Tag Archives: VMware

Friday Shorts – VMware, Veeam, Docker and Community

Dreams are important!  Otherwise, sleep is just 8 hours of nothing. – MacGyver

vSphere 6.5 is here!

VMware LogoNDA’s have been lifted and the flood gates have opened in terms of bloggers around the world talking about vSphere 6.5!  Now that the product has finally been declared GA we can all go ahead and download it today!  Certainly the new HTML5 client, the addition of a more functional vCenter Server Appliance and built-in disk level encryption are enough to make me want to make the jump…eventually 🙂  That said there is a lot that is new with vCenter and ESXi – you can check it all out here.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 is here!

veeamlogoAnd just as VMware releases it’s flagship hypervisor software to the masses Veeam follows behind one day later with the support and availability back it all up with their updated release of version 9.5 of Backup & Replication.  There is a lot that’s new within this release – check it all out here!  With Nimble support and a ton of integration with other Veeam products such as the Veeam Agents this release has a lot – but perhaps some of my favourite enhancements will be the ones that will probably not be written about the most and that’s all of the engine enhancements and things like the vSphere inventory cache.  As with most Veeam releases I’m sure this one will be well adopted!

Tech Field Day 12 – that’s a wrap!

tfd-logo-100x100I’ve just returned home from Tech Field Day 12 in beautiful San Jose!  I say beautiful but I was told it was cold by multiple people there – that said, I’m Canadian, and 18C in the middle of November is not my idea of cold 🙂  Either way I sat with 11 of my peers around the TFD table for a couple of days and got blasted by the fire hose.  There was some great presenting companies there; think Dell-EMC, DriveScale, Rubrik, Cohesity, StorageOS, Docker, and Igneous.  Expect more in this space about what these guys had to talk about but for now if you want to check out the videos you can do so – links are all over here.

Fancy some community recognition!

Ah, November – cooler air, the transition from Halloween to Christmas – and of course, a flurry of forms to fill out if you’d like to be included in any vendor/community recognition programs.  Most of these things require you to nominate yourself – so suck up any pride as you may have to get a little self absorbed while you try and brag yourself up.  Recognition programs are a funny thing – Some are great, some are so-so – I’m not going to go into the details of each.  If you want a great spot to see a list of them all Jim Jones has a great post outlining everything here.  And to get a glimpse into one of my favourties, the Veeam Vanguard program – check out Matt Crapes post here.  I’ve also been invited to the KEMP VIP program – which is new to me so expect to see more about that as well in the future.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Docker

docker-logo-300-71x60I feel like I can’t attend any presentation anymore without hearing the work Docker – honestly, containers and Docker is just popping up everywhere – with the oddest of technologies claiming they have support for Docker.  So, with all this my problem is, What the eff is Docker – I’ve never had a use-case to even start looking at containers within my day job – therefore, I don’t really have that much knowledge around the challenges and benefits of them.  After seeing them at TFD I can now say that I need to explore this further – and jump on this container bandwagon to learn what they are all about.  First stop, Mr Stephen Foskett’s blog where he tells us just “What the deal with containers are“.  If you are just learning, or just love containers – check it out!

Friday Shorts – #vDM30in30, AWS, Reading, Writing, AWS and more…

Would it kill you not to be so funny all the time? That’s all I’m askin’. This woman thinks I’m very funny and now you’re gonna be funny, so what am I gonna be? I’m gonna be a short bald guy with glasses who suddenly doesn’t seem so funny. – George Costanza

VMworld is over – vSphere 6.5 is near

VMware LogoWith VMworld EMEA sweeping up the remains of the solutions exchange the dawn of vSphere 6.5 is here!  And with that comes a multitude – and I mean a crap load of multitudes of blogs talking about all of their favourite features of the release to come!  With that said I can’t possible link to all of them that I have read – but what I will link to is to the linkmaster himself Eric Siebert!  He’s got a great roundup post here of all of the features within vSphere 6.5.  Now this post doesn’t have links, just quickly lists the features – but if you want to go deeper on a certain feature be sure to check out his ‘vSphere 6.5 Link-O-Rama’ page as well!

