Here’s a procedure for resetting the root password for ESXi 5.x that involves booting on a Linux CD. As is pointed out in the comments, it might actually be easier to rebuild the host.
- vSphere 5.5 was all the rage at VMworld 2013, and there was a lot of coverage. One thing that I didn’t see much discussion around was what’s going on with the free version of ESXi. Vladan Seget gives a nice update on how free ESXi is changing with version 5.5.
- I am loving the micro-infrastructure series by my VMware vSphere Design co-author, Forbes Guthrie. See it here, here, and here.
It’s time to wrap up now; I’ve already included more links than I normally include (although it doesn’t seem like it). In any case, I hope that something I’ve shared here is helpful, and feel free to share your own thoughts, ideas, and feedback in the comments below. Have a great day!
This is a liveblog of the day 2 keynote at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco. For a look at what happened in yesterday’s keynote, see here. Depending on network connectivity, I may or may not be able to update this post in real-time.
The keynote kicks off with Carl Eschenbach. Supposedly there are more than 22,000 people in attendance at VMworld 2013, making it—according to Carl—the largest IT infrastructure event. (I think some other vendors might take issue with that claim.) Carl recaps the events of yesterday’s keynote, revisiting the announcements around vSphere 5.5, VMware NSX, VMware VSAN, VMware Hybrid Cloud Service, and the expansion of the availability of Cloud Foundry. “This is the power of software”, according to Carl. Carl also revisits the three “imperatives” that Pat shared yesterday:
- Extending virtualization to all of it.
- IT management giving way to automation.
- Making hybrid cloud ubiquitous.
Carl brings out Kit Colbert, a principal engineer at VMware (and someone who relatively well-recognized within the virtualization community). They show a clip from a classic “I Love Lucy” episode that is intended to help illustrate the disconnect between the line of business and IT. After a bit of back and forth about the needs of the line of business versus the needs of IT, Kit moves into a demo of vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). The demo shows how to deploy applications to a variety of different infrastructures, including the ability to look at costs (estimated) across those infrastructures. The demo includes various database options as well as auto-scaling options.
So what does this functionality give application owners? Choice and visibility. What does it give IT? Governance (control), all made possible by automation.
The next view of the demo takes a step deeper, showing VMware Application Director deploying the sample application (called Project Vulcan in the demo). vCloud Application Director deploys complex application topologies in an automated fashion, and includes integration with tools like Puppet and Chef. Kit points out that what they’re showing isn’t just a vApp, but a “full blown” multi-tier application being deployed end-to-end.
The scripted “banter” between Carl and Kit leads to a review of some of the improvements that were included in the vSphere 5.5 release. Kit ties this back to the demo by calling out the improvements made in vSphere 5.5 with regard to latency-sensitive workloads.
Next they move into a discussion of the networking side of the house. (My personal favorite, but I could be biased.) Kit quickly reviews how NSX works and enables the creation of logical network services that are tied to the lifecycle of the application. Kit shows tasks in vCenter Server that reflect the automation being done by NSX with regard to automatically creating load balancers, firewall rules, logical switches, etc., and then reviews how we need to deploy logical network services in coordination with application lifecycle operations.
At Carl’s prompting, Kit goes yet another level deeper into how network virtualization works. He outlines how NSX eliminates the need to configure the physical network layer to provision new logical networks, and also discusses how NSX can provide logical routing, and they outline the benefits of distributed east-west routing (when routing occurs locally within the hypervisor). This, naturally, leads into a discussion of the distributed firewall functionality present in NSX, where firewall functionality occurs within the hypervisor, closest to the VMs. Following the list of features in NSX, Carl brings up load balancing, and Kit shows how load balancing works in NSX.
This leads into a customer testimonial video from WestJet, who discusses how they can leverage NSX’s distributed east-west firewalling to help better control and optimize traffic patterns in the data center. WestJet also emphasizes how they can leverage their existing networking investment while still deriving tremendous value from deploying NSX and network virtualization.
Next up in the demo is a migration from a “traditional” virtual network into an NSX logical network, and Kit shows how the migration is accomplished via a vMotion operation. This leads into a discussion of how VMware can not only do “V2V” migrations into NSX logical networks, but also “P2V” migrations using NSX’s logical-to-physical bridging functionality.
That concludes the networking section of the demo, and leads Carl and Kit into a storage-focused discussion centered around Carl’s mythical Project Vulcan. The discussion initially focuses on VMware VSAN, and how IT can leverage VSAN to help address application provisioning. The demo shows how VSAN can dynamically expand capacity by adding another ESXi host in the cluster; more hosts means more capacity for the VSAN datastore. Carl says that Kit has shown him simplicity, scalability, but not resiliency. This leads Kit to a slide that shows how VSAN ensures resiliency by maintaining multiple copies of data within a VSAN datastore. If some part of the local storage backing VSAN fails, VSAN will automatically copy the data elsewhere so that the policy around how many copies of the data is maintained and enforced.
