Hacking apart a sweet, innocent Raspberry Pi – who would do such a thing? Network Chuck, that’s who. But he has a very cool reason for it so, we’ll let him off the hook.
He’s figured out how to install VMware ESXi on Raspberry Pi, and he’s sharing the step-by-step process with you because he loves you. And us. We think. We hope.
In a nutshell, Chuck hacks apart a Raspberry Pi, turning it into three separate computers, each running different software at the same time. He’s a wizard.
VMware is cool because it’s Virtual Machine software big companies use on huge servers, but you can deploy it on one of our tiny devices and learn how to use it in the comfort of your own home if you follow Chuck’s instructions.
Once that’s all done, stick your USB flash drive into your Raspberry Pi and get going. You need to be quick off the mark for this bit – there’s some urgent Escape key pressing required, but don’t worry, Chuck walks you through everything.
Create a VM and expand your storage
Once you’ve followed all those steps, you will be up, running, and ready to go. The installation process only takes up the first 15 minutes of Chuck’s project video, and he spends the rest of his time walking you through creating your first VM and adding more storage.
Containers are, of course, all the rage these days; in fact, during his 2018 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) talk, Dirk Hohndel said with a grin that he hears “containers may take off”. But, while containers are easy to set up and use, license compliance for containers is “incredibly hard”. He has been spending “way too much time” thinking about container compliance recently and, beyond the standard “let’s go shopping” solution to hard problems, has come up with some ideas. Hohndel is a longtime member of the FOSS community who is now the chief open source officer at VMware—a company that ships some container images.
If you need to move a large collection of files from an on-premises or in-cloud file system to Amazon Elastic File System, this tool is for you. Simple, single-threaded command line tools such as cp and rsync predate the cloud and cannot deliver the throughput required to move massive amounts of data from place to place. These tools are generally used as building blocks, often within scripts that take care of scheduling, orchestration, and network security.
Secure & Parallel EFS File Sync uses a secure, highly parallel data transfer mechanism that can run up to 5 times faster than the tools I mentioned above. It is available as an agent that runs within VMware ESXi or on an EC2 instance, and accesses the source file system via NFS (v3 and v4), and can be used in all AWS Regions where EFS is available. Because the agent is responsible for initiating all communication with AWS you don’t need to set up VPNs or allow inbound connections through your firewall.
You can launch, control, and monitor the agent and your sync tasks from the AWS Management Console. Jobs can specify the transfer of an entire file system or a specific directory tree, with the option to detect and skip files that are already present in the destination. File metadata (modification and access time, POSIX ownership and permissions, symbolic links, and hard links) is also copied.
Using EFS File Sync In order to write this blog post, I launched an EC2 instance, exported an NFS file system (/data), and populated the file system with the Linux kernel source code.
I open the EFS Console in the same Region as my instance, and click File syncs:
I click on Get started, choose Amazon EC2 as my host platform and click Launch instance, and click Connect to agent to proceed:
Clicking Launch instance opens the EC2 console in a separate tab. I pick a Memory optimized instance type (xlarge or bigger), configure it with a public IP address and with a security group that allows inbound traffic on port 80, and launch it as I would any other EC2 instance. Then I wait a minute or two (time to water my plants or check on my dog), and wait until the status checks pass:
Then I capture the instance’s public IP address, return to the EFS tab, enter the address, and click on Activate agent:
This step retrieves the activation key from the sync agent. After it completes, I enter a name for it and click Activate agent to proceed:
Now that the agent is running and activated, I click on Create sync task to start moving some files to EFS:
I configure the source location (the EC2 instance that I mentioned at the start of this section):
I also choose the destination EFS file system and specify a target location within it for my files:
Then I select my sync options and click Next to review my configuration:
The review looks good and I click Create sync task to start copying my files:
After the sync task has been created and its status becomes Available, I can select it and choose Start from the Actions menu to initiate a sync:
I fine-tune the settings that I established when I created the task, and click Start to proceed:
I can track the status of the sync task on the History tab:
It completes within minutes and my EFS file system now includes the new files:
Available Now EFS File Sync is available in all AWS Regions where EFS is available. You pay for the EFS and EC2 resources that you consume and $0.01 per GB of data copied (see the EFS Pricing page for more info).
