Both the VSAN Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and the VSAN Release Catalog database which provides VSAN build recommendations should be updated periodically to ensure that you have the latest VSAN recommendations from VMware. In addition to using the vSphere UI to perform these update, customers can also automate either of these tasks using the VSAN Management API which can be consumed using any of the supported VSAN Management SDKs including PowerCLI.
I know many of you have been asking me about my vSphere with Kubernetes automation script which I had been sharing snippets of on Twitter. For the past couple of weeks, I have been hard at work making the required changes between the vSphere 7 Beta and GA workflows, some additional testing and of course documentation. Hopefully the wait was worth it (I think it is) and if you enjoy the script or have benefited, please consider adding 🌟to the Github repo to show your support! Thanks and enjoy
Had to make some updates to one of my vGhetto Automated Lab Deployment Scripts
💥44min to automate all required #vSphere7 infrastructure! 🤛🎤🥳
1 x VCSA 7.0
3 x ESXi + vSAN 7.0
1 x NSX-T 3.0 UA
1 x NSX-T Edge
— William Lam (@lamw) April 4, 2020
The Github repository:
Before getting started, please carefully read through the requirements section along with the complete sample end-to-end execution if you are new to vSphere with Kubernetes. You will need to have a VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 4.0 license before you can get started and specifically an NSX-T Advance license which is one of the required parameters within the script. If you do not have access to a VCF 4 license, I strongly recommend taking part in the recent VMUG Advantage Homelab Group Buy effort which I had started to easily get access to the latest VMware releases along with a nice 15% discount!
The script supports deploying both a standard vSphere 7 environment with just VCSA, ESXi and vSAN as well as the complete solution which includes NSX-T to support vSphere with Kubernetes. For more details, please refer to the FAQ.
The highly anticipated "modular" Next Unit of Computing (NUC) has just been announced at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this week, dubbed the Intel NUC 9 Pro (codename Quartz Canyon) and NUC 9 Extreme (codename Ghost Canyon). Boy am I super excited for this new platform and what it could mean for the VMware Community! 😍
Immediately off the bat, you can see that this is not your typical NUC "cube" form factor. Intel has completely redesigned the system from the inside and out, more on this in a bit. The key difference between the two NUC 9 variants (Pro and Extreme) are the CPU options, which are detailed below. For the remainder of this article, I will be focusing on the Pro version of the NUC 9 and I will call out any differences where applicable.
The use of the word "Pro" is also quite fitting as Intel is positioning this system as a high-end prosumer to Mid-Enterprise device compared to the traditional NUC. The NUC 9 Pro is targeting more demanding workloads such as Digital Content Creation, CAD/Manufacturing and Financial Service applications that either require a high-end graphics card or AI module for computing. When I first heard about this system from Intel, it conceptually reminded me of Apple's recent 2019 Mac Pro, which is also designed with modularity in mind and can cater to a variety of use cases.
Speaking of use cases, although Virtualization is not a target use case for this new platform, VMware customers have been taking advantage of the Intel NUCs for a number of years now and it is still by far the most popular platform for running a vSphere/vSAN/NSX Home Lab. However, one common complaint I often hear about the current generations of NUCs has been its CPU and I think the new NUC 9 Pro/Extreme will be a nice contender for current alternatives like the popular Supermicro E200-8D. Thanks to Intel, I was able to get my hands on a pre-production NUC 9 Pro unit for testing, so lets take a closer look at what this new platform has to offer!
Staying up to date with the latest VMware product releases can be a challenge and with something like VMware Cloud on AWS, which is delivered as a service, it can be even more tricky as new updates are constantly being made available. Historically, there has not been a consistent method for how customers can get notified of new releases and this has also come up from our VMware Cloud on AWS customers.
