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Author: Paweł

VMware Data Protection 6.1.3 backup of VMS with multiple disks

VMware Data Protection 6.1.3 backup of VMS with multiple disks

Recenly, I found a strange issue with my Customer’s VDP backup. There is VDP version 6.1.3 and vSphere 6.0 Update 2.

The problem is that the backup jobs of a few virtual machines got stuck at 92%. The state was present for more than week at the first try, untill it was manually cancelled.

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There is a way to check the actual status of backup via CLI. So did I.

Unfortunatelly the command mccli activity show –active displayed fallowing information:

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I went through lots of communities and KBs, extended the memory as one suggested but it didn’t help.

Then, I started to analyse logs more carefully ( of course I verified earlier that the snaps are consolidated, etc.) and realised that the progresss via CLI is going up to 20GB when it reaches about 45% at vSphere client task. But then it stops and nothing more happens even though the tasks progress go up to 92%. The courious thing is that the progress went up to 20GB which is the size of the one of disks in the VM. However, the VM has 2 disks, 20GB each, so there should be a value of 40 GB or 2 entries for each disk. That was a clue.

Then I tried a test to backup a freshly installed VM with 2 disks, despite the seconds disks was empty at all, the backup job get stuck the same way. Next thing was to remove the disk from the VM and voila – the backup jub ended successfully.

That’s mean that the workoardound is to backup only single disk Virtual Machine. But on the official documentation I did not find any restriction or constraint of VDP according to number of disks.

Furthermore I made additional test in my test environment where older version of VDP is present (6.0.3) and there wasn’t any problem with backups of VMs with multiple disks. It worked completely fine there. I reckon it’s a kind of new bug in the 6.1.3 version, I’ll try to check it with VMware Support and let you know.

 

If you had simmilar issue I’ll be glad to hear about it.

PowerCLI – useful tools

PowerCLI – useful tools

VMware PowerCLI is a powerful tool for daily task for every Admin. The pure console is most commonly used. However, there are a few alternatives to the simple console which could make the use of PowerCLI even more handy. I’ll describe them shortly in the next a few lines.

  1. Powershell ISE script editor, which provides a better user experience. It’s divided into two panes. The upper pane  is for viewing/editing script files, and the lower pane is for running individual commands and displaying their output (an analog of the standard PowerShell console).ISEYou can execute PowerCLI commands in the lower pane of PowerShell ISE or in the PowerShell console. It will be usefull also during the first steps with PowerCLI through analysing of some ready downloaded from Internet scripts.The most convenient way to do is to open a script in the upper pane of Powershell ISE. In this way you can select each individual command and executee by pressing F8 or “Run Selection” button. When the command execution is finished you will see “Completed” message at the bottom of the console.
  2. PowerGUI – it’s another script editor made by Quest Software which was acquired by Dell. powerguiIMHO it’s better organised than PowerShell ISE, the functions are rather simillar. However, instead of tabs with your scripts here you will be able to see the whole folder-tree with different kinds of scripts. It’s really helpful when you work with more than a few scripts.
VMware Auto Deploy Configuration in vSphere 6.5

VMware Auto Deploy Configuration in vSphere 6.5

 

 

 

The architecture of auto deploy has changed in vSphere 6.5, one of the main difference is the ImageBuilder build in vCenter and the fact that you can create image profiles through the GUI instead of PowerCLI. That is really good news for those how is not keen on PowerCLI. But let’s go throgh the new configuration process of Auto Deploy. Below I gathered all the necessary steps to configure Auto Deploy in your environment.

  1. Enable Auto Deploy services on vCenter Server. Move to Administration -> System Configuration -> Related Objects, look for and start fallowing services:
  • Auto Deploy
  • ImageBuilder Service

You can change the startup type to start them with the vCenter server automatically as well.

Caution! In case you do not see any services like on the screan below, probably vmonapi and vmware-sca services are stopped.ad1

To start them, log in to vCenter Server through SSH and use fallowing commands:

#service-control  – -status         // to verify the status of these services

#service-control  – -start vmonapi vmware-sca       //to start services

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Next, go back to Web Client and refresh the page.

