Thursday, November 24, 2016

vRealize Business – Pricing software


Recently I’ve been working on a vRealize Business for Cloud project where the client asked if it was possible to add specific software costs to specific VMs, not all of them.

Before digging up let’s make things clear, vRB has 2 distinct areas, Expenses and Pricing.

Expenses: are costs evolved in maintaining your operations, like hardware purchase, licenses, power and cooling, labor, etc.
In general, this section focus for Infrastructure Admins and management, showing how much it costs to maintain the operation running.

Pricing: on the other hand, focus on showing to the end user how much a specific VM will cost to them or to his business unit.
 I’m not here to discuss a business case, but different companies might have different goals, such that one company can decide to just cover his expenses while others can decide to have profit with his operations, so depending on its goal the pricing policy might look different.

Back to my client, his goal was to show to his end user, during request time through vRealize Automation, how much cost a database (SQL or Oracle).
The solution we gave to them was through the use of vRA’s custom properties.

Let’s see how it works:

-       Create a vRA‘s custom property, mine was called vRB.software
-       Add the custom property to the blueprint on the VM component where the software is installed, on the Value column, type the software identification


-       Edit the pricing policy where this cost will be applied
-       Near the additional service click “Edit


-       Add the custom property (in my case vRB.software) to the identification field, on the tag column the value that matches what you specified on the Blueprint, finally the cost of it (on my screen are just silly values, OK).
      Repeat it for each software you want to price.


vRB will just show custom properties for the VM's that have been already provisioned, so, if you don't see your property on the dropdown list, make sure you provision a blueprint which has the property you want, also allow vRB to run an inventory collection (making sure your VM will be listed on vRB's reports)

As you can see, now the cost of the software is included in the VM’s price.


If you want, you can click on “View cost details” to understand how the price is composed.
Under the additional costs, you will see the cost of the software we just added to our pricing policy, in this case, 2.000 for Oracle.

 
It was not the first time I have been asked this, so it would make sense to post it here in case anyone else is looking for such solution.


Monday, November 14, 2016

VMware Workstation/Fusion hacked at PwnFest


Last week (November 10th to 11th) we had PwnFest, a hacking competition that took place at South Korea at the 2016 Power of Community (POC) security conference.
This year VMware was one of the many targets with VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.


It turns out that a vulnerability has been found and exploited.
The drag and drop (DnD) functionality on those product had an out of bound memory access (buffer overflow) vulnerability that allows a guest to execute code on the operating system that runs Workstation or Fusion.

Let me be crystal clear here: This vulnerability is JUST presented on VMware Workstation and Fusion only. Nothing related to ESXi or other products.

With that said, VMware worked diligently during the past few days and on November 13th  we released the fix.

Although it's not possible to exploit it remotely, they would need to have access to your computer in order to run it, I encourage all of you to install this fix.
The protected versions are:
 
If for any reason you could not install it, there’s a workaround to prevent the vulnerability to be exploited. Disable DnD !!!

-       On the VM Settings
-       Click on Isolation

-       - Uncheck, Enable Drag and Drop and Enable Copy and Past
 


See you next!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

GitHub – The Basics 2/2


It’s play time !!!
Make sure you have your environment ready as I showed on the last post before proceed.

-       Create Repository
Let’s start creating a Repository, it’s like a folder where you keep all the files related to a specific project.
Once logged, there are several places to create a new repository, even a button called “Start a project


Just give it a name, mark it “Public” and click “Create repository”;
 

for this tutorial I’ll call mine basicsguide.

Most of the time you are working offline and then from time to time you sync your changes with an online repository
As a best practice, create a folder for each single project you are working with.


 -       Initiate Repository
You need to tell Git what’s the folder you want to work with. (it will be your current directory)
Run: git init


Now you can start working on your offline repository, creating or adding files to it.

 -       Check Status
At any time you can check the status of your offline repository, it will show you what files were added, deleted or modified.
I just created a dummy file called hello.txt for the purpose of testing.
Run: git status


-       





-       Add Files
Before commit your changes you need to say what files you want to commit
Run: git add “file_name” (for single file)
Run: git add * (for all files reported by the status command)


As you can see the file color changed from red to green, meaning it’s ready to commit

-       Commit a file
Now let’s commit the changes, adding a description is a nice touch
Run: git commit –m “description for the changes”


-       Add Remote Repository
At this point all your changes still local to your offline repository, let’s add a online repository to work with and sent your updates to


-       Push Content
Now it’s time to send your commits to your online repository
Run: git push -u “name” “branch”
As it’s a simple tutorial I’m using the master branch, if you want to learn more about branches here’s a nice article


 If you go back to the webpage you will see that the new file got updated with the commit description you just set.


