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Tag Archives: vcloud

Congratulations Brian W – DJI Drone Raffle Contest Winner

Folks,

Thank you for participating in our Raffle Drawing for the very cool DJI Drone – we had a lot of fun putting it together for you.  We thought it would be great to get to know our winner and did a little write up to introduce him to our readers.

Tell us about your professional career background and interests ?

 I work in healthcare specializing in virtualization technology and strategy. I’ve been working in IT for over 20 years, and working with VMware solutions for over 15. My current interests involve Cloud Management and Automation, and Network Virtualization. I also enjoy attending my local VMUG meetings to understand how other people are addressing problems in Healthcare with technology.

 How was your Hands-on Lab Experience? Anything we can do to improve the experience?  

I’m a huge proponent of the HOL’s. I used them frequently to study for VMware Certification exams, especially to get to bits that aren’t generally available… Additionally, many of the labs give you free reign to go off of the lab manual, and do other tasks. For me, this is much easier than a home lab. Everything is properly configured, consistent, and there’s no consequence for making changes that would break a home lab configuration. Over the years, the HOL environment has gotten better and the catalog broader, there’s really nothing else like it out there.

 Advice to users out there on using the Hands-on Labs

 Get out there and try them! Don’t be afraid to use a HOL environment for other tasks than the lab, such as performing tasks on a certification blueprint. I rarely find that there are things I cannot perform in the HOL’s, short of complex multisite configurations. The HOL’s are great training if you’re lacking budget, offering the latest content and products.

 

Hands-on Labs: Exporting vPods

This is the third post in my series on Hands-on Labs behind the scenes. You can find the previous post on comparing cloud catalogs here.

To date, my biggest problem with synchronizing data between vCD instances has been the time required to export vApp templates from one cloud and import them into another. If you want to preserve vApp structure and (most) metadata, there is really only one way into or out of a vCD cloud. Simply having the VMDKs and VMX file from the backend vSphere is not enough. For those who have had to deal with these mechanisms on a regular basis, you know what I mean.

A vPod containing our base infrastructure for VMworld 2013 development looked something like the following. Most of our final vPods are quite a bit larger than this, but this is a pretty standard starting point.

Single Site Base vPod
VM Name vCPU vRAM (GB) Disk (GB)
controlcenter 1 2 20
esx-01a 2 4 2
esx-02a 2 4 2
stgb-l-01a 1 2 68
vc-l-01a 2 4 33
vpodrouter 1 0.25 0.25

Continue reading

Synchronizing Cloud Catalogs

This post is part 2 in a series on the backend processes we use to manage the Hands-on Labs. The first part is available here.
CatalogSync-Clouds
Before I get into the guts of handling export, replication and import, I think it is important to understand how to identify which templates we need to work with. Sure, starting from scratch is simple: you have a bunch of templates in cloud A that you need to replicate to cloud B. Typically, that is going to take quite a bit of time. The problems involved with initial transfer to the cloud are similar to those encountered when standing up a new DR facility. Namely, how do you “seed” the DR site with the data from production. Shipping a box of tapes and performing a restore is often the least expensive option, but may not provide what you expect if your data change rate is high. That discussion is beyond the scope of this post, but I can come back around to it if there is enough interest.

“Version Control”

Back to the topic at hand. Once we have a set of clouds that host our content, we need to ensure that the templates available in each cloud are the same. As we revise our content, we check in new versions with new names. Each of our labs have a “Lab Code” or “SKU” that we use to identify them internally. For example, our wildly popular NSX lab has a SKU of “HOL-SDC-1303,” which is easier to track than the full name, “VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform.” The first template for this lab might be called HOL-SDC-1303-v1. When we make a change to that lab, we check it in as HOL-SDC-1303-v2, then HOL-SDC-1303-v3, and so on. This is a rather simplistic practice, but it serves its purpose. Continue reading

Nine New VMware Hands-on Labs – Now Posted Online

Just in time for your Friday morning coffee, we are pleased to announce nine new 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs freshly brewed in the HOL Online portal. The focus today is all about your cloud, how you can automate it and how you can deploy big data applications. Register, sign-in and start taking labs in less than five minutes.

