New KB articles published for the week ending 9th March,2019

VMware ESXi Virtual machine traffic will be intermittent during FCoE LUN device failover process Date Published: 5-Mar-19 Quiesced snapshot fails when Storage Spaces is configured Date Published: 6-Mar-19 VMware Horizon “Unable to accept connection, authentication failed, reason=authCertSsl” error when upgrading from Horizon 7 version 7.0.3 to 7.5.1 Date Published: 4-Mar-19 Enabling New User Authentication Security

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New KB articles published for the week ending 16th March,2019

VMware Cloud Foundation VMware Cloud Foundation ESXi root requirements Date Published:13-Mar-19 VMware NSX for vSphere After NSX Manager upgrade to 6.4.4, unable to upgrade edge to 6.4.4 or modify configuration Date Published: 12-Mar-19 VMware NSX-T With IP Discovery enabled, host VIB update may fail when upgrading from NSX-T 2.3.1 to NSX-T 2.4.0 Date Published: 13-Mar-19

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The Hybrid Cloud Gets Better: Meet vCloud Director 9.7

Whether you’re a cloud provider or IT leader building out your cloud strategy, your hybrid cloud possibilities are about to get a whole lot better thanks to the new VMware vCloud Director 9.7.

vCloud Director

vCloud Director—a powerful services platform that enables cloud providers around the world to run thriving, profitable cloud businesses—is set to deliver a suite of new innovations to help simplify the operations and management of large hybrid cloud landscapes.

vCloud Director 9.7 is the first cloud platform that enables both private and multi-tenant cloud service delivery capabilities across a global VMware vSphere-based cloud footprint. The new release is planned for general availability by the end of April.

 

Hyper-distributed cloud? Enjoy centralized global cloud management

vCloud Director 9.7 will help ease cloud operations by unifying private and multi-tenant cloud management across an organization’s global cloud footprint. As a result, cloud providers will be able to take advantage of opportunities in the managed private cloud industry, and enterprises will be able to consolidate and federate their cloud estate across geographies and lines of business.

For the first time, cloud providers, cloud admins, and DevOps will be able to unify visibility, ease of service delivery and management hybridity across customers’ on-premises vSphere environments, co-located datacenters, provider clouds, and 3rd-party vSphere clouds.

 

Greater scalability powers service-delivery to thousands of sites with confidence

New scalability enhancements in vCloud Director will help enable customers to meaningfully lower operational costs of deploying and managing distributed cloud environments at scale. The new version will introduce an appliance distribution that eliminates several previously-required steps for infrastructure setup and management.

The release will also feature a brand-new user interface (UI) for the cloud provider, with the ability to easily provision cloud infrastructure and cloud services with a few clicks.

Overall, vCloud Director 9.7 will bring new simplicity and scale to deploying and managing cloud infrastructure anywhere in the world, enabling cloud providers and business IT teams to better meet the increasing demand for flexibility and scale from their customers.

 

Deliver new, differentiated cloud service offerings

Key innovations in vCloud Director will further enhance the customer and developer experiences while also enabling customers to pursue managed services revenue opportunities.

With new enhancements to its extensibility framework, vCloud Director will help cloud providers and cloud admins deliver unique user experiences to each customer, as well as attract developers to code on vCloud Director. The expansion of the platform ecosystem with new integrations (stay tuned for key ecosystem announcements!) to leading 3rd-party solutions will enable new and dynamically growing capabilities, including more automation through deeper integration with solutions like Terraform and VMware vRealize Orchestrator.

 

vCloud Director: You can bet your -aaS on it

Of course, all of the above enhancements will be delivered on top of vCloud Director’s core suite of capabilities such as multi-tenancy, elasticity, cloud-native application templates, and deep integration with the VMware software defined datacenter (SDDC) stack.

vCloud Director-based services

 

If you’re a Cloud Provider running vCloud Director, get ready to take your cloud business to the next level. And if you’re not on the vCloud Director train yet, there’s no better time to hop on board!

And if you’re an enterprise customer exploring your hybrid cloud strategy, then VMware has over 4,000+ cloud provider partners to help you seamless extend your vSphere-based workloads to the hybrid cloud. Find the right partner for you!

vCloud Director will be available through the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP), cloud providers can sign up right here. And if you’re already a VMware Cloud Provider partner, be sure to check out our latest training and education on how to make your business more successful.

