Friday, November 30, 2012

VMware vSphere ESX™ End of Availability

VMware has announced the end of availability (“EOA”) of VMware vSphere ESX hypervisor 4.x and VMware Management Assistant (“vMA”) versions 1 and 4, effective August 15, 2013.

Support will be as per support policy however the binary and license key for the above will no longer be available after the 15th August.

For users who are still requires the above, do remember to download and keep a copy.

Please refer to the announcement here.

For Support matrix refer here.  Click on Lifecycle Support Matrix.


Update 21st Feb 2013
Even after 15 Aug, you are still able to purchase vSphere and downgrade via the myVMware portal to vSphere 4 and use it to license the ESX 4.x.  EOA does not restrict user from downgrading. Downgrading to vSphere 4 will be disabled only when the product has End of Life (EOL).

Friday, November 23, 2012

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0

The release of the vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager allows vCenter 5.1 to be able to manage Hyper-V 2 servers based on Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2.

I decide to give it a try so I install a nested Hyper-V2 server and try to create a Windows XP VM it.  However I receive the following error:

Description:
The Virtual Machine Management Service failed to start the virtual machine '%machinename%' because one of the Hyper-V components is not running (Virtual machine ID %ID_of_the_virtual_machine%).


Apparently, I would need to add in this advanced setting to the vmx file which I can also use the web client to add that.

hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = "FALSE"

After adding that, my Hyper-V VM is able to start up.


Now let's head back to vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager.  This is a 1.0 release so do not expect too much on it.  This can be found in your normal vCenter download page.

Please note that this plug-in is only available for vCenter Standard edition.  vCenter Essential and Foundation editions are not available.  A vCenter 5.1 is required for this plug-in.

You can:
  • Add or remove a Hyper-V server
  • View all the VMs under it
  • Create a VM or edit its hardware
You cannot:
  • See the console of the VM, making it hard to do any installation
  • Only see summary cannot configure Hyper-V server

The release notes can be found here.
The documentation can be found here.
Installing MHM best practice can be found here.


After the installation, I did encounter some errors.

You would need a service account to start the service and you would need to enable this in the local policy or group policy whichever you choose for "Log on as a service".

The first time using the Multi-Hypervisor Manager, you would need to use the build-in local administrator to sign in to vSphere client.  Any other accounts do not have permission to access it and you will see the error below.

After logging into it, then can you specific and assign permission.  I have shown that in the video below.




Update 27 Nov 2012:
The account provided for the vCenter credential during the installation will be the initial administrator used to grant permission to other groups or users.

Friday, November 16, 2012

VMware Mirage FAQ

Recently did a presentation on VMware Mirage to one of my customer who have attended the vForum 2012 and like to explore.  Some questions were posted and like to share some of the ways you can compliment or work with your existing patch management which you might currently have in your environment.

You can find out more on VMware Mirage here.
Download a free trial here.


Question 1:
SCCM in place for patching endpoints.  Mirage can help in two use cases:
  1. Use Mirage to build the reference machine for base layer and deploy to all end points.  SCCM to push all other apps and patches.
  2. Use Mirage to build reference machine for base layer and deploy to all end points as standard.  Use SCCM to only patch the reference machine.  Use Mirage to create different layers for different layers required.
Now which to choose?  I would recommend option 2.  Here is why.  Using SCCM to patch the reference image and using Mirage to capture helps manage the different stage and you are able to revert this later without impact even if a patch fails and cause an endpoint malfunction.
Secondly, using Mirage to push out the change in the layer can save you on bandwidth as Mirage will do a check on the deltas and only send the deduplication data over.  So your network can stay screaming fast.

Option 1, is still viable however do note SCCM do not perform deduplication and once transmitted you are not able to revert if your endpoint were to fail due to any incompatibility which is resulted.


Question 2:
During a XP to Windows 7 migration, will my XP applications be port over?
Answer is No.

If you have downloaded the VMware Mirage binaries, there is a Use Cases document which states the below:
"Make sure that any applications that exist on your Windows XP end points (that you wish to migrate) have been installed on this Windows 7 machine. User-installed applications on the Windows XP machine will not be migrated over to Windows 7. All user data, however, will be."

Question 3:
Mirage uses USMT to perform the migration and in such, you will see the windows.old folder after the migration.  Will Mirage remove the folder?  The answer is no.  However you can use scripts to remove it.  This is not a functionality of Mirage but rather how USMT did the migration.  Deleting the folder also mean there is no way to perform a revert back.

"Mirage will never delete the windows.old folder. This is the responsibility of the user or IT Administrator (but can be scripted using the post-migration or post-Base Image update scripts)."

Question 4:
USMT be default does not save the wallpaper of the user when migration take place.  However you can still do that by adding in the below code to the MigUser.xml file in the x86 and amd64 folder in the USMT.

<!-- This component migrates wallpaper files -->
  <component type="Documents" context="System">
    <displayName>Move JPG and BMP</displayName>
    <role role="Data">
      <rules>
        <include>
          <objectSet>
            <pattern type="File"> %windir% [*.bmp]</pattern>
            <pattern type="File"> %windir%\web\wallpaper [*.jpg]</pattern>
            <pattern type="File"> %windir%\web\wallpaper [*.bmp]</pattern>
          </objectSet>
        </include>
      </rules>
    </role>
  </component>

Question 5:
How can Mirage save on bandwidth?
There are two ways Mirage do in the background before transmission of the changed block.
1. Local deduplication on file and block level is done at the endpoint.  During this period you may observer CPU and Memory utilization,
2. Data is then compressed before sending out.

With this two in place, the amount of data which actually get transmitted is very small.


I will update this post as more questions arises.





Saturday, November 3, 2012

vSphere 5.x: Errors installing ESXi 5.x

This is happening to many customers and it seems to be happening on several new models of servers typically most heard on IBM System x M4 series of servers and some Dell ones as well.

Did some internet searching however none gave much resolution but refer to resolution for white boxes.

These servers must be also be listed in VMware supported list of hardware here.

Below are the two common problems identified:

Problem 1

"Loading /imgpayld.tgz
Relocating the modules and starting the kernel..."
Resolution:
Make sure all firmware including BIOS is updated.  In this scenario, BIOS firmware was updated and installation was successful.  Seems like this was due to the UEFI used on IBM servers need to be updated.  Do find out from your respective vendor on the latest supported firmware.

Problem 2

"Loading /imgpayld.tgz
Multiboot could not setup the video subsystem.
Relocating the modules and starting the kernel..."
Resolution:
This is a strange error apparently, to solve this issue you would need to change the monitor/console display to one that support 1024 x 768 and your problem should be resolved.  It seems that ESXi 5.x require to output to at minimum resolution to install.  And I thought it was just plain text display.


Both problems were shared by our customers.  We learn this everyday however we need to share the experience to keep the communities growing.


Update 3 Nov 2012:
Mentioned Dell servers was instead some Dell Desktop which are not on HCL.  My apologies on this not stating this clearly.

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