VMUG Leadership as the new guy or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Twitters.

Hi Brian,

Thank you for taking the time to chat with our team today, it was so nice to meet you. Welcome to your official position as a volunteer leader of the Seattle VMUG Community and to the VMUG Leader Community at large – we are excited you are on board and look forward to working with you!

That email actually came in back in October of 2018 and man, what a ride it’s been since! The on-boarding process will differ between communities but leaning on previous leaders is vital. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in person and webex with the former leaders and current steering committee. Here’s what it looked like for me to get spun up into the community and moving on events.

First month tasks:

  1. What can I do?
  2. What tools do I have?
  3. What does the community want?
  4. Who do I know? (this is probably the most important thing you can ask yourself)
  5. How do I begin?

For the first bullet, I have no idea what I can do! Let’s skip it.

2. Next up was to figure out what resources are available. OK, let’s get a hold of the social media accounts, i.e. Twitter, VMUG community, vBeers, Seattle@VMUG.com emails etc. Luckily for me, there was a Slack channel that the previous leaders and current steering committee members lurk in. A few password resets to old accounts and off we go! Time to make noise on the internet. Social media is vital for career growth and expanding your peer group. Get on it if you’re not!

3. What does the community want from VMUG Seattle? Can’t really answer that yet either, but I know people like beer. Let’s get them beer!

4. Who do I know? As a VAR, I’m well positioned already with a subset of vendors and contacts. I’m working on expanding that list all the time, so if you are or know a rep and are interested in sponsoring a VMUG event, hit me or the @SeattleVMUG twitter account up. As a VMUG leader, I’m completely agnostic to technology or labels.

5. We’ve already established beer is a great start, so I planned 2 vBeers events. The Seattle metro is stretched cluster with 3 solid communities. Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma/Olympia are all decent user bases and since I live in the South Sound area I wanted to have multiple events for the seperate communities. I picked out a couple locations based on feedback from previous leaders and called to reserve a space at each location. @Cohesity came through with the sponsorship and we had a really good turn out at both events.

Where do we go from here? Well, the sky is the limit honestly. I got very lucky to have someone approach me at the first Seattle event who was interested in being a leader so at the beginning of the month we welcomed a new leader who’s on the Eastside. We could still use some help in the Seattle downtown metro if anyone is interested! We’re deep into planning our UserCon on February 19th, and I hope to have more information on that to publish in the future.

Thanks, and see you out there.

How do I become a VMUG Leader? My journey to giving back to the community. (Part 1)

I received an email the other day from VMUG Leadership and I’m pretty excited!

Hi Brian,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a leader for the Seattle VMUG community! The next step for your on-boarding is to complete VMUG Leader Training, which will focus on all the tools, resources and best practices to be an active volunteer. 

My application was accepted and I’ll (hopefully soon) be able to help our local community as a VMUG Leader volunteer. This has been something I’ve thought about for quite awhile.  I’ve been fortunate enough to personally know several of the former local Seattle leaders and many of the other leaders from across the country.  Hanging out with the leaders from other states at VMworld has shown me how valuable the community can be.

If you haven’t yet joined your local community, and you work in the VMware product sphere, you’re definitely missing out. I’ve found great value in having a peer group who speaks the same language as me and has been through similar challenges. The amount of specific product knowledge available through these user groups is invaluable. Along with the community, VMUG offers their VMUG Advantage subscription. The education, product licenses and discounts from membership are well worth the $200 annually.

Leadership though means a different path then just consuming the outstanding benefits as a user. I can’t speak to what it’s like from the inside quite yet, but I hope you follow along with this series and are encouraged to contribute back to your community. Part 2 of this will be about the on-boarding process and what that looks like.

 

 

Basic vSphere host network troubleshooting for ISCSI connectivity

This is me playing with formatting on instruction sets. It’s mostly a writing exercise.  There are probably 1000 better blog posts out there for this subject. I’m trying to see how I’d want this written if I was desperately googling at 7 p.m. on a client site.

vMotion, ISCSI, Management, VM Network, we’ve all had issues connecting.  Here’s the steps I’m writing down for myself to reference when I’m onsite and brain is fuzzy from deployment lag. Let’s assume we’re troubleshooting an ISCSI connection back to a storage array. Connectivity from the host is via 2x 10gbe ports on physical NICs 2 and 5. Assume vSwitch settings and port bindings are set correctly. Assume the storage target IP is 192.168.1.100, host 1 has an ISCSI VMKernel adapter IP of 192.168.1.101 and host 2 has 192.168.1.102. For this exercise, I just want ping connectivity.

