So this is just a very brief post to firstly say don’t forget it’s the London VMUG on 14th April 2016, at Tech UK (10 Saint Bride Street, EC4A). There are a load of really interesting sessions coming up, both vendor and community.
We have a keynote from Luca Dell’Oca who provided one of the best non-vendorised vendor sessions I have ever seen at a VMUG (his session title this time sounds like he may be looking to up the ante!)!
We even have a session from the London VMUG leadership team’s “Darth Vader” himself, Simon Gallagher, talking about App Volumes!
It should be an awesome day!
The keen eyed among you may also notice that I have a session in the list as well…
If you want to come along and be part of a slightly unique session, never been seen before, never been done before, and will probably never be done again (especially if when all goes pear shaped!), then feel free to come along to the Open Homelab project session I will be attempting to herd / steer / keep on the rails!
I suggested a few months ago to Simon G that we do some roundtable sessions at the London VMUG and volunteered to run some as an experiment. These are my favourite sessions at the UK VMUG as you get a dozen or so people round a table and chew the fat on a specific subject area.
It turns out that we don’t actually have anywhere in our new venue to run this session for a small group, so instead, it’s been converted into a “square table”, i.e. “no table” session in one of the standard rooms instead!
Running a roundtable with a room full of people is certainly going to be a challenge, a bit of an experiment, and worst case scenario it all falls apart and we never do it again! Yay! But, hopefully it will actually be a really worthwhile session, and I plan to share the results here afterwards as kind of a crowdsourced homelab advice tree or something! To be honest with less than two weeks to go I haven’t really figured out the details yet, but rest assured by a week on Thursday, I will at least have the title decided!
Whatever happens it should be interesting! So if you want to share your homelab requirements with the group and get some advice and tips on how to design and build it, or if you want to tell us how awesome your lab is already and why you chose to build it like that, please do come along to the session and join in! 🙂
As a VMware vExpert we are kindly provided free licenses for Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One. I have been using Veeam B&R for the last year and have successfully used it to protect half a dozen of my key lab machines and do one or two restores over that time.
The licenses we are provided with by Veeam are based on a 365 day evaluation, so my backup server was reaching its expiry date this week. I was running Veeam B&R version 7.x, so as part of the upgrade license I also needed to update the Veeam software from version 7 to 8.
This turned out to be an incredibly easy process with only a couple of minor tweaks at the end to get things up and running. As you can see from the screenshots below the installation and update of Veeam is pretty much a next, next, finish type of installation.
It’s also with mentioning that I have documented the process for upgrading Veeam B&R, but the process for upgrading Veeam One is pretty much the same.
As with any standard upgrade to software running in a virtual machine, I started by taking a snapshot of that machine.
Next step was to mount the ISO file Veeam into a virtual machine operating system and start the install wizard.
Of course I read every single word of the license agreement.
The installer recognised the previous version of the software and offered to upgrade to latest automatically.
I then pointed the install wizard to the evaluation license key provided to me by the folks at Veeam.
A number of basic checks are completed to ensure that the appropriate pre-requisites are in place.
Next you would enter the service account for Veeam. Obviously being a home lab and me being incredibly lazy, this is the local machine administrator in this case. In any production environment this should of course be a dedicated account.
The existing SQL express database instance is selected.
Veeam recognises this has an instance on it which can be upgraded.
The installer is now ready to run.
After about five minutes installation is complete.
After a quick reboot, the server is back up and running and I log back in. When I launch Veeam B&R 8 for the first time, it recognises that some server components still need to be upgraded.
Again this is just a next, next, finish setup.
The only issues I have seen after the upgrade were a couple of VMs which failed their backups. After a reboot of said machines, everything was right as rain and backups are running as normal.
Once I was sure everything was working properly, and had run a couple of successful backups, I committed and deleted the snapshots taken at the start of the process.
Conclusion Overall the process was very simple and very slick, exactly what you want from a software upgrade. Particularly impressive considering this was a full version upgrade, not just a point release. You can see why their marketing department came up with the tagline “It Just Works”!
Although most organisations I have worked for in the past have generally used more traditional backup vendors, Veeam is definitely enterprise ready and well worth considering. The only drawback, is that if you run a mixed environment of physical and virtual machines, you may require multiple backup platforms. Even then, Veeam Endpoint can do this in some scenarios AFAIK.
So a few weeks back when the Shellshock issues came to light, I took early precautions and patched my personal Ubuntu web server (not my blog server, just a personal one I use for family photos and things).
Phew, I was safe!
Or so I thought…
Well apparently not! I discovered last night when noticing some odd connections being accepted and blocked on my firewall, it turns out that there have been several waves of vulnerabilities, all with associated fixes. Patching my server 3+ weeks ago was not sufficient to catch all of the updates.
I trawled through the logs and processes on my web server and found a few dodgy things, then went to https://shellshocker.net/ and manually ran all of their tests. From this I discovered that I was still vulnerable to three exploits and one had been exploited!
Fortunately it appears that the worst which had happened is that the attacker had gained access, but hadn’t actually used it for anything yet. I have recently implemented Veeam for backing up my home lab, and I retain backups for 14 days, so I was able to restore an older backup prior to the attack, then quickly patch the restored server to ensure I was no longer vulnerable.
Finally I ran the following checker against my home and blog sites:
It’s now quite late on Wednesday night / Thursday morning and having just returned from the VMworld party, I thought it was worth jotting down a few thoughts about the last two days.
