Cleanup Failed Tasks in SDDC Manager

I was chatting with my colleague Paudie O’Riordan yesterday about PowerVCF as he was doing some testing internally and he mentioned that a great addition would be to have the ability to find, and cleanup failed tasks in SDDC Manager. Some use cases for this would be, cleaning up an environment before handing it off to a customer, or before recording a demo etc.

Currently there isnt a supported public API to delete a failed task so you have to run a curl command on SDDC Manager with the task ID. So getting a list of failed tasks and then running a command to delete each one can take time. See Martin Gustafson’s post on how to do it manually here.

I took a look at our existing code for retrieving tasks (and discovered a bug in the logic that is now fixed in PowerVCF 2.1.5!) and we have the ability to specify -status. So requesting a list of tasks with -status “failed” returns a list. So i put the script below together to retrieve a list of failed tasks, loop through them and delete them. The script requires the following inputs

  • SDDC Manager FQDN. This is the target that is queried for failed tasks
  • SDDC Manager API User. This is the user that is used to query for failed tasks. Must have the SDDC Manager ADMIN role
  • Password for the above user
  • Password for the SDDC Manager appliance vcf user. This is used to run the task deletion. This is not tracked in the credentials DB so we need to pass it.

Once the above variables are populated the script does the following:

  • Checks for PowerVCF (minimum version 2.1.5) and installs if not present
  • Requests an API token from SDDC Manager
  • Queries SDDC Manager for the management domain vCenter Server details
  • Uses the management domain vCenter Server details to retrieve the SDDC Manager VM name
  • Queries SDDC Manager for a list of tasks in a failed state
  • Loops through the list of failed tasks and deletes them from SDDC Manager
  • Verifies the task is no longer present

Here is the script. It is also published here if you would like to enhance it

# Script to cleanup failed tasks in SDDC Manager
# Written by Brian O'Connell - Staff Solutions Architect @ VMware

#User Variables
# SDDC Manager FQDN. This is the target that is queried for failed tasks
$sddcManagerFQDN = "lax-vcf01.lax.rainpole.io"
# SDDC Manager API User. This is the user that is used to query for failed tasks. Must have the SDDC Manager ADMIN role
$sddcManagerAPIUser = "administrator@vsphere.local"
$sddcManagerAPIPassword = "VMw@re1!"
# Password for the SDDC Manager appliance vcf user. This is used to run the task deletion
$sddcManagerVCFPassword = "VMw@re1!"



# DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE
#########################################

# Set TLS to 1.2 to avoid certificate mismatch errors
[Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12

# Install PowerVCF if not already installed
if (!(Get-InstalledModule -name PowerVCF -MinimumVersion 2.1.5 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)) {
    Install-Module -Name PowerVCF -MinimumVersion 2.1.5 -Force
}

# Request a VCF Token using PowerVCF
Request-VCFToken -fqdn $sddcManagerFQDN -username $sddcManagerAPIUser -password $sddcManagerAPIPassword

# Disconnect all connected vCenters to ensure only the desired vCenter is available
if ($defaultviservers) {
    $server = $defaultviservers.Name
    foreach ($server in $defaultviservers) {            
        Disconnect-VIServer -Server $server -Confirm:$False
    }
}

# Retrieve the Management Domain vCenter Server FQDN
$vcenterFQDN = ((Get-VCFWorkloadDomain | where-object {$_.type -eq "MANAGEMENT"}).vcenters.fqdn)
$vcenterUser = (Get-VCFCredential -resourceType "PSC").username
$vcenterPassword = (Get-VCFCredential -resourceType "PSC").password

# Retrieve SDDC Manager VM Name
if ($vcenterFQDN) {
    Write-Output "Getting SDDC Manager Manager VM Name"
    Connect-VIServer -server $vcenterFQDN -user $vcenterUser -password $vcenterPassword | Out-Null
    $sddcmVMName = ((Get-VM * | Where-Object {$_.Guest.Hostname -eq $sddcManagerFQDN}).Name)              
}

