May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

The PowerCLI Cookbook by Phillip Sellers is an excellent resource for any skill level, whether you are a beginner or looking for a great reference to have with you.

PowerCLI Cookbook by Phillip Sellers

First and foremost, this book far exceeds what I expect out of a technology cookbook. If you step back and think about a (food) cookbook you get the recipe for what you are going to make (i.e. what you are going to do in PowerCLI) and the ingredients to make it (i.e. the cmdlets necessary to perform the task). Phillip took that a step further and began the cookbook with how to actually start the oven, or in this case a simple recipe to connect to vCenter and get started using PowerCLI.

The chapters in the book are laid out very well, starting with basic hosts related tasks, before moving on to vCenter, virtual machines, and other more complex scenarios – the build up in this format makes it excellent for those who are new to PowerCLI, or even VMware for that matter. Each recipie also has a “how it works” section where the components use are explained (no one has ever told me how food flavors work together!).

You could quite literally use the book to just about stand up a complete vSphere environment as all the major topics such as networking, datastores, clusters, and virtual machine management (including using PowerCLI to invoke in guest scrips) is covered.

**Disclaimer – I have a book published with Packt Publishing and spoke to Phillip before he decided to write the book. This book was provided to me by the author but the review was not read, or approved by Phillip, it is simply my opinion on the book and its contents.**

Yummy! – PowerCLI Cookbook Review by Phillip Sellers (@pbsellers)

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

There were two software related announcements at EMC World this week which I found very exciting. Building on the free for no production use of RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines from VMworld 2014, EMC announced the same for ScaleIO. ScaleIO allows you build your own Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution (HCI). This is the same software used in the new VxRack from VCE which was also announced at EMC World.

CoprHDIn addition to ScaleIO, EMC also announced CoprHD which is an open source version of EMC ViPR (@coprhd). ViPR (which is also free for non production use) is a solution that allows you to manage multiple arrays and present those as virtual volumes to hosts. In addition to managing the arrays, it also provides a self-service and automation at the storage layer. EMC ViPR also supports ScaleIO, assuming this carries over to CoprHD you could deploy a fully managed, and automated storage solution on commodity hardware for test/dev or QA (I hope they publish more specific guidelines on just what they mean by “non-production”).

Last, but not least, the community version of the VNXe which you can use to provide full block and file servers on commodity hardware. The vVNX will later come in a supported ROBO and cloud edition.

My hope is that CoprHD, ScaleIO, and the community edition of the vVNX will lead to more solutions being open sourced and offered in a free to use model. CoprHD should be available on GitHub by June, ScaleIO by the end of May, whereas the vVNX is available now for download.


New free software from EMC to build your own SDS solution

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February 23rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

During the #vBrownBag DevOps series after-show from my Using Ansible to provision VM’s in vCenter, Mike Marseglia asked about options for linting Ansible playbooks. Since I didn’t know, I thought it would be worthwhile to look into it. There is an Ansible-Lint repo on GitHub, reading through the information, it seemed straight forward. Here I am going to have a look at installing and using it against some example playbooks.

Installation should be easy, assuming you’ve got the correct packages installed, see my previous Ansible posts – if you got through that install, you should be able to install this with a single line:

pip install ansible-lint

Once installed you should now be able to do something like this:

ansible-lint clone-vm.yml

The clone-vm.yml is from my #vBrownBag series. As you can see in this screenshot, it suggests I have some trailing whitespace

ansible-lint-whitespaceOnce I tiddy up the extra whitespace in the playbook, no suggestions are returned.

ansible-lint-fixedThat is a pretty basic example, let’s say I’ve missed something such as a { when using vars_prompt, here you can see I have a missing backet for vm


Once again, now that it is fixed, no suggestions are returned. One thing that at least this specific tool does not help with is spacing errors, so your playbook will need to be valid, running ansible-lint here for example where my spacing is incorrect results in an general Ansible error, though it does point out where the error likely is:


Going forward I’ll certainly be looking into using this when writing a playbook to ensure general recommended practices are adhereed to. I’m still on the lookout for a tool that can help with spacing though!

Ansible-lint for playbooks

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February 23rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

I wanted to share some of the example Ansible playbooks used during last Wednesday’s US #vBrownBag. During the show I went over examples of how you can use Ansible to create, clone, and update virtual machines in vCenter without the need for other provisioning tools. Based on my testing (and I’m still learning as well), the items noted in the comments are the bare minimum needed to run the playbook, even though the official documentation may currently state otherwise. If you are already using Ansible for configuration management, this is a handy option to have as you can perform the provisioning tasks without leaving Ansible.

All playbooks have been uploaded to my GitHub Ansible-Test-Playbooks repository (

#vBrownBag Using Ansible with vCenter Examples

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January 8th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Chalk this up in the “useful error messages” column. When you attempt to enter a license key in the vRealize Automation appliance you receive “Error code: 500.”


Now when I saw this I immediately thought “internal server error,” however in the case of vRA it may simply be an expired or invalid license key. Before extensive troubleshooting validate that your license key is correct, and it has not expired.


vRealize Automation Error Code: 500 when submitting license key

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