We at comdivision like to share some insights with you. Discover our blog posts on a variety of technical and non-technical topics.

New ways to "update" your VMware certifications…

Recently VMware announced the removal of the certification expiration, causing a relief for a lot of people, as keeping up with certs and other topics can be quite challenging from time to time.

Another recent change caught me as a complete surprise, I first thought that the massive uprise in VCP-NV 2019 certs was due to an initiative for partner enablement or in preparation for the announced VMware on AWS Master Competency which will require this as parts of it. But then I did some research and found that VMware now offers different ways for the different cert tracks on how to update your cert to the newest version WITHOUT sitting the exam. 

In the following paragraphs I will ONLY COVER THE UPGRADE PATHS to renew your certification. If you don't hold that certificate or are on a different track please visit the link on each cert for more dertails.

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Why you should attend VMware Empower and why I did!

Today a non-tech blog-post, I wanted to recap and encourage the participation in the VMware Empower conference… Why as a Partner you should attend and ensure at least your tech field team is attending…

You want the short version:

Empower is the technical enablement event for VMware Partners, there is currently no better place to network, get insights into all products, get envisioned with short and long term road map overview and even get a free exam to make the next step towards a higher partner level.

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How to use the vRealize Orchestrator API Explorer

It took me a while to figure out, how to use the vRO API explorer creating necessary code for workflows. Now is the time to share the knowledge. The API explorer, together with the MOB (Managed Object Browser) of the vCenter Server, provides a very powerful combination to develop code. Often you need to create specific objects to reconfigure virtual machines or hosts for example and you need to collect the information, how an object is created on the one hand and on the other hand how to manipulate an object.

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vCloud Director (critical security update) - Update instructions

VMware has released on 28-March 2019 vCloud Director which includes a highly critical security patch which should be installed as soon as possible by all service providers running vCloud Director 9.5.

Security issue at hand:

VMware vCloud Director for Service Providers update resolves a Remote Session Hijack vulnerability in the Tenant and Provider Portals. Successful exploitation of this issue may allow a malicious actor to access the Tenant or Provider Portals by impersonating a currently logged in session.

Personal note / comment (I started to add this as I get often asked to evaluate the "real criticality/risk factor" by our strategic accounts):

This is a very critical issue which could directly affect customer/tenant data security, therefore I advice to give the test and upgrade procedure highest priority. Ensure this get's validated on test infrastructure before applied to production systems.

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Upgrade PostgreSQL database (from 9.x to 10) and vCloud Director to 9.5

If you are still using PostgreSQL 9.x with vCloud Director you will receive a big stop sign if you try to upgrade to vCloud Director 9.5, as this version requires PostgreSQL to be on v10 as a minimum. In this blog post I will walk you step by step on how to upgrade PostgreSQL on a CentOS system, as well as how to apply the vCloud Director 9.5 upgrade. I am pretty sure the process on RedHat is similar, but i had no system to validate at hand.

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Useful settings Horizon View Client on Mac

Me writing a blogpost about Horizon View, never thought that this is going to happen, but never say never.

Like many others, I migrated from Windows to Mac and using Mac OS natively. Some time ago we started using remote apps within the Horizon View Client, which is pretty cool. Instead of connecting to my View Desktop I can use an application direct on my Mac.

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Custom XML objects in vRealize Orchestrator

Lately I had the issue that I needed to create custom XML objects based on variables. In first place it sounds simple, but in the end, there are a couple of different methods doing this. This article will discuss these options.

The first method is a simple string, but if the object gets a bit larger, this is not very useful.

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Rabbit MQ routing key configuration

Two weeks ago, I had a problem connecting VMware vCloud Director to vRealize Orchestrator using Rabbit MQ as a message bus between those systems. The base configuration of Rabbit MQ was not a big deal, even clustering the message bus system for high availability, adding an exchange, queues, connecting vCD and vRO, everything was easy and straight forward, BUT: I didn’t get any messages into the right queues. This was my starting point.

As most of you guys know, I am a big fan of vRO (vRealize Orchestrator). I didn’t do any of the configuration in Rabbit MQ using the management interface, I configured everything using vRO but the graphical UI is very useful to verify what the workflows did.

After the installation of Rabbit MQ, I used the documentation (official RMQ documentation: https://www.rabbitmq.com/documentation.html) and some blogs I found, I needed to configure RMQ, but how? Now vRO comes into play, because it is shipped with a preinstalled AMQP plugin, containing all needed workflows to configure the message broker.

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VMware Cloud Provider Pod - Release 1.1 (minor or major)

Today VMware released the first minor release not patch of VMware Cloud Provider Pod. After the initial launch of Version 1.0 in 2018 and a patch release 1.0.1 in November this is the first feature release. This release features massive list of product updates, improvements on the Designer, the Documents, Fibre-Channel support and also a complete rewritten network design with higher flexibility.

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My road to Clarity ... UI – Part 2

This week, the server side of things

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My road to Clarity ... UI – Part 1

A blog to share my path from total ignorance to becoming... what's the word? 'enlighted'? 

