UKVMUG November 2014

The agenda for this year’s UKVMUG at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham has just been published and what a line up the organisers have put together this year! It genuinely does seem to get even more impressive every time and I know for a fact that the organisers put an unbelievable  amount of effort into making that so.

VMUG

I’m really pleased to see that this time round they have included all of the community sessions in the mezzanine area on the main agenda page. Consequently, when you look at the line up for the day, there is an unbelievable amount of  quality content choices to pick from. If you work with VMware virtualisation then you can’t fail to find something to interest you on that list.

I’ll be attending the day and have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to take one of the community mezzanine sessions. I’ll be going through some of my recent experiences with vCO in vCAC and how to learn from those (and many mistakes) when looking to design vCO workflows for use in vCAC. If you’re interested in that topic then please come along with questions and of course your own suggestions so we can all learn and improve.

Agenda
 
 
TimeEventLocation
7:30 - 8:20 Registration | BreakfastTrafalgar Foyer
8:20 - 8:30 VMUG WelcomeBritannia Suite
8:30 - 9:30VMware Update/Keynote | Joe Baguley | CTO Rant-as-a-ServiceBritannia Suite
9:30 - 10:00Break | Exhibit Hall Opens | Mingle with SponsorsImperial Suite
10:00 - 10:40 Breakout Block #1 | Education Sessions
Size Matters! Availability Best Practices for Small, Medium, and Big Data Organizations - VeeamBracebridge Suite
Utilising VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and Nimble Storage for Multi-Workload Application-Centric Virtualized Environments - Nick Dyer, Nimble StorageBallacraine Suite
Simple, Scalable Virtual Platform for Your VM's with Nutanix and vSphere - Darren Woollard, NutanixWaterloo Suite
VMworld - The Unofficial Low Down on Everything VMworld - Julian WoodBritannia Suite
Best Practices for Smarter Virtualization Management: Customer Case Study with VMTurbo, VMTurboKirkmichael Suite
Side-Session 1 - Using Virtual Appliances in Your Home/Work Lab Discussion Group (Simon Seagrave)Mezzanine
Side-Session 2 - Optimal VDI for Your Users - How? Discussion/Whiteboard GroupMezzanine
Side-Session 3 - Ask the CTO Anything - Small Forum with Joe Baguley (EMEA CTO, VMware)Mezzanine
GSS Drop-in Clinic - Ask VMware Support (GSS) AnythingMezzanine
10:40 - 10:50Break | Mingle with Sponsors
10:50 - 11:50Breakout Block #2 | Education Sessions
VSAN: Gotchas and Troubleshooting - Cormac Hogan, VMwareBracebridge Suite
Overview of EVO:RAIL: The Radically New Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance 100% Powered by VMware - Mike Laverick, VMwareBallacraine Suite
vRealize Operations 6 – Everything You Need to Know! - Matt Steiner, VMwareWaterloo Suite
What’s Coming for vSphere in Future Releases? - Duncan Epping, VMwareBritannia Suite
VMware NSX: Software Defined Networking in the real-world - Chris WahlKirkmichael Suite
Side-Session 1 - Ask the Expert: PowerCLI & Automation (Alan Renouf, VMware)Mezzanine
Side-Session 2 - vSphere Design Whiteboard (Darren Woollard)Mezzanine
Side-Session 3 - Sam McGeown (VMware NSX)Mezzanine
GSS Drop-in Clinic - Ask VMware Support (GSS) AnythingMezzanine
11:50 - 13:00Lunch Break | Mingle with Sponsors
13:00 - 13:40Breakout Block #3 | Education Sessions
Why Advanced Data Services Matter In Hyperconverged Platforms - Hugo Phan, Atlantis ComputingBracebridge Suite
Real-World Private Cloud: Exploring the Design and Implementation of an Enterprise Cloud Project, TintriBallacraine Suite
Hypervisor-Based QoS: Helps With The Symptoms, But By Itself It’s Not The Cure, SolidfireWaterloo Suite
VMware Horizon Architecture and Design - Barry Coombs / Peter Von OvenBritannia Suite
Virtualize your business-critical applications utilizing Software-Defined Data Center technologies including vSphere, vSAN, and NSX, BrocadeKirkmichael Suite
Side-Session 1 - VMware Disaster Recovery with Mike Laverick and Lee DilworthMezzanine
Side-Session 2 - What is Hyper-Convergence? Discussion group (Matt Northam)Mezzanine
Side-Session 3 - Designing Real-World vCO Workflows for vRealize Automation Center (vCAC) (Jonathan Medd)Mezzanine
GSS Drop-in Clinic - Ask VMware Support (GSS) AnythingMezzanine
13:40 - 14:10Break | Mingle with Sponsors
14:10 - 15:10Breakout Block #4 | Education Sessions
The Role of Network Virtualisation in the SDDC - Dan Watson, VMwareBracebridge Suite
EUC update - Peter Von Oven, VMwareBallacraine Suite
vSphere Availability Updates and Tech Preview - Lee Dilworth, VMwareWaterloo Suite
Everything Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) - Paudie O'Riordan, VMwareBritannia Suite
vCloud Air Technical Deep Dive - Simon GreavesKirkmichael Suite
Side-Session 1 - Virtual Machine Backup Best Practices, Tools & Tips - Ricky El-QasemMezzanine
Side-Session 2 - Networking Deep-Dive Discussion Group/Whiteboard with Chris WahlMezzanine
Side-Session 3 - Storage for Dummies - Paul MeehanMezzanine
GSS Drop-in Clinic - Ask VMware Support (GSS) AnythingMezzanine
15:10 - 15:20 Break | Mingle with Sponsors
15:20 - 16:00Breakout Block #5 | Education Sessions
Re-Thinking Storage by Virtualizing Flash and RAM - Frank Denneman, PernixDataBracebridge Suite
All-Flash Storage: 5X Faster, 10X Less Power, 100X Easier, Pure StorageBallacraine Suite
Cisco and VMware: Transforming Desktops into End User Workspaces, CiscoWaterloo Suite
Clouds, Portals, Automation and DJs - Ricky El-QuasemBritannia Suite
Navigating the New Security Designs - Bo Skeel, BitdefenderKirkmichael Suite
Side-Session 1 - Designing Real-World vCO Workflows for vRealize Automation Center (vCAC) (Jonathan Medd)Mezzanine
Side-Session 2 - vCloud Air: Ask the Expert - David HillMezzanine
Side-Session 3 - Ask the CTO Anything - Small Forum with Joe Baguley (EMEA CTO, VMware)Mezzanine
GSS Drop-in Clinic - Ask VMware Support (GSS) AnythingMezzanine
16:00 - 16:50Closing Keynote | Chris Wahl | Stop Being a MinesweeperBritannia Suite
16:50 - 17:00Closing Session & GiveawaysBritannia Suite

