TAM Lab 079 – Using vRA Cloud to operate a Multi-Cloud Environment

Myself and Katherine Skilling (LinkedIn, Twitter) recorded a session for TAM Lab and VMUG Events.

In the below session, we cover how to use vRealize Automation Cloud (or vRA 8.x for on-prem) to operate your Multi-Cloud environment.

So what does this actually mean?

We cover how to use vRealize Automation to deploy and consume your public cloud provider of choice. This is a demo heavy recording and we cover the following;

  • vRealize Automation Core Components
  • Image Mapping
  • Flavour Mapping
  • Machine Flavours
  • Using the Cloud Template canvas in design and code view (Blueprints)
  • Deploying your first virtual machine
  • Deploying your virtual machine to different public cloud providers
  • Creating inputs for configuration
  • Advanced configuration with CloudConfig
  • Basic Troubleshooting

Regards

Folding@Home Header

Deploying the VMware Appliance for [email protected] using Terraform

To simplify the deployment of [email protected] appliances to vSphere environments, I have wrote a set of Terraform configuration files (script).

You will need two packages downloaded to your jump host.

And either download locally the VMware [email protected] Appliance, or host it at remote location.

Use the git software to download my Terraform Git folder which contains the folder called Deploy-FAH.

git clone https://github.com/saintdle/Terraform.git

Move into the “Deploy-FAH” folder, and edit the terraform.tfvars file as needed;

cd Deploy-FAH
vi terraform.tfvars

Below is an example;

// Name of the vSphere server. E.g "vcsa.vmware.local"
vsphere_server = "vcenter.veducate.local"

// User on the vSphere server. E.g "administrator@vsphere.local"
vsphere_user = "administrator@vsphere.local"

// Password of the user on the vSphere server. E.g "password"
vsphere_password = "Password1234!"

// Name of the vSphere data center. E.g "datacenter"
vsphere_datacenter = "Datacenter"

// Name of the vSphere cluster. E.g "Cluster"
vsphere_cluster = "Cluster"

// Name or IP of the vSphere host in the cluster to deploy your VM to. E.g "esxi-01" or "192.168.1.20"
vsphere_host = "10.10.2.4"

// Name of the vSphere data store to use for the VMs. E.g "VSAN"
vsphere_datastore = "Datastore"

// Network to connect virtual machine
vm_network = "Freale_NW1"

// Number of instances to deploy
instance_count = 2

// VM Machine Name (an index will be appended i.e FAH-1, FAH-2,)
vm_name = "dean-test"

// Number of CPUs to set on deployed Virtual Machines
num_cpu = 2

// Memory to set on deployed Virtual Machines (in MB)
memory = 4096

// Name of vSphere Resouce Pool to be created. E.g "FAH-VMs"
vsphere_resource_pool = "dean-test"

// Name of VM folder to be created. E.g "FAH-VMs"
vsphere_vm_folder = "dean-test"

// Location of OVA file if using a local location - if using remote location, leave this as null
local_ovf_path = "/home/dean/Deploy-FAH-3/VMware-Appliance-FaH_1.0.4.ova"

// Location of OVA file if using a remote location - if using local location, leave this as null
remote_ovf_path =

// Enable SSH in FAH Appliance (True or False)
ssh_enable = "True"

// FAH appliance root password
root_password = "VMware1!"

// FAH Username you wish to be associated with in the statistics tables
fah_user = ""

// FAH Team you wish to be associated with in the statistics tables
fah_team = "52737"

// FAH Passkey to verify your user in the statistical tables (this is optional from FAH project)
fah_passkey = "unique_id"

That’s it, no more changes needed, it’s as simple as running the following to deploy your appliances;

#This will download the terraform providers as needed

terraform init

#This will show you the planned changes and make sure they are possible

terraform plan

#This will run the configuration to run the deployment

terraform apply

You can use the latest version of Terraform, version 0.13.5 as of the publishing of this post.

Quick notes

This terraform configuration uses some advance configuration in the folder “FAH-Appliance”, under the main.tf file. Here it reads the “remote_ovf_path” variable, and acts based on if it is null or not. If there is a variable set, then it runs the command to deploy from a remote location. If variable is null, then it looks to the “local_ovf_path”, and processes this to deploy an OVF/OVA from the local location.

  dynamic "ovf_deploy" {
  for_each = "${var.local_ovf_path}" != "" || "${var.remote_ovf_path}" != "" ? [0] : []
  content {
  // Path to local or remote ovf/ova file
  local_ovf_path = "${var.local_ovf_path}" != "" ? "${var.local_ovf_path}" : null
  remote_ovf_url = "${var.remote_ovf_path}" != "" ? "${var.remote_ovf_path}" : null
   disk_provisioning    = "thin"
   ovf_network_map = {
        "VM Network" = data.vsphere_network.network.id
    }
   }
  }

Thanks to Grant Orchard from HashiCorp helping me with this part of the config.

