vArchitect Newsletter 010

vSAN 6.6 released with many exciting new functionalities

VMware is doing a great job at making vSAN a standout Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) platform and they just released 6.6, the most significant since the initial release.  vSAN should really be one of your top picks to service your management cluster.

Here are just some of the new features which we think are great.

  • Drastically simplified the installation in a greenfield with integrated vSAN bootstrap process where you only have bare-metal servers to start with.
  • No more multicast networks requirements.
  • High availability management now available directly from the ESXi host client.
  • vSAN encryption.

The blog posts from VMware and Duncan Epping provides all the information you need.

VMware announces OVH to purchase VMware vCloud Air business

OVH is one of the largest cloud service providers in the world and with the acquisition

VMware with be transitioning vCloud Air U.S. and European data centers, customer operations, and customer success teams.  vCloud Air will benefit from a great choice of global datacenters across 4 continents and experience faster performance and workload mobility through the company's thousands of miles of dark fiber and 32 points of presence worldwide.

Additional information regarding the announcement can be found here.

If you have any concerned about the future of vCloud Director I recommend reading this VMware blog

VMware announces the discontinuation of 3rd Party vSwitch Program

The discontinuation of this program is also accompanied by plans to deprecate the VMware vSphere APIs used by third party switches in the release following vSphere 6.5 Update 1.  This should however not have any impact on existing use of third party party vSwitches on supported vSphere releases.

Customers are encouraged to migrate from third party distributed vSwitches including Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco VM-FEX, Cisco AVS, HPE 5900v, and IBM DVS 5000v to vSphere Distributed Switch.

Additional information regarding the announcement can be found in this knowledge base article.


VMware announces acquisition of Wavefront to boost vRealize suite

Wavefront is a big data startup that develops a real-time analytics platform that is used by businesses to monitor and manage the performance of their IT systems.

VMware set the standard for monitoring virtual environments with VMware vRealize Operations platform, and Wavefront will set the standard for cross-cloud and modern application monitoring. Wavefront will also complement VMware's vRealize Network Insight and vRealize Log Insight products.

Additional information regarding the announcement can be found here.

Trouble deploying an NSX Edge through vRA

We found quite a few people getting tripped up on deploying an NSX Edge successfully through a catalog item in vRA, so we wanted to provide some information on why this happens and how to resolve it.

With a multi-tiered configured blueprint which includes on-demand networks and load balancers we need to deploy an NSX Edge.  When you request the catalog item it would normally fail with a message like the following:

The debug message can also be viewed from the “Create Edge” workflow within vRO:

The message “VSM response error (10020): Failed to deploy edge appliance…” provides the information necessary, with “appliance” being the key word to figure out the problem.

What you wouldn’t have expected is that vRA deploys the NSX Edge through an OVF. So how does an OVF normally get deployed? Through an ESXi host and not vCenter Server. So, when you manually import an OVF, what are your storage options?  You can only select the available datastores on the ESXi host.

Review your reservation policy / reservation assigned to the NSX Edge in vRA, and in the resources tab under storage, make sure to not check the datastore cluster, but only the individual datastores since the OVF deployment cannot identify a storage cluster.

Significant enhancements for NSX integration with Photon

VMware is automating container level networking with micro-segmentation and firewalls!

NSX can now be used to create virtual networks at a pod level within a Kubernetes cluster running on top of Photon OS.  VMware is also providing tighter integration with vSAN and network directories based on MS AD and LDAP.

Some other features worth mentioning are:

  • Embedded DHCP services
  • Support for overlapping IP addresses across subnets
  • Floating IP addresses
  • Multiple routers within a deployment

VMware is definitely moving in the right direction and providing ways for the IT operations teams to use their existing investments in NSX and vSAN to not just support their business-critical application but also leverage it for developers to build cloud-native applications.

More information can be found here.

