VMworld 2018 – The Highs and Lows – Part Two

In my previous post I wrote about the lows in my lead up to VMworld 2018. After making a few necessary changes to my travel itinerary I was now ready to board the plane for the long haul to Las Vegas.

Aussie vMafia

The first highlight of my trip was seeing some familiar faces upon arrival to my hotel in Las Vegas. The 6 weeks leading up to this point had been tough, and to finally reach Las Vegas and VMworld was a huge relief. Catching up with the Aussie vMafia crew, Matt Allford, Mark Ukotic & Anthony Spiteri, shortly after arrival really put me at ease and allowed me to put the events of the last 6 weeks out of mind, even if it were just for a short period of time. Thanks guys for all your support.

VMworld Hackathon

This year was my first opportunity to attend the VMworld Hackathon. I had always wanted to see what people got up to at this event however with some big names headlining some big parties, I was still in two minds as to whether I was really going to commit to it.

In the end, given that I was still recovering from a heavy night of drinking from the night before, I thought it would be best to go easy and to use the opportunity to meet some new people in a far more relaxed atmosphere.

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VMworld 2018 – The Highs & Lows – Part One

This year’s VMworld in Las Vegas will be one I will be sure to remember. Not only did VMware once again deliver an event which surpassed all my expectations, but it was an event which I share a career highlight, with me presenting to an audience of over 500 people. It is also an event which I will remember fondly for many other reasons too.

Late last year I began working on a personal side project, to develop automated ‘as built’ documentation using PowerShell. The project was born out of my frustrations with having to manually produce detailed configuration documents for customers after each project implementation. I initially shared details of the project with members of my local VMUG who encouraged me to present at the Melbourne VMUG UserCon in March of this year. Signing up to present at the UserCon also forced me to focus on the project in order to deliver a working demonstration. The feedback from the UserCon session was positive and provided further motivation for me to submit my project for a session at this year’s VMworld.

I knew my chances of success were low, having seen many before me try and fail when submitting for sessions at VMworld. However I knew my submission related to a topic that appealed to a wide audience, and that my project could benefit many in the vCommunity, just like vCheck and Vester had done previously.

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As Built Report – Documenting Your Datacentre Infrastructure with PowerShell

Having worked the last 10 years as an IT consultant for a leading systems integrator, I have written my fair share of documentation. From design documents, migration plans, test plans, operational guides and health checks, I’ve done it all. But nothing annoys me more than having to write as built documentation.

What’s the problem with writing as built documentation?

As built documents require a lot of detailed system information, which often takes a significant amount of time and effort to retrieve. The information then normally requires you to transpose it from one format to another, again a laborious and time wasting exercise. In rare instances you may find a tool that can do this for you, however, it is never free, and it will never be able to perform this task across all of your systems. Sure, there’s always some basic tool available which can export into CSV, however the pain lies in transposing the information into a document format which is legible and presentable to a client. Excel spreadsheets are never acceptable to clients paying top dollar for your services.

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VMworld US 2018 – This year will be one like no other

This August I will be attending VMworld US 2018 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas. This will be my 4th VMworld, having previously attended in 2011, 2013 & 2015.

Of all the conferences I have had the privilege to attend over the years, I would have to say VMworld is my favourite, and here is why;

Breakout Sessions

The VMworld breakout sessions offer some of the best untapped knowledge you are ever likely to find. As many already know, the sessions are where you can gain direct access to those people who had the idea to create your favourite VMware features, or are the ones who have taught you all you know through their blogs, books and/or vBrownbags.
At my first VMworld, I spent all of my time in breakout sessions trying to absorb as much information as I could. Whilst I did learn a lot, I returned home feeling I had missed out on the full VMworld experience.
I hate to admit this, but there is no denying that some sessions can be hit and miss. In most cases, some sessions simply do not match the brief outlined in the session catalog. If you find yourself in a session where you are simply not gaining the knowledge you are seeking, politely excuse yourself and go and utilise your time more wisely elsewhere.
When I had the opportunity to return to VMworld in 2013, I went in with a totally different game plan. This time I booked up a solid agenda with all the sessions that interested me, however I simply went with the flow and never felt guilty for missing a session. If I was missing sessions it was because I was learning about newly discovered products in the Solutions Exchange, or sharing knowledge and experiences with new friends from the vCommunity.
This is how I roll at all conferences now. I always strive to get to the keynotes and the breakout sessions that interest me most, however I don’t live or die by them. My advise is to enjoy the experience and take the opportunity to meet those that you would never normally get the opportunity to meet. Seek out those people who have the information you are looking for.

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PowerCLI: Add & remove VMs from DRS Groups based on datastore location

Lately I have been working on a number of virtualization projects which make use of VMware vSphere Metro Storage Clusters (vMSC). With most of these types of implementations, virtual machines must be pinned to a preferred site to minimise impact to virtual machines in the event of a site failure. DRS groups are the most common way to achieve this, however I was wanting to find a way to automate the add/remove of virtual machines based on each VM’s datastore location.

To begin, I configured each of the datastores with a prefix of the site which was its preferred site, e.g. DC1-VMFS-01 or DC2-VMFS-01. I then placed VMs on a datastore which corresponded to their preferred site.

With the help of DRSRule I was then able to create two PowerCLI functions to automate the process to add the VMs to a corresponding DRS VM group based on their datastore location. The function can be used with a datastore name, prefix or suffix.

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VMware Update Manager is not displayed in the vSphere 6.0 U1 Web Client

With the release of VMware vSphere 6.0 Update 1, VMware Update Manager capabilities are now available from within the vSphere web client, or so I thought. After deploying the new vCenter 6.0 U1 Server Appliance and a separate Microsoft Windows server for VMware Update Manager 6.0 U1, I found that the VUM icon was missing from the vSphere web client. After numerous reboots of both the vCSA and VUM server, a reinstall of VUM, and a quick read of the Update Manager 6.0 U1 release notes, I finally managed to resolve the issue by simply re-registering the web client using the VMware vSphere Update Manager Utility.

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EMC VPLEX Virtual Edition – Part 1 – Prerequisites

In this series I will provide an insight into a recent deployment I performed of EMC VPLEX Virtual Edition 2.1 SP1 (VPLEX/VE).

For those who are not familiar with the product, VPLEX/VE is a virtual storage platform which provides storage capabilities for Active-Active datacentres for VMware vSphere stretched clusters. The vSphere stretched cluster is configured with compute, network and storage at two physical sites. EMC VPLEX/VE together with the vSphere stretched cluster resources provide the functional requirements to run virtual machines from either datacentre, as well as the ability to move VMs between sites using vMotion and Storage vMotion.

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VMware Converter: “The operation experienced a network error”

Last week I encountered some issues with converting a Hyper-V 2008 R2 virtual machine to VMware vSphere 5.5 using VMware Converter 6.0.

Before attempting the conversion I first disabled SSL encryption within VMware Converter (kb.vmware.com/kb/2020517) to help improve the conversion speed. I then proceeded to configure VMware Converter using the default settings for the source and destination VMs.

The converter process started OK however at 33% completion the job had failed with the following error: “An error occurred during the conversion: ‘The operation experienced a network error’“.

At this point I had also noticed that my destination ESXi host had also disconnected from vCenter. After a few minutes the host began to respond and I had noticed it too had an error, “/sbin/hostd crashed (1 time(s) so far) and a core file might been create at /var/core/hostd-worker-zdump.000. This might have caused connections to the host to be dropped.

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