Personal Blogs

A Reflection of VMworld 2018..

We are 38 days away from the very first VMware Explore. Four years ago I had the opportunity to attend my first VMworld. My employer at that time allowed me to go as I was VCP certified and identified as a VMware SME for the enterprise. It was exciting being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals, I probably rubbed shoulders with so many future co-workers & customers I interact with today.

Attending VMworld was life changing for me personally and professionally. Attending sessions by Amanda Blevins would inspire me with how to navigate my career and what qualities to look for in mentors or leaders. I loved attending sessions that involved troubleshooting, it was relevant to my role and although sometimes it was redundant, the delivery was different every time. Some of the settings were intimate and it felt okay to ask questions without the fear of having a spotlight on you. Being able to speak to others and trade war stories was also beneficial.

The sessions were great, the parties allowed folks to break away from the serious stuff and show a different side. As someone I was with eluded to how I would feel “depressed” coming back to work because you see all this amazing technology and the possibilities of innovation and it may not be the vision of your enterprise right at that moment. It should encourage individuals to want to do better, motivate yourself and the people around your workplace.

For 2022, check out VMware Explore, VMware took a couple of years off going digital due to the pandemic but it is back in San Francisco again. Be sure to check out the sessions, the scheduler is live as well. Click on the image below to learn more!

Check out the VMworld 2018 playlist, as someone who keeps their ear to music, I was glad to capture this playlist.

The curated playlist I found on Spotify continues to bring back nostalgic memories of the event.


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VMware Explore 2022

Home Lab

A backup drill with Synology Active Backup for Business

As a disclaimer, Synology was gracious in providing a DS1621+ with 10GB PCI adaptor to test out.

For all consumers running a Synology NAS at home with virtual infrastructure or to the business requiring an easy-to-use method to backup to a private cloud (your own datacenter). The Active Backup for Business is a great way to get started with creating some type of Disaster Recovery & protection for systems. For my home lab, I run a VM infrastructure at home on some SuperMicro E300 servers with Ubiquiti gear. Once you install Active Backup for Business on DSM and go through the activation process (this part requires a account). There was no issue with registering both of my NAS models under the same account.

  • Synology DS1621+ running DSM 7.0.1-42218
  • Active Backup for Business 2.3.0.-12153
  • VMware vCenter 7.0.3 19480866 (U3d)
  • VMware ESXi 7.0.3 19482537
  • Synology joined to home AD domain
  • Windows 10 & Windows 11
  • Ubiquiti networking gear.

Once Active Backup for Business is installed, from the main launch screen
We want to add a VMware environment by clicking ‘Virtual Machine’

You do have the option to add VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V, for today we will remain on vSphere & click ‘Manage Hypervsior’

Click ‘Add’ and populate with your vCenter environment, I was able to authenticate with a domain account.

Once connected it should give a Success status and then finally should talk to the vCenter.

Now Active Backup can read all my hosts and the individual VMs running on the hosts at the time. Also during this time, I did do a vMotion, once it completed, I clicked refresh and the screen reflected the change.

From here you can click to highlight a single VM, or hold down ‘Ctrl’ key and use the mouse to select multiple objects and then click ‘Create Task’ **Please note that if you have VM Templates when you select the object, the ‘Create Task’ button will be greyed out.
The next screen will bring up a wizard-like interface, you can create a custom Task Name and then the option to select VM objects. I also noticed that the Template initially discovered does not appear in this list. There is a little ‘i’ icon next to some VMs which gives some insight into VMTools awareness and functionality.

The next screen will be to select a landing location, I will select the default folder that Active Backup created in my ‘Shared Folders’

The next step will be backup destination settings, I will proceed with enabling ‘compression’ but no encryption.
I will leave the defaults, however please share experiences with other options.

The next screen will check to ensure all services are successful on the VMs and click ‘Next’ and then you are presented with an option to ‘Schedule Backup Task’ I will keep Manual.
Depending on your needs and what industry you are in, that industry may have compliances on data retention, Tax Office? Healthcare? Legal? these are just a few of the professionss that should ensure retention and backup is set.

The next screen will be specifying permissions for Restores and finally confirm Task summary.
You are prompted to take a backup, I selected Yes.

Various ways of monitoring activity for backing up

My backup for the 3 VMS took about 38 minutes. This is going over 10GB network, I feel performance can be tuned to be better. My initial backup was showing 280GB in my Shared Folder. I have other things inside the home network I’m working through.

Active Backup did great with deleting snapshots from my VM after backups were completed.

My other thought was, why backup VMs to the same storage array my iSCSI storage is on? Well, that is when Synology’s Snapshot Replication tool came in handy, I created a replication between my backup target NAS over to another Synology NAS (DS 1515+).

Performed a sync between nasstore02 (source) and nasstore01 (destination), Ran a quick Test Failover, and then performed a ‘Switchover’ to make my new destination the ‘active’.

On my new destination NAS (nasstore01) I was able to go to the ‘Storage’ section in Active Backup and Relink a shared folder containing my replicated backups.

Now let’s restore from our new destination of Active Backup, highlighting the desired VM, click ‘Restore’ I followed through the prompts and left all the settings default, and in advance I renamed my original VM so that I can do a full restore.

