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:

https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes-anywhere

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!

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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.

https://github.com/vmware/photon/blob/master/docs/photon-admin-guide.md#clearing-the-machine-id-of-a-cloned-instance-for-dhcp

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.

Read more...

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.”

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

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

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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.