Interesting in where you can take this further, check out this post from Robert Jenson, using VMware CodeStream for an Infrastructure as Code deployment using GitHub as a source repository, and terraform for the deployment.

Regards

VMware AWS Header

How to delete vCenter Roles in VMC

The Issue

Whilst testing in VMC a PowerCLI script to create some vCenter roles, I noticed in the UI, then I deleted them, they remained, even though I was using the CloudAdmin@vmc.local account.

I also tried to delete them using PowerCLI and received the error message;

Remove-VIRole : 07/11/2020 09:00:42 Remove-VIRole Permission to perform this operation was denied. Required privilege 'VApp.PullFromUrls' on managed object with id 'Folder-group-d1'.
At line:1 char:1
+ Remove-VIRole OpenShift-Install
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Remove-VIRole], NoPermission
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Client20_InventoryServiceImpl_RemoveRole_VIError,VMware.VimAutomation.ViCore.Cmdlets.Commands.PermissionManagement.RemoveVIRole

You should not create roles with permissions higher than that of the CloudAdmin Account. You can find further information of these permissions here.

If you do this, the only fix is to log a support call with VMware to resolve.

The Fix

VMware have a KB for this issue and how to delete the vCenter roles.

To resolve you use the vCenter Managed Objects Browser (MOB).

Note: When using the MOB to make changes, users will not be prompted for confirmation before making any changes, including removing roles. A custom role can not have privileges higher than the CloudGlobalAdmin role.

First to view all your existing roles in your browser go to;

  •  https://{VMC_VC_FQDN}/mob/?moid=AuthorizationManager&doPath=roleList

This will list all roles, and note the roleId for the role you want to remove.

To remove a role: Continue reading How to delete vCenter Roles in VMC

Interview with Nikola Pejkova – Technical Analyst & Community Manager @Veeam

For those of you who know or follow me, I’m delighted to be part of the Veeam Vanguard program, created to bring together some of the top individuals focused on technology and yes, the Veeam ecosystem to help guide Veeam with feedback and perspective.

But to be honest, for me it’s just a fantastic group of individuals who are experts in their various fields. They will bend over backwards to help and support you, and we all love to learn and share with the community. If you are involved with Veeam products in any way in your daily life/job role, I highly recommend you look into the program and apply if you feel like it suits you.


Moving onto this blog post, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Nikola Pejkova (twitter) from Veeam, Technical Analyst and Community Manager. Nikola has been the driving force behind the Veeam Vanguard program and events for the past few years.

So, let’s dive in!

Nikola, tell us a bit about yourself, and what led to you taking the role as the community manager for Veeam.

Thanks for having me, Dean! I live in Prague, beautiful capital of Czech Republic where Veeam have its offices. I’ve been working in IT industry for more than 6 years now and I’ve experienced different roles in corporates as well as in startups. This mix of experiences have been probably the right fit when Veeam was searching for a community manager and I’ve been searching for a role where I can build something valuable and long-term.

It's safe to say Nikola has made her mark working for Veeam
It’s safe to say Nikola joined Veeam with the goal of making her mark at the company and in the technology industry. And I think many will agree, she is doing just that.

So, the Veeam Vanguard community manager role was the perfect match! I’ve been impressed by Veeam’s history, maintenance, and development of their own software products and also the culture that is so far from the experience I gained in other worldwide corporate companies.  

Please can you define what community means to you? And what goals you had coming into this role?

Community is something like a secondary family when it’s treated in a good way. There are many kinds of communities out there, but specially in case of IT ones, they’re kind of a special case. As they are uniting literally people from all the world, they are incredibly diverse and let us overcome the physical distance through technologies we got available those days.

Nikola meeting Vanny the Veeam Vanguard mascot
Nikola meeting Vanny the Veeam Vanguard mascot

Power of the community comes from its members, who can share together their experiences, have conversations about issues they’re solving at the moment or just support each other in hard times. Another crucial role in the community success is having the company that has to offer not just great products, but also continuous and various ways of engagement that keep the community live and up-to-date with all the innovations that are coming so fast nowadays! It’s like a group of friends who are having the same passion, in our case,  saving and protecting the data with products that just work.  

What makes an excellent community program versus just a good community program?

In my opinion there’s a crucial management of the community that needs to be done in a way that members understand the purpose of being part of the community, what benefits they are getting from interactions with others and what is the added value that they take out of being a part of any community.

Since COVID, one of the regular weekly get togethers in the calendar is the Veeam Vanguard Social call.
Since COVID, one of the regular weekly get-together in the calendar is the Veeam Vanguard Social call.

I’d say that difference between excellent and just a good community program is a passion of its members – when the community program is managed in a great way, members are happy, passionate, willing to participate and do extra steps for the community. When you got an average one, it can fulfill its purpose as a platform for social interactions and sharing experiences, but members won’t be so proactive to dedicate their own time out for the community. 

Are there areas from other community programs you are looking to replicate or even avoid? Which activities to you think have lost their shine?

