VMworld 2021 Recap

Day 1 Recap

Don’t forget that the VMworld 2021 on demand library is still available, so register now for VMworld 2021 and take a look at the highlighted sessions

More and more, companies are taking a software-defined approach for managing multi-cloud infrastructures. VMware has always been really good at abstracting the physical infrastructure challenges that everyone faces when managing multi-clouds using a software-defined approach. Managing applications that are cloud-native, traditional, or a combination of both that are distributed across many clouds is challenging. Application development teams like the ease of leveraging native public cloud services but are challenged with having that same experience across all clouds. This complexity makes it difficult for developers to move at the speed of their business, increases security risks and costs, and decreases performance and revenue. At VMworld 2021, VMware announced VMware Cross-Cloud services aligning with their Any Cloud, Any App, Any device strategy that builds upon the five key pillars around cloud infrastructure and management, apps, security and networking, and the edge. Check out the 60 second recap below for more details.

VMware also revealed new capabilities for their cloud and modern apps portfolio including a new free open-source community edition helping customers and developers accelerate their modern apps journey. Check out the 60 second recap below.

VMware also announced new innovations in the security space to deliver and end-to-end Zero-Trust Security architecture that includes data center and public clouds that incorporates security into the apps, access from any device and extends to the edge. Check out the 60 second recap below.

Hear from the three executive leaders including Raghu Raghuram – CEO, Sumit Dhawan – COO, and Kit Colbert – CTO interviewed by The Cube on announcements made at VMworld 2021.

There were also five news announcements made at VMworld 2021 that map out VMware’s future strategy helping customers with their multi-cloud journey innovating across clouds, apps, the edge and security.

Don’t forget all the projects that VMware mentioned at VMworld 2021 this year. Check out Viktor van den Berg‘s great blog post that summarizes these projects.

Day 2 Recap

Voices of VMworld included compelling conversations with luminaries and celebrities all with the goal of inspiring you. Check out all the guest speakers VMware had talking with various VMware leaders here. Guests included interviews with Michael J. Fox, Will Smith, Mick Ebeling, and more!!…

Finally, Don’t forget that the VMworld 2021 on demand library is still available, so register now for VMworld 2021 and take a look at the highlighted sessions recommended for your on-demand viewing pleasure. We’re all looking forward to attending VMworld 2022 in persons!!

I’ll end with VMware’s new CTO Kit Colbert talking about changes in the industry, how Covid has impacted everyone and how change is inevitable.

Home Lab upgrade to vSphere 7.0.2

This is probably more relevant to home lab users as it relates to unsupported hardware, as in my case, I’m running a VMware home lab on unsupported CPU hardware using Dell R710 servers running various Intel Xeon 56xx CPUs. If you want to see how I initially build my lab on the unsupported CPU hardware, you can check out my former blog article here.

I could not work through the normal VMware Lifecycle manager process and ended up using a CD Based install to upgrade my VMware hosts from ESX 7.0.0 to 7.0.2. My 2 biggest challenges were overcoming the unsupported CPUs in my Dell servers and making sure the 10GB Nic card drivers worked post upgrade.

Shout out to William Lam for providing the advanced installer options for allowing unsupported CPUs to allow the vSphere installer to continue and allow my upgrade to complete.

In my case, I ended up working through the normal vSphere upgrade workflow by upgrading my vCenter appliances first and then moving on to my vSphere hosts. I ended up upgrading my primary vCenter server without any issues, but I’m still working through the issues with my second vCenter that manages my nested ESXi portion of my lab due to errors around the online upgrade repo (not critical but I’ll get this sorted out eventually).

Moving on to my vSphere hosts, I downloaded the Custom Dell OEM installer and burned a CD (ouch) and went through the process with each server. Rebooting each host after being placed into maintenance mode, I selected the option at BIOS prompt screen to enter the Boot option menu and chose my CD Rom as the boot device. Once the vSphere installer screen started, hitting the ‘Shift + O’ keys I was able to enter the advanced boot option and added option ‘allowLegacyCPU=true’ and hit enter, went through the normal boot up process, accepting all the options and even the Warning message about installing on an unsupported CPU combination in the server. The upgrade process went quite well with one exception, no driver installed as part of the upgrade that would support the 10GB NIC card in the server (which I use to connect via software iscsi adapter to my Synology NAS).

I ended up doing some troubleshooting by logging into my ESX hosts via SSH and running a query for installed VIBs (esxcli software vib list) and discovered that the ixgben driver in use on my upgraded server was using a Dell driver named ‘INT_bootbank_ixgben_1.8.9.0-1OEM.700.1.0.15525992’ and my working esx hosts running vSphere 6.7U2 were using ‘VMW_bootbank_ixgben_1.7.1.26-1vmw.700.1.0.15843807’.

As luck would have it, I ran into this issue when I upgraded my lab from 6.5 to 6.7 and kept the older 10GB NIC driver on a shared datastore. So my next step was to uninstall the existing VIB and install the previous VIB that I knew would work on my particular server.

Upon a successful reboot of the server after removing and installing the correct driver, I now had a working ESX 7.0.2 server that kept all the existing configurations and was able to see my synologyiscsi datastore.

One thing to note, in order to successfully reboot the host, I edited the boot.cfg files and added the ‘allowLegacyCPU=true’ option to the /bootbank/boot.cfg and /altbootbank/boot.cfg files appending the kernelopt line to allow that setting to stick after rebooting. Using SCP and editing these two files works successfully.

