VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Click Below for Plug-ins:

vCO Plug-in

Enable vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) to read and write Excel files

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The purpose of this article is to provide readers with instructions on how to give vCO the ability to read and write Microsoft Excel files (xls / xlsx). Yes, it is 2013 yet there are plenty of reasons why organizations might still be using an Excel spreadsheet instead of a database table.. We won't dwell on that here, instead we'll focus on providing those organizations with a step-by-step guide to provide such functionality to vCenter Orchestrator. We'll discuss two approaches here: JDBC library and PowerShell.

vCloud Director catalog replication

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vCloud Director has a nice feature allowing to organize vApps into catalogs. If like me you need to replicate these catalog across organization or even different vCloud hosts you may find your solution here.

Extend vCloud Director with service builder

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In a previous article I explained how we could extend vCloud Director with vCenter Orchestrator and then provided a full implementation. This was using the vCloud Director blocking tasks and notifications feature which allow to extend existing vCoud Director operations.

vCloud Director 5.1 introduced a new feature called API extensions which basically allows a cloud provider to extend the vCloud Director API with custom services with leveraging VMware or third party applications. In this article I discuss why someone would want to leverage this feature and explain the "service builder" solution I have created around it.

Create your own vCloud Download lossless vApp Template workflow in less than 5 minutes

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vCloud Director 5.1 has some new features, one of them allows to keep vApp Templates information that are by default discarded. My colleague William Lam covers this very well in this article. If you think this would be good to have this functionality as a workflow then you can have it in about 5 minutes with creating it on your own.

Code snippets : Using vCloud Director object metadata

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Setting metadata on vCloud Director objects is a convenient way to extend their properties with whatever information you need to attach to these. This is very useful to include information on the object lifecycle or to reference other objects. For example I like to reference the vApp Template a vApp was issued from with adding a "vAppTemplateReference" metadata. Another use of the metadata is that you can search for these using the query service.

The vCloud DIrector plug-in has built in workflows for managing custom properties on vApp and VMs (storing these in the productSection if the OVF) but these are not the same as the metadatas. The metadatas can be applied to a lot more objects such as VDC, storage profile, catalog, catalog item, disk, Org VDC network, media, external network).

This article shows how to use these in vCloud Director 1.5 and in 5.1.

NUC Lab Kit

Below are my thoughts for a vSAN nuc lab. Since I already have cables, not including them here. I ordered (and received by Nov 30, 2016)
3 x nuc, 3 x 32GB Crucial mem, 3 x Toshiba NVMe drive, 3 x Startech USB to GB NIC, and 3 x Crucial 1TB SSD. I've also been very happy with my Cisco SG300-10 so I bought one more since my existing one only has one port available. Each of the items listed here are linked below - all were purchased using the provided links below.
single NIC (See this post for details on using the USB -> GB NIC item listed below

I stayed with the i5 for the power consumption and form factor vs. the i7 Skull Canyon ;)