Posts Tagged ‘vSphere Client’

VMware vSphere SiteSurvey Plug-in

May 10th, 2011

VMware SiteSurvey is a free add-on utility which analyzes vSphere ESX and ESXi hosts for VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) compatibility.  My good friend Eric Siebert wrote in depth about this piece of software and its capabilities just after the GA launch of VMware vSphere in 2009.

In June of 2010, VMware released SiteSurvey version 2.5.0.  What was unique about this particular release was that VMware transformed it from a standalone Windows application to a vSphere Client Plug-in.  Today, version 2.5.2 (released 12/10/10) of this SiteSurvey Plug-in is available as a free download from VMware’s site.

Installation of the plug-in is as simple as they come.  Exit the vSphere Client if it is currently running and launch the SiteSurvey-2.5.2.msi executable file.  SiteSurvey is a client side plug-in and as such needs to be installed on each machine which has a vSphere Client in order to use the plug-in.

Click Next:

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Accept the license agreement and click Next:

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Click Next:

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After the installation routine completes, click Close:

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Now open the vSphere Client and choose Plug-ins | Manage Plug-ins.  Note the new SiteSurvey Plugin and VMware’s inconsistent spelling of the Plug-in phrase:

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With the plug-in installed and enabled, you’ll now see a SiteSurvey tab in the cluster and host inventory views which will help you identify the FT capabilities of both hosts and virtual machines.  Remember, there is a lengthy list of requirements which must be met for hosts, VMs, clusters, and vCenter to enable FT.  Information about FT requirements can be found here, here, and here:

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Free VMware vSphere Client for iPad Available

March 18th, 2011

SnagIt CaptureIt has been an exciting couple of months for VMware in terms of product releases.  Now, VMware has done it again.  Effective immediately, the vSphere Client for iPad is announced and is generally available for download from the Apple App Store.  Leave your wallet and iTunes gift cards parked.  Similar to the VMware View Client for iPad, this app is also brought to the community free of charge.  From anywhere, we can now view key performance metrics and perform essential management tasks in a simplified and portable interface.

The new client is not meant to be functionally equivalent to the existing vSphere Client for Windows.  Rather, the idea is to be able to perform the most common vSphere administrator tasks.  This release is version 1.0.1.  As such, not all of the desired features and functionality is baked in.  Future development will be an iterative process from the GA release point forward. Feedback from end users will be collected and improvements will be built into future versions.  vMotion will perhaps be the most desired feature but unfortunately it did not make GA release.  VMware promises it will be the next feature added so that is more good news to look forward to on the horizon. 

Other potential wish list items which didn’t make the GA build are ESX Service Console, ESXi DCUI, and guest VM console access.  In my opinion, I wouldn’t look for console features any time soon.  I believe the spirit of the vSphere Client for iPad is to provide simplified management through an easy to use interface ala knobs and buttons.  Console access falls into that last 20% of advanced troubleshooting which extends beyond the intended use case of the iPad Client.

Architecture

So what’s under the hood?  Let’s take a look.  Aside from the foundational vSphere infrastructure (which is available as a free 60-day evaluation), there are two components, both free, which enable the delivery of portable management bliss:  the vCMA and the client for iPad itself.  To connect with the client from a remote location via the internet, a VPN connection on the iPad placing it local on the destination network is required.  Like the View Client for iPad, the vSphere Client for iPad is developed for iPad only.  No iPhone, iOther, etc.  The logic is built into the vCMA which will make it extensible for Android in the future.  Additionally, the vCMA will eventually be retired and its functionality will be rolled natively into vCenter Server.  I like this idea because my lab is getting to be somewhat appliance heavy which limits capacity to run the traditional VMs I want to be testing with.  Following is a visual overview of the architecture:

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As mentioned earlier, future development will be an iterative process based on customer feedback.  These discussions can be aired in the vSphere Client for iPad VMTN Community forums located at the URL below.  Do not be shy.  VMware WANTS your feedback:

http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere/ipadclient

Now let’s take a bit of a deeper dive by looking at the installation process and the management capabilities of the app.

