vArchitect Newsletter 027

vForumOnline

Did you miss out on #VMworld this year? Then join #vForumOnline from the comfort of your home, office or mobile device. RSVP now for this must-attend virtual IT event on October 9.

Register here, and view agenda here.

Fling Updates

As usual, the VMware Flingssaw some updates in September. Here is the rundown of new or updated flings since last time:

  • Workspace ONE Configuration Tool for Provisioning
  • Horizon Session Recording
  • ESXi Compatibility Checker
  • DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin
  • HCIBench
  • vRealize Operations REST Notifications Helper
  • SDDC Certificate Tool
VMware Tools 10.3.2 Replacement

If you recall, VMware Tools 10.3.0 was issued with a critical bug some weeks ago. That was subsequently pulled and replaced with 10.3.2. So if you’re keen on out-of-band VMware Tools updates, you may want to grab this one especially if you’ve already installed 10.3.0. Release notes here.

PowerShell Core 6.1 Released

Yes, not really a VMware release, but very important nonetheless because things are moving towards PowerShell Core with support in PowerCLI and more modules in the future. Very substantial release that really shows Core coming into its own. Check out the blog post here.

New Releases

Not as many new releases as were announced at VMworld, but still many things are trickling out. Check the list below.

  • NSX-T 2.3
    • Baremetal support
    • AWS deployment support
    • VPN support between on-prem and cloud
    • Lots more
    • Release notes
  • vSphere Integrated Containers 1.4.3
    • Automatic plug-in upgrade
    • Wizard updates
    • Minor updates
    • Release notes
  • vRealize Suite 2018 Releases
    • Covered many of these last time
    • vRA 7.5
    • vRO 7.5
    • vRBC 7.5
    • vROps 7.0
    • vRLI 4.7
    • vRLCM 2.0
    • Release notes for all
  • Workstation 15 and Fusion 11
Direct URL for VM Console Connections

Ran across an older but interesting article on how you can embed a direct URL to a specific VM’s console in your applications/webpages. This may be useful for operations folks on a certain set of machines. The idea is that rather than logging into vCenter and clicking on a VM’s console thumbnail, you can save a pre-formatted URL that takes you directly there in a web browser. Note that you still have to authenticate as there’s no way around that. Check out the blog here.

New vSphere Patches, October 2018

There are some new patches that are now available for most vSphere builds that address a vSAN issue as outlined in this KB. Check the patch release bulletin herefor all info. Important to note that even if you wait to apply that patch but are running vSAN, you should apply the workaround listed because it has potential data inconsistency implications.

vRA 7.4 Patches/Fixes

If you’re running on vRA 7.4, a couple things you may want to know. First, a new cumulative patch has been released that contains new fixes for issues. This patch, known as HF5, documents several new issues faced by new and upgraded installs and contains those in HF4 previously. See this KBfor more details. Remember, before going off on your own and applying these hot fixes, it’s best to consult with GSS so they can track you in case you have further support issues that arise in the future.

Second thing with vRA 7.4 is a potential issue with software components (vRA Enterprise only) hanging or failing—especially after a platform upgrade. See this KBfor details. The fix is simple, but like all hand-edits, ensure you back up the file(s) FIRST.

VMware Support & VMware Skyline

This topic never gets the time it deserves, but VMware has really been busy this year in improving the support experience. Here are just a few of the support experience enhancements this year as mentioned by Scott Bajtos, Chief Customer officer at VMware:

  • VMware Skyline Proactive Support Technology
    • More on that later
  • VMware Knowledge Base Intelligent Search
    • Improved search ability across KB articles, docs, blogs and communities.
    • Improved filter content by product, version and language
  • Better Support Center Transfers
    • This is a big one and now severity 1 support requests are transferred from one engineer to another after the sun goes down, which means reduced wait times and faster resolution.
  • More Engaged Communities
    • Building a modern and actively moderated support community, which VMware wants to be the default place for knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer support and connecting with VMware experts.
  • Request a Call Back
    • Callback Assist, an integrated feature in our Avaya phone system, gives you the option to receive a call from a technical support engineer rather than wait in the queue
    • This is still limited in scope, but VMware is rolling it out to wider audiences.
  • Chat with a Support Engineer
    • This is a great feature and hope it expands to all product but currently hat support is available to VMware Cloud Services and VMware Cloud on AWS customers, as well as those who need to file a service request for vRealize Network Insight, vCloud Director, vRealize Automation and vSphere Integrated Containers.

Back in February we bloggedabout how Skyline is changing how VMware supports your investment in their product ecosystem and some of our customers has already seen the benefit of using this tool with VMware Mission Critical Support.

VMware Skyline is also available with Production support, but VMware will only start sending out invites to the program for production support customers in late 2018, early 2019.  I would recommend you sign up for the Managed Access Program.

For Product support customers, VMware Skyline only provides access to alerts and recommendations through a self-service portal. If you want all the features of VMware Skyline, then you have to sign up for the mission critical support offered as a supplement to VMware production support.

Skyline supports VMware vSphere, VMware NSX and now VMware vSAN with other products expected to be added in the future.

New features in Skyline include:

  • VMware Skyline advisor
    • Provides a self-service portal for customers to access real-time dashboards, proactive recommendations from VMware’s library of knowledge, and suggested upgraded to prevent potential issues.
  • VMware Skyline Log assist
    • Automatic upload of log files to VMware Technical support once an issue is identified which will speed up the resolution time considerable. Who like uploading log files!?
    • This will be available before end of year.
vSphere 5.5 End of General Support is in effect!

Unless you have been living in a cave (or not reading our newsletters!), you’re probably aware about the countdown to vSphere 5.5 End of General Support (EoGS). If not, well, some bad news. That clock has officially expired and you are now running unsupported. If this describes you, it’s not too late. Contact us and let us help you figure out the best path forward.