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Unlock ESXi root account from host client

As I do quite a bit of lab development and support I see often people lock themselves out of the ESXi web based host client. Keep in mind this only locks you out from ssh and the web console. Password lockout is NOT active on the console/DCUI. Below is how you reset the counter and regain access.

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VMware Cloud Provider Pod 1.0.1 - Release Info

With VMware Cloud Provider Pod having it's first public appearance during the VMworld Session of Wade Holmes (VMware) and myself ( https://blog.comdivision.com/blog/2018/08/vmworld-session-introducing-vmware-cloud-provider-pod-hyp1499bu). First GA release followed on 18-October and now we have the first patch release on 20-November 2018. This release contains primarily new product versions of many of the integrated solutions, as well as a lot of bug fixes and fine tuning.

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ESXi host with previous VSAN disks unable to recreate disks or repartition disks

I came around a problem today where I had several hosts of a previously created VSAN cluster which would be used for a new VSAN cluster. After adding the hosts to the new cluster I couldn't create any diskgroups on them, nor was I able to erase the disk partitions with partedUtil or other command line tools.

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VMware Cloud Provider Pod - Designer (Part 1 of "let's see?")

One of the key functions of the VMware Cloud Provider Pod is the designer which allows you to specific data for your implementation which is then processed by the VMware hosted document generator to customize the design documents and provide you with a custom automation package and configuration file for a complete deployment bare metal to cloud stack. Ready to operate your public cloud. The video shows the work with the designer and is the first in a series about VMware Cloud Provider Pod.

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Docker Container - Cheatsheet

As I started a set of cheatsheets before and the feedback was overwhelming I will continue to expand with some useful commands on docker container. Again I do not thrive to run this as a full blown tutorial, nor do I think this is a full command reference, this just summarizes commands I need again and again. And some of which I search again and again  (wink)

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VMware Photon OS - Cheatsheet

As I start to use more and more Photon OS for smaller workloads and test scenarios I thought it might be good to collect some quick commands etc. which I constantly use had to research first. This will include standard network setup, the usual tools etc. If you miss anything let me know, happy to add something to the list.

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VMworld Session - Introducing VMware Cloud Provider Pod #HYP1499BU

Designing and deploying a multi-tenant public cloud is no longer complex with VMware Cloud Provider Pod. Learn how you can modernize your cloud provider infrastructure with an automated design and deployment of the VMware Cloud Provider Platform. Deploy and document a complete multi-tenant VMware Validated Design for Service Providers within minutes through just a few clicks. Learn how the VMware Cloud Provider Pod Designer provides guidance for all necessary Cloud Provider Platform components such as VMware vSphere, VMware NSX, and VMware vCloud Director, as well as optional products such as VMware vSAN, vCloud Extender, vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Network Insight. Explore the service offerings the platform enables out of the box and how the designs are validated. Hear about lessons learned, current product prerequisites and limitations, and target use cases.

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Quick nmcli cheat sheet

As I wrote in a previous article I have to deal more and more with CentOS 7 and the use of the network manager and in special the network manager command line interface or short nmcli. I will use this blog page to create a little cheat sheet for myself with the most common commands I use and hope this can be helpfull for others as well.

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CentOS 7 - NAT Router basic configuration

It has been quite a while since I needed to create a CentOS based NAT router and with all the changes in network configuration with CentOS and RHEL 7 it took me a while. Normally most I deal with is either core router or NSX based (DLR or ESG). So I decided to do a little writeup...

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Install Supermicro E200-8D NICs with ESXi

For a project I currently work on we had to create a mobile rack with ESXi hosts. After some research I found that the SuperMicro E200-8D are actually a good choice for the case. They have 4 NICs (2 x 1GBe + 2 x 10GBe) plus a seperate ILO and support NVMe and SSD as a parallel disk option. 

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Lenzker’s Why VMworld ? 10 Reasons Why You Should Go

It’s this time of the year again where a lot of us need to decide. Shall I go to this year’s  VMworld? From time to time discussions come up with statements like:

“(#VMworld) is not the same any more…..When I was young, real knowledge and content was presented… . I was at #VMworld in the old days before it was cool….Virtualization is legacy, Azure and AWS is the only thing that counts”

Who am I to contradict those statements (even though the are wrong :P). I will try to give you my opinion why #VMworld is still the tech-conference highlight of the year.

If it’s your first time visiting VMware’s US event I am going to create a second article called ‘let’s visit #VMworld’ about some personal tips and tricks how to get the maximum out of this years #VMworld

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comdivision Group Achieves VMware Master Services Competency in all four competencies

comdivision Group today announced that it has successfully achieved all of the VMware Partner Competencies: 12 Solution Competencies and four Master Services Competencies. As the second company globally to reach this level, the comdivision group is committed to helping organizations accelerate their digital transformations by leveraging their validated services delivery capabilities around advanced VMware technologies.

