WebCommander – VMware Lab Flings

An other post in the VMware Lab Flings series. This time a fling that I was re-introduced to when following the PowerCLI session at VMworld Europe.

So what’s is WebCommander?

Webcommander is a GUI framework around PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts. It gives an easy to use web interface. This can be used to provide users with scripts without those users knowing the PowerCLI commands, or to give users access only to specific prepared tasks without giving them access to the web client (they still need to have permissions to do there operations). A great way in delegating specific tasks!

What’s needed, WebCommander Architecture?

WebCommander is a package that uses or needs the following components:

– Windows Server 2008 or 2012.
– PowerShell v3 or v4.
– vSphere PowerCLI.
– IIS (minimal v8).
– PHP 5.

The installer also needs .Net Framework 3.5 to be installed on the system. And of course the WebCommander package from the VMware Fling site. This can be found at http://labs.vmware.com/flings/web-commander. At that site there is also a install instruction manual.. Setup of WebCommander is done by installing above apps and running the Setup powerscript supplied with the WebCommander installer. Here you add the default password to connect to ESXi hosts. Default user is set to root, default guest user is set to administrator (you can select them in several of the actions).

Before running the setup script you have to change the Execution policy to unrestricted first…

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Change the default user to Adminstrator in IIS Manager after installation is finished. 

Interface

After installing and checking your installation you can open the default interface.

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There are several categories of PowerShell/PowerCLI included with the installation. You have the option to do Active Directory, View Broker, Guest, VM and vSphere actions. Actions for adding, removing, start/stop/restart operations, renaming and taking snapshots are included.
Of course you can add (or remove) you own specific organisation tasks. The how to is also included in the installation manual.

When running a command a screen is shown where you can add the VC or ESXi host FQDN/IP, and select the users.

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After running the results also show an URL with the command just run. You can give this URL to your user when you want only access to this command. Great feature!. Unfortunately the supplied password is in plain text in the URL (in this case root……).

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– Enjoy commanding your environment! Thank to the developers of this fling.

Sites for you bookmark list – VMware WalkThroughs

VMware has a site on the world wide web called vmwarewalkthroughs.com. This site contains product walk throughs. These walk throughs provide a step by step overview of VMware architecture components, and a how to configure these. For the viewer this is not only following the slides, but some interactive clicking of menu or object items. Several subjects are up there like VSAN, NSX and version 5.5 features.

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The subjects are walked through in an overview knowledge layer of the components and features. For a in depth technical deep dive VMware offers a different site Hands-on-Labs. Hans on Labs can be found at http://labs.hol.vmware.com/.

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A list of VMware products and their Walkthrough URL’s

Unfortunately the root of the walk through site does not include a subject list. You will have to know the URL’s for your subjects. Some are easy to guess (like VSAN at http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/VSAN/), others are a bit harder to find (they are included on the VSAN site but not on NSX).

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The list of subjects:

– Virtual SAN: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/VSAN/– NSX: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/NSX/
– vSphere Data Protection: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/– vSphere App HA: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/
– vCloud Directorhttp://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/
– vSphere Replication: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/
– vSphere Flash Read Cache: http://vmwarewalkthroughs.com/vCloudSuite5-5/

My Maiden VMworld Europe 2013 – Overall Experience

This blog post is about my experience or my own recap of my maiden VMworld Europe voyage that brought me to Barcelona. Like most experience it is good to start with a small lesson learned (do and don’t) part. So here goes….

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Lessons Learned

– Bring several sets comfy shoes and socks. One set on the event (for socks maybe a set extra) and one set for the parties.
– Don’t try to over schedule. I scheduled a lot of session, all very nice and interesting. But this gives you almost no time to rewind and relax, talk to people (as other people also want to talk to them), eat and drink properly and write a blog post. Sessions are recorded so there is opportunity enough to watch/listen them back. Next time I will leave some time for that.
– Do bring a notebook for blogging purposes. An iPad is fine for notes, but either have a proper keyboard setup with that, a proper blog app or bring your notebook. I had not, and with the next point, didn’t have any means to blog.
– Check the status of the WiFi of your hotel. Do believe the experiences other guest left about the hotel. My hotel had poor WiFi connection and poor WiFi speed (especially during the night, I wonder why…), no good to start a blog post in the evening (or night during insomnia).
– Exam scheduled at the event didn’t work for me that good. In all the hectic of a event, degraded body and mind condition, an exam is not the best to schedule at the event (my opinion).
– Be on time and don’t leave before QA is finished. It is not respectful to the speakers (beside when you have a good reason, and nausea from a party the night before isn’t :-P).
– It sometimes is beneficial to take a photo for a blog post or tweet. But slides of sessions are recorded and available afterwards. It can bug your fellow session participants (especially the ones right beside you) that don’t like you waiving your iPad in front of you to take a picture of every (and every) slide.
– Use the Metro shuttle bus service. There is a lot of walking during the day.
– I had a hotel in the center of Barcelona. Great for some taste of Barcelona and close to some parties, but a little far from the conference. It takes a 40-50 minutes to get from the hotel on the metro, train and bus. This is not always a problem, but when you have tired legs and feet it is not always fun to travel in busy public transport as you will not often get a seat.

