CloudPhysics updates, now with more awesome included

On the first day of VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, CloudPhysics kicks the conference off with a big announcement. The patform is receiving another round of new features that will blow your socks off. I’ve followed CloudPhysics closely over the past couple of years since they announced themselves to the world. Given the way they built their hosted offering I immediately began to dream of what might be possible. Some of the new features are exactly what I dreamed of and others are just more awesomeness that they dreamed up.

Global Data Set

CloudPhysics has been collecting data from every environment that installs their observer appliance. The observer is necessary to use the CloudPhysics offering, this is how data is collected and uploaded. The tools then crunch the data, for a lack of better description. You are able to use your data for reports and monitoring. CloudPhsyics also has been collecting two years worth of annonomized customer data that is now like the hive mind.

No one else has this level of information about virtualization. Oh the things that could be done with this, well I’m glad to say that they now have enough unique data that represents unique environments of all sizes that can be used for comparison purposes. I can’t tell you how cool this is going to be.

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Setting up and using the Tintri PowerShell Toolkit

With the release of Tintri OS v3.0 the good folks at Tintri surprised us with a PowerShell Toolkit. The toolkit provides a nice list of cmdlets to get people started with automating tasks with VMstores and VMs. This immediately got my mind racing on what might be possible and how I could use them in the work lab and for customers.

To get people started I have put together a simple walk through that shows a few of the easier commands and how they might be used.


Install Prerequisites

You will need to have PowerShell v3.0 installed before you can install the Tintri PowerShell Toolkit. Head over to Google and locate the download, install and move to the next step.


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How to setup LDAP logon for Tintri VMstore

Tintri just released version 3.0 of the Tintri OS this week. As part of this upgrade the ability to use LDAP/AD for role based access controls (RBAC) is a long awaited feature. I was happy to see this and some other features that I will be writing about separately. In previous versions of Tintri OS there was only a single Admin account that had full access and all users were required to use. The new LDAP option will offer greater flexibility for larger teams that have multiple levels of administrators.

I will walk through the steps on connecting a Tintri VMstore to Active Directory and the enablement of an AD group for admin access.

Tintri LDAP Setup

Step 1: To get the process started log into the Tintri management web page and click on the settings menu from the top right corner.


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How to upgrade a Tintri VMstore

Tintri has been selling their VMstore arrays since early 2011 and the upgrade process has become as simple as the array is to manage. More important is that the upgrade to the Tintri OS can be completed without interruption to your virtualization environment. The upgrade process upgrades the software on a single controller at a time handling failover of the controllers through the process to ensure its always available to your hosts.

I’ve put together this short post on the upgrade process to help others with the upgrade or showcase how easy the upgrade is if you are evaluating Tintri as a storage platform. Before you start the upgrade process you will need to log into the Tintri support portal and download the upgrade version that you will be installing.

To get things started you will need to log into the management web page for your Tintri VMstore. Once there locate the settings menu from the top right and click on it.



Once in the settings window locate the more option from the menu tree and click on the Upgrade menu item. This will open a new window that you can begin the upgrade process.



Once in the upgrade menu area we can see the current OS version and hardware details. Now locate the upload button and click so that we can upload the package that was downloaded earlier.



A window will open and allow you to browse your local drive for the Tintri OS upgrade package that you already downloaded. Once located click on it and click the Open button to start the upload process.



The following image shows the progress of the upgrade package that we selected in the previous step.



Once the upload is complete you will be presented with an upgrade button to start the process. The button also lists the version that you will be upgrading to as a nice touch and removes any confusion.



The upgrade of the Tintri OS is now underway and the upgrade window updates to reflect this status. At this point you can sit back for a few minutes and enjoy a cold beverage while the upgrade completes without interruption.



If your like me, I don’t always like to sit and wait for things to complete. I like to see what is taking place, to do this you can click on the Alerts menu shown below. This will display all alerts for the Tintri VMstore. From here you can watch as the upgrade process upgrades each controller individually and reboots. This makes it easy to follow along with the process and see when it completes.



Once completed we can view the hardware tab for the VMstore. This will show you the health of the storage array and confirm the redundancy state of the VMstore. Also shown with the arrows below is the OS version for each controller letting you know they are both now running the new OS version.



The upgrade process for a Tintri VMstore is very simple and is completed in less than 30 minutes. I have done a number of these and never experienced an issue and did not require any outage or changes to my VMware environment. When it comes to storage upgrades it does not get much easier than this.


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Platform9 looks to bring OpenStack features to the Enterprise

A new company is coming out of stealth today and is called Platform9. Platform9 is the creation of several of the earlier engineers from VMware. This team had their hands in creating the great features that enterprises use everyday. Their new project is set to bring OpenStack features and functionality to Enterprises without all the challenges.

