Why Bother With VMworld 2021?

Why Bother With VMworld 2021?

VMworld is VMware’s flagship event, typically attracting 20,000+ people in the US (San Francisco) and 13,000+ in EMEA (Barcelona). As with 2020, VMworld 2021 is virtual and online. The annual conference is in its 18th year, currently focused on accelerating business innovation by delivering and securing modern applications, managing multiple clouds, and seamlessly supporting an anywhere workspace.

This year at VMworld 2021 the content catalogue is a reflection of how fast technology and society have moved as events unfolded over the past 12-18 months. There is an increase in sessions focused on enabling the anywhere workforce with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), as well as break out sessions and customers stories on responding to the global pandemic. Noticeable additions also for sustainable data centres and operating carbon neutral businesses and IT. Modern applications and multi-cloud continue to grow whilst there are a lot of new topics and trends coming out of the security business unit across all of VMware’s solutions. Finally, Raghu Raghuram will lead the VMworld 2021 key note in the first flagship event since Pat Gelsinger made the switch to Intel.

The general pass for the event is completely free, which opens the content up to more people who previously could not get funding or could not take time out to travel. A Tech+ pass is also available for certain sessions. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend VMworld in-person in 2018 as a customer, and 2019 as a partner and speaker. In essence the benefits of VMworld haven’t been taken away. Technical content ranges from levels 100 through to 300 delivered in breakout sessions, panel discussions, meet the expert roundtables, design studios, and tutorials, ensuring there is something for everyone. Expert-led Hands-on-Labs provide sandpit environments for you to test and break with someone on hand when you need assistance. These types of sessions for someone like me who learns ‘doing’ have always been more beneficial than reading a textbook or completing a training course.

The entertainment elements of the event are still there although this time you can bring family along too. Clearly what’s missing are mass social gatherings with peers to build relationships and talk tech over a drink. But there are no hangovers, no hefty bar tab, no sore feet, and no queueing. All in whilst I’m looking forward to VMworld in-person again one day, the virtual event is absolutely worth the effort, for training, certification, and development, for industry announcements on the latest tech, for career progression, and just for taking some time out of meetings and emails! I’ve picked out some of the sessions I’m looking forward to below, you can register now and view the content catalogue at vmworld.com.

Starting with application modernisation, these 3 sessions look like they’ll give a great overview on deploying VMware’s Kubernetes runtime across platforms, first by enabling it in vSphere, and then at the edge with VMware Cloud Foundation. EDG1294 in particular will include a customer story around supporting the Ministry of Health in the midst of a pandemic.

  • Cloud Infrastructure Transformation with VMware Tanzu Basic and Tanzu Standard [APP2454] Technical level 100
  • Deploying VMs and Kubernetes with VMware Cloud Foundation at the Edge [EDG1294] Technical level 100
  • Get Started with vSphere with Tanzu [MCL1648] Technical level 200

Onto security, and I think it’s worth looking at how far NSX has come since the Distributed Firewall, with Network Detection and Response, Distributed IDS/IPS, and Layer 7 firewall capabilities, and another customer example from William Hill. The final session I’ve picked demonstrates the implementation of security guard rails across AWS accounts and Azure subscriptions using CloudHealth Secure State.

  • The Last Line at VMware – The Security AI in Our Pocket [SEC2103] Technical level 200
  • NSX IDS/IPS – Design Studio [UX2555] Design studio
  • Get Connected Rapidly with Airtight Security, Featuring William Hill [SEC2087] Business level 200
  • Detection to Response: Operationalizing Cloud Security Posture Management [SEC1397] Technical level 200

My 3 wildcards now and I’ve gone with the completely unglamorous Oracle and SQL licensing on VMware, because this is actually useful to customers. Project Monterey is certainly worth checking out if you’re interested in data centre hardware and how ESXi will run on SmartNICS. Then finally one of a number of sessions around SASE and SD-WAN, this one though focusing on how both a distributed workforce and distributed systems can be joined together and secured.

