Tag Archives: vCenter

Installing ESXi 6.0 on a HP BL460 Gen9

I would like to show you in some simple steps how to install ESXi on a HP BL460 Gen9.

First of all let us have a look at the hardware settings. As you may know with ESXi 6.0 UEFI is supported as for VM and for Hardware. So let us configure the system to boot with UEFI.

While the system is booting up and making some prechecks please press f9 to enter to the system utilities menu.

systemutilities

systemsettings

now that you have opened the settings, select “system configuration”

Then select “BIOS/Platform Configuration RBSU”

bios

You see now the following options that can be made.

rbsu

For my customers I usually select the following settings:

System Options -> USB Options -> Internal SD Card Slot [enable]
System Options -> Processor Options -> Intel HT [enable]
System Options -> Processor Options -> x2APIC Support [enable]
System Options -> Virtualization Options -> Virtualization Technology [enable]
System Options -> Virtualization Options -> Intel VT-d [enable]
System Options -> Virtualization Options -> SR-IOV [enable]

Boot Options -> Boot mode [UEFI Mode]
Boot Options -> UEFI Optimized Boot [enabled]

Power Management -> Power Profile [Maximum Performance]

Server Asset Options -> Server Information -> Server Name [Hostname]

Date and Time -> Date [set date]
Date and Time -> Time [set time]
Date and Time -> Time Zone [UTC+1]
Date and Time -> Daylight saving time [enabled]

If you need more information for the configuration settings, please write a comment on this post!

Save all settings with F10 and then press Y (or Z for Swiss and other keyboards). Now please reboot the system.

Now we are ready to install the Hypervisor. With HP server you have the possibility to attach an ISO with an advanced ILO license. If you haven’t a license, you can boot by CD or USB stick. In this post we will do it with ILO and an mounted iso file.

btw. you have also the possibility to install an HP customized ISO with hp drivers on it. I always recommend to install the “vanilla” iso and then add the drivers and tools by hand with the update managers.

Please open the ILO integrated remote console and select “virtual drives” in the menu bar.

ilo_iso_mount

select now the latest hypervisor ISO that you have:

iso_esxi_60_u2

Now that you have mounted the ISO please restart the system and while the system is booting select F11 for boot menu.

f11_boot_menu

Select no the drive “ILO Virtual USB 2: HPE iLO Virtual USB CD/DVD ROM”:

boot_menu

The system begins now to boot from iso. You should see a screen like this:

bootup_esxi

when the ISO is loaded, you see the following message. Confirm this message with enter:

welcome_esxi_6

First of all you have to accept the EULA with F11:

esxi_6_eula

Now you have to select the storage medium on witch you would like to install the Hypervisor. In our case we will install the hypervisor on an internal SD-Card with 8GB of space. The remote disks are SAN disks that were already zoned to this system.

Select the SD and press enter

esxi_6_install_sd

In my case I received the following message:

esxi_6_install_or_upgrade

This message appears because we had installed esxi 5.5 already on this system. I recommend to select “install” and not “upgrade”. This is the only way to have a clean installation of your system.

Next you have to select keyboard layout. This is an important step because you will have to set a root password in the following step. I always recommend to use the local keyboard layout or us English.

esxi_6_select_language

Please enter here your root password. Keep in mind to enter here a complex password. With this user you can do a lot of dirty things on the system so try to keep the system secure. btw. the password must have at least 7 characters

esxi_6_root_password

When passwords do match, you can press enter to continue.

Confirm now this message with F11.  This indicates only that the volume will be deleted and repartitioned.

esxi_6_repartitioning

The installation has now begone:

esxi_6_installation

After some minutes you will receive and information that the system has been installed successfully. Please confirm this information with “enter”. Now the system will be restarted.

After the system has booted, the system should look like this. You can now press F2 to configure the system.

esxi_6_screen

Please select the right keyboard if need, enter the root as user and enter your custom password.

esxi_6_login

The first thing that we have to do is to configure the management network to manage the system with vCenter, PowerCLI or the VIClient.

esxi_6_configure_managenent_network

You have now the following settings to set.

esxi_6_initial_settings

I always recommend to configure as much as possible to have no connection problems while configuring the esx host.

  • Network Adapters: Please select the network adapter which you would like to use as management interface.
  • Network Adapters: If you have configured VLAN tagging on your switch port, enter here the VLAN number of your VLAN
  • IPv4 Configuration: Please do not use DHCP for your ESXi server. Enter static ip address, subnet and if needed also an gateway.
  • IPv6 Configuration: If you don’t need IPv6 I would recommend to disable it. If you use it, please configure it.
  • DNS Configuration: Enter your DNS servers and the hostname of the esxi server in short name. Do not use the FQDN.
  • Custom DNS Suffixes: If you have DNS suffixes, please enter them by using commas to separate them.

Now that we have configured the network, we have to restart the system. After the system has restarted try first to ping the system. If you receive a ICMP response, the system may be ready to be connected. In my case I will now add the ESXi server to the vCenter.

Open the vCenter and rightclick the datacenter. Then select “add host”:

vcenter_6_add_host

Now enter the hostname of your esxi system and click next:

vcenter_6_add_host_hostname

Please provide root credentials and click next

vcenter_6_add_host_creds

Confirm the thumbprint by clicking on yes.

vcenter_6_add_host_thumbprint

If the esxi host already had some VMs running on it, you would here see what VMs will be imported to the vCenter

vcenter_6_add_host_vms

Add a license to your ESXi host and click next.

vcenter_6_add_host_license

For our customer we enabled the normal lockdown mode. I find the strict a little bit to hard 🙂

vcenter_6_add_host_lockdown

At the finish now you will see a summary of what objects will be added to the vCenter

vcenter_6_add_host_summary

Now you are ready customize your esxi host configuration and deploy your first vms.