Renting vSphere on AWS

vmware_awsVMware and AWS announced a partnership – one which would allow vSphere to run on the Amazon cloud!  What this means for customers is that they will get the familiarity of vSphere and all it has to offer, but on a cloud-like scale, running on bare-metal within Amazon’s datacenters.  What’s in it for VMware – well, they get that global cloud they have been looking for, without having to actually build the datacenters behind it!  And Amazon – well, who knows where they will take it but I can’t see them complaining too much about being able to pitch certain services and products to those who chose to run VMware on AWS!  Anyways, Frank Denneman has a great article here taking a deeper look into everything – as well, a little bit of a preview on how the new service enables one pretty cool new feature – Elastic DRS.

Alastair teaches us to read!

Although this post is a couple months old I’m just getting around to sharing it now!  I wanted to be sure as I’m always interested in how everyone in this community stays current with so much going on all the time!  The amount of content getting created for and by the tech community is huge, and keeping track of it all is certainly becoming a skill!  I read a lot, a lot of blogs so any way of figuring out ways to streamline my content consumption always sparks my interest!  Alastair has already taken us through is process of creating content, but with this post he takes us through his process of consuming content!  This is a great post with excellent tips on how to stay current!

More than simply writing a file

There’s a guest blog post on Michael White’s blog written by Michael Cade outlining the various backup methods used within Veeam Backup & Replication and how each one of them affects the capacity and performance on your backup repositories.   If you are using VBR and you haven’t had an in-depth look at these backup methods I would suggest starting with this post – it does a great job at outlining just how each backup method works, what is actually contained within each VBR backup file type.  It’s not just simply copying data here 🙂

#VDM30in30 30 posts, 30 days!

Think you have what it takes to pump out 30 posts in 30 days – I can say that I certainly thought I did at one point in time, but quickly realized after just a few days that I most certainly did not!  But hey, kudos for trying right – and even though I have a lot going on this November I will most likely try again!  Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about – well, the folks from the Virtual Design Master competition are once again challenging the blogging community to crank out 30 posts in 30 days throughout the month of November!  Have a look at Eric Wright’s blog for a great description of what this is like!  Now I know some people may think that the quality of posts may not be there, or that the content won’t be relevant, but honestly, my blogging isn’t about perfecting every single thing I do (I’m sure that’s apparent).  It’s about sharing things I do, problems I run into, opinions I have – sometimes it may be relevant, sometimes it won’t – sometimes you may agree, sometimes you won’t – sometimes you may just not even understand why a post ends up on this blog!   To me writing is about passion, and whether that passion be virtualization, technology, canadian folk music, maple syrup, hunting, whatever, it doesn’t matter!   The point here is that when I write, I think –  and when I think I learn – and nobody can argue that learning is invaluable!  So heads up, you might see some odd posts here come this November!

Friday Shorts – #vDM, New Web Client, Linux Cleanup, Betas and more…

Is it flowing? I like flowing, cascading hair. Thick lustrous hair is very important to me. Let me ask you this. If you stick your hand in the hair is it easy to get it out?

George Costanza – Seinfeld

Virtual Design Master 4 looking for sponsors

vdmlogoIf you have never checked out the Virtual Design Master challenge I suggest you stop reading this and head over to their site and peruse the last 3 season, then com back here of course…. Anyways, the online, reality based challenge is back for Season 4 and they are looking for sponsors to help provide prizes, swag, infrastructure, etc for the upcoming season!  So if you work for a vendor and want to get your brand attached to VDM4, follow this link to indicate your interest!  They are looking to get everything firmed up to have a July/August competition.

New HTML5 vSphere Web Client!

VMware LogoWhy VMware feels the need to change how the lightening fast, crazy responsive, highly reliable vSphere Web Client that is currently out there is beyond me, but they are…  I hope you can detect the sarcasm in that last sentence.  Anyways, they have been hard at work (re)developing the vSphere Web Client, removing it’s reliance on flash and flex and providing the same functionality through code based on HTML5.  I’ve not yet had a chance to check this out, but from the reactions on the blogosphere and Twitter I’d say that they are on the right track!  They are releasing the vSphere Web Client 6.5 as a Fling, allowing the product to get out into everyone’s hands before it’s integrated into a vSphere version.  If you have a chance go and check it out – it’s simply a virtual appliance that integrates with your current environment.

Getting Linux ready for a vSphere Template!

tuxcloudFellow VFD4 delegate Larry Smith recently posted in regards to cleaning up your Ubuntu templates!  It’s a great post that covers off a lot of things than you can do to ensure you have a clean, prepped instance of Ubuntu to use a template within your vSphere environment.  That said, he takes it one step further, scripting out the complete cleanup in bash – and in Ansible.  If you deal with Linux/Ubuntu templates I would definitly recommend heading over to Larry’s blog and applying some of this scripty goodness.

vSphere.next – Beta Time!

