Released: vCenter and ESXi 6.0 Update 3 –…

Released: vCenter and ESXi 6.0 Update 3 – What’s in It for Service Providers — via VIRTUALIZATION IS LIFE!

Released: vCenter and ESXi 6.0 Update 3 –…

Last month I wrote a blog post on upgrading vCenter 5.5 to 6.0 Update 2 and during the course of writing that blog post I conducted a survey on which version of vSphere most people where seeing out in the wild…overwhelmingly vSphere 6.0 was the most popular version with 5.5 second and 6.5 lagging in adoption for the moment.


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New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment…

New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment Walkthroughs – via VMware vSphere Blog

New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment…

vSphere 6.5 takes the VCSA deployment experience to the next level. The VCSA 6.5 installer no longer requires a plugin, making it browser agnostic. If that wasn’t enough, the VCSA installer now supports use on macOS, Linux, and Window. The VMware Feature Walkthrough site has two new VCSA 6.5 deployment walkthroughs. These two step-by-step guides cover the VCSA 6.5 embedded and external deployments.


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New vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup…

New vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup / Restore Walkthroughs

New vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup…

The vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 is full of new and exclusive features. One of which is the native file-based backup and restore. I’m happy to announce two new guided walkthroughs on the VMware Feature Walkthrough site.


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Disable the “This host currently has no management network redundancy” message

Let’s go over how to disable the “This host currently has no management network redundancy” message.  It’s annoying and we can get rid of the yellow triangles that show on the hosts due to this message.  And I know, you “should” have redundancy on your management network but we’re just not worried about it.  Our hosts are in our building and not at a co-lo so we have constant access to them in the event something happens and we need access.

Management Network Redundancy WarningSince we don’t care about this warning, I wanted to hide it.  This way we can see if there are actual errors on the host and not some warning about network redundancy.  The fix is done with an advanced option in the cluster properties. In the cluster properties, under vSphere HA, select Advanced Options.  Then add an option named das.ignoreRedundantNetWarning and set the Value to true.

ignoreRedundantNetWarningAnd that’s it! Once the option is in, go to each host and reconfigure for vSphere HA.  The warning will then disappear and your vCenter will look clean again.

SRM 5.8 Plugin does not display in the vSphere Web Client

Today when logging into the vSphere Web Client to document the SRM testing process, I noticed that the SRM plugin did not show on the home screen.  However, when logging into the protected site I noticed that it was there.  Here are my troubleshooting steps:

1. Logged into the SRM server and noticed the service was not running.  I started the service and tried logging into the web client, but the plugin was still not showing.

2. I then rebooted the SRM box and logged back into the web client.  Still no plugin.

3. I restarted the vCenter service and web managementservices on the vCenter box. Still no plugin.

4. Finally, I restarted the web client service on the vcenter box. Logged into the web client, and voila! Plugin was showing.

The root cause is that the SRM service must be running.  If it is not, start the service and then restart the web client service on the vCenter server.

Update Manager Error: sysimage.fault.SSLCertificateError

I had to redeploy a vCenter Server Appliance recently and got an error when opening vCenter: sysimage.fault.SSLCertificateError.

sysimage.fault.SSLCertificateErrorThis is caused by the certificate on the vCenter Server changing.  This causes the Upgrade Manager needing to be re-registered with the vCenter Server.  Luckily, VMware provides a utility to do just that.  Go to your vCenter Upgrade Manager Server (The appliance does not include this, so it will typically be installed on a separate Windows Server).

Go to “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Update Manager” and open the file “VMwareUpdateManagerUtility”.

VMwareUpdateManagerUtilityNext, enter the credentials for your vCenter Server and hit Login.

UtilityLoginOnce the window opens, you’ll want to click “Re-register to vCenter Server”. This brings up another login screen.  You can use the same credentials you did to open the utility here as well.

Re-register to vCenter ServerFinally click apply and you will receive a notification that you need to restart the VMware vSphere Update Manager in order for the settings to take affect.

RestartUpdateManagerServiceRestart the service and open the vSphere Client again.  The error will be gone and you’ll be able to use Update Manager again.

 

Unable to remove a datastore from vCenter Server Inventory

I recently had an issue where I was unable to remove a datastore from the vCenter Server Inventory.  The datastore was grayed out and when right-clicking, had no options.  After some digging and some research in SQL, I found a way to manually do this in the vCenter database.  Every datastore is given a unique ID and can be found and removed inside of the database.

Warning: Always make a SQL backup before attempting any manual database changes.  You never know when things might break and you need to restore.