Following the VSAN demo, Carl and Kit move into a demo of a few end-user computing demonstrations, showing application access via Horizon Workspace. Kit wraps up his time on stage with a brief video—taken from “When Harry Met Sally,” if I’m not mistaken—that describes how demanding the line of business can be. The wrap-up to the demo was quite natural feeling and demonstrated some good chemistry between Kit and Carl.
Next up on the stage is Joe Baguley, CTO of EMEA, to discuss operations and operational concerns. Joe reviews why script- and rules-based management isn’t going to work in the new world, and why the world needs to move toward policy-based automation and management. This leads into a demo, and Joe shows—via vCAC—how vCenter Operations has initiated a performance remediation operation via the auto scale-out feature that was enabled when the application was provisioned. The demo next leads into a more detailed review of application performance via vCenter Operations.
Joe reviews three key parts of automated operations:
- (missed this one, sorry)
- Intelligent analytics
- Visibility into application performance
Next, Joe shows how vCenter Operations is integrating information from a variety of partners to help make intelligent recommendations, one of which is that Carl should change the storage tier based on the disk I/O requirements of his Project Vulcan application. vCAC will show the estimated cost of that change, and when the administrator approves that change, vSphere will leverage Storage vMotion to migrate to a new storage tier.
The discussion between Carl and Joe leads up to a demo of VMware Log Insight, where Joe shows events being pulled from a wide variety of sources to help drill down to the root cause of the storage issue in the demonstration. VMworld attendees (or possibly anyone, I guess) are encouraged to try out Log Insight by simply following @VMLogInsight on Twitter (they will give 5 free licenses to new followers).
Next up in the demo is a discussion of vCloud Hybrid Service, showing how the vSphere Web Client can be used to manage templates in vCHS. Joe brings the demo full-circle by taking us back to vCAC to deploy Project Vulcan into vCHS via vCAC. Carl reviews some of the benefits of vCHS, and asks Joe to share a few use cases. Joe shares that test/dev, new applications (perhaps built on Cloud Foundry?), and rapid capacity expansion are good use cases for vCHS.
Carl wraps up the day 2 keynote by summarizing the technologies that were displayed during today’s general session, and how all these technologies come together to help organizations deliver IT-as-a-service (ITaaS). Carl also makes commitments that VMware’s SDDC efforts will protect and leverage customers’ existing investments and help leverage existing skill sets. He closes the session with the phrase, “Champions drive change, so go drive change, and defy convention!”
And that concludes the day 2 keynote.
Well, the title kind of says it all—yes, there will be an update to the popular Mastering VMware vSphere 5 book, with new content for the vSphere 5.5 release announced today at VMworld. Availability of the new title is expected in late October or early November, but I believe it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon.
However, this book represents more than just another title in the Mastering VMware vSphere series. It represents a “changing of the guard,” so to speak. In order to understand why, allow me to share with you the story of how my very first book, Mastering VMware vSphere 4, came to be. This is a story that very few people know.
I suppose the story starts in 2008. As a blogger, I’d gained some visibility as a result of my liveblogging at VMworld 2007, and in 2008 I met Chad Sakac. Chad is now a hugely popular figure within the VMware community, but at the time he was “just” the leader of a little-known group within EMC. (This is the group that would later become known as the vSpecialists.) Chad and I chatted, geeked out on some VMware stuff, and became buddies. I didn’t really think too much about the connection; we were just a couple of virtualization geeks making a connection.
Then came early 2009. Chad contacted me, and said he’d been approached about writing a book. Unfortunately, he was unable to write the book; would I be interested in writing it, he asked. Heck yeah! Writing a book had been an item on my bucket list for a really long time. So Chad made the connections to Wiley/Sybex, contracts were signed, and at VMworld 2009 Mastering VMware vSphere 4 was released, quickly becoming a massive hit. I joined Chad’s vSpecialist team in 2010, and remained there for 3 years before transitioning to VMware earlier this year to focus on network virtualization.
Looking back on this series of events, it’s easy to see that this was a huge opportunity I’d received. So, when it came time to discuss writing the book that would become Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5, I asked myself: “I was just given this opportunity. Can I do the same for someone else? Can I pay this forward?” It was at that point I decided that I would not be the lead author for the next revision; instead, I would pass the torch on to someone else—someeone else who had “Write a book” on their bucket list. I wanted to give someone else the same opportunity I’d been given.
This is why Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 represents a changing of the guard. This book embodies my decision to pay it forward, to give another worthy individual—in this case, Nick Marshall—the opportunity to do something he really wanted to do. Many of you know Nick; he’s been involved in the VMware community in a number of ways, through support of the vBrownbag Podcast as well as through his work with Alastair Cooke on AutoLab. In addition to that, he’s just a really nice guy, and that counts for something, too. I’m really thrilled that Nick has taken the lead with this book, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where he takes the Mastering VMware vSphere series.
So, if you’re looking for an authoritative reference to the vSphere 5.5 release, I would encourage you to pick up Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5. Nick and I, along with our co-conspirators Forbes Guthrie, Josh Atwell, and Matt Liebowitz, have done our best to produce something that is useful and informative. I hope that you agree.
Welcome to Technology Short Take #34, my latest collection of links, articles, thoughts, and ideas from around the web, centered on key data center technologies. Enjoy!