 

Don’t wait, learn more today!

Find all-new product information, including FAQs, datasheets, Partner Testimonials and more here: https://www.vmware.com/products/vcloud-director.html

To find a VMware Cloud Provider that offers vCD-based services, please visit: https://www.cloud.vmware.com/providers

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New Unified Onboarding and Protection with VMware vCloud Availability 3.0

VMware is excited to announce the upcoming launch of VMware vCloud Availability 3.0, a powerful solution built to offer simple, more secure, and cost-effective onboarding, migration, and disaster recovery services “to” or “between” multi-tenant VMware clouds. The new solution will help cloud providers offer end customers new disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) and onboarding services across a wider choice of multi-tenant clouds.

 

 

Meeting Increasing End-User Demands for Cloud Choice

Cloud-based disaster recovery is one of the fastest-growing industry segments for cloud services. VMware vCloud Availability 3.0 will give cloud providers the ability to capitalize on that explosive demand and deliver increased choice to their end users.

Additionally, as enterprises increasingly implement a hybrid cloud strategy, vCloud Availability will provide an opportunity for VMware Cloud Provider partners to deliver simple, integrated migration and onboarding services to the cloud and from cloud-to-cloud. These solutions will be key for end users that want to lift and shift workloads into a proven, trusted cloud vSphere environment.

Simple, Cost-Effective Disaster Recovery and Migration

Part of the VMware Cloud Provider Platform, VMware vCloud Availability has been designed from the ground-up to dramatically simplify cloud onboarding, enable cost effective availability and recovery, and better secure operations to cloud providers and their end customers. The solution will integrate tightly with vCloud Director to offer disaster recovery, onboarding and migration with vCloud Director-based clouds.

The new solution has been built to help cloud providers offer a solution to end users of all sizes that is:

SIMPLE

Enjoy unified management built on familiar tools that  combines the capabilities of three previous solutions: vCloud Availability DR2C, vCloud Availability Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5, and vCloud Extender. The simplicity comes from a modern HTML-5 interface, native integration with vCloud Director, new rapid appliance deployment models, and a single role-based access control (RBAC) portal to tenants and service providers.

COST EFFECTIVE

Benefit from a subscription-based, competitively-priced solution designed with core features to minimize costs and tight integration to reduce operational costs. Additional flexibility and compelling economics will be delivered through storage independence from VMware vSphere Replication, tenant self-service protection, failover, and failback workflows, and granular per virtual machine or per-vApp control.

MORE SECURE

Confidently deploy a more secure solution thanks to built-in security capabilities of the VMware software stack, that include encryption for data at rest and data in motion. In addition, the solution will offer built-in compression of replication traffic and TLS encryption end to end.

Availability

vCloud Availability 3.0 is scheduled to be delivered by the end of VMware’s fiscal Q1 2020, which ends on May 3, 2019.

Discover More about vCloud Availability

Read the Digital West Case Study to learn how a cloud provider is using vCloud Availability today for cloud-to-cloud disaster recovery (DR).

You can find more information on the vCloud Availability product page.

 

 

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Extending your managed services to customer data centers through VCPP

 

Today, we’re going to explore one of the least know opportunities about the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP): the ability for cloud providers to extend their managed services to customer’s data centers using VCPP points and products; whether for simple data center modernization, hybrid cloud build out, or cloud repatriation.

VMware has been talking about data center modernization as one of our core strategic IT priorities for a number of years, but much of the market hype and focus has been on public cloud and hyperscale solutions. IDC reported some interesting stats recently that I felt addressed an interesting shift; increased cloud repatriation to private cloud. During this blog, I will explain how our Partners can take advantage of the program benefits to meet this new repatriation drive and support customers who want to modernize their data center environments.

Firstly, the stats that caught my eye: 2018 IDC’s Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a multi-cloud world # US44185818 reported that most customers reported cloud repatriation activities, a small percentage of which planning to repatriate to an on-premises, non-cloud environment and approximately half to repatriate to an on-premises, private cloud environment. Equally a large share plan to repatriate to a hosted private cloud environment providing significant opportunity for Managed Service Providers hosted private clouds between 2019 to 2022.