I hope that you have configured your AMIs and your current-generation EC2 instances to use the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) that I told you about back in mid-2016. The ENA gives you high throughput and low latency, while minimizing the load on the host processor. It is designed to work well in the presence of multiple vCPUs, with intelligent packet routing backed up by multiple transmit and receive queues.
Today we are opening up the floodgates and giving you access to more bandwidth in all AWS Regions. Here are the specifics (in each case, the actual bandwidth is dependent on the instance type and size):
EC2 to S3 – Traffic to and from Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) can now take advantage of up to 25 Gbps of bandwidth. Previously, traffic of this type had access to 5 Gbps of bandwidth. This will be of benefit to applications that access large amounts of data in S3 or that make use of S3 for backup and restore.
EC2 to EC2 – Traffic to and from EC2 instances in the same or different Availability Zones within a region can now take advantage of up to 5 Gbps of bandwidth for single-flow traffic, or 25 Gbps of bandwidth for multi-flow traffic (a flow represents a single, point-to-point network connection) by using private IPv4 or IPv6 addresses, as described here.
EC2 to EC2 (Cluster Placement Group) – Traffic to and from EC2 instances within a cluster placement group can continue to take advantage of up to 10 Gbps of lower-latency bandwidth for single-flow traffic, or 25 Gbps of lower-latency bandwidth for multi-flow traffic.
To take advantage of this additional bandwidth, make sure that you are using the latest, ENA-enabled AMIs on current-generation EC2 instances. ENA-enabled AMIs are available for Amazon Linux, Ubuntu 14.04 & 16.04, RHEL 7.4, SLES 12, and Windows Server (2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, and 2016). The FreeBSD AMI in AWS Marketplace is also ENA-enabled, as is VMware Cloud on AWS.
Veeam is well-known for its easy-to-use software for backing up virtual machines from VMware and Microsoft.
Users of Veeam and Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage have asked for a way to back up a Veeam repository to B2. Backblaze’s B2 is an ideal solution for backing up Veeam’s backup repository due to B2’s combination of low-cost and high availability compared to other cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure.
This is the first in a series of posts on the topic of backing up Veeam to B2. Future posts will cover other methods.
In this post we provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to configure a Synology NAS as a Veeam backup repository, and in turn use Synology’s CloudSync software to back up that repository to the B2 Cloud.
Our guest contributor, Rhys Hammond, is well qualified to author this tutorial. Rhys is a Senior System Engineer for Data#3 in Australia specializing in Veeam and VMware solutions. He is a VMware vExpert and a member of the Veeam Vanguard program.
If you back up Veeam using Starwind VTL, we have a BETA program for you. Help us with the Starwind VTL to Backblaze B2 integration Beta and test whether you can automatically back up Veeam to Backblaze B2 via Starwind VTL. Motivated beta testers can email email@example.com for details and how to get started.
Backblaze works quietly and continuously in the background to keep you backed up, but you can ask Backblaze to immediately check whether anything needs backing up by holding down the Alt key and clicking on the Restore Options button in the Backblaze client.
Manage and Restore Your Backed Up Files
You Can Share Files You’ve Backed Up
You can share files with anyone directly from your Backblaze account.
You have a choice of how to receive your data from Backblaze. You can download individual files, download a ZIP of the files you choose, or request that your data be shipped to you anywhere in the world via FedEx.
Put Your Account on Hold for Six Months
As long as your account is current, all the data you’ve backed up is maintained for up to six months if you’re traveling or not using your computer and don’t connect to our servers. (For active accounts, data is maintained up to 30 days.)
Groups Make Managing Business or Family Members Easy
For businesses, families, or organizations, our Groups feature makes it easy to manage billing, group membership, and individual user access to files and accounts — all at no incremental charge.
You Can Browse and Restore Previous Versions of a File
Visit the View/Restore Files page to go back in time to earlier or deleted versions of your files.
You can (and should) protect your Backblaze account with two-factor verification. You can use backup codes and SMS verification in case you lose access to your smartphone and the authentication app. Sign in to your account to set that up.
Add Additional Security to Your Data
All transmissions of your data between your system and our servers is encrypted. For extra account security, you can add an optional private encryption key (PEK) to the data on our servers. Just be sure to remember your encryption key because it’s required to restore your data.
