All posts by Shawn Cannon

I have been in IT since 1996. I am our Executive Senior Blogger with experience in VMware, Microsoft, EMC storage, Veeam and Dell servers. I love technology and love to blog about it!

How To Properly Shutdown vCenter Appliance 6.5

OK so this may seem like a stupid thing to post about but I have been out of the VMware game for a little over a year now.  I have been dabbling in it a bit again as we are building a lab at work. I installed the vCenter Appliance today and I needed to shut it down to move it to a different host (No vMotion license for the work lab).  I just went into the built in web client on my ESXi server that had VCSA on it and chose to shutdown the guest OS.  It did power it down so when I brought it up on the other ESXi host it did not come back up as I expected it to.

Yes, I did it wrong as I had forgotten about the management interface of the VCSA, which is located at https://<vcenter FQDN or IP>:5480.  Once you login as the root account for the VCSA, there is a nice SHUTDOWN button on the far right at the top.  Isn’t that nice?

The moral of the story?  Don’t just shutdown your VCSA from the vCenter client, use the management console on the VCSA itself to shut it down.  Lesson learned!

Splunk Announces Availability of Splunk Enterprise 7.0

Splunk Enterprise 7.0 is now available for download.  Some key new features have been added to the latest release.  These are:

  1. Metrics – which are sets of numerical, time series data are now treated as a first class data type bringing massive performance improvements such as up to 200x faster queries
  2. Event Annotation seamlessly unifies logs and metrics by overlaying multiple searches in a single time chart or graph
  3. Chart Enhancements expand the selection of visual styles and chart options geared toward improving the visualization of metrics and mult-series monitoring use cases
  4. Faster Data Model Acceleration through core search technology tweaks
  5. Self-Service App Management in the cloud has been updated to allow the installation of your organization’s own internal apps
  6. The latest Machine Learning Toolkit improves extensibility, scalability and ease of use through several new enhancements

Visit the link below from Splunk to read in more detail on what the new features are in 7.0.

(Source: https://www.splunk.com/blog/2017/09/26/what-s-new-in-splunk-enterprise-7-0.html)

 

Splunk.conf Coming


Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have posted. My new job role is completely focused around Splunk these days. Splunk’s annual conference is next week in Washington DC. I will be posting news and announcements throughout the week so stay tuned for some Splunk goodness. Sometime after the conference I will work on some Splunk related posts such as installing, how to use it and some good use cases. Stay tuned!!

Nutanix Announces New Release with 4x Performance Improvement

Nutanix-Logo

The Nutanix web-scale computing platform is getting an upgrade!  A new release was announced on February 16 that promises 4x performance improvement for any workload without additional hardware or software license.  Some snippets from the press release are below:

SAN JOSE, Calif. – February 16, 2016Nutanix, the enterprise cloud company, today announced a new release of its web-scale computing platform that delivers up to 4x performance improvement for any workload with no additional hardware or software license, freedom to choose hypervisors without lock-in, and built-in machine learning capabilities that increase operational efficiency. Nutanix solutions for building and operating enterprise clouds uniquely deliver the agility, pay-as-you-grow consumption, and operational simplicity of the public cloud without sacrificing the predictability, security, and control of on-premises infrastructure.

To support the increasing demands of modern businesses, an enterprise cloud platform must include a web-scale infrastructure fabric that delivers resiliency, availability, predictable performance across a wide range of enterprise applications. In addition, it should incorporate seamless application and data mobility, invisible operations with one-click simplicity through built-in machine intelligence, extensive automation and rich analytics, and a security-first design. The 4.6 release of the Nutanix software extends the company’s technology leadership and provides a platform that furthers its mission to deliver invisible infrastructure to elevate IT.

