Schedule Builder now live for VMworld 2016 Europe

Schedule Builder is now live for VMworld 2016 Europe….

I’ve been checking out the content catalog for a few weeks now to try and plan my time at VMworld Europe in October.

Previous years I’ve been quite mad, dashing around to as many sessions as possible, which has been quite tiring! This year I’m planning to focus my sessions around What’s new with vSphere, NSX and VSAN. I’m also planning to spend a lot more time in the Solutions Exchange speaking to vendors who we partner with at MTI!

Anyways, if you haven’t already started scheduling your sessions then hurry up! All the good ones tend to get full very quick!

Roll on VMworld US (next week).

As a footnote – have you signed up for the live stream of the General Sessions at VMworld US?!?

VMware VSAN & NSX vExperts 2016 Announced

Proud to say that I’ve been chosen as a VSAN vExpert for 2016…. Honoured to have my name amongst some highly rated peers who were chosen out of the large pool of current vExperts!

I didn’t really set out to become a subject matter expert, but when VMware announced they were going to create 2 new subject tracks this year (NSX & VSAN), I thought I’d stick my name into the hat….. =)

Didn’t quite get there for the NSX track, only because I hadn’t really blogged about NSX much – which is funny considering my company is actually one of 5 focused NSX partners in UK&I…. =)

Anyways, congrats to everyone who was chosen to become a VSAN or NSX vExpert!


Roll on VMworld!! =)

NSX 6.2.3 pulled by VMware

Hmm…. well that was unfortunate timing….. I’ve been penning the last blog post for the past 2 weeks after I downloaded 6.2.3 and played around with it…. and I didn’t really double check my blog post before publishing it.

Turns out there are quite a number of bugs in 6.2.3 which was causing loss of connectivity to VMs and also issues applying DFW rules using Security Groups…. so VMware pulled the distribution last Friday!

TBH, I didn’t really encounter any issues during my deployment – probably because it’s in a lab/demo environment with not much going on. =)

Anyways, 6.2.2 is the now the latest version available for download. Only issue is I don’t think it supports vShield Endpoint/NSX Guest Introspection….. so at present vCNS 5.5.x is still required!

More info on why 6.2.3 was pulled can be found here:

NSX 6.2.3 Released – support for vShield Endpoint Management

As most people are aware, VMware pulled their support for vCloud Network & Security (and with that vShield Manager) earlier this year and a lot of my customers have been wondering what’s going to happen to their vShield Endpoint deployments (for agentless AV). It was strange that VMware announced the EoA for vCNS without really announcing it’s successor – although that said, most of us already had an inkling that NSX Manager would probably pick up the management of vShield Endpoint.

NSX 6.2.3 was released in June (as always to limited/no fanfare) and with this release was the announcement that NSX now supports the management of vShield Endpoint (now renamed NSX Guest Introspection). Customers who purchased vSphere with vShield Endpoint (pretty much all versions, Essentials Plus and above) are now able to download NSX Manager from their My VMware portal, under the vSphere product – download site. The license that comes embedded in NSX Manager 6.2.3 includes an unlimited capacity NSX for vShield Endpoint license key. To ensure customers do not use any other unlicensed NSX features (For example VXLAN, DFW, Edge services), the license key will have hard enforcement to prevent NSX host preparation and block Edge creation.

VMware NSX for vSphere provides NSX Guest Introspection, which provides all features of vShield Endpoint and support for additional service categories like vulnerability management, IDS/IPS using the in-guest thin agent.

vCloud Networking and Security Manager version 5.5 is supported until September 2016 after which customers will need to upgrade to NSX Manager in order to continue with vShield Endpoint support (Technical Guidance will still be available for vCNS till March 2017).

More information on the procedures for upgrading from vCNS 5.5.x to NSX 6.2.x can be found here: or at this VMware KB:

The process of upgrading can be summarised as follows:

  1. Upgrade vShield Manager to NSX Manager.
  2. Deploy NSX Controller cluster (update Transport Zones and Logical Switches).
  3. Install the new VIBs on ESXi hosts in the cluster (virtual wires are renamed as logical switches).
  4. Upgrade vShield App to NSX Distributed Firewall – configuration is migrated across.
  5. Upgrade vShield Edge devices to NSX Edge devices – configuration is migrated across.
  6. Upgrade vShield Endpoint to NSX Guest Introspection

Note that for upgrade to work, each function must be on version 5.5.