Unable to Edit vCO Workflow after Package Export / Import

While moving some vCO content over from one server to another via the process of creating a package on Server1, exporting the package and then importing the package into Server2, something went awry and I was no longer able to edit some of the workflows.

Specifically, the workflows in question looked like this with the pencil edit button greyed out:

NoEditWorkflow

A clue was given in the User permissions section with both Add to package and Edit contents unchecked:

NoEditWorkflow02

This was not the case back in the original workflow on Server1.

It is possible when exporting a package to set various permissions, if for some reason you did not want them to be available where they would be imported.

NoEditWorkflow03

However, in this instance all of the above checkboxes had been ticked during package export, so it remains a mystery what had occurred since not all workflows in the package suffered from the same fate.

The resolution was to track down the affected workflows, as well as actions and resources that also contained the same symptoms and create a new package on Server1 with just those items. Import the new package into Server2 and ensure you just overwrite the affected items, not anything else. Then check all items are successfully editable.

Tip: To track down affected workflows, add the top level folder of workflows to a package. Then on the workflows tab of the package, sort by the Rights column and you will have a view of which workflows are missing which rights. Note that workflows in the default Library folder typically do not have the edit right.

NoEditWorkflow06

 

I got a hint of what might be wrong from this VMware Communities Post

vCO Custom Workflow Icons

While at VMworld Europe 2014 I noticed in some of the slides in a vCO session that the presenter was using some icons for workflows that did not appear to be standard. I was quite curious how to do this, but couldn’t find much information about it until I stumbled on the below training video.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s how to do it.

