Tag Archives: vExpert

vRealize Operations 8.6 announced at VMworld !

The annual VMworld conference is only live for two hours as I write this, but already my head is buzzing with announcements. The pace is furious this year! My favourite topic gets an update of course…

First of all the vRealize apps are really getting even more ready for multicloud. vRealize Operations now has full support for VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Service, Google Cloud VMware Engine, VMware Cloud on Dell. For public clouds we get monitoring for all AWS services, including custom metrics and enhancements to Azure and GCP monitoring. Integration with CloudHealth extends costing capabilities to the cloud.

And yes… we have a new UI… Honestly I have mixed feelings about another change in the interface, but apparently it is there to simplify the interaction, so let’s hope that works out. The menu is now simplified based on personas:

new UI in vROps

To be fair there are a lot of changes to improve the user experience. I must admit I always hated the mess of the dashboards section, well that has now been completely redesigned. There is a new dashboard browser and you can manage your own favourites.

Dashboard browser.

And talking about another annoyance … Cloud accounts! Well, here too everything is now neatly under integrations. Very clean and oversee-able.

A great new feature is that in VMC on AWS you can now activate a 30-day trial for vROps Cloud ( SaaS obviously) with one button. It is an integrated experience that comes with self-guided tours that help you improve your TTV (Time-To-Value obviously). I think it will bring Operations to a whole new bunch of customers.

Guide to create a dashboard.

There is support in the on-prem version for the opensource telegraf agents, this was introduced in the SaaS version in v8.4 (they warned you SaaS would have the cool stuff sooner). This means you can pulll data from 200 applications into vROps.

There are more changes like sustainability dashboards and a new cost overview. What stands out is that you can now use regular expressions as criteria for custom groups, we all love regular expressions, right ? As a bonus here is a resource to check those expressions before you use them in a custom group…

Another fine thing is the ability to customise email notification templates more. You can even include fields. I think this will help me greatly in the OTRS integration I am doing for a customer.

There is also great – almost shocking – news on the True Visibility Suite, but I need to see an announcement and confirmation at VMworld before I will write about that. Stay tuned.

As for the release date, an internal source told me “soon, very soon”… I am looking forward to it! What about you? Let me know your questions. And as always at Comdivision we are VMware Premier Partner, we can help you with all vRealize Operations projects! Get in touch!

Security sessions at VMworld 2021

In this second post on VMworld session recommendations, I want to share some picks in security from the content catalog. It is going to be a busy week! See my blog on cloud management sessions I published before.

Although I am an infrastructure guy and I have worked a long time in systems monitoring, I am part of the vExpert Security sub-program. I have done a lot of work in compliance, with the defunct VMware Configuration Manager and lately with vRealize Operations.

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

I want to specialise more in security, seeing what the need is in our industry today. I have done NSX-t training and did the Carbon Black Partner Certification, but I am not an end-user computing specialist, so keep my focus in mind when you read my list.

Also it is a good idea to turn to the community for advice, so I listened to the VMware Communities episode #570 on VMworld security tracks. Zero Trust is important I think, as is incorporating security in our architectures. I do not like the scary stories at any security talk, I do not see their added value. So with all of that in mind, here we go!

A Modern Firewall For any Cloud and any Workload  [SEC2688]

NSX-t has a lot of security features built-in like micro-segmentation, the NSX distributed firewall is one of the latest techniques to secure your environment. I would like to know more.

Anatomy of the VMware SOC [SEC1048]

Practice what you preach, right? So I am interested in hearing what VMware’s own Security Operations Center (SOC) are doing to keep the bad guys out.

Macro- to Micro-Segmentation: Clearing the Path to Zero Trust [SEC1302]

Well there is someone I know here! Victor Monga leads the vExpert Security track and he is talking micro-segmentation and Zero Trust. Should be an interesting talk!

Continuous Compliance and Vulnerability Management with vRealize Automation [SEC2054]

vRealize Automation is still a bit my baby and DevSecOps is a hot topic. I am curious to see how we can achieve continuous compliance in the apps developed internally at customers, without having to setup elaborate scanning after the fact.

