Archive for July, 2009

4 New ESX Patches Released

July 30th, 2009

Four new patches have been released for ESX 3.5.0. It appears ESXi, ESX4, and other versions of ESX are not impacted.

3 of the 4 patches are rated critical.

ESX350-200907403-BG – VMware Tools Update (General)

Adds support for Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 2 guest operating system.

Installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machines display a message stating that no drivers are available for Xorg 7.5. This patch provides the VMware SVGA and mouse drivers for Xorg 7.5.

ESX350-200907404-BG – critical

Applications in a virtual machine using SSSE3 instructions might fail under certain conditions. The vmware.log file might display an entry or entries similar to:
May 20 17:14:44.398: vcpu-0| vmcore/decoder/decoder.c:655 0xd1e357 #UD e41d380f sz=4 ct=0.

When SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 virtual machines installed with Virtual Machine Interface (VMI) kernel or virtual machines supporting VMI are booted into VMI mode, the virtual machines might stop responding or become extremely slow.

ESX350-200907405-BG – critical

On IBM systems having iBMC/IMM devices, during boot time, the CDCEther driver could not complete its device discovery due to a timing issue in the device firmware. This patch fixes the issue.

ESX350-200907407-BG – critical

The maximum username length of UserAccount in the VMware VI Toolkit is increased from 16 to 32 characters.

Fixes an hostd memory leak issue with HTTP connection recycling when communicating with UI, SDK etc.

When a mounted NFS volume goes offline in an ESX Server cluster, it might cause the heap size to grow and might cause the ESX Server to stop responding.

VMFS locks on ESX Server hosts might be incorrectly broken, when a previous unlock operation from the same host fails.

Some virtual machines including Red Hat, Windows, and SUSE Linux Enterprise boot very slowly or might not boot at all when an EMC Symmetrix LUN in Not Ready state is attached to the virtual machines as an RDM device. After applying this fix, the virtual machines boot normally.

New Cisco Nexus 1000v Video

July 27th, 2009

I’m not sure what I like better – the informative video, or the fact that I can embed it neatly into my blog.

Please enjoy!

Hyper9 version 1.4 to be released July 22nd

July 22nd, 2009

Hyper9, a virtualization management startup company based out of Austin, TX, is expected to release version 1.4 of its self titled flagship management product on Wednesday. This is an exciting release as many notable improvements have been made to the user interface.

New to this release is a dashboard which is designed to help the end user “hit the ground running” immediately after the product is installed. Upon login, the administrator will immediately presented with the “My Environment” tab of the dashboard. “My Environment” contains many of the most useful canned reports about the environment in which Hyper9 has been instructed to catalog.

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If you find “My Environment” is jumping in just a bit too fast, take a look at the “Getting Started” tab which contains several instructional videos that can be launched from within the Hyper9 console.

Veteran Hyper9 users will find that the “Results” display has been cleaned up with no-nonsense resource indicators that are very much appealing to the eyes in my opinion.

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Hyper9 has been making great strides with their products and I’ve been very impressed with the amount of end user feedback they have taken to their developers and integrated into future product versions.  Hyper9 is available today on a subscription basis.  Head on over to their site for more information.  While you’re there, be sure to check out their other products, such as the Virtualization Mobile Manager (VMM) which allows administrators to manage their infrastructures from a hand held device.

VI3 ATDG Book Full Download Available 7/19/09

July 18th, 2009

I have it on good authority that the VMware Infrastructure 3 Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide book will be made fully available for download in .PDF format tomorrow. The authors over at vmguru.com had previously been releasing two chapters at a time (one chapter in each of the two sections of the book), but a decision has been made that the next release will include the entire book.

Watch for the release at vmguru.com and grab your copy. If by chance they don’t make the Sunday release date, give them a break, these authors are among the hardest working in the business. I’m sure they’ll have it up very soon.  This is a very generous contribution to the virtualization community as the book is only about a year old.  Kudos to Scott Herold, Ron Oglesby, and Mike Laverick.

