Friday, December 29, 2017

Improve IT Service Delivery Quality with Automation

I delivered a session during VMware vForum 2017 Indonesia back in November 2017 about how a company can kick start their automation journey and get the value from it. Automation itself is a very extensive topic and one should choose what to automate carefully. IMO, it should start with repetitive tasks which will bring value to business if automated. Begin with something that is easy to automate, and along the journey, adds more tasks to further complete what requires to deliver a service. Quick wins built confidence. Do not try to automate everything in one go, as it will be complex, costly, and give you headache in supporting it. This post is a rewrite what delivered during my vForum 2017 Indonesia session, which would like to give ideas on where to start and what challenges it will solve by doing it.

There are 4 use cases that I presented:

  • Accelerate delivery and improve consistency of application environments
  • Manage VM sprawl by automated lifecycle enforcement
  • Providing secure access to 3rd party vendor
  • Continuous Delivery for apps and SDDC

Below I try to explain on challenges that each use cases try to solve, and how VMware can solve that challenges. The solution mainly powered by VMware vRealize Automation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#NSXUenak: A Testimony from An NSX User

One of my customer spoke in a customer testimony session during VMware vForum 2017 held at Jakarta, Indonesia back in November 2017. One word he kept using to describe his satisfaction in using NSX is UENAK. Uenak, is some kind of an accentuate expression derived from the word enak, which is Bahasa Indonesia for good, comfortable, or pleasant. During his more or less 10 minutes session, he mentioned uenak for at least 5 times to express his feeling after using NSX. This post is a rewrite of what he mentioned during the session.

NSX uenak because it helps on the scalability. Distributed router and distributed firewall move east-west traffic from what it used to be centralized in physical device (core switch or firewall) to be processed in the transport layer (eg. the ESXi hosts). It is important to them as the nature of their business requires flexible scalability. With NSX (and vSphere), every time they add new hosts, they not only add compute (CPU and RAM) capacity, but also network capacity (in term of bandwidth and additional power to process traffic routing and segmentation/isolation.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Infrastructure as Code

Consuming vRA Catalog Item using REST API


I'm preparing a demo to show how developer can consume infrastructure layer by using API. I have the cloud management platform using VMware vRealize Automation up and working, blueprints already created, catalog set for user and ready to consume. Now the question is how to consume the Catalog Item using API. Thankfully a colleague point me to a blog from Ryan Kelly here:
http://www.vmtocloud.com/how-to-script-a-vrealize-automation-7-rest-api-request/.
The article is awesome, it shows step-by-step on how to do it so you will understand the flow, which will be useful for further exploration. And at the end of the article, it wrapped all the steps into one script that user can call to request the catalog item. After that, it only requires to run the script to do the request.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

VM Performance Issue Troubleshooting

Always Remove Unnecessary Hardware on a VM after Doing P2V


One day, a customer of mine called me asking for advise for an application that his team has just P2V but was having performance issue. As usual, my response was to understand the issue and the application itself, came up with some suggestions, including asked them to raise a support request (SR) to VMware Support. Couple of days passed by, but no resolution on the issue. So I decide to visit the customer to see whether I can help. This blog documents the process I took which ended on resolve the issue, and points out one important step post P2V which tends to be missed out.

What's the issue? On what ground the user said the application is slow?


This is the first thing I try to understand if facing a performance issue. Can the user really quantify the slowness? Or is it just based on felling? For this case, the performance issue was quite clear. They showed me that running one process took about 10 seconds in P2V app, where in physical normally only 3 seconds. Ok, now I know what to expect. My goal was to get that 3 seconds back.

What's the application? How's the architecture? How user access it?


