Kubernetes Anywhere and PhotonOS Template

Experimenting with Kubernetes to orchestrate and manage containers? If you are like me and already have a lot invested in vSphere (time, infra, knowledge) you might be exctied to use Kubernetes Anywhere to deploy it quickly. I won’t re-write the instruction found here:


It works with

  • Google Compure Engine
  • Azure
  • vSphere

The vSphere option uses the Photon OS ova to spin up the container hosts and managers. So you can try it out easily with very little background in containers. That is dangerous as you will find yourself neck deep in new things to learn.

Don’t turn on the template!


If you are like me and *skim* instructions you could be in for hours of “Why do all my nodes have the same IP?” When you power on the Photon OS template the startup sequence generates a machine ID (and mac address). So even though I powered it back off, the cloning processes was producing identical VM’s for my kubernetes cluster. Those not hip to networking this is bad for communication.

Also, don’t try to be a good VMware Admin cad convert that VM to a VM Template. The Kubernetes Anywhere script won’t find it.

IF you do like me and skip a few lines reading (happens right) make sure to check this documenation out on Photon OS. It will help get you on the right track.


This is clearly marked in the documentation now.

Getting OpenBSD running on Raspberry Pi 3

Ian Darwin writes in about his work deploying the arm64 platform and the Raspberry Pi 3:

So I have this empty white birdhouse-like thing in the yard, open at the front. It was intended to house the wireless remote temperature sensor from a low-cost weather station, which had previously been mounted on a dark-colored wall of the house (reading were really high when the sun reached that side of the house!). But when I put the sensor into the birdhouse, the signal is too weak for the weather station to receive it (the mounting post was put in place by a previous owner of our property, and is set deeply in concrete). So the next plan was to pop in a tiny OpenBSD computer with a uthum(4) temperature sensor and stream the temperature over WiFi.


OpenBSD 6.1 Released

April 11, 2017: The OpenBSD project has announced the availability of the newest release, OpenBSD 6.1:

We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.1.
This is our 42nd release.  We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of more
than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install.

This release has several notable changes. The most visible are:

  • New syspatch(8) utility for binary base system updates to supported -stable amd64 and i386 releases
  • The acme-client, a privilege separated ACME client for easy maintenance of Let's encrypt TLS certificates

We expect these items will make the day to day running of OpenBSD systems significantly easier.

Other notable improvements include:

  • Several enhancements to vmm(4), including support for third-party BIOSes and Linux guests
  • New arm64 platform targeting Pine64, Raspberry Pi 3 and Opteron A1100
  • Continuing SMP improvements, particularly in the network stack
  • New xenodm(1) X display manager
  • Improved capabilites in a number of IEEE 802.11 wireless network drivers
  • Updates to the package system tools as well as the package collection itself, with increased number of prebuilt packages for the more popular (and faster) architectures

This release also has updated versions of OpenSMTPD, OpenSSH, LibreSSL, mandoc as well as incremental improvements to all other named subprojects.

The release page contains a fuller list of changes while the upgrade page gives recommendations on how to upgrade to the new release.

Help us test Cloud Attachments in Outlook 2016 with SharePoint Server 2016

My name is Steven Lepofsky, and I’m an engineer on the Outlook for Windows team. We have released (to Insiders) support for Outlook 2016’s Cloud Attachment experience with SharePoint Server 2016. We need your help to test this out and give us your feedback!

So, what do I mean by “cloud attachments?” Let’s start there.

The Cloud Attachment Experience Today

Back when we shipped Outlook 2016, we included a refreshed experience for how you can add attachments in Outlook. To recap, here are a few of the new ways Outlook helped you to share your files and collaborate with others:

We added a gallery that shows your most recently used documents and files. Files in this list could come from Microsoft services such as OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint hosted in Office 365 or your local computer. When you attach these files, you have the option of sharing a link to the file rather than a copy. With the co-authoring power of Microsoft Office, you can collaborate in real time on these documents without having to send multiple copies back and forth.


Is the file you’re looking for not showing up in the in the recent items list? Outlook includes handy shortcuts to Web Locations where your file might be stored:


And in a recent update, we gave you the ability to upload files directly to the cloud when you attach a file that is stored locally:


Adding Support for SharePoint Server 2016

Until now, Cloud Attachments were only available from Office 365 services or the consumer version of OneDrive. We are now adding the ability to connect to SharePoint Server 2016, so you can find and share files from your on-premises SharePoint server in a single click. We’d love your help testing this out before we roll it out to everyone!

