25 Oct 2017
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We had an issue today where the vRealize Automation (vRA) 7 Event Broker Service (EBS) would time out. The timeouts would happen intermittently, during different stages of the provisioning lifecycle. We noticed that something was not right when extensibility workflow calls to vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) would return after the vRO workflows completed, but the provisioning lifecycle state for the virtual machine would fail to change or progress and eventually time out with an EBS timeout message.

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24 Oct 2017
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I've been with Computacenter now for 8 and a half years, during which time I have been privileged to have worked with many talented people and for many wonderful customers. However, every good thing does eventually come to an end. After much deliberation, I've decided that the time has come to bring this chapter of my life to a close.

It is not often that you hear of IT professionals who stay with the same business for 8 or more years. Many of my friends in the industry have changed companies several times during my time at Computacenter. However, within Computacenter, many people have been in the business for much longer than my eight years, some have been there for more than 20 years. When asked why, I'm sure most, if not all of them will tell you that it is an excellent place to work, with many opportunities and a great culture.

However, sometimes opportunities come and find us, rather than us actively looking for them. I've had my fair share of offers over the past eight years to join other businesses, but I've never really felt that those opportunities were right for me. However, this time, I could not just sit back and pass on the opportunity.

So, I am pleased to announce, that as of the 2nd of January 2018, I will be joining Rubrik as a Solutions Architect within the EMEA region. I'm looking forward to the new challenges that await in vendor land.

I've learned a lot during my time at Computacenter, and I will always be grateful for all the support I enjoyed from individuals within the business. However, I believe the move to Rubrik will take me out of my comfort zone and help me grow even further, and I am excited for what lies ahead and grateful for the opportunity. Onwards and upwards!

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24 Apr 2017
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Custom properties in VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) provide us with the ability to set data on vRA objects and to change configurations that affect the behaviour of objects in vRA. For example, when set on a vSphere Virtual Machine component contained in a composite blueprint in vRA 7, the property "VirtualMachine.Admin.ThinProvision" results in the virtual machine deployed with thin provisioned disks in vSphere. The "VirtualMachine.Admin.ThinProvision" property is a custom property that the out of the box vSphere provisioning workflow uses when set, and we do not have to do anything other than specifying a "true" value for the property to have an effect on the resulting virtual machine. VMware has developed the built-in workflows to make use of custom properties such as "VirtualMachine.Admin.ThinProvision" when they are specified on various components. These properties are documented in the "Custom Properties Reference" documentation provided with vRA 6 and 7.

Custom properties that ship out of the box with vRA, however, are only a small part of where the concept of custom properties can be used to extend the capabilities of your automation solution. Just as the built-in workflows make use of custom properties, so can your workflows take advantage of custom properties that you define using vRealize Orchestrator (vRO).

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02 Apr 2017
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I have been dabbling in the world of vRO plugin development. Yes, I know, vRO is a product that doesn't get much love from the VMware community, and I do not think that is fair. People seem to have decided that the product is too complicated and where possible would rather write a PowerCLI script to automate things. The truth is, that when you take a little bit of time to look at vRO, you will find that it is not that complicated to develop vRO workflows and the possibilities are endless. I know, so I'm telling people that vRO isn't that complicated in a blog post which is targeted at myself for when I run into this issue in the future! So, if you are finding workflow development too complicated a task, this post is not for you, as I doubt you will be interested in plug-in development.

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21 Mar 2017
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Last night I was searching for a domain name for a new personal project that I would like to kick off. Personally, I don't find searching for a new domain name a fun thing to do. I wanted to see if I could find a domain name which is made up of a combination of words. Some of these include the terms tech, cloud, river, stream, sphere, and many others. As I started my search, I quickly came up with domain names that were already taken. I then decided to look at synonyms for some of these terms. It was at this point that I noticed something peculiar about the word "cloud". This is not a serious post, but just a bit of fun, so check this out:

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20 Mar 2017
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This blog post has the potential to be a very controversial. I'm sure there will be many in the IT industry who will want to protest against a post like this, but there will also be others who would agree with this post.

Disclaimer: Following a review of the first draft of this article, and after careful consideration, I opted to remove about three paragraphs of text. The three pieces of text outlined some of the current buzzwords that drive some of us mad. It also included an extract of text from a website of a well known international consultancy (and no, it's not the one I work for ;-) ), that quite simply put, is a paragraph entirely formed out of BS buzzwords and phrases. You know, one of those monologues that consist of a lot of fancy buzzwords, but doesn't tell you anything. I decided to remove the text as I don't want this article to look like an attack on any individuals or organisations. I didn't mention any names of persons or organisations in this article, nor did I have any particular names in mind when I was writing the article. However, I am conscious of the fact that some people will be drawing conclusions. Therefore, any conclusions drawn by the reader are their own, and do not necessarily represent truth, or align with my intent with this article. You might also be reading some parts of this article and think "this guy is writing about my organisation!". Well, if you've been around the IT industry long enough, you will know that his issue is everywhere. No, it's not just your company. I'll place a bet that it is in every IT business out there.

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