- Written by Rynardt Spies
- Category: vRealize Automation (vCAC)
- Published: 23 October 2014
- Last Updated: 23 October 2014
There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not the Identity Appliance that ships as part of vRealize Automation (previously known as vCloud Automation Center, which will be referred to as vCAC 6 for the rest of this article) is required when deploying vCAC 6.1 in conjunction with vSphere 5.5 and later.
As of vSphere 5.1, Single Sign-On (SSO) is a pre-requisite to installing the components for and including vCenter Server. It’s no secret that VMware’s initial implementation of SSO in vSphere 5.1 was terrible. It was over complicated in terms of its implementation requirements, even requiring its own database, to be manually set up using SQL scripts. Thankfully, VMware addressed many if not all of the SSO issues in its release vSphere 5.5, with SSO now being a much more simple and robust component in your vSphere 5.5 environment.
When I started looking at vCAC 6, and reading through the documentation, I couldn’t help but notice the constant reference to the Identity Appliance. The Identity Appliance in vCAC 6 is basically an SSO server. It handles SSO for your vCAC 6 implementation, brokering authentication between AD (LDAP) and vCAC. I started wondering, that if I have SSO installed, configured and working in my vSphere environment, why do I need to implement the Identity Appliance? Implementing the Identity Appliance alongside my existing SSO environment would result in me having two separate SSO configurations which kind of takes the “Single” out of SSO.
So I did some digging, asked some questions and basically came to the following conclusion. vCAC can work with your existing vSphere 5.5 implementation, providing that your SSO version is supported (see the table at the end of this artice). When using your existing supported vSphere 5.5 SSO implementation with vCAC 6, you do not need to deploy the Identity Appliance. The vCould Automation Center 6.1 Installation and Configuration guide also states on page 9:
“You can use the Identity Appliance SSO provided with vCloud Automation Center or some versions of the SSO provided with vSphere. For information about supported versions, see vCloud Automation Center Support Matrix”
So why did VMware decide to ship the Identity Appliance with vCAC 6? Well, the answer to that question also lies within the recent name change to vRealize Automation. Noticed how the word “vCloud” is missing from the name? Also noticed that there is no reference to vCenter or any of the VMware virtualisation products such as vCD, or vSphere? The reason is simple. VMware does not want its vRealize Suite of products, including vRealize Automation (vCAC) and vRealize Operations (vCOPS) to be “pigeonholed” to be used only with VMware vSphere implementations. Basically, VMware wants to drive home the fact that you do not need vSphere, vCD or vCloud Air (VCHS) in order to utilise any of the vRealize products. They can be used with alternative cloud platforms from other vendors, or even physical environments.
Therefore, if you don’t have vSphere deployed, but would like to use vCAC, then the Identity Appliance, which is provided as an OVF template (Open Virtualization Format) can be deployed to hypervisors other than ESXi, such as Hyper-V in order to satisfy the SSO requirement for vCAC.
If you would like to avoid deploying the Identity Appliance and utilise your existing vSphere 5.5 SSO implementation, then ensure that your environment meets the following requirements:
- Written by Rynardt Spies
- Category: News
- Published: 29 September 2014
- Last Updated: 29 September 2014
I’ve been thinking about retiring my old home lab server hardware for some time now. I’ve had two little HP ProLiant ML110 G5 servers for 5+ years. They’ve been good little machines and didn’t cost too much to run, but I can now tell that time has taken its toll on them. They each have a dual core Intel Xeon processor and maxed out at 8GB of RAM. With the management components of products such as vSphere, vCAC, vCD, etc. nowadays requiring at least 8GB per appliance, these machines have basically been made obsolete by the requirements of most enterprise applications today.
So I needed to find some hardware to replace these two servers. I needed to find a server, or “whitebox” that meets the following requirements:
- Needs to be affordable to purchase and to run 24x7;
- Needs to be quiet;
- At least a Quad-core processor;
- Needs to have 32GB of RAM per host.
I’ve been looking around for “small to medium business” class servers, but I’ve not quite been able to spec something up that met all my requirements, and when they did, I just couldn’t justify the expense. The alternative was to buy decommissioned DL380s from eBay, but then I’d be footing a pretty high energy bill, and not to mention having to live with the constant noise of server cooling fans, blowing out the heat that resembles the money I’d be spending in energy bills, from the back of the server.
So, I did what any other techie in my position on a budget would do. I built my own whitebox to run ESXi 5.5 on. When I first purchased my ML110 servers, it was in the ESX 3.0 days (remember those). ESX 3 was very fussy about hardware and literally wouldn’t install on most non-HCL hardware. Today, ESXi 5 installs on almost anything (although not supported when run on non HCL hardware).
After having a look at what’s available on the market for mid to high end desktop computer components, I realised that there is a lot of processing power being packed into today’s desktop class products, and that at a fraction of the cost compared to enterprise server components.
Intel v.s. AMD:
Considering what I’ll be using the servers for, to run vCloud Suite products mostly, I determined that AMD offers the best value for money. They provide processors that fit my requirements perfectly. Although Intel provides premium processors which in my opinion are far superior to AMD processors in terms of performance vs. energy consumption, AMD offers processors with lots of cores (perfect for virtualisation), high clock speeds (not that I’m all that fussed about maximising GHz per core) and all the processor extensions required for the workloads I’d be running, at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent Intel processor. Yes sure, if I was building a new gaming machine, or a flight simulator, or a vSphere environment for a customer production environment, then I’d push for Intel, but for my home lab, there’s not much sense in spending the additional $$$.
