Category Archives: Automation

Terraform – Assigning an AWS Key Pair to your EC2 Instance Resource

In the first post on Terraform, we took a look at how to create and destroy a simple EC2 instance. However, one of the common things we need to do in AWS is to assign a Key Value pair, as well as, Tag Instances with names, project codes, etc.

Assign a Key Value Pair

In order to access an EC2 instance once it is created, you need to assign an AWS EC2 Key Pair at the time of instantiating the instance. If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and create a Key Pair from the AWS Console by clicking the Key Pairs section on the left hand side. You will see a screen like the one below. Clicking Create Key Pair will walk you through the process.

awskeypair

During the process you will be prompted to save a private key file (.pem). Keep this safe as you will need it.

Now in Terraform, we are going to add one additional line under the resource section for our EC2 Instance. You can see in my screenshot above that my demo key pair is called “AWS EC2 – SEP 2016”, so we simply need to reference this by adding the following line.

key_name = "AWS EC2 - SEP 2016"

The end result looks like this:

EC2 with keypair

If you execute a terraform apply now, you will see that your new EC2 instance is created and the Key Pair name should appear correctly in the details pane.

screenshot-2016-10-13-13-31-13

Note, if you did not destroy your previous terraform configuration, and you deployed it just like in part 1 without a key pair, you will notice the following when you execute a terraform plan.

changekeypair

The reason for this is because you cannot assign a key pair to an already running EC2 instance. Terraform is letting you know that it will be forced to delete the instance and create a new one. When you perform your terraform apply, your end result will reflect this..

screenshot-2016-10-13-13-29-17

Otherwise that completes this post. Now you know how to use your key pairs. Terraform also has the power to create the pairs on demand which we will hopefully circle back around to in the future.

New Pluralsight Course – Introduction to Workflow Development with VMware vRealize Orchestrator

I’m pleased to announce that as of last week, Pluralsight have released my first Training Course on VMware vRealize Orchestrator. I’ve been working with this product since the early days and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have completed a 2 hour course teaching people how to get up and running quickly.

Here is quick a video overview of the Course:

I aimed this course at getting people into workflow development. This means I don’t focus on product installation and plugin installations, but more on specifically how you can develop and code the workflows.

The course contains the following 7 modules:

  1.  Getting Started – A tour of vRealize Orchestrator and the components.
  2. Building Workflows – Approach to workflow design, followed by some basic workflow creation.
  3. Scriptable Tasks – Learn some basic Javascript and start using Scriptable tasks.
  4. Input Presentation and Additional Javascript – Learn some basic ways to use the presentation view, as well as more javascript.
  5. Actions – Turn scriptable tasks into reusable actions.
  6. VMware Tools and HW Upgrade – A basic real world example for combining workflows in a real world use case.
  7. Snapshot creation and automated deletion – Create a snapshot and then schedule it for automatic deletion at a future date.

In addition to my course, I also work with a large number of customers in my role at Ahead. For anyone looking to get started with Orchestrator, Ahead also now offers an AHEADStart for VMware vRealize Orchestrator which takes care of all the plumbing and gets people up and running with the product.

Please enjoy the course and I would absolutely love any feedback. Teaching in this format has been completely new to me and took some learning and getting used to. I can certainly tell when comparing the first 2 modules to the last 2, the difference as I got more comfortable. I plan to circle back and write about my experience for anyone else looking to do a course in this manner.

Finally, I can’t say enough great things about working with the Pluralsight team. Simply great people.

Nick

 

Terraform 101 – What is it? How do I use it?

logo_large-3e11db19

I’ve been watching Terraform over the past few years and finally have had some time to start getting stuck into it. I must say, I’m impressed by the potential of this product and others from Hashicorp.

Terraform essentially fits in the Infrastructure Automation category, and has a similar coding approach to tools like Puppet, while in some ways operating more like an Orchestrator without the visual aspect.

What is it?

Essentially it adds a layer of abstraction to services like Amazon, Google etc. Instead of an AWS Cloud Formation template, I can use a Terraform configuration instead. On top of that, and the piece that is more intriguing to me, is the ability to use their module approach as well as other providers and provisioners.