We posed the challenge to our Information Exchange (documentation) team to see how we can help our VMware Cloud on AWS customers and the team came back with an initial implementation of providing a standard RSS feed which you can now find at the upper right hand corner of the VMware Cloud on AWS release notes page. You can subscribe using your favorite RSS reader, I personally use Feedly and when a new release of the SDDC and/or service, you will get notified via your RSS reader. For those that want a different delivery mechanism such as email for example, you can use the free If This, Than That (IFTTT) service which I also personally use and setup an email notification or any other type of notification that IFTTT supports.
Although this initial requirement was driven by the VMware Cloud on AWS product team, we definitely wanted to see this capability delivered across all VMware products and services which is what the team has done as well. When you navigate to a specific product and/or service release notes, you will now see the additional RSS feed that you can subscribe to.
Here are just a few of the popular RSS feeds that I know folks will want to subscribe to. For a complete list of all VMware product/services, please take a look here.
- VMware Cloud on AWS - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-on-AWS/rn_rss.xml
- VMware Cloud on DellEMC - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-on-Dell-EMC/rn_rss.xml
- vSphere - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/rn_rss.xml
- vSAN - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/rn_rss.xml
- NSX-T - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-NSX-T-Data-Center/rn_rss.xml
- HCX - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-HCX/rn_rss.xml
- VMware Site Recovery - https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Site-Recovery/rn_rss.xml
I think this be a great first step in helping our customers easily get notified of new releases, so that can start reviewing the release notes and start planning. I know many of you have also asked for other methods such as programmatic access to release notes updates or even having a specific changelog for things like our APIs. If folks have any feedback in this area, feel free to leave a comment and I will be more than happy to share this with our documentation team.
One thing I really enjoy at VMworld when I have a few minutes to spare between sessions and customer meetings is to walk around the Solutions Exchange and learn about what our partners are doing in the VMware eco-system. I usually do not make it in very far before bumping into an old colleague or customer before having to run to my next engagement, but some times I get lucky.
While walking the show floor, I came across a really interesting company that immediately caught eye and you can probably guess why from the picture I took below.
The company is called Hivecell and they make it super easy for Global 500 companies to deploy and maintain software at the Edge without requiring a large IT team to manage the deployments which can be spread across hundreds if not thousands of sites with very little to no IT staff.
One of the biggest challenges with Edge Computing is being able to process the large quantity of data being generated in all of these remote locations on a daily basis. In some cases, the dataset can grow up to several Terabytes and it is no longer feasible to send all of this data to the Cloud or back to your Datacenter to extract the business intelligence and value. In fact, depending on the connectivity of your remote site, it can take weeks before the data is available. For any type of real or near-real time applications, the window where the data is of value can literally be hours if not minutes and it must be processed immediately at the Edge.
Speaking of use cases, here are some of the scenarios where Hivecell believes they can really help with their solution, more details about each use case can be found here.
- Renewable Energy
- Quick Service Restaurant Chains
- Data Science
Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) and eventually USB 4 is a really fascinating technology and I believe it still has so much untapped potential, especially when looking at Remote/Branch Office (ROBO), Edge and IoT types of deployments. TB3 was initially limited to Apple-based platforms, but in the last couple of years, adoption has been picking up across a number of PC desktop/laptops including the latest generations of Intel NUCs which are quite popular for vSphere/vSAN/NSX Home Labs. My hope with USB 4 is that in the near future, we will start to see servers with this interface show up in the datacenter 🙂
In the mean time, I have been doing some work with TB3 from a home lab standpoint. Some of you may have noticed my recent work on enabling Thunderbolt 3 to 10GbE for ESXi and it should be no surprise that the next logical step was TB3 storage. Using a Thunderbolt interface to connect to external storage, usually Fibre Channel is something many of our customers have been doing for quite some time. In fact, I have a blog post from a few years back which goes over some of the solutions customers have implemented, the majority use case being Virtualizing MacOS on ESXi for iOS/MacOS development. These solutions were usually not cheap and involved a sizable amount of infrastructure (e.g. storage arrays, network switches, etc) but worked very well for large vSphere/MacOS based environments.