Installation and Configuration

  1. Download the vSphere Client for iPad application from the iTunes Store.
  2. Once the vCMA virtual appliance (available for free at http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vcma) powers on, on the home screen of the iPad go to “Settings”, scroll down and tap on “vSphere Client” (an example this screen is shown below).
  3. Enter the IP Address of the vCMA virtual appliance in the “Web Server” field (again, see the sample image below).
  4. Ensure your iPad has connectivity to the vCMA virtual appliance (note: as of this writing, the vCMA has SSL enabled by default). This may entail configuring the iPad’s built-in VPN client. Consult Apple’s documentation on configuring the built-in VPN client.
  5. Launch the vSphere Client for iPad application and enter the host, username and password for the vCenter Server or vSphere Host you wish to connect to.

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Management Capabilities

Search for vSphere hosts and virtual machines.�
Reboot vSphere hosts or put them into maintenance mode.

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Manage virtual machines with the ability to start, stop and suspend.�
View and restore virtual machines’ snapshots

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Monitor the performance of vSphere hosts and virtual machines:

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Diagnose vSphere hosts and virtual machines using built-in ping and traceroute tools:

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Videos

Following are a few short video clips which VMware has made available covering the vSphere Client for iPad.

Configure the vCMA Virtual Appliance:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msjXKWFdgcM

Configure & use the iPad app:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kRalVLzMvE

Summary of the iPad development by VMware at VMworld in Copenhagen October 2010:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UseseTSNOP0

VMware is sure to gain popularity by offering virtualization and cloud management tools for portable devices… and at the right price.  VMware is listening to feedback and has already reacted with a modified list price in this GA release.  I think last week’s launch of the View Client for iPad was a big hit.  It will be interesting to see how well received this app is, particularly by the *nix folks who have been patiently waiting their turn for some client development love.

Updated 3/20/11:  Srinivas Krishnamurti, Senior Director for Mobile Solutions at VMware, has written a piece on his blog over at the Office of the CTO.  Read it here: VMware vSphere Client for iPad has left the building…

vCenter Storage Monitoring Plug-in Disabled

October 18th, 2010

Those who have upgraded to vSphere (hopefully most of you by now) may become accustomed to the new tab in vCenter labeled Storage Views. From time to time, you may notice that this tab mysteriously disappears from a view where it should normally be displayed.  If you’re a subscriber to my vCalendar, you’ll find a tip on July 18th which speaks to this:

Is your vSphere Storage Views tab or host Hardware Status tab not functioning or missing? Make sure the VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices service is running on the vCenter Server.

The solution above is an easy enough resolution, but what if that doesn’t fix the problem?  I ran into another instance of the Storage Views tab disappearing and it was not due to a stopped VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices service.  After a short investigation, I found a failed or disabled vCenter Storage Monitoring (Storage Monitoring and Reporting) plug-in:

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For those who cannot read the screen shot detail above, and for the purposes of Google search, I’ll paste the error code below:

The plug-in failed to load on server(s) <your vCenter Server> due to the following error: Could not load file or assembly ‘VpxClientCommon, Version=4.1.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=7c8-0a434483c7c50’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

I performed some testing in the lab and here’s what I found.  Long story short, installation of the vSphere 4.1 Client on a system which already has the the vSphere 4.0 Update 1 Client installed causes the issue.  The 4.1 Client installs a file called SMS.dll (dated 5/13/2010) into the directory C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Plugins\SMS\ overwriting the previous version (dated 11/7/2009).  While the newer version of the SMS.dll file causes no issues and works fine when connecting to vCenter 4.1 Servers, it’s not backward compatible with vCenter 4.0 Update 1.  The result is what you see in the image above, the plugin is disabled and cannot be enabled.

Furthermore, if you investigate your vSphere Client log files at C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\VMware\vpx\ you’ll find another similar entry:

System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly ‘VpxClientCommon, Version=4.1.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=7c80a434483c7c50’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

Copying the old version of the SMS.dll file into its proper location resolves the plug-in issue when connecting to a vSphere 4.0 Update 1 vCenter Server, this much I tested, however I’m sure it immediately breaks the plug-in when connecting to a vCenter 4.1 Server (I didn’t go so far as to testing this).