# Retrieve a list of failed tasks
$failedTaskIDs = @()
$ids = (Get-VCFTask -status "Failed").id
Foreach ($id in $ids) {
    $failedTaskIDs += ,$id
}
# Cleanup the failed tasks
Foreach ($taskID in $failedTaskIDs) {
    $scriptCommand = "curl -X DELETE 127.0.0.1/tasks/registrations/$taskID"
    Write-Output "Deleting Failed Task ID $taskID"
    $output = Invoke-VMScript -ScriptText $scriptCommand -vm $sddcmVMName -GuestUser "vcf" -GuestPassword $sddcManagerVCFPassword

# Verify the task was deleted    
    Try {
    $verifyTaskDeleted = (Get-VCFTask -id $taskID)
    if ($verifyTaskDeleted -eq "Task ID Not Found") {
        Write-Output "Task ID $taskID Deleted Successfully"
    }
}
    catch {
        Write-Error "Something went wrong. Please check your SDDC Manager state"
    }
}
Disconnect-VIServer -server $vcenterFQDN -Confirm:$False

As always, comments/feedback welcome!

Site Protection & Disaster Recovery for VMware Cloud Foundation Validated Solution

Along with the release of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.3.1, we are excited to announce the general availability of the Site Protection & Disaster Recovery for VMware Cloud Foundation Validated Solution. The solution documentation, intro and other associated collateral can be found on the Cloud Platform Tech Zone here.

The move from VMware Validated Designs to VMware Validated Solutions has been covered by my team mate Gary Blake in detail here so I wont go into that detail here. Instead I will concentrate on the work Ken Gould and I (along with a supporting team) have been working to deliver for the past few months.

The Site Protection & Disaster Recovery for VMware Cloud Foundation Validated Solution includes the following to deliver an end-to-end validated way to protect your mission critical applications. You get a set of documentation that is tailored to the solution that includes: design objectives, a detailed design including not just design decisions, but the justifications & implications of those decisions, detailed implementation steps with PowerShell alternatives for some steps to speed up time to deploy, operational guidance on how to use the solution once its deployed, solution interoperability between it and other Validated Solutions, an appendix containing all the solution design decisions in one easy place for review, and finally, a set of frequently asked questions that will be updated for each release.

Disaster recovery is a huge topic for everyone lately. Everything from power outages to natural disasters to ransomware and beyond can be classed as a disaster, and regardless of the type of disaster you must be prepared. To adequately plan for business continuity in the event of a disaster you must protect your mission critical applications so that they may be recovered. In a VMware Cloud Foundation environment, cloud operations and automation services are delivered by vRealize Lifecycle Manager, vRealize Operations Manager & vRealize Automation, with authentication services delivered by Workspace ONE Access.

To provide DR for our mission critical apps we leverage 2 VCF instances with NSX-T federation between them. The primary VCF instance runs the active NSX-T global manager and the recovery VCF instance runs the standby NSX-T global manager. All load balancing services are served from the protected instance, with a standby load balancer (disconnected from the recovery site NSX Tier-1 until required, to avoid IP conflicts) in the recovery instance. Using our included PowerShell cmdlets you can quickly create and configure the standby load balancer to mimic your active load balancer, saving you a ton of manual UI clicks.

In the (hopefully never) event of the need to failover the cloud management applications, you can easily bring the standby load balancer online to enable networking services for the failed over applications.

Using Site recovery Manager (SRM) you can run planned migrations or disaster recovery migrations. With a single set of SRM recovery plans, regardless of the scenario, you will be guided through the recovery process. In this post I will cover what happens in the event of a disaster.

When a disaster occurs on the protected site (once the panic subsides) there are a series of tasks you need to perform to bring those mission critical apps back online.

First? Fix the network! Log into the passive NSX Global Manager (GM) on the recovery site and promote the GM to Active. (Note: This can take about 10-15 mins)

To cover the case of an accidental “Force Active” click..we’ve built in the “Are you absolutely sure this is what you want to do?” prompt!

