Everything you ever wanted to know about the #vBrownBag: ProfessionalVMware.com #vBrownBag

#VMunderground & Opening Acts

If you’ve been to a VMworld US before, you’ve probably heard of the #VMunderground party. 2014 marks the eighth year of the party, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been involved in the planning for the BEST ONE YET.

The Sunday before VMworld US 2013, the guys from the #VMunderground crew and the ProfessionalVMware.com #vBrownBag crew were chatting over a beer, and an idea was born: combine the essence of the #vBrownBag podcast & #vBrownBag TechTalks along with the awesomeness that is the #VMunderground party. We’re calling this thing the #VMunderground Opening Acts and consists of 6 panel sessions from 1-4pm on Sunday, August 24th. We’ll take a break for the Solutions Exchange Welcome Reception, and kick off the party at 8pm. The best part, I believe, is that we’ll be holding both events at the City View at Metreon (4th & Mission). If you’re not familiar with it, it has a view of the downtown skyline and features an outdoor terrace. Fingers crossed for great weather. 🙂

More information:

See you there!

VMworld 2012: My schedule

In the spirit of “everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t I?”, I decided to go ahead and blog about my VMworld 2012 schedule. This VMworld promises to be a non-stop barrage of awesome technical content, learning new things, and hanging out with friends.

My schedule is pretty packed. When I’m not attending a session, I’ll be in the VMworld Community Lounge where myself & the rest of the #vBrownBag crew will be hosting the Community Tech Talks. Check out the schedule, or grab the .ics.

The sessions I plan on attending, in order of occurrence:

Session Day Time
GS01 — IT Transformation as the Enabler of Business Transformation 8/27/2012 8:30 AM
INF-VSP1196 — What’s New with vCloud Director Networking 8/27/2012 1:00 PM
INF-VSP1504 — Ask the Expert vBloggers 8/27/2012 2:30 PM
INF-VSP1856 — Become a Rock Star with PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator 8/27/2012 4:00 PM
INF-STO2980 — vSphere 5 Storage Best Practices 8/27/2012 5:00 PM
GS02 — Delivering the Promise of the Software Defined Datacenter 8/28/2012 8:30 AM
TEX2198 — Cloud Application Platform Roadmap (TAP only) 8/28/2012 10:30 AM
INF-VSP2164 — Automation of vCloud Director Disaster Recovery 8/28/2012 4:30 PM
TEX2225 — Cloud Infrastructure Suite Roadmap (TAP only) 8/29/2012 8:00 AM
OPS-CSM2975 — Orchestrating the Cloud: From API to Workflow 8/29/2012 11:00 AM
OPS-CSM1167 — Architecting for VMware vCloud Allocation Models 8/29/2012 12:30 PM
INF-VSP2825 — DRS: Advanced Concepts, Best Practices and Future Directions 8/29/2012 2:00 PM
GS03 — Genius Machines 8/30/2012 9:00 AM
INF-VSP1168 — Architecting a Cloud Infrastructure 8/30/2012 12:00 PM

As you can tell, I’m focusing quite a bit on vCloud Director and the various bits of automation that surround it. If you work for a TAP (Technical Alliance Partner, IIRC) be sure to check out the TAP only sessions. I’ve seen a bit of the future due to my day job and attending NDA roadmap briefings. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m extremely stoked for the VMware Cloud Infrastructure future!

#VMworld + #vBrownBag == crazy awesome

I’m incredibly excited about VMworld 2012 as this one will be a totally new experience for me. The first two years that I attended were as a customer, the third was as a vendor. If you talked to me at all last year, you probably remember that I’d lost my voice from working the booth every day the show floor was open, and was literally propped up by caffeine during the day and alcohol at night. Good, clean living. 😉 This year will be an all new experience because I will be very involved with the VMworld Community Tech Talks powered by the #vBrownBag podcast. John Troyer & Alex Maier (THE community folks at VMware) have decided to lend us the space, gear, and all the social media muscle they have to let us run a bunch of Lightning Rounds & Technical Deep Dives with some of the world’s smartest VMware folks around. If you haven’t seen the schedule yet, please go check it out now. We’ll be livestreaming the show on vmworld.com, and will have everything available for download & viewing after the conference as well.

