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"Build Your Own Vblock" MidLevel Tool - Now Available!

I'm actually really excited about this. I've spent a lot of hours building this tool and (about a YEAR AND HALF LATER!) I'm finally able to share it.


This project started off about 1.5 to 2 years ago after talking to Justin Guidroz (@jguidroz) who was a rockstar VCE architect at the time (now over at VMware). Everytime someone had to give their customer a visio diagram of their purchased Vblock, it was a mess. There was no standardization, and the time it took to make a visio could easily consume an entire week consisting of reading platform engineering diagrams, waiting for email responses, and finding all the right stencils. After about 3 weeks of building and testing different layered PDFs, I had Justin do the QA work and we had version 1.0. It was great because many internal employees got major use out of it.


In February of this year, VCE had a VCE Mega Launch Technical Details for 2/21 Product Announcements. This meant that all the work in the 1.0 version had to be updated. There was no longer a "standard configuration". There was more flexibility in the design and I had to re-work the tool to make it fit. I completely re-vamped the tool, made version 2.0, and blasted it out company wide. At this point, there were about 1,000 new employees that came onboard between the release of the 1.0 and 2.0 versions. It only took about 45 minutes until I got emails and phone calls from Legal and Marketing. Since both of these parties had no idea of the existence of these tools, I had meetings upon meetings. They needed to understand what the point of this tool was, and why it never had any approvals. Fast forward 2 months, and I had all the approvals I needed to allow access. But now I needed to go through the web teams to get it posted, and as of yesterday, that day arrived!




Watch the Video or keep reading:



The Vblock™ Systems MidLevel Tool can be used by anyone in VCE, VMware, Cisco, EMC, or the VCE Partner Network. This dynamic PDF can be used for self-learning or to present a potential or existing VCE customer the architecture and interconnects between components of Vblock Systems. The Vblock Systems MidLevel Tool gives a visual representation of the types and amounts of fabric between components. This product is not going to reveal individual port numbers, but it allows one to dive a bit deeper into the overall Vblock System architecture. This document can also be used in customer proposals, presentations, and more to demonstrate the flexibility of VCE™ Vblock Systems or to give a customer a wiring topology of their purchased Vblock System. You can even print off your Vblock to hang on the wall! The use case is up to you.


To Use: This multi-layered PDF MUST be opened with Adobe Acrobat. The free version or the pro version of Adobe Acrobat can be used, but the native Mac OS and Windows 7 PDF viewers cannot render layers. Begin building your specified VCE Vblock System after the PDF has completely loaded. Choose the folder of the type of Vblock System to build, and begin utilizing with the "eye" buttons to add the specific layers. For the Vblock System 320 and Vblock System 720, make sure to only choose either Standard or Unified type of networking. Do not mix the two, or layers will not line up properly. Choose the components of the Vblock System to build, add additional cards if necessary, add Advanced Management Pod type, virtualization type, and recover point if necessary. (See image of a completed Vblock System below.)


VERY IMPORTANT: This tool will allow incorrect Vblock System configurations to be built. Logic is not built into Adobe Acrobat. It's up to you, as the technical lead, to verify that you are building a correct configuration according to the VCE Advanced Configuration Tool (ACT). Build the required Vblock System in ACT first, then utilize this tool to compliment your build; following the guidelines of the ACT.


A specific Vblock System build cannot be saved directly from Adobe Reader because Adobe Reader will want to save each layer. The preferred method is Printing to PDF.


Windows Users:
Install PrimoPDF (or another PDF printer software) to install a PDF Printer Driver.


Mac Users:
Adobe Reader on the Mac disables the "save to pdf" function for Apple+Print. To install the CUPS-PDF Printer:
1. Go to and download CUPS-PDF 2.5.0 This will wrap the driver into an installer.?
2. After installation, go to settings and click on your Printer icon and click the "+" button and the CUPS-PDF Printer will be listed, Add it, and click Done.?
3. Open up the VCE Vblock Systems MidLevel Tool, build a specified Vblock System, choose File -> Print, and choose the CUPS-PDF printer.
4. The document is printed to the folder Macintosh HD -> Users -> Shares -> CUPS-PDF.?
5. Additionally, you can create an alias for the CUPS-PDF folder and drag it to your desktop so you are only 1 click away next time you need to print.



If you are a VCE, EMC, Cisco, or VMware employee, you can access it by going to the VCE portal. (you must be on your corporate VPN/LAN):


If you are a VCE Partner, you can access it by going to the VCE Partner Portal:


If you are neither of these, them I'm sorry and you have to wait a bit. My end goal is to add additional product sets that VCE will be releasing soon. As well as taking this layered PDF and making it web based to add logic. Though my abilities to do that aren't strong. If you have any feedback, negative and positive, please comment on this page or send me an email kendrick.coleman[@]vce[d0t]com. Positive feedback goes a long way if I need to ask for a budget to hire a developer.



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