Friday, October 24, 2014

VMware Hybrid Cloud Powered Certification

Members of VMware vCloud Air Network Service Providers (old VSPP) can submit their Cloud solutions for a VMware’s certification, Hybrid Cloud Powered Certification.

I’m sure you can come up with a pretty extensive list of benefits for taking the certification, but here is the most common ones:
- Validate that your infrastructure is based on VMware Platform;
- Accelerate time to market;
- Differentiate your cloud services offering;
- Utilization of the logo on marketing materials.

The idea of this post is help you to go through the certification process.

The eligibility:
Partners must be enrolled in the VMware vCloud Air Network Program (formerly called the VMware Service Provider Program) and have a signed contract with an authorized VMware Aggregator for a minimum of 3600 points.

Besides the eligibility, you need to adhere to the technical requirements, basically anyone with a public vCloud Director implementation is a cadidate, nothing fancy is required, read it carefully and I will fill in the gaps:

Tip1: Step Org Network Availability
While the requirements say the user should have at least vApp Author role, I could not not pass this step until I did not set the user as an Org Admin.

Tip2: Step Access vCloud controller from vApp
The requirements do not specify which distribution of linux is required. You can use any one supported by vCloud Director.
Also it does not specify if any package should be installed. I learned the hard way, installing a package at a time and testing, once I installed the packages bellow I could get passed this step:
- cURL;
- telnet;
- wget;
- bind utils.

Tip3: OVF Support
Make sure you did not enable Quarantine on vCloud Director
Also, make sure the public address are set up correctly

IF you make everything right you should pass the certification in less than 20 minutes.

The process is entirely automatic, which I think is amazing.
A few minutes later I received an e-mail congratulating me and some instructions to add the Service Provider to VMware’s vCloud Air Network Service Provider Portal.

Go for it, you have nothing to lose. 

In case you wanna watch the process, here a steb by step video...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

vCloud Director – Quarantine Files

Recently, I’ve faced an odd behavior with VMware vCloud Director, when uploading virtual machines with OVF format to my vCloud Organization, the process did not complete as expected.

The error vary depending where you are uploading them to: 
When importing the vApps directly to My Cloud the messages says, “failed to create”.
When importing the vApps directly to Catalog the messages says, “Quarantine Expired”.

It turns out it’s not a bug or an issue with the system, it’s just a feature, which I did know nothing about it, learning a new thing every day : )

vCloud Director has the ability to quarantine the files users are uploading to the system for further investigation before making them available.  It’s a perfect use case if you want to scan the files with an antivirus solution for instance.

OK, let see how it works.

First you need to enable it on your vCloud Environment
- Login to vCloud, click on Administration tab click on General
- Scroll down to Timeouts, enable the Quarantine option and set the timeout for it.

Now you can go ahead and upload your OVF.

When you upload it directly to My Cloud, the vApps status will be Pending.

If not action is taken, after the time period you set up for timeout, the upload fails and the status change to Failed to Create.

When you upload it directly to a Catalog, the vApps status will be Quarantined.

If not action is taken, after the time period you set up for timeout, the upload fails and the status change to Quarantine Expired.

It worths to mention that while the item was quarantined, it was not available to others users deploy it.
As you can see by browsing the Catalog.

This post is not intended to show how to create a monitoring/quarantine solution for vCloud (may be in the future), it’s just about to create awareness of the feature instead.

The vCloud Director Admin Guide has a section about Monitoring Quarantine Files.

During my research I found a blog post from Magnus Andersson, which stats this feature was not working because it has been deprecated in favor of API and blocking tasks.
While I’m not here to doubt about his information, I want to show that in fact this feature is working on my environment, may be because I’m using vCloud 5.5 and someone might have fixed it (Magnus was using vCD 5.1.2).
I will also try to confirm internally if this feature was been deprecate indeed and I’ll let you know.