 

  1. Prepare the DHCP server and configure DHCP scope including default gateway. A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) scope is the consecutive range of possible IP addresses that the DHCP server can lease to clients on a subnet. Scopes typically define a single physical subnet on your network to which DHCP services are offered. Scopes are the primary way for the DHCP server to manage distribution and assignment of IP addresses and any related configuration parameters to DHCP clients on the network.

When basic DHCP scope settings are ready, you need to configure additional options:

  • Option 066 – with the Boot Server Host Name
  • Option 067 – with the Bootfile Name (it is a file name observed at Auto Deploy Configuration tab on vCenter Server – kpxe.vmw-hardwired)

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  1. Configure TFTP server. For lab purposes I nearly always using the SolarWinds TFTP server, it is very easy to manage. You need to copy the TFTP Boot Zip files available at Auto Deploy Configuration page observed in step 2 to TFTP server file folder and start the TFTP service.

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At this stage when you are try to boot you fresh server should get the IP Address and connect to TFTP server. In the  Discovered Hosts tab of Auto Deploy Configuration you will be able to see these host which received IP addresses and some information from TFTP server, but no Deploy Rule has been assigned to them.

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  1. Create an Image Profile.

Go to Auto Deploy Configuration page -> Software Depots tab  and Import Software Depot

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Click on Image Profiles so see the Image Profiles that are defined in this Software Depot.

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The ESXi software depot contains the image profiles and software packages (VIBs) that are used to run ESXi. An image profile is a list of VIBs.

 

Image profiles define the set of VIBs to boot ESXi hosts with. VMware and VMware partners make image profiles and VIBs available in public depots. Use the Image Builder PowerCLI to  examine the depot and the Auto Deploy rule engine to specify which image profile to assign to which host. VMware customers can create a custom image profile based on the public image profiles and VIBs in the depot and apply that image profile to the host.

 

  1. Add Software Depot.

Click on Add Software Depot icon and add custom depot.

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Next point in the newly created custom software depot select Image Profiles and click  New Image Profile.

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I selected the minimum required VIBs to boot ESXi host which are:

  • esx-base 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VMware ESXi is a thin hypervisor integrated into server hardware.
  • misc-drivers 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 This package contains miscellaneous vmklinux drivers
  • net-vmxnet3 1.1.3.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 VMware vmxnet3
  • scsi-mptspi 4.23.01.00-10vmw.650.0.0.4073352 LSI Logic Fusion MPT SPI driver
  • shim-vmklinux-9-2-2-0 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmklinux_9_2_2_0
  • shim-vmklinux-9-2-3-0 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmklinux_9_2_3_0
  • vmkplexer-vmkplexer 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmkplexer
  • vsan 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VSAN for ESXi.
  • vsanhealth 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VSAN Health for ESXi.
  • ehci-ehci-hcd 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB 2.0 ehci host driver
  • xhci-xhci 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB 3.0 xhci host driver
  • usbcore-usb 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB core driver
  • vmkusb 0.1-1vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB Native Driver for VMware

But the list could be different for you.

 

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  1. Create a Deploy Rule.

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  1. Activate Deploy Rule

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  1. That’s it, now you can restart you host, it should boot and install according to your configuration now.
VMware Auto Deploy considerations

VMware Auto Deploy considerations

According to VMware definitione vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can specify the image to deploy and the hosts to provision with the image. Optionally, you can specify host profiles to apply to the hosts, a vCenter Server location (datacenter, folder or cluster), and assign a script bundle for each host. In short that is the tool to automate your ESXi deployment or upgrade.

As far as I know in particular on the Polish market it is not a widely used tool. However, it can be helpful for Integrator’s Companies to improve and make far more faster deployment of new environments. Furthermore, VMware claims the scripted or automated deployments should be used for every deployment with 5 or more hosts. Nonetheless, even if you are woring as a System Engineer or  at other implementation position I believe you are not installing new deployments every week..If that is every month – lucky you.