Simplified Security with VMware Carbon Black Cloud [SEC2718]

A lot is happening around Carbon Black Cloud (and I hope to blog about it soon….). This is a Meet-the-Expert session to get down in the practical details.

Meet the Experts: vSphere Security Best Practices Straight from the Experts’ Mouth [SEC1388]

If you manage vSphere environments, I think this one is not to be missed. Going to be chockfull of practical tips on how to secure your environment. And that’s what we all need to do, right?

I realise the last two sessions are Tech + Pass (paid) sessions. I think they are worth it and as I explained in my post on cloud management sessions, I am going to pay for access too.

These are not all the sessions on my list, but they give you an idea of what I am looking for in security: architecture, Zero Trust, NSX-t firewall and micro segmentation and Carbon Black Cloud.

Do let me know what you think or what sessions you recommend. And please connect during the event! We have a booth in the partners section with ComDivision, the premier VMware partner in DACH and USA where I get to do a lot of my work.

My personal picks for cloud management at VMworld 2021

VMworld is upon us again, the greatest VMware tech show of the year. I have attended every EMEA version in Barcelona since 2012 and even one in San Francisco in 2013. This year it is online again, like last year, but that should not stop you from attending. When I went over the content catalog a first time I noted 29 sessions as my favourites! And now you can get all that content from the comfort of your home office without distractions like the bars in Barcelona and all the parties… Seriously, I miss the live event too, before attending the last live version so far in 2019 I blogged about why you needed to attend. Well we can still have some networking and all the great sessions!

Memories of San Francisco.

What follows is my selection of sessions that are really worthwhile and that I will attend myself. Not because of the description or because someone asked me to promote them, but mainly because I know the presenters. Many I worked with at VMware or Blue Medora and some I still work with as a contractor or in the vExpert program. One thing I noticed is that some sessions are now only available in the paid Tech+ passes, that is new. There is probably a good reason for it, it is top rated content! Just as I paid for VMworld 2019 myself I decided I will pay for a Tech+ pass to attend them. (Unless someone offers me a rebate hint.. hint…)

A Big Update on vRealize Operations [MCL1277]

This is the session not to miss if you are involved with vRealize Operations – and you should ! Matt Bradford leads the vExpert Cloud Management track with enthousiast and he is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. Peter Haagenson was a colleague at Blue Medora and – although a marketing guy – he is on top of his subject and fun to listen to, even if he ruins my belt every ones in a while at VMworld. Another reason I am happy there are no life encounters this year.

A Cloud Management Journey from Monolith to Modern Apps with vRealize Suite [GWS-HOL-2201-08-CMP]

I am pretty excited about this one as it is a Hands-on Lab Guided Tour. If you have seen some of my previous blog posts you know I cannot praise enough the HOL environment VMware puts at your disposal to learn stuff. The learning is in the doing, so I expect some real good stuff here. Christopher Lewis is another one of those long standing members of the vROps world and has blogged a lot about it.

Different ways of absorbing Hands-on Labs…

Advanced Troubleshooting with vRealize: Your “Go-To” Guide [MCL1271]

Many people still struggle with troubleshooting, even with great tools in vRealize Operations like the Troubleshooting Workbench. I met Tim George at Blue Medora and he has grown to the formidable presence he is today at VMware ! A very accessible guy who is always ready to help. I cannot wait to hear what he has to say !

A Guide to Application Migration Nirvana [MCL1264]

I am intrigued by the description of this session. I still do not know Network Insight well enough, but Martijn certainly does. He is “Mr Network Insight” to me. Let’s just hope he brings stroopwafels and not Dutch beer….

All Your Capacity and Costing Questions Answered [MCL1391]

I am sure this title is correct: I do not know a person more knowledgeable than Brandon Gordon on everything capacity and cost calculations in vRealize Operations. I am curious to see what he will talk about this time. Highly recommended.

An End-to-End Demo – Operationalizing VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize [MCL1442]

Another session presented by an individual I respect a lot in the community, Mr John Dias. I you are running vCloud Foundation and wonder about management, this is the session to follow.

I do not want to dilute the message by listing here all the sessions I want to attend. I am going to make a separate post for security. I do want to point out these special sessions though.

