Category Archives: ESX/ESXi

VMware Session 3: PowerCLI & Onyx

Following on in the series of presentations (listed below) given by VMware on the 8th October in London please find below the PowerCLI & Onyx slide deck and MP3 file.

Other presentations given:

VMware Session 1: Exploring VMware APIs

VMware Session 2: vSphere APIs for Performance Monitoring

This presentation focused on PowerCLI and Onyx, they skipped some of the easy stuff that normally goes at the start of a PowerCLI deck mainly because the London crowd is used to me force feeding them PowerCLI on a regular basis !

Its a great deck and a good listen on the MP3, some interesting questions and comments made throughout the deck.

This presentation was given by Vladimir Goranov and Yavor Boychev who are both part of the PowerCLI team. (See if you can spot the mistake on slide 7 Winking smile)

The MP3 file can be downloaded from here and the presentation is embedded below: Continue reading VMware Session 3: PowerCLI & Onyx

vCheck v5

That’s right, its finally here, vCheck v5 has arrived !

If you have been using previous versions of this report then its time to update, I have added lots of cool new features and checks which make this report (even if I do say so) awesome !

Some of the highlighted features of v5 are:

Comments

Each section now has comments telling you why I think it may be an issue, there are often links to blog posts and useful information for further reading, an example is below:

image

Obviously for the experts among you these comments can easily be removed in the script by changing the $comments = $true to $false

Automatic searching for log warnings

There is now a handy link to both the VMware KB site and Google which will automatically search for the errors found on these sites, no longer do you have a reason for not investigating those errors !

image

Multiple new checks

There are so many new checks that I have now created a dedicated page on my site for this script which lists some basic information, this will of course change over time as more detail is needed and I hope to shoot some video soon showing how to change some of the key areas.

To access the page click the “Featured Scripts” area above and select “vCheck (Daily Report)” or click here.

image

Thanks

I have been bugging various people to help me with this script, whether it be for information or html help, thanks to everyone who helped me out and also to the beta testers.

To mention a few of the people specifically, thanks goes to:

Raphael Schitz – As always he has contributed some great checks for v5 and thought of areas I would never have.  Amazing job my friend.

Duncan Epping – I have bothered him more than once for clarification on the way things work, cheers mate.

Andy Grant – He did a great job helping me tidy up my HTML and add new areas.

The beta testers – you know who you are !

Sorry if I missed anyone !

Dell ESXi Management

Unlike the traditional ESX software, the ESXi software does not have a service console. It helps reduce the installation footprint of the software and can allow the hypervisor to be directly installed on the system’s internal flash storage or a USB key.

At the moment I am investigating moving to ESXi from ESX, after resolving the DSET issue I was then faced with the management of the ESXi hosts, currently the full fat ESX hosts have the Dell open management agent installed on them and SNMP configured, this allows the Dell management server to keep track of the underlying hardware and report any hardware issues or firmware updates.

But what happens with ESXi 4.0 and the removal of the service console ?

Earlier with ESXi 3.5, OpenManage component were integrated with the downloadable Dell ESX3i ISO image
but from ESXi 4.0 onwards, VMware introduced a new concept called vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB), this allows the end users to download VIB files and install it directly into ESXi 4.0. Dell are now posting their OpenManage component as a VIB on support.dell.com.

To help reduce the system footprint and to simplify deployment, the ESXi software does not have a traditional service console management interface where Dell OpenManage agents are installed. Instead, to provide the required hardware manageability, VMware has incorporated the standard Common Information Model (CIM) management profiles into the ESXi software.

Continue reading Dell ESXi Management

Another reason to upgrade to ESXi

The reasons why not to upgrade to ESXi are getting less and less recently, I think I knocked the automated configuration on the head at the London VMUG with my recent presentation which can be seen here.

With the improved vSphere API’s and using PowerCLI we are slowly able to replace most of the things which used to be performed at the service console, a few of these can be read about here.

But what happens when PowerCLI can not help ?

At a recent engagement with a customer we pretty much got rid of all reasons why we couldn’t move to ESXi apart from one.

Being based on Dell hardware the customer needed to be able to send a detailed report on what the issue was with the physical host, the Dell readers amongst you will be familiar with a Dell System Extraction Tool (DSET), this is a utility which is run on the host (through the service console) which looks at the logs, the Dell management agents and the system to create a packaged hta file which can be sent to Dell, in our case the customer often found it very hard to get hardware components replaced unless a DSET was sent, if not impossible.

The obvious part of this statement was the fact that it ran in the service console, when checking the Dell documentation it was clearly stated that the DSET application was not supported in ESXi:

image

So when reading the above statement “The server can be rebooted to a supported Linux environment to use DSET” gave me an idea: Live-CD.

After searching for a while I managed to find a nice repository of Dell Live boot CD’s with various different versions of the Dell Open Manage Client already pre-installed, just booting from this CD not only enabled the web interface which you can normally view by accessing the https://<ip address>:1311 url but also allowed me to design a support mechanism where we could boot to a supported operating system via the live boot CD and copy the DSET app over to the box which runs and produces our hardware report for us.

This might sound simple but believe me, it was nearly a show stopper when moving to ESXi, I hope this post helps others in the same predicament this customer was in.

