Rynardt Spies

Rynardt Spies

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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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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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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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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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Following on from my original vRetreat blog post, I thought it would make sense to report on some of the technical IT discussions that happened on the day, For this blog post, I am going to be focusing on the presentation by Darren Swift from Zerto.

So who and what is Zerto? Well, as started on the "About Zerto" page on their website,  "Zerto provides enterprise-class disaster recovery and business continuity software specifically for virtualised datacenters and cloud environments."

In simple terms, Zerto provides hypervisor-level replication and automation with no hypervisor vendor-specific lock-in. It provides continuous replication (no snapshots) of virtual machines between hypervisors and replaces traditional array-based replication solutions that were not built to deal with virtualised environments.

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I was honoured to have been invited to attend the inaugural vRetreat event in the UK. The event, arranged by Red-Track Ltd, took place at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone on 27 January 2017, and was attended several well known bloggers and virtualisation community members. The day was made possible by Zerto, Veeam and Cohesity who presented on their respective products and upcoming capabilities within their product suites. This provided ample opportunity for those present to discuss several product features and their possible use cases in the world of hybrid and public cloud infrastructure.

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So with vSphere 6.5 now GA, I decided to upgrade my lab to vSphere 6.5. In my environment, I use a vCenter with an external Platform Services Controller (PSC). So as part of the upgrade, I have to upgrade the PSC first.

When you run the UI installer provided within the VCSA 6.5 Appliance ISO, you have the option to “Upgrade” a vCenter Server Appliance or a Platform Services Controller. The installer detects the component that you are trying to upgrade and prompts for settings appropriate to that upgrade.

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So during the keynote at VMworld in Barcelona on Tuesday morning, 18 October 2016, VMware showed a demo of how a VMware Cloud infrastructure is stood up in AWS and following that, showed how a virtual machine was migrated with vMotion into the AWS hosted VMware Cloud. This seemed impressive. However, something’s been bothering me and I’ve been to the VMware booth to get an answer but came up short.

The question I have is around processor architecture. If I’m running Intel in my local vSphere environment and AWS/VMware decided to run AMD in the VMware Cloud on AWS, how would you get that vMotion migration to work? It can’t right?

Is there an option to select the processor vendor for the newly deployed VMware Cloud on AWS?

 

Answers on o postcard or comment section below! Go!

 

And we have an answer!! Thank you Alex Jauch (@ajauch)!

 

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Container technology has been around for quite a while now. Most people would by now have heard about Docker, and a lot of people are using Docker. What about VMware Photon? What’s that? Well again, I’d say that it’s been around for a while, however while people have been raving on about Docker and the container revolution, VMware has been working on their own implementation of container technologies as well as products that utilise and integrate with existing container technologies, such as Docker. At VMworld Europe 2016, VMware announced vSphere 6.5 and one feature that has caught my attention in this release (apart from the long overdue vSphere HTML5 Client) is vSphere Integrated Containers, or simply, VIC. At the moment I’m trying to make sense of all these technologies, how (and if) they fit together and where you would want to use each one. 

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In the last 6 months, I've done quite a bit of vRA6, 7 and vRO. During this time, I've had to learn quite a bit about both products, and how they interact with each other and with other REST based APIs, such as ServiceNow. Having been set in my ways in vRA 6 of using workflow stubs to break out to vRO in order to extend vRA functionality, I was concious of the fact that VMware will be removing .NET workflow stubs in future releases of vRA 7, and that the preferred method of extending out to vRO in vRA7 is to make use of the event broker service. Also, vRA7 makes use of converged blueprints, which from an extensibility point of view, actually means that we have to do things slightly differently in code than what we got used in in vRA/vRO6.

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Vertical speed gauge's guts is working. What a time to be alive! Now to stick the stepper motor into the gauge asse… https://t.co/sBOXh03YhV
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