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Big Data

HOL-SDC-1309 – vSphere Big Data Extensions

Hadoop has emerged as a powerful new technology that provides users with an inexpensive and efficient way of storing and processing large amounts of data. Did you know that through VMware vSphere Big Data Extensions you can run clustered, scale-out Hadoop applications through vSphere, with only a single virtual appliance to install. Yeah, you should definitely check this out.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1309

Cloud Automation

HOL-SDC-1307 – VCLOUD AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS

This lab puts all of your favorites together under one roof. Explore vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), Orchestrator, PowerCLI and AutoDeploy working harmoniously to solve real issues that real architects and admins face. Loaded with hours of content, you will need at least two lab sittings to complete all of the modules.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1307

HOL-SDC-1305 – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery In Action

VMware offers complete solutions to your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery needs. From Site Recovery Manager to vCenter Heartbeat to vSphere Data Protection to vCenter Heartbeat, this lab has you covered.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1305

vCloud Suite

The vCloud Suite Use Cases labs have been refreshed with new content for VMworld 2013. The labs in the online catalog have now been updated, as well. These six labs highlight practical ways in which the VMware vCloud Suite empowers you to do more with your Hybrid Cloud solution.

HOL-SDC-1313 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Infrastructure Provisioning (IaaS)

See how vCloud Director (vCD) and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) work together to deliver Infrastructure as a Service.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1313

HOL-SDC-1314 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Application Provisioning (PaaS)

The VMware vCloud Suite goes well beyond simple infrastructure delivery. Gain hands-on experience deploying and managing a 3-tier web application with App Director and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC).

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1314

HOL-SDC-1315 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Control & Compliance

How is your posture? This lab will get you straightened out! Control and Compliance can be critical areas of need for today’s IT organizations. Learn the elegant solutions available through the vCloud Suite.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1315

HOL-SDC-1316 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Quality of Service

Do you always keep your promises? With the QoS lab you can learn how the vCloud Suite allows you to identify key metrics and then measure your service quality. Set targets and then deliver. Sounds like a plan!

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1316

HOL-SDC-1317 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Business Critical Applications

How do you ensure that your most critical applications get the high-quality infrastructure that they deserve? Deliver them using vCenter Operations Manager and Hyperic. This lab shows you how.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1317

HOL-SDC-1318 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

Dive deeper into BC/DR use cases and explore vSphere Replication working in tandem with Site Recovery Manager.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1318

Exploring Hands on Labs Portal: New Features

Folks,

Just wanted to list out some of the very cool new features that the guys have been adding over the last few weeks.

Feature Name: SPEED-TEST (Experimental Mode)

This is got to be one of my favorite debugging self serve tools the guys are working on. I like it because it gives the user a way to determine how things are going relative to where they are taking a lab. We are still working the kinks out in this feature so please keep the feedback coming. You will need to log into your account, once you are in go to: https://www.projectnee.com/speed-test

Please remember in order to ensure you have a great lab experience you will need to have the following:

– 300 – 500 kb dedicated bandwidth connection per client

– Better than 200ms latency – pretty typical of most web applications now days.

We are looking to expand our datacenter footprint across the globe in the near future but for now we are serving labs out of North America (Washington)

Feature Name: “THE J TIMER”

This just came out and I have to say it is very fun to watch the clocks run as your lab gets provisioned. We use this feature to determine how things are going and to help our users get a sense of how much time it takes to build a lab in HOL. As a rule of thumb our labs will load roughly between 3 – 5 minutes if all things are going well. If you think about it, that is pretty amazing considering what is going on under the covers. The application is actually building a new vAPP with a fully provisioned vSphere / Cloud Infrastructure for you to explore. You can imagine how much fun our guys have when we compete with each others data centers  (we have multiple test data centers) Will tell you the story behind the name when we see you at VMworld 😉

 

 

Feature Name:  “Console Refresh”

You will find this feature once you start the lab, it works the same way a browser refresh button would work – If things are going wonky you can try hitting the refresh button and the console will come back – hopefully in a better state.

 

Feature Name:“Split My Screen”

Description: This feature lends itself more to when we are hosting labs at an event, this will allow a user to have two monitors; one for the display, the other for the lab manuals. The guys even created an option that lets you use your tablet to read the manual as you take the lab…