Some weeks ago Google released the newest version of their Chrome browser, version 69. I thought yeah, get it and update it. I really like Google Chrome because it supports all the websites I’m visiting often (or at least did, but more on that later) and it’s fast. You can also customize it with plugins like mouse gestures or so to customize it for your needs. What I didn’t know is that Google switched off the support for Flash Player as far as I knew it from the older versions. You aren’t able anymore to add websites to the allow or deny list in the Flash settings within the browser. Or at least you can’t add the websites directly on that list in the settings. There are some more clicks to do. Officially announced was the end of Flash Player by Adobe. By the year 2020, Flash Player won’t exist anymore, won’t be supported by Adobe nor by the most used browser software. But there’s a “but”. You can manually add specific websites to the allow or block list of Google Chrome, but not in the way you might know. But why the heck should I use Flash anyway? All my favorite websites are already HTML5 compatible and all stuff works without that crappy Flash plugin! But wait! Do you use the VMware vCenter browser client? Probably the Flex Client because you still have the need for it, like vSAN, Update Manager, or 3rd party plugins of different software and hardware vendors within vCenter? Then you’ll have the same issues as I had. The vCenter Flex Client (aka Flash client) obviously won’t work anymore without Flash. Yes, I know, you don’t need to use the Flex Client for vSAN or the Update Manager because in vCenter 6.7 it is finally available. But what about the 3rd party plugins? There is a lot of stuff out there you probably need, I don’t know your infrastructure. I can only compare with mine. But I can tell you, enabling Flash Player in Google Chrome, even in the most recenter version 69 is easier than you think. It’s just some steps and clicks, no rocket science!
Recently we had a weird issue in our office. We had one virtual machine with a snapshot. That by itself isn’t an issue, a snapshot is nothing special. But someone created that snapshot before a software upgrade and forget to delete it. So this snapshot was growing and growing. We found out that there is a snapshot when the VM or service owner requested some additional disk space. We weren’t able to add disk space because of that snapshot. So we scheduled a maintenance window to delete the snapshot. Faster said than done.
The VM went offline because of disk consolidation. That could happen, depending on snapshot size and storage system. But the VM not only went offline for some time, but unexpectedly for hours. Together with VMware support we were able to stop the snapshot deletion. The VM came back online but with the known “Disk Consolidation Needed status”. We found out that this snapshot was about 400 GB in size. What a bummer! So we scheduled another maintenance window to consolidate that snapshot. Unfortunately that didn’t work well. Consolidation timed at around 96%, not sure why. “Error communicating with the host” isn’t very helpful in that moment.
Some research and again having a chat with VMware support led us towards cloning the disk files. During the cloning of a disk file the snapshot will be consolidated. And as you’re doing a disk clone locally on the ESXi host with “vmkfstools” and not withing vCenter, there shouldn’t be a timeout either. So we had out action plan. And we scheduled another maintenance window with the service owner.
Oh boy, what a week! Some say that winter is now finally gone, nice and warm weather, not wearing winter jackets anymore. But hey, i’m not a weatherman. When you’re sitting in the office i think it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing outside. Just kidding… Let’s get back to business.
There was some rumor about the next upcoming version. Will it be version 7? Or something just above 6.5? VMware did release several new products versions! And it’s all with version number 6.7. What a list! It’s one of those email notifications that I usually like to scroll down, a little more, and more and more, to get all the news soaked up like a sponge. I’d like to dive in right now and provide you a recap of this weeks VMware releases. And as i said, it’s quite a list. I’ll pick out just some new key features. You can find the full release news on the VMware Blogs (links provided here).
New product versions
- several new APIs that improve the efficiency and experience to deploy vCenter, to deploy multiple vCenters based on a template, to make management of vCenter Server Appliance significantly easier, as well as for backup and restore
- significantly simplifies the vCenter Server topology through vCenter with embedded platform services controller in enhanced linked mode
- 2X faster performance in vCenter operations per second
- 3X reduction in memory usage
- 3X faster DRS-related operations (e.g. power-on virtual machine)
- vSphere 6.7 improves efficiency when updating ESXi hosts, significantly reducing maintenance time by eliminating one of two reboots normally required for major version upgrades (Single Reboot). In addition to that, vSphere Quick Boot is a new innovation that restarts the ESXi hypervisor without rebooting the physical host, skipping time-consuming hardware initialization
- The HTML5-based vSphere Client provides a modern user interface experience that is both responsive and easy to use, and it’s now including other key functionality like managing NSX, vSAN, VUM as well as third-party components.
- enabling encrypted vMotion across different vCenter instances
- enhancements to Nvidia GRID vGPU
- vSphere 6.7 introduces vCenter Server Hybrid Linked Mode, which makes it easy and simple for customers to have unified visibility and manageability across an on-premises vSphere environment running on one version and a vSphere-based public cloud environment, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, running on a different version of vSphere.
