Posts Tagged ‘VMware’

VMware Press Launches Sweepstakes!

May 1st, 2012

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VMware Press, the official publisher of VMware books and training materials, has launched a 60 day Facebook sweepstakes beginning May 1 and running through June 30th. Prize offerings include a $100 Amazon gift card and three VMware Press books of the winner’s choice; nine second prize winners will win an eBook of their choice. Good luck – enter now at the link below!

http://ow.ly/aBkvE

AppAssure Webinar – The Top 3 Backup Technologies for 2012

April 24th, 2012

Webinar Announcement:

What: The Top 3 Backup Technologies for 2012

When: Wednesday, April 25, 12:00 PM CST

Where: http://go.appassure.com/webinar-top-3-backup-technologies-042512-gmt

Details: FEATURED SPEAKER: Joseph Hand, Sr. Director of Product Strategy, AppAssure Software.  Learn about the 3 Backup & Recovery technologies you need for 2012!  Instant Restore with near-zero RTO, Backup and Recovery auto-verification, and Cross-platform Data Recovery – P2V, V2V, V2P.

For more on this and other AppAssure webinars, please visit http://www.appassure.com/live-webinars/

RVTools 3.3 Now Available

April 23rd, 2012

Breaking News: RVTools 3.3 from Rob de Veij is now generally available to the public.  Release notes for this build:

  • GetWebResponse timeout value changed from 5 minutes to 10 minutes (for very big environments)
  • New tabpage with HBA information
  • On vDatastore tab the definition of the Provisioned MB and In Use MB columns was confusing! This is changed now.
  • RVToolsSendMail accepts now multiple recipients (semicolon is used as separator)
  • Folder information of VMs and Templates are now visible on vInfo tabpage
  • Bugfix: data in comboboxes on filter form are now sorted
  • Bugfix: Problem with api version 2.5.0 solved
  • Bugfix: Improved exception handling on vCPU tab.
  • Bugfix: Improved exception handling on vDatastore tab.

Download

Documentation

Using PowerCLI To Answer Virtual Machine Message Questions

April 17th, 2012

Scripters believe in efficiency, automation, working smarter and not harder, etc.  You’ll sometimes hear them say something like “Any process which is repeated once or more should be scripted”.  Myself, I am not the world’s greatest scripter.  I have to work at it.  Thus my personal threshold for committing to a scripted method is higher than one repetition.

In my environment, I did come across a particular process which needed to be repeated 20 or more times – Answering a virtual machine question.  Based on what I’m working on, conceivably I was going to run into this a lot more.  This is a great candidate for scripting.

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The Virtual Machine Message I’m faced with deals with the relocation of the VM.  Via the vSphere Client, my possible choices to answer the question are “Cancel”, “I moved it”, or “I copied it”.  I don’t have the patience or desire to mouse through this hundreds of times.

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I want to provide the same answer, “I moved it”, for every VM in inventory which has this question.  The script to accomplish this is fairly simple, even by my standards.  Once the PowerCLI connection is established to the vCenter Server or ESX(i) host, it’s a one-liner.  Following is the PowerShell script which gets the job done for my situation:

Connect-VIServer vc501.boche.lab
Get-VM | Get-VMQuestion | Set-VMQuestion -Option “I moved it” -Confirm:$false

Note that there are different types of Virtual Machine Message questions which will yield a different set of possible answers.  Be sure to query a VM having a question via PowerCLI for the possible answers to that question.  Get-VM | Get-VMQuestion -full should do it.  Once the possible answers are revealed, use Set-VMQuestion -Option to provide an answer.

Also note the script above will cycle through all VMs in inventory, and for those having a question, it will provide the same response for each VM.  Thus the assumption is made that all VMs with pending questions have the same question being asked.  To respond to explicit question types or to filter the VMs being looped through, the script would need to be refined.

For more information on the Get-VMQuestion or Set-VMQuestion PowerCLI cmdlets, use Get-Help Get-VMQuestion -full or Set-Help Get-VMQuestion -full respectively.

