vArchitect Newsletter 026

The End of VMware Horizon Mirage

For customers who used Mirage, you may already know but VMware is sunsetting this product with EoA already reached. There is a KB here that covers it, but you’ll want to start planning to move off it and to Workspace ONE or a similar product. You have some time, but EoGS (End of General Support) is currently listed at 6/30/2019.

Config management of vSphere using Vester

Chris Wahl has a cool project out there that provides config management of vSphere using vSphere, which is written in PowerCLI and Pester. Really cool project you may want to check out and experiment with here.

Fling Updates

As usual, the VMware Flings saw some updates while we were out in Vegas. Here is the rundown of new or updated flings since last time:

  • vROps REST Notification v1.1
  • DoD STIG v.1.1.0
  • HTML5 client v3.41
  • Horizon Helpdesk Utility v1.2.1
  • Horizon DaaS Migration Tool v1.0
  • DRS Entitlement Viewer v1.1.0
L1 Terminal Fault (L1TE) Vulnerability

The next major vulnerability discovered in the Spectre/Meltdown case you’ve no doubt heard of by now and maybe even begun patching. Rather than give you the entire rundown, VMware have provided one KB with links to everything you need to know including patching instructions for the products effected. For vSphere, keep in mind this requires a vCenter AND ESXi patch or else you’ll get some strange warning messages on your hosts. Please read the KB thoroughly to understand how to mitigate your environments.

Extending Disks In-Guest from vRealize Automation

The topic of extending disks inside guest OSs comes up fairly regularly. Although it’s not supported OOTB, this older article provides one solution to this challenge.

Change in VMware Certifications

There is a new change being instituted for all VMware Certification programs that remove the alignment with product versions in favor of years. You can read about this in a blog post here, but be ready to recertify as early as January of 2019.

An Update on ReFS for Veeam Users

If you’re a follower of Gostev’s newsletter and are a Veeam user who have deployed ReFS to one of their repositories, you might like to know the latest developments. Previously, one of the patches made by Microsoft to address the final set of issues was reported to consume excessive memory. Apparently now that too has been fixed in the latest update herewhich was backported from Server 2019. So after this patch, ReFS has been given a clean bill of health!

“Unable to Activate the Connector” in vRA

Recently, Will ran into an issue in vRA 7.3.1 trying to add a second connector to an Identity Provider. When Selecting the connector and supplying to bind password, he received the following error message “Unable to activate the connector”.  While troubleshooting the appliance he noticed in the vRO Control Center that the appliance in question was listing its hostname as the VIP name rather than its individual hostname and that it mentioned that Control Center was not running.  Checking the vco-configurator service on that node showed a status of up.  Following this KB, Will was able to remove the node from the environment and deploy a new one.  To be safe, he connected to the primary node and checked the RabbitMQ cluster status with the following command.

rabbitmqctl cluster_status

When run, he noticed that the cluster name was rabbit@node2.fqdn.  Will changed the name to be rabbit@node1.fqdn with the following command to be safe.

rabbitmqctl set_cluster_name rabbit@node1.fqdn

Once this was complete, he added the newly deployed secondary node to the vRA cluster from the VAMI and after about 15 minutes or so, it was joined to the cluster and all seemed good to go.  Checking the RabbitMQ cluster, the new node was listed and the cluster name remained as set. Control Center was showing the secondary node by its individual hostname and most importantly the second node was added to the Identity Provider. SUCCESS!

New Releases

There’s just so much that’s new and different in each product and with the recent VMworld announcements we unfortunately cannot cover them all in this newsletter, but definitely check out the release notes.

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager

  • Support for vRNI
  • Content Management enhancements
  • Upgrade pre-checker

VMware Tools 10.3.0

  • For all you early adopters, this version has been removed due to a VMXNET3 driver issue. Please see KB 57796 for more details. As we go to press, it appears that 10.3.2 is being made available. No notes yet, but the binaries are here.

PowerCLI 10.2.0

  • Supports NSX-T 2.2
  • Minor Fixes

VMware Integrated Containers 1.4.1

VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere 6.4.2

  • ReviewKB 57770 which relates to NSX unable to connect to SSO in this release
  • Some really great changes were introduced in this release.

VMware Site Recovery Manager 8.1.0.4

  • Compatibility with vSphere 6.7
  • Additional backward compatibility with previous versions of vCenter and vSphere
  • HTML 5 UI enhancements
  • Configuration import/exports
  • Support for SMP-FT

VMware vSphere Replication 8.1.0.4

  • Native hypervisor-based replication solution for on-premises environment
  • HTML 5 UI enhancements
  • vSphere Replication virtual appliance now uses Photon OS 2
  • Support for multiple VMware vSphere on-premises versions

VMware vCloud Director 9.0.0.3 for Service Providers

  • Lots of bug fixes

VMware vCloud Director 8.20.0.3 for Service Providers

  • Lots of bug fixes

VMware Horizon 7.6.0

VMworld 2018 US Announcements

On to the meat of this newsletter, the VMworld 2018 news and announcements! For those who couldn’t attend, this is a good run-down of what was announced on stage and online. And if you did go but weren’t able to make all the sessions you wanted, they have now been posted online for you here courtesy of Mr. Lam!

vSphere 6.7 U1

  • Release date unknown
  • Upgrade finally available from 6.5U2
  • Lots of focus on security
  • HTML5 feature parity with web client
  • Improvements to content library
  • Converge Tool
  • Embedded repointing
  • vMotion and Snapshots for vGPU Powered VMs!

vSAN 6.7 U1

  • Easy cluster quick start deployment with user-friendly wizard
  • Driver and firmware updates with VUM
  • Decommissioning and Maintenance Mode Safeguards
  • More integration with vROps
  • Capacity reporting enhancements
  • TRIM/UNMAP support
  •  More

