Showing posts from September, 2011

vSphere 5: vCenter Evaluation license expire

So you have been running the evaluation license.  The evaluation period would be 60 days for ESXi server and 30 days for vCenter.

Say you like to run on evaluation while getting your license and you couldn't get the license in time and 30 days has reached and your vCenter is expired.

What happens after the evaluation period?

I did a test and these are my findings.
vCenter remain to be operational.All features are still enabled.You will receive a notice below once in awhile.Any action that result in disconnection of the ESXi servers will not be able to join back to vCenter e.g. reboot of ESXi server.  A direct connection using vSphere client is required to manage the VMs on the host.Any changes in configuration will not be possible and can cause any licensed functions not to function.Powered Off VMs cannot be power on.  Refer to KB. In summary, after license expired, all operations remains as it is and no changes even with simple things like power on VM will not be possible.  This …

vSphere 5: HA Demonstration

Some people asked me this question:

Will HA be activated if datastore is lost on a host due to iSCSI connection failure or FC connection on just one host without losing the host server from the management network?
Though I know the answer however I was curious myself and decide to find out by performing this on a iSCSI connection to see the results.
From my understanding, HA protects hosts failure however as long the host primary detection method (management network) is still alive, the host is considered alive in such, even though the VMs that the host is hosting is "gone" due to perhaps a nic failure for iSCSI connection or a HBA failure for FC connection, HA will not be activated even though datastore heartbeat (only in vSphere 5.x and its a secondary detection if primary failed) is lost.

I realize vCenter will initialed a migration of the VM however this will get the process halt.  We have to kill the process and wait for a timeout in order to take over the VM again els…

vSphere 5: Cluster with mixed ESX/ESXi version

Many have asked me whether if a cluster can be mixed with different versions of ESX/ESXi servers.  The answer is yes even down to ESX/ESXi 3.5, however for version 3.5, you would need to cater the legacy license server.  Please refer to the documentation here.

Here is a demo of a setup I did with ESX 4.1 and ESXi 5.0 in the same cluster with HA and DRS enabled managed using a vCenter 5.0.

Please note that upgrading VMware Tools to the latest version will still be supported on lower version of ESX/ESXi servers as it only update the OS drivers.  However, upgrading the virtual hardware will only allow it to be supported on the latest ESXi server.

In such, that in consideration when doing your migration and upgrading of your vSphere environment and perform the virtual hardware upgrade last if possible unless you have enough resources to cater for your HA.

Update 19th Apr 2013
Refresh the video as first half has missing audio.

Promotion code for certification

Promo code for 25% discount.
Valid till 30th Nov



vSphere 5 whitebox: ESXi upgrade with USB installer

Finally took some time to upgrade my ESXi whitebox which is running on ESXi 4.1 with custom driver to support the onboard Marvell LAN chipset.

The installation screen was different in this case and I took some pictures using my mobile.  My CD Rom happen not to work and I need to create a ESXi installer onto an UDB Drive to install on another USB Drive.

First I would just go through the tools I used to create a USB installer.

I use unetbootin version 5.55 and use the ESXi 5.0 installable image to create the USB installer.
This time it works.  Unlike in ESXi 4.1, it has to be using version 4.94, any higher version breaks the installation.

My ESXi 4.1 was installed on a 2GB USB disk.  So with ESXi 5.0 which required 4GB scratch disk, it is definitely not possible.

I did some google of cause and found USBIT.  What it does is, it creates a backup (clone image) of my 2GB disk and restore to my 8GB disk.  That boots up proper.  But my 2GB disk cannot be used as it is only seen with 4MB of sp…

vSphere 5: VAAI features round up

VMware Blogs actually have a 4 parts series on the Storage features in vSphere 5.

Was reading up the VAAI thin provisioning alert and reclaimation and the differences on VMFS volumes and guest portion have me came across this article by Hitachi.

It explain in very simple terms which I felt was good to understand.  Those who are not as storage trained like myself would appreciate this portion.

Just to recap where we are in the lifecycle of VAAI, vSphere 4.1 introduced three primitives: XCOPY, ATS (Atomic Test & Set) & WRITESAME. vSphere 5.0 adds two new primitives: Thin Provisioning-STUN (TP-STUN) and UNMAP, bringing us to a total of 5 primitives.
Here is more detail about these new primitives and what they mean to the VMware & storage admins:
Thin Provisioning STUN – This is an Error Code to report “Out of Space” for a thin volume. If a storage array supports this SCSI command, then when a datastore reaches 100% capacity and any of the VM’s require additional blocks o…

vSphere 5: Memory share calculation for mem.minfreepct

While I was reading up the vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deep Dive book by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman, I came across this section which took me to awhile to understand the calculation for the math part.