Whether it’s cloud repatriation or modernizing data centers, private clouds are growing in popularity. So how do you, a VMware Cloud Provider, meet the customers’ needs for private cloud with a flexible portfolio of consumption aligned cloud services to allow the enterprise to grow and innovate? Including automated minimized delivery costs and risk reduction? Provide cross-cloud / multi-cloud standardized operational model processes and solutions to provide longevity for new service development?

All realities need assessment

Let’s take a typical customer profile – a customer who has lots of infrastructure already and wants to modernize their data center to move to a private cloud environment to meet the business needs. In reality the data center is typically a hyper complicated technological and commercial beast. Technologies will typically be extremely varied, having grown organically with new buying decisions and differing architectural views and capabilities. Commercially the data center is full of contracts, all renewing and existing at differing times, some in support, some out of support, some never used ‘shelf ware’ some mission critical, all most likely on differing unit metrics.

VMware Cloud Provider Partners can immediately run an assessment of the current datacenter to fund out exactly what they are taking on. VMware Cloud Provider Platform provides an Acceleration Kit for this Assessment Service. Providers can deploy vRealize Operations (vSphere Optimization Assessment) and Network Insight (Virtual Network Assessment) for free for 60 days, connect them to the vCenter environments and obtain automatic reports on the capacity, status, performance and security posture of the data center infrastructure.

Level setting the playing field

“So now we know what we are dealing with…..”

The next stage is to modernize their data center and deliver a new private cloud solution. This could be done a number of ways; hyper-converged hardware and software, Hyper-converged software or a DIY cloud software stack. This typically takes time and may involve new hardware. However, in the meantime you a VMware Cloud Provider can manage their existing data center infrastructure as a service using VCPP points and your software and processes.

“Hang on – did you say I can manage the customer’s existing solution using VCPP points?”

“Erm yes”, as per the VCPP Product User Guide:

“Except as expressly approved by VMware in writing, Service Providers may install software only on hardware systems that are (a) owned or leased by Service Provider for its dedicated use, or owned or leased by the End User for the Service Provider’s dedicated use, and (b) located either within datacenter space owned or leased by Service Provider or on an End User’s premises solely to provide Hosted IT Services to the End User, provided that the Service Provider maintains day-to-day management and administrative control of the systems.”

If your customer has hardware and wants you to deploy your VMware management software and licensing from now on, all licensing is covered by VCPP as long as the provider manages the solution for them. I would just qualify that if a customer does this then they get nothing back for their licenses, they are essentially writing these off. The VCPP partner would then deploy new license keys and meter the estate. This is good for the customer, as they can now move on with their business and not the distraction of managing their infrastructure.

Now back to the private cloud build.

Building for a cloud future

There are many choices available, all can be managed on customer premise with VCPP points if it’s a managed service! The core question is whether hardware is needed, resulting in architecting a solution or managing in-situ. With the managing in-situ with VCPP points already discussed, what are the options to architect a new solution? Possibly the easiest is to use our Cloud Provider Pod to build a cloud to your specification, producing the following advantages:

  • Utilize existing (supported) hardware and optionally benefit from software defined storage (provided by vSAN, to move away from the complex LUN storage management)
  • Gain access to vCloud Director and the tenancy models, fully integrated self-service compute, network and security solutions as well as extensibility and 3rd party solutions.
  • Run a common operational model in provider data center and on a customer premise, as a service, using the same solution tooling and processes available.
  • Coming soon; multi-site visibility and multi-site management and day 2 operations in Cloud Provider Pod, it makes absolute sense to get to speed now with Cloud Provider Pod and vCloud Director 9.5 or beyond.

It’s about delivery

So now you have the opportunity to deliver a repeatable private cloud environment to your customers in their premise or in yours as a hosted solution. How do we get the workloads onboard? As previously mentioned, customer data centers or other outsourced environments could be very varied in vSphere versions and typically providers will want to upgrade the vSphere versions to their standards to ensure security and stability as the customer on boards. This is known as staging and requires creating or using an existing ‘staging cluster’ to copy customers workloads into and upgrade before migrating to your cloud. This can be expensive and is usually done by change control out of hours, impacting your ‘time to revenue’ to onboard the customer fast.

“How can VMware help onboard faster and minimise or negate staging?”

Within the VMware Cloud Provider Program, we have a number of solutions for onboarding, whether you wish to do ‘cold’ or ‘warm’ migrations with our vCloud Extender solution – included free within vCloud Director, or you wish to use a premium solution like Hybrid Cloud Extender (HCX) which can provide ‘hot’ migration and complete workload mobility.