Rinse and repeat with the other lab servers and we’re all upgraded successfully. Hopefully this was useful for those that may be in my same situation using similar hardware but more importantly, provides some guidance on how to troubleshoot a potential failed upgrade on a host.

If you want to use nested vSphere, William Lam has a public shared content library with all the virtual appliance versions available to add to your vCenter content library configuration. When using the nested appliances on unsupported hardware, keep in mind that you’ll need to follow the same process on those nested appliances in order to boot them successfully. On first boot, use the Shift + O option and append the ‘allowLegacyCPU=true’ option and after successfully booting, follow the process above to edit the boot.cfg files.

On a side note, one of the upgrades did not work as expected and upon initial upgrade, I lost all connectivity and could not manage the host at all.

**Useful tip: if you need to revert a host to a previous configuration, when booting up the host into ESXi, one of the options is to select ‘Shift+R’ and boot your server into recovery mode which reverts the server to the alternate boot bank that was functioning prior to the upgrade.

VMware Press Releases

  • Record Date for $11.5B conditional special dividend is October 29, 2021 PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMware Inc. (NYSE:VMW) (“VMware”), a leading innovator in enterprise software, today announced that October 29, 2021 has been set as the record date (the “Record Date”) for VMware’s $11.5 billion, conditional special dividend payable pro-rata to all VMware stockholders (the […]
  • PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– A cloud-native architecture is fundamental to the success of deploying 5G networks. Leading service providers are cloudifying their networks from core to edge to radio access network (RAN) to achieve greater operational efficiency and flexibility to deliver innovative 5G services. Telia Company today shared details on how it is working with […]
  • VMware frees access to VMware Tanzu platform with new VMware Tanzu Community Edition, allowing customers to run and manage Kubernetes-based containerized apps at no cost in multi-cloud environments PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMworld 2021 – As organizations come to grips with the reality of a permanent digital-first world, the pressure to digitize and modernize operations […]
  • Introducing VMware Cross-Cloud services to help deliver freedom, flexibility and security for customers across any cloud PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMworld 2021 — At VMworld 2021, VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) announced its strategy to help customers navigate the multi-cloud era with the launch of VMware Cross-Cloud services. This group of integrated services will help deliver […]
  • New VMware Security innovations empower customers with better security for apps that is more effective and easier to use PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Today's modern enterprises are facing an evolving threat landscape and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. They require security that is both built-in and built differently. More than 30,000 customers trust VMware to help protect […]
  • With VMware Cloud, customers modernize apps with better economics and less risk Company unveils tech previews at VMworld 2021 to showcase the future of VMware Cloud PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Organizations today are driven by the urgency to go fast and digitize. Multi-cloud is now the model for digital businesses seeking to achieve rapid transformation. […]
  • VMware Edge Portfolio will enable organizations to run, manage and better secure apps across near and far edge locations PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Organizations are distributing workloads across multiple clouds while simultaneously extending out to the edge – pushing apps and services closer to where people, data and things connect to the networked digital world. […]
  • PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a leading innovator in enterprise software, today announced that Raghu Raghuram, chief executive officer, Zane Rowe, chief financial officer & executive vice president, Sumit Dhawan, president, and other business executives will hold a Financial Analyst Meeting primarily focused on strategy and products in conjunction with VMworld …
  • Company Also Scores Highest in the Cloud-First WAN Use Case in the 2021 Gartner® Critical Capabilities for WAN Edge Infrastructure Report PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) today announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. as a Leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure. According to Gartner, VMware was […]
  • Security teams must rethink processes to aid innovation and customer experience PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a leading innovator in enterprise software, today announced findings from a study on the relationship between IT, security, and development teams as organizations adopt a Zero Trust security model. The study, titled “Bridging the Developer and […]

VMware NSX-T 3.1 Global Manager Deployment

I decided to write up some lessons learned when deploying the latest NSX-T instance in my home lab. I’m using NSX-T 3.1 and trying out the options to use the Global Manager option for deployment. Here’s a summary of what I worked on:

  1. NSX-T Global Deployment to include 2 Global NSX Managers clustered with a VIP including a Standby NSX Global Manager. Current NSX-T Federation supported features can be found here.
  2. Attach Compute Managers to Global and NSX Manager appliances.
  3. NSX Manager Deployment to include 2 NSX Managers clustered to manage my physical lab vSphere cluster and an additional 2 NSX Managers clustered to manage my nested vSphere cluster.
  4. Test cluster failover from node to node.
  5. All NSX Global and NSX Manager appliances configured to use Workspace One Identity for individual appliance authentication as well as the VIP used for each cluster.
  6. Configure all NSX Global and Manager appliances for backup.

Continue reading “VMware NSX-T 3.1 Global Manager Deployment”

vSAN Witness on ESXiOnPi

Another continuation of my main blog post and working through my 3 use cases, this one happens to be something a lot of people have been asking me about. 2 node vSAN edge site with a remote witness, but what if the remote witness was in the same room and running on a Raspberry Pi. Here’s where I’ll test that option.

Let’s set this up a bit, I’ll be using two virtual ESXi hosts again using William Lam’s virtual ESX content library and deploying two virtual ESXi servers to setup and configure a 2-node vSAN cluster. I’ll use the VMware Fling again running on a Raspberry Pi4 to act as my vSAN witness.Continue reading “vSAN Witness on ESXiOnPi”

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