London VMUG – My Presentation

Yesterday was a fantastic VMware user group, definitely my favourite one so far, lots of great content from some fantastic people and some real rockstars (I think that is the 2010 word for Guru’s) like Mike Laverick, Carter Shanklin (Carter USM), Stuart Radnidge and many many more.

I was privileged to open the show with a PowerCLI session, this is a pre-show session so wasn’t really part of the main VMUG, as such I was not expecting such a large crowd, if you came to the session then thanks very much, i thing there must have been around 40-45 people in there and I had a great time presenting this one.

We had a great mix of beginners to Pro’s and some great conversations about PowerCLI and what we could do to take the ESX install to the next level, one such example is in my script where we add an A host record to the DNS server as part of our deployment.

If you weren’t there or you would just like to re-live the presentation then please see below: Continue reading London VMUG – My Presentation

Virtualising XenApp – What’s the magic number ?

In the past I have virtualised a number of different applications and types of servers, among these have been several Citrix WinFrame/MetaFrame/Presentation Server or as it is currently known XenApp Servers.

Recently I have been asked about this on a number of occasions and the question is always the same:

How many users can you get on a Virtualised XenApp Server ?

That’s like saying how long is a piece of string ! – The answer to this question is the same to most IT related questions I get asked…. It depends !

To be able to give this subject the full attention that is needed I plan on creating a series of blog posts which will enable us to discuss the different configuration types and I will hopefully aid you in working out what your magic number is, how many users you can get on a virtual XenApp server.

The series of blog posts will probably change as I start to delve into the different subjects but all will eventually link from this post.

Introduction
Why Virtualise XenApp ?
Design Factors
•    Sizing
•    Citrix Desktops
•    Seamless Applications
•    Redundancy
•    Licensing
•    Cost Cutting
Testing
•    Strategy
•    Applications
•    Tweaking
Implementation
•    Templates
•    Deployment
Monitoring
Upgrade strategy

Hopefully this will help with some of the questions I have received recently, if there is anything missing which you would also like me to include then please do let me know via the comments of this post !

If you are also into podcasts then make sure you listen to the recent discussion I had with the Chinwagger himself – Mike Laverick, this can be found on his blog here.

PowerCLI: Configured Maximums – Storage

With vSphere introduced some new maximum’s which we not only have to memorise for the exams but also have to keep in mind when designing and using your infrastructure.

In the back of your mind when adding a new host to a cluster you should always be thinking, how many hosts should be in this cluster ? or when adding another LUN to your clustered hosts, how many datastores should I have as a maximum before it starts impacting my performance and how many paths are supported ?

The answer to these questions (in my case anyway) is to use PowerCLI to check them 🙂

I will of course add these to the next version of vCheck so they are automatically checked for but in the meantime here are some quick one-liners to check your infrastructure against the configured maximums for storage, I will add more as I write them:

Continue reading PowerCLI: Configured Maximums – Storage

PowerCLI: Changing a VM IP Address with Invoke-VMScript

One of the cmdlets that has been much improved in the recent version of PowerCLU 4 U1 is the Invoke-VMScript cmdlet,

This cmdlet runs a script or command inside the guest OS of each of the specified virtual machines. To run Invoke-VMScript, the user must have read access to the folder containing the virtual machine and a Virtual Machine.Interaction.Console Interaction privilege.

The virtual machines must be powered on and have PowerShell and VMware Tools installed.

Network connectivity to the ESX system hosting the virtual machine on port 902 must be present.

You must also have both the Host and guest credentials available.

One question asked of me recently was “Is there a way to set the IP address of some windows virtual machines with PowerCI ?”.

So with the power of the invoke-cmdlet in the following example you can see how you can change the ip address by using the netsh command inside the VM.

As a note, you no longer need PowerShell inside the guest OS for this cmdlet to work, as you can see below I am calling a batch command, you can also use this cmdlet against *nix machines to run shell commands.

This of course can easily be adjusted to read all ip addresses from a csv file or text file and apply them to multiple virtual machines if needed.

Continue reading PowerCLI: Changing a VM IP Address with Invoke-VMScript

Learn PowerCLI by video

So you want to learn PowerCLI, if your not a book kinda person and haven’t purchased Hal Rottenberg’s great book, Managing VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell then there is great news for you.

Trainsignal have let it slip that coming soon to a website near you will be….

Managing VMware vSphere with PowerCLI – Hal Rottenberg

  • Video 1 Introduction to Power CLI
  • Video 2 PowerShell Basics
  • Video 3-1 PowerCLI Concepts – Part 1
  • Video 3-2 PowerCLI Concepts – Part 2
  • Video 4 Power CLI in the Real World
  • Video 5 PowerCLI Cmdlet Deep Dives

So you not only get to learn PowerCLI but you also get to see the man behind the book, the man behind the podcast and the man behind the MVP – Hal himself.

Continue reading Learn PowerCLI by video

ESX4 U1 & the Intel 82576 Gigabit Network Adapter

Previously when installing ESX it has picked up all devices and automatically installed everything needed to use the server as an ESX host, recently whilst installing a new Dell R710 (a great review of the server can be found on the techhead.co.uk site here) I came across an issue where the additional Network Adapter in the PCI slot was not found by ESX.

The R710 has 4 internal adapters which were found as below:

image

Continue reading ESX4 U1 & the Intel 82576 Gigabit Network Adapter