Configuring NSX Load-Balancer for PCF

There’s not a lot of specific information out there for this configuration.  There’s some guidance from Pivotal and some how-tos from VMware, so with a little additional detail, we should be able to figure this out.


  1. SSL Certificate. You’ll need the signed public cert for your URL (certnew.cer), the associated private key (pcf.key) and the public cert of the signing CA (root64.cer).
    • Use OpenSSL to create the Certificate Site Request (CSR) for the wildcard PCF domain.

      openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -keyout pcf.key -out pcf.csr

    • Submit the CSR to your CA (Microsoft Certificate Services in my case), retrieve the certificate (certnew.cer) and certificate chain (certnew.p7b) base-64 encoded.
    • Double-click certnew.p7b to open certmgr. Export the CA certificate as 64-bit encoded x509 to a file (root64.cer is the file name I use)
  2. Networks.  You’ll need to know what layer 3 networks the PCF components will use.  In my case, I set up a logical switch in NSX and assigned the gateway address to the DLR. Probably should make this a 24-bit network, so there’s room to grow, but not reserving a ridiculous number of addresses. We’re going to carve up the address space a little, so make a note of the following:
    • Gateway and other addresses you typically reserve for network devices.  (eg:  first 9 addresses 1-9)
    • Address that will be assigned to the NSX load balancer.  Just need one (eg: 10)
    • Addresses that will be used by the PCF Routers.  At least two. These will be configured as members in the NSX Load Balancer Pool.
  3. DNS, IP addresses.  PCF will use “system” and “apps” subdomains, plus whatever names you give any apps deployed.  This takes some getting used to – not your typical application.  Based on the certificate we created earlier, I recommend just creating a “pcf” subdomain.  In my case, the network domain (using AD-DNS) is and I’ve created the following:
    • subdomain
    • * A record for the IP address I’m going to assign to the NSX Load-Balancer


Assuming NSX is already installed and configured.  Create or identify an existing NSX Edge that has an interface on the network where PCF will be / is deployed.

  1. Assign the address we noted above to the inteface under Settings|Interfaces
  2. Under Settings|Certificates, add the our SSL certificates
    • Click the Green Plus and select “CA Certificate”.  Paste the content of the signing CA public certificate (base64.cer) into the Certificate Contents box.  Click OK.
    • Click the Green Plus and select “Certificate”.  Paste the content of the signed public cert (certnew.cer) into the Certificate Contents box and paste the content of the private key (pcf.key) into the Private Key box. Click OK.
  3. Under Load Balancer, create an Application Profile. We need to ensure that NSX inserts the x-forwarded-for HTTP headers.  To do that, we need to be able to decrypt the request and therefore must provide the certificate information.  I found that Pool Side SSL had to be enabled and using the same Service and CA Certificates.
    Router Application Profile

    Router Application Profile


  4. Create the Service Monitor.  What worked for me is a little different from what is described in the GoRouter project page. The key points are that we want to specify the useragent and look for a response of “ok” with a header of “200 OK”.

    Service Monitor for PCF Router

    Service Monitor for PCF Router

  5. Create the Pool.  Set it to ROUND-ROBIN using the Service Monitor you just created.  When adding the routers as members, be sure to set the port to 443, but the Monitor Port to 80.

    Router Pool

    Router Pool

  6. Create the Virtual Server.  Specify the Application Profile and default Pool we just created.  Obviously, specify the correct IP Address.
    Virtual Server Configuration

    Virtual Server Configuration

PCF – Ops Manager

Assuming you’ve already deployed the Ops Manager OVF, use the installation dashboard to edit the configuration for Ops Manager Director.  I’m just going to highlight the relevant areas of the configuration here:

Networks.  Under “Create Networks”, be sure that the Subnet specified has the correct values.  Pay special attention to the reserved IP ranges.  These should be the addresses of the network devices and the IP address assigned to the load-balancer.  Do not include the addresses we intend to use for the routers though.  Based on the example values above, we’ll reserve the first 10 addresses.

Ops Manager Network Config

Ops Manager Network Config

Ops Manager Director will probably use the first/lowest address in range that is not reserved.

PCF – Elastic Runtime

Next, we’ll install Elastic Runtime.  Again, I’ll highlight the relevant sections of the configuration.