 

Delivering Continuous Value with 4x Better Price/Performance
Enterprise clouds must offer versatile performance for traditional and next-generation enterprise applications, delivering value back to businesses through continuous innovation. Acropolis 4.6 includes more than 25 powerful software enhancements that increase system performance by up to 4x compared to earlier versions. Current customers can get these benefits through a simple software upgrade at no additional expense. These enhancements increase performance across the full portfolio of Nutanix appliances, including the recently updated NX-9000 all-flash model. Customers benefit from:

  • Better performance across a wide range of enterprise application workloads, e.g., powering up to 30,000 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes in just 8U of rack space, as validated through the Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP)
  • Delivering the industry’s fastest storage I/O performance across hyperconverged all flash solutions with over 1 million storage IOPS in just 4U of datacenter space.
  • Up to 4x price/performance gains on existing investments to deliver as low as $0.35/IOPS, better than top-selling all-flash arrays which also suffer from complex management and additional networking requirements.

 

As with public clouds such as AWS, wherein cost reductions achieved due to innovation and scale are passed back to the customer on an ongoing basis, customers deploying enterprise clouds powered by Nutanix also benefit from ongoing price/performance improvements on their existing investments without additional costs.

Removing Hypervisor Lock-In To Enable Infrastructure Choice for Traditional and Next Generation Apps
Public cloud services provide a single runtime environment, which while suited to some applications is a poor fit for others. In the new era of enterprise clouds, flexibility and choice are fundamental tenets, allowing businesses to run traditional enterprise applications such as databases and VDI as well as next-generation big data and DevOps applications uniformly and consistently on the best runtime environment for each application. This release extends the ambitious Acropolis App Mobility Fabric (AMF) with critical software updates that give IT teams the freedom to pick the right virtualization environment for their applications, and the flexibility to switch easily in order to reduce costs or simplify operations. New features include:

  • 1-click Hypervisor Conversion – Switch the hypervisor running on a Nutanix system from VMware vSphere to the built-in Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) in a completely automatic operation that can be completed in minutes with minimal disruption and risk.
  • Cross-hypervisor DR and Backup – Rapidly recover from a site failure by failing over VMs from one site to another location running a completely different hypervisor. Perform automatic backups of VM-level data from one Nutanix system to another running a different hypervisor. IT professionals can choose the best hypervisor for each environment to minimize virtualization license costs.

 

Making Datacenter Operations Invisible With Built-in Machine Intelligence
Enterprise clouds require machine intelligence and automation to simplify complex operations from many clicks to a single click, and eventually from a single click to zero-touch management. New in this release is Prism Pro, a datacenter automation solution with a unique search-first interface and customizable dashboards that bring unmatched simplicity to a diverse set of IT operations.

Prism Pro features the new X-Fit™ technology with foundational machine intelligence built into the platform, delivering streamlined operations for every workload. With X-Fit™, the platform now includes self-learning capabilities that continuously improve prediction accuracy and the quality of automated decisions over time. Prism Pro leverages X-Fit to power automation and intelligence across a variety of operations, such as smart capacity management. This technology pits multiple predictive algorithms against one another, picking the best fit and making actionable recommendations to eliminate over-provisioning without increasing risk to application performance.

A link to the press release can be found here.

vCenterServer FQDN does not match DNS when upgrading vCenter Appliance from 5.5 to 6.0

Thanks to the vExpert program I have some new licenses for my lab systems.  Since I only have vCenter 6 Standard licenses and my current vCenter Appliance is running 5.5, I need to upgrade to 6.0.  I found a great walkthrough article on the VMware site that I followed.  During step 4 of the appliance deployment, the wizard goes out to confirm communication to the existing 5.5 appliance.  I ran across the following error and could not proceed:

vCenterServer FQDN Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_FQDN does not match DNS servers “localhost.localdom,localhost” and IP addresses “Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_IP_Address” from VC Certificate

As usual I did some research and found KB Article 2110772 which explained how to fix this issue.  I have included the steps from this article to fix the issue:

To resolve this issue, toggle the certificate settings on the source vCenter Server Appliance to regenerate new certificates with the appropriate hostname and IP address.
To toggle the certificate settings:
  1. Log in to the source vCenter Server Appliance Web interface athttps://Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_FQDN:5480/.
  2. Click the Admin tab.
  3. Regenerate certificates:
    • vCenter Server 5.1: Select Toggle certificate setting so that the Certificate regeneration enabled displays Yes.
    • vCenter Server 5.5: Select Yes under Certificate regeneration enabled.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Reboot the vCenter Server Appliance.
  6. After the vCenter Server Appliance reboots, ensure that the Certificate regeneration enabled option is set to disabled and disable if it is enabled.