VMware has announced that the next version of vSphere will enter a (limited) public beta. If you feel like you have the time and are ready to provide the effort in providing feedback, submitting bugs, etc to VMware in regards to the next release of vSphere then you can head here and indicate your interest in being a part of the beta.  As far as I know not everyone will be accepted – careful consideration will be taken on who is chosen to participate as they want to ensure they are getting valuable feedback and discovering any gotchya’s in the product before releasing it to the masses!

ZertoCon – The Premier Business Continuity Conference

ZertoCON_Ads_125x125Zerto has been a long time sponsor of this blog so I thought I’d place a shoutout to them and what they have in the works this spring!  You can join Zerto and many others from May 23-25 in beautiful Boston for ZertoCon.  Lately we have seen a lot of these smaller vendors opting to have their own conferences – and honestly if you use their products they are a must for you to go!  The VM/EMC Worlds are a great venue, but honestly, these smaller, laser focused conferences are absolutely fabulous if you are looking to gain more knowledge around certain vendors and their ecosystems!  I encourage you to check it out and sign up if you have the chance to go!

Setting up VVOLs on HP 3PAR

3par_arrayAs I’ve recently brought a HPE 3PAR 7200 into production with an ESXi 6.0 U2 cluster I thought what a better time than now to check out just how VVOLs are implemented by HPE.
Although the tasks to do so aren’t difficult by any means I find the documentation around doing so is a bit scattered in different KB’s and documents between VMware and HPE, especially if you have upgraded to their latest firmware (3.2.2 MU2).

Pre-reqs

As far as prerequisites go there really isn’t that many other than ensuring you are up to date on both your 3PAR firmware and ESXi versions.  For the 3PAR you will need to ensure you are running at the very least 3.2.1.  In terms of vSphere – 6.0 or higher.  Also don’t forget to check your HBA’s on the VMware HCL and ensure that they are actually  supported as well, and note the proper firmware/driver combinations recommenced by VMware.

After spending the day(s) updating firmware (ugh!) it’s finally time to get going.

Step 1 – Time

NTP is your friend for this step.  Before proceeding any further you need to ensure that all of your hosts, vCenter Server and 3PAR are all synced in terms of time.  If you have NTP setup and running then you are laughing here, but if you don’t, stop looking at VVOLs and set it up now!  It should be noted that the 3PAR and the VMware infrastructure can be set to different time zones, however they must still be synced in terms of time!

Step 2 – Can we see the protocol endpoint?

At this stage we should actually check our ESXi hosts to ensure we can see the protocol endpoint on the 3PAR.  To do so we will need to ensure that we see the same WWN after running a couple of different commands.  First, as shown below, the ‘showport’ command on our 3PAR.  Circled is the WWN of our 3PAR array.  Make note of this!

showport

With the WWN of our storage array in memory we can now head over to our ESXi hosts.  SSH in and run the ‘esxcli storage core device list –pe-only‘ command.  This command will return any Protocol Endpoints visible from the ESXi host.  If all goes well we should see the same WWN that we did with showport, and the ”Is VVOL PE’ flag set to true – as shown below

pe-only

As you can see, we have a match so at least we have some visibility from our hosts!

Step 3 – VASA

showvasaAs we all know the whole concept of VVOLs requires the array to support VASA 2.0 and act as a storage provider for vCenter – this is what allows us to create our VM profiles and have the array automatically provision VVOLs depending on what profile is selected.  On the 3PAR we can check the status of VASA by simply running the ‘showvasa’ command.  In the case shown we can see that it is already enabled and functioning properly, however this wasn’t always the case for me.  To enable the service I first tried the ‘startvasa’ command, however it was complaining about not having a certificate.  The easiest way, if you plan on using self-signed certificates to generate one is to simply run the ‘setvasa -reset’ command.  This will reset your VASA configuration and generate a self-signed cert.  After this you can simply run ‘startvasa’ to get everything up and running…

