vArchitect Newsletter 013

Hi all, and we’re back with a newsletter for August. There were lots of things announced this July and we have you covered on the latest news, but also this will be a special VMworld article as it will be the final one before the conference begins. Be sure to check out our tips article before finalizing your packing and planning as it may save you some grief come Vmworld.

VMware Fling: DRS Lens

Last month, we mentioned the new VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive book. Coming on the heels of that is a new fling called DRS Lens which as stated:

DRS Lens provides a simple, yet powerful interface to highlight the value proposition of vSphere DRS. Providing answers to simple questions about DRS will help quell many of the common concerns that users may have. DRS Lens provides different dashboards in the form of tabs for each cluster being monitored”

This tool is an appliance which, once download and installed, connects to vCenter to collect on DRS metrics and events, then visualizes them in a series of reports and dashboards à la vROps. The Cluster Balance and VM Happiness dashboards will be very helpful so download the OVA here.

vSAN Objects not collected in vROps 6.6

Here’s an issue that affects vSAN as well as vROps 6.6 customers whereby objects are not collected if a combination of objects equal 100 or greater than 200. The hotfix is available from VMware, and you’ll have to open a SR to get it.

VMworld 2017 scheduler builder opens, Sovereign vArchitects Tips

VMware didn’t do a good job in announcing when the catalog was available versus when registration was open this year, but in any case it is now. While many sessions are already booked and the expert-led workshops (one of my faves) are first to go, you can still get on the list for these.

This will be our final newsletter before VMworld 2017, so for those of you going we want to offer you our personal tips and tricks that we have learned from our combined experiences in attending this mega conference over the years:

  • Most of the large sessions will be recorded and posted free for viewing after VMworld ends. Small user-group-focused sessions are usually not recorded. When prioritizing your schedule, move those small, intimate session to the fore but star or favorite the larger ones to watch later.
  • This year is back in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. If you’ve never been, it is a huge space. You will be walking multiple miles per day, so wear comfortable tennis shoes and not those $1,000 snakeskin boots designed to impress.
  • A word of common courtesy: When you enter a session, please do not plop yourself down on the very end of a row then blocking everyone else from entering. Be kind to your fellow conference-goer and move to the center of an isle.
  • Make time in your schedule to see vendors in the Solutions Exchange. Speaking of, our sharp SovLabs guys and gals will have a booth again this year, so come by and talk to us. Vendors (including VMware) have their best and brightest at these booths, so now’s your chance when you can speak face-to-face with the engineers responsible for developing these products/solutions. Strike while the iron is hot.
  • There are parties and events going on every night, and most of them have a meal of some sort. Las Vegas is expensive, so leverage some of these events for great networking opportunities but also a free dinner!
  • Speaking of networking, don’t pack your calendar so tight that you can’t meet and greet folks. Leave some time to just walk around and talk to your peers. This is a great networking opportunity you have, so take advantage.
  • At VMworld, they will be handing out backpacks once again. You can lighten your suitcase by not bringing any sort of bag and using the one they provide. Plan on this being either your carry-on item for the plane ride home, or reserving some room in your suitcase.
  • A word of wisdom regarding vendors in the Solutions Exchange: When you let them scan your badge, you are opting in to receive any and all of their sales and marketing calls and emails. And trust us, you will get bombarded starting the week you return. Only let vendors scan your badge if you want to hear from them again and have a follow-up. Otherwise, you’ll be digging yourself out of email for the next month.
  • Hands on Labs. We’re surprised at the number of people that don’t know about them. VMworld is where they roll out their newest ones, and they’ll have a bunch of new ones. They won’t be posted to the general HOL catalog until weeks afterwards, so set aside time to check them out. The VMworld HOLs feature the newest versions of their software and a ton of work goes into them, and these are awesome ways to skill up.
  • Finally, BE SAFE and MODERATE. Booze and gambling are ever-present (the former be free most nights) in Vegas and it can be easy to get overwhelmed in the moment. Don’t get too carried away that you are out of action for the rest of the conference. Moderate and take care of yourself so as to have a nice experience and not have to stay in your hotel the entire trip!
Update vRA café plug-in for vRO 7.3

vRO 7.3 shipped with a semi-broken vRA café plug-in. You wouldn’t know it unless you did some specific things, but this had a negative effect on the SovLabs plug-in. If you’re already on vRA 7.3 with vRO 7.3, get this updated plug-in to fix any future issues.