NSX 6.2.3 Release Notes:

Installing vShield Endpoint (vCNS Mgr 5.5.4-3)

Very quick blog entry as I’m busy tying up loose ends before jetting off on my summer hols….

It’s pretty easy to install vShield Endpoint as it’s a wizard-based OVA deployment. I’m not going to step through the process as it’s very simple (plus the install guide explains it very well). Once that’s done log into the console and run ‘setup’ to configure the IP address and DNS information.

After that, it’s a case of logging into vShield Manager and connecting to vCenter Server.

Once connected to the vCenter, you should see your datacenter and hosts in a hierarchical tree on the left menu. Select each host and installed vShield Endpoint.

vShield Installation guide:

However, I did encounter a few issues (due to prior deployments which hadn’t been cleaned up properly).

Error 1: VMKernel Portgroup present on incorrect vSwitchvcns1
This occurred because the hosts had a previous vSwitch labelled vmservice-vswitch, but the VMkernel port vmservice-vmknic-pg resided on a different vSwitch (previous deployment). To correct this I had to delete the old VMkernel port and recreate it on the correct vmservice-vswitch.

Error 2: VirtualMachine Portgroup present on incorrect vSwitch

vcns2Again this was due to a mis-configuration on a previous deployment! What should happen is once you’ve setup the vmservice-vswitch and created the vmservice-vmknic-pg portgroup and VMkernel port, the installer will create a new portgroup on that vSwitch called vmservice-vshield-pg. Like before, this was residing on the wrong vSwitch.

In the end I just deleted the wrong vSwitch and started again by creating the vmservice-vswitch and the vmservice-vmknic-pg. After that the installation of vShield Endpoint went swimmingly!


Which goes to show that cleaning up an old deployment within your demo environment can sometimes be very handy! =)


Nutanix to gobble PernixData?!?

Hmm, interesting rumours……

Anthony Spiteri sums up my thoughts about PernixData quite well in his blog:

Based on past experience with FVP and Architect and running both in a demo lab, I’ve always thought they’re pretty clever products…. FVP especially with the way it handles fault tolerance with their clever clustering functionality for the cache!

Anyways, it was always a hard sell…. trying to solve storage problems (which may not exist) with a software caching solution which – let’s be quite frank – was expensive!

Plus with the discounts you can now get for All Flash Arrays, and the price of SSDs dropping, it was always going to be hard to convince a customer to part with money to put in FVP and some local SSDs rather than purchasing a brand new storage array full of Flash!
Be interesting to see what Nutanix does with them!

Top vBlog 2016 Full Results – #161 The Virtual Unknown

So the votes have been cast and the results are in for Eric Sieberts ( annual Top vBlog award, sponsored by VMTurbo….

There were over 1600 votes cast this year, and BIG Congratulations once again to Duncan Epping ( who has finished top for the 8th consecutive year!! That’s quite a feat considering Duncan has only been blogging for around 9 years! =)

Well deserved in my opinion! It’s great for people to recognise how much Duncan gives back to the community! Yellow-bricks was actually one of the first VMware blogs that I read and helped to inspire me to start blogging!

The Top 10 stays pretty much the same – although big congrats to Vladan for breaking into the top 10 this year (and knocking Chad Sakac out – that’s no mean feat if you read Chad’s blog!!), Vladan has done much to promote VMware/Virtualisation the past few years and it’s great that the public have voted him into the top 10 – in fact if you’re studying for the VCP6-DCV, then make sure you download his study guide:

So the biggest surprise I got when I woke up this morning was to see that my blog has made the Top vBlog list…. new entry at #161……. Totally honoured that people have even read my blog, let alone vote for me! When I first started blogging just over 3 years ago, I didn’t even imagine I could get on this annual list of top virtualisation bloggers…. let alone be recognised as a vExpert!

In a way it’s encouraging me to continue with my blogging and gives me another goal to ensure I stay on that list next year!

So to all my readers – thanks…. and to those who voted for me – a bigger thank you! =)


Full results here:

Pick up the pace with VMware NSX network virtualization

Finally got round to finishing off my article on NSX for…. I’ve been sitting on this article since last year, but given that my company, MTI Technology, are one of the focus NSX partners in UK this year (one of five partners), it’s probably appropriate if I got the article published…. =)