Providers allow you to use the same declarative state language for other systems. I encourage you to check out the list on the Terraform site.

Provisioners allow us to essentially determine what and where we initiate other tasks. For example, you could use local-exec to execute commands locally on the terraform box, or remote-exec to execute on a remote server via SSH or WinRM.

The idea behind all of this is that you have one place, and one language to learn which then works across public Cloud providers. You don’t need to learn say the AWS Cloud Formation Template language and then go learn another language in another cloud provider. You simply would use Terraform to deploy all.

How do I use it?

Let’s get stuck in and walk through a very basic Terraform configuration for deploying an AWS Instance. At the core of Terraform is the .tf file. This combined with other files in the same directory or module directories, form a Terraform Configuration. There are 2 formats to the Terraform files, Terraform format, or JSON. It is recommend that you use the Terraform format which is easily readable (think Puppet DSL).

Example: Create an AWS EC2 Instance with Terraform

Note: For all activities below you will need an AWS account and will be charged via Amazon appropriately. I try to use free tier for all demo examples.

  • Create a folder to store your Terraform configuration.
  • Open up notepad or your favorite editor. I use Visual Studio code along with the Terraform Extension.
  • Create the Terraform configuration and save it as a .tf file.
terraformcode

Terraform example for deploying AWS Instance

The first piece we declare is the provider which in this case is AWS. Grab your access key and secret key and then choose a region you want to provision our EC2 Instance into.

provider "aws" {
access_key = "yourkeyhere"
secret_key = "yoursecretkeyhere"
region     = "us-east-1"
}

Next, we declare  our new resource. In this case I am choosing to instantiate and AWS instance called “2ninjasexample1”. I am going to use the Amazon AMI with ID “ami-13be557e”. Finally i’m choosing my type of instance as t2.micro.

resource "aws_instance" "2ninjasexample1" {
ami           = "ami-13be557e"
instance_type = "t2.micro"
}

That’s it for our configuration file. Simply save it in the folder you created in step 1 and browse to that folder.

  • Type terraform plan and you should see a result like the screenshot below.terraformplan
    You can see that if we go ahead and run the configuration, it is going to add the aws instance.
  • Now it’s time to actually apply the configuration. Type terraform apply to go ahead and create the instance.terraformapplyaws

Terraform creates a new AWS EC2 instance as well as 2 additional files in our folder which maintain the state information.

tfstate

If we examine the .tfstate file, you will see it contains all the specific information about our AWS instance.

terrafomstate

In particular, you can see that it has captured the AWS instance ID which you can also view from your AWS console if you select your EC2 image.

  • Finally let’s destroy the stack. Type terraform destroy. You will be prompted to confirm by typing yes.

terraformdestroy

Just like that, it is destroyed! You will also notice your state file updated to reflect this.

Hopefully at this point, you can see the power behind this tool. Stay tuned for more posts on this.

 

 

It’s ON with Turbonomic and vRO

There have been a lot of changes for VMTu Turbonomic.  I believe most in the industry are aware of the bold name change.  This name is more representative of what the product does based on the economic model it is known for.  Besides that with the latest version, Turbonomic also released vRealize Automation workflows to integrate with their product.  You have to be a member of the Green Circle, which is free, but you can download them here.  There are instructions on importing the workflows, setting up Operations Manager as a REST host, etc.  I was excited to see this but, unfortunately, my environment only uses vRealize Orchestrator.
Below is the schema for vRA workflow:

vra_vmt

First is a scriptable task to gather inputs for vRA.  The inputs are all vRA specific so I could remove these. At the end it, the workflow is pushing back properties to vRA so I removed “Override vRA Settings” at the end.

Inputs removed from original VMTurbo Main workflow:

parameters

 

My workflow ended up like this, removing vRA dependencies and ending with 2 scriptable tasks to convert the datastore and host to VC:objects instead of strings.  These scripts will be covered in another post.

newworkflow

My inputs end up moving from general attributes and are templateName, clusterName and datacentreName. In the future I will likely add a scriptable task at the beginning of the workflow to determine these as they will come from inputs generated by my Windows or Linux Master Build workflow.