Step 4 – Create the storage container

Now if you are following the HPE VVOL integration guide you won’t see this step, mainly because it was created around the 3.2.1 firmware, which would have already had a default, and only one storage container created for you.  If you are running 3.2.2 though you have the option to create more than one storage container, and by default comes with, well, no storage containers.  So before we go and register our vCenter with the VASA provider we first need to create a storage container to host our VVOL datastore.  First, create a new Virtual Volume set with the following command

createvvset myvvolsetname

Then, let’s create our storage container and assign our newly created set to it

setvvolsc -create set:myvvolsetname

Again, these commands wouldn’t be required in 3.2.1 as far as I know, but are in 3.2.2

Step 5 – Register our VASA within vCenter

Now it’s time to head over the familiar, lightening fast interface we call the vSphere Web Client and register the 3PARs VASA implementation as a storage provider.  Make note of the ‘VASA_API2_URL’ shown in step 3 – you will need this when registering.  With your vCenter Server context selected, navigate to Manage->Storage Providers and click plus sign to add a new storage provider.

registerprovider

Enter your VASA URL from step 3, along with a name, username, and password and click ‘OK’.  For this instance I’ve used 3paradm, but you may be better off investigating creating a new account with just the ‘service’ role within the 3PAR.  Either way, get your new storage provider registered in vCenter and wait for the Status to show as Online and active.

Step 6 – The VVOL datastore

We are almost there I promise!  Before we can deploy VMs within a VVOL or assign storage profiles to match certain CPG’s within the 3par we need to have our VVOL datastore setup within vCenter.  I found the best spot to create this datastore is by right clicking the Cluster or ESXi host we want to have access to VVOLs and selecting Storage->New Datastore.  Instead of selecting VMFS or NFS as we normally would, select VVOL as the type as shown below

vvoltype

On the next screen simply give your datastore a name and select the storage container (this is what we made available in step 4).  Then, simply select the hosts you wish to have access to deploy VVOLs to and away you go!

Step 7 – Storage Profiles

At this point you could simply deploy VMs into your newly created VVOL datastore – the 3PAR will intelligently chose the best CPG to create the VVOL in, but the power really comes by being able to assign certain VM storage profiles to our disks, and having the VVOL go to the proper CPG depending on the array capabilities. Storage Profiles are created by clicking on the Home icon and navigating to Policies and Profiles within the web client.  In the VM Storage Profiles section simply click the ‘Create new storage profile’ button.  Give your new profile a name and continue on to the Rule-Set section.

profile

The Rule sets of my “Silver” VM storage profile are shown above.  As you can see, I’ve specified that I want this storage profile to place VM disks within my FastClass raid 5 CPG, and place their subsequent snapshots in the SSD tier CPG.  When you click next you will presented with a list of the compatible and incompatible storage.  Certainly select your compatible storage and click next.  Once we have all of the profiles we need we can simply assign them to our VMs disk as shown below…

vmprofile

As you can see I’ve selected our newly created “Silver” policy for our new VM.  What this states is that when this VM is created a new VVOL will be created on our FastClass disks on the 3PAR housing the VMs.

Step 8 – VVOL visibility

Although we are technically done with deploying VVOLs at this point I wanted to highlight the showvvvolvm command that we can utilize on the 3PAR in order to gain visibility into our VVOLs.  The first being simply listing out all of our VMs that reside on VVOLs within the 3PAR.

showvvolvm -sc

showvvol1

As you can see by the Num_vv column we have 3 VVOLs associated with our VM (MyNewVM).  But how do we get the information on those VVOLs individually – we can use the same command just with the -vv flag

showvvolvm -sc -vv

showvvol2

So now we can see that we have 1 VVOL dedicated for the config, 1 VVOL dedicated for the actual disk of the VM, and finally 1 VVOL hosting a snapshot that we have taken on the VM.

Anyways, that’s all I have for now – although I haven’t gone too deep into each step I hope this post helps someone along the way get their VVOLs deployed as I had a hard time finding all of this information in one spot.  For now I like what I see between HP and VMware concerning VVOLs – certainly they have a long road ahead of them in terms of adoption – we are still dealing with a 1.0 product from VMware here and there are a lot of things that need to be worked out concerning array based replication, VASA high availability, functionality without VASA, GUI integration, etc – but that will come with time.  Certainly VVOLs will change the way we manage our virtualized storage and I’m excited to see what happens – for now, it’s just fun to play with 🙂  Thanks for reading!

Quick Fix – Making your inactive NFS datastore active again!