- vSphere 6.7 also introduces Cross-Cloud Cold and Hot Migration
- Delivers a new capability that is key for the hybrid cloud, called Per-VM EVC
More information here: Introducing VMware vSphere 6.7 / VMware Blogs
- vSAN 6.7 provides intuitive operations that align with other VMware products from a UI and workflow perspective to provide a “one team, one tool” experience
- Iintroduces a new HTML5 UI based on the “Clarity” framework as seen in other VMware products (All products in the VMware portfolio are moving toward this UI framework)
- A new feature known as “vRealize Operations within vCenter” provides an easy way for customers to see vRealize intelligence directly in the vSphere Client
- vSAN 6.7 now expands the flexibility of the vSAN iSCSI service to support Windows Server Failover Clusters (WSFC)
- vSAN 6.7 introduces an all-new Adaptive Resync feature to ensure a fair-share of resources are available for VM I/Os and Resync I/Os during dynamic changes in load on the system
- Optimizes the de-staging mechanism, resulting in data that “drains” more quickly from the write buffer to the capacity tier. The ability to de-stage this data quickly allows the cache tier to accept new I/O, which reduces or eliminates periods of congestion
- New health checks include:
- Maintenance mode verification ensures proper decommission state
- Consistent configuration verification for advanced settings
- vSAN and vMotion network connectivity checks improved
- Improved vSAN Health service installation check
- Improved physical disk health check combines multiple checks (software, physical, metadata) into a single notification
- Firmware check is independent from driver check
vCenter Server 6.7
- The vSphere Client (HTML5) is full of new workflows and closer to feature parity
- built-in file-based vCenter Server backup now includes a scheduler
- No load balancer required for high availability and fully supports native vCenter Server High Availability.
- SSO Site boundary removal provides flexibility of placement.
- Supports vSphere scale maximums.
- Allows for 15 deployments in a vSphere Single Sign-On Domain.
- Reduces the number of nodes to manage and maintain.
- vSphere 6.7 is also the last release to include vCenter Server for Windows, which has been deprecated.
- migrate to the vCenter Server Appliance with the built-in Migration Tool
- Deploy & import all data
- Deploy & import data in the background
- Customers will also get an estimated time of how long each option will take when migrating
- vSphere 6.7. will support upgrades and migrations only from vSphere 6.0 or 6.5
- vSphere 5.5 does not have a direct upgrade path to vSphere 6.7
- Upgrade path: vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.0 or 6.5, and then to vSphere 6.7
- vCenter Server 6.0 or 6.5 managing ESXi 5.5 hosts cannot be upgraded or migrated until the hosts have been upgraded to at least ESXi 6.0
- Reminder: end of general support for vSphere 5.5 is September 19, 2018.
Monitoring and Management
- vSphere Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) on port 5480 has received an update to the Clarity UI
- There is now a tab dedicated to monitoring. Here you can see CPU, memory, network, database and disk utilization.
- Another new tab called Services is also within the VAMI, giving the option to start, stop, and restart vCenter Server services if needed
- vSphere 6.7 also marks the final release of the vSphere Web Client (Flash). Some of the newer workflows in the updated vSphere HTML5 Client release include:
- vSphere Update Manager
- Content Library
- Storage Policies
- Host Profiles
- vDS Topology Diagram
More information here: Introducing vCenter Server 6.7 / VMware Blogs
vSphere with Operations Management 6.7
- new plugin for the vSphere Client. This plugin is available out-of-the-box and provides some great new functionality
- When interacting with this plugin, you will be greeted with 6 vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) dashboards directly in the vSphere client
- overview, cluster view, and alerts for both vCenter and vSAN views
- The new Quick Start page is making it easier to get directly to the data you need to
- four use cases: Optimize Performance, Optimize Capacity, Troubleshoot, and Manage Configuration
- The Workload Optimization dashboard was updated. Workload Optimization takes predictive analytics and uses them in conjunction with vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) to move workloads between clusters. New with vROps 6.7, you can now fine tune the configuration for workload optimization
- vROps 6.7 introduced a completely new capacity engine that is smarter and much faster
More information here: vSphere with Operations Management 6.7 / VMware Blogs
vSphere 6.7 Security
- TPM 2.0 support for ESXi
- Virtual TPM 2.0 for VMs
- Support for Microsoft Virtualization Based Security
- UI updates (combined all encryption functions (VM Encryption, vMotion Encryption) into one panel in VM Options)
- Multiple SYSLOG targets
- FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic modules – by default!
