2019 VMware vExpert Announcement

It’s that time of year again. I’m honored and humbled to continue to be apart of the VMware vExpert program. This program challenges me every day to continue to learn, and contribute to the #vCommunity. For me, this isn’t just some title. This is a family of community warriors where we learn from and help each other grow. Everyone in some way gives back to the community. This year, I am also excited to try my hand at public speaking, and give back to the VMUG community as a community session speaker. I don’t think that I would have had the courage to apply to be a speaker, if it wasn’t for my fellow vExperts encouraging me to do so.

Congrats to all the new and returning vExperts! https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2019/03/07/vexpert-2019-award-announcement/

vRealize Operations Manager Dashboard: vSphere DRS Cluster Health. Part 2

This blog series assumes that the reader has some understanding of how to create a vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) dashboard.

vROps dashboards are made up of what is called widgets. These widgets can either be configured as “self providers”, or can be populated with data by a “parent” widget. Self provider widgets, are configured to individually show specific data. In other words, one widget shows hosts, another shows datastores, and another showing virtual machines, however the widgets will not interact, nor are they dependent of each other. Parent widgets, are configured to provide data from a specific source, and then feed it into other child widgets on the page. This is useful when data is desired to be displayed in different formats of consumption. The dashboard I configured called “vSphere DRS Cluster Health”, does just that. I will break the widgets down to different sections as I walk through the configuration.

Widget #1 – This widget is known as an “object list“, and will be the parent widget of this dashboard. In other words, widgets #2 through #6 rely on the data presented by widget #1. In this case I have the object list widget, configured to show/list the different host clusters in my homelab.

I have given it a title, set refresh content to ON, set the mode to PARENT, and have it set to auto select the first row. In the lower left section “Select which tags to filter”, I have created an environment group in vROps called “Cluster Compute Resource” where I have specified my host clusters. In the lower right box, I have a few metrics selected which I would also like this “object list” widget to show.

This is just a single esxi homelab, so this won’t look as grand as it would if it were to be configured for a production environment. But each object in this list is select-able, and the cool thing is that each object in this list, when it is selected, will change the other widgets.

Widgets #2 and #3 are called “health charts”. I have one configured with the metric for cluster CPU workload %, and the other configured with the metric cluster memory workload %. Both configurations are the same, with the exception that one has a custom metric of Cluster CPU Workload %, and the other is configured with the custom metric of Cluster Memory Workload %. I have both configured to show data for the past 24hrs.

Important: For these two widgets, under “widget interactions“, set both to the first widget: DRS Cluster Settings (Select a cluster to populate charts)

Widgets #4 and #5 are called “View widgets”. One is configured to show the current Cluster CPU Demand, and the other is configured to show the current Cluster Memory Demand. These are also configured to forecast out for 30 days, so that we can potentially see if the clusters will run short of capacity in the near future, allowing us the ability to add more compute to the cluster preemptively.

These are two custom “views” I created. I will go over how to create custom views in a future post, but for those who already know how, I have one “widget view” configured with each.

Important: For these two widgets, under “widget interactions“, set both to the first widget: ” DRS Cluster Settings (Select a cluster to populate charts) ” like we did above.

Widget #6 is another “Object List” widget, and I have this configured to show only host systems, of the selected cluster in Widget #1. Widget #6 will be used to provide data to Widgets #7 and #8.

I also have certain Host System metrics selected here so that I can get high level information of the hosts in the cluster.

Important: For these two widgets, under “widget interactions“, set both to the first widget: ” DRS Cluster Settings (Select a cluster to populate charts)” like we did above.

The final two widgets, #7 and #8, are also called “health chart” widgets. One is configured using the metric host system CPU workload %, and the other is configured using the metric host system Memory workload %. I have both configured to show data for the past 24hrs.

Important: For these two widgets, under “widget interactions“, set both to widget #6, in this example: Host Workload (select a host to populate charts to the right).

