vRealize Operations REST API: Create…

vRealize Operations REST API: Create Application and Application Tier Objects

vRealize Operations REST API: Create…

I’ve been working with my colleague John Dias on a demo that involves deploying VMs via Cloud Automation Services and automatically configuring monitoring them with vRealize Operations. We needed a way to create Application and Application Tier objects during the provisioning process. Looking through the REST API documentation, there are no API calls specifically for The post vRealize Operations REST API: Create Application and Application Tier Objects appeared first on VMware Cloud Management.


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Why you need to go to VMWorld (and me too).

VMware’s big tech conferences, VMWorld, are on the horizon again, the US edition in San Francisco, August 25-29, 2019 and the EMEA edition in Barcelona, November 4-7, 2019. These are massive events with a lot of people attending and an incredible amount of things to do. The content catalogue for the US has just been published, but in my opinion the sessions are the least compelling reason to go! Allow me to explain from my 7 years attending Barcelona as a speaker, HOL captain and exhibitor and 1 year in San Francisco.

Networking.

No not NSX or anything. The people thing. Yes even for techies, nerds, and other life forms generally not into interacting with real people. VMWorld has thousands of attendees. There are customers, technical people from large and small organisations from all countries you can talk to, exchange ideas with, you can even HELP each other. And of course a lot of VMware and VMware partner attendees, ranging from your local contacts to PSO engineers, but also R&D engineers, product managers, executives…. Where else are you going to meet these people and talk to them? There are booths, briefings, roadmap sessions, panel discussions and more! And on top of that you get the same from industry partners, most of them have a booth in the Exhibition hall. But that is a paragraph on it’s own. I could spend all my time there and, granted, the last 3 years with Blue Medora I had too.

I could go on and on here, there are so many events and opportunities on the VMWorld floor and beyond. During lunch, at a coffee break and yes the parties. Oh boy the parties. You can go to more than one every night. Especially Barcelona is very dangerous here. I don’t want to sound like your mom, but pace yourself. Everyone goes home exhausted anyway, but I know people who do not have recollections of some days in Barcelona…

Hands-on Labs.

The labs! Oh my God, this is a reason to go all by itself. You know that VMware invented this beautiful thing of having a whole area in the conference dedicated to labs of course. Since then a lot of others try to imitate but the HOLs are constantly evolving and ahead. Of course you can take labs from your coach, but at VMWorld the new catalogue is available! And there are instructor-led sessions and swag… The setting is so impressive! It looks like an evolved version of the bridge of the USS Enterprise…. Connected to multiple data centers, with a team of engineers onsite! You can sit down at a terminal or bring your own device and launch a lab where you can test out a product in a complete vSphere environment that is provisioned on the fly! So you can stick to the scenario or try out some stuff… There are some of the smartest people at VMware behind this and they give tours! I worked the labs both as a floor slave (sorry proctor) and lab captain and I hugely enjoyed it every time! I really wish I could do it again!

Exhibition hall.

I love these at conferences and VMWorld is no exception. VMware has a lot of booth space and demos of course, but everyone is here: startups, VMware R&D, cloud providers, hardware vendors,… There is a welcome reception here and hall crawl, no to be missed because this is where you need extra bags to travel home with all the goodies you got! And again you get to interact with people, see demos, learn things.

Sessions.

Of course there are a lot of sessions to attend. These are great opportunities to hear from engineers or product managers on new products or hear other customers talk about their experience! I did both, presenting on Log Insight back in the day when I had a great customer case in Belgium and presenting with News UK on their very scientific approach to vRealize Operations. For me it is as much fun presenting and interacting with people as following other sessions.

There is so much more to tell, the exams you can take there, the vBrownbag tech talk sessions and more. If you are working with VMware products day to day, VMWorld is simply not to be missed. If you plan a few trainings per year my personal opinion is VMworld is a better value. You can learn but also interact with key people directly. And a tip if you are in EMEA: I really like the Barcelona version! You get the same sessions and activities, not a watered down version and you get Barcelona on top of it! Also there are cheap airline tickets from all European destinations and hotels are reasonable (especially if you reserve everything now!).

