You did what?: Taking IT too Far

Caricature of a mad scientist drawn by User:J.J.

A few days ago I decided to go full-on mad scientist in documenting my new home lab / network setup, and I’ve even created a GitHub repository for it.

The idea is to create a framework for developing this kind of documentation, heavily influenced by the VCDX methodology and framework. Over time, Conceptual, Logical and Physical designs will be added, as well as configuration settings and operational procedures. Hopefully it’ll also contain some useful diagrams.

There are even Executive Summary and Business Background sections, which admittedly makes no sense at all in this setting, but as an exercise in writing such documents they certainly serve a purpose.

It’s built using Markdown as the markup language, which makes it easy to edit, revise and ultimately maintain as a source controlled collection of documents.

This is very much a work in progress, but if you have any input, criticisms or pure snark, bring it on!

Of course, since this is my own personal home lab, it’s not quite up to par as a real enterprise architecture, but it’s still real to me.

Now, where is my lab coat again?

Top vBlog 2016: Thank you!

bronze_vspherelandWhile I was away on a two week holiday on the Croatia’s sunny Makarska Rivijera, Eric Siebert announced the result of his annual Top vBlog, and much to my surprise vNinja did quite the jump from last years 46th spot to this years 27th!  Honestly, I thought the site would drop out of the the top 50 list this year, but once again I’m proven to be mistaken. Some times being wrong is just great!

Not only that, but in the Favorite Independent Blogger category, I also did a small hop from 7th to 6th.

Obviously this makes me very happy, and I wish to thank everyone who voted for the site this year.

Also, if you happen to meet Eric at VMworld, or anywhere else this year, buy the guy a beer. Or three. He like totally deserves it.

Oh you can do that?: vSphere Platform Services Controller (PSC) topology and Omnigraffle

A little while ago William Lam published a little python script called extract_vsphere_deployment_topology.py that basically lets you export your current vSphere PSC topology as a DOT (graph description language) file. Great stuff, and in itself useful as is, especially if you run it through webgraphviz.com as William suggests.

The thing is, you might want to edit the topology map, change colours and fonts, and even move the boxes around, after you get the output. If you have a large environment, you might want to combine all your PSC topologies into a single document? It turns out, that’s pretty easy to do!

Omnigraffle Pro imports the DOT files natively, and lets you play around with the objects as if they were drawn in Omnigraffle from the beginning. Save the output from the script somewhere as a .dot file. Then open Omnigraffle and go to File -> Open and select the file.Screenshot 2016-05-22 21.10.12

Now, select the Hierarchical option, and you’ll get a nicely formatted canvas with your PSC components already laid out inside of Omnigraffle. Now you can edit it at will!

Screenshot 2016-05-22 21.13.56

As far as I can tell, this isn’t possible with Microsoft Visio, as it doesn’t support the DOT format, but you could always save it as a Visio file with Omnigraffle if you need to sent it to your more Microsoft inclined friends.

I’m sure there are more fun to be had with these DOT files, it’s just text files after all, perhaps someone can even code up a script that converts them to Visio .vdx files or some other format that Visio can import natively.