After completing, attempt to upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance 5.x to vSphere 6.0.

After performing these steps I was able to successfully upgrade my appliance from 5.5. to 6.0.

Announcing Veeam Backup™ for Linux

Veeam announced Veeam Backup™ for Linux on Tuesday October 27 at VeeamON.

Veeam Backup for Linux is a FREE standalone agent that delivers backup and recovery for Linux servers running in the public cloud, or on premises.  It is only targeted for those type of Linux servers as on premise virtual Linux machines are already fully supported by Veeam Backup & Replication.

Below is a graphic depicting how you can backup from physical or cloud Linux and the capabilities:

Linux1

You can backup from a physical Linux server and restore into a cloud Linux server and vice versa as depicted below:

Linux2

You can also target Veeam Backup & Replication backup repositories for more granular recovery and other capabilities:

Linux3

You can download the press release for this announcement here.  A beta will be available early H1 2016 on a first come, first serve basis.  General availability (GA) will be later in H1 2016.

Introducing Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers

On Monday October 26 2015 Veeam announced a new offering called Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers.  Here is an excerpt from the press release explaining what this is:

Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers, available through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, streamlines the delivery of Veeam-powered backup services (including BaaS) for service providers, including resellers interested in launching a service provider business. It provides a “business-in-a-box” by including remote monitoring and management of customer backups via a service provider portal for administrative and billing purposes, and a customer portal for basic self-service monitoring and configuration. For both the established service provider or for partners wishing to carve out new opportunities for themselves as a service provider, this new offering provides the ideal foundation to deliver value-added services to customers and drive competitive advantage.

Integrated with Veeam Cloud Connect for Service Providers and available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers makes it easy to acquire new customers and build new revenue streams through the following capabilities:

  • Simplified customer on-boarding: With a service provider administration portal, creating new customer accounts, provisioning services, and even managing customer billing and invoicing is easier than ever
  • Streamlined remote monitoring and remote management: Daily monitoring and management of
    customers’ jobs is made simple and convenient, and can be done securely through a single port over
    SSL/TLS (no VPN required)
  • Multi-tenant customer portal: Clients remain engaged with a customer portal where they can set up users
    and locations, easily monitor backup health, review cloud repository consumption and manage monthly
    billing statements.

Below are 2 screenshots of the portal from the service provider’s perspective:

VMBP

VMBP2

Here is a screenshot from the customer’s perspective:

VMBP3

Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers will be GA in Q1 2016, with the initial
offering only being available through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The pricing has not  been determined yet.

The full press release can be downloaded from here.

VeeamON – What to Expect

Hello everyone!  I am here at VeeamOn 2015 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas!  As a member of the media here to cover VeeamON I just wanted to post what you can expect from vBrainstorm.  I will be blogging and tweeting about sessions and announcements while here.  The conference general session is not until Tuesday so today I will be attending the sessions that I am able to and the Expo Lounge tonight.  Should be a good week of info!

Introducing Altaro VM Backup

Altaro is introducing a new version of their backup software that now adds support for VMware. The previous version was called Altaro Hyper-V Backup. The name change reflects support for backing up VMs regardless of Hyper-V or VMware. I had the opportunity to Beta test the new version and I wanted to share with you the results of my testing.