1) Get your images into vCO

Supported:

  • GIF
  • JPEG
  • PNG

Not supported:

  • BMP
  • TIFF

Navigate to the Resources tab and you will probably want to create a folder to store them in.

vCOCustomIcons01

 

Then Import Resources

vCOCustomIcons02

 

vCOCustomIcons03

 

Fill up the folder with the rest of the icons that you need.

 

2) Update the Workflows with the Custom Icon

Navigate to the workflow you wish to set a Custom Icon for and edit it. On the General tab select the button for the Workflow icon.

vCOCustomIcons04

The dialogue box will let you select from within Resources with a handy search box to find what you need:

vCOCustomIcons05

The workflow is updated with the custom icon.

vCOCustomIcons06

OK, you can’t really see much of a benefit here. The difference appears when you embed your custom icon workflows into a parent workflow, which can now look something like this:

vCOCustomIcons07

 

 

Pretty cool I think; I could have so much fun with this :-)

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 4

Last day for me and first of all that meant leaving my accommodation. In my pre-VMworld post I mentioned that this time I was trialling staying in an apartment via AirBnB rather than a more traditional hotel. It turned out to be an excellent choice. I saved money, was in an excellent location and had a far more friendly experience than some of my previous stays in hotels around a busy conference, which can also be pretty soulless places sometimes when you’re travelling unaccompanied. I’ll definitely be using their services again in the future.

I managed to fit in one final session around vCAC automation, but generally just hung around the blogger’s area chatting with community friends.

Before taking off home in a real plane, I watched my colleague Ather take part in the charity paper plane All Star challenge given he had been pretty successful earlier in the week. A lot of money was raised by attendees – great idea!

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PaperPlane

 

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 3

Day 3 saw the second General Session for conference attendees. I watched it from the comfort of the Bloggers Area given it was mostly a repeat of the recent VMworld US conference. If you missed either, you can catch up on it here.

 

 

First session for me today I went along  to the vCAC Discussion Group. Led by the vCAC Product Manager it was great to hear other people’s stories on how they have used the product in the real world. I’m definitely going to attend more of these types of sessions in the future.

Later on I attended an NSX Reference Design session. Not something I doubt I will ever be doing myself, but I want to learn at least enough to be able to understand what people are talking about. The presenter was great, really engaged the audience, got some excellent information across and left most people I talked to afterwards with plenty to get their heads around.

For some light relief later on in the afternoon I headed to the vExpert Storage Game show. John Troyer and Amy Lewis hosted a storage quiz between teams from Pure Storage and VMware. A fun session and educational too.

(None of my photos came out that great with some of the lighting. This is the least worst and looks like John Troyer is about to be beamed off the planet)

IMG_0149

So I borrowed one from John Troyer’s twitter feed.

vExpertQuiz

Final session of the day was vCO and Dynamic Types. A guy from F5 joined the vCO PM to run through an example of this. Having used them on a recent project, it was useful to get some more in-depth info and examples.

Wednesday evening was the VMworld party with the headline act Simple Minds, which seemed to go down pretty well and much better received than some of the bands in previous years.IMG_0153

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I saw Mike Laverick down the front waving his records, I hope he managed to get them signed :-)

SimpleMinds

 

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 2

Day 2 saw the first General Session for conference attendees. I watched it from the comfort of the Bloggers Area given it was mostly a repeat of the recent VMworld US conference. If you missed either, you can catch up on it here.

 

One of the announcements I did catch was the HP and HDS are now shipping Evo Rail in addition to the previously announced vendors. So a pretty wide range of vendors to get them from now.

EvoRail

During the day I attended some sessions. Those of note that I got the most from were a session on the NSX Distributed Firewall, which had some great info and a lot of participation from the audience with string technical questions. Given the restrictions around getting hold of NSX there is not a lot of external content out there about it, so it was good to find out more.

The other session I found of most use was vCenter Orchestrator (now vRealize Orchestrator) – What’s Next? It was interesting to hear from the Product Manager the roadmap for the product, especially given it’s new found popularity.

vCO

 

Spent some time in the Solutions Exchange, checking out a few vendors and hanging around with some of my illustrious Xtravirt colleagues.

Xtravirt

I entered the Red Hat Competition to try and win a Lego Death Star, but unfortunately didn’t win. I did get a hat though.

IMG_2737

To finish the day off I headed over to the vExpert and VCDX event at the same venue as the previous. Always a great event to catch up with other people from this community we are involved in.

