Back to Blogging……

So I know I said I wasn’t going to blog much in the coming weeks, but giving the fact that my jury service has been cancelled next week (court case was cancelled so Jury was dismissed due to no other court cases running) and also the fact that my current work project has been cancelled (client cancelled the contract with my company), I pretty much have quite a bit of free time!

Not to mention that I had a sleepless night as all I could think about was that I NEED to blog some of the stuff that’s floating around my head regarding VMware – just so I can put my brain at rest!

So hopefully in the upcoming weeks, I intend to blog about the experiences I’ve had over the past couple of months touching upon:

  • Changing the SSL certificates of VMware products (away from the self-signed VMware ones to a CA certified one).
  • Transact-SQL scripts for creating databases for VMware products.
  • Loadbalancing workflow that I wrote recently to automate the deployment of a loadbalancer in vCD (and hope to generalise so that others can use it).

That should basically fill out my blog for a couple of weeks due to the vast amount of information to get down on paper (or in this case on screen).

First up tomorrow (yes, procrastination doesn’t disappear even when you have some free time!) will be a brief look at how you manually setup a loadbalancer within vCD, and then hopefully I can delve into how the vCO actions can be used for each manual step and what I’ve learnt.

Oh, and as for the job hunting part….. I’m quite thankful that at the moment it seems recruitment agents are calling me up rather than me desperately calling them up! I’m positive that I will be able to find another role that will allow me to continue my VMware journey! (and if you’re a potential employer, or recruitment agent reading this – please contact me if you have any opportunities of interest!)

^_^

Blackberry 10…..

RIM…. or Blackberry as they are now known have just release 2 phones on their new OS…. Blackberry 10…..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21261809

…. it’s too little too late in my opinion!

 

I remember when Blackberrys were THE phone to have if you were a ‘white collar worker’….. and for a while they were pretty cool toys! Then all of a sudden it was THE phone to have if you were a teenager (because of BBM)….. Then the iPhone came out and RIM stopped innovating and it all went down hill!

Blackberry 10 has been delayed, hit with bugs, etc…… and frankly it’s too late….. even Windows 8 phones are more desirable than a Blackberry.

 

I give them a year before something happens – either they go bust or someone buys them out!

So having just touched down in London after spending a week on holiday in Lapland (and no, before you ask we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights…. boo), I get an email informing me that my company has entered Administration……

O_O”

Great….. first Jessops, then HMV and Blockbusters…. Now 2e2…… ¬_¬”

Anyways, as I eagerly try to find out what is happening with my job and sift through the numerous emails, it looks as though this blog may go silent for a bit whilst I sort out my future….. shame as I had such plans for it!

Oh, and not to mention I’ve been called up for Jury Service next week – which I’m desperately trying to defer or get out of due to the inappropriate timing of my company’s announcement….. pah….

So as a parting gift…… here’s a picture of me with my new “deer”…. (sic)

img 055

(don’t worry… the wife approves of the relationship…… and if it all goes pear-shaped, then we could always have him for lunch!)

VMware vCenter Orchestrator

So, for my first real VMware post I thought I’d blog about a little known (yet very powerful) VMware product called VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO)….

What?!? You’ve not heard of it?!?

Did you know it came free with that vCenter Server software you just splashed out a lot of cash for? No?!?

Well…. join the club……!! Probably 90% of the VMware clients I’ve dealt with over the years have absolutely no idea that when they installed vCenter Server (4.x and later – I’m talking about standard edition here, not the cheapy foundation or essentials), it silently installed a nice little tool called Orchestrator as an additional component….. Such a shame that there isn’t a fanfare when it does so, as this little tool can make an Administrators life a helluva lot easier!

If I’m honest, this is a product I’ve known about for years yet have never ever used until just before Christmas where I was forced to use it in anger for the current project I’m working on….. and I’m now kicking myself for not picking it up earlier! (sorry, did I mention Procrastination was a favourite hobby of mine? Well, keep that in mind as you read this whole blog!)