VMware vCloud Director 9.5

  • Not yet available
  • New HTML5 UI
  • Integration with NSX-T
  • vCD virtual appliance deployment
  • More

vSphere Platinum

  • New edition of vSphere with advanced security features
  • vSphere 6.7 + VMware AppDefense

VMC on AWS

  • Entry-level Price Cut
    • Entry price for VMC on AWS reduced by 50%
    • Smaller 3-host SDDC configuration available
    • This is not a new announcement but a 1-host SDDC starter configuration is also available for POC
  • Expands to Asia-Pacific
    • Sydney region added
  • High-Capacity Storage option
    • New storage option backed by Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)
    • Provides the ability to independently scale compute and storage resources
    • Runs on Amazon EC2 R5.metal instances
  • Oracle and Microsoft application optimization
    • Ability to specify the number of CPU cores needed which will reduce cost of running mission-critical enterprise applications that are licensed per CPU core
    • VM-Host affinity available and can pin the workloads to specific hosts to support license requirements
  • Autoscaling
    • Elastic DRS optimizes cost/performance by automatic scaling up and down of hosts based on needs of application and policies defined by customer
  • Instant Data Center evacuation
    • Migrated 1000s of VMs with zero downtime and schedule when to cut over
    • This is accomplished with VMware NSX hybrid connect, powered by vSphere replication and vMotion
    • Eliminating the need to reboot your VMs for large scale migration
  • NSX integration with AWS Direct Connect
    • Makes it easier to connect across hybrid cloud environments and improves network performance
  • App-centric security with NSX
    • Gain granular control over east-west traffic between workloads through micro-segmentation
    • Security policies can be defined based on workload attributes like VM names, OS versions and user-defined tags
  • Real-time log management at no additional costs
    • VMware added Log Intelligence to the core VMC on AWS Services
    • Provides customers with audit logs for increased security and compliance

Amazon RDS on VMware

  • Bringing benefits of RDS to on-premise and hybrid virtualized environments
  • Customers will be able to provision new on-premises database instances in minutes with a couple of clicks, make backups to on-premises or cloud-based storage, and to establish read replicas running on-premises or in the AWS cloud
  • Amazon RDS on vSphere will take care of OS and database patching and also allow migration of on-premises databases to AWS with a single click

Project Dimension

  • Just like VMC on AWS, this new offering delivers SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service (Dell/EMC & Lenovo) to on-premise locations (Edge and DCs)
  • Includes NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud
  • VMware Cloud Foundation on a hyper-converged appliance
  • VMware takes care of managing the infrastructure, troubleshooting, and performing patching and maintenance

VMware Edge

vRA 7.5

  • All new UI based on Clarity design for vRA and vRO
  • PKS support
  • Support for NSX-T on-prem
  • Public Cloud
  • Azure provides Managed disks, Azure Government and Azure Germany
  • GPC will be a target
  • Ansible Tower support through integration with SovLabs (yes!)
  • vRealize Suite 2018 updates here

vROps 7.0

  • More integration with vRA
  • Persona-based dashboards
  • Single-link, external dashboard sharing (great for NOC screens)
  • SRM VM placeholder support
  • More automated actions
  • vRO content pack 2.0 support with any workflow selection(!!)
  • Much more

New VMware Cloud Services: Cloud Automation

  • Excited to finally talk about this since Sovereign was a design partner since day one
  • Initially available now
  • Built on 3 services: Cloud Assembly, Service Broker, and Code Stream
  • All SaaS services

Project Concord

  • VMware’s opensource blockchain project
  • Highly scalable, energy-efficient decentralized trust infrastructure for digital consensus and smart contract execution

ESXi on ARM

  • Interesting but limited to embedded and edge IoT system

CloudHealth Acquisition

  • CloudHealth consolidates visibility across cloud and on-premises infrastructure
  • Easily manage cost, ensure security compliance, improve governance and automate actions across multi-cloud environments
  • Simplified customer management, streamlined billing, massive scale, policy and tenancy has made it the default platform for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to deliver solutions in the public cloud
Dell EMC Critical Security Advisory

Dell EMC has released a critical security advisory for VxRail Software 4.0 & 4.5.  Dell EMC iDRAC has been updated to address the following firmware vulnerabilities:

  • CVE-2018-1249
  • CVE-2018-1244
  • CVE-2018-1243

If you are a VxRail customer please, please review here.

HTML5-based vSphere Client

We still see a lot of customer clinging onto the legacy C# Client, but as the EOGS for vSphere 5.5 is upon us, most customers will hopefully skip vSphere 6.0 and make the jump to at least vSphere 6.5.  The HTML5 vSphere Client is a great improvement and we highly recommend you actively start using it, especially now with operations and administrative tasks almost at feature parity since vSphere 6.5 U2 and vSphere 6.7.   vSphere 6.7 U1 will be released soon which has full feature parity!

Here is a great document that tracks the release of vSphere Web Client workflow functionality not available in the vSphere Client.

For vSphere admins there are still a few limitations but nothing that a PowerCLI command cannot solve. Also, don’t forget about the Web client fling!

Free NSX E-Books

To continue on our theme of free VMware-related E-Books, here are some additional ones for NSX that was not covered in our previous newsletter here.

  • Building VMware NSX Powered Clouds and Data Centers for Small and Medium Businesses.
  • VMware NSX for Disaster Recovery: Day 1
  • VMware NSX Multi-site Solutions and Cross-vCenter NSX Design: Day 1 Guide
  • VMware NSX Network Virtualization Fundamentals (New release)
  • VMware NSX Automation Fundamentals Guide (New release)