The VMUG leadership invited me to speak at the St. Louis VMUG Usercon on April 18, 2019, and share my presentation on How VMware Home Labs Can Improve Your Professional Growth and Career.
This would be my second time giving a public presentation, but I left The Denver VMUG UserCon with a certain charge, or a spring in my step as it were. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare or to change up my presentation, remembering that I have a PSO customer that I need to take care of. I arrived a day early for the speaker dinner that was being put on by the St. Louis VMUG leadership.
Prior to the dinner, I was able to explore the historical, and picturesque city of St. Charles.
The next day, we all converged on the convention center for the St. Louis UserCon. This way to success!
Seeing your name as a speaker amongst a list of people you’ve looked forward to meeting, have met, or follow on social media, certainly is humbling.
This time, my session was in the afternoon, so in true fashion of many public speakers in the #vCommunity, I had all day to make tweaks. I was also able to join a few sessions. Finally found my room in the maze of this convention center and got setup.
The ninja, and co-leader of the St. Louis UserCon, Jonathan Stewart (@virtuallyanadmi), managed to take a picture of me giving my presentation.
A special thank you to the St. Louis VMUG leadership team, who invited me out to meet and share with their community: Marc Crawford (@uber_tech_geek), Jonathan Stewart (@virtuallyanadmi) and Mike Masters (@vMikeMast)
This post is a little late, considering the Denver VMUG UserCon was on April 9th, but alas I have been traveling a lot over the past few months
The Denver UserCon was my first time speaking at a public event in front of a large audience. Public speaking is something that I have thought about doing for a while now, and how fitting that my first event, be a year after my very first UserCon attendance, at the very same venue. If I am completely honest, as this was my first time, I was a little nervous, but like anything you just have to take that leap of faith.
My good friend Ariel Sanchez (@arielsanchezmor) has been encouraging me to start this journey, and because this will give me the skills I need for a future role as a marketing engineer, I decided this would be the year to get my feet wet. But what to present?
I’d like to think that most presenters have a blog, that they can reshape into a power point presentation, so I submitted two community sessions. One about vROps, and the other about VMware homelabs. We in the #vCommunity use home labs a lot. Not only our daily use, but to better ourselves professionally. Home labs give us a safe place to experiment with new VMware releases, plan upgrades, and just familiarize ourselves with other products that we may not have a chance to work with in a production environment.
As such, the VMUG community leadership selected my presentation on “How VMware Home labs How a VMware Home lab Can Accelerate Your Career”.
Given the amount of attendees who came to learn and support my first presentation, I’d say that the desire to learn and build a VMware home lab is strong.
I’m not going to lie, as this was my first time, I was certainly nervous. Breath…..count to five……..jump. The presentation was well received, and my friends who joined in support, gave me some positive feedback, along with constructive feedback for improvement.
The evening was capped off with a nice dinner with friends from the #vCommunity.
A special thank you to the Denver VMUG leadership team, who invited me out to meet and share with the community: Jason Valentine (@JasonV_VCP5), Tony Gonzalez (@vGonzilla) and Scott Seifert (@vScottSeifert)
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.
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 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:
SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SDV-TLN4F-O Mini ITX Server Motherboard Xeon processor D-1541 FCBGA 1667
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.