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Tag Archives: vRealize

Troubleshooting VMs Connectivity with vRealize Network Insight

Julienne_Phamby Julienne Pham

Things can be difficult when you don’t know where a network issue may be.

In today’s datacentre, the rapid need to deploy business applications in minutes is necessary to keep the business ahead of the game. It is even more crucial to keep security and rapid networking configuration in control. So, how can a network administrator get to the bottom of a network issue in a matter of seconds in this new cloud era?

Network Virtualization brings operational and management flexibility and simplicity, but adds a complexity to troubleshooting and pinpointing the root cause of a network issue.

The traditional way would be to check the network activity from vCenter on the ESX level on the physical nic card, and check the packet going on as you run the test. It is also necessary to check the physical network activities and compare with the virtual network traffic and deduce where the bottleneck is.

If now you need to cross check between VCs and multiple sites, how long will it take to figure out the configuration issue? The required information can be gathered on one search on vRealize Network Insight.

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Geo-Location Based Traffic Management with F5 BIG-IP for VMware Products (PoC)

Spas_KaloferovBy Spas Kaloferov

The increasingly global nature of content and migration of multimedia content distribution from typical broadcast channels to the Internet make Geo-Location a requirement for enforcing access restrictions. It also provides the basis for traditional performance-enhancing and disaster recovery solutions.

Also of rising importance is cloud computing, which introduces new challenges to IT in terms of global load balancing configurations. Hybrid architectures that attempt to seamlessly use public and private cloud implementations for scalability, disaster recovery and availability purposes can leverage accurate Geo-Location data to enable a broader spectrum of functionality and options.

Geo-Location improves the performance and availability of your applications by intelligently directing users to the closest or best-performing server running that application, whether it be physical, virtual or in a cloud environment.

VMware vRealize Automation Center (vRA) will be one of the products in this Proof of Concept (PoC) for which use case(s) for Load balancing and geo-location traffic management will be presented. This PoC can be used as a test environment for any other product that supports F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) and F5 BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM). After completing this PoC you should have the lab environment needed and feel comfortable enough to be able to setup more advanced configurations on your own and according to your business needs and functional requirements.

One of the typical scenarios which involving Geo-Location based traffic management is the ability to achieve traffic redirection on the basis of the source of the DNS query.

Consider a software development company that is planning to implement vRealize Automation Center to provide private cloud access to its employees where they can develop and test their applications. Later in this article I sometimes refer to the globally available vRA private cloud application as GeoApp. Our GeoApp must provide access to the company’s private cloud infrastructure from multiple cities across the globe.

The company has data centers in two locations: Los Angeles (LA) and New York (NY). Each data center will host instance(s) of the GeoApp (vRealize Automation Center). Development (DEV) and Quality Engineering (QE) teams from both locations will access the GeoApp and use it to develop and test their homegrown software products.

Use Case 1

The company has made design decisions and is planning to implement the following to lay down the foundations for their private cloud infrastructure:

  • Deploy two GeoApp instances using vRealize Automation Center minimal setup in the LA data center for use by Los Angeles employees.
  • Deploy two GeoApp instances using vRealize Automation Center minimal setup in the NY data center for use by New York employees.

The company has identified the following requirements for their GeoApp implementation:

  • The GeoApp must be accessible to all the employees, regardless if they are in the Los Angeles or New York data center, under the single common URL geoapp.f5.vmware.com.
  • To ensure the employees get a responsive experience from the GeoApp (vRA) private cloud portal website, the company requires that LA employees be redirected to the Los Angeles data center and NY employees be redirected to New York data center.
  • The workload of the teams must be distributed across their dedicated local GeoApp (vRA) instances.

This is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 1

  • In case of a failure of a GeoApp instance, the traffic should be load balanced between available instances in the local data center.

This is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 2

Use Case 2 

The company has made design decision and is planning to implement the following to lay down the foundations for their private cloud infrastructure:

  • Deploy 1x GeoApp instance using VMware vRealize Automation Center (vRA) distributed setup in the Los Angeles  datacenter for use by the LA employees. In this case the GeoApp can be seen as a 3-Tier application, containing 2 GeoApp nodes in each tier.
  • Deploy 1x GeoApp instance using VMware vRealize Automation Center (vRA) distributed setup in the New York datacenter for use by the NY employees. In this case the GeoApp can be seen as a 3-Tier application, containing 2 GeoApp nodes in each tier.

The company has identified the following requirements for their GeoApp implementation:

  • The GeoApp must be accessible from all the employees, regardless if they are in the Los Angeles or the New York datacenter, under a single common URL geoapp-uc2.f5.vmware.com.
  • To ensure that the employees get a responsive experience from the GeoApp (vRA) private cloud portal website, the company requires that the Los Angeles employees be redirected to Los Angeles datacenter and the New York employees be redirected to New York datacenter.
  • The workload must be distributed across the Tier nodes of the local GeoApp (vRA) instance.

This is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 3

  • In case of failure of a single Tier Node in a given GeoApp Tier, the workload should be forwarded to the remaining Tier Node in the local datacenter.