Not All FT Compatible CPUs Are Created Equal

July 10th, 2009

Hopefully you are aware that to enable VMware vSphere’s FT (Fault Tolerance), you need FT compatible CPUs from Intel or AMD.  VMware KB article 1008027 Processors and guest operating systems that support VMware Fault Tolerance outlines both the Intel and AMD CPU requirements to use FT.  I had read this article months ago and on that basis I purchased FT compatible AMD Opteron 2356 Barcelona Quad Core processor upgrades for the HP DL385 G2 servers in my lab.

While trying to enable FT on powered on VMs in the lab, I ran into issues.  The following error was thrown in the vSphere Client:

“The Fault Tolerance configuration of the entity has an issue: The virtual machine’s current configuration does not support Fault Tolerance.”

In the vCenter Server log, the more verbose error displayed was reason = “replayNotSupported”

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Oddly enough, I was able to configure FT on powered off VMs.

What I hadn’t noticed, or possibly what didn’t exist in earlier versions of this KB article was a chart at the bottom of the page with more verbose information that explained specific FT behavior based on the processor architecture.  My AMD Barcelona processors do in fact support FT, however, the chart confirms that with my processors, the VMs must be powered off first before enabling FT, whereas Intel Xeon 45nm Core 2 processors I’ve worked with in other labs allow FT to be enable while a VM is running live.  Also note in the chart below that there are FT support guidelines for specific Operating Systems as well.  For instance, a Windows 2000 VM may never be FT enabled while running, and Windows 2000 is not an FT compatible guest OS on my AMD Barcelona processors.

Following is a copy and paste of the KB article above with the FT support specifics:

Processors and guest operating systems that support VMware Fault Tolerance

Details

VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) requires specific processors and guest operating systems.

Solution

Processors

VMware collaborated with AMD and Intel in providing an efficient VMware FT capability on modern x86 processors. The collaboration required changes in both the performance counter architecture and virtualization hardware assists of both Intel and AMD. These changes could only be included in recent processors from both vendors: 3rd-Generation AMD Opteron based on the AMD Barcelona, Budapest and Shanghai processor families; and Intel Xeon processors based on the Penryn and Nehalem microarchitectures and their successors.

Download the VMware SiteSurvey (http://www.vmware.com/download/shared_utilities.html) utility to check if your configuration can run VMware FT.

For VMware FT to be supported, the servers that host the virtual machines must each use a supported processor from the same category as documented below:

Intel Xeon based on 45nm Core 2 Microarchitecture Category:

    • 3100 Series
    • 3300 Series
    • 5200 Series (DP)
    • 5400 Series
    • 7400 Series

Intel Xeon based on Core i7 Microarchitecture Category:

    • 5500 Series

AMD 3rd Generation Opteron Category:

    • 1300 Series
    • 2300 Series (DP)
    • 8300 Series (MP)

Guest Operating Systems The following table displays guest operating system support for VMware FT. For specific guest operating system version information, see the Guest Operating System Installation Guide at http://www.vmware.com/pdf/GuestOS_guide.pdf.   The following values appear in the table:

  • Yes – Virtual machine can be FT-enabled while powered on.
  • Yes/Off - Virtual machine must be powered off before FT is enabled
  • No – Not supported by VMware FT.
Guest Operating System Fault Tolerance Support with Intel Xeon Based on 45nm Core 2 Microarchitecture Fault Tolerance Support with Intel Xeon Based on Core i7 Microarchitecture Fault Tolerance Support with AMD 3rd Generation Opteron
Windows Server 2008 Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off
Windows Vista Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off
Windows Server 2003 (64 bit) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off
Windows Server 2003 (32 bit) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off (Requires Service Pack 2 or greater)
Windows XP (64 bit) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off
Windows XP (32 bit) Yes Yes/Off No
Windows 2000 Yes/Off Yes/Off No
Windows NT 4.0 Yes/Off Yes/Off No
Linux (all ESX-supported distributions) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off
Netware Server Yes/Off Yes/Off Yes/Off
Solaris 10 (64-bit) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off (Requires Solaris U1)
Solaris 10 (32-bit) Yes Yes/Off No
FreeBSD (all ESX-supported distributions) Yes Yes/Off Yes/Off

Note: System vendors are certifying that their systems work with FT. You can find details on the FT-certified systems at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility. More systems are being certified all the time, so check back if your platform is not currently listed.