Inputs converted from attributes:

newinput

I also now have outputs for the actual VC: Datastore VC: Host System objects for your clone workflow in vRO. These were created via the scriptable tasks which take the strings returned from Turbonomic and do a lookup to match them to the vCenter objects.

Outputs created:

outputs

 

What’s great about having this functionality from Turbonomic is now the best host and the best datastore will be selected based on analytics from Operations Manager. I originally was picking my datastore based on amount of free space but now using the REST API I can have the least utilized host and datastore supplied to by clone workflow.

Download the modified workflows here.

I’ll be going over these workflows in the upcoming webinar “Overcoming Private Cloud Challenges in Healthcare IT”, September 29th at 2:00PM EST.  Register here

Living the cloudy life… #cloudlife

A few people asked me recently why some of us are using the hashtag #cloudlife and what it means. This came out of the Ahead Tech Summit presentation I was preparing for and worked with Nick Rodriguez on in June. I was explaining to Nick my concept and he created this great image.

Pasted image at 2016_08_08 08_27 AM

So what does it mean?

Ultimately, it comes from a belief that Cloud is about creating a true experience. This means not just changing the way customers of IT consume services via a catalog, but going that extra mile.

I’ll get on to roles and more Cloud Design topics in a future post .The one thing I want to stress over and over is that our goal in creating a Cloud is to create this place people come to for IT services and leave feeling like they got something more.

If you’re an IT person, you must put yourself in the developers shoes and try to think of the pain and annoyance they actually go through when submitting a form.  They wait weeks for their server to come and they then still have to go to subsequent teams to get various pieces of software installed such as:  DR options approved, extra storage and so on. Then, they have to make sure that everything they did in Dev works in QA and finally Production. A sysadmin might push a patch out or a VM template that doesn’t work as it did the previous month because someone else made a change.

Follow this up with the sheer amount of Public Cloud PaaS services and other external services the teams wish to consume.  Many of these services require security approvals and perhaps additional firewall and networking configurations.

It all adds up to a frustrated customer and in turn ultimately affects the businesses ability to innovate and grow.

dev_journey_0

The opposite is the #cloudlife experience..

Happy Customer A: “Wow, I came to this catalog and got everything I needed. BAM! Now I can create something awesome today while my idea is hot.”

Happy Customer B: “This Cloud is better than just the AWS or Microsoft Cloud. I get those features and more. Everything I want is here!”

Happy Customer C: “I think…I love this Cloud… #cloudlife”

Happy Customer D: “If I had a Cloud, it would be just like this cloud. I’m telling my friends about DevOps and #cloudlife.”

happy_customer

It’s not about just having the best programmer and engineering the best back end services but the full end to end experience. How you design the front end menu, how you guide every decision the user makes, and how you can get them what they need to be successful and grow the business are front and center. It takes a combination of people and skills to execute on this successfully.

What does it mean in practice?

Take an example of a Developer that has deployed an environment of SugarCRM, an Open Source CRM tool. Great they deployed it from their request catalog but what if they want to synchronize data from one environment to another for testing? Previously, they would have had to put in a request for someone to backup and restore the database to the new environment. This could then involve a piece of paper being handed around between teams until the task is completed.

The alternative is an option like the screenshot below in vRealize Automation. We add an Action which is visible in the items list that gives them the ability to execute this operation with one click.

vRA Day 2

Clicking the “vRA-DevOpsTeamX-SyncData” Button initiates a vRealize Orchestrator workflow. This workflow in turn connects to a Tintri Storage Array to initiate a Sync VM. The workflow will create all the appropriate change controls, shutting down of VMs, storage array tasks etc. Again, think of everything that you need to do to complete the task and provide it as a self service option.

Essentially, the workflow would look something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 8.55.24 AM

Other Examples…

Time permitting, some of these will turn into blog posts as well, but here are some examples of clear services you can offer to make peoples lives easier.

