Is the applications’ future “containe(r)d”?

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Well, I’ll be lying if I haven’t heard of containers in the past years although I used them barely at my job (solutions engineer) shouldn’t I consider them more every time to replace the applications where my customers have their servers?

Like many people that work as sysadmin these days, they are used to work with virtualization, in particular Virtual Machines (VMs), customers still using them (and it will continue) to deploy their applications in an OS which delivers great benefits against the legacy approach of the Baremetal (Mainframe) era.

Although there are other ways to deploy your applications (always depends on your application but we are taking a general approach), containers are always in the mind of Cx0 people because of their advantages against virtualization and the trend that has become in the past years.

But, which is the correct approach for an application? As always, it depends but I am going to talk about the technologies used now and the trend that I can see.

Talking about virtualization…

For many years, virtual machines have been the way to go to deploy applications within servers. You seize the hardware by running an “OS” (hypervisor) and inside of it, you run your VMs where you can assign virtual resources as you desire.

This has been (and it continues) to be the first approach for many new companies as it’s now quite standardized.

In my opinion, I think that VMware is the most famous provider by offering their Hypervisor ESXi, which has proved to be the standard for VMs.

I am not going to dive in on this as you can search for more information on Google (or whatever search engine you like to use).

 

Talking about containers…

It’s known that the most famous container runtime is Docker although Podman seems to be the direct rival (perspective only from my understanding, which is little)

Also, the benefits of segmenting your applications on different services (containers) will normally let you escalate, perform, etc. better than running it on VMs

The principal benefit of running services in containers is that you have a single OS where each container runs on it. All dependencies for the application you are deploying in the container are “in the OS” and this isolation is managed by the container runtime (Docker in the image that you see below):

Is there a mix? Something…

The main problem I saw the first time when I saw how the container runtime works is, how “isolated” is each container from each other? What about a security breach in the OS?

And then it’s when I found a mix of both worlds (which I really need to dig into it).

Kata Containers, a promising Open Source project where it combines both worlds and trying to deliver the best features from both technologies.

By running a dedicated kernel (part of the operating system) you provide isolation from many resource perspectives like network, memory, and I/O for example without the performance disadvantatges that virtual machines have.

Removes the necessity of nesting containers in virtual machines (which I do like in some environments to provide the isolation that a container runtime can provide).

Obviously not everything is good and it has some limitations like Networking, Host Resource and more. You can find them here

Summary

We don’t know the future but for sure containers are still a trend for many years.

You can see that even VMware embedded Kubernetes (Container orchestrator) in their products.

So it will be everything containers, a mix of containers and VMs or something like Kata Containers could be the next thing?

We will see, for now, let me research more in this last open-source project and see how it really delivers!

 

Increasing the heap memory on vCSA 6.7 services

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For some reason, our monitoring alerted that the service “vsphere-ui” from the vCSA it was having some problems randomly. From the user perspective only we noticed some slowness when navigating within the HTML5 client.

I took a quick view of the VAMI I saw this message from the VMware vSphere Client service:

The server is running low on heap memory (>90% utilized.)

So it was time to solve those random alerts about memory utilization.

Let’s work a bit…

Accessing the vCSA via SSH (using PuTTY):

I can see the service has 1110 MB assigned. So as the deployed VM for the vCenter Server appliance has 16GB of RAM allocated(you can see it anyway how much is being assigned in the previous screenshot), I decided to give it ~1.5x (1665MB) but in powers of 2!:
512+1024 = 1536 MB .

Executed:

cloudvm-ram-size -C 1536 vsphere-ui 

 

Now, restart the affected service:

service-control --stop vsphere-ui;service-control --start vsphere-ui; 

And now check the allocated memory for the service we configured:

It seems that the vCSA itself adjusted the value to what it considers it’s best so nothing that we can modify there. So finally this service memory allocation changed from 1110 MB to 1792 MB.

 

Final note: Obviously other services were modified and have allocated less memory, in general, it gathered a bit of memory allocation from each service (the most impacted was vmware-vpxd with ~ 300 MB)

 

All this information can be also reviewed in this KB: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2150757

That’s all for this quick post!

 

Upgrade vROps from 6.7.0 to 8.0.1

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In this blog post, we will see how to upgrade vRealize Operations (vROps) from version 6.7.0 to 8.0.1. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.

Bear in mind that, you will need new license keys after updating to the later version (after 8.0 version).

 

Note: You will see a version mismatch in some screenshots.

Download the required files

And also, proceed to download the Virtual appliance upgrade PAK file, that will be used later for the real upgrade:


Upgrade Assessment Tool
(optional but recommended)

The first thing to do is to install the Upgrade Assessment Tool in order to know if there are any problems before upgrading.

Although this is not mandatory it is highly recommended in order to know if there are any issues before running the real upgrade process.

The steps are:

  • Log in to the master node vRealize Operations Manager Administrator interface of your cluster at https://master-node-FQDN-or-IP-address/admin.
  • Click Software Update in the left panel (you can see an attempt I made previously) and then “Install a Software Update…”:
  • Follow the steps in the wizard to locate and install your PAK file. Upload the PAK file (the first file we downloaded) and check the first checkbox if you’re not sure if there is another one installed.
  • The PAK file will be uploaded from your local machine to vRealize Operations Manager. Uploading may take a few minutes. Once it is uploaded you will see something like this.
  • Once the uploaded PAK file, accept the EULA (step 2) if you agree, read the Update information (step 3) and finally click “Install”. You will see that the software update is being installed

Don’t worry this is just installing the Pre-Upgrade to 8.0.0 Assessment Tool, the real upgrade will be performed later

     

  • When the process is complete, click Support in the left pane. The Support screen appears. Select the Support Bundles option above the toolbar. The available support bundles are listed:
  • To review the report, extract the files from the ZIP file and open the HTML file.
    The file is located in \slice_<bundlenumber>_<nodeaddress>\apuat-data\report\index.html.
    This is my report, which it only gives me a warning about executing the proper Virtual appliance upgrade (we will see later)
  • After updating my Admin account I re-run the same process and checked that there were no errors.

