Rubrik Basics – Rubrik CDM Upgrades With Polaris – Part 1

I decided to break this article into 2 parts. Not because it’s super epic or particularly complicated, but because there are a lot of screenshots and it just looks weird if I put it in one big thing. Should it have been a downloadable article? Sure, probably. But here we are. It’s been some time since I ran through the Rubrik CDM upgrade process (on physical hardware no less). I didn’t have access to Polaris GPS at that time, and thought it would be useful to run through what it looks like to perform platform upgrades via that rather than the CLI. This post covers the process of configuring Polaris to check for CDM updates, and the second post covers deploying those updates to Rubrik clusters.

Login to your Polaris dashboard, click on the Gear icon, and select CDM Upgrades.

Click on Connect to Support Portal to enter your Rubrik support account details. This lets your Polaris instance communicate freely with the Rubrik Support Portal.

You’ll need a valid support account to connect.

If you’ve guessed your password successfully, you’ll get a message at the bottom of the screen letting you know as much.

If you environment was already fairly up to date, you may not see anything listed in the CDM Upgrades dashboard.

And that’s it for Part 1. I can hear you asking “how could it get any more exciting than this, Dan?”. I know, it’s pretty great. Just wait until I run you though deploying an update in this post.

Rubrik Basics – Add A VMware Cloud Director Instance

You’ve deployed your Rubrik virtual appliance (technically I should have used Air but let’s just go with it) and now you want to protect a VMware Cloud Director instance. When you add an instance, Rubrik automatically discovers all of the components of your VCD environment, including:

  • Organizations;
  • Organization virtual datacenters;
  • vApps; and
  • Virtual machines.

You can protect vApps by assigning the SLA Domain at various levels in the VCD hierarchy, and also by assigning it to individual VMs. vApp protection also protects vApp metadata including networks, boot order, and the access list. There are a few limitations with vApp protection to keep in mind as well.

Virtual machines in a vApp Maximum of 128 virtual machines in a vApp. To protect a vApp with more than 128 virtual machines, use the exclude function to reduce the number protected.
Mounts The Rubrik cluster performs all mounts for vApps at the virtual machine level.
Backup exclusion Protection of vApps does not include Cloud Director Object Metadata.
Autodiscovery Rubrik CDM ignores the Cloud Director auto discovery feature.

There’s good support for multi-tenancy and RBAC as well. There’s a bunch of other stuff I could write about VCD and Rubrik but let’s just get started on adding an instance. Click on the Gear and select “vCD Instances”.

Then click on “Add vCD Account”.

+

You’ll then have the opportunity to enter your credentials.

I use all dots for my password too.

Once you’ve added the instance you’ll see it listed under “All vCD Instances”.

If you look under “Virtual Machines” you should see any vApps associated with the instance listed under “vCD Apps”. In this example my tenancy only has one vApp deployed.

And that’s it. This all gets a lot more interesting when you start messing about with the Rubrik VCD plug-in and the API, but that’s a story for another time.

Rubrik Basics – Add Cluster To Polaris

I wrote about Rubrik’s Polaris platform when it was first announced around 3 years ago. When you buy in to the Rubrik solution, you get access to Polaris GPS by default (I think). Other modules, such as Sonar or Radar, are licensed separately. In any case, GPS is a handy tool if you have more than one Rubrik cluster under your purview. I thought it would be useful for folks out there to see how simple it is to add your Rubrik cluster to Polaris. I know that most of these basics articles seem like fairly rudimentary fare, but I find it helpful when evaluating new tech to understand how the pieces fit together in terms of an actual implementation. I’m hopeful that someone else will find this of use as well. Note that you’ll need Internet connectivity of some sort between your environment and the Polaris SaaS environment. You also need to consider the security of your environment in terms of firewalling, multi-factor authentication, RBAC, and so on. It’s also important to note that removing a cluster from Polaris currently involves engaging Rubrik Support. I can only imagine this will change in the future.

When you get onboard with Rubrik, you’ll get setup with the Polaris portal. Access to this is usually via customer.my.rubrik.com. Login with your credentials.

If you haven’t done anything in the environment previously, you’ll be prompted add your first cluster every time you login. Eventually it’ll wear you down and you’ll find yourself clicking on the + sign.

This will give you a single-use token to add to your cluster. Click on Copy to clipboard.

