Tag Archives: automation

Lab Automation Made Easy for Training and Testing with VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

For those who run ESXi on a virtual machine, it’s a great news that VMware has released VMware Tools for nested ESXi as a fling in VMware Labs. Why? With the VMware Tools, you can get guest OS (really the ESXi here) information, like the IP address directly. It may sounds trivial as you can see the IP address from the virtual machine console of a virtualized ESXi. But for automation, it’s pretty hacky to get it programatically. Some people may wonder, “why not run commands via SSH?” It’s true that it’s easy to get the IP by running esxcli command, but you have to get IP first before running the command. With the VMware Tools, you can easily get the IP from vSphere Java API as would with any other normal virtual machines. Even more, you can also run commands like vim-cmd/esxcli in the virtual ESXi via APIs.

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Common Pitfalls When Developing Virtual Appliances

A virtual appliance is a virtual machine preinstalled with operating system, middleware, and applications. It’s ready to run after a few configurations after powering up.

The benefit of delivering a virtual appliance is obvious – it offers better out of box experience due to simplified installation/configuration and complete isolation from other applications. The disadvantage is also obvious in that it potentially uses much more system resources than sharing a virtual machine with other applications. Like any solution, it’s all about when and how you use it with what for best results. This can be a long discussion by itself.

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Random Thoughts on IT Automation

IT automation is key to IT efficiency, agility and control. Here are some of my recent thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to share yours.

People and Automation

  • All automations ultimately start from people, not the other way around.
  • Although automation has a role, it never takes the place of a good system administrator.
  • Not everything can be automated, and not everything is worth being automated.
Posted in Cloud Computing | Also tagged | 6 Responses

IT Automation: A Cognitive Perspective

Recently I stumbled at a book Things That Make Us Smart by one of my favorite authors Donald Norman. In the book, he shared many insights on the complex human machine interactions, “arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine.” By the way, I highly recommend his another book The Design of Everyday Things.

Because I just blogged about IT automation, I still have that topic on my mind. So when I read the book, I did quite a lot of reflective thinking around IT automation. In general, I feel

Posted in Cloud Computing, Virtualization | Also tagged | 1 Response

IT Automation, What Does It Mean To You?

Weeks ago I had a great conversation with Vanessa Alvarez (@VanessaAlvarez1) who is an analyst with Forrest Research. Among other topics, we discussed datacenter automation because we’re both interested in it. After Vanessa tweeted about her automation dream, several follow-up tweets came up.

In general, I think automation is a vague word in IT world, and it mostly means different things to different people. This is especially true when we talk about automation together with integration. This article tries to define automation from my understanding and perspective. Please feel free to share your thoughts in comments.

From high level, automation is the opposite to

Posted in Cloud Computing, Virtualization | Also tagged | 1 Response

Book Review: 6 Musts of Intelligent System Automation

I recently came across a book which I got from LISA conference last November. It was written by Jake Sorofman who is VP, Product/Marketing at rPath. I thought it’s just another typical book from a vendor, therefore I didn’t read it until two weeks ago while sorting my bags. It’s not. After reading it, I found this 75 page booklet pretty easy to read and very insightful.

Here are 6 musts Jake discussed in his book:

  1. Get your platforms under control
  2. Get your applications under control
  3. Version control everything
Posted in Cloud Computing | Also tagged | 1 Response

3 Phases and Challenges in Cloud Journey for Enterprises

As I quoted VMware CMO Rick Jackson in my previous blog, cloud computing is a journey. You may wonder, “If so, what are the phases for that journey?”

A great question! Understanding the phases helps us to better plan our journey and have a smooth transition from phase to phase.

In this blog, I will introduce 3 phases one by one: 100% virtualization, private cloud, and federated cloud. I will go over each of them and discuss the challenges in each.

Posted in Cloud Computing | Also tagged , | 3 Responses
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    My company has created products like vSearch ("Super vCenter"), vijavaNG APIs, EAM APIs, ICE tool. We also help clients with virtualization and cloud computing on customized development, training. Should you, or someone you know, need these products and services, please feel free to contact me: steve __AT__ doublecloud.org.

    Me: Steve Jin, VMware vExpert who authored the VMware VI and vSphere SDK by Prentice Hall, and created the de factor open source vSphere Java API while working at VMware engineering. Companies like Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP, Dell, VMware, are among the users of the API and other tools I developed for their products, internal IT orchestration, and test automation.