Well, is it really worth to prepare the AutoDeploy environment to deploy for instance 8 new hosts? – It depends.

IMHO, for such small deployments if you are really keen on making it a little bit fater the better way is to use kickstarts scripts. It can be much faster, expecially in case you are using them at least from time to time and you have prepared a good template (According the vSphere 6.5 I’m changing my mind a little bit due to changes which make AutoDpeloy preparation far more quicker)

However, Auto Deploy that’s not only deployment. It can be a kind of environment and change management. That can only be a specific kind of infrastructure where you use AutoDeploy to boot ESXi hosts instead of booting from local hard drives/SD cards.

Nevertheless, in Polands it is easier to meet classic PXE deployment booting from SAN than AutoDeploy. Is it the same trend seen around the world?

I am looking forward to hearing from you about yours experience with Auto Deploy.

VCP Datacenter 6.5 Beta

VCP Datacenter 6.5 Beta

VMware announced the VCP Datacenter beta exam updated according to new features in vSphere 6.5.

It is expecially valuable for those who need to recertify or who do not have a valid VCP certification. People who already have active VCP6-DCV exam, passing this beta exam will not give any big reward, while even the title is the same. So there won’t be VCP6.5-DCV or so, it’s still VCP6-DCV Certification.

Anyway, as others VMware beta exam it costs only 50$, so it’s worth to consider it if your certification is going to expire soon.

Just keep in mind that beta exams contains far more questions than normal exams 🙂 In this case that’s 150 questions and 180 minutes.

Good luck!

Log insight – central syslog with added value

Log insight – central syslog with added value

VMware Log Insight is still one of the VMware’s products which are not widely known and used (especially in Poland). In the past Log Insight was included in vRealize Operations, nowadays it is a separate product which is available in two licensing models.

The first one is per operating system image (OSI) with one flat rate for collecting logs from any server, virtual machine or hypervisor. The second model is per CPU, for one flat rate fee for collecting all logs generated from the hypervisor and any guests on a single CPU socket.

For more information about specific features and licensing please visit VMware Log Insight Site.

For those who are not familiar with this product – Log Insight is a software for log collection and corelation. But do not think about it as about simple syslog – it’s not! Let’s see how it looks like.

The installation proces is really simple – it’s an appliance, just a few click and it’s ready to use. The first step after installation is to integrate with vCenter server. Doing this you gain also integration with all of your ESXi hosts which are automatically set to send logs information to Log Insight.

After integration you will see all of you objects (ESXi hosts for this moment) at dashboards with charts which summarizes different types of events for different opbjects. These dashboards can be customized to fulfill requirements of an organization.

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After clicking on specific events you are automatically moved to interactive analitics module. Then you could create specific filters to found more specific logs and correlate them with specific events. The phrases which you are looking for are marked by a specific color to make it easier to found necessary information.

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I started to test Log Insight in out lab since I’ve found the new management pack for VSAN. It’s worth to notice that even without it there are some information about VSAN through integration with vCenter. However, using management packs you can receive more precise automated analytics about the events and problems in your environment.

All the available content packs can be viewed from Admin->Marketplace tab.

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The process for installation of content pack for VSAN is almost automatic. You just need to select it and click install. And if you have vCenter already integrated (6.0 U2) it will be be up and ready at once.loginsight2 loginsight3

I also realized that there is available content pack for Synology DSM. I’m using Synology VSA as a storage for my nested labs, so I didn’t neglect to check it.

Again the installation is as simple as 2 clicks. The only difference here is that you have to log in into DSM and configure the logs sending to your Log insight. After that the new section for Synology DSM will be available in your Log Insight.loginsight4

Unfortunatelly, I do not have so many events yet to show you better view 🙂

VirtualVillage’s Lab environment

VirtualVillage’s Lab environment

We have received a few questions about our lab which is rather extraordinary 🙂 Some of you wanted us to publish a picture of it. Unfortunatelly, I’ve got only the old one (nowadays cables are better organised so it looks far more better). I’m sorry for the quality of the picture as well.