Sticking to my rule of “If it happens more than once I’m blogging about it” I’m bringing you this quick post around an issue I’ve seen a few times in a certain environment.  Although this is solved by only a few esxcli commands I always find it easier for me to remember (and find) if I post it here… 🙂

Anyways, as it is I have a couple of NFS datastores that sometimes “act up” a bit in terms of their connections.  For the most part they are fine and dandy – however every now and then they show up within the vSphere client as “inactive” and ghosted.  After checking the network (I always try and pin things on the network) it appears that all the connections are fine – Host communicates with storage, storage with host – the same datastores are even functioning fine on other hosts.  Logically my next step is to remount them on the host in question but when trying to unmount and/or remount them through the vSphere client I usually end up with a “Filesystem busy” error.

Thankfully it doesn’t take a lot to fix this issue, but could certainly become tedious if you have many NFS datastores which you need to perform these commands on…

First up, list the NFS datastores you have mounted on the host with the following

esxcli storage nfs list

You should see that the ‘inactive’ datastores are indeed showing up with false under the accessible column.  Make note of the Volume Name, Share Name and Host as we will need this information for the next couple of commands….

Before we can add our datastore back we need to first get rid of it.  The following command takes care of that…

esxcli storage nfs remove -v DATASTORE_NAME

Depending on whether or not you have any VMs registered on the datastore and host you may get an error, you may not – I’ve found it varies 🙂  Anyways, lastly we simply need to mount the datastore back to our host using the following command…  Be sure to use the exact same values you gathered from the ‘nfs list’ command.

esxcli storage nfs add -H HOST -s ShareName/MountPoint -v DATASTORE_NAME

There you go!  You should now have a happy healthy baby NFS datastore back into your storage pool.  On a side note I’d love to see some sort of esxcli storage nfs remount -v DATASTORE_NAME command go into the command line in order to skip some of these steps – but, hey, for now I’ll just use three commands.

VCSA 6.0 prompting for a manual fsck

One of my VCSA deployments, the only one running 6.0 experienced a switch failure and in result a network outage of roughly 5 minutes the other day.  Not a big deal, but unfortunately this was a very “cost effective” solution and the switch that hosted the production network also hosted the VLANs carrying all of the NFS traffic to the datastores the VCSA resided on as well!  In short, VCSA done got grumpy – after fixing the issues with the switch I ended up at the screen shown below…

VCSAFileSystemError

Not an overly complicated error – just stating that we need to run a file system check on the /dev/mapper/log_vg-log volume manually.  In the past, say with 5.5 I’d just drop to a bash shell and do so – however the default appliance shell in the 6.0 version of VCSA presents a few challenges in doing the same thing.  First off, if I went ahead and gave the root password to the VCSA I was presented with the default menu – the same menu you would receive if you ssh’d to the box under normal circumstances – that said, in the maintenance mode, the shell.set and shell.enable commands don’t work.  So in order to get to a point where we can actually execute fsck we need to do a couple of things…

Grub to bash

So the first thing we need to do is get our VCSA booting into a bash prompt.  To do so, hit CTRL+D at the presented screen and get the box to reboot.  When the boot loader appears we will need to hit the space bar or up/down keys to stop the auto boot process.  Once stopped we can selected ‘p’ to unlock the menu and enter the root password for the box.  We then want to select “e” to edit our boot sequence –  highlight the second line, the one that displays the kernel parameters and select “e” once again.  At the end of that line we will want to append “init=/bin/bash” as shown below – this will boot our system into a bash shell.  Once done, hit “enter” to save and “b” to boot.

grubmenu1

grubmenu2

After the system has booted you should now be sitting at a bash prompt.  On a normal day we would simply run our fsck command here however the file system we are looking to check is still not mounted at this point.  I tried numerous commands and options to try and get it mounted but came up short.  That said running the following command and rebooting our vCenter will switch the login shell for root back to the ‘normal bash’ and allow us to continue

chsh -s /bin/bash root

Once the command has been run and the server rebooted we will be brought back to the same error prompting us to enter the root password.  Go ahead and do that.  This time we will be brought directly to a bash prompt with log_vg-log being available to us!  So, without further ado go ahead and run the following command to complete the file system check.

fsck /dev/mapper/log_vg-log

More than likely you will get numerous prompts asking you whether or not to fix any errors that occur.  Use your discretion here, however I didn’t have much of a choice and needed to say ‘Yes’ to all.  After it’s done give the VCSA another reboot and everything should come back up normally (at least it did for me).  Hopefully this helps push someone in the right direction if they are experiencing similar issues 🙂