- Henry Louwers has a nice write-up on some of the design considerations that go into selecting a Citrix NetScaler solution.
- Scott Hogg explores jumbo frames and their benefits/drawbacks in a clear and concise manner. It’s worth reading if you aren’t familiar with jumbo frames and some of the considerations around their use.
- The networking “old guard” likes to talk about how x86 servers and virtualization create network bottlenecks due to performance concerns, but as Ivan points out in this post, it’s rapidly becoming—or has already become—a non-issue. (By the way, if you’re not already reading all of Ivan’s content, you need to be. Seriously.)
- Greg Ferro, aka EtherealMind, has a great series of articles on overlay networking (a component technology used in a number of network virtualization solutions). Greg starts out with a quick look at the value prop for overlay networking. In addition to highlighting one key value of overlay networking—that decoupling the logical network from the physical network enables more rapid change and innovation—Greg also establishes that overlay networking is not new. Greg continues with a more detailed look at how overlay networking works. Finally, Greg takes a look at whether overlay networking and the physical network should be integrated; he arrives at the conclusion that integrating the two is likely to be unsuccessful given the history of such attempts in the past.
- Terry Slattery ruminates on the power of creating (and using) the right abstraction in networking. The value of the “right abstraction” has come up a number of times; it was a featured discussion point of Martin Casado’s talk at the OpenStack Summit in Portland in April, and takes center stage in a recent post over at Network Heresy.
- Here’s a decent two-part series about running Vyatta on VMware Workstation (part 1 and part 2).
- Could we use OpenFlow to build better internet exchanges? Here’s one idea.
- The Dell VRTX made its debut recently. Kevin Houston has three blog posts that provide some additional information on VRTX: a quick video introduction, a more detailed look, and a demonstration of how quiet the VRTX is.
- In this post, William Lam explores the potential benefits of Intel’s VMCS Shadowing functionality on nested virtualization.
I have nothing to share this time around, but I’ll keep watch for content to include in future Technology Short Takes.
Cloud Computing/Cloud Management
- Tom Fojta takes a look at integrating vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) with vCloud Director in this post. (By the way, congrats to Tom on becoming the first VCDX-Cloud!)
- In case you missed it, here’s the recording for the #vBrownBag session with Jon Harris on vCAC. (I had the opportunity to hear Jon speak about his employer’s vCAC deployment and some of the lessons learned at a recent New Mexico VMUG meeting.)
- Need to do some port forwarding on a Linux box and want to automate the configuration with Puppet? Here’s a configuration example.
- Nick Buraglio provides some quick-and-dirty instructions for building FlowVisor on CentOS 6.
- Rawlinson Rivera starts to address a lack of available information about Virsto in the first of a series of posts on VMware Virsto. This initial post provides an introduction to Virsto; future posts will provide more in-depth technical details (which is what I’m really looking forward to getting).
- Nigel Poulton talks a bit about target driven zoning, something I’ve mentioned before on this site. For more information on target driven zoning (also referred to as peer zoning), also be sure to check out Erik Smith’s blog.
- Now that he’s had some time to come up to speed in his new role, Frank Denneman has started a great series on the basic elements of PernixData’s Flash Virtualization Platform (FVP). You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. I’m looking forward to future parts in this series.
- I’d often wondered this myself, and now Cormac Hogan has the answer: why is uploading files to VMFS so slow? Good information.
- Looks like Hyper-V supports an out-of-band initial replication method for Hyper-V Replica. I can see where this would be quite useful in some situations.
- Gabrie van Zanten shows how to add the Fusion IO driver to VMware AutoDeploy in this write-up. Thanks Gabe!
- Interested in running RHEV as a nested VM on ESXi? William Lam shows you how. William has been posting some great stuff recently; in addition to the nested RHEV article I just referenced, you might also be interested in his quick-start guide for OpenStack on vSphere, or his 2 part series on forwarding VM logs to syslog (part 1 and part 2).
- Itzik Reich provides some tips for tuning I/O on XenServer when working with EMC XtremIO arrays.
- Some good information here from Jason Boche on vCloud Director, RHEL 6.3, and Windows Server 2012 NFS.
- Here’s a quick note from Eric Gray on automating the VMware Tools install on Ubuntu 12.04.
- Josh Townsend has an updated version of his HAProxy virtual appliance available.
- PowerCLI guru Luc Dekens has a pair of PowerCLI scripts to help with common homelab tasks: a script to clone a VM without vCenter, and a script to create a nested ESXi hypervisor.
- Setting a Hyper-V VM to use a wide-screen resolution is actually pretty easy, based on Ben Armstrong’s instructions here.
- For beginners, here’s a write-up on using Fusion to build a vSphere lab.
- Another good post by Cormac Hogan answering some questions about SIOC.
- New network port diagram for vSphere 5.x? Get it here.
It’s time to wrap up now, or this Technology Short Take is going to turn into a Technology Long Take. Anyway, I hope you found something useful in this little collection. If you have any feedback or suggestions for improvement for future posts, feel free to speak up in the comments below.