So let’s make our mark together! Hope to see you there! And bring comfy shoes…

VMware vExpert 2019 Two Subprograms Are Now Open!

VMware vExpert 2019 Two Subprograms Are Now Open!

A few days ago, the vExpert 2019 second half application. Now the vExpert Cloud Management and vExpert NSX subprograms are open. Please note this is based on your past year contribution on the two specific categories namely NSX and Cloud Management. This year Cloud Management is new into the…Read More


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Datadog part 1: Who let the dogs out?

TL;DR Datadog is a SaaS monitoring solution with an impressive list of integrations, including vCenter and AWS. Their agent is open source. They have impressive dashboarding and now feature logging and APM.

As part of my newly won freedom from vendors this year, I am looking at some options to manage your VMware environment. Of course vRealize Operations is still my baby, but choice is a good thing and in some cases you might be interested in looking at other solutions. Like when you look at prices to manage your full stack environment…

Datadog home screen.

Datadog is a very popular choice at the moment. You see their booths at DockerCon, AWS Summits and their engineers do a lot of public talks. Founded in NYC by two French, their claim to fame is that they are a SaaS solution. Yes, you install agents in your infrastructure to send data to their cloud engine. A few things stand out here:

  • The agent is open source! So you have complete visibility in the very optimised code they use and you can even change it if you want.
  • The SaaS model has it’s advantages: think about all the metrics you want to gather in your infrastructure. Do you really want to maintain servers and storage to keep those? Datadog keeps them in a – dare I say – data lake and allows you to do some nifty stuff with it. More on that later.
  • They have more than 250 integrations! I was used to the Blue Medora plugins catalogue but this is insane ! I am not going to list them all, just look at their page.

Datadog is very strong in cloud solutions, they are an AWS partner, but also shine in cloud native solutions. They are now venturing in logging and APM! It all reminds me a bit of what Blue Medora is trying to do with Bindplane, but you do not have the connectivity out to other monitoring systems (safe Grafana) but you get very cool dashboarding. Really cool dashboarding! This is where the solutions feels really different to me. You can build very beautiful and responsive dashboards, you can play with metrics in a notebook, you can even annotate a graph or part of it for your colleagues. It feels very much like monitoring for Millennials. You can also tie in comms systems for your monitors like Slack or PagerDuty. The system will also send you mails with daily updates.

In the next article I will dive into some highlights of integration with vCenter and AWS. If you want to try it out yourself get a trial on their home page. I am available as an independent contractor to work with you on evaluating a monitoring environment.

VMUG BE this Friday!

VMware has one of the best and most active user bases in the industry. The VMUG (VMware User Group) organises local meetings, user conferences, online meetings and more. If you are working with a VMware infrastructure you should really check it out. I am still amazed some people have not heard of it.

Belgium and Luxemburg are no exception and this Friday June 14th will see the annual user conference in Lamot in Mechelen! See the website for details on free registration and schedule. Mechelen is a good choice for accessibility, you can easily get a train from wherever you are. Also it being Belgium the event has taken place in the old Lamot brewery for the past few years.

The great thing is you can follow sessions from peers and VMware experts or sponsors on technical subjects. I am personally looking forward to:

  • keynote by VMware EMEA CTO Joe Baguley. Always entertaining.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS with Stefan Verbist.
  • VMware’s Cloud Operations model by VMware engineering.
  • Kubernetes by Eric De Witte.
  • PowerClI. Because Luc Dekens is the guru.
  • Lode Vermeiren is even tackling IoT!
  • and of course there is a vExpert session with Stijn Depril.

I am not mentioning the complete agenda here, just my highlights. Apologies if I left you out…

The most fun at these events are the sponsors exhibition and coffee chats of course. In particular I have been contacted by Easyvirt this year. They are doing a massive push for their DC Scope product for monitoring VMware environments. I hope to have it running in my lab this week, so that I have some idea on Friday.