First things first, what do I install the Altaro software on? It has to be installed on one of the following operating systems:

• Windows 2008 R2
• Windows Server 2012
• Windows Server 2012 R2
• Windows 7 (64-Bit)
• Windows 8 (64-Bit)
• Windows 10 (64-Bit)

In my lab environment I had access to a Windows 2008 R2 system so that is what I installed it to.
Here are the versions of VMware that are supported in this new version:

Versions of VMware supported:
• VMware vSphere 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0
• VMware vCenter 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0
• VMware ESXi 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0

In our lab we are running 6.0. All the prerequisites have been met. The installation of the Altaro software is very simple. Accept license agreement, tell it what path you want to install it and click Install. Like I said, simple!

After the software is installed, fire it up. You will be presented with the screen below:

Altaro (1)

Since this is the Altaro instance that I want, I will choose this machine and click Connect. This will send you to the dashboard. Now you need to add your VMware hosts. To do this, click on Setup > Hosts and click the Add Host button to get the wizard below.

Altaro (2)

I have a vCenter server in my lab so I am going to click on that option.

Altaro (3)

Enter your vCenter server name and admin username and password. Click Test Connection to make sure your credentials are working properly and then click Next. You will be presented with the hosts that the vCenter instance knows about.

Altaro (4)

Click Finish and the hosts will be added.

Next we need to setup our backup location. This can be a local drive on the Altaro server or a network path. For my lab test I am using a local drive on the Altaro server. To add the backup location, go to Setup > Backup Locations and click the Add Backup Location button.

Altaro (5)

I am going to click Physical Drive and click next and choose my D drive. I can specify a folder if I want the backups to always go into a certain folder. Once I have decided I just click finish and the backup location is set.

Now let’s setup a VM for this backup location. While I am on the Backup location screen there is an inventory view of all the VMs known to Altaro as shown below.

Altaro (6)

To assign VMs to my D drive backup location, I just select the VMs on the left and drag them over to the D drive.  I am going to set TTYLinux to this location.

Altaro (7)

As you can see in the shot above TTYLinux will now use D as its backup location.  Click SAVE CHANGES at bottom right to save these changes.  If you forget to do this, the software will remind you.

Now let’s setup a backup schedule.  To do this go to Setup > Schedules.

There are 2 default backup schedules already set:  M-F at 10 PM and Sa-Su and 10 PM.  I am going to use the Sa-Su 8 PM backup schedule.  To do it, you just drag and drop the VMs to assign to that schedule.  Click SAVE CHANGES to save it.

That is the basics of setting up Altaro for backing up VMware VMs.  I will now cover a few other options of interest, the first one being Backup Retention.

To view the default options for backup retention, go to Setup > Retention Policy.

Altaro (8)

By default you will see the following retention policies:  Never delete, 2 weeks, 1 month and 6 months.  These are default policies for local and Offsite copies.  You can create your own as well.  You simply drag and drop the VMs to the proper retention policies that you need and click SAVE CHANGES.

You can take a backup at any time by going to Virtual Machines > Take Backup

Altaro (9)

Just click the machine you want to backup and click the red TAKE BACKUP button.  I already did that and you can see in the screenshot that a backup is running for TTYLinux.

Restore options are what you would expect from backup software.  You can do a full restore or a granular restore, which in Altaro’s case is file level restore or Exchange Item Level Restore.

There is also a Sandbox and Verification option so you can mount backups in a sandbox to test restores.  I will show you a full restore in the sandbox so I can power a backup on to verify it was a good backup.  To test in sandbox, go to Sandbox & Verification > Test & Verify Backups.

Altaro (10)

I want to test a full restore so for Step 1 I am selecting that.  Click Next to proceed to Step 2.

Altaro (11)

Check the backup locations to test.  In my test environment this will be the D drive so I have checked that. Click Next to process to Step 3.

Altaro (12)

The VMs you can test a full restore of are shown.  I only have one VM although for some reason it is showing twice.  I will just select the first one and click Next to proceed to Step 4.