Platform9 is a SaaS based management platform that offers OpenStack API compatibility. The product is built on OpenStack with custom management interfaces. The team is starting out with KVM support out of the gate and VMware vSphere coming later this year. Think of it as a cloud management layer in the cloud to manage your on-site resources.

Below is a few highlights from the press release that can be read in full here.

Platform9 is the easiest way for enterprises to implement a private cloud, with intelligent, self-service provisioning of workloads onto their computing infrastructure.
  • 100% Cloud Managed: Platform9′s cloud-based model means that there is no complex management software to setup, monitor and upgrade, thus simplifying the operational experience.
  • Single Pane of Glass: Platform9 offers unified management across diverse environments – Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere – across datacenters and geographies.
  • Based on OpenStack: Platform9 customers get the best of OpenStack with 100% API compatibility.


Platform9 Infrastructure View





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VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 4 configuring an RDS pool

I was a bit delayed in getting this fourth post in my Horizon 6 series completed, life and work got in the way. I’m back from vacation and ready to get moving again. In this post I will be covering how to take a prepared RDS host and get them prepared and added into the Horizon manager.

I’m not going to cover the steps to install RDS services onto my test server, there are probably enough good posts out on the web for this. If there is enough demand for it I might add that to the series later.


Other posts in this Horizon series.

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 1 connection servers

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 2 security servers

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 3 SSL certificates

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 5 setting up RDS desktops

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 6 setting up RDS applications


RDS Confirmation

Before we get started I wanted to show a quick check to make sure RDS is installed on the Windows Server we will be working on. I’m looking at the Roles installed on the server to make sure it has the necessary RDS roles.




Installing Horizon Agent

To get things started we need to find the View agent installer file. We will need the 64bit version to install on the server.



The installer kicks off with the typical first step, click next and get the process moving.



In this step you just need to accept the licensing agreement.



In this step you are allowed to choose the options that should be installed with the base agent. Currently there is just the vCOPs metrics that are installed by default.



This step we will be linking the View Agent to our Horizon install. In the server field you will provide the IP or hostname to one of the Horizon connection servers. Also you must provide credentials for connecting to Horizon Manager. In this example I am using the ID that I’m logged in with, or you can provide a different set of credentials.



The last step before it installs shows the path for the install.



Once the install is completed the server will need to be restarted. The install of the agent is nothing exciting as you know now, but a necessary step to enable RDS functionality for Horizon.




Add RDS server to Horizon Administrator

Now that we have the Horizon Agent loaded on our RDS server we will now move to the Horizon Administrator. Login and click on the Farms selection under the Resources heading in the tree on the left. Then in the right side of the panel you will should see no existing Farms, in my case I’ve already setup a few so the example below shows them. Click on the Add button to get the process started.



A window will open up that will step you through the wizard for adding an RDS farm. In this example my farm is just a single RDS server. You will need to fill in the ID for the farm to be used within Horizon, a description is optional but I encourage a detailed description so that others understand its purpose. The farm settings section offers a limited number of settings that can control the access and some behaviors of how the farm would be used.



The next step within the wizard shows any RDS servers that Horizon is aware of. In our case only the server that was just prepared is showing here. So we will select it and move to the next step.



The last step of the wizard is a confirmation screen that you can review your choices before creating the farm.



Now that we have completed adding the server to Horizon the list of RDS Farms now shows our new configuration. From this point we can use are new farm to publish applications or shared desktops.



This process is pretty straight forward and currently there is little that you can modify. In other posts in this series I have covered how to use your farm to present applications and hosted shared desktops.


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VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 5 setting up RDS desktops

This begins the fifth part of my Horizon 6 install series bringing us to configuring RDS desktops. RDS desktops are a new feature for VMware in Horizon 6, something that Microsoft and Citrix have been providing for a long time. I will walk you through the process of getting a new pool configured and ready to serve hosted desktops from your environment.


Other posts in this Horizon series.

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 1 connection servers

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 2 security servers

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 3 SSL certificates

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 4 configuring an RDS pool

VMware Horizon 6 install – Part 6 setting up RDS applications


Configure Horizon RDS Desktop Pool


To get this started I have already clicked on the pools choice in Horizon View Manager and clicked the Add button. This brings us to the window shown below. From here, we can select the type of pool to create. For this exercise we will be creating an RDS Desktop Pool. This will utilize Windows servers as the platform and offer shared hosted desktops. With this option, we can host upwards of a few dozen users on a properly configured server.


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