You can also check processor, operating system, and virtual machine configuration compliance with FT by downloading and running the VMware SiteSurvey utility from http://www.vmware.com/download/shared_utilities.html. It highlights compliance issues and describes how to correct them.

FT Problem Decoder Chart

July 10th, 2009

Receiving errors while trying to configure FT (Fault Tolerance) on a VM and stumped as to the reason why? This may help. Take a look at the vCenter server log in your vSphere Client and find the entry when the FT error occurred (the vCenter server log lists events in chronological order from oldest to newest, be sure to choose the correct log file as there are several to choose from). More specifically, look for the line reason = “blah blah blah”. In this case, the reason is “replayNotSupported”.

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Next, open your web browser and surf to this vSphere API 4.0 link titled “Enum – VmFaultToleranceConfigIssueReasonForIssue”. This is a cross reference chart that lists common sense explanations for the “reason” code above. According to the chart, “replayNotSupported” is explained as:

“It is not possible to turn on Fault Tolerance on this powered-on VM. The support for record/replay should be enabled or Fault Tolerance turned on, when this VM is powered off.”

The root cause for the example shown above is the processors support FT, however, not while the VM is powered on. For the AMD Opteron 2356 Barcelona processors, FT is supported but the VMs must be in a powered off state to enable FT, which leads me to my next blog entry

Here is a copy of the chart:

Name Description
ftSecondaryVm The virtual machine is a fault tolerance secondary virtual machine
ftUnsupportedHardware The host ftSupported flag is not set because of hardware issues
ftUnsupportedProduct The host ftSupported flag is not set because of it is a VMware Server 2.0
haNotEnabled HA is not enabled on the cluster
hasLocalDisk The virtual machine has one or more disks on local datastore
hasSnapshots The virtual machine has one or more snapshots
hostInactive The host is not active
missingFTLoggingNic FT logging nic is not configured on the host
missingVMotionNic No VMotion license or VMotion nic is not configured on the host
moreThanOneSecondary There is already a secondary virtual machine for the primary virtual machine
multipleVCPU The virtual machine has more than one virtual CPU
noConfig No configuration information is available for the virtual machine
recordReplayNotSupported The virtual machine does not support record/replay. Vm::Capability.RecordReplaySupported is false.
replayNotSupported It is not possible to turn on Fault Tolerance on this powered-on VM. The support for record/replay should be enabled or Fault Tolerance turned on, when this VM is powered off.
templateVm The virtual machine is a template
thinDisk The virtual machine has thin provisioned disks
verifySSLCertificateFlagNotSet The “check host certificate” flag is not set

First vSphere Patches Released by VMware

July 10th, 2009

Approximately six weeks after the vSphere launch, the first batch of ESX/ESXi 4.0 patches have downloaded by vSphere Update Manager. I was notified this morning at 3am via an Email from vSphere Update Manager. Here is the patch list:

The number of patch definitions downloaded:

10 critical

16 total

ESX:

ID: ESX400-200906401-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates VMX

ID: ESX400-200906402-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates ESX Scripts

ID: ESX400-200906403-BG Impact: HostGeneral Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates VMware Tools

ID: ESX400-200906404-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates CIM

ID: ESX400-200906405-SG Impact: HostSecurity Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates krb5 and pam_krb5

ID: ESX400-200906406-SG Impact: HostSecurity Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates sudo

ID: ESX400-200906407-SG Impact: HostSecurity Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates curl

ID: ESX400-200906408-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates SCSI Driver for QLogic FC

ID: ESX400-200906409-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates LSI storelib Library

ID: ESX400-200906410-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates hostd

ID: ESX400-200906411-SG Impact: HostSecurity Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates udev

ID: ESX400-200906412-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates esxupdate

ID: ESX400-200906413-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: esx 4.0.0
Updates vmkernel iSCSI Driver

ESXi:

ID: ESXi400-200906401-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: embeddedEsx 4.0.0
Updates Firmware

ID: ESXi400-200906402-BG Impact: Critical Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: embeddedEsx 4.0.0
Updates Tools

ID: VEM400-200906002-BG Impact: HostGeneral Release date: 2009-07-09 Products: embeddedEsx 4.0.0
Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM