Author Archives: Ranjit Singh Thakurratan

VMware Continuent Tungsten Replicator

I was trying to get a high level overview on the Continuent Tungsten replication and this video was pretty good which helped me understand some of its high level features.

Are you using Continuent – share you experiences!

Preview New Products in Amazon AWS

Two products are in preview mode in AWS. This is a brief post about them.

DMS – DMS stands for database migration services. This service allows you to migrate a source database to a target database by means of a replication instance. AWS also allows you to migrate to a different database by using the AWS schema generator tool to generate a new appropriate schema for the new database. The replication appliances or instances are at the heart of the conversion process where all the conversion takes place. It is available in multiple sizes and depends on your performance requirements.

Below is a list of different sizes of the replication instance available.

Some points to remember.

  1. During conversion source db is fully operational and the process is non disruptive.
  2. Any delta changes at source are also fully replicated to the target. The replication appliance takes care of this and also does compression.
  3. There are no hidden charges – you only pay for the size of replication appliance you deploy regardless of your db size.
  4. Transfer between similar databases or transfer among dissimilar databases.
  5. DMS can also be used as a disaster recovery product because of its ability to constantly replicate the changed data from source to target.

Elastic File System – AWS enters the file storage sector by introducing the elastic file system – a file storage system over NFSv4 protocol. We know that S3 provides object storage and EBS provides block storage for AWS work loads. Now EFS provides file storage allowing for easy consumption for your workloads.

Some points to remember.

  1. EFS has no base charge and is pay as you go at 0.30 cents a GB. You only pay for what you use.
  2. EFS is mounted directly to your EC2 instance and multiple EC2 instances can share a EFS mount.
  3. EFS is backed by SSD storage and there is no additional cost for performance gains.
  4. EFS in theory is advertised as unlimited growth.
  5. Multiple EC2 instances in different Availability zones in a region can access the same EFS instance.
  6. EFS instance is replicated across multiple availability zones.

Hope this gave you a pretty high level over view of what AWS has up and coming.

99% of the World’s Data…


Yes, we will have a quick chat about 99% of the world’s data. Did you know that 99% of the World’s data was created in the last three years! There is no denying that we are much more connected than we ever were and this data is only going to skyrocket once we start consuming IOT devices and applications. (Internet of things).

Scientists estimate that the total data in the world is about 350+ exabytes – Thats 350 Billion Gigabytes and growing at 23% yearly – and this is just an estimate. So should business leaders invest in big data? Absolutely! According to a Forbes research, 89% of business leaders agree that big data is the next industry disrupter and will revolutionize how decisions are made. Gartner forecasted that 2016  is a digital era where big data is going to be a big disrupter.

So are you just collecting data or are you going to do something with it? Let me know in the comments below..

Learning VMware NSX – The Book!

Learning VMware NSX, Ranjit Singh Thakurratan, eBook - 2016-01-31 23-27-52My first book about deploying and using VMware’s NSX network virtualization platform is out for pre-order. It was indeed a challenge to write a book.

I spent most of last year writing the book and its finally all set to release soon. It has been an interesting but tough journey and writing the book wasn’t easy at all!  Adding to the challenge was the fact that the publisher wanted to keep the book to less than 200 pages. That however was a blessing in disguise, more readers will be willing to read a quick 200 page book about NSX rather than a 600 page gorilla.

The book is available on Amazon and is published through Packt Publishing. The kindle version is available now with the paperback shipping in early March. 

Below are some highlights about the book,


To know more about me click here.

vSphere HTML Host Client (Updated!)

**Did the original post a while back but there are new updates as picked up from virtual-alan**


  • Add a new CD/DVD drive to a new or existing VM

  • Add a new network adapter to a new or existing VM

  • Add a new hard disk to a new or existing VM

  • Create a VM from a cluster

  • Migrate compute resource of a VM to a cluster and set vMotion priority

  • Change Agent VM settings for a Host

  • View Lockdown Mode in Security Profile settings of a host

  • View Certificate information for a host

  • Add a new cluster workflow (basic)

  • Remove a cluster

If you love the improvements in the web client, or may be you are a linux shop wanting to test or play with VMware ESXi and wished you could manage your ESXi host with a web client and not with the windows c# client then we may just have a solution for you!