For non-critical migrations of small data volumes vCloud Extender customers can drive their own cold or warm migrations using a vCenter plugin, to a target Virtual Data Center (VDC) in the vCloud Director environment.

For critical and larger data volumes we recommend VMware HCX.  HCX has some great advantages and some considerations for example, HCX can upgrade the virtual hardware of the virtual machine to the highest supported version of the target vSphere ESXi server automatically during migration. It can also initiate an update of the VMware Tools on next boot of the virtual machine, removing the need for staging. HCX uses compression and deduplication, therefore greatly accelerates transfer rates and entire data center migrations. HCX is really designed for large scale ‘hybrid’ solutions, although it naturally can be used for migration, it offers complete hybridity for workloads.

HCX is available at a per VM cost, through our MSP program, as well with Hybrid Cloud Bundle. HCX will work with vCloud Director environments or native vCenter. The value of negating staging gives faster time to revenue and seamless simplicity will reduce total cost and time for migration.

Final thoughts

Hopefully this blog has explained how VMware Cloud Providers can manage the customer on-premise opportunity, either a customer’s in situ environment or to a new private cloud using the current VCPP contractual capabilities and some exciting technologies. The value for the provider is very clear; engage the customer on their terms, get to revenue faster and provide a more sustainable service. The value for customers is also a big consideration; as most are looking to achieve a cloud commercial model rather perpetual renewals and data center refresh CapEx costs. As a provider if you can manage their infrastructure immediately then take the time suitable to their needs and their business to minimize impacts of a transition – that is a more preferable route than the business trying to support their own solutions and manage a faster transition.

 

So if you are not familiar with the VCPP program, download the guide from Partner Central and learn about the VCPP program usage and products we have discussed today from VMware HCX to vCloud Extender. If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment or contact us directly by emailing vcpp_gtm@vmware.com.

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Watch the Top vBlog 2018 results show live on 3/21

Join myself along with special guests Eric Wright, Angelo Luciani and John Troyer (hopefully) as we countdown the top 25 bloggers based on the results from my annual VMware/virtualization blog survey. This event will be broadcast via a live webinar at 9:00am PST on Thursday March 21st and also saved to YouTube for later viewing. …

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How to test failure scenarios!

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Almost on a weekly basis, I get a question about unexpected results during the testing of certain failure scenarios. I usually ask first if there’s a diagram that shows the current configuration. The answer is usually no. Then I would ask if they have a failure testing matrix that describes the failures they are introducing, the expected result and the actual result. As you can guess, the answer is usually “euuh a what”? This is where the problem usually begins. The problem usually gets worse when customers try to mimic a certain failure scenario.

What would I do if I had to run through failure scenarios? When I was a consultant we always started with the following:

  • Document the environment, including all settings and the “why”
  • Create architectural diagrams
  • Discuss which types of scenarios would need to be tested
  • Create a failure testing matrix that includes the following:
    • Type of failure
    • How to create the scenario
      • Preferably include diagrams per scenario displaying where the failure is introduced
    • Expected outcome
    • Observed outcome

What I would normally also do is describe in the expected outcome section the theory around what should happen. Maybe I should just give an example of a failure and how I would describe it more or less.

Type Failure: Site Partition

How to: Disable links between Site-A / Site-C and Site-A / Site-B

Expected outcome: The secondary location will bind itself with the witness and will gain ownership over all components. In the preferred location, the quorum is lost, as such all VMs will appear as inaccessible. vSAN will terminate all VMs in the preferred location. This is from an HA perspective however a partition and not an isolation as all hosts in Site-A can still communicate with each other. In the secondary location vSphere HA will notice hosts are missing. It will validate that the VMs that were running are running, or not running. All VMs which are not running, and have accessible components, will be restarted in the secondary location.

Observed outcome: The observed outcome was similar to the expected outcome. It took 1 minute and 30 seconds before all 20 test VMs were restarted.