So now, let’s go to the point and update the vROps master node!

 

Upgrade process

Before doing anything, remember to take a snapshot of the Master node that is going to be upgraded!

 

First, upload the .pak file we downloaded at the beginning of the Virtual Appliance upgrade PAK file (which is way larger than the Upgrade Assessment Tool  PAK file).

Once downloaded, go to the vROps admin interface (https://master-node-FQDN-or-IP-address/admin) and then “Software Updates” :

 

And then, upload the new file (which in this case is quite larger compared to the pre-upgrade assessment tool):

Once is staged (after you clicked upload), it will give you a warning regarding the cluster that will be restarted (obviously), just click NEXT:

Accept the EULA if you agree and read the Update information (which tells you that you must take a snapshot of the cluster you’re upgrading):

And proceed to install the update in step 4 by clicking INSTALL!

You will see on the same page that the upgrade is in progress:

It will take some time, and even you see that vROps is available, the cluster will still offline until the upgrade is finished. We just need to wait a bit more.

The whole upgrade took about 30 mins and it was upgraded successfully:


Finally, the cluster is online and the new version was applied correctly.

Remember to delete the snapshot that was created before proceeding with this upgrade. I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

vCenter Server 7.0 – Fresh install

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Prologue

With the release of vSphere 7 at the beginning of this month, I decided to make a post about how to install vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) which is quite simple.

Which are the new features? Check this post from my friend Graham Barker to find out!

 

Let’s move on!

  • Proceed to download the “VMware vCenter Server 7.0.0” ISO file from my.vmware.com
  • Mount the ISO file and execute the installer.exe file :

Prerequisite: We need DNS if we want to deploy vCenter with an FQDN but if you don’t have it or you can’t for any reason, you can trick the installer and put the IP address as the hostname and it will work.

Another prerequisite will be to have an ESXi host where we’re going to install our vCenter

Stage 1 – New deployment

1. We will proceed to select install as we are going to perform a fresh install from the scratch of vCenter Server 7.0.

2. I like that it tells you that External PSC is deprecated! Continue with NEXT.

3. Just put the details of a vCenter (if you have one) or an ESXi host where you want to deploy this new vCenter. In my case (and probably the most if you’re doing everything from the scratch) I am using a host called “johto.pokemon.jp” to deploy the vCSA.

Once you press next, accept the certificate warning if you know the fingerprint of the certificate.

4. Put the name of the VM and set the root password for the vCSA and continue.

5. I am going for the Tiny deployment as it is more than enough for my lab environment. In a production environment usually, you will deploy a small one that fits in many small companies (or in your lab if you’re testing it).

6. Continue by selecting a Datastore and check ” Enable Thin Disk Mode” which is usually the best deployment as it doesn’t allocate all the space and is also enabled by default. (Look even my VMFS-5 datastores work well).

7. Now, let’s configure the network settings. Here my Network you can see a portgroup “Std_mgmt” from my ESXi host. If you have an ESXi host with default portgroups, yours probably is called “VM Network“.

About the FQDN, as I said before (check the Prerequisite section in the beginning) you need to create an A record in your DNS in order to be able to deploy a vCenter with a name.

If you don’t have DNS because you’re installing vCenter and you don’t have it, you can use the IP address as FQDN and it will work.

8. And that’s all for stage 1, here we have a summary saying what is going to do. Be sure to review it: Once you’re ready, press FINISH.

 

It will start with Stage 1, which is the deployment of the VM where the vCenter Server resides:

After some minutes, STAGE 1 is completed, which means that the VM where the vCSA resides is deployed but not configured yet.

Stage 2 – Configuration

Let’s go to STAGE 2 where the vCSA will be configured.

1. Set an NTP server or let the ESXi host also enable SSH if you want to have access to the vCSA.

2. Configure the SSO, the default is the “vsphere.local” domain, in my case I created a custom one.

3. And the last summary after we finish Stage 2 when the vCenter will be fully configured.

4. After a while (15-20 min.), Stage 2 finished without errors!

5. Now I access the GUI from the URL provided in the previous screenshot and I see that is working flawlessly!

6. Enjoy your new vCenter Server with the only HTML5 interface and lots of new features that were mentioned at the beginning of this post.

 

We conclude this article where you can see how simple and easy is to install and deploy vCenter Server version 7.0.

 

 

vExpert PRO announcement

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Just a quick post about the vExpert sub-programs that have been announced recently.

In my case, yesterday I received this message:Welcome to the vExpert PRO

This means that I’ve been selected to be a vExpert PRO!

 

Becoming a representative of your country/region and willingness to help others become aware of the vExpert program are the main functions of a vExpert PRO.

 

So, if you want to become a vExpert, start now and you can probably become one!
I wrote a couple of months ago a post about it: Want to be a vExpert?

If you want to check your region vExpertPRO, just take a look at the official directory.

Since yesterday I can say that I am part of the vExpert PRO program. Also congratulations to others like me that made it and the ones who continue!

vexpert-pro-badge

See you soon!