Our auto-threading feature adjusts Backblaze’s CPU usage to give you the best upload speeds, but for those of you who like to tinker, the Backblaze client on Windows and Macintosh lets you fine-tune the number of threads our client is using to upload your files to our data centers.
Use the Backblaze Downloader To Get Your Restores Faster
If you are downloading a large ZIP restore, we recommend that you use the Backblaze Downloader application for Macintosh or Windows for maximum speed.
I’m getting ready to wrap up my work for the year, cleaning up my inbox and catching up on a few recent AWS launches that happened at and shortly after AWS re:Invent.
Last week we launched Amazon Linux 2. This is modern version of Linux, designed to meet the security, stability, and productivity needs of enterprise environments while giving you timely access to new tools and features. It also includes all of the things that made the Amazon Linux AMI popular, including AWS integration, cloud-init, a secure default configuration, regular security updates, and AWS Support. From that base, we have added many new features including:
Long-Term Support – You can use Amazon Linux 2 in situations where you want to stick with a single major version of Linux for an extended period of time, perhaps to avoid re-qualifying your applications too frequently. This build (2017.12) is a candidate for LTS status; the final determination will be made based on feedback in the Amazon Linux Discussion Forum. Long-term support for the Amazon Linux 2 LTS build will include security updates, bug fixes, user-space Application Binary Interface (ABI), and user-space Application Programming Interface (API) compatibility for 5 years.
Extras Library – You can now get fast access to fresh, new functionality while keeping your base OS image stable and lightweight. The Amazon Linux Extras Library eliminates the age-old tradeoff between OS stability and access to fresh software. It contains open source databases, languages, and more, each packaged together with any needed dependencies.
Tuned Kernel – You have access to the latest 4.9 LTS kernel, with support for the latest EC2 features and tuned to run efficiently in AWS and other virtualized environments.
Systemd – Amazon Linux 2 includes the systemd init system, designed to provide better boot performance and increased control over individual services and groups of interdependent services. For example, you can indicate that Service B must be started only after Service A is fully started, or that Service C should start on a change in network connection status.
Wide Availabilty – Amazon Linux 2 is available in all AWS Regions in AMI and Docker image form. Virtual machine images for Hyper-V, KVM, VirtualBox, and VMware are also available. You can build and test your applications on your laptop or in your own data center and then deploy them to AWS.
I’m interested in the Extras Library; here’s how I see which topics (lists of packages) are available:
As you can see, the library includes languages, editors, and web tools that receive frequent updates. Each topic contains all of dependencies that are needed to install the package on Amazon Linux 2. For example, the Rust topic includes the cmake build system for Rust, cargo for Rust package maintenance, and the LLVM-based compiler toolchain for Rust.
SNS Updates Many AWS customers use the Amazon Linux AMIs as a starting point for their own AMIs. If you do this and would like to kick off your build process whenever a new AMI is released, you can subscribe to an SNS topic:
You can be notified by email, invoke a AWS Lambda function, and so forth.
When customers come to us with new and unique requirements for AWS, we listen closely, ask lots of questions, and do our best to understand and address their needs. When we do this, we make the resulting service or feature generally available; we do not build one-offs or “snowflakes” for individual customers. That model is messy and hard to scale and is not the way we work.
Instead, every AWS customer has access to whatever it is that we build, and everyone benefits. VMware Cloud on AWS is a good example of this strategy in action. They told us that they wanted to run their virtualization stack directly on the hardware, within the AWS Cloud, giving their customers access to the elasticity, security, and reliability (not to mention the broad array of services) that AWS offers.
We knew that other customers also had interesting use cases for bare metal hardware and didn’t want to take the performance hit of nested virtualization. They wanted access to the physical resources for applications that take advantage of low-level hardware features such as performance counters and Intel® VT that are not always available or fully supported in virtualized environments, and also for applications intended to run directly on the hardware or licensed and supported for use in non-virtualized environments.
Our multi-year effort to move networking, storage, and other EC2 features out of our virtualization platform and into dedicated hardware was already well underway and provided the perfect foundation for a possible solution. This work, as I described in Now Available – Compute-Intensive C5 Instances for Amazon EC2, includes a set of dedicated hardware accelerators.