-       Pull Content
Now if some else is working on your project and submit changes to your online repository, you can sync it with your offline repository  (for the sake of testing I did a small change to the hello.txt file through the webpage, not showing it here.)
Run: git pull


-       Clone Repository
Now the cool stuff !!! 
if you want to work with some else repository you can just clone it to a offline repository of yours
Run: git clone “repository_address”

In this case I’m working with vmware/powernsx project.
As said before, I created a new empty folder and as expected after cloning all the files were available on my offline repository.


Congratulations you just gave the first step into this new world.
As a homework, why dont you try to clone my project (https://github.com/emeirell/basicsguide) and add your name to hello.txt file ?!?
I’m planning to add more advanced posts in the future, meanwhile you can check the GitHub tutorials, there are a lot fancier features available.

See you.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

GitHub – The Basics 1/2


VMware has been increasing it’s presence and solutions around Cloud Native Applications, in this new world, agility, integration and automation are keys.
More than that, VMware has been contributing to the community with several open source projects like, Photon Controller, Photon OS, Project Lightwave… all of them available at GitHub.

WOW, wait… What’s GitHub ? How do I use it ?

Don’t be afraid we are on this journey together, this post is dedicated to you (myself including), here I’ll cover the basics to start your own Git projects..

Let’s start with what GitHub is all about:
From it’s own page: “GitHub is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration. It lets you and others work together on projects from anywhere.”
In essence it’s a place where you can store your codes, files, images, maintainig version history for every change you make while others can pull them out, make enhancements and push back to you. Nice !!!

First, you need to create an account at GitHub, I wont cover that, you must be an expert on the art of creating accounts by this time of your life ; )

Don’t forget to install Git tool specific for you O.S plataform;
Althought there’s a GUI tool, the most common used one is the command line, so I'll cover this method here.

Once installed, you will have to configure it, so every time you submitt change to yours or others files, your information will be send along with those changes.

run: git config --global user.name “your_name_goes_here”
run: git config --global user.email “your_email_goes_here”



Now image for a second, if you have to type your user/password everytime you submitt a change to your or others online repository ???  Lukely there’s a way to cache your credentials, so it can be used every time without having to bug you about it.

run : git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

There’s no output from this command, but next time you interact with a project that requires a password it will ask you once and cache it in keychain for future use.

I believe it’s a lot of content for a single post…. Stay tuned for post 2 where we will actually see it in montion.

***  Update ***
Here's post 2 - GitHub - The Basics 2/2


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

VMware is all about choices



During VMworld Las Vegas VMware has announced its partnership with IBM, last week the partnership with Amazon has been announced as well, joining vCloud Air and vCloud Air Networks as a broader Cloud Offering Services.

Just to give you a heads up, this post is not intent to go deeper into technical details, and pros and cons for every each solution, in fact, the idea is to give you a high-level understanding of all these solutions and all the buzzwords around it. Deal ?

Also announce at VMworld Las Vegas, VMware Cloud Foundation is VMware’s unified Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) platform, targeting private and public clouds. 
Based on a hyper-converged solution, it combines VMware’s industry-leading compute, storage and network virtualization (VMware vSphere, VSAN and NSX) into an integrated solution. But it’s not a simple software bundle that you just purchase and get the same software as if you bought them separately. In fact, the power of VMware Cloud Foundation comes from it’s intelligent and native integrated software stack, VMware SDDC Manager, which automates the design, implementation and life cycle management of the entirely stack.


It was the first available VMware’s Cloud offer, it’s made of an ecosystem of partners, who sells and operates reliable cloud services based on vCloud Director as IaaS, DaaS and DRaaS. As you could imagine with a large number of partners it's not unusual that you find different levels of resources, features, pricing models, and so on among them. This nice search page allows you to find each one them and the services the offer.

It’s basics derives from the same principal and services offered by vCloud Air Network, but on this public cloud offer VMware itself is the one managing and operating it, allowing you to consume cloud resources like Dedicated Cloud, Virtual Private Cloud, Disaster Recovery, Government Services, Object Storage and more.


IBM has been the first vCloud Air Network Partner to enable a hybrid cloud solution based on VMware Cloud Foundation, leveraging worldwide IBM Data Center presence, allowing you great flexibility choosing a location near your company, but more interesting, IBM offers a custom portal that allows you to, on-demand, order new vCenters environments, including the provisioning of physical hypervisors, allows the scale-out of physical resources and the life-cyle of this environment. As it provides you dedicated vCenter, you can use all vSphere features and integration that we all know and love. 