Next is to know what application is that. We might want to cross-check whether any documented best practice available for that application. One place to check is at Virtualizing Business Critical Applications page on VMware website, or just Google with keyword "application name on VMware best practices". If one exists, you can use it to later check whether the VM/application already configured according to the best practices.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My VCAP6-DCV Deployment Exam Preparation

Last Friday, I finally sat on my VCAP6-DCV Deployment Exam after around 6 weeks of intensive preparation. The preparation itself is really exhausting. Need a lot of determination to keep it going with my study plan, and that includes sacrificing so many precious time with my loved ones during weekends and public holidays, which somehow there's so many public holiday in Indonesia in the last 6 weeks, and I don't know how many glass of coffees to ensure my eyes and brain active to receive all the information. My study plan is simple, VCAP6-DCV Deploy Exam has 26 objectives from 8 sections. So everyday, I try to cover all skills and abilities required for one objective. Though, a lot of time I missed the time target since the objective is so extensive to cover, or I was bustled with my work. I started my study with the blueprint sections which I think I strong, which are storage, network, availability and scalability, and performance, and then continue to the rest of blueprint sections.

Here is some sources which help me preparing the exam:
  • Official Exam Blueprint: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=88753&ui=www_cert
    • Officially only available online, pdf (like in VCAP5 days) no longer available
    • This blueprint will tell you all the official documents you need to be able to cover all skills and abilities required.
      • Read each skill and ability from each objective, find related basic theory on the manual, and then practice the steps required to implement that objective.
  • VCAP6-DCV Deployment Study Group: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/108002000588564278612
    • Check this Google+ group for other test takers experience on preparing the exam.
  • Notable Study Guide (For Kyle Jenner, Mordi Shushan, and Ramy Mahmoud who dedicated their time to write these great study guides, your work are awesome! Much appreciated.)
  • VMware Hands-on Lab: http://labs.hol.vmware.com.
    • One of the key thing for this exam is to get your hands-on, so having access to a lab is really crucial. I have my personal lab, build a nested ESXi using VMware Fusion on two Macbook Pro, but I also leverage VMware Hands-on Lab extensively.
      • FYI my HOL account transcript records that I completed 25 labs during my exam preparation period. Some labs taken couple of times since the same lab can be used to cover some objectives.

Monday, November 28, 2016

vSphere (and Some Other Products) Upgrade Notes



Recently, a lot of my customer are planning, doing, or have just done vSphere upgrade. Mostly due to vSphere 5.1 which already in end of general support phase per 24 August 2016. Technical guidance will still be provided for vSphere 5.1 until 24 August 2018 (For a complete important date on your product support phase, please check this VMware product lifecycle matrix.), but please note that no more security patches or bug fixes will be released for vSphere 5.1 in the future, unless stated otherwise. Other than that, during technical guidance phase, support request will only be given to low-severities issues on supported configuration only as stated in this VMware lifecycle policies. This is my personal notes on some information which can help in planning VMware environment upgrade.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why Guest OS Task Manager is Showing Different Value Compare to vSphere Performance Monitor?

Demystifying CPU States in vCPU World


Have you experienced a situation where your guest OS task manager is showing different value compare to vSphere performance monitor? Or you get a request for additional vCPU from the application team which uses your VM because they see their VM utilizing almost all vCPU they have, but when you check vCPU usage of that VM in your vSphere web client, it only shows low utilization? Is there something wrong? Before you think there's something wrong with vSphere performance monitor, read this article to understand what's causing that situation.

Figure 1. Windows task manager shows ~100% CPU Utilization
Before going further, let me first describe the situation clearer. Figure 1 and 2 are coming from the same Virtual Machine, perf-worker-01b. The first figure shows Windows Task Manager where the CPU utilization is hitting 100% for most of the last 4 minutes. The second figure shows vSphere performance monitor which taken about the same time as Figure 1, and this figure reveals that for the last 4 minutes, VM CPU usage is only around 50%. FYI, I actually ran a CPU benchmark tool on perf-worker-01b for about 30 minutes, and for most of the time in that period, Windows task manager showed 100% CPU utilization, while vSphere performance monitor showed around 50% CPU usage. Why vSphere performance monitor only showed 50% CPU usage when Windows task manager showed ~100%?