This is my host now (no vCenter)

VMware ESXi - localhost.localdomain 2016-01-17 13-54-51

Meet ESXi Embedded host client! This tech preview VIB will do wonders for you! Once you install this VIB (Vmware install bundle) you will get your web client up and going. Now you can’t use this to manage your vCenter so watch out there.  This is still a tech preview so don’t deploy this in production is my advise although I won’t tell if you don’t! And if you are wondering – this vib was written in HTML and Javascript.

Some of the things you can do with this fling,

  • VM operations (Power on, off, reset, suspend, etc).
  • Creating a new VM, from scratch or from OVF/OVA (limited OVA support)
  • Configuring NTP on a host
  • Displaying summaries, events, tasks and notifications/alerts
  • Providing a console to VMs
  • Configuring host networking
  • Configuring host advanced settings
  • Configuring host services

So basically everything you can do with a c# windows client. This is awesome especially for *nix users!

Below is the process to install it in your host. Do this at your own risk 🙂

  1. Download the offline bundle from here.
  2. SCP this into your standalone ESXi into a /tmp directory
  3. SSH into your host and install the VIB with the below command.

    >esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/esxui_signed.vib –force

  4. Log out and go to httpps://hostip/ui

Below is how it looks to me.

VMware ESXi - localhost.localdomain 2016-01-17 13-59-20

My opinion is this is a good progress and this feature would be great. At the end there shouldn’t really be need for a vCenter to provide a rich web interface.

If you want to read more – click here.


vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Enterprise Ready?

vCloud Air DR subscription is pretty impressive and is a blessing for SMB environments but when it comes to Enterprises it might not be as flexible as expected. Below are some important points from the FAQ to be noted when trying to decided if vCloud Air DR is the right way to go.

Some key features first

• Self-service disaster recovery protection with failover and failback workflows per virtual machine

• Recovery point objectives (RPO) from 15 minutes to 24 hours

• Multiple point-in time snapshots to revert to previous known states

• Runbook creation for failover workflow plan possible using vRealize™ Orchestrator™ plug-in

• Elastic cloud compute and storage capacity

• Support for ofine data seeding

• Unlimited quantity of failover testing

Now some gotchas!

Q. Will VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager be supported as a part of the service?

A. No. Current releases of VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager™ (5.x) are not interoperable with vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. This means no orchestrated failover capabilities however vCloud Air does offer vRO plugins to be used to create a DR recovery workflow.

Q. What types of service levels will be included in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery?

A. Recovery point objective (RPO) service levels will be configurable on a self-service basis per virtual machine and will range from 15 minutes to 24 hours (variable based on actual data change rates and available bandwidth). VMware will guarantee a recovery time objective (RTO) of four (4) hours or less, per the vCloud Air Level Agreement (SLA). This means there are no subminute RPO’s. This means critical data cannot really be replicated with an RPO of 5 minutes.

Q. Are there scalability limits with the core subscription?

A. Your vCloud Air Disaster Recovery core subscription can scale up to 500 VMs. For enterprises with >500 vms vCloud Air can be a limiting factor.

Q. When a customer has declared a disaster and has failed over to their vCloud Air Disaster Recovery environment in vCloud Air, how long can they operate before requiring failback or migration?

A. A customer has 7 days to run a test failover and for an actual failover, a customer has 30 days to run active in their Disaster Recovery instance. The customer may operate from their vCloud Air Disaster Recovery environment for up to 30 days without incurring any penalties. After 30 days a daily usage fee will be applied. Customers will have the option to failback their virtual machines to their primary data center at any time, or, optionally, migrate their virtual machines to another class of service offered by vCloud Air. This certainly is an issue for any customer who wants to get more out of their DR environment and also wants the flexibility to switch to their DR being promoted as a production environment.