More information here: vSphere 6.7 Security / VMware Blogs
Developer and Automation Interfaces for vSphere 6.7
- Added functionality to existing APIs in vSphere 6.7
- Coverage of new areas
- Appliance API updates: from prechecks to staging to installation and validation, it’s all available by API now
- vCenter API updates: new APIs have been added to interact with the VM’s guest operating system (OS), viewing Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) policies, and managing vCenter server services
- also a handful of new APIs to handle the deployment and lifecycle of the vCenter server
- a handful of updates to the vSphere Web Services (SOAP) APIs as well
More information here: Developer and Automation Interfaces for vSphere 6.7 / VMware Blogs
Faster Lifecycle Management Operations in VMware vSphere 6.7
- brand-new Update Manager interface which is now part of the HTML5 Client
- Update Manager in vSphere 6.7 keeps VMware ESXi 6.0 to 6.7 hosts reliable and secure
- the new UI provides a much more streamlined remediation process, requiring just a few clicks to begin the procedure. It’s not just a port from the old Flash client
- Hosts that are currently on ESXi 6.5 will be upgraded to 6.7 significantly faster than ever before
- Several optimizations have been made for that upgrade path, including eliminating one of two reboots traditionally required for a host upgrade
- Quick Boot eliminates the time-consuming hardware initialization phase by shutting down ESXi in an orderly manner and then immediately re-starting it
More information here: Faster Lifecycle Management Operations in VMware vSphere 6.7 / VMware Blogs
vSphere 6.7 for Enterprise Applications
- include support for Persistent Memory (PMEM) and enhanced support for Remote Directory Memory Access (RDMA)
- PMEM is a new layer called Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) and sits between NAND flash and DRAM, providing faster performance relative to NAND flash but also providing the non-volatility not typically found in traditional memory offerings
- new protocol support for Remote Direct memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet, or RoCE (pronounced “rocky”) v2, a new software Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) adapter, and iSCSI Extension for RDMA (iSER)
More information here: vSphere 6.7 for Enterprise Applications / VMware Blogs
Since few months i’m working with VMware vSAN in my own vSphere homelab. And i tell you, i really like vSAN! If you’re looking for an easy, affordable, very well performing and scalable storage solution, there you go. VMware vSAN is ready to take all your workloads. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your nested lab environment, or something more serious like a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), big data or business critical applications like SQL databases and Microsoft Exchange servers.
How does vSAN work?
VMware vSAN takes the local disks of an ESXi hosts and puts them in a storage pool, a so called disk group. Put all disk groups of your ESXi hosts together in a cluster and you’ve got a vSAN datastore. It’s that easy. And it’s also easy to make changes to those disk pools. Add disks, remove disks, or change the complete layout of a disk pool.
Today evening VMware announced the list of new and renewed vExperts on their VMTN Blog. All the fellow virtualization people out there were eager for this specific announcement on this 8th of February 2017. And guess what, my name is also on this list! I can’t believe it! The first time i become a vExpert! I’m close to freaking out! No worries, i calmed down a little. But anyway, awesome!
Honored to become this accreditation the first time! Thank you!
Here is the list:
What is the vExpert program?
Let’s have a quote from the vExpert community website. I think that will explain it a little:
The VMware vExpert program is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program. The program is designed to put VMware’s marketing resources towards your advocacy efforts. Awards are for individuals, not companies, and last for one year.
Employees of VMware customers or partners can receive this award. Yes, an award. It’s nothing you can learn for and get certified with an exam. A board of specialists will review your application and the reasons you applied for this. It’s your personal effort which will be measured. It’s all about community. If you’re a blogger, active in social media like Twitter and Facebook, posting in VMware communities and helping people with their technical problems, VMUG leader, and so on, then there are chances for you. Spread the word! It’s a “giving back” as its written on the vExpert community website. IT professionals who share their VMware knowledge and contributing it back to the community.
How can i become a vExpert?
Twice per calendar year VMware opens the applications for a 30 day period. After these 30 days the applications are closed and voting mode become active. This takes usually about 45 to 60 days. First half of the applications are opened in November and thus the announcement is in the following February. The second applications opens in June with the announcements in August. Every vExpert, VCDX as well as any new applicants must apply at least once per year.
Yes you’re reading correct. It’s a lot of work to become a vExpert. But there is also a thank you after you’re nominated. You’ll get a signed certificate by VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger, 365-day eval licenses for most of the VMware products (ideal for us homelabbers), and so many other stuff! I think that’s a huge “thank you” from VMware to you guys!
- Invite to our private #Slack channel
- vExpert certificate signed by our CEO Pat Gelsinger.
- Private forums on communities.vmware.com.
- Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc for one year
- Access to a private directory for networking, etc.
- Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners.
- Private webinars with VMware partners as well as NFR’s.
- Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams).
- 365-day eval licenses for most products for home lab / cloud providers.
- Private pre-launch briefings via our blogger briefing pre-VMworld (subject to admission by product teams)
- Blogger early access program for vSphere and some other products.
- Opportunity to receive a free blogger pass to VMworld US or VMworld Europe (limited to 50 for US and 35 for EU).
- Featured in a public vExpert online directory.
- Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels.
- Yearly vExpert parties at both VMworld US and VMworld Europe events.
- Identification as a vExpert at both VMworld US and VMworld EU.
I’m still a little shaky and received already many congratulations, not only from my twitter buddies, but also from my family. My parents are not that “technical”, as probably many parents are not. I explained them a few days ago what i applied for. And they just made big eyes. Today i announced to them that i made it. And they were proud. So i’m proud to.
Again, thank you very much! Enjoy the evening with some celebration!
Now the vExpert profile is finally created 😉