The Home Lab Part 2

The very long over due followup post to my The Home Lab entry made earlier this year.  I did recently purchase another 64GB (2x 32GB) Diamond Black DDR4 memory to bring my server up to 128GB.  I had some old 1TB spinning disks I installed in the box for some extra storage as well, although I will phase them out with more SSDs in the future.  So as a recap, this is my setup now:

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Motherboard

motherboardSUPERMICRO MBD-X10SDV-TLN4F-O Mini ITX Server Motherboard Xeon processor D-1541 FCBGA 1667 

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Memory

memory

(x2) Black Diamond Memory 64GB (2 x 32GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000) Server Memory Model BD32GX22133MQR26

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M.2 SSD

m.2ssd

WD Blue M.2 250GB Internal SSD Solid State Drive – SATA 6Gb/s – WDS250G1B0B

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SSD

ssd

(x 2) SAMSUNG 850 PRO 2.5″ 512GB SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7KE512BW

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Case

chassis

SUPERMICRO CSE-721TQ-250B Black Mini-Tower Server Case 250W Flex ATX Multi-output Bronze Power Supply

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Additional Storage

x2 1TB Western Digital Black spinning disks

 

Initially when I built the lab, I decided to use VMware workstation, but I recently just rebuilt it, installing ESXi 6.7 as the base.  Largely for better performance and reliability.  For the time being this will be a single host environment, but keeping with the versioning, vCSA and vROps are 6.7 as well.  Can an HTML 5 interface be sexy?  This has come a long way from the flash client days.

vcenter view

I decided against fully configuring this host as a single vSAN node, just so that I can have the extra disk.  However, when I do decide to purchase more hardware and build a second or third box, this setup will allow me to grow my environment, and reconfigure it for vSAN use.  Although I am tempted to ingest the SSDs into my NAS, carve out datastores from it and not use vSAN, at least for the base storage.

storageview

Networking is flat for now, so there’s nothing really to show here.  As I expand and add a second host, I will be looking at some networking hardware, and have my lab in it’s own isolated space.

Now that I am in the professional services space, working with VMware customers, I needed a lab that was more production. I’m still building out the lab so I’ll have more content to come.

The Journey Continues

I’d be lying if I had said this year hasn’t been full of unexpected twists and turns, but it’s in those moments of great difficulty and uncertainty I believe, that we truly find ourselves.  Seven months ago I was referred to a VMware Product engineer role at a cloud provider and hosting company in San Antonio.  I successfully made it through the interviews, and was offered a position with the company.  For this role, the company and I had agreed for me to be onsite for six months, and then be a full time remote employee after.  From May until late October, I spent my time working and exploring San Antonio Texas.

Roles and expectations can change, and having it in writing doesn’t always give you solid ground to stand on.  But I pushed forth on my new journey, excited for the challenges ahead, knowing that I am checking off each requirement for the role, as I work through various projects.  I got to deploy a new SDDC environment, for a customer’s new private cloud, using vCloud Foundation for Service Providers, worked various research tasks, and even studied for and passed my VCP 6.5 – DCV delta.  Not necessarily in that order.

Reaching that six month mark, and feeling proud of the work that I accomplished, I received the regrettable news that I wouldn’t be able to go remote as originally agreed to.  With family and relationship requirements outside of work playing a factor, along with my own personal restrictions and requirements for this role, I had to make the hard decision to walk away.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team in San Antonio, many of whom I was able to get to know outside of work, and who invited me into their homes for after work gatherings, and team lunches around San Antonio.  If you look hard enough in San Antonio, you can find really good barbecue, authentic Mexican, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Greek and Italian.  The freshman twenty is a real thing, but I’m grateful these guys shared their favorite spots around the city with me.  I didn’t get a chance to really get to know my remote team members out of the UK, but enjoyed the time spent on projects with them.

So what’s next for me?  This is just another fork in the road, leading me down a path of new challenges.  I’ll be taking on new projects working with VMware Professional Services (PSO), through a 3rd party agency.  This role will allow me to live where I want in Colorado, and also allow me to work remotely and travel.  Working for VMware has been a goal of mine for several years, and I’m hopeful that this will eventually turn into a full time role with them.

With all of that out of the way, I thought I would leave you with some pictures I took from the places I visited while in San Antonio.

San Antonio River Walk

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The Alamo 

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I certainly wouldn’t consider myself religious, but around San Antonio you can find a lot of historic missions, many of which are still considered to be active places of worship.  I personally find the old architecture and buildings fascinating.

Mission Concepcion

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Mission San Jose

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Mission San Juan

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Mission Espada

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Heading off to VMworld US 2018

As I’m readying myself to board the plane that will take me to Las Vegas, I can’t help but feel excited to be heading back to VMworld US. Las Vegas is not everyone’s cup of tea, and maybe it’s just the geek in me, but Vegas feels like it has a certain electricity to it, that energizes me. VMworld has always been special for me, and I have been fortunate to attend these past three years. I’m always excited to meet new additions to the #vCommunity, along with seeing friends I’ve made in the community already. This is certainly a great bunch of geeks that continue to inspire me. I can’t wait to see what VMware has in store for attendees, with product releases and announcements.