What I’d like to generally avoid is taking the community members as “anonymous” numbers without any personal touch. What is incredible on Veeam Vanguard community is that we know each other not just by name, in most cases also personally. We do care about Vanguards as a group of unique and very special and talented individuals, which I’d love to keep for the future, as it’s one of the aspects that differentiate our community from others. 

What’s been the highlights so far leading the community programs at Veeam?

It’s hard to name just few of them, but for sure the highlight has been Vanguard Summit in Prague last October, where we met all together – Veeam Product Strategy team accompanied also with members of R&D team was spending almost the week in Prague together with Vanguards from all over the world to share latest product updates, which was super fun and we all had incredible time!

Addressing the Veeam Vanguard members at the annual summit in Prague, Nikolas home city.
Addressing the Veeam Vanguard members at the annual summit in Prague, Nikolas home city. (L-R, David Hill, Nikola Pejkova, Andrew Zhelezko, Kirsten Stoner, Karinne Bessette)

Also presenting about the Vanguard program during VMworld in Barcelona last fall was incredible experience. And I cannot forget how proud I was when so many Vanguards were answering during VeeamON Virtual in Expert Lounge to attendees from across the globe or participated on presentations with other Veeamers during VeeamON this year. Generally, the biggest highlight for me is to see the passion that Vanguards have towards Veeam products and willingness to constantly helping improve them. 

You are launching a new program, the Veeam Legends program, can you tell me about the process behind getting this ready for release to the public? 

Well, there were a lot of thoughts and efforts behind this project! First, we wanted to foster even deeper engagement that rewards our customers and partners for the role they have played in our success. We also wanted to introduce a new tier in our community program enabling some of our most active community participants to be recognized as leaders in the data protection community through content creation and user group and event participation.

Second, we wanted to keep conversation going and to provide users with a single place where they can share best practices, participate in virtual Veeam User Groups, grow as a Veeam pro by completing free, on-demand training through Veeam University and have fun by recognition and rewards.

That’s how we launched Veeam Community Resource Hub and Veeam Legends, the new community programs!

Veeam Legends part of the interview

Diversity and inclusion have become a recent focal topic in the 2020 climate, what is Veeam doing around this?

Veeam is very proactive when it comes to inclusion and equal opportunities. There are various initiatives inside the company that everybody can join, we also have an option to be active inside our local communities as volunteers. As Veeam is a global company with offices across the world, diversity is one of the key values as well as respect to others. 

And as a woman in the technology industry, what do you think of the state of D&I in technology today? And what barriers do we need to overcome?

Since time I’ve started to work in IT industry, I can see growing number of women not just in leading managerial roles, but also in development, graphics, and analytics, which is great!

Presenting at VMworld 2019 on the vBrownbag stage, encouraging others to be part of the Veeam communities
Presenting at VMworld 2019 on the vBrownbag stage, encouraging others to be part of the Veeam communities

I don’t see any reason why IT should be just for men, but I believe that it’s kind of stigmatised from the past that those technical areas are for men and others for women. I believe that we’ve overcome this as a society and much more girls are applying now to technical fields in universities, so I am expecting continual growth of numbers of girls in the IT. Also, for the reason that technologies are everywhere today, so younger generation is growing surrounded by all this since they were born, and It feels generally much more natural for them to be in contact with all the technology that is new for previous generations. 

Obviously with the current global pandemic we find ourselves suffering some disruption in our lives, but looking towards the rest of 2020 and into 2021, what personal goals and plans do you have?

After being locked due to COVID quarantine over 4 months in Canarias, my main goal to get home was fortunately finally met 😊.

Nikola returning home during covid.

Regarding the current travel restrictions and turning the world as we knew it before upside down, I’m thinking about some minivan reconstruction to rebuild it into the house on 4 wheels. We are having unlimited number of beautiful spots to visit in Czech Republic and surrounding countries, so having the van and independence to go anywhere I want gives me enough satisfaction. And finally put together my home office, as I think I might be seeing it a little more often!

Wrapping up

Dean here again.

I’d like to thank Nikola for agreeing to be interviewed. Working as a community manager in the technology industry is a unique challenge. It’s more than running events and asking customers/partners/advocates to help promote your brand. There are many community programs out there, but not all are successful, and it’s a fine line in getting it right.

It’s taken me a while to finalise this article and writing during a tumultuous year has been interesting. Since Nikola and I first exchanged messages on this blog post, so much has changed worldwide.

Hopefully in the future when we find ourselves to travel, myself and Nikola will be able to sit down and conduct a follow up interview, we can review this time, and how the community has changed during this time.

Regards

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How to deploy the VMware Appliance for [email protected]

In this blog post we will go through the steps to deploy the VMware Appliance for [email protected] to;

  • vCenter
  • Standalone ESXi host
  • VMware Fusion/Workstation

And also cover some basic troubleshooting.

Getting started with the VMware [email protected] Appliance (vBrownBag Recording)

Deploy the VMware Appliance for [email protected] to vCenter

Continue reading How to deploy the VMware Appliance for [email protected]