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Monday, April 18, 2016

Upgrading vCenter Appliance 6.0 Experience

I used to perform upgrade easily for vCenter on Windows.  That been said, with the introduction of vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), it has also been easy as well using the admin portal via https://:port 5480 with the .pak file.

Wasn't was I aware after doing some research to find out VCSA in version 6.0 does not have admin portal to do the upgrade.  Instead I need to upload the update file from here (you got to login to your account).

I followed this guide from this user.

Apparently after upgrade form baseline 6.0, the admin portal for the appliance is been returned.  Glad that is an one time experience.

Why was the admin 5480 been left out in the first place?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

VMware Simplify Exam Registration Process

How many times you find it difficult to schedule a VMware exam having to navigate between VMware and Pearson VUE site?
You have to first seek authorization first before you can make any booking of a Professional or Advanced exam both require different authorization.  A post I did 2 years ago on the new system.
As of 5th March 2016, these will no longer be needed.  You will no longer need multiple accounts; VMware myLearn and Pearson VUE.  All you need to do is just VMware myLearn account to register and you will be directed to Pearson VUE site and make your exam appointment.  No more exam authorization needed anymore!
That what I call simplicity.  Finally!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

VMware 2016 SDDC Pricing and Packaging Changes

Coming a new year VMware started to have some new changes to either pricing or bundling changes to existing Suites or Bundle.

The most changes and introduction of some new bundling was last year where vRealize Suite was introduced with vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) and upgrade with vRealize Operation LogInsight (vROI) add on.

This year there are some streamlining of the bundle and pricing changes.  I will leave the price aside as this can be found easily or from your partners.  I will go through the changes starting from vSphere to vSOM to vROI to vCloud Suite and vRealize Suite.  Also new packaging for Virtual SAN (VSAN).

All changes is starting from 1st March 2016.

  • Bundle with vRealize Log Insight for logging to 25 devices (vCenter server and/or hosts logs only)

vSphere 6.x
  • End of Availability for vSphere Enterprise edition.
  • All editions namely; Essential Plus, Standard and Enterprise Plus.

vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) 6.2
  • With the EOA of vSphere Enterprise Edition, this leads to EOA vSOM Enterprise edition.
  • EOA of vSOM Standard  Leaving only vSOM Enterprise Plus.  
  • For vSphere Standard edition customer, they can still purchase vSphere Standard and vRealize Operations Standard (vR Ops) by per CPU licensing only available for customer with existing vSOM Standard customers with valid Support and Subscription.
  • You can now purchase vRealize Operations (vR Ops) Application Monitoring in vR Ops Standard/Advanced.

  • EOA of vROI.

vCloud Suite 7.0
  • Is not comprises of vSphere Enterprise Plus with vRealize Standard/Advanced/Enterprise Suite to make out the editions.
  • vRealize Suite in vCloud Suite allows use of Portable License Units (PLU).
  • vCloud Suite comes with three editions; Standard, Advanced and Enterprise.
  • vRealize Automation Standard (vRA) is removed from vCloud Suite Standard.
  • vRealize Configuration Manager is removed in all vCloud Suite and sold separately.
  • Site Recovery Manager is removed from vCloud Suite Enterprise and sold separately.

vRealize Suite 7.0
  • No vRealize Standard in vRealize Suite Standard.
  • vRealize Log Insight (vR LI) is now included in all vRealize Suite Edition.
  • Allow conversion of one CPU license of vRealize Suite to Portable License Units (PLU) to 15 OSIs for use in a Hybrid Cloud environment e.g. third party hypervisor or public cloud.

VSAN 6.2
  • Comes in Standard/Advanced/Enterprise
  • The hybrid model is now know as VSAN Standard.
  • All-Flash now comes in Advanced with deduplication feature.
  • Erasure-code is only available in Advanced and above editions.
  • Stretched Cluster and IO control is only available in Enterprise edition.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

VMware Virtual SAN from 5.5 to 6.2

Virtual SAN (VSAN) has come a long way starting initial release in vSphere 5.5 known as VSAN 5.5 which was primary targeted at VDI workload and other not so critical workloads.