Altaro (13)

Step 4 are the restore options.  You can pick the backup you want to restore.  If you have multiple backups of the VMs you can select the instance you want to test.  You can also choose the host and datastore to restore to.  I chose a different host and datastore to test with.  Click Perform Test Restore to start the process.

Altaro (14)

A green notification will appear that tells you to go to the Dashboard to monitor the progress.  Click the green button to head over there.

Once the test restore is complete you will see the VM in your vCenter inventory.  The VM name will be similar to TTYLinux-Sandbox-2015-09-09 19-59 but it does not look like it actually puts the VM into a different network group to truly sandbox the VM off from the original.  You would need to assign this VM to a different network to not interrupt the production VM.  Having to do this manually is not ideal and I would recommend to Altaro that this be added into a future release.  Once assigned to a “sandbox” network, power it on to make sure it works.  When you are finished testing, power the VM down and delete it.

Overall Altaro is a very nice and easy to use solution for backing up VMware VMs.  I like the fact that all the VMs you would assign to storage, backups, retention, etc show on the same screen as what are are trying to configure.  That way you can easily select VMs from the left pane to drag and drop to the right pane.  I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars as it has all the main features you would want in backup/protection software.  The only negative for me is the sandbox feature missing the ability to choose a different network as part of the test restore.

For product information, please visit the Altaro VM Backup site.  You can also pull up the latest user guide here.

VMworld 2015 – Day 2 Announcements

The general sessions on Day 2 of VMworld centered around EUC (End User Computing).  Here is a quick summary and I will post links to more information as well.

VMware Workspace Suite

The VMware Workspace Suite is comprised of Horizon desktop virtualization, Identity Manager, Horizon FLEX and AirWatch EMM.  The goal of this suite is to be able to deliver any application on any device.

VMware and Microsoft Partnership

VMware and Microsoft announced a partnership to enable delivery and management for Windows 10 applications and devices.  This will be driven by a new VMware tech preview called Project A2 which is comprised of AirWatch EMM and VMware App Volumes.

VMware Identity Manager Advanced Edition

VMware Identity Manager Advanced Edition is a package of Identity Manager focused on broad-based deployment across all employees on any of their devices, laptops or desktops across any network for SaaS, Mobile, and Windows apps.

Horizon Enhancements

I will defer to the following blog post by Shankar Iyer: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2015/09/vmware-desktop-and-application-updates.html 

AirWatch and NSX

VMware has integrated NSX with AirWatch EMM to deliver security capabilities to mobile devices that access the corporate network. 

5 Imperatives for digital business from Pat Gelsinger

These are too good not to quote from the original blog:

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger closed out Tuesday’s General Session with a powerful presentation on what it will take for businesses to succeed in today’s mobile-cloud landscape. Here are Gelsinger’s five imperatives for digital business:

1. Innovate like a start-up, deliver like an enterprise. Nimble startups are thriving in the mobile-cloud era, while large, stagnant corporations are being threatened for failing to innovate. As Eric Pearson, CIO of IHG, said earlier this week, “It’s no longer the big companies beating the small companies, it’s now the fast beating the slow.”

2. Embrace Unified Hybrid Cloud. The journey to the cloud is maturing as the industry shifts from experimentation to professional delivery. Unified hybrid cloud is bridging the gap between personal and private cloud so that organizations can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

3. Architect with security in mind. Instead of adding security in as a last minute feature, organizations need to choose solutions that have robust security capabilities built in from the start. Virtualization helps provide the foundational level of security to protect the people, apps and data that keep organizations running.

4. Automate everything to predict (almost) anything. The next major wave of innovative technology is automated smart technology that knows what to do before you tell it to. Apps, big data and analytics are the building blocks behind these emerging forms of proactive technology, and the businesses that know how to use them will come out on top.

5. Take risks to stand out. Businesses that don’t take risks and focus on innovation will not survive the next decade. And as IT professionals, we must constantly lead the charge for change by questioning the status quo and creating new, more efficient ways of completing traditional tasks.

There is my summary!  You can get more details and more links from the original VMware blog post here.