See you

Friday, October 10, 2014

VCP5-DCV Delta Recertification Exam

I’m sure you guys remember the VMware’s Recertification Policy, right ?!?

It turns out that the first cycle of Certification Expiration will be starting at March/2015, don’t fool yourself, it’s right around the corner.

Thinking about those certified professionals, whose are just looking of ways on how to recertify their current certifications and not necessarily pursuing more advanced levels of certification, VMware launched a promotional delta exam for actual VCP5-DCV holders…….yeah, we heard you !!!

So this delta exam will just recertify your actual VCP5-DCV certification, will not provide you any higher level, also it will be based on the new features of vSphere 5.5.

To get ready for the exam, VMware is offering a FREE online curse (What’s New Fundamentals V5.5), you can take it anywhere, anytime you want.

The exam will cost US$ 120. I know it’s not free, but at least is better than paying for the regular exams+courses.

One last thing, you need to hurry, it’s available just until November 30, 2014 March 10, 2015 March 31, 2016 (VMware has extended it).

More details you can find on VMware’s communication.

Good luck

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

vCloud Director External Catalog Publishing

 Recently I’ve been faced with a challenge on a client’s vCloud Director Implementation.
Their vCloud solution allows customers to choose to consume resources from two different locations. Those 2 Providers VDCs are backed by resources from two distinct sites.

Originally, they were holding a single Public Catalog stored on Datacenter A, but when users provisions vApps on Datacenter B, the templates got copied over the WAN, taking a long time to complete and prejudicing the user’s experience.

To provide the best user’s experience possible, I suggest to create a new Catalog, storing their data on Datacenter B, so the clients provisioning on Datacenter B chooses templates from Catalog B, keeping provisioning locally and enhancing the user’s experience.

It came down with the need to maintain two separate Catalogs.
Thanks to a new feature introduced by VMware vCloud Director 5.5, it’s now a piece of cake.

Let’s see how to Publish Catalog Externally:

First thing is to enable the Org to either Publish or Subscribe to a catalog,
- On the properties of the Organization, click on Catalog Tab
Select the desired option:
- Allow publishing external catalogs
- Allow subscribing to external catalogs

Now let’s create the Source Catalog
- On the Org, click on Catalogs tab and then on the plus sign to create a new catalog

- Give it a Name a Description and click Next

- Select a datastore where to store the templates and click Next
On our example, would be a datastore on Datacenter A

 - Set up the Catalog sharing as you would normally do and click Next

 Here’s where the magic happens
- Enable Publishing, protect it with a password is a good idea to avoid others subscribing to your catalog without your knowledge.

 - Click Finish to create the Catalog

Add the templates to the recently created Catalog as you would normally do.
At this point your Catalog is created and available to subscription from others, but in fact we don’t know your Catalog’s address yet.

- Back on Catalog tab, select the source Catalog and check Publish/Subscribe Settings..

 - Click on the External Publishing tab, there you will find the Catalog’s address, just copy it.
Now we just need to create an empty Catalog and subscribe to the content of the source one.

When creating a new Catalog..
- select Subscribe to an external Catalog, fill with the source Catalog’s address and the password for accessing it.

 Everything else is the same as a regular Catalog, just make sure to select a datastore on the correspondent site.
On or example, would be a datastore from Datacenter B.

Once it’s done you will see it’s Synchronization taking place.

One thing to be aware of is related with the transfer area of vCloud’s Cells.
During the synchronization, the templates are first exported to vCloud’s Cell transfer area then copied to the datastore of the destination.

You can see by the screen bellow that there was not folder in there, then during the synchronization a folder called 6326975a-a9b1-454b-97be-c416cc1526f got created, the data (vmdk) is copied to there and deleted after synchronization.

 Plan your transfer area accordingly

I’m sure you can come up with a lot of other use cases for this feature, like, if you have access to a Public Cloud and want to use your own catalog on-premises and off –premises.

Good Publishing….

Who am I

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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