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.


  • 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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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 File Storage Services:


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.


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.)


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.


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


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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