Arriving

I arrived on monday with a afternoon flight from Amsterdam. At the airport I was greeted by some nice ladies that gave me directions to the shuttle service from airport to the venue at the Fira. I wanted the register, get my badge for the VMUG party, get the VMworld backpack and take a look around. I also got the T-10 zone 1 provided by Veeam (big thanks to Veeam) and available for pick up at the information stand. Enough to get you from and to the venue with public transport.

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After that I went to the Metro station and found my way to the Placa de Catalyuna where the hotel was one the Ramblas beginning. The metro station exit on the Ramblas was just a few steps till the hotel. That’s good. Checked in and prepared the room and VMworld back for the next day. I went out to get some food before the VMUG party and fortunately this is plentiful available around the hotel.

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Parties

I visited just two parties. I got invites for a little more, but I arrived on Monday and skipped the Tuesday parties because I wanted a good sleep for my Wednesday morning exam. The VMUG party on Monday evening was a good place to start, in close proximity of my hotel. The interaction of the visitors was very good and the club was good to have some drinks and talks. Got some interesting conversation about background, IT experiences, exam preparations and all.

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The VMworld party was at the Fira conference center. It was a big show with lot’s of visitors. Drinks and food were everywhere, as well entertaining.  The Foosball tables and the arcade machines where good places to meet with others. The music was nice, but main show Taio Cruz is not really for me (I don’t want to think about a hangover at a party ;-P ).

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Sessions

If you have use schedule Builder your are preregister for the sessions you put in there. You can show up a 15/10 minutes in advance and let you badge scan to be let in. There are also queues for people that didn’t register, and those will be let in a few minutes before the show (let say 10-5) to fill up the room. When you have pre registered and show up on time, you will have the opportunity to pick a nice spot.
You don’t have to go to all as session will be recorded so you can watch/listen to them later on. A lesson for the next time.
I visited sessions about NSX, VSAN, Best practices, Architecture, Metro Cluster, HA/DRS, Storage DRS etc. I will try to work trough my notes and do a recap in a blog post. That will also be part of a presentation I will give at my employer in November.

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Conclusion

VMworld is huge from dutch event perspective. It is a roller coaster of a ride, that I definitely want to be part of again. I will plan a little more resting, relaxing, and meetups next time, and a little less sessions. If I am prepared at bit better (with the lessons learned and the ones that will come to me in the next year) I think you can even have an even bigger blast. Maybe even finish a exam in time…..

For now I will leave it at this. I will add some more session recaps in an other blog, and add my exam experience later to my blogpost: https://pascalswereld.nl/post/62407836177/vcap5-dcd-experience That story is not yet finished (lesson learned and continue).

– Thanks for reading. Hope meeting you there next year!

VMware vCenter – Remove Infrastructure Navigator Extension

Installation of trial applications sometimes goes wrong and you will have to remove the extension from vCenter. How will you do that with the web client?

  1. Go to your Managed Object Browser vCenter URL. That is https://<vcenter fqdn or ip>/mob.
  2. Logon with vCenter credentials.
  3. Click on content link in the Contentservice colum.image
  4. Click on ExtensionManager.
  5. Find your to remove extension in the list. For infrastructure navigator this is com.vmware.vadm. (vadm stands for vCenter Application Discovery Manager which is the predecessor of infrastructure navigator).
  6. Choose the UnregisterExtension method.image
  7. Fill in the extension name in the string box (in this case com.vmware.vadm).
  8. Click Invoke Method.
  9. You will get a response like void. Refresh the extension list to check is it is removed.

You can now browse your infrastructure without the navigator fail messages. Or go and install a licensed version.

– Hope it helps!

My VMworld EU Barcelona 2013 schedule

This year I will be doing my maiden VMworld Europe (a big thanks to my employer Qwise). I can say I am really looking forward to this. At VMworld I will be doing session, meeting people, do exams, visit some vendors and I will be tweeting and blogging around to place (and yes also some party attending).
You can find me on the blogger (http://www.vmworld.com/community/vmworldblogs/#feed) and twitter (subscribe at https://twitter.com/VMworld/europe-contributors) lists.

My schedule is currently looking (and will be updated when needed) as follow.

+ Monday 14 October+
Arriving Barcelona
Finding my way to VMworld and registration
Hotel Checking
VMUG Member Party

+ Tuesday 15 October +
General Session with Pat Gelsinger
NET5521 – vSphere Distributed Switch – Design and Best Practices
BCO5047 – vSphere High Availability – What’s New and Best Practices
NET5266 – Bringing Network Virtualization to VMware environments with NSX
STO5391 – VMware Virtual SAN
BCO4872 – Operating and Architecting a vSphere Metro Storage Cluster Based Infrastructure
VMware Benelux party 2013
Veeam Annual VMworld Party 2013

+ Wednesday 16 October +
VCAP5-DCD Exam
STO5638 – Best Practices with Software Defined Storage
BCO5065 – VMware vSphere Fault Tolerance for Multiprocessor Virtual Machines – Technical Preview
VSVC7371 – Architecting the Software-Defined Data Center
VMworld Party

+ Thursday 17 October +
VSVC4944 – PowerCLI Best Practices – A Deep Dive
STO5636 – Storage DRS: Deep Dive and Best Practices to Suit Your Storage Environments
VSVC5280 – DRS: New Features, Best Practices and Future Directions
VCM5169 – How to troubleshoot VM performance issues across applications, infrastructure and storage using vCenter Operations Management(Live Demonstration!)

+ Friday 18 October +
Fly Home

If you want to meet up, find me walking around somewhere; or for a higher chance of meeting, contact me first my contacts are in the about page of my blog (or use the comments).

Links to important information / pages (also for my own reference):

Get the VMworld 2013 Europa mobile app at your device’s app store.

– Hopefully see you there!

VMware vBenchmark – Lab Flings

Last month I did a blog post of a fling I often use in project phases (read it at https://pascalswereld.nl/post/58225706990/vmware-io-analyzer-fling). I want to blog about another fling you can use in a project and also in normal management of virtual infrastructures.

This fling is called vBenchmark and can create reports of your virtual environment with measurements of the performance of your (just to state the obvious; VMware) virtualized infrastructure. These measurements can be used to report to IT management about the benefits brought with a implementation or migration project. You can also use this in a assessment phase to baseline report your existing environment prior to making (to be beneficial) changes.

The report is targeted at IT as measurement metrics are mostly technical of art, but hey that’s what a virtualization infrastructure is made off.

Measure metrics are categorized as follows:
– Configuration: for example, how much virtual vs physical RAM is registered.

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– Efficiency: for example, how is you environment utilized.

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– Agility: for example, how much time do you take on average to provision a VM, or how productive can your administrators be (do not get overexcited, this is only from the infrastructure prospective ;-) ).

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– Quality of Service: for example, how much downtime do you avoid by using availability features, or how much downtime have you experienced.

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The environment metrics can be uploaded to a VMware server to compare (based on your license type and organisation) your metrics with the outside worlds matched peers. Your metrics will be anonymously uploaded.

You can add one or more vCenters to vBenchmark. Be sure to save your session data or you will have to do them again in vBenchmark. But you won’t have a reference data set..

vBenchmark is a OVF appliance that can be downloaded from this link: http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vbenchmark

Test Driving

I have downloaded vBenchmark and I will deploy vBenchmark to my test Lab. My lab environment are 3 ESXi 5.5 hosts managed by a vCenter 5.5 server appliance. There are around 4 VM’s operational so not quite the environment, but large enough to get some metrics in.

The deployment is straightforward, deploy as OVF. Add name, location, storage (deploying on VSAN) and add networks. From the OVF template the IP is defined as static, but there is no configuration.

