Introducing Datrium CloudShift

Hey guys, I have some exciting news for you. Today, we (Datrium), announced CloudShift. Below I’ve summarized some of the things that really excite me about CloudShift. However, before I begin, I think it would be a good idea to quickly go over how Datrium DVX handles Backups and Replication for those of you who might be new to this solution.

Datrium DVX Backup and Replication

As mentioned in my previous post; What is Datrium DVX?, DVX is a Primary storage solution that provides extremely fast storage performance to virtual machines and applications running on DVX Compute Nodes. This is achieved by caching all required data locally on SSD devices installed on the Compute Nodes. DVX then adds a layer of protection by replicating all write IO’s over to the DVX Data Node which acts as a mirror copy for all of the data living in the SSDs on the Compute Nodes.

The Datrium On-Prem DVX system provides a built-in backup mechanism for protecting and restoring data. Protection Groups can be used to group a set of workloads together. Protection schedules are then be applied to the Protection Group based on how regularly data snapshots should be taken and how long they should be kept for. These Snapshots can then be replicated either to another On-Prem DVX system or to a Cloud DVX instance running in AWS.

Hopefully, that gives you enough background for the next section.

Datrium CloudShift

Datrium CloudShift is a SaaS-Based Disaster Recovery (DR) and Mobility orchestration solution, hosted in AWS, that can orchestrate a variety of DR scenarios;

  1. On-Prem (primary) failover to On-Prem (secondary) using backups that are stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site.
  2. On-Prem failover to Public Cloud using backups that are stored in the public cloud
  3. On-Prem failover to On-Prem & Cloud using backups that are either stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site or in the public cloud

I feel this covers the majority of failover scenarios that our customers need to restore their business in the event of a disaster.

I imagine your next question is, “If this a SaaS-based solution, how do I get my data from one data center to another, or to the Cloud? Well, this is where Datrium DVX and Cloud DVX come into play.

Scenario 1 – On-Prem > On-Prem

Scenario 1 is most commonly used when a customer has two data centers, both of which have a Datrium DVX. The DVX is configured to continually replicate data using Elastic Replication from the primary over to the secondary data center (and possibly vice versa). In the event of a failure in one of the datacenters, CloudShift will orchestrate the failover of workloads from one data center to the other. Thanks to the replication technology in DVX, Recovery Point Objective (RPO) times can be less than 1 minute.

CloudShift - On-Prem to On-Prem
 

Scenario 2 – On-Prem > Cloud

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What is Datrium DVX?

Having recently joined Datrium, one of my first tasks is to begin to understand the product Datrium calls DVX. As a way of helping me wrap my head around this technology, I’ve decided to blog about it. I plan on starting at a high-level and then slowly digging deeper under the covers as I learn more.

If you are interested in following my posts, you can subscribe here and follow me on Twitter.

So to begin with, let’s start at the 100 level.

What is Datrium DVX? – 100 Level

Datrium DVX offers Tier-1 Hyper-Converged Infrastructure along with Cloud Mobility. Yep, lots of buzzwords there! So what does that actually mean? Let’s start with the basic question, “What is the Datrium DVX solution made up of?”

Datrium DVX

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Goodbye VMware, Hello Datrium

datrium

After almost 8 years at VMware, I am excited to announce the next chapter in my career. Today, I’ll be joining Datrium as a Sr. Solutions Architect.

“Datrium?” I hear you say? “Yes, Datrium!”.

If you are not yet familiar with Datrium, you soon will be. As I begin to learn and understand the technologies that Datrium offers, I’ll be blogging them as a way to help myself and my readers learn more.

I’d just like to thank of my friends and colleagues that I leave behind at VMware. It’s been an amazing place to work and I will certainly miss everyone. Even though I am now longer at the Mothership, you’ll most certainly still see me around. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and put yourself into situations that you can learn and grow from.

Watch this space.

Public Speaking Tips

VMworld 2017 seems like a distant memory. However, I wanted to share with you a cool vBrownbag session that I was luckly enough to be a part of, titled: Hacking Public Speaking – Tips To Help You Rock It!

The idea for the session came about in one of the #vExpert Slacks channels, where Thom was asking for some tips as he was planning on speaking at VMworld. A few of us replied to the thread with some of our favorite tips. We then thought it would be great vBrownBag session to present during VMworld.

So myself any my fellow co-presenters; Thom Greene, Ariel Sanchez and Edward Haletky combined our personal experinces and tips and came up with the following session.

I hope it’s useful.