In the above example, I took a very basic approach and didn’t even go into the level of depth you probably should go. I would, for instance, include the network infrastructure as well and specify exactly where the failure occurs, as this will definitely help during troubleshooting when you need to explain why you are observing a particular unexpected behavior. In many cases what happens is that for instance a site partition is simulated by disabling NICs on a host, or by closing certain firewall ports, or by disabling a VLAN. But can you really compare that to a situation where the fiber between two locations is damaged by excavations? No, you can not compare those two scenarios. Unfortunately this happens very frequently, people (incorrectly) mimic certain failures and end up in a situation where the outcome is different than expected. Usually as a result of the fact that the failure being introduced is also different than the failure that was described. If that is the case, should you still expect the same outcome? You probably should not.

Yes I know, no one likes to write documentation and it is much more fun to test things and see what happens. But without recording the above, a successful implementation is almost impossible to guarantee. What I can guarantee though is that when something fails in production, you most likely will not see the expected behavior when you have not tested the various failure scenarios. So please take the time to document and test, it is probably the most important step of the whole process.

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Happy 4th Birthday VVols! – Is 2019 the year of VVols?

VMware’s new Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture became available exactly 4 years ago today as part of the vSphere 6.0 GA. The vSphere 6.0 datasheet described VVols in this manner: Transform Storage for your Virtual Machines – vSphere Virtual Volumes* enables your external storage arrays to become VM-aware. Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) allows common management …

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Top 10 VMware tools podcast and RVTools 3.11.6

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Right after we finished recording the Virtually Speaking Podcast on the topic of VMware Tools (Listen to it, great episode featuring Pete, John, William Lam and myself) yesterday I received an email from Rob. Rob mentioned an update to RVTools, bringing it now to version 3.11.6. As I mentioned on the podcast, RVTools has been around for 10 years now, what an achievement! Insane number of downloads, but understandable as it is very useful for anyone and everyone running a VMware environment. If you never looked at it, download it today, I am sure you will find various inconsistencies or issues, we all have! So, what changed in 3.11.6?

Version 3.11.6 (March, 2019)

  • Upgraded RVTools solution to use VMware vSphere Management SDK 6.7U1
  • Windows Authentication Framework (Waffle) is no longer used by RVTools
  • NPOI .NET library for creating excel export files is no longer used by RVTools
  • RVTools now uses OpenXML and ClosedXML for creating the excel export files
  • Performance improvements for export to excel
  • added -ExcludeCustomAnnotations switch to RVTools command line interface
  • added –DBColumnNames switch to RVTools command line interface
  • vInfo tab page new column: Creation date virtual machine
  • vInfo tab page new columns: Primary IP Address and vmx Config Checksum
  • vInfo tab page new columns: log directory, snapshot directory and suspend directory
  • dvSwitch tab page new columns: LACP name, LACP mode and LACP loadbalance Algorithm
  • vNIC tab page new column: Name of uplink port
  • vNetwork tab page new column: Network Adapter DirectPath I/O Parameter
  • vHost tab page new columns: Serial number and BIOS vendor
  • Header row and first column in export Excel file are now locked.
  • First “Select” column is removed from excel worksheet vFloppy, vCD and vTools.
  • added a new executable to merge your vCenter xlsx files super-fast to one xlsx file.
    RVToolsMergeExcelFiles.exe -input c:\temp\AA.xlsx;c:\temp\BB.xlsx -output c:\temp\AABB.xlsx -template c:\temp\mytemplate.xlsx -verbose –overwrite
  • Example script RVToolsBatchMultipleVCs.ps1 is changed. It will now uses RVToolsMergeExcelFiles to merge the xlsx files.
  • Bug Fix: a Single Sign On problem solved
  • Bug Fix: ExportvSC+VMK2csv command was not working
  • Bug Fix: ExportdvPort2csv command was not working
  • Bug Fix: On vNIC tabpage not all Switch/dvSwitch information was displayed
  • Bug Fix: Export now reflect value of “Latency Sensitivity” enumeration
  • Bug Fix: After changing the preference settings the data is not always refreshed as needed
  • Bug fix: Content Libraries vmdk files are no longer reported as possible zombie files

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New KB articles published for the week ending 2nd March,2019

VMware Essential PKS Heptio Support Date Published: 26-Feb-19 VMware ESXi FDM Manager restarts on an ESXi host after vMotion of a VM has completed Date Published: 01-Mar-19 ESXi Firewall Rule configuration continuously updated on the hosts with enable and disable operations for “esxupdate“ Date Published: 25-Feb-19 Host may crash by loading qfle3 driver with an

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