So, with the processor vendor decided, here’s what I came up with:
- AMD FX-8320E 8-Core FX Series CPU = £106.6 Incl. VAT*
- Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 Socket AM3+ Motherboard (Micro-ATX) = £49.98 Incl. VAT
- 2x CORSAIR CML16GX3M2A1600C9 (32GB Dual Channel DDR3) = £247.58 Incl. VAT
- 350W BeQuiet PURE L8 BN221 Power Supply = £35.22 Incl. VAT
- Gigabyte GZ-MA02 Case (Micro-ATX) = £24.00 Incl. VAT
Total = £463.38 Incl. VAT
*For you guys in the US, VAT in the UK is sales tax in the US.
You’ll notice that there are no HDDs or SSDs included in the hardware list above. That’s because I’m not playing with VSAN or any other local storage or caching at the moment. Storage is currently provided by my Synology DS1512+ NAS.
All these components arrived on Saturday, 27 September 2014, and I can report that with the exception of one small issue (which I’ll explain below), ESXi 5.5 Update 2 is running marvellously on the whitebox.
Well, there is one catch here that could be a serious issue for those who aren’t planning on installing an additional supported NIC. The on-board Realtek 8111E/F PCIe Gigabit LAN controller is not supported and not even detected by ESXi 5.5. This isn’t an issue for me as I had installed a quad port 1Gbps NIC card that was sitting on my desk for a while, which is supported, so I hadn’t even noticed the on-board NIC wasn’t showing up until I came to configuring the networking.
However, if you try and install ESXi on a system built with this motherboard or any other motherboard with the Realtek 8xxx series NIC without installing a supported NIC first, then I’m afraid ESXi won’t even install.
I did see on the community forums and some blog posts that suggest there are unsupported drivers floating around, that might enable the on-board NIC, but I’m not too fussed with it at the moment as I have a quad NIC card installed, which probably cost me about £20 off eBay.
- Written by Rynardt Spies
- Category: Industry News and Events
- Published: 08 May 2014
- Last Updated: 16 May 2014
I am happy to announce that our new book, VMware vSphere Performance (ISBN: 9781118008195) is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in eBook format on Kindle as well as Paperback. The Paperback version should be in stock at Amazon.com by 12 May 2014.
This title was first announced in 2011 and due to a number of issues and difficulties, the book was delayed several times. However, due to the hard work and dedication of my co-authors, Matt Liebowitz, Christopher Kusek and the editorial team at John Wiley & Sons, Inc. we were able to finally bring the title to print.
As I mentioned in the dedications section of the book, I dedicate this title to Jonathon Fitch. Jonathon was one of the original authors who started this project with me back in 2011. Jonathon sadly lost his battle with cancer in April 2013.
I have decided that all royalties that is received by me as a result of this project will be donated to El-Shammah Home for Abandoned Babies and Place of Safety, a non-profit organisation in Primrose, Germiston, South Africa.
|Country / Region||Edition||Link|
|United States / International||Paperback|
|United States / International||Kindle|
|United Kingdom / Europe||Paperback|
|United Kingdom / Europe||Kindle|
From the back cover:
ENHANCE VMWARE PERFORMANCE TO KEEP DATA CENTERS RUNNING SMOOTHLY
VMware vSphere is the most widely used virtualization technology in the world and offers robust mechanisms for performance tuning. This Sybex guide provides a comprehensive overview of the interaction of the vSphere platform with computing, storage, and networking functions and provides guidance that helps you get the best possible performance for mission-critical virtualized environments.
- Read about performance design considerations for virtualized platforms
- Apply best-practice troubleshooting methods for VMware vSphere
- Build a comprehensive virtualization toolbox to increase performance
- Create a test lab for performance modifications and experimentation
- Benchmark and monitor performance in production environments
- Understand the interaction of vSphere with CPU, memory, storage, and network
- Virtualize performance-intensive applications and workloads
- Written by Rynardt Spies
- Category: Industry News and Events
- Published: 04 March 2014
- Last Updated: 07 May 2014
On the 20th of February 2014, I published some of my PowerCLI scripts to GitHub in an attempt to have some sort of version control system in place as well as to make the scripts available to the general public. However, my current role doesn't really require that much scripting, and it really is only the occasional script that I have to put together. Therefore, I've only learned a little of PowerShell, basically enough to get the job done. I come from a C/C++ programming background and feel much more comfortable when working on a file with a .c, .cpp or a .h file extension.
However, I am aware that there are some real PowerShell gurus out there with outstanding scripting skills and most probably some good scripts as well. Wouldn't it be great if we can pull all the scripts together in a repository that is open to the public? If you have a script that you wrote and that you would like to share with the virtualization community, please feel free to contribute the script to my ScriptKit repository on GitHub.
To contribute, browse to the repository at https://github.com/rynardtspies/ScriptKit and hit the "Fork" button. This will allow you to clone the entire repository to your own FREE GitHub account. You can then add scripts to the repository or make changes to the existing files in the repository. Once you are happy with your changes, create a pull request on GitHub. This will inform the repository maintainer (currently myself, but I could hand that responsibility to someone more qualified in the future) that there are changes that are waiting to be pulled in. If the changes meet the requirements, they will be included in the ScriptKit. Simple :)
If you would like to contribute, but you can't be bothered with Git and Forking repos, then you can always fire the content over to me and I'll upload the content, credited to you :)
I only have one rule. Please only contribute content that you have the rights to and please do not upload copyrighted content or content that was written by someone else without getting their permission first.