Nick Marshall

Author, Podcaster, Geek

Automated SDDC Deployment with VMware Cloud Builder

4 years ago I moved away from a short stint as a product manager to something a little more technical. I was a founding member of what became the “VMware Validated Designs”. After building SDDCs manually for a few months in our test environments it was clear that we needed an automated approach. The VMware Deployment Toolkit (DTK) was born by some of my super smart colleagues, which we use daily as part of our development and testing toolchain.

Operational Hint - Pin vCenter to a Host

If you’re hosting your vCenter VM in a DRS enabled cluster, there’s a handy trick that some new admins might not know, but I find super helpful (all the old school admins will nod knowingly how handy this can be). Let’s say you have a cluster with a bunch of hosts in it, and DRS is enabled in fully automated mode. The vCenter VM might be running on any one of these hosts, which is usually fine, but what happens if vCenter itself goes down?

What are you working on these days?

A good friend, who I have not caught up with in a long time, asked me “So, what are you working on these days?”. I figured that now is as good a time as any to answer that question. (Or maybe I should have jotted something down when I started in this team over 3 years ago!?!) Product Management When I moved from Sydney to Palo Alto for a Product Management position within VMware, I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Mastering VMware vSphere 6.7

Mastering VMware vSphere 6.7 One of the most common questions I am asked has to be: “When is the next Mastering vSphere book being released?” Well, I am happy to let everyone know that the finishing touches are being put on a new revision. This time around I have recruited some of my VVD allies to help out– Mike Brown, Blair Fritz and Ryan Johnson. We’re looking at availability in the next few months (not Oct 2018 like Amazon suggests).

NIC Teaming in vSphere 6.0

NIC Teaming in vSphere 6 For a vSwitch and its associated ports or port groups to communicate with other ESXi hosts or with physical systems, the vSwitch must have at least one uplink. An uplink is a physical network adapter that is bound to the vSwitch and connected to a physical network switch. With the uplink connected to the physical network, there is connectivity for the VMkernel and the VMs connected to that vSwitch.

Network Stacks in vSphere 6.0

vSphere 6.0 TCP/IP Network Stacks Prior to the release of vSphere 5.5, all VMkernel interfaces shared a single instance of a TCP/IP stack. As a result, they all shared the same routing table and same DNS configuration. This created some interesting challenges in certain environments; for example, what if you needed a default gateway for your management network but you also needed a default gateway for your NFS traffic? The only workaround was to use a single default gateway and then populate the routing table with static routes.

Seattle VMUG UserCon – Keynote Slides

Seattle VMUG UserCon - Keynote Slides I was the morning keynote speaker at the Seattle VMUG UserCon for 2016. The audience was great, and made for a really good session. I was asked by a couple of people if I could share my slides, so here they are:

vSphere 6.0 – Hardware Version 11

vSphere 6.0 – Hardware Version 11 There are a some lesser known things that are enabled as part of vSphere 6’s VM hardware version 11 that I haven’t seen many people talking about, so I thought I would share some details. USB 3.0 Introduced with vSphere 6 in VM hardware version 11 (HW11) is a new USB controller that is properly compatible with USB 3.0. I say “properly” because vSphere 5.

Mastering VMware vSphere 6 – Available Now!

Mastering VMware vSphere 6 – Available Now! Today is the day that Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is finally available! There looks to be a small delay in the e-book availability (as usual with these things I’m told), so those that don’t want to carry around 840 pages may have to wait a day or two more. It’s been around 12 months since I started writing this latest revision. While the product has gone through a number of changes since I started writing, now it’s released I think it’s one of the best releases that VMware have produced.

Managing vCenter 6 and the PSC Services

Managing vCenter 6 and the PSC Services Introduced with vSphere 6 is the Platform Services Controller, or PSC for short. Simply put, the PSC is a bunch of services that can reside embedded within a vCenter server, or can be external to the vCenter server. William outlined how to monitor vCenter and PSC services using VIMTOP on a vCSA, but in this article I’ll outline what you can configure using the Web Client.

Announcing Mastering VMware vSphere 6

Announcing Mastering VMware vSphere 6 Over the last 10 months, with my contributing authors, Grant Orchard and Josh Atwell, I have been working on an update to the Mastering VMware vSphere series. What does the updated book cover? Well, I tried to stick to the very well received “Scott Lowe Formula” from the previous Mastering vSphere 4 and 5 but at the same time continue to put my own take on things after the vSphere 5.

Come Pitch Me at VMWorld

Couch to OpenStack Cody Bunch requested a collection links to the Couch to OpenStack vBrownBag series we did last year. I figured that there’s probably a few people who would also like this as a separate group, much like I did for the VMware Certification series we did. You can find a new “Couch to OpenStack” section under the Education menu on (

Come Pitch Me at VMWorld

##Come Pitch Me… at VMWorld Like many of you out there, when I was a VMware customer, I always wanted to be able to tell them the great ideas I had for their software. Well, if you’re coming to VMWorld US or EU I would like you to pitch those ideas to me! We would love to hear your thoughts on our software (good and bad), what you think we should be concentrating on or even what cool new feature you think we should build.

So you want to be VMware Certified?

So you want to be VMware Certified? Over the past few months I’ve received a number of requests asking for advice on how to get started down the VMware certification path. The below is part of my usual response to these kinds of requests. Once you have completed the required Install, Configure, Manage course, I would recommend the following extra steps: Study the VCP-DV blueprint, highlight the areas that you don’t feel 100% comfortable with.

Settling In

Settling In As I sit here writing this, I listen to the low hum of my home lab for the first time in a while. It had a rather indirect route from Sydney to Palo Alto (via Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Fiji, Seattle and Vancouver) taking around 6 weeks. My flight was much more efficient! I’m glad it didn’t have to sit in customs for days or weeks. I’ve been in Palo Alto for a little over a month now and only now am I beginning to feel settled.