Once the promotion operation completes our standby NSX GM is now active, and can be used to manage the surviving site NSX Local Manager (LM)

Once the recovery site GM is active we need to ensure that the cross-instance NSX Tier-1 is now directing the egress traffic via the recovery site. To do this we must update the locations on the Tier-1. Navigate to GM> Tier-1 gateways > Cross Instance Tier-1. Under Locations, make the recovery location Primary.

The next step is to ensure we have an active load balancer running in the recovery site to ensure our protected applications come up correctly. To do this log into what is now our active GM, select the recovery site NSX Local Manager (LM), and navigate to Networking > Load Balancing. Edit the load balancer and attach it to the recovery site standalone Tier-1.

At this point we are ready to run our SRM recovery plans. The recommended order for running the recovery plans (assuming you have all of the protected components listed below) is as follows. This ensures lifecycle & authentication services (vRSLCM & WSA) are up before the applications that depend on them (vROPS & vRA)

  • vRSLCM – WSA – RP
  • Intelligent Operations Management RP
  • Private Cloud Automation RP

I’m not going to go through each recovery plan in detail here. They are documented in the Site Protection and Disaster Recovery Validated Solution. In some you will be prompted to verify this or that along the way to ensure successful failover.

The main thing in a DR situation is, DO NOT PANIC. And what is the best way to getting to a place where you DO NOT PANIC? Test your DR plans…so when you see this…

Your reaction is this…

BookReview: Rest — Fresh Perception

Trust the plan…test the plan…relax…you have a plan!

Hopefully this post was useful..if you want to learn more please reach out in the comments…if you’re attending VMworld and would like to learn more or ask some questions, please drop into our Meet The Experts session on Thursday.

Take a look at Ken’s post on the Planning & Preparation Workbook for this validated solution for more details.

Part 2: Working With the SRM VAMI API : Replacing the Appliance Certificate

In Part 1 of this series we saw how to retrieve a sessionId from the Site Recovery Manager VAMI interface using Postman & Powershell. In this post we will use that sessionId to replace the appliance SSL certificate using the API. To start we again use the VAMI UI to inspect the endpoint URL being used for certificate replacement by doing a manual replacement. In this case the URL is:

https://sfo-m01-srm01.sfo.rainpole.io:5480/configure/requestHandlers/installPkcs12Certificate

Site Recovery Manager expects the certificate in P12 format so I used CertGen to create the cert format needed. When using the UI you browse to the cert file and it uploads in the browser along with the certificate passphrase. Behind the scenes it is then base64 encoded, so you need to do this before using the API.

# Base64 encoded the p12 file

$certFile = ".\sfo-m01-srm01.4.p12"

$base64string = [Convert]::ToBase64String([IO.File]::ReadAllBytes($certFile))


$body = '{
"certificateContent": "'+$base64string+'",
"certificatePassword": "'+$certPassword+'"
}'

#Create the required headers using the sessionId

$headers = @{"Content-Type" = "application/json"}
$headers.Add("dr.config.service.sessionid", "$sessionId")


$uri = "https://sfo-m01-srm01.sfo.rainpole.io:5480/configure/requestHandlers/installPkcs12Certificate"


Invoke-RestMethod -Method POST -Uri $uri -Headers $headers -body $body

And there you have it..your appliance cert replaced via the API.

Checking Password Expiry For VMware Cloud Foundation Management Components

Within a VMware Cloud Foundation instance, SDDC Manager is used to manage the lifecycle of passwords (or credentials). While we provide the ability to rotate (either scheduled or manually) currently there is no easy way to check when a particular password is due to expire, which can lead to appliance root passwords expiring, which will cause all sorts of issues. The ability to monitor expiry is something that is being worked on, but as a stop gap I put together the script below which leverages PowerVCF and also a currently undocumented API for validating credentials.