  1. Domains.  In my case it’s System Domain = and Apps Domain =
  2. Networking.
    • Set the Router IPs to the addresses (comma-separated) you noted and added to as members to the NSX load-balancer earlier.
    • Leave HAProxy IPs empty
    • Select the point-of-entry option for “external load balancer, and it can forward encrypted traffic”
    • Paste the content of the signed certificate (certnew.cer) into the Certificate PEM field.  Paste the content of the CA public certificate (root64.cer) into the same field, directly under the certificate content.
    • Paste the content of the private key (pcf.key) into the Private Key PEM field.
    • Check “Disable SSL Certificate verification for this environment”.
  3. Resource Config.  Be sure that the number of Routers is at least 2 and equal to the number of IP addresses you reserved for them.



Help! The Pool Status is down when the Service Monitor is enabled.

This could occur if your routers are behaving differently from mine.  Test the response by sending a request to one of the routers  through curl and specifying the user agent as HTTP-Monitor/1.1

curl -v -A “HTTP-Monitor/1.1” “http://{IP of router}”


Testing router with curl

Testing router with curl

The value in the yellow box should go into the “Expected” field of the Service Monitor and the value in the red box should go into the “Receive” field. Note that you should not get a 404 response, if you do, check that he user agent is set correctly.



This works for me and I hope it works for you.  If you have trouble or disagree, please let me know.

vRealize Automation DEM worker cannot connect to Orchestrator

08/23/2016 Comments off

In vRA 6.2, using vRO 6.0, you may find that the data collection and other vRO workflows fail with the error “You must have at least one properly configured vCenter Orchestrator endpoint that is reachable”.  The IaaS/Monitoring/Log will show which DEM worker threw the error.  When you check the DEM worker logs for that instance, if you find the message “Could not create SSL/TLS secure channel. —> System.Net.WebException: The request was aborted: Could not create SSL/TLS secure channel“, you have probably been affected by VMKB 2123455 and MS KB 3061588.

Although both articles seem to suggest that removing the offending patch will solve the problem, I think figuring out exactly which patch is rather awkward.  The easier fix is to apply a quick registry hack to your DEM workers (and wherever the vRA Designer runs).

  1. Logon as an account with admin rights (suggest the account your IaaS services run under)
  2. locate or add the key


  3. Add/update the DWORD value ClientMinKeyBitLength and set the value to 512 decimal (200 hex)
  4. Restart the DEM worker service


The Microsoft patch sets the default minimum group size to 1024.  It appears that the vRO 6.0.x appliances use something less than that.  This registry hack indicates that SCHANNEL should accept keys as small as 512 bits.  I suggest only applying this to the necessary and affected machines since it does lower the bar for the DHE security requirements.

Thanks to Zach Milleson for reminding me that this workaround may not resolve everyone’s issue, depending on which MS patches are installed.  If this workaround doesn’t work for you, you may have to locate and remove the offending patch.  YMMV.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry vApp startup order workflow

08/07/2016 Comments off

After installing Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) on vSphere, you’ll have a collection of at least 21 (probably closer to 60!) VMs with names that probably don’t match anyone’s convention.  Although, as noted in the PCF documentation, there is a correct order to starting up and shutting down the VMs in PCF, the installer does not configure a vApp so that we can control that order.  So, I dragged all the PCF VMs into a vApp and starting trying to determine which ones are in which role and quickly realized that it’s a pain.

Creating an AZ in Ops Manager on vSphere

Creating an AZ in Ops Manager on vSphere

As an aside, when you create your Availability Zone, you point it at a vSphere cluster and, optionally, a Resource Pool.  Unfortunately, if you specify a vApp Name instead of a Resource Pool name, BOSH will fail to deploy the VMs.  So, I’ve typically leave the Resource Pool field blank and then drag the VMs into a vApp post-deployment.

I put together a workflow that will help place the PCF VMs into correct startup/shutdown groups for you.

Example PCF VMNames

Example PCF VMNames

Instructions for Use

  1. Download the package from here
  2. Import the package into vRealize Orchestrator
  3. If you haven’t already, create a new vApp in your cluster and drag the Ops Manager, Ops Manager Director and all of the Elastic Runtime VMs into the vApp
  4. Run the “PCFvAppStartupOrder” workflow, select your new vApp as the input, click Submit
  5. If the PCF installation is scaled out to more VMs, just drag them to the vApp and rerun the workflow

How it works/What it does

  • The correct order is stored in a string array
  • The deployment, job and director custom fields are read for each VM in the vApp to get the VM’s assigned role
  • For the Ops Manager, the Notes field is read and if found, it is placed at the top of the startup sequnce
  • Unknown VMs are assigned a startup order higher than the last in the array.  This way, they start last and power-off first
  • Unknown VMs are those where the “deployment” field does not start with “cf”; with exceptions for Ops Manager (Notes field) and Ops Manager Director (“director” field value is “bosh-init”)

Additional suggestions and notes

  • Adjust the resources for the vApp based on VMware best practices and what makes sense for your environment
  • Use this at your own risk, there is no implied warranty

Configuring vRealize Log Insight Agent on MS SQL Server 2012

There’s a lot of information available about the SQL Server Content Pack for Log Insight, but actually  trying to use it reveals a lot of gaps.  So, here’s what I’ve done to get my SQL Server 2012 R2 instances to correctly report their information to vRealize Log Insight and show up in the Content Pack filters.