Remember in Feb 2013, VMware acquire Virsto a block storage optimizing software company and liquidise in it Jan 2014.  This was nice piece of technology which took everyone by shock that it's no longer offered as a product.  How good can it be to serialize data on a block storage system when it was written in random.

With VSAN 6.0 release, a part of Virsto was present in its file system and with it's native snapshot. Yes it is not using the traditional snapshot offered through vSphere which is still done on any other storage.  Now it is more applicable for Business critical apps as it also offer All-Flash VSAN model.

In VSAN 6.1 release, it allows stretch VSAN cluster.  It also extend vSphere Replication with VSAN to have a RPO time of 5 minutes.  It also comes with support of Oracle RAC and WSFC.  Not forgetting SMB customers, it also comes with a ROBO offering with a two nodes setup.  Deduplication was added as a tech preview in VSAN 6.1.

What was missing in the previous versions which many competitors who offer their SDS solution would mention would be deduplication, code erasure, compression and encryption.

With VSAN 6.2 release, it has become a true enterprise ready software defined storage (SDS).  With this release, not only does the tech preview for deduplication comes live, it also added compression.  Also many have debated on the space requirement for VSAN is almost a one to one due to a "Raid 1" policy available.  Now it has erasure coding (RAID 5/6) included as well.  This not only save on storage space but it also requires a minimum nodes to satisfy (2N+1/2N+2 respectively).  As for encryption, it is working with Hytrust to provide that level of security (also blog by Cormac Hogan).

Other small features not generally mentioned is Client Cache where you can allocate up to 1GB of memory per host for read ahead cache.  Data Locality will be applicable here.  For Horizon View, this will work inline with Content-Based Read Cache (CBRC).  I am going to see hell lots of improvement for Horizon on VSAN in areas of "storms".

Another small advanced option not enabled by default is Sparse Swap.  This allows memory swap file to be thin provision instead of the traditional upfront provisioned.  E.g. VM created with 4GB memory will have a memory swap file of 4GB place on the disk.  Imagine how much storage is required if every host has 512GB of memory utilized by 50% of memory by VMs in a 64 hosts cluster?  With that advanced setting enabled, all swap file will be thin provisioned and allocated when consumed.

With the announcement made, the binary isn't ready till March 2016.  So let's wait and see.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Singapore VMUG Singapore Conference Second Time Running!

If you attended last year VMUG User Conference, it was the first in Singapore.  In fact we have so many sessions running from partner, VMware and also special guests from different part of the world.

This year, the VMUG User Conference is coming again for second year running.  Head over and register for it and find out more on the Agenda.  There are even more attractive vendors, speakers and partners.  If you have been attending many VMware events over the years, you will have met some great speakers like Scott Drummonds, Michael Webster, Chris Wahl, John Arrasjid, and many more.  We even have Cormac Hogan this time for the first time in Singapore.  If you do not know who he is, he own his own blog and specialize on storage and he is one of the Guru in this field from vVols, VSAN and vSphere Storage definitely.

Even VMware executive, Sanjay Mirchandani will be there to during the key notes.

What are you waiting for?  Join us in this big event!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Workspace One and Horizon 7 Release and What's New and What's Not

With the recent announcement release of Workspace One and Horizon 7, this makes more of some repackaging for Workspace One and new version or Horizon View.

What's New?

Workspace One
  • Repackaging of Workspace Suite Blue/Yellow.
  • Integration of vIDM with Airwatch.
  • Comes in on-premise or Cloud Hosted.
  • Come in three editions: Standard, Advanced, Enterprise. Refer to comparison and pricing guide.

