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New vRO and PowerCLI Automation Training

A lot of the projects that I work on have an element of automation to them and I’ve been asked a few times by customers if there is a training course available that will help them get started in understanding vRO and VMware’s PowerCLI cmdlets and how they can be used. Whilst there have been courses available in the past, there is a new one that reads a bit like “Doing my job 101”. It goes by the catchy title of “Data Center Automation with vRealize Orchestrator and vSphere PowerCLI“.

Looking at the outline, the important stuff is there.

  • Understanding, using and navigating the vSphere API (useful for both PowerCLI and vRO).
  • PowerCLI basics and more advanced uses.
  • vRO Basics and workflow creation / design.

So, if you’re looking to get started with vRO or PowerCLI and use one or both of them to add some automation to your datacenter, it might be worth trying this course out.

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Howto: Creating a CA template for VMware services

Having setup my lab’s PKI infrastructure previously, one of the next steps I needed to complete was to create a template for certificates for VMware’s products to use as they require certain properties to be present in the certificates used.

There is a KB article that covers this but I wanted to run through it and use some of the specifics for my lab.

Template for VMware SSL Certificates

This template will provide certificates for ESXi hosts, vCenter, vRA, vRO etc. To create it, we first need the Certificate Templates Console. This can be opened by running certtmpl.msc.

Per the KB article, I duplicated the “Web Server” template as a starting point. My first task was to give the template a new name and set the validity to 4 years:

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On the Extensions tab, although it’s possibly not required for vSphere 6 (it is for earlier versions of vSphere), I added “Client Authentication” under the Application Policies option.

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Again, it may not be universally required but I’ve added the “Signature is proof of origin” option under Key Usage (also on the Extensions tab.

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Depending on the use case required, it might be useful to be able to export a certificate’s private key. I haven’t worked on View for some years but this option came in handy then. It’s configured under the Request Handling tab.

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On the Subject Name tab, ensure that “Supply in the request” is checked.

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That’s it. Just hit OK to save it.

Template for VMware VMCA

If you want to set up the VMCA as a subordinate certificate authority on a vSphere 6 Platform Services Controller, a slightly different type of certificate is required. I don’t think that I deviated from the KB article here except with the validity period.

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“Publishing” the certificate templates

This is a fairly straightforward process accomplished using the Certification Authority Manager. Templates are added one at a time by right clicking on “Certificate Templates” and selecting New > Certificate Template to Issue.

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Once published, the templates are available via the CA’s web interface for new requests.

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Open roles in the Northern EMEA PSO team at VMware

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I may only be in my third week working for VMware PSO, but I’m enjoying it. If you have experience of delivering high quality virtualisation and cloud projects then you might be interested in applying for one of the open roles on LinkedIn at present.

In the UK:

In Sweden:

In Netherlands:

In Denmark:

 

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…Hello VMware!

I’ve been a user of VMware’s products since finding VMware Workstation in the early noughties but things really took off for me in 2007 with ESX3. I’ve long thought that I might work for VMware one day if the circumstances were right. As of yesterday, it became a reality.

This has been mostly a sideways move for me as I have joined the Northern EMEA PSO team as an SDDC consultant. I’ll probably be working on similar projects to the ones I have been working on already. However, I believe that the opportunities within VMware for me at this stage of my career are significant. I’m excited by the prospects and keen to get stuck in.

One downside to this move is that I have had to step down as a co-leader of the South West UK VMUG chapter. It’s been a fantastic 2 years and we’ve organised some great meetings but the remaining leaders (Barry Coombs, Simon Eady and Jeremy Bowman) are more than equal to the task. (Although they almost stole my thunder!)

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On the subject of VMUGs, a quick shout out for the next South West UK VMUG meeting on September 28th 2015. Register here. And although I can no longer have any sort of leadership role in VMUG meetings, I hope to still be presenting at them regularly.

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vRealize Automation 6.2 is GA

speeddialLadies and gentlemen, start your downloads!

vRealize Automation 6.2 (formerly known as vCloud Automation Center) has gone GA today. Beside the usual raft of fixes, the major focus for this release is the integration with vRealize Operations 6.0 (formerly known as vCenter Operations Manager).

Download VMware vRealize Automation 6.2

Also updated to download are:

And finally, all new and shiny is vRealize Code Stream. This, I am really looking forward to as it’s aimed at providing continuous delivery of software releases. And that could include vCO (I mean vRealize Orchestrator) workflows – something I’m doing a lot of at the moment.

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Thank you VMworld… see you next year?

As always, the highlight of any VMworld for me is the interaction with other attendees. Meeting new people, discussing technology and ideas with old friends and new is what makes it great for me.

Also great was that over €143,000 will be donated to charities by VMware as a result of people participating in vGiveback.

Once again, the VMware events team have done a great job and I thank them.

VMworld 2015 Dates

VMworld US 2015 starts on August 30th (Partner Day) in San Francisco and runs until September 3rd.

