Tag Archives: vSphere 5.1

My first vCenter Orchestrator Worlkflow – Part 1 – Introduction

Orchestrate all of the thingsvCenter Orchestrator in it’s basics is a workflow development tool that can be used to schedule and automate multiple tasks in your environment.  A tool that can be used to create and execute workflows not only on your vSphere environment, but with the use of plugins you can manage other types of applications such as Active Directory, SQL, etc.  In the past I’ve often heard of vCO being described as a hidden gem inside of your vCenter Server; meaning it’s usually already there and licensed  but for the most part, you are probably not using it.  Such is the case with myself. I’ve often thought about trying to learn this technology in order to execute some of my common day to day tasks through a more automated and scripted fashion but I’ve always resulted to things like PowerShell and PowerCLI to do the same job.  Why?  Well, comfort really.  I already have a good handle on Powershell technology and could get things done faster there rather than learning something new.  That being said with the introduction of vSphere 5.1 a bunch of new features and enhancements were made with the vCenter/vCO interoperability.  The biggest IMO was the ability to execute a vCO workflow while directly inside of the vSphere Web Client – contextually!!!  This integration is what enticed to have a closer look at vCO.  Basically I now have the ability to create workflows that can do pretty much anything and grant access to myself or to others to simply right-click a host from within vSphere and execute them.

contextualThus leads me to these series of posts where I will try and take you though my experiences with vCenter Orchestrator; and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.  I have approx 50 hosts to configure and deploy within the next few months and in effort to keep them consistent I decided to do so with a PowerCLI script that I had written a while back.  The only difference being I will be executing this script through vCenter Orchestrator (to get that super awesome right-click functionality).  Now there is certainly some overlap here.  A lot of the actions that the PowerCLI script performs actually have workflows already created in vCO that do the same thing however in this case I’ve decided not to use them – baby steps right!  Also, it helps to highlight the power of the vCO plugins – I can in fact do things like execute PowerShell commands, run queries against SQL servers, move objects around in Active Directory, etc.

So with that said I guess you could call this post an introduction of sorts with nothing too technical included.  Be sure to check out Part 2 – Installing and configuring vCenter Orchestrator where we will dive a bit deeper into the setup of vCO.

My first vCenter Orchestrator Workflow

My wishlist for the vSphere Web Client .Next

Genie-1First off I want to state that by no means do I have anything to do with VMware and/or the development of any of the following.  Also, VMware has nothing to do with me and to my knowledge are not working on any of the following items, but you never know 🙂

So with that out of the way lets get started.  I’ve had enough time to use the web client provided with vSphere 5.1 to know that it is most certainly a powerful tool.  As of late I’ve been experimenting with adding my own vCenter Orchestrator workflows and executing these from the Web Client – This is, along with some other features of the web client that I have blogged about (tagging and searching),  very cool and very nice to have.  That being said, I’m a geek, and I’m never satisfied, always wanting more – so here’s what I call a wishlist for the WebClient.Next.

vCOps / Capacity IQ overprosioned VMs identification.

vm-elephantAlthough in many environments almost every single VM may be over provisioned I think it would still be nice to be able to quickly identify those that are heavily over provisioned (maybe by a metric? that the user defines).  So maybe the elephant is a bit much, but to have the VM icon change, or an alarm raised directly within the web client may help to drive home the importance of right sizing your VMs.  It may expose this information to more people, more application owners that may have access to vCenter but not vCOPs.  But hey, why stop there?  Why not make some recommendations when editing the said VMs settings on where that “right-size” is.  Maybe another little row on the RAM selection to identify vCOps recommendations, or maybe a simple note in the CPU selection window.


More vCOps integration

vcopsreports2I’m not going to lie, it has been fabulous being able to view those vCOps badges from within the web client.  The less I need to go to another tab the better 🙂  That being said I want more!!!  It would be nice to have some of the vCOps reports available from within the web client and mapped to inventory items contextually….  Just as we can now start a vCenter Orchestrator workflow by right-clicking on a cluster it would be nice to generate a capacity report in a similar fashion.


More vendor plugins

plugObviously this one isn’t on VMware, I believe that the foundation is already there, but I’d love to see more and more vendors and partners take advantage of it and develop plugins for the web client.  For instance, those backup vendors that have had integration within the c# client, as well as those that haven’t had any integration at all.  I can certainly see advantages to right clicking a VM and being able to directly add it to a backup job.  I understand that vDP already has this, but there are a lot of people using third party solutions….


The longer I wait to publish this the more of my items are being delivered.  Veeam has just announced their support and integration into the vSphere Web Client in the next release of Backup and Replication.

Update Manager and Single Host Management

Yup, this is one that I’m positive is on the list for almost everyone I know.  We certainly need a way to perform those Update Manager scans and remediations from within the Web Client.  Having to switch back and forth between clients, well, how do I put it, kinda sucks!  Also the ability to manage a single host.  I’m sure we are not the only customer in the world that has those one-off hosts that are not connected to a vCenter – it would certainly be nice to be able to have the same interface available to manage these as well.  This one I would assume is a shoe in as there will be no more C# client next release.

Tags into PowerCLI

powerclilogoOK OK, this one really has nothing to do with the web client but still, something I wanted to stress.  The ability to assign tags to inventory items in vSphere 5.1 is one of the most useful and practical features of the release in my opinion.  It’s easier to sort through massive amounts of VMs, tag them by service, location, sla, however you really want.  Certainly granting the ability to tag and retrieve VMs by tag from PowerCLI can only complement that feature as there are a lot of scripts I find myself wanting to write, but being held back by the absence of and tag cmdlets.