The script has a function called Get-VCFPasswordExpiry that accepts the following parameters

  • -fqdn (FQDN of the SDDC Manager)
  • -username (SDDC Manager Username – Must have the ADMIN role)
  • -password (SDDC Manager password)
  • -resourceType (Optional parameter to specify a resourceType. If not passed, all resources will be checked. If passed (e.g. VCENTER) then only that resourceType will be checked. Supported resource types are

PowerVCF is a requirement. If you dont already have it run the following

Install-Module -Name PowerVCF

The code takes a while to run as it needs to do the following to check password expiry

  • Connect to SDDC Manager to retrieve an API token
  • Retrieve a list of all credentials
  • Using the resourceID of each credential
    • Perform a credential validation
    • Wait for the validation to complete
    • Parse the results for the expiry details
    • Add all the results to an array and present in a table (Kudos to Ken Gould for assistance with the presentation of this piece!)

In this example script I am returning all non SERVICE user accounts regardless of expiry (SERVICE account passwords are system managed). You could get more granular by adding something like this to only display accounts with passwords due to expire in less than 14 days

if ($validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.passwordDetails.numberOfDaysToExpiry -lt 14) {
               Write-Output "Password for username $($validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.username) expires in $($validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.passwordDetails.numberOfDaysToExpiry) days"
           }

Here is the script content. As always feedback is welcome. Also posted in Github here if anyone wants to fork and improve https://github.com/LifeOfBrianOC/Get-VCFPasswordExpiry

# Script to check the password expiry of VMware Cloud Foundation Credentials
# Written by Brian O'Connell - VMware

#User Variables
$sddcManagerFQDN = "sfo-vcf01.sfo.rainpole.io"
$sddcManagerAdminUser = "administrator@vsphere.local"
$sddcManagerAdminPassword = "VMw@re1!"

# Requires PowerVCF Module
#Requires -Module PowerVCF

Function Get-VCFPasswordExpiry
{

    Param (
        [Parameter (Mandatory = $true)] [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()] [String]$fqdn,
        [Parameter (Mandatory = $true)] [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()] [String]$username,
        [Parameter (Mandatory = $true)] [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()] [String]$password,
        [Parameter (Mandatory = $false)] [ValidateSet("VCENTER", "PSC", "ESXI", "BACKUP", "NSXT_MANAGER", "NSXT_EDGE", "VRSLCM", "WSA", "VROPS", "VRLI", "VRA")] [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()] [String]$resourceType
    )
# Request an SDDC manager Token
Request-VCFToken -fqdn $fqdn -username $username -password $password
# Build the required headers
$credentialheaders = @{"Content-Type" = "application/json"}
$credentialheaders.Add("Authorization", "Bearer $accessToken")
# Get all credential objects that are not type SERVICE
if (!$PsBoundParameters.ContainsKey("resourceType")) {
$credentials = Get-VCFCredential | where-object {$_.accountType -ne "SERVICE"}
}
else {
    $credentials = Get-VCFCredential -resourceType $resourceType | where-object {$_.accountType -ne "SERVICE"}
}
$validationArray = @()
Foreach ($credential in $credentials) {
    $resourceType = $credential.resource.resourceType
    $resourceID = $credential.resource.resourceId
    $username = $credential.username
    $credentialType = $credential.credentialType
    $body = '[
    {
        "resourceType": "'+$resourceType+'",
        "resourceId": "'+$resourceID+'",
        "credentials": [
            {
                "username": "'+$username+'",
                "credentialType": "'+$credentialType+'"
            }
        ]
    }
]'
    $uri = "https://$sddcManagerFQDN/v1/credentials/validations"
    # Submit a credential validation request
            $response = Invoke-RestMethod -Method POST -URI $uri -headers $credentialheaders -body $body
            $validationTaskId = $response.id