Update 6/30/15:  I ran into a situation with vSphere 5.5 Update 2 and PowerCLI 5.8.0.6734 where “I moved it” was not being recognized as a valid answer to the question, yet I needed to provide this as the correct answer.

Using:

PowerCLI C:\> Get-VMQuestion -VM mytestvm

Possible answers are:

Cancel, button.uuid.movedTheVM, button.uuid.copiedTheVM

I’m not sure why this changed or when, but in my case the new answer string to provide is ‘button.uuid.movedTheVM’

I needed to answer the same question on a large number of virtual machines so I used the following PowerShell:

Get-VM | Get-VMQuestion | Set-VMQuestion -Option ‘button.uuid.movedTheVM’ -Confirm:$false

vSphere 5.0 Update 1 and Related Product Launches

March 16th, 2012

VMware has unveiled a point release update to several of their products tied to the vSphere 5 virtual cloud datacenter platform plus a few new product launches.

vCenter 5.0 Update 1 – Added support for new guest operating systems such as Windows 8, Ubuntu, and SLES 11 SP2, the usual resolved issues and bug fixes, plus some updates around vRAM limits licensing.  One other notable – no compatibility at this time with vSphere Data Recovery (vDR) 2.0 according to the compatibility matrix.

ESXi 5.0 Update 1 – Added support for new AMD and Intel processors, Mac OS X Server Lion, updated chipset drivers, resolved issues and bug fixes.  One interesting point to be made here is that according to the compatibility matrix, vCenter 5.0 supports ESXi 5.0 Update 1.  I’m going to stick with the traditional route of always upgrading vCenter before upgrading hosts as a best practices habit until something comes along to challenge that logic.

vCloud Director 1.5.1 – Added support for vSphere 5.0 Update 1 and vShield 5.0.1, plus RHEL 5 Update 7 as a supported server cell platform.  Enhancements were made around firewall rules, AMQP system notifications, log collection, chargeback retention, resolved issues, and added support for AES-256 encryption on Site-to-Site VPN tunnels (unfortunately no vSphere 5.0 Update 1 <-> vCloud Connector 1.5 support).  Oh yes, sometime over the past few months, VMware Marketing has quietly changed the acronym for vCloud Director from vCD to VCD.  We’ll just call that a new feature for 1.5.1 going forward.  I <3 the Marketing team.

Site Recovery Manager 5.0.1 – Added support for vSphere 5.0 Update 1 plus a “Forced Failover” feature which allows VM recovery in cases where storage arrays fail at the protected site which, in the past, lead to unmanageable VMs which cannot be shut down, powered off, or unregistered.  Added IP customization for some Ubuntu platforms.  Many bug fixes, oh yes.  VMware brought back an advanced feature which hasn’t been seen since SRM 4.1 which provided a configurable option, storageProvider.hostRescanCnt, allowing repeated host scans during testing and recovery. This option was removed from SRM 5.0 but has been restored in the Advanced Settings menu in SRM 5.0.1 and can be particularly useful in troubleshooting a failed Recovery Plan. Right-click a site in the Sites view, select Advanced Settings, then select storageProvider. See KB 1008283.  Storage arrays certified on SRM 5.0 (ie. Dell Compellent Storage Center) are automatically certified on SRM 5.0.1.

View 5.0.1 – Added support for vSphere 5.0 Update 1, new Connection Server, Agent, Clients, fixed known issues.  Ahh.. let’s go back to that new clients bit.  New bundled Mac OS X client with support for PCoIP!  I don’t have a Mac so those who would admit to calling me a friend will have to let me know how sharp that v1.4 Mac client is.  As mentioned in earlier release notes, Ubuntu got a plenty of love this week.  Including a new View PCoIP version 1.4 client for Ubuntu Linux.  I might just have to deploy an Ubuntu desktop somewhere to test this client.  But wait, there’s more.  New releases of the View client for Android and iPad tablets.  The Android client adds fixes for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, security stuff, and updates for the Kindle Fire (I need to get this installed on my wife’s Fire).  The updated iPad client improves both connection times as well as external display support but for the most part Apple fans are flipping out simply over something shiny and new.  Lastly, VMware created a one stop shop web portal for all client downloads which can be fetched at http://www.vmware.com/go/viewclients/

vShield 5.0.1 – Again, added support for vSphere 5.0 Update 1, enhanced reporting and export options, new REST API calls, improved audit logs, simplified troubleshooting, improved vShield App policy management as well as HA enhancements, and enablement of Autodeploy through vShield VIB host modules downloadable from vShield Manager.

