Monday, 16 May 2016

NSX 6.2 Central CLI MindMap

For those of you not familiar with the Central CLI feature available in NSX 6.2 it allows you to troubleshoot your environment from a single interface rather than having to connect to multiple systems such as NSX Manager, Hosts, Edges and Controllers.  I'm going to be doing some work for the VMware Hands On Labs so I figured I'd create a MindMap of all the Central CLI commands that are available:

The commands were taken from an installation of NSX 6.2.2 so depending on your version they may have changed.  You can download a .jpg version of the MindMap from here

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

New NSX Editions (Standard | Advanced | Enterprise)

NSX has three primary use cases that we focus on when talking to customers:

DMZ Anywhere
Secure User Environments

IT Automating IT
Developer Cloud
Multi-tenant Cloud

Application Continuity
Disaster Recovery
Metro Pooling
Hybrid Cloud Networking

I have worked with customers who have only had a requirement for the security use case for specific projects such as securing virtual desktop environments and others who have deployed the entire SDDC stack for a developer cloud environment with security and disaster recovery.  Previously NSX was only available in a single edition which provided all functionality irrespective of the customer utilising or requiring that functionality.

As of the 3rd May 2016 NSX is now available in three editions that align the functionality to the primary use cases that are mentioned above.  The following image depicts the new editions available and what functionality they provide:

I feel this is a tremendous step forward as the majority of objections that I receive from customers is around cost of the full license when their only requirement is security.  NSX also requires the vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) which only comes as part of Enterprise Plus licensing.  If you are running vSphere 5.5 U3 or vSphere 6.0 onwards then the the vDS license comes with NSX so there is no longer a requirement for Enterprise Plus licensing from an NSX perspective.  This KB article explains the licensing requirements for NSX.

For existing customer who have already purchased NSX you will automatically be upgraded to the Enterprise edition which unlocks all functionality.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

North East VMUG - Thursday 19th May

The next North East VMUG is locked and loaded.

The Auditorium - Bunker Coffee & Kitchen, 9-11 Carliol Square, Newcastle upon Tyne & Wear, NE1 6UF

11:30 - Registration, networking and refreshments
12:00 - Introduction
12:15 - EUC Update: Ben Ward, VMware
13:00 - Networking and refreshments
13:15 - Community Session: "Automating the Data Center", Tim Hynes, ANS
14:00 - Networking and refreshments
14:15 - Gold Sponsor Presentation: PernixData, Eliminate the Guesswork with “Analytics Driven Storage”
15:00 - Networking and refreshments
15:15 - Introduction to the NSX Distributed Firewall: Michael Armstrong, VMware
16:00 - Networking and refreshment
16:15 - Gold Sponsor Presentation: Latest updates from Nimble Storage including  "Unified flash fabric" and "InfoSight Predictive Analytics", Rich Fenton
17:00 - Community Session: "Career Disruption 101 - Reinvent yourself", Amit Panchal, EMC
17:45 - Close: Q&A and prize giveaway (a list of prizes will be published prior to the event)
18:00 - vBeers (Centurion bar, next to Central Station)

Big thanks go out to our sponsors as without them the guys would not be able to put on these events:

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Checking MD5 hash on a mac

When downloading software it's always advisable to check the MD5 hash to ensure the download hasn't been corrupted in transit.  To do this on a mac simply run the following command in a terminal:

md5 <file>.iso or ova

Verify the MD5 hash is the same as the hash supplied by the software vendor.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Resolving Error "Failed to clear disk on...." when clearing a partition table

I'm starting a new project and I needed to spin up a single nested ESXi host and deploy a VCSA to manage and integrate with NSX.  I used to run a VSAN cluster a while back to get more familiar with the product but disabled it when I was finished.  When starting this new project I decided to utilise the SSD in my host as a datastore for my new nested ESXi host to improve performance.  I upgrade the host to ESXi 6.0 U2 to utilise the new HTML5 host Web Interface and started to create the new SSD Datastore.  I first had to clear the existing partition table which is a lot easier in the web client now rather than having to use the CLI but I encountered the "Failed to clear disk Local HP Disk" error:

I then tried to do this via partedUtil but encountered a "Read-only file system during write on" error:

I verified the device wasn't being used for any existing datastore's, DRM's or diagnostic logs:

I remembered that this device was previously used for VSAN so checked that it still wasn't a member of the cluster, which it wasn't, but the devices were still associated with the disk group somehow:

Problem was resolved by using the "esxcli vsan storage remove -u <VSAN UUID>" to disassociate the device from the VSAN Cluster:

Once this was completed the devices were no longer in use and I could clear the partitions and create a local datastore.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Recap of the North East VMUG on Thursday 25th February

Yesterday was the first North East VMware User Group event for 2016 and boy did we start off with a bang.  We kicked off the event with a keynote presentation from Joe Baguley (twitter) who is VMware's CTO for EMEA talking about A Software Defined Future which obviously included cats and chickens and how they need to learn to live together:

Next up was rockstar Duncan Epping (blog | twitter) talking about VSAN's journey from initial release back in March 2014 through to the latest VSAN 6.2 release which includes a wealth of new features such as compression, deduplication, erasure coding, QOS and IOPS limits:

Matthew Bunce (blog | twitter) was the first of our community speakers up talking about real world NSX deployments for customers.  Matthew works in PSO and has been around the world deploying NSX for customer and ensuring it's meets their requirements and has some interesting discussions along the way:

Next up were our Gold sponsors Tegile who were talking about their adaptive flash storage platform and how Barnsley College have made significant saving adopting their technology:

Last up was Kyle Jenner (blog | twitter) talking about the importance of a VDI assessment for an accurate design which ultimately leads to a successful deployment.  Kyle talked about the various tools available to assist in the assessment and why it's so important:

Finally we had our professional, competent and well respected VMware staff ready to answer an array of technical questions from attendees during the event:

Big thanks to our gold sponsor Tegile and Silver Sponsor 10Zig for supporting the event.  Without your support we would not be able to put on these events, or more importantly, keep them free.

The next event is tentatively booked for for the 19th May 2016.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Communication Channel Health not showing correct health

I recently had an issue in my homelab whereby the communications channel health was showing that communication from NSX Manager to the firewall agent was down but NSX Manager to Control Plane Agent and Control Plane Agent to Controllers were both fine:

This seemed a bit strange to me because in order for NSX Manager to communicate with the Control Plane Agent (NETCPA) it does this via the vShields Firewall Deamon (VSFWD) as per my pervious blog article on NSX 6.2 Communication Channel Health.

The environment was working as expected so I started troubleshooting by verifying that both deamons were in fact running on the host, as expected they were:

I didn't have much time to troubleshoot as I was travelling home so I picked this up the following day, when opening my RDP connection to my jumpbox I noticed that I was not automatically logged out of the web client.  I then logged out and refreshed the browser but the login page would not load.  I tested this on another browser which displayed the login screen as expected, once logged in the communications channel health with the host in question was showing that everything was OK.  A simple clear of the chrome cache on my jumpbox VM resolved the inconsistencies with the communications channel health.