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vBenchmark actually supports IPv4 DHCP (and you can change the network settings via the appliance admin app at https://<vbenchmark&gt;:5480/), and that’s what I’m using. Finish and power on.

After power on go to a console and set the root password. You will have to do this else you can’t access the web interface.

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Open up your favorite browser and go to the system. In the startscreen you will have to add a vCenter server to vBenchmark.

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After that you can select a statistics period and start adding statics.

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When finished collecting you can select to include your cluster in the reports. And you are redirected to your dashboard.

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From here on you can create vCenter server groups, share (upload) your metrics to included peer metrics and save your configuration for future references.

-Enjoy vBenchmarking!

Evaluations – VSAN Beta – The what and installation

I finally received my new company notebook. I use my notebook as my demo and evaluation lab. Before I was extremely lagging in my labs due to minimal RAM (6GB) and a magnetic none performance HDD. I still can’t believe how patienced I was (cause I normally am not even near patience). But now with a SSD and 16GB RAM (and a supporting virtualization, another plus) I can finally do some VSAN evaluating. So here goes!

What is VSAN?

VMware Virtual SAN or VSAN in short (all capitals for this one), is a new software-defined storage tier. It is simple shared storage specifically designed for virtual machines. By simple it is self tuning, easy provisioning, simple managed and dynamically scalaleble. It works at the cluster layer and presents a single datastore distributed across multiple hosts in a vSphere cluster (that is where VSAN is enabled).

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Architecture

So what are the VSAN components? A model:

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A VSAN Cluster is made out of at least three vSphere 5.5 hosts. A VSAN is activated when a host cluster is created or VSAN is enabled on existing clusters. When enabled, VSAN aggregates all local storage disks available on the hosts into a single datastore (VSAN Clustered Datastore) shared by all hosts (that is, when set to automatic). You can later expand the datastore by adding storage devices or hosts to the cluster. Local storage is at least one empty (that is not formatted with VMFS or other file system) SSD and one HDD (SAS or SATA).

VSAN requires a private 1Gb network, a VMkernel port enabled for VSAN service is added to the vSphere configuration. As a best practice, use 10Gb network and Jumbo frames (end to end). You can add multiple NIC’s for redundancy.

When you use VSAN, you’ll define a virtual machine storage policy, for requirements such as performance and availability. The policy requirements are in place at the VSAN layer when a virtual machine is being created. The virtual machines virtual disk(s) is distributed across the VSAN datastore to meet the policy requirements.

Evaluation

And now for the fun part. VSAN is available as a public beta (personally I find public beta is better then invite only beta’s so hopefully VMware will stay on this road). Want to participate, go to this link: http://www.vmware.com/vsan-beta-register.

My VSAN lab is made of three nested ESXi 5.5 hosts (nested in VMware Workstation 10). These hosts have several networksThe hosts are configured with their required networks with one management VMkernel port, one vMotion and one VSAN. (with several nics in appropriate VSS). The hosts have two virtual disks configured, one standard so SSD is marked (as my notebook has SSD) and one IDE so this is not SSD marked. The three hosts are managed by a vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.

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The hosts are added to a data center. There I have added a new cluster that is DRS, HA and VSAN enabled (This is not the correct order. You actually have to setup VSAN prior to enabling HA). I have set VSAN to automatically claim storage. I added the beta VSAN license to the cluster (that’s were this one goes).

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So host are added, and storage is automatically added. You should see a VSAN datastore setup. You can verify the existing vsandatastore at your datastore view.

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Next one of the important things, setting up the storage policies. You first have to think about your policies. What are your storage requirement scenario’s.  If you just want to try out in a proof of concept, or defaults are good enough, there are also default policies.

Unlike storage profiles that work at the datastore level, storage policies are linked to virtual machine objects. There are applied to one or more virtual machines. Storage  Policies  can  be  found  in  Home  >  Rules  &  Profiles.

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I’m adding a policy to tolerate one failure.It finds my VSAN datastore as a matching provider (fortunately for me).

When creating a VM I can select the storage policy and see my VSANdatastore shows up as compatible. My other VMFS are not (as they are already VMFS provisioned and therefor not part of VSAN).

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I can place a VM on my VSAN.

This concludes the initial setup of VSAN.

One final note; currently VSAN is experimental in vSphere 5.5. VSAN therefor is not for production.

– Enjoy VSAN’ning across the VMware universe!