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ESXi - AutoInstall - With Kickstart and PXE

Sometimes vSphere AutoDeploy is not possible, like for an initial deployment or other reasons. In this article I described how to setup a bootserver for generic ESXi install, but also how to autoinstall an individual host.

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#VMware #Horizon App Volumes: Hints (for Performance and Packaging)

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to spent 4 days on problematic Applications within an App Volumes environment of a customer. The best thing that can happen to me as an infrastructure guy is to work on building AppStack with guys who know how to package and therefore troubleshoot those applications. Bringing together the knowledge from multiple domains helped us to fix the problems that we had so far with App Volumes.

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Using #VMware’s Unified Access Gateway (UAG) for internal #Horizon 7 connections – Design Discussion

Over the last months I gathered more and more experience about VMware’s secure Linux appliance  that allows secure access to a virtual Desktop (and more) over an unsecure network (e.g.) the Internet: Unified Access Gateway (UAG).

Keep in mind the UAG is not just a replacement for the old Windows based Security Sever, it is also  offering much more functionality (Edge Services for Airwatch / Workspace One, reverse proxy, 2nd-factor authentication integration, etc.).

There might be use cases where we want to design our horizon environment in a way that we use the UAGs not just for external unsecure access, but internally as well.

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What differentiates our content from other’s

When we develop courseware, we do this for an international audience. We try to make the writing plain, consistent, and predictable so that it is efficient in conveying information to this audience.

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vCenter Server Appliance Migration fails at 50%: shutting down source machine

I love the vCenter Server Appliance. The migration works pretty well. Still from time to time I stumble across minor problems (which until now were always quite easy to workaround/fix).

One of this migration ‘issues’ I was faced with recently at a customers site.

We migrated a vCenter against an ESXi host which was using a distributed switch and the corresponding portgroup as a target network.

Since we add the virtual network adapter directly on the ESXi host to the distributed switch we need to have an ephemeral portgroup (otherwise only the vCenter could add the VMs network adapter to this portgroup).

The general process of the migration look like the following.

  • Deploy a new and empty vCenter Server appliance and connect it to the network
  • A temporary IP-address is given to this vCenter Server appliance
  • All relevant data of the source windows based vCenter Server is exported and transferrred over the network to the new vCenter Server appliance
  • When the whole data-set is transferred, shutdown the original vCenter and give the new vCSA the network identity of the original vCenter

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Migration of the #Horizon View Composer to another machine (including a database migration from Oracle / Microsoft)

Within the vSphere world we have currently one goal regarding our vCenter. Migrate it from a Windows based installation to the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA).

The doing of this migration is pretty straight forward and works pretty well (e.g. here). But since we will shutdown the original vCenter VM based on Windows afterwards we need to make sure how to deal with applications that were running besides the vCenter.

We need to migrate them as well. Especially in case of the Horizon View Composer we need to do some proper planning, otherwise our linked-clones (which require the composer) cannot be created and maintained anymore (refresh, rebalance, recompose (R-R-R) operations).

Doing that migration is quite straight-forward. But we need to do some specific and not very well known tasks before we can do all of the steps.

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NSX 6.3 - Resize NSX conrollers - Lab Only

Watch Matthias Eisner explain how to customize the NSX controller sizing for a lab environment.

VMware KB with further information: 

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vRealize Automation - Installation - HTTP 400 - Bad Request Error

Watch Matthias Eisner present on a discovered vRealize Automation issue when FQDNs are containing _.

This is documented with VMware, but something we saw recently often during vRA implementations.

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vRealize Network Insight - Basic Installation and Connectivity

Watch comdivision CEO and VCDX-CMA 203 Yves Sandfort running thru the basic installation of vRealize Network Insight for the first time.

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vRealize Network Insight - Active Directory and other configuration

Watch Yves Sandfort explain how to setup Active Directory authentication and describe some of the other basic settings in vRealize Network Insight (VRNI).

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vCNS 5.5 to NSX 6.2.1 Migration

Watch comdivision CEO and VCDX #203 Yves Sandfort on how to migrate from VCNS 5.5 to NSX 6.2.1 incl. Host and Controller Update.

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vRealize Automation - v7 Distributed / HA / Enterprise Install

Watch comdivision CEO and VCDX #203 Yves Sandfort on how to migrate from VCNS 5.5 to NSX 6.2.1 incl. Host and Controller Update.

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vRealize Automation - v7 - Simple POC / Demo or Lab Install

Watch comdivision CEO and VCDX-CMA Yves Sandfort on how to run a VMware vRealize Automation 7.0 simple installation which you could use for demo, POC or lab setup.

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vRealize Operations - v6.2 - Upgrade

Watch comdivision CEO and VCDX-CMA 203 Yves Sandfort present a quick howto on upgrade to vRealize Operations 6.2

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vCloud Director - v8 - Install

comdivision VCDX Yves Sandfort will demo how to install a vCloud Director 8 instance from SQL setup over Linux system prep, system configuration and creation of the different VDCs for a demo system.

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