The new experience will match what we have today, just with an additional set of locations. Once setup, you’ll have new entries under Attach File -> Browse Web Locations. These will show up as “OneDrive for Business” for a user’s personal documents folder, and “Sites” for team folders.

Note: If you also happen to be signed in to any Office365 SharePoint or OneDrive for Business sites under File -> Office Account, both sites may show up. The difference will be that the Office 365 versions will have branding for your company. For example, it may say “OneDrive – Contoso” rather than “OneDrive for Business”, or “Sites – Contoso” rather than “Sites.”


You’ll be able to upload locally attached files to the OneDrive for Business folder located on your SharePoint Server.


And, of course, you’ll see recently used files from your SharePoint server start to show up in your recently used files list.


How to get setup

Here are the necessary steps and requirements to start testing this feature out:

  1. This scenario is only supported if you are also using Exchange Server 2016. You’ll need to configure your Exchange server to point to your SharePoint Server 2016 Internal and/or External URLs. See this blog post for details: Configure rich document collaboration using Exchange Server 2016, Office Online Server (OOS) and SharePoint Server 2016
  2. You’ll need Outlook for Windows build 16.0.7825.1000 or above.
  3. Ensure that your SharePoint site is in included in the Intranet zone.
  4. Optional: Ensure that crawling is enabled so that your documents can show up in the recent items gallery. Other features such as uploading a local attachment to your site will work even if crawling is not enabled. See this page for more details: Manage crawling in SharePoint Server 2013

Once enrolled, any mailbox that boots up Outlook and is configured with your SharePoint Server’s information per step #1 above will start to see the new entry points for the server.

We hope you enjoy this sneak peek, and please let us know how this is working for you in the comments below!

Steven Lepofsky

Setting up VSAN in vSphere 6.5 > Hint, its super easy!

New job, new lab.  I’ve been rebuilding our lab environment and for the first time, I have enough hardware to really give VSAN a whirl.   I have 6 hosts with Intel Xeon E5645 procs and 4 x 400GB SSD’s in each server.

Being a lab environment, I knew I wanted to deploy a different SDS solution.  I’ve worked with HPE’s StoreVirtual in the past and I was able to do a hands-on POC with an EMC ScaleIO SDS earlier this year.  VSAN, however, had been elusive for me, so I took this opportunity to work through that solution.

The biggest hurdles in building VSAN is the underlying hardware.  The software, as with most of VMware’s solutions, is dead simple to configure and make the solution work.  Even though I have good hardware, I’m not strictly compatible per the HCL, but this doesn’t keep VSAN from working very well.

But my SSD’s show up as HDD’s

Back to the hardware – these older IBM System x’s – did not support JBOD passthrough on the RAID controllers.  While it was a pain to setup, there is a workable solution.  In the RAID controller, you have to build a RAID disk in a RAID 0 configuration for each drive and then present it out as a virtual drive.  This is far from ideal, but works in a lab.  The one problem it creates is masking the SSD capabilities from ESXi.  ESXi sees these virtual disks as hard drives instead of solid state.

Fortunately, a little ESXCLI magic and you can override this – first you have to list all the local disks – the exact command will vary a little based on your hardware, but since all these were connected to my IBM servers, I was able to use a grep for IBM.

esxcli storage core device list | grep IBM

You just need to figure out what identifies your local disk type and then grep for the same thing.

For the rest, I followed the instructions in this VMware tech document – https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.storage.doc%2FGUID-99BB81AC-5342-45E5-BF67-8D43647FAD31.html (these instructions work with 6.0 and 6.5, even though the document is for 5.5).

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s SATP –device device_name –option=”enable_ssd”

Lastly, you need the system to ‘reclaim’ the disk with the new policy.

esxcli storage core claiming reclaim –device device_name

Now the easy part

VSAN is built-in to vSphere 6.0 and 6.5, so via the vSphere Web Client, so setup is very simple.  Instead of step-by-step, these instructions are the outline of steps to setup your own VSAN.

  1. On each of your nodes to be used for VSAN, setup 10Gig VMKernel adapters and check the box for Enable Virtual SAN.  You need at least one and I decided to re-use my iSCSI connections for the lab.  [Someone familiar with best practices, comment is this is bad idea].
  2. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to your cluster object, navigate to the Configure tab for it and then select General under Virtual SAN.
  3. Enable virtual SAN > click Edit… next to Virtual SAN and then check the box to “Turn ON Virtual SAN.” [as a side note, I’ve always loved how easy HA clustering is to enable, and Virtual SAN is just as simple – although you have a little config left to complete]

    I kept the default of adding disks Manually to my installation.  If you have JBOD passthrough and your SSD’s show up as SSD’s automatically, go for Automatic disk add…
  4. Next step is adding disks, just a simple – go to Disk Management, click the Claim Disks button and then for each host, choose how you’d like to adopt the disks.  For my systems, I chose Capacity at the host level, which is inherited to all disks in the host, then I went back and chose one Cache disk per host.  Click OK and your VSAN is building.

