Some changes to deploying VIC – vSphere Integrated Containers

Last month, I wrote a post on how to deploy vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC for short). As the team continue to build functionality into this newly architected product, a number of the deployment steps for the VCH, Virtual Container Host, have now changed since my previous post.

A Virtual Container Host isn’t a VM, in essence it is a resource pool – this is why we call it a Virtual Container Host. It’s a resource boundary into which containers can be provisioned.  The VCH also offers a Docker API endpoint for developers to access. This allows containers to be provisioned as VMs, rather than in VMs, giving us features such as resource management, network virtualization and other core vSphere features for containers.

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Virtually Speaking Podcast Episode 12 – VAIO

Every week, the VMware Storage and Availability Tech Marketing team (John Nicholson and Pete Fletcha) run a podcast show called the Virtually Speaking Podcast. This week I am a guest on their show, alongside Rich Peterson of FlashSoft. We spoke about VAIO, the new vSphere APIs for I/O Filters. While I described some basic features on VAIO, Rich describing the Cache Acceleration VAIO implementation for FlashSoft 4.0, created by the FlashSoft team over at SanDisk. This is the first fully certified VAIO implementation and I  wrote an article about it last month that you can read here if you wish.

You can listen to the podcast through the player below. I hope you enjoy it.

Photon Controller – Deployment and Troubleshooting Tips

PHOTON_square140I’ve spent the past week or so getting familiar with Photon Controller (v0.8) and deploying various frameworks such as Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm. As I did this setup a number of times, I learned quite a bit about potential gotchas and common pitfalls that a newbie (like me) could run into when getting up to speed with Photon Controller. What I have done in this post is highlight some of the more important considerations to watch out for when getting started with Photon Controller.

A quick note on the log outputs below. These logs were mainly captured by logging onto the photon controller installer appliance (using the default credentials of esxcloud/vmware), and then using the “docker logs -f ” command against the “deployer” container id to follow the logs outputs from this container. This shows the various task that are implemented to deploy Photon Controller. To list the containers, use a “docker ps” command.

In other places, which I shall highlight in the post, the logs were captured using the same methodology from the Photon Controller itself; and also by logging into individual framework containers to look at logs directly. I will highlight in each case where the logs can be captured.

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Selecting a particular portgroup for frameworks on Photon Controller

PHOTON_square140Continuing my education on Photon Controller, I was trying to figure out how I would select a particular VM network (port group) for containers to use when I was deploying a particular framework on top of Photon Controller. Let’s say for instance that I had two VM Networks, one using VLAN 51 and another using VLAN 30. Initially I thought the frameworks would choose the default “VM Network” but quickly realized this was not the case. How then would I select the correct one for my framework?

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Photon Controller – Image Issues – 413 Request Entity Too Large

PHOTON_square140Over the last couple of days I’ve been getting to grips with Photon Controller v0.8. For those of you who do not follow developments in our Cloud Native Apps BU, Photon Controller leverages ESXi hosts to provide compute and management for containers at large scale. It will also allow you to stand up container frameworks such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos very quickly. I’m not going to take you through the step-by-step instructions on how to do this as my colleague and good pal William Lam has already done this. Instead, I’m going to try to highlight some newbie issues that I have run into. Expect a few more of these over the coming weeks.

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Expanding on VSAN 2-node, 3-node and 4-node configuration considerations

I spent the last 10 days in the VMware HQ in Palo Alto, and had lots of really interesting conversations and meet-ups, as you might imagine. One of those conversations revolved around the minimum VSAN configurations. Let’s start with the basics.

  • 2-node: There are two physical hosts for data and a witness appliance hosted elsewhere. Data is placed on the physical hosts, and the witness appliance holds the witness components only, never any data.
  • 3-node: There are three physical hosts, and the data and witness components are distributed across all hosts. This configuration can support a number of failures to tolerate = 1 with RAID-1 configurations.
  • 4-nodes: There are four physical hosts, and the data and witness components are distributed across all hosts. This configuration can support a number of failures to tolerate (FTT) = 1 with RAID-1 and RAID-5 configurations. This configuration also allows VSAN to self-heal in the event of a failures, when RAID-1 is used.

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FlashSoft I/O Filter VAIO Setup Steps

sandiskLast week I had the opportunity to drop down to San Jose and catch up with our friends on the FlashSoft team at SanDisk. In case you were not aware, this team has been developing a cache acceleration I/O filter as part of the VAIO program (VAIO is short for vSphere APIs for I/O Filters). SanDisk were also one of the design partners chosen by VMware for VAIO. This program allows for our partners to plug directly into the VM I/O path, and add third-party data services, such as replication, encryption, quality of service and so on. An interesting observation made by the FlashSoft team is that implementing their acceleration data service via VAIO gives much greater performance than their previous product version which plugs into the Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) stack.

Manish, Rich, Serge and Tom gave us another update on the 4.0 version of the FlashSoft product. I had seen this before, as the guys tech previewed it at VMworld 2015 last year. However with the release of FlashSoft 4.0, the guys now have the first certified VAIO I/O Filter on the market. SanDisk are our first certified partner for VAIO. Rich Petersen has a good write-up on the capabilities here on the SanDisk blog.

The guys were also kind enough to give me access to the components and some evaluation licenses, so I could test it out in my own labs. The documentation is pretty good so I won’t go into too much detail. However these are the steps to get going:

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