  • Complex Environment Deployments (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS mixes)
    • This means getting everything they need. Not just a VM deployed.
  • Event Based Orchestration – e.g. AWS Lambda to SNOW, Orchestration systems etc.
  • Automated Redeployment of Environments on Schedule
  • Self Service Disaster Recovery CheckBox
  • Self Service Backups and Restores
  • Business Discovery Mapping via Parent/Child Relationships created in blueprints
  • Automated Service Account creation and deletion
  • Automated Snapshots before Patching of Systems
  • Automated Firewall Rule creation and deletion

These are just a handful of ideas.  Remember, with each one, we’re taking out the additional paperwork by automating the tasks you’d typically do in your ITIL tool like ServiceNow.

What is #cloudlife…?

It’s certainly also become a #hashtag we use whenever we are working on Cloudy stuff (e.g. creating a cloud proposal while in the dentist chair…wasn’t me) or thinking about a new innovative Cloud idea while drinking a Tim Carr Starbucks Iced Green Tea (#notpropertea). Essentially, it’s a way of thinking beyond our Infrastructure roles and what the requester is asking for to create something more.

#cloudlife is about reaching for the best possible user experience. One that doesn’t feel like it’s forcing you into a box but instead feels refreshing end enjoyable.

 

vRealize Orchestrator Appliance – Guest File Operations Part 1 – (Copying a file to guest VM)

One of the things you will often find you need to do with vRO is to get a file to a guest VM, or just run a file from inside the VM. Now for Windows you can use Powershell remote features in many cases, but what if your server isn’t on the network yet? Until version 5.1 we had to rely on VIX as a way to do this, but now VMware has added a number of new workflows under “Guest Operations” which are much more reliable.

vCO Guest Operations

vRO Guest Operations

“Copy file from vCO to guest” is the one I’m going to be using in this example.

First of all copy the workflow into a sandbox area. This way you can move a bunch of the inputs to attributes and not have to key them in each time (e.g. The local administrator username, password, and test VM).

In my example, I’m going to create a text file called test.txt in a new folder under /opt called “vcofiles”.

My target machine is a Windows 2008 R2 server, where I will copy the file and place it in the C:\temp\ folder with the name “testcopy.txt”

If you run the workflow then these are my input parameters:

GuestFileOperations-Run

The problem is that if you run this you will get an error similar to this:

“No permissions on the file for the attempted operation (Workflow: Copying files from vCO appliance to guest/Scriptable task…”

GuestFileFailure

GuestFileFailure

In order to fix this you first need to give the correct rights to the folder and file on your vCO Appliance.

1. Login as root onto the appliance
2. Give Read/Write/Execution rights to the new folder

FolderRights

3. Give Read/Write rights to the Text file you made

Filerights

Unfortunately we aren’t quite done yet. You also need to tell orchestrator which locations it can read/write/execute from. This involves editing the “js-io-rights.conf” file located in “/opt/vmo/app-server/server/vmo/conf”

Java-FolderRights-2

Add the line “+rwx /opt/vcofiles/” as shown above.

If anyone isn’t too sure on the linux commands to do this:

  • Type “cd /opt/vmo/app-server/server/vmo/conf” and press enter.
  • Type “vi js-io.rights.conf” and press enter.
  • Use the arrow keys to move the cursor where you want and press the insert key
  • Press Enter and type in the line “+rwx /opt/vcofiles”
  • Press ESC
  • Type “:wq” and press enter.

4. Now, there’s one more thing. You need to restart the vCO service for this to take effect.

Login to the vCO configuration manager, go to startup, and click restart service.

ServiceRestarted

5. Now run your workflow and see if your text file copied across.

Success

You can see a quick video demo of this on youtube. (apologies for the mouse pointer issue..)

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

vRealize Orchestrator Workflow: Change VM Port Group for VM on Standard vSwitch

*Note: This is a repost due to moving my posts from SystemsGame.com to 2ninjas1blog.com”

I was surprised recently to find that no builtin workflow existed for changing the backing information for a VM if you aren’t using a VDS. Now, before I go any further, I’m a big fan of moving to a vSphere Distributed Switch mode, but there are certainly cases where you might encounter a standard vSwitch environment which you need to automate port group changes upon.