  • Licensing Oracle and SQL Server on the VMware Hybrid Cloud [MCL1997] Technical level 200
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Project Monterey [MCL1833] Technical level 200
  • Cloud First: Secure SD-WAN & SASE – Complete & Secure Onramp to Multi-Cloud [EDG2813S] Technical level 200

All of the sessions above are included in the free general pass. I also picked out an additional 4 deep dive sessions that look great but are open to Tech+ pass holders only:

  • Architecting Multi-Cloud Horizon [EUS1547] Technical level 300
  • Azure VMware Solution: Deployment Deep Dive [MCL2036] Technical level 300
  • Detecting and Preventing Threats with NSX Advanced Threat Prevention [SEC2208] Technical level 300
  • Using Contextual Search and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework to improve Public Cloud Security [SEC1518] Technical level 300

In summary, for VMware customers or anybody interested in the industry, this is a great opportunity for technical teams to get up to speed on the latest technology innovations, and capabilities of solutions they either already manage or are looking to deploy. If you’re working towards being VMware certified then this really is a no-brainer! There are over 800 sessions listed in the content catalogue as it stands and expect more entertainment sessions to be added over the coming weeks.

VMworld Online 2021

How to Install vSphere 7.0 – vRealize Operations Manager 8.2

How to Install vSphere 7.0 – vRealize Operations Manager 8.2

Introduction

In this post we take a look at a vRealize Operations (vROps) deployment for vSphere 7; building on the installation of vCenter 7.0 U1 and vSAN 7.0 U1. Shortly after installing vROps 8.2, vRealize Operations 8.3 was released. The install process is similar, you can read what’s new here and see the upgrade process here.

vRealize Operations is an IT operations management tool for monitoring full-stack physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure, along with virtual machine, container, operating system, and application level insights. vROps provides performance and capacity optimisation, monitoring and alerting, troubleshooting and remediation, and dashboards and reporting. vROps also handles private costings, showback, and what-if scenarios for VMware, VMware Cloud, and public cloud workloads. Many of these features have been released with version 8.2, and now work slicker fully integrated into the vROps user interface, rather than a standalone product. Previously vRealize Business would cater for similar costing requirements, but has since been declared end of life.

vRealize Operations can be deployed on-premises to an existing VMware environment, or consumed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). vRealize Operations Cloud has the same functionality, with the ongoing operational overhead of lifecycle management and maintenance taken care of by VMware. Multiple vCenter Servers or cloud accounts can be managed and monitored from a single vROps instance. For more information on vROps see the What is vRealize Operations product page.

vRealize Operations Manager 8.2 Install Guide

The vRealize Operations Manager installation for lone instances is really straight forward, as is applying management packs for monitoring additional environments. Where the installation may get more complex, is if multiple cluster nodes need to be deployed, along with remote collector nodes, and/or multiple instances. If you think this may apply to you review the complexity levels outlined in the vRealize Operations Manager 8.2 Deployment Guide.

The installation steps below walk through the process of installing vROps using the master node. All deployments start out with a master node, which in some cases is sufficient to manage itself and perform all data collection and analysis operations. Optional nodes can be added in the form of; further data nodes for larger deployments, replica nodes for highly available deployments, and remote collector nodes for distributed deployments. Remote collector nodes, for example, can be used to compress and encrypt data collected at another site or another VMware Cloud platform. This could be an architecture where a solution like Azure VMware Solution is in use, with an on-premises installation of vROps. For more information on the different node types and availability setups see the deployment guide linked above.

When considering the deployment size and node design for vROps, review the VMware KB ​vRealize Operations Manager Sizing Guidelines, which is kept up to date with sizing requirements for the latest versions. The compute and storage allocations needed depend on your environment, the type of data collected, the data retention period, and the deployment type.

Installation

Before starting ensure you have a static IP address ready for the master node, or (ideally and) a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) with forward and reverse DNS entries. For larger than single node deployments check the Cluster Requirements section of the deployment guide.

The vRealize Operations Manager appliance can be downloaded in Open Virtualisation Format (OVF) here, and the release note for v8.2.0 here. As with many VMware products a 60 day evaluation period is applied. The vRealize Operations Manager OVF needs to be deployed for each vROps cluster node in the environment. Deployment and configuration of vRealize Operations Manager can also be automated using vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

vRealize Operations Manager download

Log into the vSphere client and deploy the OVF (right click the data centre, cluster, or host object and select Deploy OVF Template).

