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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HCX Enhancement for Azure VMware Solution

Earlier this month, VMware released a new version of HCX, the powerful multi-cloud migration solution. With the help of HCX, you can easily migrate your virtual workloads between private clouds and, more importantly, to public cloud environments like Azure VMware Solution(AVS). Additionally, when HCX is being used in conjunction with public cloud SDDCs like AVS, cloud migrations would be as easy as running a vMotion internally inside your data center. Sounds great, isn’t it!

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It is also important to note that many enterprises are using only site-to-site VPN as the connectivity method for on-prem to public cloud infrastructure. Because of this, formal support of HCX over VPN underlay has been asked by many organizations and customers.

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NSX-T FQDN/URL Filtering

NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW) is one of the most comprehensive solutions to provide micro-segmentation from layer 4 to layer 7. It can monitor all the East-West traffic on your virtual machines and build a Zero-trust model. To leverage the DFW, vNIC of virtual machines need to connect to NSX-overlay segment, NSX VLAN backed segments or vDS port group supported from vSphere 7.0. The benefit of using DFW is that firewall rules apply at the vNIC level of virtual machines. In this way, traffic does not need to traverse to a physical firewall to get identified if the traffic can pass or drop, which is more efficient. This article will focus on using DFW to enforce L7 (FQDN/URLs) filtering.

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You can give internet access to a VM or a user who login to a VM by Identity Based Firewall or even take one step further and control which specific URL/URLs are allowed to get accessed.

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Critical vCenter Server Vulnerability – Patch Immediately!

On May 25, a critical vulnerability reported which affects vCenter Server 6.5, 6.7 and 7.0 and VMware Cloud Foundation 3.x and 4.x. With access to port 443 of vCenter Server, an attacker may exploit this issue to execute commands with unrestricted privileges on the operating system that hosts vCenter Server.  This issue arise because of lack of input validation in vSAN Health Check plug-in.

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NSX-T Distributed Firewall – Part 1

Before jumping to NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW) concept and rule creation, I want to point out why this solution is important and what security issues can be addressed by using this powerful solution. Building a zero trust model security has been the biggest concern of network and security teams. In traditional data centers, high-level segmentation is built, which could help to prevent various types of the workload from communicating. But the main challenge of the legacy security model is data centers facing a lack of lateral prevention communication system between workloads within a tier. In other words, traffic can traverse freely inside a network segment and access the crucial information until it reaches the physical firewall to get dropped. In addition, implementing different layers of security and firewalls would cause complexity and cost.

NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW) is a hypervisor kernel-based firewall that monitors all the East-West traffic and could be applied to individual workloads like VM and enforce zero-Trust security model. Micro-segmentation logically divides department or set of applications into security segments and distribute firewalls to each VM.

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vCenter Server 7.0 HTML5 UI error “no healthy upstream”

After upgrading to vCenter 7 Update 1 , when I tried to browse vCenter HTML5 UI, I faced “no healthy upstream” error. I could access to vCenter Management Interface (VAMI) https://vCenter-IPaddress:5480 without any issues. I could also connect to vCenter Server through  SSH but I realized couple of vCenter Server services could not start.

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VxRail 2-Node Implementation Considerations (VxRail 7.0.100)

Starting with version 4.7.100, VxRail supports vSAN 2-Node for small and Remote-Office Branch-Office (ROBO) deployments. This solution works best for environments that needs hyperconverged compute and storage with a minimal configuration. VxRail 2-Node consists of two VxRail E560 nodes and a vSAN Witness Appliance. It is recommended to deploy the Witness appliance in another site but in case of lacking another site it can be deployed in the same site as vSAN 2-Node.

There are some considerations and requirements that you need to have it in place before starting the VxRAIL 2-Node implementation.

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vSphere 7.0 Update 1 is now Globally Available!

vSphere 7.0 introduced by VMware in March 2020 and went to GA in April 2020. Many new features like DRS & vMotion improvement and also Lifecycle Manager has been released. After half a year VMware introduced first major update on vSphere 7 and today this release went into GA. It is now publicly available, you can download it from VMware and take advantage of this latest and greatest release! Here in this blog post I will go through the new features and capabilities

3 Pillars of vSphere 7 Update 1
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