The Approach:

Essentially when it comes to changing NIC settings on a VM, you have to change the “Backing” information for the NIC associated with the VM. In my case this was for VMs which were just built as part of an overall automation process, and had only one NIC.

Step 1: Create Action Item.

I created an action item which has 2 inputs.

“vm” of type VC:VirtualMachine – This is basically so you can select the VM in vCO that you want to modify

“vSwitchPGName” of type String – This is so you can pass in the string value of the portgroup name for the vSwitch.

Code:

The code I then used is below. I’ve commented it but please let me know if you have any questions.

var spec = new VcVirtualMachineConfigSpec(); // Initialize a Virtual Machine Config Spec first
var myDeviceChange = new Array(); // Create an array to hold all of your changes
var devices = vm.config.hardware.device;

//Find devices that are VMXNET3 or E1000
for (var i in devices)
	{
		if 	(
				(devices[i] instanceof VcVirtualVmxnet3) ||
				(devices[i] instanceof VcVirtualE1000) 
			)
		{
			System.log("The device we are going to modify is: " + devices[i]);
			var nicChangeSpec = new VcVirtualDeviceConfigSpec(); //This is the specification for the Network adapter we are going to change
			nicChangeSpec.operation = VcVirtualDeviceConfigSpecOperation.edit; //Use edit as we are going to be modifying a NIC
			nicChangeSpec.device = new VcVirtualE1000;
			nicChangeSpec.device.key = devices[i].key; 
			System.log("NicChangeSpec key is : " + nicChangeSpec.device.key);

			nicChangeSpec.device.addressType = devices[i].addressType;
			nicChangeSpec.device.macAddress = devices[i].macAddress;

			System.log("Adding backing info" ) ;
			//Add backing information

			nicChangeSpec.device.backing = new VcVirtualEthernetCardNetworkBackingInfo();
			System.log("Backing info for nicChangeSpec is : " + nicChangeSpec.backing);
			nicChangeSpec.device.backing.deviceName = vSwitchPGName; //Change the backing to the portgroup input
			System.log("Backing info for deviceName on nicChangeSpec is : " + nicChangeSpec.device.backing.deviceName);

			//Push change spec to device change variable
			myDeviceChange.push(nicChangeSpec);

		}
	}

spec.deviceChange = myDeviceChange;
System.log("DeviceChange Spec is: " + spec.deviceChange);
return vm.reconfigVM_Task(spec);

Step 2:

I created a simple workflow which calls this action item and then has a vim3WaitTaskEnd so we can be sure the task is completed before moving on to any other workflows. This is useful if you are going to be incorporating this action into a larger process.

Update Port Group for vSwitch

Running the workflow gives you this simple presentation.

vSwitchPG 2

And that’s basically all there is to it. Select your VM, type in your PortGroup name, and voila!

For a vDS, VMware included a workflow out of the box in vCO so there is no need to create any of the above.

Enjoy!

vRealize IaaS Essentials: Building your Windows Server 2012 Template on vSphere – Part 3 (OS Tuning)

Now that we have a base OS build completed, we need to start configuring the OS to the settings we want.

Step 1: Get VMware Tools Installed

Without VMware tools on the OS, many things are sluggish and just annoying. Most importantly it fixes the annoying mouse cursor tracking issues (this is even more noticable when you’re in a VDI session into a VMware Console).

  • Login to your vSphere Web Client and Locate your VM
  • Select the VM > Actions > Guest OS > Install VMware Tools...

rwc-template-tools1

  • You will get a prompt to mount the Tools ISO. Select Mount.

rwc-template-tools2

  • Now inside the OS, Open My Computer/This Computer and Tab over to the CD ROM Drive. I found it almost impossible with the mouse using the VRM Console until Tools was installed so I had no choice but to use the keyboard to get it done. A combination of Tab and Space did the trick.

rwc-template-ostools1

  • Once you are there, run Setup and you should be presented with the VMware Tools installation screen.

rwc-template-ostools2

  • Choose Next
  • Select Typical for your installation type

rwc-template-ostools3

 

  • Once installation is complete, reboot the OS

Step 2: Fine tune your OS

First of all a big thanks to some of my twitter friends who gave some good suggestions on tweaks here. There is always going to be a debate as to what gets done in the template vs GPO/Configuration Management. I’d say the settings I set below are just the core ones necessary to facilitate deployment of an OS with ease. AD and configuration management should definitely come in after the fact and take care setting other OS settings to their necessary values.

