From time to time we all need to look at logs, whether its a failed operation or to trace who did what when. In VMware Cloud Foundation there are many different logs, each one serving a different purpose. Its not always clear which log you should look at for each operation so here is a useful reference table.
One of the many major enhancements in VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 is a switch from basic authentication to token based authentication for the VCF API.
Basic authentication is a header field in the form of Authorization: Basic <credentials>, where credentials is the base64 encoding of a username and password. The credentials are not encrypted, therefore Basic Authentication is not the industry standard for API authentication.
VCF 4.0 has moved to using token based authentication (JWT Tokens to be exact) for securing the API. The token implementation is as follows:
An authorized user executes a POST API call to /v1/tokens
The response contains an access token and a refresh token
The access token is valid for 1 hour
The access token is passed in every API call header in the form of Authorization: Bearer <access token>
The refresh token is valid for 24 hours
The refresh token is used to request a new access token once it has expired
The access & refresh tokens are stored in memory and used when running subsequent API calls. As each API call is executed PowerVCF checks the expiry of the access token. If the access token is about to expire, it uses the refresh token to request a new access token and proceeds with the API call. So the user does not need to worry about token management.
We have also introduced roles that can be assigned to users. Initially we have ADMIN & OPERATOR, with more roles planned for a future release.
ADMIN = Full Administrator Access to all APIs
OPERATOR = All Access except Password Management, User Management, Backup Management
To request an API token you must have a user account that is assigned either the ADMIN or OPERATOR role in SDDC Manager. The default firstname.lastname@example.org user is assigned the ADMIN role during bringup but it is advisable to add additional users for performing day to day tasks.
Once you have a user added you can then authenticate with SDDC Manager to retrieve your access & refresh tokens.
Tip: You can connect using the email@example.com user to add new users using PowerVCF. You can use the New-VCFUser PowerVCF cmdlet to create the user and assign a role like so:
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
A few weeks back I mentioned on twitter that i was working on automating the VMware Validated Design NSX-V Distributed Firewall Configuration in my lab. (I admit it took longer than i had planned!) Currently this is a manual post deployment step once VMware Cloud Builder has completed the deployment. This will likely be picked up by Cloud Builder in a future release but for now its a manual, and somewhat tedious, but required, step!
Full details on the manual steps required for this configuration can be found here. Please take the time to understand what these rules are doing before implementing them.
So in an effort to make this post configuration step a little less painful i set out to automate it. I’ve played with the NSX-V API in the past and found it much easier to interact with by using PowerNSX, rather than leveraging PostMan and the API directly. PowerNSX is the unofficial, official automation tool for NSX. Hats off to VMware engineers Nick Bradford, Dale Coghlan & Anthony Burke for creating and documenting this tool. Anthony also published a FREE book on Automating NSX for vSphere with PowerNSX. More on that here.
Disclaimer: This script is not officially supported by VMware. Use at your own risk & test in a development/lab environment before using in production.
I’ve posted the script to GitHub here as its a bit lengthy! There may be a more efficient way to do some parts of it and if anyone wants to contribute please feel free!
As with a lot of the scripts i create it is menu based and has 2 main options:
Create DFW exclusions, IP Sets & Security Groups
Create DFW Rules
The reason i split it into 2 distinct operations is to allow you to inspect the exclusion list, IP Sets & Security Groups before creating the firewall rules. This will ensure that you dont lock yourself out of vCenter by creating an incorrect rule.
The script will check for PowerCli and if not found will attempt to install the latest version from the PowerShell Gallery
Currently tested on Windows only
If you dont have internet access you can manually install PowerCli by opening a PowerShell console as administrator and running:
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:
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
Restarting the services didn’t help. Next up i checked the usual suspects:
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:
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:
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!