More HomeLab Pitfalls

This is going to be another one of those blogs of the pitfalls I’ve ran into. I really want to get into how to fix specific errors and troubleshooting. However, since I’m trying my hardest to get this lab setup to dig into the new releases that came out a couple weeks ago,

VUM – Update Manager

So if your like me you know that the first thing you do when deploying anything new is to update it. So why not update your hosts? Well here are some findings that I ran across with my 3 node vSAN cluster. First DNS and I know the statement, “99% of all IT issues are DNS issues.” But thats true! In my case I built a standalone DC with DNS before I deployed my VCenter so that I could use my A records to resolve the traffic. This worked great for the VCenter. It didn’t work great for VUM. Turns out that on your ESXI hosts when you have a single DNS DC it must be running on the first DNS server field. If its running on the second, it will not be able to scan the nodes for compliance or reach them. (If you setup vSAN you would already see the errors showing it cant scan when its doing its vSAN health checks). Second iSCSI controller, if its VMware certified, why are we having to deal with the warning before we can run the updates? Well because their really not… Here is a great Blog on it to look through. Pretty simple fix but something that should just work right?

The whole Network thing.

I was pretty sure that my decision for a 2 subnet with the ability to cross-talk was not a bad idea. One for the home lab, and one for the house would make a stable environment. Nope… For this to those out there about to start, I’d say to do your homework or start your home networking solution first. Ubiquity has a ton of great solutions to look into and a lot of blogs out there to help set you up. There are, of course, a lot of other options that do the functions you may want, but try to be as specific as possible and get things setup before your lab devices come in.

For me, I went from 1 wifi router with 0 ability to create subnets, to a wifi router and ER-x from Ubituity. To the full ubiquity setup.jYjmXdNWTmGEVADkHgbokg

However, I found out the best practice is to setup a gateway -> router -> AP. So because I’m missing that middle piece my AP is running at 1/3 of the speed of my gateway(ie. Hardline in the AP I get 450mb down. Now on my AP…Image 4-27-19 at 7.24 AM       Obviously the speed just isn’t where it should be in this configuration. Once I get my ER-X I’ll update as to what the changes look like. But for now, its actually stable. so I cant complain. But to state again. Plan your goals, pre-define the architecture, research and verify the solutions, then implement it. Its a lot more stressful when its your $$ and you don’t have support available on the phone.

Quick pitfalls

  1. Don’t put your VCenter on your vSAN deployment. It “Should” keep working if the VCenter crashes, but its’ not easy to get back. I found that in my configuration it was actually faster to just rebuild… and thats not too fun.
  2. Remember to get your VCenter off your switch before you disconnect your uplinks… U2 actually made it so that if it fails it falls back. Not that I’ve done it on both updates or anything…
  3. When troubleshooting networking issue, having a centralized location for logging makes your life so much easier. Ubiquity gave me that help.
  4. VROPs deployment thats now built into VCenter will only deploy a thick provisioned VM. This can be annoying when trying to move it off and get it to a thin-Provisioned VM for vSAN.

Its sad that all this stuff came about over months of dragging myself through the mire, but now that I’m stable, I hope to start getting into things soon.

I’m thinking of cutting my blogs into shorter quicker blogs more technically focused. It wont be that crazy, but trying to find the best and newest stuff out there is starting to slow me down in terms of just getting content out there. I really want this content to support people and help them in their IT journeys with VMware products. I know I’ve come a long way because of others.

 

HomeLab Rookie – Networking Mis-steps-stakes

So going along with last post about how I am really not great with the administration of vSphere, or the setup(last time was 5.5). Its time to look at the more fundamental stuff, and how bad I am with the Network component.

Addendum: I hope these help someone out there grow themselves. I know I’m growing in leaps and bounds as I learn through doing.

My Goal was to create 2 subnets, one for home, and one for the lab. I want these to be open to each other to an extent(l2) but still be stable(still working on that part)

Ubiquity

So I decided to grab some ubiquity networking pieces to start. I grabbed the Ubiquity Edge Switch to go along with my Netgear Nighthawk router. I was looking for VLAN capabilities, and my goal was to setup the subnets on the router and then pass them through on the switch.

Learning point 1: VLANs

So its worth pointing out that VLANs on the features of a product don’t really mean SUBNET/VLANs. This kinda bit me in the butt a while, because I ended up trying to create one basic subnet and tried to create a VLAN with a different subnet… No Bueno… In fact when I created VLANs on the router, the whole thing crashed.  However, I found out that the Ubiquity switch I had was a dream to work with (after I updated the firmware). However, I looked and looked and the switch can pass through VLANs, but again, not subnet it.

Learning point 2: Devices

So for anyone looking into doing this, Its worth looking into your ISP and see if more speed is needed. I found out that I was more than doubling my devices and would need to look into my speed usage. It may not be an issue, but for me I found out that for a small figure I’d double my speed. So sure! I got a lot of OVA’s to download anyway 😉

Learning point 3: Unified Management

So there I was swapping from Netgear to Ubiquity and back. Finally I gave in and bought the Ubiquity Edge Router. I went with this one cause the price point didn’t phase me and the functionality of the router looked tremendous. Well, I learned how much this thing could do. I literally love this little box that could. It does the subnet VLANs that I wanted as well as DHCP servers for both subnets. I went with the WAN+2LAN2 connection and set my home to a 192, and my lab to a 10. Oh man, I love this thingubntrouter

The firewall, services, natting, just so much for me to learn in this tiny little box. Once I got this setup, I changed my Netgear into an access point, and set the ISP connection to static from the router. One thing about the Ubiquity Edge Router though, these small boxes use a big plug than so they take up like 2-3 spots in the UPC. Which leads me to the next point.

Learning point 4: Power

If you saw where I am going, it gets better. So every hour or so my whole network would just crash. I’d lose both my LAB and home networks and it would cause some severe anger in my brain(I think I have a couple extra knots in my back from it). I went through SOOO many settings to figure out what it is. I reset the firewall settings(which wasn’t easy considering all I’ve done before was Windows Firewall). Set specific VLAN subnets and reset. Set port forwarding when I couldn’t figure out why I needed to. Well, this went on for about a month(which is also why I have been slacking on posts). I just couldn’t move forward with an unstable lab. Well yesterday I was at the end of my tether. I troubleshooted each device one at a time. During troubleshooting each device my anger boiled. Finally I found out the little box that could was the culprit. It would crash and everything would just die. So I pulled it out to RMA it to get another one, or the gateway(As I hear good things about it). When lo and behold I realized it… I had plugged the central router into a crappy extension cord. *Le Sigh*. Just… no…. If you use a UPC like me and find your missing ports… Get These

Thoughts

I cant express how much I’ve grown doing these things. I’ve figured out so much and learned in this past month more about architecture in the past couple years.

IT is so segregated right now that we lose sight that each feature has to troubleshoot differently, and its really hard. Especially for a Rookie to try to keep swapping gears. I’ve learned from the pure windows standpoint, then PowerShell automation, then vRA. I’ve never been allowed to play with the other parts. But with this Lab, I’m getting to. If your on the edge thinking if a home lab is worth it… It is. Even in a corporate lab, I still wouldn’t learn this much. However, If your not interested in the whole stack, why deal with the trouble right?(and it is Trouble).

RELEASES

This week VRA7.6 was released doing some EXTREMELY needed updates to Orchestrator, Vrops 7.5 was also released plus ESXI 6.7U2 Get to downloading and updating folks! Now go break stuff, and learn how to fix it.