Only two weeks until an impressive dutch VMUG

It’s only two weeks until the annual dutch VMUG with a very impressive speaker line-up. Many international speakers are going to deliver great sessions, workshops and Q/A-sessions at the Nieuwegein Business Center (NBC) on December 10th.

If you’re interest and work involves virtualization and you haven’t registered yet, you should!. This is an event you should NOT miss. Make sure you register and come to Nieuwegein on December 10th 2010. More information can be found here.

Here’s the impressive line-up:

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Challenge: vCenter, EVC and Distributed Virtual switches.

Yesterday a colleague asked me to add four blades from our old test environment to our new VMware vSphere 4.1 test environment. Of course this was no problem (yet), I had an hour or two to spare, so I started immediately.

Download the ESXi 4.1 installable ISO, connecting this to the four blades, installing and preconfiguring ESXi and adding them to them VMware HA/DRS test cluster. Adjust the zoning for the SAN and configure the correct VLANs and where done. WRONG!

The two running ESX hosts are equipped with Intel Xenon X5660 CPUs, the four extra ESX hosts have Intel Xenon X5430 CPUs. When I tried to do a vMotion the following error message appeared.

Surprise, the CPUs are not compatible. So I needed to setup EVC in this cluster to mask the advanced features from the Intel Xenon X5660 and bring it to the same feature level as the Intel Xenon 5430′s.

But this creates the first ‘chicken or egg dilemma’ of the day.

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Support Alert: Issue with IBM hardware running ESX/ESXi 4.1 (update)

A few minutes ago On November 12th VMware issued a Support Alert regarding an issue that affects users with IBM hardware, running ESX/ESXi 4.1.

The symptoms are mentioned below.

When using IBM x3650 M3 or BladeCenter HS22V servers, you may experience these symptoms:

  • HBAs stop responding
  • Other PCIs devices may also stop responding
  • You see an an illegal vector shortly before an HBA stops responding to the driver. For example:
    vmkernel: 6:01:34:46.970 cpu0:4120)ALERT: APIC: 1823: APICID 0×00000000 – ESR = 0×40
  • The HBA stops responding to commands. For example:
    vmkernel: 6:01:42:36.189 cpu15:4274)<6>qla2xxx 0000:1a:00.0: qla2x00_abort_isp: **** FAILED ****
    vmkernel: 6:01:47:36.383 cpu14:4274)<4>qla2xxx 0000:1a:00.0: Failed mailbox send register test
  • The HBA card gets marked offline. For example:
    vmkernel: 6:01:47:36.383 cpu14:4274)<4>qla2xxx 0000:1a:00.0: ISP error recovery failed – board disabled

The issue is currently under investigation by VMware engineering. At this time, downgrading to ESX/ESXi 4.0 by performing a fresh install is the only resolution.

VMware has created a Knowledgebase article 1030265 – HBAs and other PCI devices may stop responding in ESX 4.1 when using IBM servers. This KB article may be updated with new information if it becomes available. Bookmark the KB, or subscribe to its rss feed here to receive updates.

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Keeping your infrastructure up to date

Update cycleAs with most products you want to keep them up to date for several reasons, which can include security, availability, reliability or even new features in the product. Keeping products up to date is a process that keeps repeating itself and needs a good plan to keep up with the most recent updates.

A lot of times though you will see that an organization isn’t on top of the update process, either because they aren’t aware of it or just forget to execute the tasks for updating their products.

The following BBC News article shows what might happen when you’re not keeping your system up to date. Several companies have become victims of the the Sasser virus which interrupted their normal operations.

Recently I have been doing a quick look at an VMware ESX infrastructure in which I noticed they did install the VMware update manager. They also had a baseline configured and attached to several ESX hosts and every evening there was a scheduled task to check for new updates available.

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And the winners are …

A week ago, Arjan, initiated a VMworld Great Prize Draw giving away some of the items he collected at VMworld 2010 in Copenhagen. Because we had some extra items we introduced an additional fourth prize.

I got the honors of naming the winners, so I pulled the numbers 15, 7, 3 and  5.

Matching this with Arjan’s list of registrations resulted in the following four prize winners.

  • First prize, the original VMware World Lab Staff Shirt, goes to Giuseppe Guglielmetti.
  • Second prize, the original VMworld Backpack, goes to Jason Robinson.
  • Third prize, a original VMworld Surprise, goes to Richard van der Sligte.
  • And the fourth prize, the original VMworld Virtual roads, Actual clouds t-shirt, goes to Darrin Jones.

The four winners will receive an e-mail shortly from Arjan for their address data. Thanks for participating!

vCenter server performance charts fail

In order to reach everyone possible, VMware put out an alert via the VMware toolbar yesterday, repeating the message with regards to the issue users of VMware vCenter Server may experience with performance charts after the time change over the past weekend.

So, again:

Users of VMware vCenter Server may notice the following since the time change:

  • Performance charts do not display data
  • Past week, month, and year performance overview charts are not displayed
  • Datastore performance/space data charts are not displayed
  • You receive the error: The chart could not be loaded
  • The Knowledge Management Team has published KB article: Performance charts fail after Daylight Savings changes are applied (1030305) with further details about the issue and this KB article will be the official reference for this issue as it evolves.

  • New Job @ Imtech ICT

    After 13 years at Centric I accepted a new challenge and on December 1st I will be following Edwin to Imtech ICT Infrastructure Services & Solutions in the Netherlands. In my new job as a Solution Architect my primary focus will be on virtualization and storage.

    I want to thank Centric for giving me the opportunity to develop from Helpdesk employee to Solution Architect.

    Of course I will keep on blogging at VMGuru.nl.

    I’m VMGuru.nl and I’ve just been overhauled!

    Because we experienced more and more problems with the placement of our content we decided to give the website an overhauling.

    We changed the theme we started with two years ago and replaced it with a cleaner and fresher look with two sidebars.

    I hope you all like the new layout and keep visiting us. If you have any hints, tips and/or complaints don’t hesitate to contact us using comments, e-mail or even twitter.

    VMworld Great Prize Draw!

    When I saw the statistics that Erik published yesterday I was very pleased to see that my contributions to the VMGuru.nl site grew the most of all.

    When I joined the contributors more than a year ago from now, I never thought blogging for the site could generate such an exposure. Well done to all of you contributor’s and visitors!!

    Inspired by the VMworld booth, and to celebrate ranking, a came up with the idea to set up a prize draw!

    No iPads to win this time, but real original collector’s items from VMworld Copenhagen 2010.

    Participating is easy. Just send an e-mail to vmworld@vanthoff.net with “VMWORLD PRIZEDRAW” in the subject.

    Employers of VMware and VMGuru.nl are excluded. Prize drawing will take place on 8 November 2010.

    Prizes? (more…)

    VMGuru’s browser and OS statistics

    As you might or might not know, I’m the hosting dude at VMGuru.nl. Our site runs on a Linux VM with Apache and that gives us the performance and stability we need. The combination of Apache on Linux gives us some nice options to run statistics on VMGuru.nl and of course we do. So, without further ado, here are the browser and OS statistics you all help to build. (more…)