            Do {
                # Keep checking until executionStatus is not IN_PROGRESS
                $validationTaskuri = "https://$sddcManagerFQDN/v1/credentials/validations/$validationTaskId"
                $validationTaskResponse = Invoke-RestMethod -Method GET -URI $validationTaskuri -headers $credentialheaders
            }
            While ($validationTaskResponse.executionStatus -eq "IN_PROGRESS")
            # Build the output
            $validationObject = New-Object -TypeName psobject
            $validationObject | Add-Member -notepropertyname 'Resource Name' -notepropertyvalue $validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.resourceName
            $validationObject | Add-Member -notepropertyname 'Username' -notepropertyvalue $validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.username
            $validationObject | Add-Member -notepropertyname 'Number Of Days To Expiry' -notepropertyvalue $validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.passwordDetails.numberOfDaysToExpiry
            
            Write-Output "Checking Password Expiry for username $($validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.username) from resource $($validationTaskResponse.validationChecks.resourceName)"
            # Add each credential result to the array
            $validationArray += $validationObject
           #break
}
# Print the array
$validationArray
}

# Run the function
Get-VCFPasswordExpiry -fqdn $sddcManagerFQDN -username $sddcManagerAdminUser -password $sddcManagerAdminPassword

# Run the function with resourceType VCENTER
# Get-VCFPasswordExpiry -fqdn $sddcManagerFQDN -username $sddcManagerAdminUser -password $sddcManagerAdminPassword -resourceType VCENTER

Here is a screenshot of the result

PowerShell Script to Configure an NSX-T Load Balancer for the vRealize Suite & Workspace ONE Access

As part of my role in the VMware Hyper-converged Business Unit (HCIBU) I spend a lot of time working with new product versions testing integrations for next-gen VMware Validated Designs and Cloud Foundation. A lot of my focus is on Cloud Operations and Automation (vROPs, vRLI, vRA etc) and consequently I regularly need to deploy environments to perform integration testing. I will typically leverage existing automation where possible and tend to create my own when i find gaps. Once such gap was the ability to use PowerShell to interact with the NSX-T API. For anyone who is familiar with setting up a load balancer for the vRealize Suite in NSX-T – there are a lot of manual clicks required. So i set about creating some PowerShell functions to make it a little less tedious and to speed up getting my environments setup so i could get to the testing faster.

There is comprehensive NSX-T API documentation posted on code.vmware .com that I used to decipher the various API endpoints required to complete the various tasks:

  • Create the Load Balancer
  • Create the Service Monitors
  • Create the Application Profiles
  • Create the Server Pools
  • Create the Virtual Servers

The result is a PowerShell module with a function for each of the above and a corresponding JSON file that is read in for the settings for each function. I have included a sample JSON file to get you started. Just substitute your values.

Note: You must have a Tier-1 & associated segments created. (I’ll add that functionality when i get a chance!)

PowerShell Module, Sample JSON & Script are posted to Github here

What not to do when your Platform Services Controllers are Load Balanced!

I needed to do some validation around vRealize Operations Manager & vRealize Orchestrator for an upcoming VVD release and a physical lab environment was made available. The environment is a dual region VVD deployment. Upon verifying that I had access to all the components I needed it became obvious there was an issue with SSO in the primary region (SFO). Browsing to the web client for the SFO management vCenter I was seeing this:

As i mentioned this is a VVD deployment and per VVD guidelines there are 2 Platform Services Controllers (PSCs) behind an NSX load balancer per region. Like so: (Diagram from the VMware Validated Design 5.0 Architecture & Design guide)

Like any good (lazy!) IT person the first thing i did was google the error to find the quick fix! That led me to this communities post which had some suggestions around disk space etc. None of which were relevant to my issue. Running the following on the PSCs and vCenters showed that some services were not starting

service-control –status

Restarting the services didn’t help. Next up i checked the usual suspects:

  • NTP
  • DNS
  • SSL Certificates

All of the above looked ok. Next I turned my attention to the load balancer. Because the vCenter Web Client was inaccessible I was not able to access the load balancer settings through the UI so I turned to the NSX API using Postman

To connect to the NSX manager that is associated with the load balancer you need to configure a Postman session with basic authentication and enter the NSX manager admin user & password.