Essentially what this boils down to is a VMware vSphere Client bug which is going to bite people who have both vCenter Server 4.0 and 4.1 in their environment, and the respective clients are installed on the same endpoint machine.  I expect to hear about this more as people start their upgrades from vSphere 4.0 to vSphere 4.1.  Some may not even realize they have the issue, after all, I didn’t notice it until I was looking for the Storage Views tab and it wasn’t there.  After lab testing, I did some looking around on the net to see if anyone had discovered or documented this issue and the only hit I came across was a recently started VMware Communities thread, however, there was no posted solution.  The thread does contain a few hints which would have pointed me in the right direction much quicker had I read it ahead of time.  Nonetheless, time spent in the lab is time well spent as far as I’m concerned.  Unfortunately, there’s no fix here I can offer.  This one is on VMware to fix with a new release of the vSphere 4.1 Client.

Update 12/1/10:  VMware has released KB 1024493 to identify this problem and temporarily address the issue with a workaround:

Installing each Client version in different folders does not work. When you install the first Client you are asked where you want to install it. When you install the second Client, you are not asked for a location. Instead, the installer sees that you have already installed a Client and automatically tries and install the second client in the same directory.

To install vSphere Client 4.0 and 4.1 in separate directories:

  1. Install vSphere Client 4.0 in C:\Client4.0.
  2. Copy C:\Client4.0 to an external drive (such as a share or USB).
  3. Uninstall vSphere Client 4.0. Do not skip this step.
  4. Install vSphere Client 4.1 in C:\Client4.1.
  5. Copy the 4.0 Client folder from the external drive to the machine.
  6. Run vpxClient.exe from the 4.0 or 4.1 folder.

I’m expecting a more permanent fix in the future which addresses the .DLL incompatibility in the 4.1 vSphere Client.

Update 2/15/11:  Through some lab testing, it looks as if VMware has resolved this issue with the release of vSphere 4.1 Update 1 although KB 1024493 has not been updated yet to reflect this.  I uninstalled all vSphere Clients, then installed vSphere Client 4.0 Update 1, then installed vSphere Client 4.1 Update 1.  The result is the vCenter Storage Monitoring plug-in is no longer malfunctioning.  The Storage Views tab is also available.  Both of those items are a positive reflection of a resolution.  The Search function is failing in a different way but I’m not convinced it has anything to do with two installed vSphere Clients because it is also failing on a different machine which has only one vSphere Client installed.

Open in New Window

September 22nd, 2010

The VMware vSphere Client has a right-click menu option for most objects called Open in New Window

For instance, when right-clicking on a cluster object, the Open in New Window menu item appears:

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After choosing Open in New Window, a new vSphere Client window indeed appears.  Like many common tasks in the vSphere Client, this procedure has a shortcut key combination (CTRL + ALT + N).  Does this imply this is a commonly used feature? 

It’s not a commonly used feature by me.  To be honest, I didn’t know this feature existed until this week.  I was intrigued and played around with it for about 15 minutes.  First I tried to understand where this feature was presented.  I found it on most objects.  When I saw this, I looked for a way to exploit it.  The result was a rather anticlimactic failure.

This still left me wondering what the use case was for this feature.  There is one which comes to mind but I’m going to keep that to myself for now.  I’d like to hear from you.  Do you use this feature?  What are the use cases?  If you don’t use the feature, can you imagine a use case?  Open the vSphere Client and give it a try.  Be sure to try different infrastructure views.  There’s really no defined set of correct answers here, I’m looking for practical or creative ideas around the feature.

Respond in the comment section below.  The first responder with a relevant or interesting use case will be the winner of a VMware vSphere video training package from Train Signal.

Windows 7 Launch Multiple Program Instances Shortcut

June 22nd, 2010

I don’t pretend to know all of the Windows keyboard shortcuts but I do maintain an arsenal of frequently used aka useful ones.  Here’s one that I discovered by accident which is helpful for applications which multiple instances can typically be spawned simultaneously.  Applications like the vSphere Client, PuTTY, Remote Desktop Connection, Command Prompt, maybe a web browser if you dislike browser tabs.