Veeam adds support for Nutanix

Nutanix’s conference happened this month, and one of the big announcements was that Veeam will now support Nutanix. This is significant for a variety of reasons, but also that it’s the first new hypervisor added to the platform in years. We’ll see how this materializes, but likely v10 will have the support built-in.

vROps Management Pack Round-Up

Several new things regarding vROps management packs this month. The vCloud Director pack saw and update. So did vSAN and the SDDC Health packs. A word of caution on the vSAN pack:  Don’t install it in vROps 6.6 as it’s a different version number.

vROps 6.6 Upgrade Warning

vROps 6.6 brings lots of new things to it, the most major of which is a totally new UI courtesy of the Clarity project. VMware are moving all their products to standardize on this UI. As you can imagine, this is a huge effort and as a result, things are missed or abandoned until future points in time. Something Chip recently discovered that has not been documented is the removal of the Notes field in an active alert in vROps 6.6. There are likely others, but it is disconcerting to know that this was done without any warning or documentation. Due to this, we cannot unequivocally recommend the upgrade to 6.6 at this time. If you do choose to upgrade, backup your appliances and snapshot them prior to the upgrade so you may evaluate if any features you require are missing.

Updating vRBC to 7.3 clears Log Insight agent config

We saw this in the lab recently whereby upgrading the vRBC 7.2 appliance to 7.3 cleared the Log Insight agent configuration entirely. This meant the appliance, although functional, stopped sending logs of any kind to vRLI. Heads up if you use these two products in concert.

New Blog:  Log Insight and Alerting When There Are No More Logs for Insight

Chip authored a new blog this month entitled Log Insight and Alerting When There Are No More Logs for Insight. The concern addressed here is when a system has stopped sending logs and you don’t know about it, like with the vRBC example above. Chip goes through a list of steps to build a custom query, alert, and then connection to vROps so you can get an alert when something is not logging. This is very useful for systems under compliance or stateless architectures where logs ARE the data, so check it out if you think it’ll be helpful.

ESXi 6.5 host crash with IPv6 disabled

Something that we see often is IPv6 disabled on ESXi, which has never before been a cause for concern. We tend to disable things that are unneeded in a hypervisor, which is usually a good practice. In this case, however, there is a known issue that can cause your hosts to crash if it is disabled. Best to leave it enabled if you run into this.

New releases:  vSphere 6.5 Update 1, vSphere 6.0 U3a

Some new releases this month, and vSphere 6.5 Update 1 is an important one especially for customers currently on vSphere 6.0 U3 as it provides a much-awaited migration path to 6.5. For those sticking with vSphere 6.0 for the time being, Update 3a has been released. For the vSphere 6.5 U1 release, there aren’t a ton of new features outside the migration path, but one specifically worth calling out is vSAN 6.6.1 and VUM integration. This feature is nice because it integrates vSAN into VUM allowing you to do things like upgrade the driver to a compatible one without having to search and dig manually. We’d recommend giving U1 a little more time to bake before jumping directly to it, but in any case make sure to have good backups before you begin.

Ok, so lots of new and updating things this month including our VMworld tips and tricks section. Will, Johann, and Chip will be out at VMworld again this year, and although our schedules are packed as always, we’d love to meet up and catch up with any of you. Drop us a line at varchitects@sovsystems.com if you want to get some face time with any of us and we’ll see you in Vegas!