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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

vSAN 6.6 Rebalance & Resync Operations

In this post I will delve a little bit into day 2 OPS here with vSAN. Suppose you have had a maintenance window for rebooting and patching hosts, or perhaps you have a message under vSAN health saying that a proactive disk rebalance is needed on your vSAN cluster. In either scenario you will have components of VM's resyncing or in the case of a rebalance, moving on the cluster. This won't be a long post, but will give you some idea of what to expect when you encounter either disk resync or proactive rebalancing on your vSAN cluster.

First off let's define what the difference between the two operations are. A resync is replicating VM components across hosts in accordance to Storage Policy-Based Management or SPBM FTT=1, FTT=2 etc.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Updating a vSAN Cluster using VUM

I wanted to shed some light on what some may think is a mystery or difficult task. How do I update a vSAN cluster using vSphere Update Manager (VUM)? The quick and simple answer is easily! The great thing about vSAN is that you already know how to upgrade and patch it since it is built into the ESXi hosts and vCenter web client that you already use daily. I will take you through the process of upgrading a host in my home lab. Remember as with any upgrade make sure that your hardware is supported and on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) before proceeding with ANY upgrade.

The first step is to make sure you have a baseline attached to your cluster and/or Hosts. You can navigate to the update manager tab in the vCenter Web Client to do this. A baseline is a group that you setup for either patches, or upgrades and then you assign it to physical ESXi hosts or Clusters. You can see here that we have baselines created and VUM tells us that this particular host that we have highlighted is not compliant with this baseline and needs to be patched in order to be in compliance. We will go ahead and create a baseline for this host so you can see that process.

For this example I am going to create a baseline for critical host patches. I will check that box when creating the baseline, in this case since the critical host patches is a predefined baseline I don't need to go any further to assign to my hosts, another way it can be done is by right clicking a cluster or a host and then choosing to attach a baseline that way as well.

Here you can see the current patch level on the host is ESXi 6.5u1 build 5969303 in its non compliant state.

Now that we have created a baseline and told VUM to scan for updates and can see that we are not in compliance, we can start the process of upgrading. What I like to do first is enter the host into maintenance mode, VUM will do this for you but I prefer to do this step manually. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Setting up Encryption in vSAN 6.6

I have had this post in the works for a while now. I have had some challenges in my home lab with unstable storage and issues with fiber channel support on my freenas server. I have since moved over to a IBM DS3400 SAN and that has been much more stable, anyway I digress, onto the content!

I wanted to play around with the new encryption options that vSAN 6.6 brings to the table and I was fortunate enough to get setup with a HyTrust KMS server so I can get it up and running and test it out. I want to give a huge shoutout to the HyTrust team for providing this to me, without their support this post would not be possible! I will not be doing any benchmarks but rather seeing how the technology works and how easy it is to implement.

The first step is to have a working vSAN cluster. I happen to have a 6 node nested ESXI 6.5u1 vSAN cluster in my lab with each nested host containing 2 vCPU 16GB of RAM, 1 10GB Cache disk and 1 50GB capacity disk for a total of 300GB on the vSAN Datastore. This Cluster is running FTT=2. I will be installing the Hytrust KMS server into the nested environment.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

VMware Licensing Organization Tips

I bet there are lots of folks out there that just love managing licensing both on their systems and in the VMware portal. For those of you that didn't sense my sarcasm, there have been some pain points in the past, but I have to say I have been so impressed with recent changes to the VMware portal and some additions in vSphere 6.5 regarding license management that I had to share once I found them.

They have made it really easy to use and have separated the product lines in the main licensing page, this is done by default and is not something you have to setup. The portal is laid out really nice and is pretty easy to navigate compared to how things have been in the past.

Another really cool feature is the ability to split and combine CPU licenses really easy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

VSAN 6.2 Deployment Part 3 Implementation

Today we will be getting back to the VSAN deployment series I had started earlier this summer, it's time to continue on with excerpts from the presentation I have been doing at VMUG's on my VSAN deployment. Today we will be focusing on the Implementation phase. Here is an overview of that process.

