Thursday, February 27, 2014

ASEAN VCAP & VCDX Bootcamp

Once again just like the past year, the VMware Education team has managed to organize a one day bootcamp for those who are planning or wanted to find out more on becoming a VCAP and VCDX.  This is a similar bootcamp that has been held several times in US and its really rare opportunity that this is conducted in ASEAN.

While this is a great move, this will be more applicable for those who are already a VCP.  As the number of vacancy is limited, I would encourage anyone who are a VCP and keen to pursue a VCAP or those who have VCAP and intend to give VCDX a shot to register now!

Here is the registration link.  Please be responsible and only register if you are able to attend as this is a rare opportunity and we will be having our VCDX#001, John Arrasjid to host this bootcamp.

Below is the respective countries in ASEAN where the bootcamp will be held:

11th Mar 2014  Malaysia (in collaboration with MDeC)
Information

13rd Mar 2014  Singapore
Information

17th Mar 2014 Vietnam
Information

I will be in the Singapore session and hope to see you there!

Monday, February 17, 2014

VMware High Availability Failover Simulation

Having working as a presales consultant, I have realize as virtualization gets more complex, more and more people are confused with the basic fundamental and have forgotten and felt uncertain.  Certain test are also perform wrongly or understand incorrectly.
Here is a short video to demonstrate this on how VMware High Availability (HA) test is conducted and configured as stated in this KB.  Do note that only vSphere 5.x methods are shown in this video.


Many I have spoken with is still unclear how HA really works.  You can refer to Duncan Epping's post here on more deep dive of HA.

HA is enabled from vCenter with just a simple checked box.  Once that is enabled, the ESX servers will have a HA agent (FDM) running and this will communicate within the ESX servers in the cluster and with one of them as the Master role communicating with vCenter.  In vSphere 5.0, in the new HA architecture, there will be one Master node and rest as salves nodes.

In vSphere 5.0, datastore heartbeat was introduced on top of just relying on the traditional management heartbeat.  i.e. to say, if a ESX server lost it management heartbeat with the rest, as long the datastore is still alive with VM still running (If ESX server has failed, there will be no heartbeat), Host Isolation>Virtual Machine Options will follow the policy that is set.  This creates a 2nd safe check in case of a failure.

So in summary if you have set Virtual Machine Options as Leave Powered On, host isolation will not trigger failover but leave the VM running on the host as the host still lock on to the VM files.  However if this is set to Shutdown or Power off, VM will failover to other host as the lock on the failed ESX server is released.  This KB explains the above in detail.

Friday, February 7, 2014

vExpert 2014 Application Opens!

This year the VMware vExpert applications is has started early!  You can find the details here.  You can read my previous post about my first experience during my first application back in vExpert 2012.

This year for existing vExpert 2013, you can apply using a short application form using a Fast Track application.  This is very useful and save a lot of trouble of filling all the information all over again.  Great job to the program team!

The second new thing is a quarterly nomination which can be done.  So if you are not doing it now and couldn't get this accreditation, don't worry you can still do your part and be nominate in the next.
This will allow more individuals and professionals to be awarded.

Read about the requirements, you never know you can just be awarded this accreditation.  Apply for it if you are not sure whether your contribution is been described.

Don't wait further before it ends on 6th March 2014.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

vSphere 5.5 App HA Setup Overview

I decided to document about the setup of vSphere App HA.  This was mainly due to many roadblocks encountered during the installation.  I was not able to find a proper guide or anyone doing a detail explanation of the setup process.  Also the poorly written documents and documents are all over the place as well.

Instructions from the document is also difficult to understand.  I did this many times in my lab to come out with a smooth out process via video and list down all the hiccups you will face.

The App HA documentation site can be found here.

vFabric Hyperic Server documentation can be found here. (This is pointed to version 5.7.x as the vFabric Hyperic Server binary at vCenter 5.5 for App HA is also at 5.7.x.)


The requirements of resources by vFabric Hyperic server:
  • HDD requirements for all deployment: 4.4 GB HDD (thin), 91GB (Thick)
  • Small Deployment (< 50 platforms)
    • Hyperic Server 2vCPU, 2GB memory
    • Postgress DB 2vCPU, 2GB memory
  • Medium deployment (50 to 250 platforms)
    • Hyperic Server 4 vCPU, 4GB memory
    • Postgress DB 4 vCPU, 4GB memory
  •   Large deployment (more than 250 platforms)
    • Hyperic Server 12 vCPU, 8GB memory
    • Postgress DB 12vCPU, 8GB memory
  • App HA server, 2CPU, 4GB memory, 1.3GB HDD (thin)/20GB HDD (Thick)
Before you can setup App HA you need to make sure the below are done:
  • vCenter 5.5 with appropriate license
  • vFabric Hyperic server 5.7.x installed (deployed OVA)
  • Deploy App HA vApp
  • in vSphere Web Client, under Administration>vSphere App HA, enter Hyperic setting to connect App HA to Hyperic Server
  • Check VM & Application monitoring is enable in HA setting
  • vFabric Hyperic Agent installed in guest to be monitored of service (refer below for the agent.conf settings)
  • Setup vFabric Agent running the agent option 'install' and 'start' to go through the setup
  • Configure vFabric Hyperic server to create a vCenter Server Plug-in
  • Create policy
  • Apply to specific service on VM to be monitored
Importing vFabric Hyperic vApp
First of all before importing the vApp, you would need to setup an IP Pool in vSphere client.  (This is called Network Protocol Profiles in the vSphere Web Client)

Here you can see that I enabled the assignment of IP via the IP pool for IPv4.  I selected transient for my IP allocation.

Next I start to import the vFabric Hyperic vApp.
I tried using the web client and occur an error with a quick check a KB was found that this was an error and was asked to use the thick client.  So much of the web client ability.

Going through the import wizard and make sure you specify an IP address for the vFabric Hyperic Server.  I do not recommend transient or DHCP IP unless the IP does not change.  This is due to the setup of the Hyperic agents later on which is configured using IP address.

vFabric Hyperic Agent Configuration
You may use the .exe binary file to perform the installation or extract the agent file from the .zip file.  Below are the configuration changes need to be changed in the agent folder which is extracted from as a folder place in your machine.  The file is located at

\conf\agent.properties

change the values below and uncomment for the top 3 lines below before starting the agent service:
agent.setup.camLogin=hqadmin
agent.setup.camPword=hqadmin

agent.setup.acceptUnverifiedCertificate=yes
accept.unverified.certificates=true


App HA Policy



A rather confusing how the policy settings are worded and place to me.  So here is a summary of how it should sound:
When a service fails, restart service allowing N minutes for each service startup.
Reset VM if restart of service fails.
Reset VM if N times restart of service fails within N period of time.


With example here: 
Service is given 1 minute to start completely, if restart fails, reset VM.
Reset VM in the event that Service restart failed.  Reset the VM if Service restarted 2 times (first start considered 1 time) during a 5 minutes window.

Do note that reset here mean force reboot of the VM.  There is no graceful restart of the VM in App HA.

Final Words
vSphere App HA is still at its version 1.0.  I hope to see more improvements like what Symantec App HA has grown to today.  At this point, vSphere App HA is more suitable for customer who just need a application HA solution for the applications supported which require no additional cost other than vSphere Enterprise Plus.  But if you need something that have more granular access and easier to implement with more supported applications, you might have to consider other App HA solution.

Update 3rd June 2014
You may refer to the update for vSphere App Ha 1.1 here.

Assumed Support from Third Party Solutions

While I was doing some presentation slides for one workshop, I happen to look for 3rd party virtual switches support on vSphere. This is t...