General Availability of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.4

On Feb 10th, 2022, VMware released VCF 4.4 with a new set of features and of course new software components in the Bill of Material(BoM). This new release brings a lot of new enhancements around lifecycle management, security, and NVIDIA AI Enterprise suite capabilities for AI/ML workloads. Before going into the details of new features, let’s look at the VCF 4.4 BoM. VMware vSphere 7.0 U3c, vSAN U3c, and NSX-T 3.1.3.5 are included in this software packaging. Besides the base SDDC software base, VCF 4.4 supports vRealize Suite 8.6.2 and Workspace ONE Access 3.3.6. So as you might expect the software releases packaged with VCF 4.4 are pretty up to date and more importantly Apache log4j is updated to 2.16 or 2.17 which addresses Log4j vulnerability.

Now let’s look at the highlights of new features and capabilities on VMware Cloud Foundation 4.4

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Top 25 Virtualization Blogs!

We are super excited to announce that vElements.net has been selected among the top 25 Virtualization blogs by Feedspot. During the past three years, we have been working hard to publish technical articles to assist the community.

This selection at Feedspot is based on the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

We really appreciate the support we get from the community and it gives us the energy to continue this journey!

Configure vSAN Stretched Cluster

vSAN Stretched cluster introduced in vSAN 6.1 and it brings high availability in an active-active fashion. In this architecture, ESXi hosts would be placed in two different physical locations and join together with high bandwidth low latency networking. But from a management perspective despite hosts being in two different sites they belong to one single vSAN Cluster and share their resources. So this solution can be used in environments where disaster avoidance is a critical matter. Because it gives you the ability to avoid disaster, or recover from a disaster by having two different physical sites that host your applications. So you need to group the hosts based on their physical locations and put them in two different fault domains.

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GRUB Root Password – NSX-T 3.2 Installation

As you know VMware released NSX-T 3.2 a few weeks ago! You can read a list of the most important new features in this blog post. Since then, I have got questions about an option in the installation wizard of the NSX-T Manager OVA appliance about GRUB root password and in this post, I want to address it. If you wanted to recover a lost or forgotten password of the root account of the NSX-T Manager appliance, you had to reboot the appliance and force the boot process to enter into the GRUB menu.

But to be able to do that, when everything was under control and you had the root’s password, you needed to log in to NSX managers with root and configure the GRUB Hidden Timeout. There was also a default password configured which we could use or change together with the hidden timeout configuration.

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What’s New in NSX-T 3.2

After a long wait, VMware finally announced NSX-T 3.2 on November 7th, 2021! There was a lot of buzz around this release for the past 2-3 months. In this article, we will look at the new features of this release. The new capabilities are grouped into three major areas; Security, Advanced Networking, and Simplified Operations, which I will list as the most significant enhancements in this article.

When we look at the new features and capabilities list, security enhancements are very bold. So let’s start with the security features and continue with networking and operations enhancements.

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vRealize Log Insight Upgrade Error

Upgrading vRealize Log Insight is a pretty straightforward process. You need to download the upgrade PAK file from VMware website. Then under the Administration section of the vRLI dashboard, under Management click on Cluster, and on the right panel, select Upgrade Cluster. You might have a standard non-cluster vRLI environment but doesn’t matter the upgrade process goes the same path both for standard and cluster environments. Then you just feed the wizard with the downloaded PAK file and then start the upgrade process. Super easy huh?!

It should go that easy, but as you know, when working in the field things always don’t go as planned!

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vSAN Deployment without existing vCenter Server

VMware vSAN is Software-Defined Storage(SDS) solution from VMware that is fully integrated into vSphere. To enable vSAN, we need to have a minimum of three ESXi hosts, and each host needs at least one cache disk and one capacity disk. The local disks of ESXi hosts should be formatted by VMFS. Since vSAN is a vSphere clustering feature, we should also have Center Server in place before start implementing it.

If you are a System Administrator or even a Solutions Architect, you might a face a challenge to build a vSAN Cluster with minimum ESXi servers without having a vCenter in place. In many green field environments, vCenter has not been installed and you want to keep ESXi’s disks intact and unformatted. In addition, there are some customers that want to build and manage vSAN Cluster in a separate vCenter and they do not have any additional ESXi host for vCenter deployment.

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vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager – P1 Introduction & Deployment

If you are using vRealize Suite’s solutions like vRealize Operation, vRealize Automation, or vRealize Log Insight, then vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager(vRSLCM) comes in handy into day to day operations. This product automates the deployment, configuration, and upgrade of the vRealize Suite. If you plan to deploy any of vRealize products or even automate the Day 2 operations like certificate replacement, then vRSLCM is a go-to tool for your use case. It is also worth mentioning that some products like vRelaize Automation(vRA) use this solution as a built-in tool for the deployment process. It is recommended to deploy vRSLCM first and then deploy and other vRealize Suite products due to ease of installation and configuration orchestration. But if you already deployed any of the suite’s products, you can also add them into vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

In this blog post and following video tutorial, I show you how to deploy vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager with Easy Installer and lay the foundation for the rest of vRealize Suite products deployment. The license for this product is included in any edition of the vRealize Suite licensing package.

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NSX-T Distributed Firewall – Part 2

In the first part of NSX-T Distributed Firewall, I explained the importance of embracing NSX-T DFW. In this post, I review how you can create and apply firewall rules to implement Micro-segmentation. To create firewall rules, first you need to define a Policy section which basically contains one or more firewall rules. A policy in NSX-T DFW can be defined as stateful or stateless. In the case of being stateless, you need to define the rules in both directions. Otherwise, the reverse traffic is not allowed to pass. On the other hand, in the default stateful mode, when you define a rule it will apply bidirectionally.

Then you need to define the rules under the policy section which evaluates the criteria of a traffic flow. DFW rules determine whether the traffic should pass or get dropped based on the protocol and ports.

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