To ensure the correct log directories are used and allow reuse of filelog sections, I suggest creating an agent group for each SQL Server.  I’m also a fan of the server-side agent configuration, so if the agent gets totally removed and reinstalled, it’ll acquire the correct configuration again.


  1. Install the Log Insight Agent for Windows on the SQL Server machine, be sure to use the FQDN of the Log Insight VIP
  2. While logged on to the SQL Server, locate the Logs folder for each SQL server instance. Note that this is not the database transaction logs folder – if it contains *.ldf files, it’s the wrong folder.   Specifically, you want the folder that contains the ERRORLOG file.  To be certain follow these steps:
    • Launch SQL Server Configuration Manager
    • Select “SQL Server Services” from the left pane
    • Right-click “SQL Server (INSTANCENAME)” from the right page, choose “Properties”.
    • Select the “Startup Parameters” tab
    • In the Existing Parameters box, make a note of the parameter that starts with “-e”
    • The filepath in that parameter (minus “ERRORLOG”) is the folder we need.
    • DO NOT CHANGE ANY VALUES, Cancel Properties, Close Configuration Manager

Startup Params in ConfigurationManager

  1. Logon to Log Insight as an administrator
  2. Check the Content Package area to be sure the “Microsoft – SQL Server” Content Pack is installed
  3. In the next steps, we’ll configure the agent from the server-side. It is possible to do from the client-side.
  4. In the Administration|Agents section of Log Insight select Microsoft – SQL Server from Available Templates drop-down list
  5. Click the “Copy Template” button. In the Copy Agent Group box that appears, change the name to “Microsoft – SQL Server – SERVERNAME”.  (replace SERVERNAME with the actual server’s name).  Click “Copy”.
  6. Now, the dropdown list should indicate that you are editing the new Agent Group
  7. In the Filter box, edit the parameters to create a filter that identifies only the desired server. For example “Hostname | starts with | SERVERNAME”
  8. In the Agent Configuration section
    • Update the section header from “[filelog|MSSQL]” to [filelog|MSSQL-SERVERNAME-INSTANCENAME]” replace SERVERNAME and INSTANCENAME with the correct, actual values. Be sure to keep “MSSQL” as the prefix, since the dashboard elements key on that.
    • Update the directory value to where the ERRORLOG file was found
    • Update the exclude value to read *.trc;*.xel;*.mdmp
    • Example:

; IMPORTANT: Change the directory as per the environment

  1. If there are multiple instances of SQL server on the host server, copy the entire section and edit the section header with the Instance Name. Example of configuration for multiple instances:

; IMPORTANT: Change the directory as per the environment

; IMPORTANT: Change the directory as per the environment

  1. Click Save New Group.
  2. On the SQL Server, restart the “VMware vRealize Log Insight Agent”
  3. Navigate to %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\VMware\Log Insight Agent and open liagent-effective.ini with notepad. Check that the sections added above appear in this file.
    • If they do not, you may have to adjust the filters on the Agent Group

Automating syslog configuration on NSX

03/09/2016 Comments off

If you’re here, you’ve probably already found VMKB2092228 and been frustrated by the lack of an easy and consistent way to configure all the NSX components to send log data.  Me too.

I put together a vRO workflow to help configure (and reconfigure) syslog on NSX.

  1. It prompts for the NSX manager connection info and Syslog server info
  2. Creates a REST host for the NSX manager using the admin super-user account
  3. Adds several REST operations to the NSX Manager REST host
  4. Deletes and readds the syslog configuration on the NSX Manager
  5. Optionally configures Activity Monitoring on the NSX Manager
  6. Identifies each running Controller; deletes and readds the syslog config on each
  7. Identifies each deployed and “Green” Edge (including DLRs); deletes and readds the syslog config on each
  8. Removes the NSX Manager REST host created earlier


  • It must use the NSX Manager admin account – it’s the only superuser account that can update teh manager config.
  • If a Controller is not running when the workflow runs, its syslog config will not be updated
  • If an Edge’ state is not “green” or is not fully deployed, its syslog config will not be updated
  • REST-HTTP plugin for vRO is required
  • Tested with vRO 6.0.2 and NSX 6.2.1
  1. Get the package Download Here

    By downloading any code, package or file, you acknowledge that:There is no explicit or implied warranty or support for the code.  Neither Brian Ragazzi, his employer nor anyone else is responsible for any problems, errors, omissions, unexpected behavior, breakage, trauma, outage, fatigue, lost time, lost work or incontinence that may occur as a result of using the code or package.

