My experience at the Nutanix NPX bootcamp

The preparation

After a Nutanix Technology Champions websession we had earlier this year I thought it was a good idea if there would be one in The Netherlands. The only requirement was to supply at least 12 people and also to leave some spots for Nutants. While I reached out to the current NTC’s Bert van der Lingen reached out to the NPP’s he trained in the Netherlands. It didn’t take long before we had enough people interested to start the process. The location was also arranged quickly at the Dutch Nutanix offices while the date was set for september 24-28th.

The coaches

Since we had 25 people signed up for the bootcamp there where three coaches assigned for this week: Tim Buckholz (NPX #12), Bruno Sousa (NPX #15) and Crescenzo Oliviero (NPX #16). Including in their coaching role they also where the Nubank customer for whom we had to create a new design. While being the customer we had to ask the right questions but if we weren’t sure about something they also showed great patience with us in explaining things.

The Bootcamp

In the time leading up to the bootcamp itself I was still apprehensive about my own (lack of) experience but lots of people told me that it shouldn’t be a problem. I went in with an open mind that it would be a great learning opportunity. Looking back at the week this was the best way to look at the process. No matter what you designed the NuBank customer always managed to find flaws and gave good feedback on what was lacking but also on what was good.

https://twitter.com/tbuckholz/status/1044243355977351168

One constant factor was change! The first day was a shock to most: Sizing can be rather difficult you know. On each day new tasks were added like networking, storage but also Business Critical apps and VDI you could expect curveballs to be thrown at any time! For this my open mind probably was a bonus because it was clear some people had issues with this. If you didn’t care about failing but still did the best you could in building the designs you would learn the most in my opinion. During the week we also learned to ask more and more questions to the customer, something we hardly did during the first day.

During the afternoon on day four it was time to build that last design so we could do a proper defence of it for the Nubank customer. For the presentation each team had 45 minutes and time management was difficult. It’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole in explaining nerd knobs while there is no time for that.

Even during the last presentation it was clear that the newly tech created during the week was needed in some cases. Our team required wireless ipmi while others had wireless load balancers, wireless 40GB lines and other wireless stuff.

My own verdict

For myself I consider this one of the best weeks of learning I have ever done. There’s hardly anywhere to work with a such a group of dedicated and motivated people. And it proved even more how good and important the vCommunity is in sharing knowledge and caring for others.

I would like to thank the three awesome coaches and also my teammates Wouter Iliohan, Nick Maeckelberghe and Arjan Hendriks for being such good sports this week.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for September 2018

September flew past for me like a whirlwind. So much new things that I learned so here’s my monthly overview of all the new and updated VMware flings. There are three new ones with the DRS Dump Insight H5 PluginWorkspace One Configuration Tool for provisioning and the Horizon Session Recording. Four have received updates: ESXi Compatibility Checker, HCIBench, vRealize Operations REST Notifications and but not least the SDDC Certificate tool. It’s also one of the few months where the HTML5 Client didn’t get an update.

New

Horizon Session Recording

The Horizon Session Recording fling gives Horizon View administrators a way to record and save their users activity.

VMware Horizon Session Recording allows administrators of a VMware Horizon environment record their users activity in their Blast Extreme virtual desktop and application sessions.

With Session Recording, the administrator can choose to record local or remote sessions, to a central recording Server where the administrator can watch the recordings back via a HTML 5 web console integrated into the server.

The Session Recordings are stored as MP4 files for watching via the web console or downloading to play in a local player.

The VMware Horizon Session Recording Fling comprises of two components:

  • A Central Recording Repository + Web Front End
  • The Agent to be installed in the virtual desktop or RDSH host template which facilitates the recording.

Today VMware Horizon Session Recording supports Windows Server 2016 as the Central Server along with Windows 7, 10, Server 2012 and Server 2016 on the agent.

DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin

If you like the the older DRS Dump Insight fling you will like the DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin even more. No need anymore for pulling the data yourself, with the Plugin it will be available directly.

The DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin helps answer simple questions like

  • “Can I get all the recommendations made by DRS?”
  • “Why did DRS make a certain recommendation?”
  • “Why is DRS not making any recommendations to balance my cluster?”
  • “How is my custom affinity/anti-affinity rule affecting load balancing in my cluster?”
  • “If I have a policy defined in my cluster, how different would DRS load balancing be?”

When diagnosing Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster issues in vSphere, we look at vCenter server logs from the support bundle, including DrmDump files to find any clues. Analyzing DrmDumps is a slow and tedious process, is usually done by VMware support or Engineering teams for advanced debugging of algorithm related issues. This is because analyzing the dumps requires building a replayer module, for which one needs access to the source code. Another challenge is that the final DrmDump data is not in plain text format; it requires someone with an understanding of the source code to be able to make good sense of it.