So… looking at the compatibility matrix with all of these new code drops, my lab upgrade order will look something like this:

1a. View 5.0 –> View 5.0.1

1b. vCD 1.5 –> VCD 1.5.1

1c. SRM 5.0 –> SRM 5.0.1

1d. vShield App/Edge/Endpoint 5.0 –> 5.0.1

1e. vDR 2.0 –> Go Fish

2. vSphere Client 5.0.1 (it’s really not an upgrade, installs parallel with other versions)

3. vCenter Server 5.0 –> vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1

4. Update Manager 5.0 –> Update Manager 5.0 Update 1

5. ESXi 5.0 –> ESXi 5.0 Update 1

There are a lot of versions in play here which weaves somewhat of a tangled web of compatibility touch points to identify before diving head first into upgrades.  I think VMware has done a great job this time around with releasing products that are, for the most part, compatible with other currently shipping products which provides more flexibility in tactical approach and timelines.  Add to that, some time ago they’ve migrated a two dimensional .PDF based compatibility matrix into an online portal offering interactive input making the set of results customized for the end user.  The only significant things missing in the vSphere 5.0U1 compatibility picture IMO are vCloud Connector, vDR, and based on the results from the compatibility matrix portal – vCenter Operations (output showed no compatibility with vSphere 5.x, didn’t look right to me).  I’ve taken a liberty in creating a component compatibility visual roadmap including most of the popular and currently shipping products vSphere 5.0 and above.  If you’ve got a significant amount of infrastructure to upgrade, this may help you get the upgrade order sorted out quickly.  One last thing – Lab Manager and ESX customers should pay attention to the Island of Misfit Toys.  In early 2013 the Lab Manager ride comes coasting to a stop.  Lab Manager and ESX customers should be formulating solid migration plans with an execution milestone coming soon.

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VMware vCenter as a vCloud Director vApp

February 27th, 2012

Snagit CaptureThe way things work out, I tend to build a lot of vCenter Servers in the lab.  Or at least it feels like I do.  I need to test this.  A customer I’m meeting with wants to specifically see that.  I need don’t want to taint or impact an existing vCenter Server which may already be dedicated to something else having more importance.  VMware Site Recovery Manager is a good example.  Each time I bring up an environment I need a pair of vCenter Servers which may or not be available.  Whatever the reason, I’ve reached the point where I don’t need to experience the build process repeatedly.

The Idea

A while ago, I had stood up a private cloud for the Technical Solutions/Technical Marketing group at Dell Compellent.  I saved some time by leveraging that cloud environment to quickly provision platforms I could install vCenter Server instances on.  vCenter Servers as vApps – fantastic use case.  However, the vCenter installation process is lengthy enough that I wanted something more in terms of automated cookie cutter deployment which I didn’t have to spend a lot of time on.  What if I took one of the Windows Server 2008 R2 vApps from the vCD Organization Catalog, deployed it as a vApp, bumped up the vCPU and memory count, installed the vSphere Client, vCenter Server, licenses, a local MS SQL Express database, and the Dell Compellent vSphere client plug-in (download|demo video), and then added that vApp back to the vCD Organization Catalog?  Perhaps not such a supported configuration by VMware or Microsoft, but could I then deploy that vApp as future vCenter instances?  Better yet, build a vApp consisting of a pair of vCenter Servers for the SRM use case?  It sounded feasible.  My biggest concerns were things like vCenter and SQL Express surviving the name and IP address change as part of the vCD customization.