So here we go:

  1. Stop the vCenter Server Service
  2. Open SQL Management Studio
  3. Run the following against your vCenter Server database (This will give you the datastore ID):

select ID from VPX_ENTITY where name = ‘datastore_name’

  1. Now we have the ID and can remove it from the database
  2. Run the following 3 queries individually (Using the ID we got from the previous query):

delete from VPX_DS_ASSIGNMENT where DS_ID=ID;
delete from VPX_VM_DS_SPACE where DS_ID=
ID;
delete from VPX_DATASTORE where ID=
ID;

  1. Finally, run the following:

delete from VPX_ENTITY where ID=ID;

If you want to verify that everything went correctly, you can run the following:

select * from VPX_DS_ASSIGNMENT where DS_ID=ID;
select * from VPX_VM_DS_SPACE where DS_ID=ID;
select * from VPX_DATASTORE where ID=ID;
select * from VPX_ENTITY where ID=ID;

Now you’ve removed the datastore from the database and can start the vCenter Server Service again. If you don’t see that it has been removed, a reboot may help. I rebooted my server just to be on the safe side.

You can check out this VMware KB for more info.

ESXi Hosts Disconnecting Randomly

A recent issue we experienced was seeing hosts disconnecting from vCenter and reconnecting.  The host would drop and randomly come back for about an hour or more.  The VM’s never saw any issues nor was there any type of outage.  It was that vCenter could no longer see the host.

After quite a bit of troubleshooting, I started digging around in the vCenter Server Settings (Administration > vCenter Server Settings).  In this menu, there is a tab for Runtime settings.  I noticed that we only had the vCenter Server Name filled in and not the vCenter Server Managed IP. The window looks as follows:

vCenter Runtime SettingsAfter completing all the fields in this window, the hosts magically all reconnected and have not dropped again.  This is due to the fact that the hosts use these settings to check in with the vCenter box and they let the host know who it’s being managed by.  As you can guess, if the host doesn’t know who’s managing it, it doesn’t know who to check in with.

The more curious issue was that this field hadn’t even been filled out, but didn’t start immediately.  Which made troubleshooting more difficult and made us all panic as we started getting numerous alerts for hosts dropping.

As best practice, whether you only have 1 vCenter server, is to fill out all these fields and enure they are correct.  Especially if you want the host to check in with the correct vCenter server and you don’t want the heart attack of seeing numerous hosts suddenly disconnecting from vCenter.

Datastore not visible after upgrading to ESXi 5

After upgrading my dev datacenter and rebooting the first ESXi 5 host, I realized that one of my fiber datastores was missing.  The path to the datastore was still visible to the host under the HBA, but it was not showing as an available datastore in the storage view.  Upon investigation, the datastore had been tagged as a snapshot datastore and was not mounting properly to the host.  This can be found by running the following:

esxcli storage vmfs snapshot list

You will see an output similar to:

<UDID>

   Volume Name: <VOLUME_NAME>

   VMFS UUID: <UDID>

   Can mount: true

   Reason for un-mountability:

   Can resignature: false

   Reason for non-resignaturability: the volume is being actively used

   Unresolved Extent Count: 2

Next, I had to force mount the datastore in CLI by first changing to “/var/log” and running:

esxcli storage vmfs snapshot mount -u <UUID> -l <VOLUME_NAME>

The command will be persistent across reboots.  If you would like to make it non-persistent then you will need to add “-n” to your command.  Once it is run, check your host and the datastore should be showing as an available datastore again.  No reboot needed and the change takes affect immediately.

You can also mount the datastore using the vSphere client as well by following the below steps:

  1. Go to your host in question
  2. On the storage tab, click add storage
  3. Choose disk/LUN
  4. Find the LUN that is missing. If it is not shown, you will need to use the above steps to mount using CLI
  5. Under mount options, choose “Keep Existing Signature” to mount persistent across reboots
  6. Click through to finish

There are a few caveats to force mounting a datastore though.  The datastore can only be mounted if it doesn’t already exist with a unique UDID.  If you choose to use the client to force mount the datastore, it cannot be mounted to other hosts in the same datacenter.  You will need to use the CLI steps posted above to mount to other hosts.

For more information about this issue and steps to fix in ESX/ESXi 4 and 3.5, you can find the VMware KB here.

VMware releases vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1a

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VMware released vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1a on May 22nd in reply to a known issue that users were seeing related to logging into vCenter.  Users that had a large number of AD groups in their environment would see an error when logging in using SSO.  This issue has been fixed in Update 1a and some other improvements were snuck in as well:

  • vCenter server can now run on Windows Server 2012
  • vCenter not supports SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012
  • You can now customize the following Guest OS’s: Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, RHEL 5.9 and Ubuntu 12.04
  • The vRAM limit of 192GB has been removed
  • And other bug fixes

The upgrade and installation process is the same as previous releases.  You can do an in place upgrade from 4.x and up or you can always do a new install.  And remember that all the new features within vCenter can only be accessed through the web client, so ditch the desktop client and fully utilize your vCenter.

You can read the full version of VMware’s release notes for vCenter server 5.1u1a here.