  2. Import package into vRO
  3. Run the ConfigureSyslogNSX workflow
    Workflow Step 1

    Workflow Step 1

    Workflow Step 2

    Workflow Step 2

About Cross-vCenter NSX

02/02/2016 Comments off

I’ve spent the past several weeks testing, trying to understand Cross-vCenter NSX and make it work in a useful way.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Environment and Set up:

I knew I needed two “sites” with discrete storage, but had a few physical limitations.  I.e; I only own one managed router (Cisco C2821) and one managed switch (Force 10 S50).  I trunked the management and vtep network to all the hosts, but configured a discrete transit network for each “site”.  I hope to work with a much larger lab environment and do a thorough review of the setup and configuration.  In the meantime, here’s the basics.

  • Two-host cluster, NSX manager and vCenter Server for primary site
  • 1 host cluster, NSX manager and vCenter Server for recovery site
  • vSphere 6.0 U1b
  • NSX for vSphere 6.2.1
  • Universal Transport Zone includes both clusters, configured for Local Egress.
  • VTEPs in same L3 network (for simplicity’s sake)
  • Edge per site, discrete transit networks
  • Universal DLR for tenant networks, uplinked to both site ESGs
  • OSPF area for each ESG->UDLR
Partial Lab Network

Partial Lab Network


  1. Eliminate need for manual synchronization between sites/NSX instances
    • Success! The distributed firewall and universal objects are respected by the NSX manager at both sites.  Universal Security Groups and Logical Switches are usable at either end.
  2. Span VXLANs between sites
    • Success! This is not really a surprise.  As long as the clusters share a Transport Zone and teh VTEPs can route to each other, this works great.
  3. Minimize network alterations when used with Site Recovery Manager to failover protected VMs between vCenter Servers.
    • Partial success.  A placeholder/recovered VM will be in the same Universal Security Groups as the protected VM and the distributed firewall rules will apply as expected without any changes needed.  However, even with Local Egress enabled, you’ll have to apply some sort of route updates so that traffic destined for the recovered VMs can get there.  It looks like the route redistribution for egress us handled automatically though.  This configuration pushed the limits of what I can do with my lab.
  4. Make use of site-to-site microsegmentation (my definition:  application of security policy regardless of L3 network scope)
    • Partial Success.  I was really disappointed here. When the document states that you can add IP Sets, MAC Sets and other Universal Security Groups to a Universal Security Group, it means that’s ALL you can add.  I’ve blogged a few times about adding VMs to a Security Group – even doing it as a Resource Action in vRA.  That won’t work with Universal Security Groups!  The only workaround I see is to add the desired VM’s IP or MAC to a Set and include the Set in the Security group.  Blech!
  5. Retain ability to assign security policy via security group membership through vRA
    • FAILURE.  As noted above, we cannot assign Universal security group membership to a VM using any of the existing custom properties.

Notes and Observations

I guess I get it.  The vm id between vCenter Servers will differ, so saying that “vm-123 is a member of securitygroup-456” is not valid on a different vCenter Server.  But a table of IPs and MACs would be universally valid.  I’m hoping that in a near-future version, the universal security group membership capabilities can be extended; perhaps with a shared or replicated vCenter Inventory Service.


Resolving Site Recovery Manager Error “Unable to create protection group. No VRM registered with vCenter Server”

Just a quick note here about this error.  I felt kinda silly once I realized what I’d done.


  1. Installed a vCenter Server at both sites
  2. Deployed a vSphere Replication 6.1 appliance at both sites.  Connected each to its corresponding PSC and vCenter Server
  3. Installed Site Recovery Manager 6.1 on each site, registered to corresponding vCenter Server
  4. Complete mappings and basic configurations in SRM, confirm VR is available at each site

    SRM configured with VR

    SRM configured with VR

  5. Attempt to create a protection group
  6. Receive Error “Unable to create protection group. No VRM registered with vCenter Server …”
  7. Google frantically

Its not clear from the documentation, but you have to configure at least one VM for replication using vSphere Replication section of Web Client first.  Totally counter-intuitive.  Just right-click the target VM and select “All vSphere Replication Actions | Configure Replication” and walk through the wizard.  Once complete, you can return to the SRM configuration and succesfully set up a Protection Group and subsequent Recovery Plan.