This section on memory share which has been changed in vSphere 5 which is also written in Frank Denneman, Mem.MinFreePct sliding scale function.

The example is as below:
Let’s use an example to explore the savings of the sliding scale technique. On a server configured with 96GB RAM, the MinFreePct threshold will be set at 1597.6MB, opposed to 5898.24MB if 6% was used for the complete range 96GB.
Free memory stateThresholdRangeResultHigh6%0-4GB245.96MB
1%Remaining memory696.32MBTotal High Threshold


I was trying to get the calculation for the Result column and thought to elaborate it on a clearer picture which a believe some are confused like myself.

The first 0-4GB will be on 6%, followed by from 4GB-8GB will be 4%(which is total of 4GB),…

vSphere 5: vMotion enhancement

I was reading through this article vMotion Architecture, Performance, and Best Practices in VMware vSphere 5.

I was not aware (perhaps only myself) that ESXi 5 introduces virtual NUMA (vNUMA).  What this means that in terms of performance, the ESXi is able to know which is the most efficient way to access the memory.  This was not possible in ESXi 4.x.

On reading further, this brought something to me especially for environment who enable EVC with mixed of hardware differences.

ESXi 5 introduces virtual NUMA (vNUMA), which exposes the ESXi host’s NUMA topology to the guest operating systems. When using this feature, apply vMotion to move virtual machines between clusters that are composed of hosts with matching NUMA architectures. This is because the very first time a vNUMA-enabled virtual machine is powered on, its vNUMA topology is set, based in part on the NUMA topology of the underlying physical host on which it is running. After a virtual machine’s vNUMA topology is initialized, it…

View 5.0 Upgrade from View 4.6

I am running vSphere 4.1 in my home lab with View 4.6.  We will be conducting an upgrade of the View to 5.0 which was release.
Do not this is my first time doing this upgrade.  Below are the links to download the technical documents on performing the upgrade.

The View 5.0 documentation can be found here.  Refer to the View Upgrades document on performing the upgrading.  Make sure all backup are done on the servers/VMs before performing any upgrade.
Base on the upgrade document, the process of upgrading is as follows:
Connection ServerSecurity ServerTransfer ServerView ComposerView Agent
Part 1
In this video, I upgraded the View Manager/Connection server follow by the security server.
Make sure you have backup your View Manager configuration and settings.
Use the vdmexport.exe utility to back up the View 4.0.x, 4.5.x, or 4.6.x LDAP database.
Instructions can be found in the View 4.6 administration guide.

Part 2
In part 2, we carry on to upgrade the Transfer Server. This upgrade is a bree…

View 4.6 through Security Server via internet on 3G

This is a test on View 4.6 on a laptop via a 3G network on the internet to access the desktop.

View 4.6 through Connection Server

This video show the connection on a laptop accessing the desktop in the internal network through the connection server.

View 4.6 Android through Connection Server

Here is a test of the performance using an Android tablet connected in the internal network accessing the Desktop via the Connection server.

Apology for the lousy video as I did this using my digital camera in order to see the whole desktop experience on the screen.

VMware View 5 GA with Workstation 8

Yes the GA binaries of VMware View 5 is out.  It is also released with workstation 8.

From the release notes, it glad to see it is compatible with vSphere 4.0 Update 3 and above.
Compatibility NotesVMware View 5.0 is supported on the following versions of vSphere: vSphere 5.0 vSphere 4.1 Update 1 or latervSphere 4.0 Update 3 or laterFor system requirements, see the VMware View Installation documentation. Reference:

The technical documentation can be found here.

The binaries can be located here.

Will be doing the upgrade on my View 4.6 to 5 on vSphere 4.1.  Will be doing the recording as I try this on the first time tonight.

So do look back for the new videos!

VCP 510 Passed!

Just passed my VCP 5 today.  Didn't score really well but a pass is a pass!

Before my start sharing my experience, I will answer to many who question how to be certified.  In order to be certified, you would need to take the vSphere x: Install, Configure and Manage course and the exam.  Completing either of which will not make you certified.  If your course is on vSphere 4, you would need to take the VCP 410 exam and VCP 510.  It has to be the same.