This jointly architected solution that integrates the world’s leading private cloud and the world’s leading public cloud, will allows customers to run any application across vSphere based private, public, and hybrid cloud environments and will provide access to the full range of AWS services.
Based on Cloud Foundation too, it offers a nice management portal with pretty much the same capabilities as described in the IBM offer above, but differently this solution is delivered, sold, and supported by VMware as an on-demand, elastically scalable service.
(available mid-2017)

Now if fo some reason you decided to create your own private cloud on premises, VMware will not leave will behind trying to figure how to integrate all those solutions and ensuring all best practices has been considered by yourself. Thinking about those clients, VMware provides VVD, which is an extensively tested solution path with specific information about product versions, networking architecture, capabilities and limitations, allowing you to build and operate a private cloud, significantly simplify length and complicated design process and shortens provision cycles.  


Nowadays challenge is to manage, monitor and secure your application across multiple, private, public and hybrid clouds leads ensuring identity and access, data security and workload mobility, imagine it’s all possible with a single set of tools that you already know from a central location, well that what Cross-Cloud is all about, eliminating all your operational challenges through a range of Cross-Cloud services.

 
Now the inevitable question…. Which one is better to me ?
There’s no simple answer for that, and the most spoken sentence comes to play.... "it depends" !!!

My best advice is to make your own homework, trying to identify the variables to this equation.
- what are my companies' business objectives;
- what are my technical requirements; 
- which offer allows workload mobility;
- which offer prevent vendor lock-in;

Once you start building your final list of candidates you will then come to cost aspect of it.
But I have no doubt on my mind that whatever your needs are you will find within VMware the perfect fit for your business.

Good (extensive) reading...

Monday, October 17, 2016

VMware Patch Download Center


Today I will show you a quick tip for downloading vCenter and ESXi patches, security and bug fixes.

Do you fell that sometimes it’s hard to find the latest fix released ? Well, not anymore, through VMware Patch Download Center you can easily find the patch you have been looking for.


You just need to select the product and version, you could also add some extra filters, like severity level.


Once you click Search, you will see the patches that matches your query, just hit the download button.


At this point just vCenter, ESXi and Cisco Nexus Virtual Ethernet Module are available, but I expect this list to grow.

Monday, September 26, 2016

NSX Reference Poster


During the past few weeks, my NSX partner in crime, the Sr. Consultant Anderson Duboc and I have been working on a NSX Reference Poster and now it’s my great pleasure to present you guys with the final result. 
 

There’s a great history of VMware’s reference posters and with the introduction of NSX central CLI we thought it would make sense to create a reference one with the most commonly used commands.

I know from experience that professionals love to have this kind of reference handy, so in case you want to print it yourself a copy, here are the details:
PDF printable version

It’s was designed to be printed in a high-resolution A3 size (no lower than 300 dpi).
In inches: 11.7x16.5
In mm: 297x420

You can always check the NSX Command Line guide for a complete list of commands.

Monday, September 19, 2016

vRealize Automation – Change All Services icon


Some time ago I blogged about how to change vRealize Automation All services icon, despite the fact it was a not supported procedure by that time we could prove it was doable.

Now I’m glad to say that starting with vRealize Automation 7.1 it’s a fully supported procedure, allowing you to change it in your production environment without the fear it will break something.
If you don’t recall, the All Services icon always appears for users which have more than one Service entitled to them.

Before we go one, it’s good to be aware that it’s a system-wide configuration and likewise will affect all your tenants.

You might remember about the blue boring Lego icon, right ? Let’s see how to change it then.

Let’s starting converting the image you want to use as your new icon to a base64code string.
As suggested you could use DailyCoding portal, just upload your image and convert it, save the string for later use.

On a system, wich has cURL installed
Export vRA address to a variable
-        run: export VCAC=[vRA_FQDN]

Get an Authentication token.
-       run: curl https://$VCAC/identity/api/tokens --insecure -H "Accept: application/json" -H 'Content-Type: application/json' --data '{"username":"[Catalog Administrator User]","password":"","tenant":"vsphere.local"}'

Make sure to use Administrator@vsphere.local as it’s the only user authorized to
perform this change so far.

Take a note of your token, in my case, it’s the yellow string I highlighted.

Export your token to a variable
-       run: export AUTH="Bearer [Auth Token]"
Just replace the yellow string with the string you grab on the previous step

Replace the All Services icon:
-       run: curl https://$VCAC/catalog-service/api/icons --insecure -H "Accept: application/json" -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -H "Authorization: $AUTH" --data '{"id":"cafe_default_icon_genericAllServices","fileName":"[filename]","contentType":"image/png","image":"[IMAGE DATA as base64  string]"}'

Just replace the IMAGE DATA as base64 string with the string you got from your new icon.... don't worry it’s a pretty large string.

If you did everything right you should see the new icon

 I know, the icon I choose is not that pretty, but it proves my point ; )

BTW I’m providing the commands to run on a Linux system, if you want to run on a Windows base system, please, check the manual for the exactly commands.

If you like this quick vRA 7.1 new features don’t miss my other posts: Message Board and Execution Information.

Who am I

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I’m and IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infraestructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Senior Consultant, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them succefully on this journay. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opnion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinios.

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