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Watch Out! Docker is Creating a New Infrastructure Platform

DockerCon 2015 was filled with some pretty awesome stuff, but there was one thing that really stood out to me... Docker is creating an application infrastructure platform. 


Everyone remembers VMware as this hypervisor that allowed us to run virtual machines. Then along came vCenter, then SRM, then tons of other products. The same thing is happening in the Docker ecosystem right now. Docker started off as a fancy little container engine and I'm going to explain why everything else they have built will take off. History is going to repeat itself. Virtual Machines aren't going away any time soon, but they will become the new legacy.


Docker Engine: The heart and soul of Docker. Sort of like ESXi to VMware. It makes all the magic happen. All of this wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for Docker being OSS. The mindshare and buzz happening in the industry is hard to not notice.


Docker Machine: Docker Machine allows you to provision Docker-ready hosts to any cloud or local laptop environment using Virtualbox or Fusion. It won't be long until Docker has figured out the PXE booting stuff to allow you to spin up bare-metal Docker-ready hosts instead of virtual machines in the cloud. I see Docker Machine as the eventual abolishment of configuration tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and the like. Let me explain... Configuration management tools are there as blueprints of how a virtual machine or bare-metal host will be setup to run a certain application. That means the virtual machine is installed with all the binaries and libraries necessary for that application to run successfully. Docker has eliminated the need to do any of that. The runtime libraries of the application all live inside the Docker container/Dockerfile. The host itself doesn't need to be outfitted with additional libraries for containers to run. So poof, there goes those products. This time next year we will probably see things like CoreOS and bare-metal PXE built-into Docker Machine. We're also getting ready to start working on some interesting things here with EMC {code}, stay tuned!


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VMTurbo Has a New SaaSy Offering

I've been a fan of VMTurbo for a while. Pound for pound it stacks up against some of the best VMware infrastructure monitoring tools out there. I've covered them many times before with their free offerings of the past. Well, today they have launched a new SaaS based offering. 


VMTurbo has partnered up with AWS Marketplace. This means in the simple click of a button, you can setup a VMTurbo instance inside of EC2 and have it connect to your local VMware infrastructure. Pop open a few ports and you're off to the races. Pretty awesome IMO.


For the short term, this is a free service with no licenses involved, just a few $'s per month on your credit card for AWS. Go check it out! Your Data Center Control System Now from the AWS Cloud

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Deploy ECS with 5 Ways of Docker

first published on the EMC {code} blog


Docker has been hard at work building out toolsets that compliment the Docker container experience. It's the same concept that VMware first tackled. Develop the hypervisor, then all the toolsets that wrap it become greater value.


EMC has announced at DockerCon that we are *all in* with containers. One of the things that EMC is delivering is Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) software deployed as a container for free and frictionless use. The container is available on Docker Hub for your use, but does come with its own caveat for deployment as can be seen in the GitHub repo.


To make the deployment faster and using nothing but Docker tools, we can deploy ECS with 5 ways of Docker! Using Docker Machine, deploy Ubuntu hosts that will be a part of a Docker Swarm cluster. Then using Docker Compose, deploy ECS from Docker Hub to a Docker Engine container on each host in the Docker Swarm cluster.

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Unitrends To Release a Free Edition

The world of VM backups just got a little ray of sunshine. One of the biggest hits on my website continues to be my extensive list of free tools and very soon I get to add another to the list. Unitrends is releasing Unitrends Free (currently in Beta). This is of course a free version of their Unitrends Enterprise Backup Software. Are there limitations, sure, but they are relatively light.


  1. Virtual-Only
    1. Unitrends Enterprise Backup Software version can take care of both virtual and physical hosts, but as we move forward in a virtual only world, this shouldn't be much of an issue for most of us. Unitrends Free™ (Beta) is Virtual-Only
  2. It's Free!
    1. This isn't really a limitation, other than your credit card spending limit. But really, using a product for free gives you the opportunity to really put it to use for an extended period of time. We all like to test things out for much longer than 30 days before we bet the business on it. So even if you are a SMB or a full blown enterprise, you can benefit from using free tools. If you happen to splurge for the Enterprise version after using the full version, you can migrate your backups over. Pretty useful.
  3. Upgraded UI
    1. I have to admit, it's very easy to use. I also like how Unitrends is looking for feedback on their UI as well. A key principal to UX design is understanding your users. You can't make it much better if the everyday users of your product are giving direct feedback.
  4. VMware & Hyper-V
    1. I bet you Hyper-V shops are pretty upset about having multiple backup products. Unitrends Free can take care of both.
  5. Automated Deployments
    1. Deploys as a Linux‐based VMware or Hyper‐V virtual machine. The appliance performs hypervisor‐level backups of the virtual machines you choose to protect.
  6. 1TB
    1. Protect up to 1 TB of unique VM data, with no limits on the number of VMs you can protect and no constraints on the number of sockets. You get 500GB out of the box, and you'll get a 500GB extension when you sign up for the Unitrends Community Forum.
  7. Free Support
    1. It's not stackoverflow, but Unitrends Community Forum will be the place you get answers. You even see a box with new topics in the dashboard UI.


