VRDCEX – VR Datacenter Game

VRDCEX – VR Datacenter Game

So early this week as I made aware of a new addition to VRDCEX and its a gameification update, and Oh boy is it fun! I took some time to get something up as well my first attempt nearly involved in a light fixture being removed! I think this is mainly down to the way the depth perception happens with the Mixed reality headsets

So just as a major tip for anyone with an Oculus there is a tiny ‘hack’ that allows for better 3D awareness. Put one sensor directly in front of you and one behind. Restart the calibration in the Oculus setup and it will say they should be at 45 degree angles but just hit proceed. When you have to align the PC just do this to the front sensor. Ideally you should have a 3rd sensor but I have found this seems to work OK for this and a few other games. I found that before I did this, during the gameplay the headset would spin rapidly. This obviously make its harder and I ended up dropping VMs or throwing them in the wrong place.

So you can this game version from here https://github.com/vmware/vr-dc-ex/releases/tag/Game

So my highest score so far is 298 and a shame as I dropped one of the last few VMs and would have broke the 300 mark. I tried again a few times even with the setup above and I just couldnt do it! I must have peaked on my 3rd attempt but did average around the 260 mark.

You can see my high score here!



A-head in the clouds, a little RBD2 pre thoughts post

A-head in the clouds, a little RBD2 pre thoughts post

So in preparation for Ravello Bloggers Day #2 tomorrow I thought I would write up a quick blog post and its crazy to think I can do this 11,582m up in the clouds, ironically what tomorrow is all about. There is good reason why I selected the picture for my post and that is the clouds and landscape are amazing on our planet (as I glanced out the window writing this) and the same can be said out the technology too but as engineers,architects & even humans do we even stop to marvel in either of their beauties?

Before I waffle I have to thank John, Kat & Amy along with the rest of their team for letting be be a delegate and having this great opportunity! I feel rather honoured to be able to do this and to be in a room full of great minds!

We are all now so used to be connected 24/7 and able to communicate worldwide (or even in the sky) within the blink of an eye do but we ever consider how all of this is possible and even what about all the legacy systems that may well be holding up this amazing platform

I know first-hand from this week I have already experienced in my new role asking different questions than I usually would. How does this scale, can I do this as code or even infrastructure as code even down to how can I back that state up or even its residing data. Much like my last point we expect data everywhere now and we want easy access no VPNs or multiple credentials and let’s be fair AD domains are still the easiest single sign on for users but how do we extend all our traditional services to our users.

My one prime example is a file server as this seems to have come up several times, yes we could implement things like Microsoft Teams/OneDrive or Citrix ShareFile but you will still get users that will want their home folder and their drive letters no matter how hard you try to escape this for at least a few years yet. I know some of this is business process but then what about our apps some of these just aren’t going to change overnight and use storage such as S3.

I think even if I wanted to deploy this in the cloud even somewhat traditionally I would certainly have more than one cloud and then have them connected in some form. Then the question is how well are my apps going to run up there or does this cause a licensing nightmare. Again, I am still speaking with some vendors now and they still have a server client approach with HTML or web based on the way. Does that then mean I need to push my clients to the cloud or just an element and deliver this as a seamless remote application with RDS, Citrix or VMware Horizon.

I know myself along with the company want to adopt a cloud first approach but are we able to tackle all of our day to day challenges yet or do we just have to think cleverly.

I can only speak for myself, but I am truly excited to see what the team have achieved over the last year of somethings I may have missed. I know I will certainly be digging more into the lift and shift as this is a great way to cuddle our legacy apps and maybe even edge cases like SAP or JAVA apps. It would also be great to get a better understanding of how we can now back up their bare metal offerings and if any further hypervisors may be officially support. I know have seen some great VMware and Nutanix posts out there but it would be great to see what they think of this. A great DIY custom albeit not officially supported VMware cloud maybe?

Using Nexmo SMS to let you or your users know its all gone wrong!

Using Nexmo SMS to let you or your users know its all gone wrong!

So recently I have made one of my scripts a bit more user friendly with PowerShell that uses Nexmo as an SMS Gateway. I am hoping to keep working on this and hope it helps the community out too. I have written this in such a way that you can pass outputs from other scripts or monitoring software! My primary reason was to let users or manager know an application was down or we had maintenance

I still hope to do a few more bits for this over time

  1. Ability to pull in a CSV or file to text users if AD is offline
  2. Better granular monitoring/output if you send from multiple aliases eg infrastructure, storage team, etc
  3. Write a module for vCheck for better integration
  4. Suppress the outputs on screen and maybe have a switch for this
  5. Write another health script for my new Nutanix cluster and output errors via this
  6. Maybe try two way interaction to allow response from listed number to run a restart of a service

Either way the script is held here over at GitHub so keep and eye on here for any updates

I have tried to do my best to allow for numbers to be held in multiple ways in AD such as +44 or with a leading 0 or not and the scripts responds accordingly

Below is a video of this in action too!


VMware VRDCEX – London VMUG

So we started the new year with a bang and I have a whole post about the 1st LonVMUG anyway but I thought I would get this up and online. I did my 1st ever ’45 minute’ session and I am sure I now have the bug… I am already thinking what can I do next if the committee will let me back

It was a great session and it was nice with it being interactive as I have already fed some of the ideas back but here were a few of the top ones. The main thing to stress is this was done on a HP mixed reality headset so these are far more affordable than the Oculus and the Vive so anyone can give it a go. Also due to the app it does run on quite a few machines.