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Receive Emergency Calls When Phone Is On Silent

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that very recently we had to evacuate our home due to a forest fire that was pretty close to our house. Luckily, when the evacuation order came through from the Sheriff’s department, I happened to be looking at my phone and I see the call come through. However, usually, I have my phone on Silent when I am asleep and would have missed it. Many of our neighbors missed the call to evacuate, as like me, they have their phones on silent when they are asleep. Luckily the Sherri’s department sent officers to our community to knock on door to make sure everyone was evacuated safely.

So I decided to try and figure out if it was possible to have my phone on silent, but still have Emergency calls ring the phone so I don’t miss them. It turns out, it is possible and it’s pretty straight forward. I’ve documented the steps for both Android (Oreo, v8) and Apple iOS (v11) below. (This post assumes you know your way around your phone. If you are not confident with your phones settings, please ask someone to help you).

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VCP Practice Exams Are Back!

vcp6.5 dcv examsJust over 8 years ago, I was working hard to learn all I could about VMware’s vSphere technologies. A big part of this learning process included creating VCP Practice Exam that I could use to help me learn all of the different products and features that I needed to know to pass the VCP Exam. What was unexpected, was the popularity of the VCP Practice Exam that I had created and shared on this Blog. I even had official VMware trainers recommending my blog to their students looking to sit the VCP Exam. And still, to this day, I get customers & colleagues coming up to me and thanking me for the work I did on my blog as it really helped them improve their knowledge and eventually pass the VCP Exam.

After offering VCP Practice Exams for both vSphere 4 and vSphere 5, other priorities meant that I never got around to continuing on this trend with vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.

However, today, I am pleased to announce that my VCP6.5 DCV Practice Exams are now available to everyone. I’ve personally created 150+ mock exam questions based on the objectives documented in the VCP6.5 DCV Exam Guide.

As with all of my previous exams, all of the questions are created by me. Unfortunately, this might also mean that some of the answers maybe not be completely correct. Yes, I am human, I make mistakes. This exam is still in BETA, as such, some question/answers may be incorrect or misleading. Feel free to provide feedback via the Contact Me page.

These VCP6.5 practice exams are designed to engage the thought process. DO NOT waste your time trying to memorize these questions/answers as they will NOT appear in your VCP exam. Instead, if you are unsure of an answer, go and revise the feature/product. This will ensure you have a better overall understanding and should be able to cope better when being asked other questions around those products/features.

I’ve created two types of Exams:

  • Section Exams, which only have questions specific to each section of the exam guide.
  • A Full Mock Exam, which simulates the actual VCP Exam. You will be given a time limit of 105 minutes in which to answer 70 questions picked at random from all 10 sections.

Section Exams

Full Mock Exam

Exam will contain 70 random questions from all categories with a time limit of 105 mins

Start Mock Exam

Catch Me At Both The Boston And New York City EUC VMUGs

vumglogo

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be speaking at not one, but two VMUGs in June. You can catch me at the EUC-focused VMUG events, called EUC Explore. I am very excited as these will technically be my first (and second) time speaking a VMUG. I’ve run a VCDX Workshop before at the UK VMUG, but never had my own speaking session. There will be lots of EUC Expert speakers at both of these events which you really don’t want to miss out on.

As soon as the agenda is released, I’ll share it with you. So make sure you register to guarantee your space and also keep an eye out for a couple of vBeers which we are planning on arranging in and around these events.

  • Boston Summer VMUG and EUC Explore 2017 (Thursday, June 1st, 2017) – Register here
  • VMUG EUC Explore – New York City (Friday, June 16th, 2017) – Register here

If you are attending either of events please be sure to come and say hi!

My VMworld 2017 Session Proposals

VMworld 2017

Hey, another VMworld is almost upon us, and public voting has just opened. This is your chance to make VMworld 2017 what you want it to be.

I just want to shamelessly plug four cool sessions that I am involved in this year, so you can all go and vote for them! Don’t forget to vote for all of the other great session that have been submitted.

The secret sauce behind VMware’s internal Horizon desktop deployments [1255]

Ever asked yourself “How does VMware architect their own global Horizon desktop environment?”, “Have they encountered the same obstacles we are facing?” Over the past two years VMware has been re-architecting and re-deploying their virtual desktop infrastructure with Horizon, App Volumes and User Environment Manager (UEM) running on top of the full VMware SDDC stack (vSphere, VSAN, NSX) and integrating with vRealize Operations Manager and Log Insight. In this session the lead architects will reveal all.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1255

Architecting vSAN for Horizon, the VCDX Way! [2177]

Balancing the performance and cost of a storage solution for Horizon can be difficult and affects the overall return on investment. VMware’s vSAN has provided architects with a new weapon in the battle for desktop virtualization. vSAN allows architects to design a low-cost high performance hybrid solution of solid state and spinning disks or all-flash for the high desktop performance. vSAN now includes features such as dedupe, compression, and metro clustering which provides greater options to fit your use cases. Learn from two Double VCDX’s on how to architect vSAN to support a Horizon solution to provide the levels of performance your user’s need, with management simplicity that will keep your administrators happy and at a cost that will ensure your project will be a success.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2177