There is an existing DRS Dump Insight fling, which can replay DrmDumps and provide useful information for debugging. However, Dump Insight requires users to manually upload relevant DrmDump files from the time when the issue occurred. With the DRS Dump Insight H5 Plugin, customers do not need to upload any DrmDump files, and can access all the anal yzed information from their vSphere HTML5 web client itself.

  • Once a customer installs the HTML5 plugin, a new DRS Dump Insight tab will be available under the “cluster -> monitor” view.
  • All the DrmDump files that are available for the given cluster are listed in the opening screen. Customers can select the dump file of their choice for analysis.
  • They can also select multiple dump files to be analyzed together.
  • After analysis, the tool shows the analysis for each dump file in a separate tab view.

Workspace ONE Configuration Tool for Provisioning

The Workspace ONE Configuration Tool for Provisioning fling is created for the Workspace One provisioning in the Dell factory.

The Workspace ONE Configuration Tool helps you build special-purpose unattend.xml configuration files to be applied in the Dell factory as part of Factory Provisioning. This helps to domain join (domain, workgroup, AAD, AAD Premium) and enroll devices automatically on first-boot. This simplifies the creation of the unattend.xml configuration file for Windows 10.

Features

  • It’s a stand-alone .exe app that helps IT administrators configure general and Out-of-the-Box Experience Windows setups to automatically enroll users in Workspace ONE.
  • The User Interface is made simple with explicit instructions about each field for easy and quick use by IT admins.
  • The User Interface has dynamic and efficient validations in Clarity and Angular, preventing the user from building the unattend.xml until all the validations are correctly satisfied.
  • This makes the UI fool-proof and reduces the chances of generating an invalid xml file.
  • The tool is made as a .Net Core 2.0 web app with Angular 5 and Clarity, which eases the integration of v2.0 into the AirWatch Console.

Updated

ESXi Compatibility Checker

With the ESXi Compatibility Checker a vSphere admin can automatically check and validate a current vSphere environment against the HCL.

Changelog

Build 10066133

  • Fixed bugs

HCIBench

While it probably is optimized for VSAN workloads the HCIBench is a benchmark tool that can be used with any HCI solution.

Changelog

Version 1.6.7.2

  • Enhanced write/read buffer/cache methodology
  • Fixed network ip-prefix selection issue
  • Fixed 95% percentile calculation issue

vRealize Operations REST Notifications Helper

With the vRealize Operations REST Notifications Helper fling it is possible it’s easier to use alerts in vRealize Operations Manager and send them to third-party tools.

Changelog

Version 1.1.2

  • Changed the line endings in text files from Win to Unix

Version 1.1

  • The new version of imset.jar
  • Updated properties file (imset.properties)
  • A new configuration file example (slack.json)
  • New version release notes (v1.1_notes.pdf)

SDDC Certificate Tool

The SDDC Certificate Tool is your one stop shop to replace all the certificates in a range of VMware Products: vSphere,NSX,vRLI,vROps etc.

Changelog

1.0.1 – Build 10253169

  • Spring Frameworks updated to version 4.3.19 due to security vulnerability

My #VMworld presentations @vbrownbag and @vmwarecode

Time flies when you’re having fun and it’s already been over two weeks since I came back from VMworld 2018 in Las Vegas. I just thought of the fact that I promised some people to post my presentations. While they kept looping on the provided mac’s they don’t do that on a windows system, or at least for me.

This is the link to the vBrownbag Presentation

and the video

This is the link to the VMware {Code} presentation

And the video

 

#vCommunity is………teaching the next generation

Yesterday I had the honor of teaching 2 separate classes an introduction to VMware vSphere. This was a first time for me since until now I had always been on the receiving end of schoolclasses/courses. The journey started when I noticed a shared post on linkedin where Ellis Uytdehage of the Radius College in Breda (The Netherlands) was looking for guest lecturers. This is Dutch MBO level and could roughly be translated to Junior College / Vocational Education in other country’s. It’s post high school and they actually learn how to be a systems/network/application admin. The people whom I thought are all in their fourth and last year and doing internships or did BBL which consists of working four days and learning one day each week.

Since I didn’t want to bore the students by making them have to listen to me giving boring college for an hour we decided on me doing a 10 minute introduction and after that I gave them some basic tasks to to in the Virtualization 101 Hands On Lab. I could have gone with some boring specs and workings of vSphere but for me it was also about introducing them to the vCommunity. Supported by a couple of pictures I explained how important it is to share knowledge and that it will pay back in the end. That it isn’t all serious I showed them some of the examples of fun we had at VMworld.

I have to say that despite the HOL’s being slow with 40 persons starting the same lab at the same time that the classes where a success. While several students already used vSphere for a bit at their internships or even had already played with the Hands On Labs, they showed great interest in the tech and I am 100% sure that almost all of them learned something new. My side mission or message of showing them that sharing = caring also came across and if anyone of them wants any help in blogging/presenting/whatever they’re always welcome to contact me.

I would like to thank Ellis, Radius College and my employer AnylinQ for the opportunity and already look forward to next time!