No internet connection results in slow vSphere client consoles

vSphere clientIn the last few weeks a customer that I am working for has been making a lot of changes within their infrastructure. Some big and some (on the surface) small. Somewhere during those weeks a change was made and the consequence of that change has gone by unnoticed at first. Then reports started to come in from colleague administrators that console sessions for virtual machines, when using the vSphere client, where really slooooowwwww. Opening a console took more than 10 seconds and trying to open more simultaneous would freeze the users screen entirely.

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What’s new in VMware vSphere 5.5

VMworld 2013.png

In today’s VMworld keynote VMware announced general availability of vSphere 5.5 which introduces many new features and enhancements that further extend the core capabilities of the vSphere platform.

The core vSphere ESXi Hypervisor enhancements in vSphere 5.5 include the following:

  • Hot-pluggable SSDPCIe devices
    Solid-state disks (SSDs) are becoming more prevalent in the enterprise datacenter. Similarly as with SATA and SAS hard disks, users are now able to hot-add or hot-remove an SSD device while a vSphere host is running, and the underlying storage stack detects the operation.
  • Support for Reliable Memory Technology
    To provide greater resiliency and to protect against memory errors, vSphere ESXi Hypervisor can now take advantage of Reliable Memory Technology, a CPU hardware feature through which a region of memory is reported from the hardware to vSphere ESXi Hypervisor as being more “reliable.” This information is then used to optimize the placement of the VMkernel and other critical components such as the initial thread, hostd and the watchdog process and helps guard against memory errors.
  • Enhancements to CPUC-states
    In vSphere 5.1 and earlier, the balanced policy for host power management leveraged only the performance state (P-state), which kept the processor running at a lower frequency and voltage. In vSphere 5.5, the deep processor power state (C-state) also is used, providing additional power savings. Another potential benefit of reduced power consumption is with inherent increased performance, because turbo mode frequencies on Intel chipsets can be reached more quickly while other CPU cores in the physical package are in deep C-states.

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VMware vCenter Server 5.1 fails after demoting Windows Domain Controller

vCenterServerLDAPBrokeDownLast week a colleague of ours was tied up in troubleshooting a VMware environment with a vCenter Server. It  failed authenticating through LDAP with the Windows Domain. He was demoting two old domain controllers from the Windows domain which became obsolete after creating new virtual machines to replace the old physical ones.

Last month new and clean virtual machines where added to the domain so the old physical ones could be removed, after successfully moving the domain FSMO roles to the new servers. Last Friday it was time to do the last bit: cleanup the domain by demoting the old domain controllers.

The demotion went successful and then the party started! The vCenter server was unable to connect to the domain!! Several actions like restarting the netlogon service, rebooting the server and restarting the vCenter service did not help. In the event logs there were several error messages with Event Source: VMware VirtualCenter Server and Event ID: 1000 also Event ID: 7024 is seen several times.

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Multi-hypervisor management with VMware vCenter

SVMware_logohortly after the release of vCenter 5.1, VMware released “vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0″. With this product you as an administrator are able to manage third party hypervisors like Microsoft’s Hyper-V from within your vCenter installment.

This will give companies more flexibility over what hypervisors they are able to use and thus use the hypervisor they need for each specific situation.

Multi-Hypervisor manager can be installed on the server which also contains the vCenter installation or can be on a separate server. The installation process is pretty straightforward (depending on your installation and security profile, you may have to open up some extra ports). After the installation on the server you will only need to download and install the plugin for the vSphere client (installing the plugin). After the plugin is installed you can open a separate inventory from the vSphere client homepage that will show you all 3th party hosts and their virtual machines.

Multi_hypervisor_dashboard_logo

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Upgrading your vCenter Server Appliance from version 5.0 to 5.1 – A Howto

VMGuru used to run on an “ESXi only” install with no extra management. It’s a single server in a data center in Amsterdam, so there never was a need for a vCenter Server. When the VMware Octopus Beta started in which we participated, the deployment of the Octopus appliance required a vCenter server. So, instead of installing a full blown SQL server, a Windows server  etc., we decided to use the vCenter appliance.

With the introduction of ESX 5.1, a new vCenter also was introduced. The functions in the new vCenter Server Appliance have improved much so an upgrade is the way to go. Now when I tried this in my home lab, it went south big time and I ended up throwing everything away and starting over with a brand new vCenter install. For our server in Amsterdam I decided to do the upgrade again to show that it can be done properly. Now, VMware has a how to procedure in their knowledge base, but it’s very compressed and skips a few small steps, so we decided to write it out including screenshots to make it more accessible to all the folks out there who like to upgrade their vCenter Appliance but don’t know how.

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VMware vSphere 5.1 available NOW

At VMworld 2012 VMware announced the newest version of vSphere, version 5.1.
Today this new version is finally available! So, in DOLBY DIGITAL available NOW ;-)

You can download VMware vSphere 5.1 from the VMware download site.

If you’re wondering what’s new in vSphere 5.1, check out Alex’s article from August 27th.

One of the major changes is the disappearance of the vRAM limit for VMware vSphere 5.x.

VMware releases version 5.1 of vSphere and vCloud Director

 

 

Today VMware announced a whole list of new major releases of their product portfolio. A few big features up front? How about these:

  • No more vRAM limits, vRAM = GONE
  • vMotion without shared storage
  • the MonsterVM got even stronger, going for 64 vCPU’s, 1 TB of RAM and more than 1.000.000 IOPS per VM

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vCenter Operations Manager for View

VMware is rapidly expanding the possibilities of their new management suite VMware vCenter Operations Manager (vCops) with their recent release of VMware vCenter Operations Manager for View. This new addition provides end-to-end visibility into the health, performance and efficiency of a VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure. With this new tool desktop administrators can proactively ensure the best end-user experience, avert incidents and eliminate bottlenecks.