“So what is this great free little app that VMware has installed on my box?” I hear you ask…..

Well, VMware like to describe it as:

“……. an IT Process Automation engine that helps automate your cloud and integrate the VMware vCloud Suite with the rest of your management systems.”

http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-orchestrator/overview.html

Que?!?

Without boring you all with all the details, it basically provides a library of workflows that can help you automate your day-to-day manual tasks, as I previously said – it’s a tool that makes an Administrators life a lot easier! (I may touch upon vCloud Suite in a later blog… so let’s leave that for now!)

Take for an example the manual process of creating a VM – you need open up the vSphere client, decide whether or not you’re deploying from a standard template or creating a custom VM, check whether you have enough resources for the new VM, setup all the virtual hardware, fire up the VM, drop on an OS, assign the IP, name the host, tell someone the VM is ready for use, blah blah blah…… well there’s a workflow for that (well, a workflow which you may need to tweak)…. or how about deleting all VM snapshots that are older than 1 month? Well, you can build a workflow to do that too…..

Basically if you can do something in vCenter or vSphere…. then more often than not you can build a workflow to automate what you’ve just done manually!! Not to mention you can get hold of vCO Plugins for a lot of other products to help integration into your environment! (eg. vCloud Director, SOAP, HTTP-REST, AD, SQL, PowerShell, etc)

TBH, whilst it maybe fun to automate everything….. Orchestrator is probably best suited when you have:

  • A repetitive task that needs to be completed.
  • A time consuming task that needs to be processed.
  • A structured task which can easily be broken down for automation.

However, it’s not always easy to use Orchestrator…. there are many tasks where workflows just do not exist in the library, and you may need to build a workflow from scratch (especially if you want custom workflows for your specific environment)…. and more often than not this will involve you doing some programming (in Javascript)!

Now some of you will probably shudder at the thought of programming, but to tell you the truth it’s not too hard to pick up…… you’re not writing or developing a piece of software, you’re mainly writing a bit of code that manipulates a parameter to pass into an existing action or method. And I’m talking from experience, I picked it up quite quick….. the last time I did any sort of programming was in my first job straight out of uni (a bit of C#) and that was over 12 years ago!!

Anyways, I’ve waffled on a bit…… need to get use to this blogging marlarky and make sure I keep my readers (if I have any) interested.

If you want more information on vCO then visit the VMware link I’ve listed above as well as heading over to the vCO team at http://www.vcoteam.info/.

Suffice to say that this first blog topic came about after some success recently with creating a workflow in vCO that automatically deploys a load balancing service onto an Org vDC gateway within vCloud Director! A workflow that for some reason VMware did not even have listed within their library for gateway services in their vCD Plugin! Whilst the workflow I helped to create is still ‘work-in-progress’, it pretty much does what the client wants! I’m hoping I’ll have some time to tidy it up over the next few days….

But more on this another time….. However, much thanks go out to my partner in crime – Simon Sparks, as well as Hugo Phan (http://vmwire.com/) and Burke Azbill on the vCO Team!

In the beginning……

… was a man in his mid-thirties who decided (after much procrastination) to create a blog about his journeys and experiences with VMware and the virtual world….

There comes a time in a mans life when he ponders on what he should do next…… Most start their journey into a mid-life (crisis)…… Others just absorb themselves into their careers…….

And then there are the few who think that they know it all and want to tell the world….. so start a blog…….!

I, unfortunately, fall into all 3 categories…… someone who thinks they know it all (but doesn’t), works too hard to find a career direction (but gets lost) and ends up dealing with customer-induced crises at work!

So after much deliberation (and prompting from colleagues and friends), I’ve decided to blog my experiences with working with VMware and hope to at least blog about issues I’ve encountered, the solutions, and even great websites I’ve discovered along my way!

…… so here goes!