The deployment interface prompts for the usual options like compute, storage, and IP address allocation, as well as the appliance size based on the sizing guidelines above. Do not include an underscore (_) in the hostname. The disk sizes (20 GB, 250 GB, 4 GB) are the same regardless of the appliance size configured. New disks can be added, but extending existing disks is not supported. Also be aware that snapshots can cause performance degradation and should not be used. For this deployment I have selected a small deployment; 4 CPU, 16 GB RAM.

Once deployed browse to the appliance FQDN or IP address to complete the appliance setup. You can double check the IP address from the virtual machine page in vSphere or the remote console. For larger environments and additional settings like custom certificates, high availability, and multiple nodes select New Installation. In this instance since vROps will be managing only a single vCenter with 3 or 4 hosts I select the Express Installation.

vRealize Operations Manager start page

The vRealize Operations Manager appliance will be set as the master node, this configuration can be scaled out later on if needed. Click Next to continue.

vRealize Operations Manager new cluster setup

Set an administrator password at least 8 characters long, with an uppercase and lowercase letter, number, and special character, then click Next. Note that the user name is admin, and not administrator.

vRealize Operations Manager administrator credentials

Click Finish to apply the configuration. A loading bar preparing vRealize Operations Manager for first use will appear. This stage can take up to 15 minutes.

vRealize Operations Manager initial setup

Login with the username admin and the password set earlier.

vRealize Operations Manager login page

There are a few final steps to configure before gaining access to the user interface. Click Next.

vRealize Operations Manager final setup

Accept the End User License Agreement (EULA) and click Next.

vRealize Operations Manager terms and conditions

Enter the license information and click Next.

vRealize Operations Manager license information

Select or deselect the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) option and click Next. Click Finish to progress to the vROps user interface.

vRealize Operations Manager final setup

Finally we’re into vRealize Operations home page, take a look around, or go straight into Add Cloud Account.

vRealize Operations Manager home page

Select the account type, in this case we’re adding a vCenter.

vRealize Operations Manager account types

Enter a name for the account, and the vCenter Server FQDN or IP address. I’m using the default collector group since we are only monitoring a small lab environment. You can test using Validate Connection, then click Add.

vRealize Operations Manager add vCenter Server

Give the vCenter account a few minutes to sync up, the status should change to OK. A message in the right-hand corner will notify that the vCenter collection is in progress.

vRealize Operations Manager vCenter collection

Back at the home page a prompt is displayed to set the currency; configurable under Administration, Management, Global Settings, Currency. In this case I’ve set GBP(£). For accurate cost comparisons and environment specific optimisations you can also add your own costs for things like hardware, software, facilities, and labour. Cost data can be customised under Administration, Configuration, Cost Settings.

vRealize Operations Manager quick start page

A common next step is to configure access using your corporate Identity Provider, such as Active Directory. Click Administration, Access, Authentication Sources, Add, and configure the relevant settings.

Multiple vCenter Servers can be managed from the vRealize Operations Manager interface. Individual vCenter Servers can also access vROps data from the vSphere client, from the Menu dropdown and vRealize Operations. A number of nested ESXi hosts are shut down in this environment which is generating the critical errors in the screenshot.

vRealize Operations Manager overview page

Featured image by Jonas Svidras on Unsplash

Veeam Backup Error: Out of the Vector Bound

When running a backup job using Veeam Backup & Replication v8 or v9 the job fails with Error: Out of the vector bound. Record index: [0]. Vector Size: [1] Job finished with error. Running an active full produces the same result. In our case this issue was caused by corruption to the metadata file. This can occur when the metadata file is not properly closed and breaks the chain, potentially down to a file system filling up, or server failure.

To resolve we start a new chain to re-create both full data and metadata. This is done by cleanly deleting records about the backup job from the Veeam Backup & Replication console and configuration database, and deleting backup files themselves from the destination storage. The job itself remains so does not need recreating.

  • First disable the job; open the Veeam Backup & Replication client. Ensure Backup & Replication is selected on the task pane on the left hand side and select Jobs. Right click the failed job and click Disable.

veeamfix1

  • Next we need to remove the corrupted files.  Still in the Backup & Replication task pane select Backups. Right click the failed job and click Delete from disk to remove the backup files and records.

veeamfix2

  • Now go back to the Jobs page and enable the job. Run an Active Full to create new data and metadata files.

veeamfix3