VMware vCenter Operations Manager for View really simplifies the deployment and management of a VMware View infrastructure. Admins can do end-to-end performance monitoring of entire virtual infrastructure, perform user-specific infrastructure analysis and track the  health of various components in a view deployment.

The cool thing is, VMware vCenter Operations Manager for View automatically learns normal operating parameters for View infrastructure and user workloads. This means the thresholds are not based on some default parameter from a configuration or best practices guide. Instead it knows when your infrastructure is acting normal or is in trouble by constantly monitoring and evaluating the behavior of your environment.

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Installing the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance

One of the things that has been on my to do list for a very long time was to check out the vCenter Appliance. I finally found the time to install the vCenter appliance in my own lab and fool around with it.

This post is a mix between my findings and some kind of installation instruction.

But first of all, what’s the VMware vCenter virtual appliance and what are the pro’s, cons and limitations.

The VMware vCenter virtual appliance is a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 running VMware vCenter on a internal embedded DB2 database or an external Oracle database. The appliance is available for download on the VMware website and is configured with 2 vCPUs, 8GB RAM, LSI Logic SCSI controller, VMXNET 3 network interface and the VMware Tools.

The advantages over a traditional vCenter implementations are:

  • Lower TCO by eliminating Windows licenses;
  • Simple and rapid deployment;
  • Reduce operational costs – vCSA is easy to upgrade – deploy a new appliance, connect it to the external Oracle database or import configuration data from the previous installation.
The disadvantages are the same as the limitations.The vCenter Server virtual appliance has the same features as the Windows vCenter Server but does not support the following:

Waiting is over – download vSphere 5 now!

After the release on July 12th, you can now download VMware vSphere 5 and enjoy the 150 new features.

You can find the downloads here.

For more information visit:

If you want to upgrade your existing VMware vSphere installation, check out my previous article on how to upgrade to vSphere 5.

Want to know more regarding VMware’s new licensing model? Check out the latest changes here.
Hint: Read carefully and calculate the impact on your environment before forming your opinion!

Now, don’t let me keep you, GO and try out vSphere 5!

How to: Upgrade to vSphere 5

On July 12th, VMware announced the release of vSphere 5.

With the release comes the challenge to upgrade your existing installation.

However, there are a few caveats:

  • vSphere 5 is the first version which comes in a ESXi version ONLY! ESXi 5 is available in an embedded or installable version. If you’re running ESX 3.x or 4.x you should do a clean installation. You can find more information here.;
  • VMware changed their licensing method. Familiarize yourself with this and check if you need to upgrade/extend your licenses. You can find more information here.

Because I run a VMware vSphere 4.1 environment, this is a upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to 5.

The upgrade is a straight forward five step process.

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Orchestrator plugin for Active Directory released

Last Friday VMware released the Orchestrator plugin for Active Directory v1.0. With the plugin it is possible to manage Active Directory objects straight from within Orchestrator.

For those of you that don’t know what VMware Orchestrator is:

VMware vCenter Orchestrator provides out of the box workflows that can help administrators automate existing manual tasks. Administrators can utilize sample workflows from VMware vCenter Orchestrator’s workflow library and provide a blueprint for creating additional workflows.

VMware vCenter Orchestrator exposes the building blocks to enable more detailed workflows to be created for VMware vSphere.

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vSphere client for iPad released

A few minutes ago VMware released their long awaited vSphere client for the iPad and it is available at the AppStore for FREE.

VMware’s goal is to provide a tool which can be accessed anywhere to perform essential tasks and view performance metrics in a simplified interface. It is not intended to be the functional equivalent of the Windows vSphere client but it should enable you to perform 80% of the most common Admin tasks.

The functionality for now includes:

  • Search for vSphere hosts and virtual machines;
  • Monitor the performance of vSphere hosts and virtual machines;
  • Manage virtual machines with the ability to start, stop and suspend;
  • View and restore virtual machine snapshots;
  • Reboot vSphere hosts or put them in maintenance mode;
  • Diagnose vSphere hosts and virtual machines using build in ping and trace-route tools.

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VMware released vSphere 4.1 Update 1

Tonight VMware released Update 1 for vSphere 4.1 and vCenter server 4.1.

Update 1 for ESX/ESXi contains a few new/improved features:

  • Enablement of Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) ESXi 4.1 Update 1 can be configured to boot with Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). This boot option can protect ESXi in some cases where system binaries are corrupted or have been tampered with. TXT is currently available on Intel Xeon processor 5600 series servers.
  • Improvement in scalability — ESX 4.1 Update 1 supports up to 160 logical processors.
  • Support for additional guest operating systems Added support for RHEL 6, RHEL 5.6, SLES 11 SP1 for VMware, Ubuntu 10.10, and Solaris 10 Update 9 guest operating systems.
  • Inclusion of additional drivers ESX 4.1 Update 1 includes the 3ware SCSI 2.26.08.036vm40 and Neterion vxge 2.0.28.21239-p3.0.1.2 drivers.

Furthermore ESX/ESXi 4.1 Update 1 contains a lot of patches and fixes a list of issues.

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Dutch VMUG: PowerCLI is for administrators!

Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf did a great presentation on PowerCLI.

PowerCLI is based on PowerShell. PowerShell is designed by Microsoft with the SysAdmin in mind. It’s the universal language for Windows data centers.

Most of the time GUI interfaces are single purpose and rigid. PowerShell is the glue between your infrastructure. Microsoft makes it as a requirement for new application releases that it will work with PowerShell like SQL Server, Exchange, IIS7, SCOM and more. Commands (called cmdlets) are pretty easy to remember because they are in the verb-noun format (for example get-host)

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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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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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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.

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