#VMWorld2015 Day 3 and 4 - Session Ramble

#VMWorld2015 Day 3 and 4 - Session Ramble

· by CodyDe · Read in about 5 min · (1008 words) ·

We continue to adventure into a time vortex. This is now Friday that I am writing a post about Wednesday. I still have Thursday to write about!

INF5800 – “Zero Touch” ESXi Deployment, Configuration & Upgrades with AutoDeploy and Host Profiles

Full transparency - I’m one of I think few “Enterprise Grade” VMWare Administrators who have never worked with Auto deploy. I know of it, I know what it does, but I’ve never configured it.

Likewise - I’ve had pretty horrible luck with configuring and maintaining host profiles - although I fully accept that this is a problem on MY end, not the product itself.

With all of that said, this session was extremely informative. The speakers (one of whom was Brian Graf - someone I’m a huge fan of within VMWare) spoke well and brought some great facts to the table. A particular slide I liked the most was a slide that discussed the scalability of booting a substantial amount of vSphere hosts with auto deploy at the same time. The chart showed an exact point where time to deploy sharply increased vs the amount of systems being deployed. It was over 100 concurrent deployments! It’s hard to imagine an environment that would be booting that many new servers at a given time, that wasn’t experiencing a DR scenario. With that said - even that many hosts still resulted in all systems booting up and in vCenter in less than 5 minutes.

Discussions were presented regarding upcoming announcements with regards to Autodeploy and Host Profiles. One of the most significant is the removal of the requirement of maintenance mode to make any changes to a system governed by host profiles. I HAVE run into this in my environment, and it’s always quite frustrating!

Great session; relevant info. Couldn’t expect any less from Brian!

This session was probably the most architecture heavy sessions I attended during VMWorld. The presenters discussed real reference architecture for NSX and UCS deployments. The presentation was familiar territory, as my current production environment is a vBlock that leverages the majority of the recommendations of the platform.

It was a great session for someone who’s new to the UCS design concept. It really makes me wish I had spent a lot more time when I was “younger” in IT focusing on building a stronger network background. I feel very confident in my network “skills” now; but UCS really pushes you to your limits in my opinion.

Another thing that came to mind from this session is really an appreciation of how integrated the fault tolerance within the platform. Everything designed from the ground up redundant as a core concept really strengthens its enterprise foothold.

We had a great conversation afterwards with an NSX Product Manager around the concept of deploying NSX to remote sites and spanned transport zones enabling “Layer 2 adjacency” for those remote sites. The Software Defined Data Center really is changing the way we design network architecture.

MGT6535 – Introduction to the vRealize Automation API and Command-Line Tools

I’m very intrigued by the vRealize API and Command Line tools that exist, and i’m curious to see where they develop and grow to. This rings even truer seeing the things coming in vRA next.

I’m a huge vRealize junkie and every time I hear about new feature that I haven’t seen a ton of before, my ears perk up. This session was no exception. The presenter spoke at great length about the many API options available within vRA Automation. Not only that though, she also provided some links to tools to leverage these API’s better as well as some discussion around future tool sets.

I was especially interested in a front end for vRA for launching catalog items that required inputs similar to a REST query. I need to dig up the links form the slides so I can provide some specifics in this blog - but bottom line - it was really slick stuff. It created a front end for the vRA catalog that was much more trimmed down, and more tuned for a developer to test deployments against. Being that were knee deep in our deployment, I could get a ton of use out of this.

NET5362 – Automated Network & Security Services with NSX and vRealize Automation

Hint, this session was heavy API like everything else has been! It’s a really cool thing that the platform developers are really baking in easy to work with API’s into the platforms to help drive further extensibility and automation.

This session was full of practical examples of utilizing APIs to drive mass automation within the platform. The concepts of mass creating security groups, applying security tags to move systems between groups temporarily, automating the stand up and tear down of entire vDS’s and virtual wires - the works.

Heavily leveraging vRealize Orchestrator will continue to be CRUCIAL in driving this automation, especially with the benefits Advanced Service Designer presents us from a “pretty presentation” factor.

After attending this session, I really want to work to automate our subnet creation. I feel like utilizing the vRO/vCO workflows this can be done quite easily, and us a lot of pain.

INF5054 – Vagrant and vSphere Integration: Building Repeatable Environments

My final session of VMWorld! The end hath come.

It was a fun session to close out with. Vagrant is something I’ve always been interested in playing with but never really had a chance to dig into. I was disappointed that this session was so focused on the Linux front. I get why - its highly repeatably, heavily developed on, and quick to deploy. Being a Windows kid though - I really would’ve liked to see some Vagrant UP’s of a Server 2012 R2 box for some Citrix testing (even possible?)

It was a very quick session, 20 minutes long and not a lot of questions. Another future blog post for me!

Stay tuned for my final post in my introductory series - Wrapping up my thoughts of #VMWorld2015

Stay labbing and stay automating!

-Cody