  1. Is it plugged in?  So often we skip this or assume.  Physically touch point to point connections and look for link lights. Note physical ports on host and switch, verify against your workbook.
  2. Check the network.  It’s always the network unless it’s DNS.  But it’s probably the network.  Easy steps are ping IPs down the pipe.  Gateway, DNS servers, destination.  Neighbor VMs, neighbor hosts. Verify ICMP Echo is on, otherwise no pings anyway!
  3. You probably can’t ping, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. If you can ping, it’s permissions. Check VLANs across the pipe.  Putty into relevant switch stacks and look at the ports.  Are they in a No Shutdown state?(this means it’s up) Are the port ranges tagged or untagged?  If tagged, you have to specify VLAN on your port groups.  If untagged, remove the VLAN from your port group by setting the VLAN to 0.  On the switch(generally), SSH in, authenticate and type: Show Run to see the running config.
  4. Test across specific interfaces.  Let’s start by identifying our NICs. SSH into the host.  In vCenter, Host>Configure>Services>SSH START. Open PuTTY and enter your Host 1 management IP and login as Root. Now that we’re SSH’d in to our first host, let’s identify our interfaces.  Type: esxcli network ip interface list. Now we have a list of our NICs along with the identifier we’ll use.  Find the NIC you want from your ISCSI vSwitch and ping from that interface to the storage array.  In the host SSH session, type vmkping -I vmk2 192.168.1.100 (replace that ip with your storage array target). We’re telling our host to send a ping out that specific interface (vmk2 or physical NIC2) to that storage target IP. If you don’t specify that interface, you’re going to ping out the management interface and that’s probably not on the ISCSI VLAN.
  5. Assuming that fails, let’s try pinging another host along the same path. Type: vmkping -I vmk2 192.168.1.102 (replace that IP with the ISCSI VMkernel adapter IP on your second host)
  6. If it’s successful, you’ve eliminated your networking between hosts and have moved the issue down to the storage path. If not, you’re more than likely back on the switch stack.  Double check your access groups in your storage.  Does the storage know it’s allowed to talk to the hosts? If your storage array doesn’t have the correct HBAs in it’s allowed list, it’ll drop traffic and your hosts will never connect. After you get connected to the array, ensure your volumes are mapped to the hosts.  If you’ve made changes, don’t forget to rescan your ISCSI software adapters. Go to the host in vCenter>Configure>Storage Adapters>Rescan Storage

Good luck, it’s probably the network.

Step one (we can have lots of fun)

I just passed my VCP 6.5 Foundations Exam. It’s open book, so not a lot of celebrating is in order, but maybe a little.

Hurray!

Big shout out to Simon Long and his amazing test questions. A note about these. Don’t use them as a test check, use them to find the official docs and research the concept, not the answer.

VCP6.5-DCV Practice Exams

Other resources:
Pluralsight
Mastering Vsphere 6.5
vSphere Docs, man you’re going to spend a lot of time here!

I want to be a vExpert

vExpert

It sounds pretty cool!  It’s got a lowercase letter in front, so you know it’s technologically legit. I’ve got more then a few friends who’ve attained this moniker. Some say it’s been diluted with new eligibility criteria that has changed over the years.  For me, I see it as a new and different way of thinking about my career. Where once I was *the IT guy* and the go to for all things that plugged in, I’m now a tiny little fish in a ridiculously large ocean.

I’ve recently switched from the customer side (your traditional Systems Administrator) to the VAR side, or Value Added Reseller as a Solutions Engineer. In this role, I’m helping many customers across a broad solution set instead of managing a single companies infrastructure. My main focus will more than likely continue to center around the VMware product suite but it now also encompasses the diversity found in different business sizes and units.

I’m going to use this blog to track issues I run into in the field, discuss my certification paths, and highlight technologies I think are interesting.

From the link above:

“If you are interested in becoming a vExpert the criteria is simple. We are looking for IT Professionals who are sharing their VMware knowledge and contributing that back to the community. The term “giving back” is defined as going above and beyond your day job.”

With the stuff we run into on the VAR side, there’s plenty to discuss! Wish me luck.