You’ll see a number of tasks in the background under Recent Tasks.

Last, you’ll see a new Datastore presented from your VSAN which is an aggregate of all the disks and groups from all your participating systems.

One last tip, go ahead to the Monitor tab and then go to Performance.  Click on Virtual SAN – either option – and then enable performance monitoring.

Why VSAN for the lab?

I had several reasons…

  1. No drive penalty…  With solutions like HPE’s StoreVirtual and EMC’s ScaleIO, you must have a VM ‘controller’ that is the main connection to your local storage and presents it up to servers for consumption.  StoreVirtual has a virtual appliance and ScaleIO has its SDS in virtual appliance form – but with a VM, you have to store the base VM image somewhere, meaning one less drive to be setup in your drive pool.
  2. It is tightly integrated into vSphere, meaning less management points.
  3. I have entitlements for my lab via the vExpert program, so price is not an issue.   For others, check out VMUG Advantage – while not free, it is a great value for your home lab.

SQL Server VM Performance with VMware vSphere 6.5

Achieving optimal SQL Server performance on vSphere has been a constant focus here at VMware; Irsquo;ve published past performance studies with vSphere 5.5 and 6.0 which showed excellent performance up to the maximum VM size supported at the time.

Since then, there have been quite a few changes! While this study uses a similar test methodology, it features an updated hypervisor (vSphere 6.5), database engine (SQL Server 2016), OLTP benchmark (DVD Store 3), and CPUs (Intel Xeon v4 processors with 24 cores per socket, codenamed Broadwell-EX).

The new tests show large SQL Server databases continue to run extremely efficiently, achieving great performance on vSphere 6.5. Following our best practices was all that was necessary to achieve this scalability – which reminds me, donrsquo;t forget to check out Niranrsquo;s new SQL Server on vSphere best practices guide, which was also just updated.

In addition to performance, power consumption was measured on each ESXi host. This allowed for a comparison of Host Power Management (HPM) policies within vSphere, performance per watt of each host, and power draw under stress versus idle:

Generational SQL Server DB Host Power and Performance/watt

Additionally, this new study compares a virtual file-based disk (VMDK) on VMwarersquo;s native Virtual Machine File System (VMFS 5) to a physical Raw Device Mapping (RDM). I added this test for two reasons: first, it has been several years since they have been compared; and second, customer feedback from VMworld sessions indicates this is still a debate that comes up in IT shops, particularly with regard to deploying database workloads such as SQL Server and Oracle.

For more details and the test results, download the paper: Performance Characterization of Microsoft SQL Server on VMware vSphere 6.5

The post SQL Server VM Performance with VMware vSphere 6.5 appeared first on VMware VROOM! Blog.

Sizing for large VMDKs on vSAN

I’ve recently been involved in some design and sizing for very large VMDKs on vSAN. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when doing this, not just the overhead when deciding to go with RAID1, RAID5 or RAID6, but also what this means for component counts. In the following post, I have done a few tests with some rather large RAID-5 and RAID-6 VMDKs, just to show you how we deal with it in vSAN. If you are involved in designing and sizing vSANs for large virtual machines, you might find this interesting.

Let’s start with a RAID-5  example. Let’s also take a VM with a significantly large 8TB VMDK, deployed as a RAID-5.

As a RAID-5,  that 8TB VMDK will have a X1.33 capacity overhead to cater for the parity. So in essence, we are looking at 10.66TB to implement this RAID-5 configuration. This configuration can tolerate 1 failures in vSAN. That is a considerable space savings when compared to using the default RAID-1 Failures-To-Tolerate setting. RAID-1 would require a second copy of the data in that case, so 2 x 8TB = 16TB. So RAID-5 is giving us a considerable space-saving over RAID-1. However, you will need to have at least 4 hosts in your vSAN cluster to implement a RAID-5 configuration, whereas RAID-1 can be implemented with 2 or 3 nodes.

Now we come to the component count. Readers who are well versed in vSAN will be aware that the maximum component size in vSAN is 255GB. This has been around since vSAN 5.5, and continues to be the same today. So with 10.66TB, We would have something like 40 or more 256GB segments to accommodate this 10.66TB requirement. I deployed this configuration on my own environment, and this is what was created on vSAN, using a policy of FTT (FailureToTolerate)=1, FTM (FailureToleranceMethod)=Erasure Coding.