Speaking of Tags and Update Manager

Wouldn’t it be nice to remediate hosts based on how they have been tagged?  Hmm, OK, well, maybe that isn’t that useful…BUT, what would be cool is having the ability to schedule certain VMware Tools/Compatibility updates based on  a virtual machine tag.  I’ve had countless times where I’ve needed to move certain VMs into a temporary folder in order to have them participate in a VMware tools upgrade that following night, then, move them back and try to remember where they were. By simply tagging these VMs and running my scheduled tasks against the tags would make this process a little easier.

I’m sure I had more, however over the weeks I’ve been compiling this list I’ve just forgotten to write some of them down…  With that said, is there anything you are looking for in vSphere.Next?  Comments, concerns, opinions, rants, all are welcome below….

Veeam Backup and Replication Cloud Edition!!!

veeam_logoToday Veeam has announced the release of a new addition to their flagship Veeam Backup and Replication software.  This edition, labelled Veeam Backup Cloud Edition adds additional capability to automatically sync or copy your VMware or Hyper-V backups to the cloud.  And when they say cloud they really mean it.  This bad boy comes with support for 15 of the most popular cloud storage providers (Amazon, Glacier, Rackspace, Azure) making it very cost effective for customers to get some offsite disaster recovery type solutions in place without the need for a second site or even more infrastructure.

All or selected backups (and even other files you select) are compressed and deduped yet again, then sent to the cloud provider in a secure, encrypted fashion (up to 256 AES encryption).  Again, the support for the most popular cloud providers eliminate the need for you to learn complicated cloud APIs and just like every other Veeam product, this seems to be fairly easy and simple to setup, configure and use.  It provides the ability to schedule limits on your bandwidth used and provides some nifty reporting features as well to inform you that your backups have been successfully copied offsite.  Also included is a cost estimator to help you gauge just how much those monthly storage bills are going to be.  Have a look at the following video to see all of the new features in action…

And for those who can’t take the time for the video, a few screenshots below 🙂

Cloud Options Storage Cloud Selection Select Files to send to Cloud Main Screen File Purge Optoins Encryption Options Encryption Options 2 Delete After 30 Days - Keep them after Veeam deletes them

As per lisensing, current customers are able to purchase this as an additional product, on a per socket basis, just as they have purchased Backup and Replication.  New customers have the ability to bundle this with their purchase of Veeam Backup and Replication on a yearly subscription basis.  Buuuut, I’m know lisensing expert and do not work for Veeam so you should probably contact them for the details…

Veeam Job taking a crazy long time on Processing Configuration…Check your destination!

veeam_logoAs of late I’ve found myself engulfed in configuring and tuning some Veeam replication jobs.  As I’ve been monitoring these I’ve noticed that there were a few VMs that seemed to be taking what I considered too long to replicate.  After a little bit of investigation I realized that the majority of the job was spent on the Processing Configuration section of the Veeam job.

ProcessingConfigurationTimeNow after a look into the logs it appeared that the VM replica in question was actually living on a different datastore than was setup for the destination location of the job.  Also, when i went to browse that destination datastore, there were a ton of folders labelled VMName_Replica_1, Replica_2, Replica_3 and so on and so forth, around 50 or so :).  So, the solution to solve this issue is either to change your job destination to the proper datastore (where the replica actually is) or to Storage vMotion your replica to the original job destination.  I chose the latter as I had many other VMs in the job that already resided on the correct datastore.  Anyways, after that the next round of replication sat on Processing Configuration for 30 seconds instead of 40 minutes.

Moral of the story, if you are Processing Config for a long time have a look at your job definitions, more particularly your destination datastore and where your actual replicas are physically located.  You probably have a mismatch there.  No Storage vMotion – No Problem, check out Veeam’s Quick Migrate – it’ll do the same thing for you.

Upgraded to vCenter 5.1 – now I need to login using DOMAIN\Username ?!?!?

VMware LogoSomething I’ve noticed on my 3 upgrades of vCenter so far is that after implementing SSO and upgrading to vCenter 5.1 users now have to log into the clients using the format DOMAIN\Username.  Not a big deal, but different than what they are previously used to, and different in most cases is not good.  Honestly, it drives me a little crazy too 🙂


Thankfully it’s not a big job to get things back to the way they were.  All that needs to be done is to actually set up your domain as one of the default domains, something which doesn’t seem to be applied by default (in my case anyways).  To do so you will need the new web client and you will need to login using your administrative SSO credentials that you setup during that install.  By default the username is admin@system-domain and the password is one that you have created (can’t tell you that 🙂 )

AddToDefaultDomainsOnce your in select Administration from the left hand navigational menu and then Configuration in the Sign-On and Discovery section.  First off you should see your domain configuration listed in the top section of the Identity Sources tab.  Simply select it and then click the Default Domains button (shown left) to add it to your list of default domains.  You may experience a warning at this pointing, something about locking out accounts – I ignored this and have not had any issues at all, but it’s your choice whether you want to investigate this further.


DefaultDomainsDoneOne more thing, do not forget to apply your changes by clicking the ‘Save’ icon – this one bit me about three times before I even noticed it was there 🙂


As always I appreciate any comments, questions and concerns below 🙂

Introduction to the new search functionality in the vSphere Web Client

Alright, here is my second attempt at putting together a short video outlining some of the cool new features of vSphere 5.1, more specifically the new Web Client.  In my last video I fumbled through trying to show you a little bit about the new tagging features and this time I decided to have a look at some of the cool search functionality.  Honestly, by combining these two features i think it will really help those large enterprises (and the small ones too) find what they are looking for and find it much faster.  Anyhow, enough of my randomness, check out the video below….