Building the lab 4: Stand up vCloud Director

First, I would like to declare: “vCloud Director is NOT dead!” I can say emphatically, this product did not die, never died, and I don’t believe that it is going to die! It is still actively being developed by VMware.

With this clarified, let’s move on to getting vCD stood up. Again, I followed along with the wonderful guide from Sysadmin Tutorial.

This guide has a very good walk-through for standing up vCloud Director 8.0 for a Proof of Concept (it also works well for 9.0). There are multiple steps that break out each milestone of the installation/deployment. You could follow along each part, as I did. Along the way, I will point out the various things that I did or changed for my environment.

Part One is self explanatory. The walkthrough shows you how to set up a SQL database. Yes, MS SQL is still supported with vCD 9.0. While you may want to migrate or move to a PostGreSQL Database, this guide sets you up for MS SQL. (I will cover how to setup PostGreSQL and migrate the database sometime in the future. You may need or want this down the road when you get ready to upgrade.)

Part Two – setting up a RabbitMQ server, I skipped. Why do you ask? Well, the answer is selfish. My environment is small and is designed for one thing – quick deployment and stand up of an SDDC environment for play and discovery. Unlike many vCD environments that can be found in the wild, I will not be interfacing or integrating with any outside services. Nor will I be standing up mulitple cells. So I have no need of a RabbitMQ server at this time. You and your environment may very well need one.

Part Three of this guide is very good. I like how they dig into the certificate creation and the details of what to do with them. This portion of the walkthrough also includes how to create the cert with a Microsoft CA server. These are details that I would like to see VMware include in their documentation. This is one area that plagues many installations as certificates always seem to be problematic and having a good walkthrough would really go a long way.

Once you complete these steps, you are ready to configure vCloud Director for consumption. Like all VMware products, you should have a good idea of how or what you want to do. Setting this up to play with is one thing. But if you are trying to utilize it beyond “how do I install it?”, then you need to have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish. If you haven’t taken the time to do this, you should.

For me, as I said previously – I want to stand up vCloud Director to be a mechanism where I can quickly deploy full SDDC environments to manipulate and play with. I want to utilize these environments to learn, discover, and grow my skillset. I do not want to destroy and rebuild my lab environment every time I have a different scenario I want to test. My goal is to ‘mimic’ the Hands On Lab environment. Ambitious? Yes.

I’m going to stop here as the next Part of the SysAdmin Tutorial walkthrough was already covered when I stood up NSX in “Building the lab 3: NSX”. Before I continue with the SysAdmin Tutorial on and kick off Part 5, I want to set up more storage.

vExpert 2018

“And the nominees are….”

The results are in, and the vExpert Community has spoken. Micronauts has been added to the vExpert Community! Woohoo!

vExpert 2018

I would like to thank VMware, my mom, my children…. hehehehe….

Now that I am a member of this prestigious community, I will try and make more of an effort to keep up-to-date with my homelab journey — as well as my PSO troubleshooting and discoveries. I hope that my insights and experiences will help you along your journey as well.

PSA: vSphere 5.5 End Of General Support

end of road
End of the Road for vSphere 5.5
Please take a note of this PSA.
I got a note in my email this week to help spread the word and remind people that the end will be here quicker than you realize. Don’t forget to plan ahead and upgrade to the latest version. From my experience, I have not come across an environment that an upgrade is as simple as it sounds, so please do plan ahead.

The End of General Support for vSphere 5.5 is September 19, 2018. To maintain your full level of support and subscription, VMware recommends upgrading to vSphere 6.5, or newer. VMware has extended the general support for vSphere 6.5 to a full five years from date of release, which means the general support for vSphere 6.5 will end November 15, 2021. For more information on the benefits of upgrading and how to upgrade, visit the VMware vSphere Upgrade Center.

If you would like assistance in moving to a newer version of vSphere, VMware’s vSphere Upgrade Service is available. This service delivers a comprehensive guide to upgrading your virtual infrastructure. It includes recommendations for planning and testing the upgrade, the actual upgrade itself, validation guidance and rollback procedures. For more information contact your Technical Account Manager or visit VMware Professional Services.

In the event you are unable to upgrade before the End of General Support (EOGS) and are active on Support and Subscription, you have the option to purchase extended support in one year increments for up to two years beyond the EOGS date. The price of Extended Support is $300,000 per product per year. Visit VMware Extended Support for more information.

Technical Guidance for vSphere 5.5 is available until September 19, 2020 primarily through the self-help portal. During the Technical Guidance phase, VMware does not offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit VMware Lifecycle Support Phases.

VMware KB Article #51491

I discovered this site that has a growing automated list of additional VMware products and their EOL dates from Virten.net. You may want to bookmark it and check on.
VMware’s Official Page is here.

Change…

The only thing constant is change. Change is the backbone of any IT organization. New widgets, software, and hardware seem to come out daily. Our job as IT professionals is to try and stay aware of these new products. However, while we try and stay ‘cutting-edge’ and ahead of all this change, we always seem to fall behind at some point. What we ought to try and do though, is not fall so far behind that we lose sight of the pack. Thus, we become obsolete and are expendable.

Recently, I went to a vCloud Director 9.x Design Workshop. Yes, my friends — vCloud Director is not DEAD. While the software is primarily for Service Providers, it is still a mighty tool that allows many IT groups the ability to rapidly deploy internal, isolated, “pods”. This training got me to thinking, ‘why am I not using vCD in my lab?’

That’s why, once again, I am updating my homelab. Over the last few years, I’ve torn down and rebuilt my lab numerous times. This has wound up taking weeks and months of time to reset back up — just to test something. It seems most often, the rebuild wastes so much time. This time around, I’m going to explore rebuilding my lab around vCloud Director 9.x.

homelab
Home Lab

Over the years, I have gone from a full 42U rack with Dell PowerEdge servers that consume massive amount of power, cooling, and my personal manpower to maintain. This hurt my wallet (as well as my time) — a lot, which also caused numerous problems with finance (aka: the wife). A while ago, I replaced the Dell PowerEdge servers with a Supermicro Super Server. This has been working out great for me. As a matter of fact, this past year I have made a few hardware modifications to the lab. I wound up running out of space and had to upgrade the hard drives in my synology box from (5) 2TB drives to (5) 3TB Drives. To expand the capabilities, additional hardware was acquired: A new Intel NUC was added as a payload target, and another Supermicro Super Server was obtained at the end of the year (Merry Christmas, right?).

Further blog posts will detail my rebuild journey. I fully intend on sharing what I learn.

VMware Hands On Labs

Pablo Roesch welcomes CEO Pat Gelsinger to HOL 2017
For the last three years, I have had the honor of being a VMware Lab Captain. What does this mean? Well, it means that I volunteer about 300-400 hours of my time to help write, develop, support, encourage, and assist event goers with taking a product focused lab at our VMworld, vFocus, and VMUG events.

For the last two years, I have been a co-captain creating the vRealize Automation (vRA) Challenge Lab (HOL-1890). It has been such a fun way to introduce common vRA problems that Cloud Administrators will come across and not only show them how to troubleshoot and identify them, but to show those same administrators how to resolve them. In my day job within Professional Services (PSO), I use this lab to supplement my vRA Knowledge Transfer.

Now that VMWorld 2017 has completed, our hardwork on those labs are now being released to the public. Over the next short minute, all 81 labs will be released for you to take on your own time (and at home!). For now, here’s Round 1.

https://blogs.vmware.com/hol/2017/09/vmworld-2017-hands-on-labs-released.html