Automation Showdown: Imperative vs Declarative [CODE2786]

Although as usual I have trouble understanding what the session is about, I do know that my fellow countryman Luc Dekens is THE resource on everything powershell and beyond. And although we cannot drive across SF this year to have diner, I am going to try and follow his session…

Decoding VMUG [IC2827S]

I put this one in because I think community is important and in our world none more so than the VMUG. I attended many, many sessions in a lot of different countries and hope we can get to in-person meetings again soon. If you are involved with VMware products as a customer or partner you need to be involved with the VMUG.

Do let me know what you think or what sessions you recommend. And please connect during the event! We have a booth in the partners section with ComDivision, the premier VMware partner in DACH and USA where I get to do a lot of my work.

My vExpert path

Entries have opened again to apply for the VMware vExpert program for the second half of the year. More information on the vExpert website.

I want to share my path and experiences in the program so far, hoping it might be helpful if you are considering applying (and you should …).

What is the vExpert program? It is a recognition by VMware for people that promote the company and products in certain ways. Evangelists you might call it. You can be a blogger, a public speaker, someone who solves issues in the VMware Communities, an end user, partner, employee. As long as you do something active in some way! It has nothing to do with certification programs like VCP. And it is renewed every year. It is a very active status. This is my version, you will find more info on the VExpert website.

Become an evangelist…

What do I get you might ask? What’s in it for me? Quite a lot as a matter of fact. You get badges for your website or social media, test licenses for software, briefings, some freebies. But above all you get a community on slack. A group of peers there to help or just hang out with.

But allow me to dive into my personal experience. I worked for VMware for a few years, but the vExpert program only came to my attention when I was working for a technology partner – Blue Medora – some 3 years ago. Some guys in the Belgian VMware community decided there were far too few vExperts in Belgium compared to the Netherlands, there is always some healthy competition in the lower countries… (grab your maps app of choice ….). Kim Bottu, Tom Vallons and Stijn Depril convinced a bunch of us to apply. As a matter of fact all of these gentlemen are now vExpert Pro. If you are in the region and need help applying, talk to them too. I can hook you up.

Halfway through my first year I became jobless. I kept writing some blogs and talking to people. I continued as an independent contractor and actually found a few projects through the vExpert community! If you need more reasons to apply, tell me! I also noticed that for customers the vExpert title is becoming important, it is not a certification of course, but it shows that you are in touch with VMware. On top of that I hooked up with the guys at Comdivision and I now work together with them. You can check on our vExpert page that this a very important program for us!

In my second year I became part of the cloud management sub program and this year the security one. This is a specialisation, it means you get briefings on upcoming products and roadmap! Again an important advantage. There is no way I would get access to this kind of information as a lonely contractor… Also the cloud management guys have run some fun competitions…. and I attended the Carbon Black conference thanks to the security people. We also had meetings at VMWorld, but not sure if in-person conferences are ever coming back… Highlight was the vExpert reception in Barcelona that Pat Gelsinger attended!

Pat and some Belgian friends…

You need to consider what you can contribute to the community, but do not be too hard on yourself. I wrote a few blog posts last year. I participated in briefings and published some vROps dashboards. I am not an expert on everything VMware. I do realise however that you have to contribute something to be part of this family! I am very grateful for everything I got out of the program so far!

There were more than one beer…

On top of that if you are lucky enough to be in Belgium, you get vBeers and vBBQ meetings! But proof of citizenship is necessary to talk more about that!

So check out the website and the twitter channel, talk to a vExpert Pro or ping me!

vExpert subprograms announced!

After been chosen for the third year in the VMware vExpert program, the sub programs were announced yesterday.

I am very happy to have been chosen in 2 #vexpert subprograms this year: cloud management (for the second year) and Security ! Thank you to all involved and congrats to all vExperts!

If you have questions about the program or any of the products we cover, please reach out to me. My public profile is here.

vExpert badges.

vRealize Operations v8 and Cloud announced!

