Friday, August 11, 2023

A Day in the Life of a VMware Administrator

In this ever-evolving IT world, the role of a VMware Administrator stands as a crucial pillar. Although being only a VMware administrator is rarely a title of its own nowadays where we should be conversant in more than one technology, I would like to welcome you into my System Administration realm.

As organizations continue to embrace virtualization technologies for their efficiency, scalability and cost-effectiveness I play an important role in maintaining and optimizing the virtual environment.

Join me on this journey through a typical day in my life as we delve into the challenges, responsibilities and triumphs that come with the job.

1. Infrastructure Health Checks

 My day would usually begin with a thorough check of the virtual infrastructure's health. This involves reviewing alerts, monitoring dashboards, and examining performance metrics. Being proactive and detecting anomalies and potential issues early before they escalate is one of the superpowers needed to successfully being a VMware superhero!

 2. VM Performance Analysis

Performance optimization remains the prime focus for any business. So, next is about analyzing the performance of virtual machines. This involves assessing CPU, memory, storage and network utilization. Monitoring tools come in very handy to detect any bottlenecks or over-utilized resources that might be affecting VM performance, Therefore, adjusting resource allocations or migrating VMs to different hosts can help optimize performance.

3. Provisioning and VM Management

At times, requests about provisioning new VMs or modifying existing ones might crop up since as we now know that the IT virtual world is constantly changing and perfecting itself. As such, this includes setting up new environments, testing configurations, or deploying critical applications. Proper resource allocation and adherence to best practices ensure that VMs run efficiently and securely.

4. Troubleshooting and Issue Resolution

The most fun part for any admin is solving issues and getting that satisfaction in the end that no problem can be big enough without a solution. Be it a VM crash, network connectivity glitches or storage failures, issues are bound to arise. What comes to the rescue is a deep understanding of the virtual infrastructure's architecture, ability to work under pressure and years of experience. That last one surely counts a lot!

5. Documentation 

Nobody wants to do the same tasks again and again and relive the same stress as well. Not to mention about a troubleshooting done a year ago! Surely, we do not want that struggle again. For that, a VMware administrator needs to get into the habit of documenting issues or set-ups as they occur. Tools that help me enormously in maintaining an organized and well-documented infrastructure would be a template that I created on a Word Document and for capturing pictures, Greenshot being a free app comes in very handy. Also, sometimes I would include a Visio diagram when I have time to embellish my document and make it more professional for my peers to consult.

6. Knowledge enhancement

Being in the field that I chose to be in, demands for continuous learning and we cannot stop stressing on the fact that we as IT administrators should stay ahead of the curve to provide organizations with the most efficient and secure virtualization platform. Personally, my way of staying up-to date with the latest trends, updates and best practices would be to take a course dedicated to learning on a particular subject such as 'Install, Manage and Configure VMware'. After grasping the knowledge, I would sit for an exam. Certification definitely helps in showing and proving what you know. I would also read on blogs and recently I enrolled myself in VMUG where they would constantly have webcasts and events that are truly gems in helping to understand new technologies. I can even interact with people who speaks the same language as me. Truly incredible!

7. Collaboration with peers

We can all agree that this is not a one man-job or in my case a one-woman show. On my day-to-day I need to collaborate with network administrators, storage specialists and security experts. Being able to communicate effectively is key to ensuring that everyone is on the same page so that changes are implemented smoothly.

8. Security Best Practices

With the rise of cyber-attacks, companies are putting lots of efforts to enhance the security posture of their virtual environment. This is always an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring, adaptation and improvement. Some of the practices that I strive to put in place include but not limited to do regular updates and patch, limiting root access, use strong passwords, control access and privileges, 2FA, encrypt sensitive data and not the least to have a backup and disaster recovery plan.

9. Automation and Scripting

 Another very useful skill set to definitely have is the ability to automate tasks that saves ton of time and that can be used again and again. I will usually use PowerShell for VMware. Not that I am expert with codes, but I see that usually the job is done faster and more accurately by executing a script to either get more detailed and well-organized information on the VMs and settings or just to create a new VM simply. I am yet to explore the vaster functionality, and this will be a topic for later in depth.

 To sum up, a day in my life as a VMware administrator is a mix of proactive planning, real-time issue resolution, and optimization efforts. I really do enjoy perfecting my problem-solving skills, deep understanding of complex environments and be able to implement robust solutions while working with other IT teams and individuals who share the same passion as me. Therefore, I have the cool job of maintaining a stable and efficient IT infrastructure.

 

Monday, May 8, 2023

[Citrix DaaS] - Creating a machine catalog with EC2

This is the continued part after creating the AMI in AWS that I shall use to create the numerous desktops. The desktops will inherit the properties in the AMI and also some of them I am going to specify.

I am using Citrix Cloud to build the machine catalog and delivery group.

The process is as follows:

1. Connect to Citrix Cloud.

2. Click on Manage in the DaaS tab:

 

3.  Select 'Machine Catalogs' > 'Create Machine Catalog'

 

4.  The 'Machine Catalog Setup' page appears, click on Next:

5. I am going to be using Single-session OS to provide VDI desktops for different users:

 

6. The next page brings you to select how you want your machine to be managed :

- I need it to be VM 

- I am going to be creating those machines through MCS -Machine Creation Services 

- I select the AWS Zone since I want to create EC2

 

 7. I want my users to connect to a new random desktop each time they log on and hence :

 

8.  After clicking on Next, I specify the Machine template I want to use and now the AMI that I created earlier will be used: