VCF 4.5 – Adding an Edge Cluster to a workload domain

Adding an NSX Edge Cluster to a VCF workload domain brings a huge amount of versatility to your workloads living there. Software defined networks that can be provisioned with full routing when you need them. Security, for workloads on segments as well as those on traditional portgroups through both the Distributed and Gateway Firewalls. With VCF it’s easy to get started.

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Deploy Critical Patches for VCF with the Async Patch Tool – whilst maintaining upgradability!

The Async Patch Tool is a command line utility that allows you to apply critical patches to VCF components NSX-T Manager, vCenter Server, and ESXi (Note:VxRail ESXi patching not supported). As this moves you out of the release versions, the tool also enables upgrades of an async patched system to a new version of VCF!

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VCF Infrastructure Disaster Protection (Yeah, backups)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon filled with backup tapes.

Words to live by, and as the density of those backup tapes continues to increase (Last time I used backup tapes they were 400/800GB LTO3’s), so does the station wagons bandwidth! I’ll leave it up to you to get your tapes to the vault but let’s go through what it takes to get the pertinent VCF infrastructure configuration data into a state and place where it can be backed up and restored. This will include configuration of the backups for SDDC Manager, vCenters, Exporting VDS configs, and NSX Managers, lets go!

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New VCF Cluster size available!

VCF 4.4 gives you two node clusters

With the release of VCF 4.4 you are able to create a 2-node cluster! There are a few caveats with this;

  • You must use NFS or VMFS over FC for storage
  • You must use vLCM Images

Both of those mean that you can’t have a 2 node cluster in the management domain, as vSAN is required and it uses vLCM Baselines.

Let’s walk through what it takes to create a new workload domain with a two node NFS.

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Synology 1621+ Review

This is not my normal blog post, but.. a while back someone from Synology contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their devices. Having never used one before I asked a few questions about running virtual machines on it and was sent a 1621+ which could run a small VM as it only has 4GB RAM. I wasn’t sure what I could do with this for what I was looking to test (backup/DR, running Cloudbuilder and a virtual router), but I was given a promise of something larger in a few months time where I could run multiple larger VMs. That was last summer and the person who sent the device has left Synology and now I’ve gotten a follow up from another person looking for my review. I did use the 1621+ for a few things while I was waiting for something that, unfortunately never materialized. I’ll detail those here.

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Easy lab VMs with Photon on VCF

Split' Photon Provides New Way to See Light | Dartmouth
The finding of the Majorana boson demonstrates that photons can be “split” into halves. (Animation by LaDarius Dennison)

For quite awhile I’ve been challenged to find a small Linux VM to do small tasks like demonstrating connectivity (ping) between a couple of *magic* SDN segments, or running an application that’s only available on, or well… just better on Linux. Here we’ll go through a quick run down on how you can build these easily and quickly. Future posts will build on this lab VM idea and we’ll add more functionality.

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Adjusting the VCF API Swagger

These go to 11 / Spinal Tap | Know Your Meme

The API for VCF is hands down, one of the most powerful in the industry. Allowing you to accomplish everything from scheduling backups, to rotating certificates and passwords across the deployment, to deploying an NSX Edge Cluster complete with Tier-0 and Tier-1 routers configured!

While the Developer Center is a great place to start and try out API’s, making it part of your enterprise automation/orchestration systems should be the goal. For that you’ll want the VCF API swagger file to import into your API Orchestration engine. While this isn’t able to happen straightaway, it’s easy to complete with just a few simple tweaks.

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Keystore Management with VCF

Keystores contain certificates used by Java-based applications to authenticate and encrypt HTTPS traffic. VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) leverages a keystore and automates a significant part of the interaction with it. As a result, management of the keystore is often overlooked.

In this article, I’ll discuss the keystore used by VCF, why you would need to manage it, and demonstrate some of the commands you might use.

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When passwords expire…

Most platforms today implement a password aging system that requires a user to change the passwords used within a specific interval or have access automatically disabled. VMware is no different. By default, password aging is enabled on most VMware products, including vCenter, NSX, and so on.

In this article, I’ll discuss what can happen when passwords expire within a VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) environment and demonstrate how you can avoid issues.

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