VMware always introduce a What's New course for the previous VCP to attend in order to take the next VCP exam.  However promotion period will always be there so this allow previous VCP to be able to just take the new VCP exam without having to attend the What's New course.  After the promotion period, previous VCP will need to take the What's New course before attempting the exam.

Now to my experience. One thing I must comment is the exam no longer test you on memorizing work e.g. in VCP3, VCP4 which did test you on the con…

Consideration vSphere 5 Auto Deploy: Stateless ESXi

I was doing my VCP5 studies and was reading the Installation and Setup Guide and came across the below on Page 62.

The boot process proceeds as follows.
1 The administrator reboots the host.
2 As the host boots up, Auto Deploy provisions the host with its image and host profile, which are stored
in vCenter Server.
3 Virtual machines are brought up or migrated to the host based on the settings of the host.
n Standalone host. Virtual machines are powered on according to autostart rules defined on the host.
n DRS cluster host. Virtual machines that were successfully migrated to other hosts stay there. Virtual
machines for which no host had enough resources are registered to the rebooted host.
If the vCenter Server system is unavailable, the host contacts the Auto Deploy server for image profiles and
host profiles and the host reboots. However, Auto Deploy cannot set up vSphere distributed switches if vCenter Server is unavailable, and virtual machines are assigned to hosts only if they participate…

Backup Restore ESXi Configuration

Export ESXi configuration file
After you configured an ESXi host, you can back up the host configuration data. Always back up your host configuration after you change the configuration or upgrade the ESXi image.
IMPORTANT The vicfg-cfgbackup command is available only for ESXi hosts. The command is not available for ESX hosts and is not available through a vCenter Server system connection.
Requirements: VMware vSphere CLI installed on workstation

Open VMware vSphere CLI Command PromptType -s [backup_file_name] -–server [server_name_or_ip] --username [user_id]
e.g. –s c:\esx1_20082011.txt –-server –-username root

Restore configuration file After you configured an ESXi host, you can back up the host configuration data. Always back up your host configuration after you change the configuration or upgrade the ESXi image.
IMPORTANT The vicfg-cfgbackup command is available only for ESXi hosts. The command is not available for ESX hosts and is not …

Installing drivers or Update using vCLI

At time where you need to install update or install drivers on ESXi/ESX servers where new devices like Network cards or HBA drivers are not embedded in the base image.

In vSphere 5 you can of cause recompile your own image.  However for existing servers, we would need to learn the commands.

Here I have attached the screen shots with steps to do the installation using the VMware vCLI.

Requirements: VMware vSphere CLI installed on your workstation which can be found here under
VMware vSphere 4.0 CLI
VMware vSphere 4.1 CLI
VMware vSphere 5 CLI

Open VMware vSphere  CLI Command Prompt on workstation.

Check the current Maintenance Mode of the ESXi server by using: –operation info –-server   –-username
e.g. –operation info –-server –-username root

Enter password when prompted.

Put ESXi server into maintenance mode by using: –operation enter -–server [server_name_or_ip] --username [user_id]
e.g. –operation enter –-server …

VCP5 Certification Upgrade Path

VMware has release a new upgrade path for those on VCP3.  There is no need to be VCP4 and you can go direct to VCP5 by going through the What's New for vSphere 5.

Instead of going to the Install, Configure and Manage course for vSphere 5 and taking the exam to be certified VCP5.

For VCP4, you are allow to take the VCP5 exam directly to be upgraded.

Both upgrade path are only valid till 29 Feb 2012.  So hurry take this opportunity and upgrade your skillset credential to VCP5!


vCenter 5 Web Client Server Installation and Configuration

Today will do an installation of the web client server on the vCenter.  I will also compare the vCenter 4.1 web access with the new web client access to see the improvement that was done.

Do note that the requirements for the web client access would require the following below.  I have also include the links to the offline package for Adobe Flash which many have problem locating it.

Internet Explorer 7,8
Mozilla Firefox 3.5, 3.6
Adobe Flash 10.2
Offline package for Latest Adobe Flash

1 Mar 2012 Update: Alternatively, you can make use of the free vCenter vApp and used it as a web client. Michael Webster has a post on the steps. 
You can install the web client on a separate Windows VM and it is able to register to multiple vCenters to enable the web client access to the respective registered vCenter when user points the…