The POC

Although I ran into some unrelated customization issues which seemed to have something to do with vCD, Windows Server 2008 R2, and VMXNET3 vNICs (error message: “could not find network adapters as specified by guest customization. Log file is at c:\windows\temp\customize-guest.log.” I’ll save that for a future blog post if I’m able to root cause the problem), the Proof of Concept test results thus far have been successful.  After vCD customization, I was able to add vSphere 5 hosts and continue with normal operations from there.

Initially, I did run into one minor issue and that was hosts would fall into a disconnected status approximately two minutes after being connected to the vCenter Server.  This turned out to be a Windows Firewall issue which was introduced during the customization process.  Also, there were some red areas under the vCenter Service Status which pointed to the old instance name (most fixes for that documented well by Rick Vanover here, plus the vCenter Inventory Service cleanup at VMware KB 2009934).

The Conclusion

To The Cloud!  You don’t normally hear that from me on a regular basis but in this case it fits.  A lengthy and increasingly cumbersome task was made more efficient with vCloud Director and vSphere 5.  Using the Linked Clone feature yields both of its native benefits: Fast Provisioning and Space Efficiency.  I’ll continue to leverage vCD for similar and new use cases where I can.  Lastly, this solution can also be implemented with VMware Lab Manager or simply as a vSphere template.  Caveats being Lab Manager retires in a little over a year and a vSphere Template won’t be as space efficient as a Linked Clone.

Top Blog 2012 Results

February 26th, 2012

Snagit CaptureFor several years, my friend in blogging, virtualization, storage, and cigars, Eric Siebert, has conducted an annual online survey where virtualization community members can vote for their top-10 blogs.  The latest results were just released this morning along with a video counting down the top-25.  Once again, I’ve been fortunate enough to remain among the top-10 of 187 VMware virtualization blogs.  I have slipped a few spots over the past few years but nonetheless it’s an honor to be recognized among so much great talent.

My thanks and appreciation goes out to Eric Siebert who spent well over 30 of his own hours making this year’s contest successful.  Of course I’d also like to thank the readers who voted for my blog, effectively letting me know that the content I produce is valuable to the community.  That is one of the reasons I started blogging and it is the reason I will continue to do so.  Last but not least, thank you TrainSignal for sponsoring this year’s contest.

A full compilation of results and categories can be found at Eric’s site using the link above.  Following is an excerpt displaying the top-25:

Blog Rank Previous Total Votes Total Points #1 Votes
Yellow Bricks (Duncan Epping) 1 1 697 5440 243
Scott Lowe 2 3 480 3034 25
NTPro.nl (Eric Sloof) 3 4 419 2592 45
Virtual Geek (Chad Sakac) 4 2 381 2298 46
Frank Denneman 5 6 373 2214 19
RTFM Education (Mike Laverick) 6 5 337 1775 6
Virtu-al (Alan Renouf) 7 9 294 1599 10
Virtually Ghetto (William Lam) 8 25 288 1522 21
Virtualization Evangelist (Jason Boche) 9 8 283 1392 15
vSphere-land (Eric Siebert) 10 7 264 1267 9
The SLOG (Simon Long) 11 11 225 1258 23
Virtual Storage Guy (Vaughn Stewart) 12 15 218 1245 48
vReference (Forbes Guthrie) 13 19 219 1123 14
LucD (Luc Dekens) 14 21 174 1055 20
Gabe’s Virtual World (Gabriel Van Zanten) 15 10 204 995 19
Nickapedia (Nicholas Weaver) 16 24 171 948 14
My Virtual Cloud (Andre Leibovici) 17 39 150 914 25
TechHead (Simon Seagrave) 18 14 166 904 17
VMGuru.nl (Various) 19 13 179 815 21
ESX Virtualization (Vladan Seget) 20 23 138 804 19
Chris Colotti 21 119 733 28
VMware Tips (Rick Scherer) 22 18 155 718 5
Pivot Point (Scott Drummonds) 23 17 114 615 1
Brian Madden 24 96 581 6
Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat 25 116 562 1