Share your Orchestrator workflow through FlowGrab

A while back when attending/presenting at some VMUGs I stumbled in to this company called FlowGrab. They are fairly new and pitched their solution to me and I must say it sounded very interesting. I guess if you want to dumb it down you can label it as a code repository solution for vRO/vCO. FlowGrab describes itself as follows:

FlowGrab provides a versionable code repository and collaboration functionalities for workflow developers and consumers and allows working in your everyday environment by using FlowGrab Plug-in for vRO which connects your vRO directly to FlowGrab.

I think what is important here is the “collaboration” piece. FlowGrab is very focused on creating a community. We’ve had that community in the PowerCLI space for a long time, and people have been sharing scripts forever, and now that can also easily be done through a central location for vRO. The great thing about FlowGrab is that they have a community edition which can be used for free, it has less functionality than the paid version but I must say that the available functionality should be sufficient for most!

If you have an interest in vRO and like to share your work than now may be the right time. FlowGrab just announced a great contest where you can win an Apple Watch simply by uploading new workflows to their repository.

There’s a great Brownbag session on FlowGrab which I recommend watching if you are interested and want to figure out how this all works and how you can contribute:

Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Strategy white paper

Last week I already posted this up on the VMware Office of CTO blog, and I figured I would share it to my regular readers here as well. A couple of months ago I stumbled across a great diagram which was developed by Hany Michael, (Consulting Architect, VMware PSO) who is part of the VMware CTO Ambassador program. The CTO Ambassadors are members of a small group of our most experienced and talented customer-facing, individual contributor technologists. The diagram explained an interesting architecture– namely hybrid cloud. After a brief discussion with Hany I decided to reach out to David Hill (Senior Technical Marketing Architect, vCloud Air) and asked if he was interested in getting this work published. Needless to say, David was very interested. Together we worked on expanding on the great content that Hany had already developed. Today, the result is published.

The architecture described in this white paper is based on a successful real-world customer implementation. Besides explaining the steps required it also explains the use case for this particular customer. We hope that you find the paper useful and that it will help implementing or positioning a hybrid cloud strategy.

Implementing a Hybrid Cloud Strategy

IT has long debated the merits of public and private cloud. Public clouds allow organizations to gain capacity and scale services on-demand, while private clouds allow companies to maintain control and visibility of business-critical applications. But there is one cloud model that stands apart: hybrid cloud. Hybrid clouds provide the best of both worlds: secure, on-demand access to IT resources with the flexibility to move workloads onsite or offsite to meet specific needs. It’s the security you need in your private cloud with the scalability and reach of your public cloud. Hybrid cloud implementations should be versatile, easy to use, and interoperable with your onsite VMware vSphere® environment. Interoperability allows the same people to manage both onsite and offsite resources while leveraging existing processes and tools and lowering the operational expenditure and complexity…

VMware EMEA Online Technology Forum 15th of April

On the 15th of April there is an awesome online event planned called the “Online Technology Forum“. During this day you will hear all about what is new with vSphere 6.0. What can you expect:

Sign up now to this free online event where you will be able to engage in a live Q&A with VMware technical experts, including Joe Baguley, CTO, EMEA; Duncan Epping, Chief Technologist; and Mike Laverick, Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist.

Join your peers at technology updates and a number of self-paced hands-on labs on the technologies driving IT efficiency and business advantage:

  • vSphere 6 – the Foundation for the Hybrid Cloud
  • Virtual SAN 6 and Virtual Volumes – What’s New?
  • Introducing VMware Integrated OpenStack
  • Enabling Micro-Segmentation with NSX
  • Introducing Hyper-Convergence with EVO:RAIL
  • App Volumes – Revolutionising Application Delivery

Full agenda can be found here. Note that these sessions are recorded, HOWEVER, there are live Q&As (one with Joe Baguley, Mike Laverick and I after the first two sessions. Another one at the end of the event with Joe Baguley, Mike Laverick, Richard Munro, Spencer Pitts, Jeremy Van Doorn, Yuval Tenenbaum and I.) All speakers (and other experts) will be handling questions via the chat windows though out the sessions, so make sure to register and dial in on the 15th of April.

ForceAffinePowerOn what is it?

I’ve seen a lot of confusion around the ForceAffinePowerOn setting, and even the VMware documentation is incorrect around what this feature is / does. First and foremost: ForceAffinePowerOn is an advanced DRS setting (Yes I filed a doc bug for it). I’ve seen many people stating it is an HA setting, but it is not. You need to configure this in the advanced settings section of your DRS configuration.

Secondly, ForceAffinePowerOn can be used to ensure VM to VM affinity rules are respected when powering on a VM. ForceAffinePowerOn has absolutely nothing to do with VM to VM anti-affinity rules, it only applies to “affinity”.

Lets be crystal clear:

  • When ForceAffinePowerOn is set to 0, it means that VM to VM affinity can be dropped if necessary to power on a VM.
  • When ForceAffinePowerOn is set to 1, it means that VM to VM affinity should not be dropped and power-on should fail if the rule cannot be respected.

I hope that helps!

All-flash VSAN configuration example

I was talking to a customer this week who was looking to deploy various 4 node VSAN configurations. They needed a solution which would provide them performance and wanted to minimize the moving components due to the location and environmental aspects of the deployment, all-flash VSAN is definitely a great choice for this scenario. I looked at various server vendors and based on their requirements (and budget) provided them a nice configuration (in my opinion) which comes in for slightly less than $ 45K.

What I found interesting is the price of the SSDs, especially the “capacity tier” as the price is very close to SAS 10K RPM. I selected the Intel S3500 as the capacity tier as it was one of the cheapest listed that is part of the VMware VSAN HCL, will be good to track GB/$ for new entries on the HCL that will be coming soon, so far S3500 seems to be the sweet spot. Also seems that from a price point perspective the 800GB devices are most cost effective at the moment. The 3500 seems to perform well as demonstrated in this paper by VMware on VSAN scaling / performance.

This is what the bill of materials looked like, and I can’t wait to see it deployed:

  • Supermicro SuperServer 2028TP-HC0TR – 2U TwinPro2
  • Each node comes with:
    • 2 x Eight-Core Intel Xeon Processor E5-2630 v3 2.40GHz 20MB Cache (85W)
    • 256 GB in 8 DIMMs at 2133 MHz (32GB DIMMs)
    • 2 x 10GbE NIC port
    • 1 x 4
    • Dual 10-Gigabit Ethernet
    • LSI 3008 12G SAS

That is a total of 16TB of flash based storage capacity, 1TB of memory and 64 cores in mere 2U. The above price is based on a simple online configurator and does not include any licenses, a very compelling solution if you ask me.