Monthly Archives: November 2015

Let’s have a Fling

After years of procrastinating, last week I gave my first vMug community talk in Melbourne.  After years of saying I can do that and constantly nodding my head to the Melbourne vMug committee to get more involved, I finally decided to step up.  Now that it’s over I can finally say that it was well worth it!

The decision to finally give a talk came at the end of vBeers in Melbourne a few months back.  After a few beers and some great conversations.  I left with the determination to get up and give that community talk.  There was just one issue though, I had no idea for a topic.  So I spent the next few weeks thinking of an idea and asking friends for suggestions.

In some ways the hardest part of the talk was just coming up with an interesting idea.  Something that not only other people would find interesting but me too.  I finally settled on VMware Flings.  I’ve been interested in VMware Flings for a few years now and this year they’ve really taken off with some really great Flings.  I put together a presentation abstract then reached out to the Melbourne vMug committee with my idea.  The @mvmug committee liked the idea and slotted me in as one of two committee presentations for Melbourne’s final vMug of the year.

Over the next month I put together my talk.  I’m not a big fan of the ‘Death by PowerPoint’.  So I worked on a talk where after I introduced myself I would pull up a web browser using the VMware Flings website as my slide deck.  Then lead into some demos in my home lab.  A format I think worked out really well.  Staring at slide decks can be hard after a long vMug.  So being able to interact with something on the screen keeps the audience engaged.  The biggest curve ball I got thrown was coming down with a virus two weeks prior to the talk.  Over that period I had blocked sinuses, constant coughing, and even a loss of voice for a day.  Disappointingly I was in no position to rehearse my talk over that period.  What was becoming a very exciting time became an extremely frustrating period 🙁

The day before the talk was nothing short of miraculous (either that or the upping of medication).  I woke up feeling like my old self.  It meant that I one good college cram session in the night before to rehearse my talk.  Not ideal but I’d take it 🙂

I felt that the talk went well.  I managed to use the full 45 minutes allocated to my session.  I tried to keep the talk moving along without dwelling on any one area for too long.  A had a short introduction, a brief overview of what VMware Fling are with some examples.  Then moved onto three demos in my home lab.  The ESXi Embedded Host Client, followed by PowerActions for the vSphere Web Client, and finishing up on a slightly less popular and more obscure Fling, the ESXi Google Authenticator.

I learnt quite a lot from the experience with a number of key take aways for the future.  Firstly, don’t rely on the facilities, not even as backups.  If you require Internet access, bring your own, then bring your own backup.  Bring all your own cables and dongles to connect to projectors.  I naively expect HDMI or DVI connectors.  Imagine my surprise when I got VGA.  Fortunately a VEEAM presenter from an earlier session leant me his VGA dongle.  Finally stay relaxed.  If you can interact with the audience, even just a little, it goes a long way in creating a positive atmosphere to present in.

The @mvmug committee have done a fantastic job in recording all of November’s sessions.  My session can be found here!

 

Onyx For the Web Client now supports vSphere 6.0 U1

It’s been a while since I’ve used the Onyx VMware Fling.  The last time I used it was way back in 2013 running the Project Onyx version that sat as a proxy between the C# vSphere Client and vCenter.  It was a great little Fling back then.  I had a good laugh when I looked at one of my old blog posts about Project Onyx and how I felt its lifespan was limited due to the C# client being phased out for the Web Client.  Two years later and the C# vSphere Client is still going strong.  Com’on VMware, do it already 😛

Well, Onyx is now back in an all new way and it now supports the vSphere Web Client.  In fact it was released back in July 2015 but has just undergone another update for vSphere 6.0 U1.  If you’re not sure what Onyx is.  It’s a tool that allows you to record your vSphere Client actions and display them back as PowerCLI API method calls.  I found Onyx useful in years past when the PowerCLI cmdlets weren’t as mature as they are today.  Thought, today there’s still a lot of things you can’t do with the standard PowerCLI cmdlets and recently I’ve been finding I’ve been delving into the API methods more and more.  So it’s great to see support for the Web Client in Onyx now.

There are two versions of Onyx For the Web Client.  The 6.0 release and the 6.0 U1 release.  It’s important that you use the version matching your vSphere.  I learnt the hard way recently how dangerous VMware Flings can be.  I installed the 6.0 release onto vSphere 6.0 U1 and broke my vCenter good and proper.  With the latest release of Onyx only a few weeks back it now once again supports the latest vSphere Web Client.

Installation is quite simple.  In my case I’m installing to the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).  You download the Onyx Fling from here.  Then extract its contents to a local folder.

I then console into my VCSA and enable and change my shell to BASH

shell.set --enabled True
shell
chsh -s /bin/bash

I can now use SCP to copy the files from my local computer to the VCSA using WinSCP.  It’s just a matter of dragging the onyx-setup-60u1 folder from my computer the to the /root directory on the VCSA.

onyx_winscp-000248

Now back on the VCSA I run

cd /root/onyx-setup-60u1
chmod +x ./install.sh
./install.sh

When the install script completes it will restart your vCenter web services.  It will take a few minutes to fully restart so don’t panic if you start receiving errors when trying to browse to the Web Client.  Once the services completely restart make sure you have closed you web browser tab and reopen it to the Web Client.

It’s also ideal to change the shell back to the Appliance Shell

chsh -s /bin/appliancesh

onyx-000249

Using Onyx is super simple.  It can be found under the Inventories in the Web Client.  Also pinned to the top right corner you have to two buttons.  A Red Record icon and a PowerCLI button.  Pressing the Red Record button starts recording your web session interactions.

onyx-000251

When you’ve completed with you actions we click the same record button which has turned to a Stop button.  Pressing the PowerCLI button now shows us the PowerCLI API calls that took place to perform our actions.  All cleanly laid out with syntax highlighting.  There’s also the ability to save the output as a PowerCLI script.

That’s it really.  There’s not a great deal to this Fling.  If you don’t do much PowerCLI you might not find this Fling overly special.  If on the other hand you are using PowerCLI on a regular basis I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.

Word of warning; Onyx For the Web Client is a VMware Fling and as such does not come with official VMware support.  Onyx is best suited to a Dev and Test environment and is not really recommended for Production environments.

References:
Onyx For The Web Client