Automating Virtual Desktop Deployments with VMware Cloud Foundation [1254]

Building a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) requires Horizon software integrated with the backend virtual infrastructure with computer, network, and storage. A focus for VMware Cloud Foundation is the automation of the deployment and maintenance of the backend for VDI. This session covers the built-in automation of the deployment of vSphere, VMware NSX, VMware VSAN, vRealize and Horizon components that Cloud Foundation offers. It also describes the integration of App Volumes in this infrastructure, and the ability to dynamically grow this infrastructure with the growth of your desktops, resulting in turnkey VDI deployment. All you need to bring are the desktop images.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1254

Turn the tables, this time you ask the questions! VCDX Panelist Panel [2650]

Its your turn to ask the questions this time! Turn the tables on VCDX Panelists who will answer your questions, anything from the VCDX program to general architecture at no extra cost to you!

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2650

Horizon View API – Query Service

Whilst working on my Horizon View API page, trying to figure out which API calls return the data that you can see in the Horizon Administrator Console, it soon became clear that the API Query Service is used to collect a lot of the data seen within the UI. The way I managed to figure this was by analyzing a Horizon View Example Desktop Script created by Alan Renouf. So I’m going to try and document how to use the Query Service here so that other can use begin to use this really powerful tool.

Hopefully, this will be useful to you. If you have any questions, please either comment below or contact me directly. I will update this page as I learn more.

  • There are few commands that we need to execute to enable the query service, I believe that these three commands will remain the same regardless of what query you are trying to run.
C:\> $ViewAPI = $global:DefaultHVServers[0].ExtensionData
C:\> $query_service = New-Object "Vmware.Hv.QueryServiceService"
C:\> $query = New-Object "Vmware.Hv.QueryDefinition"

  • The next command needs to be modified depending on the data you are trying to capture. You can define the ‘queryEntityType‘ with any of the Queryable Data Objects.
C:\> $query.queryEntityType = 'DesktopSummaryView'

  • Once the Data Object has been defined we can now run the following command. The variable name $Pool can be changed to reflect the data you are collecting.
C:\> $Pools = $query_service.QueryService_Query($ViewAPI,$query)

  • Now we have the Variable defined we can start to find the data we need. In this example, I am looking to get a list Pools. Do get this information I can run the following:

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Using The Windows Photon Controller CLI For The First Time

vmware-photon-controllerWhen managing VMware’s Photon Controller, you can either manage it via the new management UI or via the CLI. Personally, I am a ‘mouse’ type of guy so I often prefer to use the UI’s were possible. However, occasionally we have to use CLI’s from time to time. When I tried to download and install the Windows Photon Controller CLI (A.K.A. Photon Command-Line Utility) for the first time, it wasn’t as obvious as it probably should have been. Doing a quick Google, didn’t return anything useful. So I thought I’d create a quick post detailing how to use the Windows Photon Controller CLI to connect to your Photon Controllers.

  • Download the Windows Photon Controller CLI 
    • Make sure you download the correct version based on the version of Photon Controller you installed. So if you installed Photon Controller 1.0.0, download the CLI from that section.
    • Once you’ve downloaded the file, do not attempt to install it. It’s not designed to be installed.
  • Place the .exe file somewhere that you will easily remember. For me it was just simply C:\photon. It might also be worth renaming the .exe to photon.exe if it isn’t already, just for simplicity.
  • Open up your favorite Windows Command-Line utility. This could be CMD. I use Powershell as I find it a little more user-friendly than the native Windows CMD (although Window10 version is a lot nicer).
  • Navigate to the location where you placed the photon.exe.

 

C:\Users\Simon> cd c:\photon
C:\photon> dir

       Directory C:\photon

Mode           LastWriteTime     Length  Name
-----          -------------     ------  ----
-a---     11/30/2016 4:06 PM   11618304  photon.exe

C:\photon>
  • Next you’ll need to run the following command to connect to your Photon Controller

 

C:\photon> .\photon.exe target set http://[PhotonControllerURL] -c
API target set to 'http://[PhotonControllerURL]
C:\photon>
  • Now enter the username and password used to authenticate to your Photon Controller

 

C:\photon> .\photon.exe target login -u admin@MYDOMAIN -p MYPASSWORD 
Token stored in config file
C:\photon>

You are now connected to your Photon Controller! You can run all of the Photon CLI commands that are available. Try the following to show more information about your Photon deployment

C:\photon> .\photon.exe deployment list

I hope this helps someone 🙂

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