 

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 1

The Monday of VMworld Europe is all about the labs for me. Given it is Partner Day and typically quieter around the conference than the rest of the week, I spend as much time in the labs as possible. Even though they are available online I never seem to get round to taking them outside of the conference.

I didn’t need to queue longer than 10 mins for any of the three labs I took which was pretty good. I expect the queues will be a lot longer from Tuesday.

IMG_2728

IMG_2729

The labs I sat through were first of all VMware NSX Introduction. NSX is one of my key aims this week for finding out more information. I have spent some time on my current project automating vCNS related things so was keen to see how they mapped to NSX. I enjoyed this lab as it gave me good info on the things I already knew about in vCNS and covered the basics of the more network routing related topics.

The standard time you have to complete a lab is 1hr 30 mins. I used the optional feature to extend this by an additional 30 mins and managed to get through it all in good time, without needing to come back to it. Since I was taking it on a day when there wasn’t much else going on, I was quite happy to use 2 hours of my time on this.

Lab01

The second lab for me was the below. Again, a key learning point for the week is NSX and vCAC integration so I picked up some good info here. I used pretty much the full 2 hours for this lab too.

Lab02

Thirdly, I took the Infoblox Partner lab. Have done some work with Infoblox in vCO with the generic REST plugin, so was keen to see what the official plugin could offer.

Lab03

By far and away the most popular lab today was the NSX Introduction lab. This picture was taken early in the day, but the ration was pretty similar later on. By the time 1000 labs in total had been hit around 200 of them had been the NSX lab with Virtual SAN and Virtual Volumes in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

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For this evening’s event, the place to be appeared to be the PernixData party held at a stylish venue in a square in the middle of Barcelona. Plenty of good chat was held with community chums and catching up with those not seen for some time.

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VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 0

First day for me at VMworld Europe 2014 in Barcelona and arrived in pretty decent time so headed over to the conference centre to get registered. It was pretty quiet and I doubt it will be like this the rest of the week.

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Even the transit bus was empty and I had a chauffeur drive ride across .

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Even still, managed to bump into a few guys from the community and it was good to put some faces to Twitter names already.

Don’t forget to pick up your complimentary 10 trip pass for the Metro from the information desk.

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In the evening I headed over to the vRockstar event at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was a great evening and loads of people from the community and some of my Xtravirt colleagues to catch up with.

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A big thanks to those who organised it for putting it together, I’m sure it’s a lot more work to put it together than most people realise.

vRockstar

 

vCO: Object referenced by this attribute using a configuration element is not found

When validating a vCO workflow I received the following error message:

Object referenced by this attribute using a configuration element is not found

vCOConfigElement01

I’ve had similar issues before and the fix was to replace the Configuration Element being selected for the attribute. Unfortunately that was not the case this time. Instead I resolved it by removing the attribute, recreating it, then replacing it in the various places in the workflow it had been in use.

Tip: If you run a validate on the workflow after recreating the attribute, you’ll quickly find the places it is missing from ;-)

Now the workflow is happy again

vCOConfigElement02

 

New Dynamic Type not available as a Custom Resource in vCAC 6.0.1

Dynamic Types in vCAC enable you to extend the vCAC Inventory to include types created in vCO. For example you might be working with an F5 system and wish to make a tangible object back in vCAC that a user can view the properties of and have Actions assigned to.

Having created some Dynaimc Types in vCO for a project I was working on they were not appearing as available to add in vCAC Custom Resources – only the defaults were seen to be available.

DynamicType01

 

I found this community post which suggested it’s a known issue and fixed in a later release than 6.0.1. There were a number of suggestions in the post for what needed to be done to make the Dynamic Types available.

  • Restart the vCAC appliance
  • Restart the vCO appliance
  • Reset default tenant password
  • Re-sync the time
  • Restart vCAC IaaS service
  • A combination of the above

I didn’t want to restart any of the appliances really, particularly as this release of vCAC is pretty flaky in my experience and restarting anything can be problematic.

I managed to track it down to restarting the vcac-server service in the vCAC appliance. Consequently, I only needed to restart that particular service and wait the obligatory 5 – 10 mins for the services to fully register again.

service vcac-server restart

After that, the new Dynamic Types were available as a Custom Resource.