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Anyway, at this moment we are in implementation phase – the management cluster is going to be expanded to four host cluster. We are planning to implement NSX in physical environment to expand our basic knowledge about the pruduct. Unfortunatelly, these kinds of toys for big boys aren’t cheap and we are looking for some cut-prices or good offers for refubrished components. However CPU is already waiting so it shouldn’t take much time.

When the upgrade of the environment will be finished, I’ll post the new picture of the whole lab 🙂

Taking the advantage of the occassion coming with the last day of 2016, I wish you a Happy New your and remarkable party! It’s high time to begin preparations 😉

 

VMware VCP7-CMA exam

VMware VCP7-CMA exam

A few months ago in this post I wrote about a new VMware exam which wasn’t listed in the official exam list in these days. Nevertheless, that was time when I almost finished my lab deployment of vRA and taking into account that the exams in beta phase costs only 50 $, I decided to try myself.

I scheduled the exam at 5 september during at the beginning of my holiday. The exam consisted 180 questions! There was 240 minutes for that – thats whole 4 hours, it’s even longer than VCAPs.. After 2 hours and almost 100 questions I was already exhausted. However I tried to stay focused and finished it. Since that time I didn’t have any update about my results on PearsonVue site I was able to see only the information that the exam was taken, whilst the official non-beta exam was released at 1st December. So technically you were able to take it and get the results immediately, while the Beta-takers still didn’t know if they passed or not 🙂

Yesterday in my mailbox I found the envelope from PearsonVue – it was quite strange for me because I’ve never received any envelope directly from PearsonVue. It was a nice suprise for me when I realized that there is my “summary page” with my results inside. Happily I passed – next goal achived by the end of the 2016 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We wish you all who read our modest blog Merry Christmas!

The year coming to the end so and it is the best time to spend some time with family, take a rest and have a sensational New Year party. We wish you a healthy life and remarkable achivements in the 2017.

Pawel & Daniel

VCAP6-DCV Design exam experience(s)

VCAP6-DCV Design exam experience(s)

Finally, I’m pround to announce that VCIX6-DCV goal is achived!

Previously I passed the Deploy Exam (you can read about it in this post) which for me personally was far more intuitive and effortless. If you are a practitioner person than visioner and designer it would be quite tought to get used to these kind of questions and reasoning. In my opinion there are a few points which I can not agree with and I would be glad to discuss with the authors of these questions about their points of view 🙂

However, as I read on one of the blogs this is a VMware exam and they could have their own point of view and opinion about best practicies in designing virtual environments.

As you realized I used plural in word experience – it’s not so hard to guess why. Yes, I had to take the exam twice. Nevertheless, I finished the first try quite satisfied and full of hope the reality was brutal. 243 points appeared not to be enought to pass it…That was a food for thoughts.

That made me aware that I need to prepare better and figure out about the key used in design quiestions. It’s not exacly the key but the way of designs constructions. As usually Internet was priceless. First of all I found tips that the exam is similar to VCAP5 version and fallowing this idea I read the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide. This was quite useful. Then I tried to think about the design questions I met and gind out what could be wrong there.

After a few more white papers, blog articles and other readings I took the second try and happily this the reult was much more better and of course I finally managed to pass and gain complete VCIX title.

The few tips from me:

  1. Be fresh and rested at the exam day ( there are 205 minutes, it’s quite a long to sit in front of the screen).
  2. Stay focused and read carefully all the questions and instructions at least twice.
  3. Start from the design questions which would take you a little bit more time.
  4. Be prepared.

Materials I found usefull during preparation time:

  1. VCAP6-Design Blueprint and all associated documents especially those from objective 1.2 and 1.3 should be read more than once
  2. VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide
  3. Study Guides of other people
  4. Google+ VCAP-DCD Study Group

I also recommend to get yourself familiar with scoring methodology described at The Cloud JAR’s Blog