Jun 182019
 

All things that have a beginning must have an end, well according to the Matrix film anyway. Image result for what has a beginning has an end neo

But today I can confirm the end of the Ravello Free Lab Service for vExperts. Emails went out today and you if you were signed up you should have it in your inbox.

For those that didn’t know, the program gave access to Ravello for the whole year you are a vExpert (This was renewed if you got vExpert status again the following year) to 1,000 credits of cloud capacity for free each month. This for the vExperts was extra cool, because with Ravello you could fun vSphere directly in the cloud. In the early days of the program it was a little slow, but once it started running on OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastucre) it really did fly in comparison.

The program was great for not only the free credits but also helped the wider community with the blog posts that sprang up and we (the Ravello PM team) ran a monthly vExpert community call.

But like all good thing, this program has come to an end.

Existing vExperts who are registered will get 90 days (September 16th) before we suspend the accounts. This gives you a chance to get any data you want out of your labs. You can extract the VMDKs from Ravello, and guidance for that you can find here.

Unfotunalty, those who registered will not get new accounts. We tried to capture everyone who applied so we could respond directly, but we may have missed 1 or 2 so apologies if that’s the case.

Feel free to reach out to me directly on twitter @vmackem or if your on slack in the vExpert workspace, I’m in the #vExpert and #Homelab channels.

Here are some FaQs that may come in handy. But again reach out if you need somthing.

FAQ:

  • Q. Can I recover my data if I happen to miss the Aug 23, 2019 deadline for access to my account?
  • Q. Can I request either a time extension or more monthly credits to finish a project I am working on?
    • A. This will be done on a case by case basis and there is no assurance it will be approved. However please reach out to Amy or John via the email addresses above who will be able to forward the request to the correct people.
  • Q. Can I pay to continue to use my existing account from the Free Labs for vExperts program?
    • A. No, you would need to sign up to a new paid account and transfer your blueprints over to it before the 90s expires.
  • Q. I’ve recently applied for a new vExpert account. Will I receive an account that I can use until the program ends?
    • A. No
  • Q. Will Ravello Free Lab users have access to the repository after the shutdown?
    • A. The Ravello repository will continue to be available. However you will only be able to access it from a new paid account after the 90 days have expired.
  • Q. Will the Ravello vExpert blog posts and community pages remain available after 90 days?
    • A. Yes, these will remain available as they provide useful information to the VMware community outside of the Ravello technology.
  • Q. Will I lose access to my Ravello account after 90 days?
    • A. Yes
  • Q. Will all my VMs and data be deleted after the 90 days?
    • A. We will maintain the accounts for short period after the 90 days for emergency restores but after that all VMs and data will be removed and will not be recoverable

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Jan 212019
 

I think its almost irrefutable but the first North East England VMware User Group of 2109 held on the 7th of feb has not only the best line up its had but perhaps one of the best line ups from a regional VMUG ever. My opinion obviously, but just look below.

 

My fellow NEVMUG leader Alan Burns has done a great job describing the agenda here so I’m not going to spell it out for you but having Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman, Rawlinson Rivera, Kev JohnsonKev Johnson, Chris Lewis, Gareth Edwards, Jorge de la CruzJorge de la Cruz and Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn is just amazing!!

I think we have a great mix of community, sponsor, and ‘celebrity’ VMware speakers that wont only give you great opportunity to learn but also give you a chance to get some books signed and some selfies.

PLEASE REGISTER TODAY

I know us VMUG leaders always seem to be promoting and asking for you to register when the reality is you could leave registration to the last min or even just rock up on the day. We love people who just turn up, but, registration really helps us out.

It may seem simple, but all VMUG leadership teams sacrifice time and effort to make these events happen. Including everything from seating, food, drinks, sponsors, session planning etc etc etc needs doing for every event.

By registering you really help us out because it allows us to make sure all the preparations are in place for the right number of people. i.e. if the NEVMUG got more that 120 folks wanting to come we would have to switch venue. Or if we had a low turn out we could use the money we would have spent on food, seating etc on more prizes or for a future event.

So PLEASE register today if you think there is a possibility in you coming along.

I look forward to seeing you there on the 7th.

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Aug 292018
 

This is the first in a series of posts that will showcase the kind of use cases that are achievable using VCN peering for both the Ravello and OCI platforms.

If you reading this you are likely familiar with Ravello and either us it through something like the vExpert program, are on a trial or are a paying customer.

While Ravello has so awesome flexibility it is missing the odd feature you would expect from a Public Cloud service. For example, file and object storage, database services, private network connectivity to you workloads etc.

Now that Ravello is part of the Oracle portfolio it wouldn’t make sense to build out those services as part of Ravello when they exist in OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastucre). It makes much more sense to give Ravello access to such services.

