Category: Cloud Management

Building a VMware Environment at Home

I’ve got to a point with my home setup where any changes have me scratching my head as to how things are setup. For that reason, and to write a blog post, I decided I would document my logical network and physical setup.

My lab initially contained a couple HP desktop servers to allow a virtual NAS, firewall, and Plex server.

To date I’ve implemented the following:


-Wired the house with Cat 6 and RG6 coaxial cable
-48 Port RJ45 Patch Panel
-Panduit Mini rack
-(10) Dahua POE Cameras
-Dahua DVR 2U Appliance with 12TB
-Install of CyberPower UPS
-QNAP TS251 2-Drive NAS w/8TB
-(35) Z-wave devices
-(1) Supermicro e200-8D Intel 6-core w/64GB Mem, 2TB SSD Flash



  • Sophos UTM Firewall VM
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Red Hat Linux
  • CentOS
  • VMware vSphere 6.5
  • VMware vRealize Automation
  • VMware vRealize Business for Cloud


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The Power of VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)

We recently had the opportunity to evaluate a number of “IaaS” centric orchestrator products. Our finding was that many of the big name orchestrator products really all have the same functionality in terms of integration, extensibility, and plugin capabilities. You could almost argue that orchestration is now a commodity component of any private cloud. So what sets these orchestrators apart? Simplicity, OEM support, and community support.

– How easily can an administrator/engineer pick up the product and figure it out on their own?

OEM Support
– How many of the large OEMs are creating plugins (and related documentation) to integration with the orchestrator?

– How widely deployed is the product? Is the community active in documenting guides, tutorials, or troubleshooting?

These are the areas where vRO is shining right now. We have seen that the majority of IT shops run VMware for their hypervisor and through vSphere licensing they already own vRO. This makes vRO a product they usually already own and provides immediate “out-of-the-box” functionality with tight integration into vCenter for automating routine VM admin tasks like removing snapshots, migrating workloads, performing VM tools/hardware upgrades, and other VM tasks. Once these admins address basic VM management tasks, they quickly turn to the next step of automating windows/linux server builds. The first thing that happens is a Google search, “How to…..with VMware Orchestrator” and boom there are tens if not hundreds of articles on how to configure and use this tool. The number of IT experts that have picked up this tool and documented their adventures is like nothing before. The support of the community makes this tool quite viable without hiring temporary experts to do all the work. Then there is the OEM support, no matter which solution you are using for servers, network, CMDB, IPAM, monitoring, load balancing or firewalls; there is overwhelming numbers of plugin and supporting documentation for deployment/troubleshooting/extensibility. For these reasons we believe that the VMware Orchestrator product is the most widely deployed, simplest to use, and provides the greatest level of integration and extensibility. This is a powerful orchestrator!


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Red Hat CloudForms gaining momentum in the IaaS and OpenStack arena

CloudForms is quickly gaining popularity as a best-of-breed Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solution to compliment an existing Red Hat shop on its approach to provide IaaS/XaaS. CloudForms has free and paid support levels and provides a native Red Hat experience for integrating with OpenStack and OpenShift. CloudForms was also recently Open sourced which will surely increase user base and extensibility.

Here is the high level architecture of CloudForms:



For OpenStack deployments, CloudForms can now manage cloud-based computational resources, from initial provisioning to retirement. Users can set up their own OpenStack instances, with CloudForms handling the approval process, if one is in place. It can provide charge-back reports so the appropriate business unit can be billed for usage.

For administrators, CloudForms provides a dashboard and reports on OpenStack usage across the organization. It will also provide tools for configuring OpenStack instances.

In addition to supporting OpenStack, CloudForms offers additional controls for AWS as well. It now allows administrators to apply usage policies to Amazon Machine Instances (AMIs) that are self-provisioned by users. It works with Amazon’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) to manage users and workloads.



Want to read more on how CloudForms integrates with OpenStack? Check out this great document:



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