And did I mention there is a free BBQ?? Grab those last tickets at VMUGBE and see you there!

Tips on public speaking

At the VMware User Group NL conference we just had a vExpert lunch with Amy Lewis (@commsninja). She gave a great talk with tips on public speaking. One of the problems we touched upon is “imposter syndrome”. Joep Piscaer gave a separate talk about this, which I will link to when the video is published.

As I really love presenting, learned not to be nervous and do not suffer from imposter syndrome I felt it would be a good idea to list here the tips I mentioned during the discussion. These are really things I use daily and that are fundamental to me for public speaking, presenting, podcasting or whatever. I should probably put these golden nuggets in a presentation and sell it, but here you go for free:

  • Tell a story. This is something I twittered about at cloud expo last week and is very dear to me. Whatever it is you are presenting about, tell a story. A personal experience, a user story, even a complete analogy. I once attended a presentation about tech evolution where the speaker told a story about a medieval monastery! I still remember it today some odd 20 years later… I do not remember all the presentations where people where just going over all the bullet points on their slides… Note that obviously you do not just present slides made by your marketing department…
  • Be yourself. Be authentic. I think this also helps with imposter syndrome. If you are a techie, introvert guy, do not imitate Elvis on stage. Present from your strengths. Use whiteboard, explain (tell a story…). People will connect. I used the example of a company I used to work for (yes Novell, no one remembers…) where we would have US-based tech evangelists come over to present. They did great sessions – shows almost – that were welll received. When some European colleagues started imitating them it bumped. Because we do not have the same culture, so it was not accepted from a local. And the local guys were not the “guys from HQ”.
  • Present as if you are in the audience. This is the most important one for me. This is what helped me a ton. Unfortunately I do not remember where I picked it up. If you have to do a presentation, imagine that you are in the audience. Do you want to be entertained or do you want someone struggling through his speech? It will even help you feel empathy for yourself, which is very important because there are some very good chances that the audience exists of normal people like you that are also nervous about presenting sometimes! (Unless you are presenting to managers or vc… just kidding).

And as mentioned by Amy: practice, practice. I was lucky that through my hobby (astronomy) I started working as a volunteer in an observatory where they dropped me in front of groups visiting with every different background imaginable. So I was already presenting long before I got into tech.

Oh and most important, even for life itself… Use a little humour….

Let me know what you think and go out and present to the world!

Starting Grafana…

Well, the advantage of more time on my hands and a working homelab is that I finally got round to installing Grafana! I have been reading up on this wonderful open source visualisation tool and wanted to use it… ever since I attended a FOSDEM session last year! I think this is a great tool to bring different data sources together and offer a complete stack view. I was contemplating attending Grafanacon next week, but the plane tickets to LA are a bit expensive… To console myself I installed version 6 beta 3 to learn everything new straight away.

I installed a Debian 9 vm in my vSphere environment with 2 vcpu, 4-GB RAM and a 50-GB disk. I played around with centos and ubuntu, but I think more and more of Debian as the clean, stable secure, mother of some other linuxes… and the CLI is so familiar with all my raspberry pis….

The Grafana install is very quick and painless. I just got some mixup when registering on their site. My username did not get through. Of course I did not read too much doc and I had not created a user in my instance yet… Worldping was not working… I almost immediately got some emails from Matt to point out something was wrong, which is rather impressive…

Anyways I have Worldping working, it is a plugin to monitor any services on the internet. When I pointed it to this blog it automatically connected DNS, ping and https to monitor! And installed some standard dashboards. This is a great quick intro to Grafana and a great way to get mileage out of it straight away!

Worldping dashboard for my blog

I also connected Azure monitoring, since they announced a collaboration with Grafana. The only thing a bit involved here is setting up a service admin to connect to. It went flawless but now I need some data to display there…. I also played around with Darksky as a data source to get the weather forecast, but no luck so far. I will keep you updated. Next is connecting AWS and maybe setup Prometheus …

If you want to start with Grafana, head over to their website and access the install instructions there or use their hosted version. You can also find Grafana images on AWS or Azure.