Monitoring status, I performed a ‘Full Restore’ and by the way, this is coming from a NAS with only 1GB and I have port bonding configured (4 1GB links) with LACP on the switch.
The restore was successful, took about 18 minutes

and my VM was restored back to my vCenter from my other Synology and I was able to log in with preserved IP.

Along with the Active Backup application, there is a web interface to the tool that allows file browsing for restore and downloads, this can be accessed from the Applications menu in DSM.

Overall I’m pleased with the flexibility and feature sets of the DS1616+ and more importantly Synology’s software that was able to work with a slightly older Synology NAS with different network backing.

If there is anything you are curious about or would like to see, please do not hesitate to reach out.


VMware Skyline Collector 3.0 Deployment

There are a lots of tools in the shed when it comes to overseeing the health of your VMware software-defined datacenter. One of those tools, Skyline, is a free SaaS offering on when you have an active ELA or a Success 360 customer (Premier Support).

From VMware you can go out to Downloads and obtain the VMware Skyline Collector 3.0. This will download an OVA file to deploy in your virtual environment.

I will be fast-forwarding through most assuming the audience is familiar with deploying Virtual Machines.

Some recommendations I would give is prior to deploying in any environment, come up with a hostname for the VM, reserve an IP address, create a DNS entry.

Another recommendation is to review the Skyline Collector User Guide which contains how to configure the endpoint user accounts with a strict permission model (Read Only).

Choose to leave default name or create a custom vSphere object name (prefer making the name the same as your reserved hostname), everyone’s standard will be different. Click Next.

The next step, select cluster/compute resource the virtual machine will be deployed on.

Review the details of the appliance, the next screen will be EULA (End User License Agreement). Click Next

Select the storage for the appliance, click Next.

Select the desired network, click Next.

For the next step, create a custom ‘root’ account password, assign the networking, domain and DNS related entries to complete customizing the template. Once that is completed, click Finish

In the event you lose or forget the root password for the appliance or the ‘admin’ account, visit the following KB:

Initially I got thrown the following error, all i did was refresh my session and run through the installation setup a little quicker, there were some delays while creating the post.

Once the VM is created, you will need to power it on. Once it’s full booted up and network services are on. You should be able to reach the appliance by its hostname.

The default password for the ‘admin’ account is ‘default’. Once you log in, you will be prompted to change the password immediately and then to log back in.

Once you log in with the newly changed password a setup wizard will begin the registration of the collector to Skyline Advisor and option to configure endpoints. There are some additional prerequisites that are recommended to perform prior to complete next steps, such as creating the suggested Read-Only accounts to be used for configuring the endpoints.

From the beginning 1. Test & Save the hostname configuration and configuring a proxy (optional), click ‘Continue’.

Next is the CEIP, click ‘Continue’,

As we are going through the wizard, step 3. Collector Registration, will require signing onto the and from the Cloud Console home select ‘Skyline Advisor’

In our example, there is an existing Skyline under a cloud org and we will be adding an additional collector. Click ‘Add Collector’

You will now be presented with an option to Copy/Paste a generated token

Go back to the Collector configuration wizard, paste the token and click ‘Register Collector’

Create a ‘Friendly Name’ the collector will be identified as in Skyline Advisor, it’s recommended if you are deploying collectors are several sites to create names easily identified.

Enable Auto-Upgrade is off by default, I’m turning it on, this is a service that will not disrupt anything in the environment.

Starting with adding credentials, the following example is an Active Directory account that is configured with a Read Only role set in Global Permissions on the vCenter.

You may proceed with configuring additional products into Skyline. Fast forward through all the solutions, once completed, the Endpoints may come up red for a moment or show green immediatly.

If you go back to the VMware Cloud Console, the final step would be to click ‘Complete Setup’ This should then take you back to the Skyline Advisor and the number of collectors should increase by one.

I hope this document was helpful and there is plenty more of information and details pertaining to Skyline.

Personal Blogs

More Achievement Unlocked

Growing up in an inner city suburb of New York City, I was troublesome and not quite the studious child while both parents worked full time and grandparents raised me. I was lucky to have family teach me hard work, ethics and surrounded myself by mentors.

Fast forward…..

March 15th 2021 started with VMware as a Technical Account Manager, I’ve been describing this as landing my “dream job”, you may ask “why?”. I wanted to take on a role that will challenge me to independently keep myself up to par with technology and be a resource to our customers and peers. This was also my step at a crossroads from continuing to be an engineer or grow professionally. I drove myself tirelessly reading up about the position, listening to VMware related podcasts, understand the technologies, especially the relevant ones that I worked on day in, day out. This required being immersed in the technology, practicing at home via home lab, pursuing certification and leading the Sacramento VMUG chapter during an unforeseen pandemic in 2020.

I’ve so far successfully wrapped up 2 weeks filled with training, lots of content to cover and genuinely want to bring value to our customers.

Before embarking on this journey, I was also ecstatic to be accepted into earning my first vExpert, never thought I was worthy of applying but I can see the value of how recognition drives me to want to do more to contribute.