Using a capability called VCN peering you are able to link a Ravello application to an OCI VCN (Virtual Cloud Network) allowing for those services in OCI to be available in that Ravello app. I’m not going to show you how to create a VCN peer here but follow the guide here.

oci_peering_diagram_600

OCI File Storage Services:

files

One of the cool things that OCI has is the File Storage Service.  Previously in Ravello if you wanted to present a some file storage you would have needed to create a NAS server in the application itself. Now we can present the file storage through the VCN peering connection. This as the added advantage of not being unique to the Ravello application, which means that a file saved to the file share in Ravello can be available to either other Ravello applications OR to other OCI resources.

To create a File System follow these instructions. After this you will have a private IP which is accessible to Ravello through the VCN peer.

filest.png

And for Ravello this is great, as it means things like backups can be accessed even if the Ravello application is deleted.

The Veeam Lab Architecture:

I have a VMware lab running in Ravello with 4 x vSphere 6.7 host, 1 x VCSA appliance and 1 x Veeam Backup and Replication Server. I have linked my Ravello application to a VCN in an OCI tenancy (this can be any OCI tenancy with a region) using VCN Local Peering, and created a file system in OCI. (this assumes you have already created the VCN network and build your subnets, see the getting started seciton in OCI for help to do this.)

veeam.png

Once you have the initnal setup complete you need to add the NAS as a backup repository in Veeam B&R.

veeam first

When you setup your backup job select the shared folder option.

veeam2

Depending on the options you selected when you create the file share you will see 100GB of storage space.

veeam3

Once you have done the above you can now run the job and have the backup files stored in a enterprise grade and scale public cloud file store.

veeam job running

 

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Mar 012017
 

WOW….. Its not often you start of the review of an event with a wow, but in this case it was very well deserved.

Patrick Redknap put together the idea of the vRetreat and I was honored to receive and invite. As you can tell from my blogging frequency (or the lack of it) I’ve not been the most active in the virtualisation/cloud community of late. LOTS of good reasons for this like the days job taking up so much time, so I was very thankful that Patrick thought of me for this event.

The day was split in 2

The Morning/The Value:

In the morning we had the pleasure of being presented to by 3 great vendors starting with Zerto then Veeam and Cohesity.

A great supporting cast of bloggers were assembled. Rynardt Spies, David Owen, Simon Gallagher, Amit Panchal, Michael Poore and Barry Coombs. We were also joined by Joe Baguley (VMware CTO), Darren Swift (Zerto Principal SE EMEA), Ezat Dayeh (Senior SE Cohestity) and Michael Cade (Veeam -Technical Evangelist), vRetreat is the brainchild of Patrick Redknap.

It’s been a while since i’d looked at Veeam or Zerto and Cohesity was totally new to me, thus I was eager to hear from the guys.

I have a follow up post in the making where I will explore the Veeam briefing in more detail.

These technologies while being labeled backup or replication or storage are quickly becoming more powerful than that. I was very impressed with Zerto and Veeams ability to migrate workloads to cloud while doing the hard work of the VM hardware conversion and some of the orchestration tasks. Cohesity are doing some truly amazing work in the data analytics field in their out of the box offering while also embracing the cloud world with storage migration capability.

http://www.zerto.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ZVR-5.0-Microsoft-Azure-Overview.pdf

https://www.veeam.com/cloud-direct-restore-azure.html

http://cohesity.com/solutions/cloud-integration/

As I say I have a post focusing on Veeam specifically coming but I wanted to stress how far these technologies have come and how they are embracing a much wider echo system.

This can only be a great thing for the end user customers and they get amazing capability that allows them to take advantage of the cloud world.

The Afternoon/The Fun:

20170127_083740

This is where the magic happened. I love tech, I love to drive and I love going fast (always within the speed limit obviously). The Porsche center was the natural place to marry up these to loves and set it up for a truly great day.

After the safety brief (in which we established we are all porn stars, Joe Bagley can explain should your interest be peaked) we went out the car park where our advanced driving instructors were waiting for us.

The afternoon would consist of doing many different types of driving challenges. The full list can be found here but my favorite was the kick plate.

I started off in the Caymon with Brian as my driving mentor. This was the first time I’ve ever driven a Porcshe and I was instantly impressed. I have to confess I have associated the Caymon with a bit of a girls car or a poor mans 911 for some time and had to immediately eat my words once I started driving it.

The Camon was going to be hard to beat, but getting into the Carrera 4 S was something else. The balance, acceleration and comfort took me by surprise.

20170127_152638

BUT…. This was not the fastest car I was in on the day.

Mr Baguley treated us to a quick trip round the block in his Model X. After the quick spin on the private road I was left with little doubt about the future of cars being electric as the Model X was simply amazing. I won’t do a review of that now but suffice to say I’m super jealous.

20170127_163908 (1)

It was a truly great day and very much something that should happen again in the future. It’s a top way for vendors to show their wares and to get the word out on their products.

I for one am an advocate of vRetreat.