Thursday, June 7, 2012

Basic vi text editor commands

As the Nano editor unfortunately has been taken out of the ESXi 5.0 shell, we're left with good old vi.

Here's some basic commands:

Opening a text file:

vi filename

vi opens in Command mode. You can move the cursor around in the file but not edit it. To switch edit mode press 'i' (you can see that a '-' symbol at the bottom of the console changes to an 'I'). To switch back to Command mode press 'Esc'.

To save:


To quit:


See this link for more info

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

P2V error - BlockLevelVolumeCloneMgr and Sysimgbase_DiskLib_Write

The other day we had to do a number of hot P2V's on some Citrix servers running Win2k3. I had succesfully completed a test migration a week before (with VMware Converter Standalone 5 installed locally on the source) on one of the same servers but when we re-initiated the P2V in the planned maintenance window, both servers failed at 90-something percent with an error stating the following:

SingleVolumeCloneTask:DoRun: Volume cloning failed with clone error BlockLevelVolumeCloneMgr::CloneVolume: Detected a write error during the cloning of volume \WindowsBitmapDriverVolumeId=[08-03-AE-BE-00-40-00-00-00-00-00-00]. Error: 37409 (type: 1, code: 2338)

This log entry is found by right clicking the job in Converter and choosing 'export logs'. Locate the file called vmware-converter-worker-X.log (where X is an incremental integer).

The above error message seems to indicate that there is a problem on the source disk. We tried running checkdisk which showed no errors and we defragmented all drives. Same error occurred.

Looking a bit more at the logs, I found the following entries which pointed towards a network error:

[NFC ERROR] NfcSendMessage: send failed: NFC_NETWORK_ERROR
[NFC ERROR] NfcFssrvr_IO: failed to send io message
Sysimgbase_DiskLib_Write failed with 'NBD_ERR_NETWORK_CONNECT' (error code:2338)

By searching a bit on the above entries, I was pointed towards a relevant KB article from VMware. As it turns out, this is not network related at all, it is a known error in the Converter Standalone (both v4 and v5) software. The KB simply states that VMware is aware of this issue... I've done a ton of P2V's but this error I've never seen before...

The good news is that there is a workaround:

The trick is to only transfer one drive at a time. This means that if the source has a C and a D drive you'll be P2V'ing this machine twice creating to seperate VMs - one only containing the C drive including the system partition and another VM (which I just called 'servername_Ddrive') containing only the D drive. When both P2V's are done the second one is removed from inventory. For the first VM, go to Edit Settings and attach the disk from the second VM, 'servername_Ddrive'. After that, you can boot the VM now containing both drives. Be aware that the newly attached disk will deafult to drive letter D. This means that if it had another drive letter before, you'll have to change it manually.

An important point to mention in this process is that when transferring the second VM only containing the D drive, the transfer will fail with an error around 98% stating something like "An error ocurred during reconfiguration...". This is ok - as long as the drive has been succesfully cloned, this is what matters (see below).

An alternative workaround that will most likely work as well is to do a cold clone.

Below is a screen dump of the releant entries in the log file.

Monday, June 4, 2012

8-way VM on ESX 4.1 - Win2k8 R2 Standard edition

Today, I had to configure a VM with 8 vCPU's on an ESX 4.1 cluster. The guest OS was Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition. However, after configuring the VM with 8 vCPU's it still only registered 4 vCPU's in the guest OS.

The reason is that both Win2k3 and Win2k8 R2 standard edition only can be configured with four physical CPUs or sockets. By default vSphere 4.0 and 4.1 presents 1 vCPU as one socket.

To bypass this, there is a feature (experimental in 4.0 but supported in 4.1) allowing you to configure multiple cores per socket. See this KB article. This feature has been included in vSphere 5.0 in the GUI.

See this article for comparison of Windows 2003 editions.

See this link for comparison of Windows 2008 edition (look for 'Editions Guide' at the bottom of the page). Or download PDF here.