Now that we have provided VMware with the bare metal access that they requested, we are doing the same for all AWS customers. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you can do with them!
New Bare Metal Instances Today we are launching a public preview the i3.metal instance, the first in a series of EC2 instances that offer the best of both worlds, allowing the operating system to run directly on the underlying hardware while still providing access to all of the benefits of the cloud. The instance gives you direct access to the processor and other hardware, and has the following specifications:
Processing – Two Intel Xeon E5-2686 v4 processors running at 2.3 GHz, with a total of 36 hyperthreaded cores (72 logical processors).
Memory – 512 GiB.
Storage – 15.2 terabytes of local, SSD-based NVMe storage.
Network – 25 Gbps of ENA-based enhanced networking.
Previewing Now We are launching a public preview of the Bare Metal instances today; please sign up now if you want to try them out.
You can now bring your specialized applications or your own stack of virtualized components to AWS and run them on Bare Metal instances. If you are using or thinking about using containers, these instances make a great host for CoreOS.
An AMI that works on one of the new C5 instances should also work on an I3 Bare Metal Instance. It must have the ENA and NVMe drivers, and must be tagged for ENA.
Last year I told you about the work that we are doing with our friends at VMware to build the VMware Cloud on AWS. As I shared at the time, this is a native, fully-managed offering that runs the VMware SDDC stack directly on bare-metal AWS infrastructure that maintains the elasticity and security customers have come to expect. This allows you to benefit from the scalability and resiliency of AWS, along with the networking and system-level hardware features that are fundamental parts of our security-first architecture.
VMware Cloud on AWS allows you take advantage of what you already know and own. Your existing skills, your investment in training, your operational practices, and your investment in software licenses remain relevant and applicable when you move to the public cloud. As part of that move you can forget about building & running data centers, modernizing hardware, and scaling to meet transient or short-term demand. You can also take advantage of a long list of AWS compute, database, analytics, IoT, AI, security, mobile, deployment and application services.
Initial Availability After incorporating feedback from many customers and partners in our Early Access beta program, today at VMworld, VMware and Amazon announced the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS. This service is initially available in the US West (Oregon) region through VMware and members of the VMware Partner Network. It is designed to support popular use cases such as data center extension, application development & testing, and application migration.
This offering is sold, delivered, supported, and billed by VMware. It supports custom-sized VMs, runs any OS that is supported by VMware, and makes use of single-tenant bare-metal AWS infrastructure so that you can bring your Windows Server licenses to the cloud. Each SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) consists of 4 to 16 instances, each with 36 cores, 512 GB of memory, and 15.2 TB of NVMe storage. Clusters currently run in a single AWS Availability Zone (AZ) with support in the works for clusters that span AZs. You can spin up an entire VMware SDDC in a couple of hours, and scale host capacity up and down in minutes.
The NSX networking platform (powered by the AWS Elastic Networking Adapter running at up to 25 Gbps) supports multicast traffic, separate networks for management and compute, and IPSec VPN tunnels to on-premises firewalls, routers, and so forth.
Here’s an overview to show you how all of the parts fit together:
The VMware and third-party management tools (vCenter Server, PowerCLI, the vRealize Suite, and code that calls the vSphere API) that you use today will work just fine when you build a hybrid VMware environment that combines your existing on-premises resources and those that you launch in AWS. This hybrid environment will use a new VMware Hybrid Linked Mode to create a single, unified view of your on-premises and cloud resources. You can use familiar VMware tools to manage your applications, without having to purchase any new or custom hardware, rewrite applications, or modify your operating model.
Your applications and your code can access the full range of AWS services (the database, analytical, and AI services are a good place to start). Use for these services is billed separately and you’ll need to create an AWS account.
Learn More at VMworld If you are attending VMworld in Las Vegas, please be sure to check out some of the 90+ AWS sessions:
Also, be sure to stop by booth #300 and say hello to my colleagues from the AWS team.
In the Works Our teams have come a long way since last year, but things are just getting revved up!
VMware and AWS are continuing to invest to enable support for new capabilities and use cases, such as application migration, data center expansion, and application test and development. Work is under way to add additional AWS regions, support more use cases such as disaster recovery and data center consolidation, add certifications, and enable even deeper integration with AWS services.
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