Now login to the Rubrik web UI of the cluster you want to add to Polaris. Click on the Gear icon, and then Cluster Settings (under System Configuration).

Past the token in and click Save.

It might take a minute, but you should be able to see your cluster in the Polaris dashboard.

Random Short Take #55

Welcome to Random Short Take #55. A few players have worn 55 in the NBA. I wore some Mutombo sneakers in high school, and I enjoy watching Duncan Robinson light it up for the Heat. My favourite ever to wear 55 was “White Chocolate” Jason Williams. Let’s get random.

  • This article from my friend Max around Intel Optane and VMware Cloud Foundation provided some excellent insights.
  • Speaking of friends writing about VMware Cloud Foundation, this first part of a 4-part series from Vaughn makes a compelling case for VCF on FlashStack. Sure, he gets paid to say nice things about the company he works for, but there is plenty of info in here that makes a lot of sense if you’re evaluating which hardware platform pairs well with VCF.
  • Speaking of VMware, if you’re a VCD shop using NSX-V, it’s time to move on to NSX-T. This article from VMware has the skinny.
  • You want an open source version of BMC? Fine, you got it. Who would have thought securing BMC would be a thing? (Yes, I know it should be)
  • Stuff happens, hard drives fail. Backblaze recently published its drive stats report for Q1. You can read about that here.
  • Speaking of drives, check out this article from Netflix on its Netflix Drive product. I find it amusing that I get more value from Netflix’s tech blog than I do its streaming service, particularly when one is free.
  • The people in my office laugh nervously when I say I hate being in meetings where people feel the need to whiteboard. It’s not that I think whiteboard sessions can’t be valuable, but oftentimes the information on those whiteboards should be documented somewhere and easy to bring up on a screen. But if you find yourself in a lot of meetings and need to start drawing pictures about new concepts or whatever, this article might be of some use.
  • Speaking of office things not directly related to tech, this article from Preston de Guise on interruptions was typically insightful. I loved the “Got a minute?” reference too.

 

Rubrik Basics – Add LDAP

I thought I’d run through the basics of adding LDAP support to a Rubrik Edge cluster. I’ve written previously about multi-tenancy considerations with Rubrik, and thought it might be useful to start down that path in the lab to demonstrate some of the process. It’s not a terribly difficult task, but I did find a little trial and error was required. I suspect that’s because of some environmental issues on my side, rather than the Rubrik side of things. Anyway, let’s get started. Click on the Gear / Settings icon in the Web UI. Then select Users under Access Management.

Click on the LDAP Servers tab and click on “Add LDAP Server”.

You’ll be presented with the Add LDAP Server workflow window.

I messed this up a few times in my environment, but this is what worked for me.

Domain name: domainname.com.au

Base DN: dc=domainname,dc=com,dc=au

Bind DN or Username: [email protected]

Password: *******

Click Next to continue.

I pointed to one of the Active Directory servers in the environment. This went better when I added the domain name search to the cluster. The port I used was 389, but I’ve seen variations on that in various articles across the Internet.

If that works, you then have the option to enable MFA integration.

Toggling the button will give you the option to add two-step verification. There are some articles on the Internet that provide further guidance on that, and this video is quite useful too.

Once you’ve added your directory source, it’s time to assign roles to a user.

Click on Assign Roles, then drop down the directory you’d like to search in.

In this example, there’s the local user directory, and the domain source that I added previously.

If I search for people called Dan in this directory, it’s not too hard to find my username.

I can then assign a role to my directory username. By default, the configured roles are Administrator and ReadOnlyAdmin.

Now my AD account is listed under the users and I can login to CDM using my domain credentials.

And that’s it. If you want to read more about Rubrik and AD integration, including some neat automation, check out this article from Frederic Lhoest.

Australia VMUG UserCon 2021 – Call For Community Sessions

The Australia VMUG UserCon 2021 is happening on the line on Thursday 15th July. There’s currently a call for community sessions underway. If you’d like to present, you can fill out this form. You’ll need to hurry up though, as sessions must be submitted no later than Sunday 30th May 2021.

Having presented at one of these events in the past, I can tell you that it’s a great way to share your ideas with a large number of people. If you don’t want to present, but just want to attend, you can find the registration link here.

Rubrik Basics – Edge Deployment

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any basic how-to articles, but I’ve recently been doing some work with Rubrik Edge in the lab and thought I’d run through the basics. There’s a new document outlining the process on the articles page.

