Category Archives: vCenter

All about vCenter

Snapshots with quiescing fails directly after starting the snapshot

A new customer who I’m working for, has Avamar from EMC as their backup solution for VMware and all other products.

By chechking the activities of the backups, I’ve seen that both Exchange Server VM backups¬†fails every night.

After having a look at the Avamar logs, i found an error indicating some problems with quiescing:

avamlog3

avvcbimage Error <17775>: Snapshot ‘Avamar-1430951406e32d32fac65d442458b882c72e09fdd7bd3b0a79’ creation for VM¬†<PATH_TO_VM> task creation encountered a quiesce problem (Log #2

So first of all I tried to make a manual snapshot with the quiesce flag from the vCenter:

snapshot

Directly after the snapshot started, it failed again with the following message:

snapshot2

An error occurred while quiescing the virtual machine. See the virtual machine’s event log for Details.

For me this was now clear that this had to be a vmware related problem. As the error message recommended, I checked the event log of the virtual machine witch is normally located in the VM Folder on the datastore. Scrolling around on the log, I’ve found e interesting error message:

avamlog

ToolsBackup: not enough empty nodes (needed 8, found 7)

For some reason the VM is saying that the SCSI Controller has no more empty nodes. By searching in the vmware knowledge base, I have found a KB article where this Problem was explained: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1037071

When you use quiescing for snapshooting a VM, you can’t add more than 8 disks to a SCSI controller. Normally you can add up to 16 disk to one controller.

It seems like when you snapshot the disks with quiesce option, vSphere adds an additional disk for each disk that is attached. This must be the reason.

So the only way to resolve this problem, was to add an additional SCSI Controller and attached 4 of the disks to the second controller. After this, the VM was snapshoted without any issues:

snapshot3

vCenter Server Appliance in vSphere 6.0 (vCSA)

The vCenter Server Appliance was in older releases a nice feature that was never ended in development.

A lot of features and functions that you had with the Windows Server based vCenter server, were not possible with the appliance. So the appliance was only interesting for really small vSphere environments or for labs.

With vCSA 5.5 we were going better and better. But there were still some things that weren’t supported like:

  • Less scalability
  • Linked Mode
  • Heartbeat
  • IPv6
  • PowerCLI
  • VUM
  • 3d party software plugin

Now let me show you an actual chart from VMWare where they compare the vCSA with the windows based vCenter:

vCSA_6_0

As you can see, the vCSA has now the same scalability as the Windows based vCenter Server. Quite every feature is also integrated in the appliance.

So why we do not just use the appliance? Well there are unfortunately still some reasons for that we will need the Windows vCenter Server:

  • no MSSQL support
  • no Update Manager (the most critical point in my view)

I can’t understand why they don’t port the VUM to the vCSA. With those¬†features on board, I’m quite sure that the Windows based vCenter will no more be used by¬†SME’s with small vSphere environments.

For this I’m already curious to see the features that the new vCSA release will include and hope that this appliance is getting more and more important for vSphere and VMWare.¬†This appliance¬†will simplify many administrators life!

Whats new in vSphere 6

VMWare recently released the new vSphere 6 “Suite”.

Because of this, I would like to show you some (the most important for my use) of the new features and extensions.

HYPERVISOR

  1. As usual the scalability is extended with each new release. With the new one, you can run up to 480 logical CPUs, 12TB of RAM and 1024 VMs.
  2. Now you can cluster¬†up to 64 ESXi Hosts with a total of 8’000 virtual machines.
  3. There is a new advanced system setting to configure the password complexity for local user accounts.

VIRTUAL MACHINES

  1. The new hardware version is 11 and supports up to 128 vCPUs and 4TB of RAM.
  2. The the new HW Version brings a new xHCI cotroller for USB 3.0 support.
  3. Some new OS’s are noew supported like Mac OS X10.1, Solaris 11.2, Ubuntu 14.04 and so on. You can check all supported OSs on this link:¬†http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=guestos
  4. Windows Server Failover Clustering is fully supported with vMotion and RDMs
  5. Support for Windows Server 2012 r2 Cluster has been added.

VCENTER

  1. The vCenter Installation was simplified. Now you have only two Modules whitch you can install separate: the Platform Services Controller (PSC) & the vCenter Management Server. The PSC includes the old vCenter SSO, licensing and certificate management. The vCenter Management Server includes the Inventory Service, WebClient and the vCenter which cannot be installed separate.
  2. For a quick install like Labs and so on, they use Postgres as the SQL database and no more the Microsoft SQL Express.
  3. vCenter can now be installed as an full supported Appliance with the same features as the Windows vCenter Server. The appliance is a Suse Server with a Postgres SQL database. You can also install it on an external Oracle database.
  4. The new Web Client design was changed and it looks now like the well know VIClient. The performance was also imense improved but you still need the Flash Player from Adobe.
  5. VMotion is getting more and more flexible: You can vMotion virtual machines across virtual switches, vCenter Server systems, and long distances of up to 150ms RTT.
  6. Fault Tolerance (FT) was completely rebuilt. With the new limitation of 4 CPUs and 64GB of RAM you can finally use FT for most of the Server.
  7. High Availability (HA) supports now also storage errors.
  8. My favorite feature¬†with vCenter is the new “Multisite Content Library”. There you can save all your templates, scripts and ISO files you need for your vmware environment. So you just have to upload it up to this portal and everybody can use the files there. You don’t need anymore a Datastore where you have to upload the files.

STORAGE

  1. vSphere Data Protection is now full integrated in the WebClient and icludes agents for application Backups like Exchange, SQL and Sharepoints
  2. With Virtual Volumes, VMWare introduces a new way to manage Storage on your vSphere environment. You don’t have anymore the need of handling with a lot of LUNs.

NETWORK

  1. You can now use multiple TCP/IP stacks to configure to each a own gateway or routing tables.
  2. vSphere Network I/O control was also increased. You can now configure down the limits and reservations to each vmnic on every single virtual machine.

SUMMARY

As you see, we have a lot of nice new features to work with and a lot new things to learn.¬†I will try to show you some of the new features in the next few weeks more detailed. This is a good preparation for upcoming migrations. ¬†If you need more information’s ¬†of the features have a look on the VMWare PDF what’s new. There you have a more detailed information about it. I did also used this document to write this post.

There is also already the what’s new course available for vSphere 6:

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=60896

vSphere WebClient HTTP Status 404

Last week I had to install a new vCenter Server for a Customer.

After installing all products (SSO, WebClient, Invetory Service and vCenter Server) without any error messages, I restarted the server.

Once the server came up, i checked the¬†services and all¬†came up. So i thought everything would be ok. No, it wasn’t!

I opened the Webclient by typing https://localhost:9443/vsphere-client/ and I recieved the following error message:

webclient

No problem, I thought! There will be a KB article, I thought!

Yes, there was a KB article but VMWare was probably making some maintenance on their page so i had no access to the article.

btw. this is the article: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2044953

So first of all i tried to reinstall the WebClient. Still the same error. After trying and trying everything i thought it could help, I finally gave up and told the customer he should try to open the KB article the next day.

No sooner said than done, the customer called me the next day an said that with the kb article he resolved the problem. He uninstalled the webclient and reinstalled it on a path without blanks at C:webclient.

After this, the webclient ran smoothy and both were happy ūüôā

So the actual webclient may have problems with blanks in the installation path. Also if you install it on another partition than the system disk C: the client won’t run.