The shortcut:

With one instance of the desired application already launched (and visible on the Windows 7 taskbar), SHIFT + LEFT MOUSE CLICK on the application on the taskbar:

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VIOLA!  An additional instance is spawned:

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I’ve found immediate use for this with launching multiple vSphere Client instances.  Sure I have these frequently used applications pinned to my taskbar for one click launch efficiency but when the application already has one instance launched, the target to click on is ergonomically larger and thus easier to find.

This UI enhancement may also work with Vista.  I didn’t use that OS long enough to find out.  I’m not sure if Microsoft has an official name for this technology – surely there must be an acronym for it.  I’ll pay attention during the “Windows 7 was my idea” commercials as this was obviously someone’s idea and this trick could surface there.

ps. On the subject of Windows 7 enhancements.  While I do like and use the feature where an application is snapped to one of the four edges of the screen, at the same time I’ve developed a phobia about carefully navigating my mouse while dragging an application where I DO NOT want it to snap and take up a huge chunk of display real estate.  I’m passive aggressive particular about the dimensions of my application windows relative to everything else in the shared area.  The four edges of a Windows 7 display have tractor beams and when your mouse comes close to the edge, it sucks you the rest of the way in and before you know it, an app is maximized.  I’d bet *nix people don’t have these types of issues.

New Microsoft .NET Framework Update Breaks vSphere Client

June 10th, 2010

Just a quick heads up to bring attention to an issue which I caught on Twitter.  VMware published KB 1022611 today which describes a new issue that is introduced by a recent Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 & 3.5 SP1 update.  Upon installing the update, the vSphere Client stops working.  According to the article, the issue impacts ESX(i)3.5, 4.0, and vCenter 4.0.  Contrary to the topic of this blog post, I am not placing blame on Microsoft.  It remains unclear to me which company’s development staff is responsible for the software incompatibility.  Microsoft obviously issued the udpate which revealed the problem, but VMware has some skin in this as well in that they need to make sure they are following Microsoft .NET Framework development standards and best practices for their enterprise hypervisor management.

Key details from the VMware KB article:

The vSphere Clients, prior to the Update 1 release, cannot be used to access the vCenter Server or ESX hosts. A Microsoft update that targets the .NET Framework, released on June 9th 2010 is causing this issue. The update http://support.microsoft.com/kb/980773 causes the vSphere Client to stop working.    To correct the issue there are two options that can be performed:

  • Remove the MS update from your Windows operating system. The vSphere Client works after the update is removed.

Note: This affects Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Old vCenter Server Name Shown In Title Bar; Update Manager Plugin Fails

November 22nd, 2009

I recently rebuilt a vCenter Server on a new Windows host having a different name than the vCenter Server host used previously. Wanting to maintain my existing datacenter configuration and layout, I chose to connect to and preserve the existing SQL database back end.

The installation went well and my existing datacenter configuration was in tact, however, I noticed one anomaly having two symptoms. After establishing a vSphere Client connection to the new vCenter Server named vc40.boche.mcse, the vSphere Client title bar showed jarjar.boche.mcse which was the old vCenter Server name.

Furthermore, the Update Manager plugin was failing to load because it could not establish a connection to jarjar.boche.mcse. I wasn’t surprised a connection could not be made since jarjar was retired and no longer on the network. But why was the legacy vCenter Server name persisting in my new installation?

At first, I thought there was some funky DNS reverse lookup going on but I was able to quickly rule that out when I remembered that I had assigned a new IP address to the new vCenter Server host.

I quickly came to the conclusion that there was a row in the SQL database tattooed with the old vCenter Server name which was showing up in the vSphere Client. With that thought in mind, I used the vSphere Client to access the Administration|vCenter Server Settings menu option.

There it was, under Runtime Settings, the old name of the vCenter Server from the original installation. I was able to simply change the Name from jarjar.boche.mcse to vc40.boche.mcse

Afterwards, the vSphere Client title bar was updated with the correct name of the vCenter Server vc40.boche.mcse. No reboot or recycling of any services needed. The Update Manager plugin had also followed suit, making its connection to the correct vCenter Server name instead of the old one which no longer existed.

Simple stuff but I thought I’d write it up in case anyone else ran into this and was pulling their hair out.