Workspace One*
- vIDM
- Socialcast
- Secure Content Locker (View)
- Workspace One Standard
- Airwatch Blue
- Windows 10 Management

- Workspace One Advanced
- Horizon 7 Enterprise
*there is some confusion on the packaging due to the comparison site and pricing guide which will update the information when available.

Horizon 7
  • Support Instant Clone (release in vSphere 6 but not in used by any products)
  • True SSO integration with vIDM
  • Improvement to Blast Extreme protocol available on Horizon Client
  • Blast is more optimized than PCoIP and also support nVidia GRID.
  • Blast leverage on H.264, it better performed and can deliver up to 4K resolution.
  • Intel vDGA support on Intel Xeon E3.
  • AMD mutli-user GPU support (AMD graphics hardware).
  • USB and drive redirection over security server has been improved by up to 50%.

App Volumes 3.0
  • New ala cart App Volumes Standard target at SMB customers.
  • Comes with 3 editions: Standard, Advanced, Enterprise
  • New Admin UI revamp.

App Volumes
- App Volumes (Basic management capabilities)
- User Environment Manager (UEM)
- App Volumes (Enterprise management capabilities)
- Thinapp
- App Volumes Advanced
- vR Ops for Published Apps

What's not so New?

Workspace One
  • This started off from Project Octopus>Horizon Manager>Horizon Workspace>VMware Workspace>vIDM v1.0>vIDM v2.0
  • The interface has been very clean and login is now very smooth.
  • Customization is easily done and policy based assignment is smoothen out over the iterations.
  • Horizon Data is no longer available since Horizon Workspace.
  • Arranging of Apps is no longer available (hope it will come back next release).

Horizon 7
  • Blast Extreme protocol was only available when you use HTML5 via a browser to access your desktop now is make available on Horizon Client.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

VMware vExpert 2016 Award Announcement!

Once again congratulation to all new and renewed vExpert 2016.  This year we have 1360 awarded with this accreditation.  This is an increased from the first half awarded in 2015 of 754 posted last year.  Almost twice of growth.

This year if you have applied and did not see your name been awarded, you can actually write in as stated to to seek another round of clarity.  Perhaps it could have missed out.  I have been asked by some, this goes down to what did you justify yourself to be awarded this accreditation?  Application does not equal to award if you have not show any evidences of contribution e.g. active reply to discussion group, etc.

For those who are new to this award, this grants you discount to events like VMworld as well as meetup during VMworld if you are going.  There are definitely some benefits.

Many vendors will sponsor NFR licenses for their product and services for one year that inclusive of VMware products while some provide other like Polo T-shirts.  You will also be given a certificate at the end of the year for this award.

So far one of the best service received was from Ravello Systems who grants all vExpert 1000 CPU hours.  This helps many to build their own lab and experience the use of Cloud workload on Google/Amazon.

Once again congratulation to all new and existing once again and carry on your good work!  Keep it going and keep it up!

Update 18th Feb 2016
Ravello Systems has announced to extend 1000 vCPUs hours to all vExpert 2015 and 2016.  For those who have not heard or use, Ravello allows many to run their lab and testing without spending huge amount on equipment and run in your own place.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

VMware VCAP6 Design Beta Exams Available

Wasn't aware till my colleague mention about it here.  Design VCAP exams for the threes tracks namely: Data Center Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Desktop and Mobility has been release.

You can register for the beta exams while seats last.  So if you are keen to do the VCAP6 for any tracks, head over to the page.  At the time of writing, only the Data Center Virtualization and Cloud Management Design is available at USD100.  The date for the exam starts on 15th Feb 2016 onwards.

You will of course need to meet the following requirements.  Using Data Center Virtualization VCAP6 as example, you will need:VCP6 or VCAP5 DCD/DCA.

Upon passing, you will be granted VCAP6-DCD and if you are holding existing VCAP5-DCA, you will be also given VCIX6-DCV if the new certification roadmap announced earlier still applies.