VMworld Europe 2015 starts on October 12th (Partner Day) in Barcelona and runs until October 15th.

See you next year?

A lot can happen in the 9 months or so until booking for 2015 really gets going. I hope to be there. Who knows, I might even get to present a session or two…

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VMworld 2014 – Day 2

Day 2 can often get off to a sluggish start for many. Either from hitting the parties too hard the night before, or misjudging the time required to get into the conference centre, there were still quite a few people arriving after Wednesday’s keynote session had started.

Keynote

The keynote on a Wednesday is usually used to take a closer look at some of the new and forthcoming changes in VMware’s products and this year was no exception. Naturally, vRealize Operations got some attention, but so did CodeStream – VMware’s forthcoming DevOps integration with vRealize Automation. I’m not an application developer myself but it would be interesting to see that in action with real developers using it. If you missed the keynote or are curious about codestream, it’s purpose is to manage the release process of application code into different environments (Test / Acceptance / Pre-Production, Production etc) in accordance with definable processes.

Also of interest in the keynote were Docker containers. This is something I do want to learn more about.

VMUG Leader Lunch

Once the keynote was over I had very little time before attending a lunch meeting for VMUG leaders. As with last year, this was an opportunity to meet VMUG leaders from other European countries – and some from further afield – have a quick lunch  away from some of the noise of the main conference halls and join and open Question & Answer session with Joe Baguely (VMware EMEA CTO) and Pat Gelsinger (I think he’s VMware’s CEO or something :)). The topics discussed ranged from the next version of vSphere, Joe’s designs on Pat’s job, product name choices, through to five-year plans.

Sessions

Probably my favourite session of the day was MGT2047 – Planning a High-Availability Deployment of vRealize Automation. Although I’ve done of this, I decided to go as I wanted to be sure that I’m doing it correctly and that there aren’t any gotchas that I didn’t know about. It’s also an opportunity to meet and question the people who might be able to get me answers in the future.

Hall Crawl

This is a traditional, pre-VMworld-party event that basically involves drinking beer (if that’s your thing) and visiting the vendor stands.

VMworld Party

Sorry if you’re a fan, but Taio Cruz last year wasn’t very good and my sister-in-law laughed very loudly at the idea of him being the entertainment at a technical conference. This year’s band was announced fairly early on and turned out to be Simple Minds. (My brother was a bit jealous.) They may be getting on a bit but they got a great reception and an encore.

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VMworld 2014 – Partner Day

VMworld Partner Day – I guess you could call it VMworld Day 0, or the “quiet before the storm”. That’s not to say that it’s an easy day mind you.

Partner day for me is all about networking. Not the NSX / Cisco variety, but talking with and meeting people. From former colleagues and VMware community members and VMware staff, all the way through to existing and potential partners for my employer, Xtravirt. It’s safe to say that I had some very good conversations.

Monday evening was split between two networking events. The first was hosted by TD Azlan at the W hotel and attended by a number of VMware, Atlantis and Nutanix partners. It was a good opportunity to have some quieter conversations away from the hubbub of of the Fira centre.

The second event was the PernixData party. Last year they selected an excellent venue and they managed it again this year. PernixData are also one of Xtravirt’s partners and besides a bit of socialising, it was good to meet a number of Pernix’s European staff and chat about the product.

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VMworld Europe 2014 – Looking forward…

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It’s October now and it means that VMworld Europe 2014 is right around the corner.

I’ll be attending in Barcelona for what will be my 4th VMworld. It will be the first time that I’ve ever attended under a full conference pass rather than just as a blogger. However, I don’t expect the experience to be hugely different. Perhaps in the general sessions the view will be slightly different but that’s about it.

My employer, Xtravirt, is sending a number of my colleagues along with me to VMworld this year. Whilst we’re all very different people working on different projects, we generally have fairly complementary skillsets and a passion for what we do.

Speaking just for myself, I’m really looking forward to VMworld. Like my children’s birthdays, each VMworld is “the best one ever”. It’s not the announcements, the sessions, the labs or even the free t-shirts that make that happen for me though – it’s the people. Not that I’m knocking the other bits but I love chatting to partners, customers, vendors and pretty much anyone that I bump into.

I’ve planned a few sessions to attend. Mostly they’re focussed around Automation and SDDC as they’re my areas of interest. Ultimately I may have to cancel my registration for a few of them (and catch up with the recordings online later) to make time to speak with everyone that I want to.

Among the partners and vendors that I’ll be targeting are:

I’ll also be calling at the VMUG stand for sure. And of course VMware themselves to learn a bit about some of the upcoming developments and meet up with some key employees who will be around to discuss vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Orchestrator and VMware NSX.

Add to all of that the vBrownBag TechTalks (the schedule will be announced soon), numerous parties, the hands-on-labs and catching up with fellow VMware community members in the Community lounge, I imagine that there won’t be a moment to spare.

That said, if you want to stop for a chat then I’m all for it and so are any of the Xtravirt team.