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a briefing from VMware on new upcoming releases of our beloved vRealize Operations, and today I can talk about them! vROps has really advanced tremendously in the last years and it is now for me the solution for monitoring in a VMware multicloud environment. The platform is well positioned for HCI operations (think vSAN, vxRail), hybrid cloud monitoring, app-aware operations, compliance use cases and the aforementioned multicloud.

vROps Cloud has been announced today. All SaaS offerings are now simply named ‘cloud’, so Log Intelligence will become Log Insight Cloud. Watch for other announcements this VMworld…. There will be a tech preview in Octobre – around VMworld EMEA I guess – and a beta early next year for launch around mid next year. It will require simple installation of a proxy in your network and registering a vCenter. VMware on AWS will be even simpler.

vROps v8 will also be available around Octobre. There are a lot of improvements in Workload optimisation and cost to include cloud services such as Amazon. The AWS and Azure management packs will now come with the product out of the box. I think there is a blog post necessary only to talk cost or workload optimisation. Let me concentrate here on a few other remarkable new features in intelligent remediation. Still my favourite use for vROps…

Troubleshooting workbench.

I will try to avoid some popular marketing terms here, but it is hard to do since this is an incredible new feature, with some stuff that learns … (get it ?) and one dashboard with all info to quickly troubleshoot a problem from app to infra…It gathers and correlates info on events, anomalous metrics and property changes. You can change time and topology to find out more and you can run multiple workbenches at once.

troubleshooting workbench

Application monitoring.

The new application monitoring using Telegraf agents is extended with 20 new applications and services! NTPD, Java, and Websphere are now supported and you can write custom monitoring scripts. These options bring vROps more and more in the APM space, along with the following novelty!

Native Service Discovery.

vROps now has built-in agent-less service discovery for 41 known services through vmtools! You can also add your own services to a white list. It will build application relationships and you can run agent-less VM actions for troubleshooting, like getting top-n processes.

Continuous availability.

vROps can now go beyond HA and replicate between sites over a layer3 network connection. So you can have a site failure and still access vROps. I know this is an important feature for large corporations with worldwide datacenters.

All in all vROps 8 and the SaaS offering offer some great new features. If you are a vSphere customer and are moving towards SDDC on prem and cloud offerings such as AWS, you would be well advised to take a closer look!

Detect historical idle VMs on vROps

This is a little view that I created in vRealize Operations because of a customer issue. As you hopefully know in vROps 7.5 the idle VM detections is back. You can switch it on in the reclaim settings. On the home screen go to the Reclaim dashboard and click the wheel next to the title. Now you can switch on idle detection, powered-off VMs and snapshots. Even orphaned disks can be hunted down!

Switching on idle VM detection

The idle detection looks if CPU consumption in the chosen period is less than 100 MHz. The customer wanted to check also memory, disk and network access to decide on which VMs needed to be singled out for deletion.

I created a view using the new colorisation in v7.5. Attention! Colors only work in dashboards you create with this view or the view itself. In reports they do not show up.

I put in some specific parameters, but you can change them. CPU and memory color red if they use over 500 MHz or 500 MB respectively. Disk and network access go red over 100 kBps. CPU, memory, disk and network are sorted in ascending order.

Historic idle VM detection

The preview is on vSphere world. If you get VMs that are green for all metrics over a month, you know they are good candidates to delete… In the image above you see a preview in my little home lab…

We can now use this view in a dashboard so that we can click on a VM and get some more info such as the parent host and cluster and data stores. Well any excuse to use the exquisite new advanced object relations widget! The sparkline widget is used with the VM Capacity metrics to show the configuration of the VM. Of course you can build your own dashboard on top of this!

To use this in your environment download the zip file from VMware Code and unzip. First install the view by clicking on Dashboards, Views, Manage Views and import “historic idle detection view.zip”. Afterwards go to Manage Dashboards and import “historic idle VMs dashboard.zip” there. Both View and dashboard are now available in your environment.

Let me know what you think!

vExpert Cloud Management!

I am very happy to announce I have been accepted in the new VMware vExpert Cloud Management program. This is a group focusing on vRealize Operations, vRealize Network Insight, vRealize Log Insight, and SaaS offerings Network Insight and Log Intelligence. We will interact with the business unit at VMware to evangelise these solutions!

VMware vExpert Cloud Management Program

A big thank you to the program leaders and congratulations to all colleagues! If you wonder who is part of the program, look at the directory.

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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