  1. Patch the OS to the latest (It’s worth automating this in the future)
  2. Set Date/Time
  3. Set the OS Hostname to VM Template Name – this helps to know if sysprep worked etc.
  4. Disable the Windows Firewall
  5. Disable UAC
    1. http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/13953.windows-server-2012-deactivating-uac.aspx
  6. Create a Local User account for use by vRealize (e.g. svc_vrealize). You can make sure this account gets disabled automatically as part of your builds or via Puppet, GPO to comply with security requirements. It helps however to be able to easily get into a system using vRO Guest File Operations via a local service account early on.

Also here is a useful link provided by Sean Massey who does a lot of tuning on the Desktop side: https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vmware-os-optimization-tool

Finally, remember to disconnect your CD ISO.

After turning your VM back into a template, we now have a template ready to deploy! Now we can get onto the fun stuff.

Putting your Cloud on Autopilot and #CloudLife

 

The Conference

On June 23rd,  I was delighted to speak for the 3rd year at the Looking Ahead 2016 summit. I’ve talked about how much I love my job before and I can say that our summit reinforces that for me every single year. I leave feeling energized as we take risk after risk every year and try to show customers where we are heading and how we can improve their lives.

My Session: Putting Your Cloud on Autopilot

First of all, I would absolutely love feedback on the session, so please send me an e-mail or tweet me. I really appreciate it.

Approaching this years session, it was clear to me so many of the customers I deal with on a day to day basis have moved beyond what I often call the “plumbing phase” of Cloud. I decided to reinforce the message around Cloud by starting off with what it means to me and the Ahead team in general. I am fairly sure every session I do on Cloud for the rest of my life will start off with 60 seconds of what we exactly mean by it; given how misused the term is in the industry.

Deployment Models

Once we got over the basics of doing Infrastructure as a Service, it was time to move onto newer items. In the past I’ve talked a lot about Self Healing Datacenter and how to actually make that a reality, but this time I wanted to focus on the different ways Automation can help across On-Premises and the Public Cloud.

Essentially going from the IaaS Approach via Puppet…

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 3.18.32 PM

To a partial refactor using AWS RDS…

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 3.17.58 PM

To a complete PaaS deployment…

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 3.21.34 PM

All using the same application. I completed a demo showing this, as well as the various ways AWS failover works. The main point here is to stress the choice and flexibility you give up by embracing the various deployment models. I remember saying a few years ago “No 2 clouds are the same”, and that seems to have taken off. I think it’s still valid, at least for now.

Self Healing

AWS_Simple_Icons_Compute_AWSLambda.svg

Then it was time to get back onto the Autopilot theme again, this time using a Google Car to illustrate the mechanisms we use in the real world to create safety. Relating it back to Cloud, I explained an example of event management using AWS Lambda and ServiceNow. I took an AWS Lambda function and used it to connected to ServiceNow so as nodes spun up or spun down ServiceNow Change records would be created automatically. I’ve got a post brewing on the benefits of Orchestration and Event Driven Automation which I hope to finish up some time. I think this is a key topic, often overlooked these days and something I’ve been discussing heavily with our team at Ahead.

Finally – The Cloud Experience

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 3.41.29 PM

If there’s one thing I get fed up with at VMUGs and other user groups, it’s people standing up and saying you need to program and that’s the skill. While important, I feel like many just state the obvious in career development without truly explaining what it means to have a functioning Cloud and how you get to that, across On-Premises and in the Datacenter.