I have a total of 44 components in this example, 11 per RAID-5 segment. These components are then concatenated into a RAID-0 in each RAID-5 segment. If you want to see this on your own vSAN, you will have to use the Object Space Reservation setting of 100% to achieve this (along with the necessary disk capacity of course). Since vSAN deploys objects thinly, if you do not use OSR=100%, you will only see the bare minimum 4 components in the RAID-5 object. As you consume capacity in the VMDK, the layout will grow accordingly.

Now the other thing to keep in mind with component count is snapshots. A snapshot layout will follow the same layout as the VMDK that it is a snapshot of. Therefore a snapshot of the above VMDK will have the same layout, as shown here:

This means that to snapshot this RAID-5 VMDK, I will consume another 44 components (which needs to be factored into the component count).

Let’s take another example that I have been working on. Let’s  take the same VM with an 8TB VMDK, and deploy it as a RAID-6.

As a RAID-6,  that 8TB VMDK will have a X1.5 capacity overhead to cater for the double parity required for RAID-6. So in essence, we are looking at in the region of 12TB to implement this RAID-6 configuration. Of course, the point to remember is that this configuration can tolerate 2 failures in vSAN. That is a considerable space savings when compared to using RAID-1 to tolerate 2 failures. This would be 3 copies of the data in that case, so 3 x 8TB = 24TB. So RAID-6 is giving us a 100% space-saving. You will of course need to have at least 6 hosts in your vSAN cluster to implement a RAID-6 configuration, so keep that in mind as well.

Now the next thing is the component count. So with a ~12TB RAID-6 object (8TB data, 4TB parity), this is what was deployed on vSAN, once I set the Object Space Reservation to 100% and choose a RAID -6 policy (FTT=2, FTM=Erasure Coding):

In each of the RAID-6 segments, there are 9 components (just over the ~2TB). With 6 segments, this implies we are looking at 54 components to deploy that 8TB VMDK in a RAID-6 configuration. As before, any snapshots of this VM/VMDK will instantiate a snapshot delta object with the same configuration of 54 components.

Hopefully that explains some of the considerations when dealing with some very large VMDKs on vSAN.


The post Sizing for large VMDKs on vSAN appeared first on CormacHogan.com.

Video – LogInsight deep dive

This video is aimed towards anyone who does a lot of Log Analysis. In this video I showcased the capabilities of VMware vRealize Log Insight.

This will enable you to confidently utilise this tool to not only analyse the diverse logs that you can think of but also visualise the patterns and much more.

So, if you are a hands on person who loves to do root cause analysis, or want to solve that nagging performance issue, then this video is for you.

Learn all about vRealize Log Insight in under 90 minutes

New Release: Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition Book

Recently, the new book Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition was published by Packt Publishing. Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition contains 517 pages of PowerCLI goodness. The book starts with downloading and installing PowerCLI. It continues with basic PowerCLI concepts, and working with PowerShell objects. Managing vSphere host, virtual machines, virtual networks, storage, high availability, clusters, and vCenter Server are the following topics. After patching ESXi hosts and upgrading virtual machines using vSphere Update Manager, managing VMware vCloud Director and vCloud Air, using Site Recovery Manager, vRealize Operations Manager, and REST API to manage NSX and vRealize Automation, the book finishes with a chapter about reporting.

If you are new to PowerCLI or have some PowerCLI experience and want to improve your PowerCLI skills, Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition will teach you to use PowerCLI to automate your work!

What’s New

Compared to the first edition, the following new topics are added in Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition:

  • Importing OVF or OVA packages
  • Using Tags
  • Using VMware vSAN
  • Using vSphere storage policy-based management
  • Configuring enhanced vMotion compatibility (EVC) mode
  • Patching ESXi hosts and upgrading virtual machines
  • Managing VMware vCloud Director and vCloud Air
  • Using Site Recovery Manager
  • Using vRealize Operations Manager
  • Using REST API to manage NSX and vRealize Automation

Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition is available exclusively from Packt Publishing: https://www.packtpub.com/virtualization-and-cloud/learning-powercli-second-edition

About the Author

Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition is written by Robert van den Nieuwendijk. Robert is a freelance system engineer living and working in the Netherlands. He is a VMware vExpert since 2012 and a moderator of the VMware VMTN Communities. Robert has a blog at http://rvdnieuwendijk.com. You can follow Robert on Twitter as @rvdnieuwendijk.

The post New Release: Learning PowerCLI – Second Edition Book appeared first on VMware PowerCLI Blog.