VMware NSX 6.2 Beginners Guide – From Zero to Full Deployment for Labs

NSXVMware NSX is the SDDC technology of the future. What ESX was once for Servers, NSX is now for Networks. I highly encourage everyone to make yourselves familiar with this technology. NSX with all its features is quite complex, but the entry point is quite simple and requires only basic vSphere and networking skills. This beginners guide explains how to deploy NSX in your homelab even with limited physical ressources by downsizing NSX Manager and NSX Controller VMs. The guide starts at zero and quickly explains how to deploy NSX and connect your first Virtual Machine to a VXLAN based logical switch that is able to communicate to the physical world through an NSX Edge Gateway.

What do you need to create the Lab?

  • vCenter 6 with some physical ESXi Hosts
  • vSphere Distributed Switch (dvSwitch)
  • NSX Manager Appliance (Download: NSX 6.2.2)
  • There is no special physical Switch requirement

Read more »

Evaluate PernixData FVP with replayed Production IO Traces

Using synthetic workloads to test drive PernixData FVP might result into odd findings. The most meaningful approach to test FVP is to deploy the software to production in monitor mode, let Architect do its magic and enable acceleration after checking the recommendations after a couple of days. Despite it is possible to deploy FVP, test drive, and remove it, without any downtime to virtual machines, this approach might not fit to all environments.

pernixdata-fvp-replay-workload

If you have separate DEV/QA environments with sophisticated load generators, the solution is obviously. If you don’t have that, there is another option by record production I/O traces and replay them in a FVP accelerated test platform.

Read more »

Product End Of Support Matrix now available as JSON (incl. Script)

The database used at my VMware Product End Of Support Countdown is now available in JSON. The database is based on VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix and allows you to use the information in scripts or for automation purposes.

vmware-product-lifecycle-json

I’ve also written a small script to demonstrate what this information can be used for.

Read more »

ESXi Version Information now available as JSON (incl. Script example)

Out of many reasons, I need VMware ESXi version information in a format that can be reused in scripts. I maintain a manual list since a couple of years but this list can’t be used for automation purposes. VMware does not provide this information in the required format, so I created my own database which is now also available as JSON file.

esxi-releases-json

I’ve also written a small script to demonstrate what this information can be used for. Read more »

Script to add vSphere 6 VMCA Root Certificate to Trusted Certs Store

When running vSphere 6 deployments in default (recommended) mode, VMware Certificate Authority is its own root certificate authority. Everything fine and secure with this configuration, but your browser displays a warning because the root certificate is not trusted.
there-is-a-problem-with-this-security-certificate

I’ve written a little script (VBS) that pulls the CA certificate from a vCenter Server and adds it to the local trusted root certificates store. When the root CA is trusted, browser warnings are gone.
script-vmca-certificate

Read more »

Howto NOT Benchmark PernixData FVP

Whenever I evaluate a new storage hardware or technology, I do some basic performance testing with VMware I/O Analyzer. I/O Analyzer is virtual appliance (Fling) provided by VMware that runs Iometer to generate synthetic I/O workloads. After installing PernixData FVP my first idea was to compare the raw performance of my storage, against the performance with PernixData FVP. However, I quickly noticed that synthetic workloads do not create any useful results. The upside is that I’ve learned much about how their caching operates so I’m publishing my results anyway. Actually, it’s not a problem with PernixData FVP itself, it’s just how host based caching works.pernixdata-fvp-vmware-io-analyzer

Conclusion: Don’t use synthetic workloads to test caching solutions! PernixData FVP works as expected but synthetic I/O workloads are no meaningful benchmarks for host based caching. I am going to test with realworld applications in another article to show how they can take advantage of FVP.

Read more »

What’s the latest Version of VMware…?

I needed a tool to identify the latest version of VMware Products, without navigating to VMwares Website or reading through release notes. I’ve used the database from my vTracker to enrich my VMware Product Latest Versions page. This pages does now include a list of latest product version from most (not all) products.

I’ve tried to stick to VMwares “Upgrade and Update Policy” and listed the latest based on “Minor Releases” (eg. 5.1 to 5.5).

VMware Product Latest Version

vmware-product-latest-versions

Error reports or feature requests are appreciated.

Resilient vSphere 6.0 PSC deployment without Load Balancer

With vSphere 6.0 VMware has separated their vCenter Server into two components – vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller. They also created a list of topologies they recommend  for deployments. The deployment they recommend for high availability includes an External Load Balancer where vCenter Servers are pointed to. An alternate solution is to have multiple Platform Services Controllers and vCenters pointed directly to them. There is no need to have one PSC for each vCenter. Each PSC can manage up to 4 vCenters, so with 2 PSC you can manage 8 vCenters, with 3 you can manage 10 vCenters, which is the configuration maximum at the moment.

psc-deployment-with-or-without-loadbalancer

Platform Services Controller with or without Loadbalancer?

The solution with a Load Balancer sounds nice, and I’m sure it’s operable, but it has some drawbacks:

  • It requires a third-party Load Balancer (Compatible Load Balancers are NSX-v, Citrix NetScaler and F5 Network Big-IP)
  • Configuration is complex
  • Troubleshooting is even complexer
  • Does not scale (1 PSC can handle 4 vCenters, with a Load Balancer (which is used for redundancy) 2 PSC are required to handle 4 vCenters)

Read more »

vTracker does now include Tools and SDKs

To stay up to date with VMware product releases you can use my vTracker since about one year. vTracker is a service provided by virten.net that notifies about new product versions using a website and a RSS Feed with daily updates.

This week I noticed that an update from a SDK that I was waiting for was released 3 weeks ago. The main purpose of my vTracker was to get quickly notified about updates, and this should not be limited to products like ESXi or vCenter but also for Tools and SDKs like PowerCLI, Perl SDK, VMRC and VMware Tools (10).

Tools and SDKs are now included in my vTracker

Read more »

Backup Solutions for Free ESXi

VMware offers a free version of their vSphere Hypervisor with some limitations like the lack of vCenter support. Another limitation is that APIs are read-only, so it’s not possible to use the Data Protection API aka. VADP to make Backups.

Creating backups of Virtual Machines is also important on standalone ESXi hosts. The API limitation makes it impossible to create incremental CBT aided backups, but it’s not impossible to create full copies of virtual machines. The post explains the technique to create backups and takes a look at solution that use these techniques.

Read more »