  • Try and make it AR compatible, maybe so you can see the hosts in front of you
  • Read a QR code from a device to get an exploded view
  • View stats or performance metrics within the experience
  • One great one from the community was to use this for training and the ability to dive into devices and make it interactive or even allow for remote training.

This tweet did also amuse me but I don’t think Pat has anything to worry about

I may re-upload this but here is the video of me looking silly anyway!


Starting 2018 with some goals

Starting 2018 with some goals

So if you haven’t already read it go get the amazing book by Melissa called IT Architect Journey. Initially I had set some soft goals whilst at VMworld last year whilst speaking with her but now I think is the best time to do this as I know I am going to be going through some great changes in the coming weeks of which I hope I can share soon! This year is the full evolution from engineer to architect for me or at least I hope so!

So yes firstly go get this book if you haven’t already as its also on sale

Then a copy of the below chart

So from the above I am going to have 3 key points I want to work on but break these down into three further sub components so I can measure my progress

  1. Achieve a recognised qualification
  2. Get better with people and presenting
  3. Work on my documentation

So how can I then have a subset of these to develop some skills and below is my ideas for achieving recognised qualification

  1. Cloud Exam – Pass an Amazon AWS exam or Azure equivalent
  2. Infrastructure –  Go for my NPP or VMware exams
  3. Start NPX or VCDX – I want to write a whole post about this as I think the NPX is a great path way to VCDX especially for us in the UK

So my next set of goals is getting better with people and presenting

  1. Attend and present at a local user group
  2. Attend a major conference and see if I can present or even a vBrownBag
  3. Collect a full RFP and understand the requirements from my business/client

Finally I want to work on my documentation

  1. Keep blogging and update the OpenHomeLab along with key posts on community forums
  2. Work on a good template I can share with my colleagues and even the community for system/infrastructure designs
  3. Maybe enter Virtual Design Master for a 3rd year or guest judge so I can work on the concepts of the above

And when do I want to have all this done by…. 2019! Why not be ambitious as I have done some of this before. Anyway I can always pull these out further and as part of my architect journey I may well want to look at another goal such as networking or project management and of course best of luck to anyone with their goals.

VMware VRDCEX – On HP Mixed Reality (Windows VR)

VMware VRDCEX – On HP Mixed Reality (Windows VR)

So I am at it again… I was very very lucky to get a HP mixed reality headset for Christmas mainly down to the fact I like being purchase savvy and the laptop I purchased (sorry my amazing wife as a present) wasn’t only on offer but it still qualified for the headset for free! I thought again this was going to be a very drawn out process and well due to the work I did with the Oculus well it took me all of 20 minutes to get this up and going! The nice thing is its a little easy to set up if I want to demo this out anywhere!

There are only a few steps some hopefully oblivious you miss and others you need to do but go open my other guide in another tab here! (just for reference)

Step 1. Get all the required files for VRDCEX by cloning/downloading the GitHub Repo and getting the build from here  

Step 2. Extract both these files to a common location, I decided to put these under the below folder but its fine to chose your own

Step 3. Go setup your Windows Mixed Reality Headset as you usually would if you haven’t already done so

Step 4. Go grab the latest copy of Steam and Steam VR once Steam is setup. This essentially works as our translator/interpreter for our Mixed reality headset. so we don’t need any coding. Before we start to configure VRDCEX we need to launch Steam VR just to ensure it can see the Mixed reality headset. You will also need the following plugin from here via Steam. I found I had to reboot once or twice and ensure that playing around with the Mixed Reality portal being open or not



For any demo’s I usually try and use Standing Only as space is usually limited, you may also get the very cool Portal inspired intro to help you configure the headset… I am not sure if  you will see all this below or if it was because I also have the Oculus available on my machine.

If you have got this far hopefully you will now see the below. Try and put on the headset and just make sure that SteamVR does load before continuing

You can see Steam sees the Mixed Reality and Oculus with their respective components

Step 5. Lets get down to the main bit and install/configure VRDCEX. Firstly go back to Steam and select add game at the bottom of your games list. 

From here select browse and navigate to where you extracted your downloads earlier and select the executable. Hit add selected programs and you should now see this appear in your Steam library.

Step 6 (Optional). Go to your extracted files and find the assets folder and wire mock. Create a shortcut on your desktop for On-Prem_Endpoint.bat. You will also need the latest version of Java JRE. The nice thing about this is until you are ready it allows you to play with the app by emulating vCenter.

I used JRE 8U151 for my configuration 
Double click your shortcut but you will need to override Windows 10 protection as it was downloaded

Check that everything is running by going to https://localhost:8082 before proceeding

Step 7. It sounds odd but go and launch the exe but don’t really worry about your headset. You need to do this as it generates a configuration file under your app data folder that you need to amend. Close the VRDCEX app once its opened and then open the config file. In mine I have put the Wireframe emulator in step 5 but you can put in your own vCenter here at any point.

Step 8. Enjoy…. Go back to Steam and launch your App! Put on your headset and enjoy your virtual datacenter

I have done a little demo video of it running just to show you the subtlety of the way Steam pulls in the Windows controllers VS the Hive or Oculus its really quite clever