Before we peek into it... If you sign up and test drive Unitrends Free, you are entered into a sweepstakes for $1500. Offer valid from May12th to June 30th 2015. If you want to download it without entering, get it at Unitrends Free™ (Beta) Download.

Let's look at a quick walkthrough...

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Running Docker on VMware Photon on VMware vCloud Air OnDemand

Fret not, everyone! VMware still has a chance!


I was given the opportunity to get $500 in free credits for vCloud Air OnDemand and decided to put them to use. By the way, if you want $300 in free credits sign-up using this referral link using code Influencer2015. For everyone that signs up through this referral link, you will be put in a drawing to win an additional $200 in free credits. 1 person signing up each week will win an EXTRA $200 in credits chosen by MKG Marketing. Use promo code Influencer2015 through this referral link to automatically get $500 in vCloud Air OnDemand credits! If you get denied, get hung up, or already have a vCloud Air (not OnDemand) account use a different email address during sign-up. As part of this exploratory process, I wanted to give VMware Photon a test run to see how long it would take to get my first Docker container up and running. Unfortunately, containers (atleast Photon) aren't first class citizens in vCloud Air OnDemand. Let's look at the process.


VMware has done right by putting the VMware Photon ISO in the public catalog, but that's about where it ends. In terms of ease of use, Photon requires DHCP out of the box where as vCloud Air OnDemand natively wants to use Static IP addressing from a Pool. So I guess you could do some serious customization using the vCloud API to make this process much more refined. In addition, deploying VMware Photon at scale needs to be addressed. My quick hack as shown in the video below requires using the vCloud Director user interface to make some changes to the networking infrastructure to allow VMware Photon to be used natively with DHCP.

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Persistent Data on Docker Containers from EMC {code}

Docker containers are architected to be ephemeral, meaning the entire container can be wiped out and no harm is done. But what about containers that you are using for databases such as PostgreSQL and MongoDB? What about containers that need access to backend storage. There are tricks that can be done such as using LVM to mount volumes, or using something like NFS or Amazon's new elastic NFS services to automatically mount those shares on docker run. But what about creating those volumes directly from the docker run command line? What about spinning up many containers all attached to block services that can come from AWS or even your own storage infrastructure?


Today, the EMC {code} team is happy to announce a few new projects. All of these were created by Clint Kitson and his genius of the Go language. Check out these videos below and you can check out the repos here:


Read the official blog release: Dogged-ly Pursuing Persistent Data for Containers with REX-Ray

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Simple Gmail Hacks That I Use Daily

Email is the thing we all love to hate. However, if we can't use Slack, then Gmail is by far the next best thing. Having been a user for Gmail since its early early beta days when you need an invite, I've grown fond of it. The spam filters, the style, the responsiveness, and the access from anywhere is what I love. There are some hidden "features" that many don't know about. I'm going to highlight some that I use daily.


In true Google form, everything always seems to be in a stage of "experimentation" like it will eventually die. Remember Google Wave?  The Google Graveyard


We are going to look at 3 projects within the Gmail Labs and also some other Account Feature hacks. Where is Gmail Labs? 


Within Gmail, click on the top right drop-down with the gear icon and go to settings

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Deploying a Node.js WebApp with MongoDB to Cloud Foundry

I recently created a new project to help me get a better understanding of Node.js webapps using Express.js and using MongoDB on the backend. It took me a little over 2 hours to get this app properly deployed to CF and run in development at the same time. Documentation is sparse, so I'll spare you the details and just show you how it's done.



The only thing you need here is that if you are using express.js then the "npm start" needs to be setup correctly. If you used the express generator then this is done for you.

"scripts": {
    "start": "node ./bin/www"


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Win a vSphere Home Lab from VMTurbo!

Do you need a home lab or just want to add on to your existing? Of course you do. Who the heck doesn't. So what's up for grabs?

  • Intel NUC with Intel Core i5-4250U
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (2x8G) 204-Pin DDR3 Memory
  • SAMSUNG 840 EVO 250GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive
  • Synology DS415+ Diskless System DiskStation 4-Bay NAS
  • 2x Dell 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
  • Cisco SG300-10 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch
  • Rosewill 7ft. Cat 6 Network Cable


How do you enter? Simple. VMTurbo is giving away a home lab to 3 lucky winners who sign up for their 5.1 release webinar!




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Encrypting Data Using attr_encrypted With Rails

I'm making a new application that will be public facing but I don't want any clear text being stored on the server for any user at anytime. This way, there will be no compromising of data. In this case, username and password credentials. This isn't an application where a user will login with their creds, if that were the case I would have used Devise. Instead, I'm taking these username and password credentials and piping them in to the application to talk to an outside service.


The first part of obscurity was making the Rails model create new entries based on UUID instead of sequential numbers. That was pretty easy by following this tutorial How to start using UUID in ActiveRecord with PostgreSQL. The second part was implementing the attr_encrypted gem. attr_encrypted allows you to store data in encrypted format to your ActiveRecord database. In this case, i'm using Postgres. 


The README is a start but doesn't get you all the way there. So here is how it's done.


Start off by creating a new scaffold. You must specify encrypted_ before anything you want encrypted in the model

rails g scaffold Model encrypted_user:string encrypted_password:string host:string


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