Q. Can I use my credit card to get started with vCloud Air DR on demand?

A. No vCloud Air DR is a subscription model with contracted billing.

Q. What is the cost of per instance of vCloud Air?

A. A base configuration gives you 10GHz of CPU, 20 GB of RAM and 1TB of storage with 10Mbps of network throughput. You also get 2 public IPs. This base configuration costs around 800$ per month. Now you can add more CPU/RAM and storage as well. The CPU and RAM are proportionally added so adding one increases the other.

Maxing out an instances we can add about,

CPU = 120GHz, RAM = 240GB, 12 additional public IPs and upto 12 TB of storage.

The total cost of such a built out instance of vCloud air ends up being around 10,000$ per month. You could go beyond 12 IPs and 12 TB of storage by directly checking in with VMware sales teams but more storage and IPs equate to more VMs and more resources that are needed in a DR scenario.

It is important to understand the scale of your DR environment and the expected functionality such as failover orchestration etc to be able to properly validate if vCloud Air DR is infact a cost effective solution or not. There will be a point in the graph where vCloud Air DR will be more expensive and restrictive than building your own dedicated DR environment.

A Quick Intro to vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager

I wanted to give you a quick-read introduction of vCloud Hybrid cloud manager.

vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager enables bidirectional VM mobility and migration to the cloud and back, and hybrid networking to extend on-premises vSphere vCenter networks into vCloud Air. Data transport features include network extension, WAN optimization, Multi-tenant WAN with Intelligent Routing, and path fail-over.

Security features include Suite B-compliant AES-GCM with IKEv2, data de-duplication and compression, AES-NI Offload, Flowbased Admission Control. It gets interesting because Hybrid Cloud Manager owns the source and destination encryption and decryption, ensuring a consistent security policy and providing admission for hybrid workflows like virtual machine migration and network extension.

These features can be deployed in several ways. Hybrid Networking (Layer 2 Extension) can securely extend your vSphere vCenter to integrate with a vCloud Air Virtual Data Center (vDC). We can also stretch multiple L2 segments  and can route stretched networks via Cloud Gateway for encryption and through the WAN optimization appliance to provide a secure and optimized path through the Internet to vCloud Air.

Read more at the official doc here.

Teaser – Learning VMware NSX – Virtxpert Repost

I have been working on my book for a while now and have picked two of the best reviewers to keep me honest. The book is about VMware NSX and is the only NSX book as far as I am aware(that isn’t focussed on certification only). 

The book is now available for pre order and below is what Jonathan from has posted. Enjoy the read.

I have been fortuneate enough in my day job to get hands on experience with VMware NSX, even before the bits were available to download I was supporting NSX via the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, as it is one of the core components. For people still looking to get a jump start on learning NSX, I wanted to give you a bit of a teaser for an upcoming book by Ranjit Singh – Learning VMware NSX.


Since I am a technical reviewer for this book, which is being published by Packt Publishing, I can’t give away to much but can tell you it is packed with step by step examples on how to get up and running quickly with NSX and understand the various components and how they interact. Keep an eye out on the Packt site, and I expect you’ll here more from me and @rjapproves when it is released!

VMware NSX Session at Atlanta VMUG UserCon Today! 

For anyone in and around Atlanta, make sure you make it to GWCC convention center for the VMUG UserCon 2015!

Atlanta has one of the busiest VMUG and I will be presenting on getting started with VMware NSX!

You can also meet up with Mariano Maluf – the president of VMUG and other big wigs as well.

Also get to meet Kelley O’Hara – from the national football team and am hoping to take a picture with her. She’s awesome!

See you there! 

Bare Metal VSphere provisioning session #liveblog

In this session at VMworld we are talking about bare metal provisioning using Hanlon and Ansible.

Hanlon loads a micro kernel and allows a boot for the machine.

Project Kragle – is an automation node that is the glue where everything comes together – including dhcp, DNS, Ansible play books etc..

Project Emmet – bare metal provisioning of ESXi using Hanlon. The infrastructure is configured using Ansible. This project is being positioned as a proof of concept as of today but development is swift

Talking about Ansible modules

Ansible modules for Hanlon include,


These modules have not been released yet but are on the path of getting them out there. 

Ansible modules for vSphere include,

The recorded demo was great and below are some more links!