The coolest thing about the Community Tech Talks powered by the #vBrownBag is our fantastic sponsors. In no particular order: Cisco, Veeam, Tintri, & TrainSignal have sponsored the #vBrownBag at VMworld. We’ll be handing out a very limited number of VMworld 2012 Survival Kits. These kits will include the necessary items to help you get through 4 days of awesomeness – energy, vitamins, earplugs, and (hopefully!) more. Most importantly, a very lucky 350 folks will get an awesome custom-made #vBrownBag USB key that will be packed with our best certification podcast series, the latest distribution of AutoLab 1.0, and fantastic content from each of our sponsors. YOU WILL WANT TO GET ONE OF THESE KEYS. 🙂

I hope I’ve done a great job explaining why I’m stoked about VMworld 2012. If you’re there in person, come see us at the Community Lounge. If you’re not able to make it, watch the livestream and participate on Twitter under the hashtag #vBrownBag. ‘Til then!

#VMworld 2012: Vote for the #vBrownBag crew! (please)

Howdy, hello, and hi — just a quick note to ask for your votes for the #vBrownBag crew that have submitted papers for VMworld 2012. If you’d like to meet any of us in person, or better yet, hear what we have to talk about – then please vote today! It’s quite simple, just pop on over to VMworld.com’s Call for Public Papers Voting page.

In the interest of saving you some valuable voting time; BEHOLD, a handy-dandy voting guide!

1320 PowerCLI 101
Cody Bunch, Principal Architect – Private Cloud, Rackspace
Glenn Sizemore, Technical Marketing Engineer, NetApp

1347 vCenter Orchestrator for the Everyday Administrator
James Bowling, Senior Systems Engineer, SavaSeniorCare
Cody Bunch, Principal Architect Private Cloud, Rackspace

1496 vSphere AutoLab. Build Your Personal Training and Test Lab Using the PC You Already Have Without All the Hardwork
Alastair Cooke, Trainer / Consultant, Demitasse Ltd
Nick Marshall, EUC Architect, Downer EDi

1497 Secrets of the vSphere AutoLab: How and When to Build Automation Into Your vSphere Deployment
Alastair Cooke, Trainer / Consultant, Demitasse Ltd
Nick Marshall, EUC Architect, Downer EDi

1498 Certification Preparation with the Community Lab Guide to vSphere 5
Alastair Cooke, Trainer / Consultant, Demitasse Ltd
Nick Marshall, EUC Architect, Downer EDi

1854 PowerCLI – Community Code
Josh Atwell, Systems Administrator, Cisco Systems Inc.

1856 Become a Rock Star with PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator
Josh Atwell, Systems Administrator, Cisco Systems Inc.

1968 Beyond Cloud Readiness: Is Your Organization Ready for vCloud Director?
JP Morgenthal, Cloud Ranger, EMC Corporation
Damian Karlson, Cloud Ranger, EMC Corporation

1996 Managing Your Day-to-Day Administrative Tasks with vCenter Orchestrator
Maish Saidel-Keesing, Platform Architect, NDS Technologies
Cody Bunch, Private Cloud / Virtualization Architect, professionalvmware.com

2318 Platform as a Service with VMware vCloud Director: As Seen from the Trenches and Ivory Towers
Christopher Kusek, Global Virtualization Lead, EMC Corporation
Damian Karlson, Cloud Solutions Architect, EMC Corporation

2356 The vBrownBag Panel: Certification Preparation By the Community for the Community
Cody Bunch, Principal Architect – Private Cloud, Rackspace
Alastair Cooke, Trainer / Consultant, Demitasse Ltd
Nick Marshall, EUC Architect, Downer EDi
Josh Atwell, Systems Administrator, Cisco Systems Inc.

#vBrownBag: vCloud Director & the AutoLab

If you listen to or attend the #vBrownBags on a regular basis, then chances are you’ve heard of the AutoLab. If you haven’t, then allow me. DUDE, you should check out the AutoLab! 🙂

The AutoLab is brought to you by APAC vBrownBag host Alastair Cooke (web/twitter), and our mad genius behind the boards, Nick Marshall (web/twitter). Its mission is simple: to provide an easy way to deploy a vSphere lab on ESXi or Workstation. If you have a laptop with about 8GB RAM and a modern CPU, then you can probably run the AutoLab! Sure, it won’t be like running a quad-socket 8 core beast with 1TB of RAM and EFD, but it’ll get you labbing, and that’s all that counts. If you’d like to get started, head over to labguides.com and download the AutoLab. I won’t go into detail on getting it setup, but I do want to outline a few minor alterations I did to get vCloud Director up and running.