If you’re unfamiliar with Rubrik Edge, it’s Rubrik’s RO/BO solution in the form of a virtual appliance that comes in 5 and 10TB versions. The product page is here, and the datasheet can be found here. It runs on VMware vSphere, Nutanix AHV, and Microsoft Hyper-V, so it’s pretty handy in terms of supported hypervisor deployment options. The cool thing about Edge is that you can deploy on reasonably small amounts of hardware, which can be a fairly common scenario in edge deployments. You can also have 100 (I think) Edge appliances replicating data back to a Rubrik physical cluster. You can’t, however, use it as a target for replication.

In any case, I’ll be posting a few of these basics articles over the next few weeks to give readers a feel for how easy it is to get up and running with the platform.

Random Short Take #54

Welcome to Random Short Take #54. A few players have worn 54 in the NBA, but my favourite was Horace Grant. Let’s get random.

  • This project looked like an enjoyable, and relatively accessible, home project – building your own NVMe-based storage server.
  • When I was younger I had nightmares based on horror movies and falling out of bed (sometimes with both happening at the same time). Now this is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night.
  • Speaking of disastrous situations, the OVH problem was a real problem for a lot of people. I wish them all the best with the recovery.
  • Tony has been doing things with vSAN in his lab and in production – worth checking out.
  • The folks at StorageOS have been hard at work improving their Kubernetes storage platform. You can read more about that here.
  • DH2i has a webinar coming up on SQL Server resilience that’s worth checking out. Details here.
  • We’re talking more about burnout in the tech industry, but probably not enough still. This article from Tom was insightful.

VMUG Madness – May 2021

hero_vmug_express_2011

It’s all happening with VMUG this May. Firstly, the SDDC Roadshow with Frank, Cormac and Duncan has been re-scheduled for 27th May. Details below, and you can register here.

Providing a platform for modern IT services with a VMware SDDC    

Abstract: Today’s business requirements are driving the evolution of IT at an extremely rapid pace. Never before have IT administrators introduced so many new services and solutions to their customers. Although ensuring availability, performance, and recoverability of these solutions is key, it cannot come at the cost of business or developer agility. In this three-part roadshow Frank, Cormac, and Duncan will discuss how VMware (and products like vSphere, vSAN, Tanzu, etc) can help to transform your infrastructure to facilitate this new wave of applications.

Agenda

  • Opening by VMUG Leaders
  • Frank Denneman:  Creating a developer self-service platform with vSphere 7 while maintaining governance
  • Q&A and Break
  • Cormac Hogan:  vSphere 7.0 U1 and the Kubernetes Admin
  • Q&A and Break
  • Duncan Epping: vSAN 7.0 U1 and the vSphere Admin
  • Q&A and wrap up by VMUG leaders

 

Secondly, the inaugural Fiji VMUG meeting is happening on the 13th May. If you’re close to their timezone, log in and give them some support.

Random Short Take #53

Welcome to Random Short Take #53. A few players have worn 53 in the NBA including Mark Eaton, James Edwards, and Artis Gilmore. My favourite though was Chocolate Thunder, Darryl Dawkins. Let’s get random.

  • I love Preston’s series of articles covering the basics of backup and recovery, and this one on backup lifecycle is no exception.
  • Speaking of data protection, Druva has secured another round of funding. You can read Mellor’s thoughts here, and the press release is here.
  • More data protection press releases? I’ve got you covered. Zerto released one recently about cloud data protection. Turns out folks like cloud when it comes to data protection. But I don’t know that everyone has realised that there’s some work still to do in that space.
  • In other press release news, Cloud Propeller and Violin Systems have teamed up. Things seem to have changed a bit at Violin Systems since StorCentric’s acquisition, and I’m interested to see how things progress.
  • This article on some of the peculiarities associated with mainframe deployments in the old days by Anthony Vanderwerdt was the most entertaining thing I’ve read in a while.
  • Alastair has been pumping out a series of articles around AWS principles, and this one on understanding your single points of failure is spot on.
  • Get excited! VMware Cloud Director 10.2.2 is out now. Read more about that here.
  • A lot of people seem to think it’s no big thing to stretch Layer 2 networks. I don’t like it, and this article from Ethan Banks covers a good number of reasons why you should think again if you’re that way inclined.