We started with the opening keynote, which I had decided to attempt to blog “as a challenge”. Wow, is it hard work or what? For those of you who read the live blogs from guys like Scott Lowe, Barry Coombs with his Doodles etc, this has given me an even more massive appreciation for what they do. Being able to take in, process and document that level of information is just incredibly hard, never mind adding commentary and analysis on top and live publishing it as they go! I wrote most of my content live, but then took at least an hour later in the day to proof read it, correct it, etc. I honestly don’t know how they do it?!
After the keynote I was really keen to get stuck into some breakout sessions:
INF1349 SDDC – vCloud Suite Roadmap
This one was more focused on the new features in vSphere than anything else, a few interesting nuggets though. I will probably post some of the notes up soon, though much of it is already in the public domain anyway.
STO2554 – HP VVOLs presentation
Great start by VMware but then when HP came on and I was hoping they would do a demo, they pretty much did a marketing exercise instead (not vendor bashing at all btw, I use 3PAR stuff in my designs all the time, but I think they missed a trick there as I know some competitors showed off their tech actually working)
HBC1533 – How to Build a Hybrid Cloud (vCloud Air intro and architecture tips)
Great session by Dave Hill of vCHS (correction, vCloud Air). Including some architectural tips. Worth a watch when it is available online at vmworld.com.
The VMware Vision
I then spent a bit of time in the bloggers lounge updating some bits and pieces and catching up with some of the guys there.
My final act of the main part of the day was to hit the Solution Exchange for a bit of a wander. I mainly concentrated my short time on EVO:RAIL, where I happened to bump into none other than Paul Meehan (@paulpmeehan), with whom I have had many a twitter chat but never actually had the pleasure of a tweet up! Following that I spent some time at the Veeam stand, discussing the best practices for Veeam infrastructure design along with some of our more interesting use cases and requirements.
After the main event, myself and a colleague headed over to the service provider reception. Wow, did we turn up under dressed or what?! It was one of those awkward moments when your realise that you are one of the few people in the room who forgot to bring a suit! On the plus side there was some really great discussion around vCD, VCAC etc and much learned from the evening, so well worth it.
I then headed over to the vExpert event at Ocaña to soak up some of the atmosphere and knowledge from some of the most intelligent and influential people I know! There were of course some vRoyalty including VCDX001 (John Arrasjid), VCDX #44 Willy Lee, and many more.
After that a couple of hours were spent at the Veeam party, after which I though it best to head back to my hotel to make sure I don’t wake up tomorrow with a hangover!
Day Two I started Day Two at the keynote again. Today’s one wasn’t really about announcements as much as it was about reiterating the main marketing messages and demoing some of the key VMware products such as NSX and the vRealize Suite. It did remind me just ho much stuff I need to find the time to play with in the home lab! Once again gave it a go at blogging the keynote content for later consumption…
The rest of the day was mainly focussed on breakout sessions. The mains ones I headed to were:
INF1192 – Design advice for SMEs – Ask the experts
Being focussed on the UK mid-market, my organisation spends a lot of time trying to understand the requirements of medium sized businesses. It was great to see some familiar faces in Paul McSharry and Alasdair Cooke, leading the panel discussion.
SMB Design Discussion Panel
NET1468 – A tale of two perspectives – IT Ops with NSX
This was a funny one as it was Scott Lowe and Brad Hedlund flipping in and out of character as server and network guys respectively. Plenty of great lessons to be learned, with a focus around RBAC, Visibility, Monitoring and Troubleshooting in NSX.
Scott Lowe and Brad Hedlund “In Character”
NET1589 – Reference Design for SDDC with NSX & vSphere
Nimesh Desai presented one of the most amusing, and most deep dive sessions of the day (for me). Absolutely brilliant content, but afterwards I felt like I needed to hide in a dark room for an hour or two and let my brain catch up! I was lined up to head to another NSX session after this but I will catch it online next week instead.
NSX Design Options
After the NSX session I headed down to the blogger area and caught up with some of the chaps. Craig Kilborn kindly shared his VCDX experience with me, along with some of his design. The level of detail and effort you need to go to to even get the opportunity to defend a VCDX design is immense, and it really drove home to me the value of the process. I’m not sure my wife and kids are ready for me to disappear for the next 6 months in order for me to attempt it!
STO2997-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA
Jonathan Medd (famous for automating anything that moves!), and I headed along to the vExpert Storage Game Show, organised by John Mark Troyer and Amy Lewis (in much the same way an asylum is organised by the guards!). It was bedlam, but great fun was had by all, whilst at the same time providing an interesting and engaging atmosphere. If Pure decide to run this again next year I will definitely be attending, given half a chance!
SDDC1176 – Ask the Expert vBloggers
Rounding out the day was an excellent panel session with some of the most well known VMware bloggers / evangelists. Discussions ranged from stretched cluster deign, to book authoring, to VIO, and many topics in between. Quote of the session was from Chad Sakac… “Innovate or Die”.
Ask the Expert vBloggers
With the sun heading for the horizon, myself and a couple of my colleagues caught the end of the Hall Crawl, followed by the awesome VMworld party. Simple Minds were excellent and the crowd really seemed to get into it. I managed to bump into a few more community people in the cavernous space which is Hall 6 at the Barcelona Fira Gran Via, and finally I grabbed a cab back to the hotel to get an early night (early meaning 1.30am it seems!).
Overall, a thoughrougly entertaining, informative and educational couple of days. Tomorrow the main plan is to hit a number of key sessions including the Chad and Vaughn annual roadshow, then in the afternoon stick around in the Hands on Labs until we get thrown out at closing time!