First, I changed up the way Workstation manages the memory. I only have 8GB of RAM in this laptop, so overhead is a bit tight, especially if I’m running my WinXP VM as well, which I use as a personal VM inside my corporately imaged laptop. The AutoLab instructions say to go into Workstation’s Preferences menu and set the memory to “Fit all virtual machine memory into reserved host RAM”, which is essentially a memory reservation within Workstation. That approach works well, and I imagine that it helps to reduce swapping, especially on computers with spinning disks. Since my laptop runs SSD, I wanted to have more VMs running at once without having Workstation complain about running out of memory. I changed the memory setting to “Allow most virtual machine memory to be swapped”.

Another change I had to make was to increase the memory allocated to the Host1 and Host2. Staying with the default 2GB works for vSphere labbing, but once you install vCloud Director, you might want some memory available to power on VMs within vCD. I also went into the DC VM’s DHCP panel and increased the lease times. My reasoning for that is since I’m using the vCloud Director appliance; it does all of it’s setup business based on the DHCP addresses it receives at first power-on. If those addresses change, your vCD won’t run. Sure, you can go in and fix it, but it’s a PITA (IMO), so why bother? 🙂

After your AutoLab is setup, download the vShield Manager and vCloud Director appliances. The vShield Manager appliance has a EULA that goes crazy on my copy of Workstation, so I “fixed” it by unzipping the ova (it’s a zip file, after all, just a different extension), deleting the .mf & .cert files, and removing all the text between the <License> tags within the .ovf file’s XML. Before you delete the EULA, you should probably read and understand what you’ll be agreeing to. 🙂 Don’t bother rezipping into an .ova, just open the .ovf file with Workstation, agree to the now non-existent license (remember, you agreed when you read then deleted it) and let the install complete. Once it finishes, change the network from Bridged to the VMnet3 you created when you deployed the AutoLab, and set the memory to 384MB instead of 3GB. Power on the vShield Manager VM and wait for the startup to complete. Login to the vShield VM using the credentials of admin/default, enter privileged mode with the en command and the password default and type setup. You’ll be presented with a setup wizard of sorts; I used for the IP, for the subnet mask, for the gateway, for DNS, and lab.local for the DNS domain search list. After the vShield Manager setup completes, go over to the DC VM’s DNS panel and create a forward and reverse lookup for the vShield Manager VM, whose hostname will be manager by default. You may also want to setup a DHCP reservation for that IP address (if you want to be extra sure it won’t lose its IP); you can find the vShield Manager’s MAC address by logging into privileged mode and issuing the command show interface.

If you haven’t installed vCD previously, or if you have previous vShield experience outside of vCloud Director, the process is a bit different when using vShield in conjunction with vCenter. First, you won’t need to register your vShield Manager VM within vCenter, as it will be controlled by vCloud Director. Second, if you need to license it for whatever reason, the licensing is handled via vCenter’s Licensing panel. vCenter becomes aware of it once you connect vShield to vCloud Director and vCloud Director is connected to a vCenter.

Next up, open the vCloud Director appliance’s .ova file and add it to Workstation. Be sure to change the two bridged network adapters over to VMnet3, or your appliance will either wait forever for an IP address, or get one from the DHCP server on your Workstation’s LAN. Either way, at this point it’s simpler just to delete the VM and start over. The vCloud Director initial setup will take a while, so be patient until it completes. Interrupting it will most likely break it, so you’ll be back to the “delete and re-install shuffle” if you’re impatient. You’ll know it setup correctly if you can browse to the address displayed on the VM console (minus the 5480 port) and see the vCloud Director setup page.

At this point you can complete the vCloud Director web-based setup, but don’t go so far as to connect vCenter. If you have any troubles with name resolution to either vCenter or your vShield Manager VM, check DNS. When that is done, hop back over to the vCloud Director VM’s console and choose the Configure Network option. Change the hostname to something other than localhost, take note of the IP addresses it pulled from DHCP, save your changes and exit the network configuration screen. Next, choose the Login option, use the root/Default0 credentials and issue the command ifconfig to get the MAC addresses for the network interfaces if you want to do DHCP reservations over on the DC VM. You will want to add forward and reverse DNS records for the vCloud Director VM.

Once all the setup is completed, you can head over to the VC VM and use that to launch the vSphere client and point the browser towards the vCloud Director web page. If the rest of your lab is up and running, feel free to connect vCenter and start building out your provider virtual datacenter.

Happy AutoLabbing!