We started by getting our 4 new Lenovo servers racked then installed esxi 6.0u2 on them, we then installed our 10Gbe switches and configured our VLANS separating out our VSAN traffic on its own VLAN which we also isolated from talking to the rest of the network as we were told that the multicast traffic VSAN 6.2 required could get quite chatty and could take down other network switches on the network (note that this requirement was removed in VSAN 6.6 which now uses unicast) Our network topology in part 2 of this blog series showed our dual redundancy we planned for by having 2 10Gbe switches and 2 PCIE 10GBe interface cards per host.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

VMware Community Involvement

I have been very blessed to have many mentors that have given me sound advice in my career. They have seen my desire to learn, and given me advice on how to grow via skill set and other means. Mentors have helped to continue the learning process to help me grow my career. One of those means has been getting involved in VMware and VMUG communities.

Last week I am honored to share that I was awarded the VMware vExpert VSAN award for my contributions to the community around the vSAN product. Thank you to Corey Romero and his team for all they do to support this community! I have to say this wouldn't be possible without those mentors! They gave me the push I needed to apply for the program and succeed. I have done a lot of promotion of this product through twitter, doing VMUG presentations at local meetings and USERCON events throughout the Midwest. These presentations were based upon my production install experience with VSAN. This will be a short post but I wanted to give some mentoring advice of my own based on my experiences.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

VMworld 2017 Preview

It's hard to believe that it's almost here already, but VMworld 2017 is just around the corner! It is a very exciting time for those in the virtualization community. There are so many great learning opportunities, with very good speakers on some great topics such as VSAN, VMware on AWS, NSX and many more. I thought I would put together a short post with some of the sessions I plan on attending while I am out there.

My Session List

vSAN Vision: The Future of HCI [STO1490SU]

vSAN in VMC on AWS environment [VMTN6656U]

What's New in vSAN 6.6: Technical Deep Dive [STO2047BU]

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

VSAN 6.2 Deployment Part 2

In the last post we looked at the Plan, in this post we are going to take a look at our Design. We worked with a partner that we gave our requirements on compute and RAM and they came up with the design.

We ended up with a 4 node Lenovo x3650 M5 cluster each with Intel Xeon E5-2650V4 Processors and 384GB of RAM. The disk groups initially were 1 x 400GB cache disk and 3 x 1.6TB Capacity disks to meet our need of around 10TB of raw data,

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

VSAN 6.2 Deployment Part 1

This will be part 1 of a multi part series on how I deployed VSAN, This is content taken from presentations I have done at several VMUG quarterly meetings and USERCONS over the last 6 months.

In this installment we will take a look at the Project Planning phase.

Our original plan didn't include VSAN at all. It in fact started out as a conversation between us and our vendor on a request to quote out 3 new blades for our existing IBM Bladecenter. We knew that we had some upcoming applications that were going to require compute and RAM be added to the cluster. The word that we got back was that the bladecenter was EOL soon and it didnt make much sense to invest any more in that platform. So we were looking at migrating back to rack mount servers. We had done a POC with a leading all flash storage array that had promised some good dedupe and compression ratio's that didn't pan out (we had lots of art files that didn't compress very well).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

VCSA 6.5 Backup and Restore Features

I upgraded the home lab to vsphere 6.5 all around, so this was the first time I had a chance to see the new VCSA 6.5 and check out some really cool new features that I am sure readers will find useful, it now has full backup and restore capability baked right into the appliance. There is no plugin to download or install which is a very nice addition to the suite of available tools us administrators have to fall back on in case of some sort of failure. We will walk through the process of taking a backup as well as the restore process to get a closer look at how this works.

You will need to open the appliance management page at https://yourvcenterserver:5480 and you will see the login page that will require not your SSO account, but the root vCenter username and password that you setup during your vCenter install.

Friday, March 3, 2017

vCenter Timeouts Issue

I encountered an issue with the vCenter web client one Monday morning that had never happened before. It seemed to be at random when clicking different tabs and object levels within the infrastructure I was struck with the spinning donut of death and the pages would only partially load. I was getting some information right away such as the vm name and the initial information up on the top, but the details on VM Hardware, etc wasn't working at all. I waited it out and got the following error that popped up in the lower right hand corner of the browser as shown in the example below

Monday, February 27, 2017

Welcome to the Blog

Hello everyone, my name is Tony Reeves and I am a VMware enthusiast and have decided to contribute to the VMware community through this new blog. I am active on twitter as @importcarguy I am a VCP55-DCV and VCP6-DCV and also working towards VCP6-NV.