To retrieve information on the load balancer you need to run the following GET:

https://sfo01m01nsx01.sfo01.rainpole.local/api/4.0/edges/edge-1/loadbalancer/config

I wont post the full response from the above command as it’s lengthy but scanning through it I noticed that the condition of each load balancer pool member was disabled. In the immortal words of Bart Simpson:




The response above is from a more targeted API call to /pools/pool-1.

Now I dont know how it got into this state – maybe someone was doing some jenga style doomsday testing, pulling one brick at a time until the tower crashes! – but this certainly looked to be the cause of the issue. So I figured the quickest fix would be to do a PUT API call to NSX with condition enabled for the pool members and I’d be all set. Not so easy!

Running the following PUT appears to work temporarily (running a GET at the same time confirms this)

But the change does not get fully applied and reverts the conditions to disabled after about 30 seconds with the below error:

So to apply the change to the load balancer NSX requires a handoff with the PSC that is is mapped to…in this case its the load balanced PSC that is not functional. So the command fails.

So it was clear I needed to get at least 1 PSC operational before i could attempt to make a change. Time to play with some DNS redirects to “fool” the PSC services into starting.

As my PSCs are setup in HA mode behind a load balancer the SSO endpoint URL is https://sfo01psc01.sfo01.rainpole.local which both PSCs will respond from. So to get my first PSC up I changed the IP for sfo01psc01.sfo01.rainpole.local in DNS to point to the first PSC’s IP.

So now, pings to the load balancer VIP FQDN sfo01psc01.sfo01.rainpole.local respond from the first PSC IP

Next I set a static entry in /etc/hosts on each of my PSCs, and vCenters to do the same as i’ve seen vCenter especially cache DNS entries in it’s local dnsmasq.

Next step was to stop & start all services on each PSC

service-control –stop –all

service-control –start –all

And hey presto the services started! Ran the same on vCenter and the services also started. This allowed me to go in and modify the load balancer pools to set the members to enabled.

Once the load balancer was back as it should be it was just a case of removing the /etc/hosts entries on each VM and reverting the DNS server change to point the load balancer FQDN back to its correct IP address.

For completeness I restarted all the services on each appliances in the above mentioned order

Moral of the story? Dont disable both nodes in a load balancer pool!

Now onwards with the original testing i needed to do!

VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 6: Deploy The SDDC

This is part 6 of a series of posts on VMware Cloud Builder. 

In this final post, now that we have passed all validation, we will run the SDDC deployment using VMware Cloud Builder.

Continue reading “VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 6: Deploy The SDDC”

VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 3: Deployment Parameters File

This is part 3 of a series of posts on VMware Cloud Builder.

In this post I will cover the deployment parameters file.

Continue reading “VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 3: Deployment Parameters File”

VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 2: Environment Prerequisites

This is part 2 of a series of posts on VMware Cloud Builder.

In this post I will cover the initial environment prerequisites required before you can deploy your VMware Validated Design SDDC with Cloud Builder. These fall into 5 key areas:

  1. Prerequisites for Virtual Infrastructure Layer Implementation in Region A
  2. Prerequisites for Operations Management Layer Implementation in Region A
  3. Prerequisites for Cloud Management Layer Implementation in Region A
  4. Prerequisites for Business Continuity Layer Implementation in Region A
  5. Generate Certificates for the SDDC Components in Region A

Continue reading “VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 2: Environment Prerequisites”

VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 1: Overview

This is the first in a series of posts on VMware Cloud Builder – The automated deployment engine for VMware Validated Design – which delivers consistent and repeatable Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) deployments across your regions. Hopefully you will find it useful!

Continue reading “VMware Validated Design – Automated Deployment with Cloud Builder – Part 1: Overview”