If you have installed the vanilla version, please do not forget to install the HP VIBs. This can be done with the VUM.

Adding vCenter to Avamar – Failed to communicate to vCenter

Actually I’m working more and more with some of EMC’s (new Dell 😉 ) products for a customer.

On the actual situation we had to add the vCenter Server to the new Avamar Server. While I was adding the server, I received the following message:

Failed to communicate to vCenter. Unable to find valid certification path to the vCenter

avamar_error_vcenter

avamar_error_vcenter_details

After searching a while in the Avamar for VMWare Admin guide I’ve found the solution. You either can add the certificate to the Avamar cert store (this would be the secure way) or you just can disable this check.

As our customers environment is not a high secure domain, we have choose the second way. For this we connected to the Avamar server by ssh. Please use the admin user for this.

Then go to the following directory and edit the mcserver.xml:

avamar_console_ssh

In the xml search for the following string:

Then change the value from false to true:

ignore_vc_cert_false

ignore_vc_cert_false

Now we can restart the MCS server and the vCenter will be added successfully:

restart_mcs

Now the vCenter was added successfully:

avamar_noerror_vcenter

VMWare Tools 10 repository

Most of you may even know the old VMWare Tools repository.

https://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/index.html

VMWare communicated that the new VMWare Tools 10.x will be developed independed of the vSphere enviroment. So from now on, you will not find anymore the latest tools at the above-mentioned link.

From now on, you can dowload the latest tool versions from here:

https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/index.html

vmware_repo

Click on the highest number folder or on the latest folder and you will be redirected to the newest tool version for each supported OS.

vmware_repo2

Regards

VMWare Tools 10.0.5.3227872 & SydeBySide Event ID 33

One of our customers had some problems with the new deployed VMWare Tools 10.0.5 on their W2k12 r2 Systems. The W2k8 r2 systems had no problems.

From time to time we found the event ID 33 with the following two errors:

Activation context generation failed for “C:\Program Files\VMWareTools\plugins\vmusr\vmtray.dll”. Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC90.MFC,processorArchitecture=”amd64″,publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”,type=”win32″,version=”9.0.30729.4148″ could not be found. Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.

error33

Activation context generation failed for “C:\Program Files\VMWareTools\plugins\vmusr\dndcp.dll”. Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC90.MFC,processorArchitecture=”amd64″,publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”,type=”win32″,version=”9.0.30729.4148″ could not be found. Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.

error33_

After searching a while I found out that this error message only appears when a new user logs in to the server. There was neither a VMWare Tools icon on the notification area visible.

Most of similar problems where indicating that there is a problem with the Visual Studio for C++.

First of all I used the SFC command (sfc /scannow) to check if all system binaries where ok. Did received no error from the system.

sfc

Then I used the sxstrace like in the event written. First of all i started the sxstrace to trace the errors:

c:\windows\system32\sxstrace Trace -logfile:c:\temp\sxstrace.log

sxstrace

A friend of me logged now also in to the system to reproduce the error. After he logged in, I saw the new event entries in the event viewer. Now I could stop the the tracing by pressing enter.

The binary output c:\temp\sxstrace.log could now be converted in a txt file. For this, we used the following command:

c:\windows\system32\sxstrace Parse -logfile:c:\temp\sxstrace.log -outfile:c:\temp\sxstraceOutPut.txt

 

sxstrace2

Now the txt file was readable and it could be opened and searched for error messages like this one:

ERROR: Cannot resolve reference Microsoft.VC90.MFC,processorArchitecture=”amd64″,publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”,type=”amd64″,version=”9.0.30729.4148″.

So, I compared the installed Visual C++ versions on the W2k8 and W2k12 systems. There I found out that the following version was not installed on the w2k12 systems:

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable – x86 9.0.30729.4148

visualC

 

I download it from the microsoft site and installed it manually.

After installing it, I didn’t receive any more those errors. This seems to be the SP1 for the Visual C++ 2008 Redestributable package.

But why this isn’t installed with the VMWare Tools package? Is this maybe not included in the package?

After checking with the software packager of the enterprise, we found out that by installing only the MSI, the C++ will not be installed. When you install the software with the EXE, the C++ is preinstalled.

So, we had to package the following two software packages:

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable – x64 9.0.30729.6161

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable – x86 9.0.30729.4148

visualC++

After deploying those two packages, every w2k12 was running perfectly again.

Network Port Diagram for vSphere 6.0

VMWare finally released a “BIG PICTURE” network port diagram at their knowledge base site:

kb.vmware.com/kb/2131180

This is really a MUST HAVE if you are working in environments with security firewalls between the systems. So go and take it.

In older releases we had to work with this shitty table:

kb.vmware.com/kb/1012382

Thanks to VMWare and have fun with the diagram.

 

Check Lockdown Mode Powershell Script

For security reasons one of my customer has Lockdown mode activated on all them ESXi server. Unfortunately, with vSphere 5.5 at least, there is no way to configure the lockdown mode on the host profile. So you have to do it manually on each ESXi server that you add to the vCenter.

Then when an administrator want’s to manage something with SSH or vSphere Client directly to the ESXi host, they have first to disable the Lockdown mode. Often they forget to enable the Lockdown mode again.

For this reason I created this script whitch is scheduled on the vCenter Server with the Windows Task Scheduler. It checks every ESXi host if it has the Lockdown Mode enabled and when not, it enables it.

As an “nice to have”, it sends after every schedule an email with the hosts that were configured. If no ESXi server was configured, it sends an email saying everything is ok.

You just have to edit the 6 first variables with your system informations and it works.

Please be aware that I haven’t implemented any error handling in the script. It’s just an quick and dirty script for my own.

Feel free to use it and share it

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