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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

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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 console.cloud.com when you have an active ELA or a Success 360 customer (Premier Support).

From VMware http://www.customerconnect.vmware.com 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). https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Skyline-Collector/3.0/user-guide.pdf

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: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/52652

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 console.cloud.vmware.com 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.

vRLI

Log Insight Agent for Windows & Active Directory Content Pack

VMware’s Log Insight tool part of the vRealize suite is an excellent logging solution backed with analytics. Log Insight provides a marketplace-like feature called ‘Content Packs’ that has a variety of supported plug-ins that are pre-built dashboards for other vendor systems. One of those I wanted to dive in today is the install & configure of the Active Directory Content Pack in addition to the Log Insight agent on my home lab Active Directory server.

Installing Log Insight agent on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter

The agent can be downloaded from within the Log Insight interface. From the home page click on ‘Administration’ and then over to ‘Agents’ on the left pane.

On the bottom of the page there is a download link for the agent

You will find agents for the following supported OSs

In our exercise we will download the Windows MSI file. Launch the installer and there is minimal configuration performed, the most important part is either using hostname or IP for for the Log Insight server.

*The error I’m researching, this seemed to be the only system, checked time clock, not sure if this a time or speed notification, data was flowing in pretty fast.

Once the installation is complete, Log Insight Agents console should immediately display the machine.

Configuring the Log Insight Agent

From the ‘Agent’ menu, go to ‘Agent Configuration’, as an example we will create a Windows Event Log configuration for logging.

Create a unique name (no spaces) of the log, in our case we will call it ‘WinApplication’ for the ‘Application’ events in Event Viewer on the server.

Once that is completed you may proceed for other ones, and in the end should look something like this.

Once the agents are configured, these loggings will begin for all agents detected in LogInsight.

You can click on the hyperlink-enabled name of the agent and it will take you straight to the ‘Interactive Analysis’

The Interactive Analysis is your tool to filter through logs.

Installing the Active Directory Content Pack

From the Log Insight home page, go to ‘Content Packs’

The Log Insight Marketplace appears and in there look for ‘Microsoft – Active Directory’, click once, review/agree terms, check the box and click ‘Install’

The install is instant and you should be prompted with ‘Setup Instructions’

By installing the Log Insight agent, we have fullfilled some of the prerequistes already

From the ‘Agents’ menu, find the and copy the template that is now installed

Here you can name the new group and click ‘Copy’

Some pre-populated configurations will load from the copied template, create a filter, in my example, I selected the hostname of my AD server. Ensure the hostname matches what the name from the agent is, this should bring the found agent down below. Click ‘Save Configuration’

After that is done, you can go back to Interactive Analysis and play around with filters, in my test, I simply reloaded DNS Zones and created a new record

This was something really simple and straight forward, there are several more customizations you can leverage with Log Insight, features for alerting via e-mail for particular events you want to capture and more.