I will head over and register for it and update once again after I taken the exam.  Wish me luck!

Update 8th Feb 2016
Apparently the seats for all VCAP-DCD has been taken up and only left with VCAP-CMA.  Those who have gotten authorization but have yet to booked the exam date has since removed from their authorization from booking from what I know from one of my colleague.

Update 16th Feb 2016
Just finish my VCAP6-DCV Design beta.  Personally I felt the exam is much refine better than before including the system much smoother and stable.  I have wrote all my comments into the questions that have language or contradicting statement.  However this has greatly reduced.  I even managed to finish all 31 questions and reviewed all my questions one time round and left with lots of time.  I very directed into design which I much felt and appreciate that VMware finally got this right not to go into things that are not to be tested in a design e.g. number of limit maximum, etc.  The exam contain a mixed of design and drag/drop questions.  I have a total of 10 design questions but am not sure if this is a fixed or random till a GA of the exam blueprint may state.  Now is to wait for the results.

Update 18th Feb 2016
Apparently I read others who have taken the VCAP6-DCV Design exam and the number of design questions varies.  So this really depend on luck.  I personally prefer to do the design questions as they are more practical to real life experience.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Prometric Online Proctored Exam Experience

Recently I tried the online proctored exam to renewed my Microsoft certifications.  Yes they do have expiry (just like VMware) after 3 years.

Before I go on, why am I sharing this you may ask?  This exam is offered from Microsoft from Prometric.  I am seeing this possible to be row out perhaps in future for VMware as people are not able to make trips to exam center or there are none at their location.  Since VMware exam is also hosted at Prometric, this could be possible.

I made my exam appointment online and schedule it just less than one hour from my exam time.  Yes online exam, can be scheduled as long they are available and not limited to operations hours like test center.  I took my exam at Singapore time 1AM.

During the booking process, you will be task to test your machine to see if it can work and run the application which will eventually be installed on your laptop.  Sadly Microsoft do not support Mac and only Windows 7 and above with also a specific Internet Explorer version.  This test also make sure your webcam and mic on your laptop is working.  Web Cam and Microphone is required for the exam as they need to monitor sight and sound during the exam and record the whole exam duration.

Upon testing, you are sure that it works, go ahead and book the exam.  Once the exam time is reaching in about 5 minutes, you should login to Prometric to start the exam.  You can start the exam earlier as well.   Once log on, it will provide the link to launch the application.  You will first ask to use an ID which contains your Full Name and Photo and take a picture using the webcam.  You can retake as many times to make sure it is clear.  A mic test is also done and once you are good, you will proceed next.

You will be place on a queue for an agent and soon someone will respond to you via text message.  He/she will provide you instructions.

The agent will next ask you to speak a sentence to recognize the volume of your laptop is acceptable via message and also request for your phone number.

They will call you on your phone.  They will check the photo of your ID taken and also view your web cam to make sure lighting is ample for recording.  You will be ask to take a step back from your laptop and empty your pockets (if any) to show you have nothing on you.  Next they will ask you to take your laptop and direct the web cam to your table to make sure it is clear.  You can use your bed if you like to.  The table which you use for exam has to be clear of things.  You must also show the surrounding that you are alone and no one else is there.

Next you will be ask to open your task manager and close every application other than the software that is launched (they can see your desktop).  Once that is clear they will check you into the exam and clicking on it, will expand the application in fullscreen.  Your access to your desktop is now blocked.  Your webcam is kept running so as the mic.  You will end your call now and place the phone within reach but away from you (somewhere behind you).

From now on you are on your own to take the exam.

From the experience, you can use your bedroom and your bed as the exam table.  That's what I did.  I have my door lock so no one will enter the room.  Remember if anyone tries to sneak in there will be sound and web cam recording going on they can trace you from recording and fail your exam immediate.  The agent is not going to monitor you throughout since recording is done throughout the duration.