This is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 4

  • In case of failure of all Tier Nodes in a given GerApp Tier , the workload of all tiers should be forwarded to the GeoApp instance in the remote datacenter

This is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 5

Satisfying these requirements involves the implementation of two computing techniques:

  • Load balancing
  • Geo-Location-based traffic management

There are other software and hardware products that provide load balancing and/or Geo-Location capabilities, but we will be focusing on two of them to accomplish our goal:

  • For load balancing: F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM)
  • For Geo-Location: F5 BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM)

Based on which deployment method you choose and what functional requirements you have you will then have to configure the following aspects of F5 BIG-IP devices, which will manage your traffic:

  • F5 BIG-IP LTM Pool
  • F5 BIG-IP LTM Pool Load Balancing Method
  • F5 BIG-IP LTM Virtual Servers
  • F5 BIG-IP GTM Pool
  • F5 BIG-IP GTM Pool Load Balancing Method (Preferred, Alternate, Fallback)
  • F5 BIG-IP GTM Wide IP Pool
  • F5 BIG-IP GTM Wide IP Pool Load Balancing Method
  • F5 BIG-IP GTM Distributed Applications Dependency Level

Implementing the above use case with GTM and LTM is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 6

Implementing Use Case 2 (UC2) with GTM and LTM is roughly represented by the diagram below:

SKaloferov vRA 7

 To learn more about how to achieve the goal of Geo-Location Based Traffic Management using F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic manager (LTM) and F5 BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) please visit Geo-Location Based Traffic Management with F5 BIG-IP for VMware Products (PoC)


Spas Kaloferov is an acting Solutions Architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) – a part of the Global Technical & Professional Solutions (GTPS) team. Prior to VMware, Kaloferov focused on cloud computing solutions.

Managing VMware NSX Edge and Manager Certificates

Spas_KaloferovBy Spas Kaloferov

di·ver·si·ty

“Diversity” was the first word that came to my mind when I joined VMware. I noticed the wide variety of different methods and processes utilized to replace certificates on the different VMware appliance products. For example, with VMware vRealizeTM OrchestratorTM, users must undergo a manual process to replace the certificate, but with VMware vRealizeTM AutomationTM administrators have a graphical user interface (GUI) option, and with VMware NSX ManagerTM there is another completely different GUI option to request and change for the certificate of the product.

 

Figure 1. SSL Certificates tab on the VMware NSX ManagerTM 

SSL Certificates tab on the VMware NSX Manager

This variety of certificate replacement methods and techniques is understandable as all of these VMware products are a result of different acquisitions. Although these products are great in their own unique ways, the lack of a common, smooth and user-friendly certificate replacement methodology has always filled the administrators and consultants with anxiety.

This anxiety often leads to certificate configuration issues among the majority of VMware family members, partners and end users. As a member of this family—and also of the majority—I recently felt this anxiety when I had to replace my VMware NSX Manager and NSX EdgeTM certificates.

pas·sion

I must say that up to the point where I had to replace these certificates, I had pretty awesome experiences installing and configuring VMware NSX Manager, and even developed advanced services like network load balancing. But I hit a minor roadblock with the certificates, and my passion to kick down any road block until it turns to dust wasn’t going to leave me alone.

ex·e·cu·tion

I got in touch with some of my awesome colleagues and NSX experts to get me back on the good experience track of NSX. As expected, they did (not that I have ever doubted them). Now, I was exploring the advanced VMware NSX Manager capabilities with full power – like SSL VPN-Plus where I had to again configure a certificate for my perimeter gateway edge device.

Figure 2. Server Settings tab of the SSL VPN-Plus setting on the VMware NSX EdgeTM

Server Settings tab of the SSL VPN-Plus setting on the VMware NSX Edge

This time I wasn’t anxious because I now had the certificate replacement process under control.

cus·to·mer

As our customers are core to our mission, we want to empower them by freeing them from certificate replacement challenges so they can spend their time and energy on more pressing technological issues. To help empower other passionate enthusiasts, and help keep them on the good experience track of NSX, I’ve decided to describe the certificate replacement processes I’ve been using and share them in a blog post to make them available to everyone.

com·mu·ni·ty

We are all connected. We approach each other with open minds and humble hearts. We serve by dedicating our time, talent, and energy – creating a thriving community together. Please visit Managing NSX Edge and Manager Certificates to learn more about the certificate replacement process.


Spas Kaloferov is an acting Solutions Architect member of Professional Services Engineering (PSE) for the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) – a part of the Global Technical & Professional Solutions (GTPS) team. Prior to VMware, Kaloferov focused on cloud computing solutions.

Using Super Metrics to Populate Widgets in VMware vRealize Operations Manager

Jeremy WheelerBy Jeremy Wheeler

When setting up dashboards in VMware vRealizeTM Operations ManagerTM, I’ve found a lot of customers are trying to locate specific metrics, such as how much memory is available to a cluster after honoring N+1 and 80 percent max memory utilization per host. These types of metrics can be located through a “super metric,” but in many cases you need to edit the XML file(s) correlated to the widget before you can present the super metric to the GUI widget.

In VMware’s previous version of VMware vCenterTM Operations ManagerTM, XML files were used heavily when a specific widget interaction was needed. With VMware vRealize Operations Manager, the process of injecting super metrics into an XML file has changed. This blog specifically talks about the steps needed to populate a widget with your super metric. View the document here: vRealize Operations Management Supermetrics and XML Editing.

For more information, be sure to check out the following VMware Education courses:

 

vRealize with Operations Management Supermetrics_Jeremy Wheeler


Jeremy Wheeler is an experienced senior consultant and architect for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, End-user Computing specializing in VMware Horizon Suite product-line and vRealize products such as vROps, and Log Insight Manager. Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry. In addition to his past experience, Jeremy has a passion for technology and thrives on educating customers. Jeremy has 7 years of hands-¬‐on virtualization experience deploying full-life cycle solutions using VMware, CITRIX, and Hyper-V. Jeremy also has 16 years of experience in computer programming in various languages ranging from basic scripting to C, C++, PERL, .NET, SQL, and PowerShell.

Jeremy Wheeler has received acclaim from several clients for his in-¬‐depth and varied technical experience and exceptional hands-on customer satisfaction skills. In February 2013, Jeremy also received VMware’s Spotlight award for his outstanding persistence and dedication to customers and was nominated again in October of 2013