Cohesity 4.0 release

With the release of Cohesity 4.0, Cormac visited Rawlinson and wrote about their Q&A session here.  Beware this digs into some the technical details J

Home lab build

If you are a tinkerer with your own lab then you probably have heard of Intel NUC. We would recommend you read Tai Ratcliff’s blog on his choice of SuperMicro E200-8D where he also provides comparison between the two.

Want some learn more about what is new in vSphere 6.5?

VMware has a free e-learning course available which highlights the new features and enhancements in vSphere 6.5.  It also presents use cases that describe how the new features align with customer needs. You can sign up here.

Replacement for Infrastructure Navigator

It looks like this is the end of the line for vRealize Infrastructure Navigator in its current form. It appears it will be reincarnated in the form of a management pack for vRealize Operations Manager called vRealize Operations Service Discovery. Because this only works with vSphere 6.5, and seeing as how vRIN does not support that version or VMware tools 10.1 and above, it looks like its functionality will get absorbed into vROps similar to how Hyperic did with the introduction of Endpoint Operations agents back in version 6.1. Read the release notes and manual and be aware of the requirements and caveats. It’s only version 1.0 at the moment, so don’t expect full feature parity with the 5.8 release of vRIN.

VMware Tools and RSS incompatibility

This was a rush post by VMware to alert the community of incompatibility issues of VMware tools and receive-side scaling in VMXNet3 adapter types and Windows Server 2012 to 2016 operating systems. Keep in mind that RSS is disabled by default, and you should keep it that way unless you have a very specific use case and know what you are doing, so most shouldn’t run into this issue.


Replacing VMCA certificates for vSphere 6.5 in the GUI


This is something that has been available in vSphere 6.0, but it’s good to remind people it doesn’t strictly have to be done via CLI. Details on the process are here.

HTML5 client fling updated to v3.12

The popular HTML5 client for vCenter has been updated to version 3.12 as of this writing and contains a lot of new features (as always). Definitely check out the changelog and upgrade using the FAMI on port 5490. Also, if you run into the bug where after rebooting the appliance itself you can no longer log into the FAMI, check the workaround script posted here as it does restore access. And as a final note, the H5 client received its first official update in the vCenter 6.5b release a couple weeks ago, so if you want to get to the latest supported point without having to deploy another appliance, punch up vCenter to the latest (which 6.5d has now come out but still contains the updated H5 client).

vSphere Data Protection end of availability

The time has come for VMware to end the sale of VDP as reported in this blog post. It makes perfect sense because, at least in our opinion and experience, partners really make better products in this realm, especially Veeam. If you are a current user of VDP, there is a program to transition you over to Avamar (which is really what VDP is under the covers), so that may be something you’d like to investigate if you’re not open to wholesale replacement.

Impact of CPU Hot Add on NUMA scheduling

Frank really understands this subject, and it’s something every VI admin should know to at least some extent. Full details in his post here. Long and short of it is don’t enable CPU hot-add unless you understand its implications and have designed your template or VMs accordingly.

Better logging of reconfigures in vSphere 6.5

Although vSphere 6.5 brings many, many improvements, one of the ones that no one really talks about is how logging has changed for the better when it comes to VM reconfigure operations. Prior to 6.5, when a user reconfigured a VM to add more memory or another CPU, the only thing exposed in vCenter was a “reconfigure” task. No details about what was actually done. Well, now things have changed in 6.5 with what was changed shown right in the task but also in the ESXi logs. There’s a good write-up about it here. This is also great for those using Log Insight because you can create alerts or build dashboards that can collect and show this information.

Veeam Backup on VMware vSAN

Veeam has always worked in backing up VMs from a vSAN cluster, but there is a process that will reduce the amount of storage network traffic it generates. Check out the KB from Veeam here.

Enable Log Browser again on vCenter 6.5

For those who do not know, the Log Browser was a function available in the vSphere web client up through version 6.0. It allowed a user to select a given log present inside vCenter and view the stream including a search functionality within the web client session. This was disabled by default in vCenter 6.5 but can easily be re-enabled with the help of the documentation. It might be simpler to just use Log Insight since you do get a 25 OSI pack included with your vCenter license key, but it’s handy to know.