Nick Rodriguez and I came up with a new term which we call #CloudLife (Also a future blog post). How do you create the awesome experience that truly changes behaviours in an orgnaization? I talk also with my colleague, Dave Janusz, on this topic alone at length. How do you make someone do something in your IT environment without having to tell them? I love asking this question as it creates all sorts of interesting ideas for design best practices. I’m going to write more on this topic soon also but I hope people start to realize the most successful clouds are the ones that create a user experience that works. I read a book during my University days when I studied a module on Human Computer Interaction. I still state to this day, that the book I read combined with the module taught me some of the most important lessons in IT.

If you haven’t got it, check it out below. It’s a fun read and not entirely related to IT, but I loved it:

Remember, programming is important, but it’s not the only major skill.

With that, I’m going to end this post. I hope to finally sit down soon and write 3 posts I’ve been thinking and talking about for a while…

  • What is #CloudLife?
  • Skills of Successful Cloud Deployments
  • Visual Orchestration vs Non-Visual Orchestration

These topics deserve more debate than they get today. I feel like the DevOps initiatives when done as a Silo (yup you heard me, people do DevOps in a silo that they call DevOps), have masked some of the changes IT has to make. Also IT hasn’t always been able to articulate and truly create the services Developers always needPublic Cloud is here, but there’s more to wrap around it. Do Developers use visual studio and connect directly to Azure? Do they use Docker + IaaS for more flexibility? How do you present the right services and lego bricks of automation?

Time to dream more about….#CloudLife

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A ninja walks into a #TurboFest

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 2.49.56 PM

*Very late posting this, but better late than never!*

On Jun 15th I was fortunate enough to attend my first VMTurbo TurboFest. VMTurbo is a company I’ve personally been watching for a while, and have always been excited to see the direction they are taking, not just in the Datacenter, but Cloud operations in general.

On top of that, Amy, along with her director at UCMC Jason Cherry, were attending in order to present their results with VMTurbo as well as the new wave of Automation Amy is leading over there.

About the day

What stood out for me most, was just how informal and social the event was. I thought this was a nice touch compared to other events. It was also extremely customer focused, something I think many other events lose.

The kickoff was great as we learned from CEO Benjamin Nye the direction VMTurbo continues to focus in.

IMG_4670

VMTurbo truly GET that Cloud is real and they are working quickly to adapt to the increased momentum of Public Cloud adoption. VMTurbo treats everything as a commodity and works to create a level of abstraction and allow automated intelligence to determine workload placement.

Given how many vendors have done a poor job at trying to offer automated decisions based on Public Cloud models, I’m excited to see another company with a proven track record in this space on-premises, fully embracing this gap in the market.

The UCMC Presentation

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One of the main reasons I attended was to support my fellow ninja blogger as well as the UCMC team who I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

What strikes me most in all my talks with Amy and Jason is the results they’ve been able to achieve. $600,000 in cost avoidance due to properly utilizing their VMware environments. They saw instant benefits by adding VMTurbo to their infrastructure management tools and were able to get higher density on their clusters as a direct results of the VMTurbo software.

Amy went on to talk about the work around the UCMC Cloud they have been building, primarily on-premises now, with future expansion to Public.

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UCMC will be using a mixture of ServiceNow, vRealize Orchestrator and Puppet to easily automate their deployments and take UCMC IT into the 21st century as they put it. This is similar to the solution we both worked on during our time at a previous employer, and the methodology is clean and simple to use.

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In addition, Amy has been developing a number of vRO Workflows around the VMTurbo plugin specifically for workload placement and chargeback. This placement workflow is called before the VM clone workflow is initiated in order to determine the optimal host location of it. Handy way to integrate the placement decision directly into the workflow instead of having to go to VMTurbo first, get the answer, and then manually key it in as an input. Awesome stuff.

Stay tuned as Amy plans to release all the workflows on our blog when finished.

After the community sessions, the panel sat back down and had a very lively Q&A session with lots of users in the community asking great questions.

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Before I left, the VMTurbo marketing team played one of the most impressive videos I’ve honestly ever seen. I’m trying to get a youtube link of it to post here as it is pure awesome. Think VMs meet insane action movie with awesome effects.

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With that said, I can’t wait to do more with VMTurbo again myself, and look forward to catching up with the team again at VMworld.